Home editor's blog on EV + PV

on EV + PV

Does using solar offset to 'fuel' an electric car make it a zero air pollution car - or is that lying?

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Is it misleading for me to put a bumper sticker on my 2014 Nissan LEAF, which is primarily charged via solar-offset electricity, that states the car is a Zero Air Pollution vehicle? [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editors-blog-entry3Yes, I know, the headline for this entry is pretty charged, and, I will say, right up front, I don't think solar-charged driving is a lie.

However I do concede that after more than five years of promoting solar-charged driving on this web site and more than one year of doing EV + PV myself, I still feel uncomfortable with the fact that most of my "solar-charged" driving is in fact, technically speaking, "solar-offset-charged" driving.

That is, I charge my 2014 Nissan LEAF mostly at night, when the sun isn't shining, though, on weekends I try to make a point of plugging my EV in as much as I can during the day.

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I'm driving an electric car nearly for free

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Driving a solar-charged electric car means you save money -- and it's also patriotic. After all, you're fueling your car with 100 percent domestic solar sunshine generated electricity.

editors-blog-entry3Would you like to drive for free?

I bet you would. And I bet you're not coming anywhere close, unless you don't drive but walk, bike, or take public transportation, or a combination thereof, and/or you subscribe to some sort of car sharing plan -- all of which I strongly support.

I'm not driving my 2014 Nissan LEAF SV for free, but I'm coming pretty close by taking advantage of what I will call the EV + PV Free Ride.

Across my two-year lease (which includes 12,000 miles per year), I will pay a total of $10,000 to Nissan to drive my LEAF. But that's not what my out-of-pocket costs will actually amount to. They will be half that.

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When the Nissan LEAF is your ONLY car

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The Nissan LEAF has between 70 and 100 miles of range, depending on weather conditions, speed, etc.

editors-blog-entry3I did not plan on having an all-electric Nissan LEAF as my ONLY car. But that's the situation I've got now -- and had for the past four months thanks to a marriage separation that happened in the beginning of August.

(I apologize for the caps on "ONLY" -- sort of. I bet 90 percent, maybe even 95 percent of LEAF owners have a second gas/EREV/PHEV car as their long-distance vehicle, meaning my situation is highly unusual. Note to Nissan: You should keep track of stats on who's driving a LEAF as a second car, or an only car.)

My wife took our lone gas car, a 2014 Subaru Forester, with her back in August, and I have our 2014 Nissan LEAF, which I've been leasing since March.

No doubt, for most people, including me, having a second gas car in the household, or better yet, an EREV such as a Volt (having one BEV and one EREV, both fueled by home solar generated electricity was my dream, but not my wife's) is a preferable situation to trying to go solely with a full electric vehicle -- unless you've got the money for a Tesla Model S.

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Solar-charged Nissan LEAF an 'inspiration'

leaf noteSometimes when you do the right thing -- like power an electric car with sunshine, something I've been doing for about 10 months -- you get recognition for doing so.

editors-blog-entry3The handwritten note in the picture to the right was placed on the windshield of my 2014 Nissan LEAF this morning. My LEAF has the vanity plate, 'SOLPWRD'. Here's what the note says -->

'SOLPWRD -- I love your car + that it's solar powered! Inspirational! :-) I want one!'

Yup, this little gesture of kindness, definitely made my day :-).

Anyone else out there have stories similar to this one? If so, please share them in the comments field below.

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Running our electric car on sun in Colorado

solar-charging-station-boulder

That's our 2014 Nissan LEAF plugged in to a solar EV charging station in Boulder, Colo. -- with the custom plates SOLPWRD.

Took a trip from Aurora, Colo. to Boulder, Colo. today in our 2014 solar-charged Nissan LEAF -- and racked up 114 Sun Miles in the process. That's the most I've driven in the LEAF -- which we've had about 2 months -- on a single day.

editors-blog-entry3Plugged into a solar-charging station (check out the photo at right, which is a postcard perfect one for the joys and wonders of Driving on Sunshine) in Boulder briefly to make sure I had enough charge to get back home. 

Yes, you can Run Your Car on Sun, completely emissions free, have fun in the process, and save money as well. If you calculate 30 m.p.g. and $4 per gallon as the point of comparison, we've saved more than $300 worth of gas while zooming around in our zippy solar-charged LEAF SV for about 2,400 miles so far.

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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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