solarev-vs-gas-costs2Most of us are going to be driving for about 50 years. I have been driving for 33 years and plan on driving another 30, hopefully in all electric BMWs. peder-norby-guestAbove is a flow graph I put together that shows the basic flow of energy and cost for gasoline and for solar electricity. This is the true “cost of fuel” for driving during those 50 years.

The graph is simple to understand. It does not include external cost such as the protection of oil, propping up oil supplying countries, clean up of oil, environmental or healthcare cost, nor does it include the cost of grid electricity at night when an electric car normally charges. Electricity at night is generally cheaper and of lesser value than the electricity provided by solar during the peak hours.

Nor does the graph include the price of the cars themselves. A reasonable argument can be made for both the gasoline car and the electric car as to which one will be cheaper to own and maintain for the next 50 years. I’m betting on the electric car 🙂

ActiveE ‘awesome’
There is no question that electric driving in the BMW ActiveE is awesome. We much prefer the smooth trouble free, instant torque, nearly silent driving of electric over gasoline any day. In our household the ActiveE and its 100 mile range fit perfectly.

After nearly 40,000 miles in both the ActiveE and the Mini-E during the past three years, we can definitively say that in our two-car car household, there has not been one single time the electric car has been any different than if it were a gas car. We simply do not have range anxiety, we do not drive over 100 miles at a time, and we love the major cost savings of driving electric.

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In most cases, with utility supplied energy, the cost to drive electric will be one-quarter to one-third the cost of driving with gasoline. So, for an average driver whospends $200 a month on gasoline, the electricity cost would be $50 to $75 per month, a savings of more than $100 per month. However, savings can vary according to utility rates which can vary widely.

EV + PV = The full story
We invested in solar PV nearly five years ago when building our home. Today, our system is paid in full using only the gasoline and utility energy savings during those five years. This is the story I want to share with you. The electric car is half the story. Solar energy is the other half of this great EV + PV combo.

In most of the U.S. a 2 kW system will generate 3,000 kWh annually. Here in Southern California a 2 kW system generates 3,400 kWh per year and costs about $7,500. At 4 miles per kWh, 3, 000 kWh = 12,000 miles of electric driving. The BMW Active E is managing 3.7 miles per kWh, while the BMW i3 is expected to deliver a range considerably above 4 miles per kWh.

Peder Norby is a long-time solar-charged driver from Carlsbad, Calif. SolarChargedDriving.Com would like to thank him for allowing us to re-publish this column, which originally ran on Peder’s Electric BMW, ActiveE Blog.

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