Electric Vehicle Roundup Scheduled for April 2nd in Golden  

    Every April and October, Golden Real Estate hosts an electric vehicle roundup as part of Drive Electric Earth Day and National Drive Electric Week. Although we’ve moved our real estate office to downtown Golden, we still own our former location at 17695 S. Golden Road, and we’ll host the EV roundup in that parking lot, just like last April and October.

    We’re seeking EV owners who would like to display their EVs from 3 to 6 pm on Saturday, April 2nd. We’d particularly like to see some of the new models, such as Rivian’s pickup truck, Ford’s Mustang Mach E, and Volvo’s XC40 Recharge. You can register your vehicle online at www.DriveElectricWeek.info

    If you are not an EV owner and would like to talk to existing EV owners (like me) about their experience, you can register at the same site as an attendee, or simply show up on April 2nd.

   We intentionally schedule our EV roundups during the SuperCruise event which happens on the first Saturday of each month from April through October. That event attracts hundreds of gas-powered classic and other cars and thousands of spectators. Our parking lot is on that popular stretch of South Golden Road and exposes those owners and spectators to the future of transportation — electric vehicles. See you there!

Electric Cars Are Your Best Cold Weather Choice  

It’s that time of year when I like to remind readers about the advantages of electric vehicles (EVs) in cold weather. Here’s what you need to know.

1)  No warming up is needed. Put the car in Drive and go! Also, the cabin will be warm within 1/2 mile because it doesn’t require an engine to warm up first. In my Tesla I can turn on the heat with my phone app a few minutes earlier so the cabin, steering wheel and seat are all warm when I get in the car. Also, I can leave the heater on when I park the car so it’s warm when I return, if I am just going into a store for a short time. (I do the same thing on hot summer days, so it stays cool!)

2)  Your car will never break down, stranding you in a freezing car on the side of the road. The only time you see an EV on the side of the road is if there’s a flat tire or an accident. Stuck in a snow drift? The EV’s heater will keep you warm as long as you need, consuming only 3 to 5 miles of range per hour — and producing no carbon monoxide!

3)  Because of its low center of gravity, an EV handles snow-covered (and dry) roads great — better than any car I’ve owned.

4)  Used EVs are your best buy. The older (pre-2018) Tesla Models S & X are a great buy because most come with transferrable lifetime free supercharging coast-to-coast when purchased privately, not as Certified Pre-Owned from Tesla. Ask before buying.

5)  There are federal and state tax credits and various rebates to be had. See the following website for a full list: www.electricforall.org/rebates-incentives

Our Electric Vehicle Roundup Is a Big Success

It’s still going on as I write this blog post, and won’t end until 5 pm or later. If you’re reading this now, come on down! This video shows our parking lot at Golden Real Estate, 17695 S. Golden Road, completely filled with electric cars and their owners talking to lots of people interested in knowing more about EVs. Here’s the video link: https://youtu.be/4vY2K6OZt0k.

Come to the Electric Vehicle Roundup This Saturday, Oct. 2nd, 3-5 pm

As I write, 40 people have registered at www.DriveElectricWeek.info to attend this annual event, and 19 of them are bringing their EVs. This “EV Roundup” takes place in the Golden Real Estate parking lot at 17695 S. Golden Road. You’ll find every model of Tesla, plus EVs from Nissan, Chevrolet, BMW, Mini, Kia and Hyundai. We’re still looking for people to bring their VW ID.4, Mustang Mach-E, Jaguar I-Pace, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Porsche Taycan, Polestar 2 and a Rivian pickup or SUV. We’d also love to see electric motorcycles from Zero and Harley-Davidson. If someone you know has one of those exciting new EVs, please ask him/her to register at the website above. We have lots of swag to give away — water bottles, face masks, sanitizer, t-shirts, and back packs — on the registration table.  We have 5 handouts that you can view at www.EV-Handouts.info.

Charge are hosting “Rise and Ride Five Points” at the DMV office, 2855 Tremont Place, Denver, on Saturday, 7 to 10 a.m.  They’re offering rides and information about all the EVs currently available in Colorado.  Free coffee & donuts, too!

On Sunday, 11am to 3pm, you can attend the Longmont EV Fair at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont, sponsored by Sustainable Resilient Longmont. They’re offering test drives and rides to fully vaccinated and masked attendees. They have 35 EVs registered so far, including most of those EVs we’re still hoping to see at our event in Golden.

When Will Your Car Need These Expensive Repairs?

Rita and Jim Smith and their Teslas

Other than for a flat tire, you’ll almost never see an electric car on the side of the road awaiting a service vehicle or tow truck. That’s because an EV will never need any of the following expensive repairs — the parts simply don’t exist on an EV:

Transmission

Timing belt

Fuel pump

Muffler or stolen catalytic converter

Water pump

Fan belt

Power steering pump

Power brakes pump

Radiator leak/anti-freeze

Engine work of any kind

Spark plugs/points

There’s no “check engine” light because there’s no engine, so you won’t pay to “pull codes” and reset it. And no emissions testing. The electric motors in EVs, like those in other devices, are dependable, only failing if they are worked too hard, and the computers in Teslas (and presumably other EVs) don’t let that happen.

EVs have Battery Management Systems (BMS) which are critical to maintaining battery health and performance. In Teslas, there is a sealed coolant system which maintains the battery at its optimum performance temperature (70° F) year-round, including cooling it when it is being supercharged or when it sends a high level of power to the electric motor(s).

Lithium batteries, unlike lead acid batteries, do not fail abruptly, but rather degrade over time. The reason lead acid batteries fail abruptly, I’m told, is that they consume the lead when they are charged and discharged. Lithium ion batteries don’t consume the lithium. The rate of degradation has been estimated at 1% per year, so a battery with 300 miles of range might degrade to 270 miles of range in 10 years. That matches my experience.

As people wait for the purchase price of EVs to equal that of a gas-powered car — which has largely happened — they shouldn’t overlook the lower cost of fuel (3 to 4 cents per mile vs.10 cents and higher) and the dramatically lower cost of maintenance and repair. And fleet buyers won’t have to buy 12 EVs in order to always have 10 on the road because of how rarely EVs will be in the shop.

Xcel Energy Is Penalizing Small Businesses Which Offer Workplace Charging

Golden Real Estate is justly proud — if I say so myself — of having a Net Zero Energy office, meaning that our solar photovoltaic panels produce all the electricity needed to heat, cool and power our office as well as to the charge the five Teslas owned by our agents and me and offering free EV charging to the general public. (We have four EV charging stations at our office — two for our own use and two for the public.)

Meanwhile, Xcel Energy boasts that it is moving in the direction of 100% renewable energy and facilitating the adoption of electric vehicles. A big part of that is promoting “workplace charging.”

Xcel is right to promote workplace charging over, say, charging stations at retail stores, because cars are parked for up to 8 hours at one’s workplace — long enough to fully charge almost any EV using a standard Level 2 (240V) charging station.

So why is Xcel Energy penalizing small companies like Golden Real Estate which have already installed workplace charging stations for EVs?

As stated above, we generate all the electricity needed at our office on South Golden Road. Until this March, our monthly Xcel bill was under $11 every month — the cost of being connected to Xcel’s electric grid.

But now our Xcel bill is over $300 per month, even though we are still generating all the electricity we use. How can that be?  It’s because one day in March we drew over 30,000 watts of energy during a single 15-minute period, converting us automatically from standard “commercial” service to “demand” service. That means that in addition to the charges for electricity consumption, we are now charged for the highest amount of electricity that we draw during each month.

So our electric bill at Golden Real Estate is now over $300 per month regardless of the amount of actual electricity we consume during any particular month. To put it in numbers, we are charged about $15 per kilowatt for peak demand, and our monthly maximum draw of power is usually about 20 kilowatts.  Thus, we are charged $300 each month even though our net consumption of electricity is zero!

The only way we could draw over 25 kW of electricity at a given time is because we are charging cars at all four charging stations, something Xcel says they want to encourage.

When I communicated my dilemma to Xcel Energy, the response was to tell me that they’re introducing a new EV charging tariff later this summer. Unfortunately, the tariff requires that Xcel install the charging stations and offers nothing to those of us who were early adopters and already have charging stations in place.

Under Xcel’s proposed EV tariff, my penalty would drop to a little over $100 per month. But that’s still a $100 penalty.

The logical solution would be for Xcel to modify its commercial tariff to make the demand threshold 50 or 75 kW instead of 25 kW for forcing small businesses like us into their demand tariffs.

Now some good news.

I made these same arguments during public comments at a May 13th virtual hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) adjudicating an Xcel Energy rate case. This Monday, that ALJ published his ruling and cited my own testimony in ordering Xcel to increase its demand threshold to 50 kW.

I had made the same argument a couple years ago during public comments at a regular PUC meeting, but I got no satisfaction at that time, so I wasn’t expecting to be more successful this time, but I was.

Ironically, I had already written this column with no clue that the ruling was about to be handed down. Indeed, this column was uploaded to three Jeffco weekly newspapers Monday morning without this news.

The ALJ’s ruling has a few more steps before it is finalized.  Parties to the case can make final pleas and seek Commission reconsideration, akin to last ditch arguments, but I’m hopeful that my Xcel bill will return to $10.26/month soon.

I Have Reserved a Ford F-150 Lightning Electric PIckup

By JIM SMITH

There’s a lot to like about Ford’s electric version of their popular F-150 pickup truck, and I joined more than 50,000 others who reserved one of them on the first two days it was available for reservations.

I’m a big fan of Teslas — Rita has a Model S and I have a Model X — but I’m no fan of its long anticipated Cybertruck. I like that Ford’s EV has the same styling and functionality of the standard F-150, plus over-the-air software updates (like Tesla), and its battery can power my home in the event of a power failure. You can reserve your own at www.Ford.com. The starting price is under $40,000, so the cost after federal and state tax credits will be under $30,000. 

For a detailed article about the F-150 Lightning Pro by Green Car Reports, click here.

Saturday’s Electric Vehicle Roundup at Golden Real Estate Was a Big Success

Here’s a video Jim Smith took at 2:30 p.m. April3rd, when the parking lot at Golden Real Estate was already full. Among the cars you’ll see in this video are the Mustang Mach E, the Polestar 2 and the Jaguar I-Pace, along with the usual complement of Teslas (all 4 models), Chevy Bolts, Nissan Leafs and others. Enjoy!

We Must Face the Coming Crisis of Transportation Funding

By JIM SMITH

I’ve been driving electric cars, buying little or no gasoline, since 2012, happy to be a freeloader when it comes to the cost of building and maintaining our state and federal roads and bridges.

My first Tesla in 2014

But the adoption of electric cars is accelerating, as expected, to the point where we can’t continue to depend on gas and diesel taxes to pay for our transportation infrastructure.

Yes, I have paid a $50 registration fee each year for my EVs, but that doesn’t come close to paying my fair share of the costs, and it contributes nothing to the federal highway trust fund.

In Colorado, there is a 23-cent-per-gallon gas tax, plus an 18.4-cent federal gas tax.  Rita and I drove our three EVs a total of 16,380 miles in 2020.  If they had been fueled by gas and got 25 miles per gallon, we would have purchased 655 gallons, paying $271 in state and federal gas taxes.

Rita and Jim with their 2 Teslas

Raising the gas tax makes no sense as fewer and fewer vehicles will be consuming gas in coming years.

As much as I’d like to keep being a freeloader in this regard, I am willing to pay 1.5 cents per mile traveled on my combined state and federal tax returns instead of paying $50 in annual registration fees per vehicle.  This is referred to as a VMT (vehicle miles traveled) tax.

Critics of a VMT tax say people will lie about miles traveled, but our tax system is based on voluntary reporting, and mileage is easily audited now that cars, like Tesla, are connected to the internet.

Sign Up for Our ‘Drive Electric Earth Day’ Roundup

National Drive Electric Week 2020 at Golden Real Estate

    If you own an electric vehicle and are willing to show it off to potential EV buyers, please consider bringing it to Golden Real Estate’s parking lot on Saturday, April 3, from 2 to 5 pm for our annual Drive Electric Earth Day roundup. Register to bring your EV or to come as a spectator at www.DriveElectricWeek.info.