Friday, May 15, 2009

30,000 EV Miles

The odometer in my Chevy s10 Electric recently hit a major milestone, 30,000 miles. That is 30,000 miles of pure battery electric powered vehicle miles. According to the American Lung Association, even if these miles were fueled from the standard electricity grid, it is still significantly better for our air. And, as regular CelticSolar readers know, the solar panels on my house make more than enough to power my driving.

If 30,000 sounds impressive, you should know that there are RAV4-EVs out there that have over 100,000 miles. However, if you have heard the smear campaign that the millennium era EV batteries were not ready, here is evidence to the contrary.

I should point out that this is a freeway speed truck. The bed is fully open (the batteries are underneath). I have hauled 1200 lbs of rocks in it and you could hardly tell they were there. It will do 73 MPH and, other than the range, it is a no-compromise vehicle.

The batteries are 11 years old. They are nickel metal hydride (NiMh) chemistry. At this age, their range is reduced. When these trucks were new, they could go ~80 miles on a charge. Now my range is ~50 miles. 50 miles is still enough for most of my daily driving needs. I have a 20 mile round trip commute; most of it at 45 MPH. So 50 miles of range gives me more than enough for commuting and errands on a typical day. I plug it in overnight and the next day it is fully charged and ready to go again.

My most efficient trip was a Sunday drive in Beaverton. I was able to drive 16.1 miles and only use 14% of the battery capacity. My least efficient trip, just two months later, was a short hilly 5 mile drive when I was in a hurry, that used 16% of the capacity.

Not all of the 30k miles on the truck are my driving. I picked up this truck over 2 years ago in Feb 2007 and it had 18.8k miles on it then. So only the last 11.2k are my driving; with the last 18 months of that being solar powered.

If GM (and other auto manufacturers) had continued to make EVs, by now they would be lighter, more aerodynamic, have better battery management, longer range, on-board charger, fast charging, major cities would have charging networks... I am generally not one to look back at the past. I only do so here because I would like to make sure that we are not doomed to repeat these mistakes again when the 2010+ EV and PHEVs are generally available.

Here is hoping my S10EV makes another 30k miles.

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