Some regular readers may have noticed that I’ve been a bit detached from the blog in the past week. There’s a good reason for that. I’ve been immersing myself in the joys of owning and learning about the nuts and volts of an electric car.
Yes, that evil old Anthony Watts, doubter of Anthropogenic Global Warming, is now driving an NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) to and from work every day, to lunch, and on errands in town. I put 100 miles on it the first week. Of course this sort of energy efficiency isn’t anything new for me, since I put solar on my home, and on one of the local schools when I was a trustee. But never mind that, I’m still “evil” for doubting AGW. 😉
The NEV is a 2002 Ford “Think” which is no longer in production since California dropped the ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) mandate in 2003. It is one of the rare “pickup truck” models, and as seen below, the former owner drove that point home:
If you are a Ford pickup truck owner, you’ll recognize the logo. The famous Ford F-150 pickup truck is rated for a 1500 pound cargo capacity. This vehicle is rated at 500 pounds, hence the designation, though not an official one.
Those who have owned Fords are often reminded of these famous F.O.R.D descriptions:
“Fix Or Repair Daily”, or “Found On Road Dead”.
Since this operates on 6x 12V Gel Cells, which are under the seats, I’ve added a new one:
Found On Road Discharged
Though not really, I get about 25-30 miles of range from this vehicle, and finding a power plug is easy between my home, office, and some folks around town I know. Currently it has a top speed of 25MPH, which is limited by a controller, but the vehicle can be modded with new programming and an enhanced efficiency motor to reach up to 39MPH. I’m not sure if I need that, as I have not found the speed to be an issue. I mostly take the back streets anyway, and my office is about 2 miles from my home. The only place I can’t go is the Highway, but I don’t need to.
The complete vehicle specs are listed here, from testing done by the US Department of Energy.
Now here is the really important part, look at the DOE rated energy cost:
Energy Cost: @ $0.10/kWh: $0.016/mi
In California, I pay about 15 cents per kilowatt/hour, so my cost would be: $.024/mile or 2.4 cents per mile. With battery replacement every 4 years, I figure that will rise to 3, maybe 4 cents a mile. Even if I’m off by a factor of 100%, and it costs me 6-8 cents a mile to drive, it is still a bargain. In my regular vehicle, given the $3.89/gallon gas price, I figured I was spending about $40-$50 per week in gasoline costs just doing my daily routine and errands.
So, my mission here is simple; I’m not saving the planet, I’m saving money.
That is infectious, and my local newspaper editor, David Little, did his weekly Sunday column on it and the electric car club in town. He’s hooked.
Right now the vehicle is in my garage, I completely disassembled the body and dash so I could locate an intermittent electrical connection and give the entire vehicle a good cleaning and inspection. The former owner lived in a desert area, and there was a lot of sand in it. It has been a joy to work on. It is simple and efficient in design, and easily maintainable with simple hand tools. I’ve located the electrical problem and fixed it. Once I get the vehicle reassembled, I’ll get back to blogging more on the issues related to USHCN and surfacestations.org
In the meantime, I’m having a ball! Bumper sticker suggestions are welcome.