Are Plug-in Hybrids, EVs?

So, are plug-in hybrids, EVs?

Count me as one of those BEV (battery electric vehicle) snobs that have been irritated when I turn up to a public charging and find Chevy Volts plugged in and taking space.  I’ve always felt that if you were going electric, jump in feet first.

Even after slightly over 15 months of driving electric, I am a relative newcomer to the EV world.  My original bias was caused by my attitude that pure BEV are superior to our plug-in hybrid brethren and felt that those that went halfway with their Chevy Volts, etc. could use gasoline and therefore shouldn’t be taking the space on an EV charging station.  I held this belief for my first year of EV driving.  So, why the change of heart?

Well, I’ve listened to my “elders”, in terms of years of EV experience, etc.

On Thursdays at Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern, and 8pm British Time, Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield and Mark Chatterley host a program called Transport Evolved.  I started listening to the program on episode 144 and have been hooked since.  I’ve used Youtube and iTunes to catch up on the backlog and you should too.  Though I may find that the program may be more focused on the “green” aspects of EVs and the like and not necessarily on the economics that motivated me, I find their review of EV news to be interesting and entertaining.  They (at least Nikki is) are real “car people”.  Mark is very entertaining.  The hosts definitely have a more Liberal (had they been in the US) view of things than I, but they definitely make good points.

After spending some time through hours of the series backlog, I’ve been convinced by the hosts and their guests regarding the fact that the entire EV community (including our plug-in brethren) are too few to stand divided.  I have been reminded of the challenges that the “previous” generations of EV owners have done to blaze the trail and that we need to support those that are taking “baby” steps toward EV ownership.  Once they drive one and get more comfortable.  They’ll get it.

Basically, I respect the fact that Volt owners would go through all sorts of lengths to stay driving electric.  I can only guess how frustrating it is to only have 40 miles of EV range.  Even driving a pure BEV for the majority of my drive has still required me to go approximately 20% of the time on gasoline.  Now, I don’t feel guilty about driving gas, just irritated at how much it costs me when I do.  In fact, during the past three months, it cost me a bit to replace the battery on my X5.

Now, an optimal 40 mile battery range for a plug in hybrid makes the vehicle practically electric and should be treated with respect.  What about the 12-16 mile range plug in hybrids (like the Plug in Prius or Plug in Accords)… Well, I’m not SO “enlightened”.  I’m still irritated by those.  I mean, there ARE better choices (in terms of battery range, etc.)  I don’t know if I’ll ever be “enlightened” enough to welcome Plug in Prius or Plug in Accord users, but in the meantime.  I’m ok with saying that “I was wrong.”

So, join me (and a bunch of other EV enthusiasts) and support my favorite EV journalist, advocates and their guests on Transport Evolved.

BMWi World Tour – New York City Stop – 42nd and 6th Avenue, Across from Bryant Park – Initial reactions and pictures

A picture is worth a 1,000 words…

This one is worth a whole lot more


Yes, that’s the BMW i8 Spyder Concept Plug in Hybrid. Apparently, it’s only rated for 22 miles electric. That’s the down side. The price, not yet released, but I’m sure it’s an arm and a leg and perhaps more.

So, I was a little bummed that I was invited to an event on Tuesday that I was unable to make, so I’m hoping that the LA Auto Show event will be just as awesome. So, stay tuned.

We got to the BMWi World Tour location on 42nd and 6th Avenue slightly around 10:20am this morning EST after having left the Lakers leading the Suns at the end of the 3rd Quarter on Friday to catch American Airlines 30 from LAX to JFK departing at 11:40 pm PST (2:40am EST) and arrived at JFK 8:05 am EST (5:05 am PST). Upon entry to the exhibit, we were greeted by the staff and Mark from New York accompanied us as we walked around the bottom floor and we talked i3, EVs, i8, and our specific experience as Electronuts (those that use foursquare, use your check in and get some coffee/cappuccino on the second floor.)

Mark was very engaged in the conversation and he did his job well, he asked many questions as it related to our ActiveE and I finally saw the i3.

Here is one of me with the i3.


Unfortunately, the better half just does not like hatchbacks and she wouldn’t mind the i8.

Here’s a picture of me with the i8.


Mark accompanied us around the ground floor and gave specs on the carbon fiber build and the fact that the i3 will have a 22kWh battery and yet have the same range as the ActiveE. My wife asked about additional range and Mark mentioned the Gas Range Extender.


According to Mark, the void to the right of and beside the electric motor is where the range extender will be expected to reside, so adding it should NOT take much space away from the i3.

Here’s a close up of the interior of the concept –


And here is the i3 concept with both doors open –


Mark had spent a good deal of time with us downstairs, and we proceeded to go upstairs for the coffee and the gallery space. As I’m going to need to rest a little from the red eye, I’ll cover the upstairs and our few minutes with Karim on a subsequent post.

In the meantime, here’s my flickr stream of this space.

Additionally, I forgot to check out this interactive wall that BMW created to “transform” 6th Avenue traffic into i series vehicles.

Lastly, even with as much caffeine as I tried to drink at the BMWi World Tour stop, I know I start to get loopy when I decide to ham it up on a photo booth they had set up.

Now to take a short nap and recharge.