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Today, I made the trip into my office in my new-to-me Clarity PHEV. This was my second trip into the office since getting the car, but my first trip since getting the Level 2 charger and the first one where I was able to keep the car 100% in EV mode for the round trip. (My prior trip, the car shifted itself into HV mode for a bit. Internet searching indicates that it was probably because I had used the regenerative braking paddle too early in my commute.)

The level 2 charger tells me how much electric I use when charging the car, and comparing its read out to the spike in hourly electric use when charging as read on our home's electric meter with hourly reporting, it looks right enough and is definitely "close enough to be useful".

Using Google Maps, the route I took to work this morning was 20.7 miles, and the route I took home was 19.9 miles, for a total round trip of 40.6 miles. Per my Clarity's computer's estimates, I had 50.7 miles of electric range when starting the round trip and 4.9 miles of electric range when finishing it, for a use of 45.8 miles of car computer calculated range.

On both legs of the round trip, I had the car's air conditioning running, the car's GPS navigation running, the car's radio running, and my cell phone plugged in to the car's primary charging port. On the trip to work, I just had the daytime running lights on, but on the trip home, I had the headlights on, too. Traffic was light, and around 18 miles of each direction of the trip is on the highway, where today I traveled at highway speeds with the flow of traffic.

The charger finished refilling the battery, and it indicates that it used 12.04 kwh to recharge the car to full range. At $0.08 per kwh, that's $0.9632 in energy costs for the round trip or about $0.0237 per mile in electric fuel costs. It also works out to 3.372 miles per kwh or around 29.655 kwh per 100 miles. At $2.00 per gallon of gasoline, it's the cost equivalent of burning 0.4819 gallons of gasoline. Put that along with the Google Maps mileage and it works out to an estimated calculation of a fuel cost equivalent of a gas powered car getting around 84.25 miles per gallon.

I expect the car and commute to be less efficient in the winter with the heater running, and I may not be able to make the round trip in winter purely on electric power, but based on what we've seen from the car's performance in Hybrid Vehicle mode, I suspect it'll still consume far less in fuel cost overall than the 2003 Accord I had been driving. I also don't have a good feel for what the energy use profile will be when making that commute in heavier traffic. The car computer's calculated range tends to post higher estimated electric range numbers after charging up after local trips than after highway trips, which leads me to believe the energy use has the potential of being less if travelling at slower speeds. Still, I'd rather travel at highway speeds with the flow of traffic than spend another 45 minutes round trip in a traffic-snarled commute to save a few pennies of fuel cost.

Discovery/HR Home Fool
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