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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few notes from my own experiences talking to people about the Bolt...

My mother works for a well known "blue" big box home improvement store. She approached the manager of her store with the idea that they should put EVSE in the parking lot. After all, the "orange" big box store is now selling tesla batteries. The manager didn't have any idea that being "ev friendly" could be as simple as a 15amp plug at the base of an existing light pole. Or any idea that proper EVSE equipment could turn down the current used by the car. They think they have to trench in new wires in the parking lot.

The lay person (and even me just a few months ago) sees EVSE as some complex magical box... and they think that EV's require HUGE amounts of electricity to charge. One of my neighbors was worried about the cord having power on it and sitting in a puddle of water.

I say things like "The charger station is just a glorified extension cord, not that fancy" or "the plug has no power on it until it's plugged in to the car for safety". For businesses who want to appear green and attract people with EV cars (ie coffee shops), letting them know that they can dial back the power delivered to a few cents per hour.

We also need to make sure that we tell people the car can be scheduled to charge after you've gone to bed... It's magic... you car is full every morning when you get up for work.

People don't know there's an app on your phone for plugshare... show them how easy it is to find a charge station... and how many there are.

One person asked me about long range travel and recharging. My answer was after 200 miles do you want to get out and stretch your legs or have a coffee or eat? in 45 minutes I can be ready to go another 150 miles. Let them know that most fast chargers are near places with things to do.

Anyway, there's a lot of mystery around our little cars... we need to break it down to help others understand.

So maybe we could / should consider an outsider's perspective and start evangelizing and explaining - in simple terms.
 

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A few notes from my own experiences talking to people about the Bolt...

My mother works for a well known "blue" big box home improvement store. She approached the manager of her store with the idea that they should put EVSE in the parking lot. After all, the "orange" big box store is now selling tesla batteries. The manager didn't have any idea that being "ev friendly" could be as simple as a 15amp plug at the base of an existing light pole. Or any idea that proper EVSE equipment could turn down the current used by the car. They think they have to trench in new wires in the parking lot.

The lay person (and even me just a few months ago) sees EVSE as some complex magical box... and they think that EV's require HUGE amounts of electricity to charge. One of my neighbors was worried about the cord having power on it and sitting in a puddle of water.

I say things like "The charger station is just a glorified extension cord, not that fancy" or "the plug has no power on it until it's plugged in to the car for safety". For businesses who want to appear green and attract people with EV cars (ie coffee shops), letting them know that they can dial back the power delivered to a few cents per hour.

We also need to make sure that we tell people the car can be scheduled to charge after you've gone to bed... It's magic... you car is full every morning when you get up for work.

People don't know there's an app on your phone for plugshare... show them how easy it is to find a charge station... and how many there are.

One person asked me about long range travel and recharging. My answer was after 200 miles do you want to get out and stretch your legs or have a coffee or eat? in 45 minutes I can be ready to go another 150 miles. Let them know that most fast chargers are near places with things to do.

Anyway, there's a lot of mystery around our little cars... we need to break it down to help others understand.

So maybe we could / should consider an outsider's perspective and start evangelizing and explaining - in simple terms.
Very interesting post… I feel people kind of react as my grandparents would do if they saw the technology nowadays: that it is something magical to the point of fear. Or like my grandmother used to say about colour TV: “It’s from the horned guy below”. LOL

I still laugh…


I find many people are so misinformed and the internet nowadays is very unreliable due to pranks, and fake sites. I have witnessed everything upon my mentioning of EV…here are some examples, verbatim:


“But if you spend over $700 on gas, now you will spend double in your hydro bill.”

“If home appliances already take so many kWh to charge, can you imagine how much your car will?”

And my most recent favourite “Are you mad? You will get cancer from sitting over a battery when you drive, you know.”

I will not bother typing my answers, I just educated these fellows.

Being an evangelist is not enough. Sometimes I feel like an exorcist…. and I had the car for only one month!

Explanation is the key, talking about it to as many people as possible too. I have taken so many people to a test drive in my car, around the block, going to grab a coffee blocks away etc, even a quick stroll inside the parking lot. Some of them are on their way to buy an EV of their choice... but when they leave my car they are knowledgeable about the technology, what the car does, how much you spend on hydro bills and what the apps do. (I always show the Chargepoint app as well as the Chevrolet one).



If you read some of my posts you will find one or two that says my spouse was the person most and adamantly against the car, because it would be a waste of money and that it would be a trap, that it would not save... Until the numbers came in and the bank account is fuller... now guess who is saving to buy one? ;)















 
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I used the cost comparison calculator offered by one the contributors on this forum to compare the total cost of ownership for a new 2018 Toyota Camry LE and my 2017 Bolt LT. I was very conservative in my evaluation. The Bolt costs $4000 less over the first ten years of ownership. Most of the savings is in energy (about half the cost) and maintenance (thousands of dollars less). I didn't include the cost of having an EVSE installed, as that's a capital improvement to the house. I didn't factor in my solar panels either: same reasoning. Given that my new solar panels will pay for themselves in about seven years, the actual cost savings is much higher: free energy for the last three years of the ten year period.
 

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One of my favorites is that "when every house on the block is charging their car, it will cause the entire grid to collapse". I don't think the power company allowed each house to be wired for 200 amps without allowing for the possibility that many could near that max at the same time. How many homes run their clothes dryer AND their range (oven & burner tops) at night when the EV is charging? Methinks the lady (or man) doth protest too much!
 

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One of my favorites is that "when every house on the block is charging their car, it will cause the entire grid to collapse". I don't think the power company allowed each house to be wired for 200 amps without allowing for the possibility that many could near that max at the same time.
Actually, that is a real issue - the distribution grid is somewhat "oversubscribed" in terms of absolute capacity. They add transformers to the local transmission lines running down people's back lanes when consumption requires it.

But people talk about this like it will be a solar flare event - sudden and unexpected. The truth is that demand will increase gradually over a few decades, and the power companies will be all too happy to increase their local and regional distribution capacity so that they can sell more energy.
 

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Yes, if every vehicle on the road were overnight an EV, then yes absolutely, the electric grid would collapse.

No, EVs will come in quickly, but over enough time to allow the infrastructure to adjust. However, when their profits are at stake, they'll play both obstructionist and futurist at the same time.

No, infrastructure evolution won't come easily and EV owners will be hit with fees, taxes and pricing penalties. Witness many utilities lobbying against and erecting barriers against solar. Once enough EVs are charging at night, the off-peak pricing will go away.

Maybe, understand convenience always wins and wins more quickly than the status quo can imagine. Once enough see how convenient EVs are, they'll be ubiquitous.

jack vines
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One of my favorites is that "when every house on the block is charging their car, it will cause the entire grid to collapse". I don't think the power company allowed each house to be wired for 200 amps without allowing for the possibility that many could near that max at the same time. How many homes run their clothes dryer AND their range (oven & burner tops) at night when the EV is charging? Methinks the lady (or man) doth protest too much!
There again, the perception is that the cars suck up a HUGE (Yuge??) amount of power. The public doesn't know it can be throttled back. It is really no more power than an electric hot water heater. Plus, many newer houses lately in the US are wired with 400 amp service. Boggles my mind.

So why don't we use the water heater as a comparison point for car charging? Puts the discussion into a frame everyone can understand.

I've been living with a solar system and the accompanying internet based electric meter for a year now... until I got this car, my peak demand EVER was 4kw at any given time. 200amp service is 50kw by comparison.
 

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Actually, that is a real issue - the distribution grid is somewhat "oversubscribed" in terms of absolute capacity. They add transformers to the local transmission lines running down people's back lanes when consumption requires it.

But people talk about this like it will be a solar flare event - sudden and unexpected. The truth is that demand will increase gradually over a few decades, and the power companies will be all too happy to increase their local and regional distribution capacity so that they can sell more energy.
In several areas power companies are struggling right now because demand has been unexpectedly flat. They'd love to see an uptick in demand.
 

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[snip]...The lay person (and even me just a few months ago) sees EVSE as some complex magical box... and they think that EV's require HUGE amounts of electricity to charge. One of my neighbors was worried about the cord having power on it and sitting in a puddle of water.

I say things like "The charger station is just a glorified extension cord, not that fancy" or "the plug has no power on it until it's plugged in to the car for safety". For businesses who want to appear green and attract people with EV cars (ie coffee shops), letting them know that they can dial back the power delivered to a few cents per hour.
...[snip]...
People don't know there's an app on your phone for plugshare... show them how easy it is to find a charge station... and how many there are.

One person asked me about long range travel and recharging. My answer was after 200 miles do you want to get out and stretch your legs or have a coffee or eat? in 45 minutes I can be ready to go another 150 miles. Let them know that most fast chargers are near places with things to do.

Anyway, there's a lot of mystery around our little cars... we need to break it down to help others understand.

So maybe we could / should consider an outsider's perspective and start evangelizing and explaining - in simple terms.
You make some good points, but let me attempt to play devil's advocate. Regarding the EVSE as a glorified extension cord, it does a bit more than that. I do think it's name, Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, is apt since EVSEs are quite expensive and picky about their power. They also sit outside to charge too. The EVSE does quite a bit to protect the car and humans. I do think they are a bit overpriced for their function since they're comprised of by-the-book high-power circuit designs used in many benchtop PSUs (the ones you actually dial in currents and voltages to), DMMs, and oscopes. I'd probably counter a person questioning the mystery of an EVSE with the mystery of a switching DC PSU: your laptop charger. Many people look at them with casual familiarity but don't recognize the amount of thought put into one of them. It's no simple rectifier with a slapped on cap for ripple control. It takes some effort to really understand how to build a proper DC PSU.

As for the plugshare app, I'm still not convinced there is a charging infrastructure. Most people coming from an ICE are used to gas stations being everywhere. Having to literally look for a fueling station on your phone is new to people. Add to that the places I shop where I can easily spend a half hour to an hour don't have L2 stations (big chains like Walmart, Home Depot, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Target). Heck, I was amazed that the Southcenter mall DIDN'T have chargers but the Tacoma mall did. The infrastructure is a crap shoot so I that's why I bought a Bolt: 99% of my charging will be at home. Relying on public charging to fuel your commute is old-school ICE thinking. People need to start learning that for commutes, they never have to "fuel" anymore so long as they make a habit of plugging in every evening when they return.

As for traveling 200 miles, that's assuming you have fuel station where you're going. Sure, phone apps can provide station feedback, but that still doesn't solve the problem of when the station is unavailable. Your road trip plans change significantly at the whim of DCFC station availability. ICE owners don't have that problem because chances are, if one gas station is out they can just travel another few miles for another one. ICE fuel infrastructure is just too entrenched to ignore. Then again, ICE owners have to be reminded of how often they do 200+ mile drives versus the cost of just renting a car.

One of my favorites is that "when every house on the block is charging their car, it will cause the entire grid to collapse". I don't think the power company allowed each house to be wired for 200 amps without allowing for the possibility that many could near that max at the same time. How many homes run their clothes dryer AND their range (oven & burner tops) at night when the EV is charging? Methinks the lady (or man) doth protest too much!
I'm not a power expert, but I think the concern is with peak demand of the grid as a whole. Didn't we used to have rolling brownouts or even blackouts in hot climates with everyone blasting their ACs at once for hours on end? The problem I thought was everyone demanded 2 kWh at the same time because everyone came home to a hot house and needed to crank up the AC. This would require firing up another power plant. If we had a power buffer of some sort it may help smooth out the brown/blackouts.

There again, the perception is that the cars suck up a HUGE (Yuge??) amount of power. The public doesn't know it can be throttled back. It is really no more power than an electric hot water heater. Plus, many newer houses lately in the US are wired with 400 amp service. Boggles my mind.

So why don't we use the water heater as a comparison point for car charging? Puts the discussion into a frame everyone can understand.

I've been living with a solar system and the accompanying internet based electric meter for a year now... until I got this car, my peak demand EVER was 4kw at any given time. 200amp service is 50kw by comparison.
My googling shows typical electric water heater is 4 kWh which seems a bit low to me. When I try plugging in numbers to the energy.gov calculator using their typical 64 gallon water usage, I get an annual electricity consumption of 4750 kWh or about (4750 / 365.25) = 13 kWh/day. When this 13 kWh is being pulled and for how long, I can't say. Maybe for a typical water heater tank, most of the heating is done throughout the day with a spike later when everyone showers/bathes. I'm not including laundry since everyone does it on their own schedule.

The cars do suck up a huge amount of power (for me). My commute is different from yours since I easily consume 32 kWh everyday on my commute. I don't have the luxury of solar so I will be drawing a consistent 4.8 kWh for 9 hrs after I get home and plugin. What happens if I had installed a 7.68 kWh L2 EVSE and everyone in my block also installed the same EVSE and started pulling 7.68 kWh at the same time after the rush hour commute? That could be 3-12 hrs of sustained 7.68 kWh consumption times how many houses have an EVSE. Oh, and we all take showers roughly at the same time (+/- 2hrs) so the water heaters all have to start drawing a few more kWh to heat more water at roughly the same time (evening hours, 6pm through midnight, so 6hrs of combined consumption from all out water heaters). Oh, and a few neighbors have a hot tub or use an arc welder or does laundry. It's not a simple problem and I don't think it's fair to treat EVSE charging like water heaters. They're similar in electricity usage (constant draws for hours) but differ based on how people use them (I take short showers but have long 30 kWh commute, some people may prefer shower+bath after a 30 kWh commute).

I think ICE owners do have a valid concern about grid support and do feel power companies do oversubscribe a bit just as Sean Nelson pointed out. In fact, it behooves most service providers to do so to handle the inevitable surges in demands. When it comes to humans there will always be ebbs and flows in consumption. Us EV pioneers are luckily just too small to make a dent to the grid is my wager. It'd be interesting to see if there is a study on the impact of EV adoption on grid consumption. I'd like to say there's negligible currently, but that will not be the case as EV adoption (hopefully) increases. Then the grid maintainers will need to start upgrading capacity which again, as Sean Nelson pointed out, won't happen until demand is there. What triggers upgrade in capacity? Ideally, response by the grid maintainers to increasing demand and not responses to increasing brown/blackouts.
 

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It'd be interesting to see if there is a study on the impact of EV adoption on grid consumption.
Our local utility is paying for the first few hundred home and public wireless-enabled ESVEs. The only stipulation is the owner have an accessible router and allow the utility to get a report of when, how long, how often the EV is charged. They think EVs will be here sooner than later and want early warning of how to prepare. The unfortunate problem is up here in the frozen ass-end of nowhere, EV adaption is nil; but we'll be ready when they come.

jack vines
 

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I'm not a power expert, but I think the concern is with peak demand of the grid as a whole. Didn't we used to have rolling brownouts or even blackouts in hot climates with everyone blasting their ACs at once for hours on end? The problem I thought was everyone demanded 2 kWh at the same time because everyone came home to a hot house and needed to crank up the AC. This would require firing up another power plant. If we had a power buffer of some sort it may help smooth out the brown/blackouts.
I'm not sure which brownouts you are referring to, but the last time the Western states had widespead grid problems, it wasn't because of capacity problems, it had everything to do with market manipulation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis

Since then, I can't think of times where there were widespead power problems in Northers California that weren't tied to transmission lines being brought down by a fire or storm.
 

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I think people have two mindsets of EV's. The first is the older Nissan Leafs. When people think about this type of EV they think all EV's have range well under 100 miles, poor acceleration, and bad battery degradation. My brother in-law is a car guy and when I got an electric car he was shocked that is was 200 HP and could go over 200 miles. The second type of EV people think about is the Tesla. Non-car people, like my dad, always compliment that looks and performance of the car. It reminds me of what people thought about Jaguars back 20 years ago.


I always let friends that love muscle cars drive my Bolt and they are shocked. After they drive a Bolt, I think that car people understand why EV's will replace ICE cars very soon. Dual motor EV's will destroy any ICE cars in a few years. Providing power and variable torque to each set of wheels instantaneously is something that can not be replicated by any ICE vehicle. Here is a video of someone who is probably in love with muscle cars as anyone in the world. He is saying the ICE car is going to be a horse drawn carriage compared to an EV in just a few years.


 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Our local utility is paying for the first few hundred home and public wireless-enabled ESVEs.
Back in the 1990's I had an apartment with a radio receiver on it. In exchange for $3 / month off my electric bill, the power company could turn off my hot water heater during peak hours. I could see that happening with electric cars as well.
 

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Back in the 1990's I had an apartment with a radio receiver on it. In exchange for $3 / month off my electric bill, the power company could turn off my hot water heater during peak hours. I could see that happening with electric cars as well.
With a smart grid, the electric company could offer discounts so they can actually take stored energy from your car. Electric cars could be used to level the peak demand.
 
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