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Old 12-14-2010, 06:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Unexpected - aka EVs vs The Real World

Evening battery and 'alternatives' style people. I hope you don't mind this intrusion from the sooty world of Diesel

I have a 'spare' car in the garage curently acting as a home for my broken dreams as a car restorer, a current home for spiders and a potential home for an EV project. I have the DVDs and I have a 20 mile round trip to work. I even have a potential source of parts and had a budget - but the roof got a leak so its on hold for the moment, however the plan stays.

Anyhow his week we (in Scotland) have had snow, lots of it. Which led to the main road here (the M8) being closed and people having to spend the day and night in their cars, in the cold. Not nice. The man responsible has resigned and the people have been freed.

This got me thinking and I thought I would pose a scenario, especially as cars like the Leaf are going to get a subsidy here and so people may just buy them. Crazy I know but they might. I'm kind of wondering how this scenario would affect an EV.

So, lets say you are on your way home, its cold-ish but light evening. The road stops and is closed for say 3-5 hours. OK I know your local authorities may take action to get you off asap but what if they can't and you are stuck for say 4-5 hours - I have been before even in good weather.

In an EV everything you need is powered by the batteries. Heat, tunes, lights, the lot. So how do you keep it all going ? How do you make sure you have enough left to get going after it all clears ? And what about the extreme scenario, overnight in the snow for up to 12-14 hours and a 30 mile journey ?

This may sound extreme and it may sound like a doubter 'having a go' but it is one of those obstacles to selling these things as real alternatives.

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Old 12-14-2010, 06:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I had a little experience of this type of thing over the past fortnight. Here in Ireland , if 3 flakes of snow fall in a 24 hour period the entire country shuts down I have a roughly 12 mile drive to work. The last bit is up quite a steep hill with a left turn mid way. On several mornings this road was blocked with stuck cars and vans and everyone spinning wheels and ending up in the ditch. I just stopped , turned the key to acc and listened to the radio while they sorted themselves out. The heater would have ran a full 24 hours from the traction pack in that scenario. I'd have died of boredom before hypothermia set in.

Of course we all know the big disadvantage of lead acid in an ev is weight. Last few weeks it was an advantage as I had the only rwd car that could make it up that hill. I pulled 2 people out of the ditch with it. Including one obnoxious soul who had made a point of calling my car an abomination on several occasions. Not so talkative now.

The journey home in the evenings was a real tour de force. One particular night getting home took 2 hours. Heater on , lights on , creeping forward , diversion etc etc. Not a problem. Did i check the soc gauge? yeh , but no more so then if it was a petrol car.

I'm not saying those experiences are the be all and end all but just my own thoughts and findings.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Neither of my electric cars have heaters in them right now so I park them in the winter, but when you have an electric motor that draws 6,000 to 20,000 watts running a 1,000 watt heater is not a big deal if your batteries are in good shape, but all the more reason to get heated seat covers, 75 watts to keep you warm, instead of 1,000 watts to heat the air in the car with hopes that some of that heat will get to you.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
Evening battery and 'alternatives' style people. I hope you don't mind this intrusion from the sooty world of Diesel

Anyhow his week we (in Scotland) have had snow, lots of it. Which led to the main road here (the M8) being closed and people having to spend the day and night in their cars, in the cold. Not nice. The man responsible has resigned and the people have been freed.

This got me thinking and I thought I would pose a scenario, especially as cars like the Leaf are going to get a subsidy here and so people may just buy them. Crazy I know but they might. I'm kind of wondering how this scenario would affect an EV.

So, lets say you are on your way home, its cold-ish but light evening. The road stops and is closed for say 3-5 hours. OK I know your local authorities may take action to get you off asap but what if they can't and you are stuck for say 4-5 hours - I have been before even in good weather.

In an EV everything you need is powered by the batteries. Heat, tunes, lights, the lot. So how do you keep it all going ? How do you make sure you have enough left to get going after it all clears ? And what about the extreme scenario, overnight in the snow for up to 12-14 hours and a 30 mile journey ?

This may sound extreme and it may sound like a doubter 'having a go' but it is one of those obstacles to selling these things as real alternatives.
Many gas vehicles if stuck in one place idling for more than 4 hours would run out of gas, my dodge truck for example (depending on how much gas was in the tank at the time)

Anyway an EV does not need to have electric heat, my commutacar had a small propane bottle and defroster originally which the 2nd owner kept for reasons I can't explain.

So an EV can run the heat off something else if it is to be used primarily in a winter climate.

Also an EV would tend not to go dead "idling" if you were not running electric heat because that takes very little electricity.

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Old 12-14-2010, 07:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Some of my old VWs didn't have heaters worth a **** either. So in bitter cold have warm clothes and a bankie on board. Or, don't go out and get stuck in bad weather- whatever it is can wait. Staying home once in a while when the conditions are adverse won't kill anyone.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The thing about ICEd vehicles is they have a lot of waste heat, so no effort has been made to insulate them. With some effort, an electric could benefit with a bit of R-value.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The thing about ICEd vehicles is they have a lot of waste heat, so no effort has been made to insulate them. With some effort, an electric could benefit with a bit of R-value.
I agree with this fully, just changing the seals on my Comutacars doors (and putting one under the seat) made the small cab become warmish with just my body heat when I am not driving super fast.
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It doesn't happen only in Scotland. Folks were stuck on the I-90 in Buffalo during our first "real" storm of the year, as snow piled up faster than it could be removed. Now they're talking about installing gates at the entrance to the interstate that can be closed to try to stop people from getting on the interstate in a major storm.

While sitting in my frigid car, puttering along on a minimum of fuel, I contemplated what I would do to stay warm if I were trapped on the interstate. Simple. I'd knock on the window of the guy stuck behind me, and ask if I could sit in his car until somebody came by to dig us out.
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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We've had those gates for years in the midwest. But I think they're there for govt shutdown of commerce and control of the populace when the martial law starts.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmay635703 View Post
Many gas vehicles if stuck in one place idling for more than 4 hours would run out of gas, my dodge truck for example (depending on how much gas was in the tank at the time)
Not sure. On my SG it shows .2 GPH and my tank has a capacity of 12 gallons. Even if I only had 4 gallons in it would run for 20 hours. But I wouldn't run it all of the time if I was stuck.

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While sitting in my frigid car, puttering along on a minimum of fuel, I contemplated what I would do to stay warm if I were trapped on the interstate. Simple. I'd knock on the window of the guy stuck behind me, and ask if I could sit in his car until somebody came by to dig us out.
Some people did try to get out and walk to the service station to get food and warm drinks etc but the police were telling them to stay in the cars - its illegal to be a pedestrial on the motorways here. A client who was stuck did give a reply to the police which was not polite, and continued on his walk.

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