Why I will never buy an electric car


#21

Both our cars do long and short trips ranging from 200 to 800 miles one way. So I’m not in the market.

Just a few points though. A tax credit is not savings even though it saves the person getting the credit out of pocket costs. But a tax credit takes from me or other taxpayers to give to someone else. Secondly our electrical grid is in terrible shape due to the inability over the years to build plants to keep up with anticipated demand. So you can have all the charging stations you want, but there has to be adequate supply to run them and its not there yet. Thirdly, the grid is not hardened yet from cyber attacks which is a big risk factor. True it takes electricity to run gas pumps but a small generator will do that. So we have a little work to do if that’s the direction we’re going to head in.


#22

All of those apply to an electric car too. So the difference is 5 min vs ? For the actual energy transfer portion of the stop. I didn’t originally post the 5 minute timing but that’s about what it takes me to dispense 20gal.

Aside from that, what do you think takes more dwell time waiting; 18 or so gas pumps or 18 charging stations? When they take 30 minutes or more, people wander off to do other things…


#23

…and many stations were out of gasoline for hours at a time. The only people who didn’t have to wait in long lines for scarce fuel were people driving diesel vehicles.

In terms of evacuating from an emergency, a gasoline powered car wasn’t that much better than an electric car.

As a longtime Florida resident, knowing how unpredictable hurricanes can be, my ideal evacuation plan would be to have a hurricane bunker out in the middle of the state that can survive a category 5 storm. It would be off the grid and be powered by solar during the day and a generator at night, and it might double as a weekend getaway spot during the winter. An electric car would have enough range to get there and back.


#24

Friend put a whole house propane generator in his house. We have had 1 power outage of 10hrs duration in 20 yrs.


#25

That’s why I’d rather opt for two moderately priced lawnmower-size generators, one for a refrigerator and one to power either a mini split air conditioner or a window unit. Those whole house generators cost a fortune, and after the last hurricane, some of my neighbors were without electricity for more than a week. My boss was living in his RV for six days.


#26

Our electrical grid is in bad shape, but it is not due to lack of power stations. The problem is using alternating current on the transmission lines.

Alternating current was developed for use on distribution grids where is is absolutely superior to direct current. Distribution grids are the part of the grid from the sub-stations to the end users. The are short distance grids.

Transmission lines are used to connect the power stations to the distribution grids and the distribution grids to each other. In the early days, when AC won out over DC, there was usually only one power station that served one or more local distribution grid. AC was still the choice for this as well.

The problem started when the grids became interconnected so they could share electricity between them and a group of distribution grids would have multiple power stations. This should increase the robustness of the system, and to some extent it does. But as the interconnected grids grew from regional transmission grids to a national transmission grid, the problem of phase shift with alternating current became a major problem.

Now it is getting worse with wind farms and solar farms. The power that is shared between the grids or that comes from distributed sources arrives with some phase shift from the primary source, the nearest power plant. Because it arrives with a phase shift, power is lost. A small phase shift does not result in much of a loss, but 10 or 15 degrees starts to result in a significant power loss.

This is where one of the primary threats to our grid from hackers comes from. The phase timing of power from one grid to another, or from different power sources is somewhat controlled through the internet. If a hacker gets one power source to shift its phases so that its power arrives at the sub-station out of phase with another source, that is like a major short circuit. Major sparks will fly and the smoke contained in the transformers and generators will begin to escape. Once they lose their smoke, they don’t work anymore.

Some power sources like wind farms are starting to use DC transmission lines to deliver their power to the major sub-stations. Same for some nuclear power plants that are located far from their customers. It eliminates the phase issue, and also the issues with the moving magnetic fields around the AC transmission lines.

For some reason, it is still a lot harder to run a new DC transmission line than it is for an AC line. The tree huggers do everything they can to stop them because they don’t understand them. After attending some public meetings for a proposed DC line in my area, I found the tree huggers don’t much listen to reason either.

Edit: BTW, it wasn’t that long ago that people bought personal computers when there wasn’t much you could do with them, and then bought cell phones when the towers were few and far between.


#27

IIRC, that is a second fall-back. The wheels are driven by electric motors, and the engine charges the hybrid battery in normal practice after the plug-in charge dissipates. If for some reason the battery isn’t charging, the engine can drive the wheels.


#28

For the curious the vehicle is a 2012 Toyota Camry LE, 17 gallon tank. I usually drive 10 over the speed limit except where the limit is 75, then I hold it to 80. Gets 33 to 35 mpg on road trips.
The 1000 mile range with one fill up includes the full tank of gas I start with, I fill up when we stop for the night, usually between the motel and a restaurant so no getting on and off the interstate to get fuel.
The stop for the night is usually 500 to 525miles from home.


#29

After battery depletion, a direct mechanical link is more the norm for maximum efficiency:


#30

Just make sure the generators can supply the starting surge of these appliances when the compressors start. You may be better off getting a somewhat bigger single generator to power both of these at once, since it’s rare that both compressors will start simultaneously.

We power a small AC unit in our Airstream with two Yamaha 1100 watt inverter generators paralleled together. In order to get them to start that AC unit, we have to disable the slow engine speed at low load mode and even then, the instantaneous inrush of a starting induction motor occasionally trips the circuit breaker on one of the units which causes the second unit to trip out shortly after.
I solved the problem by installing a delay timer on the compressor power. When first turned on, the current detours through a long high resistance extension cord, which limits the inrush current and allows the engines to rev up to full speed before the delay timer closes and the electric current can go to the compressor directly. This allows the compressor to start even when the generators are set to slow idle at low load mode and it almost never trips out the breaker.
The more expensive inverter generators are worth it, just for the fact that they are so quiet. Also, because the engines run at a low rpm during low power consumption, the fuel supply goes a lot farther.


#31

That is interesting about the Volt. I hadn’t looked into this since the gen 1 and apparently the engine is coupled to the wheels a lot more in the 2nd gen version.

Part of the issue with the power grid is so much of it is run “on demand” these days. There isn’t a lot of excess capacity in the system. This would have to be improved to move to all electric cars for sure.

As for generators, I have some experience with them as well. I live in the country and have a well so a generator is essential. It can also power my wood furnace blowers in the winter as well as power my AC units in the summer. I have an 8000 watt running/13500 peak watt unit. It is a larger portable one on wheels but weighs around 200lbs. Of course I would have to take turns running high-load appliances but I can run anything in my place except for the electric water heater. On paper it should be able to run it but here is what happens. The water heater has an electronic control box. When the water heater kicks on, the voltage suddenly drops. The generator starts to stabilize but the electronics kick out the water heater before it can do so. This would just happen over and over so I just turn off that breaker and forget about it.

My place is cooled by two large 25,000 btu window units. That is 2.1 ton in HVAC terms so they are not small unit. One of them had been problematic with having trouble starting and would trip the breaker intermittently since day one. The two are not quite identical but use the same compressor. I had to replace the capacitor in both last year and thought it was odd that one used a 40mfd capacitor and the other a 55mfd capacitor. Anyway, the one that has always acted up uses the 40mfd. I finally borrowed a clamp meter and could see that the one unit was drawing massive amounts of current well over the rating of the breaker and circuit at start so it was probably always on a fine edge of tripping the breaker. The unit with the 55mfd cap was a non-event but they both pulled the same amount of current once running. I bought another 55mfd cap, replaced the 40mfd, and haven’t looked back. There are no more breaker trips and the current draw at start is the same as the other unit which has never acted up.

My units use run capacitors. You usually don’t want to up the size of these but in a case where the factory apparently put in one a little undersized, I think my decision was the best. I am friends with the guy I bought this place from and he did indicate that the problem unit was bought first so wonder if they had lots of warranty claims/returns and revised the next model to have a larger capacitor. Anyway, some units have a start capacitor as well as a run capacitor. You could always try using a larger start capacitor or wiring in a hard start kit on units that don’t have a start capacitor. That would reduce the startup current draw when operating off a generator. I was prepared to add a hard start kit if upgrading the run cap didn’t solve the problem.


#32

In Minnesota I think the longest we’ve been out of power was maybe four to eight hours and really very rarely. My son in Ohio was out for a week though. On the farm in South Dakota, when the snow or ice would come and the lines got knocked down, it could be two or more days in the winter without power. They had kerosene lamps and heater etc. to survive. I guess it just depends on your power supplier and whether the lines are underground or not. I have a little generator that I bought just for tools, compressor, and paint sprayer to use out in the country where there is no power. I would use it at home in an emergency but have never had to. Its always ready to go though and I keep enough gas on hand for several days.


#33

I looked at this Gen2 Volt, and I really fail to see the point of buying one.

41 MPG is laughable. 4-cylinder non-hybrid Camry will get you there and you will get much more of a car for much less of a price

Hybrid Camry will get you into 51-53 MPG area, once again, you will get more of a car, lesser price.

I’m not even comparing to Prius, which is a more direct competition to Volt.


#34

41 mpg is only when the battery is depleted. Plug it in every night and the only gas I’d use is what the car used t keep the gas fresh.


#35

Prius Prime, same plugin concept, but gasoline MPG appears to be 54, price is 7 grand less…

am I comparing apples to oranges?


#36

No, I’d put both plug in hybrids in the same category.


#37

I would love US company to roll out something really competitive, but seems to be Gen2 is not doing a trick :frowning:


#38

C[quote=“thegreendrag0n, post:33, topic:119632”]

That is interesting about the Volt. I hadn’t looked into this since the gen 1 and apparently the engine is coupled to the wheels a lot more in the 2nd gen version.

I looked at this Gen2 Volt, and I really fail to see the point of buying one.

41 MPG is laughable. 4-cylinder non-hybrid Camry will get you there and you will get much more of a car for much less of a price

Hybrid Camry will get you into 51-53 MPG area, once again, you will get more of a car, lesser price.

I’m not even comparing to Prius, which is a more direct competition to Volt.
[/quote]

You are a little off in mileage. The average gas mileage of the Volt is 42, the gas-only Camry is 34, the Camry Hybrid is 46, and the Prius Prime is 54 according to the EPA.

MSRP for the Volt Premier is $$37,570, the federal tax credit is $7500 and you get an extra $1840 in MD excise tax credits. Your state may or any not have tax credits. The Camry XSE has a MSRP of $29,150 and no tax credits. The Camry XLE hybrid MSRP is $32,400 with no tax credits. The Prius Prime MSRP is $33,300 and has a federal tax credit of $4502. The MD excise tax credit is $880.

After taxes, the Volt Premier is about $1000 more than the nonhybrid Camry XSE, about $2500 less than the Camry XLE hybrid, and about $2000 more than the Prius Prime. That’s without the state excise taxes credits for the Volt and Prius Prime.

You might decide that a Camry or Prius are better for you, but you and everyone else should use accurate cost and mileage data to make the decision.


#39

For me the point would be to run it like a plug in electric car as much as possible, filling the tank as infrequently as possible.


#40

That’s fine for short commutes. I could get to work on the battery if the engine doesn’t cut in automatically on the highway. Then I’d have to use the engine on the return trip. My SIL lives close enough to work that her Prius plug-in will get her there and part of the way home. She lives a lot closer to work.