Category Archives: EVs

Bolt EV too: LGE’s battery design for Ford Mach-E, Chevy Bolt said to have weaknesses

As the Mach-E module section detail above illustrates, the Mach-E’s module architecture apparently contains a significant thermal design weakness – the plastic carrier bottoms. They block direct cell-to-plate heat conduction – the primary thermal path used in most other manufacturers’ current-generation pouch-cell-based packs. The only thermal path is through a long, thin passive aluminum thermal fin. With two cells heating it, this is too much heat for the skinny fin to efficiently conduct down to the cooling plate. It is literally a narrow thermal bottleneck.

Source: Mustang Mach-E Battery Charges Slowly, Overheats Quickly: Why?

For the Mach-E, high accelerations rates can exceed temperature requirements, causing the vehicle to reduce its power available. Probably the same for the Bolt EVs too (see EV Throttle Bottleneck Scorecard graphic at the linked article). These thermal issues might be why the maximum charge rate, which is just 55 KW for the Bolt EV while some EVs are now charge-able, in part, at 125 KW and higher.

Related: LG Energy batteries were also recalled, not just for the Bolt EV cars, but also for their home-based battery packs used for solar PV systems. They too had a defect that could cause them to catch fire.

Costs of charging an EV

Study says EV charging can exceed costs of fueling costs:

The study has four major findings:

  • There are four additional costs to powering EVs beyond electricity: cost of a home charger, commercial charging, the EV tax and “deadhead” miles.
  • For now, EVs cost more to power than gasoline costs to fuel an internal combustion car that gets reasonable gas mileage.
  • Charging costs vary more widely than gasoline prices.
  • There are significant time costs to finding reliable public chargers – even then a charger could take 30 minutes to go from 20% to an 80% charge.

Source: Which is more expensive: charging an electric vehicle or fueling a car with gas?

Specifically, they have included the costs of adding charging stations at home, the costs of additional taxes on EVs (my state charges EVs several hundred dollars per year that is not charged to ICE vehicles, to make up for loss of gas taxes), and the costs and time of driving extra distances to find commercial charging stations, and then waiting for a suitable charge to complete.

Other studies have found that EV maintenance costs much less than ICE vehicles. There are no engine tune ups, oil changes, gasket changes, spark plug changes, and EV mechanical parts are simpler than ICE vehicles.

If I had an EV, my home and local charging cost would be zero since our solar PV array already produces sufficient power annually for all local driving activities.

With a few exceptions, most existing EVs would not be suitable for the type of cross country driving I am prone to do, but all would work well for local and regional travel. I live in the eastern half of Oregon where it can be 100+ miles between very limited charging stations, for example. A day’s drive to a common destination to our east is about 12 hours of ICE driving today – throw in a couple of EV charging stops (at least) and it likely becomes 14 hours of driving, putting it in the realm of not being safe due to fatigue.

Future EVs may have 400-500 mile ranges and faster charging options. Probably see these among more makers by about 2025.

Auto makers might drop AM/FM/HD radios from future vehicles

Tesla has dropped AM/FM radios from cars, effectively. If you have an older Tesla and do the $1500 “infotainment” upgrade, it removes AM/FM/Sirius XM radio features and you have to pay $500 to add them back. Tesla’s theory is that everyone wants to listen to streaming Internet radio via their cell phone.

Tesla’s are apparently not driven in places that have no cell service. I have no cell service over most of the eastern half of my rural western state.

The question is: Will other automakers follow Tesla’s lead and also eliminate AM/FM radios?

Many EVs have already gotten rid of AM radio, while some say they will continue to have them – for now.

Source: Radio’s Car Radio Paranoia 2: What If Eric Rhoads Was Right?

California, already short of electricity, is faced with more shortages as they shut power plants

The State is short of the power demanded during some summer periods. Under state de-carboning rules, they are shutting gas power plants – plus their only nuclear plant. This puts the state in a bind as it also sees demand increases from increasing population and EVs.

The state is contending with the coming loss of gas-fired power plants and its last remaining nuclear facility in a planned transition to renewable energy.

Source: California Scrambles to Find Electricity to Offset Plant Closures – WSJ

If you’ve got the cash (i.e. the elite), probably best to install solar PV and a large battery bank to keep the lights on.

GM to start replacing Chevy Bolt fire batteries in mid-October

The process of replacing batteries may take many months:

GM expects to begin replacing battery modules in recalled Chevrolet Bolt EVs due to fire risks as soon as next month, the company announced Monday.

Source: GM to begin fixing recalled Chevy Bolt EVs next month due to fire risk

While GM has directed owners to limit range to 100-160 miles (depending on model year), and to park within 50 feet of any other vehicle (a near impossible requirement to meet), GM dealers are themselves parking unsold inventory, side by side.

Related: Chevy Bolt recall is burning up what’s left of GM’s EV good will

 

GM shoots their Bolt EV in the head

Another Chevy Bolt EV caught fire this week. This seems to be GM’s response:

General Motors Co. urged some owners of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars to park and store the vehicles at least 50 feet away from other cars to reduce the risk that a spontaneous fire could spread.

Source: GM Tells Some Chevy Bolt Owners to Park 50 Feet Away From Others on Fire Risk – Bloomberg

50 feet?

This is not possible for many owners who live in apartments, many who live in urban homes (driveways are closer than 50 feet), or who need to park their car in a retailer’s parking lot, or even an employer’s parking lot, and especially those that need to park in parking garages.

Some owners say they have no possible way to meet the 50 foot restriction – even Chevy dealers will not permit them to store the unusable Bolt EVs at Chevy lots.

And what do you do when you park your vehicle well away from others – and then other people later park next to your Bolt Fire Bomb? Some think GM issued the 50 foot directive to attempt to absolve GM of liability if your car catches fire and damages other cars or property. If you cannot comply, that is your problem, not GM’s. Ugh.

This new directive comes after limiting the mileage to 100-160 miles of range (depending on the model year), and telling owners to charge outside only, and to actively watch the vehicle while charging – for 12 hours?

Owners have no estimate on when GM will begin replacing their defective batteries. The various recalls affect up to 140,000 vehicles – some think it will take one year or more to manufacture new battery packs.

Some owners are seeking to have GM provide replacement loaner vehicles or to buy back the defective Bolt EVs.

This is a catastrophe for GM’s EV program.

EV battery packs might be made to last much longer

Toyota’s upcoming EV, prefaced by the bZ4X Concept, is said to retain 90 percent of its initial battery capacity after a decade. At first, this might be something insignificant, but it means that the vehicle should be able to achieve 90 percent of its initial range after ten years of use.

Source: Toyota Might Have Fixed an Underlying Issue With Electric Vehicles – autoevolution

I’ve owned ICE vehicles out to 20 years … current EVs would likely need a couple of total battery pack replacements to achieve that life. This development from Toyota might be very helpful.

Congress proposes law that subsidies EVs forever

The proposal will give Detroit’s Big Three automakers a big competitive edge and has drawn criticism from foreign automakers like Honda and Toyota.

Source: U.S. Democrats propose dramatic expansion of EV tax credits that favors Big Three

Well, only 10 years, but like this time, it will get renewed again in 10 years.

Does this subsidy really help consumers or does it enable EV makers to raise prices to consumers while consumers just pay the same amount as before due to the subsidy?

Another Chevy Bolt EV spontaneously combusts

Unplugged, sitting in a parking lot, the burning vehicle also destroyed the two adjoining vehicles including a Maserati.

Early Monday morning, 20-year-old Jesus Damian’s 2017 Bolt EV burst into flames while sitting in a parking lot near his apartment in Sacramento, California. The all-electric vehicle was unplugged and off when the fire broke out.

Source: Watch as a recalled Chevy Bolt bursts into flames in a parking lot overnight

GM has instructed Bolt owners to park outside, only use 144 miles of the vehicles claimed 259 mile range, and to never charge indoors. Many may be unable to meet those requirements – think of apartments with assigned car park parking and little to no outdoor parking.

Today, GM announced production of the Bolt will continue to be shut down for some time.