Living with an EV

Living with an EV

Episode 3947 , Episode 3953
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Lots of people like the idea of having an electric vehicle as their daily driver --  at least in theory. Many still have qualms about range anxiety and how owning an EV will affect their daily routines. We’ve been talking to EV owners about these issues and have found plenty of compelling reasons to flip the EV switch!

When asked why they considered buying an electric vehicle, most EV owners point to the environmental benefits - that driving electric means emitting zero tailpipe emissions.

But once people dive into the EV lifestyle, they quickly point out other reasons for not missing their internal combustion cars.

RICHARD HARTNETT: The biggest benefit I think is the extremely low cost of ownership, and of course, the side benefit that it’s extremely healthy to the environment. Because it’s not a gasoline powered vehicle, it’s not spewing any carbon emissions out into the air, which is good for all of us.

JOYCE BREINER: Part of it was, reducing our emissions. We were on a track trying to reduce our household, our family emissions, and the other part was actually a little bit of a surprise, was they are so much fun.

ALEXANDER YANEY: So, what I love about this car, is the acceleration. Zero to sixty in 4.2 seconds, which is better than any car I’ve had…

We’ve got to give some credit to Tesla and their Ludicrous Mode for popularizing the notion that electric vehicles can be kick-ass performance cars, and other EV makers are following suit, but even the most basic EV can be fun to drive thanks to their electric motor’s instant-on torque curve.

Sergeant Richard Hartnett of the Hyattsville Maryland Police liked his own Chevy Bolt so much, he lobbied to drive one at work too.

RICHARD HARTNETT: One of the big advantages of the Bolt as a Police car, is that because there’s no transmission per se in an electric vehicle, when you step on the accelerator, the car just sorta takes right off..and that’s a little different than the gasoline-powered police cars, which have a little bit of sluggishness when they first take off. So, it’s very quick off the line, it’s had no problem keeping up with local chases, the few that we’ve had with it, and it’s very very quiet, so if i have to sorta sneak up on something that’s going on, the bad guys don’t know that I’m there.

Currently, plug-in vehicle sales in the U.S. account for a very small percentage of all vehicles sold, but we’re starting to see a new generation of drivers for whom nothing else will do!

I started driving on electric vehicles about 8 years ago. I took my driving test in a Nissan Leaf.

And don’t forget, EV’s are not limited to four wheelers..

VANESSA THOMAS: I rode motorcycles for a very long time, I grew up on motorcycles because my parents both ride. When I heard there was electric motorcycles out there, I was intrigued and wanted to find out more.. So I actually rode up to the closest place that had an electric motorcycle for sale, which was in New Jersey, which was a couple hundred miles from where I live, and rode one, and had a grin on my face from ear to ear all day long after that, and just knew i wanted one, so I’ve been riding electric ever since.

Of course, the other big benefit of electric vehicles is lower cost of ownership and maintenance.

VANESSA THOMAS: I really haven’t had much to fix on it so its been very low cost, very low maintenance.

JOYCE BREINER: In a nutshell, EVs are so much less expensive to own or operate.

It’s about 4 cents a mile to run an EV, and the maintenance is like non-existent you’re not worrying about going to, going to the shop for oil changes or anything like that. And they’ve pretty been maintenance free for us for the most part.

The number of publicly accessible charging stations reached about 26,000 in 2020, offering over 83,500 outlets.

But most owners we talked to say that bypassing the gas station and “fueling” at home is the greatest benefit of owning an EV. Plug in to a 110-volt outlet and virtually any electric vehicle can be fully charged overnight for a fraction of what a tank of gasoline or diesel would cost.

VANESSA THOMAS: It costs a little over a dollar to charge up from zero to  full, so I can get you know 150 miles on a dollar.

For those who’ve made the electric switch, it seems there’s no going back!

JOYCE BREINER: EVs are fun, fun, fun to drive, and they’re easy, they’re safe, too. And I wouldn’t really want to be in anything else.

H2 the Rescue 3

H2 the Rescue

How Hydrogen Can Help First Responders

Episode 4241
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

H2 the Rescue

Mounting an effective response to natural disasters or emergency situations often comes down to having the right vehicles and equipment on standby. This week we look at a prototype rescue truck that relies on clean power technology to let first responders hit the ground running.

Efficient use of time and resources in the first hours after a hurricane, flood, fire, or winter storm, especially in remote areas, is critical for setting up a successful recovery operation.

H2@Rescue is a hydrogen fuel cell/battery hybrid truck that can mobilize to disaster sites within a 180-mile range, and then provide power, heating and cooling, and even create water on-site for up to 72 hours before refueling.

The project is a collaboration between several federal agencies, including the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security, the Army Corps of Engineers and private sector partners. We caught up with the team at Colorado’s National Renewable Energy Lab, where functionality testing was underway.

H2 the Rescue 2

NICHOLAS JOSEFIK: “The H2@Rescue gives us an opportunity to bring an emergency vehicle into a situation where there is no power or water, and get some eyes on the situation. We can immediately have a command center, we can immediately be producing power– 25 kilowatts worth of power– and we can be generating water on site that could be used.”

H2@Rescue is a Class 7 heavy duty truck weighing approximately 33,000 pounds.The box body is climate controlled and can act as a mobile command center or warming/cooling shelter during an emergency. The truck carries 176 kilograms of hydrogen onboard, in high-pressure tanks. Hydrogen fuel has an energy density about three times that of gas or diesel, and the electric drivetrain used in this truck is more efficient than a similar internal combustion engine.

Conversion of the Kenworth chassis from diesel to hydrogen power was spearheaded by Accelera by Cummins, a new subsidiary of the traditionally diesel-driven engine maker, that will focus on zero-emissions power solutions for the future.

PRATEEK VAISH: “It has a fuel cell, which produces 90 kilowatts at max. There’s a high-voltage battery, which is 155 kilowatt-hours, and there is a traction motor, which is 250. So, in a nutshell, how this vehicle operates is: The fuel cell charges the battery, and the battery provides power to the traction– traction motor. But if the battery is low on charge, the fuel cell can also provide power to the traction motor.”

H2 the Rescue 1

The transport and fueling infrastructure for hydrogen still lags behind conventional fuels in terms of cost and number of locations due to the need for pressurized tanks and other factors, but that gap could be closed in the future, since hydrogen can be produced and stored locally, potentially right at a fueling site.

Accelera is already a global leader in fuel cell applications with more than 2,000 fuel cells and 600 electrolyzers – the machines that separate hydrogen from water — already in use.

Lessons learned here will help them develop zero-emission power solutions for other vocational vehicles, like electric utility trucks, transit buses, delivery vehicles and long-haul trucks.

PRATEEK VAISH: “And we’re doing a lot of work towards destination zero, which is we’re trying to decarbonize the whole Cummins portfolio by 2050, so this is a great step in that direction.”

H2@Rescue passed the NREL testing with flying colors, proving that hydrogen power can fulfill the critical needs of first responders in these extraordinary situations, and showing one pathway to a zero-emission future for vehicles of all sizes.