Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MINI-E #250 Is Now Truly a Zero Emission Vehicle

My new solar electric system is up and running so I'm now "charging on sunshine" as some of the others in the MINI-E trial lease program that have a PV system like to say. My system will generate enough electricity to charge my car plus provide about 90% of my home electricity needs. I know of three others that have a MINI-E and a solar array at their home. Peder Norby drives MINI-E #183 in California, Don Young drives #364 in New York as does Gordon Miller with  #217. There are probably more since many that are involved in the MINI-E program are definitely "energy conscious" individuals.

I'm still getting familiar with the system but one of the great features that SunPower, the system I went with, offers is online monitoring. It's a really cool feature that allows you to access your systems production from any computer. It gives you real time production figures and you can look at the daily, monthly and yearly production from the system so you know exactly how much electricity it has produced. I will soon have an link on this blog for anyone that wants to see these figures (as soon as I figure out how to). Maybe Peder can help me with that as he had it set up on his MINI-E blog since he has a Sunpower system also.

Finally, I can now say the car is really a zero emission vehicle(or at least as close as you can get). One of the arguments that electric car detractors always use(because they have little else to fight with) is that electric cars that charge off the grid aren't zero emission vehicles because the power plants that provide the electric burn coal and other things so electric cars are no better than gasoline burning cars are. This is called the "long tailpipe" argument whereas the electric cars tailpipe stretches all the way to the electric producing power plant. There is some truth to that argument and we need to find alternative ways to produce cleaner, renewable energies. However, the pollution generated from drilling for oil, transporting it across the world, refining it and then transporting it to gas stations where you have to drive your car there to refuel, then have carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter constantly spew from the rear of your car everywhere you drive, is much worst than the impact from driving an EV that is charged from a coal burning power plant no matter how you look at it.

Plus, you CAN generate your own electricity from a clean, renewable source. Which is something you can never say about gasoline.


  1. Tom, congratulations.

    Breathtakenly beautiful. What a gorgous installation, car and home. Your solar company did a great job.

    The photo of the home and car should be submitted to all the popular science and car mags there are as well as BMW and Sunpower.

    Quite frankly it should be on the front page of every newspaper in America as this is the future period.

    Our system was integrated into the architecture as our home was built with the system in mind, so the only decent shot we can get is from the rooftop.

    On the monitoring, when your system portal is up and running you will find out that the link only last for two weeks or so. Ask them for a kiosk link for your system so that you may display it on your website and they will send you a link that never expires that you can place on your blog/website. You can do this through the feedback button on your portal or through the sunpower website.

    Still, after two years and 13k on the Mini-E, I occasionally bust out in spontanious laughter as I drive down the freeway at 80mph and realize I am driving on sunshine. It's a great feeling. Iknow there are a few rav4 drivers that also power their home car in part or whole with solar.

    We should try to asseble a list of those that do. I bet there are fewer that 25 of us accross the county today and that would make a neat list as one day there will be miliions.

    Cheers nad have a great ride on sunshine!


  2. Thanks Peder. You were definitely one of my inspirations to do it. Seeing you charge #183 on sunlight kinda made me jealous! I agree with getting a list together, I wonder if Plug in America could help, they must know a few RAV4 drivers that have solar also.

    It hasn't quite sunk in yet for me but I'm sure I'll get that same great feeling when I'm driving as you describe.

  3. That's just great Tom. It is really inspiring

  4. We could completely eliminate the need to build more powerplants if more people did this. The up front costs are just to high for many people. Why don't the utilities themselves install them on willing peoples homes? They could keep the srec monies until the system is paid for