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I just realized I haven't bought gas in SEVEN YEARS! Miss it, nah!

StellarRat

Active Member
Jan 8, 2014
1,490
1,338
Pacific
Today I was talking to a friend about my Model 3 and he was commenting about Saudi oil crisis. I told him I don't know the price of gas anymore. So, I got home and I was thinking about that at lunch and I realized that between my Leaf and my Model 3 I haven't been to a gas in my town for over seven years now. Crazy.
 

dendenyc

Member
Apr 7, 2018
230
370
New York
Today I was talking to a friend about my Model 3 and he was commenting about Saudi oil crisis. I told him I don't know the price of gas anymore. So, I got home and I was thinking about that at lunch and I realized that between my Leaf and my Model 3 I haven't been to a gas in my town for over seven years now. Crazy.

I sold my positions in Oil/Gas stocks after I bought my 3, can't be saving the earth on one hand and enabling its destruction on the other :)

I still look at gas prices for the LOLs
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,321
2,670
Redmond, WA
Congrats, it's a great feeling.

My wife and I haven't bought gas in a decade. It's funny how many people worry about this "new" technology and wonder if it will really "work"...I try to point out how long it's been since I used gas, and how I most definitely have not been suffering...we take a lot of road trips and we far prefer the EVs. I think people on the fence about buying an EV feel a lot better when they hear somebody say it works well long-term.
 

StellarRat

Active Member
Jan 8, 2014
1,490
1,338
Pacific
Congrats, it's a great feeling.

My wife and I haven't bought gas in a decade. It's funny how many people worry about this "new" technology and wonder if it will really "work"...I try to point out how long it's been since I used gas, and how I most definitely have not been suffering...we take a lot of road trips and we far prefer the EVs. I think people on the fence about buying an EV feel a lot better when they hear somebody say it works well long-term.
Wow. Until I read your car history I never knew that Toyota made an EV in 1990's! The Wiki says the batteries were still good in some of them in 2012. I guess NiMH packs aren't so bad. What happened to them? They were way ahead of their time.
 

T3SLAROD

Member
May 14, 2019
586
506
SoCal
Its one of the greatest feelings. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about prices suddenly skyrocketing because the Saudi Prince is being criticized.
 
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Reactions: VQTRVA

Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,217
7,007
Delaware
Work keeps sending me on trips every year or two, and I usually end up buying gas for a rental car on them. Without that I'd be over three years, and very rarely for the five before that (Volt.)
 

StellarRat

Active Member
Jan 8, 2014
1,490
1,338
Pacific
Work keeps sending me on trips every year or two, and I usually end up buying gas for a rental car on them. Without that I'd be over three years, and very rarely for the five before that (Volt.)
I didn't count buying gas for a vehicle other than my own. Obviously, if you're on business with some other car or on vacation with a rental there's not a lot you can do about that. In New Zealand when I was there no Model 3's had even been sold yet.
 

Webeevdrivers

Active Member
Jan 2, 2017
2,240
3,948
Canada
Almost 5 years for us. Smart EV and a Nissan Leaf. Going to replace the Smart EV next spring with an E-plus SL 2020 Leaf. Going to miss that little smart. Need something with four seats going forward though. Someone will get a great little ride.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,321
2,670
Redmond, WA
Wow. Until I read your car history I never knew that Toyota made an EV in 1990's! The Wiki says the batteries were still good in some of them in 2012. I guess NiMH packs aren't so bad. What happened to them? They were way ahead of their time.

Yeah, the NiMH batteries were great. My RAV4 was built in Feb 2003 (and one of only about 300 that they sold outright; they called the leased ones back and crushed them just like GM, but they weren't caught on film so fewer people know about it). When I sold the car in Sept 2012 - almost 10 years old - it seemed to still have all of its original range. There was no maintenance required, nothing ever went wrong. The buyer already had one of the other 300 NiMH RAV4s, but wanted two so he and his wife could stop fighting over who got to drive it.

As for what happened to the NiMH batteries...well, it's a long story, but essentially GM bought the patents for NiMH, then later sold them to Texaco (which was then bought by Chevron). Chevron licenses the NiMH patents to companies making batteries for electronics and such, but if an auto manufacturer wants to try them out in a suitable large format, they have to first commit to buying them in large quantities. So they can't be used by individuals or small companies, or even tested by large automakers unless they agree to buy them in large quantities without being able to test them first. So, no surprise - nobody ever licensed them.

It doesn't matter now because lithium is farther along, but at the time, yeah, this clearly slowed down the EV industry. NiMH was the best thing going back then.
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,158
15,078
New Mexico
As for what happened to the NiMH batteries...well, it's a long story, but essentially GM bought the patents for NiMH, then later sold them to Texaco (which was then bought by Chevron). Chevron licenses the NiMH patents to companies making batteries for electronics and such, but if an auto manufacturer wants to try them out in a suitable large format, they have to first commit to buying them in large quantities. So they can't be used by individuals or small companies, or even tested by large automakers unless they agree to buy them in large quantities without being able to test them first. So, no surprise - nobody ever licensed them.
Did anything prevent a car manufacturer from using small format NiMH batteries in a Tesla like architecture ? Come to think of it, what prevented a manufacturer from scaling up a Prius NiMH battery ? IIRC Toyota used small prismatic cells.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,321
2,670
Redmond, WA
I once asked the same question about using small format NiMH in a car, but I didn't get a good answer (it was basically "that won't work"). So I'm not sure on the answer to that question.

As for scaling up Prius hybrid batteries, I was told that they are made to be power-dense (as you would expect when you have a very small battery trying to move a car), but a good EV battery has to be much more energy-dense to avoid adding too much weight. I've never seen any numbers behind that, but it sounds plausible. As I understand it, the main advantage of lithium over NiMH is that lithium is notably more energy dense, but even after a decade of improvements lithium batteries are still pretty darn heavy.

Trying to get back on topic...before the RAV4, I converted my wife's Prius to a PHEV. I'd been looking for ways to use less gas for years, and the Prius served our needs well, so I was pretty excited about the conversion. I thought it would be perfect. I loved it for three days...then I hated it.

I realized that I loved when it was working on battery, and hated everything - the noise, the sluggishness, the cost, the pollution, the support for OPEC - that the gas engine did. I was annoyed every time the engine came on, and it came on a LOT. That was when I got serious about buying a BEV (there were none for sale at the time; the Roadster wasn't even available yet) and not buying gas again. I finally managed to buy the 6-year-old RAV4 from an online auction, and had it shipped to Seattle from Utah. When it arrived, it was the first BEV I had ever seen.

I wasn't sure what to expect when the RAV4 first arrived...but it worked out (so well we ordered a Roadster soon after) and indeed I do not miss gas at all!
 
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StellarRat

Active Member
Jan 8, 2014
1,490
1,338
Pacific
I have to still buy gas for the lawn mower ☹️. I’ve been considering going electric but haven’t yet.
My corded Sears electric mower has been in service for 25 years now. It always starts, LOL. One of my best purchases. The only drawback for some people is you are limited to 100' of cord, so if your lawn is too big you either have to go rechargeable or gasoline.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,321
2,670
Redmond, WA
Wasn't the RAV-EV NiMH ?

Yes. It looks (?) like Ovonics sold the patent rights in 1994, shortly before the RAV4 was developed (in 1996, I think - sales were from 1998 to 2003) so the question I assume you will ask next is how Toyota got NiMH batteries. I am not sure...they could have had a pre-existing agreement with Ovonics (CARB had started talking about a ZEV mandate as early as 1990), or perhaps they licensed them from GM. Texaco didn't buy the patent rights until 2001 - but the RAV4 was already in production then, so clearly Toyota had a license before Texaco/Chevron got involved.

Whatever agreement Toyota had, it must have expired because I recall around 2010 that fixing wrecked RAV4s was an issue because Toyota couldn't get replacement batteries. There was a place in the Bay area that specialized in refurbishing the batteries for this reason...there were too few cars for it to make financial sense, unless there was no other source for batteries. When Toyota crushed lease returns, they did at least take some of the batteries out for the refurbishment company.
 
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Reactions: SageBrush

TeeEmCee

Member
Nov 16, 2015
901
726
Null
I have to still buy gas for the lawn mower ☹️. I’ve been considering going electric but haven’t yet.

Oddly, nobody ever gave me weird looks when I purchased gas for my garden tractors and was driving the Tesla or the eTron. I even got the thumbs up from some trucker one time.
 

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