Let's face it, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating (MPGe) is a good estimate, but an estimate nonetheless. Battery-powered electric cars don't burn gasoline, so a gasoline-based rating is always going to be a theoretical exercise in energy conversion.
Still, the EPA needs some way to compare electric, hybrid, and gasoline-burning vehicles. Such ratings benefit government agencies and auto companies, as well as consumers who would otherwise struggle to compare kilowatt-hours to gallons consumed. The EPA reaches its hybrid and electric vehicle figures by running test cycles, determining how many kilowatt-hours are burned, converting it to BTU/mile, and then dividing that number by the BTUs in a gallon of gasoline. The result is the MPGe figure, which will undoubtedly be a source of technical arguments for years to come.
Click on the image below to see 12 of the top fuel-efficient vehicles, as determined by the MPGe rating system.
Ford Transit Connect EV -- 62 MPGe (combined city + highway): Ford's Transit Connect is a utility van with a top speed of 75 mph and an all-electric driving range of 80 miles. (Source: Ford Motor Co.)
I didn't mention I already have 4.2KWh of solar panels on my roof. Those cost about $14K after rebates and discounts. My first year electric bill dropped $2k so they will pay off before the 10 year shortest component warranty (the inverter) is up. At the low SCE rate for EV charging I haven't calculated how long adding more panels would take to pay off.
One small EV SUV that rarely gets mentioned is the Toyota RAV4 EV.
It's not the most efficient as it is a small SUV but I still get from 2.9 to 3.1 miles per KWh. This is real driving. Southern California commuting about 33 miles each way. Driving into the foothills and back ~130 miles on one charge, in traffic and at night. Down to San Diego and around town ~120 miles before recharging overnight. Cost to recharge is $0.17 per KWh at the commercial chargers (at work, hotel in San Diego, Ikea, local Carl's Jr, etc) or as low as $0.09 at home. Cost after rebates and discounts is $30K. Lease (3yr) was no money down, unlimited miles, $440/month (with tax $480) and includes maintenance. Buy at the end of lease $19K. Plenty of power, I don't use the Sport mode to get it past ~87mph. Supposedly it will exceed 100mph but I haven't tested that. Typically only use the partial charge to preserve battery life. It uses Tesla batteries and power train so it has good battery mangement. Overall works great for me.
How do you think electricity is made here in the United States (mostly fossil fuels in case you didn't know the answer). Many people think that because it's electric that no fossil fuels are used which isn't the case.
Regardless of EPAs calculated MPGe, the electricity used to power EVs is domestically made. This has two massive benefits - it reduces our dependence on foreign oil, improves our national security, AND creates jobs!
The EPA rating for the LEAF is correct and I have no beef with that since the testing technique is standard. The penalty for poor driving technique is very high in a very efficient machine, not so for an inefficient gasoline engine where only roughly 20% of the energy of the fuel is converted to traction. At the same time, there is potential to extract high efficiency with an EV as well. I have a 60 mile round trip commute and I charge only to 80% (to reduce battery degradation). I come home with around 15 mile range left. That clearly beats the EPA rated measurement (73 miles) which also assumes charging to 100%. Also, the 24kWhr capacity is not all useable (to protect the battery). Once EVs with 150 mile EPA ranges are available, there should be no range anxiety for most.
Here's another data point. The LEAF I own averages 5.2 mi/kWhr. If I were to convert to an equivalent mpg - it would be 185 mi/gallon. Compared to an ICE getting 25 mpg, my fuel cost is 1/12. I pay around 9c/kWhr with time of use metering.
My LEAF gets about 4.5 mi./kWHr. I drive it about 800 mi./mo. I pay on the high side for electricity at $0.14/kWHr. (including all the fees and taxes) because I live in San Diego. That's about $25 per month for 800 mi.
You can charge at 120 VAC if you have a 15 A circuit that is available at night. It just takes 2.5x longer to charge. That still gieves you a full charge overnight.
The new 2013 hybrid Ford Fusion has earned the boasting rights to call itself the most fuel-efficient mid-size car in the land. Its EPA score nears the Prius liftback for mpg. You can buy junk car that works flawlessly or something new. It's a reason to buy Ford vehicles, with customers able to choose the fuel-efficient powertrain that best fits their lifestyle.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.