Saturday, July 28, 2012

E = ICE Efficiency: The perfect equation for efficient driving in any vehicle

A funny thing happened on the way to achieving EV efficiency...ICE efficiency.

The E is fun to drive fast, but I'm in this for the long haul, sometimes quite literally on days where I need all the mileage I can get, so I have to drive efficiently sometimes. But that's never been my style given the 100% solid lead right foot I've had since turning 16. With a good deal of practice and (take a deep breath) patience, I have traded my solid lead foot for a new lightweight aluminum model, or maybe carbon fiber since that's the "in" material right now.

That translates into smooth steady accelerations, planning ahead to allow for regenerative baking sooner, and never traveling over 70 mph on the freeway (did I say never? Well almost never).  Here in California, keeping the car at or below 70 is difficult, and sometimes life-threatening.  The long-frustrated commuter traffic overreacts to the open road as if it's the only remaining stretch of unclogged freeway left in CA and it must be traveled quickly before it too is clogged with traffic.

By implementing these new driving techniques most of the time, I have been able to dramatically increase the range and efficiency of the E.  But I have also substantially increased the efficiency of my ice vehicles on those highly unfortunate and disappointing days when I am forced to drive in ICE (would that be driving on the rocks?)

It turns out that the same techniques that make driving EV's efficiently also make ICE vehicles efficient too. I know that sounds obvious, but I never meant to translate my EV driving style to my ICE vehicle--it just happened by accident.  You can take the driver out of the E, but you can't take the E out of the driver apparently.

Once I realized that I had broken my previous bad driving habits for the better, I made a conscious effort to drive the ICE'y cars the same as the EV, and my fuel efficient went up dramatically.  With my GMC Yukon, where previously I averaged 14.5 to 15 mpg, I increased the efficiency to 18.5 mpg. That's a big difference.  The Yukon holds about 22 gallons of fuel, at 15 mpg that translates into 330 miles of driving.  At 18.5 mpg I get 407 miles, that's a difference of 77 miles- almost two extra days of driving for me.

The interesting lesson in all of this is that even if EV's don't completely replace ICE cars, they may make everyone more efficient drivers no matter which type of vehicle they drive.  If only they drive EV's first.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

From the Mouths of....Teens

Normally I wouldn't recommend writing down things said by teenagers.  Especially teenage boys.  They usually talk about things that are either gross, absurd, gross, vulgar, gross, nonsensical ("you gotta mob tough"...what??), or gross.

But every now and again they say something interesting about something interesting.  And what could be more interesting than the Active E?  The E gets plenty of attention wherever I go, but none more so than from teenage boys--who have been known to notice cars in particular...when not looking at girls.

Here is my list, so far, of some interesting and entertaining comments out of the mouths of teenagers:

1.  Torquey...used to explain the sudden increase of speed of the E from standstill.  

2.  Groovy Smoothly...used to explain the feeling of the car as it accelerates from 0 to 60.  Since the E only has one gear, it never has to shift gears, and it has a nice, smooth, linear acceleration.  In fact, its groovy smoothly.

3.  Power pedal...used to describe the accelerator, previously called the gas pedal.

4.  Sick circuits...used to describe the circuit graphics on the outside of the car in a positive light.  My generation would call it either awesome or rad (short for radical).

5.  It mobs cold...I can't quite get a good translation of this one, but apparently its a good thing (me: "what do you mean by 'it mobs cold?'" teenager: "it just does").

This is a work in progress.  But if you have any good teenage sayings that relate to the Active E, please let me know.