Monday, June 20, 2011

60,000 Zero Emission Miles Later...

Today the odometer turned 60k just as I pulled into the parking lot of my restaurant. It's been two years and seven days since I picked up MINI-E #250 now and the car is still running perfectly. Other than a couple of faulty battery modules very early on and the time I hit (well really was engulfed in) a huge pothole and needed front-end repairs, the car has been virtually maintenance free. 

That's not unusual for electric cars. They really are basically maintenance free. When you buy one, the dealer isn't reminding you to bring it in for your regularly scheduled maintenance like oil changes and tune ups. These regular maintenance items add up, but you really don't think about the cost when you buy a car, because you know it's just part of automobile ownership and there's no way around it. 
But there is...

Electric cars are extraordinarily simple compared to their gasoline burning counterparts and don't have hundreds of parts constantly moving and rubbing against each other causing friction and heat, and friction and heat are a cars worst enemy as they cause parts to wear out and need to be replaced. That's why you need to constantly keep fresh lubrication(oil) in your car to reduce the friction on all the moving parts and hopefully make them last longer.

EV's like the MINI-E have a simple brushless electric motor that will in most cases last longer than the car will, and that's really the only moving part of the drivetrain other than some small electric fans. Of course anything can break, especially electrical components, but by removing just about all of the moving parts in a car you are drastically reducing the mount of things that will wear out and need replacement.

So here I am at 60,000 miles and all the car really needed was a couple tire replacements and wiper blades. The range is surprisingly consistent, and just as good as when I first got it. There has been virtually no battery degradation after 60,000 miles and over 1,100 recharges.  Take a look at the picture above, I just drove 76.7 miles and still had 26% state of charge. I could easily drive another 30 to 35 miles(and probably 40) with 26% SOC since I could drive at least 10 miles even after the meter hits zero. Even the brake pads are the original ones. With the regenerative brakes, I bet I could get 100,000 miles on a set of brake pads so even the brakes will cost you less with an EV.

It's cost me about $2,500 in electricity (actually less because I have solar electric, but I like to figure what I would have paid) to drive 60,000 miles. Take a few moments and figure out what you have paid in gasoline to drive the past 60,000 miles. Then add up all the oil changes, tune ups, vacuum hoses, belts, exhaust pipes or whatever else you've done to keep your gas car running along and maybe you'll start to think about giving an EV a try the next time your shopping for a new car. After two years and 60,000 miles of zero emission driving I know I'm sold and I'm never going back.

1 comment:

  1. That's a lot of emissions free miles in a short amount of time! Cool!

    On another note, I think the case for EVs saving people money is a good one -- when you compare a new ICE to a new EV.

    However, when you compare a used/older well-maintained, reasonably fuel efficient gas car to a new EV, that's when the claim that EVs are cheaper overall starts to breakdown, or at least gets murky.

    Our move from two older, well-maintained, long-since-paid-off, reasonably fuel efficient cars to two brand new EVs is going to cost us more. At least until we hit year 8 or 9 with new EVs -- at which point we might have to sink thousands of dollars into EV battery replacement costs.

    2 new EVs + solar will be more expensive than our current 2 gas clunkers, even though, thanks to our 5.59 kW home solar system -- which is over-producing for us by 5,000 kWh per year! -- we'll have about 35,000 miles (or more) of "free" electric fuel banked with our utility by the time EVs finally get to Colorado.