While visiting my brother-in-law a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he saw a Rivian R1T on the road recently and thought it looked really cool. So he started asking us about electric cars. After we’ve been bombarded with questions for a while, I suggested he write them all down and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Part of me was hoping he’d get busy and forget about my suggestion, but after a few days the list popped up in my email inbox. Now I have to postpone my end of the bargain.
One of his questions was why there isn’t a single place anyone can go to learn about electric cars. I know CleanTechnica He published hundreds, if not thousands, of articles about electric cars (I feel like I wrote a hundred of them myself), but they are scattered all over the place and go back over a decade in some cases. There is no single all-encompassing, all-encompassing article “Everything you need to know about electric vehicles”. We hope the following will address this gap.
Let the questions about electric cars begin!
The following is the list of 16 questions I received in my email, slightly modified. If this article is too long to easily read (I think it might be), I reserve the right to divide it into two or more articles.
The first section contains questions about charging an electric car.
Q: Let’s say I spend about $200 a month on gas for a combustion engine vehicle. About how much do I pay per month to charge my car?
A: Assuming a gasoline price of $3.50 a gallon, two hundred dollars would buy 57 gallons of gas, which is enough to drive about 1,250 miles in a regular car or truck. A modern electric vehicle like the Ford Mustang Mach-E can travel 2.7 miles in kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, According to Google. This means that he would need 466 kWh to drive the same distance. Tesla Model Y is one of the most efficient electric cars. About a third goes on more kilowatt-hours than Mach-E.
Assuming a kilowatt-hour costs $0.15, you would spend about $70 on enough electricity to drive as much as you can on $200 worth of gasoline, which is why many people say that running an electric car only costs a third of the cost of driving traditional car.
It is clear that there are many assumptions in the above calculations. With increased fuel economy in a conventional car, the difference will be smaller. Likewise, as the cost of electricity goes up, the difference will also decrease.
reddit It has a good forum for people interested in electric cars. Recently, I found this comment on a thread: “I switched from a Ram 1500. (which was a great truck but not the point) to Mach E. You actually save $1,000 a month on gas for electricity. I was spending $1,100 to $1,200 a month on Gas “.
Not everyone will have the same experience, but it is safe to say that driving an electric car will save a significant amount of money compared to buying gasoline.
Q, How much does it cost to charge my car at a public charging station?
A: To address this question requires some background. There are two basic types of universal chargers. Level 2 operates on alternating current (see our guide to Level 2 charging for more information). Level 3 fast chargers operate on a constant current and can range from as low as 50 kW to as high as 350 kW.
In general, level 2 charging is used for cars that will be parked for some time – at work, restaurants, stores and the like. Level 3 chargers are usually found along highway roads where people want to charge as fast as possible and get back on the road.
Just as gas prices go up in highway rest areas, the cost of charging with a level 3 charger will be higher. Tesla Superchargers typically cost about $0.38 per kWh. Some other shipping networks can bill customers $0.80 per kWh or more. Obviously, these higher prices make the difference between buying gas and buying electrons a lot smaller.
If you spend your life on a superslab away from home, the charging cost in level 3 chargers will be the same as buying gasoline. But here is a good place to mention one important difference between electric cars and conventional cars.
85% of all electric vehicles are charged at home. When your battery runs low, plug in, sleep, and wake up the next morning with enough battery charge to drive 3 to 5 days of normal driving. No trips to the gas station, no dirty hoses, and no smell of petrol on your clothes. It takes 10 seconds to connect the charging cable and 10 seconds to unplug it. sweet!
This is another thing you may not know. Many hotels, B&Bs, inns, restaurants, and stores want to deal with electric vehicle drivers, so they offer free Tier 2 charges to their customers. While you spend more to charge on the expressway, you may be able to charge for free when you reach your destination. How great is this?
Q: I understand that not all electric vehicles can be charged at a Tesla charging station. Are there any incompatible with Teslas? If so, who are they and why?
A: A quick history lesson in order here. Over a decade ago, when Tesla was just getting into the auto industry, I reached out to established companies and asked if they wanted to help design a universal charging standard. They declined the offer, so Tesla went ahead and made its own bid.
Later, the old automakers realized that they needed their own charging standard and came up with the so-called Common Charging Standard, or CCS. Pretty much everyone agrees that the Tesla standard is superior, but ego often plays a big role in business decisions, and so today in America we have two standards in common – a Tesla Supercharger and a CCS.
Tesla has now created an adapter that allows non-Tesla cars to use a supercharger. Teslas come from the factory with an adapter that allows drivers to use any CCS charger. The federal government is putting a lot of money behind its plan to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Tesla would like to qualify for some of that federal money, but in order to do so, it must make at least half of its chargers anywhere compatible with cars that use the CCS standard.
So, the answer is that convergence is happening in the industry. Decades ago, Sony had two proprietary technologies – Trinitron for color TVs and BetaMax for video recordings. Everyone agreed they were superior, but in the end the least expensive color TV systems won the market and BetaMax got under the VHS system.
We all know that having two different benchmarks is ridiculous, wasteful and frustrating for drivers. But changes are coming. One feature of the Tesla Supercharger network that is light years ahead of the competition is called “plug and charge.” When you insert the connector into your charging port, your car and charging network do an electronic handshake, charging begins within a few seconds, and the display keeps you informed of charging speeds and how much it costs to date.
When you disconnect, the total amount is automatically paid to the credit card assigned to your Tesla account. Other networks are years behind. If you drive an electric vehicle that uses the CCS standard and are able to use a Tesla Supercharger (after setting up an account with Tesla), you’ll never want to go back to using another charging network.
Q: Is anyone working on a global industry standard for electric vehicle charging?
a. see above.
Apparently, I’m on my way to writing an encyclopedia here. My fingers are tired and I have to take a break for dinner. Look for part two on this topic soon. Stay tuned!
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