Could YOU Drive an EV? – Part I: EV Profiler

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Nissan Leaf Nismo RC at 2011 NYC auto show

Electric Vehicles are a relatively new possibility. Fleet owners and consumers need to know if an electric vehicle will provide a sufficient range with their present driving habits. It is possible to make estimates based upon EPA vehicle ranges but the EV Profiler is a sensor that is plugged into your vehicle and a system that can provide hard real world data. While fleet owners may especially need this kind of documentation, consumers may find it reassuring as they anticipate purchasing an electric car.

Driving Data Recorder

The system operates by combining a GPS unit, a Driving Data Recorder and a cellular connection with online software. The device, known as a DDR, is suction cupped to your present vehicle windscreen and plugged into the car’s utility 12 volt outlet. The unit then tracks and stores information on your driving, including altitude, acceleration, distance traveled and route. Some information like temperature may be gathered from other sources. Every evening, around 7PM, the DDR sends this information to the company computers which results in your receiving a daily analysis in your email.

HOW THE EV PROFILER WORKS

The report is based upon you initially selecting a specific vehicle, as it is matching your driving to the vehicle’s performance stats. It also assumes you started the day with a full charge. The EV Profiler is not going to select the best EV for your situation. You can play a bit of “what if,” by going to the website. Present choices are the Volt, the Leaf and the Tesla Model S, but more will be available and the web site gives some preview of EV additions.

The reports provide a wealth of information in five sections. Although this analysis is dedicated to EV range, fleet operators may find the information useful for other applications when compared with fleet vehicle information. It would be interesting to compare the stats to actual electric vehicle performance, and developers may someday do this. The program must assume average driving and the results will likely be different if hypermiling techniques are used.

Rental on the unit is $25.00 weekly and $82.00 monthly. The shipping cost and time is not included and there is a $5/day late fee. There are electric car simulator iphone apps, but the company found them less accurate than the present, dedicated device.

EV range is an element of consumer acceptance of electric vehicles with many perspectives. I have previously considered several implications and solutions to EV range. This article introduces the EV profiler and its use in comparing available electric vehicles to your present driving conditions. In future articles of this series I will address EV costs and other concerns.

Top photo: Nissan Nismo RC from 2011 NYC auto show
Other photos from EV Profiler


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