All posts by Space Coast EV Drivers Team

At Home Electric Vehicle Charging

For many drivers of Electric Vehicles charging at home is simple, they plug right into a 110V outlet and let it charge in their garage. That’s right the same outlet you plug your blow dryer, vacuum, and power tools into will charge your car. Did we just blow your mind? Boom!

For most drivers charging overnight on a 110V is sufficient for their driving needs. On the Chevy Volt’s 40 (give or take) mile battery we can drive across town, grab food, and still not use gas but on days where we do that trip in the morning and want to head out some where that afternoon and maybe again that evening the slow charging time leaves us wishing we had a faster charge at home.

For drivers of cars with a larger battery installing a Level 2 (L2) charger at home makes sense with increased charging time but for those of us with smaller batteries that get 50 miles and under we wondered if we really needed it. The truth is, once the majority of your driving is done on electricity you never want to use gas if you don’t have to.  It’s not just about the environment or moving away from foreign oil it’s about convenience.  Never stopping at a gas station, never spilling gas on your shoe or getting it on your hands or clothes, it’s amazing.

At home electric vehicle charging is clean, convenient, and cheap.  Not to mention the rate you pay for electricity almost never fluctuates from day to day like gas, meaning there is no shock when you drive by the sign.  Actually you won’t even look at those gas price signs for long once you make the switch to an EV. Skipping that weekly fill up and replacing it by charging your electric vehicle at home saves time and money.  It’s just that simple.

Josh Pritt and his new Level 2 at home charger
Josh Pritt SCEV Drivers Co-founder with his new L2 Charger

In the end we decided that even though we have a range extended electric vehicle and we don’t really need to worry about running out of battery we prefer to not use gas. We bit the bullet and bought the Square D EVlink by Schneider Electric, an indoor at home  L2 charging station or Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE) to cut our charge time in half from the 110V. There are plenty of resources online that break down what is currently on the market as far as EVSE but PluginCars has a Guide to Buying Your First Home EV Charger which we think gives a nice overview of what is out there.  All that is left for us is waiting for our appointment with the electrician. So much for that old myth that the adoption of EVs will cut jobs! We can’t wait to post our personal review, but with all the five star ratings we are pretty sure we made the right choice.

Have you bought any EVSE for your home yet? Let us know which one you picked and how you like it.

Looking forward to seeing you at our next meet up Sunday, July 13th at the Panera in Palm Bay’s Hammock Landing. We will be parking at the L2 charger at Kohl’s! RSVP via Facebook or comment on the July Meet Up post on our website. 

 

National Drive Electric Week Update

Powerpoint title slide showing electric cars and solar panels
Slide one of the SCEV Drivers presentation

Hopefully by now most electric vehicle drivers, owners, enthusiasts and potential owners have heard of National Drive Electric Week (formally National Plug in Day) hosted by City Captains in towns and cities all over the United States and abroad. National Drive Electric Week began in 2011 as National Plug in Day and is officially sponsored by  Plug in America, the Electric Auto Association, and the Sierra Club.

National Drive Electric Week aims to “…Heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more.”  This year National Drive Electric Week will be held from September 15-21, 2014 with events happening across America and beyond through out the week.  We are happy to say there will be an event held in Melbourne, Florida and as your city captains Josh and Brenna are working to make this event a great success.  Josh and Brenna have hosted two successful National plug in Day events in Huntsville, Alabama with their sister group the Tennessee Valley EV Drivers in 2012 and 2013. Using their experience from these events they hope to make Melbourne’s first National Drive Electric Week a huge success.

Over the next few months we will be looking to area volunteers, sponsors and donors to be a part of this grass roots celebration of electric vehicles.  The very first goal is to secure a location and today we pitched our request for sponsorship to the City of Melbourne. In the next few weeks the Space Coast Electric Vehicle Drivers team will work to answer any questions the city has to hopefully secure a city sponsored location and more.

Take a look at the presentation from the meeting and be sure to register for your local National Drive Electric Week Event.

Road Tripping in an Extended Range Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Road Tripping in a extended range electric vehicle for Father’s Day 2014

Here’s the report on how the 2012 Chevy Volt fared on a long road trip from Indialantic, FL to Huntsville, AL and back – with a stop in Oxford, AL both on the way up and on the way back for Father’s Day.

We left Indialantic on Sunday June 8 at 9:45 am Eastern time. We got 33.2 miles and 9.7 kWh from the battery before it switched over to the gasoline generator. Not too bad for mixed city and highway driving.

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We arrived in Oxford by 6:30 pm Central time. It was a total of 604.5 miles from home to the hotel. 20140608_180306.jpg

We spent the night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Oxford Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night.  We picked this hotel as we know they are plug in friendly. Every night they allowed us to plug into their outside 110v outlets so we’d have a full charge to drive on each day. Their only restriction is that you can not obstruct a walk way and there are only about 10 spots that do not have a walkway in front of them.

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Monday at lunch time the Volt departed on a trip to Birmingham, AL so a mix of city and highway with the first bit on electricity then the range extended gas generator.  With some pre-trip research we plugged up at the McWayne Science Center’s free L2 charger in their garage after the $5 parking fee that applies to anyone parked in the garage.  It had a good two hours to charge over lunch but didn’t fill up completely.  Still it was able to drive a good part of the way back to Oxford on battery power before switching over to the gas generator.

Next we drove from Oxford to Huntsville to stay with a friend in their third floor apartment Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night. This is where we found the trouble with apartment charging when there are no actual charging stations and limited or no garages. We searched the outside of the building near all the parking spots and couldn’t find an outlet anywhere.  We asked the building manager if it was OK to plug in and if they knew of any outside outlets.  They didn’t know of any.  So we came up with a plan combining an extension cord, a tree, and some  masking tape. We are committed to our cause no? We managed to use our “just in case” 50 ft. heavy duty contractor’s extension cord and plugged it up in the outlet near the balcony sliding doors. Then we ran it outside and down the side of the building so it didn’t dangle in front of the downstairs balconies.  Then we  wrapped it around a tree and through the bushes where we plugged the car up and let it charge. We sealed the sliding door with the masking tape so bugs would not seek the comfort of the pull out couch in the living room with us.  We decided to wake up at 5 am so we could unplug it all before the sun came up in the event of lawn care or any anti EV people. To our knowledge no one knew we even did it.  Since our friend pays her own power bills we offered to pay her the $1 it used in power but she wouldn’t let us pay her.  We did get her an Amazon gift card for letting us stay anyway.

We went to a Pig Roast BBQ fundraiser event held at the Makers Local 256 makerspace and plugged in there twice.  We were able to charge up almost 100% each time so we gave them an extra $2 donation to cover the power we used.  After everyone had eaten and had started cleaning up and getting ready for the LAN party / video game party that night, someone brought a Tesla Model S to show off!  They gave several test rides and let’s just say each and every one of the riders left with the Tesla grin.  I had forgotten how fast it is and how it pushes your face and guts back like a roller coaster you can steer!

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After two weeks of calling every hotel in Huntsville to see who would let us plug in with no luck we stayed in the brand new Homewood Suites in Downtown Huntsville.  Their parking garage is shared by the nearby Publix grocery store and has several 110v outlets directly in front of a few parking spaces.  They would be perfect for an overnight charge for guests that stay in the hotel with ZERO cost for installing actual charging stations.  We asked the hotel if we could plug in but they said the garage is owned by the city so they can’t give us permission.  We would be glad to pay for the power to plug in there but we still need to figure out who owns the parking garage.

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We left for Oxford for Father’s Day first thing in the morning at 9 am and with no charge we packed up and headed out on gasoline.  We arrived right around lunch time and took Dad out for some good food at his favorite place to eat: The Broiler Room in Lincoln, AL.  After a fun fathers day we were back to the same Hilton Garden Inn in Oxford that lets us charge the car in the 110v outlet outside.  We charged it up over night and headed back to Florida first thing in the morning on Monday June 16.  We were able to get a good ways past the Georgia border and back into the Eastern time zone before it switched over to the gasoline generator.  We only had to stop for gas twice on the way back and there’s still plenty left in the tank that should last another two or three months.  We arrived home around 8:30 pm eastern time and the Volt is plugged up in its favorite 110v outlet in the garage.  It will have 100% charge before we wake up in the morning ready for another few months of gas free driving around town here in FL.

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Gasoline Costs

city

gallons

price

total

date

Macon, GA

5.041

3.999

20.16

6/8/2014

White Springs, FL

5.756

4.009

23.08

6/8/2014

Cocoa, FL

7.517

3.998

30.06

6/8/2014

Owens CR, AL

7.443

3.859

28.72

6/11/2014

Macclenny, FL

5.72

4.059

23.22

6/16/2014

Douglasville, GA

7.073

3.869

27.37

6/16/2014

Byron, GA

2.352

3.799

8.94

6/16/2014

Total

25.757

$3.97

$102.02

Total electricity costs: $3.13.  Total gasoline costs: $102.02.

#EVselfie to win a $250 gift card from The Electric Generation

EVselfie contest from The Electric Generation
The Electric Generation #EVselfie contest instructions

Our Friends over at The Electric Generation are hosting a #EVselfie contest! All you have to do is take a picture or video with an electric vehicle, a charging station, electric vehicle signage, or bumper stickers and post them to Facebook or Twitter with the #EVselfie hashtag @Elecgen.

Don’t forget to like them on Facebook and follow them on twitter @Elecgen. For more information check out the contest on The Electric Generation’s Facebook page.

Sunday July 13th Monthy SCEV Drivers Meet Up

It is meet up time!

To better show local areas that we appreciate the installation of chargers (EVSE) as well as to show off numerous electric vehicles at one time and place we will be rotating our meetings between the three current charging stations located within walking distance to food, fun, and shopping. These include the downtown Melbourne L3 charger at City Hall, the Eau Gallie library L2 charger and the Kohl’s L2 charging station in Palm Bay at Hammock Landing. Kohl's building from parking lot

Kohl's EV Charging Sign
Kohl’s EV Charging Sign

For July’s event we will meet in Palm Bay at the Kohl’s L2 charger, pictured above, and walk over to Panera Bread for a late lunch, coffee, tea, or just some great EV Talk. All Electric Vehicle drivers are welcome as well as those wanting to learn more about purchasing an EV from local driver/owners. While these events are normally on the first Sunday of each month, we decided to switch July’s event to the second Sunday due to the holiday. We are looking forward to seeing you there! Comment below to let us know you are going to be there or  Let us know you are coming on Facebook.

When: Sunday July 13th 2-4 PM

Where: The L2 Charger located in front of Kohl’s at 205 Palm Bay Rd NE Melbourne, FL 32904 (the shopping complex is located to the west of I-95 off of Palm Bay Rd)

 

June’s Monthly EV Meet Up Recap

Space Coast Electric Vehicle Club members and their cars
SCEV Drivers and their cars

The Space Coast Electric Vehicle (SCEV) Drivers want to thank everyone who made it out to the second meeting on June 1st at Squid Lips in Melbourne, FL.  As you can see in the photo above we had six EVs come to this months meet up which is double the number from May’s event.  We had three Nissan Leafs, two Chevy Volts and one Toyota RAV4EV just shipped in from California! Can you say awesome!? Not many groups can say they have the RAV4EV so of course we were thrilled to have one in our group so we could check it out. Here are some photos.

Toyota RAV4EV logo

RAV4EV logo
RAV4EV

SIlver RAV4EV rear Toyota RAV4EV

One of the coolest things about this group is the diversity of the drivers. At this month’s event we had drivers who have had their EVs since 2011, drivers who just purchased their car a week ago as well as everything in between. It is great to be able to share stories with potential buyers, new drivers, and the seasoned EV drivers.

Now for the real reason you are here the “what did I miss” recap.  Twelve attendees braved the scattered thunderstorms and descended upon Squid Lips in Melbourne from 2-4 PM. Our group took over a good chunk of the parking spaces surrounding the L2 charging station located at the Eau Gallie Library in the parking lot adjacent to Squid Lips where we enjoyed a late lunch, drinks, and good conversation.

Due to an unfortunate mix up two of the twelve were not actually able to find our group  and ended up meeting a few interesting characters in their search “We did however meet Jack, Jose and Bud(lite). lol” We are so sorry about that and we have added a phone number to the Facebook page so anyone who has trouble in the future can get in contact with us. Hopefully it won’t happen again.

During the two hours we discussed all things electric vehicle, shared how wonderful the PlugShare app is to our newest EV drivers and talked with a potential EV driver who shared his story of how the local Ford dealers do not have the car he wanted to test drive and the ones they do keep on the lot are not even charged! We discussed Septembers upcoming event for National Drive Electric Week, how our “outreach” aka leaving one of the SCEV business cards on every EV we see while we are out and about is going and more.

The highlight of the event had to be when we asked the manager to come to our table to let him know we chose to meet there because they are so close to the charging stations and he admitted “I have no idea what you are talking about.” We explained that we all drive electric vehicles and the “thing at the end of the library parking lot” is a level 2 charging station. We explained further that it is for our cars, because they do not use gas and he laughed and said to us “that is crazy, I always assumed that was an air pump for all the people who ride bikes around here.” Of course that comment was met with laughter as none of us had ever heard that one before.  It was a fun meeting! Check out this short clip from around the table at the event http://youtu.be/dUsSuBD6HlY

Be sure to check the Facebook page and the website for July’s event. Due to the first Sunday being very close to the holiday weekend we are planning to move the event to the second Sunday in July, the 13th. We will meet at the Kohl’s charger in Palm bay 205 Palm Bay Rd NE Melbourne, FL 32904 and walk over to Panera Bread for coffee, snacks, and or good conversation with fellow EV drivers.

Thanks,

Josh and Brenna

 

 

First Sunday of the month meetup this Sunday!

Be sure to join the event this Sunday June 1st at Squid Lips Grill in Melbourne from 2-4pm. This will be our second monthly meet up where we get together to show our EVs out in force around town and enjoy happy hour and good conversation. Anyone who has an EV or wants to know more about them is welcome to attend the meet up! We will be parking our cars next door at the L2 charging stations at the Eau Gallie Public Library. We Hope to see you there. You can read last months event recap here: http://www.spacecoastevdrivers.com/105
You can let us know you are coming by commenting below but it is not required.  See you there!

What is it like owning a Tesla Model S?

MagicSpaceCarIf you’ve ever wondered about or had questions about exactly what it might be like to own the all electric Tesla Model S this comic from The Oatmeal will explain everything you need to know from the point of view of an actual owner.  Except this owner is a hilarious web cartoonist.  And he explains things in a very funny but serious way.  You’ll have your questions answered and you’ll also be left in stiches from all the laughing!  Read all about his “magical space car” and how the seven months he’s owned has worked out so far.  Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

 

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla_model_s

 

Downtown Melbourne EV Fast Charger Getting Plenty of Use

 

5-8-14 Its a Beautiful Thing

The new downtown Melbourne, FL CHAdeMO DC fast charger for electric vehicles is getting a lot of use!  Out of the first 16 days of it being put into service since Earth Day 2014 it has been used 14 times.  Now that we know there’s plenty of demand for charging stations we just need to know where we should put in the next charging station.  Leave us a comment on where you would like to see the next charger and what EV you drive.