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Old 01-30-2018, 09:49 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm right on the fence on if I want a used leaf or Spark for my first EV (maybe Focus or i3). Leaf wins the parts availability category as they begin to hit the junk yards, but I suspect the Spark battery will far outlast the Leaf, which is the single biggest concern with EV ownership. There is a bit of a price premium on the Spark, perhaps due to better thermal management, or perhaps from looking a little better than the Leaf, or maybe better performance?
The Leaf is the sensible family hatch. Midsize car / 0-60 in 10 seconds. The Spark is the hooligan. Subcompact car / 400 lb-ft of torque at 0 rpm / 0-60 in 7.5 seconds (traction limited). The Spark will spin it's wheels at will and finding traction is a problem even with performance A/S tires.

However, if I was to buy a 1st generation EV the only option for me would be the LEAF. Nissan made 300K LEAFS while Chevy made 7371 Spark EVs. An improved battery pack for the LEAF is $5500 and comes with another 8 year / 100K mile warranty. A replacement battery for the Spark is $19,540 and comes with a 12 month warranty. 10 years from now the Spark EVs will be in the scrapyard and the aftermarket will still be refurbishing battery packs for the LEAF. (The Spark motor in a Toyota MR2 Spyder sounds like a fun project!)

I also wouldn't buy any of the other "compliance" EVs made by automakers just to satisfy CARBs EV mandate. (Fiat 500e, Honda Fit EV, Smart ED, Mercedes B, Kia Soul EV, etc.) I doubt any of them will get support in the future.

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The general public is financially illiterate. They would rather pay less up front, but spend more over time than to spend more up front and pay less over time. Secondly, the average household doesn't have the requisite $7,500 tax liability to fully benefit from the federal credit. It's essentially a subsidy for the wealthy. I don't even pay my fair share with my $66k salary, or have $7,500 in tax liability, which is a very comfortable living.
I know most people don't pay enough federal taxes to get the full $7500 tax credit. However, they can lease the car, the leasing company claims the full tax credit, and then rolls it into the lease deal. Yes, if you want to buy the car it is more expensive that way but still cheaper than not getting the credit. My lease on the Spark EV is $0 down / $100 a month and anyone could have got that deal.

I also disagree with tax credits in general. If the Feds want you to do something and are willing to help pay for it then they should just do a point-of-sale rebate is applied at time of sale. Paying full prices then filing for a credit at tax time is just a stupid system and, as you say, favors wealthy people with high tax bills.

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The EV price tipping point is very near, as you point out with the gen II Leaf. Within the next couple years, the typical consumer will be more inclined to purchase a lower priced EV that has the performance of higher priced gassers.
I agree and I also think the depreciation of EVs will be closer to gas cars. Cars like a 1st generation LEAF have such low residual value in part because the technology has advanced so much. Why buy a 60-80 mile LEAF when the new one goes 150 miles.

A car like a Bolt is a different beast. Someone might be perfect happy in 5 years to buy a 200 mile used Bolt even if the new one goes 250 miles. Personally I think 150 to 200 miles range is the sweet spot and I wish GM offered a cheaper (quicker) version of the Bolt with a shorter range.


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Old 01-30-2018, 11:38 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Exactly that. The Bolt forum members talk about how disappointing the new Leaf is with only 150 miles of range, but I think Nissan has that worked out just about right. What I'd really like to see is a modular battery design, where capacity can be added and removed with relative ease. Would be even better if it was user replaceable, although designing thermal management would be tricky. Make a modular design, and you take both cost and range off the table of complaints, as the car can be cheap if needed, or go long distance if someone is willing to pay.
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Old 01-31-2018, 01:08 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Exactly that. The Bolt forum members talk about how disappointing the new Leaf is with only 150 miles of range, but I think Nissan has that worked out just about right. What I'd really like to see is a modular battery design, where capacity can be added and removed with relative ease. Would be even better if it was user replaceable, although designing thermal management would be tricky. Make a modular design, and you take both cost and range off the table of complaints, as the car can be cheap if needed, or go long distance if someone is willing to pay.
I expect most EVs will come with multiple options of battery packs just like gas cars come with different engines. Tesla area does it and the Leaf will come with the option of a 40 kWh or 60 kWh pack next year. If I remember correctly Volvo was going to offer 3 different battery packs for there upcoming EV.

What I don't expect is for those to be added or taken out after the car is sold. I don't think most OEMs want customers dealing with orange high voltage cables.

(That said Honda has a modular system for their electric PCX scooter

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Old 01-31-2018, 01:10 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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When you look at how passive / inert chevy got the volt battery pack when it's disconnected, I believe multiple changeout packs ought to be a slam dunk even for clueless users. When was the last time a laptop caught fire changing the battery. Oops, wrong illustration.
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:08 PM   #26 (permalink)
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When you look at how passive / inert chevy got the volt battery pack when it's disconnected, I believe multiple changeout packs ought to be a slam dunk even for clueless users. When was the last time a laptop caught fire changing the battery. Oops, wrong illustration.
Laptop batteries don’t weight hundreds of pounds.

The pack in my Spark is 475 lbs split into 5 modules. To make the modules swappable the power, battery management, and cooling would need to be plug and play. Then the owner has to crawl under the car and drop a 100 lb module.

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Old 01-31-2018, 06:47 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Laptop batteries don’t weight hundreds of pounds.

The pack in my Spark is 475 lbs split into 5 modules. To make the modules swappable the power, battery management, and cooling would need to be plug and play. Then the owner has to crawl under the car and drop a 100 lb module.
Without having given much thought to the engineering challenge; in principle it should be possible to design the vehicle in a modular way where certain battery bays in the floor or trunk would be accessible to the owner to drop in an extra battery or 3. Perhaps there would be a certain minimum capacity which is somewhat more permanently installed on the vehicle in a less accessible area, with some accessible battery bays available to the owner. Since the battery is the single largest cost of the vehicle, it makes sense to let people decide just how much range they wish to purchase.

Dreaming even bigger here, I'd like to see these modular batteries used in other applications such as lawn mowers, air compressors, and many other applications that typically have proprietary battery designs.

All that said, the fact that companies will be offering 2 or 3 battery sizes in their vehicles, and there are multiple EVs to choose from, there is a good selection for consumers to choose from.
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:13 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSH View Post
Laptop batteries don’t weight hundreds of pounds.

The pack in my Spark is 475 lbs split into 5 modules. To make the modules swappable the power, battery management, and cooling would need to be plug and play. Then the owner has to crawl under the car and drop a 100 lb module.
Ever rebuild an aircooled VW bug motor? Or how about dealing with a Volt pack? Everything is quick disconnect and easy just using a floor jack. Not something a rocket surgeon needs to do, but average Joe can.
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Old 02-03-2018, 11:25 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Ever rebuild an aircooled VW bug motor? Or how about dealing with a Volt pack? Everything is quick disconnect and easy just using a floor jack. Not something a rocket surgeon needs to do, but average Joe can.
I've done all sorts of engine rebuilds, mechanical swaps. I've never had to deal with battery packs as my Prii have been too reliable.

The average joe never pulls an engine for any reason. The average joe doesn't even change their own oil. For module battery packs to be commercially viable they need to be truly plug and play and go in and out without needing any tools. 50 lbs each would be about the max weight.

Redpoint5's idea for module in the trunk could work but I just don't see OEMs doing it. I also don't see most people wanting to store extra battery modules for the rare cases they need extra range. Technically possible and commercially viable are two very different things.
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Old 02-03-2018, 12:13 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Redpoint5's idea for module in the trunk could work but I just don't see OEMs doing it. I also don't see most people wanting to store extra battery modules for the rare cases they need extra range. Technically possible and commercially viable are two very different things.
Not really modular for the purpose of taking unused capacity out, but rather having the ability to add range if the need arises in the future. If battery renting/swapping service were ever viable, it would be in modules that could easily be exchanged.

Agreed that the modular idea isn't likely. Manufacturers offering EVs in multiple range capacities will fulfill the consumer need to purchase only the range each customer needs.

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