Plug-in Prius press

Today’s (Oct 12, 2012) Burnaby Now has an article on how we came to purchase our Plug-in Prius.  Many thanks to Jennifer Moreau for making me sound articulate, and to Jason Lang for doing his valiant best with a not-quite-photogenic subject.  :)

The photo was taken at a bank of charging outlets at BCIT’s Burnaby campus.  Amusingly, while regular parking spots are $3 per hour, charging spots are $3.25 per hour.  So, there’s a $0.25 / hour premium for the charging service.

Since the outlets will deliver about 1 kWh per hour, that translates to an electricity price of 25 cents / kWh, about 4x BC Hydro’s standard rate.  Of course, that’s probably justified by the fact that BCIT had to do a bunch of work to install the charging posts in the first place.  :)

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We live uphill from BCIT, so driving there involved a lot of downhill driving — enough downhill driving that the brakes regenerated enough energy to give the vehicle 1.7 km of all-electric range.  Since 3 kWh is good for roughly 20 km of electric-vehicle range, that would imply the vehicle recovered about 250Wh.

So, what does 250 Wh represent?  Well, it’s about enough energy to power a hair dryer for ten minutes.  Which gives a sense of just how much energy hair dryers consume!!  :)

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Addendum: just for clarity, the line towards the end of the article should be read, “he’s done the right thing and saved money”.  The right thing isn’t the saving of money, in this particular case; rather, the saving-of-money would be a nice bonus in addition to having done the right thing.  :)

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Comments

  • Dick stratton  On October 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I just picked up my plug in 2 weeks ago. It is the first on the island. It is also my first Toyota. I really like the car and the concept. In Victoria I am using the ev a lot. Like you I bought the car for green reason and not for economic reasons. The only criticisim is this car far different than any I have owned and the manual needs a lot of study but I think I’ve got it now. Great article

    Dick s

  • EclecticLip  On October 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks, Dick! If you picked it up in September, that’d make you another of the first 21 Plug-in Prius owners in Canada. I aim to put up a monthly tally of Canadian sales between the various EV models. We’ll see if time permits. :)

  • John Klippenstein  On October 20, 2012 at 6:09 am

    The article quotes you as saying that you “would have to drive 150,000 kilometres before the electric savings would cover the cost of the car”. I’m curious to know more about the assumptions in your calculation since I’m about to make a similar calculation. First, I start not from the “cost of the car” but rather the cost differential over a standard gas vehicle which I take to be about $15,000.

    Second, did you price in the cost of money? Since I will need a loan to purchase this car I should. At current interest rates (which it seems unlikely will go much lower :-)) this means about $750/year and so the answer can no longer be just a number of kilometres but rather a number of years at a given number of kilometres per year.

    Third, did you, for the sake of simplicity assume that gas and electricity costs were static or that they would increase by the same absolute amount. Or maybe, a more reasonable modeling assumption might be to extrapolate from about 10 years of data using some kind of moving average. I know I know this won’t be too accurate but more accurate than assuming static prices and sure to work in favour of the electric vehicle.

    Finally, the most thorny one, how long do you expect the battery to last and what will the replacement cost be. This is by far the hardest to price in given the lack of data, the reason I wanted to wait a couple of more years before deciding, and the one most likely to convince me to buy another 10 year old gas vehicle so I can defer the decision another 3-5 years. Be very interested to know if you have any information on battery life and replacement cost.

    I realize that it would have been nearly impossible to explain this to the Burnaby Now reporter and would have made that audience’s eyes glaze over but I on the other hand await your response eagerly.

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