Ford Lightning: Part IV

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Well, it got cold.

And the cold did affect the range. First, from just sitting in the cold, overnight. I left the Lightning with 120 miles of range indicated; this morning, that had fallen to 113 – a not-insignificant loss.

So I took the Lightning back down the mountain – and back to the same commercial “fast” charger I hooked it up to the day prior – in order to recover charge enough to have margin enough to try pulling a trailer tomorrow.

Margin is important with electric vehicles, because if you run out of it, you have run into a problem. Even when it’s warm, I have found the range indicated to be more than the range you actually have – or get, at any rate.

But the cold was more of a problem.

After I drove back home from the “fast” charger – after having spent about an hour and 15 minutes there to recover about 100 miles of indicated range – the indicated range had fallen to just 160 miles remaining, a loss of 40 miles of indicated range.

But the trip from the “fast” charger to my house is less than 30 miles.

This drop was much greater than the drop I experienced the day before – probably because the day before it was 20 degrees warmer and I wasn’t using power-using accessories such as the heater (and the heated seats).

You could probably decrease the losses (and increase the range) by not using accessories such as the heater and electric seats. But you can’t do much about the cold – even if you are willing to be cold.

Or rather, about the effect of cold on the battery – which amounts to the effect on the actual vs. indicated range.

I could have spent more time waiting at the “fast” charger – and put more range into the Lightning, to compensate for the effect of the cold on the battery. But I’d already spent more than an hour there – which is a long time to wait when you have other things to do. So I unplugged from the “fast” charger – still no idea how much it cost me – and headed back home with 200 miles of indicated range, which I figured would be enough margin to try hooking up a trailer tomorrow, to see what effect that would have on the actual range.

But I used up 40 miles of that getting the less-than-30-miles back home – with the majority of the using-up occurring during the climb up Bent Mountain, an elevation gain of some 2,000 feet over a distance of about 2.5 miles.

If you don’t live in a mountainous area – if most of your driving is on level ground – the range drop you’ll be dealing with will likely not be as dramatic, as it takes a lot more energy to haul 6,000-plus pounds up a steep and continuous grade than it does to maintain speed already attained on a level road.

But there is no getting away from the effects of the cold.

Of course, if you don’t need to go very far – or rather, not so far as to push the envelope of the electric vehicle’s actual-vs.-indicated range – the cold’s effect on range may not be a problem for you. If I lived say ten miles from the “fast” charger, I would not have to “fast” charge as often – and I could spend less time “fast” charging.

I might not even need to “fast” charge at all – because it might be enough to trickle-charge at home, on 120-240v AC (rather than high-voltage DC) electricity because there would always be enough range/charge remaining such that adding say 20 miles of range overnight to a battery that still had 150-200 miles of indicated range would be a simple topping-off operation.

This would be “preferable” – for the “health” of the battery. Ford’s words, not mine.

But I live about 30 miles away from the “fast” charger and so the drive there and back is about 60 miles, round-trip – assuming no side trips. In the cold, that trip eats up a lot more range than the actual miles – and that leaves me with the choice of either spending more time at the “fast” charger or waiting even longer at home, for the vehicle to trickle-charge.

So, when I got home, I hooked it up to do just that. And this time – unlike the first time – it worked. Or rather, I figured out why it didn’t work the last time I tried to trickle-charge the truck (on 120V household AC current; so-called “Level 1” charging). It was because I tried hooking up the Ford’s supplied home charger apparatus (you do not use this at commercial DC “fast” chargers) to an extension cord, because the supplied power cord wasn’t long enough to reach the 120V outlet in the garage.

As it turns out, you cannot use an ordinary extension cord. The supplied factory charger apparatus has a box attached that prevents charging if the unit is not directly plugged into the outlet or (I assume) an extension cord made of heavier gauge cabling (such as you’d use to connect a portable generator to your home panel) because of what I assume to be a fire risk of using a standard gauge extension cord cable. So – if your outlet is too far away to connect directly, you will need to buy a cable that will work with the supplied apparatus.

I will report tomorrow about how much charge accrued from trickle-charging overnight, in the cold. I hope it will be at least enough to give me margin enough to risk hooking up a trailer to the truck, so I can report the effect of that (plus the cold) on the actual vs. indicated range.

See Part V here.

. . .

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  1. What a great chance to improve literacy. People can read all the great classics while waiting on the battery charging!
    Take a small camping stove and make dinner and coffee.
    Hey just live in the car and save on mortgage payments!

  2. Love to see the fights breaking out if there were a dozen or so people waiting to use one of the four charges available; need to have a machine to give out numbers like you were waiting at a deli. “Hi honey, I’ll be about six hours late getting home, waiting my turn at the charger”.

  3. ….And this, when it is BRAND FREAKING NEW, no less! Could you imagine 3 years…or 5 years doiwn the road?! This is exactly what I expected to hear, Eric. It’s like all of the rechargeable lawn mowers and weed-whackers and chainsaws ya see on Craigslist….not even a few months old and their owners are trying to dump them already.

    • Good point Nunzio, and a good resource to check want ads, tells the tale sometimes.
      And a good analogy on e-lawn equipment vs gas.
      I’m a chainsaw guy and have lots of them to manage a large forest.
      The smallest gasser I use is 2HP, holds about 1/10 gal of gas. I use these all the time, every week. Their smallest e-version weighs the same, and they say lasts 45 min on a charge. Wouldn’t work for me unless I bring many batteries with me. And I could, but the cost is way more than double to do that, maybe triple.
      I own a large commercial week-wacker but also got my wife a little e-unit because she can’t start the gas. the e-unit works pretty good for the 20min. we need it. But if the job requires 30min or more with heavy brush the gas is the only way.
      So then we move up to lawn mowers, which are usually 5HP+ and I don’t see a practical way for e-units to replace gas unless your mowing a tiny little yard.
      I laugh when I see an e-riding mower with a guy in the ad mowing a large field, haha…..

      • Exactly, Chris! I have a good mile of weed-whacking to do in the warm weather. I can take my weed-eater with it’s tank full, and a little 1-gallon can of gas with me, and go at it all day. And bear in mind that the two weed-eaters I have are almost 9 years old now, and other than having to replace a leaking fuel line, I’ve never had to do a thing to ’em. I’m sure if they had electric weed-eaters on Star-Trek, they wouldn’t even be able to do the job that my gas ones do! (Yeah, I “get” the li’l electric one for the wife around the house…or for somebody who has nothing more than a 4’x6′ patch of grass in front of their rowhouse in NYC…).

        And chainsaws! I got a new Echo Timberwolf CS-590 about a year and a half ago. Love it. Been giving it a work-out. I just laugh when I see the ‘lectric ones….. I work this gas one to the max….I just picture an electric one flying apart the first time I use it- if the battery would last long enough to even rotate the chain once through a hickory limb. Heck, I wouldn’t trade my Jap-style limb saw for an electric chainsaw! (I’ve cut down a white pine quite easily with the little hand limb saw).

        • Nunz, I can only look back fondly at the days when I had the energy to whack all day!😄
          I have a couple of battery-powered chainsaws, including a DeWalt pole saw that’s really handy for trimming low-hanging limbs along the driveway and around the edges of fields. I used to have to climb up in the front-end loader bucket to reach those. But for serious woodcutting I still get out the old Jonsered that I inherited from my Dad.
          The main shortcoming of consumer-grade electric saws is that they just don’t spin the chain fast enough. But the little one is darned handy when there’s a small job that I can’t quite get done with a lopper.

          • Hi, Roland,
            Electric does not equal battery powered.
            Back in the day, a Homelite Super XL Automatic was my “second right arm,” but these days, all I need to do is cut up the occasional downed tree limb, so for that purpose a plug-in electric Stihl serves admirably well. Vielen dank, Andreas.

            In my experience, 2 stroke engines which sit unused for extended periods tend to have gummed up carburetors, and I do not have the patience, nor the inclination, to rebuild the carburetor every time I need to cut up a downed limb.

            YMMV. Horses for courses, as they say.

            • Very true, Adi. I tend to forget about the old reliable corded tools. However, almost all of the chainsaw work I do is beyond the reach of any extension cord. Guess I should pony up a hundred grand for an F-150 Lightening to plug it into! 😆
              Two-strokes are particularly problematic now that you can no longer make simple carb adjustments with a screwdriver. I’m not sure whether that was the manufacturers’ idea or if it’s being regulated because climate change.
              That said, my old Jonsered is amazing. It sits for months and then fires right up. I have stopped using ethanol gas in all of my small engines, so I’m sure that helps.

            • The problem with carbs gumming up was created with the disasterous ethanol fuel. Near metro areas you can not get non-ethanol and from my experience, and using fuel stabilizer, you can go a bout 4-6 months of it sitting before it ruins stuff. In rural areas with non-ethanol fuel avail. you can go 1-2 years w/stabilizer without issue.

              • Hi Chris. Yes, I’m out in the country, and there are a couple of places within a half-hour drive that sell real gasoline. I found them on Great site if you need the stuff. Probably just a matter of time before it’s taken down for enabling climate change.
                Before I found those sellers, I used 100LL avgas for a few years, but it does contain lead, and that’s apparently not a good thing for modern engines either. Plus it’s even more crazy-expensive. If memory serves, when regular was around two bucks, 100LL was $4.75.
                We just took delivery of a new Kubota UTV (“side-by-side”), and I’m planning to use the non-alcohol gas in it. It won’t be traveling off our property, so I don’t anticipate using a lot.

        • I’ve found my little 12 inch Black and Decker electric chainsaw is handy for really small jobs and for cutting up pieces in the shop that are too big to go in the ol’ pot belly stove (Frost Killer #22- best wood stove I’ve ever had). And the same thing on a pole saw is nice to lop off a limb occasionally. But for real work, it’s 2 stroke McCulloch every time.

  4. Thanks for the shot of the “behind the plugs” apparatus. I was more interested in the interconnection at the top of the pole but that’s OK, I have a pretty good idea of what’s up there now. The transfomer, if there is one, is likely integrated into that big grey box.

    It does point out that these things aren’t just a pedestal in the parking lot. There’s a lot of extra stuff in that grey box. If you’re a business hoping to cash in on the EV charging bonanza you’d better have some extra real estate you’ll be willing to give up. In this case there was a nice grassy easement (easy digging and restoration) on the edge of the parking lot, but in many cases you’ll be trenching through the parking lot, running conduit rated for at least 480 V service (could be much higher voltage depending on distrubution network) and placing a lot of equipment. Reason being the same as why you don’t want to use 16 gauge extension cords, resistive heating and voltage drop. So the transformer is placed as close to the charging pedestals as possible. Getting power to the grey box is going to be at your expense unless EZGo is using OPM to gain market share. Either way, there’s an impact that you as property owner will have to absorb.

    And what about all those pads? People get upset about the little “doghouse” holding a cable amplifier in their yard. Who’s going to put up with giant grey boxes in the neighborhood? How soon before a “differently housed” individual figures out there’s copper for the taking and becomes char-broiled? Or someone texts off the road and smacks into the damn thing? Gasoline filling stations can’t keep people from putting “I did that” stickers on their pumps, what are these things going to look like after a few years of gang tagging? I know… “What if?” But hey, “what if?” climate change is what’s driving all this stuff. Two can play that game.

  5. Yukon Jack, that’s what I’m doing if I’m ever forced into a EV pickup. And I’d have to get the huge 2500 w/8ft bed so I could still fit something else in the bed. Generators are not small.
    So now I would be driving a 8Klb? vehicle with an effective all-in efficiency of next to nothing.
    Maybe Anon1 could do his calculation magic of driving an EV pickup with a diesel gen in the back providing the energy?

  6. The past few days I have been trying to be more open-minded about EVs. They are absurdly inappropriate for most people, and I loathe the bastards who are trying to force them on us. But I seldom drive very far anymore, so I wonder whether a Chevy Bolt might work as our second car. Our neighbors got one last summer and they love it.
    I have 240V available in the garage. The main deal breaker – aside from the specter of normal people laughing at me for being a “climate” moron – is price. For less than the cost of an itty-bitty Bolt, I can get a much nicer 50-mpg Corolla Hybrid. If the Bolt were <$20k, I would give it a serious look.

    • Roland,

      I agree.

      I drive 150 miles and back once a month, sometimes twice. I sometimes take longer car trips for vacation or to visit other family members, one brother is 350 miles away.

      My daily commute is about 2 miles, add another 5-10 for various errands etc (performed regularly but not necessarily daily).

      Lots of snow, ice, and salt in my area for 4 months out of the year (late Dec-early March) most years, possible up to 6 months. Lowest low is about -30 F, hugest high is about 105 F (near Chicago). 4WD not needed but heat and a/c are both highly desirable.

      Occasionally I need to move stuff like furniture, appliances, or home improvement items that are difficult or impossible to move in my vehicle (Honda Civic). Once every 1-2 years I will borrow or rent a truck for such a project, but it would come in handy a little more often than that.

      I have a detached garage with 120V electricity, feasibility of adding a 220 line is unclear. Would need at least 1 new box, maybe 2, but any new wires to garage have to be run under the driveway & existing conduit looks full to me. I have no desire to burn down this garage in a possible fire, whether gas or electric.

      An EV would be practical for me to use as a weekday commuter car, if it were inexpensive enough. Problem is, it wouldn’t cover my other needs well. If I bought a 2nd car it would most likely be either an inexpensive EV/hybrid, or a used Tacoma, or a motorcycle.

      I’m not sold on the ev thing. And I have concerns about batteries (especially lithium ones) + road salt. Hybrid batteries are usually nickel and placed farther out of the way of corrosion, if I’m not mistaken. Hybrid seems to win on practicality.

      I’d probably like the taco or the motorcycle better (which is also a factor).

      Motorcycle would be cheapest to purchase.

      • Publius, I’ve been poking around the interwebs this morning, and it appears that there are plenty of Bolts at local dealers. I wonder if buyers are waiting because the EV tax credit is coming back in 2023 without the 200,000-vehicle limitation. If that’s the case, they probably will disappear immediately in January.
        From what I’ve been able to determine, the Bolt would be eligible then for only a $3,500 credit because its battery doesn’t contain enough domestically produced materials. That would get the cost down to mid-20s.
        With our 2015 Focus and my old Dodge-Cummins pickup, we’d still be in good shape with conventional vehicles.

      • I should add that the commute is 2 miles one way, so 4 miles minimum. But I like to go home for lunch so double that, make it 8 commuting miles per day.

        Then add in 5-10 additional miles on some days. Still very ev-doable.

        I should also note that my area is mostly flat, only a few hills & those are not very steep.

    • Roland that’s the real use for electrics, city cars. If you have a short commute and are close to shopping they’re just fine as a second car. Or maybe a primary car, with a long-haul gasoline car for when you need it. But they’re required to meet the one size fits all regulations of every other vehicle, meaning that they have to be able to deliver a product that isn’t practical. And owning multiple vehicles isn’t cheap, from storage, financing, licensing and taxes, so the cost-benefit analysis must be exponentially better than a gas car. And home charging just isn’t enough to push the scales in that direction for most of us.

  7. The past few days I have been trying to be more open-minded about EVs. I don’t drive very often or very far anymore, so I wonder whether a Chevy Bolt might work as our second car. Our neighbors got one last summer and they love it. I have 240V available in the garage.
    The main sticking point is price. For less than the cost of an itty-bitty Bolt, I can get a much nicer 50-mpg Corolla Hybrid. If the Bolt were <$20k, I would give it a serious look.

    • Roland,

      Price and a few other things.

      I live & work in the suburbs, and I “own” a house. I could have a garage xor a basement in my price range, I chose the garage.

      Before that I rented an apartment (which is what TPTB seem to want everyone to do permanently). There was no way in heck I would have been able to charge anything. If I parked close I could have run an extension cord out the sliding door, across the balcony, down the tree, across the sidewalk to my car, pissing everyone off in the process. If I had to park on the opposite side of the lot (not infrequent) forget it.

        • Yes, Publius, I would never consider an EV if I didn’t have a garage in which to charge it and keep it semi-warm. Reminds me of when I lived in an apartment. I had a diesel VW and worked nights at the time, so when it got extremely cold I’d hang an extension cord out the window for the block heater. Since I came home from work after most people had left for the day, I could usually get a parking spot close by. Nobody ever complained.

  8. The auto-play-next-video on Rumble is annoying as hell.

    I want to watch the videos, but I also like to scroll and read. Then all of a sudden some random video that I didn’t request starts playing.

    If there’s a way for you to change that, I hope you will.

  9. So… you had to wait an HOUR for a “fast” charge… which the manufacturer cautions you not to do.

    And what if somebody is ahead of you charging his EV for an hour? I guess you have to wait TWO hours.

    Yeah, real practical.



    The government jackasses who are in the process of mandating this shit and outlawing gas vehicles need to swing from lampposts.

    • Hi X,

      The experience of “fast” charging has been revelatory. I previously allowed the claim one often hears about “80 percent charge in 30-45 minutes” to go unchallenged; I assumed this was basically accurate. I have found it is not. Twice now I have “fast” charged the truck. The first time for 30 minutes – to get about 50 miles of range. The second – yesterday – an hour-plus got me 100 miles. Now, this may not be the truck’s fault, per se. Maybe these EVgo “fast” chargers I have used just suck. But – if this is representative – this is completely unacceptable for anyone not interested in spending a lot of time waiting to get going. I still have not put a full charge in the truck because I haven’t had the two hours I think it would take to wait for it at the “fast” charger.

      Who does?

      Who has the half-hour? Is it not halting that, somehow, people are being conditioned to speak of waiting that long, regularly, to accomplish what it takes five minutes or less to do with a conventional vehicle?

      One has the time at home – to leave the EV sitting overnight – but the problem is that at home, it takes even longer, especially on 120V household. But even using 240V, it is several hours at least. And that is the best one can get at home.

      I will report shortly about how many miles of indicated range I got overnight on 120V. I left it wit 160 miles showing – which is equivalent to appx. 1/4 of a tank in a non-electric vehicle. Since this vehicle doesn’t go very far with the equivalent of appx. 1/4 tank remaining, I realistically could only drive about 100 miles before getting close to “empty” – and maybe actually empty, depending on the circumstances. For city people, that may not be a big or even any problem. But for me, a normal daily drive is not far from 100 miles, so I’d always be running close to “empty” and constantly charging/waiting.

      It gets old.

      • My own experience with an electrical car is that it is practical as long as your daily commute is noticeably less that the car’s range at the end of the warranty of the batteries, which often is about 70 % of the new car’s range after eight years. In that case, one charges overnight at home at a fairly low tariff and one is happy with that.

        If one often has to drive considerably longer that the electrical car’s range, then I would strongly recommend a fossil powered car. It takes a long time to recharge an electrical car and in addition the price for power at the fast charging stations mostly is close to robbery, often about 3 times more than the tariff at home.

        • Hi JOne,

          I agree with your summary. Overnight – more than overnight, actually – I was able to put 85 miles of range back into the Lightning by leaving it plugged in from about 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon to just now (7:50 a.m.). It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get about the same out of a “fast” charger yesterday.

          The overnight wait wasn’t an issue since I didn’t need to use the truck to drive anywhere. But it’s an unsettling/strange feeling to know you can’t, if you needed to.

          • My prediction is that they are going to sell a ton of these things to government agencies, school districts, colleges, municipalities, etc. where the vehicle is in service from 8:00-3:00 every day, driven a range of 20 miles or less, not used on weekends and holidays, and on the charger every night. Not to mention the vehicles and the charging infrastructure will be paid for by the taxpayer.

            And then they’ll claim how “successful” they are.

        • Hi Jone,

          Also: In re the “70 percent of the new car’s range” after eight years. This is appalling, is it not? Would anyone accept such a loss of MPGs incurred after eight years of driving a non-electric car? Hyundai had to pay a huge settlement because its cars’ real-world gas mileage was about 3 MPG less than advertised….but not a peep about a far worse, far more crippling problem with aging EV battery packs.

          • I agree that both today’s warranty on the battery pack of a new EV and also the expected practical lifespan are not satisfactory. Today the expected lifespan of even a reasonably priced new fossil fueled car is about 15 – 20 years. Yet, the presently expected useful lifespan of an new EV is significantly less, unless the user chooses to replace the worn out batteries with a very expensive new battery pack, perhaps already after 9 – 10 years. (???????)

            These are conclusions that I have reached as an owner of an EV, whose batteries over time have held up somewhat better than indicated by warranty.

            • Hi Jone,

              I appreciate your telling us about the experiences you’ve had with EVs. I’m trying to do the same with my recent series of reports. I believe there is a great deal about EVs that people aren’t being told – not unlike this “pandemic” business we’ve been dealing with for the past three years. The more people know, the better off they’ll be!

      • Eric, with EVgo, can you simply stick your credit card in or do you have to use a phone app? Several videos I’ve seen from the UK indicate that the latter is common there. You stop at a charger from a company that you haven’t used before, and you have to spend 10 minutes downloading the app and creating an account before you can even commence the waiting. And many times the app is unintuitive or simply doesn’t work.

      • Eric,

        I occasionally follow EV and green sites, and if you’re not using a Tesla Supercharger, then the reliability of non-Tesla fast chargers is spotty. It’s like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get if you use a non-Tesla charger.

      • Eric,
        “80 percent charge in 30-45 minutes” could indicate an adequately sized wire feeding that fast charger. Taking longer to get less may be indicative of inadequately sized wire feeding it. The same problem you had trickle charging it at home. Given a specific demand, the longer the wire the heavier it has to be to carry it. Which is why I always carried a ten gauge 100 foot cord on my work truck. Just in case I needed it, which I often did.

      • ‘The experience of “fast” charging has been revelatory.’ — eric

        From the EVgo Q&A:

        What different types of EV charging does EVgo offer?

        EVgo fast chargers offer 50kW or greater and can charge any EV that accepts a fast charge.

        Apparently, 50 kW is EVgo’s minimum rate of charging. One hour of charging would add 50 kWh. But at a 100 kW charging station, one hour would add 100 kWh.

        Some EV fast chargers by NIO are reported to reach 500 kW.

        I suspect that the EVgo in Roanoke may be power limited, and contributing to the slow rate of charge.

        You might ask EVgo about the nameplate capacity of the charger you used. It could be underpowered and contributing to the slow charging.

        Mind you, I can’t be arsed with looking up the freaking capacity of every charging station along my travel route. Gasoline pumps vary a bit in gallons/minute, but it’s irrelevant. Whereas with EeeVee charging stations, their capacity is highly relevant, potentially doubling your dwell time to over an hour for the lower, slower ones.

        • Eric,

          I also would ask EVgo why the credit charge total is not displayed.

          Sure, they’ve got an app that will tell you everything. But I resist downloading unknown apps to my sail fawn, which often include spyware such as location tracking.

          Don’t credit card users without the app deserve to know their total? What’s the deal with that mystery?

        • That’s why, if you’re using anything outside of Tesla’s Supercharger network, you don’t know WHAT you’re going to get! If you get a 50 kW charger, it’ll be faster than what you have at home, but it won’t be that fast.

  10. The baking element in the oven failed today. It began to glow, then it ignited, then a steady burn, traveled the element’s shape.

    Turned off the oven, it continued to burn to the end of the element, it finally cooled. A thermal runaway, I opened the oven door to quickly close it, the fire burned brighter when air entered. Curious to see what would happen.

    Auto-immolated then burned out. Salt didn’t do much, water will cause some kind of reaction you don’t want to see.

    Happened just like that. The element is old, age and use takes a toll. Breaker goes off, a new element is installed.

    240 volts with a number of amperes pushing it through the wahrs heats the element, 15 amps is 3600 watts, 20 amps is 4800 watts, gets hot. You want flow, circuits, you can bake a cake, roast a chicken. The reasons are obvious.

    Murphy said if something can go wrong, it will. It did.

    Electricity is dangerous at times and can cause damage.

    A fair warning.

    Send Klaus a lump of coal.

  11. While driving today, I came across a vehicle broken down and blocking a lane of travel. I was quick thinking enough to jump to the left lane and get out of the building lineup in the right lane before others awoke out of their jabbed brain fog. Traffic signal changed on me and I had to stop next to the disabled vehicle. A brand new Jeep Wrangler 4Xe with dealer drive out tag on it.

    I hadn’t heard of the 4Xe so I plugged it into my phone while at the red light. When I got to my destination and looked into it I saw what it was. I wasn’t surprised as I got to watch the modernly dressed metrosexual looking guy get out of the vehicle and start walking on the sidewalk towards either help or safety, not sure which. I’d guess the latter as the man probably has the latest greatest iPhone already.

    It had me thinking that EV men all look a lot alike despite any ethnic background differences.

    I know Eric isn’t an EV man. The virtue signalers are probably looking at Eric like he’s Joe Dirt when he gets out of the cab.

    • Hi J,

      Funny you mention this…!

      Yesterday, while waiting (for an hour-plus) at the “fast” charger, wearing my usual T shirt and old cargo pants, a purse-lipped middle aged woman pulled her ID.4 VW up to one of the other “fast” chargers. She looked at me sourly, wondering what I was doing with “my” EV dressed as I was, looking as I do!

    • >Jeep Wrangler 4Xe
      The only way an off-road EV makes sense, to me, is with swappable battery packs.
      Going seriously off road without extra fuel, >1 spare tire, food, water, etc., etc. is basically suicidal, IMO.

      Old adage: don’t drive anywhere you are not prepared to walk out. Your life may depend on it.

      IMO, the only people likely to buy something like the Wrangler 4Xe are urban posers who will never leave the pavement, maybe never leave town, but want to look “macho.” GFL. But, there is such a market, so auto manufacturers would be foolish not to cater to it.

      I am not big on battery powered hand tools, but I do own one such. I can say for sure it would be of very limited utility if I had to wait for the battery to recharge (~ 1 hour) rather than swap it out for one waiting on the charger.

      ITLR, I expect manufacturers *will* develop swappable battery packs for EVs (electric Jerry cans, if you like), but they are not there now. Good luck selling a Wrangler 4Xe to a petroleum geologist, wildlife biologist, or paleontologist, who might want to venture into actual wilderness areas. Suchlike professionals whose work takes them to remote areas are generally not suicidal, AFAIK.

  12. >– still no idea how much it cost me –

    That would be a deal killer, for me.
    I need to know how much I am spending, when I spend it, and I expect most people would say the same.
    Thought experiment:
    If you pull into a hydrocarbon fuel station, do you ask for:
    A) Ten dollars worth
    B) Two gallons
    C) Fifty miles of range.
    D) Fillerrup.
    Probably A or D, eh?

    Similarly, I would never patronize a “restrunk” (Popeye the Sailor talk) which did not post prices on the menu.

    “Just send me the bill” is for wealthy folks, which is not a large fraction of he general population. Just sayin’.

  13. Eric, go get a big diesel generator and bolt it in the bed of the truck, that will solve all of it’s problems. On either side strap in two drums of diesel oil, and one of those electric pumps to refill the generator.


  14. “Forty minutes of charging gave me 50 miles of additional range” — eric (in video)

    Uggh. If you’d said 150 miles, that would be somewhat reassuring.

    But 1.2 miles per minute of charging is … underwhelming.

    Ol’ Henry Ford, who set up efficient mass production lines 110 years ago, would tell you that time is money.

    That’s especially true for commercial vehicles. UPS and FedEx drivers hustling to make Christmas deliveries don’t have an hour or more to park and wait.

    And Hertz thinks I’m gonna rent an EeeVeeeee on my next trip, with a contractual obligation to top up the charge before returning it, or pay a penalty? Uh, NO!

    Drive on, people
    People drive on
    I ain’t no sucker, I ain’t no fool
    Talkin’ about the EeeVeeee blues, yeah

    — The Cult, Automatic Blues

    • Here in SoCal, there are three mass transit agencies:
      Orange County Transit
      Foothill Transit (LA County)
      SunLine Transit (Palm Springs, Riverside County)
      which have opted for hydrogen fuel cell buses in place of battery electric.

      The perceived advantages are:
      1. Double the range
      2. Greatly reduced fueling time
      3. Ability to use existing fuel infrastructure.

      The electric buses cannot operate for more than 1/2 day on a full charge. They must return to the barn @ noon for recharging, which takes the better part of an hour (driver is on the
      clock, but not hauling passengers).

      By contrast, the fuel cell buses can carry at least a one day supply of fuel, so no midday pit stop is required. Fueling the hydrogen bus requires 5-10 minutes, versus ~ 1hr to recharge the batteries of the all electric model.

      Since these agencies are converting from CNG, there are fuel tanks which can be repurposed from CNG to H2, which is less expensive than piping in large new electron hoses.

      Additionally, the source of the hydrogen is flexible. It can be anything from steam reforming of petroleum, to steam reforming of biowaste gas (nearly a closed, i.e. “green” process) to electrolysis of water, using solar power, at point of use.

      • The bad thing about FCEVs is that H2 takes more energy to make than it yields. Secondly, it doesn’t have the energy density of gasoline, or petrol for our UK friends.

        • Hi, MarkyMark,
          Don’t quote me on this, but I *believe* I have read that 1kg (2.2 lb.) of H2 is roughly equivalent to 1 gal (7 lb.) of gasoline. I do not recall the source, so as I said, check it out for yourself (I might just be FOS). Since H2 is a gas, it is obvious that the volume to store 1kg depends on the pressure, unlike gasoline, being a liquid. My understanding is that current H2 vehicles store H2 at very high pressures, using carbon fiber composite tanks.

          >H2 takes more energy to make than it yields
          I don’t know much about that, but would be interested in learning more. Do you have a reference to some calculations? What I *have* read is that H2 is not *cost* competitive with gasoline, when using today’s production methods.

          However, it is also true there are serious researchers, both gov’t & private industry, who are investigating ways to reduce the production cost of H2. *IF* such efforts are successful (and who knows?) then, at least IMO, H2 would be preferable to battery storage, based on the KISS principle. But, time will tell…

          What I *do* think is wrong (and I am sure you agree) is to have *any* technology crammed down our throats by ignorant politicians (but I repeat myself) in order to serve their political agendas. Free inquiry, and free markets, are the only path to an optimum future… No one knows what the future may bring, but it should be an adventure to find out. 🙂

    • No they don’t have an hour to park & wait.

      But, the company will probably address this by buying extra trucks.

      Complete a round, head back to the distribution center, throw it on a charger, and pick up a new truck that is already filled & charged to do the next route.

      Large companies might have the resources to do this. This might involve a lot of trucks, chargers, and associated real estate—note that charging is an obvious potential bottleneck in the process. But it can to some degree be cured by throwing money at it (unlike some things). Might be interesting if power generation becomes a bottleneck and some of these places start their own power plants out of necessity and start competing with the actual grid.


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