Showing posts from 2020

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…