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Monday, April 23, 2012

Traffic Jam? No Problem For the ActiveE

Traffic was backed up for miles on Route 80 this morning due to a major accident
If you drive an electric car, you have to get used to people asking you a lot of questions about it because it just comes with the territory. People are curious about them, and really know very little about the differences and similarities to gas cars. I've spoken to hundreds of people, many of which were complete strangers during the past three years I've been driving electric cars and answered thousands of questions. I do get all kinds, but many are the same basic questions that everyone has: How far does it go? How much does it cost to charge? How long do the batteries last? Is it a hybrid? What do you do when you run out?

Two tractor trailers closed most of Rt 80
There is one more that I frequently get and it's the topic of today's post: What do you do when you get stuck in traffic? Well today I was stuck in traffic and it took me about two hours to go only four miles and get past the reason for the backup, an accident involving two trucks. So the answer is: " I just sit there and listen to the radio, not worried at all because my car isn't wasting as much energy as all the gas cars that are running while they are out there with me" Electric cars don't 'run' like gas cars do. There isn't an engine that is running and burning fuel even if the car is just sitting there and not moving. Electric cars like the ActiveE aren't using much energy unless they are moving. Sure there is a small electric draw to power the radio and the heater or air conditioning, but it's not nearly as wasteful as gas cars are. As I sat there in traffic all the other cars were burning gas and belching out pollution even though they weren't moving.

It took me about 3 hours to arrive at my destination today and it usually only takes me one hour to do so. When I arrived there, my state of charge was just about exactly the same as it is on a normal day. Every one of the gas cars around me used much more gas today than they usually do because unlike EV's, gas cars are least efficient when they are sitting in bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic.

I should have checked this before I left!
I could have avoided this unpleasant delay though. The ActiveE has traffic alerts built into the navigation system. However since I didn't need directions going to my destination I didn't use it. Once I was stuck I turned it on to see what it said about it. One of the cool things it does is it show you how far you need to go to get past the part of the road that has the delay, so you at least have an idea how long you'll be stuck.  Maybe I should start using the nav just to make sure I'm not surprised by a major delay like what happened today.


  1. And just think about how much cleaner and healthier the air that everyone was breathing while stewing in that traffic jam would've been if they'd all been electrics, or, better yet, solar-charged electrics like yours Tom :-)

  2. Based on the time and channel, you got to listen to the Wrap-up show on Howard100 too! BabaBooey!

  3. Another reason electric cars are better. They don't waste nearly as much energy as combustion engines to

  4. Can the Active E predict charge at the end of your journey based on the GPS and topography?

    1. No Brian it cannot. It uses a simple formula based on the efficiency of your previous 18 miles driven, so it's just a guess and I don't really use it much.

      In the near future, I'm planning on discussing the predicted range estimate(guesstimate)here with a post dedicated to just that.