Early Experiences
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As we have more experiences with our EV, we'll have more to tell you.  And this is where we'll do it.

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How far will it go on a charge?

This is the first thing we're asked by our friends, acquaintances, and people who stop us in parking lots.  Well, it depends on how you drive, but on our Costco runs to Escondido or Oceanside we usually log about 80 miles which leaves the "fuel" gauge on the ragged edge of green.  There's still about 20% of the scale left which is half yellow and half red.  So far we haven't ventured into these zones.

How fast will it go?

On a flat freeway with no significant headwind 80 mph (indicated) is no problem, but there's not much left after that.  There's a long grade on southbound I-15 just past Hwy 76, and we can maintain 70 mph all the way up.  Of course we try to drive more reasonable speeds most of the time and would never think of breaking the speed limit.

How do you start it?

Just turn on the key and go.  There is no engine idle, which took some getting used to.  There is no transmission to shift, the motor-to-wheel ratio is constant.  When stopped or traveling slowly, the stillness and silence is almost spooky.  In fact, we were warned by the dealer to be especially cautious driving through parking lots like Home Depot's because pedestrians will not hear the car and are likely to step right in front of it without looking first.

What are the compromises?

The only significant one is limited range.  For our driving this is not a serious limitation.  Although we have never used one, there are quite a few public charging stations throughout California, and almost all of them provide free charging and a prime parking spot.

The car is heated/cooled by an electrically-powered heat pump.  Its performance is tempered by the need to conserve battery power.  Procedurally, it is best to pre-heat or pre-cool the car in the garage while connected to its charger.  Once the temperature is comfortable, it can pretty well hold it there while driving.  But if it has been closed up outside on a hot day, plan on driving several miles with the windows open.

There's one more little issue.  The electronic motor controls generate radio frequency noise that interferes with reception of weak radio stations.  But it seems like radio content these days is mostly noise anyway.

A special advantage.

Since the EV is considered to be a zero-emission vehicle, it is allowed in the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) freeway lanes with only a single person.  This makes it an excellent commuting vehicle for trips of 30 or so miles each way.  If you can talk your employer into installing a charger, you could commute at least 60 miles each way (ugh!).

A caveat

The EV comes with its own 6,000 watt charger which Pete installed in the garage.  Right away he noticed that the charger's standing loss is almost exactly one kilowatt-hour per day.  For our rate of usage, this calculates to 15% additional power wasted if we left the charger connected while idle.  Pete installed a disconnect right away.

 

 

Copyright 2002 - 2005 Peter J. and Margaret E. Prossen. All rights reserved.
Published December 8, 2002.
Updated August 19, 2005 .

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