Monday, December 31, 2012

EV Taxicabs failure can be blamed chiefly on one, corrupt politician

In a recent article in the Sun-Gazette, Arlington Board of Supervisors member Libby Garvey was praised for standing up to Supervisor Christopher Zimmerman in a case of clear conflict of interest.  Having closely followed the proceedings which led to the denial of EV Taxicabs bid to win a licence to operate in Arlington by a vote of 2 to 3, I would lay more blame on Mr. Zimmerman than any other county Board member for this fiasco in county political history.  Zimmerman was EV Taxicab's chief opponent with a naïve, prejudged opinion, which derived from a failure to even read a line of supporting documentation, leading to his inane decision to fail to support and argue against Jay Fisette's and Garvey's seconded motion.  The proposal was to support EV Taxicabs bid for merely 40 new cabs, less than 5% of the overall fleet, in exchange for free infrastructure that the citizens of Arlington could all benefit from at liberty.  The equipment EV Taxicabs would have been providing would all have been installed without any taxpayer money being spent, and where Arlington Businesses could have taken advantage by luring in folks like me who drive an Electric Car and would therefore have an excuse to visit the county, as I've written about before.  There's a reason the EVA/DC didn't consider meeting in Arlington in 2013 for any of it's monthly meetings and that's more than anything thanks to Mr. Zimmerman's myopic view toward Arlington's better future and financial benefit.  So shame on Mr. Zimmerman for failing to take advantage of one of the best deals in County history and thank you to Ms. Garvey for standing behind Mr. Fisette in supporting it.

Incoming chair J. Walter Tejeda, please be advised I know you're trying to keep an opened mind on this whole EV thing so please keep learning because I know eventually with enough knowledge you'll be on our side, standing with Jay Fisette and Libby Garvey against the FUD of Mr. Zimmerman and Mary Hynes.  That's why I'd encourage Arlington voters to cease their support for the politician who works against their common interest.  Christopher Zimmerman must go!

Please note the opinions expressed in this article are purely those of the author and do not reflect the positions of any Arlington County Board members, the EVA/DC or EV Taxicabs except where explicitly noted.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Open Letter to the Arlington County Board of Supervisors

Tuesday, 27 November 2012, at around 18:15, the Arlington County Board of Supervisors plans to hear final comments on EV Taxicabs' proposal to add 40 100% electric Nissan LEAFs to the to the fleet of vehicles certified to operate in the County before a final vote planned for later that evening.

#1 Courthouse Plaza
2100 Clarendon Boulevard
Room 307
Arlington, VA

This is my open letter to the County:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board,

I address you today as an Electric Car driver with over a year experience with what an area EV driver can expect in terms of mileage and usage in our Northern Virginia climate.  You see, I live in Herndon, Virginia, quite near to Dulles airport—I often hear the planes overhead at my house—and generally drive at least 70 miles a day between home and work with no chance to charge my car in between.  In fact, I come to you today having driven from my home this morning to my job in Southeast D.C. and here thereafter with not a single opportunity to supplement my car's energy.  But I'm not worried about getting home because I drive the same car, a Nissan LEAF, which EV Taxicabs is planning to roll out in its bid to the Board.  If I could make it from my home near Dulles Airport to a point farther than Arlington County and back again on a daily basis, at mostly highway speeds, in rain or shine, under all weather conditions, and still have enough juice in my ride to go another 10 miles, I can guarantee EV Taxicabs can handle any average fare to the airport and still make it back with miles to spare.  And for the record, I've never run out of fuel and I've never heard of any EV driver who has.  We're well prepared for our daily needs and quite knowledgeable about how far we can go and where we can stop along the way if need be.

As for fast charging using the CHAdeMO standard, which stands for stop and have some tea, this use case has already been well studied by EV Taxicabs and as an independent driver who writes extensively on the benefits and limitations of electric vehicles and the Nissan LEAF I wholeheartedly and unabashedly concur with their proposal.  EV Taxicabs has already attested through actual real-world analysis that a typical electric taxi will only need one CHAdeMO or Fast Charge per day.  But that said, it's Nissan itself that has said multiple fast recharges of their LEAF in the same day would be okay as long as the battery temperature stayed below a certain threshold.  This might be a concern for temperatures like they have in Arizona but in Arlington it doesn't get nearly that hot.  And again it's EV Taxicabs', and Nissan, who take all the risk if this be not the case.  Nissan is very interested in seeing the results of EV Taxicabs usage, including multiple fast recharges.  That's the only real test of a battery's longevity.  And Nissan is willing to stand behind this proposal.  And as far as where these fast charge stations will be located, EV Taxicabs has already planned that out too.  Put them where the drivers can stop and have some tea, metaphorically.  But not only will the cab drivers, we ordinary citizens will have access to these stations.  And I urge the Board to consider this indirect consequence: drivers like me who might never stop in the county now have an incentive to do so.  Now, instead of heading straight back to Fairfax County from work, I have an excuse to stop of in Arlington, buy a tea, coffee, sandwich, book and what have you and then be on my way to some other place rather than home.  You free me to travel farther and in return you generate more business in the County.  And it would cost the County absolutely nothing.  The risk is all EV Taxicabs and even if they fail the County gets to keep whatever CHAdeMO stations they leave behind so we can continue to have our tea in the County.

It's clear that somebody has to be first, but this isn't the case for EV Taxis.  EV Taxis have had great success in London, UK, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Toronto, Ontario Canada, Mexico City, Mexico and Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Even New York City is adding EVs to their very tightly controlled Taxi fleet.  And surely if cold New York and hot Sao Paulo can handle an electric taxi, Arlington can.  It's too late to have the pride of being first, but what EV Taxicabs proposal builds on the successes and failures of those other electric taxi corporations.  Their plan is tested and proven and good for the county.  And let's not forget this isn't a permanent assignment.  If they don't perform to EV Taxicabs expectations in terms of business, those allotments will revert back to the county in good time.  It's all EV Taxicabs risk to fail, the county and the county citizens won't have to spend a dime if these cabs don't perform.  That's a risk EV Taxicabs is willing to take, and one they and I feel very strongly about its success!

And let's not forget the potential tourism it could generate to say Arlington County, Virginia is the place to go to get an Electric cab.  If Congresswoman Janice Hahn or Senator Lamar Alexander were here, I'm sure they would agree with me, be they given a choice, that they would rather ride in a Nissan LEAF taxi than any other car.  Believe me, those of us who made the switch always feel a bit out of sorts when we're required to ride in a conventional vehicle.  That's an advantage EV Taxicabs has.  I even spoke with former Loudoun County Supervisor Stephens Miller and he agrees EV cabs would be good for the county.  That's the kind of press that gets guest at our Arlington County hotels and restaurants, and not in Bethesda or Silver Spring or Alexandria.

As for where a Taxi driver can charge his EV overnight, a quick search of the Plugshare database shows no less than 26 public charging stations are currently on-line in Arlington County.  While it's true that it's sometimes hard to get a dedicated spot for refueling ones EV, many of the Vornado properties do have dedicated charging stations available to their residents and what's more most of those 26 stations won't be occupied at night.  For the most part, they're currently used by daily shoppers and commuters who go home in the evening.  And please keep in mind the cars EV Taxicabs will be buying will have what's called 6.6kW charging capability, meaning they can go from empty to full in under 3½ hours, or half a night's sleep.  Although 26 public level-2 charging stations won't be enough to satisfy all 40 cabs EV Taxicabs is requesting, part of their business plan, as I understand it, will be to ensure that each driver is properly trained and has a location to house his or her vehicle while off duty.  This is thanks in large part to their diligent pursuit of contracts with Nissan Motor Corporation to obtain cars at volume pricing.  With that come jobs for local contractors who Nissan and Aerovironment will hire with to install as many level-2 stations as required by EV Taxicabs' drivers.  Nissan and Aerovironment have worked with customers from the beginning and will do everything they can to make sure drivers have a place to charge their vehicle at night.  After all, this is a demonstration project for them as well, and it behooves them as much as EV Taxicabs to get it right.

Finally, I would address that the questionable County Transportation Committee recommendation, which I should point out comes without even a Quorum, proposes no less than to give business to those who already have it.  Is it no wonder EnviroCab was recommended the plurality of cab allotments?  Are we really going to reward the more business to those that already have it?  Are we going to abdicate any possibility of further competition?  I would be willing to wager EnviroCab's tests of an EV were flawed because their drivers weren't properly trained.  This won't be the case with EV Taxicabs.  They plan to have all their drivers undergo a coursework at Nissan HQ for the car they will be driving.  I have no doubt these drivers will be as skilled as any of my EV driving colleagues.  Keep in mind EV Taxis will cost less to run which will allow the passengers savings and that's the type of competition we need to keep prices down for all fares.  I will grant that EnviroCab received a very respectable score of 83 in the 17 November 2012 Board Meeting notes, Appendix B.  Indeed, only one company scored better: EV Taxicabs with a score of 84!

It's for these reasons that I urge the Arlington County Board of Supervisors to approve EV Taxicabs bid for an allotment of up to 40 cabs.  Their proposal is good for the citizens of the county, good for County Business, good for visitors to the region and good for the County Government's bottom line.


Jeffrey C. Jacobs
Electric Car Driver, Advocate and Writer

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to MOM's

Yes, MOM's Organic Market is about to turn 25!  The Washington region organic grocery story is an area icon for it's forward-thinking in bringing organic food to the nation's capital.

But MOM's is more about organic nutrition; MOM's is also a great area advocate of Electric Cars.  After all, MOM's of College Park and of Herndon were some of the first places J1772 EVSEs started showing up in this area.  And the newly-reopened Rockville store, the one where it all began, is also sporting it's own EVSE.

To celebrate, MOM's is calling on all Electric Vehicle drivers to show their cars off during the birthday weekend celebration 30 June and 1 July 2012!  The list of store locations are as follows:

Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 21, 2012

More Level 2 Charging coming to Maryland

Last Friday, a woman calling herself Amanda on the MyNissanLEAF forum posted an urgent request for help in organizing the distribution of one hundred Level 3 Charging Stations.  Needless to say, this caused quite a local buzz as these would be the first L3 Chargers South of the Mason-Dixon Line East of the Mississippi, outside of Tennessee and certainly the first in the Mid-Atlantic region.  Between that and my copy of the Diablo III Collector's Edition arriving it has been one incredible weekend for this EV Reporter!

Amanda reported that the stations in question will be the ChargePoint Level 3, CHAdeMO / SAE J1772-DC dual-gang equipment as pictured.  While the QuickCharge Wars rage between TEPCO's CHAdeMO and the SAE's J1772-DC extension heat up, this unit hedges its bets by supporting both, making everyone happy.  Great choice!

After a bit of digging I found more information about the company Amanda represents.  Thier full name is actually EV Green Stream and they're a Baltimore-based company.  I spoke with Zack at EV Green Stream and he confirms they're looking for homes for about 30 or so units, but nothing is concrete until contracts are signed.  However, some urgency must be added because they need to have signed documents by 1 June so it behoves us all to help out and make sure those wonderful L3 stations find homes that our Nissan LEAFs and Mitsubishi iMiEVs would like to visit!

But wait, the title says Level 2, not Level 3!?

You are very astute or just read the comments and realized that we were in fact being taken for a ride.  You see, on Monday, after I'd posted this, Amanda amended her request to say that in fact it was one hundred Level 2 stations being installed, not Level 3.  Yes, she confirmed Level 3 on Friday even after someone posted a link to the unit pictured above, but what's done is done, and now we know the truth.  Level 2, though great, is pretty common in Maryland and to a lesser extend in Virginia—less so in Washington D.C. since most of the units there are in garages that aren't even opened on weekends.  None the less, we should all help to give these Level 2 stations homes even if they're not quick charging.

But there is a catch; the locations must conform to the following rules:

  1. They have to be installed in the State of Maryland somewhere.
  2. They have to be accessible to the public (this is supposed to be infrastructure buildout.)
  3. It cannot be in an automotive dealership.
  4. It has to be a commercial business.
  5. We will charge for the installation but the charger is free.
  6. We have to have a signed contract on installation by June 1st.

So, no locations in Virginia, Deleware, West Virginia or Pennsylvania!  Also, note that Amanda estimates the cost of installation to be about $3,000.  As for the electricity cost, we know the LEAF for instance takes about 20kWh to go from 0% to 80% on a quick charge (more like 16kWh according to some posts in the MyNissanLEAF forum) and at 13¢kWh that's only $2.60 at Level 2, the Nissan LEAF draws about 3.8kW of electricity so in one hour that represents about 49.8¢ based on 13¢kWh, the regional average rate.  For the Ford Focus Electric with its 6.6kW charger, it comes to about 85.8¢ but most EVSEs can't put out more energy than that so at $1.00 per hour, you won't be making the LEAF and Volt (3.3kW) drivers happy but at least the Focus Electric folks are getting their money's worth.  Overall not a huge loss for the free advertising you get on sites like PlugShare.

Now, for me, my main goal would be to see them put in at the National Harbor, where they held the first Nissan LEAF event in the area and as the perfect first rest stop on the I95 corridor in Maryland going North.  I've also suggested Maryland House and Chesapeake House—need to contact HMS Host about that— but they don't really make sense for Level 2, only Level 3 as people don't stay there for hours.  Others on the MyNissanLEAF forum have suggested the US Route 50 corridor and I would add the I270 / I70 corridor and a site around Bethesda.  Finally, I'd suggest one in Silver Spring where we hold the EVA/DC meetings, though alas not the Library as the Library isn't a commercial business—and hopefully not The Blairs if they're gonna have the same connectivity problems the current EVSEs there do.  What would you suggest?

Oooh!  So excited!  Squee!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Manassas City Utilities Public Comments

My friend and fellow Nissan LEAF enthusiast Kayne Karnbach maintains a wonderful blog about electric vehicle.  In his latest entry, he investigates the charging infrastructure in Prince William County and Manassas city.  I believe Kayne is right about location but would add that movie houses and all those strip malls on VA 234 Business would also make great locations.  The sad thing about the railway station parking is most people will be leaving their cars there for 8–10 hour stretched which would fill even a LEAF from empty.  Seems to me the perfect situation where valet parking would be an advantage, where a Volt could get the first 4-hour shift, and a LEAF the second 6-hour shift on the same outlet, with the Volt coming from thirty to forty miles away and the LEAF from seventy to ninety.  And is the usual case will be much less, the time at the outlet could be even more greatly reduced with the valet managing how long to charge each one to a minimum of need.

Manassas City Utilities Public Comments

Last week I took the opportunity to address the Manassas City Utility Commission regarding their public charging stations.  Manassas has recently debuted public charging stations for EVs and PHEVs.

Here’s the gist of my address.

Don’t trust that data!  Two years from now, the city of Manassas will review usage data on each charger.  The conclusion that data will lead decision makers to is probably one of little or no benefit to having public charging available.  If reached, that conclusion will be wrong, and here’s why.  Public chargers are being installed with little thought on where and why to install them in the first place.  Because of this, EV owners will neglect to use the stations, since they don’t fit their charging needs.

Why don’t they meet EV owners’ needs?  EV owners are looking for places to charge that allow them to be plugged in for at least two hours, providing the kind of charge that will allow for at least 30 miles of range.  Plugging into a charger for anything less will result in 15 – 20 miles of range, hardly a reason to make a special trip to Manassas.

The only viable placement of public charging in Manassas at the moment is in the parking garage at the Virginia Railway station.  It is conceivable that someone could plug in while parked in the garage, presumably during work.  While this does make sense, it assumes EV owners are driving to Manassas from a distance of + 45 miles, since anything less wouldn’t necessitate a charge to make it home.  That would be the equivalent of someone driving from Front Royal to Manassas.  Not likely.

Almost made the 100 mile club…

Coming back from the EVA/DC meeting yesterday I almost achieve what I thought impossible: entry into the elusive 100 mi club.  Normally when I attend the EVA/DC in CO2 Fre Nissan LEAF I need to top off but thanks to my script I was able to verify after a half-hour of battery leveling my LEAF settle on 70.091 mi (112.800 km) range under normal drive (though I drive ECO) or 58.876 mi (94.752 km) with climate control.  In the spring I generally don't use climate control and a quick check on Google showed that the trip home with the stop off in Silver Spring would only be about 54.1 mi (87.1 km) so I should be able to make it.

This, after all, is the ideal option because when I charge at Silver Spring, I have to use the Sema Connect stations at the Blairs and pay $3.00 for three hours of charging when I only need about one.  Of course, that assumes they're actually able to communicate with the network that night, otherwise I don't get to go home!  And yes, that had happened but my friends at the EVA/DC had helped me out so of course I had arrived home and am able to tell you about it.  Thanks to Bryan and Rob (that's Bryan's Volt in the picture to the left), we had been able to get CO2 Fre the necessary electricity even though the sun had long since set at the solar EVSE at Suntrust in Bethesda.  Needless to say I don't like those EVSEs at the Blairs.

Yesterday I got home with 9 miles (14 km) left in ECO mode and one bar remaining.  I didn't even get to the first low battery warning.  But the car did report 6:30 of Level 2 Charging (18 hours of Level 1, 19 after the battery leveling 40 minutes later).  Since I try to keep my charge window at 01:00–06:00 to avoid higher electricity rates, my car finished charging with 30 minutes of Level 2 (50 minutes of Level 1) remaining and eleven of twelve bars.  Knowing that I could probably manage a normal commute with ninety percent battery charge I decided to risk leaving without topping off.  I'm guessing I should have no problem getting home as my car now reads seven out of twelve bars and 3:00 hours of Level 2 charging (8:30 of Level 1), more than half a pack.

The official registrar of the 100 mi / 161 km club is the MyNissanLEAF community which works on the honor system.  As I can't say what I started with nor remember exactly what I ended with even if I had driven 100 mi I wouldn't post it unless I could be sure.  But it's nice to know even with my mostly highway driving that goal is possible.  Who knows, maybe someday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EVA/DC May 2012 Meeting

EVA/DC Meetup

Dear Electric Vehicle (EV) fans and members, Please join our rowdy crew on Wed, May 16 from 7–9 PM and stay for networking afterwards as long as you like.

Please forward this message to others you think might be interested.

Unfortunately, I have a business trip out of town that I could not avoid, so I will not be in attendance, nor will our VP Eric Cardwell, so our President Emeritus and Program Director, Dave Goldstein, will be leading the discussion, with your help.

Here is what I think we should have on the agenda:

  1. Jean Gough from 350Green will discuss their plans for chargers.
  2. Chip Gribben and updates on the 200 mile per hour motorcycle in the &fra14; mile drag race.  Finished in under 7 seconds.  Gobs of postings on this.  Chip will fill us in.
  3. Bryan Murtha has updates on our EVADC license plates for MD.  Bring your checkbook.
  4. Lanny Hartman will tell us about the Maplelawn meet up of EV owners/leasors.
  5. George Lopez, Doron Shalvi, Dave Goldstein and others who brought EVs to the Solar and Wind Expo in Timonium MD this last weekend will tell us about how it went.
  6. John Alder and Lanny have purchased Th!ink all electric cars for the LOW LOW price of $15,000 after the federal tax credit.  Wow.  As seen at the Solar and Wind Expo.  I drove it.  Feels good.  2 seater.

Hang on Charlie.  I guess you were in a hurry here: it's the Mitsubishi iMiev that's a 2-seater.  the Th!nk is a 4-seat (2+2) coupe.  Okay, my good friend and Th!nk driver Lanny has set me straight.  His Th!nk is definitely a two-seater and I've certainly been in an iMiEV 4 seat sedan.  In any case, moving on…

  1. I'm sure I forgot some important items, but you all can work it out.  See you next time.

Charlie Garlow… and now it is joke time!  Get ready for groaners:

  • I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
  • Velcro is a rip off!
  • A cartoonist was found dead in his home.  Details are sketchy.
  • Venison for dinner again?  Oh deer!
  • The earthquake in Washington obviously was the government's fault.
  • They found a body covered in corn flakes.  They suspect a serial killer
  • I'm reading a book about anti-gravity.  Its impossible to put down.
  • Need an ark to save two of every animal?  I Noah guy.

Very punny Charlie. 

Also of note I'll be bringing my newest, oldest charger to show off my NEMA flexibility!

EVs in HOV en Virginie, C'est Fini!

On 30 June 2012 the Clean Fuel HOV easement will end in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The General Assembly failed to pass legislation in the 2011 session that would renew the easement allowing hybrid and electric vehicles access to certain of Virginia's HOV lanes depending on when the car was registered.  This system favored older hybrid cars in lieu of newer, cleaner of fully-electric, zero-emission vehicles.

Clearly, the Commonwealth decided to take me up on the second of my six proposals:

2. End the Clean Fuel HOV easement all together, which although fair would, I suspect, make no-one happy.

And clearly, I'm not happy.  Had I my druthers, we'd have passed item six of that list:

6. Allow only Plug-In Vehicles, vehicles that can be plugged into the wall, to take advantage of the HOV easement.  As a resident of Northern Virginia I find this the best solution for the Commonwealth because it's the exact same rule which governs our neighbor Maryland.  In fact, what would benefit the residents of Northern Virginia most would be if Richmond and Annapolis could set up a joint commission and co-operate on the issuing of this Plug-In easement such that each state would recognize the other's right to use HOV single occupancy within both states.

Instead, the Commonwealth is moving to a HOT-lane model.  First, I495 will be adding an HOV-3 HOT Lane that will work similarly to the Maryland Route 200 Inter-County Connector (ICC).  However, unlike the ICC, the I495 HOT lines will allow cars equipped with a special transponder that can verify the requisite number of passengers (3) it will be able to pass through the toll stations without being charged.  After the I495 HOT Lanes are completed, the plan is to extend these new toll lanes into the HOV for I95/I395 from Edsall Road in Arlington, VA, the first exit after the I495 beltway on I395, to Garrisonville Road in Stafford County, just South of the Marine Corps Base Quantico.

I asked Commonwealth Delegate Tom Rust about allowing EVs, at least, free access to these new HOV/HOT lanes but he said the contracts had already been signed and had no interest in pursuing any perk that would encourage Virginian's to switch to zero-emmission vehicles and thus help clean our state as well as put less pressure on gasoline prices for existing Internal Combustion Vehicles but reducing the demand for Gasoline by moving more people to EVs.  And recently Green Car Reports has taken up my cause, for what it's worth.  Personally, I think it's pretty hopeless but it doesn't mean we can't try to get things right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  I know I have support for my favorite option in Maryland.  Let's keep Virginia green and get EVs on those HOVs!  EVs from Virginia, EVs from Maryland and EVs from D.C.!  And then we can all breathe a little easier thanks to a greener Virginia.

Friday, May 4, 2012

EV Gathering in Maple Lawn

Tomorrow's EV Gathering in Maple Lawn is going to be fun.

We are expecting some interesting classic and brand new EVs that you may not have seen yet.  Bryan will be coming in his 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV.  Toyota will be announcing the new RAV4 Electric next week, come see the original!  Mark will be driving a Ford Transit Connect Electric van up from Virginia.  We will have one of the first Mitsubishi iMiEVs to arrive in the area.  You will also see several of only a handful of Th!nk City electric cars that are in private ownership in the US.

Come on out Saturday between 10:00 and noon. Bring lawn chairs and sunscreen.  Let us know beforehand if you are coming from such a distance that you will need a long charge to get home so that we can help arrange that.

EV Gathering/Coffee Meetup

Saturday, May 5, 2012, 10:00 AM
Parking lot with charging stations near Sidamo Coffee
8170 Maple Lawn Blvd, Fulton, MD

Maryland Volts

View Larger Map

Thank you Lanny and good luck!&nbps; Sounds like the best meetup yet.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Changes for a Better EV Life: Paying for Your Work-Related Driving

Having driven CO2 Fre for over a month now, I feel I can now safely make some recommendations for change that would make my life infinitely easier.  Some of these things I've been writing about long before I purchased my Nissan LEAF; I knew going in some sacrifice would be required for the greater good.  That's not to say there aren't great things like the burgeoning Charging Infrastructure and wonderful LEAF features to help get me through the day!  But there's always room for improvement and if you don't speak up, nothing will get done.

Charge at Work in Lieu of Per Mile Reimbursement

Recently, I learned about a perplexing issue affecting a Government employee who drives an EV and was was asked to attend a conference as a part of that person's work duties.  Unfortunately, this individual already uses most of the car's battery capacity in just getting to and from work each day.  Thus, to get to the conference the car would require supplemental charging to increase its range.  Since this car is a 100% Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV), the only way to increase the car range is via plugging into an electrical outlet.  But because there is no Government policy allowing its employees to charge at work under any circumstances, the worker in question would have to spend potentially hours of personal time at a public charger, perhaps paying a premium for that time just to satisfy job requirements.

One could and I have argued that Government employees and contractors should be able to charge at work.  But that's in the line of getting to and from the workplace when circumstances beyond the driver's control conspire to make it impossible to get home when leaving for work on a full pack, such as might be with traffic or cold weather.  Of course you shouldn't get an EV if you can't either charge at work or can't make it to work and back on a full pack 95% of the time or more, but for those situations where you do need a supplement, it's in the government's best interest to sell the energy to the employee rather than making this employee spend idle hours at a public charging spot.

Of course, OPM allows a Per Mile Reimbursement of 51¢ (at the time of this writing) which applies equally to EVs and ICE vehicles.  So of course this money could be put toward the electricity used to power the car.  After all, if the fuel reimbursement is 19¢—with the other 32¢ per mile representing additional wear and tear on the vehicle—that's a windfall for an electric car.  For example, my vehicle gets better than 4mikWh (6.4kmkWh) at the moment and for the most part my electricity comes at the Super Off-Peak rate of about 6¢kWh meaning I only require about 1.5¢mi (0.93¢km) in fuel.  And at 19¢mi payed by the the employeer, this comes the equivalent of 76¢kWh for a car like mine, which is almost 6 times the regional average of 13¢kWh, higher even than most all of the electricy sold in the U.S.  Indeed, any workplace offering a per mile reimbursement rate of work-related travel is likely to be just as lucrative in terms of energy cost.  But that's obviously not the issue.

It's about the time

The real issue here with EV drivers isn't the money at all, it's the time.  Most Americans mistakenly have in their head the idea that a vehicle operates by first filling it with fuel at some designated fueling station, in minutes, then using it until near empty, then going to another designated fueling station and repeating the process.  This, however, is an incorrect paradigm for EVs.  For an EV driver the logical situation is to charge the car each night, then charge some more where you're parked, then charge some more at the next place you park, and so on.  You never let the battery get toward zero and you prefer not to charge to 100%.  That's why the 4-tiered charging pyramid you see above, derived by the my friend Bob Bruninga, has charge at home at the bottom, charge at work in the middle and public charging at the top with a small point at the summit to represent Level-3 Charging like with CHADeMO.

Again, it's the employer's call, be that the Federal Government, Local Government, Public Non-Profit or Private Business, as to whether an employee may charge at work.  But there are so many idle hours parked at work and with so little cost to you, the employer.  Yet there's so much time benefit—potentially a large percentage of your poor, loyal worker's personal day.  And when the only reason they need to spend those extra hours charging is because they have to go that extra mile in the line of duty, they don't just need the money.  Simply forget the 19¢ fuel you'd normally give your workers and just let them charge at work, just for that day, at least, just so they can effectively do the job your require of them and still save you money!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Informal EV Gathering, Volts, LEAFs, Teslas, Smart ED all welcome!

My good friend Lanny Hartmann has arranged for an impromptu gathering of my fellow electric vehicle enthusiasts to meet in Scaggsville / Fulton, MD tomorrow for what we'll call Electric Cars & Coffee and the adorable Ethiopian emporium Sidemo Coffee & Tea.

Located in the Maple Lawn shopping center, this location has no less than 6 SemaConnect chargers available for anyone coming from more than about 40 miles away in an EV, so we hope to see folks from far and wide.  But be forewarned, you need a SemaConnect card with a current balance to use these chargers. In this case I will try to share my card with anyone identifying themselves as coming from this website and you'll hopefully have a chance to meet the founder and CEO of SemaConnect himself, Mahi Reddy who may also be able to help you.  At just $1 per hours, I can certainly afford a few of you.  Of course, this assumes I can activate multiple EVSEs at once with the same card.  I've yet to try but I won't be the only one with a card there.  So please order your card from the Sema Website and then come on and join us for the first area Electric Cars & Coffee!

View Larger Map

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Capital LEAFs is coming to Koons!

I've just got confirmation from Steve Osborne, GM at Koons Nissan in Falls Church, Virginia!  Mark your calendars for Tax Credit Weekend, Saturday, 14 April 2012 from 13:00 (1:00 pm) to 17:00 (5:00 pm) where we will have 3 chargers available and I am looking into catering.  I'll post more details as they become available.  Hopefully we can get everyone from Haymarket, VA to Glen Burnie, MD and have the biggest LEAF EVent yet in the Capital region!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Changes for a Better EV Life: Get Them to Work Overtime for Pennies

Having driven CO2 Fre for over a month now, I feel I can now safely make some recommendations for change that would make my life infinitely easier.  Some of these things I've been writing about long before I purchased my Nissan LEAF; I knew going in some sacrifice would be required for the greater good.  That's not to say there aren't great things like the burgeoning Charging Infrastructure and wonderful LEAF features to help get me through the day!  But there's always room for improvement and if you don't speak up, nothing will get done.

Cheap Employee Perk

Would your employees work for 17¢ an hour?  Sound impossible?  Sound illegal?  Well, if your pay your employees on salary it's certainly possible to extract more hours of work by simply allowing them to plug their electric vehicle into one of your outlets.

Simply put, if you don't have to pay them overtime and pizzas and refreshments aren't keeping them late, how about a bit of free tickle charged electricity to get them to work just one more hour?  And it doesn't cost you more than the electricity assuming you already have a standard NEMA 5-15 plug at the work site, and what business doesn't? Just let them plug in and watch as they consider leaving then rethink because they want just that little bit extra charge, an extra 5–10 miles of after work activities or to make up the lost mileage that morning due to traffic and weather.  At 12¢kWh U.S. national average and a mere 1.44kW charger you'd only be out about 17¢ per hour more worked!

But one thing I will recommend if it's not there already.  For a couple more bucks upgrade that external outlet to a GFCI.  The last think you'll need is to have a fault at that socket plunge the whole office into darkness.  It's not necessary, believe me.&nbps; All EVSEs have their own ground fault circuitry so they shouldn't be hitting your breaker with issues.  But when someone plugs something besides an EV in that output, you'll be thankful I told you.

Oh, and happy π day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Changes for a Better EV Life: Charging at work costs less than a Mini Fridge!

Having driven CO2 Fre for over a month now, I feel I can now safely make some recommendations for change that would make my life infinitely easier.  Some of these things I've been writing about long before I purchased my Nissan LEAF; I knew going in some sacrifice would be required for the greater good.  That's not to say there aren't great things like the burgeoning Charging Infrastructure and wonderful LEAF features to help get me through the day!  But there's always room for improvement and if you don't speak up, nothing will get done.

Power Consumption

During business hours a typical mini fridge is drawing about 320 Watts (W) of electrical power.  A car plugged in to trickle charge on the other hand is using about 120 Volts of Alternating Current (VAC) × 12 Amperes (A), and thus an average of 1,440 W peak.  Note, since A/C is a sine wave, the maximum power used at the peak ends of each cycle is 2,036 W (The maximum for a sine wave with a given Root Mean Square — multiply by √2) but 0 W is used at the middle of the cycle so overall the 120 VAC average is produced.  This is therefore about the equivalent of the power used by just 4 typical mini fridges.

Daily Electrical Consumption

The mini fridge runs 24 hours a day, continuously, and thus uses about 7.68 Kilowatt⋅Hours (kWh). The EV on the other hand is only drawing power for 8 hours a day and thus uses about 11.52 kWh, and thus is about equivalent to that of the 1½ mini fridge.

Annual Electrical Consumption

In a typical year, running 365.2425 days that same mini fridge is using 2,805 kWh of electricity.  But the employee who works 40 hours a week, 46 weeks a year (including 2 weeks fixed vacation and 4 weeks flexible vacation) uses only 2,764 kWh of electricity, and that's less than what a single mini fridge uses!


So, wouldn't it be cheaper to ban mini fridges and allow electric vehicle charging at work?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

EVA/DC January 2012 Meeting

Hi EV maniacs!

Please share this invitation with your friends/listservs.

Our January meeting will be on Wed Jan 18 from 7 - 9 PM at the Silver Spring, MD public library on Colesville Road, just inside the Beltway and only 4 blocks north of the Silver Spring METRO.  We will endeavor to start and finish on time, but there will be plenty of time for the best part of the meeting, BS-ing, before and after the planned agenda.

Draft Agenda

  1. The DC Auto Show is in late January at the Convention Center and we want to be there.  Eric Cardwell, ace VP of our club, is heading up this operation.  Lots of good ideas are percolating already.
  2. EV license plates and membership categories. Bryan Murtha will update us.
  3. New EVs coming to market: Tesla Model S, Model X?, iMiev, Ford Focus EV, Toyota PHEV
  4. Who bought/leased a new EV? Any issues?
  5. Charging stations: New ones, Where, Issues?
  6. Reveng of the Electric Car.  Movie premier in Baltimore.  How did it go?
  7. Charging at work with 110 volt outlets.  Cheap.  Bob Bruninga update.
  8. California ZEV and Federal MPG standards.  How does this affect EVs?
  9. Other agenda items you want to discuss?

Charlie Garlow, your Prez and a host of fantastic volunteers.

How about the property tax rate in Fairfax, Virginia?


Just a reminder about tomorrow (Wednesday's) EVADC Meeting.  And to say that we got some feedback on topics, including questions about the Chevy Volt and any difficulties, including the fire controversy [overblown, in my opinion].  Here is the previous message.  Please forward to others.  Bring a friend.

Couldn't agree more, Charlie!