ECL Adds Electric Vehicle to Fleet 11/05/12 by Ralph Forrest-Ball, CML
As part of our continuous efforts to be environmentally friendly, Emerald City Locksmith is proud to announce the latest addition to fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles: a 2012 Mitsubishi i Miev. With an EPA rating of 112 MPGe, this is the most efficient passenger vehicle ever sold in the USA.
The vast majority of locksmiths drive full-sized vans which get about 18 mpg on the highway and 12 in city driving. A typical service call involves dispatching a technician 6 miles each way, burning 1 gallon of gas, which releases 20 pounds of CO2. For the last 4 years, ECL has used Plymouth Voyager minivans with 4-cylinder engines, rated at 26 on the highway and 20 in the city. The same service call only costs us 0.6 gallons and 12 pounds of CO2, driving a Voyager. Now, we can drive that service call in our Mitsubishi i Miev for only 20 cents worth of electricity and less than 1 pound of CO2!
The i Miev uses a 16kWh Lithium ion battery pack which can be charged in a few hours from a special 220V outlet. Eugene, Oregon, has more than a dozen public charging stations, including one 400 Volt CHAdeMO charger which can give the i Miev an 80% charge in under 20 minutes. The i Miev also comes with a portable charger which allows us to charge the vehicle overnight using 100% renewable energy, as part of EWEB's Green Power program.
UPDATE: After driving our first 1,000 miles, I'm happy to announce that we have exceded the EPA rating! We only used 240 kWh, which gives us an average of 140 miles per gallon!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What's a "miev"? Does it come from Kiev?
A: MIEV stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle.
Q: How fast can it go?
A: Top speed is 81 mph. It easily keeps up with other traffic on the road, and has no problem passing slower-moving vehicles.
Q: How long before the batteries run down?
A: The EPA says 62 miles, but I've driven as far as 81 mi or as little as 39 mi on a charge.
Q: Couldn't you hook up an alternator to recharge the batteries while you drive?
A: No, that would be perpetual motion, which is impossible. The i Miev does use regenerative braking to recover some energy when slowing down or going downhill, but the amount you get back is always less than what you put in.
Q: Are EVs expensive?
A: EVs cost more up front, but have a much lower cost of operation. After tax incentives, we paid about $22K for the i Miev. We could have bought a similar ICE (internal combustion engine) car for $16K. We expect to save $3,400 in fuel costs in the first year alone, so the car will break even in less than two years, and pay for itself in seven.
Q: Don't electric cars just shift pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack?
A: Even if that were true, it would still be advantageous. It's much easier to maintain environmental control standards at a single large power plant rather than thousands of smaller power plants. But, here in Oregon, 48% of our electricity comes from renewable energy, like wind, hydro, and solar. Plus, EVs are more efficient, typically using less than half as much energy as an ICE vehicle of similar size. Also, demand for electricity tends to peak in the daytime, so we need big power plants which can handle the peak load. At night, those power plants have surplus energy and it's a perfect time to charge EVs.
Q: What's MPGe? How can you compare ICE cars and EVs?
A: MPGe is Miles Per Gallon equivalent. The EPA decided that 1 gallon of gasoline sitting in a fuel tank is equivalent to 33.7 kWh of electrical energy in a charged-up battery pack. If an EV uses 8 kWh to go 30 miles, that's equivalent to using 0.237 gallons of gas, which is about 126 miles per gallon. Here in the Northwest, 33.7 kWh of electricity costs about $3, compared to $4 for a gallon of gas. By the way, that's US gallons, not imperial gallons.
Q: What about the energy which is lost in the power lines and battery charger?
A: I'd say that's comparable to the energy which is used up by oil refineries and tanker trucks.
Q: So, how many miles per gallon equivalent do you get?
A: The EPA rating is 126 in the city, 99 on the highway, 112 combined. But we have averaged 140 MPGe.
Q: What's your equivalent fuel consumption in Liters per 100km?
A: 1.67 l/100km . Yes, you heard me right. One. Point. Six. Seven.
Q: What's your fuel cost per mile?
A: In our first thousand miles, we paid about $11. That's just over one cent per mile, which is what you'd pay for a car which gets 370 mpg. Or, if you're in England, my fuel cost is a half penny per mile, equivalent to 940 miles per imperial gallon.
Emerald City Locksmith at 1229 W7th Ave, Eugene, OR, 97402.