Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where do You Want Your Personal Transportation Energy To Come From?

  This is a question I ask people frequently when we are discussing the future of electric vehicles.

Do you want to give him your money?
You can continue to buy gasoline, and send about 70 cents of every dollar you spend on it out of the US. That's right, about 70 cents of every dollar you spend on gasoline leaves the US economy. It's true not all of it goes to the radical Middle Eastern countries you hear me crowing about. Actually, Canada is our biggest supplier of oil and they are far from radical and threatening to the US. However, I don't want ANY of my money going to regimes that hate us and funnel some of that money to sponsor terror groups.

EV + PV is a great combo!
After a hundred years of having no choice but to use gasoline, we finally will have a choice. You, as a consumer will have the power to decide for yourself what kind of fuel you want to use for your personal transportation. One of the most satisfying things about driving an electric car and having a solar array is knowing that I produce my own energy for my car. It's something that you would probably never think about unless you had an EV and a solar array, but it's really liberating. We have all become so conditioned to think that when you need fuel for your car you go to a gas station. It can't be that bad, everybody does it right? Well, if you think that sending a billion dollars every day out of the US economy isn't that bad then yeah, I guess it's not that bad.

I'd rather he get my money than OPEC
Even if you don't use solar electric to charge your EV, using domestic electricity is cheaper, cleaner and it keeps every penny of what you spend on electricity here in the US. Your money goes to the coal, natural gas or renewable energy supplier that supplies the fuel to the power plants. It goes to the power plants that employ local workers, and it goes to your local utility that again employs local workers.

Just about every major auto maker is currently working on electric cars that they will be selling in the near future. The first BMW EV to be sold will be the 2013 BMW i3 which is what the MINI-E program was designed to gather information for. There are already cars like the Tesla Roadster, the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt on the market that can completely eliminate your need to purchase gasoline or in the case of the volt, drastically reduce it.

Today's electric cars are basically the first generation production EV's and will have some limitations like range and charge time so they will not work for everyone, just yet. However a good percentage of Americans could live perfectly fine with a 100 mile BEV as one of the household cars and I suspect many will embrace the opportunity to buy a car that can be powered either the sun or a domestic energy source. At least we finally now have a choice.


  1. Hi Tom,

    Nice article; I completely agree. Here are two points that might make your argument even stronger:

    1. You are correct that we buy most of our oil from Canada. But, it doesn't matter who we buy it from, because oil is a global commodity. No matter where we buy it, we raise the global price, so OPEC countries get more money. And they get more according to the percentage of the total they provide, not the percentage we buy from them. OPEC countries control 75% of all proven reserves.

    2. 60% of households have multiple cars AND a garage. As you said, no reason they can't have at least one EV--and it will be their first car, not their second. But even for those with only one car...get a serial hybrid, like a Volt. Most of your driving will be electric, but it works exactly like a gas car for long trips. Other than availability, there is no reason for anybody to wait to go electric.

  2. There are many reasons to buy an electric car and this is just one of them. I good reason by itself though

  3. Great points Chad! I definitely agree about the EV becoming the primary vehicle, that is how it works in my multi-car household. My MINI-E does 70 to 80% of our household driving.

  4. Yes Chad, the two-car household, which makes up the majority of households in the U.S., is the amazingly over-looked reality that so many so-called auto industry analysts fail to take into account when making projections about EVs and/or dissing them.

    In fact, the two-car household is a big reason all the prognosticators who say EVs won't take off, or will grow as slowly as hybrids have in the U.S., are wrong.

    The other big reason the pundits will be wrong and plug-ins will grow way faster than hybrids is made clear by Tom's well-written column: People are fed up with America's addiction to (foreign) oil.

    A hybrid doesn't get you off of oil. A plug-in does. That's a HUGE difference, as Tom points out here.

    And there are a lot of folks out there like Tom who want to come as close as they can to ditching oil 100 percent -- a helluva lot more than pundits seem to think.

  5. As you point out at the very least we can choose if we want gas or electric to run our cars. I think the e-cars need to be competitively priced to be considered as alternatives also. If only wealthy people can afford them we will not be able to accurately gauge how the public really accepts them. If they are too expensive and nobody buys them the industry will say: see we told you nobody wanted them and go back to gas only.