Alert reader Ken (see comment) mentions that sometimes you can get lucky and avoid being stranded by charging your EV at an RV (recreational vehicle) park. He’s right. Here’s a real-life example on a remote stretch of I-70 in Utah. Continue reading “Charging at an RV park”
It is fatiguing to read yet another consumer story about things going wrong when renting an EV (Washington Post, July 28, 2023). See also Car-Rental Companies Are Ruining EVs, The Atlantic, June 13, 2023, and What’s with the surprise EV at the rental counter?, The Globe and Mail, July 2, 2023, and Should you rent an electric car for a family holiday?, EV Central, July 5, 2023 (answer: “God no. Just don’t.”). Each story recounts all of these problems:
- The reporter can’t figure out where the charging port is on the vehicle.
- The reporter can’t figure out how to open the charging port.
- The reporter can’t find a charging station.
- The reporter has range anxiety.
- When the reporter reaches a charging station, it took way too long to charge up the EV.
- When the reporter reaches a charging station, the reporter found that all charging plugs were in use and the reporter had to wait too long for a charging plug to be available.
- When the reporter reaches the charging station, it’s broken.
- The reporter cannot figure out how to get the charging station to start charging the EV.
- When the charging is finished, the reporter cannot figure out how to unplug the charging plug from the charging port.
- The reporter returns the car at the end of the rental period and gets dinged for having failed to recharge it sufficiently.
The reporter never quite comes out and says it, but reading between the lines, one figures out that the reporter had, until now, only ever driven ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. The car rental experience, reported in sad detail in the consumer story, turns out to represent the first time ever that the reporter had operated an EV. It likewise eventually becomes clear that the place where the reporter went to carry out this experiment in first-time EV driving is a geographic location where the reporter has never been before!
From the point of view of the car rental company, it is easy to appreciate why some car rental companies actually prefer EVs in some ways. The cars are simpler mechanically, and do not break down as often. They do not require oil changes or lube jobs. But while the vehicles themselves might be low-maintenance, there is the risk that the rental customer (like the reporter in the consumer story above) might be high-maintenance.
There are rental car companies that have a cheapo last-minute rental option where you are quoted a cheap rental rate for a car that you are going to pick up today, and the catch is you agree in advance not to complain about it no matter what kind of car they give you. The consumer story goes on at length about how the reporter got stuck with an EV, and they had never before in their life touched an EV, and everything about the rental experience was miserable, and it was a disaster, and the main thing they learned from it is that nobody should ever purchase an EV and they want everybody to know it.
One can draw several lessons from such consumer stories:
- The best person to rent an EV from a car rental company is — guess what — somebody who already drives an EV.
- If you are going to rent an EV and are not sure about whether or not you can find charging locations, for goodness sake rent a Tesla so that you can use Tesla supercharging stations. There will always be plenty of Tesla supercharging stations just about anywhere that you might go.
- If you are going to rent an EV and are worried about whether you might get to a charging station and find that it is broken, for goodness sake rent a Tesla so that you can use Tesla supercharging stations. Tesla supercharging stations tend to not be broken. In the very rare event that a particular Tesla charging plug at a Tesla charging station turns out to be broken, there will be at least seven other plugs at that charging station and they will be working.
- If you are going to rent an EV and are worried about whether you might get to a charging station and find that it only charges an EV very slowly, for goodness sake rent a Tesla so that you can use Tesla supercharging stations. They charge EVs fast.
- If you are going to rent an EV and are worried about whether you might get to a charging station and find that you will have to wait your turn to use a charging plug, for goodness sake rent a Tesla so that you can use Tesla supercharging stations. Many of them have lots of charging plugs. There are Tesla supercharging stations with fifty or seventy-five or a hundred charging plugs. Every now and then you might have to wait, but quite often you will find you won’t have to wait.
- Don’t wait until you return the EV at the end of the rental period to find out what the rule is for how much you needed to charge it up. Find out ahead of time, and plan ahead if necessary to charge up the EV before returning the car. This might include figuring out where the nearest Tesla supercharging station is to the rental car return location.
- Be aware that mere level-2 charging stations only charge at level 2 (duh!). This means that at a level-2 charger, if your battery is low, it might take eight hours to charge up your EV.
- If you have never driven an EV before, maybe think twice before renting an EV.
- If you have never driven an EV before, and the place where you are planning to rent a car is a place where you have never been before, maybe think twice before renting an EV.
- If you are thinking of renting an EV, maybe think twice before renting a non-Tesla EV.
- Maybe don’t use the cheapo last-minute rental option where you are quoted a cheap rental rate for a car that you are going to pick up today, and the catch is you agree in advance not to complain about it no matter what kind of car they give you, if you are unprepared for the kind of car that they might give you.
Here is the July 21, 2023 issue of The Elkalaka Eagle, where it was front-page news that an EV owner had planned ahead well enough to be able to charge at 27 miles per hour in a place that was 136 miles away from the nearest public EV charging station. Continue reading “Planning ahead for EV charging makes a big difference”
A pundit says (Business Insider, July 20, 2023) that if you are buying an EV right now in North America, it makes no sense to buy anything but a Tesla. Why does the pundit say this? Is the pundit right? Continue reading “Buying anything but a Tesla makes no sense right now, says pundit”
This is the first Japanese car maker to join the club.
In a way it was easy to guess that Nissan might have been among the first to join the Tesla club, given that Nissan was alone among all makers of cars in the US market to have been tied to the nearly-dead CHAdeMO standard for charging ports and charging plugs.
I expect this will also cover Infiniti.
See the updated canonical list.
Until about two months ago there was a sort of half-baked argument for some people as to why they supposedly had to purchase a hybrid car instead of an EV. The argument ran sort of like this:
- The only way to live my life (says the person making the argument) is that I need to purchase a single car that will cover all of my driving needs including the small number of cross-country trips that I might occasionally drive.
- I don’t want to purchase a Tesla or I can’t afford a Tesla.
- There is no non-Tesla car for which there are decent reliable car chargers absolutely everywhere I might ever go in a cross-country trip.
- There are gas stations everywhere.
- I want to at least sort of pretend to be environmentally conscious.
- Considering the previous points, the only choice left is a hybrid car.
- Okay, maybe a pluggable hybrid car. But it has to be a hybrid, not an EV. I have range anxiety.
But as of now (see blog page) it is all set that by next year, some 80% of newly built EVs will have the charging port in the same left rear corner of the car as a Tesla car and it will be the same kind of charging port as a Tesla car, and so it will fit perfectly into a parking spot at a Tesla charging station, and the charging plug will fit the charging port, and there will be no fussing about how to pay, and Tesla charging stations are everywhere, and Tesla charging stations always work. So all of a sudden, starting next year, point number 3 will be false.
So all of a sudden, starting next year, point number 4 will become irrelevant, and points 6 and 7 will evaporate.
An ICE car has maybe 20,000 moving parts in the drive train and requires oil changes. An EV has maybe 20 moving parts in the drive train. The hybrid car has all of the moving parts of the ICE car plus all of the moving parts of the EV. It requires oil changes. The person who purchases the hybrid car gets all of the drawbacks of the ICE car like oil changes and 20,000 moving parts that might break, plus 20 more moving parts that might break.
Starting next year, I suggest there will be no reason to purchase a hybrid car. Meanwhile if one feels the need to get a hybrid car now, perhaps the least bad approach would be to lease it.
The last that you heard in this blog about domino clicks toward Tesla-style charging plugs was this blog article on June 29, 2023. Since then we have seen five more domino clicks, including Mercedes-Benz, toward Tesla-style (also called “NACS”) EV charging plugs:
- June 29, 2023 – Polestar announces that soon its newly manufactured EVs will have charging ports that fit Tesla charging plugs.
- June 29, 2023 – Blink announces that soon its charging stations will have Tesla-style charging plugs.
- June 29, 2023 – Verge, a maker of electric motorcycles, announces that soon its motorcycles will have charging ports that fit Tesla charging plugs.
- June 30, 2023 – The state of Kentucky announces that it will link Tesla-style charging plugs with state subsidies for new EV charging stations.
- July 7, 2023 – Mercedes-Benz announces that soon its newly manufactured EVs will have charging ports that fit Tesla charging plugs.
Mercedes-Benz is the first among European car makers to have joined the Tesla club.
You can see the canonical list of domino clicks for the Tesla-style charging plug (the so-called “NACS” plug).
Among the car makers to watch are Hyundai/Kia, Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche, Nissan and BMW.
Today I decided to find out how easy or difficult it is to charge up a Hyundai Kona EV at an Electrify America charging station. It was not easy. Continue reading “Trying to charge up a Hyundai Kona at Electrify America”
What is the device shown in the photograph at right? My quick answer, and you might say the same thing, is that it is “an EV charger”. But my quick answer is wrong. The device shown at right is a mere “EVSE”, not an “EV charger”. This fact, it turns out, explains why a Hyundai Kona (Wikipedia article) charges at a mere 26 miles per hour, when plugged into this 48-amp device, instead of as much as 42 or 43 miles per hour the way some other EV might do. Continue reading “What is an EVSE and why do we care?”