Wednesday, November 8, 2023

W-EVdnesday #3 - Range

I'm so happy to hear that these posts are helpful! Thank you for your comments and observations and questions. Today I'll talk about range. Many people believe that you can't go very far in an EV. While it is true that we now stop more often when we are travelling, I do not mind this. We've found we're not as exhausted when we arrive at our destination as before when we didn't take breaks.

Stopping for Pup Cups at Starbucks is never a bad idea!

Our car has a range of 500 km. Just as with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles, range is dependent on a few factors: wind, speed, what systems you're using (AC, heat) and ambient temperature. Where EVs differ from ICE vehicles is that they get less mileage on the highway and better mileage in the city. We've found with our car if we're tootling around in the city we see a 560 km range; on the highway on long hauls, it is around 430 km, depending on the above factors. Note that that's cruising at 120 kph.

So, if most of your driving is back and forth to work in the city, you will be amazed. Stop and go can really drain your gas tank, but EV cars are not affected. In fact, the way they brake actually puts charge back into the battery because they have regenerating braking systems. When I want to go forward, I press the accelerator ('gas' pedal), just as with an ICE car. When I want to stop, I simply lift my foot off and the car immediately slows down. Think of it like our sewing machines. This made the best sense to me when MacGyver was explaining and showing me this feature. You press the foot pedal when you want the machine to move; lift up your foot and it slows almost instantly. Now the EV doesn't screech to a stop like a sewing machine basically does (without the screech), but it does slow quite significantly, enough so that I don't need to use the brakes to turn a corner. As I ease off the pedal, or lift my foot entirely, energy goes into the battery. It shows you this on the screen on the dash. How it does this is beyond my pay grade! All I do know is that you do not use the brakes as you do in an ICE car, so they last a lot longer. Our Ioniq 5 has various settings, from Levels 1-3 and iPedal, which is what we usually drive around town in as that is the best for regeneration. These settings are for maximum to minimum use of braking. 

When you are stopped at a light or stop sign, you do not need to put your foot on the brake; just as with our sewing machines, the car stays still unless you press the pedal. Even on an incline. ðŸ¤¯ In the beginning especially, but even still now, I get a kick out of arriving at my destination and seeing that it was a 20 km trip, but that my range, which started out at, say, 250 km, has only gone down to 240 km! This is because anytime I lifted my foot, energy was going back into the battery! It's a whole different way of looking at range.

For long haul trips, MacGyver likes to top it up every couple of hours. This means, yes, we stop more often, but the stops aren't long, maybe 15 - 20 minutes tops, because we charge it up to just 80% or so. Just like your cell phone, it takes a lot longer to charge the final several percent, so it doesn't make sense to sit for another 20 minutes to get the car to 100%.

Our biggest beef is with the infrastructure: we need faster chargers. They say they are 150 kWh but rarely is the actual charge speed over 130 kWh, nor do they stay at that speed. We've seen many 350 kWh but often they aren't working or they're only charging around the 120 kWh speed. A game changer is that several car companies, Hyundai among them, have entered into an agreement with Tesla so that we can use their chargers; we will just have to get an adaptor when it all falls into place. As I mentioned in the last post, several auto manufacturers are combining their efforts to build their own charging network.

Again remember that you'll most likely be doing the bulk of your charging at home! It's only when you're on a long trip that you'll be spending time at charging stations and concerning yourself with range. MacGyver had range anxiety when we first got the car and took it up to London (2 hours one way) or Hamilton (3 hours one way), but he got over it after a few months. We've learned where the good charging stations are, and stop accordingly. Get the PlugShare app!

My initial anxiety was doing the actual charging, but it is very similar to a gas pump, and I'm no longer concerned when I have to charge it myself when I drive him to the airport in London or Hamilton. The first time I drove by myself, I went all the way to London and back, just shy of 400 km round trip because I was too nervous to charge it at the station myself. I got home with 60 km range left! Phew!

An excellent timely post that coincides with today's as well as my EV theme is from Seth Godin. His posts come into my Inbox and are always thought-provoking. Today's is titled "We used to do that". His first paragraph is à propos for the shift to EVs:

When electricity came along, there was a swath of industries that were trapped in an old way of thinking. The only ones that thrived were able to walk away from what they used to do and eagerly embrace something new.

Update: Kathleen has an excellent question so I'll answer it here. Can you leave your car alone while it's charging when you go into a store/rest stop?
Absolutely! This is another way it differs from an ICE vehicle.
We've done this lots, especially when one of us is returning home alone from dropping off the other at the airport in a distant city. In fact, many malls have free Level 2 (not high speed) chargers so that you will go into the mall to shop while your car charges! Municipal areas, such as city hall, or parks, often have free chargers so you'll enjoy the walkways or go to the library. Bradenton, Florida has had free chargers since 2015 or 2016 along their beautiful riverwalk; Montreal has chargers in designated parking spots downtown, not free, but designed so you'll shop or take care of business while your car charges. More and more hotels are installing chargers.

Again, think of the car as your phone. You plug it in at night while you sleep and it charges. It stops charging when it gets to 100%, right? Well, EVs have incredible technology, even more so than phones. When we're on the road, we set our car to stop charging when it hits 80%. We can head into the store or walk over to a restaurant to grab a coffee/snack, use the bathrooms, and take our dogs for a walk. No one can unplug your car while it's charging as it's locked into the port.

What if you don't get back in the 10 or 15 minutes it takes to get to 80%? The charging stops automatically and you have a 10-minute grace period to disengage from the charger or you will start getting charged, as in your Visa or wallet, at a much higher rate per minute than when you were charging, but there is no charge going into your car. It's a way of fining people so they don't leave their car at a station for hours and preventing others from using the charger. In the year and a half that we've been on road trips, we've only ever seen this happen once. A car was at a charger, and the charger said it was finished but no one was around. We were able to use one of the other chargers (just like gas pumps, there's usually four or more chargers) but it meant others were waiting behind us and other cars when they could've used the one that was abandoned. We left and no one still had come to move that car. Not cool.

8 comments:

  1. I drove to Texas and back in the last week. I tried to take note which of our normal stops had chargers. it was pretty good in Texas, not so great in Oklahoma.

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  2. I love these posts. Thank you Sandra.

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  3. I love learning about this...still considering one...but not having charging in our primary garage is a tiny bit of an issue. Is it ok to leave your car charging and go into the store/rest stop where it is? I don't mean leave it for an hour....but the top off time?

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  4. This is all fascinating and fantastic. Thank you for also answering Kathleen's question in the post.

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  5. I love our Prius PHEV! we made the decision to go to the hybrid gas for this one, our third hybrid, since at the time there wasn't the selection in the pure EV. And at $1.50/l for gas, even paying to charge is still cheaper per klick.

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  6. Thanks for the information, it's all so interesting.

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  7. These posts have been fascinating for myself and no doubt other EV-curious. But I confess, when you talked about iPedal an image of Fred Flintstone popped into my mind!

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  8. Hi Sandra! I'm enjoying these posts as well. That photo with Rufus making sure that pup pop is finished to his satisfaction makes me smile. I'm wondering what we're going to cover next time?! I'll be sure to wait patiently and see. {{Hugs}} a bunch! ~smile~ Roseanne

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