Dear test drivers
Thanks for your October data contributions to Flip The Fleet.
- Our test panel is growing steadily: we now have 31 vehicles contributing. Best of all, two fleets have enrolled – thanks Dunedin City Council and Otago Museum! This allows them and us to test the fleet aggregation functions of the software. Their fleet managers can see the overall performance of their fleet, as well as track the KPIs of their individual cars.
- Therefore we have eliminated the ghost cars with simulated data for imaginary Fleets A and B, and you can no longer mascaraed as their fleet managers to see how the system would work for large businesses or institutions.
- Your feedback has been excellent and useful – we have made the wording more precise and changed the questions on ‘last charge’ to include both Rapid and Slow charges. Please note down the ‘State of Charge’ at the beginning and end of the last charging event in the month, and if possible the energy uploaded to your battery.
Some results from this last month
Remember, our sample size is way too low and potentially not sufficiently representative to give definitive results yet, but here are some examples of how we might use the data to promote LEVs.
- Maintenance & repair costs: So far the database has 131 monthly records for maintenance and repair costs. There was nothing spent in 125 of those months, and the mean was $9.54 per month. Many of the LEVs are comparatively new, so maintenance and repairs would be expected to be low in any event. However the AA estimates the average maintenance cost of a Mazda 3 in 2012 to be $28.33 per month. In future we will be able to compare the maintenance costs of PHEVs and EVs, as well as the different models of each type.
- Return on Investment: Even excluding the reduced repair costs of electric vehicles, our crude underestimate of the savings on fuel show that owning LEVs is spectacularly good from a ‘Return on Investment’ point of view i.e. on average test driver/owners recover about three times more $$ as fuel savings than they would need to pay in interest on a loan to meet the extra cost of buying an LEV rather than equivalent ICE. As we already know, switching to LEVs is a no brainer from a financial point of view! But your real data will give us a chance to shout it out over and over next year to convince doubters. Our message will have authority because it reflects performance of lots of cars in NZ.
- Minimum practical range and battery degradation: We asked you about the minimum range (Km) at which you would need to ditch your LEV or invest in a new or refurbished battery. So far the median minimum practical range you report for Leafs is 79 Km, or around 56% of a new battery’s capacity. The current average battery ‘State of Health’ of 17 Leafs (those using LeafSpy) in our test panel is 88% (range 78 – 98%), so most owners can look forward to several more years of travel on their current battery without a critically restricted range. As the database grows we can track rates of decline in your battery health and estimate when you are likely to reach this break point where you’ll need a new battery or a new LEV. We will use your data to advise government and business on the market size and cost of a battery replacement service in NZ, and when it is needed by.
- We’re not public-ready yet: We can’t go fully public until we can modify the software and make the KPIs for different models more accurate – this depends on finding funding.
- More diversity of models please: But in the meantime we are keen to enrol a few examples of the less common LEV types (BMW i3, Tesla, Volt, Zoe, Kangoo, VW e-Golf) – so if you know someone with one of these, please ask them to help.
- More Fleets please! Also, please help us enrol some more fleets – if you have contacts in a local business or government institution that has LEVs, please ask them to join. Getting fleets enrolled is a good way of helping the government’s emphasis on fleet procurement.
- One-click opinion surveys? We want to trial one-click opinion surveys to light a fire under our LEV marketing campaign. We will ask a couple of questions each month that help promote the practical benefits of LEVs and their impact on your lives. Each should take 15 seconds to answer and link to some aspect of the data we are amassing each month through the Flip The Fleet portal. Your answers will provide fodder for stimulating the media to broadcast the monthly Flip The Fleet results. We will send you the first example in a few days, along with an option to opt out if you don’t want to join this added way of getting our collective voices heard. Send us the questions you want your fellow LEV owners to answer and we’ll deal them into the pack.
OK, what do you think of the package so far? Keep the data and feedback coming please.
With best wishes
Dima and Henrik