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Electric Car - April Update

May 12th, 2019 at 06:36 am

Electricity costs: $25

1,060 Electric Miles Driven

306 kWh Used x $0.0819/kWh = $25

{306 kWh overnight electricity usage, per electric bill. This is the easiest/best approximation of how much electricity we are using to charge the car}.

Fuel Savings: $174

1,060 Miles/ 20mpg old minivan
=53 gallons of fuel

53 gallons x $3.75 = $199
{This is probably very conservative because presumes I could have gotten 3-4 gas coupons in one month}

$199 cost of commute in old minivan
-$25 cost of commute in new electric car
-----
=$174 FUEL SAVINGS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



As an aside, I had a clarifying question on my last blog post. I am just tracking the savings I am experiencing with the automobile change. Sure, I could have switched to a gas sedan, but that would have still cost money. I do not believe the cost savings would have been worth changing gas vehicles. I think mostly it's more complicated than that and we wanted to test the electric waters. The Volt was my absolute dream car (style) if money was no object. This was not a 100% financial decision.

I will say that we had wanted to trade to a more fuel efficient sedan for the last 10-ish years or so, but it never made any financial sense. Even the electric we just couldn't justify until I suddenly had a longer commute. Then the math started to make sense. I didn't run the math on a gas sedan because I didn't want a gas sedan.

Along the same lines, the $8,000 has nothing to do with electric car costs versus gas sedan costs. It's the premium we paid over our own car budget, for the car that we wanted. We were willing to make the up front investment because the fuel savings will pay for this premium. With the fuel savings, it works into our modest car budget.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We will most likely replace our gas sedan with a Volt, in the near future. I'd say probably in the next 12 months.

I made a comment on last post that was incorrect, so I will just clarify here. We had already decided we want to pick up a second Volt. We are giving it a year (probably?) because it sounds kind of weird to put all our eggs in one basket (one car model). & so we are waiting, saving up cash, and making sure that we aren't being too rash.

I do not believe that we will be buying outside of our car budget for this second Volt. Our "forever" budget of $100/month gives us $5,000 (today) plus trade-in value of our gas sedan. Or about $15,000 cash to buy a slightly used Volt. This wouldn't change any part of our financial picture long-term except lower car maintenance and cheaper fuel. We usually would have waited at least 15 years to upgrade our car again, but spending "4 years of savings" to buy a "4 year newer car" is the same difference in the end. It doesn't affect our bottom line or big picture.

Anyway, I saw some barely used Volts in the $13k range. One year older model than mine, but same exact car. O.M.G. I'd like to continue to wait out price drops and save more cash. If it doesn't get any better than that, then clearly we just buy next spring when they come off lease and flood the market again. We generally buy our cars this time of year, because of these deals.

I mentioned offhand to MH, and he perused the cars on his own time. He came to me yesterday and he said, "Nope, that is NOT our car. They do not make our car. How on earth did we find this car?!" I think mostly we bought lower level model with premium features (just the features we would have wanted). Most notably, anything with heated seats and premium sound comes with leather seats, which MH despises. I told him I could probably live with leather seats. It wouldn't be my first choice, but I don't know that I despise them as much as he does. Depending on the color of the new car, I might be willing to take it. I've otherwise kind of been, "Don't touch my car. Get your own."

Anyway, MH Was pointing out that the cars that are more in line with our car and have the same features are still in the $20k range. Fair enough.

I expect that these are decisions we will be making in the next 6-12 months.

Electric Car Update

April 14th, 2019 at 08:53 am

Not much new to report on this front. Battery did not perform as well in winter, but most days was enough to get me to/from work. On particularly cold mornings where I ran the heat more, I might have use a few miles of gas on the way home. This might equate to one tank of gas every winter (if even that much).

Things have way settled down re: how many miles we are putting on this car. It helps that MM(15) has his own car now. He is the one that we drive everywhere. I'd say we are putting about 1,000 miles per month (much more reasonable) plus using for Bay Area trips. Which we haven't done the past couple of months.

MH and MM are maybe putting 300 miles per month on each of their cars. But it's becoming clear that MH's car will probably remain the "out of town" car for longer trips. Will probably still mostly use the electric car for Bay Area trips (which are much more frequent). Honestly, is probably the only reason we'd ever get through the gas anyway. Which you have to use up at some point (to replace with fresh gas).

I don't remember the last time I Went to a gas station. It's really only necessary on our way out of town (or on the way back home). Which means it's no longer an ongoing chore. I really like the simplicity aspect.

I was going to share a "gas savings" update, but I guess pictures are still not working.

So I will use my words...

We paid a $8,000 premium for this car (over our "forever" car budget of saving up $100/month). {The older we get the nicer cars we can afford and the longer they last, so the more we can save, without having to ever save more per month for a car}. But in this case, we splurged. I intend to offset the splurge with gas savings. We replaced a gas guzzling minivan and I doubled my commute, so the savings is substantial. I just started tracking this year because last year we were paying for the fast charger we installed in our garage. That was paid for with first few months of fuel savings.

This first three months of 2019 we have saved $535 in fuel and oil changes. Shaving $535 off of the premium we paid for this car. I expect to breakeven in about 4 years.

{Oil changes are only necessary every 2 years on this vehicle. We do oil changes every 6 months on our gas vehicles. Electric car is significantly lower maintenance all around.}

I have started working from home one day per week, to reduce the wear and tear on the car. I could have maybe pushed for it sooner, but waited 5 months to get settled in new job first. I actually personally dislike working from home (used to) but all of the variables changed in this situation. If my office is just 10 minutes away (as it always was before), I much rather keep work/home separate and go into the office. But anyway, the major variable that has changed is I can save an hour of driving if I just stay home. & my work/life boundaries seem to have been totally shot in the past year or two anyway, so it's less of a big change than it would have been prior. Thirdly, the work is different enough that I am okay with it. If this was 20 years ago at my old job, I don't think I'd be very happy. The work culture at my first post-college job was pretty insane on the work hours front. So I really drew a firm line about taking any work home. & then I just kind of extended that to my last job because the culture was very good re: work/life balance.

I suppose I tested this out at my new job. Towards the beginning my boss asked if I wanted to be set up to work from home, and I said no. He look surprised, but then he *shrugged* and said okay. Which I think kind of says it all. It's a very family oriented office (everyone else has young kids). So he really encouraged everyone to work from home if they have sick kids or have to leave early, etc. Super flexible job. (This was mentioned in my interview/encouraged, because of my longer commute that I should work from home some days). But beyond that, the culture is very 9-5. (It's actually more 7-3). For these reasons, I eventually caved and decided that I needed to reduce my commute hours. This may be the first job I've had that I can keep very clear work/life boundaries, even if I bring work home. Between that and things changing a wee bit during the past 20 years (technology), I am embracing it. I think it's working out pretty well.

After typing this out, duh, I also don't think working from home with (young) kids would have ever been particularly useful or productive. I suppose that is another variable that has changed substantially.

Edited to add: I didn't mention, but electricity costs are still about $25/month for the car. That hasn't changed with the lower miles/less driving, because anything above that is going to be gas miles.

P.S. According to my blog, our electric costs started out at $35/month? I will have to check my math. I think it's been $25 in recent months. We have the same electricity rates for 8 months of the year but will change to summer rates (UGH) in June. I did have a week off in February and started working more from home after that, in addition to MM getting his own car, so that may account for the $25/month electricity average during the past 3 months.

Edited:

Added picture now that it is working.


I am starting to wonder if increased summer electric prices will be offset by increased summer gas prices. I may get to keep chugging along at this pace.

Fuel Cost Update

December 15th, 2018 at 09:12 am

Just to round out my last EV update.

I hadn't shared the total fuel costs for the month of November.



Apparently, we spent $60 total to fuel (electric and gas) the Volt/hybrid and $61 to fuel the gas car.

That was $61 to drive the gas car 550 miles.

& $60 to drive the hybrid 1,769 miles.

So, there you go.

I was going to say that we hadn't even bought any gas this month. But I see that we topped off the (Volt) tank at some point after Thanksgiving. The cool thing about that is we won't have to stop for gas on the way to or from the Bay Area, for Christmas. We knew we'd be driving back for Christmas, and so we just filled up the tank all the way. I have been using a 1/10 tank of gas here and there for extra cold mornings and to keep the car heated (electric range is not quite enough always, in the cold). But should still have 400-ish gas miles left and will use about 200 of those miles for Christmas festivities out of town.

Edited to add: The negative $45 was a work reimbursement I received for October work miles. Which reminds me, I received a $10 reimbursement in November, to further reduce my fuel costs for that month.

November Fuel Costs - Electric Car - Charger is Paid For!

December 9th, 2018 at 07:35 am

Total miles driven last month on new electric/hybrid car: 1,769

A small improvement; was 2,000 miles last month.

Out of town trips:
--MH drove about 100 miles (on gas) to do some political canvassing before the election
--Bay Area for Thanksgiving (200 miles on gas)
--Bay Area for a book signing (100 miles on gas)

Probably a pretty average month for us.

I remembered to track miles on our gas vehicle this past month; we drove about 550 miles. That was pretty typical for how much I was driving the minivan. Same kind of situation where we favored the gas sipper when we had a gas guzzler, but I feel like we are favoring the electric vehicle even more. If we were driving 4 miles round trip to get groceries before, meh. Who cares if you took the van or the car? But, now all the short trips we do on electric if at all possible.

This comes up to an average of about 28,000 miles per year, total household driving. I'd say we were putting 20,000-ish miles per year on our cars, but have added 5,000 miles per year in commute miles. So I think that sounds about right. The 20,000 was "ish". We don't always do so much out of town driving.

For context, this was from my post last month:

We drove the car 2,000 miles total. UGH! I don't have a handle on total household driving because I didn't track miles on the other car. For November 1, I made sure to take a picture of both odometers. We generally average about 20,000 miles per year total. How we divvy it up between the cars just depends. But this was before I doubled my commute. For the long run, I expect to work from home one day per week, to lessen the wear and tear on our cars. October was clearly unusual with *a lot* of out-of-town driving. But there was also an element that we barely drove the other car.

Back to November...

Electricity costs: $34.23

1,302 Electric Miles Driven

418 kWh Used x $0.0819/kWh = $34.23

{418 kWh overnight electricity usage, per electric bill. This is the easiest/best approximation of how much electricity we are using to charge the car}.

Fuel Savings: $207

1,302 Miles/ 20mpg old minivan
=65 gallons of fuel

65 gallons x $3.18 = $207

$207 cost of commute in old minivan
-$34 cost of commute in new electric car
-----
=$173 FUEL SAVINGS

For now, I am focused on tracking the fuel savings to offset the cost of the fast charger we installed in our garage. Once that is paid for, I would like to offset the premium we paid for the car.



I am just going to call it. The charger has paid for itself. Woohoo! We apparently received a $400-ish break on our DMV registration, with the car. I thought it was a mistake and had been waiting for the bill. But for now, will just call it a day and will consider the charger paid for.

Electric Driving Updates

December 1st, 2018 at 06:04 am

Last Saturday we were able to get some free charging. MH sat at the free charger while waiting for MM(15) at his volunteer shift. It covers one-way on the 21-mile drive.

We also went to the Symphony last weekend. We had planned to get "free charging" in the garage, but went a little early for dinner and there was free parking everywhere. We chose to save $4-ish and take the free parking instead. Our city (downtown area) has free parking night and weekends for the month of December? But I didn't expect it to be so completely abandoned on a Saturday night. Of course, maybe just lord knows where everyone parked, because the restaurant that we went to was jam packed.

In the middle of the month, winter started to arrive, and did a number on the car battery. I had been forewarned (belong to some online group) but ignored all the "Cold + car battery" stuff, figuring we don't have COLD here. Unfortunately below 50F degrees, you lose a lot of range. I don't know if there is much difference between that and like 0F degrees, because seems plenty of people are happy with their Volts in cold and snowy regions.

In the end, this happened around mid-month and I haven't noticed any changes to our costs, but December will be much colder and I will have a whole month of "cold weather" data to report. Most days I have been able to eke out my commute on the electricity. If I am using gas, it might be 1/10 of a gallon per day. (I think it got a little warmer, because I have not used gas all week).

This will be a morning problem. We have freezes overnight, but during the day it won't drop below 50F, generally. It probably helps to park in the sun and keep the battery on the warmer side. During summer, will do the opposite. I had always been more concerned about our hot summer weather. The heat is supposed to be worse as far as long-term battery degradation. Not much I can do about that, but will definitely be sure to park in the shade during summer.

The garage seems to be keeping the car about 30F degrees warmer than the outside, so maybe that helps with the cold and battery range.

In other news, GM is discontinuing the Volt as of next year. In the online group everyone was saying prices would drop at that point. I don't see why it would make such a big difference, but in the end, I guess this is driving people to not want to keep their cars. I don't *get* it, but whatever. We have talked seriously about buying a second Volt in about a year, before all this. Honestly, I don't expect prices to change much between now and then. But if they do, we will certainly take advantage.

{I think probably they mean more new prices, while I am only looking at used prices}.

It is sad. Americans love their gas guzzlers so much. I haven't seen any other cars quite like this. I was never thrilled with going all-in on electricity. Yes, it's cheap now, but you never know how that might change. I guess for the long run it might be we keep a gas car and an electric car? But I really like this whole "bets of both worlds" thing and haven't seen anything else quite like it.

I guess I should back up and say one reason we are considering buying the second Volt is we are going to run this one into the ground crazy fast, at this rate. Would rather spread over two cars that we can keep for 15 years each. (This car won't last 15 years if we do 90% of our driving on the one car). & MH has a new-ish car, so it would be more of a lateral(ish) trade. We just left it that we need to give it a year before we put all our eggs in one basket. Which is something we would probably never do otherwise, but the car is that amazing. & this also hinges on me getting like a really nice bonus next Christmas. I said it's lateral(ish) because we still would need to cough up some decent cash.

Costs and updates:

**I need to do some homework on the carpool stickers. Still have not had one reason to use them in the two + months we have had the car. I had heard a rumor if I renewed after this year that I could get 4-years of carpool stickers (for solo driver). I can't find anything about that and don't know if that is just a presumption. I don't want to lose out altogether. It would be three years if I apply now. I just have some homework to do. You never know when you might end up in a traffic jam or have a job change, etc., so I just want to maximize carpool benefits. Being prepared, as I like to do.

**The other thing I can't find *anywhere* is what on earth our car registration fees are supposed to be. ??? We paid something like $40 when we bought the car, and when they sent us the title it said "$40 paid" on the registration and/or title. I thought surely that wasn't right and expected to get a bill at some point.

I think it would be a fair assumption that the electric cars get a crazy break on this front, but I just can't find anything verifying this. On the online group I am in, everyone says they are still paying $300 or $400 or whatever to register and renew newer/expensive cars (same model; same state). So, I am confused. Am curious what the renewal will be next year.

**Fuel costs for December:

Electricity is still at about $1 per day, or $30 for the month.

We also drove out of town three times during December, so used a fair amount of gas.

Gas fuel spending was $26. I received a $10 work reimbursement (for driving 20 miles). This puts my net gas costs at $15 for the month, or about the same as last month.

When it got cold, my first thought was that my "reimbursements to self" for quick charger and car premium might take a little longer than I planned. But looking back at October, I think in the end it will be about the same. I saved about $225 in fuel costs?

When I get final electricity costs for November, I will share the details.

December and January are our coldest months, so will see how we fare during those months.

Electric Car Updates

November 4th, 2018 at 08:27 am

MH went out of town to do some political canvassing, yesterday. He was pleased with his gas mpg:



This is the spreadsheet I have been keeping to track fuel costs. I don't know if this sheet is ideal, but it's one I just found and copied. It worked in a pinch. I can tweak it later.


You can click on it to see the details more clearly.

We drove the car 2,000 miles total. UGH! I don't have a handle on total household driving because I didn't track miles on the other car. For November 1, I made sure to take a picture of both odometers. We generally average about 20,000 miles per year total. How we divvy it up between the cars just depends. But this was before I doubled my commute. For the long run, I expect to work from home one day per week, to lessen the wear and tear on our cars. October was clearly unusual with *a lot* of out-of-town driving. But there was also an element that we barely drove the other car.

{These cars are so under-advertised. We had *no idea* we could get 50mpg on the gas side of the car. We didn't expect this to also be our out-of-town car?
We just lucked out that we found a car with so low miles to start. I really didn't think we'd be piling on the miles this quickly}.

Electricity costs: $31.65

1,516 Miles Driven

386.4 kWh Used x $0.0819/kWh = $31.65

Fuel Savings: $226

1,516 Miles/ 20mpg old minivan
=76 gallons of fuel

76 gallons x $3.40 = $258

$258 cost of commute in old minivan
-$32 cost of commute in new electric car
-----
=$226 FUEL SAVINGS

NOTE: We were not spending that much on gas before because we bought the new electric vehicle at the same time I found a new job and doubled my old commute. But I do think it was somewhat critical to address our vehicle situation with the new commute. I also took a large pay cut, so the fuel savings is important.

Although my commute is HUGE compared to any frame of reference I have (I have never commuted more than 15 minutes?). I think it's a relatively small commute in the grand scheme of things. Isn't that gas savings mind boggling?? I think this is probably pretty average. It's probably pretty average that Americans drive gas guzzlers and would commute at least 20 miles each way.

For now, I am focused on tracking the fuel savings to offset the cost of the fast charger we installed in our garage. Once that is paid for, I would like to offset the premium we paid for the car. To be clear, we did not pay a premium because the car is electric. We paid a premium because it was a huge step up in car. We had saved $15,000 ($100 per month x 13 years) to replace the minivan. We ended up spending $22,000 + tax on this car (less sale of van), or $23,000 total cash out-of-pocket. I'd like to whittle down the extra $8,000 we paid with fuel cost savings. At this rate, we might breakeven in just 3 years. WOW! This wasn't really our intent with the car purchase. We had received a $15,000 completely unexpected cash gift that we decided to use towards buying a newer vehicle. I think it was more to the point that we felt I could buy my "dream car" with the extra money. I did not expect the fuel savings to be quite this substantial. I guess the substantial fuel savings is just icing on the cake!

$745 Cost of Fast Charger/Installation
-226 Fuel Savings October
-----
$519 Net Cost To-Date

It looks like we can get this charger "paid for" by the end of December.

NOTE: I am just ignoring gas fuel costs for simplicity. The Gas Fuel mpg comparison is 20mpg minivan versus 43mpg Volt. (I corrected my sheet after I posted it here). But the 43mpg is more in line with our other (gas) car, which is what we used to use for longer trips. So I don't know that we are seeing any fuel savings on longer trips or gas usage on the hybrid car. Will just track the smaller/electric trips, which is mostly my new commute.

Electric Car Costs Update

October 28th, 2018 at 07:15 am

I received my home gas bill and it was something like -$20 due to an energy credit. (They owe us $20). Our home is crazy energy efficient, though we have the more expensive private utility for our gas. So our bills average around $30 per month throughout the year. People all the time presume we have like $300/month heating bills in winter, if we have a larger home than they do. ??? I've never had the heart to tell anyone that is our bill for the entire YEAR. This is also one reason we would very seriously consider new construction again. We've been really spoiled by the low utility costs in this house. I'd describe it as more frugal energy efficient. Most of the energy savings was put into wrap and insulation. Not into things like solar (that cost a LOT of money).

Anyway, I saw the gas bill, so thought I'd check on our electricity usage for the month.

This was electricity usage pre-electric car:


This is electricity usage with overnight car charging (for lower electricity rates):


I was trying to figure out why our electricity was spiking so much more in the evenings on older bills, and I finally realized that was A/C. This second picture is more average electricity usage for us during the fall.

We can charge the car between midnight and 6am for cheaper electricity rates. There is a delay on the charger where you just set how many hours later you want to turn it on. Or you can set that up in your car. I think there's a way to set it up so that if the car knows it is at home it will always delay to midnight, or something like that. I suppose that is something we should figure out. But for now, I just usually set it to charge 8 hours later, when I get home around 4pm every day. Or sometimes if MH is going to run MM to gymnastics or something like that, I charge it until 5:00 and then unplug it. Is just enough charge to make a trip like that.

The summer rates are going to be INSANE during the week for 5pm-8pm, so we are just trying to get into that mindset/habit NOW. We have about 6 months to adjust. Mostly we are doing all the laundry on the weekends and making sure to charge the car at midnight.



I was really pleased to see this last summary pop up, when I logged in to electric company website today. It's going to be so easy to calculate the electric car costs.

For simplicity sake, will probably just use that '12am-6am usage' figure.

So, for this month we used 284 kWh so far, from 12am-6am. It looks like we used about 1.50 kWh per day, during those hours, before we bought the car, so gives us some kind of baseline usage. BUT we also sometimes top off a few miles on the car here and there during the day, so will just consider that to be a wash. Keeping it simple.

284 kWh x $0.0819 = $23.26

If this were the bill for the entire month, that is the number I am going to allocate every month to car fuel costs, instead of "house electricity".

Electricity Costs October 1

October 2nd, 2018 at 05:26 am

Yesterday I drove 66 electric miles. That was around 50 miles with my (new) commute and dropping off MM at school. The rest was city driving; running errands and dropping off MM at gymnastic class.

I could have done all electric regardless, but it was nice to have the fast charge in between. (If I got home from work and plugged in for a couple of hours on the slow charger, I would have barely squeaked by with enough miles for evening errands).

Total electric fuel costs October 1: $1.36
**corrected after original post**

Cost to drive gas guzzling minivan 66 miles: $11.06

Fuel Savings: $9.70
**corrected**

There is no doubt we would have pulled the trigger on replacing the minivan, regardless. Might not have necessarily done it before I started my job and didn't have to go so "new" and expensive. Didn't even have to switch to an electric car. (Our other gas car is twice as fuel efficient as the minivan was). I am guessing this is a lot of why we have talked about the replacing the gas guzzler for so many years but was never quite able to pull the trigger. We just haven't had the financial incentive to. But wow, look at that financial incentive now!

Fast Charger Installed

September 30th, 2018 at 05:13 pm

I think the fast charger arrived Tuesday night. We were able to get it installed today.





One nice thing is that it's not hard wired at all. We had to have the 240 volt outlet installed, to plug it into. But the charger itself, we can just plug it in. We can easily just unplug and take the charger with us if we move.

Total cost of charger:

$420 Charger (includes sales tax; 20% off at Costco)
+$325 Electrician/Installation
------
$745 TOTAL

Original estimate was $1,000, so I am more than happy with this. Chargers easily go for $500-$600. We also saved $50-ish because there was already some work done in our garage (by builder) for electric cars. It wasn't actually wired at all, but the hole was already cut in the wall.

I am roughly estimating fuel savings of $1,500 per year. So my hope would be to recoup the cost of the charger in just 6 months, or approximately $750 saved in 6 months.

One thing I'd look to do is buy a nice bracket/hook of some sort (& mount on wall) so the cord isn't draped over boxes on the ground. I was just thinking I didn't like that; when googling saw some pictures of some nice hooks. I will check with MH before I order anything, but might bring our total cost up $10 or $15. We can install a bracket or a hook.

The car was mostly charged already, so will see how long it takes to charge once I bring it home tomorrow. I will probably just plug it in when I get home and see how long it actually takes. After that, I need to get in the habit of setting the delay so that it charges after midnight (much cheaper electricity rates). There's just a button to push on the charger.

I can also set that up (delayed charging) in the car, but then I need to remember to set it back to "immediate charging" if we ever use a public charger. So it seems to make more sense just to get into the habit of setting the delayed charging on the home charger.

I don't see that we would ever use the slow charger again. The only exception was maybe if we could charge at our parents' homes, but they both told us pretty much, "Hell no," because of their high electricity rates. We kept hearing those charging cords get stolen out of cars and are $200-ish to replace, so we will store the slow charger inside our house where it can stay dry and clean.

It's unbelievable that is it October tomorrow! It's been like 100F degrees here. We haven't even turned off the A/C. Ugh.

Anyway, my plan for October is to start tracking (car) fuel costs in earnest.

P.S. We also did a little decluttering today. Our neighbor had told us recently that our garage was "immaculate". Ha! That is a bit of an exaggeration. He just means we can fit our cars in our garage and don't have lots of crap. But anyway, we threw away some trash today and found some stuff to freecycle. A lot of it I am just going to throw in the donation pile. If anyone wants it, great. If not, they can toss it. I've got an old skateboard, an old elmo sprinkler and a couple of water guns. & a scooter. It's all very old and junky.

Free Car Charging

September 27th, 2018 at 08:58 pm

It was crazy stupid how easy the "free car charge" was in the end. But admittedly, MH downloaded the app and set up the account. I told him just to put his login on my phone, since I was just going to be trying it out (later this week). For the long run, I should probably get my own account. Though maybe the one account is fine with the one car. If only one of us will be charging the phone at any given time.

I think the difficult part of it all is finding good information. We thought for some reason there may be 1 or 2 chargers (per the app?), but in the end there were 6 chargers that were compatible with our car. This was in the cheapie garage we just happened to be parking at last night for the film festival we went to. (We'd park there regardless). We saw some other chargers on the way out but not sure what kind they were.

So we were happy to find that there were plenty of chargers.

Literally all I had to do was wave my phone in front of the charger. That's it. Didn't have to log into the app or do anything. I guess my phone had to be "on".

You wave your phone in front of the charger and it unlocks the charger for you:


So we plugged it in and went on our way:


These were the screen shots I took of the app (you can monitor progress from your phone).

Took this screen shot once we got settled in the theater, about 30 minutes later:


Took this screenshot at the end:


I suppose we are still paying (old) summer rates, so we are paying 13 cents per kWh, at home. 14.50 kWh x $0.13 = $1.89. So the free charge saved us $1.89.

Today was the first day I didn't stop anywhere on the way to/from work. (Not entirely true because I felt so terrible this morning, with the late night and maybe feeling a bit under the weather, I stopped for a soda. & I had no idea where to stop, so I may have driven 0.50-1.0 miles out of the way). But other than that, it was a pretty typical commute day for me. I dropped off MM(15) at school at 7am and then drove 22 miles to work. I suppose I can try again next week. I am not sure why it says 49.2 miles driven today. But this was the most true capture I've gotten of my commute, so will go with this for now.

These were the car stats once I returned home:


My drive to work today was totally free! The fuel part of it, anyway. I'd say we also had enough free charge to drive home last night.

It would be more electricity efficient if I drove in more traffic (because the brakes generate more electricity). This is an open freeway drive (all freeway/reverse commute).

I have about 2 gallons of gas in the gas tank. I don't think I have anything planned the next few days and so we probably don't have to rely at all on gas before we get our fast charger (at home). Will cross my fingers. Will probably just stick with the 2 gallons until we plan to drive out of town. We really plan to never really use gas around town once we have the benefit of the fast charger. Will charge about 5 times as fast. So we will have more time to re-fuel the electricity between drives.

It will be interesting to see how October shakes out. We will have fast charger + cheap winter electricity rates ($0.08 per kWh). Not only are the winter rates much cheaper, but we also get a discount on our overnight electricity usage because we notified our utility company that we are charging an electric car.

New Car Fuel Updates

September 18th, 2018 at 09:29 am

This week is shaping up to be pretty quiet. I had a few social things I was trying to plan, but everyone is being super flakey. Working folk!

Today my plan is to nap in the morning and then will start hitting chores. I think just one or two days of that (chores) and I will start to feel a lot better. If I can feel like I am starting to move more forward than backwards...

Still figuring out new car and probably will make October 1 more of a starting point for really tracking costs.

Our electric company is in the process of shifting to different rates for peak times. We get to jump ahead to this new schedule with the electric car purchase (and will also get a discount for overnight electricity use). So of course I signed up the day we got the car.

In the end, we looked more carefully at the schedule. Winter prices are mostly going down. We will have to change our habits a little bit though and avoid 5pm - 8pm during the week. Off the top of my head, that maybe went up a cent or two (per Kwh) during winter.

Summer? Ugh. Electric rates more than doubled for 5pm-8pm. MH was just asking me if we were paying that now. Kind of told him, don't know, don't care. Have to power the car. It's just one more week until we can switch that to quick overnight charging? But he's kind of, "It's more than just the car. Laundry? Dishes?" Fair enough. So while he was asking me and I was looking something or other up on electric bill, I just decided to call. In the end, just more good luck on our part. We get to keep old/cheap summer rates through the end of this month. We switch to winter rates AND cheaper overnight rates starting when our bill closes, around October 1st.

Anyway, I put the new electricity schedule up on the fridge. Will have to be more mindful of peak times. I think that is easy enough for us to work around.

In the meantime, everything is just kind of chaos. We already drove new car 520 miles. Since Thursday 8pm. What in the heck!? We did drive 280-ish miles to/from the Bay Area. It was a 60 mile drive from the dealership. Everything else was more than usual. We probably both have mostly been driving new car. I did drive to my new work city and took MM to the animal shelter (both around 21 miles each way).

I'd say this week should be way more calm, but MH has stuff going on every night. Will see how that ends up.

Today I used 3 miles electric range to take MM to school. (It's 5 miles?) MH will be driving one round trip 6 miles, unless he gets off work early (probably) and has to go back to get kids later. He told me his free movie tonight is the movie theater in our neighborhood, so that may be another 6-ish miles. All electric for today.

Tomorrow we might be able to squeeze out all electric. We are going to the movies a little further away, but might be able to start with a full battery if we don't drain it more today.

Thursday is chaos. MH has a bit of a drive for paid medical study. I *just* got an e-mail from SF bff and I guess I never got back to her. Oops! Our plans are Thursday. She was waiting for me to reply. I will probably go visit her and then spend some time with my parents. Lots of driving. (Driving to the Bay Area twice in one week is not unusual at all for us, and where we hope to see some real fuel savings).

After Thursday, I think we might be able to keep it all electric? Through the weekend?

We have 60-ish miles of gas left in the car. I will try to remember to take note of mileage when we fill up. Dealership gave us a full tank of gas, to start.

How did weekend driving go?

Didn't get so much fuel efficiency on the long drive. MH was being such a backseat driver. Gah. It was the first time we had long enough to fully charge between trips. So we started with a full 53 mile electric range. I believe the car said 50 miles, and I wondered if we had been dumb to not see the full charge before we bought it. I kept it in electric mode during all the traffic we hit, and whenever we were on city streets. Not a lot of traffic or lights, but the range just kept going up more and more. I later read that 75 miles is pretty common/easy. I think in the end we ended up getting 57 miles, adding 7 miles for passing through a few bottlenecks on the freeway. (The braking generates more electricity).

I guess the car does easily get 50mpg (on gas) on the open freeway, but we had never particularly seen this advertised. They advertise the combined freeway/city rating of 43mpg. We did go over some hills. That was when MH was driving me nuts with his backseat driving.

I had it on gas mode on the hills (which was maybe a mistake) but it was *amazing*. It gets a little electric boost and that was actually pretty awesome. I usually drive pretty slow on the big hills, not wanting to gun the engine too much.

I think that trip ended up being closer to 42mpg on the fuel side. I think we can survive with that.



This display shows our trip stats. I finally looked up what MPGe was. Wasn't entirely sure. In the end, the way it works is that 33.7 Kwh is considered to be equivalent to one gallon of gas. So it figures the electric mpg and the fuel mpg, and combines it together (combined MPGe is on the left). This is by far *not* the most fuel efficient the car has been, but that's just how it worked out on our big trip. We did try to conserve all the electric charge for the traffic and city driving.

For reference, I believe our winter rates will be around $3 for 33.7 Kwh, or the equivalent of purchasing a gallon of gas. So the MPGe figures can be converted to fuel prices for a rough idea of what we are paying/saving. I am really going to track energy savings closely starting October 1 when it will be easier and more logical to track all of this.

Edited to add: I looked at winter (overnight) rate and it was cheaper than I reme