NORTON
Posts: 1338
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:16 pm

mRahmani wrote:... Tahoe with the HD tow pack. I have no qualms about going and getting one..., but MI to CA and back is 4,000 miles round trip. .....
Maryland !

Just filter for distance on Cars.com. You might be surprised. That's how I found one with 3500 miles on it in Ohio. 1600 miles round trip on a 2.5 day weekend. Solo road trip. Not fun, but worth it !
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC. +85k miles.
Mostly free charging! Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 1st try car died again, 2nd try / cost $800. 3rd try fixed the problem.

mRahmani
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:32 am
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:31 am

Hey, thanks everybody who chipped in! I definitely want to at least test drive one. The closest car I could find was in Cleveland, about 250 miles away... might be worth a day trip.

With the Bolt and Model 3 hitting the market, I have a feeling the values on these cars will drop even more as short range EVs become obsolete. Obsolete, but still perfectly capable of doing what I need. With that in mind, I'll probably stick with the Saturn through one more winter and see what the market looks like in the spring. A Spark EV for $5k or so would be a no-brainer.

SparkevBlogspot
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 12:19 pm

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:09 pm

mRahmani wrote:Obsolete, but still perfectly capable of doing what I need.
I'm not so sure it will meet your needs, especially in winter. You mentioned most of your drive is 75MPH. Combined with heater use, your range might be down to 60 miles when the car is new. Taking 10 miles as "reserve" since you shouldn't drive to empty every time, realistic high speed range in winter is about 50 miles. This is when the car is new.

But if you wait, the cars will have degraded battery, which means the range will be much less. It might be 45 miles when you buy it in a year or two, which means about 35 miles range with 10 miles reserve. I'm giving sort of worst case projections here, but you should keep this in mind.

People in CA can live with it since there are DCFC (public fast chargers) available, so that if we run out of electrons, we can charge the car in minutes. Living in MI where the room temperature gets below 70F in winter (ie, insanely cold in MI) and lack of DCFC, it will be tough.

Of course, you can extend the range by being smart about it, such as not using the heater and keeping the speed down (like 55 MPH). If you do that, I think it will serve you for few more years to come, assuming 35 miles range is the maximum and charging at work. But paying attention to such detail is not for everyone.

Remember, warranty is only 8 years since the car was first sold, so finding 2014 SparkEV that was sold in late 2013 for $5K next year might mean only 3 more years of warranty. If the battery dies out of warranty, car will be worthless since battery costs more than the old car's value. Such is true with Prius (reason why I got SparkEV), and definitely true with SparkEV.

mRahmani
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:32 am
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:28 am

All very true, and I've thought about that.

Battery degradation, combined with highway driving, combined with subzero temperatures is the biggest concern. I think I can mitigate that by pre-warming the car at home and work, since it will be sitting on a charger in both places.

Outright failure I'm less concerned about. A quick look at the service manual indicates that there are 4 replaceable cells, and nothing in the steps looks like it couldn't be tackled at home. There are certain safety procedures that need to be followed on the high voltage systems, that's all. If I do suffer a cell failure, I think between wrecks and remanufactured units it could be replaced at a much cheaper cost than a new one from the dealer. I'm willing to roll the dice on that.

NORTON
Posts: 1338
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:10 am

mRahmani wrote:...Battery degradation, combined with highway driving, combined with subzero temperatures is the biggest concern. I think I can mitigate that by pre-warming the car at home and work, since it will be sitting on a charger in both places......
When the car is plugged in the car's Thermal Management System is keeping the battery at a Happy Temp, in hot or cold weather.

You don't have to 'mitigate' anything.

That 'Preconditioning' function is for the car's Cabin to make it nice for you by cooling or heating it, as needed.
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC. +85k miles.
Mostly free charging! Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 1st try car died again, 2nd try / cost $800. 3rd try fixed the problem.

Chris101
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:37 am

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:36 am

Realizing this post is several months old now. I'm wondering if the OP ever bought a Spark EV



I have one in Chicago since the end of November 2017 and let me just say that those -11 degree days meant 56 mile range because no way I'm driving without the heater going when its that damn cold whereas I was able to get more than 100 miles on a charge without using any A/C or heat (just the radio) and lots of regen when the outside temp was in the 50s-70s.

mRahmani
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:32 am
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:19 pm

Chris101 wrote:Realizing this post is several months old now. I'm wondering if the OP ever bought a Spark EV



I have one in Chicago since the end of November 2017 and let me just say that those -11 degree days meant 56 mile range because no way I'm driving without the heater going when its that damn cold whereas I was able to get more than 100 miles on a charge without using any A/C or heat (just the radio) and lots of regen when the outside temp was in the 50s-70s.
I haven't yet, but I am keeping my eye on them. Right now, I'm not sure I can really cost justify the car, with the cheapest ones I'm seeing going for ~$8k before shipping. Here's how my math breaks down:

Chevy SS - 15,000 miles per year @ 20 mpg. Premium fuel is about $2.80/gal, for a cost of $2100 a year. I'm not willing to sell the SS (still want my fun RWD performance car), so the Spark EV is a 3rd car to take over M-F daily driver duties. Cost of the car, electricity, and the extra insurance has to come out to less than $2100/year.

If we assume that I keep the Spark for 5 years, that means it needs to make up 5 * $2100, or $10,500. The question becomes then, at what price is it worthwhile to me?
Insurance is about $80/mo for minimum coverage. 5 years of insurance is 60*$80 = $4800.

The Spark EV is rated at 28 Kwh/100 miles, for a total of 4200 Kwh used during a typical year for me. I can charge about half of that at work, and some of those miles are track/weekend driving miles - so lets cut that to slightly less than half, and call it 2000 Kwh / year. My local rates are $9.5c/Kwh (off peak) + $2 a month, for a total of $214/year. $214 * 5 years = $1070.

Putting that together, the car can cost a max of $4,630, which is tough to justify in the current climate. But that still leaves questions about how well it can cope with a 40 mile drive at highway speed at -10F temperatures. If I get to work late one day and the chargers are all taken, I'm not making it back home.

The astute reader will note that I should factor in resale value of the car in 5 years, but it's anybody's guess what that will be.

Chris101
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:37 am

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:48 pm

^ I think a LOT of people like to do math on the absolute basics (insurance & gasoline vs. electricity for fuel) but forget about the OTHER ICE expenses (like oil changes is a biggie). Of course if you keep your ICE car, you still have to do all that maintenance too (just you don't have to on an EV .)

So I talked to a Spark EV owner who told me this:

"In my 3 in a half years and 42,000 miles of owning my Spark EV, I've opened my hood 3 times to refill my windshield washer fluid and bought 2 new tires for the front."

^ now how many oil changes would you typically do over 42,000 miles and how much would that cost you in comparison to $0? Never mind about all the other maintenance must-do's for preventative on typical ICE cars.

mRahmani
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:32 am
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:47 pm

Oh there's plenty of nickel and dime stuff I left out for expediency. But taking the oil change as an example, one every 5,000 miles is $50, for $150/year. Over the projected 5 year period, that still only bumps the difference up $750.

SparkevBlogspot
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 12:19 pm

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:45 am

Using your financial goal, SparkEV won't be there for many more years, by which time the battery would've degraded so much as to not meet your needs in cold. Have you run the numbers assuming a beat up old car that gets 30-40 MPG? I think you can find them around $2K, though you'll need to search carefully to make sure the car will not need major repairs in 5 years. That might work out better for you financially and cold driving wise, though you won't have nearly as much fun as you'd with SparkEV.

As described in my very first blog post, SparkEV ended up being about the same as $1500 used car thanks to CA rebate.

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