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In Defense Of PHEVs (Probably Part One)

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Published on August 3rd, 2020 | by Jacek Fior

August 3rd, 2020 by Jacek Fior 


Within two weeks in June, I read two articles on CleanTechnica that somehow made me blush a little. The first one openly said the era of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) must end (something I have said a few times myself, to be honest) and the second one was on SUVs being responsible for growing transport emissions in the EU. The reason I blushed was that a few days before the first of the two articles came out, I had decided to buy (or, to be precise, long-term hire/rent) a PHEV SUV, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4.

Isn’t it ironic that after years of preaching about EVs and looking down when asked about my own car (I was driving a diesel Volvo S60), the moment I made the change I received two blows from my brothers in arms, other CleanTechnica writers? Well, here I am, fighting my case since I have nothing else to lose.

My first private unveiling. (Photo courtesy of Peugeot Polska.)

First of all, let’s get it straight from the very beginning – yes, I’d rather have a Tesla Model 3. I still hope my next car will be a Tesla (can’t say Model 3, maybe Model Y or something else Elon cooks up), but you simply can’t beat math and the numbers didn’t add up for me (yet). Having said that, I can now focus on my wonderful new friend, the Peugeot 3008 Plug-In Hybrid.

I think you may all be surprised when I say that the number one reason I have this car today is … the dealer. Many a times have I complained about poor dealer skills in selling EVs and plug-in hybrids, and Adam from Peugeot could also be in this group. What made him different was his openness to learning about EVs, which was why he approached me and the most famous EV pioneer in Poland, Tomek Gać (you may remember him from crazy EV trips in Europe to Macedonia and Sicily, just a few that he has made). Adam wanted to talk with us about electric vehicles.

What a start it was! The next thing I knew, we were test driving the Peugeot e-208 (a cute one I will write about soon) and we started to build a bond. It wasn’t hard to notice I was in need of a new car, and Adam simply worked on my fire to get me to go with the Peugeot 3008 PHEV. Forgive me for this lengthy intro, but I felt this background was necessary to understand the decision, and Adam deserved credit for his excellent work towards selling more EVs in Poland (and that is not easy, trust me).

Adam busy making sure I know what the buttons are for! (Photo courtesy Peugeot Polska.)

Now, back to the car. I’ve had it for three weeks today, and I’m learning to love it. 4 days after I got it, I packed my family of four plus our Labrador dog and we set off to Denmark. We did 3400 km (2112 miles) in total, with about 2500 km (1553 miles) there and back plus 900 km (559 miles) driving around Denmark.

Did I charge on the way? No. Kind of obvious, as the gain of charging for an hour and a half would be about 45–50 km (the onboard charger is 7.3 kW and the battery 13.2 kWh). Spending an hour and a half on the road for 45–50 km out of 1200 km is a bit discouraging. That could be an argument for Daryl Elliott’s argument to get rid of PHEVs. However, PHEVs are not for long-distance electric journeys, are they? They are for going electric to work, the shopping center, the cinema, etc., while also allowing the convenience of no-hassle long-distance trips as needed.

In the 900 km of driving around Denmark, about 50% was pure electric. I charged everywhere I could overnight — my sister’s, my mother’s, one petrol station. Each e-kilometer simply made me happy and it made my kids happy, as they are EV-educated, of course (let alone my wife, who was happy that I was happy). Still, it must be openly admitted: we burnt petrol driving there and back. With four people (not very heavy), my Labrador dog (a little too heavy), and luggage (including Danish salted butter), the average fuel use was 7.3 l per 100 km. Not bad at all, I’d say.

Looks good, doesn’t it? (Photo courtesy of Peugeot Polska.)

The interesting part is happening now — back at home — as I haven’t filled up my tank for 8 days and counting (very unusual for me). So far, 90% of my trips are electric (my record on one charge so far is 56 km), and 100% of my electricity comes from PV panels on my roof. Can that get any better? (I know it could with a Tesla, but I already explained that.)

I honestly can’t imagine having a PHEV and not charging it to drive electric. It’s so much better, smoother, and cleaner. All that we know here at CleanTechnica, while many others don’t — until they experience it. Maybe, then, instead of throwing away the PHEVs, we should just make more effort to teach people how to use them, to show them the benefits, not only for themselves but also globally.

There is hope that good car dealers can do their job and sell more than just a car, also teaching users the value of plug-in hybrids as they get the opportunity. It seems obvious, but it’s not. Even large companies don’t understand PHEVs. (Large rental companies have only “hybrid” under “fuel” options without differentiating silly hybrids from plug-in hybrids.) I believe many users buy PHEVs not fully comprehending their worth, many of them believing in Toyota’s “self-charging” hybrids. (Yikes!) However, if taught about the benefits of driving electric and the ease of charging at home, it is logical many more may charge as much as possible.

As good as it gets — sun energy straight into my plug-in vehicle. (Photo by Marta Fior.)

Pleas don’t get me wrong. My intention is not to defend “my” car and excuse myself. I agree with the arguments Daryl provided and I really didn’t need the UK study to know that many PHEV drivers don’t charge their cars. I have spoken about it for years, sometimes calling it a rotten compromise.

I found myself in this trap, though, when my target family EV was still beyond our reach and I could no longer look in the mirror driving a diesel vehicle. Doing 35,000–40,000 kilometers (21,747–24,855 miles) a year, you are left with very few options.

I promise to be back with more data on our Peugeot 3008 Hybrid and my experiences with it, and you can be sure I will be honest with you and reveal all the pros and cons, even if the truth will be painful (for the user). Till then, let’s give this baby a chance. 
 
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Tags: Peugeot, Peugeot 3008, Peugeot 3008 PHEV, Peugeot 3008 PHEV long-term review, Poland


About the Author

Jacek Fior Jacek is an entrepreneurial type who sees opportunities all around. He runs his own corporate language training company and international translation agency, Better Horizons. One of his many passions, besides card tricks and mixology, is electric cars and their introduction on the market. He is currently working on launching the Polish platform of CleanTechnica — cleantechnica.pl — in the hopes of helping people to understand the revolution we are witnessing. Jacek is also a founding partner of Tesla Shuttle.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/08/03/in-defense-of-phevs-probably-part-one/

Cleantech

Ford Mustang Mach-E Easily Goes 300+ Miles In Norway

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Published on September 18th, 2020 | by Zachary Shahan

September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


Ford is now testing its hot new Mustang Mach-e electric crossover/SUV in Europe. Naturally, the #1 place to take an electric vehicle is Norway, where approximately 70% of new vehicle sales are now electric (fully electric or plugin hybrid). That’s where Ford has been playing around with the Mustang Mach-E, and the results are looking good (according to Ford’s PR team, but I don’t see any reason to not believe them).

Toward the end of a long press release filled with fluffy marketing language more than anything else, Ford shared that the “all-wheel drive model with a targeted WLTP driving range of 335 miles exceeded energy-efficiency expectations, travelling 301 miles non-stop from Oslo to Trondheim, finishing the journey with 14 per cent battery capacity remaining.” Not too shabby, and that’s not even the extended-range trim, which Ford expects to get a WLTP range rating of 379 miles.

Furthermore, Ford’s charging specs have gotten better. “Latest testing shows charge time has improved by nearly 30 per cent from early estimates, reaching an average of 73 miles of range within 10 minutes using IONITY fast charging, when equipped with an extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive.”

Overall, though, Ford’s message in its press release about European testing is pretty simple: The Mustang Mach-E drives really well. It has a useful low center of gravity due to the big battery on the bottom (because it’s an electric vehicle and Ford considered both basic physics and Tesla’s decade lead in the market). It has great torque (because it’s an electric vehicle).

Though, it was the less obvious benefits touched on in the accompanying video that caught my attention. Depending on what mode you want to drive in, the lighting changes. Cool! The soundproofing is highlighted as noteworthy as well. I’m curious to check that out, especially because the soundproofing on my Tesla Model 3 seems rather weak on fast roads.

Overall, since it was revealed, I’ve thought that the Ford Mustang Mach-E has a winning, true 21st century package. The electric SUV/crossover may prove to be a big item in Europe.

“Whether testing on frozen lakes, in searing deserts, or using state-of-the-art driving simulators, Ford’s engineering teams worked across the globe to develop an all-electric Mustang Mach‑E that delivers a true Mustang driving experience for customers around the world.”

You can read the full press release about the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s European testing here.

There’s also more info on the UK website for the Mustang Mach-E
 


 


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Tags: Ford, Ford Mustang, Ford Mustang Mach E, Ford Mustang Mach-E price


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/ford-mustang-mach-e-easily-goes-300-miles-in-norway/

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Indian Government May Put EV Chargers At 69,000 Gas Pumps

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September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


The Indian government has occasionally expressed extremely bold electric vehicle plans. While it is doing a bit to pursue those dreams, it is far away from some of the loftier goals. However, one potentially new move could give a boost to e-mobility in the country — the government is considering a requirement that all gas stations (“petrol stations” as they and the Brits say) include EV chargers.

Well, technically, it wouldn’t be all gas stations — there’s some fine print. The requirement, if implemented, would be for “Company-Owned, Company-Operated (COCO) petrol pumps of state refiners.”

An alternative but similar idea is that the government would install EV chargers at 69,000 gas/petrol stations across India.

One other possible path forward that the government is considering is focusing EV charging investments in and around several major cities — Delhi, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Vadodara.

One final detail under consideration: requiring that no chargers used for such plans come from China or Pakistan. 
 


 


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Tags: India, India electric vehicles, India EV charging


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/indian-government-may-put-ev-chargers-at-69000-gas-pumps/

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I ♥ ChargePoint

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September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


I wrote recently that I’ve had electric cars in Florida for two years and haven’t spent a dime on charging. Nine months were in a BMW i3 (and then we were gone for 3 months) and one year was in a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus. The free charging has been one of the big benefits of driving electric.

There’s one charging network that dominates in providing us with that free charging — ChargePoint. Whether at the grocery store, the mall, the beach, the park, or just right down the street from us at a shopping center, ChargePoint gives us our electrons.

Availability and proximity to where we’re going are paramount, but there are several other things I love about ChargePoint stations — and one or two things I don’t.

Before getting to the things I like, love, and dislike about ChargePoint, though, I should first explain how the network actually works. ChargePoint doesn’t pay to install the stations and it doesn’t decide whether to charge for using the stations or not. That’s all in the purview of the site host. They decide whether to install a station, they pay for it, and they decide whether to charge users to use it. So, all of the free charging I have in my area is thanks in part to ChargePoint (simply for existing), but it is also thanks in large part to the site owners that decided to buy the stations and provide the charging for free. Also, I should perhaps note: yes, free charging attracts customers.

Whether charging should be free or not is a hotly debated topic, and I’d so most EV charging network companies are vehemently against the idea. But it’s really about the business model you choose and what your aims are. If shops or shopping centers just want to attract customers, it may make sense to offer charging like this for free. If, like some other companies (e.g., Volta Charging), you are selling ads on the chargers, again, it makes sense to offer free charging. We’ll see which business models win out in time, or how much market share the different models get, but from a user’s perspective, free charging is ccertainly appealing.

Regarding what I think is superb about the stations themselves, some of these features are features I also love about Tesla Superchargers, and they are all things that I recommend for nearly any public EV charging station company. Let’s have a look.

There are 8 charging ports at 4 charging stalls at this station.

The number of stalls is often decent. This must be a site host choice in the end, but it seems that ChargePoint either does a good job convincing those hosts to put in multiple stalls or is simply frequently selected for such installations.

It’s important to have several charging stalls because it’s a huge downer to get to a charging station and find that all the stalls are in use. This is an especially big issue if you are in big need of a charge — not simply topping up while shopping or hanging out. I seldom get to a ChargePoint station anywhere and find all the stalls in use.

Quite visible: ChargePoint charging stalls are fairly tall, which helps make them easy to find. They also typically have some bright orange on them that further helps to catch the eye, but not in a tacky way.

Aside from these things making it easier for a first-time user to find the station, greater visibility also puts the idea of going electric in front of more people, and encourages others who have been thinking about it to think about it more.

Data, data, data: Being the “smart” chargers they are, ChargePoint provides you with data regarding your charging habits and charging history. Fun.

Charging via phone or RFID card: Simply plugging in and charging (Plug&Charge) would be easier, and some “dumb” chargers in the area allow this, but it is fairly convenient to use my phone to start charging rather than needing an RFID card. That said, the RFID card also has benefits, and even a 2 year old can use it (see picture above).

Retractable cables that stay off the ground! Some charging stations do not have charging cables that are kept off the ground with a fancy little retractable cable systems. They should. This is a great benefit to a user, since it means you don’t have to wrestle with the cable and it doesn’t get covered in dirt and mud from lying on the ground.

Okay, now about a couple of things I don’t like about ChargePoint stations. First of all, an important part of the chargers has been breaking off at some stations. In particular, the chargers are now mostly broken at a location near me that just a couple of years ago had 8 brand new charging ports on 4 stalls. A little metal part that clicks onto the adapter for the Tesla Model 3 has broken off on most of them. (See the pics below.) I’m not sure if the chargers still work for other models, but they never work for the Model 3 with this piece missing.

Not broken.

Broken.

Not broken.

Broken.

Broken charger plugged into car but not secured. “Waiting for vehicle.”

Interestingly, some of the chargers don’t have this metal part. The black plastic just extends into that important shape. I think these ones are newer and the design was perhaps created to deal with this problem.

New? One big black plastic piece instead of black plastic with silver metal on the end (that often breaks off).

Charger on left is broken. Charger on right has full black plastic piece. (It is the charger I’m holding in the picture above this picture.)

The other issue: it seems that it takes ChargePoint a long time to get technicians to come and fix stations. One station was down for months this year. COVID-19 may have been an excuse, but I met the person at the City of Sarasota in charge of their charging stations and he also complained about this problem. That said, it seemed that other companies the city had worked with took even longer to fix or respond to technical problems. So, it appears to be a challenge across the industry.

Overall, though, I love ChargePoint stations and it’s hard to imagine EV life without them!

 
 


 


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Tags: chargepoint, free EV charging


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/i-%e2%99%a5-chargepoint/

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