[Oeva-list] Update on HB2328

The Donovans r_donovans at yahoo.com
Thu May 5 08:09:15 PDT 2011

Hi Scott,

I can appreciate and understand your perspective of considering the batteries as 
fuel. Frankly, I had not thought of it that way before your message.

My perspective has been that batteries are a car part, just like any other part. 
In fact, batteries play a similar role as a fuel tank plays in a gasoline 
vehicle. I've looked as batteries as a car part for a couple reasons:

1. Without looking at them as car parts, there is virtually no maintenance costs 
on an EV. So it is hard for people to compare. And that is why I don't tell 
people maintenance costs are necessarily less on an EV. Because you do have that 
expensive maintenance cost in the future.

2. Seeing batteries as a "fuel tank" makes it easier for people to understand 
the purpose that batteries play in an electric vehicle.

3. One of my selling points for EVs is that by driving EVs, we are buying US 
made energy and keeping more jobs and money in the US. While there are some US 
manufacturers of batteries, many of the batteries or raw materials to make the 
batteries come from other countries. Looking at batteries as part of the fuel 
could hurt that message a bit.

Richard Donovan

From: Scott Hippe <scott.hippe at me.com>
To: oeva-list at oeva.org
Sent: Wed, May 4, 2011 11:57:53 PM
Subject: Re: [Oeva-list] Update on HB2328

I agree with all those things you say and to me it reinforces the need to think 
of the battery pack as fuel.  This could be a
good discussion for future meetings.  I would like to hear all opinions.

One of the things non-EV people seem to fear (based on what they say) is that 
they seem to assume that an EV is worthless
when the battery pack reaches 'end of life'.  They fear this 'big expense' to 
occur some time in the future.  And they equate it
to their experience of having a high mileage ICE car and the transmission goes 
out.  Then their car becomes 'worthless' and they have
to decide whether to sell it for scrap, or dump in more money to fix the the 
transmission and perhaps risk something else
going out. I am sure many people reading this have faced this sometime in their 

But with my thinking, if the pack is thought of as fuel, then you are not 
dumping money into this car to replace some broken part,
but simply pre-buying more fuel.  Evaluating the used EV is easier than the used 
ICE because, yes, we expect millions of miles on an
electric motor and there are so few parts in the drive train that could fail and 
escape your attention.  So if the body is in good shape and the interior is not 
ripped, one would be happy to buy a new pack, because that money is pre-buying 
fuel for the next
100,000 miles or more. If I were to buy a used EV, the best time to buy would be 
right at the end of life of the pack, or
right after the pack was swapped with a new one.  In both cases, you can 
accurately value this purchase.  It would be harder to
value a used EV with 50,000 miles on the pack, because you may have no idea how 
the previous owner drove and treated the pack
(i.e. wasted fuel).

The other reason I think of the pack as fuel is because then the current cost of 
an EV actually becomes competitive with an ICE
car without any incentives.  A $25,000 ICE can be compared with a $35,000 EV 
because of the prepaid fuel concept.  At the time
of purchase, most people never consider that they are going to spend $12,000 or 
more on gasoline over the next 100,000 miles.

Perhaps we should not get hung up on the meaning of fuel, my purpose is simply 
to create an analogy that makes it easier to have a common ground to evaluate 
the economics between an ICE or EV purchase.  Once we get someone understanding
true costs, then we can talk about other interesting topics like how much 
electricity was consumed fueling their ICE car and other
social costs.


On May 4, 2011, at 10:57 PM, Theoldcars at aol.com wrote:

> Hello Scott
> I disagree about including the batteries as part of the fuel cost for these 
> One an ICE motor or transmission can fail at 100,000 or 150,000. I have had to 
>replace transmissions at 50,000 miles and even one motor. This is out of small 
>fleet of ICE vehicles and they always seem to last at least until the warranty 
>is up.
> An EV AC traction motor is good for about one million miles. The gear reduction 
>is a sealed unit and will not fail for a very long time. So the EV drive would 
>save you the cost of replacing motors at 200,000 miles.
> Yes the replacement cost of the pack is expensive but it is about the cost of 
>the 5 engines you don't have to buy for one million EV miles. Even after one 
>million miles your only service work would be to replace two bearings. This 
>would be far less costly then any ICE rebuild. Even if you had to replace the 
>whole AC drive and gear reduction unit the cost would be a bargain compared to 
>an ICE motor. As an example the drive pod for an S-10 EV which includes the 
>motor was brand new in the box 1500 dollars list price from GM. They sold out 
>several years ago.  I suspect a few EV guys figured out what a bargain that was 
>for an EV project.
> Also I would not be surprised if the batteries last 150,000 to 200,000 miles if 
>not abused. They would be useable for even longer if you can get by with less 
>range. Right now I am driving an S-10 with 12 year old NiMH batteries. Range is 
>about 50 miles but they just refuse to die as long as you treat them kindly. The 
>RAV4 EV under the right conditions using the same chemistry is good for 150,000 
>miles. The Leaf should far exceed the cycle life of these older NiMH modules.
> I do agree that pack costs will come down. Also it is most likely that by the 
>time a replacement pack is needed battery technology is going to be greatly 
> Not sure if this changes your point of view but some things you might 
> Don
> In a message dated 5/4/2011 6:30:50 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, 
>oeva-list-request at oeva.org writes:
> Message: 3
> Date: Wed, 04 May 2011 06:26:50 -0700
> From: Scott Hippe <scott.hippe at me.com>
> Subject: [Oeva-list] Fwd:  Update on HB2328
> To: oeva-list at oeva.org
> Message-ID: <A25ED67A-A467-4BBB-A19C-C4CC6256A449 at me.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> In my opinion, EV fuel is the battery + electricity.  The battery is "prepaid 
>fuel".  For a Leaf, if you assume battery cost is $10,000.00 and you expect
> 100,000 miles on a battery, your total fuel cost over 100,000 miles is 
>$10,000.00 + $2,000 (electricity).  That works out to $.12/mile.  If you treat
> your battery well, and your battery lasts more than 100,000 miles, well thats 
>just an additional benefit.  We also assume that when it is time to
> replace the battery (essentially prepay more fuel), the battery cost will be 
>much lower due to technology and mass production.
> To compare an ICE, 30 mpg * $4.00/gallon = $.12/mile as well.  But it is easy 
>to assume that over the next 8 years that the price of gas will increase.
> Also there are all kinds of social costs produced by the ICE during the 100,000 
>miles that are not accounted for.  And the 3333 gallons of gas that the
> ICE uses over 100,000 miles required a significant amount of electricity to 
>produce and deliver which is of course also hidden from view.
> Scott
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