October 20th and 21st, the 2022 Virginia Clean Energy Summit (VCES) saw clean energy leaders from across the state connect in Richmond to discuss current clean energy policy, innovations, and strategies to reduce Virginia's carbon footprint and support Virginia businesses.
The event this year highlighted the many different technologies that are creating opportunities for Virginia business while building a more reliable, responsive, and environmentally-friendly energy system. More than a dozen panel discussions and keynote presentations were held on topics that included solar power, energy efficiency, energy storage, electric vehicles, micro-grids, wind power, smart buildings, clean energy policy, and more.
The goal of the VCES is to focus on the synergies among these technologies and businesses as well as the consumer, environmental, and business opportunities that are emerging from their deployment.
Conference attendees included representatives from state and local governments, businesses, academia, and NGOs.
“This annual event was excellent with a wide range of participants from Senator Kaine to Governor Youngkin to local officials all working on affordable reliable clean energy and innovation." Said Alleyn Harned, director of Virginia Clean Cities. “Virginia Clean Cities was glad to be there with the Virginia Department of Energy and several booths of electric vehicle charging information. And it was an honor that the conference had an EV emphasis on the 21st."
Several electric vehicles were on display Friday for event attendees, including models from Chevy, Hyundai, VW, Tesla, and GEM.
The Virginia Clean Energy Summit is a Unique Collaboration of Prominent Renewable Energy Groups Across the Commonwealth.
For more information about VCES: https://www.vacleanenergysummit.org/
Arcimoto, makers of rightsized, outrageously fun, ultra-efficient electric vehicles, announced in an email, October 20th that they are opening up six new states for sales of the FUV: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, and Washington D.C.
Once ordered, deliveries are expected to arrive within 120 days.
This Spark EV and I have been through a lot...
This Chevy Spark EV and I have been through what feels like hell and back. Purchased at the end of May 2019 used, this 2016 Spark was still early in its life and only had roughly 28,000 miles on the odometer. It was the perfect urban EV and used primarily for running errands, food delivery, and of course the occasional YouTube video.
Even though it was rated with an 82 mile EPA range, that didn't stop me from taking several longer trips with it, the longest being a 550 mile road trip with my daughter, just to prove that it could be done.
For a couple of years, everything was great...almost. In early 2021, I started to notice that the range wasn't as good as it used to be. This is normal for most EVs, but I was noticing some significant loss. In fact, its usable battery capacity had dropped from 18.4 kWh to around 13 kWh. That being said, while driving more efficiently I could still hit the 82 mile range... but then I started to notice that it was having problems when the battery state of charge was very low.
The problems started...
Twice while still displaying mileage remaining (usually around 2 miles or so), the car would lose all propulsion power and would leave me on the side of the road waiting to be towed home (I was always less than a mile from home). However, because the diagnostic light wasn't illuminated, Chevy dealerships told me they wouldn't touch it. Frustrated, knowing there was a problem, I would continue to drive the car for a few months until one day the light came on and I was able to pull the diagnostic codes and verify that there was, in fact, an issue with the battery system.
P0A7F refers to the high voltage battery and indicates the ECU has determined the HV battery has deteriorated. I arranged to have a local dealership diagnose the problem, confirm my findings, and service the car as needed.
After an exchange that lasted multiple weeks (I won't get into details, but I was VERY upset with the lack of professionalism), the dealership assigned the problem to the 12 volt battery (not the HV battery) and said that the 12 volt battery needed to be replaced. I had just done this a month before. Of course, it is possible that I had received a bad battery so I went ahead and, again, replaced the 12 volt battery. The dealership cleared the diagnostic codes and said that my problem was solved.
I was very confident that my problem had in fact NOT been solved, but without an illuminated diagnostic light, I once again resolved to driving the car until it failed again. I did not have to wait long, just over 2,000 miles in fact.
Dead. Like, DEAD dead.
In April 2022, it finally happened. With 17 miles left on the range meter, I lost all power and pulled to the side of the road. This time was different. The car reset the range to showing 3 miles remaining, BUT also that the battery was nearly full. I knew that this time my problem was different.
I had the car towed to the nearest charger, but it would not charge. So, I knew that I'd have to take it in to the dealership. This time however, I chose a different dealership (CMA's Colonial Chevrolet in Chester, VA), because their organization has said they want to be the leaders in EVs in Virginia. So of course, I gave them the challenge of figuring out what to do about my car.
The battery battle...
I won't go into details in this post, but there was quite a fight with GM about what to do next. Initially, the company said that there were no high voltage battery packs available for the Spark EV, the part had been discontinued, and my only course of action was to go through a buy-back process. I wrote an extensive article about that here.
After speaking with the company further, they committed to repairing the car (and other Spark EVs as well) and that I didn't have long to wait. I waited four months.
During this time, the service staff at the dealership provided me with a loaner vehicle and stayed in constant contact with me, even if there was no update to the situation. I have to say that I have never had a more pleasant experience with any car dealership ever and I would recommend CMA's Colonial Chevy to anyone in the central Virginia area.
After four months I finally got the phone call I was waiting for. My car was fixed and ready to be picked up! The funny thing though is that my battery pack hadn't been replaced. Just the battery cells, and one of the control modules. GM actually shipped all new battery cells to the dealership and the technician assembled the pack in his bay. This, as I'm told, is the first time this has been done with a Chevy Spark EV in North America.
Here are a few photos of the pack when removed from the car:
So what happened?
While the technician who worked on my car couldn't say for sure, we think that one of the cells of the high voltage pack had gone bad and as a result caused the entire system to fail.
Considering that the car wasn't even 8 years old and had less than 100,000 miles on it, all of the work was covered under warranty and I didn't have to pay for anything (except for the gas for the loaner vehicle).
Everything is great. In fact, the car is doing better than it ever was when I had it before. I have checked my battery capacity and it is restored to like new condition of 18.4 kWhs. The car has been achieving 4.4 miles/kWh in efficiency even with my (very inefficient) aftermarket and wheel combo, and after 2,500 miles it doesn't seem to have any problem at all anymore.
What does this mean for other Spark EVs?
This is harder to say. I have exchanged emails with GM and asked a lot of questions... to which I get generic empty answers that don't share any information at all. This is not surprising.
There have been reports of other Spark EV owners here in the US that are starting to get their vehicles serviced, but owners in Canada are reporting that they are only being offered a buy-back.
The situation for Spark EVs with failed battery packs is hazy at best and I have been telling potential buyers of used Spark EVs to stay far away from the car if it is close to being out of warranty. In fact, I wouldn't recommend anyone own one out of warranty because of what I think is going on...
Now, this is all speculation. I want to make sure that this part I'm about to say is very clear in that way. I have no proof and have gotten no information from GM that supports this theory... I think GM didn't have any battery packs for the Spark EV, as was what the company originally said to me. I don't think they have any battery packs now. I think they are getting the cells made on-demand as failed, under warranty, cars get brought into dealerships.
I also think that this means that the company is likely waiting out the warranty period on the battery packs, and once there is no coverage, that Spark EV owners will (as I had written in my original article) be left out to dry. There will be no option except to find a different Spark EV, remove the pack, and frankenstein together a working pack... assuming you have the equipment to program all the modules AND assuming you assemble everything in the correct order (the tech told me about that part after he was on the phone with his GM support for quite a while trying to figure it out). While GMs parts system does show that the pack is available for backorder (if you're willing to pay the $30k for a new one or $18k for refurbished), I don't believe that they will actually be supplying these packs at all at that time.
What will I do with my Spark EV when the battery dies again?
Naturally, it's hard to predict what I'll do. Hopefully, this updated pack will last at least 4 years. But, eventually it will fail. At that point, I'd love to tear apart the car, replace the battery pack, and a few other parts and basically do an EV conversion (to a custom system) on the car... but who knows if that will ever happen.
For now, I'm just going to be happy that I've made it through this experience, fought to get my car fixed (even though nobody should ever have to do that) and can drive on EV power yet again. And hopefully, this is the last time I'll have to write about this experience!
The Electric Vehicle Fall Festival Returns to Dominion Raceway to Celebrate the Excitement of Electric Vehicles
Where Fast and Fun Meet...
You’ve probably heard the chatter around electric vehicles. Good, bad, or otherwise…
everybody seems to be talking about them these days. It’s a new technology that promises to
change the way we live and think about transportation. For the early adopters, EVs have been a
way to save money, “go green”, and not worry about the hassle of constant vehicle
While those are great reasons to consider an electric vehicle, Zack Hurst with EV Resource
says there’s a reason that most people overlook, and it’s the very reason he started the Electric
Vehicle Fall Festival.
“I’m a car guy at heart. I just want to go fast and have fun, and that’s why the Electric Vehicle
Fall Festival exists.” Hurst said, “I can’t think of a better way to have fun in a car than driving
around a racetrack.”
Taking place September 18th from 10am-5pm, the EV owner supported Electric Vehicle Fall
Festival returns to Dominion Raceway to give EV owners and non-owners alike the opportunity
to have the most fun with these cars in a safe and legal environment.
Members of the public who haven't made the shift to being an EV owner yet will experience a
variety of different EV makes and models. These attendees will be able to take rides around the
track in owner-provided vehicles, and speak with our many vendors and EV owners to get a
more rounded understanding of EV ownership. The goal is simple, affect change in the mind
and encourage EV adoption to those who haven't made the shift.
EV owners who attend the EV Fall Fest will have a different experience. For these VIPs they will
have the opportunity to enter their EV in a car show judged by members of the public, drive at
speed around the DR 2-mile Road Course, and launch down the 1/8th mile drag strip. For EV
owners, we want a day packed with the thrill and excitement of EV performance. EV owners will
also be encouraged to sign up to be an EV Ambassador and share their experience of EV
ownership with non-owner attendees.
“If you’re curious about EVs, haven’t experienced an EV yet, or are a long-time owner, we’re
going to have something for everyone.” Hurst continued, “What we want more than anything is
for the people who attend to leave with a smile on their face that is hard to wipe off… and I’m
pretty sure that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”
General Admission for the event is just $15, with separate pricing for track activities. For tickets
and more information go to ElectricVehicleFest.com
Keeping the lights on just got easier!
When the lights go out, what do most people do? Probably suffer miserably, OR figure out some way to keep the power on. This naturally requires some sort of power backup; either a generator that burns diesel or propane, or a large battery pack. In the case of this video shared by the Technically Jeff YouTube channel, he is using a large battery pack... from his Kia EV6.
Granted, even if you have an EV sitting in the driveway that doesn't mean you can simply plug it into the house and keep the lights on. As Jeff explains, he was able to purchase a Nature's Generator Power Transfer Kit that will allow him to disconnect grid power (to prevent his Kia EV6 from powering the neighborhood or cause potential harm to line workers), and run household appliances off of the power from his car. Not every EV has bi-directional capability, as he explains, but vehicles on the E-GMP platform from Hyundai Motor Group, and a few others (ie. Ford Lighting, etc.) as well have built in capability to power other things... including your home!
What do you think? Is this something that we will be seeing more of in the future?
Solving the Apartment Charging Problem May Be Easier Than You Think
Charging an electric vehicle is easy for most owners. When you get home, you plug your EV in and walk away. The vehicle will charge overnight while you are sleeping and in the morning, you awake to a "full tank" to start your commute. Charging, with the exception of road trips, is almost an afterthought. Which, if you think about it, seems crazy and maybe too good to be true.
For 75 million of Americans who live in an apartment or condo, however, the experience of filling up isn't nearly as thoughtless or easy. In fact, for many potential EV owners with these living arrangements, not being able to charge overnight is an obstacle to EV adoption with no obvious solution.
Joseph Nagle, Project Manager and Strategist at Orange, is convinced that they have the solution for EV charging at multi-unit buildings.
Why not DCFC?
While DC Fast Charging may seem like an easy, already established solution to the problem for those who cannot charge overnight, there are a number of problems with this method.
First, let's not forget that modern EV batteries prefer to be charged (and discharged) at a slow rate. Fast charging on a regular basis has been shown to cause excessive and sometimes premature degradation of the battery pack and should generally be avoided. Additionally, owners have to go out of their way to find chargers (which may not be near their work or home) and spend potentially as much as an hour of their time waiting for the car to charge, assuming they find a charger that is operational and not waiting on repairs. Not to mention that this method of charging is by far the most expensive option available to owners.
Additionally, these stations are extremely expensive to install and maintain, so adopting this method of charging EVs is not something that will be as common as other options. DCFC is definitely not the ideal solution, even though it is one that works for some EV owners currently. However, as EV adoption increases at a much faster rate than the charging infrastructure is being built, waiting in lines at DCFC stations will become more commonplace. As a long-term solution, DCFC is out.
Public Level 2 Stations?
Public LVL 2 (slower) charging stations seem like the next best bet, right? Slower charging, lower cost, and much less expensive to install and maintain.
While all of that is true, there are still problems that exist when installing a small number of these charging stations at multi-unit buildings. Generally, it comes down to charging equity. With a small number of chargers installed, a first-come-first-serve process takes place and while that may be acceptable for owners who are able to plug in, it doesn't solve the problem for everybody.
It also doesn't provide the lowest cost to property owners or give them a reasonable return on their investment (if any return at all), which dampens motivation to install.
For the cost of a single DCFC, Orange can install around 100 of the Level 1 (110v) and/or Level 2 (240v) smart charging receptacles in a parking deck or lot. The Orange outlet (below) is tied into the Orange app and payment platform to allow anybody with the Orange App to scan the QR code and start a charging session. For EV owners, they would plug into the outlet using their mobile charger (included with most EVs) and charge overnight just like EV owners at single-family homes.
Cost is determined by the property owner but Orange limits how much above the base electric rate a property owner can go so as to limit price gouging. This means that EV owners in apartments and condos can have a parking garage with hundreds of these "chargers" installed to choose from. And because it's all slower charging, it's practically free from regular maintenance and is extremely reliable.
For property owners looking to provide an EV charging option for their tenants, Orange outlets are an option that will allow them to record data on electrical usage, set pricing so that they have a return on the investment, and attract EV owners to live at their property.
With any luck, and millions of Orange outlets installed, the problem of EV charging at apartments and condos will be a thing of the past. EV owners in these multi-unit buildings will also be able to simply plug-in and walk away. It may seem crazy, but it isn't too good to be true. It's Orange.
BREAKING NEWS: Arcimoto’s Mark Frohnmayer Transitions To New Role, Jesse Fittipaldi Named Interim CEO
In a SEC filing on Thursday, Arcimoto announced that as of August 5th, 2022, Mark Frohnmayer would be departing from the role of CEO and instead transition from the role to a new position as Chief Vision Officer. Frohnmayer has been leading Arcimoto since the beginning in late 2007.
Also on August 5th, Jesse Fittipaldi, formerly Arcimoto’s Chief Strategy Officer, was appointed as interim CEO. Mr. Fittipaldi jointed the company in May of 2015 as the company’s business development lead and had also taken time as the vice-president of the company.
“It’s an honor to lead this amazing organization, and I believe Arcimoto has the team in place to effectively lead the way in the manufacturing of rightsized EVs,” said Fittipaldi in a press release by the company. “We endeavor to continue the vision set forth by our founder Mark Frohnmayer, who built Arcimoto from the ground up, starting with a napkin sketch and a dream to build the right tool for the job of daily driving. I will do my best to enable the entire team to fulfill its desire to make a difference in the world.”
As Chief Vision Officer, Frohnmayer will turn his attention to long-term strategic initiatives and key technology development programs for the company. He will also continue in his role as Chairman of the Board.
“The top-notch management team Arcimoto has assembled, including seasoned veterans we have cultivated within for many years, as well as the serious rockstar talent we’ve recently brought on board, has allowed me to focus directly on what I do best: articulating the long-term vision of the company through key partnerships and future product and technology initiatives,” said Frohnmayer. “I couldn’t be more thrilled that Jesse Fittipaldi, who has been helping me build the company hand-in-hand these last seven years, from a team of five to more than 300, is now stepping up to take on the daily leadership of Arcimoto’s plan to bring clean mobility solutions to the world.”
The company is committed to supporting the Spark EV.
April 21st, two weeks after the failure of the high voltage battery pack in our Spark EV (above), we published an article stating that battery packs for the Spark EV were no longer available from GM and would not be available from the company going forward.
The information we were given at the time, and the knowledge of the many people at the company we spoke with during those two weeks, was that battery packs for ALL Spark EVs were unavailable and discontinued. We were told that there was a stockpile of batteries available, and after that supply ran out on April 7th, there were no more. We were told our car was unrepairable and we were offered a buyback on our car as a result and had begun that process.
Since publishing, the original post, GM has said initial reports were incorrect, they will be supporting the Spark EV. We have been in direct communication with the company and have updates to share regarding our car and also what the future will look like for other Spark EVs.
Simply, it seems that there was miscommunication within the company that created some confusion. We have been told now that there was a breakdown of communication between departments at the company (Purchasing, Supply Chain, After Sales Support, etc.) At the dealership level, parts departments were showing that the latest part number for the battery pack for the Spark EV was discontinued. This was widespread across the country. In addition to the dealerships we reached out to, members of the Spark EV Owners Facebook Group also contacted many dealerships and found the same to be true.
Representatives from the company that knew otherwise learned about our reporting, and on April 27th were able to put out the following statement:
"Recent reports speculating that GM will no longer provide battery pack replacements for the Spark EV are incorrect. While we are currently experiencing a temporary disruption in the supply of new Spark EV packs, GM remains committed to providing replacement packs to Spark EV owners who need them in the future and will work with owners until we get the supply issues resolved."
Since then, members of the Facebook group have contacted the same dealerships and verified that the part is now showing available, but backordered and dependent on supply. EV Resource has been in direct communication with the company, both for our own car and also in regards to what this statement means for the future support of the Spark EV. The good news: Spark EVs will have support from the company, indefinitely. So, what can Spark EV owners expect from here on?
What Does This Mean Going Forward?
In response to the statement, we reached out to Kevin Kelly, Senior Director of Chevrolet EV Communications, with a few followup questions.
Q: When do you expect to have replacement packs available to Spark EV owners who need
A: We continue to work with our suppliers to provide replacement packs for the Spark EV as
needed and will have some packs available in the near future. We will continue to work to
Q: What is causing the supplier logistics issues?
A: We’re not going to get into the specifics but will continue to work with our suppliers to
improve replacement pack availability.
Q: What should Spark EV owners who need a replacement pack do in the meantime?
A: Our EV Concierge team is available to help. Owners who need assistance should call 833-
Mr. Kelly was very clear about the future of the company's support for the car, saying, "Rest assured we are not going to leave the owners of Spark EVs without options. We are continuing to work through [supply chain concerns] in terms of long term availability, we are focused on getting everything we can get right now."
EV Resource Point Of View
It is clear to us that the company is committed to the repair and support of Spark EV vehicles under warranty. For our own car, we have been told that a pack will be installed in a few weeks and we will be driving again soon. We have confirmed with Chevrolet that there are a few battery packs available now, and that the company will be making more as they are able.
The cells for the battery packs are manufactured in Korea and then shipped to the United States for battery pack assembly. Naturally, the future availability of those battery packs depends on the supply chain, but that is something that is affecting a lot of companies, not just GM.
UPDATE 4/27/2022: EV Resource has received the following statement from Kevin M. Kelly, Senior Director, Chevrolet Communications:
"Recent reports speculating that GM will no longer provide battery pack replacements for the Spark EV are incorrect. While we are currently experiencing a temporary disruption in the supply of new Spark EV packs, GM remains committed to providing replacement packs to Spark EV owners who need them in the future and will work with owners until we get the supply issues resolved."
It is unclear what this means regarding the timeline for expected battery packs. It is also unclear why multiple people within the company would have so clearly stated that battery packs were no longer being supported for the Spark EV. EV Resource has responded to Mr. Kelly with these questions and will update the situation as we learn more.
The Chevy Spark EV, unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2012, was General Motors’ first attempt at an all electric vehicle since the recall and destruction of the EV1 vehicles of the ‘90s. With an 82 mile EPA range, this small hatchback was a low volume compliance car targeted at metropolitan areas in CARB states. Even with that being the case, it was a vehicle option that provided tons of fun at an affordable price.
In many ways it was revolutionary. It was the first EV in North America to offer the CCS charging standard and in 2014 its electric motor provided more torque than a Ford Mustang GT of the same year. It has been a great entry level option in the years since it’s introduction, even in the used car market after GM discontinued it’s production in 2016 in favor of the Bolt EV.
But as all good things come to an end, the end for this piece of EV history is near.
No Factory Support
EV Resource has confirmed that GM will no longer be providing replacement battery packs for the Spark EV. This means that when the high-voltage (HV) battery fails, owners will have zero options to repair their car. None. Their vehicle will never drive again.
Parts departments at various Chevy dealerships seem to all agree as well. While they confirm that there used to be a part available (although backordered), as of April 7th, no more are available.
One GM representative, a district executive who wished to remain anonymous, said, “we are no longer going to supply that battery.” GM only had a select number of HV batteries stored for the Spark EV, and now that the supply has run out, there are no options for the vehicles. EV Resource has contacted multiple GM dealerships in Virginia, Maryland, Oregan, and California and spoken with workers in the parts departments, We have been told that the part number for the HV battery has changed multiple times, but at the bottom of the page they view for the most recent battery pack, it is showing discontinued, but that you can backlorder the part. In an attempt for clarification, we were told that in this case, "backorder" simply means to request the part, and doesn't mean that it is available. The personal experience of the author has taken this process one step further and he was told that the battery has in fact been discontinued and the vehicle will not be repaired. All other attempts by EV Resource for comments from the company were ignored.
Because of this decision by the company, GM has effectively killed all hope for the future of the Spark EV. As reports of HV battery pack failures are becoming more and more common within the Spark EV community, the hope of owners driving for many years to come is quickly dying as well.
Unlike the EV1, which you can still find a few examples of in museums, in a few years the only place you’ll likely find a Spark EV is the junkyard.
While hard data has been nearly impossible to gather related to the frequency of Spark EV battery failures, in addition to experiencing this myself, quite a number of other Spark EV owners have experienced this as well and shared their story publicly. However, only a few (since April 7th) have run into the situation highlighted.
So now, when the high voltage battery fails, owners who are still covered by the factory 8 year 100,000 mile warranty should consider themselves the lucky ones, but still won’t drive away with a working vehicle.
Vehicle owners are not given any option by the company to repair their car, but instead are offered buyback value from GM. In some cases, this offer is equal to the purchase price of the car, but that varies from state to state.
However, for owners of the earliest 2014 model year vehicles, who are coming up on the end of the warranty period, if their battery fails they will have a vehicle that will not be operable, and will not be repairable.
No Aftermarket Support
For some other older electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, early Tesla Roadster, and Tesla Model S, aftermarket companies have provided continued support for aging and failing battery packs. Companies like Gruber Motors and Fenix Power have been known to restore and even improve battery packs for these older EVs.
However, for a low volume and inexpensive car like the Spark EV, there is no value in a company providing aftermarket support.
YouTuber and owner of the Electrified Garage, Rich Benoit, expressed concern for the situation with the Spark EV saying, “if you go online and type in ‘Tesla battery pack’ you’re going to get quite a few results. But for the Spark EV, there’s nothing really there. This is a really, really tough scenario. This is so difficult, not many people have even bothered to take apart a Spark EV. It’s actually really sad.”
Spark EV Owners
What this ultimately means for current Spark EV owners is this:
Understandably, the Spark EV community has been shaken up since learning about the situation. Some members of the Spark EV Owners Facebook Group have been looking to sell their cars by selling to companies like Carvana, Carmax, Vroom, and others while the market is still hot for used EVs.
Members of the Facebook group, like Bob Mann, admitted to looking to trade up to a Bolt EV.
“With used prices so high,” he said, “my wife and I were thinking of selling our Spark EV to trade up to a new Bolt EV. In a discussion with Criswell Chevrolet (of MD), they said, 'if the battery had failed we wouldn't replace it. There are none available so we would buy the car back.' So, since the future of the Spark was in question, we sold it."
However, the situation isn’t as straightforward for everybody. Some Spark EV owners who bought the car because of it’s affordable price are finding themselves car shopping in a market that has inflated the price of electric vehicles due to low supply and high demand. This situation forces them to choose a more affordably priced gas powered car, even though it will cost them more in the long run due to fuel and maintenance costs.
The Worst Possible Scenario
Ultimately, the worst case situation would be that somebody who still has a car payment on their Spark EV ends up with a car that they can’t use… and can’t afford another car. What are they to do then? It’s heartbreaking to think about, but it could be a very realistic future for some should they decide to keep their Spark EV as long as possible.
EV Resource Point Of View
At this point, the Spark EV has a very limited future. With battery packs failing and no factory or aftermarket support, owners have very few options to avoid potential disaster.
As much as I loved my Spark EV, I am one of the lucky ones who will be getting a buy back under warranty. But others, hopefully not many, will be left in a far worse place. My only hope is that people learn about their car as soon as possible, and use that information to make the best informed decision for their life and family.
Zack Hurst is a Spark EV owner waiting on an official buy back offer from GM. His love for the Spark EV started almost immediately after purchase and his car will be missed.
BRIGHTON-BEST INTERNATIONAL SUPPORTS GREEN INITIATIVE RACING WITH PROFERRED PPE DONATIONS TO ELECTRIC VEHICLE FALL FESTIVAL 2021
BRIGHTON-BEST INTERNATIONAL SUPPORTS GREEN INITIATIVE RACING WITH PROFERRED PPE DONATIONS TO ELECTRIC VEHICLE FALL FESTIVAL 2021
Los Angeles, CA August 24, 2021 – Brighton-Best is proud to supply Proferred PPE to the parking attendants, maintenance crew, security and general staff of the 2021 Electric Vehicle Fall Festival happening in Thornburg, VA on October 3rd.
This family event, that is an eco-friendly approach to racing, focuses on the next generation of electric solutions and aligns with BBI’s core values of family and innovation.
Brighton-Best President, Jun Xu says: “There is no stay the course road to prosperity.”
BBI strives to uphold high standards of conduct and team synergy, borne from the guidance of our owners, always encouraging growth, not only as employees, but as people as well. BBI embraces a culture of never becoming complacent, always asking questions, and always looking beyond what is current to embrace change and the future. So when asked to donate to this festival, the answer was an emphatic “YES!” BBI is committed to bringing quality, innovation, and safety to every job site.
See more Proferred products at www.BrightonBest.com.
For More Information:
Brighton-Best International, Inc.
About Brighton-Best International
Brighton-Best is the only “One-Stop-Shop for Fasteners.” They have earned that position with their rapidly expanding product lines, their competitive pricing, their emphasis on quality and their commitment to customer service. They have a stated goal of “providing the lowest total cost and highest overall value” and they are doing it. They seek to introduce efficiencies into the supply chain from the supply side, within Brighton-Best themselves, and with their customers.
EV Resource Announces the Electric Vehicle Fall Festival Celebrating National Drive Electric Week
THORNBURG, VA, 7/19/2021 - The Electric Vehicle Fall Festival, presented by Mattaponi Winery, is a celebration of the people at the core of the electric vehicle community. From DIYers to EV Conversion shops, to the EV owners that day in and day out push the world forward to an all electric future, this is a celebration of it all.
Taking place across 100 acres at Dominion Raceway in beautiful Thornburg Virginia, the Electric Vehicle Fall Festival is an action packed day of electrified fun with a mix of great local food, drinks, live music, a farmers market, and much, much more.
Experience the latest electric cars, motorcycles, eBikes, eScooters, and others from electric vehicle brands you know. Visit with interactive displays, chat with EV owners and EV experts, and best of all, test drive your EV on the thrilling Dominion Raceway 2 mile road course racetrack and drag strip!
DC Fast charging will be available on site provided by Electrify EVSE.
Multiple VIP packages will be announced soon:
The best EV event on the east coast is just around the corner. General Admission is free and there are hotels within a mile of the track for people who are coming from out of town. So start planning your trip to come to the electric vehicle fall festival by going to electricvehiclefest.com and registering to attend!
- PURE ETCR supports partner EARTHDAY.ORG - Active participation in reforestation programme, ‘The Canopy Project’ - PURE ETCR community to take part in Great Global Clean-up -
The world’s first all-electric, multi-brand touring car championship, PURE ETCR, is supporting the 51st annual Earth Day today with a set of activities throughout the day and beyond.
Recently, a partnership was established between PURE ETCR and EARTHDAY.ORG, which seeks to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement globally.
More than one billion people in 192 countries support Earth Day activities annually, making it the world’s largest civic observance, and this year PURE ETCR is inviting fans of touring car racing to join together and help further climate action all over the planet.
To mark the 51st Earth Day, a list of 51 actions and tips to make a difference has been released, showing people around the world how they can help in the push towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Today (April 22), the PURE ETCR community is participating in numerous Earth Day events globally, including local clean-ups, plogging (litter picking while jogging) and buying only locally-produced food.
In 2021 the series has pledged support to EARTHDAY.ORG’s Canopy Project, which plants trees to benefit local communities, increase habitat for species and combat climate change. Additionally, commitments will be undertaken in every country visited by the series this year, building up to a Great Global Clean-up event, to include the entire PURE ETCR community, in September.
Touring car fans are invited join in the activities and share their experiences on PURE ETCR’s social media channels using #PURETCR and #RestoreOurEarth.
For more information visit:
Voltage Velocity Games, The Power of One; One Person, One Bag, One Hour
In celebration of Earth Day, the team at Voltage Velocity Games took matters into their own hands to get out into their community and clean up. Scattered across the country from California to Virginia, Greg Fuller, Tyler Tadevic, Cam Newman, and Zack Hurst showed what can be done with The Power of One: One Person, One Bag, One Hour.
Each were tasked with filling a bag of trash in the area where they lived, worked, or played to help clean up our planet. Voltage Velocity Game's "The Power of One" initiative challenges each of us to take action and make a difference in small ways. After all, if everybody took the time to fill even just one bag of trash, what a big difference it would make.
"I believe if we all just make even the smallest of steps, together, we can really make a big impact on our world," said Founder and CEO Greg Fuller, "I'd like to challenge everybody, no matter where they live, to join us in this initiative to clean up our communities."
Earth Day 2021 is celebrated globally with events on every continent (except Antarctica).
Do you accept the One Person, One Bag, One Hour challenge? Take a photo and post it on social media with the hashtag #OnePersonOneBag
The sun is just starting to peak over the horizon as I watch my daughter head for the bus stop. It’s 7:00 am and across the country millions of parents will be sending their children off to school as well. Sadly, I have learned that on her journey to school, my daughter will be poisoned by the diesel exhaust fumes coming from the very bus in which she is riding, and it’s a much bigger problem than I ever would have expected.
According to the EPA, “diesel exhaust from buses has a negative impact on human health, especially for children who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed. Asthma, which affects 6.3 million American school children, is the most common long-term childhood disease in America, making newer, cleaner buses an urgent priority.”
Studies from Environment and Human Health, Inc. have proven that riding a diesel bus everyday can increase a child’s risk for cancer by 4%, lower respiratory symptoms by 6%, and increase the rest of daily asthma hospitalizations by 1%. Children are exposed to airborne particulate concentrations inside school buses that are sometimes 5-15 times higher than background levels.
So if it’s this bad, what can be done about it? Well, as early as 1994, the Blue Bird bus company has offered a simple answer: electric school buses. Electric school buses eliminate the diesel engine and replace it instead with an electric motor powered by energy stored in battery packs. In addition to the obvious benefits of improved air quality, there are actually many other benefits to electric school buses as well.
Electric vehicles, by eliminating sometimes thousands of parts that require special maintenance and repair, require far less money to keep on the road. This is true of electric buses too. Because there is no need for engine oil changes, and no transmission or engine to maintain, Blue Bird’s buses have a lower cost of maintenance than a traditional, combustion-fueled bus. In fact, Blue Bird says that their electric models have up to an 80% reduction on maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. What school fleet operator wouldn’t like that number?
However, what I was most excited to learn during a recent presentation, was that all Blue Bird electric buses will come equipped with the ability to access unused energy stored in the battery, and while plugged into a capable charger, sell that energy back to the grid. Energy companies can “buy back” stored energy that the buses are holding after a charge as well as charge the buses at off peak times when electrical power is less expensive. That’s right, cutting edge V2G technology on every bus. This has the power to significantly offset the cost of ownership for these vehicles.
So let’s talk about the technical specifications and capabilities of these buses. Each bus is equipped with fourteen high voltage battery modules that are divided into two sets of seven for redundancy should their be a failure in one half. A total of 155 kWh of usable energy is enough to provide up to 120 miles of range in ideal conditions.
The battery packs are tucked between 120,000 PSI C-Channel steel frame rails and enclosed on all sides for added protection. My understanding is that Blue Bird is the only company that has taken these extra steps to protect the battery packs from any potential damage.
The buses can be charged on Lvl 2 AC charging capable of 19.2 kW and would take 8 hrs to fully charge, but additionally have an optional fast charging provision capable of a DC rate of 60 kW. This would recharge the battery in only three hours.
A single electric motor mounted in the rear of the vehicle provides 315 hp and a whopping 2,400 ft-lbs. of torque!
“It’s like going from driving an old Lincoln to driving a new Cadillac,” says veteran bus driver Michelle Monteir, “It’s really smooth, quiet, and accelerates really fast.” Blue Bird didn’t have any 0-60 mph figures for me to work with, but after taking a short test ride I can tell you it’ll out perform any diesel powered bus without much effort.
Currently Blue Bird has two types of electric busses available, the Electric Vision Chassis with a standard front and the All American Chassis with a flat front. The flat front models offer greater visibility for drivers as well as added safety for children entering and exiting the bus.
So if electric school buses are so great, why aren’t more school districts making the switch? One obvious factor prohibiting a quick transition is the initial vehicle cost. Electric buses initially cost significantly more than their diesel counterparts. While state and federal grants can help reduce these costs, they aren’t available everywhere. However, Blue Bird did tell me that they are working on a financing program that will help their customers spread out the initial cost of the bus and ideally make this not a prohibitive factor. Combined with a lower cost of maintenance and the ability to sell electricity back to the energy provider and you've got a winning combination.
There are so many reasons that we need to make the switch to electric buses. Long term, it will save our schools money. Short term, it may save our children’s lives. Either way, it’s a switch that needs to happen as quickly as possible, and we can look to Blue Bird to lead the way to a brighter future.
Celebrating gender equality on this year's International Women's Day, ground-breaking electric motorsport series Extreme E is launch-ready and set to kick off the 2021 season in just under a month. The mission is simple: use motorsport to highlight important social and environmental issues important to today's world. The first, to raise awareness for the climate crisis and the role of clean energy, and the second, to obliterate current preconceptions regarding gender in motorsport.
Extreme E is the first series that has been designed around eliminating the gender divides in motorsport. And their inaugural year is certainly starting in a big way. Top female drivers from around the world such as Jamie Chadwick (2019 W Series winner), Sara Price (Off-Road Truck Champion and X Games Medalist), and Molly Taylor (Australian Rally Champion) will be competing with some of motorsports biggest names, including Jenson Button (Formula One champion) and Sebastien Loeb (WRC).
Per Extreme E rules, each team will be made up of one male and one female driver with each competing in one lap of the race course with a driver change-over called "the switch" taking place in between laps. Each team will have the choice on which driver will start and which driver will finish the race.
Jamie Chadwick is ready for the new series saying, "Extreme E is definitely a leap into the unknown for me, having only previously driven single-seaters and sportscars, but I’ve never shied away from a challenge. The first time I tested the car, I knew I wanted to race it – an electric SUV is a large vehicle, yet the stunning power it produces when you put your foot down makes it exhilarating to drive. The fact that Extreme E is also committed to gender equality is just the icing on the cake.”
Equally as excited about racing in Extreme E is Molly Taylor. "One of the great things about motorsport is that when you put the helmet on it doesn't matter what gender you are and that’s always been my philosophy." She says, "But what I have noticed through competing, is the number of young girls that when they see a female competing, they then want to be involved - so I think having that exposure at the highest level is really important to help improve the diversity and equality for the next generations coming up.”
What Extreme E is doing has never been done before. Founder and CEO of the series Alejandro Agag explains, "We are striving for equality, and Extreme E’s sporting format is the truest reflection of that goal. Everybody will race together, and only the most effective combination of drivers, team, engineers and car will rise to the top. “I believe that our race format will challenge all of the drivers, male and female, which is what makes this concept so exciting. There is no shortage of women drivers good enough to take the seats!” Agag’s ultimate goal however? To end the emphasis on a driver’s gender entirely: “My aim is that one day, female participation and achievement throughout motorsport will be at such levels where it simply is not a story – then I will be happy.”
In celebration, Extreme E released this video:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.