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A common concern about EVs is what happens to that large battery pack once it can no longer deliver adequate range for the EV after 8-12 years of use. Fortunately, for many EV batteries, they can have a second useful life in stationary energy storage. A new blog by the Union of Concerned Scientists talks more about this second life and provides more detail around the residual value of a degraded EV battery that may have another 5-8 years of useful life in an energy storage capacity.
As industry gains more experience with this concept, it will be able to more accurately forecast the value of these second life batteries. This could potentially impact the cost of batteries when new if a large enough market exists for the batteries at the end of their first life.
Give the article a read!
Great to see the University of Georgia adopting electric transit buses designed and built right here in the USA! Keep an eye on Proterra - they are the Tesla of the transit world. We need additional electric transit options here in West Virginia! Ask your local transit system about adopting electric buses. There may even be grant opportunities available for such purchases.
Electric Buses Transform UGA’s Transit System
I hope everyone is doing well in your new social distancing/work from home routines! Although these restrictions may seem burdensome, they are in the best interest of everyone so please do observe all hygiene and social distancing guidelines.
While doing that, however, don't forget about your EV! I recently wrote about the importance of the standard 12V battery and ensuring that it is replaced before it fails, but this public service announcement is to not forget to charge your EV while it is parked. All EVs typically discharge the traction battery slowly over time to keep electronics running, topping up the 12V, battery heating if it's cold, etc. Tesla EVs use battery power to keep the internet connection and computer running and possibly the Sentry security cameras. Other EVs with connectivity features will behave similarly.
This is a reminder to keep an eye on your EV if you're not driving and plug it in occasionally. I wouldn't recommend keeping it plugged in at a high state of charge, but if you can set the maximum charge to a reasonable number (60-70%) then you could leave it plugged in and let it top up as needed. On most newer EVs, the owner can generally set the maximum charge percentage. Refer to your owner's manual for recommendations on extended parking.
Just wanted to share a brief word about the Feb 29, 2020 Coffee and EVs event in the eastern panhandle. We talked about charging, the state of the EV industry, the various manufacturers, what we could to improve charging locally, etc., but I would like to share one specific story from this event. One of the attendees had purchased a Hyundai Kona EV not too long ago based on his experience riding in a Kona EV at last September's NDEW event. The gentleman who gave rides in his Kona EV at NDEW was also present and the new owner thanked him for putting him on the path to an EV. Although we don't always see the results of our efforts, it's great when we do!
Public Service Announcement for EV Owners - Don't forget about the standard 12V automotive battery!
When we think of our EV's power source, we're generally thinking about that large lithium ion battery pack that provides the energy for propelling the vehicle. We're generally not thinking about the standard, secondary 12V battery (typically lead acid) like every other car uses.
However, that 12V battery is vitally important! It provides power to many accessories in the car AND provides the power necessary to engage the contacts for the primary battery. The car has to perform safety checks and various tasks before engaging the primary battery and the 12V provides the necessary power. It also provides the power to disconnect the primary battery in case of a malfunction or accident. Suffice it to say, that if the 12V battery is not providing adequate voltage, you'll be dead in the water just like a gas powered car. So, check that 12V battery routinely and replace it before you find yourself stranded! Even if you have enough power to turn on the radio and the dash lights up, it may not be enough to put it in gear and you could see multiple errors on the dash although not specifically about the 12V battery. Ask me how I know...
We all love our EVs, but let's take a minute and talk about that critical piece of ownership, EV charging, and simple actions we can all take to show our appreciation.
First, the WVEAA would encourage everyone that uses public charging to provide positive feedback to charging hosts letting them know that you appreciate their effort to provide charging and what else you may have done while visiting their charger. Did you charge and buy products in their store? Did you charge at a library or farmers market and checked out a book or visited vendors? Let them know directly on their website or Facebook page. And, always leave feedback on charging apps or sites like PlugShare, ChargePoint, etc.
Second, if your experience was not the best for some reason, provide polite, constructive feedback as well. Was the charger inoperative, powered down, cable frayed, plug broken, parking spot blocked, etc.? Leave feedback to let the host know that the charger needs service and how the experience could be improved. If it's not obvious who is hosting the charger, check PlugShare.
Lastly, as EV owners we should be setting the best example as electric ambassadors. Make sure you always roll up the cord, holster the plug, pick up any visible trash and dispose of it, and move your vehicle promptly when finished charging. Always demonstrate proper EV etiquette!