Opportunities for Electric Vehicle Charging on Maryland’s Small Town Main Streets

L2 on Main Street (pdf file)

This is a brief paper I wrote up on promoting Level 2 charging on small town Main Streets, focused in Maryland, but applicable anywhere.  Why Main Street?  Shopping Malls and Big Boxes are going to get L2 charging no matter what, but don’t forget about our colorful, picturesque, and unique Main Street economic communities.  Really great couple-of-hour destinations with charging are beginning to appear, such as Mt. Airy and St. Matthews, where you can charge your car while you get dinner, shop some shops, check out historical attractions, all kinds of stuff.

Feel free to leave comments.  I would really like to know if plug-in drivers would enjoy charging while they visited walkable small town centers.

Maryland Electric Vehicle Owners’ Survey

As many of you are aware, I have the pleasure of representing one of many viewpoints of EV drivers on the Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council.  Also on the Council is Dr. Z Andrew Farkas, Director and Professor for the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University.  The Center has put out a brief survey, gathering basic information about plug-in drivers, such as the reasons for getting a plug-in, if you charge at home, what sort of charging you do, and interfacing plug-in driving with rail commuting.  It’s purely informational and anonymous.   He mentioned that he was looking for plug-in drivers, so I thought it only natural to solicit the participation of the plug-in owner/drivers of EVADC. What follows is a brief introduction, and the link for the survey.  I’ve taken it, and is is indeed about five minutes 🙂

Thanks!

-Scott

 

The National Transportation Center at Morgan State University, a Maryland transportation research organization, is conducting a study of electric vehicles, and is asking you, an owner of an electric vehicle, to participate in a five-minute online survey on your EV purchase, commuting, and preferred safety technologies.

Participation in this survey is voluntary; you are free to discontinue the online survey at any time. Survey participants must be at least 18 years old and own/lease a plug-in hybrid or plug-in battery electric vehicle registered in the State of Maryland.

All information gathered in this survey will be anonymous and confidential. Only the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University will collect the survey responses, aggregate the data and analyze results. The individual survey responses can not be identified.

If you are willing to participate, please go to http://tinyurl.com/ndp5rxp or use the QR code below:

Morgan State QR

 

 

 

 

Dr. Z. Andrew Farkas

Director and Professor

National Transportation Center, CBEIS 327

Morgan State University

1700 E. Cold Spring Lane

Baltimore, MD 21251

443-885-3761

http://www.morgan.edu/soe/ntc

https://www.facebook.com/morganntc

 

Honda Fit EV Test Drive

This week was the Washington DC Auto Show. One day before the show opens to the IMG_20130131_152255public they have Public Policy/Press days which as an exhibitor I got to attend. Upon arriving for press day I spotted a blue Honda Fit that I knew immediately had to be the Fit EV. I also knew they usually give test drives during press day so I eagerly headed to the Honda booth to inquire about a test drive. Sure enough they were offering test drives and I was going to be the first person of the day to drive it, which was a little disconcerting since it was already 3 o’clock, how could I be the first! I also soon found out that I would graciously be behind the wheel of the ONLY Fit EV on the East Coast!

Unique EV Features in the Fit

IMG_20130131_151939I hopped straight in and took a moment to figure out every little feature that the Fit offered. One of the first and most important things you will notice when behind the wheel is that the Fit EV offers 3 different driving modes. These are located on the left side of the dash near the base of the steering column.  The first mode is sport mode and it will tell the vehicle controller to provide more current to the motor for faster acceleration. The second mode is normal that is a balanced mode. The third mode is an Econ mode that tells the controller to conserve the most power by limiting the current to the motor so that acceleration is much slower but the benefit of this mode is that it will extend the driving range of the vehicle.  I could see myself switching between these modes at different times while driving around the city. Continue reading

Review of the 2011 Think City

A Household with multiple Electric Vehicles (EVs) – The 2011 Th!nk City in a 2012 LEAF Home

by: Dave Glotfelty

I have two new drivers in my family, and four drivers total.  We recently purchased a 2012 Nissan LEAF (“Leaf”), which we love, but with other cars failing and new drivers in the house, it was time for another new car.

The 2012 Leaf that we bought in December 2011 has spoiled me.  Although I am a big guy – six foot tall – I am still generally comfortable with small cars.  The Leaf is bigger than a small car, and is technically in the midsize class – it’s very roomy, and I find it very comfortable and relaxing to drive.   The Bluetooth, Navigation system, Charging Station Locator, and backup camera are all very useful tools and fun to play with.  And best of all – there is NO GAS!  I pay only about three cents per mile for electricity.
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EVADC Outpost in Phoenix by Mindy Kimball

Mindy’s electrified Smart in the Phoenix electric light parade.

Hi EVADC! Hope things are well out there! It’s been a little more than a year since I left the energetic orbit of the beltway, and I thought I’d send a short update from my new home in the desert Southwest. Here in Phoenix, we have an abundance of incoming solar radiation, and are just starting to see residents and businesses taking advantage of the energy source. There are over 300 public chargers installed and online in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and a few Level III fast-chargers too! Not all of the public chargers are solar-powered, but many are. Phoenix generally has two power companies, and there is not a “choice” program like we have in most DC locations. You must get power through a single provider, and the only choice you have is to pay extra for a “renewables mix” through that power company. I have chosen to pay for this renewables mix (about 59% solar, 34% wind, 5% biomass/biogas, and 2% geothermal), which ensures that my energy consumption is bought from these renewables (it adds $.004 to my per-kWh electricity price). I also get a special rate from the power company because I own an electric vehicle. Between the hours of 11pm and 5am, I pay only $.06/kWh for the whole house! So, now I set timers to do a lot of stuff at night (laundry, dishwasher, charging my phone, and of course charging my car!).
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Perfect EV Middle Man!

What is the perfect Electric Vehicle middle man? How about the Capital Bikeshare! What do I mean by that? Do you have electric vehicle charging stations at your work? Well if you are some of the lucky few that do that’s awesome, but if you are with the rest of the majority that does not have access to charging at work (such as most federal government employees) you probably feel left out. Did you know that there are already over 100 charging stations inside the Washington D.C. Beltway? There may not be a charging station located right at your work, but there probably is a charging station within a 5 to 10 minute bike ride from your work. Several parking garages in and around the city have electric vehicle charging stations. Ok, so I park at a garage and charge, how do I get to work you may ask?

This is where the perfect EV middle man comes in, Capital Bikeshare! With over 16,070+ bicycles at over 175+ stations across Washington, D.C., Arlington, VA, and Alexandria, Va, there is more than likely a bike station near an electric vehicle charging station and a bike station near your work. Just park your car, grab a bike to work and drop off the bike and go on your merry way. You can easily return and move your car at lunch time or during a break. Getting fresh air and exercise at the same time while not producing a single particle of emissions!

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2013 Ford Focus Electric Test Drive

2013 Ford Focus Electric - green
When I heard that Ford was bringing their 2013 Ford Focus Electric to offer test drives at the Maryland Volt/EV Meetup, I was eager to see if the car had improved from when I drove it several years ago when it was still in development. After a spin around FedExField in the new Focus EV, I think Ford has definitely upped their game.

I had test driven a very early pre-production version of the Ford Focus Electric when they brought it to the Newseum in Washington, DC in October, 2010.  I didn’t have a very high opinion of the car back then. It was very sluggish and unresponsive to the accelerator. That early vehicle also had bad handling due to the odd weight distribution of the battery pack. The power steering, or lack thereof, made it hard to turn. The performance of the pre-production Focus Electric just didn’t live up to my expectations. EVs should have great acceleration and torque but that early development vehicle just didn’t have it.

So how does the production version of the 2013 Ford Focus Electric compare to my disappointing earlier drive? The quick answer is: night and day.  Ford has really turned this vehicle around. They have managed to put the excitement expected of an EV into the Focus Electric!

The steering is buttery smooth. The accelerator response is exactly what you want, there is no delay or “play” in the pedal. The Focus has enough room for a family and the body is the same proven design as the gas-powered Focus. The instrument cluster may not be the most detailed, but it does give you all the necessary information an EV driver needs in an easy-to see-format.

The 2013 Focus Electric has an EPA range of 76 miles from its 23 kWh battery pack. Extra nice is that the on-board charger is actually 6.6 kWh and can charge the vehicle in about 3.5 hours from a 240-volt charging station.

The braking is sharp and powerful.  Good brakes are definitely needed because the 2013 Focus has acceleration that will push you back into your seat. I was very surprised when the wheels actually broke loose and squealed as I was pulling out the parking lot. Ford has also improved the weight distribution and handling. I believe it is now longer than the pre-production version I drove earlier and that may account for what I feel is better battery weight distribution.

Ford still has a long way to go to get the same handling as the Tesla Model S which at this moment is the EV to beat (in my opinion). Ford is at a disadvantage because the Focus is actually a conversion electric vehicle, what I mean by that is that the Focus EV is the same exact vehicle as the gas vehicle minus the gas components and an EV conversion kit squeezed into the existing vehicle.  This makes the Focus Electric cheaper and easier to obtain for the typical consumer but it lacks the engineering of the ground up Tesla Model S. With that in mind, the Ford Focus EV is probably the best EV conversion on the market right now.

Eric Cardwell, Vice President

EVA/DC Members in Maryland Can Get Special Electrified Maryland Plates!


Special organizational license plates have been approved for EVA/DC members who reside in the state of Maryland.

These plates can be used on any car, van or truck, they don’t have to be on an EV. If you are a member who lives in Maryland, contact the EVA/DC treasurer, Scott Wilson, for information on obtaining these plates. If you are not a member, you can join EVA/DC today!