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ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek HalfDork
10/16/22 11:03 a.m.

A couple weeks ago, as I was putting gas into my daily driver, a 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, I suddenly noticed that the required premium gasoline was $1.00 more than regular, making it $5.49/gallon. Something in me clicked and shouted, "well, this is dumb." That weekend I started looking for cheaper alternatives in transportation. I first found the Audi A3 e-tron Sportback, a plug-in hybrid based on the Golf. It was rated to have 16 miles of all electric range, which could get me to the free electric chargers at work. There was one available in the Detroit region.

Now at this year's Detroit auto show I got a ride in the all electric Ford Lightning and a short drive in an all electric VW iD4. Both very nice, very quick, and very outside my budget. But between those rides and the stories of EVs on the forum I redirected my search to EVs.

More story later. The car is charged and I need to get going. I leave you with the required "new car" gas station picture.

And, yes, it is actually at a gas station.

- Sean

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/16/22 11:41 a.m.

Shorter range EVs like the e-Golf work great in a commuting situation. If you can charge at work or home, then all of a sudden the whole concept of refueling disappears. That'll be a really easy car to live with, as it is literally a Golf that happens to have a different type of powertrain.

They're not available in all states, though - a lot of this type of EV were only sold in a handful of states that had California emissions requirements. Makes them hard to find outside those areas.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/16/22 11:51 a.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek :

Very interesting.  Just last week, Weds to be exact, I was in Bowling Green, OH and much to my surprise I saw a white e-Golf like this hooked up to a charger in a downtown parking lot.  I did not realize they were around here and quickly realized I had never seen one.  

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek HalfDork
10/16/22 11:59 a.m.

Alright, next charging stop reached. Yeah, with only 85 miles of range max (more like 45 with doing DC charging to 80%) stops seem to be every half hour. Back to the story:

Now, my budget was only $22,000 which limited me to first generation "EPA compliance" EVs. Things like the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric, Chevy Spark EV, BMW i3 EV, smart for two eD, and the Volkswagen e-Golf. All with somewhere between 70 and 85 miles of range new, at 100% battery. Thankfully, this should work for my use case: charging at home and work, 14 mile commute between, and local driving. We can use my wife's car for trips over 50 miles. Of the cars I could choose from, I liked the e-Golf the best.

Luckily, there was one for sale five miles from home at the local Mitsubishi dealer. I immediately scheduled a test drive. It was very nice. Quiet. Spacious. The interior feels like a normal Golf, because it is. One-pedal driving was fun to play with. And I got buy-in from Mrs. ShawneeCreek. Unfortunately, this particular car was an SE trim level, which means no cruise control (WHY!!) and no DC fast charging option. The SEL Premium trim got both of those and some more features. So this car wasn't for me. The search began for an e-Golf SEL.

There were three (3!) within a 500 mile radius of me in central Michigan. Not bad for a car only sold in CARB states that are on the coasts. Luckily, there was one in the Detroit region, about 100 miles away from home.

Oh, car is charged again. The one nice thing about the tiny battery: it charges quickly. Because threads are better with pictures, here is one of the car from this morning.

- Sean

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
10/16/22 12:26 p.m.

Are we overlooking the Chevy Volt ( hybrid )? The first ones had 38 mile range before the  gas motor fired up.  But required premium fuel. 
    The second version got 56 miles before the engine cursed up but that one ran on regular 87 octane.  
   Finally the Bolt came along and it has 259 mile range. The great news is they all got a new set of free batteries or will get a free set   Apparently some of the the early batteries had contamination 

  The Nissan Leaf first version only had 90 mile range and suffered like the Chevy did but the warranty isn't yet replacing them.   The current Nissan gets 210 miles range. 
 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/16/22 12:47 p.m.

The Leaf battery problem (high degradation due to poor thermal management) is very different from the Bolt battery problem (some packs with manufacturing defects could catch on fire). One is a bad design choice, the other is a recall situation.

If you're looking at full battery EVs, the Volt isn't one. I agree that you could cross-shop a second gen Volt against a compliance EV, but they aren't the same because you're carrying around a complete secondary drivetrain. The Bolt isn't a compliance EV and I believe they're out of the price range stated here.

Slippery
Slippery PowerDork
10/16/22 12:51 p.m.

Looking forward to this thread! 

And also glad gas its $3.19/gallon down here at Costco. 

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek HalfDork
10/16/22 1:25 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Several of my coworkers have Chevy Volts, and I could probably have found some within budget. But I find them very dreary to look at and would have cringed seeing one in the driveway every day. Also, as Keith mentioned, the plug in hybrid is carrying around two drivetrains for a single vehicle. The Volt was basically eliminated as an option once I started looking at pure EVs. And the early Bolts are $7,000 or more above the top of my budget.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
10/16/22 1:40 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

The Leaf battery problem (high degradation due to poor thermal management) is very different from the Bolt battery problem (some packs with manufacturing defects could catch on fire). One is a bad design choice, the other is a recall situation.

If you're looking at full battery EVs, the Volt isn't one. I agree that you could cross-shop a second gen Volt against a compliance EV, but they aren't the same because you're carrying around a complete secondary drivetrain. The Bolt isn't a compliance EV and I believe they're out of the price range stated here.

Kieth you and I are in complete agreement regarding  hybrids.  However some guys are just so wedded to gas they just won't consider anything without it.  
 I only suggest those for them.  
  As far as battery recall goes.  I'm fine regardless of the cause as long as the factory takes care of it.  The One Leaf in our neighborhood the owner spent an enormous amount of time with the dealership without success and just took it to the bank and had them them deal with it.  He took a credit hit but I don't think he cared.   I know most banks have a dealer recourse clause.  
    There are a few used Bolts for sale  around here under the $22,000 budget.   
       
 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
10/16/22 1:44 p.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek :My wife feels the same way about Chevy. 
  
 She got burned real bad back in the 90's by them at a time it really hurt her so no Chevy's 

  If you could have waited until January 1 2023 the $7500 rebate / tax credit would apply and then a new one would be $23,700 

NY Nick
NY Nick Dork
10/16/22 1:45 p.m.

I have a very close friend with an eGolf. He and his wife share it for all their commuting duties and it charges from solar on their house. It never leaves a 15 mile radius of their house but that accounts for the majority of their driving. Cool car. I hope it serves you well. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
10/16/22 1:50 p.m.

In reply to Slippery :

The average car costs 18 cents per mile of gas or  2 cents per mile of electricity. 
the average annual mileage is 12,000 which make annual gas budget $ 2160 or $240 for electricity.  Oh and don't forget two $50 oil changes a year. Plus a brake job  none of which an EV needs. ( regenerative braking) 

Slippery
Slippery PowerDork
10/16/22 2:20 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to Slippery :

The average car costs 18 cents per mile of gas or  2 cents per mile of electricity. 
the average annual mileage is 12,000 which make annual gas budget $ 2160 or $240 for electricity.  Oh and don't forget two $50 oil changes a year. Plus a brake job  none of which an EV needs. ( regenerative braking) 

I like evs for what they are, not because of the savings. 

I have 5 cars that I cycle through, this is my main one. Your estimate is so far off with me its not even close ... an oil change for me is $120 diy. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
10/16/22 2:31 p.m.

I agree but sometimes you need to show money savings just to get them to try one..  once they feel the acceleration and quietness then Second grade math takes over 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
10/16/22 2:49 p.m.

Anyone approaching retirement should really consider EV's.  First a charged battery never has the gas go stale.  Second lower cost of ownership. Lower maintenance, ability to generate your own "fuel" 

 Quiet so things can be heard like sirens and horns,  easier. No more trips to gas stations, 

 many of them have advanced drivers aides to keep them safely mobile longer. 
    

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek HalfDork
10/16/22 2:50 p.m.

And the journey continues. The previous charging stop was combined with lunch, so no update then. Interestingly, the charger was in the paid parking lot at Flint-Bishop Airport. The charge itself was a bit cheaper, but we had to pay $2 for parking. It gave us enough charge to get all the way home with about 10 miles to spare. Instead, we decided to make a quick stop at my work on the way for clean bathrooms and a quick charging session for some extra buffer.

Where did I leave off... Oh, yes. The car in Detroit. It was a 2016 with just over 50,000 miles on it. Originally sold in southern California (I know, try and hide your surprise), then it lived in southern Indiana for a couple of years. This is good news. It means little to no existing rust. And it was painted the pretty blue color that you have already seen. Much more exciting than black, white, grey, or silver. I contacted the dealership and scheduled to test drive it yesterday on my way through Detroit to a wedding in Toledo, Ohio. I did some research ahead of time on A Better Route Planner (think Google maps for electric cars) and it seemed we could make it to Toledo, drive around as needed, and drive back using the charging network if we actually bought the car.

The test drive went well. The car was in used, but good condition. I need to clean some Cheerios out of the crevasses and what is likely a juice stain from the rear headliner. The charge port door has a broken latch that needs replaced. And I'm not sure if the dark window tint needs removed. I'll live with it for a couple of weeks before I make a decision.

Car is charged enough. Last 14 miles to get home!

- Sean

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
10/16/22 3:58 p.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek :

So cool!    Tinted windows means less strain on the AC in the summer months, ergo longer driving range.  But, in your tundra-zone-winter that also means less winter warmth from the sun and more need for heater, ergo shorter driving range when the driving range is already its shortest. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/16/22 4:21 p.m.

It's a very good blue. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/16/22 4:51 p.m.

Youre getting rid og the fiat? 

Neat electric though!

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek HalfDork
10/16/22 7:20 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Yeah, I'm selling the Fiat. I couldn't believe it myself either. It's a blast to drive, the exhaust note (with the aftermarket exhaust) is beautiful, and it looks great. But it was costing me $200/month in gas to run and the idea of an electric car really appealed to me, especially after my recent test drives. Also, the electric car as a concept really speaks to my core engineering drive for improving efficiency in all things.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/16/22 7:30 p.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek :

Perfect reasons. 

Looking forward to seeing how this works for you!

paddygarcia
paddygarcia Reader
10/17/22 3:15 p.m.

Great choice, and a little nostalgic as my last company car at the People's Car Company was an e-golf prototype. Definitely one of the nicer compliance EVs, hope you continue to enjoy it!

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek HalfDork
10/17/22 6:45 p.m.

As you might have guessed, we made it home safely and without running out of electricity.

Let's continue with the adventure:

We had just endured two and half hours of dealership negotiations, processes, and paperwork. Far more than I'd prefer, but they at least plugged the car in to their level 2 charger while we waited. Eventually, we transferred all the things from the Fiat and I reset the HomeLink and infotainment system to factory to remove personal information. And I said one last goodbye to the Fiat.

We had an 80 mile drive ahead of us to get to the wedding in Toledo, Ohio, and only 50 miles of range indicated. Additionally we hadn't had lunch. Thankfully, both could be fixed at the same stop. An EV Go fast charger was out in front of a Baskin Robbins with a Chick-fil-A a block down the road. The drive went smoothly enough, but, dang is range anxiety a thing. I had mini bouts of panic every time I looked at the range remaining. Less than 50 miles. Not enough to make it to the final destination or home. This charger HAS TO work, or we're screwed. frown And you always hear stories about broken or blocked chargers. So I was nervous.

Good news! We made it with about 12 miles remaining. The car automatically switched into it's Eco driving mode when range dropped below 18 miles. I dropped Mrs. ShawneeCreek off to order food while I figured out the charger. Thankfully it was a super easy process. Insert credit card. Select charger cable (CHAdeMO or J1772). Plug into car. Charging begins. Huge sense of relief of the built up range anxiety. smiley I walked to Chick-fil-A to gather Mrs. ShawneeCreek and the food and we returned to eat in the car while it charged for a total of 25 minutes.

Once the car was "full" to about 85% I stopped the charging process on the machine. Then I ran headlong into a problem. The stupid charge cable just WOULD NOT unplug from the car. angry I was pushing the release button, but it wouldn't come out. I fought with it for 5-10 minutes in full view of the drive thru at Baskin Robbins in full wedding attire. So embarrassing. I finally remembered a comment from a coworker with a Chevy Volt who said his car doesn't have a "charger lock." Could that be my problem? I looked around and finally noticed a small metal plunger that was keeping the release tab from fully releasing. Turns out I needed to unlock the car so it would release the charge cable. I did so and we were on our way again. Oh, the unique trials of EV ownership.

Naturally, between the extended time at the dealership and my trials with the charge cable we were running late for the wedding ceremony with no way to make up the difference. The car didn't have the range to speed and make up the time. Disappointing, but unavoidable at this point. At least we could still make the reception three hours later. Might as well use the time to get there and recharge the batteries. Luckily, a free solution existed to charge the car and fill the time.

The Hollywood Casino in Toledo has ~8  level 2 chargers on the basement level of it's parking garage that are free to use. A mix between J1772 and Tesla connectors. We again had about 12 miles remaining when I plugged in the car. It said it needed 2.5 hours to fully charge. This was perfect, because that was the time we had to wait. Now, neither Mrs. ShawneeCreek or I gamble. But the casino is free to walk through, smoke free, has clean bathrooms, and free beverages. Works for me!

And we found a delightful new feature in the darkness of the parking garage: blue line accent lighting in the doors and sills. So unnecessary, but delightful!

No issues getting unplugged this time. Phew. Drove the last few miles to the reception venue. While looking for parking I noticed an "Electric Vehicle Parking" sign in a nearby parking lot. Why, yes please. It ended up being some 110V outlets at the base of a light pole. Slow, but free. The car wanted 3.5 hours to fully charge. Sure, we'll be inside for nearly that long. Might as well.

The reception was good. And catching up with family friends and the happy couple made all the effort with charging worth it. We left with an almost full charge for the hotel, that unfortunately didn't have any chargers or outlets available. No matter. The battery was basically full anyways.

Well, this post has gone on long enough. I'll follow up later with the story of the 162 mile drive home.

- Sean

cdowd (Forum Supporter)
cdowd (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/17/22 6:56 p.m.

We need some details on the 124.  Did you trade it or is it for sale?

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
10/17/22 7:03 p.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek :

Thanks for your story.  It's nice to hear about what a VW version is like.  
     We are holding off now until January 1  to take advantage of the tax rebate.   But based on your report VW is on the list.  
 So far all that's off the list is Chevy ( due to past troubles)  Kia and Nissan.    
Leading the list is Volvo and Tesla. 

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