MNEAA, Minnesota Electric Auto Association, alternative fuels, altfuel, AltraEV, Battery electric car, California Air Resources Board, Who Killed the Electric Car, CARB, clean cars, clean transportation, Don't crush, Electric car, electric cars, electric vehicle, electric vehicles, environment, environmental vehicles, EV, EV+, ev1, Ford , gas-optional hybrid, General Motors, GM, green cars, Honda, Hybrid Vehicle, national security, Nissan, peak oil, Plug-in hybrid, PHEV, EV, pollution, ranger EV, rangerEV, rav4 ev, smog, Toyota, toyota rav4 ev, transportation, Zero Emission Vehicle, ZEV, ZEV Mandate, high mpg, mpg, fuel efficiency
 

 MNEAA Minnesota Electric Auto Association

MNEAA, Minnesota Electric Auto Association, alternative fuels, altfuel, AltraEV, Battery electric car, California Air Resources Board, Who Killed the Electric Car, CARB, clean cars, clean transportation, Don't crush, Electric car, electric cars, electric vehicle, electric vehicles, environment, environmental vehicles, EV, EV+, ev1, Ford , gas-optional hybrid, General Motors, GM, green cars, Honda, Hybrid Vehicle, national security, Nissan, peak oil, Plug-in hybrid, PHEV, EV, pollution, ranger EV, rangerEV, rav4 ev, smog, Toyota, toyota rav4 ev, transportation, Zero Emission Vehicle, ZEV, ZEV Mandate, high mpg, mpg, fuel efficiency 

 


 

FAQ

 

Thank you for your interest in Electric Vehicles. Following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and answers from one of the EAA's veteran members, and a long time EV component designer and driver right here in MN, Lee Hart.

1. How far can you go?

As far as you drive in a normal day! Since your "gas station" is just an electric outlet in your garage, that's all most people need.

A typical EV with inexpensive lead-acid batteries goes 40 miles per charge. That's 280 miles per week, 14,000 miles a year. The national average is 12,000 miles per year, so EVs can handle most people's daily driving right now.

To go farther, add batteries. EVs go 100-200 miles per charge with higher-tech nimh and lithium batteries. The downside is that these batteries cost more initially (but make up for it with longer life).

Back to TOC

2. How fast can you go?

Same as any car; speed is no problem if that's what you want! There are street-legal EVs that go from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds and over 120 mph in the quarter-mile. The GM EV1 went over 186 mph without its speed governors.

EVs are perceived as "slow" because most are deliberately speed limited. All the recent auto company EVs were electronically governed to 80-85 mph. The "NEV" (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) category is limited to 25 mph.

Back to TOC

3. Does it raise your electric bill much?

No. Electricity is far cheaper than gasoline. Imagine paying less than $1 to "fill 'er up"!

If your car gets 17.1 mpg (the national average), you're paying 17.5 cents per mile at $3.00 a gallon. EVs average 3 miles per KWH. At the 6.5 cents per KWH here in Minnesota, that works out to 2.25 cents per mile; 8 times cheaper!

Back to TOC

4. How much does an electric car cost?

At present, electric cars cost more than regular cars. They are either converted from normal vehicles, or hand-built from scratch. Both routes are labor intensive, and so expensive.

The "high cost of EVs" claimed by the auto companies is a consequence of putting the entire development cost for a new car on a tiny number of vehicles. Where EVs are mass produced, they are much cheaper. Electric scooters, golf carts, fork lifts, and similar vehicles are cost-competitive with their gasoline-based versions.

Back to TOC

5. How long do the batteries last?

Plain old lead-acid batteries only last 10,000-20,000 miles or 3-5 years (whichever comes first); but are cheap. It works out to 3 to 5 cents per mile, or about $1000 every few years. Battery cost is actually more than electricity cost (but is still half the cost of gasoline).

Advanced batteries like nicad, nimh, or lithium last longer, but cost much more initially. They make sense if you need the longer range and plan to keep the vehicle a long time. EVs have gone 50,000-100,000 miles with them, but they cost several thousand dollars a set. Nicad and nimh have the longest calendar lives (over 10 years). Lithiums provide the longest range, but only last a few years.

Back to TOC

6. Don't electric cars just move the pollution from tailpipes to smokestacks?

It's a complicated question; you can get whatever answer you want, depending on your assumptions.

If you assume all your electricity is generated by the dirtiest old coal plants, then the environmental improvements of EVs are lost due to the extra pollution from the coal plants. Your only benefits are reduced oil imports, and moving pollution out of the cities.

But most of our electricity in Minnesota comes from other sources; hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, etc. Thus electric cars reduce total pollution significantly.

Back to TOC

7. Where can I get an electric car?

Right now, your options are:

Buy an NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle). They are good for low-speed driving on streets with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less.
Buy a used EV; either one of the few produced by the auto companies that they weren't able to crush, or produced by one of the many small firms that specialize in low-volume EV production. These can be great bargains since batteries wear out and are expensive to replace. "Needs batteries" is a common reason to sell.
Convert a regular vehicle into an EV yourself. Almost anything can be converted, though small light cars or trucks are the best. It costs $1000-$15,000 depending on your performance requirements and how much of the work you can do yourself.
Back to TOC

8. If electric cars are so great, why don't the auto companies produce them?

Conspiracy theories aside, the simple answer is that EVs are outside their area of expertise; they don't know how to do it, and don't want to learn. They see EVs as a disruptive technology that distracts them from their "real" work. And companies (like people) hate to be told how to do things that they think they are already the experts at.

Back to TOC

9. If I bought an electric car, how would I get it fixed?

Most things on an electric car are exactly the same as any other car. Its tires, brakes, shock absorbers, lights, horn, radio, seats, glass, and body work can all be done by exactly the same shops.

What's different are all the things that EVs don't have, and therefore never need to be fixed. No more oil changes, antifreeze, belts, exhaust systems, tune-ups, or anything else associated with the engine. Electric motors are essentially zero maintenance, and last the life of the vehicle.

Flooded lead-acid batteries need occasional maintenance. This consists of cleaning and watering, which you can do yourself for free, or by any place that sells batteries. Other types of batteries are sealed, and generally need no maintenance.

Back to TOC

10. Which is more practical and cost effective; a hybrid car, an electric car, or a hydrogen car?

If you need one car to "do it all", hybrids are your only practical choice.
If you are a two-car family, then it is practical to have an electric car for daily local driving; and a regular or hybrid car for long-distance trips.
Hydrogen cars are a fantasy. They don't exist except as ultra-expensive prototypes, and probably never will be practical according to the experts.
The best near-term solution looks like the plug-in hybrid; a car with both a complete gasoline and electric propulsion system. It can be used on either "fuel"; electric for clean inexpensive daily driving, and gasoline for long trips. It is also less "disruptive" to the auto companies, since it retains the entire gasoline engine system that they know and love. Toyota and others are working on such cars; maybe we'll see them soon! To learn more about plug-in hybrids and current news, visit
http://www.pluginamerica.com/
Lee A. Hart
leeahart@earthlink.net

"Never doubt that the work of a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has!"

- Margaret Mead

Back to TOC

 

 Copyright 2009 by MNEAA. All rights reserved.
This web site was last updated on
 
Web Design by
The Computer Coach who sells Boat Parts