Here’s your June update from Flip the Fleet.
EV impacts on mobility: June’s one-click survey
Judging from this month’s 1-click survey, most of you travel about as far, visit the same places and use the same mode of transport since you bought your EV or PHEV (click here for the full report).
We’ll use your responses to explode the myth that owning an EV restricts your mobility –far from restricting movement, EVs often increase mobility in your neighbourhoods. However, some people do adjust their mobility in subtle ways, including connecting more with family and community, or adopting a more relaxed approach to transport. We will emphasise these social benefits of EV ownership more in our future EV uptake campaigns.
Key findings included:
- 31% of you reckoned your mobility had changed ‘not one bit’, and 33% thought it had changed ‘a little’ since buying some form of low emission vehicle. Only 12% thought it changed ‘a lot’.
- One-car families changed their mobility more than two-car families which retained a petrol or diesel (ICE) car in their “home hybrid” fleet.
- EV end up travelling further overall than an ICE retained in the family because the owners transfer as much of their local running to the EV as they can to save money, reduce emissions, or just because they enjoy the ride in the EV more
- One-car families with just an EV also travel further than they used to go previously in their ICE.
- While local transport frees up, many of you took fewer longer trips from home base in the EV.
- A small proportion of you rent a car for the long trips.
- A small proportion of you now fly less than previously
- There is no evidence that you use public transport less and some households walk and bike less
Around three-quarters of EV owners retain an ICV for towing and occasional long trips (Fig.1), and more than 55% of NZ households have two or more motor vehicles. EV advocacy could therefore usefully target the multi-car families and business and urge a gradual substitution process – in the interim these families can get the best of both worlds by using their EV for 90% of their travel while nursing an old ICV along until it is knackered.
Figure 1: Availability of other electric vehicles and fossil fuelled vehicles to respondents to this survey. Some respondents also had regular access to electric bicycles (18%) and/or ordinary bicycles (43%), but these are excluded from the analysis. EV= pure electric vehicle; PHEV= Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle; MB = motorbike.
Our main recommendations include:
- Focus a communications strategy for encouraging partial and gradual substitution of ICVs with EVs within multicar households.
- Include calculators to guide families and businesses consider financial and environmental costs, and the benefits of substituting ICVs with either (i) just an EV, (ii) just an PHEV, (iii) a mix of an EV and PHEV, or (iv) a mix of EVs, PHEVs and ICVs.
- Add more emphasis on the social and personal benefits of EV ownership alongside the more obvious financial and environmental benefits of EV uptake.
The main conclusions and recommendations were featured in a media release and infographic which you can read by clicking here.
Improving Flip the Fleet’s effectiveness and funding
You slammed us with over 1500 comments to our May 1-click survey about Flip the Fleet’s design and effectiveness, so it took us a while to work through your advice.
Main priorities for improvement (click here for details) included:
- Stand strong on the battery health inquiries – they are of particular value, with many joining to track battery health
- Provide monthly summaries of longitudinal data for a participant’s car so they don’t need to wade through so many individual reports
- Search for ways to automate data uptake
- Develop a lot more challenging and novel performance indicators to keep the material fresh
- Put more emphasis on creating resource material in the background – many people find them as valuable, or even more valuable than the data reports.
You were blunt about how to fund (and not fund!) Flip the Fleet (click here for details):
- Maintain Flip the Fleet’s independence! It is vital if we are to remain a credible, citizen-led project with solid scientific integrity and not become beholden to funders
- Keep Flip the Fleet as a community-based platform that informs and inspires, not a charity
- Government funding is the most suitable
- Reach out to new funding pools, such as electrical companies, NZTA, AA, Road Transport Association, climate research, as well as education and business-related EV opportunities
- Develop a transparent business plan to secure the sustainability of this valuable project. Then share it and your motives with the participants.
Outreach to prospective EV buyers (click here) will be more effective if we:
- Increase the social media activity to complement the success being enjoyed in the mainstream media
- Build more awareness about Flip the fleet amongst other EV owners – you can multiply our impact by growing the team
- Approach car dealerships and like-minded organisations for help in promoting Flip the Fleet, and in return offer them targeted help and tools to promote their EV sales
- Tell peoples’ stories alongside providing the numbers
30 kWh Leaf battery update
As recently reported by CleanFleetReport.com, Nissan appear to be recalling US and European 30 kWh Leafs to correct battery State of Health metrics being reported by the vehicles battery management system (http://www.cleanfleetreport.com/exclusive-nissan-leaf-battery-fix/). Not enough information is available yet to form any reliable scientific conclusion about whether Nissan’s instrumentation error is a sufficient explanation for the observed declines in reported battery health of 30 kWh Leafs by Flip the Fleet members. We hope that Nissan will show their technical data for all to evaluate.
We are in close contact with Walter Larason at EVs Enhanced (www.evsenhanced.com), who has been doing various tests on SoH measurement accuracy on his own initiative. Since Flip The Fleet doesn’t possess deep technical knowledge and equipment to run these tests, you may wish to get in touch with Walter directly to find out more. In the meantime, we invite New Zealand’s Leaf owners to supply their monthly battery health records to Flip the Fleet’s community database so that we can monitor what happens to the battery indicators over the coming months. Flip the Fleet has also written twice to Nissan New Zealand to ask if and when the firmware patch will be available for 30 kWh Leaf owners in New Zealand and Japan. We will promptly relay any answer received.
How is your battery tracking against others?
If you drive a Nissan Leaf, and you’re curious to see how your battery has been holding up compared to other Nissans in Flip The Fleet, send an email with your number plate to firstname.lastname@example.org (click here). To ensure everyone’s privacy, Daniel will check that your number plate is linked to the email supplied to Flip the Fleet when you signed-up. If so, he’ll send you back a chart like the one for Dima’s Leaf shown below:
This month’s hint to get the most out of Flip the Fleet:
You can now direct the public to the “Can I check under the bonnet first?” section of our landing page (www.flipthefleet.org). By clicking on those public reports, they can sample the sort of information available to guide their EV purchase (using Dima & Olga’s and Henrik & Fiona’s cars as examples).
Drive your battery safely on those winter roads out there.
Dima Ivanov, Rebecca Hayter, Hannah Gentle, Henrik Moller, Daniel Myall and Monica Peters.