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We'll never fight a war to fuel solar EVs

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Peder and Julie Norby's solar-charged BMW ActiveE and Honda Fit EV. [Photo Courtesy of Peder Norby]

“The only path to energy and climate security is a comprehensive energy infrastructure focused on renewable resources and improved, harmless-emission fuels.”   
--Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.), Fossil fuel dependence leaves America vulnerable

peder-norby-guestIn 2006 with the construction of our family home, my wife Julie and I began to do our share to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, much of which comes from dangerous places in the Middle East.

That’s when we started to shift to car fueling self reliance by adding solar PV to our new home. We also began our shift away from gasoline towards electricity.

Plugging into the sun
Our first electric car was a 2007 Gem e4. We really loved the Gem and put 8,000 miles on it in two years. 

The Gem e4 was restricted in range and speed and could only make our local trips on low speed roads but we began to see the potential of electric mobility and the ease, simplicity and savings of plugging a vehicle into the sun.

Why the hell are we still driving on oil?

In 2009 we began driving an all-electric BMW Mini-E. We replaced it in early 2012 with a BMW ActiveE. Shortly thereafter, we transformed our two-car household into an EV only household when we added a Honda Fit EV.

Our cost to go solar was $31,000 over two installations: $20,000 for a 4.5 kW system when we built the house in 2007 and $11,000 for a 3 kW system to power the cars in 2009.  We also did a lighting retrofit changing out 120, 50-watt halogen bulbs to 8-watt LED bulbs. 

Our total cost for the solar PV and our lighting retrofit was $33,5000. That cost was paid in full around March of this year with the savings from our utility bill and our gasoline bill.

Never go to war over sunshine
Today, we are essentially living and driving on free sunshine.

In the prior five years with one electric car and our household electric use, we generated the same amount of electricity as we used and thus received a small Time of Use (TOU) credit from our utility (our utility bill currently sits at a $350 credit balance.)

This year with the addition of the Honda Fit EV we will use an additional 4,000 kWh of electricity. That means after driving two all-electric cars for more than 33,000 miles total and also covering the rest of our home electric use we will have a utility bill at the end of the year of just $600.

Electric cars are simply better to drive than their gas counterparts.

They're cheaper to drive, and, if driven on electricity generated by renewables, they're 100 percent non-polluting. They're also faster, quieter, and, perhaps most important, we will never go to war over sunshine. We will never need to endure the loss of an American life, or any life, or suffer a single war-time American casualty with cars driven on 100-percent local American generated sunshine.

Why the hell are we still driving on oil?

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 and Julie Norby's Electric BMW, ActiveE Blog.

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