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Hybrid, EV, or PHEV for a ski car?

marzNC

Angel Diva
The couple who made the videos in Post #54 were cautious about driving long distances. Before they took the long trip from Oregon to California, they did day trips. The day trips were all close enough not to require charging. They got the opportunity to get a better feel for the actual range for different types of roads, traffic, and terrain. For the long trip, they didn't just depend on the Ford app but also had PlugShare. Also brought along adapters.

May 2022

I've seen more public charges in parking lots near shopping or at hotels driving around than a year ago. However, a long trip (over 1000 miles 1-way and/or over 500 miles in one day) is easier with a plug-in hybrid than a BEV in most regions in the USA.

I use my RAV4 Prime as an EV 90% of the time when I'm home and don't plan on plugging it in during a long trip. Have learned that if the EV range is below 30 miles, can be worthwhile to make use of the charge-while-driving option. Especially if end up in stop-and-go traffic for a short while.
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
Hi all! It's been a bit. :tongue:

Due to a number of factors, I didn't ski at all last season, but am getting back into it this winter! I also am looking to buy a car and am wondering what sorts of experiences people have had with hybrids and EVs of all sorts the last little bit. It seems like EVs have come a long way, especially in the Bay Area, and it may be plausible to get all the way from San Francisco to Truckee with no more than one short stop!

I have been eyeing the AWD Prius as a hybrid option, and the BMW i4 (which supposedly has 300 miles of highway range!) as a battery electric vehicle.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Hi all! It's been a bit. :tongue:

Due to a number of factors, I didn't ski at all last season, but am getting back into it this winter! I also am looking to buy a car and am wondering what sorts of experiences people have had with hybrids and EVs of all sorts the last little bit. It seems like EVs have come a long way, especially in the Bay Area, and it may be plausible to get all the way from San Francisco to Truckee with no more than one short stop!

I have been eyeing the AWD Prius as a hybrid option, and the BMW i4 (which supposedly has 300 miles of highway range!) as a battery electric vehicle.
Good to hear from you!

In California, charging up an EV away from home is usually not an issue. Should get even easier some time in 2024 when more Tesla charging stations are set up to allow charging cars that don't have the NCAS connector. More importantly, major manufacturers of EVs sold in the USA will have NACS connectors in future models.

How easy will it be to charge at home? Would you need to get a faster charging station installed? I normally charge using Level 1 just plugging into an outlet in the garage. We also have a Level 2 charging cable because there is an outlet in the garage we had installed a while back for other reasons. I don't use that often but it's handy if I end up going out twice in the same day.

June 2023

When my husband and I were visiting his old friend from grad school in the Bay Area in August, we went sightseeing in his friend's 2017 Prius Prime. The dash and controls were set up a bit differently than my 2022 RAV4 Prime. Still he's been quite happy as a retiree who doesn't drive that far from home very often. He essentially uses it as an EV most of the time. He'll even charge it up at his fitness center because there is a free Level 2 charger. Instead of paying for electricity at his house.

My old friends who live in southern Oregon were very happy with their hybrid Prius. Upgraded to a hybrid Highlander a few years ago in order to have enough room for grandchildren with ski gear.
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
How easy will it be to charge at home? Would you need to get a faster charging station installed? I normally charge using Level 1 just plugging into an outlet in the garage. We also have a Level 2 charging cable because there is an outlet in the garage we had installed a while back for other reasons.
I'm not sure. We rent, and we have laundry in the garage, so there are outlets, but it's not clear if they're hooked up to our electrical panel or a different one. We might need to get permission from our landlord to install a charging station.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@gingerjess I've multiple sets of friends who regularly go from the Bay Area to north Lake Tahoe with a stop around Roseville to charge. I think an issue is whether you'll need a charge in Tahoe and where you'd do that. I've no idea how the cold does or doesn't affect the battery, and it'll be ~200 miles or less RT from a Sacramento-area EV station to most resorts in NLT.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I'm not sure. We rent, and we have laundry in the garage, so there are outlets, but it's not clear if they're hooked up to our electrical panel or a different one. We might need to get permission from our landlord to install a charging station.
Hmm, as a renter it may be a bit soon to have an EV as your only car.

Check out this video as an introduction to charging considerations for renters. Out Of Spec has lots of useful videos and video reviews of EV vehicles.

October 14, 2023

It makes a big difference by state. California, Colorado, and New York are a few of the states that are most EV-friendly as of 2023. That's one reason the two RAV4 Primes my husband bought in late 2020 and Summer 2021 involved working with a dealer in central New York. Prime models became available in NC last year, but are still hard to find.

I opted for a plug-in hybrid as the top choice because I didn't feel like learning how to deal with charging an EV on long drives, meaning a trip where I drive more than 500 miles 1-way, including 600+ miles in a day. When I'm home having an EV range of 40-50 miles means I only need go add gas about once a month.

My daughter has a commute that is about 15 miles 1-way. During the week she rarely drives in hybrid (HV) mode. When she gets home, she plugs in and had a full charge by the time she leaves in the morning.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I've no idea how the cold does or doesn't affect the battery, and it'll be ~200 miles or less RT from a Sacramento-area EV station to most resorts in NLT.
Temperature is a factor when it comes to charging an EV, or the traction battery for a plug-in hybrid. I can tell the difference even in NC in the winter in terms of what EV miles show in the dash display after a full charge overnight compared to other seasons when daytime temps are over 60 degrees.

From what I remember, the NYSkiBlog EV owners expect a 20-30% decrease during the winter when they are headed north for skiing. Mostly that means going from NJ/NYC up to past Albany.

A NC friend has owned a Telsa for a while. One time when he was picking up his daughter in Lake Placid for a winter school break he made the mistake of waiting to charge in the morning. That meant the battery was quite cold when he started charging. It took twice as long as he expected. He was using a Telsa supercharger.
 

ceestan

Certified Ski Diva
We bought the BMW X5 45e. It's manufactured in South Carolina, so it was one of the PHEVs still eligible for the $7.5K tax credit in 2023. It gets about 32 miles on the electric battery (I think this years model will improve that quite a bit). But the 32 miles is enough that we mostly drive electric around town. On the way to the mountain and back, we do end up using the combustion engine, but we weren't ready to go full electric yet. We typically average about 48-52 eMPG on the average tank of gas (not bad for how big it is). It's also extremely capable in the snow and ice, especially with the snow tires. And it doesn't hurt that it's a really beautiful car!
 

Soujan

Angel Diva
Something to also keep in mind when using an EV in the winter is that running the heaters inside the vehicle will also decrease your range. It takes a lot of energy to heat the cabin and to use the seat and steering wheel warmers. I've read that people had some success just dressing warmer while driving and only using the steering wheel heater.

Another consideration is that the batteries will degrade over time just like the rechargeable batteries you use at home, resulting in less capacity. How much does it degrade? Hard to tell at the moment. Taken from a PC Magazine article:

"Tesla itself claims that the Model S and Model X only lose about 10% battery capacity, on average, after 200,000 miles of usage. For all models, Tesla guarantees a minimum 70% battery capacity retention over the warranty period."

For reference, I have a 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime. It's rated to get 42 miles on a full charge. I use my car almost everyday to commute or run errands. My daily commuting distance is approximately 70 miles. During the summer months, I can get more than 42 miles. During the winters, that drops to less than 30 miles. I've already managed to put 25K miles on my RAV4. I went with a plug-in hybrid because I also use this car for road trips and ski trips. Personally, I would not get an EV because I would not be able to find charging stations in many of the places I go and I don't want to wait around for it to charge. I've been happy with my purchase so far.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
@gingerjess There are a ton of EV forums out there, on Reddit for example. And people LOVE to talk about their EVs. I am sure you can find people that drive from SF to Truckee in various EVs and can tell you about their experiences--how much range a particular car loses going uphill in the cold, for example, and which model can make it without stopping to charge. It looks like SF-Truckee is 187 miles, which would be fine for many new cars even in cold if it were flat...but it isn't flat. (I bet you won't have to stop coming home, going down from the mountains). Find people that do this trip. If that's a regular trip, then make that the big factor in which car you get. Also, know that you can charge to `100% before longer trips. It's best for battery life to charge to 80-90% on a daily basis, but I charge to 100% for longer trips.

Do you need AWD and clearance? I got my Volvo EV in large part because I knew I'd take it hiking (so, rough FS roads) and skiing (and parking lots here generally aren't paved and have enormous potholes). And here in WA we generally need either AWD or tire chains in winter. I know other states aren't like that.

If it were me I'd ask the landlord if you can pay to get a dedicated outlet. It adds value to the property--in SF who wouldn't want that? It may not cost that much; we paid a few hundred bucks. You may not need a "charging station" (aka box). We bought a Juice Box then learned our Volvo has features that deal with power surges, and we hadn't needed to buy it.

Something to also keep in mind when using an EV in the winter is that running the heaters inside the vehicle will also decrease your range.
I know that is supposed to be true but I have not found there to be a difference. When I first started driving to skiing I left all heat off then when it was clear I wasn't going to have issues with range, added back in seatwarmers, full heat, etc...and it didn't seem to suck any extra range.

The whole battery life thing is a non-issue to me. I got a Prius in 2009 and remember reading that batteries only lasted 7 years, or 10 years, or no one knows...I sold it last year, 13 years later, and the battery had lessened in performance, so I was getting mileage in the 40s as opposed to mid-50s, but it still worked and got relatively good mileage. It goes very very slowly. Replacing a battery in an otherwise great car after 15 years or whatever isn't the end of the world either, but most people don't keep cars that long.

I'm willing to accept some inconvenience for never having to get gas/an oil change/engine maintenance and for not contributing, when I drive, to climate change. So even if you do have to stop on the way there, maybe it's not such a big deal. I'm driving to NoCal on Monday for work; sure it will take longer than flying, but I won't use any emissions, won't have to deal with airports and rental cars, etc. I use Electrify America generally, which are usually in Walmart parking lots. By the time I've crossed the big parking lot and found and used the restrooms in Walmart, it's been 15-20 minutes, and that may be all the charging I needed.

Btw you can look at the Plugshare website or app to get an idea of charging station locations. The orange icons show the faster chargers a person would use on a trip.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
You could also play around with A Better Route Planner's website to see how different car models you are considering compare to each other on that drive. Caveat, I haven't used it much. I've heard it's overly cautious and will say you use more range than you will, but I wonder if it really accounts for cold weather. It does account for elevation gain/loss.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
For reference, I have a 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime. It's rated to get 42 miles on a full charge. I use my car almost everyday to commute or run errands. My daily commuting distance is approximately 70 miles. During the summer months, I can get more than 42 miles. During the winters, that drops to less than 30 miles. I've already managed to put 25K miles on my RAV4. I went with a plug-in hybrid because I also use this car for road trips and ski trips. Personally, I would not get an EV because I would not be able to find charging stations in many of the places I go and I don't want to wait around for it to charge. I've been happy with my purchase so far.
Are you charging indoors or outdoors? In the NYC area, correct?

My 2022 R4P has about 22,000 miles (bought August 2022). I reset the m/kWh at 20,000 and did a long trip of about 1700 miles soon afterwards. Most of the other miles were EV when staying at home. The m/kWh is 3.0 right now. When I charge overnight in the garage, I'm getting 48-50 EV in the dash display. Since I live in NC, I can almost always get 40 EV miles during the winter.
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
I think an issue is whether you'll need a charge in Tahoe and where you'd do that. I've no idea how the cold does or doesn't affect the battery, and it'll be ~200 miles or less RT from a Sacramento-area EV station to most resorts in NLT.
Definitely something to think about! It looks like there are at least a few fast chargers in and around Truckee, so I'm not too worried.
Hmm, as a renter it may be a bit soon to have an EV as your only car.
Maybe! The other side of it, though, is that I don't have a car commute at all—so for me, it might be completely OK for it to take an uninterrupted week to trickle charge the car after a trip.
If you scroll through the pictures in the Motortrend article, can get a sense of what is happening by brand in terms of the implementation of NACS. WV, BMW, and Honda haven't made a decision yet. Ford, GM, Kia, and Hyundai have made agreements with Tesla already.
Haha I was looking at this and then I saw that BMW just announced this afternoon that they were going to adopt the Tesla charging standard.
Something to also keep in mind when using an EV in the winter is that running the heaters inside the vehicle will also decrease your range. It takes a lot of energy to heat the cabin and to use the seat and steering wheel warmers. I've read that people had some success just dressing warmer while driving and only using the steering wheel heater.
I was reading about this too! It sounds like EVs are also driving adoption of more efficient "heat pumps" that draw in atmospheric heat instead of just creating it?
I am sure you can find people that drive from SF to Truckee in various EVs and can tell you about their experiences--how much range a particular car loses going uphill in the cold, for example, and which model can make it without stopping to charge.
Definitely! I have a friend who moved to Mammoth and then bought an EV, so I was bugging him about it. It sounds like in the summer he can make the trip all the way home from SF with only one fifteen-minute stop!
Do you need AWD and clearance? I got my Volvo EV in large part because I knew I'd take it hiking (so, rough FS roads) and skiing (and parking lots here generally aren't paved and have enormous potholes). And here in WA we generally need either AWD or tire chains in winter. I know other states aren't like that.
I don't think I need clearance; the roads are pretty good and I don't plan to go off major roads. I do want AWD; part of it is just safety, but part of it is also the way CalTrans operates the highways in winter. There are two primary chain control levels and you can get away with just having chains in your trunk (and not putting them on) if you have AWD and good tires.
If it were me I'd ask the landlord if you can pay to get a dedicated outlet. It adds value to the property--in SF who wouldn't want that? It may not cost that much; we paid a few hundred bucks.
I might give it a try! I am vaguely concerned that the scope might balloon; the building is a bit old and I recently discovered that none of the outlets in the apartment are grounded! But it couldn't hurt to ask.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Haha I was looking at this and then I saw that BMW just announced this afternoon that they were going to adopt the Tesla charging standard.
Ah, must have been in the works for a while. Wonder when VW will get added to the NACS supporter list.

October 17, 2023
" . . .
Per BMW Group, EV drivers of BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce brands will gain access to Tesla Superchargers in early 2025. For that same year, BMW has vowed to implement NACS in EVs sold in the US and Canada across those same brands.
. . .
BMW made a point to state that this new agreement for the North American Charging Standard remains independent from the Group’s previous commitment alongside six other automakers to install over 30,000 fast chargers across North America. That said, customers on that coming network will be able to replenish their BMW brand EVs, regardless of whether their vehicle is touting CCS or NACS.

Lastly, BMW says it will work across its three marques in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition to Tesla’s charging network, and owners will be able to pay for charging using their respective vehicle brand’s own app."
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
I'm testing out the EV life this weekend! It's been interesting so far.

We had existing plans to visit friends in Truckee, and (currently carless) we had to rent a car anyway, so we opted for the EV option! The downtown Avis location in San Francisco gave us a current-model-year Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is rated for about 300 miles of range. We received it with an 83% charge, and about 263 miles of range estimated.

From there, we headed directly out of town. Traffic on a Friday afternoon towards Tahoe is brutal all year round, and yesterday was no exception. Departing around 3PM, we made it to Auburn just after 6. I didn't baby the car along the way at all, but did make heavy use of adaptive cruise control. Over the course of 137 miles and 1300 feet of elevation, we used 40% of the battery, down to 43%.

Auburn, in the foothills of the Sierras, has a high-speed Electrify America charger capable of delivering 350kW. After plugging in, the car immediately started charging at 235kW, its specified maximum, estimating 12 minutes for a charge up to 80%.

What to do with those 12 minutes was interesting. The charger was in the back parking lot of a Motel 6, a bit away from the freeway, with nothing in walking range. We took a brief walk around the grounds, looked at the nearby railroad tracks, but eventually just hung around the car.

Very briefly, the charger finished and we were on our way again. We stopped by a gas station to buy snacks to justify also using their bathroom, and then hit the road.

There was no more traffic on the way to Truckee, and the climb up the mountains was uneventful. It did pose a challenge for the batteries though; the remaining 6000 feet of altitude (and 60 miles) on the way to Donner Summit, driven relatively aggressively, took the battery all the way from 80% to 50%. On the way back down the pass into Truckee, about a 1200 foot descent, the car sipped a further 3% over 8 miles

I think I have two takeaways from this. First, that in the abstract, EVs are ready for my use case. Obviously mileage will be even worse in winter, but you could assess a heavy range penalty for the cold and still be just fine overall. Charging mid-route was quick and painless, but beyond that, at least in the summer, I could probably make this drive without stopping if I was topped up to 100% to start.

Second, I think that while there may be more technological advancements to be made in terms of charging speed and battery capacity, I don't think those are necessarily the things that will make long-distance EV road trips viable in general. Instead, I think the future is "destination-ish" charging points, with attractions of their own; think Wall Drug in South Dakota. A 12 minute charge was great, but I would've also taken a one-hour charge where I had the chance to sit down and eat a delicious dinner.

After yesterday, I have this vision of a new American road-trip style that's almost a return to the mid-20th century. In comparison, I grew up in the '90s and '00s, where a family road trip meant 12 hours a day straight in the car, with sandwiches from a cooler and stopping every five hours for however long it took to fill the tank and use the restroom. I think the challenges posed by EVs present a unique opportunity to make road travel much better.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I'm testing out the EV life this weekend! It's been interesting so far.

We had existing plans to visit friends in Truckee, and (currently carless) we had to rent a car anyway, so we opted for the EV option! The downtown Avis location in San Francisco gave us a current-model-year Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is rated for about 300 miles of range. We received it with an 83% charge, and about 263 miles of range estimated.

From there, we headed directly out of town. Traffic on a Friday afternoon towards Tahoe is brutal all year round, and yesterday was no exception. Departing around 3PM, we made it to Auburn just after 6. I didn't baby the car along the way at all, but did make heavy use of adaptive cruise control. Over the course of 137 miles and 1300 feet of elevation, we used 40% of the battery, down to 43%.

Auburn, in the foothills of the Sierras, has a high-speed Electrify America charger capable of delivering 350kW. After plugging in, the car immediately started charging at 235kW, its specified maximum, estimating 12 minutes for a charge up to 80%.

What to do with those 12 minutes was interesting. The charger was in the back parking lot of a Motel 6, a bit away from the freeway, with nothing in walking range. We took a brief walk around the grounds, looked at the nearby railroad tracks, but eventually just hung around the car.

Very briefly, the charger finished and we were on our way again. We stopped by a gas station to buy snacks to justify also using their bathroom, and then hit the road.

There was no more traffic on the way to Truckee, and the climb up the mountains was uneventful. It did pose a challenge for the batteries though; the remaining 6000 feet of altitude (and 60 miles) on the way to Donner Summit, driven relatively aggressively, took the battery all the way from 80% to 50%. On the way back down the pass into Truckee, about a 1200 foot descent, the car sipped a further 3% over 8 miles

I think I have two takeaways from this. First, that in the abstract, EVs are ready for my use case. Obviously mileage will be even worse in winter, but you could assess a heavy range penalty for the cold and still be just fine overall. Charging mid-route was quick and painless, but beyond that, at least in the summer, I could probably make this drive without stopping if I was topped up to 100% to start.

Second, I think that while there may be more technological advancements to be made in terms of charging speed and battery capacity, I don't think those are necessarily the things that will make long-distance EV road trips viable in general. Instead, I think the future is "destination-ish" charging points, with attractions of their own; think Wall Drug in South Dakota. A 12 minute charge was great, but I would've also taken a one-hour charge where I had the chance to sit down and eat a delicious dinner.

After yesterday, I have this vision of a new American road-trip style that's almost a return to the mid-20th century. In comparison, I grew up in the '90s and '00s, where a family road trip meant 12 hours a day straight in the car, with sandwiches from a cooler and stopping every five hours for however long it took to fill the tank and use the restroom. I think the challenges posed by EVs present a unique opportunity to make road travel much better.
Sounds like a fun adventure!

Did you get any of the EV charge apps beforehand? PlugShare seems to get recommended the most it comes to locating available charging stations.
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
Sounds like a fun adventure!

Did you get any of the EV charge apps beforehand? PlugShare seems to get recommended the most it comes to locating available charging stations.
I did get the "A Better Route Planner" app, but that's it. It was useful; it lets you select a target "finish charge" and then tells you where and for how long to fill up.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I drove to Northern California and back, with some detours for fun, recently in my EV. I don't usually take road trips but I want to fly less so took the opportunity to drive when I had work there. All in all it was not only easier than anticipated, it was almost a non-issue (you do need to look at your route in advance in a way you don't usually need to do with an ICE car). A couple things really surprised me. First, I'm now convinced that having to stop for charging aligns with how often we should be stopping for safety (mental alertness) and health (walking/stretching/just not sitting) reasons. I was very ready to get out of the car and have a break every time I needed to charge.

Another surprise is that driving an EV on a heavily trafficked interstate felt way safer than driving an ICE car because of the incredible acceleration. Every time I was in a semi's blind spot, or when I was stuck between a triple tractor trailer and the concrete median barrier, especially going uphill, ESPECIALLY over the Siskiyous in southern OR/northern CA where I-5 is two lane, up and down, and twisty turny, meant that it was very easy for me to zoom out of there. (I felt like I had the fastest most powerful vehicle out there.).

Also super fun was finding free charging at Oregon State Parks and at hotels, and finding a terrific Mexican place I wouldn't have found if I hadn't needed to stop at the Chargepoint in Redding.

Spending time in so many Walmart parking lots (and going in to use the restroom) was sobering, though.
 

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