jsca72
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:55 am
Location: Central Coast, California

Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:40 pm

From another thread, I see that SparkEVs are really starting to spread across the country, so I'm hoping I can get some advice from those of you who live in colder parts of the US and Canada. I know nothing about storing cars in snowy weather. We complain about the cold here when it gets below 30ºF for a low.

To be near family from time to time, we recently bought a small condo in St. Paul, MN. When we go back, we have to rent a car which is always a bit stressful. I'm toying with the idea of getting a used SparkEV to have back there. (I could take the 2014 SparkEV I have here in California back and get a Bolt or something, but I love my little car too much and don't want to get a replacement.)

So here would be the situation (assuming I can get electricity to it): The SparkEV would have a parking space but not a garage. It would sit most of the winter under a cover. I doubt if I could get a Level 2 charging station set-up for it, so it would be on its 120 cord.

Is this crazy to even think about doing to an electric vehicle, or can electric vehicles sit through cold better than gas cars?

What do all of you think?

TheLondonBroiler
Posts: 186
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:25 am

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:01 pm

jsca72 wrote: we recently bought a small condo in St. Paul, MN. When we go back, we have to rent a car which is always a bit stressful. I'm toying with the idea of getting a used SparkEV to have back there.

So here would be the situation (assuming I can get electricity to it): The SparkEV would have a parking space but not a garage. It would sit most of the winter under a cover. I doubt if I could get a Level 2 charging station set-up for it, so it would be on its 120 cord.

Is this crazy to even think about doing to an electric vehicle, or can electric vehicles sit through cold better than gas cars?

What do all of you think?
So from my understanding, EVs don't like to sit @ very high or low SOC for long periods of time, and don't particularly like temperature extremes.

-In order to keep the battery from freezing during the winter, you're going to need to leave it plugged in, which will probably leave it at 100% SOC most of the time and for long periods of time = Allegedly BAD

-Not leaving it plugged in = also allegedly BAD

Maybe someone else with a different take will chime in, but here's what I suggest:
So like you're family enough to stay around them (at last enough to see them when the tundra is thawed) and I'm guessing they probably like you too. If they drive, and don't already own an EV, why not see if said family would consider an EV as an additional vehicle? That may not be practical or seem a bit outrageous, but thing of it is, if someone in the family does a significant amount of driving, if their current gas/diesel guzzler is not fuel efficient, the fuel savings alone could pay for insurance and some of the vehicle cost. Offer to throw them some money if they'll let you use it while you're in town. Hope they don't instead make you drive the ICE vehicle :)

Maybe a pipe dream, maybe not. Good luck.
2015 Spark EV w/ DCFC 46,XXX miles
Purchased 1/20/18 w/ 16,5XX miles
2019 Bolt EV w/ DCFC 15,XXX miles
Purchased 3/16/19 w/ 87 miles

jsca72
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:55 am
Location: Central Coast, California

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:00 pm

if someone in the family does a significant amount of driving, if their current gas/diesel guzzler is not fuel efficient, the fuel savings alone could pay for insurance and some of the vehicle cost. Offer to throw them some money if they'll let you use it while you're in town. Hope they don't instead make you drive the ICE vehicle :)
Interesting idea! I don't think it would work for my family, but I'm going to mull this around. Besides my family, there are a few friends back there that might be interested.

SparkE
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:37 pm

Fully charging an EV and not using it is not a great idea. Not using an EV for months is not a good idea. You *could* charge the car to about 40% and leave it (that is the "long time storage" advice from GM for the Bolt). If you do that, you'd probably want somebody to stop by about once a month, plug the car in, make sure it is still around 40-45%.

BUT, *cold* weather is really bad for EV batteries - really, really bad. GM urges you to leave your car plugged in at all times (when not driving) if the car experiences cold weather (say, under 30) so that the temp management system for the battery will work. So nix on leaving the EV sit for months in below 25 degree weather without it being plugged in. It would be a bad, bad, bad, bad idea.

I really like the "convince somebody there to buy one" idea - tell them that you will rent the car from THEM when you visit MN. Hey, hearing that they will get (say) $200/wk two or three times a year might be enough to get them to buy the car!! There might be EV incentives in MN ...


https://www.dmv.org/mn-minnesota/green- ... ntives.php

http://www.driveelectricmn.org/

https://www.clippercreek.com/evse-rebat ... -by-state/

NORTON
Posts: 1240
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:47 am

The owner's manual recommends leaving it plugged in.

It does have a section on 'Long Term Storage', but with it plugged in the HV battery is always at a happy temp winter or summer and the 12V battery is happy also.

What's the worse that can happen if you leave it plugged in?
That's the way most owners do it. But they use it daily also.
I doubt you'd see any unusual degradation.

If you get one, start logging data now before its long, cold, dark winter hibernation (but plugged in and at a happy battery temp).
Plus you have the ability to 'Precondition' it from your phone as you roll in from MSP! Hot or cold!

edit:
Oh, and here's something all of us snow and ice dwellers need:
A piece of vinyl-like material, with magnetic strips around the top and sides, to cover the charge port and cord handle. There have been times I had to karate chop through the ice to release the cord button.
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC. +71 K miles.
Mostly free charging! Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 2nd guess not covered by warranty and cost $800. 3rd guess fixed the problem.

evolv
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:54 am

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:27 am

NORTON wrote: Oh, and here's something all of us snow and ice dwellers need:
A piece of vinyl-like material, with magnetic strips around the top and sides, to cover the charge port and cord handle. There have been times I had to karate chop through the ice to release the cord button.
Maybe one of the styrofoam water spigot covers could be modified? It would have to be cut in two, then reattached around the cable (with the hole made large enough for the cable to fit through). So it just stays on the cable, and slides over the handle when in use. And maybe add a stop behind it (chip bag clip) to keep it from sliding down.

Or just a section of neoprene or foam rubber or other insulating sheet that you wrap around the handle and then zip tie (preferably the non-permanent type) or Velcro it in place? Neoprene and Velcro might be nice, because you can cut a section to size, and sew the Velcro closure right to it. Cheap, compact, and easy to operate with heavy gloves on.

NORTON
Posts: 1240
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:13 am

evolv wrote:..Neoprene and Velcro might be nice, because you can cut a section to size, and sew the Velcro closure right to it. Cheap, compact, and easy to operate with heavy gloves on.
Great idea, but we need to cover the charge port door too so it can be closed.
Thanks for the ideas! Have you been in a Midwest Ice Storm? :shock:
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC. +71 K miles.
Mostly free charging! Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 2nd guess not covered by warranty and cost $800. 3rd guess fixed the problem.

evolv
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:54 am

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:33 am

NORTON wrote:Have you been in a Midwest Ice Storm? :shock:
Couple years in Madison. What I learned (if we're gonna do this threadjack right):

1) Pond hockey rules. And on a clear morning, you can be quite comfortable out in 20 degrees in just a t-shirt. (Until the wind comes up.)
2) No summer day is sunny and clear enough that it's ever safe to leave your windows cracked open. Of course everybody does anyway, so don't be surprised when a couple hours later you hear "it's raining" loudly announced.
3) You have to be adventuresome / crazy / idiotic to live there without an enclosed garage.

In Portland, we do get legit ice storms only on rare occasions. Typically winter teeters around freezing, so waking up to a frozen car is common. My go-to solution has been a pot of warm water (it's not cold enough out to break anything), but I can see how pouring water over the charging port may not be the best idea...

jsca72
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:55 am
Location: Central Coast, California

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:06 pm

You have to be adventuresome / crazy / idiotic to live there without an enclosed garage.
I might be all three :lol:

Thanks for the input everyone. I'll probably just keep renting cars while I'm there. If I decide to do something crazy, I'll let you know how it goes.

My last car rental, a Ford Focus, really made me appreciate my Spark. The Focus had a jerky ride and horrible rearview mirrors. Cars in the next lane looked far away, when they were actually about to pass me.

The funniest thing was at the airport when I went to the Alamo counter to pick-up my compact car, they showed me a picture of a Spark (gas variety) as an example of the type of car I would get. I think they thought I was going to balk as to its size and upgrade to a bigger, more expensive car. Instead I responded with, "Perfect!"…but surprise, surprise, they didn't really have any Sparks available.

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 993
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca, California

Re: Need info from techies & midwest Spark owners

Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:00 pm

jsca72 wrote:
You have to be adventuresome / crazy / idiotic to live there without an enclosed garage.
I might be all three :lol:

Thanks for the input everyone. I'll probably just keep renting cars while I'm there. If I decide to do something crazy, I'll let you know how it goes.

My last car rental, a Ford Focus, really made me appreciate my Spark. The Focus had a jerky ride and horrible rearview mirrors. Cars in the next lane looked far away, when they were actually about to pass me.

The funniest thing was at the airport when I went to the Alamo counter to pick-up my compact car, they showed me a picture of a Spark (gas variety) as an example of the type of car I would get. I think they thought I was going to balk as to its size and upgrade to a bigger, more expensive car. Instead I responded with, "Perfect!"…but surprise, surprise, they didn't really have any Sparks available.
I have a 2014 and 2016 Spark EV which are both great locally. The 2016 has the DCFC option but neither car can be used for driving long out-of-state distances. I also have a pickup truck. This year so far, I have had to make one trip from my home in Central California to the Salt Lake, Utah area and two trips to Boise, Idaho. Instead of taking the 19 year-old pickup truck, I elected to rent a Nissan Altima all three times. What a wonderful car. Each Altima averaged 40 MPG or more for the entire trip. Now, I am slowly moving towards the idea of selling the truck and renting an Altima whenever I have to venture long distances.

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