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Aren't EVs totally unusable if you live in an apartment? That was my impression when I looked into them. Like, how would I charge a car in my parking stall?

It is definitely less convenient if you don't have a garage. But as mentioned, this is starting to be addressed. Also, the Supercharger-style charging station becomes a lot like a gas station would be for a normal car.

I do think that "I don't have a garage / dedicated place to park my car" is in fact the only current anti-EV argument that has any basis in reality. But it's addressable.

Really? The only argument? How about my family lives 575 miles away from me, and even with the ideal 250 mile range of a $100k Model S I would still need to add at least an hour and a half to my already 10 hour one-way trip when I visit them a few times per year? Meanwhile my $5,000, 14-year-old Toyota might only get 20mpg, but the tank holds 350 miles of fuel and I only need to refill once (rather than thrice) during the trip, costing me literally minutes of time.

Finding a place to recharge overnight is a problem. But let's not pretend it's the only real problem. I already have enough problems charging my phone every night when I'm staying over at someone's house. Asking them to install an outlet so I can charge my car is asking a bit more than many people will stand.

Congratulations - you are the 1% who this model fails for. The rest of us will be just fine, since 99% of us don't travel more than 250 miles a day.

And for the couple times a year we need to take road trips, we can rent a luxury sedan with the money we've saved on fuel costs.

>And for the couple times a year we need to take road trips, we can rent a luxury sedan with the money we've saved on fuel costs.


See another discussion I'm involved in. To give you the gist: I drive a 14 year old gas guzzling truck. Let's say it broke down and I wanted to save money, so I bought an electric car. Here's the breakdown in costs-

Buying another 14 year old gas guzzling Toyota truck: $19,000 over 5 years. ($1400/yr in gas, 32 mile round trip to work, plus a one-time cost of $5000)

Renting a minivan for vacation trips: $110/day plus gas (20mpg).

High-end Model S: $108,680 over 5 years. ($100,000 plus 5 years of renting a minivan for one week)

Base Model S: $66,080 over 5 years. ($57,400 plus 5 years of renting a minivan for one week)

Nissan Leaf: $42,500 over 5 years ($35,000 plus plus electricity costs plus 5 years of minivan rental)

The fact is, if you want to save money, you can do it more efficiently with an ancient gas guzzler than you can buying a new electric car. Yeah you're saving money on fuel costs, but you're spending a lot of money on the car itself. The Leaf is built on the same platform as the Cube and the Micra, yet costs $20,000 more MSRP. Even comparing it to the truck, it would take 14 years to save enough on fuel to pay off that $20,000 you could have saved by buying the Cube or the Micra.

I highly doubt that only 1% of the population needs to drive more than 250 miles at some point once a year. We have salesmen at work where some of them drive that far every day. My mother was a home care nurse who drove that far one day a week. If the car works for you, I'm glad. It's a nice car. But don't fool yourself into trading in your old car for promises of saved money. The numbers just don't work out, even for the average American driver they're targeting.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4730973

> Even comparing it to the truck, it would take 14 years to save enough on fuel to pay off that $20,000 you could have saved by buying the Cube or the Micra.

So, given that gas prices are much more expensive in Europe (about $8.50/gallon, here in NL right now), as well as not considering 250 miles an unexceptional car distance, we might break even a lot sooner? :) :)

That was REALLY lazy math and it shows. Run the numbers for real or don't even try. I'll even give you an accurate spreadsheet.


Although it might not invalidate your argument, you have ignored the residual value of having a 5-year old Model S / Nissan Leaf.

We don't know what that will be, yet, but it will probably be higher than the residual value of a 14 year old gas guzzling Toyota truck.

If you're doing prudent financial planning, you have to assume close to zero. The technology is moving very, very quickly, and there's no telling what it will look like in five years and if your present-day car can be retro-fitted to fit into it.

It's not unlikely that breakthroughs in battery technology could be retrofitted into present-day electric car. I can totally imagine that 5 years from now you take your Model S to the shop, and replace your battery with a new and improved with 3x the range. It wouldn't be cheap, but cheaper than a brand new car.

Sure, I'm not claiming that it's impossible. But what if the technological breakthrough is a sustainable way to mass produce bio-fuel?

Isn't the 250 miles a max range, assuming ideal driving conditions? Also, as the car ages, will the battery range erode significantly? If its similar to consumer rechargeable battery technology, should we expect that the 250 mile range will be closer to 150 miles with "typical" driving behavior and after the car has been driven for 50K miles?

It entirely depends upon the chemistry of the automotive lithium battery, which typically use different catalysts than laptop batteries. For Lithium Manganese Oxide batteries, the prediction is 70% after eight years. That would be 175 miles range at 120,000 miles driving. There are new and better chemistries coming out like lithium NMC arriving this year that store 75% more energy per lb at a similar price. http://insideevs.com/nissan-ceo-carlos-ghosn-second-generati...

Thanks. If you read the comments on the page that you linked to, you will see a couple of Leaf customers complaining that their battery capacity is already down 15%. Hopefully the new batteries technology addresses this.

That is a problem in the hottest regions of the country and the world. Our recent climate change-related heat wave made the problem even worse. There is no active heat management in the current Nissan Leaf battery except a battery warmer for cold temperatures.

Since I live in Minnesota, I don't expect I'll venture to the Arizona or SoCal desert with my Leaf, where most of the damaged Leafs are. I also limit my charge to 80% max during the summer to lengthen the battery life. So far, I haven't had any noticeable capacity loss.

> when I visit them a few times per year

Easy, leave the EV at home and rent a gasoline car a few times a year.

Peugeot has already a very simple response for that with the mu program: lease your electric car, and you get a bigger/gas-powered car when you need it. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/jul/10/peugeot-car-club...

You are correct it is difficult. There is a strong push on now for new underground parking to be constructed with 240V electrical service roughed in to many of the spaces, to accommodate future charging stations.

There are places in the world where these are common:


Getting electricity out to a parking spot is not a problem, and hasn't been a problem for the last 40 years or so that people have had block heaters.

My (new) apartment building has power hookups for EVs. I have seen two or three using them.

New apartment buildings under construction that want to game the LEED system are always looking for ways to get points. Adding a charging station or two to their underground parking garage is an easy way. The trouble is, investing in an electric car you're going to keep for 4-5 years starts making less sense when it means you might be locked into your apartment for just as long.

Forget the parking stall, what about the big cities (like SF) where a sizable chunk of all cars are parked on the street.

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