Category Archives: Auto

EV FAQs and Figures

Note: This article is about fully electric vehicles. Not hybrids. 

Illustration of an EV being charged

Photo iStock, Credit: Golden Sikorka

Electric Vehicle Costs

Sales

How Much Do EVs Cost to Buy?  

Electrical vehicles can run from $30,000 on the low end to over $100,000 on the high end, with Tesla being the major seller with 1,917,450 vehicles sold since it was first introduced. Elon Musk who owns Tesla brought in a revenue of $53.8 billion for the year 2021. Aside from Tesla, other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon to make electric vehicles such as BMW, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford, Volkswagen and Kia. 

Charging

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an EV from Your House? 

White Tesla Model 3 Charging at Home
Austin , Texas , uSA – 2-1-2021: Tesla Model 3 charging at home in front of the house on the L2 at home charging that is provided with every Tesla vehicle

According to our calculations, it can cost between $10 – $15 per charge to the recommended 80% when your EV is near zero battery capacity, which equates to 230 miles. That is less than 1/2 the cost of what a conventional gas car would cost to drive the same distance. If your battery has more than zero juice, your electrical cost would be even less to reach the 80% – 230 mile range.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an EV Outside of Your House?

Electric Vehicle being charged in a garage
Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

The cost to charge your EV depends upon a number of factors, but in general, expect to pay between $20 – $30 for a full charge, which is much better than a conventional gas car expense, since you can add a good 200 – 300 miles back to the battery. Try getting 200 miles for $30 on a conventional car!

Electrical Charging an EV

What is the Difference Between Level 1 and Level 2 Chargers?

There are some major differences. A level 1 charger can be plugged into any 110 volt outlet, but charges at about twice as long as a level 2 charger, which connects to a 220/240 volt outlet. If you recall our article on voltage, it is the amount of current that is ‘pushed’ out. Like a water faucet. The more you move the lever, the faster the water comes out. So a level 1 charger which uses 110 volts, the amount of current  is, on average 15 amps. A level 2 charger can draw up to 60 amps, depending on the size of the breaker in the house.

How Long Does It Take to Charge an EV?

Illustration of EV going to get charged
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

That depends upon the charger you are using. Currently, there are two types available. A Level-1 charger that connects to any 110-volt outlet. This can take over six hours to fully charge an EV’s battery.

Then there is a Level-2 charger. Charging of this type usually takes about three-four hours to reach full charge.

In the near future, Level-3, called high-speed chargers, will cut this charging time in half or more.

Does Fully Charging Mean It Charges Up to 100%?

No, all EV battery manufacturers agree that these batteries should not be charged to 100% because it will cause degradation of the battery in the long run. Charging to 80% is the recommended charging level and is usually set as the default for most EVs.

You can override this setting if you are planning a long trip but it is not recommended to keep it at the 100% charge level continuously.

So when we say we are fully charging our EV, it means that we have charged up to the 80% mark.

What if My Battery Goes to Zero Miles Left and I Am Sill on the Road?

EV dashboard showing zero mileage let
Zero mileage does not necessarily mean your EV will stop in its tracks, but you should seek an EV station ASAP! Photo SS.

That’s why we recommend not to let your EV battery go below 30%, like the scenario we mentioned above, but we do understand that there are circumstances when this can happen. Chances are you will still have some power left to drive another few more miles. The mileage algorithms are not perfect and only give you an estimate of how much charge you have, but these estimates are fairly accurate as far as estimates are concerned,

When you see that warning notice on your dashboard, you should immediately shut down all accessories (radio, airconditioner or heater, phone charging, etc.) so that the least amount of power is being drained from the battery, but you should look for a charging station immediately!

The Weather and the Seasons

Do the Seasons Have an Effect on EV Batteries?

Car driving in winter snow
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Yes, especially in winter. If the temperature goes below 40 F degrees, expect the mileage to diminish faster. Case in point: It was late November. A couple was leaving Manhattan to go to Long Island. Their GPS said it was a 27 mile drive and 45 miles was left on the vehicle, but halfway through their drive, the mileage counter dropped to 10 miles. Fortunately, they found an EV station along the way and was able to charge the car.

This is why we always suggest not to let you EV battery get that low. Once you see it is below 30%, you should charge it.

Can I Charge My EV in the Rain?

Lectron 240V 40 Amp Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) Charger on ground in the rain
This Lectron 240V 40 Amp Level 2 (EV) Charger has a rubber cap that is protecting water from getting into the charging port. Photo: SS

If the charger has protection such as a non-conductive shielding at the port section, then you should be ok if the charger is left outside in the rain.

Check with your charging manufacturer to determine if your home charger is rain proof, but as with all electrical devices, it is always safer to keep these chargers away from anything that is wet.

Travel and Long Trips

How Many Miles Can I Get on a Full Charge?

Most EVs in the medium cost range get about 230 miles on an 80% charge. The manufacturers do not recommend charging to 100% as it decreases the integrity of the battery.

Some of the higher ones, such as the Tesla Model S can get up to 394 miles when the batter is at full capacity. On the other hand, a Kia Niro, a great EV with excellent reviews will get about 253 miles on a full charge. And the 2023 Chevy Silverado will have a 200 kWh battery that can take you a good 400 miles before recharging.

Can I Go on Long Rides With My EV?

Car driving on lonely road
Image by Автошкола ТЕХНИКА from Pixabay

You can but it is not advisable at this time; however, if you are really bent on taking long drives with your EV, it is highly recommended that you plan your trip with charging along the way as your main priority. Check the highway’s rest areas to see if they have charging stations, but be aware that if you do have to charge your EV during your trip, you may have to stay a while, possibly a good three to four hours at each station.

As President Biden’s infrastructure bill goes into effect, you will see more and more charging stations appear, especially along the highways, but remember, charging an EV is not like pumping gas into a car. You will be there for a few hours each time you charge your vehicle.

Of course, you don’t have to fully charge your car. If you could just add another 100-150 miles, that would cut down the time spent waiting. 

Either way, plan ahead so that you can find places to go while the car is charging. Some of these locations may have a restaurant where you can have a long dinner or some towns may have charging ports on the street or in garages, or shopping mall parking lots. As you wait you can traverse through the many stores to kill time.

Then there is are the hotels. Call ahead to find out if they have EV portals and if not, where is the closest one.

In the near future, more and more charging stations will be added along the highways and private locations such as housing and hotels. Additionally, Biden’s Build Back Better plan, he has allocated $5 billion to increase the US infrastructure with over 500,000 new EV portals, and that doesn’t include the additions by private enterprises.

Tell Me More About the Mileage Estimates

A rideshare driver was on his way home from his last drop-off in Manhattan. He previously didn’t realize that the drive for this customer was further out than he thought and he saw that he had only 35 miles left on his battery.

Since he lived just outside the city limits in Long Island, he was sure that he would be able to get home before the battery capacity runs out. He was wrong. And this was during the warmer weather.

When the driver was on the highway, only 13 miles from his home, a warning light came on and said he has zero miles left to drive. What was saying 13 miles all of a sudden went to zero, meaning he had no more battery life in his car.

What happened to that missing 13 miles can only be explained by the fact that the mileage algorithms keep refreshing and new estimates materialize. So it is strongly advisable to monitor your mileage with a give or take of 10- 15 miles either way. Thinking this way may help you decide when you should make your next charge.

This is especially true for winter driving as we have stated.

EV battery warning light advising low battery
If a warning like this comes on, shut off all unnecessary power and look for a EV station immediately! Photo SS.

Plan Ahead!

If you are going to purchase an EV, plan out your expenses first against what it would cost for a gas car. Then plan out what you plan to do with the car. Will you be using it for local driving or going to work every day or is your main purpose to go on long trips? At this current time, we would recommend that you purchase your EV for local driving or work. Whatever you choose, enjoy your ride!

What are the Advantages of Owning an Electric Car?

Of course, the main reason for owning an EV is the savings you get by not having to gas up your car, especially at the prices today. Additionally, EVs don’t have a combustion engine, so there are fewer parts to become defective during your ownership. EVs are said to help with the environment as well and they run very quietly.

What are the Disadvantages of Owning an Electric Car?

The initial expense of purchasing one is what keeps many away who would otherwise buy one. Then there is the cost of having a 220-240 volt connection installed into your home circuit box, which can run from $600 to $1000. 

If you live in an apartment, you may run into an additional issue if the building or development you are in does not have an EV portal available, but more and more locations and communities are having EV stations installed such as shopping malls, public garages, and of course, many car dealerships.

Do EVs Need Oil Changes?

No. Cars with gas engines need maintenance. The oil is used to keep the pistons running smoothly in the chamber of the engine need to be changed every six months or 3,000 miles. Since there is no gas engine that runs the car, no oil change is needed.

 

What Components Make Up EV Batteries?

Photo iStock, Credit: Golden Sikorka

E‍V Battery Overview

In our previous article, we discussed the advantages of owning an electric vehicle. Now, let’s delve further into the component of an EV – its battery.

Electric vehicle batteries consist of several subcomponents that work together to store and discharge electricity. These individual sections are also known as cell components or cell materials. The parts combine to form the complete battery and each has its own unique properties and function.

When considering the various types of electric car batteries, it’s important. Knowing how they function can help you make a more informed decision when purchasing a new electric car, hybrid, or extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) battery.

What are the Components of EV Batteries?

Before we review these components, we need to make sure we understand what an electrode is.

An electrode is a conductor which is a negatively charged (anode) or a positively charged (cathode) material. You can read more about electrodes here.

The different elements of an electric car battery include the following:

  • Anode – The anode is the negative electrode of the battery. It’s made from a metallic oxide material, such as nickel oxide or iron oxide. Anodes are highly porous, allowing for the movement of electrons.
  • Cathode – The cathode is the positive electrode of the battery. It’s made from graphite, a porous material with high electrical conductivity.
  • Separator – The separator is a thin, porous material that sits between the anode and the cathode. Its purpose is to keep the electrodes from touching each other. This is important to prevent overheating, which could result in the battery catching fire.
  • Electrolyte – The electrolyte is a liquid that serves as a conductor of an electric charge. The electrolyte helps move electrons from the anode to the cathode.
  • Container – The container or housing holds all of the components of the battery in place. It’s made from a corrosion-resistant material, such as stainless steel.
  • Cooling System – The cooling system ensures that the battery does not overheat. This can happen if the battery is overcharged and the temperature of the battery rises.

Battery Cells

Illustration of a battery cell
Photo: Wikimedia CC

The most important component of the battery is the cell, which is often made from lithium-ion or lead-acid materials. The cell is composed of active materials, electrolytes, and electrodes that are used to store and discharge electricity. The electrode is a conductor that helps to move electrons from one electrode to the other.

The most common electrodes used to make the anode and cathode are lithium and lead. Batteries can be composed of one cell or many cells connected together. Single-cell batteries are the most common type of electric car battery. Multicell batteries are used in larger-scale storage, such as solar systems or large-scale energy storage systems.

Electronic Parts

The electronic parts of an EV battery include the battery management system (BMS), the charge controller, and the voltage regulator. The BMS is basically an electric circuit that’s used to monitor the health of the battery by measuring voltage levels, charging/discharging rates, and temperature.

The BMS can also help to prevent overcharging and over-discharging of the battery. The charge controller is used to charge the battery. It helps to balance the amount of energy used to charge the battery and the amount of energy generated from the grid or solar panel.

The charge controller also measures the amount of current flowing into and out of the battery during charging. The voltage regulator is used to balance the voltage levels of the battery during charging and discharging.

Lead-Acid Batteries

Lead-acid batteries are the oldest type of battery used in electric cars. They are very cheap to produce and are easy to maintain. However, they are not as efficient as other battery types. They also contain toxic materials, such as sulfuric acid.

These types of batteries are typically used in large-scale grid energy storage systems, such as in a commercial or industrial setting. Lead-acid batteries come in both flooded and sealed types, with the flooded type being the most common. Flooded lead-acid batteries are filled with a liquid electrolyte. They are commonly used in electric vehicle systems.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium is very popular because of the ease with which it can release its electron, which makes it ideal for the electrons to flow between the anode and cathode.

Lithium-ion batteries are very efficient, have a long lifespan, and are capable of being fully charged in less than one hour. They are less expensive than nickel-metal hydride batteries and are used in a wide range of consumer electronics. Currently, hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and electric vehicles used lithium-ion batteries.

Where Do the Materials that Make Up a lithium-ion Battery Come From?

Generally speaking, there are five minerals that are considered essential for Li-ion batteries:

The locations where these materials are mined can originate in many different parts of the world, with China being the major exporter of graphite, which is the most important mineral that comprises the anode for these batteries

Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries

Nickel-metal hydride batteries are also used in electric cars in both hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles. They are cheaper than lithium-ion batteries and are easier to recycle. 

Conclusion

There are many different types of electric car batteries, each with its own unique properties and functions. When considering the various types of batteries, it’s important to understand what makes up these different battery types.

Understanding how they function can help you make a more informed decision when purchasing a new electric car battery or an extended-range electric vehicle battery.

When looking for new batteries, make sure to understand their warranties and how they are manufactured to ensure you get the best product possible. 

Gas Cars Vs. EV Cars Costs Comparisions

White Tesla Model 3 Charging at Home
Austin, Texas, 2-1-2021: Tesla Model 3 charging at home in front of a house on an L2 charger. Photo: iStock

Why Electric?

There are a number of benefits of driving an electric vehicle (EV). One is the cost savings on gas. The other is the environment. We will concentrate on the former now and will talk about the environment in a separate article.

Before we start discussing how EV costs are calculated, make sure you have read our articles on the atom, electric current  and Units of Power and How They are Related to Electricity so that you will be able to keep up with our cost calculations that involve knowledge about watts and kilowatts, but if you haven’t, no worries. You can skip to the bottom to get our estimate of EV electrical costs when charging from the home, or just read the review below. 

Review

Here’s a brief overview for those who didn’t read the articles mentioned above.

    • Electrons are subatomic particles (one of the entities within an atom) that travel through the wire when power is applied (the wire is attached to an electrical socket). This is known as electrical current and is referred to in units of amps. More on this here.
    • Voltage is the force that pushes the electrons through the wireSimilar to turning on the pressure of a water faucet.
    • Current usually flows through a copper wire which is the conductor and the wire is covered by an insulator (rubber packaging around the wire so that the copper is not bear).
    • Resistance is the opposition to the current (electrons) that is flowing in an electrical circuit. Think of it as the friction that brushes along the side of the current.
    • A watt is the energy (power) that runs the electric device. It is a product of how much electrical current is running and how much voltage (push) is occurring. It is determined by multiplying the voltage times the current. The formula is E=IR (E=voltage, I=current, and R=resistance).
    • A kilowatt is 1000 watts (kW).
    • A kilowatt-hour (kWh) equates to 1kw that runs a device for 1 hour.

Example: If you run an air conditioner for one hour and that air conditioner uses 70 kilowatts of electricity per hour, then you have used 70 kilowatts of electrical energy for that hour. If you run the air conditioner for two hours, you would have used up 140 kilowatts of energy.

Most EVs, with the exception of the high-end luxury ones, have batteries that consist of a 60-65kWh capacity. Sparing you the formula, a battery of this size will equate to about 260 miles after a full (100%) charge.

Note: Most EVs are set to charge to 80% only. Constant charging to 100% diminishes the battery’s lifetime. 80% of a 65kWh battery equates to about 230 miles. 

How Does Kilowatts Equate to Electrical Costs?

Electrical Towers
High voltage transmission towers with red glowing wires against blue sky – Energy concept. iStock

Conventional Gas Cars

We will use a 2021, 4-cylinder Nissan Altima as our example.
Gas tank size: 16.2 galsMPG: 31 average. 

If we multiply 31 miles/gals * 16.2 gals, we can determine the total mileage that this car can run on a full tank of gas, which is 502 miles.  

As of this writing, the price for a gallon of gas is $5.00 on average across the United States. So $5.00 * 16.2 gallons (a full tank) equals $81 to fill up.

Electrical Vehicles

Electric Vehicle being charged in a garage
Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

For EVs, we calculate units per mile instead of MPG. For this example, we will use a 2020 Kia Niro EV, which is a fully electric vehicle and contains a 65kWh battery.

As mentioned, the industry standard for charging a 65kWh EV to 80% is about 230 miles.

Note: If you have an EV, never let it go below 30%, as you may run into trouble if you are on the road and can’t find a charging station. 

Let’s review what we know so far:

    • Filling up a gas tank of a 2021 Nissan Altima will take you about 502 miles without having to fill up again.
    • The cost to fill up this car as of this writing is $81.00.
    • To charge a 2020 Kia Niro’s battery to 80%, the car can go about 230 miles without having to recharge.

Cost of Charging an EV

Selective Electric Utility Plans Overview

Most electric utility companies provide more than one plan that you can select for your household. Besides the default plan which provides a standard price for electric consumption throughout the day and night, there is a plan that can allow you to select lower rates at different times of the day.

This plan, called Time of Use (TOU) is available at PSEGLI and many other utility companies nationwide. Refer to our brochure as to exactly how this works.

Portion of electrical bill for a household in Nassau County, NY
Portion of an electrical bill for a household in Nassau County, NY. Photo: SS

Take a look at the electric bill above from PSEG of Long Island (PSEGLI) above, which powers Nassau County and where the offices of Howard Fensterman are located.

Electrical power companies charge per kWh and we did some preliminary calculations starting with the delivery chargers in the bill, and that doesn’t include the actual electrical costs after that.

Note: It can take up to four hours to charge an EV using a level 2 charger.

Local Averages Using Electric Utility Calculations

Transparent Light Bulb
Photo by LED Supermarket, Pexels

We called PSEGLI directly to find out the average cost of electrical consumption for a typical home in Nassau County. Keeping it simple, an average home uses about $.33 per kWh (this includes delivery and service charges).

According to one source, 7.2 kWh is used each hour to charge the battery and if it take approximately 4 hours to charge, the total kWh is 28.8 kWh.

28.8 kWh x $.33 = $9.5.

Rounded off, it costs about $10.00 to charge a 65kWh battery, which equates to 230 miles, but if you’d like to be a little more cautious if you think that might be too low (since there are so many variables involved that might not meet your particular driving habits or lifestyle, we can say the approximate cost for charging a 65kWh batter from a 220/240 volt level 2 charger is $15.00. How’s that?

Proportion 

We will now compare filling a gas tank of a conventional car that equates to the same mileage (230 miles).

Here are the steps: 

    • Divide the total mileage to charge the battery to 80% by the total mileage to fill a gas tank to get the percentage between the two: 

230 mi / 502 mi = 45% 

    • Multiply this percentage by the total cost to gas up a car: 

To get the cost for a conventional car to go 230 miles, we multiply the cost to fill up the gas tank ($81.00) by 45% to match the 230 miles, and that cost would be 0.45 *$85 = $38.7. 

Using an average of today’s gas prices ($5.00 as of today), it would cost a gas car $38.7 to go 230 miles of highway driving and an EV car would cost $15 to go the same distance (230 miles) in Nassau County, New York.

That’s a savings of $28.7 for every 230 miles you drive for a typical EV in Nassau County, NY for a gas price of $5.00 per gallon.

Note: As of October, 2022, the price of gas fell to $3.5 / gallon, so proportioning this price, we get the cost to fill a gas tank to go 230 miles is – (3.5 x 16.2) x 0.45 = $25.5.

That still a savings of $15.5 for every 230 the gas car drives.

Gas hose on a money background

Conclusion

If you are looking to save money on gas, EV cars are the way to go. Yes, these vehicles are more expensive than conventional gas cars, but at $5.00+ a gallon, you will be pleasantly surprised how much your savings can accumulate.

Finally, we leave you with this. Below is a copy of the estimated charges that accrued for the month of July 2022, from a 1,100-square-foot home that has an EV in its garage in Nassau County, NY. The family charges the car to its 80% capacity about three – four times per month. Notice that the cost in the Electronics category is only 10% of the total usage in the house. Something to think about!

Copy of estimated charges from PSEGLI for a home in Nassau County
Photo: SS

 

 

Here’s Why Your Car Overheats

Before we begin, we need to note that if you have an electric vehicle (EV), this information will not apply, since EVs don’t have radiators and subsequently, cannot overheat, but if you do have a conventional gas car, the information supplied below can be very helpful so that you don’t get stuck with a radiator that overheats.

Overview

Woman looking at an overheated car
Photo: iStock

When it comes to nightmares for conventional car owners, engine overheating is probably on your list. If you want to avoid regular car repairs, proper maintenance is necessary, including keeping your vehicle’s radiator in tip-top shape.

However, before you do that, you need to understand why your car’s radiator can overheat. There are many different causes of engine overheating.

The following are the most common causes.

Your Car’s Radiator

Gas engines can get very hot. This is because energy is discharged as the spark plugs ignite causing the pistons to make their repetitive up and down motion.

To keep the heat energy from getting out of control, the engine block is constantly being cooled via engine coolant that circulates the engine. The coolant liquid that resides in the radiator helps reduce the heat within the engine, so it that it doesn’t overheat.

The radiator is one of the key components of the cooling system that is responsible for keeping your engine cool. It is an enclosed vented chamber containing channels for the fluid (normally water) that transfers heat from one location to another more efficiently than if there were no intermediary medium at all.

Radiators are most commonly used in automobiles with internal combustion engines, but they are also found in other applications such as air conditioning systems, industrial process cooling, and heating systems in homes.

Car Radiator
Car Radiator. Photo: iStock

Low Coolant 

But what if there is no coolant available?

Low or no coolant in the radiator is the leading cause of engine overheating; therefore, it is vitality important that you regularly check your coolant and fill it up if it’s low. Moreover, this is especially important in the summer. 

Poorly Working Electric Fan

Apart from a low coolant level, another thing that often causes engine overheating is a defective electric fan. At times, your fan will burn and will stop working. Therefore, you must regularly check whether the fan motor of your car is working.

Broken Fan Belt

Your car will overheat if its fan belt is broken. Usually, a fan belt is found in older cars, and fixing it is easy. Also, by looking at the engine, you can easily tell whether or not you have a broken fan belt.

Leaky Water Pump

Look beneath the car when you stop it in case your vehicle continues to overheat regardless of what you do. You may have a water leak from the pump if you witness a significant amount of liquid beneath your car.

Check the coolant level in the radiator. If it is low on more than one occasion, it is most likely that you have a leaky water pump. To test this out, make sure your radiator is filled with coolant , and then take the car for a short rive. If your coolant keeps going low then you most likely have a water pump that is not functioning properly. If this is the case go to your repair shop as soon as possible and get it fixed. 

Blocked Radiator

If your car has over 50,000 miles, then there’s a good chance that the radiator is filled with gunk, preventing it from running properly. Solving this problem is easy. All you have to do is flush your radiator. If you flush your car’s radiator once a year, you will prevent it from getting blocked. Best to have your mechanic do this for you.

Thermostat That Does Not Open

At low speeds, thermostats do not need to come into play. However, once you push the accelerator, the thermostat must open to allow more coolant to flow through. If that does not happen then your car is likely to get overheated.

There you have it—why your car overheats. Regardless of what causes it, you must get an overheated engine fixed as soon as possible. 

Going to your local car repair shop is your best bet for doing it right.