Editor's blog

picture of a messy desk and computer screenFew things are more satisfying and rewarding than writing about something about which you are passionate. For me, the environment is one of the things for which I have the greatest passion. As a father of two young girls, and, more generally, as a member of global humanity, I believe there is nothing more important than ensuring that our planet is a livable place for its incredible array of organisms for as long as possible. Few things are more crucial to making sure this occurs than a truly massive shift from fossil -- and finite -- fuels to renewable, clean forms of energy like solar.

Hamburg, Germany slowly plugging into EVs

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A Nissan LEAF taxi in Hamburg, Germany. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editors-blog-entry3I'm spending the year in Hamburg, Germany with my family -- hence, the relative lack of new entries on SolarChargedDriving.Com.

We're carless here, actually! So, I can't write from first-hand experience about an EV, or even having a solar system (we're living in a pretty tiny apartment in Hamburg, in a building that does not have solar on it).

But that doesn't mean that I'm not paying attention to solar and EVs here in the global king of solar. I've seen a ton of solar here, especially outside of the city of Hamburg on farmhouses, warehouses, etc. But we don't get out of the city too much -- probably should, though ;-)

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Stealing the Sun Miles® thunder in Colorado

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Jenny fuels her Ford C-Max plug-in with solar-generated electricity at the Aurora, Colo. home of SolarChargedDriving.Com founder Christof Demont-Heinrich. Jenny and her partner Michael are the first residents in the home -- which has had a 5.59 kW solar system for more than three years -- to tap the home's solar-generated electricity to power an EV.

editors-blog-entry3So, okay, how's this for more than a little bit of irony: Almost exactly four years ago I founded SolarChargedDriving.Com with the full intention of plugging an EV into home solar as soon as possible at our Aurora, Colo. home.

Now, someone other than ourselves, in this case  tenants who are renting our sunny Colorado home (notwithstanding the week of rain last week, Colorado really IS sunny) while my family and I spend a year in, ahem, not-very-sunny-at-all Hamburg, Germany, has become the first person to plug into solar-charged driving at the home of SolarChargedDriving.Com.

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Home solar PV + EV = solar-charged driving

volt-solar-home-photoeditors-blog-entry3I’m not sure of the original source of the photo/infographic to the right – the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association posted it to its Facebook page.

But the source doesn’t really matter as much as the content (still, a big pat on the back to the person who created it – and who owns the solar-charged Volt). The content clearly illustrates how home solar + a plug-in vehicle such as a Chevy Volt produces a unique fueling and electric storage situation, or really, equation.

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After 21 years, goodbye to my Acura

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Not many people buy a car new, and hold on to it for 21 years. I did -- before selling my Acura Integra officially today, Mon. July 15, 2013. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editors-blog-entry31992 ACURA INTEGRA: SOLD FOR $1,600. TODAY. JULY 15, 2013.

Okay, I know I already said I was looking forward to a car-less year in Germany. But I have to admit to feeling a bit wistful after selling my 1992 Acura Integra about an hour ago. I bought my Integra new 21 1/2 years ago on a cool April day in Nashua, New Hampshire, for about $15,000. Sold it tonight for $1,600.

I'll miss you car. You carried me through so many different life stages, from mid-20s bachelorhood to mid-40s fatherhood, and to so many different places, from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to Colorado and Wyoming and all the Northeastern/Midwestern states in between. I, and, eventually, my wife Christine, drove you 168,000 miles across two decades of time.

Live well -- and enjoy your new digs in Breckenridge, Colo. where the new owner, Eric E., says he'll be driving you regularly to fishing spots in the mountains.

 

Living a year without a car

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On July 21, we're headed to Germany for a full year -- which means I'll be selling the 1992 Acura Integra that I've owned for 21 years! We'll be 100 percent car-less for the 12 months we're in Germany. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editors-blog-entry3So, we're going to Germany for a year on July 21 (it takes a ton of work to get things in order for a family of four to do this; hence, the lack of posts to SolarChargedDriving.Com lately). And -- get this -- we'll be living a full year without a car.

A lot of our friends and neighbors here in suburban Aurora, Colo. look at us like we have two heads when we tell them this. So, too, do many of our relatives, many of whom live in other surbubanized areas elsewhere in the United States.

You see, they can't grasp life without a car, or, probably two cars -- which is the American average.

And who can blame them? Large swaths of America, including pretty much all of Aurora, Colo., a suburb of Denver of well over 300,000 people, are built entirely around the automobile.

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