Electric cars, hybrids, and related vehicles


The drive to my parents’ house 3 hours away is 191 miles. I would not feel comfortable using the Bolt for that trip unless there was something akin to Tesla’s superchargers on the way, where I could stop off for 20 minutes and recharge the batteries.


Huh, my work has an EV charger that sits vacant, and this looks pretty sweet.

/looks at my two kids, modest retirement savings, mortgage. /shudders

Edit: like everyone else our next vehicle in 2-3 years will probably be a CUV. But tempting.


There are fast chargers available for non-Tesla cars that can go from zero to full charge in about 40-45 minutes. What I’ve seen in my area, St. Louis, is that only the car dealers with EVs have them available. No one else is investing in them yet. There are quite a few four-hour chargers available, but for a 191 mile trip you’d probably need to spend 4+ hours charging to make the round-trip.

If you were staying overnight it might not be so bad. Stop and charge somewhere for an hour on the way and then trickle-charge overnight while at your parents.


You might find that a Bolt would save you money. Just a data point. I’ve put about 950 miles on my Nissan Leaf and so far I’ve spent about $15 on charging it. The rest of the charging has been at free charging stations. I’m not set up to charge at home yet. It doesn’t need oil changes either. No radiator or transmission. The EVs are simpler cars.


Yeah, for an hour. That’s a markedly degraded experience compared to a gas or hybrid car.

I would definitely have range anxiety with a 200m range, and that would be enough to keep me away from buying one. Assuming I didn’t live in manhattan and had any intentions of buying a car, anyway.


Yeah, until you can charge your EV to 100% in the same amount of time it takes to fill up a gas tank, and every corner gas station has a charger at every pump, EV’s won’t interest me. It’s fun to dream about owning one, though.


I’ve been tempted to buy an EV for a commuter car and using my current car for longer trips, but I haven’t been able to justify it yet. It made sense in Southern California, where there were charging stations all over the place. Not so much so now that I’m back in Omaha. Still considering the Volt for my next car though. I live 22 miles from work with no charger available at the office, so I would be sipping a small amount of gas each day (a bit more on days where I have to make stops on the way home). They quote the range as 53 miles on a full charge, but it sounds like 40 is a more realistic number. Last time I went looking for one here in town, there were 0 for sale, with the nearest Volt available being a 3 hour drive down to Kansas City.

Got so spoiled the last several years in L.A.


Our situation is that our EV is a second car, and we don’t do a lot of daily driving. My commute is three miles and my significant other works from home. We have the gas-powered car for longer trips but otherwise we try to use the EV as much as possible. It’s been great so far and when we replace the gas car we may go with a hybrid like the Volt or even go with something like the Bolt. If we want to do a lot of driving, such as go on a driving vacation, we can rent a car for a week.


I don’t need that level of ubiquity. I would be very happy with an extended range (300 mile) Tesla Model S and the supercharger network. 200 miles and much slower charging, though, that doesn’t quite cut it. If only the Tesla wasn’t a $100k car.

It’ll get there. Electric cars are improving incredibly rapidly. Just not quite there yet.


Yeah, the volt is an awesome step in the direction of an affordable every day commuter car. But, more of a first step into all EV, for early adopters. It doesn’t look like they have any supercharging style option with the vehicle, according to their site, full charge is 9 hours with a 240v outlet. This is all early unveiling information, and I am sure more will shake out as the year progresses, but this looks perfect for people who can have a second car just for commuting. Though, I think that the audience of people who would buy this car probably would rather it be a honda or a subaru.


So the charging stations I’ve seen in the St. Louis area are all stations that promise to go from zero to 100% in about four hours. They seem to work for all EVs, except perhaps for Teslas. Trickle-charging can take 10+ hours to go from zero to full, but most people will seldom be that close to zero so overnight charging will work for most people.

Once I get a 240v outlet in the carport I’ll be able to charge it to 100% overnight most of the time. The limiting factor for us isn’t charging stations or time-to-charge but the 84 mile range of the Leaf. We knew that going in, of course, but decided we could make that work. We got such a great deal on it it was hard to say no.

I do have some Chevy Bolt envy. A 200 mile range would be nice. We recently did a 90 mile drive to Springfield, IL for an overnight getaway to see the Lincoln museum (very interesting and moving) as well as a few other things. We could have done that in a Bolt. The Leaf would have required stopping at a charging station and I’m not even sure there are any.


You got the Leaf recently right? What are the numbers like of part exchange or other options? Your leaf should also soon (next year sometime iirc) have that 200 mile* range (your dealer may know more) when the new batteries come out, and you probably have an upgrade scheme for that.

*these numbers are always off for normal driving conditions and styles!


I don’t know if the Leaf is upgradeable. The 2016 model ups the range from 84 to 107, but that’s mostly due to a bigger battery.

The Leaf (not mine, but the auto line) is five years old so it’s still a baby in terms of gauging long-term reliability and upkeep, but there’s very little maintenance needed. Tires and brakes are mostly it. The electric engine runs cool. There aren’t many moving parts.

The battery is the big thing. It’s something like $6500 to replace it, and it will degrade over time. It has an 8 year, 80k or 100k warranty (can’t remember which number) that guarantees it won’t fall below X number of bars. Nissan also has a battery lease option, $100 per month if you need to replace the battery.

I am really thinking about trading it in in a few years for an EV with a longer range. The dealer I bought from has a program where I can trade it in and keep the same payment for the new car, just extend it. I just need to get enough equity in the car to do the trade-in.


I so want EV’s to be here now, and Mark, I admire you for jumping into the pool.

But for me they’re not. I remember when I bought a new Civic in 1990 and saying “my next car will be electric !”. Ah, the promises back then ! Then in 2000 I bought a new Civic with a normal engine, again.

The most recent was a 2014 Corolla. I just can’t take the hybrid/electric jump yet. I considered it, but didn’t see the point. I get 40 or so MPG as long as I don’t drive like an asshole, highway/city combined. Standard parts that will be available for 20 years, a tech with a long history that’s easily understood and repaired inexpensively, no need for battery replacements down the road, and absolutely no range anxiety.

Maybe my next car in 10 years will be all EV ? :). Hopefully. 30 years after I first said that.


The next five years will be interesting for EVs. We’re getting the Bolt, with a promised 200 mile range. Nissan is upping the Leaf range and has hinted at 200 miles. (The Leaf is also going to be their entry into the self-driving market.) Tesla’s coming out with a $50,000 car. There are a couple of other car makers that are jumping in.

We need to see more charging stations, though it’s nice that people can charge at home overnight. It’s like having a gas pump at home! You can buy the four hour chargers for $500-1000 and get those installed at home too. It’s still not anywhere close to filling up at the gas pump in a few minutes, but with a 200 mile range an hour of charging should get you about 50 miles.

Your comment about parts is interesting, because there aren’t nearly as many parts in these EVs. The battery is the big deal and it will not last forever. We don’t really know how reliable these cars are yet. Initially, they are cheaper to maintain than traditional cars, but if the battery needs to be replaced after 6-7 years, that’s not good.

What really makes this work for us is we don’t really need two cars, but more like 1.5 cars. Most of the time one car is enough. The second car is more of a luxury that we got a great deal on.


The new Tesla, the Model 3, is supposed to be in the $35,000 range, not 50k. Now as to how well they’ll hit the target - that’s still unknown. But the goal was to make a more affordable car than their model S, so I think the price will be closer to 35k than 50k. I hope so too, I’m interested in it.

They have repeatedly said they’re going to start taking preorders in March of 2016, with delivery (I think) 2 years after that. So more info should be coming out real soon now about the car (even if the March date slips, I doubt it’ll slip significantly), and the price question will undoubtedly be answered.


I just hope my 2006 ford escape can survive until the next generation of vehicles (EVs and self drivers) so I don’t need to get another old car.


I own a house in Seattle but even then don’t have an indoor parking spot. I really want to get some EV in the future but right now have no plausible way to hook up a charger :-(


Yes, that’s a problem for people that don’t have at least a driveway. We have a car port so getting a charging hookup is trivial. We just need to put in a 240v outlet. I’m confident that trickle-charging is all we need to do.


I don’t see why they can’t add a hand crank to the front of the vehicle so you can manually charge up the batteries.