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Comment Re:Fixed costs & whining (Score 1) 462

The power train and batteries are made by Bosch. It is a proper car and fun to drive to boot.

The range is not great, but Fiat offers free rentals at major agencies for three years for long trips.

As a daily driver for the average commute it is totally sufficient (and saves the owner money, considering the incentives in place)

Comment Re:Backfire (Score 1) 462

If you do get an electric car make sure you have the ability to add a 240V outlet/connection at your home so you can fast charge in your driveway/parking spot.

I bought a portable power connection unit and fast charge at home, work and in-laws.

Public charging stations use multiple payment systems and are often occupied.

BTW, welcome to the Golden State, it's a great place to live, in spite of the nay-sayers.

Comment Re:He'll have his work cut out for him (Score 4, Interesting) 462

Fellow 500e owner here. Seconded your opinion in all points.

As I wrote in another comment in this thread, I actually did the math, and based on my driving needs cost-wise the 500e is a net savings (including cost of the car) for me (compared to the car I was driving when I decided on the 500e) over five years.

Plus, it is fun to drive. This is subjective, of course.

It's clearly not for everyone and every situation, and even though Fiat offers free rentals at major agencies for those longer trips, I am glad that we have a second (ICE) car in the family.

Comment Re:Raise the Price (Score 3, Interesting) 462

The price difference is $15350

You forget the government incentives. $2,500 from the State of California; $7,500 from the federal government and $2,000 from FIAT themselves.

The effective difference is is then $3,350.

I actually did my homework, and the result was that for my old car (Audi A4, 25 mpg avg.) at 4.29-4.49 per gallon (Premium Fuel) the savings with the FIAT 500e for my daily commute were such that with the incentives, the rest of the car cost amortizes in about 5 years.

Plus the car is fun to drive.

Comment Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (Score 1) 398

So I have a 30-35 mile one-way commute in the greater LA area with a mix of freeway and surface streets and I opted for an all-electric Fiat 500e with an 88 mile range. It works well as a daily driver, plus it is fun to drive due to great torque at 0 rpm. No need to accelerate slowly on the on-ramp

Electric vehicles are actually best in stop-and-go situations which is why I altered my commute to include a bit more surface street (incidentally this also allows for completing errands on the way to or from work in a more time efficient manner). This bit of detour via surface streets adds maybe 10 min to my drive and allows me to arrive home after a full roundtrip with no recharge with more than 25% charge left.

However: I admittedly do have an advantage to most people as my work has a 30A 240V outlet close to the parking lot that I can plug my portable charging station into (a Level 2 device); this will top me up in 1.5 hours, i.e. I leave work with a full charge, thus massively increasing the vehicles utility on the way home.

For me the electric vehicle was a simple cost-benefit calculation. With government subsides and incentives, it will have cost the same to purchase as the gas powered version and operating costs are significantly lower. Based on my commute and my previous car, I estimate that in 5 years I will have saved enough money in gas and maintenance vs electricity to fully pay for the vehicle (in compariosn to have kept my current car)

We do have a second gas-powered vehicle and Fiat gave me 12 free rental days at major rental car companies for free for 3 years, so that covers longer trips.

As others have said, I think for many people in urban environment an electric commuter car could work, for more rural place snot so much.

The biggest issue will be charging when you need to if you don't own your home or have to streetpark. I happen to be lucky enough to be able to charge at 240V at home, work and at various family in the area.

Public charging stations are hit and miss, many different payment systems (I am a member of 3) and often occupied (by vehicles charging or ICE vehicles blocking the spot) and sometimes non-functional. Literally, YMMV. It works for me.


4-Billion-Pixel Panorama View From Curiosity Rover 101

SternisheFan points out that there is a great new panorama made from shots from the Curiosity Rover. "Sweep your gaze around Gale Crater on Mars, where NASA's Curiosity rover is currently exploring, with this 4-billion-pixel panorama stitched together from 295 images. ...The entire image stretches 90,000 by 45,000 pixels and uses pictures taken by the rover's two MastCams. The best way to enjoy it is to go into fullscreen mode and slowly soak up the scenery — from the distant high edges of the crater to the enormous and looming Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual destination."

Comment Not surprising (Score 4, Interesting) 529

I am glad that the background for the decision is coming to light after all the vitriol.

Having managed a (partially) telecommuting workforce before, nothing is more frustrating than not being able to reach people or get answers in a timely manner.

It really depends on the combination of management, tasks, and individuals to make telecommuting work.

In my personal case, admittedly, we had insufficient procedure for measuring progress to ensure equal productivity through telecommuting, and people were quick to take advantage of that (yes, I am admitting management failure here) This was not in an IT-related field but a more traditional business field.

Comment Why does it look like there is no gravity? (Score 1) 206

The shadow gives the impression that the flag is still in its unfurled state (like on the photo from the landing).

Since there is gravity on the Moon, wouldn't the fabric have come down to hang close to the pole, i.e. just like it would on a calm day on Earth?

But it's obviously difficult to tell what one is looking at exactly.

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