Plug-In Hybrids Need Love Too

Good-Bye to Gasoline!
In November 2018, we said farewell to our trusty 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan.  This was the end of an era for our family, not only because our children were grown to the point of a minivan not making sense any more, but also because it was our last vehicle with a combustion engine.  With our garage then including a Nissan LEAF and a Tesla Model S, I told myself that I would never again buy a vehicle that burned gasoline.

I was wrong.

Daryl Elliott's CleanTechnica article "The PHEV Era Needs to End, Now" makes some compelling arguments that the Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) bridge technology to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) has run its course and those of us who are in the segment of early adopters should leave this crutch behind.

...Or Maybe Not All those arguments are valid except that as of mid-2020, there are very few BEVs that are suitable for cross-country travel by a teenager at a vehicle price of less than $30,000.  My college junior daugh…

Michigan Spring: Daffodils and Public Chargers are Popping Up

Despite Michigan's quarantine for non-essential travel, Michiganders are still permitted to drive out for essential and even recreational motorcycling is an approved activity.  As such, my Zero DSR electric motorcycle has been a wonderful way to experience some fresh air and even run some essential errands like getting milk from my favorite milk source Country Dairy in New Era, MI.  
Another good excuse to get out is to find new public chargers.  Michigan utility Consumers Energy has been running the PowerMIDrive program that provides rebates for both at-home* and public charging infrastructure.  That means despite a slowdown in construction due to COVID-19, public chargers are still going in and will continue to pop up during 2020.
* For more detail on eligible home chargers, see the Consumers Energy Home Charger Rebates page.  
PlugSharePlugShare is still one of the best tools for finding public chargers for plug-in vehicle owners.  If you haven't downloaded the app, I encou…

Electrify America Level 2 Home Charger

Charging your Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) at home in North America hasn't changed much since my 2018 Home Charging essay.  If you have your own garage or parking space and a way to add a circuit, I still recommend a 240V 50A circuit with a NEMA 14-50 receptacle (aka 50A RV plug) and a home EVSE charging unit that plugs into that receptacle.  Together with you vehicle's on-board charger of 6-10 KW, this a great combination to add 25-40 miles of range per hour of charging.

The market for EVSEs, particularly non-networked "dumb" EVSEs is fairly mature.  Rather than increasing power output, established manufacturers like ClipperCreek and EnelX (formerly eMotorwerks) are focusing on more features like two plugs for multi-EV households and smart charging that allows you to take advantage of time-of-day power rates and remote start and stop.

With that background, I was surprised that Electrify America was displaying its new Level 2 home …

EV Charging on a TT-30 30-Amp RV Plug

Note: This is Tesla-heavy content related to the Universal Mobile Charger (UMC).  However, the discussion of adapters is relevant to other EVs.  

In my recent winter road trip, I visited a friend who informed he had "some kind of RV plug" behind his house from a previous RV owner.

If you prefer a video overview with less detail, jump to this short YouTube video on the topic:

RV Plugs Explained When we hear about RV power plugs, it's usually just in reference to a "30-amp" and a "50-amp" plug.  Unfortunately, amps don't tell the whole story because what we are really after is power (Watts) rather than flow of electricity (amps).  If the technical details are too much for you, skip down to the Bottom Line adapters section.

Roughly speaking:

Watts (power) = Volts (potential) x Amps (flow)

Watts or Kilowatts (KW) are what give an indication of how quickly we can charge for more range.

What's missing in the RV plug descri…

Insane + Tesla Battery Preheat

Note: This is another Tesla-specific essay related to battery preheating in the pre-Ludicrous performance models.

In my recent winter road trip essay, I recommend preheating the cabin while still being plugged in, which is one of the more useful features you often see recommended to maximize winter range.  The one feature I didn't remember to try out on that trip, but did on a subsequent trip was a battery preheat "hack" specific to the pre-Ludicrous Tesla P models that have the "Insane" acceleration feature.  All others can tune out at this point other than to stress that battery temperature has an effect on range.

If you prefer a video overview, jump to this short YouTube video on the topic:

Even with cabin preheating, the Tesla Model S and X does not preheat the battery by default during cabin preheating unless the battery temperature is extremely low.  The result is that regeneration is limited (see picture) and in some cases, …

Tesla Winter Road Trip in 2019

Note: I'm focusing mostly on Tesla issues in this post, but the general information holds for other battery electrics (BEVs) as well.

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel holidays of the year, and this year my family contributed to the mayhem on the highways in order to see our daughter and good friends in Kansas City.

We headed out from West Michigan as soon as school was out on Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving and joined the throngs of other car travelers.

As the original owner of a 2015 Tesla with a nominal range of 250 miles and free lifetime Supercharging thanks to the promotion for early adopters of that vintage, our Model S is our logical choice for a road trip vehicle.  Well that, and we no longer own a gas car.

Congestion at the Supercharger Our first stop out of Muskegon is the St. Joseph, MI Supercharger where we typically enjoy the nearby Panera for its yummy pastries, soups, salads and decent coffee.  Normally, we pull right in to a Supercharger stall and …

Plug In West Michigan Podcast - Episode 8 - EVs in Winter

Part of WKTV Journal Grand Rapids, MI Community Programming Listen Here: Plug-In West Michigan Podcast ... or find it on your favorite podcast feed like iTunes or Spotify.

Episode 8 - EVs in Winter

Show Notes
Host: Karl BlossBlog: www.muskegonevguy.comInstagram @muskegonevguyWest Michigan EV community: Ted Ooyevaar, EV owner, enthusiast and road warriorTheme song composed by Tyler Burke

Main Topic:  Electric Vehicle Considerations in Winter Weather
What happens to cars when it gets cold?All cars lose efficiency and range in the winter.  Gas cars just burn more gas and need to warm up longer.Traction: I highly recommend winter tires no matter what car you have.  The traction is so much better than so-called “all-season” tires, which I call “no season” tires.First let’s talk about the positives:If you’re just traveling around home, you just plug in at home in the comfort of your garage if you have one.  No need to stand at a gas pump …