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Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:06 am
by RJCIV
My and my wife are thinking about a FFE. She is a school teacher. She just got a job 87 miles away. There are some charging stations near her work. We are thinking she could drive to work(43.9 miles). Drive to a charging station after work and then charge for 30 min while she grades papers or lesson plans(9.6 miles). Then drive home(34.8 miles). The question is will the car have a 89 mile range with a daily 30 min charge or am I looking at 1 hr to get that far? My wife is not willing to do 1 hr of charging per day but she has about 30 min of paper work per day that she can complete and wouldn't mind. We currently have a minivan and the trip is about 88 miles X 5 days = 440 miles / 20 mpg = 22 gallons per week * 3.69 price per gallon = 81.18 per week * 4 weeks in a month = 324.72 per month in gas cost X 10 months for a year of teaching = 3247.20 in gas costs. my understanding is the FFE gets 110 mpge so substitute 110 in for 20 mpg from the minivan and It would be costing me about 4 gallons of gas a week which comes out to yearly cost of 590.4 in gas cost equivalent. That is a savings of 2656.80 per year. This all hinges on how many miles I can get out of a 240 volt charger. Please help.

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:14 am
by jmueller065
Is her job 87 miles away or is the 87 miles a round trip? From your discussion it would appear that the 87 miles is a round trip value given that you say:
she could drive to work(43.9 miles).
What part of the country are you in? I ask because you would have to do the worst case calculations of a northern climate with a harsh winter (on the coldest of days <0F the FFE would be using most of the battery to go those 43.9 miles which would mean much more than an hour to recharge).

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:34 am
by RJCIV
Houston Texas. It is really flat but hot. We would cover the vehicle during the day to protect it from heat. The cooling system should be able to handle it while it drives. She would drive from south Conroe I-45@242 to southside of 610@288 just outside the loop. That's 88 miles round trip.

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:44 am
by GladeStorm
It all boils down to speed - Going 35-40 mph, you'd probably get home about the time the 10mile warning sounds. At 65 mph, probably not going to make it. (That half hour will get you about 12-15 miles)

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:49 am
by RJCIV
That 12-15 miles is the number I really needed. So basically 30 mins just really isn't going to cut it. It would take 1 hr. Now I need to explore getting a 120 volt plug available at her work. Thanks for the info.

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:48 am
by Gigi
RJCIV wrote:There are some charging stations near her work. We are thinking she could drive to work(43.9 miles). Drive to a charging station after work and then charge for 30 min while she grades papers or lesson plans(9.6 miles). Then drive home(34.8 miles).
Waiting on the car to charge is not what I would want to be doing even if I had useful work such as grading papers to occupy my time. If she is able to plug in at work and charge while she is at work, that might be acceptable. A difficulty might occur if, for some reason, she got to work and then needed to turn around and drive home immediately for an emergency. The car's range just won't cover that.

Have you considered a hybrid? 40+ mpg is pretty economical in a comfortable midsize car.

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:17 am
by hybridbear
RJCIV wrote:That 12-15 miles is the number I really needed. So basically 30 mins just really isn't going to cut it. It would take 1 hr. Now I need to explore getting a 120 volt plug available at her work. Thanks for the info.
Like Gigi says, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid might be the best option if you can't get access to an outlet at work. All she would need at the school would be a 120V outlet. The other thing to be aware of in hot Texas sun is that the car will send you alerts telling you to plug in if the battery gets too hot. This is because the thermal management system for the battery is only active if the car is "ON" or plugged in. Plugging in to 120V while she's at work will ensure that the battery stays cool and will allow her to start the A/C before leaving work so that she can leave work with a somewhat cool car in the afternoons.

If she can't get access to an outlet, then check out a PHEV like the Ford C-Max Energi, Fusion Energi or the Chevy Volt. Assuming you are able to take advantage of the full $4000 federal tax credit for the Ford PHEVs they don't cost hardly any more than the hybrid versions. In a Fusion Hybrid she might get 42-45 MPG on her commute but with the battery range of the Energi she could likely get 50 MPGe (combined efficiency of the battery & the gas used). It's not as good as what you'd get with a Focus Electric, but it would still be half the cost of the minivan. And the C-Max Energi has lots of cargo space like a minivan, although it only seats 5. But if you could replace the van with a Focus Electric it appears that 6+ seats aren't a requirement for you and neither is cargo space because the Focus Electric has a lot less cargo space than a C-Max.

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:27 am
by bradht
Just had to chime in here..... with a heavy heart, I can't recommend a full electric vehicle for that use. Definitely go for the hybrid or plug-in hybrid.

I'm in agreement with the others here.

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:48 am
by RJCIV
Thank you for the input. If there is no plug at her work I agree this isn't going to work. I wasnt intending on replacing the van just adding a 3rd car but now I am thinking of replacing the van with a CNG transit connect. With 30mpg and 66% fuel cost. 30/.66 = 45 MPGe at current gasoline/CNG prices but I wont be held to gas prices. I work in gas and oil and gas prices are going up there is nothing that can help it but Nat-gas is going to be affordable. With my CNG F-150 we will be a Gasoline free household. The point of all of this is to get me off gasoline. A Hybrid wont do that for me.

Re: Thinking about a FFE

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:11 am
by cpwl
Before giving up on the idea of an FFE, you should really get your wife to approach her school about installing at least one plug for EV charging. Given that her work day must be essentially 8 hours, even a 110V outlet should give her the range needed, faciitate battery management and enable pe-cooling/heating of the car before she leaves school in the afternoon/evening. And 110V outlets are relatively easy and inexpensive to install. Given your current gas bill there is even a reasonable window of outlet installation costs where you would still be ahead if you paid to have an outlet installed, in which case a 220V outlet would be only a marginal cost increase and would certainly permit charging to full battery capacity when plugged in for the day.
If the school doesn't want to directly link an EV charging station(s) to it's own electrical system there may be an opportunity for the school to host a network charging station. Be it Blink etc, the prospect of a "captive" customer and the marketing opportunity to students (you didn't mention if this was high school or elementary school) and their families might be enough to entice them to install one or more stations in the school parking lot. I can't image the school being opposed to such an arrangement which benefits it's staff/student body and brings with it the opportunity to stand as an environmentally responsible community citizen.

Thanks and Cheers

Carl