The Pinhole Leak . . .

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I have discovered another interesting thing about electric vehicles after spending about a week with Ford’s F-150 Lightning pick-up.

The first interesting thing was how much the indicated range differed from the actual range, especially when pulling a trailer. There was also the interesting caution in the owner’s manual about relying too heavily on commercial “fast” charging to get going again. Ford says that it’s preferable to use 120V (or 240V) charging, as available at home so as to preserve the health of the battery. But to make everyday use of the truck, it is almost a necessity to regularly “fast” charge it  . . . unless you hardly drive it.

Catch call 22.

But then there’s this other thing.

I have discovered that the truck bleeds range when it’s parked – if it’s not plugged in while it’s parked. For example, I have not driven the truck since Sunday, when I did the tow test (you can read about that here). Today is Tuesday. This morning, I went outside to check on the range because I had intended to drive the truck down to the gym, about 25 miles away.

The indicated range when I parked the truck on Sunday afternoon was 112. This morning, it indicated 94 miles remaining. In other words, the truck lost almost 20 miles of range, just sitting. It is akin to having a gas-powered vehicle that has a leaking gas tank. But with a really important difference.

If my gas-engined pick-up truck’s tank had a comparable pinhole leak and lost the equivalent amount of gas, it would only mean I lost that amount of gas and, of course, what I paid for it.

But I would not have lost any time – for it takes very little of that to put gas in the tank. As opposed to putting electricity into the battery pack, especially at home – where it takes hours to instill even a partial recharge.

It’s also easy (and cheap) to fix a leaking gas tank. A “leaking” electric battery pack leaks by design – and so cannot be fixed.

The Lightning isn’t actually leaking electricity. It is using it – even when it’s not moving. The battery’s temperature has to be maintained within certain parameters, not too cold and not too hot. It takes power to keep the battery from getting too hot – or cold. Battery power. That is why you lose power – and range – when an EV is just parked.

You can of course avoid this “leakage” by always making sure to plug in when you park.

But what if you can’t?

As for example at an airport parking lot. Or at your in-laws’ condo?

An extension cord won’t cut it – because (as I found out) the charger box won’t allow it.

These are real-world situations. And the loss of even a little range can be a big deal when driving an electric vehicle because the range you think you have may prove to be a lot less than the range you actually have. I covered this at length in my series about day-to-day living with the Lightning (the first chapter is here). And that is compounded by the time you may not have to wait for a charge, especially at home – where the wait for it is measured in hours, at the least.

I thought I had enough range left to drive the Lightning the 25 miles to the gym – and the 25 miles back from the gym – without needing to stop for a “fast” charge again, before attempting to make it home from the gym. And maybe I could make it. But 94 miles of indicated range may prove to be too-close-for-comfort to the 50-something actual miles I need to drive today – and running out of charge along the way is a whole different hassle than running out of gas along the way. Instead of getting a five gallon jug of gas, I’d need to call a flatbed to haul the truck to a plug.

So, I will wait – at home – for awhile, while the truck sucks up some of the range it lost from sitting for a day or so.

It’s something to think about.

Another think to think about is the potential cumulative effect of millions of EVs drawing even a little power from the grid to maintain their charge. In addition to recovering it. The maintenance charging will be at night – when the grid is most taxed because that’s when most people are home and using electrically-powered things like cook tops and microwaves and so on.

What effect will that additional draw have on the grid?

It’s perhaps something to think about.

. . .

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31 COMMENTS

  1. I always mention that argument to libtards and commies I meet who try preaching the “Merits” of EV’s

    I went away to Arizona with gas in the tank of my Bronco, forget the amount, didn’t drive it for a week, came back and drove home without filling up, after it sat at my parents for a week. If I tried that in an EV, be deader like grandma.

    Yeah, no EV’s for this enthusiast. I’ll get myself a Nissan Shitbox or chop my legs off before I ever get one

  2. I saw an article recently saying that the F-150 was the best they’d seen for parasitic battery losses overnight. Obviously Tesla was the worst for this, but that’s been talked about a lot too.
    I guess maybe being the best at something like this doesn’t make it great.

    • Hi Nate,

      I saw a near 20 miles of indicated range just disappear from sitting for less than two days. I think the cold weather (temps in the 20s overnight) had a lot do with this. If a non-EV suffered anything comparable in terms of “range” lost, there would be hell to pay. But because EVs are the equivalent of Face Diapers and “vaccines,” you hear nothing negative about it.

      • Hi Eric, I could not choke down owning one of these EV’s, simply due to the anxiety of wondering, “am I going to get stranded in the middle of nowhere, because I do not have enough battery juice”? There is no such thing as a “short trip” anywhere up here. Hell, at least in these parts, with a -54 below spell coming next week, the only thing one has to worry about, is plugging your vehicle in for the “winterization” stuff-if you do not have a garage, that is. That is, battery blanket, oil pan heater, and block heater. Your car may or may not start at those temperatures, but not because of a stupid EV problem, just because it is damned cold, and you forgot to plug it in, in that way. And I am not sorry. At -50 below, I am not going to freeze my a** off, so that the likes of TPTB can enjoy what they want to take from the rest of us in the name of “climate change”, or whatever their choice buzz word is for the day. I like knowing that the full tank of gas I have right now, will still be full the next time I go out there to drive it.

  3. Ford knows of these issues that have been highlighted this week, yet they are still all in.
    I get big auto is trying to squeeze out the smaller competition, but customers will not be happy in the long run.

    I think EV push is a short sighted play by automakers. If they lock themselves into EV & the tide turns, they will be left behind and maybe cease to exist.

    • FEDGOV dictates the parameters manufacturers can build their products. FEDGOV has dictated the future to be Electric vehicles, period, and rewards that production and punishes ICE production. This serves the interests of Big Gov, but not citizen’s. How do we fix this? By “voting harder”? Or going “John Galt”? I’m inclined to go Galt….

      • I read about the likes of Simon Black writing about going Gault.

        I’m not sure that’s possible, for Americans, especially with the FINTECH Banking rules the way they are and all that?
        AND, the whole machine, if nothing stops it, will track you down?

        Imho, you’re likely just buying a small amount of time by going Gault?

        I don’t know, though. Perhaps, it’s a good plan,… if you’re flat broke, OR got gobs of cash? …OR, you’re 18 yrs old & gonna live forever & know everything?

        Idk.

        …Que: oh what’s that fellla’s nic who skeedadled to the Dominican Republic?

  4. Each EV will use multiple batteries……

    Remember that to get the same level of longevity that petrol and diesel cars an EV will go through three battery packs which is hell of a large carbon footprint, and very expensive the tesla battery is $22,000, it costs you $22.00 per 100 miles just for the battery.
    3 batteries = $66,000, this makes ice cars look very, very cheap to own/run….haha
    now you know why very few of the taxis are EV’s, charging times, higher fuel costs and very expensive battery replacement, hybrids or diesels are far better.

    NOTE: tesla battery lasts 100,000 miles and costs $22,000 ( someone said there is also a $4500 recycling fee….haha) $4500 recycling fee…lots will probably get thrown in the bush…

    EV vans are worse as they will burn through five or six battery power packs to last as long as the existing ice vans. 5 times $22,000 = $110,000 very very expensive, makes zero sense….lol

    Re: EV semi trucks
    There is zero EV heavy duty semi trucks. Why? charging times, these trucks quite often run 24/7, worse fuel economy, with batteries it would drop 50%, very high battery replacement costs, NOTE: these trucks easily go one million miles with ice diesel engines.

    NOTE: EV vans are worse as they will burn through five or six battery power packs to last as long as the existing ice vans.
    So in one million miles the semi truck would need 10 to 20 battery replacements, these trucks weigh 5 times as much as a tesla car much so if the battery cost 5 times as much it would = $110,000 per battery replacement.
    10 to 20 battery replacements too for EV buses probably too….

    The only thing that works in these big heavy trucks is ice diesel engines, that will not change.

    There is zero EV heavy duty semi trucks, because these buyers aren’t stupid, they can do the math/research, they know about the EV bad fuel economy, very expensive cost to replace batteries, long charging times, fire risks, huge purchase prices, very short lifespan compared to a one million mile diesel…..only the general public is stupid enough to buy an EV.

    For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call environmentally destructive embedded costs.

    Everything manufactured has two costs associated with it, embedded costs and operating costs.

    A typical EV battery weighs one thousand pounds, (tesla batteries go up to 1800 lb. ) about the size of a travel trunk. It contains twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.

    It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each EV auto battery, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just one battery.”

    Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls, and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?”
    When the green morons are virtue signalling with their coal burning tesla they should think of this…Their mines have no pollution controls, and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material.

    I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

    The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium- diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicone dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

    solar panels are toxic. They sterilize the ground they sit on. Birds that fly over a solar farm are roasted mid-flight.
    Have you researched the temperature directly above a solar farm?? These farms have been accused of creating warming in the regions around them.
    The alarmists will always show you pictures of solar panels on green grass – which have to taken as soon as the panels are installed. They leach cadmium and other toxic chemicals and sterilize the soil. Just try to find anything growing under a solar farm that has stood for a few years.

    Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard to extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects.

    Used wind turbine blades can’t be recycled, Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds, they are made from fiberglass.

    they leak oil from their motors. They cannot be recycled so they are buried in Landfills. They use more electricity than they create. They can fling ice for hundreds of meters. They kill large predatory birds, bats and insects. Their infrasound negatively affect the hearts of humans and animals that live near them. The huge cement footings damage aquifers.

    There may be a place for these technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of making and replacing them become apparent.
    Lithium EV batteries are the biggest ecological catastrophe ever.

    But truly, there is no making sense of these people anymore.
    They are ready to shell out hundreds of billions to take over arable acreage with solar panels even as we face a food crisis, and festoon the countryside with bird-slaughtering windmills rather than permit more pipelines and refineries to open.

    “Going Green” may sound like the Utopian ideal and are easily espoused, catchy buzzwords, but when you look at the hidden and embedded costs realistically with an open mind, you can see that Going Green is more destructive to the Earth’s environment than meets the eye, for sure.

    • All batteries lose charge in the cold…. 80% of charge is lost at 40 below zero F. and most of the rest of that charge will be used to create heat to keep the windows defrosted.

      EV’s will become death-traps for those who head out on secondary rural roads in extreme cold with no understanding of their limitations.

      • regardless of how many miles you drive per year, about every 7 years those batteries will be dead, useless, nova, and need to be replaced.

        EVs are the biggest con in history. LI-Ion batteries can only be recycled 2-3 times max, then the elements are worthless. 95% aren’t recycled so far…..

        By the time 2040-’45 rolls around there will not be enough rare earth elements around to keep mass manufacturing them.
        Natural gas powered vehicles are the way to go.

        how the hell is the state going to go all electric within 12 years?” By controlling how people use their cars. “Sorry, comrade, but your trip has not been approved.”

  5. FoMoCo
    “Thank you for your purchase of your F150 Lightening. And congratulations. You have embarked on the journey to the next generation of vehicles.”
    Your local electric company:
    “Please refrain from charging your electric vehicle for the next two months, due do the power shortage”.
    Now we’re having fun!

  6. The responce from the greens will be “just keep it in a heated garage,” as if everyone has a heated garage, and one that will keep the battery pack in the Goldilocks zone.

    Or the argument will be that the battery pack HVAC system is more efficient than keeping it in a heated garage because it only has to keep the battery pack warm.

    No mention of the fact that internal combustion creates its own heat.

    Either way, all those EVs plugged in all the time they aren’t on the road are going to really push up the baseload level on power grids, even if they’re just keeping batterys warm. And baseload is best served by sources that have very constant and cheap output, like nuclear. Whoops! There’s that third rail again…

  7. I saw a youtube video reviewing electric cars and basically the guys review was,

    “If you have a garage and a charging port for your car (vs. just an electrical outlet plug) it’s great. You always have a full charge. And this situation is perfect for commuting, or running errands around home.”

    But anything beyond that, e.g. road trip, live in an apartment, street parking, the guy said an EV sux

    • Abslutely right Tom. If you can meet the “if” criteria they’re fantastic. If you don’t take it beyond 100 or so miles a day. If you have space in a heated garage. If you have a decent home charging cable. If you have a gasoline vehicle for other trips. IF IF IF!

      And I’d add: If you have a need for an income tax deduction. If you have enough money to buy one. If you are suffering from first world guilt.

    • I have late 2000s nokia and samsung bricks that went into storage with a full charge. Turn them back on ten years later, they are still above 66%. Some even higher. Only reason they can’t still be put to good use is that the providers cancelled the networks.

      As for these EVs, trash technology.

  8. The old ludicrous speed to plaid ploy, electricity moves at lightning speed. That’s more than plaid. Sell the speed, not the performance. All of a sudden, it doesn’t go.

    That’s what happens to a lithium ion battery-powered drill when it goes dead.

    Have a full tank in the truck, doesn’t use any gas if the engine isn’t running. The gas is still there.

    If there is a leaky gas tank, then the two and half gallons you poured into is of no use, it’s gone after two days or so.

    The old Ford tractor had a leak in the tank, you have to fix it, remove the tank, take the tank to a welding shop, pay the 225 dollars to have the tank repaired, re-install the tank, doesn’t leak anymore. Removes the aggravation, no more gas leak.

    Tried to make repairs with JB Weld, maybe worked for a while, but it doesn’t in the long haul.

    The leak was at one of those spot weld spots, wouldn’t fix. No luck. Requires expert knowledge to fix a leaky gas tank that won’t fix with the least expense.

    JB Weld now has to invent a stop leak for lithium ion batteries to stop bleeding charge.

  9. It’s finally kinda getting cold-ish here, 34 degrees F.

    It’s really not even cold yet.

    I wonder if there’s enough info yet to calculate out how much more power is lost by the F-150 battery while it’s sitting and/or in use when it’s colder, i.e. when it’s zero degrees, or when it’s -40 degrees F,… or how about, well, you ever see the TeeVee show Ice Road Truckers?

    X loss of power at 30 degrees over Y time = Z loss of power at -30 degrees over Y time.

    Seems like, if electric vehicles are imposed upon everyone by our overlords, much of North America will come to a grinding halt in the Winter months. And, that doesn’t seem like something which would ‘just’ fire right back up when it gets warmer.

    Even when it’s warmer,… wow, the limitations are seemingly endless and very broad in scope.

    Got, donkey cart?

    • —-quote from tesla forum—

      EV battery discharges up to 5% a day just parked……

      Had my Model X since December 2016. Ever since, it drops 3-4 miles a night, which represents 5-10 miles of loss a day. On average, it drops 7.0 miles a day. This is in a 65 degree F garage.

      Taken it to Tesla twice now. They say that “Tesla engineering specifications found the vehicle performing adequately with ATTENTION: an anticipated daily 3%-5% stationary range consumption.”

      On a 90 battery, this is 7-13 miles. On a 100 Model S, this would be more like 17 miles.

      So Tesla says it’s normal to fully discharge itself in under 3 weeks. Keep this in mind when parking it somewhere….an anticipated daily 3%-5% stationary range consumption….just sitting parked…..lol

      • lead acid batteries discharge too just sitting, but far slower then lithium batteries….car lead acid batteries should be replaced every 5 years…their lifespan…lithium batteries lifespan will probably be similar…one opinion was every 7 years…….a lead acid battery might cost $100…..a lithium EV battery is $22,000 to $35,000 to replace………

        lead acid battery powered light EV’s make sense…..

        several individuals are using their skills to create low-cost electric rides.

        David Cloud is one such individual who has spent $3,000.00 in converting a 1997 Geo Metro to run on an electric engine fueled by old lead acid batteries. A new EV is at least $50,000.00 or more.

        The vehicle is powered by 8” ADC motors that are included on each rear wheel and are powered by old 12V lead-acid batteries. The vehicle has a top speed of 72mph and can hit 60mph in 18 seconds, with a range of about 200 miles.

        Someone should build these and sell them, there is a market for them, the new EV’s are $50,000 +

        Lead acid batteries are 100% recycled so are green. Lead acid can be traded in for reconditioned ones for $60.00 and come with a warranty. Twelve of them cost $720.00

        https://ecofriend.com/diy-electric-car-runs-200-miles-on-old-lead-acid-batteries.html

      • Well, it is weird with such a high self-discharging. I own one of the cheapest EVs available, a 2016 Nissan Leaf. (if something is proletarian standard, it definitely is Nissan Leaf).

        Nonetheless, it practically does not self-discharge noticeably, even after more than 6 years. After a 14 days vacation with the car just standing in the garage, no self-discharge or perhaps about 1 %. No, I am not kidding.

        Have you checked if it is actually self-discharing, and not a heating/cooling function that has been left on?

  10. Eric,

    As for the airport, I don’t park my car there unless I’m flying back the same day, as I did for a couple of job interviews; otherwise, I have taxi or limo take me to the airport and bring me back home when I return days later. Why should I leave my car outside when I can keep it in my garage? Plus, if you’re gone more than a few days, the parking fees exceed the transport fees to and from the airport.

    As for the other scenarios, one could camp out near a charging facility; either that, or go to a campground that has EV chargers. I know that an increasing number of hotels have them. Why wouldn’t campgrounds have them too? I never looked in to that though, as I don’t camp anymore; I did enough of that in Boy Scouts, TYVM! If I go anywhere, I go to a hotel.

    Finally, the in-laws will most likely live in a house; not only that, it’ll be as nice, if not nicer, than yours. Even if they live in an apartment, more and more apartment complexes have EV chargers. But, being a happy bachelor, I don’t know a thing about in-laws, hehehe… 🙂

    • a campground that has EV chargers?

      …Surely, you jest.

      BTW, imho, an RV park is not a campground.
      These days, not even the campgrounds with the vast spreads of RV camping sites are properly campgrounds either.

      At any rate, ‘Primitive Campgrounds’ – real campgrounds – do not have electricity hookups, of any sort.

  11. Lithium Ion Polymer batteries, which power these things, slowly discharge themselves, even when not connected to anything. The insulators inside the battery aren’t perfect, and so, there’s a tiny internal flow of current which generates heat, and uses up capacity. On the LiPo batteries that I’ve been experimenting with, it takes about 3 months to go from mostly full to mostly discharged, and this is with nothing connected. As the battery ages, little crystals form inside which reduce its capacity, but can also increase this rate of self-discharge. You can’t even avoid this problem by disconnecting the battery.

    Let’s do some back of the envelope math. If the F150 had the same kind of battery I’ve been working with, it would take 90 days to mostly lose its 320 miles of range, so about 3.5 miles per day. It loses it faster when the battery is more full, and never quite reaches empty – it’s asymptotic. Add in the fact that the truck is drawing power, and you get a bigger loss.

    EV’s aren’t really “electric”. They have an electric motor, but their energy comes from a complex electro-chemical storage system. This system has its limits, and is also very volatile, because it contains everything it needs to produce power. Gasoline, by itself, is just a liquid, it takes oxygen from the air to combust it, so if it’s sitting in a sealed tank, there’s really no opportunity for it to be as volatile as a battery.

  12. You should just go to the gym. If the vehicle stopped and died suddenly on your way home you can tell Ford, ‘Hey the battery gauge said I still had 44 miles left.’

    You gave them an honest assessment and review of their product. Its not your fault their product is not honest with regards to its stated capabilities.

  13. If your iCE car had a leak of a 1/2 gallon of gas per day (18-20 miles of “range”), you would rightly be lambasted for polluting and wasting fuel. Yet this occurs with EVs and nobody seems to care. 10% of range is lost per day? That blows my mind.

    • Mister,
      Worse than that. It takes X amount of power to maintain battery temperature. As the charge goes down, the percentage of loss goes up. Until you get to 100% loss. And the battery can’t maintain its temperature any longer, and I have no idea what problems may occur in that event. Maybe a fire?

    • Electric utilities hector us about parasitic loads, such as ‘wall wart’ chargers always sucking a fraction of an amp, even when nothing is connected to them.

      Imagine millions of EeeVees, staying plugged in at home — by necessity — whether they are driven every day or not.

      It’s an environmental crime. Surely climate envoy John ‘Lurch’ Kerry has a plan to stop this travesty in its tracks.

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