Could this be a future EV from Canada? Yes, if all goes well for the Canadian company AK Motor International Corporation. They’d like to introduce you to their vehicle idea; the Maple Majestic.
While not a lot is known about the vehicle at this time, the company does say that the Maple Majestic was designed with cold, harsh climates in mind. Specifically, they plan to utilize a long wheel-base of 3,100mm (122.05 in.) which is more than five inches longer than the Tesla Model S, that would not only would allow for a larger battery pack, but also provide straight-line stability in adverse weather conditions.
The company says, a key feature of the vehicle will be an adjustable ride height suspension with a target of up to 150mm (5.91 in.) ride height adjustability. This means a variable ground clearance from a sporty 140mm (5.51 in.) up to 290mm (11.42 in.) in some conditions that may involve heavy snow.
These days, even EV owners in Texas could use some additional ground clearance in snowy weather.
In a press release today, CEO Arkadiusz Kaminski had this to say about the project,
“Canadians have accepted that electric cars are the future. Maple Majestic is an opportunity for Canada to not just embrace the technology but to also play an active role in bringing electric vehicles to the world market. Our business model complements Canada’s existing auto industry infrastructure, ensuring that existing key stakeholders will have a part to play in Maple Majestic’s future. Leveraging Canada’s parts suppliers and technological developers decreases investment risks in our project dramatically. It is literally in the best interests of Canada’s parts suppliers to support this initiative. It is time for the Ultimate Friendly Driving Machine. It is time for Maple Majestic.”
Currently there is no published release date for the vehicle, however it is nice to know that our friendly neighbors to the north are working hard to bring this EV to the world and we look forward to bringing you more information in the future.
What do you think? Would you like to see this idea come to life? We would for sure.
By Darya Oreizi, adapted by Zack Hurst
Originally published January 4th, 2021 on ChargedFuture.com, adapted (and slightly updated) with permission.
Today, there are many, many different types of electric vehicles (EVs). Some are all-electric (BEV), while some are plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Some are sedans, while others are SUVs.
Furthermore, each and every year there are more and more models. For example, in just 2021, there are over 14 new EVs. The most anticipated new models include the Cybertruck, Rivian R1T, and VW ID.4.
No matter what type of car shopper you are, there is an EV for you. This is especially true for family haulers. For families, a vehicle needs to have ample passenger and cargo space, plenty of range for long road trips, and affordably priced.
As such, car manufacturers have released their take on the ultimate family PHEV or BEV. Each one provides a different value with a focus on pricing, vehicle size, or performance.
Here are 12 great plug-in hybrid and electric cars for families:
1. Toyota RAV4 Prime
With a starting price of $38,100 ($30,600 after tax credit), Toyota's RAV4 Prime is a great PHEV crossover for the masses. It's 42 mile all electric range is certainly enough for the daily commute and errands and when you need more, the gas engine is there to boost the total range to 600 miles before needing to fill up and recharge. An AWD powertrain will keep you driving in the winter months without worry. Seating capacity for 5 doesn't take away from the 40 ft³ of cargo space. All around the RAV4 Prime is a great option.
2. Tesla Model Y
Tesla's Model Y is the newest offering from the electric vehicle startup. Starting at a very competitive price of $49,990, this crossover has already proven it's worth becoming their second best selling vehicle. The standard range, single motor RWD option is rated at 244 miles of range and the long range, dual motor AWD option at 326 miles. If you swing for the performance trim level you will take a small hit in range, but likely enjoy the added power. This full battery electric vehicle does have a 7 seat option, but don't plan on asking your 6ft tall friends to ride in the back. A massive amount of cargo room makes this pick a great choice for road trips and traveling.
3. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
If you're shopping for an electric minivan, this is currently your only option. But its a great one! The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is one of our favorite choices from this list for families that need a lot of space, but don't want to spend a lot of money. For $40,245 ($34,240 after tax credit), this van can haul your people or your packages up to 520 miles (rated at 32 miles on electric, but we know owners who have gotten more.)
4. Tesla Model X
Falcon wing doors, games, Autopilot, and more! The Tesla Model X seems to have it all, except for a lower price tag. This rolling faberge egg will set you back $84,690. Still, the long range trim will provide 360 miles of range, fast supercharging, and seating for as many as 7 adults comfortably, making it our pick for top road trip cruiser.
5. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV is a hidden gem in the EV world. With less than 10,000 units sold in the US you won't be likely to bump into another owner. That being said, we have no idea why this crossover doesn't sell more. It's 22 miles (rated) of electric range are great for the day to day needs of most people and it's AWD drivetrain has proven up to be up to the task of handling traction in even the worst conditions. If there were an unsung hero award, it would go to the Outlander PHEV for sure.
6. Volvo XC 90 Recharge
The XC90 Recharge from Volvo earns its SUV badge appropriately. It's sporty, it's useful, its a vehicle... well that last part is obvious. If you're in the market for a moderately priced SUV with 520 total miles of range, this 7 seater could be the right one for you!
7. Volvo XC60 Recharge
The Volvo XC60 Recharge is the XC90's smaller sibling. Starting at $53,500, this PHEV crossover can take you up to 19 (rated) miles on electricity alone. Sure, that's not as far as some of the other PHEVs on this list, but this one is a Volvo, and the others can't say that. Expect all the luxury that this premium brand brings to the table, and throw in a little bit of EV to boot!
8. VW ID. 4
While deleveries of the Volkswagen ID.4 haven't started in the US as of writing this, this crossover is likely to be a massive seller for the German brand. Starting at less than $40,000 and offering a range of 250 miles will appeal to a large number of buyers. Will the ID. 4 be the perfect family vehicle for you?
9. Ford Mustang Mach-E
While controversial for being a 4-door crossover, the Mustang Mach-E, is a Mustang through and through. One drive is all it takes and skeptics become believers. Staring at $42,895, the Mach-E is a great option for a sporty flavor on your commute. Offered in RWD and AWD trim options, there's a Mach-E for everybody. Don't discount this awesome option from Ford.
10. Rivian R1S
Backed by money from Ford, Amazon, and a host of other investors, Rivian has had the capital to bring amazing vehicles to reality. The R1S is no exception. With more than 300 miles and an AWD drivetrain to take you off the beaten path on any adventure you wish. Seating up to 7 means you can take your friends along as well!
11. Rivian R1T
The R1T is just as exciting as the R1S for those who wish to haul things rather than people. Still centered around the "adventure lifestyle" the R1T has optional extras to make camping in the wilderness an EV reality.
12. Tesla Cybertruck
There isn't much to be said about the Cybertruck that hasn't been said already. It's futuristic styling is definitely an acquired taste. However, the function of the truck is undeniable. This is a heavy duty vehicle for a family that doesn't mind standing out from the crowd.
There are many different plug-in hybrid and electric cars for families. Each of these family electric vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages.
For small families, crossovers like the ID.4, Tesla Model Y, or Toyota RAV4 Prime are great since they balance value with price. For larger families, the Tesla Model X, Rivian R1S, or Volvo XC-90 Recharge are great for the additional seating and cargo space.
In any case, any of these plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles will definitely save you money as each are significantly more efficient than a typical internal combustion engine (ICE) or gas car.
For most ICE family haulers, the MPG lands around 25. However, with crossover and SUV PHEVs and BEVs, the MPGe is around 100. In other words, electric cars are four times as efficient as gas! This is one of a few ways going electric can save owners thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the vehicle.
If you are interested in making the switch to electric but aren’t sure which one is right for you, feel free to schedule a free consultation. We’ll go over your options and can help you find the most suited EV for your lifestyle. Through our services, we will also go over EV basics such as maintenance, incentives, and charging.
Get started today for free!
It's the end of the year again and there is a familiar fervor of gossip surrounding Tesla regarding if they'll hit their delivery numbers, or fall short. And while anybody who considers what this year has been like wouldn't fault Tesla for missing the projections they set forth, recent news would suggest that as of the time of writing this that Tesla has accomplished the seemingly impossible.
A few days ago, in an email obtained by Electrek , Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees that the automaker could still achieve their goal of 500,000 vehicle deliveries in 2020 but would need to 'go all out' to do so. In the email, Musk says that the goal is still achievable and encourages employees to push to the end and prove those that would doubt Tesla wrong.
This is exactly the type of email that we've come to expect at the end of each quarter and there isn't anything within it that really stands out. As a CEO of a highly visible company, what you say and how you say it can have a lot of meaning. In this case, the email gives the impression that everything is going according to plan and production and deliveries are on schedule. Maybe, it's more about what isn't said that is so illuminating. It doesn't sound like there are any fires to put out or that Tesla is having any issues at all.
But here's the thing...
Tesla likely hit the "impossible" number of deliveries (or very close to it) when he sent this email. The reasoning behind that is speculative, but consider that Musk must have known before sending the email that it would be leaked. All of his end of quarter emails get leaked so why would this be any different? His word choice is very specific... "500,000 cars built and delivered." If he had any question about Tesla hitting the 500,000 deliveries number, he likely would have focused more on the production of vehicles, and left the word "delivered" out of it entirely.
Additionally, he very specifically targeted Tesla haters by calling them out. Would he do this if there was ANY chance that Tesla wouldn't achieve this goal? It would be highly embarrassing to call out your critics and then miss the goal, proving them right.
So yes, this is highly speculative, but it would be shocking after reading this email from Elon Musk if Tesla didn't smash through that 500,000 vehicles built and delivered.
What do you think? Have they hit it already? Or will they fall short? Let us know in the comment section below.
The automotive world better be prepared to get rocked.
2020 has been the best year ever for electric vehicles but still we have yet to see a significant impact to the automotive industry. Electric vehicle sales surged to almost 5% of global new vehicles by the end of September (Q4 numbers have yet to be released), which is quite the achievement over previous years. But still, only 1 out of every 5 vehicles sold having a plug is not good enough, and it certainly isn't what could be called a significant impact on the industry as a whole. It hasn't been a breakout year.
Well, that's about to change and 2021 is the year for it to happen.
Legacy automakers and EV startups alike are making a big push for 2021 with a number of new models being released and existing production ramping up to new heights. Whether you're looking for the most powerful production car ever, the most efficient production car ever, the quickest production car ever... (you see where I'm going here), it'll be available in 2021. The year will also see the first EV Pickup Trucks rolling off the production lines, something for which many people have been patiently waiting.
Alex Guberman, of the E for Electric YouTube channel, put together quite a comprehensive list of all the expected new comers that will be available in the US next year:
What do you think? Did he miss anything? Which EVs are you most excited about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
By: Zack Hurst
In a virtual presentation earlier today, QuantumScape revealed that their solid-state lithium batteries will charge faster, last longer, and hold more power than conventional Lithium-Ion batteries used in today’s electric vehicles.
Commercially viable solid-state batteries have been eluding the battery industry for more than 40 years, and presently there are no examples of electric vehicles that use solid-state batteries.
But QuantumScape’s batteries could change that.
Jagdeep Singh, CEO and co-founder of QuantumScape, publicly revealed testing results and data for the company’s solid-state battery. Singh claimed that the main challenges that have limited solid-state batteries in the past, such as shortened battery life, slow charging rates, and limited thermal operational ranges, have been solved.
According to QuantumScape’s data, they have developed a solid-state battery that is capable of charging 80 percent in less than 15 minutes, retains 80 percent of its capacity after many hundreds of charging and discharging cycles, and has a volumetric energy density of more than 1,000 wH/liter at the cell level. To put that last number in perspective, even the best batteries today don’t even achieve half of that energy density.
Their solid-state lithium-metal batteries differ from conventional cells in a couple of significant ways. In these cells, there are only two main layers: the cathode with an electrical contact, and a solid-state ceramic separator. Where conventional cells have an anode, there is now just an electrical contact. The cell is manufactured without an anode.
During charging, lithium ions move from the cathode through the ceramic separator and are deposited between the separator and the electrical contact forming an anode of pure metallic lithium. This lithium-metal anode allows the energy of the solid-state battery stored in a smaller volume (when compared to conventional cells) providing a higher energy density. By eliminating the conventional anode which is usually made of a carbon base, these solid-state batteries significantly increase volumetric and gravimetric density.
QuantumScape has even garnered praise from Stan Whittingham, the co-inventer of the lithium-ion battery. In a panel discussion after the presentation he said, “The hardest part about making a working solid-state battery is the need to simultaneously meet the requirements of high energy density, fast charge, long cycle life, and wide temperature-range operation. This data shows QuantumScape’s cells meet all of these requirements, something that has never before been reported. If QuantumScape can get this technology into mass production, it holds the potential to transform the industry.”
Other members of the panel included: Dr. Jürgen Leohold (former Head of Worldwide Research, Volkswagen Group), JB Straubel (Co-founder and former CTO of Tesla, member of QuantumScape's Board of Directors, CEO of Redwood Materials), Jagdeep Singh (CEO of QuantumScape), Dr. David Danielson (Managing Director of Breakthrough Energy Ventures), Dr. Venkat Viswanathan (Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University), Dr. Tim Holme (Co-Founder and CTO of QuantumScape), and Dr. Paul Alburtus (Associate Director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute).
The team of scientists at QuantumScape have been working tirelessly for nearly a decade to create what is likely to be the new generation of batteries used in mass-market electric vehicles. And as Mr. Whittingham said, if they can get this technology into mass production, it will transform the industry.
While there is certainly a long way to go to get there, Jagdeep Singh said that they hope to have production of these cells up and running in 2024.
The full presentation can be watched here:
More information about QuantumScape can be found on their website.
It's not often that we find ourselves outright giddy when hearing about a new product. However, after speaking recently with the folks over at simpleSwitch we found that we couldn't hold back our excitement.
For many people, buying a used car is not only the best financial choice, but often the only affordable option. Not everybody has the monetary capability to spend many tens of thousands of dollars on a new vehicle. For these people, and for anybody else looking to make a financially smart vehicle choice, buying a used electric car is a solid option.
The total cost of ownership for electric vehicles is significantly less than their gas burning counterparts and the decreased maintenance costs also translate to decreased maintenance headaches to worry about. Buying a used EV is an excellent way to access the benefits of owning an electric vehicle without the often-larger price tag of buying new.
However, before driving your new-to-you EV home it is important to do your homework. There are a few important considerations to take into account:
Has the vehicle been repaired or been in an accident?
Like any other used car, the vehicle history is important to take into account. If the car has damage in its past, the alignment could be irreparably out of spec or, worse, the car's overall safety could be compromised.
Where has the vehicle spent the majority of its life? Where has the vehicle spent the majority of its life?
If the car has been kept in extreme climates, you may have brittle rubber or plastic, rust, or even wearing paint to worry about.
How was the car usually charged?
Buying from a dealership would make this question nearly impossible to answer, but if you purchase directly from a private party, they should be able to tell you how often they charged the car on a fast charger or if they only charged at home. (Most will have been charged only at home.)
Has the main battery been tested to determine its state of health?
Arguably the most important component of an electric car is the large battery that stores the electric energy to propel the car. All EV batteries will degrade over time and lose some of their original capacity. Factors such as the age of the battery, charging habits, and external temperature can all cause the battery to degrade more quickly, so it is important to get the battery tested to give you a reliable idea of how healthy it is. We do not recommend buying a used EV with a battery that has less than 70% of its original capacity, as it has reached the end of its useful life in the car, without strongly considering how you will use the vehicle.
Is the car still covered by the original manufacturers warranty?
Warranty coverage will vary from car to car, but most manufacturers will have offered an 8-yr, 100,000 mile warranty on the battery and major drive-train components. Other warranties could potentially save you a lot of money should something fail. EVs have a lot fewer parts to break, but they are not invincible.
If the EV does need to be repaired, where do I take it?
As with any car, you can always take it back to the dealership. But many people either don't want to pay the usually more expensive labor rate, or they just want an alternative. While basic maintenance can be handled by most repair shops, working on an electric vehicle's battery, or drive components requires very specialized training. We only recommend having hybrid and electric vehicle-qualified technicians work on the car. Because of this, it's important to be able to identify where these shops are located BEFORE you buy an EV and find yourself in a situation without a convenient solution.
Do all the features of the car work?
This may seem obvious, but many people buy cars without trying out all of the features. If you're buying in the summer, make sure you still test things like heated seats, steering wheels, or side mirrors to ensure that when the weather does get colder you aren't finding out something is broken when you need these features the most. Similarly, if you're buying in the winter, test the A/C for the same reason. Check the operation of all the electronics, windows, and seat motors as well. Nothing is worse than discovering something not working after you bough the car and it's too late to get it fixed for free.
Is the car a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) or does is it a hybrid or have a range extender?
Many cars that are technically electric vehicles also come equipped with a gasoline engine that requires maintenance as well. Take the BMW i3 (above) as an example. The i3 is offered as a full BEV or with an onboard gasoline range extender (REX). If you have a model with the REX you will need to take into account the maintenance needs of these systems in order to insure proper operation of the vehicle. However, because the gasoline engine is not running all the time, they will require less maintenance than a full gas powered vehicle.
So there you have it, our recommendations of things to keep in mind before you buy a used EV. Feel like we missed anything? Feel free to send us an email at email@example.com. We'd be delighted to hear from you.
Nissan describes their ProPILOT driver assist technology as, "a hands-on driving assistant designed to help drivers during long highway trips and the stop and go traffic of your daily commute... The ProPILOT Assist system combines Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control and Steering Assist technologies and includes a stop and hold function that can bring the vehicle to a full stop, hold in place and can bring you back up to speed when traffic starts moving again.
One of the reasons we were excited about the opportunity to test the Leaf SL Plus was that it is the only trim level that offers the ProPILOT driver assist technology. Having previous experience testing Tesla's Autopilot system we were very interested in being able to compare the two. Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control was easy to use and extremely reliable at maintaining distance from a vehicle directly in front of the our position, but was not able to be used well if the lanes ahead were merging together. We did find however that it was trustworthy when coming to a complete stop. The Steering Assist was also effective, but limited. During our test it had difficulty with finding the center of the lane and would sometimes drift from one side of the lane to the other.
Overall, we were pleased with the capability of both systems. Nissan has a long way to go before matching what Tesla offers, but what they have is working well enough for now, and we anticipate improvements over time.
By Zack Hurst
The idea of vehicle charging is one of the biggest hurdles to EV adoption by people who are not familiar with electric vehicles. The lack of charging stations in obvious public view is something that we here at EV Resource have written about in the past, and yes, we acknowledge there are still some significant improvements that need to take place.
Most auto manufacturers haven't taken it upon themselves to provide a solution to this dilemma. Other than EV charging companies like ChargePoint, EVgo, Electrify America, and others, only Tesla seems to be willing to build out the charging infrastructure (in the US anyway) needed to recharge the growing number of EVs on the road. The only significant downside? You have to have a Tesla in order to use Tesla’s Supercharger network. However, what is a challenge for non-Tesla EV owners becomes a significant advantage for buyers of Tesla’s vehicles.
Let’s compare with another popular EV, the Chevy Bolt. Aside from Tesla’s vehicles, the Chevy Bolt was the best selling EV in the US in 2019. And with a range of 238 miles (2019) or 259 miles (2020), it is also one of the longest range EVs you can buy which arguably would make it a better choice for longer trips. Or would it? Without going into the details about fast charging and how it works we will simplify the conversation and say that charging speeds depend on two things: how fast a charger can supply energy, and how fast a car can receive that energy.
Hypothetically, let’s take a 1000 mile journey inside the US from anywhere to anywhere, two arbitrary points. Let’s also assume that we will travel at 60 mph and can find a fast charger whenever we would need it along the way (this isn’t always the case.) Now, let’s compare two vehicles, the Tesla Model 3, and the Chevy Bolt. Let’s look at the Chevy Bolt EV first: If you have a 2020 Chevy Bolt EV, you should theoretically be able to drive 259 miles between charging sessions.
Taking this into account, let’s drive for four hours 19 minutes and stop to charge having traveled 259 miles into our journey. This isn’t the most realistic comparison, as you wouldn’t travel until the battery was dead, but stick with us. The Chevy Bolt has a 50-55kW max charging speed and according to energysage.com the 2019 model will recharge the battery in one hour 20 minutes. Keep in mind that actual charging times will vary depending on a lot of variables. We’re trying to keep this as simple as possible, so accuracy isn’t going to be our focus right now as we are only trying to illustrate the advantage of faster charging.
After five hours and 39 minutes we continue with our journey. Traveling another 259 miles, we stop for another one hour 20 minutes. So far, we’re a bit more than halfway in our journey having traveled 518 miles. We’ve been on the road for 11 hours 18 minutes. Okay, so let’s drive another 259 miles and charge again. Now we have traveled 777 miles in 16 hours 56 minutes, but we only have 223 miles to go, so we won’t need to charge again! Fewer than four hours to our destination. Total trip time: 20 hours 40 minutes.
The Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, has a maximum charging speed of 250kW on the latest version of the Superchargers, but let’s assume that we won’t have access to those on this journey. Let’s assume that we will have a maximum charging rate of only 100kW (twice as fast as the Bolt EV). Realistically, the Model 3 should reach 150kW on most of Tesla’s superchargers, but we’re trying to give every advantage we can to the Chevy Bolt. Why? Because, well, it won’t matter. The Model 3 Standard Range Plus has a range of 250 miles, and would do this same imaginary trip with 16 hours 40min of driving and only charging for a total of two hours making the total time 18 hours and 40 min, a two-hour advantage!
Realistically, in the real world, there is a good chance the advantage would be even greater. And aside from that, those of us without Teslas will tell you that finding a fast charging station that you can guarantee will work is not always the case and often you’ll pay more for the electricity used than what Tesla charges for their Supercharger network. So, with that, we’ll wrap it up. Of the many advantages that Tesla has, the great advantages of the Supercharger network are: they’re reliable, inexpensive, fast, and found almost everywhere you’d need one to be, making your road trip a breeze.
By Zack Hurst
FACT: There are affordable EV options for most people
MYTH: EVs are too expensive, and only for the rich
Until recent years, options were limited for buyers outside of CARB states to get a reasonably affordable EV. Luckily, this has changed! In 2020, many new EV models are offered for well less than $40,000, and great deals on used vehicles can also be found for less than $20,000... often less than $10,000. Do expensive EVs exist? Yes, of course! You can find expensive cars regardless of what happens to be under the hood. But there are many options for prospective EV buyers on a budget. So don't give up, there's an EV out there right now waiting for you!
FACT: EV batteries often last a decade or more
MYTH: EVs batteries die in less than 5 years
All batteries will degrade over time, and the Lithium-Ion batteries that are used in electric vehicles are certainly no exception to this rule. However EV batteries, unlike those in our phones, will often last 10yrs or more thanks to advanced battery management systems, active thermal management, and sophisticated computer software. EVs use these systems to protect the batteries from excessive heat or cold, and maintain an optimum state of charge. To this second point, because Li-ion batteries do not respond well to being charged or discharged to their extremes, EV manufacturers often reserve a percentage of the battery's storage capacity to act as a buffer. If this doesn't sway you to believe that EV batteries will really last as long as you would need them to, you might find comfort learning that most EVs come with a warranty on the batteries of up to 8yrs or 100,000 miles, with a few manufacturers offering longer warranties. Unless you are buying an older electric vehicle with the original battery still in place, you will most likely never give a second thought to the state of health of your EV battery and will enjoy many years of happy electric motoring.
FACT: EVs are some of the quickest cars on the road
MYTH: EVs are glorified golf carts
If you've ever ridden on a roller coaster or flown in a passenger jet during takeoff, you might have a small glimpse into what it's like to drive ,or be a passenger, in a Tesla Model S Performance w/Ludicrous mode. At it's best, the Model S will launch from 0-60mph in a blistering 2.28sec. A "glorified golf cart" this is not, and the Tesla isn't alone. Many EVs have the ability to push their passengers into the backs of their seats with a punch of the accelerator. An unlikely example, the Chevy Spark EV, in its first production year (2014), had more torque than a Ferrari 458 of the same year. The biggest names in performance automobiles have noticed. Porsche, McLaren, Ferrari, and others have electrified their high end cars to unleash peak performance on the road, and track. Of the top five quickest accelerating production vehicles, two are full electric and one is a hybrid (the fastest). Long gone are the days of EVs being made with the only purpose of fuel efficiency or commuting to and from the office or grocery store.
FACT: EVs are safe
MYTH: All EVs catch fire in a crash
If it's in the headline news, it must be true right? EVs catch on fire, sometimes spontaneously, or often after a wreck. They burn down the garage, and their batteries are extremely unstable. Well, not exactly. Have these things happened? Yes. Is this common? No, not even close. In fact, fires occur less often in EVs than their gasoline and diesel fueled counterparts. When a "normal" car catches on fire however, it doesn't make headlines. When all you hear is the negative about EVs, you're only receiving a very small piece of the total amount of information. The truth of the matter is that EVs are some of the safest cars on the road. They are less likely to catch fire and additionally are the safest vehicles on the road in crashes too. Just to name a few, the Audi e-tron, Hyundai Kona EV, and Tesla Model 3 all received the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2020. The fact of the matter is, if you want to be in a safe vehicle, you're definitely better off in an EV.
FACT: EVs ARE FUN!
MYTH: EVs are boring
I remember the first time I ever drove an EV, it was a Tesla Model S. I visited the dealership out of curiosity at these "new things." My life was forever changed. The ride was smooth and quiet. It wasn't the fastest version offered, but the acceleration was punchy when I wanted it and the car cornered like it was on rails due to the low center of gravity. About a year later, I test drove the Tesla Model 3 Performance... and my life wasn't changed, it was ruined. I never wanted to drive anything else. It was that experience that ultimately led to the purchase of my first electric car, a Chevy Spark EV. It's quick off the line, spunky, and responsive to input. Easily the most fun car I've ever owned. My experience is not unique. Talk to any EV owner and you are likely to hear a similar story about how they came to experience driving, and how their lives were changed. In addition to being fun to drive, EVs are also fun to own! With no engine and just a small amount of mechanical parts, the worries of maintenance and repair are far from thought, and that means that you can devote more of your mind to thinking about how much you love your car.
By Zack Hurst
If you're one of the millions of Americans that are thinking about an electric vehicle for your next car, there are some things you may want to consider before pulling the trigger on your purchase. We've put together a small checklist of factors to keep in mind before becoming a brand new EV owner.
1) Does it have enough range?
While most newer EVs have a range of 200 miles or more on a full charge, many of the older models will barely reach 100 miles of range on their best of days. This may be perfectly fine for you depending on your needs and how you will use your EV. Most daily commutes in the US are less than 40 miles and nearly every EV can handle that in any road or weather condition. Keep in mind that weather, air temperature, and how fast you drive are all variables that affect the range of an EV. You will want to make sure that you choose a car that will easily handle all of your regular daily activities. It's always a good idea to overestimate your needs and have range left over at the end of the day.
Most current EV owners charge their vehicles at home, overnight. However, there are a number of people who either don't want to charge at home, or are unable to do so. For these people, public chargers are the only option. For those who are able to charge at home, there are basically two options available to choose from: slow and slower. Now, that may sound inconvenient, but if you consider that you are usually charging overnight, it really is everything that you would ever usually need. Let's talk about slower charging first. Most EVs come with it the ability to charge from a 110/120 volt electrical socket. Using this method is convenient because you are rarely far from a wall outlet. However, this is also the slowest method of charging and might not give you a full battery in time to drive the next time you need to. It is for this reason that we recommend the "slow charging" or level 2, option. Using a 220/240 volt charger, most EVs will fully recharge their batteries overnight in just a few hours. Public chargers are also available in level 2 charging for when you are at a destination or while doing some other activity like shopping, dining, etc. Fast charging, or DCFC, is available in many areas to recharge your EV as quickly as possible, sometimes adding a hundred miles of range or more in as little as 10-15 min. DCFC speeds vary from charger to charger as well as from car to car, so if you are the type who wants to get back on the road as quickly as possible, keep this in mind when choosing your EV and ask about it's fast charging capabilities.
3) New or Used?
Just like with their fossil burning counterparts, new EVs can offer you many benefits over buying a used car. They will have the full manufacturers warranty, come with that new car smell, and be fresh right out of the box. However, some people take pause at the initial price tag. New EVs typically will cost around $30,000 on the low end and upwards of $200,000 for some of the luxury sports car models. EV Supercars and Hypercars will fetch millions (just like gas powered ones). Price is one area where buying used has its advantages. Depending on the model, many used EVs can be bought for less than $10k.
4) Cost of Ownership
Cost of ownership can easily be wrapped up into ongoing costs like maintenance, fueling, and insurance. This is one place where EVs excel over their gas and diesel powered rivals. Not only will you be spending a lot less to keep you car fueled with electrons, EVs require very little maintenance, and in some cases will even cost less to insure. However, not all EVs are built the same, require the same maintenance, or require the same insurance coverage. In order to be able to accurately calculate how much your EV will cost on a monthly basis, you have to account for how many miles you drive, and sometimes, that can make all the difference.
5) How long will you keep your EV?
The average person in the US keeps their vehicle 6yrs or so and the average lifespan of vehicles on the road is 11yrs. So, when considering an EV to buy, it's important to understand your own ownership history and habits, keeping in mind a few important pieces of information about EVs: 1) EVs require much less maintenance. Because there is no engine, and much less to break, EVs have the potential to outlast their fossil fuel burning counterparts. 2) EV batteries will usually last 10yrs or more, but the battery degradation will vary and depend a lot on how the vehicle was driven, charged, and if it has active thermal management. If you are not likely to keep your EV for long, it is not likely to become an issue to worry about. However, if you keep your cars ten years or more, you may want to plan out what you will do when your car needs attention. But you probably do that anyway, don't you?
6) What about road trips?
Most EVs are perfect for lower milage trips, commuting to and from work, and handling the errands around town. The options become limited when looking to go on longer trips. Not all EVs are built the same in this arena. If the alternative of renting a car for road trips is out of the question, then you'd want to make sure that you have an EV with at least 200 miles of range on a full charge to get you from charger to charger along your route. Once again, it's important to point out that not all EVs will charge at the same rate. Some fill up very quickly adding a hundred miles of range or more in 10-15 min, and others will charge much more slowly. When going on road trips, charging speeds can mean the difference between a few hours or an extra day on your trip.
7) Full EV, or Plug-in Hybrid
Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) may be the best choice for you if you have any worry about the range of your car either for daily driving needs, or for long road trips. They are a "gateway plug" to the EV world. Keep in mind though, that because PHEVs retain a gasoline or diesel engine, they also have the cost of maintenance and repairs that a conventional fossil fuel burning vehicle has. Because of this, they will be more costly to own, over time, compared to full battery electric vehicles, but still likely save money in fuel costs over non-EVs. PHEVs can be considered a perfect blend of electric power for around town and fossil burning on longer trips, without having to stop for charging... just refueling the tank.
By Zack Hurst, 2016 Chevy Spark EV
The state of the charging infrastructure isn't getting better... it's getting worse.
Then today happened.
With 8 miles of range left, I headed for a reliable DCFC closest to me that I last used a couple of days ago. Plugged in, and... nothing. It didn’t even recognize that I was plugged in. Crap. Ok, fine. Time to go to the only other conveniently located DCFC and use that one. However, it was 16mi away and I wouldn't be able to get there without using a LVL2 Charger in between. I get there, and there are plug-in hybrids in every stall, plugged in. Ok... off to the next LVL2. Now I have 2mi left.
Charged at 3.3kW (the max for the Chevy Spark EV) until I had enough range to get to the other working DCFC I use regularly.
I pulled up to see an electrician parked in the spot. I kindly asked if I could use the parking space to charge. “You’re not going to be able to do that, the charger is being serviced right now.” I had very little range left, but was able to plug into a wall outlet and use 110v (slowest way to charge) to get enough to go to the next closest DCFC.
Which... worked! So I'm plugged in and charging while writing this. And while relieved, I find that I'm VERY frustrated with this experience. Granted, most people wouldn't have this kind of problem... why? Well, most people don't drive more than 120mi in a day (on average) with a car that has a 82mi EPA rated range. Most people don't drive more than 40mi a day.
So I definitely have the WRONG CAR for my driving habits, but I still feel like there should be something done about the failing infrastructure in the area.
Many of the broken DCFC have been down for months, or even more than a year. When this happens, where else can we go to get these precious electrons in a timely manner? While EV Resource is planning on building out the LVL2 charging network (because that too is severely lacking), I'm starting to think we should look at DCFC too.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has some proposed legislation to help push adoption of EVs forwards. As a Virginia small business in the EV space, we encourage you to ask your representatives to support the following legislation:
HB 717 - Electric vehicle rebate program. (Delegate Reid)
Establishes a rebate program for the purchase of certain zero-emissions vehicles. Individuals who purchase certain new or used vehicles would be eligible for a rebate of up to $4,500. The program would expire on July 1, 2027.
Read the full bill here
SB 911 - Penalty for EV Parking Violators (Senator Hashmi)
Prohibits a person from parking a vehicle not capable of receiving an electric charge in a space reserved for charging electric vehicles. A violation is subject to a civil penalty of $500, and the vehicle may be towed or impounded.
Read the full bill here
HB 75 - Dominion Energy electric school bus pilot program. (Delegate Kory)
Authorizes Dominion Energy to implement a pilot program under which it will deploy electric school buses in participating school divisions in its service territory. The initial phase of the pilot program is limited to the deployment of 50 electric school buses at a cost of up to $13.5 million. In each of the five years thereafter, the pilot program may be expanded by up to 200 additional electric school buses at a cost of up to $54 million per year. The pilot program provides that the utility may use vehicle-to-grid technology to access electricity in the storage batteries of the electric school buses when they are not in use. The duration of the pilot program shall not exceed 10 years, though the utility may petition the State Corporation Commission to make it permanent. Program costs, including the incremental cost of the electric school buses, are recoverable through the utility's base rates.
Read the full bill here
HB 1414 - Omnibus Transportation Bill (Delegate Filler-Corn)
Amends numerous law related to transportation funds, revenue sources, construction, and safety programs.
The bill adopts numerous structural changes to the transportation funding system in the Commonwealth. Most transportation revenues are directed to a new Commonwealth Transportation Fund and the existing Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund. Funds are then disbursed, based on codified formulas, to subfunds established to meet the varying transportation needs of different modes of transportation. The bill contains transitional provisions phasing in the new funding structure over a period of four years.
The existing gas tax based on a percentage of the wholesale price of gasoline and diesel fuel is converted to a cents-per-gallon tax. A rate of $0.282 per gallon of gasoline will be phased in over three years, and then indexed every year thereafter. The regional gas tax will be converted to a rate of $0.076 per gallon of gasoline.
Registration fees for motor vehicles will be lowered. The Department of Motor Vehicles will implement a Highway Use Fee for alternative fuel and fuel efficient vehicles. Alternatively, a person whose vehicles would be subject to this new fee may elect to instead enroll in a mileage-based user fee program to be developed by the Department.
Read the full bill here
0-60 in OMG!
By: Zack Hurst
I have a 2016 Chevy Spark EV and have been really happy with the range and performance of the car... unless the temperature drops below 40 degrees. Then there are a few things I've noticed about the car and how I've been using it that I didn't like at all. I also realized that I'm not the only one... so here are a few quick tips for surviving the winter with an older EV (video above).
Can't get enough EV information? Here are a few of our favorites!
If you're like us, you can't get enough EV news and information. For that reason, we wanted to share with you 10 of our favorite EV pages, podcasts and blogs!
If you get through those and still have a healthy appetite for more, check out these lists!
We dive in with insurance expert Matt Escobar to talk about EVs and insurance.
By: Zack Hurst
The days of "range anxiety" are behind us... every vehicle in this list has the capability to go over 200 miles on a single charge and some much further than that.
By: Zack Hurst
These are the top 10 available electric cars with the longest range for 2019
The days of "range anxiety" are behind us... every vehicle in this list has the capability to go over 200 miles on a single charge and some much further than that. Eventually, there will be a time when we aren't talking about range for electric vehicles; the charging infrastructure will be as available as fueling stations for gas and diesel cars and the electric vehicle options will all be able to go many hundreds of miles between "fill ups". However, we're not quite there yet and picking an EV with the range you need is important. Here we list the top ten electric vehicles with the longest range in 2019: