with gas at 4 bucks a gallon...

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by David Gretzmier, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    at 22000 miles per year, my average over the last two years, I am spending over 6 grand per year on fuel at 14 miles per gallon average. so...

    I am thinking about plans for an electric hybrid boxvan. 70mph top speed, 40-50 batteries, 125 mile range on electric, 14 foot box. has electric motor mounted aft of transmission, so while transmission is in neutral and engine is running all accassories and a/c, the electric motor can propel the van. If you run out of battery power and need more range, the transmission can be in drive and use the engine.

    I saw a newer Dodge Ram that was built like this on ebay, and with 12 batteries he was getting over 50mpg in mixed driving with a 40-75 mile range on battery only. he used the gas quite a bit above 40mph. he said he spent about 6 grand on the conversion, so i am looking to double that or so for more battery power, plus 4 grand or so for the donor used truck.

    The tough trick is the batteries. The GOOD ones that have a 2000 recharge cycle are crazy expensive lithiums. to properly outfit the boxvan, the battery pack would be almost 25,000 bucks alone. but it would last 10-12 years. so 2500 per year for batteries eats up alot of savings. going with optima cells gets you closer to 6000 bucks for your pack, but they may only last 500 recharges, or 2-3 years, so again, 2-3 grand per year for batteries. Nickle metal hydride is smack in the middle. I'm thinking optima.

    the cost of electricity per mile is around 3-4 cents, so 600-700 bucks per year to recharge. plus i still want my a/c, power brakes and steering, plus the ability to take a trip beyond 125miles , so I'm still burning some gas.

    what do you guys think? does gas have to be 5 bucks, 6 bucks before this makes sense? or ever?
  2. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    I just (Tuesday) traded my truck for a crossover SUV and will save quite a bit of money on gas every week. Even though my payments went up $200 a month because no one will give squat for trade in on trucks now, I will still be saving money. I still have my two other trucks which are used for installation and maintenance and will look into replacing them at some point in the future. I still need a vehicle that can haul all of those ladders though.
  3. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 6,463

    Save your money, hybrids are not the answer, those batteries cost a fortune! Keep what you have, or the diesel version of those vans get almost 30 mpg, and wont cost you near as much, and will last 300k. yeh i now diesel prices are high, but it still is better then hybrid or gas counter parts.

    Think stuff out before anyone one of you trades your "gas gussler"...the hit your going to take will not be made up with your new vehicle that will probably cost more. besides your customers should be paying for your fuel.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Paul what did you get ? We are pretty happy with Ashleys CRV cross over. Drives super nice and we can averages 27mpg.... 31 if we drive real easy on it.

    Be careful about pouring that much money into battery technology right now. I think the technology will vastly improve with all the pressure on engineers to save fuel. Honda is close at hand on the fuel cell as well.

    It would take you 6 years or so (assuming fuel remains about the same lol so lets say 5 yrs) to recoup your investment and that is also under the asumption you do not have to make any repairs to it.

    I think you would see better savings in buying something like a prius or civic hybrid for times where you only need to go make an estimate or sales call and your day to day errands.
  5. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    I raised my prices, it doesn't make sense for us to keep making less. I never adjusted for the rise in copper prices, the cost of wire, fixtures, etc. It won't be long before everyone passes it on to us. NOBODY has said anything about my current prices other than to ask me if gas prices are affecting me. I tell them, 'yes, I just raised my prices.' I believe that if you are in front of the right customer, and your prices are fair, price is not the issue. I couldn't give up my Geekstr mobile anyways! :cool2: I am currently paying 4.50 a gallon and I expect gas to 5.50-6.00 by end of summer.
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I dunno Tommy I think more than a couple of us could picture you on a moped with old fashioned WW1 sytle aviator goggles and leather aviator hat. :laugh:
  7. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    a sprinter would save me 3 grand a year with gas at 4 bucks a gallon. at 5 bucks for gas and 6 for diesel, around 4 grand per year. it is close to being a purchase for me.

    The electric saves way more on fuel, but the batteries could cost 2 grand per year average for replacement, and also the technological nightmare of who can fix it when it breaks, so the electric is a WAY bigger gamble of 15 grand or so. but fun to think about.

    There is a guy on an electric car website that converted his S-10 chevy to electric. he put on a bed cover with solar panels he bought at harbor freight tool. he drives 26 miles to work, and in 8 hours the batteries are fully charged back up. he drives home, and they charge enough to get him to work the next day. he only plugs in on rainy and winter nights. he drives, for free, most of the time. he has 12 or 14 batteries I think.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    26 miles with no load and no towing is far from what we do. I still dont see why we cant build an electric truck or van with solar panels and a small gas or diesel generator. I got a 6kw gas gen that eats about half a gallon an hour at half load and .75 gallons an hour at heavy load.
  9. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Ya know... If he shaved wouldnt that look like Nate ? Always original.

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