Category Archives: Transport Evolved articles

Three Year Review: The 2012 Rav4 EV Keeps on Keepin’ on

Time has flown by and I’ve now been driving my EV for 3 years.  I wrote up a short post on how much energy I’ve used to charge the car over the years and how this compares to how much fuel I would have used if I was driving a gas powered car.  I also list the main reasons I drive an electric car.  Why is this important to me?  Curious?  Read on!

 

Winter Snow Adventures

January 2016

This winter I took my Rav4 EV on its first trip up into the Sierra Nevadas to find out first hand how my EV would drive in the snow, and how altitude climbs in cold weather would affect driving range.  The Rav4 EV handled the winter conditions well, had good traction in deep snow, and the addition of a DC charging port allowed us to reach our destination in cold temperatures that reduce driving range. Read all about it here.

Rapid DC Charging

Many of the electric cars on the market today can be charged several ways.
EVs can charge slowly on a 120 volt alternating current (AC) outlet that you’d normally use to power a table lamp. This approach generally adds about 3 miles of range to the battery per hour. Homes are wired with 240 volt AC lines to power the oven, clothes dryer, etc. 240 volt AC charging stations generally add 20 miles of range per hour, require about 4 or 5 hours to fully charge the battery, and are the most common way drivers charge their cars. You can charge overnight while you sleep or during the day while you work. But what about road trips? Few people can sit around for 4 hours to charge their car during a road trip. So car makers now include the option to charge an EV with high voltage, high amperage direct current (DC) rapid charging stations. Tesla has set the standard with their Supercharger stations that currently provide 400 volts and over 300 amps that can add 170 miles to the battery pack in 30 minutes. The other EV manufacturers offer DC charging at 400 volts and up to 125 amps. My 2012 Toyota Rav4 EV was not sold with a DC rapid charge port, but Quick Charge Power sells an aftermarket DC charge inlet for the 2012-2014 Rav4 EV, called JdeMO, that I had installed on my car last year. Read more about the DC charge port installation and how it all works here.

Electric Bicycles

Several years ago I saw an unusual bicycle going down the street by my office.  Later I met the owner and she let me take this very cool bike for a spin. This bike is made by Organic Transit in North Carolina and it’s called the ELF.  It’s an enclosed bicycle that will protect you from wind and rain.  It has a 100 Watt solar panel on the roof that charges lithium ion batteries sitting below the driver seat.  The bike is geared properly so you can pedal comfortably, or you can add power from the battery, or drive on battery power alone.  This is a great concept for city driving and it was real fun to ride.  Interested in learning more?  Read my review here.