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Benjamin Oakes

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Hi, I'm Ben Oakes and this is my geek blog. Currently, I'm a Ruby/JavaScript Developer at Liaison. Previously, I was a Developer at Continuity and Hedgeye, a Research Assistant in the Early Social Cognition Lab at Yale University and a student at the University of Iowa. I also organize, ICRuby, OpenHack Iowa City, and previously organized NewHaven.rb. I have an amazing wife named Danielle Oakes.

Face This Prospect: The End of Electric Car Incentives

by Ben

Plug-in vehicle sales un the US hit an all-time record of 159,000 units in 2016. That’s encouraging, but we are still in early days with EVs representing less than 1 percent of the new car market. It’s hard to know if the upward trend will continue, especially considering the many unpredictable factors, most notably gas prices. But what unfortunately seems very likely in the coming years is a systematic attempt to reverse incentives and other legislation that supports cleaner transportation.

Source: Face This Prospect: The End of Electric Car Incentives

2017 Best Green Car To Buy nominee: Toyota Prius Prime

by Ben


The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is a far, far better plug-in hybrid than its predecessor. It defaults to electric-only operation, it has 25 miles of EPA-rated electric range, and in electric operation, it is by far the most energy-efficient vehicle you can buy this year in the U.S. And when it reverts to running as a standard hybrid car, it’s rated at 54 mpg combined.

Source: Green Car Reports 2017 Best Car To Buy nominee: Toyota Prius Prime

While the Prius Prime still isn’t out yet (and might not arrive in Iowa for quite a while), it deserves serious consideration if you’re considering a Prius. The original plug-in Prius basically only got 6 electric miles, while this one gets 25 EV miles, costs less, and looks better. We’re still very happy with our 2nd generation Chevy Volt, don’t get me wrong: since purchasing, we have done a 71 mile trip only using electricity and are averaging about 65 mpg on longer highway trips, while not paying a ton more than the Prius Prime will eventually cost when it becomes available for purchase in the Midwest. Regardless of that, I would definitely encourage anyone considering a Prius to opt for the Prius Prime. If you do, you’ll be a part of helping drive demand for the public charging infrastructure, something that any EV driver will appreciate. Thank goodness that Toyota seems interested in selling a lot of these.

2017 Chevy Bolt EV electric car: 238-mile EPA range rating, 119 MPGe combined

by Ben

It will be the first mass-priced electric car with a range of 200 miles or more, and it will go on sale a year before the much-vaunted Tesla Model 3. […] Moreover, it’s the highest range of any electric car sold to date that doesn’t have a Tesla badge on it.

Source: 2017 Chevy Bolt EV electric car: 238-mile EPA range rating, 119 MPGe combined

For comparison, the 2017 Chevy Volt has a rated 53-mile EV range (about a 440-mile EV plus gas range) and 106 MPGe combined.  The Bolt doesn’t quite make sense for driving across Iowa, but given some time for the charging infrastructure to develop and the range to increase a little more… Well, it will be interesting to see what the situation is in a few years. Until then, plug-in hybrids like the Volt make a lot of sense.

Electric cars gaining ground in Iowa

by Ben

 Iowa license plate, 100% electric badge

CEDAR RAPIDS – When Gary Scott arrives for work each morning at Schneider Electric in Cedar Rapids, he plugs his 2012 Nissan Leaf into one of two charging stations in the company’s parking lot.

Source: Electric cars gaining ground in Iowa

A little strange that they don’t count the Chevy Volt or other plugins in the discussion, but this is still good news, nonetheless.

Report: VW told it must make electric cars in US

by Ben

German car maker could also be told to help develop network of charging stations.

Source: Report: VW told it must make electric cars in US