Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wine-ing about the Mini-E, Randy Travis and classic cars.

What a great August weekend in Mini-E #183.

It began Thursday with the Encinitas Classic Car Show produced by the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association. About 400 classic cars lined Historic Hwy 101, among those cars were four Mini-E’s and a Tesla.

Dr. Robert Wilder brought his “Sun Color” Tesla with the Solar powered plate frame, Liz brought her Mini-E with the plate “SANSGHG” I brought #183 with the plate “SUNGAS” and the city of Encinitas brought their two Mini-E’s. Dozens if not hundreds of folks stopped by to marvel and inquire about these cars and the meaning of their plates. It was a great night to talk about electric cars as well as share with fellow EV drivers our passion for changing the motive power world.

Friday Evening, my wife Julie, surprised me with an early birthday present. We drove #183 from Carlsbad to Valley Center to have dinner and then off to a Randy Travis Concert. 10th row right in the center, Randy was a great preformer and singer and it was a great concert. #183 drove 76 miles there and back, we arrived home with about 30 miles left on the odo.

Saturday we crushed grapes with friends and made a little grape juice!

Sunday we visited fellow winegrowers and friends in Ramona. The round trip was 83 miles, I assured Julie that the Mini-E could make it no problems, although I was a bit apprehensive because we would be climbing a few thousand feet on our way out there.

We stopped for breakfast in downtown Ramona and the Mini-E drew quite a crowd of folks as they waited for a table to open.

It was a great day with good friends as we walked the vineyards and discussed preparations for the upcoming harvest. We arrived safely back home with an astonishing 35 miles left on the odo and just over 30% on the range indicator.

Both trips were back country twisty roads mostly between 45mph and 60 mph. Perfect territory for the Mini-E!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

3000 mile service for #183

The odo triped over 3000 miles today which prompted an email to Irvine Mini for a service. They emailed back and said a "flying doc" would be there on Tuesday so the 25th it is.

I have had 3000 of the most fun miles of my driving history. Still no ticket but I have another 10 months or so to go and I know it's coming.

just one little problem so far and that is the air conditioner. at around 2500 miles it degraded to about 10% of it's cooling. All in all, one of my most trouble free cars yet.

The Mini-E has replaced 98% of my trips, the exception is the once every two or three month drive to Paso Robles our points north and east. I would gladly rent a car for those few times a year when I vacation with the car.

We have found that when we are home, the Mini-E is always the option, before it was sometimes my car sometimes her car, now it's always the Mini-E . My previous miles per month was around 1000 and with the Mini-E it is 1500+.

So far so good, zero emissions driving on sunshine.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

$0.45 cents a gallon of fuel.

Just a little fun on the cost of electricity.

Assuming you will be driving the next 25 years on electricity and that the car you are driving in gets 3 to 4 miles per KWH. the cost of solar fuel works out to an equivilant of $0.45 a gallon fixed over 25 years for most of North America. Sorry cold weater folks in the northern most states

To purchase a solar P.V. system to power an electric car cost the same as purchasing fuel for 3.5 to 5 years at $3.50 a gallon.

Any guesses on what gas will be in 25 years? my guess is in the $15 a gallon range, assuming the Chinese and the Indians get busy consuming.

We installed our fuel station last week to augment our existing home power plant. The result is a 7.5kw P.V. system that provides 12,000kwh annually.

The home uses 8000kwh, and the Gem-e4 and Mini-E use about 3700kwh to drive 12,000 miles on an annual basis. Daily that works out to 22kwh for the home and 10kwh for the car.

Sunpower has a neat app for the IPhone and our website to follow the production. I'm working with SDG&E to get their smart meter smarter so that I can also follow my consumption.

Click here to view the real time production of the system

Don't know what my next car will be after the Mini-E, but I know it will have a cord on it!

Operating cost can be just as expensive as purchashing cost.

Renewable clean energy + the electric car reduces operating cost and magnifies the enviromental strenths of the electric car.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Future "Gas" Station

Pictured is Mini-E #183 “Sungas,” and 6 Sunpower 230W Solar Panels.

If we can still use the term "horsepower," we can still use the term “gas station,” although energy station would be a much better description.

I am very excited to be driving an electric car, what I am even more excited about is the potential in the future for many or most Americans to be able to generate their own “gas” at home via wind or solar.

Our future as a country is a zero emission energy source, zero emission homes and a zero emission transportation fleet, a clean energy future that is both wealth generating and less polluting than refined crude oil or natural gas.

Here’s what that future looks like.

These six Sunpower solar panels provide the energy required to drive my electric car 12,000 miles a year.

These six solar panels will replace 12,000 gallons of gas during the next 25 years of driving, and will continue producing energy beyond the 25 year warranty period.

These six panels will provide a total fixed cost of “Gas” of 50 cents a gallon for the next 25 years with no escalation in price.

These six panels cost the same as 3.5 years of purchasing gas for your car.

These six panels produce no emissions generating electricity, those 12,000 gallons of refined crude oil, generate emissions from the extraction, transport, refining and delivery of the gas.

These six panels sitting on an existing roof, silently manufacture and convey electricity to the car in the garage 50 feet away.

Those 12,000 gallons of refined crude oil, from the ground are conveyed from thousands of miles away, the pipeline to carry it to the port, to carry it to the tanker, to carry it across oceans to the refinery, to carry it to the fuel truck, to carry it to the station, to carry it to the pump, to carry it to a car. A conveyance system of several thousand miles, a conveyance system of our planet to our next generation that is more polluted, more toxic and more barren of natural resources.

After 2500 miles of driving Mini-E #183, 70% freeway, 30% city, the car is averaging 3.5 miles per kwh. My annual driving is approximately 12,000 miles which will require 3425Kwh of energy.

These six panels total a 1.38 kw solar p.v. system. This size system generates 2200 kwh of energy per year. This generation during the peak period (32cents kwh) would equal the cost for the 4400kw off peak charging (16cents kwh) greatly exceeding the annual usage of the electric car.

Solar charging provides the additional benefits of generation at peak times, thus reducing the need of costly peaker plants, and charging in the middle of the night when electricity is still being generated in existing power plants, but is wasted because it is not used or stored.

Imagine if “Sun Gas” could be the fuel of the future for our homes and cars. It can be, it is and it’s great.

Living and driving on sunshine.