charging an electric car

After an incident between a box truck and my parked car on Saturday morning (despite the very large NO TRUCKS sign on our street), I'm driving a rental Chevy Volt for the next little bit here. It's a pretty slick little car that runs on electric or gas, but unlike the Prius which charges itself, the Volt needs to be plugged in. Aside from hoping that I could manage to snag the parking spot directly across from my house (doubtful) and then running an extension cord across the street to my car (seems.. dangerous?), anyone know of a good way to charge a car like that in the city?

Apparently the Liberty Gas on Columbus Blvd. by Ikea has a charging station, but it takes something like 4 hours to top off the battery completely. Guess I could go watch some TV in one of the Ikea living rooms while that's happening, but there's gotta be a better way.

sdm's picture

It's going to take 4 hours any place that offers 240V charging stations. A conventional 120V outlet (charging at your home) takes almost 3x as long.

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brooke's picture

How long does a Volt run off a full battery, Lord Sdm?

This is bringing back memories of waiting for my laundry at the laundromat before I had a washer/dryer in my house...and like buying more socks rather than having to go to the laundromat, I'd probably buy a new car too to avoid going to the charging station to wait.

Former attorney and current CITYSPACE real estate agent extraordinaire

zempf's picture

I should note that it does drive like a Prius when the battery isn't charged (using the gas engine to supplement the electric), so it's not like I'm not going to be able to drive or anything. Just figured it'd be cool to top off the battery while I'm asleep or working or whatever.

sdm's picture

brooke wrote:
How long does a Volt run off a full battery, Lord Sdm?

This is bringing back memories of waiting for my laundry at the laundromat before I had a washer/dryer in my house...and like buying more socks rather than having to go to the laundromat, I'd probably buy a new car too to avoid going to the charging station to wait.

I think the range with a full tank of gas and charged battery is maybe 400 miles? All this came up in a recent conversation a few weeks back which is the only reason I know any of it.

http://www.thechargingpoint.com/news/YouTues-The-Simpsons-try-an-electric-car2.html

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stein's picture

brooke wrote:
I'd probably buy a new car too to avoid going to the charging station to wait.

given the price of the volt that would end up being a little more expensive than buying new socks!

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

roma258's picture

zempf wrote:
Apparently the Liberty Gas on Columbus Blvd. by Ikea has a charging station, but it takes something like 4 hours to top off the battery completely. Guess I could go watch some TV in one of the Ikea living rooms while that's happening, but there's gotta be a better way.

Looks like the IBEW building at Spring Garden has a charging station:
http://www.mychargepoint.net/find-stations.php

Surprised the quick chargers haven't rolled out yet. Those are supposed to take only about 7 minutes. I guess the infrastructure is just starting to build up. Good luck...

Kenzo's picture

I almost got mowed down by a Volt on Friday. The driver was too busy basking in her smugness to notice the pedestrians.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

ForeverChanges's picture

South Park fan, eh?

Truth be told, I wish I had the bankroll to get one of those things. Or one of those teeny-tiny two seat Smart jobbers that have started cropping up.. Probably because I've always wanted to drive a golf cart on 95, and they seem like the closest street legal approximation of that. I think I'd also have to get crazy mag wheels on it and a huge fake engine stuck on the hood with a hole in the roof so I could look like a Big Daddy Roth cartoon.

Kenzo's picture

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

roma258's picture

I don't get the aversion people have to hybrids and electric cars. Dinosaur juice is not gonna be around forever, something's eventually gonna have to take its place. But hey, let's poke fun at the early adopters instead...

Kuishimbo's picture

How far do you have to pull it backwards to make it go?

How often do you have to replace the "I" key on your computer?

Cutter's picture

roma258 wrote:
I don't get the aversion people have to hybrids and electric cars. Dinosaur juice is not gonna be around forever, something's eventually gonna have to take its place. But hey, let's poke fun at the early adopters instead...

It's the wrong technology for the future. Also, if they're anything like the prius, they're a total affront to the enjoyment of driving.

roma258's picture

Cutter wrote:
roma258 wrote:
I don't get the aversion people have to hybrids and electric cars. Dinosaur juice is not gonna be around forever, something's eventually gonna have to take its place. But hey, let's poke fun at the early adopters instead...

It's the wrong technology for the future. Also, if they're anything like the prius, they're a total affront to the enjoyment of driving.

What's the right technology for the future? Honest question.. As far as enjoyment of driving, please, it's no worse than your average Camry.

brooke's picture

Not true. My Camry drove smooth. I test drove one this time around and the drive didn't bug me but the interior was so...minimalist. Next time I am buying a hybrid but hopefully that is many years away.

Former attorney and current CITYSPACE real estate agent extraordinaire

Gato's picture

I shot this at shadfest. Just get yourself a handy diesel generator....

barstool's picture

Total waste of money. This so called car will never sell. Obama is shoving it down our throats.

stein's picture

brooke wrote:
Not true. My Camry drove smooth. I test drove one this time around and the drive didn't bug me but the interior was so...minimalist. Next time I am buying a hybrid but hopefully that is many years away.

there is a camry hybrid now

of course, most people who care about the 'fun of driving' would say that camrys ruin driving as well.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Kat's picture

Cutter wrote:
roma258 wrote:
I don't get the aversion people have to hybrids and electric cars. Dinosaur juice is not gonna be around forever, something's eventually gonna have to take its place. But hey, let's poke fun at the early adopters instead...

It's the wrong technology for the future. Also, if they're anything like the prius, they're a total affront to the enjoyment of driving.

In my opinion, you are wrong about that. Have you ever driven one? Not everyone enjoys driving certain cars. I don't enjoy driving my husband's truck, but he loves it. Whatever floats your boat. I bought one of the first Prius in the cIty about 6 years ago and I love it. It does have some blindspots which is a deign flaw, but I love driving it. It has served me well on my ginormous commute.

Cutter's picture

roma258 wrote:
Cutter wrote:
roma258 wrote:
I don't get the aversion people have to hybrids and electric cars. Dinosaur juice is not gonna be around forever, something's eventually gonna have to take its place. But hey, let's poke fun at the early adopters instead...

It's the wrong technology for the future. Also, if they're anything like the prius, they're a total affront to the enjoyment of driving.

What's the right technology for the future? Honest question.. As far as enjoyment of driving, please, it's no worse than your average Camry.

The right technology will be one that allows us to live our lives as it is right now. Current civilization cannot wait four hours for every vehicle that needs to move. Engineering and funding should be made to a fuel that's already there, hydrogen, instead of these stopgap solutions.

The average Camry is head and shoulders above the Prius in terms of drivability. For one thing, the Camry doesn't handle like a sponge. And it also doesn't wheeze to get to 45mph.

Kat's picture

...and my car does not handle like a sponge NOR wheeze to get to 45.

Cutter's picture

Kat wrote:
Cutter wrote:
roma258 wrote:
I don't get the aversion people have to hybrids and electric cars. Dinosaur juice is not gonna be around forever, something's eventually gonna have to take its place. But hey, let's poke fun at the early adopters instead...

It's the wrong technology for the future. Also, if they're anything like the prius, they're a total affront to the enjoyment of driving.

In my opinion, you are wrong about that. Have you ever driven one? Not everyone enjoys driving certain cars. I don't enjoy driving my husband's truck, but he loves it. Whatever floats your boat. I bought one of the first Prius in the cIty about 6 years ago and I love it. It does have some blindspots which is a deign flaw, but I love driving it. It has served me well on my ginormous commute.

Yes, I've driven a second gen prius. A lot. Dated a girl for a year who owned one, in some hideous olive color. You can't compare trucks to cars.

bozoloper's picture

Cutter wrote:
roma258 wrote:
Cutter wrote:
roma258 wrote:
I don't get the aversion people have to hybrids and electric cars. Dinosaur juice is not gonna be around forever, something's eventually gonna have to take its place. But hey, let's poke fun at the early adopters instead...

It's the wrong technology for the future. Also, if they're anything like the prius, they're a total affront to the enjoyment of driving.

What's the right technology for the future? Honest question.. As far as enjoyment of driving, please, it's no worse than your average Camry.

The right technology will be one that allows us to live our lives as it is right now. Current civilization cannot wait four hours for every vehicle that needs to move. Engineering and funding should be made to a fuel that's already there, hydrogen, instead of these stopgap solutions.

The average Camry is head and shoulders above the Prius in terms of drivability. For one thing, the Camry doesn't handle like a sponge. And it also doesn't wheeze to get to 45mph.

i drove a 4 cylinder '97 camry for years. the most reliable car i've ever owned. it drove like a piece of crap. i never understood how they managed to give it the power of a cavalier combined with the handling of a town car.

there's a fool on every corner when you're trying to get home.

roma258's picture

I used to be a car nut, currently a bike nut, so bare with me if I get into the weeds.

Current civilization cannot wait four hours for every vehicle that needs to move
First of all, most people use their cars for commuting and most people own a garage (not relevant to us city folk, but still). So letting a car charge overnight is not really much of an inconvenience for a good chunk of the population. Also, some gas stations are rolling out 7 minute quick-charge stations. Still slower than gas, but not really a huge burden either.

Engineering and funding should be made to a fuel that's already there, hydrogen, instead of these stopgap solutions.
Car companies have dumped billions into R & D for hybrid cars. When GM dumped the EV1, their justification was that hydrogen is the future and they want to spend R & D there. Honda, Toyota and GM have all built hydrogen models and sold limited runs to the public. It hasn't even come close to catching on. Liquid hydrogen requires a massive infrastructure investment to replace gas, and it is highly energy intensive to produce. I'm very dubious of the hydrogen future, but we'll see.

The average Camry is head and shoulders above the Prius in terms of drivability. For one thing, the Camry doesn't handle like a sponge. And it also doesn't wheeze to get to 45mph.
Quite frankly, Americans don't really care how cars handle. And this is coming from someone who drives a turbocharged, manual shift, sport compact car. The Prius is built on the Camry platform, so I doubt the difference in their handling is in any way substantial. Also if you want a handling hybrid, Honda would be happy to sell you a CR-Z
http://automobiles.honda.com/cr-z/price.aspx
As far as acceleration, the 2.5l Toyota Camry goes 0-60 mph in 8.7 second. The Prius goes 0-60 in 9.7 second. Not exactly a world of difference.

I follow motorcycle racing and in the last couple of years, the development in racing electric motorcycles has been pretty amazing. Just a couple years ago, the idea of racing electric motorcycles was considered a joke. A few start-ups (mostly American believe it or not) pulled together and started a racing series. Now, they're lapping race tracks within a few seconds of supersports (600cc class) and Honda just announced they're entering the series. It's a very exciting time and the amount of development we've seen in just a couple years is hard to overstate. So I'm always amused by people who want to dismiss electric vehicles, because there is so much cool stuff going on behind the scenes.

stein's picture

Cutter wrote:
The right technology will be one that allows us to live our lives as it is right now.

haha, what? that makes no sense at all. most important technologies change the way we live.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

stbenjamin's picture

I love how my 09 Prius drives, and I like the interior. The traction control makes it handle better in the snow than my old Subaru (for realz). Sure I wish it had more pick up but I could say that about any small or efficient car.

Cutter's picture

No, almost all people use their cars to commute. Most use them for other things that will require stops at the pump away from home. Also, we simply just can't have machines plugged in for hours or days in all logistics operations, especially during a shipment.

New things are expensive, with r&d they usually don't stay that way. Infrastructure on how we receive fuel is going to change regardless. It hasn't caught on because the fuel isn't as readily available. Once it is, fill up is exactly just like it is now, a minute or two.

Which leads me to "what makes no sense at all". You need to understand that the gas and go lifestyle will come to a halt with just electric batteries and no petrol. If I have to wait a few hours on a charge, and truck driver Bill has to wait, we have regressed.

by the way, I've only driven a Prius in terms of battery powered cars. I only wondered if all hybrids drove like them, which would be miserable.

roma258's picture

There's a reason why hydrogen filling station aren't readily available and electric are springing up all over the country. The electric infrastructure is already fully built out, while hydrogen would require an immense amount of new investment for an unproven technology.

Also, there are already quick charging stations on the West Coast that take about 20 minutes. It's only a matter of time until they get it down to single digits:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/03/16/first_big_piece_of_electric_highway_gets_juice/

So your gas and go lifestyle isn't going anywhere. But now you'll also be able to fill up at home for pennies. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

austen's picture

The idea of a hydrogen car freaks me out more than just a little bit.

th's picture

austen wrote:
The idea of a hydrogen car freaks me out more than just a little bit.

As long as they're not made by Yugo - the exploding car.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

stein's picture

Cutter wrote:
No, almost all people use their cars to commute. Most use them for other things that will require stops at the pump away from home.

Its <1% of days that involve more than 200mi of driving:

(Cumulative distribution curve for daily driven distance by cars that were used on the Travel Day (representing 61% of all cars owned by the participating households). Data source: NHTS 2009.)

Yes, on occasion people will take longer trips with their cars, but by and large they dont. It wouldn't have nearly as much effect as you are trying to portray.

Quote:
Also, we simply just can't have machines plugged in for hours or days in all logistics operations, especially during a shipment.

In a logistics operation, there are so many options that I am not sure why you are bringing this up: build trucks with bigger battery packs, buy a second truck to extend range (capital costs aren't nearly as important as operating costs), use another form of transportation for the long-haul and use trucks for the last 'mile'.

and of course, you are forgotten about the most obvious solution: standardize battery packs (size/shape/location) and switch them out at 'fuel' stations. think propane tanks for your grill.

Quote:
Which leads me to "what makes no sense at all". You need to understand that the gas and go lifestyle will come to a halt with just electric batteries and no petrol.

balderdash, most days of driving would be well within the range of an electric car and its probably less than a decade before we have electric ranges that rival or exceed typical combustion engines (say 400+ miles)

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Kenzo's picture

Hydrogen is not a proven technology?

Hmm, the rest of the cosmos (and our own Sun) seems to have proven that it works.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

sdm's picture

Maybe he means it has not been proven to be a commercially viable technology?

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roma258's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Hydrogen is not a proven technology?

Hmm, the rest of the cosmos (and our own Sun) seems to have proven that it works.

That's all fine and well, but how is it relevant to producing, storing and transporting hydrogen fuel on a scale that powers the entire automotive fleet of this country?

Kenzo's picture

roma258 wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
Hydrogen is not a proven technology?

Hmm, the rest of the cosmos (and our own Sun) seems to have proven that it works.

That's all fine and well, but how is it relevant to producing, storing and transporting hydrogen fuel on a scale that powers the entire automotive fleet of this country?

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Stock's picture

Hybrids are all about marketing and are a waste of time and money. We are putting all the money into a dying technology. The money should be put into the solution, not the band aid. The Prius is the best selling hybrid and doesn't get the best gas millage of them, but because it relates you "driving a hybrid" people buy them. Then in ten years you have to replace the batteries. That's expensive and bad for the environment.

Turbo diesels where getting 10 miles per gallon more than hybrids with engines that last longer and no batteries to replace. http://thinkblue.vw.com/5882-mpg-guinness-world-record-set-by-jetta-tdi/

Pure electric is plugged in, if you have solar or wind, great. Otherwise you are buying off the grid and there is a very good chance it's coming from coal. So just because you don't see the smoke out of your tailpipe, you are just fooling yourself. There is coal plant making the smoke for you. Oh, you still have to replace the batteries in ten years...

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codergrrl's picture

A post with a graph and a Bucky ball? Wow.

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jbette01's picture

Stock wrote:
Turbo diesels where getting 10 miles per gallon more than hybrids with engines that last longer and no batteries to replace. http://thinkblue.vw.com/5882-mpg-guinness-world-record-set-by-jetta-tdi/

I wish the US mandated the turbo diesels that you speak of, but I fail to see how they are not a 'band-aid' too? They too are tied into a limited resource.

stein's picture

Stock wrote:
Hybrids are all about marketing and are a waste of time and money. We are putting all the money into a dying technology. The money should be put into the solution, not the band aid. The Prius is the best selling hybrid and doesn't get the best gas millage of them, but because it relates you "driving a hybrid" people buy them. Then in ten years you have to replace the batteries. That's expensive and bad for the environment.

You have to go to an all-electric car to get better gas mileage than a prius. its 50mpg combined.

Quote:
Turbo diesels where getting 10 miles per gallon more than hybrids with engines that last longer and no batteries to replace. http://thinkblue.vw.com/5882-mpg-guinness-world-record-set-by-jetta-tdi/

If you want to hypermile a prius across the US you are going to get much better fuel efficiency than its ratings, too. But the "official" fuel efficiency ratings are pretty close to what you are going to see in real world driving without adjusting your driving habits to maximize fuel efficiency. Turbo diesels are great but lets not overstate their efficiency. hybrids are still better, especially for the stop and go city traffic that makes up much of the driving in this country.

Quote:
Pure electric is plugged in, if you have solar or wind, great. Otherwise you are buying off the grid and there is a very good chance it's coming from coal. So just because you don't see the smoke out of your tailpipe, you are just fooling yourself. There is coal plant making the smoke for you. Oh, you still have to replace the batteries in ten years...

Are you familiar with the term 'economies of scale'? because regardless of where your electricity is coming (and who the heck buys a hybrid but doesn't pay for renewable electricity?) its way more efficient and less polluting than running an internal combustion engine.

As for replacing the battery? sure, but they can be recycled and when they are being replaced at commercial ventures they are less likely to be thrown out. its not like the couple AAs you have in your remote.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Kat's picture

Stock wrote:
Hybrids are all about marketing and are a waste of time and money. We are putting all the money into a dying technology. The money should be put into the solution, not the band aid. The Prius is the best selling hybrid and doesn't get the best gas millage of them, but because it relates you "driving a hybrid" people buy them. Then in ten years you have to replace the batteries. That's expensive and bad for the environment.

Actually, Stock, no one really knows if you "have to replace the batteries in 10 years" because there just hasn't been enough of them failing for anyone to tell you how long they'll last.(It is still a rare occurrence, even for the US Prius which have been out for almost 9 years now, with many over 200,000 miles without any hybrid battery issues. My car has over 160,000 miles on it. And I get great gas milage.

Stock's picture

jbette01 wrote:
I wish the US mandated the turbo diesels that you speak of, but I fail to see how they are not a 'band-aid' too? They too are tied into a limited resource.

turbo diesels and not the long term answer either, but the technology/infrastructure is already in place. So we take all the dough we are spending on developing 'another' band aid and put that into a solution instead of a bunch of stop gaps.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

- Benjamin Franklin

stein's picture

if we could get everyone to drive little VW TDI golfs we would be in much better shape today than we are. internal combustion engine technology has gotten significantly more efficient over the last 30-40 years, its just that (at the behest of the american consumer) that efficiency has gone into powering larger, more powerful vehicles than better gas mileage.

http://www.hybridcars.com/news/mit-study-vehicle-weight-gains-have-offset-potential-mpg-improvements-41708.html

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Leo's picture

Stock wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
I wish the US mandated the turbo diesels that you speak of, but I fail to see how they are not a 'band-aid' too? They too are tied into a limited resource.

turbo diesels and not the long term answer either, but the technology/infrastructure is already in place. So we take all the dough we are spending on developing 'another' band aid and put that into a solution instead of a bunch of stop gaps.

Turbo Diesels can also run on switchgrass fuel, which IIRC is completely renewable. But I am no expert.

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roma258's picture

If you look at Europe, where gas is $8-$9 a gallon, about half their passenger car fleet are turbo diesels. They also drive much smaller cars there, with something like a Honda Civic being considered a mid-size family car. So honestly, the quickest way to lower national oil consumption would be to jack up gas taxes and let the market sort things out. But it would never happen here, so we're kinda stuck with early adopters opting for stuff like electric cars and Chevy Volts, while the rest of the population continues going about their lives in big trucks and SUVs.

Stock's picture

Leo wrote:
Turbo Diesels can also run on switchgrass fuel, which IIRC is completely renewable. But I am no expert.

You are correct Leo. Any diesel can run on Soybean oil, which can be grown here and is renewable. Walmarts entire fleet of Southern trucks runs on veg oil.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

- Benjamin Franklin