Electric vehicles (EVs), their emissions, and future viability

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Oilerlord

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I'd suggest the more politically correct term "economy", but even that riles up the small but loyal Bolt crowd. The car was obviously built to a strict budget and a few things had to give. First thing I that stuck out (literally into my thighs) were the horrible seats along with the huge amount of hard plastic inside the car. You'd think for a car with an MSRP of 40 grand, they could have spent a couple hundred bucks on some soft touch surfaces, but instead that money got redirected to all the wonderful electric bits.

I think what a lot of the EV community misses is that the rest of the car matters. Chevy called the Bolt a "game changer" based solely on the car being an EV with X amount of range for X amount of dollars. In reality, it's so much more than than that.

Tesla gets it. Chevy would rather sell you a truck.
 

aja8888

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........the huge amount of hard plastic inside the car. You'd think for a car with an MSRP of 40 grand, they could have spent a couple hundred bucks on some soft touch surfaces, but instead that money got redirected to all the wonderful electric bits.
Plastic...

We bought a new Jetta TSI this year. The thing is full of plastic. I (used to) work in oil & gas and guess where a large amount of that natural gas goes....into making plastic.:eek:

The auto manufacturers love it. It's lighter than steel, doesn't rust, is easy to form into parts, and it colors well.

Actually, most low to mid level cars are loaded with plastic. There was a time when a car's dashboard was made of steel. Now pretty much all dash shells are expand polystyrene. Coffee cup material without the blowing agent.

I understand the Tesla has a lot of plastic in it too! Correct??

And yes, GM would rather sell you a truck as would Ford, RAM, Toyota, Nissan, and the others (except Hyundai/Kia) :D
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
...
Tesla gets it. Chevy would rather sell you a truck.
Excellent (and true) point right there. The Bolt probably only exists to allow the sales of the far more profitable and desirable Silverado, Tahoe, Traverse, etc.

But, as I have stated before, if (when?) the tides turn and EVs actually become desirable to the majority of the buying public, pretty much any "mainstream" company could easily out gun Tesla in sales. Just depends on what the near future holds for what is right now a niche market. And with fuel prices remaining low, and other economic factors improving, the EVs have an uphill battle here.
 

El Dobro

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The Chevy dealer I bought my Volt from has Bolts they're using for courtesy cars. I told then just make sure they give them out to the right people. "Hey, my Bolt ran out of gas and I can't fill it!".
 

Oilerlord

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Plastic...
We bought a new Jetta TSI this year. The thing is full of plastic.
Our Jetta has some hard plastic surfaces too, but it didn't come with an MSRP of $40K. Comparatively, my VW's interior feels like a luxury car. The seats are comfortable, and while it isn't as posh inside as my last A4 wagon, it's close enough.

The point being that GM felt it was absolutely necessary to achieve the "game changing" price point with the Bolt. They could have put some Buick into the Chevy Bolt, but chose not to.
 

Oilerlord

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But, as I have stated before, if (when?) the tides turn and EVs actually become desirable to the majority of the buying public, pretty much any "mainstream" company could easily out gun Tesla in sales. Just depends on what the near future holds for what is right now a niche market. And with fuel prices remaining low, and other economic factors improving, the EVs have an uphill battle here.
So what are the secret ingredients missing from mainstream adoption of EV's? Is it because some EV's look like dorkmobiles, or is it all about range, charging availability, and charge times, or does it all hinge on the catalyst of $4.00 gasoline?

I think the answer is more about education and experience. The mainstream doesn't really know (or seemingly wants to know) what they may be missing.

Aside from the environmental angle, I really like driving my EV. The car's zen-like quiet & instant torque are an opposite experience to driving my TDI. I also appreciate the low-no maintenance, and charging from home. Cheap to run too...it costs me about $1.40 to drive 100 miles. That isn't possible with any other gasoline or diesel vehicle.

From experience, these positives should be enough to overcome some of the negatives for the mainstream to consider an EV for at least a second vehicle - but clearly it isn't enough. Perhaps the Model 3 will change that.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
So what are the secret ingredients missing from mainstream adoption of EV's? Is it because some EV's look like dorkmobiles, or is it all about range, charging availability, and charge times, or does it all hinge on the catalyst of $4.00 gasoline?
I think the answer is more about education and experience. The mainstream doesn't really know (or seemingly wants to know) what they may be missing.
Aside from the environmental angle, I really like driving my EV. The car's zen-like quiet & instant torque are an opposite experience to driving my TDI. I also appreciate the low-no maintenance, and charging from home. Cheap to run too...it costs me about $1.40 to drive 100 miles. That isn't possible with any other gasoline or diesel vehicle.
From experience, these positives should be enough to overcome some of the negatives for the mainstream to consider an EV for at least a second vehicle - but clearly it isn't enough. Perhaps the Model 3 will change that.
Excellent post, and I agree, and also have to answer "not really sure". I am not really sure why so many Americans feel the need to drive around in empty giant pickups. I work with no less than three such individuals, one of which just sold his one Silverado for a bigger one, with a bigger engine, bigger payload, larger cab, and worse fuel mileage. Why? He likes it. And he lives within the range of some EVs, too. But even more logical, he could also just choose to drive something less obscene like a Corolla, too, right? Nah, a giant 3/4 ton crew cab truck with a giant (gasoline, of course) V8 makes more sense. :rolleyes:

I don't get it, but whatever. If many people will not even consider something more akin to their actual needs, then you are not likely to push them even further to drive something like a Bolt.

All you (and I) can do is make the best decision for what we feel works best in our individual lives. And if it makes ya happy, then... :eek:

But FWIW, I advocate EVs whenever I can, and have presented them to LOTS of people that ask me about what car to buy. The vast majority dismiss them out of hand, without even 2 seconds worth of consideration, and I am pretty sure nobody has ever even bothered to investigate what is available, what they cost, what they require to operate, etc. At least nobody that I am aware of, and nobody has come back and said "Well, we looked into that electric car thing, and found it intriguing but decided it just won't work for us." So I can only assume that they just are not all that sought after yet.
 
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tadawson

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I think that a lot of it has to do with use. Let's just say you have a decent sized trailered boat or perhaps RV, and only tow it in the summer on weekends, and only desire to have one vehicle. That pretty much puts you in the tow vehicle as a daily driver, since the tow vehicle *can* function as a daily, but a small econo-box suitable only for a daily can't tow . . . making the choice pretty obvious, if one vehicle is the limit. And I can't fault folks for that in the slightest . . . it's their use case, and it makes sense . . .
 

Oilerlord

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I am not really sure why so many Americans feel the need to drive around in empty giant pickups. I work with no less than three such individuals, one of which just sold his one Silverado for a bigger one, with a bigger engine, bigger payload, larger cab, and worse fuel mileage. Why? He likes it. And he lives within the range of some EVs, too. But even more logical, he could also just choose to drive something less obscene like a Corolla, too, right? Nah, a giant 3/4 ton crew cab truck with a giant (gasoline, of course) V8 makes more sense. :rolleyes:
I don't get it, but whatever. If many people will not even consider something more akin to their actual needs, then you are not likely to push them even further to drive something like a Bolt.
All you (and I) can do is make the best decision for what we feel works best in our individual lives. And if it makes ya happy, then... :eek:
We're on the same page though "obscene" is in the eye of the beholder. I've bought a lot of cars simply because I like them, but to others, they (including my TDI) may be considered obscene. I'm guessing you and I could care less, and we'll buy whatever we damn well please. To your point, if it makes us happy; so be it.

I'm more interested in why more sensible / pragmatic Corolla buyers don't seem to be even considering an EV - again, at least as a second vehicle. If there was an EV Corolla on the market, offered at the same price as a gasoline Corolla, do you think it would out sell the gas-only model? I'm not so sure.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
We're on the same page though "obscene" is in the eye of the beholder. I've bought a lot of cars simply because I like them, but to others, they (including my TDI) may be considered obscene. I'm guessing you and I could care less, and we'll buy whatever we damn well please. To your point, if it makes us happy; so be it.
I'm more interested in why more sensible / pragmatic Corolla buyers don't seem to be even considering an EV - again, at least as a second vehicle. If there was an EV Corolla on the market, offered at the same price as a gasoline Corolla, do you think it would out sell the gas-only model? I'm not so sure.

Well, there are/were electric versions of the Fiat 500, Golf, Spark, Focus, Ranger, RAV4, S-10, and probably others I am forgetting. The fossil fueled versions easily, by giant margins, outsold/sell the electric versions... and that is even with a bunch of tax incentives placed on them.

And for that matter, why would a Corolla buyer pass by a Prius? One reason (obviously) there is the looks, but another is the price. Even the tiny Prius C MSRPs over $20k. You can get in a Corolla for around $3k less. The bigger Camry still outsells all of them, and only a small percentage of those are hybrid versions, which have been available for a few years now.

Of course, the F150 outsells them all, so.... :p Oh, and the Fiesta? Getting axed from the US lineup. Why? You guessed it, poor sales. You can get more powerful engines in the F150 starting in 2018 though. And, hopefully it happens, you can get a diesel F150 too.
 
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TomJD

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My wife and I both have commutes that would be ideal for an electric car. I just bought a new 2015 TDI, which is car number three in my stable. Given that I can handle 3 cars, I'd be a perfect candidate for having one car for long trips and two EV's for commuting to work.

One major reason I didn't even consider an EV when getting my third car was power. I live in a 90 year old house with original knob and tube wiring. I also don't have power in my detached garage (more like an enclosure made in the 40's) and my only other option is street parking. No driveway for me, I have an alley. So how I could charge the thing was in question. I'd have to do serious work to my house, then power my garage, then invest in a charger. That's a lot of work.
 

nwdiver

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So how I could charge the thing was in question. I'd have to do serious work to my house, then power my garage, then invest in a charger. That's a lot of work.
It takes very little power to recharge a car from a typical commute. My sister has a 16A charger and can fully recharge her volt after 50 miles of EV driving in ~3.5 hours. #10 wire can easily support 16A. My Brother-in-law and I ran power 50' for her volt. It took ~2hours and cost ~$200 in materials but we ran heavier wire to support 40A.

The actual charger is built into every EV currently sold. All you need is a 240v plug.
 

bhtooefr

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Well, you need the EVSE, too, unless you have a Tesla (which comes with a rather flexible EVSE) or mod your car's included 120 volt EVSE for 240 volt (or just use 120 volt).
 

TomJD

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It takes very little power to recharge a car from a typical commute. My sister has a 16A charger and can fully recharge her volt after 50 miles of EV driving in ~3.5 hours. #10 wire can easily support 16A. My Brother-in-law and I ran power 50' for her volt. It took ~2hours and cost ~$200 in materials but we ran heavier wire to support 40A.
The actual charger is built into every EV currently sold. All you need is a 240v plug.
My dad has a leaf so I'm relatively familiar with the load, though he has put 12k miles on his since January - maybe not a typical EV driver.

I'd need a new panel in the house, undoubtedly new wiring, then run power 40 feet to my garage, which is 70ish years old and is the worst in the neighborhood. This is, of course, if I chose a more permanent outlet set up.

I guess I could run a wire out front to the street, but St. Louis City crime stats would tell me that the cord would quickly go missing.

Yes I'm making excuses, but these were the reasons why I did not pursue one. I'm sure others might have the same excuses for why they don't have one themselves.

As soon as our 213k Corolla dies, I'll have the electric system updated to support a EV.
 

Oilerlord

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I don't think you're making excuses at all. It's reasonable to have a plan in place for charging the car before considering the prospect of buying one. The challenges you face aren't all that different from people that live in apartment buildings. I haven't seen a lot of apartment parking areas that are equipped with 240v plugs, and even if they were, getting your EVSE stolen is a very real risk. There has been a few times I've plugged my 120v EVSE into a public plug. I always make a point of keeping the EVSE inside the car, and running power cable and charging plug outside a slightly open rear window to discourage theft.
 
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251

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So what are the secret ingredients missing from mainstream adoption of EV's? Is it because some EV's look like dorkmobiles, or is it all about range, charging availability, and charge times, or does it all hinge on the catalyst of $4.00 gasoline?
My daily commute is not practical for an EV especially in winter since I can't charge it up while at work. Add in that I take long roads trips where I cover up to 500 miles a day. I like to keep moving so to stop on a long trip now and then to recharge is both impractical and unwanted. Styling is another factor - I've got to like the way a vehicle looks too. For now the TDI is still the best option for my 1-car needs.

I do note the gassers are catching up as I understand if driven gently a 1.4L gas Passat can break 40 mpg highway now. I'm averaging 49.5 mpg lifetime with my Passat TDI which has a DSG but if the gap between diesel and gas shrinks more I may consider a gas VW when it's time to replace my TDI. The lower gas prices compared to diesel is nice too but that can change in the future. Right now with the number of miles I drive per year the TDI is worth the extra cost of diesel thanks to it's fuel economy advantage.

An EV would be perfect for my mother who only does very short trips in town but since her 2003 Corolla only has 32K on it / is paid for / does well on gas no need to replace it. It can get up to 39 mpg highway which holds it's own with many cars even today.

I also agree with others' observations on why people "need" a giant pickup when most only haul one person with no cargo using a thirsty motor especially with what the thing costs to begin with. Never made sense to me but it's their choice and money.
 

turbobrick240

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My dad has a leaf so I'm relatively familiar with the load, though he has put 12k miles on his since January - maybe not a typical EV driver.
I'd need a new panel in the house, undoubtedly new wiring, then run power 40 feet to my garage, which is 70ish years old and is the worst in the neighborhood. This is, of course, if I chose a more permanent outlet set up.
I guess I could run a wire out front to the street, but St. Louis City crime stats would tell me that the cord would quickly go missing.
Yes I'm making excuses, but these were the reasons why I did not pursue one. I'm sure others might have the same excuses for why they don't have one themselves.
As soon as our 213k Corolla dies, I'll have the electric system updated to support a EV.

I'd really consider upgrading your electrical service regardless. That old wiring can be a real safety issue.
 

VeeDubTDI

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Plastic...
We bought a new Jetta TSI this year. The thing is full of plastic. I (used to) work in oil & gas and guess where a large amount of that natural gas goes....into making plastic.:eek:
The auto manufacturers love it. It's lighter than steel, doesn't rust, is easy to form into parts, and it colors well.
Actually, most low to mid level cars are loaded with plastic. There was a time when a car's dashboard was made of steel. Now pretty much all dash shells are expand polystyrene. Coffee cup material without the blowing agent.
I understand the Tesla has a lot of plastic in it too! Correct??
And yes, GM would rather sell you a truck as would Ford, RAM, Toyota, Nissan, and the others (except Hyundai/Kia) :D
Tesla was using a lot of Alcantara and Leather, but they're switching to non-leather interiors, which I suspect are petroleum-based products.
 

VeeDubTDI

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Excellent (and true) point right there. The Bolt probably only exists to allow the sales of the far more profitable and desirable Silverado, Tahoe, Traverse, etc.
But, as I have stated before, if (when?) the tides turn and EVs actually become desirable to the majority of the buying public, pretty much any "mainstream" company could easily out gun Tesla in sales. Just depends on what the near future holds for what is right now a niche market. And with fuel prices remaining low, and other economic factors improving, the EVs have an uphill battle here.
They/we have a long way to go in terms of charging infrastructure before anyone "out-guns" Tesla.
 

nwdiver

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They/we have a long way to go in terms of charging infrastructure before anyone "out-guns" Tesla.
A similar analogy is BlockBuster vs Netflix. Blockbuster attempted to follow Netflix into Video via Mail before they collapsed.

The OEMs have A LOT more experience building cars and they could probably compete with Tesla much better than BlockBuster competed with Netflix but like BlockBuster they'll be throwing away A LOT of legacy investment if they change paths.

How much do the OEMs have invested in R&D for engines, emissions control, transmissions, traction control etc, etc. VW still makes engines and they still assemble the cars but most of the other components (brake pads, lights, electronics) are also made by 3rd parties. It's the ICE-exclusive components that the OEMs still produce.... they're going to cling to ICE as long as they can. That gives Tesla a MASSIVE advantage.
 

VeeDubTDI

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My daily commute is not practical for an EV especially in winter since I can't charge it up while at work. Add in that I take long roads trips where I cover up to 500 miles a day. I like to keep moving so to stop on a long trip now and then to recharge is both impractical and unwanted. Styling is another factor - I've got to like the way a vehicle looks too. For now the TDI is still the best option for my 1-car needs.
I do note the gassers are catching up as I understand if driven gently a 1.4L gas Passat can break 40 mpg highway now. I'm averaging 49.5 mpg lifetime with my Passat TDI which has a DSG but if the gap between diesel and gas shrinks more I may consider a gas VW when it's time to replace my TDI. The lower gas prices compared to diesel is nice too but that can change in the future. Right now with the number of miles I drive per year the TDI is worth the extra cost of diesel thanks to it's fuel economy advantage.
An EV would be perfect for my mother who only does very short trips in town but since her 2003 Corolla only has 32K on it / is paid for / does well on gas no need to replace it. It can get up to 39 mpg highway which holds it's own with many cars even today.
I also agree with others' observations on why people "need" a giant pickup when most only haul one person with no cargo using a thirsty motor especially with what the thing costs to begin with. Never made sense to me but it's their choice and money.
I'm curious to know what your round-trip commute distance is. Also, what your extra daily mileage is, including side-trips for lunch, dinner, errands, etc.

So what are the secret ingredients missing from mainstream adoption of EV's? Is it because some EV's look like dorkmobiles, or is it all about range, charging availability, and charge times, or does it all hinge on the catalyst of $4.00 gasoline?
I think the answer is more about education and experience. The mainstream doesn't really know (or seemingly wants to know) what they may be missing.
Aside from the environmental angle, I really like driving my EV. The car's zen-like quiet & instant torque are an opposite experience to driving my TDI. I also appreciate the low-no maintenance, and charging from home. Cheap to run too...it costs me about $1.40 to drive 100 miles. That isn't possible with any other gasoline or diesel vehicle.
From experience, these positives should be enough to overcome some of the negatives for the mainstream to consider an EV for at least a second vehicle - but clearly it isn't enough. Perhaps the Model 3 will change that.
EV challenges, ranked in no particular order:

1. Fear of the unknown. Most people haven't experienced an EV, let alone a "premium" EV such as a Tesla or a long-range EV such as a Chevy Bolt. I've given several people test drives of our Fiat 500e and of the Tesla Model S that I rented for nine days. All of those people had very positive experiences. The Fiat is a tough sell due to its short range, but the Tesla is much easier, especially with access to nation-wide fast charging.

2. Education. Most of the questions I field are about where/how to recharge and how long it takes. A lot of people are stuck in the "gas station" mentality, where they go somewhere else to refuel their vehicles. Demonstrating at-home charging and Tesla's Supercharger network really helped relieve some of these discomforts. Early adopters can help bring a new idea mainstream by demonstrating and explaining how it works.

3. Charging infrastructure. This is going to continue for a while as long as manufacturers like GM, VW and others continue to sit on their hands with regard to EV charging infrastructure. It seems that they want to wait for a third party to develop recharging infrastructure, but the problem there is that there isn't a lot of profit in it, so most companies aren't interested, and those that are have an uphill battle with very slim margins. Tesla is doing the right thing by building it out themselves. People who live in apartments will be getting relief soon, as Tesla expands its Supercharging network to inner-cities, allowing easy access for people who don't have access to home charging. This investment will pay off in spades for Tesla, as the others find themselves languishing with very limited public charging options.

As Model 3 deliveries happen in 2017, I think we'll see issues 1 and 2 getting addressed. People will share their experiences with others and Average Joe will gain a greater understanding of what it means to be an EV driver. IMO, simply getting more people behind the wheel to experience the incredible driving dynamics of modern EVs will make the biggest impact.
 

VeeDubTDI

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A similar analogy is BlockBuster vs Netflix. Blockbuster attempted to follow Netflix into Video via Mail before they collapsed.
The OEMs have A LOT more experience building cars and they could probably compete with Tesla much better than BlockBuster competed with Netflix but like BlockBuster they'll be throwing away A LOT of legacy investment if they change paths.
How much do the OEMs have invested in R&D for engines, emissions control, transmissions, traction control etc, etc. VW still makes engines and they still assemble the cars but most of the other components (brake pads, lights, electronics) are also made by 3rd parties. It's the ICE-exclusive components that the OEMs still produce.... they're going to cling to ICE as long as they can. That gives Tesla a MASSIVE advantage.
Good analogy. IMO, the writing is on the wall, especially when you look at the several countries that have introduced ICE bans in the coming decades (most are 20+ years out and only ban new production, not existing vehicles). Those manufacturers that read the writing will be rewarded. Those that ignore it will find themselves behind.
 
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CraziFuzzy

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My wife and I both have commutes that would be ideal for an electric car. I just bought a new 2015 TDI, which is car number three in my stable. Given that I can handle 3 cars, I'd be a perfect candidate for having one car for long trips and two EV's for commuting to work.

One major reason I didn't even consider an EV when getting my third car was power. I live in a 90 year old house with original knob and tube wiring. I also don't have power in my detached garage (more like an enclosure made in the 40's) and my only other option is street parking. No driveway for me, I have an alley. So how I could charge the thing was in question. I'd have to do serious work to my house, then power my garage, then invest in a charger. That's a lot of work.
A lot of work, perhaps (or perhaps not), but all of it would offer a return on the investment. The cost to replace your main panel (likely less than $1000) to a newer and larger service should not be a reason to avoid an EV purchase. That cost would be a positive thing if ONLY to have a safer main panel in the home. You would not necessarily need to replace the wiring in the home, simply a new service panel outside the home, feeding the home directly, and adding a line to the 'shed' to feed the chargers (this also would not be incredibly expensive).
 

VeeDubTDI

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A lot of work, perhaps (or perhaps not), but all of it would offer a return on the investment. The cost to replace your main panel (likely less than $1000) to a newer and larger service should not be a reason to avoid an EV purchase. That cost would be a positive thing if ONLY to have a safer main panel in the home. You would not necessarily need to replace the wiring in the home, simply a new service panel outside the home, feeding the home directly, and adding a line to the 'shed' to feed the chargers (this also would not be incredibly expensive).
Another option (for Tom) is to have separate service run to the garage. Dominion Power offers special (lower) EV rates for a separate meter that is used for EV charging during off-peak hours. While this would likely have an increased monthly cost for the second meter, it would allow you to avoid upgrading all of the wiring in your entire house. A whole-house upgrade can be a huge financial burden, especially if you're in an old home with wiring that doesn't meet today's electrical codes.
 

CraziFuzzy

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'09 JSW (GoneBack) - replaced with '15 Azera and '16 Fiat 500e.
Another option (for Tom) is to have separate service run to the garage. Dominion Power offers special (lower) EV rates for a separate meter that is used for EV charging during off-peak hours. While this would likely have an increased monthly cost for the second meter, it would allow you to avoid upgrading all of the wiring in your entire house. A whole-house upgrade can be a huge financial burden, especially if you're in an old home with wiring that doesn't meet today's electrical codes.
As i mentioned, though.. there should be no reason to need to upgrade the entire home just to add EV charging capability. I have seen plenty of old homes with a new service panel feeding 'new' loads, and the original panel and wiring still in place and running as a subpanel from the new one. Cheap to do, and relatively low impact. This provides a decent base to allow future renovations to easily eliminate the old ungrounded wiring a little at a time, with new circuits running to the new service panel, until the old panel is relieved of its duties. In any case, it has little to no impact on the viability of EV's. $1,000 for the new service panel install (that's if paying someone to do it), and $300 to run power to the garage, and $400 for a charger (if you even need one - depending on needs, many (myself included) get by just fine with the 12A 120V EVSE that came with the car.

Many states offer tax incentive and credits for ev charging infrastructure, and this can often installation costs (in this case, the new service panel would be a part of the EVSE install).
 
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gulfcoastguy

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It would be worth upgrading the electrical system before upgrading the heating/cooling system. That is what my niece did when she bought an old house down in cajun country. Down here a lot of the old 220 lines are aluminum or a fire risk. I'll check into electric cars in 4 or 5 years. It will take that long for the public charging capability to catch up around here.
 

turbobrick240

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As i mentioned, though.. there should be no reason to need to upgrade the entire home just to add EV charging capability. I have seen plenty of old homes with a new service panel feeding 'new' loads, and the original panel and wiring still in place and running as a subpanel from the new one. Cheap to do, and relatively low impact. This provides a decent base to allow future renovations to easily eliminate the old ungrounded wiring a little at a time, with new circuits running to the new service panel, until the old panel is relieved of its duties. In any case, it has little to no impact on the viability of EV's. $1,000 for the new service panel install (that's if paying someone to do it), and $300 to run power to the garage, and $400 for a charger (if you even need one - depending on needs, many (myself included) get by just fine with the 12A 120V EVSE that came with the car.

Many states offer tax incentive and credits for ev charging infrastructure, and this can often installation costs (in this case, the new service panel would be a part of the EVSE install).
That's a great point. I grew up in an old New England town with very old homes, and the ancient knob and tube wiring was typically replaced over time as you indicated. I've seen lots of it with the 80+ year old insulation around the wires completely disintegrated in places. The high load and most used circuits are generally replaced/added first.
 

\/\/0J0

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Sadly, none anymore
Knob and tube, in and of itself, is actually quite safe. The practices that went along with it are what make it shaky. Namely, spreading the neutral path too thin. This was before it was understood that the total cross section of the neutral path should mirror the cross section of the hot lines feeding it. Often one neutral wire was run to return multiple line wires and the amperage would exceed the ampacity of the single wire. I believe this practice was more widespread in the lighting circuits than the receptacles.
The generation of wiring to follow was much more "dangerous" though. The braided cloth soaked in creosote(?). This stuff disintegrates and allows the wires (now in close proximity to one another) to short and arc, blowing a fuse or tripping a breaker, if you're lucky. If you're not lucky, the cross section of the wire is reduced from the arcing and reduces the ampacity leading to heating of the wire while under load and possibly starting a fire.
I'm with the "change out the panel and leave the k&t" crowd. Add a line to the garage and if you get credit or an additional, subsidised meter, even better!
If the charger really only requires 16 amps, 12 awg wire will be plenty and is cheaper than 10awg. Obviously you'll want to consult with local code and/or an electrician licensed in your area, though, since I only have the info provided here to go on.
I've been following this thread for some time and have refrained from participating, opting instead to learn quite a lot and take in the many, varied viewpoints. It's been a good read so far, keep it up!

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