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March 30, 2020 home charging

Home Charging While In Self-Isolation

Home charging has been on the minds of many since self-isolation has been put into place. With so many now working from home, the methods of charging have changed. It used to be simple. When you were done driving for the day, you would put your car in the garage, plug it in and let it sit overnight. Now that fewer cars are being utilized and many have been sitting in one place for extended periods of time, we have put together a shortlist of optimal charging methods in order to ensure your car battery life maintains its performance.

Keeping Regular Battery Charged

While almost all standard EV’s get their power from the massive battery underneath the car, the regular components such as the radio and other electronics still require a 12-volt battery. This battery requires the same maintenance that standard ICE cars and trucks use. In order to maintain optimal performance, it is a good idea to keep the car running. Once a day, simply take the car for a spin. This doesn’t require you to get out of the car (maybe if you are ordering take-out). Daily drives around the block will ensure the battery remains charged.

Do Not Over Charge

Overcharging can be one of the most harmful things you can do to an EV. Much like your cell-phone, leaving it plugged into a charger for longer than required will often put a strain on the battery. Also much like a cell phone, these batteries are lithium-ion. This is the exact same battery that a cell phone uses and will overheat and tire out over time if not properly cared for. Most car companies will tell you that an 80% charge is the optimal capacity. Any higher and your battery will slowly lose its effective range.

Keep Car In Cool Area

Ever get into your car on a hot day and realize you left your cell phone in it? The battery life can be sapped extensively. The same thing will happen to your car if you leave it sitting in the sun too long. This might not be the case for a lot of places, but in places like Los Angeles where “Hot and Sunny” dominates the weather forecast, keeping it in the garage is the most optimal idea. These same practices go out to those who live in colder temperatures. Avoid fast charging while temperatures are below freezing. The best way is to keep your car in a relatively temperature-controlled environment.

Home Charging Sweet Spot

The most optimal way to continue the high performance of your EV is “slow and low”. This means that avoiding fast-charging stations and charging your car at home is the best method. Don’t drive your car all the way down to zero and fast charge it all the way up to 100. The best sweet spot for charging is from 25% to 75% using standard overnight charging systems like the one in your house. This, on top of keeping it in a room-temperature environment, will maintain the performance of your EV for years to come.

All of these steps can be regulated while working from home. Before and after work can be the best time to check on your vehicle while you are staying inside safe and sound. This allows you to take the time to better care for your vehicle under the right circumstances.

March 9, 2020 electric cars

Electric Cars and The Future of The Industry

Electric cars are here to stay. With many companies rolling out their first generation of EVs, consumers are more than willing to make the switch. With many speculations as to how the industry will ebb-and-flow, consumers are interested in the changing automotive game.

Electric Cars Require Less Maintenance

Oil changes, fuel line repairs, and many other factors will inherently decline as many move away from standard combustion engines. Fewer moving parts equals fewer variables in the motor of a car. Basic Maintenence for vehicles will decrease, which can also mean that your local Jiffy Lube might take a hit with their employment. For those that stay to see the electric car market in full force, will adapt to the new and emerging trends.

Lower to Null Emissions

Emissions standards will be a thing of the past. With many states enforcing stricter emissions standards, many have already felt the noose tighten on their standard combustion vehicle. By offering an alternative in the form of tax deductions for electric vehicles, many have been able to put their old gas-powered vehicles up on the used market, and have put the down payment on a new Tesla.

Gen-1 Release of Electric Cars

Many of the big named automotive manufacturers have stepped up their electric endeavors to provide consumers with their first line of EVs. As we have yet to see many of these hit the roads, most companies are confident in the standards set by pioneering companies like Toyota and Tesla. GM, who had developed the world’s first electric car, has been hard at work reinventing not only the car but the electric motor itself. The company plans to be a major competitor to the Tesla line. Introducing 10 new electric vehicles to the market by 2021. The company has proven that owning an umbrella of the world’s leading vehicles can produce some large-scale results.

Electric Truck Market

One of the largest deterrents of the EV industry is the power output. Where most electric cars have been produced to look like toys, truck owners have been steered away. This is a legitimate excuse for not making the switch. I mean, cmon, you aren’t going to roll up to the job site with a Nissan Leaf full of lumber, are you? No. Thus, the development of tougher, longer-lasting, and harder pushing vehicle shave seen their debut. The Tesla Cybertruck, albeit goofy and angular, showed the world what electric energy can do against a standard F-150. Now, the demonstration pitted the Cybertruck in a towing match against an F-150 which isn’t the strong point of the truck as its a “hauler” and not a towing vehicle, but the idea still remains. Electric energy can boast some power.

For those in the truck department who don’t want to shell out big bucks for an impractical looking vehicle, GM has also released its efforts into its HUMMER program. The HUMMER EV outclasses the Cybertruck in almost every possible way. So for someone who is looking for all the benefits of electric in the size of a pickup, this one might just be for you. There is now a Hummer making a turn onto electric avenue says a lot about power speculation.

The Industry Is Making Strides

Over the course of a few years, the industry has made massive strides. From commuter vehicles to pickups, electric has moved into every avenue. This major flex has proven that electric is here to stay. Every year, auto manufacturers will be developing performance technology to suit market needs. Now, if only we can get used market speculation.

The efforts put forth are what dictates the rest of the industry.

February 17, 2020 electric vehicles

Electric Vehicles: Hurdles Facing Industry

Electric vehicles are becoming the spearhead for future forms of transportation. With many taking to the streets, what are some of the issues that face this industry?

Emerging Has Been Slow

Although sales for new Tesla models have proven substantially successful. The futurist has had some issues with emerging. This hasn’t been the overall case for most electronic vehicles. While most other manufacturers are rolling out fully electric vehicles for the upcoming year, many are wondering if this first year will provide numbers in the green.

The Cost Of Electric Vehicles is a Deterrent

As it currently stands, many of the electric vehicles rolling out for this year are pricey. Most industry shifts have shown, these first years will be imperative for many auto manufacturers. As it stands now, vehicles like the Tesla Model S are designed for upper-middle-class and higher income brackets. These new cars are priced relatively adjacent to that of luxury vehicles, the idea for many non-affluent consumers remains out of their reach.

The Used Car Industry Will Shift

As of right now, the used car industry hasn’t seen an influx in pre-owned electric cars. The industry is so new that those who have an EV are content with keeping it for as long as possible. This industry is important when talking about the future of automobiles due to their importance as a second-hand seller. The automotive industry leans extensively on used cars due to their cost. As there will always be more used cars purchased than new, it will take time before we see the EV hit the used market.

Another issue to note is the reliability and durability of the future EV market. If consumers currently see a Tesla Model 3 or even an S on the used market list, this is an instant turn-off. A car hitting the used list this early on is typically an indicator of bad things, but this might not be the case. The Tesla series have proven themselves to be effective, and there might be other factors involved with looking at a used EV. Let’s take a look.

The Battery Life

The battery life of most EV’s right now is solid. Like traditional methods, it depends on how you drive your vehicle. If you are a lead-foot on the gas pedal, then your kw/h will be far lower. This can impact the time a driver has to get from place to place. If they are not within the range of a charging station, then they must plan ahead accordingly. It hasn’t reached the point of “I can get gas whenever I want” or even the time of filling up itself means you need to schedule some time to accomplish the task.

The Battery Sustainability

Understanding how much life an engine or car has on it can be easily calculated by how many miles it has. With electric vehicles, the issue stems from what we don’t know. As consumers, we typically wait for the stats to show, with the automotive industry any new leap-or bound has been corrected in the post-engineering phase. When one problem arrises for a certain make or model, the focus for that model is an improvement. Batteries for EV’s will be the same. Once the amount of lifespan a battery has is determined, then we can have a better idea as to how second hand-electronic cars will price-out.

Electric Vehicles Have Far Fewer Parts = Far Less Maintenance

An EV with high miles only means that the battery will likely lose charge faster. It often will not sustain the appropriate amount of power that a user can rely on. This will show in a used vehicle price tag.

Helping to Boost The Electronic Vehicle Industry

Many countries have found comfort in knowing the future of automobiles will be all-electric. Norway is one of the first with a plan to switch over to an all-electric market by 2025. The plan is to simply stop the sales of petroleum-based vehicles by this time. The downside for this is that many who own vehicles that run petrol will see a surge in gas prices. It will put consumers between a rock and a hard place. The first being that their petrol prices will skyrocket, the second is that in order to maintain a basic living, they will need to dish out tons of money for fuel or dish out tons of money upfront for a new EV.

This can cause issues as many who take out loans due to insufficient funds will likely bounce their vehicle payment. On top of that, many will have to wait until there is a used car market for them. Once that happens, you will still see many moving away from purchasing an EV.

Other countries have put a more distant time for the full switch. Iceland, Ireland, and Isreal have set their sights on 2030. This gives time for many who have already purchased a used car approximately 10 years before they hit the used market. This gives more people time and more time for the economy and industry to make the necessary switch.

It Will Take Time for The Electric Vehicles Industry To Move Over

Where some countries like Norway want to be the first to fully switch, many can see the implication in damaging the automotive industry. A quick transition could lead to not as many consumers looking to switch. This will push many into positions where they are not financially accessible.

January 27, 2020 school bus homes

School Bus Homes: Life On The Road

The school bus conversion corner has been increasing over the past decade. Hundreds of people are giving up their 9-5 day jobs to experience life on the road.

A Lot Of People Have Money: I Didn’t

Back home in New Hampshire, the winter dominates approximately 6-months out of the year. The rest of the time, it’s either fall (which is cold) or Spring(which is cold and rainy), there wasn’t much to do between those times other than work, so I did. I had one stable full-time job, and I filled the rest of my time with part-time work here and there. By the end of everything, I had saved up enough to purchase a bus flat-out. For about 5 Grand, I was able to purchase a 2005 GMC bus with 75k in miles. I got away with a steal, but for others, they might not be as lucky. From there, it was another 6-months of straight working to save up the necessities to complete the process. In total, I spent about $7,500 to make my bus “livable”

You see people online who have done similar conversions, they had full-time higher-paying jobs than what I had, so they make the whole process seem easy. In truth, it’s not. There is a lot of time working between three jobs in order to get your bus moving. These people saved up cause they could, where I didn’t have much. I just had what I had, my hard work and my determination.

School Bus Homes: Basics Go Farther

In my home, I had a space for my bed (full-sized), a sink, a couch, and a mini-fridge. That was it and that’s all I needed. The rest of the bus was accommodated for storage space. Everything electronic was powered by the solar panels that I had installed (once I had the money). Being able to predominantly survive on your own without the accommodations of electricity all the time got tiresome. Sometimes you need to charge your phone, laptop, or anything else that connects you to possible work while on the road, in which case having a consistent power supply (other than the battery) comes in extremely handy. Other than that, it was the bare necessities.

When I sat down and said “my bus is ready to live in”, I had a resheathed floor, my bed was on wood posts that my neighbor had laying around and enough to live off of. It wasn’t the prettiest, but it was accommodating and comfortable. That was all I needed.

The Gas is a Stab

Oh boy, your home is now home (to some extent) and you’re ready to drive around. My first couple of quests outside of my driveway were to music festivals in the local area. I hadn’t driven my bus for more than an hour before the reality of how expensive gas consumption was going to be for my new mobile home. I made it a point to use my bus as a go-to festival camping mecca. Only using it to go between the local music festivals, it became a staple for all my friends. They could easily tell where they were in adjacency to my bus, but man, that gas price was rough.

They Provide Awesome Sanctuary for Friends

I would have friends whose tents got stolen, it rained, or anything else that would prevent them from sleeping come to my bus for a brief sanctuary. It felt great to be able to provide a living space for so many wanderers. If you were part of the group, you had to make a pilgrimage to my bus. Many would swing through hang out for a minute to get out of the sun (or rain) and come chill, get comfortable, take a nap, or anything else.

The First Big Adventure

When the time felt right and my bus was in a little better shape than just the basic necessities, I decided to make a trip out to a festival in New York. The trip was 6-hours and on the way there, no problems. On the way back, however, I had a small mishap. My alternator died. I was able to get my bus off the highway and pull it over onto a side road. From there I Uber my way to the local auto parts store and found a new alternator for the bus. I then took an uber back to my bus and swapped it out.

The process took a significant amount of time, and being on the side of the road doesn’t necessarily help, but after, my bus was back up to shape. School bus homes can be like that sometimes. Which is why it’s a good idea to have a lifetime warranty on whatever parts you buy.

It Doesn’t Need to Be One Big Purchase

If you look up tutorials on Youtube, you’ll find that most people had the income to do this right off the bat. The reality is nobody has the capital to just up and do something like that. it takes time. School bus homes aren’t built by the wealthy, if you were wealthy, you’d have a camper, or an RV, but not a school bus. The fun comes from building your own home the way that you would want it. It will always be a “work in progress” and you should feel accomplished after completing every task. Every addition acts to build the foundation of your home.

January 4, 2020 sprinter van

Sprinter Van: New Generations Home

The sprinter van has been a focal point for many with the traveler’s itch. A small and inexpensive starter for many young travelers, the van can provide all the amenities for livable space.

The Solo Tour

Purchasing large cargo vans and converting them to living space was huge in the 60’s and ’70s. Well, they’ve made a comeback. Thousands of young adults are taking their homes on the road with them, seeing new sites and experiencing new adventures. The travel lifestyle can be done in many ways and vans can provide enough space for a single individual.

Traveling By Sprinter Van: Then and Now

In the ’60s and ’70s counter culture was in full swing. Many would live in vans to tour with famous acts like the Grateful Dead, and many other psychedelic-era bands. Communities would be built on the road. Today, with technology and many other available assets, traveling can be done by a single individual. Replace the snazzy shag rug carpet for a hardwood floor and you have a small house. The high-top sprinter allows for many avenues for storage.

Storage

I have converted a multitude of Skoolies and sprinter vans. The key component to creating an effective and adequate living situation is storage. Under your bed, under the sink, creating a few spaces on the ceiling are all parts to add storage. The more storage, the better. Just don’t overpack yourself or else you’ll weigh down the van.

Sprinter Van Weight

Make sure that you are providing adequate storage for the essentials. If you plan for more than what you need, then you will find that your van is weighed down. This will drastically increase the wear and tear of the vehicle as well as affect your gas mileage. Pots and pans, clothes, first aid kids, and essential foods will go a long way in a sprinter van.

Conversion Corners

The sprinter van conversion essentially makes the van your house, so you need to be careful in the conversion process. Taking your time is one of the most important parts when starting this project. We get it, the traveler’s itch needs to be scratched, but it might be costly if you rush things too quickly. Be careful and be calm. There is a whole world to explore and waiting for the right part will only help you explore it further.

December 11, 2019 skoolie

The Skoolie: New Nomads

The Skoolie the new take-off for many young adventurers looking to see the world. The ability to live on the road presents an exploration and life-style changes.

Why Convert a Skoolie?

Since the inception of the “tiny-home,” and an increasing price of the housing market, many are finding new and better ways to live their lives. Prior to the early 2000’s, many who had the itch to travel were often confronted by the difficult task of travel finances, securing a short-lived job that paid enough to continue traveling and, most importantly, finding a place to live. Thus, the skoolie has caught the attention of many new travelers. Turning a school bus into a liveable home provides the opportunity to travel while still maintaining a base of operations.

Converting A School Bus

Converting a school bus is easier than you think. Sure, it requires the time and manpower, but once you have the initial living space, the rest comes with time. Finding the right bus can be a hassle, so here are a few steps!

Finding The Right Bus

Remember, your bus is your new home, so you must treat it as such. Find a bus with lower mileage and little rust. It can be pretty easy to find these in older models. School buses are designed different, as well.For $6K I was able to find a 2005 GMC short bus with 75,000 miles. This bus can easily hit the 300k mile mark with basic maintenance.

All Replacement Parts Should Have A Lifetime Warranty

If something goes wrong, you want it to be covered. In my experience, my starter died. I had to go to the store, find a new one and replace it. I made sure I bought a starter with a lifetime warranty in case of any emergencies. This went for the battery, the starting coil and spark plugs as well.

Stripping The Seats Out

You’re going to need an angle grinder for this. Make sure you have googles too. Each seat has numerous bolts that you must grind off and the rip out. The process can be time-consuming, but fun if the right music and people are involved. My luck had me working with my downstairs neighbor who enjoys heavy metal. It was pretty exciting to have sparks flying everywhere while Slayer was blasting in the background.

Removing Wheelchair Lift

The lift is important to any short bus, but be careful. That thing is anywhere between 400-500 pounds so you will need a helping hand in order to remove it. If you can remove it without damage, you can sell it for anywhere between $300-$400. That can be used to put back into the work of your truck.

Removing The Floor

There are multiple layers through the floor of a school bus. Many are designed to withstand the weight of many bodies, so using a solid crowbar and buzz saw will be your best bet. The entire process can be tiresome, so having more people, the better. Again, I had my neighbor. We blast heavy metal and ripped that floor right out of there.

Skoolie Foam Insulation

Unscrewing the panels from the ceiling and the side of the bus was the most time-consuming part of my experience. There are THOUSANDS, and each one needs to be removed in order to take a single panel off. Once those are down, you can then insulate. Spray foam is the best form of insulation due to its high density and elemental resistance. Once it’s installed, come the task of putting the panels back on. OR you can add wood paneling to give your bus the “home” feeling.

Re Sheathing the Floor

Once everything is taken out, you have to work on putting the new stuff in. Having a completely resheathed floor will help with the new installation of hardwood, or carpet, depending on what you want your home to be.

From There, You Can Design It!

Designing your Skoolie is the next step, we installed cabinets, a granite countertop and we even found a small cast-iron woodstove. We build a bed frame and installed it in the back. The woodstove was installed with a vent leading out one of the windows. The water heating for the bus was wrapped around the vent to create optimum heating and comfort.

A Skoolie Is A Constant Work In Progress

Like any home, you will find ways to improve upon what you have built. Sometimes this includes ripping old parts out and installing something new. It is okay to do that and you should want to do that at any time if you are going to turn a bus into your home.

November 15, 2019

Do I Need Insurance to Ship My Vehicle?

The short answer: No. You do not need to have your own auto shipping insurance to ship a vehicle. In fact, the United States Department of Transportation legally requires all auto shipping companies to provide liability insurance for each vehicle that is shipped. However, it should be noted that this only applies to transport companies, and not brokers. This means, if a broker contracts with a shipper, then the broker does not need to have auto shipping insurance.

Furthermore, cars that are shipped rarely report any damages. Still, insurance is important, nonetheless. Even if the vehicle is being delivered, insurance guarantees your sanity, and peace of mind.

Auto Shipping Insurance Requirements

As previously mentioned, every lawfully authorized auto transport company will provide liability insurance. They are required to have an MC (Motor Carrier) number as well. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they offer cargo insurance too.

Is it enough?

That all depends on you. While the amount of insurance fulfilled by the shipper will suffice, you may feel that it isn’t enough for your vehicle type. It is important that you are comfortable with the coverage offered. Also, understanding the exact terms of the insurance policy provided is critical as well. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to let your own insurance company know that you are shipping your vehicle.

Insurance Claims

Lastly, once the vehicle has been delivered, look for damages. If you are unable to accept the vehicle, then assign someone the task of assessing the vehicle for any damages on your behalf. If, by chance, the vehicle was damaged while in transit, record it on the “Bill of Lading” and have the driver sign before taking the vehicle. Pictures are also a good way to document damages. Nevertheless, contact the shipping and insurance company if damages are present.

Do you think the auto shipping company’s insurance is enough? Comment below.
October 1, 2019 truck driving tips

Autumn Truck Driving Tips

As the seasons change, so should the way drivers navigate the roads. So, we’ve put together a few truck driving tips to help truckers transition from summer driving to trucking in the fall.

While it may seem like an easy transition, some truckers, especially rookie drivers will quickly learn of the many road challenges presented with the change in weather. Particularly those who haven’t yet experienced a “true winter.” Here are our top five truck driving tips to keep you safe this fall season and through the winter.

#1. Familiarize Yourself with the Area

Knowledge is power! The more you know about the area you are set to haul in, the better. This way you can prepare yourself ahead of time. While it might be cold in one region, it could be hot in another. Be aware of climate-related issues too. For instance, fall weather in California may be pleasant, while states in the Midwest could already be receiving snowfall. Two different regions which require different planning.

#2. Rest Properly

This goes without saying, but we’re saying it anyway…get proper sleep! While this tip rings true, no matter the season, keep in mind that Daylight Savings could impact a driver’s sleep pattern. Therefore, it’s important for truckers to establish a new sleep schedule as the weather and time changes.

#3. Use the Right Equipment

Furthermore, your truck should be outfitted with the right set of tools to combat various weather conditions. In addition, items like space heaters, advanced GPS systems, and weather-related mobile apps also come in handy.

#4. Be Mindful of Increased Traffic

Moreover, truck drivers should know that this time of year brings increased traffic. Therefore, truckers must operate to the best of their capability. Apart from this, a great driver also understands that he or she is not the only one on the road, and they need to navigate as so.

#5. Pay Attention to The Signs

Lastly, warning signs are there for a reason. With the autumn season comes piles of leaves on the road. They are one of the greatest hazards. Because leaves scatter, they tend to hide important markers, such as turn lanes, highway dividers, and double yellow lines, so it is important to pay close attention to the signals. Not to mention, leaves are also a slippery hazard come rainfall. So, be careful!

Got any other helpful autumn truck driving tips? Share below.
August 28, 2019 hot shot loads

Hot Shot Loads: Worth It?

Driving hot shot loads is one of the simpler ways to start your own trucking company. The reason being is, the cost of equipment is much lower. Where big rigs are costly, hot shot loads typically consist of sprinter vans, straight trucks, 4×4 pickups with goosenecks, and other smaller vehicles. Additionally, hot shot truckers haul lighter loads, therefore lighter equipment is used.

The Advantages

Moreover, when determining whether hot shot trucking is right for you, the advantages must be considered. In particular, it can save you money. As you may already know, obtaining a CDL can be expensive. Training schools and CDL fees can amount over $5,000. However, there are still many hot shot carriers that hold a CDL as well.

Furthermore, smaller freight that needs to be moved quickly can fit onto a removable gooseneck or in a box truck. This alone appeals to many businesses. Additionally, most hot shot loads come from construction and oil field industries where equipment needs to be transported quickly.

Keep in Mind

On the other hand, while it’s less of a hassle and much cheaper to operate a hot shot trucking company, it’s also less profitable. One of the drawbacks of hot shot loads is that they don’t pay as high as other flatbed loads.

At the same time, if you’re going to cross state lines, then you’re going to also need an MC number. Therefore, while the cost of equipment is low, startup expenses, such as obtaining your operating authority, and the likes are the same. In addition, you will also have to ensure the proper insurance coverage for your vehicle. Also, if you choose to transport across state lines, then you will need to file IFTA fuel taxes as well.  

Any hot shot truckers? What has your experience been like? Comment below.
July 23, 2019

Survival Advice for New Truck Drivers

There are many obstacles that come with being a new truck driver. The days are long. The territory is unfamiliar. And, let’s face it, the road can get lonely too. So, here is a bit of advice for new drivers to help make your first six months on the road a lot easier to bear,
#1: Relax!

Sure, it sounds simple, and easier said than done. But the truth of the matter is, challenges will come up, and panicking won’t solve them. There’s also a chance you will get lost. A lot. However, stressing out will only make matters worse. Simply pull over, take a breath, and figure out where you went wrong. It might just be an easy mistake. If not, call the shipper for directions. Furthermore, if you have a CB Radio, call out to a local driver for help. More importantly, relax and regroup.

#2: Sleep is Your Friend

So, get plenty of it! Whenever you have time, rest. Power naps are good too. A little rest is better than none. When the sleep overpowers you, pull over in a safe place and get out and take a walk. A good stretch will help get the blood flowing. Try not to overload on too much caffeine or energy drinks. There is a difference between being awake and staying alert. If you need to pull over and rest, do so. If this causes you to be late, call the company. Being late is better than getting into an accident, or worse.

#3: Communication is Key

Furthermore, as a new driver you will quickly learn that things don’t always go as planned. Loading times may take longer, traffic may slow you down, or your tires might blow. The possibilities are endless. So, communication is important when on the road. Keep your cool, be honest, and let your company know what’s going on. But, don’t complain! Be as professional and develop good relationships too.

What is some advice or survival tips you can give to new truckers? Comment below.
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