View Full Version : EVs in Consumer Reports

07 September 2010, 1403
The October issue of Consumer Reports (available at every public library) contains a four-page article on electric cars, starting on page 48. In general the article is pretty thorough, although is not likely to offer much new information to most of the visitors to El Moto. Being Consumer Reports, naturally there is no mention of electric motorcycles.

A couple of items did catch my attention: The price to replace the Leaf's batteries is listed at $18,000 (!) and of course, no one knows how long the batteries will last. Both the Volt and the Leaf will carry 8-year/100,000 mile warranties (that won't help me much since I only drive my car 1000 miles a year).

Both the Leaf and Volt only have a Level 1 charger on-board. (I guess those public charging stations are not going to help too much unless you plan to hog the station all day and night.) The Level 2 charger for the Leaf sells for $700, but other Level 2 chargers are retailing for around $1,200.

To defray the expense of installing a Level 2 charger in your home, Uncle Sugar has earmarked $130 million to provide 15,000 free Level 2 chargers to those that need them. (That was news to me - when do I get mine?) One program, ChargePoint America will also pay up to $1,200 in installation costs for selected residential customers. (I wonder who selects the customers?)

California EV customers need to be especially careful when choosing an electrical rate plan as the PUC has set caps on electrical usage for the lowest rates and charging an EV will quickly bump you up to a higher kWh rate. Choosing an alternate plan will require the installation of a "Smart Meter" (which are being attacked by some California cities and public hand-wringers as causing headaches, cancer, heart attacks and mass confusion).

A sidebar offers comments from a fellow who lives in NYC and leased an electric-powered Mini E, an EV conversion of a Mini Cooper, for $850 a month. The program is also offered in LA. He mentioned that as part of the lease deal, Mini was supposed to install a Level 2 charger in his home, but the chargers were in short supply and charging the car fully on the on-board Level 1 charger took more than just one night and he could only drive the car the 64-mile round trip to work every other day . Eventually the Level 2 charger was installed and that reduced the charging time to only 4 hours. He said that charging the car raised his monthly electric bill by $60. Fuel for driving a conventional Mini Cooper would have cost $80 a month. But plugging the car in once a night was much more convenient than fueling and maintaining an IC car. He said that after driving the Mini E for 11,000 miles, he was sufficiently impressed to place a deposit on a Leaf.

The Consumer Reports article ends with the following statement: "In the end, whether and EV is right for you may simply come down to whether you feel the investment and lifestyle adjustment are worth helping the nation move a little closer to energy independence."

(I apologize for my snide comments contained in parentheses. Sometimes I just can't resist. :rolleyes:)

07 September 2010, 1413
Interesting info. Thanks for posting it.

But .....

I like mass confusion!!!