RichCapeCod
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:38 am
Delivery Date: 12 Sep 2017
Location: AZ/Cape Cod

View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:53 pm

I firmly believe electrically powered vehicles will eventually overshadow internal combustion engine types. The simplicity of their systems, likely reduction in required maintenance (service periods between repair/service stops will be measured in years) and their morphing into autonomous driving machines are all compelling reasons for their probable success in this area.

With the above in mind, and with the inevitable need to replace one of our ICE machines coming up, I decided to explore the state of EVs for my wife’s and my use. After doing some research, as I write this I found three autos worthy of consideration. The following is my take on where “we” are in the ongoing EV paradigm shift.

First, a bit of background. My wife and I are retired, in our seventies, and live in two places, Cape Cod and just south of Tucson, Arizona. The location for this vehicle purchase was to be at our AZ home. Ninety-nine of the use of this proposed vehicle would be in the vicinity of our home near Tucson.

Three vehicles (or companies) seemed to stand out; Nissan, Chevy, and Tesla. Below are the pros and cons of all the available offerings from those three companies.

Nissan:
Ignoring battery issues for the moment, the all-electric Leaf really stands out. The auto is a proven, thoughtful, practical design, with owners voicing little complaint in regard this model vehicle’s basic integrity. In addition, Nissan dealers are “everywhere.” If I had a problem in a Leaf, the solution would not be far away.

The newest version coming out (in 2018) will have a decent range, which I would have put up with, as 95% of the use of this proposed vehicle would be in the vicinity of our home near Tucson. Having said that, given my druthers I would not normally look to procure an EV which did not have a number “2” in front of its mileage range. But the Leaf’s solid design and overall reliability overcame that concern.

Heat and battery issues did not. Even though the machine would be used only during the months of October through May, it would be stored in our garage during the summer. Daytime temperatures, for a few months at least, get into the three digit range.

Until Nissan comes through with some sort of cooling system for its EV battery pack, I just cannot bring myself to pull the pin on such a purchase. Too bad, really, as the car has lots going for it.

Chevy Bolt:
A beguiling auto. I like its looks, have read no disparaging information in regard the vehicle’s quality or reliability (OK, it’s still pretty new to the market) and find its 238 mile range a number I can live with. Keep in mind, I would not charge any EV we owned to more than 80% of capacity, so as to prolong battery life. Thus that range was a realistic ±190 miles (by extension the 2018 Leaf’s real range being around 120 miles), enabling us to charge the auto probably every four or five days.

The Bolt is small, but seems, from the materials and videos I’ve seen, reasonably roomy inside. The front seats, on the other hand, may be a bit snug. I cannot really tell without actually sitting in one of these autos.
Both the Bolt and the Leaf cannot, as a practical matter, be used for any sort of distance driving. It would appear that the available charging stations are somewhat spotty in maintenance, slow in recharging EVs, and some are quite expensive for the service they provides.

Tesla:
The “elephant in the room” is, of course, Tesla. Some pros, a bunch of cons. The vehicles are beautiful, which is nice, have wonderful 80% charge range, but they can be serviced only at Tesla facilities. The closest to us is in Phoenix, three hours, each way, from where we live! Until Tucson has a Tesla service center, this discussion is strictly academic.

They are pricey. As nice as the Model 3 is, the version which I’d be interested in purchasing would run us around fifty thousand dollars. If I ever did buy a Tesla, it’d likely be a used model.

Their quality control is, to be blunt, spotty. Too much gee-whiz stuff without sufficient consideration to the practical realities of real world use. Lots to go wrong. Lots of very expensive things can go wrong, technical gadgets to get out of whack and unnecessary parts that just beg to go out of kilter (case in point, those silly door handles. Really?)

Tesla maintenance and repairs are expensive. Really expensive. You don’t want to have a minor fender bender in your Tesla. Furthermore, Tesla is the only game in town for dealing with such matters. Yeah, there are pros and cons to that business model. Makes me nervous.

The company does seem to have their battery issues under control. Internal cooling of batteries is a good thing. I would not hesitate to operate one of their vehicles on a “warm” day.

The biggest selling point for Tesla is that wonderfully growing array of charging stations. Now, if I were king, I’d have worked out some sort of a deal where all the EVs on the road would have to have identical charging ports and, furthermore, I would have one or more car companies come to a deal with Tesla in order for their vehicles to have access to these stations. Yes, I’m a dreamer.

Bottom line; I’m pulling for the Leaf. Well thought out, well put together, but needs to address its battery issues. I truly hope the company does so. And when it does, I hope to buy one.

Good luck to all!

Rich
(cool on the Cape at the moment, but soon warmer in AZ!)

hyperionmark
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:46 am
Delivery Date: 31 Jan 2017
Location: Nebraska

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:31 pm

Great write up! Thanks for your insight and views! Sometimes those of us in the EV world live in a bubble and forget about concerns of other people looking to purchase one. I agree with most of your sentiments, especially the battery temp issues and lack of infrastructure for everything not made by Tesla. The one I disagree with is your concern about your distance from a maintenance shop. In many cases a Tesla Ranger will come to you and if they need to haul it away they loan you another Tesla in its place. I've heard no complaints on this front. The only real negative of Tesla in my mind is the price. Then again, you usually get what you pay for.

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DNAinaGoodWay
Posts: 2751
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:43 am
Delivery Date: 03 Dec 2012
Leaf Number: 23156
Location: Central Massachusetts

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:34 pm

Do you use a car on the Cape? You might consider shipping the Leaf when you come up for summer. It won't degrade much at all while you're here.
'12 SL last reading @ 2 yr, 22k, 260 GIDs, 62.35 Ahr

'15 SV w/QC, Mfd 5/14, Leased 8/14, 292 GIDs, 64.38 Ahr when new
@ 36 months, 34k, 270 GID, 57.49 Ahr

'17 Bolt LT



6.72 kW Array

LeftieBiker
Posts: 7181
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:40 pm

For Arizona, you want the Bolt, with its thermal management system for the pack. And if you're considering a Tesla, you can afford to either have the front seats fixed, or replaced altogether. Just avoid the early production Bolts, as they seem to be a bit glitchy. I'd wait for the 2018, which may have minor improvements, maybe even better seats. The Leaf would be great for your other home. Why not buy a Bolt and lease a Leaf?
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

DanCar
Posts: 938
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:00 am
Delivery Date: 10 Mar 2013
Location: SF Bay area, 94043

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:54 pm

You might be underestimating the value of the Model 3 and constantly improving autopilot. Will be very nice when it is full driverless. Used Tesla's can be purchased with a 4 year maintenance agreement so you won't have to worry about costly repairs. CPO tesla's automatically come with this or better warranty.

DarthPuppy
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:45 pm
Delivery Date: 11 Aug 2013

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:13 pm

hyperionmark wrote:The one I disagree with is your concern about your distance from a maintenance shop. In many cases a Tesla Ranger will come to you and if they need to haul it away they loan you another Tesla in its place.


Is this something new that Tesla is doing? Or is it only when the needed maintenance is a warranty issue - i.e., their fault?

Reason I ask is my brother was an early buyer of Tesla. He got into a minor fender bender. Tesla kept the car at their place for about 5 months waiting for parts. They did not give him a loaner. I've heard quite a complaint about this lack of support and the fact he still had to make payments while they sat on his car.

DarthPuppy
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:45 pm
Delivery Date: 11 Aug 2013

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:17 pm

For the OP, with multiple locations, why the commitment to the EV in the worst possible location? I would think your summer home would be awesome for an EV. Is that a home from which you do a lot of long range driving to visit family in the broader region and therefore need a more regionally capable car?

RichCapeCod
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:38 am
Delivery Date: 12 Sep 2017
Location: AZ/Cape Cod

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:57 pm

DNAinaGoodWay wrote:Do you use a car on the Cape? You might consider shipping the Leaf when you come up for summer. It won't degrade much at all while you're here.


Too expensive. I once shipped a Miata from Cape Cod to AZ. Cost was around $1,200 dollars, one way. I think whatever EV I eventually get will be based in AZ.

Rich

RichCapeCod
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:38 am
Delivery Date: 12 Sep 2017
Location: AZ/Cape Cod

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:59 pm

DarthPuppy wrote:For the OP, with multiple locations, why the commitment to the EV in the worst possible location? I would think your summer home would be awesome for an EV. Is that a home from which you do a lot of long range driving to visit family in the broader region and therefore need a more regionally capable car?


Well, we don't have a garage on the Cape but do in AZ. Charging (I'd put a 220 volt charging system in place) would be much simpler. Hardly practical on the Cape, although the weather for an EV would be much, much better.

Rich

RonDawg
Posts: 2696
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:46 am
Delivery Date: 11 Jan 2013
Leaf Number: 027089
Location: SoCal

Re: View of the current EV world by a non-EV owner

Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:28 pm

Have you considered a Chevy Volt (with a "V")? Yes it has an internal combustion engine. But the included battery is large enough to let you drive up to 53 miles in pure electric mode according to the EPA. I believe it also has liquid cooling for that battery.
Blue Ocean 2012 Leaf SV, lost that 1st bar on 11/21/2015 at 26,435 miles.
Lease returned on 12/23/2015. Final LeafStat figures: 225 Gids, 17.44 kWH, SOC 91.89%, SOH 82.36%, 69.49% HX, 54.57 Ahr, battery temp 61.8 F
Now driving a 2015 VW eGolf SEL

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