Saturday, October 29, 2011

1st Road Trip

Today I wanted to go visit my sister in Redlands for a few hours and it's a good bit further away from home that the maximum electric range of my Volt is. So I knew I was going to be using some Dino-Fuel today. Question was, how much? So with only 0.8 gallons of gas used from the free full tank that was in the car when I got it back in May, and a full battery charge, Bob and I set out. It was about 86° and sunny, so the A/C was definitely in use. (ECO mode) We got to the Pomona area on the 210 before switching to gas, and we plugged into a regular 110v for the roughly two hours we were visiting. Had we had access to a 240v portable charger, I could have used it as my sister has a 240v outlet not being used in the laundry area. But this was fine. We showed 10 electric miles available when we went back out to the car to leave. We got to Fontana before it switched back to gas again.

When we got back near the house, we took a small detour over to our usual Saturday night dining spot, Harry's in Burbank. Me for the fried chicken special and Bob for the clubhouse. Upon arriving back home, I snapped this:

So drove a total of 157.8 miles. 46.3 of them were all electric and 111.5 were on the gasoline generator. I drove at relatively sedate 65~68 MPH most of the time, since I like to stay at the back of the pack. It would have cost us less than $13 to make this trip, if I had paid for the gas in the tank. I still have more than half the tank of that free gas left now.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fully Charged Pilot Episode

Seems like I keep referencing this little video to people I'm chatting with so decided I should have a link to it here:

Or to go to the YouTube page, try this:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fisker’s Karma car lands in U.S.

Ok, not exactly competition for Tesla, Chevrolet or Nissan, let alone Toyota, but still a very welcome entrant in the club of manufacturers shipping PHEV/EV products that just scream!

Why buy a boring BMW 7 series or Mercedes S-class, let alone an Audi A8 when they are more money and have non-innovative, old-school piston power? And with them you still have to buy gasoline, pay for very expensive maintenance, and breathe the same fumes people have been breathing for over 100 years.

Audi's 60 second TV spot says goodbye to the age of old luxury, but it still drinks Dino Fuel. Lincoln's spot asks if you are going to buy a new car, shouldn't there be something new about it? Yes there should and Lincoln doesn't have it. So if you really want to say goodbye to old luxury and get a *new* car, think electric. Think extended-range electric.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics report

This monthly email shows that I've driven 655 miles this month, all of them electric, and am supposedly using 29 kW-Hr per 100 miles. The *advertised* rate I stupidly *thought* I was going to get on EV-only night time charging was about 2-1/2 cents a kWH. But now I know there are all sorts of add-ons to that advertised rate, so I really pay about 15 cents a kWH after the dizzying array of taxes, surcharges, aquisition fees and EV discounts, which is still good, just not as breathtakingly amazing as I thought it was going to be. I'm better educated now, if not driving quite as cheaply as I thought. So it still works out to be $4.35 to go 100 electric miles. Meanwhile, the rest of the report shows nothing notable, and nothing needs maintenance.

While some efficiency numbers were included in the email, logging on to the MyVolt web site it looks like the sections on "efficiency" and "mileage" are turned off again. The numbers were definitely off the last time it was working, so I think they've decided to pull it back under wraps.

So I'll take this opportunity to show the graphic from my ChargePoint account:

This shows off my charging pattern and kWH used each day, along with the green house gas savings. Kinda interesting.

But more interesting is looking at the charging totals in a spreadsheet format, so I can see how many kWH each day time my rate (.15/kWH) comes to per month. And so far it's running around $30 each month to drive 5 days a week to work, or about $1.50 per day, just as GM predicted in it's advertising materials. Guess they knew what they were doing. Checking this against the figures on the OnStar report, they seem to match up. $4.35 per 100 miles is .0435 cents per mile, times the reported 655 miles, is just $28.49 for the month. Driving 20 days out of the month that is $1.43 per day.

So, like I say, not as utterly fantastic as I had first thought when I naively believed the advertised rate was what I was really going to spend. But still a lot cheaper, and of course cleaner, than petrol.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Small Rant

Hey, just want to send a memo out to my fellow morning commuters on the 134/210 freeway between North Hollywood and Pasadena. (Hi everyone!) The designated car pool lane is *not* your personal passing lane. Using it to dodge around cars that are not going fast enough in the "fast" lane because all the other lanes are going even slower, is not the proper use of that lane. Sorry. You already know that crossing over the double-yellow line is a violation worth over $300 and doing it twice as you cross in to pass, and then back out to resume, is going to get expensive if you get caught. Add to that the fact that you only have one occupant in the car instead of the required two, and you have a hefty bill to the state or locality that benefits from such fines. I'm glad I wasn't the person in the fast lane that offended you by going too slow...

I'm not a fast driver and I use the left-most lane only on a very limited basis. I likewise avoid the car-pool lane because I don't believe in them and don't like the fact that some other drivers feel it is the "go-even-faster-than-the-fast-lane" lane. I'm one of those strange people who actually measured the amount of time it takes me to get to work doing the speed limit and measured again doing "flow-of-traffic" speeds, which tend to be at least 10 to 15 MPH over the posted limits. And I found that the number of minutes saved were in the lower single digits. I also measured my fuel and energy use of going the speed limit and it saves me considerable money without making me late. Go figure. :-)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Volt Spotting!

Saw a pearl white Volt parked along Hollywood Way near Verdugo in Burbank on the way home tonight. It was parked under the edge of some trees and at first I wasn't paying much attention so it could have been under the first set of trees, or the next bunch after the editing suite offices there on that corner. (One of the two arrows.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Note About Availability

I've been reading a bunch of stuff that says the Volt isn't selling and that it's a flop because the Nissan Leaf has x-number of times more sales. I have mine and I'm happy with it. I don't want to proselytize but at the same time I try to take the time to correct misinformation when I hear it and see it. I think a lot of folks would find the Volt would really be a good fit for them, if they only had the chance to try it and see how amazing it really is. Some sources are reporting that production is still low and the ones in the pipeline are going largely to dealers as demonstrators with a provision that they can't be sold (for x-amount of time, I think 6 months) so that people can test drive them even if they can't actually buy one yet. I tend to believe the supply is still pretty limited. I remember how tough it was for me to find one and I had a feeling it was still about like that. Just because GM is now making more Volts, doesn't mean there are more at individual locations. They've opened up more states and so they are still spread very thin on salable models.

Well this month is my birthday and my buddy Oscar at Bunnin Chevrolet sent me a nice little email greeting about it and I took the opportunity to ask him about the supply of Volts they have and he replied that they don't have any to sell, but that business has otherwise been good." This is a major dealership in a very major market of Southern California. They sell a lot of cars. And they can't get any Volts. I think that pretty much says it for me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Revenge of the Electric Car

New movie opening up from the guys that did the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car". It's called, of course, "Revenge of the Electric Car", and let's hope it really is time for EVs to get their revenge. :-)

From the web site:
In Revenge of the Electric Car, director Chris Paine takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars. Without using a single drop of foreign oil, this new generation of car is America’s future: fast, furious, and cleaner than ever.

With almost every major car maker now jumping to produce new electric models, Revenge follows the race to be the first, the best, and to win the hearts and minds of the public around the world. It’s not just the next generation of green cars that’s on the line. It’s the future of the automobile itself.

Revenge of the Electric Car is narrated by Tim Robbins. The primary cast includes CEO and President of Renault and Nissan Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk, Former Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz and EV do-it-yourselfer Greg “Gadget” Abbott.
Sounds pretty good and they also have a Facebook page.

Another EV-related bit I came across is a podcast/YouTube channel called "Fully Charged" and it's a series of 10 minute episodes debunking the mis-information about EVs and looking into specific cars. I've only watched a few episodes so far, but it's great and the host is funny. He's British so he has a non-American viewpoint but we're all in the same boat when it comes to the future of petrol-based cars.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tesla Model S Beta 1 (photos)

Saw some pix of the new Tesla today:

With a base price tag of $57,400, this is getting to be much more mainstream. I can't wait to see these rolling off the assembly line!