This year has been the best yet for electric car fans. Those of us who love solar want to use that solar in our cars to displace gasoline, and the best way to do that is solar PV charging up ELECTRIC VEHICLES (EVs). Or wind power charging up EVs. And fortunately, this year, Big Auto companies are bringing some great products to market. Now everyone, not just mechanics who build their own, can drive an EV.
Chevy Volt with their plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) has led the way. Several local DC area folks have been tooling around in their Volts and even brought them to the EV drag and autocross races sponsored by some of the same people who help put on the Solar Tour. See www.powerofdc.com for pictures and all the action.
The Volt can go about 40 miles on batteries using electricity from the wall socket, at a cost of 75 cents per gallon equivalent, before the batteries are depleted and the Volt reverts to 36 mpg hybrid mode, just like a Prius, using gasoline to drive as far as you want.
However, if you charge up your Volt every 40 miles or less, you never run out of juice and you can go zillions of miles before you have used any gasoline at all. Local owners have reported going 2,000 miles and using only 6 gallons of gasoline. That’s 333 miles per gallon! WOW ! Buy a Volt and beat that!
Nissan’s LEAF is a very slick all electric, 5-seat vehicle with a 100 mile all electric range, but no gasoline motor to back it up. I drove one as did other members of my family at the Nissan ride and drive expo. It is great, very quiet, quick, and smooth. Who could ask for a better vehicle? The only potential drawback is the range, but you should know that the average commute is well under that 100-mile range.
And with more and more public EV charging spots opening up all around our area, and across the country, range should not be a concern. Visit www.plugshare.com to volunteer your driveway as an alternative EV charging spot with 110 voltage, to reassure those who are concerned about range that they have “family” around to back them up!
There are lots of other PHEVs [Fisker Karma] and EVs [Smart Fortwo, Ford Focus] coming to market very soon. Follow the action at www.evadc.org, the local chapter for EV boosters! Like me. [2011 Western MD Solar Tour]