Considering a BEV without a home charger?

Discussion in 'General' started by Calliope, Jul 22, 2018.

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  1. I'm almost buying a Nissan Leaf -- I say "almost" because there are no 2018s to buy now, and they haven't even announced the price yet for the 2019, so I have to wait. I'm pretty sure I wanted to wait for the 2019 anyway, although there are no governmental rebates available to help ease the way any more (Ontario). Here's the point where people tell me I'm crazy: I don't have, and may not be able to get, a charger at home. I live in a condo and although rules say that the condo management can't refuse to allow me to have a charging station installed in my parking spot, there's no rule that says they can't make it difficult and put me in their "troublemaker" box. I might do it anyway, but I might not.

    Now, I think that not having a home charger shouldn't be a deal breaker. I live in a major city (Toronto) and public charging options are becoming more prevalent, including some Chademo fast charge options. Some people spend 10 minutes a day moving their car around because they are limited to on-street parking, so if I spend that same hour (approximately) every week or so to charge my vehicle, it doesn't seem like it should count out the benefits of a BEV.

    My thoughts are that I would spend a month or two and see how often in real-world conditions I need to stop somewhere to charge my vehicle, and how annoying I find it -- and then decide if it's worth the money and hassle to get a charging station at home.

    Thoughts? Personal experiences?
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  3. I guess I'm spoiled having a garage and waking up to a full EV every day.

    The good thing is if you get the new 60kW battery, you may only need to charge once a week. It would be a lot more inconvenient to have a 24-30kW battery. You can try it out for a few weeks and see how you do.

    Plan B if that doesn't work is to put the full court press on the condo mgt. Even a 120V outlet would make things easier.
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Living in Alabama, I started with a used, 2014 BMW i3-REx that came off of lease. The one I snagged has both high-speed, CSS charging along with 7.3 kWh L2 capability, but not all BMW i3 come with these features. The range extender engine allows driving 24x7 on gas.

    We had a backup, 2010 Prius, but the absence of dynamic cruise control and automatic braking, we replaced it with 2017 Prius Prime with TSS-P. Another plug-in hybrid, it will put an 80% charge from the engine while driving.

    Both plug-in hybrids can run around town in EV without a problem. At home I have an L2 charger that easily fills the cars overnight. But if a remote charger is down or occupied, the engine continues the trip. Still 90% of our miles are in EV saving a bunch.

    So consider looking at 'end of lease' cars because their depreciation more than makes up for the lost subsidies. You'll get a well maintained vehicle and remaining manufacturer warranty.

    Experimentally, I've found the L1 charger, 12A, can handle overnight charging around town. It will typically add 5 miles range every hour. The L2 charging rate depends on the vehicle but easily adds 10-25 miles each hour.

    As a suggestion, just negotiate a NEMA 14-50 plug on a 50A circuit in a lockable, weather proof enclosure. You'll be able to draw up to 40A without a problem. Then you can provide the L2 EVSE which becomes a portable charger.

    Bob Wilson
  5. Yes.....they started talking to me about changing the value of my parking spot because it would have a charger there, and I said I'd just need an outlet and plug in my portable charger when I needed it, but it wouldn't be a permanent fixture to the parking spot. They'd never considered that. They're really just trying to throw up roadblocks.
  6. jeff10236

    jeff10236 Member

    I didn't get a BEV, but I do have a PHEV (Honda Clarity) in an apartment complex with no chargers (or open outlets). My original plan was to charge occasionally when convenient to use a public charger, but mainly run it as a hybrid on the gas engine until I buy a place where I can plug in. Well, after plugging into public chargers when convenient a few times, I found that I really liked running on electricity (especially when using a free public charger). Now, I go out of my way to plug it in every other day or so, and I'm running well over 100mpg in combined hybrid and electric driving (on the current tank I've been especially electric heavy and I'm over 150mpg). I'm finding myself spending more time at places I like to be anyway- the library, local college libraries, and the mall (while you lose the fresh air, I like being able to walk for an hour or two without dealing with rain or 90-100 degree temps, and in the winter it will be quite nice too). So, if you live in an area with a good public charging network (like I do), you can be OK, and even when I can charge at my own place I'll probably go a little out of my way to take advantage of a "free" public charger at least once or twice a week.

    That said, I'm not sure I'd do a BEV without being able to plug in at home. My car fully charges in 2-2 1/2 hours depending upon how low I let the battery go (and a top off from 30-50% to 80%+ can be relatively quick, but it is still a good hour or more) and it is only a 17kW battery. Get something more substantial, and unless you charge up every 40-50 miles (like I do), level 2 charging will simply take too long at most public chargers (I guess if there is one near home it could work out). A DC fast charger can make up for that a bit, but it doesn't seem like too regular use of them is good for the battery so I'm not sure I'd want to rely on one for most of my charging needs. Also, you won't find many (or possibly any) free fast charging options using quick charging and I suspect home electric use would be cheaper in many areas.

    So, if you are considering giving in on pushing your condo association to install a charger or at least an outlet for you, I'd consider one of the higher range PHEV like my Clarity or a Volt and go all electric when you have a house/townhouse/condo where you can have one installed.
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  8. Those are good ideas. When I had a Volt, I had the same feeling - run on electricity as much as possible. Luckily my work parking garage had 120V outlets and I plugged in during my work hours. In my area, we have a lot of free public L2 charging at parks, a great way to get some electricity and fresh air.
  9. There are enough public CHAdeMO charging ports around that I'm willing to spend 45 minutes or so at while reading or dealing with my email. I think of it like spending a little time at the laundromat......sure, I'd like to be able to do my laundry at home, but I think it's OK if I can spend less than an hour a week taking care of that duty. It will be more difficult in the cold (slower charging, I'm sure), but I'll see how things go.
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I think you're going to be very disappointed if you go ahead and buy any BEV, Leaf or otherwise, if you can't charge at home or at work. Access to a public charger is likely to be erratic, and either expensive or (if it's "free") likely to be occupied when you need it. And that's not even getting into the issue of waiting. If you use a public charger, you'll have to wait on the car to charge (unless it's within walking distance of home, or someone plays taxi driver for you), as opposed to never having to wait on charging when you're at home or at work.

    You think you'll only need to charge once a week? If so, then your daily drive/ commute must be rather shorter than average.

    And it's a very bad idea to fast charge a Leaf frequently. That's almost guaranteed to cause premature battery fading.

    Alternatives: Consider buying a longer-range PHEV, such as a Volt or a Clarity PHEV, or waiting until you can talk/ bribe/ pressure/ sue your condo owner into letting you install an EV charger, or at least a 220 volt outlet where you can plug in a portable EVSE.

    It's good that you're thinking rationally about this. But I wonder how you're going to approach the issue of "range anxiety" if you're not actually driving a BEV. Using the EPA range estimate may give you an inflated idea of how much real-world range the car will have. The range will be lower if driven at highway speed, or if using the cabin A/C, or if you drive it in very cold weather, when it will lose 20-30% of its range.

    I think your best approach would be to check with your local car rental services, to see if any of them have a Leaf that you could rent for a week to see if that will fit your needs or not. Unfortunately most rental services have gotten rid of their Leafs, since customers unfamiliar with driving a BEV tended to run their batteries "flat" and then complain that they got left stranded.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
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  11. I'll report back in 6 months and tell you how it turned out. It might turn out to be a bad move, but I'm willing to try because I think it will be OK.
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  13. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    You might consider getting a used BEV or PHEV because they will have been significantly depreciated, more than the initial tax credits. With 'lessons learned,' you'll be in a good position to shop for a new BEV.

    I like using eBay 'completed' listings to understand the free market prices.

    Bob Wilson
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
    Domenick likes this.
  14. That's an interesting idea.
  15. jeff10236

    jeff10236 Member

    As Push-Pull said, and I hinted in my prior post, be careful about using DC fast charging too often (especially with a Leaf). They will degrade your battery quicker (permanent not temporary loss of capacity). I'm not sure how much quick charger use is too much, but I wouldn't want to push it by using it as my primary means of charging (especially with a Leaf that have battery issues under the best conditions). If you aren't going to push for your HOA/condo association to allow you to install either the L2 charger or at least a socket, you really should stick with a PHEV, and if you must get a BEV, go with one with a better battery TMS than the Leaf (like the Bolt).
  16. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Calliope's posts read like he has already made up his mind and is going to ignore our advice.

    I hope that he will at least lease that Leaf and not buy it, so premature battery aging won't be so much of an issue for him.


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