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thecampster

Electric Car Review

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A few years back, I became interested in the coming electric car phenomenon from a political, financial and tech geek view point.  My first experience was a Kia Optima Hybrid.  Few people may know this but early adoptions of electric and hybrid vehicles had battery degradation issues that hurt gas mileage over time.  So I was given the opportunity to trade out of the car at that time.  Between then and 8 months ago, my son leased his first car and went with a Nissan Leaf.  The car has been worry free for the most part despite two service department trips for recall items.

So about 8 months ago, I decided I would jump back in and leased a Kia Soul EV.  The car, for the most part is awesome, but again it is back to the service department for recall and glitch issues.  The first glitch, was a random electrical system warning light that disappeared after restarting the car.  When it happened a second time, I took the car in for service but the service department said that when I restarted the car, the error codes cleared the computer...there was no longer an issue.  Well, no longer an issue turned into a full blown failure of the car charging system and an electric car that can't charge is not a good electric car at all. 

I am typing this from the service department, looking through the spy window as they connect my EV to the computer.  A quick search of the internet returned a couple of fairly long forum posts about these "charging fault" errors. They are generic and mean different things but it seems EVs are plagued with them.  The fault lies in the heat generated from the charging system requiring cooling, a fan, etc. In some cases, it is a fried charging computer, others, bad wiring harnesses and still others....coolant leaks.  I'll let you guys know when I find out more.

The rub of this post is this.  This technology is awesome. It has cut my fuel costs to about 1/5th of what they were in a regular 30 mpg car.  The cars are ridiculously quiet and the braking mode (using magnetic braking to recharge the car during slow downs and stops) can allow a skilled driver to almost engage in single peddle driving. The cars require far less maintenance. The only downfall currently is limited range and extended charging times. If you are considering an EV, they are amazing, the lease deals are great and they will save you money/time but they come at the cost of new technology being less than reliable. The incident rates with these cars exceed their gas powered counterparts and the typical guy isn't able to work on or diagnose what is wrong with them. I'm more than satisfied with my EV when I'm not at the shop, but this makes my 3rd shop visit since November 3rd.

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I was extremely close to buying a Tesla but couldn't make myself pull the trigger because I was traveling a lot for work and couldn't get over charging anxiety, especially since I was flying out ATL most of the time and couldn't make it to the airport and back on a single charge (I was living in SW GA at the time) and there wasn't a charging station I was aware of that I could use.  

We purchased a used Chevy Volt for my soon-to-be 16 year old daughter and put over $5k in it in less than a year.  It was a fun car to drive WHEN it was running. 

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So the part wasn't in the warehouse and had to be cross-shipped. Will arrive tomorrow.

 

Side note: I'm in a loaner from the dealership and I'm really missing the EV. The EV has instant torque when you hit the accelerator. There is no transfer lag. This gas powered soul feels very laggy/slow compared to the EV model and I had completely forgotten the "shift" feeling when going through gears.  Here's to hoping I get my electric back soon.

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14 hours ago, thecampster said:

So the part wasn't in the warehouse and had to be cross-shipped. Will arrive tomorrow.

 

Side note: I'm in a loaner from the dealership and I'm really missing the EV. The EV has instant torque when you hit the accelerator. There is no transfer lag. This gas powered soul feels very laggy/slow compared to the EV model and I had completely forgotten the "shift" feeling when going through gears.  Here's to hoping I get my electric back soon.

Sorry to hear of your headaches.  I miss the MPG and acceleration despite being such a small 'engine' of our EV; however, I didn't miss plugging in it each day and the constant problems.  The limitations most dealerships had with both qualified technicians and in-stock parts made it such a hassle.  The nearest dealership certified to work on our Volt was 45 minutes away.  First time the Volt went down it was the motor.  Had to get it towed on a flatbed since it completely locks up when it goes down. That was an extra $300 bill on top of the thousands to repair the engine.  I'm getting nauseous thinking about that car again.  

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Well good news (and reason I went Kia) is they have a 100,000 year warranty.  Bad news is I'm a bit of an Asperger's Syndrome jerk. I want my car, not the loaner. I want my smell, my radio settings.  "My" dealer is almost 30 miles away and I'm not looking forward to going up there in Friday traffic to pick it up.

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