What are your electric vehicle plans?

My last several Hondas were mostly touch screen. A few buttons on the steering wheel and a few buttons for the HVAC (though blower speed is still controlled via the screen), other than that, everything is on screen. In general, I don’t mind it, but I’ve seen a lot of posts on Honda boards asking for the same thing I’m always hoping for, at least give us a volume knob for the radio. Sure, there’s a ‘slider’ on the screen and a Vol +/- button on the wheel, but when you want the radio off/quiet, it’s easiest just to have a knob you can spin without even looking at it.

Anyway…everyone keeps talking about the Kona and the Ioniq, but neither of them are available in my area (Wisconsin). So that’s a no go. My current lease is up soon, but it seems a lot of EVs or even plug-in hybrids are still pretty spendy. I’d really like to get one, but I have a feeling I’ll be getting another ICE (or ‘regular’ hybrid) next and worry about an EV in a few years.
Or, maybe I’ll get lucky and some deals will show up as we start moving towards the end of the year.

Even Teslas have physical wheel controls for volume, cruise control, etc. The climate control works so well I never need to touch it. Auto-wipers are also fine (granted, I live in California). Voice control works well for navigation (and really, you shouldn’t be inputting your destination, etc. while driving even if there were physical controls). On the vast majority of drives, the only time I touch the screen is to change audio sources (streaming, USB, etc.).

This post could go in the thread about self driving cars or about EV road trips, but I’m going to put it here, as this is the currently active EV thread.

I just completed a road trip from Denver to Austin (via Amarillo) and back in my Tesla Model 3 dual motor, and I want to post a few of my impressions.

Autopilot was absolutely fantastic. It was nearly flawless the entire way. This was on interstates, divided highways, and back roads. I never want to do a road trip without it.

Charging was not a big deal either. The car just told us where to stop, and for how long. Because of the route, we had to stop at pretty much every charger along the way, but they were 2-3 hours apart, which is the bladder limit anyway.

I went 80 MPH (on roads posted at 75) most of the way, and didn’t worry about the loss of efficiency. Somebody else might have done calculations to see if driving slower, but charging less, was more time efficient. I preferred to minimize time in the car, as time out of the car petting dogs or running in circles doesn’t wear on the patience of an 8 year old like sitting in the car does. Also, superchargers invariably had other Teslas containing dogs that needed petting.

The numbers.

Total: 2160 miles, 607 kW/h used, 1 day 12 hours driving time, about $70, including re-charging after arriving home. (Not counting charging at the destination, which was free to me)
To: 944 miles, 14.5 hours driving, 2.5 hours charging, 193 kWh, $26.37
Return: 985 miles, 15.5 hours driving, 2.3 hours charging, 284 kWh, $39.70

Going faster almost always makes for a shorter trip. This breaks down only when the distance between stations is such that you’re using a significant fraction (80+%) of the total battery capacity given your speed.

Basically, it stops making sense when the charge rate (in kilowatts) equals the discharge rate while driving. So for instance, if you get 240 W-h/mi at 65 mi/h, you’re using 15.6 kW. That’s an extremely low charge rate for a supercharger; one you’d only get when you’re at >95% battery.

On the other hand, you might be using 300 W-h/mi at 80 mi/h, which is 24 kW. That’s more wasteful, but the charger still easily beats that below 90%.

So unless the next charger is so far away that you need to charge up to a high value just to make it there, the faster you drive the better. Ideally you work things so that you stay within the 5-60% capacity mark, but even if you have to go beyond that due to Supercharger spacing, faster driving is still a win.

Glad you had an enjoyable trip! >2000 miles is a serious trip.

For safety reasons there’s a software limiter on reverse speed, but mechanically there shouldn’t be any restriction on blazing fast EV reverse speeds, other than extra aerodynamic drag.

We’ve been itching to do a long trip with my wife’s Model X. It’s one of the rare (these days) Teslas with unlimited free supercharging. I’ve only used it once, (after 90 mile drive–I didn’t need to) and it was fast and easy. Alas, we’ve had nowhere to go outside of the car’s range since we bought it.

Wait, even if a dealer can’t get one for their lot, can’t they order one for you? I’ve seen a number of Ioniqs in Wisconsin, can’t imagine that all those people are driving cross-country to buy them.

I think the Kona and Ioniq are available in electric and ICE versions so you may be seeing the non-electric ones.

My Bolt lease is $165/month with $0 down. Very affordable if you make your deal when they have the right combination of incentives and rebates.

I don’t know about a pure ICE, but hybrid Ioniqs are definitely a thing.

Maybe? I never gave it much throught. On the Hyundai site, both the Ioniq and Kona say “Currently, 2021 KONA [or Ioniq] Electric is only sold in CA, CO, CT, ME, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, & WA”

Some of that may be training service technicians and sales people. Plus figuring they won’t sit on the lot as long in more liberal areas.

I think back when I first started looking into EVs that was the big deal. In fact, IIRC, that may be the deal the youtuber Technology Connections got on his car.
Right now, the 2022 Bolt is offering a lease deal of $269 with $6479 down. Right off the bat, $6479 is an awful lot of money to put down on a lease IMO, but spread out over the life of the lease means the payments work out to more like $450.
The only thing I have going for me, WRT these high down payments is that the payoff on my lease is around $15,000 and the KBB is around $25,000. Taking into consideration the major accident the car was recently (and repaired with OEM parts), I’m hoping to be able to trade it in for at least enough to cover a down payment on something.

I leased mine this past March but it was also right before the car market got crazy and it is a 2020 with the 2022s just about to come out so the incentives were large. Costco also offers a hefty rebate on them every few months so I was able to take advantage of both of those at once. I would never put any $ down on a lease. I’d recommend checking out Lease Hackr to see if there are still good deals on the Bolt or other EVs.

A few years ago, friends whose son was sixteen or seventeen leased a Nissan Leaf for him so they didn’t have to drive him around everywhere. I think at the time, the range was low, like a hundred miles or so, but it worked for them. They said the lease cost was very low but I never looked into it.

Could you expand on your use of autopilot? How often was interaction needed? Did it ever scare you? etc. Thanks.

I deliberately kept my original statement about autopilot short, here’s the book I always wanted to write.

The plot synopsis (TL;DR): Autopilot is not full self driving. It works wonderfully at lightening the load on the driver, but it is vitally important that the driver remain aware of the situation and be the one making decisions at all times. Sort of like autopilot in an airplane.

Let me start by saying I already have done thousands of miles of driving with autopilot, so I’m very used to what it does, how it reacts, and when I need to override it.

For all of the complaints below, most of the time I would go long stretches without having to do anything. I watched the road and other traffic, but the car drove itself for 10s of minutes at a time with absolutely no interaction from me. I know that is not how autopilot is portrayed in the press or on Twitter, but it is exactly how it supposed to work in Tesla’s documentation. It is not a feature that lets you take a nap, play a video game, or watch a show while driving. The most transgressive thing I did was remove both hands from the wheel for seconds at a time to open or close my drink.

I interact with autopilot a lot. The vast majority of these interactions are changing the set speed, followed by telling it to change lanes. Far fewer are unexpectedly being forced to take control, as opposed to when I expect to take control, such as exiting a freeway.

Typical interactions would be approaching a slower car from behind, signalling to move left which directs autopilot to change lanes, and then a bit later signalling to move back to the right.

Other very common interactions would be adjusting the speed up or down as conditions change. For example, dropping the speed when entering a town. In these rural Texas small towns it’s important to be going 35 at the 35 sign, so I would lower the speed before autopilot would do it automatically. With my settings, it does not automatically raise the speed, so I did that manually, too.

The few times I had to take control were really minor things, not emergencies. For example, sometimes I would want to change lanes in a town, and autopilot didn’t want to do that. Other times a two lane road would add a passing lane, and autopilot would want to stay to the left, and then didn’t want to change lanes to the right, requiring me to take over.

The worst annoyances with autopilot were data and mapping issues. A brief digression: on non-freeway roads, autopilot will not exceed 5 mph above the posted speed limit. On some of these roads the map data was wrong, and would have the speed limit as 55 when it was posted at 75. The car is supposed to read signs, but sometimes it missed a sign or something. In these cases I could use cruise control, but not full autopilot.

Some of the drive was in heavy rain, and autopilot performed great. The visual lane tracking stuff works incredibly well. Those are also circumstances where I adjusted the autopilot to drive at a speed appropriate to conditions, and increased the following distance.

The autopilot never scared me, but that’s because I know it likes to brake a bit late for stopped traffic, and stuff. In one instance my passengers got upset, but that was due to sudden evasive braking, rather than autopilot doing something stupid. While I was going 65, somebody crossed the road in front of us. Autopilot handled the situation. I was aware of what was happening, and deliberately let autopilot take action, because the passengers were with me to see how autopilot worked. I saw the car was starting to cross the road and if I had been driving I would have decelerated more gently, because I predicted the other car’s behavior prior to autopilot seeing an obstacle and taking action. (I was ready to take over if autopilot didn’t brake, and I’d pre-checked that there was nobody behind me as soon as I knew what was going to happen.)

Thanks for the write up. In my Honda when I’m using the lane keeping assistance system, I keep my hands on the wheel but many of our roads here in Oklahoma are perfectly straight and so my hands don’t really have anything to do. Every 10 seconds or so, the system tells me that I need to be steering so I have to slightly move the steering wheel just to let it know that my hands are actually still on it. Do you have to do anything like that?

Autopilot requires torque on the steering wheel or it will beep at you after several seconds. I typically grab the wheel at about 8 o’clock on the left side only, and then let my arm hang a bit. That torques the wheel to the left slightly (without actually steering) and satisfies Autopilot. No need for actual movement. I can go for hours that way.

I’ll try that. I’m a pretty lazy driver and usually just keep one hand at about 6:00.