Welcome Welcome to the seventh issue of the North Coast Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Project newsletter series! This is a continuation of the newsletter series of the North Coast PEV Project that began in 2012. For further information about this and other exciting energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, visit www.RedwoodEnergy.org, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: DC Fast Charges Coming in Spring 2018
Soon, EV drivers in Humboldt County will be able to use local fast chargers to refuel their vehicles in about 30 minutes.
Last year, ChargePoint received a grant from the California Energy Commission to install DC fast charging (DCFC) stations at 6 locations in Humboldt County (map inset left).
Currently, only level 1 (L1) and level 2 (L2) public chargers are available for use by the public. With a level 1 charger, it takes 22 hours to go from empty to full, on average. With a level 2 charger, it takes about 8 hours. A Level 3 (L3) charger can reach an 80% charge in about a half hour, depending on the battery capacity in the vehicle.
While Bayshore Mall is home to 10 Tesla superchargers, only Tesla vehicles are compatible with these stations. The new fast chargers scheduled for installation this spring will be available to EVs of all shapes, sizes, and brands.
Initially, the chargers were scheduled to be installed last spring, but delays occurred due to contractual hurdles and weather.
RCEA is evaluating ownership options for some of the locations, and for now we’re partnering with ChargePoint to expedite installation and update EV drivers as progress is made.
Megan Tolbert on Driving Electric
This month, we met with local EV driver Megan at the C St. charging station in Eureka where we asked her a few questions about her electric SUV.
NOTE: RCEA does not recommend any one electric vehicle; rather our goal is to see electric vehicle adoption increase in our region.
Please tell us about yourself. I recently started a job at Humboldt State University and have lived in Eureka for about four months. I have a B.S. degree in Natural Resources Planning from HSU. I left this area in 2003 to pursue a career in planning and sustainability.
What brought you back to Humboldt? I really love the mountains and my heart was calling me back to the Trinity Alps. I’m a backpacker and I have a dog who’s a backpacker. I'm excited that I get to live in a place that’s beautiful and close to the mountains. I’m already forming my summer plans!
How did you hear about the Rav4? In 2012 there was a Plug-In America event in Santa Cruz where I test drove the Rav4 and was really impressed. The sticker price was over $40,000 then, so it just wasn't a vehicle that was in my price range. When I saw it on the lot in Colorado, I pretty much started drooling. I got excited, I cleared the rest of my afternoon and by the end of that night my jeep was gone and the car was in my hands.
When did you get your EV? It was in November of 2016 that I bought my 2013 Toyota Rav4 All-Electric. I was in Colorado at the time.
How much did it cost? Did you get any discounts? The sticker price was $21,900 and Colorado gave me $6000 back on taxes for buying a used EV.
There’s definitely a demand for all-electric SUVs! How did the Rav4 come to be? Toyota was trying to produce an electric. Tesla was trying to produce a crossover vehicle. They combined efforts and you have the Rav4 chassis and body with the Tesla roadster motor in it. It's a really interesting prototype; they only made twenty six hundred of them from 2012 to 2014. Is it roomy inside? Definitely— I really love going to garage sales. Sometimes I pick-up really bulky funky items. Everything fits in there. It really does. You could fit a couch. I actually just hauled three doors. I've hauled large sliding glass door screens in the back of the car as well.
What is the range? 100 miles.
Since it’s a 2013, has the range decreased? I still get about 100 miles of range, but that varies depending on how I drive it. The battery is performing really well. The gauge will give me an average based on the way I've been driving. Sometimes I'll get a full charge and it will tell me 92 miles is my max because of the way I was driving. The most I've ever had it top off at is 111 miles.
When I would drive to Rocky Mountain National Park, it would be a relatively steep incline, but the road was kind of curvy. On the way down, it would only consume about half the miles in charge that I was actually driving due to regenerative breaking. Curvy mountain roads are great. I get tons of distance out of my batteries when there are a lot of up-hills followed by downhills.
Do you ever get range anxiety? Do you have any strategies for overcoming it? I’ve had some range anxiety. I'll test routes if I’m really nervous. The charging station in Ferndale is really useful because I can top off there and get to the Lost Coast.
Do you have any more tips for prospective EV owners who are afraid of running out of juice? Well, you know, every EV comes with that little level 1 adapter we can plug into any wall. I typically keep a 50 foot extension cable in the car, like a 14 gauge extension cable, if I think I'm going to be in a situation where I might experience range anxiety. There are outlets everywhere; with my 50 feet plus the 20 feet of my adapter, I've got a pretty long stretch where I can plug in. One time I even used the electrical outlet inside the bathroom at one of the state parks down on avenue of the giants since all I needed was 5 more miles.
So, it’s a good car for outdoor adventures? Yes--I've taken it on dirt roads and the clearance is really high. The tires are bigger, so it can handle dirt roads really well. Given all the space in the vehicle, I've slept inside the car when I've needed to overnight at a trail head. There’s plenty of room for me and my gear—plus the seats fold down.
How does your dog like the ride? In the summer it’s awesome. There were a couple of times where I couldn't take her in somewhere and I literally left the car on with nobody able to hear it with the air conditioner running. I felt like I could morally; it was really cool inside and no exhaust was emitted.
What methods do you use to locate charging stations? It fluctuates, but I primarily use PlugShare. It has more chargers on it than the other mapping systems, so I decided that was the best aggregator.
What routine costs and maintenance are associated with owning an EV? There’s really no maintenance costs. I’ve checked the air pressure in my car multiple times and it hasn't gone down in the whole year. Regardless of your vehicle, air pressure is just a constant thing that you want to check. It's baffling me because I'm told that these cars are heavy!
These cars are different than an internal combustion engine car. ICE cars have like a five to eight year lifespan. With EVs, we're talking 20 to 40 years. I’ll have this car for 40 years and do almost zero maintenance on it except for brakes and tires. Plus, my car is 75% more efficient than an internal combustion engine.
Any other advice you have for aspiring PEV owners or leasees? If you can get something like the Bolt with the 238 mile range, it gives you a lot more freedom and it is a great replacement for you existing car.
Why do you care about EVs? They are one of the most important ways for us to transition to a cleaner way of living that will improve people's health, cancer rates, and the environment. Plus, we can continue to use the existing infrastructure without having to do costly overhauls.
National security is another major concern of mine. It feels really good not to be tied to gas stations and tied to the politics—we mine all over the world for cheap fuel and engage in geopolitical conflicts that result in thousands of people getting sick and dying. There are other, cleaner, cheaper fuel sources and I get to utilize one of them.
Also, I love cars. I grew up in a car family, you know, people that race vehicles and other things. And so the fact that my car has a Tesla motor in it when I need to get a little bit of a kick, I can accelerate in a way that feels fun. I love my car. It’s awesome. It’s part of me.
Megan and her dog cruising around in the all-eletric Rav4.
Electric Vehicle Incentives
Tax season is upon us and it is worth noting that the federal tax credit for new electric vehicle purchases and leases survived the tax reform bill that Congress passed in December 2017.
The program provides a tax credit of $2,500 for the purchase of a new electric vehicle (EV), with an additional $417 for every kilowatt hour of juice the vehicle’s battery has above the 5 kilowatt hour minimum. This adds up quickly for most EVs, with the credit capped at $7,500. If leasing a vehicle, oftentimes the leasing company claims the tax credit and will pass on the savings to the lease. Visit irs.gov for more info.
Here are other programs that make the switch to electric less shocking:
Time of Use Rates
When it’s finally time to plug in, EV owners can often take advantage of lower rates for electricity. For Redwood Energy Community Choice Energy and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers, cheaper night time charging is available through special “Time-of-Use” rates. Compare different rate plans at pge.com/electric vehicles.
Clean Vehicle Rebate Project
Unlike the Fed’s tax credit, which is applied to taxes owed at the end of the year, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project’s $2,500rebate is instant savings. The process is simple: purchase a new BEV ($2,500 rebate) or a PHEV ($1,500 rebate). Residents making under 35k are eligible for an additional $1,500. Fill out an online form and receive a check in the mail. Head to cleanvehiclerebate.org for more details and compare qualifying vehicles.
Pacific Gas and Electric offers a $500 rebate off the cost of a new or used electric vehicle, as long as the vehicle hasn’t qualified for the rebate in the past. These rebates are funded through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program – PG&E earns credits through customer’s residential EV charging. Find out more at www.pge.com. Both CCA and PG&E customers are eligible.
RCEA is looking for passionate, driven community members to participate in our Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Enthusiast Group. As an Enthusiast, you can expect to help your community in the following ways:
Engage in several meetings scheduled to take place in 2018 and 2019.
Provide feedback to help RCEA better promote ZEVs and improve local infrastructure
Act as an ally and share information with family, friends and neighbors about clean transportation.
RCEA staff and fellow zero-emission vehicle enthusiasts nerding-out about clean transportation at Main Street Eureka's 4th of July Celebration (above), and at Eureka Natural Food's EV expo in 2016 (left)
All pictures by Redwood Coast Energy Authority unless otherwise noted.
Funded by the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program, the North Coast Plug-in Vehicle Implementation Phase 2 project is being led by the Redwood Coast Energy Authority.
The purpose of this bulletin will be to provide relevant local, state, and national news related to the deployment of vehicles powered by electricity.