How to Buy a Car and get Free Fuel

by John Brian Shannon

What if you could buy a car and (except for the normal taxes, insurance, maintenance and parking stall fees, etc.) you could drive it around for free? What I’m talking about is fuel, which for most people is a major cost these days.

Steve: In Los Angeles, the gas price is hovering around $4.00 per gallon. At that price, ‘Steve’ uses about $21.00 of gas (5.3 gallons) to travel 96 miles every weekday. He is likely to spend $106. per week in mixed driving, totalling about $425. per month.

The question is; What would ‘Steve’ rather do with $5100. per year?

If you want an easy way to calculate vehicle fuel costs, miles per dollar (MPD) works as good as anything – and for this hypothetical SUV it costs about $0.22 per mile to drive in mixed traffic. (Maintenance, taxes, registration, parking, etc.… not included in these figures.)

Suzy: HerHybrid Prius also does a lot of stop and go city driving. Her EPA sticker says she should get 48 MPG city driving and 45 MPG highway driving. At $4.00 per gallon for gas, she uses $8.00 of gas (2 gallons) to travel 96 miles. Her cost per mile? Suzy’s Prius costs about $0.08 per mile to drive in mixed traffic. (Maintenance, taxes, registration, parking, etc.… not included in these figures.)

Ken: He drives a Nissan LEAF, which doesn’t even have a gas tank — because it is an electric vehicle, but the EPA sticker on the car when it was new advertised an equivalent of 95 MPG, which is expressed as 95 MPG-e.

Scenario A) If Ken charges his car’s battery pack at home, he pays for the electricity to charge it resulting in an electricity cost of $0.04 per mile. Depending on how Ken drives and his electricity rate, each $1.00 of stored electricity could get him up to 25 miles.

Scenario B) If Ken uses the many available and free fast-chargers placed around the city to recharge his EV battery pack, he doesn’t pay anything per mile — as most 30 minute fast-chargers for electric vehicles are free to use in the U.S.A. In which case, his cost is $0.00 per mile. Buy the car, drive it for free! (Maintenance, taxes, registration, parking, etc.… not included in these figures.)

It may interest you to know that there are over 11,500 EV chargers in the U.S.A. as of Jan 2013, with more are being added every month. They are easily located via smartphone app and are conveniently located in almost every U.S. city.

Now, what to do with that extra $5100. each and every year?

These numbers are hypothetical examples, your costs and/or savings will be determined by your city’s gas prices and your vehicle mileage. Your electricity rate only matters if you choose to charge your EV at home — instead of at a 30 minute fast-charging station, where you can fully charge it for free!

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Only in DC: The Cure for Range Anxiety

by John Brian Shannon

Actually, charging stations for electric vehicles are popping up all over the place these days, not just in Washington, DC — and that’s a good thing! Ford Motor’s Mike Tinskey has said the total number of charging stations in the U.S. has risen sharply in the past few years to more than 11,500 installed units.

How to find them has been a problem in the past. But that is changing as sophisticated smartphone apps are now providing better information and easier access to EV charging points. Manufacturers of charging stations are forming vast complementary and interconnected charging networks across the country that are available via the new smartphone apps. Which is handy, and a good way to increase range and perhaps your EV’s overall performance. Not to mention lowering anxiety.

One such network is ChargePoint – now the world’s largest EV charging network.

“Through ChargePoint, DBT USA can now provide station owners and EV drivers features including the ability to help with trip planning, manage the cost of charging, and find and operate public stations.” — Green Car Congress

More and better charging stations, entire charging networks made easily accessible via smartphone, combined with recent, significant price drops for EV’s — what’s not to like?

ChargePoint Unveils New EV Charging Smart Phone App

ChargePoint Smartphone App image courtesy of: Cleantechnica

Car manufacturers are getting into the game directly and Nissan’s new network will initially start with 40 of their so-called eVgo Freedom Stations to be installed throughout the greater Washington, DC area — thereby becoming the first network of public fast chargers in the region. Owners of cars like the Nissan LEAF will enjoy the eVgo experience as these fast chargers can give an 80% charge in 30-minutes. Time for a latte? Of course, there’s no range anxiety here.

Ford’s MyFord Mobile teams up with PlugShare to give real-time information on nearby charging stations for Ford hybrid-electric and EV vehicles as you drive through the countryside or city.

“It is a little known fact that the majority of charging stations are currently free to use. By giving drivers a clear view of the reality of charging, PlugShare and Ford are showing more and more drivers that now is a great time to start driving on electricity,” Forrest North, CEO of Xatori, which makes PlugShare, said in a statement. “With our real-time, crowd-sourcing features that include photos, reviews and check-ins, PlugShare has quickly become one of the largest and most popular charging station locators in North America.” —  PCMag.com

The MyFord system will conveniently and automatically locate the nearest charger to your favourite pizza joint, Starbucks, the mall, or wherever it is that you are going. I love it when technology plays this nice!

MyFord Mobile is available in the App Store and Google Play. Car information is also accessible on the Web via myfordmobile.com.

JOHN BRIAN SHANNON

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