Sierra Club’s Mr. Green calls out EV enthusiasts

mr-green-pageeditors-blog-entry3It’s time for Sierra Club Magazine’s “Mr. Green” to get a clue on EVs and who’s buying them.

In case you need some context — and if you’re not a Sierra Club member or magazine subscriber, you probably do — Sierra Club Magazine runs a regular question and answer feature called “Ask Mr. Green.”

Penned by Bob Schildgen, the Q&A column features a variety of questions about the environmental impact of everything from plastic bottles and prescription drugs to – you guessed it – the environmental pros and cons of EVs.

EVs and local grid mix
In the March/April 2012 issue of Sierra Club Magazine, “Mr. Green” fields a question from “Stan in Carson City, Nevada” about where you can find out what the grid mix is where you live. He ultimately points readers to the EPA’s Power Profiler at [You can also check out SolarChargedDriving.Com’s three stories that focus EVs, renewable and grid mix in the 50 U.S. states. ]

“Mr. Green” starts off fairly reasonably in his answer, noting, in the second paragraph of his four-paragraph response, that there are “big regional variations” in terms of grid mix. For example, he points out that in his California corner of the world just 7.6% of electricity is generated by burning coal.

He also suggests that readers check into whether they can ask their utility about buying electricity generated by renewable sources.

Mr. Green criticizes EV owners
However, for some reason “Mr. Green” can’t resist taking a pot shot at EVs and EV aficionados in the last paragraph of his answer. Here it is –>

leaf-windmills“If EV fans’ zeal for clean power ever starts to match their religious devotion to their cars, they might quickly push utilities and politicians toward saner energy sources.”

Say what?

While I don’t have the hard numbers to prove it, and, as far as I know, no one does, because, sadly no one has yet done a comprehensive, generalizable survey of EV owners and their views on renewable energy – I’d say “Mr. Green” is way off base.

Gas cars can’t run on renewables
A significant percentage of early EV adopters are in fact driven to “go EV” by the fact that EVs — in sharp contrast to gasoline cars — can be run 100 percent on renewable energy.

Here’s a bit of anecdotal evidence for Mr. Green that’s he’s wrong to criticize EV buffs for not caring enough about renewable energy:

  • The existence of this web site – and many others like it (SunPoweredEVs.Com, KenClifton.Com, CelticSolar.BlogSpot.Com, Peder Norby’s Solar-Charged MINI E web site, etc.) SolarChargedDriving.Com’s been on the web for 2 ½ years and we’ve have had more than 60,000 unique visitors in that time – though we’re guessing that “Mr. Green” hasn’t been one of them, at least not yet ;-).
  • The results of three ongoing polls we run at SolarChargedDriving.Com, our “Solar-Charged Census,” which shows nearly 200 people are already solar-charging an EV, or soon will be, another poll, about “EVs and renewable energy,” which shows 92% of the 60 people who’ve responded find the renewable energy + EV connection matters “a lot” to them, and, finally, an ongoing poll about the best reason to solar-charge an EV, which shows 33% of 274 respondents find environmental reasons the best reason to solar-charge an EV (fueling independence is No. 1, with 43% of the vote)
  • The results of a poll posted on which asks “What will be the source of electricity for your LEAF?”, which show 59% of nearly 250 respondents indicating either “solar” or “green power from a utility”.
  • The growing interest among solar companies in EVs in the U.S., an interest we’ve highlighted several times on our pages;
  • The quickening rate at which solar-EV charging stations are popping up in the U.S. and other places, in particular, Germany.

Mr. Green ignoring the evidence?
Yes, we know all we’ve got is anecdotal evidence of strong interest among significant percentages of EV owners and proponents in renewable energy, but it’s evidence nonetheless, and, apparently, it’s evidence that for whatever reason(s) “Mr. Green” appears to prefer to ignore.

I honestly think Bob prefers greater fuel efficiency for gas cars over 100-percent, renewable energy fueled EVs, perhaps because he thinks EV + renewables is still a pipe dream.

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E-memo to “Mr. Green” – EVs + renewable energy are not a pipe dream!

You, I, and tens of thousands of others could go out right now, put solar panels on our home (we’ve already done this) or buy green power from our utility, replace a gasoline stinker with an EV (we haven’t been able to do this yet, unfortunately), and run our cars on domestically, locally produced green energy.

In fact, what is stopping “Mr. Green” from putting up solar panels on his own house and plugging an EV or PHEV directly into the sun, or even just buying a plug-in and plugging it into the grid – remember, only 7.6% of the electricity “Mr. Green” gets in his home is produced by coal — I honestly do not know.

Bob, why haven’t you bought a plug-in yet?

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