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About 15 years ago, I had my first experience of driving an all-electric car, and, although that one was a home-made conversion of an old Honda, and lacking some important controls, I non-the-less understood immediately that driving with electricity would be infinitely less polluting, destructive and expensive than driving with gasoline, diesel or corn ethanol.
After yearning for some 15 years to drive electric, I finally found my dream car. On February 20, 2013 (the 34th anniversary of my home burning down) I became the immensely happy owner of a brandnew Nissan LEAF SL. Truly, it drove and looked way beyond my wildest dreams, and with a range of more than 100 miles on a full charge, and with supremely easy and low-cost overnight recharge in a regular 120-volt household socket, and getting 4.4 miles per kWh, and more, I have been totally in love with my gorgeous, spacious, zippy, totally reliable LEAF – Me’Valentine. Here she is sipping juice from the gigantic PV array at Cronig’s Market.
It has a very normal price, around $21-28,000, after tax deduction, and then, it costs about 80% less to drive than with gasoline – literally: driving an all-electric car costs about 4.5 cents/mile, compared with 16 cents/mile with gasoline, not including the cost of oil, filter, exhaust system etc etc – realistically, this costs more like 24 cent/mile. 200 moving parts vs 2000 – just imagine the difference.
My LEAF is getting 4.4 – 4.5 miles per kWh – thus, to drive a normal 10,000 miles/year requires roughly 2300 kWh/year. Guess how many square feet of PV panels is required for generating 2300 kWh/year with only solar power, in this often cloudy region. How many guessed what?? The answer: Only about 130 sq.ft. (1 sq.ft. PV can make 18 kWh/year). Let’s say 250 sq.ft. for good measure to provide reliable power for driving 10,000 miles/year, including during winter with far less sun. 250 sq.ft – that’s an area of about 20×12 feet, perfect size for a garage roof. And 2-car garage can accommodate enough PV panels to power 2 cars, each driving 10,000 miles/year. Compare that with what it takes to produce and use the 400 gallons of gasoline to drive 10,000 miles/year – try to imagine the vast difference between these two methods – the pollution, destruction, carbon footprint, wars, insecurity, cost. These are facts, not just theory or false rumors. I find it STUNNING that solar and PV can produce such enormous amounts of power. And I find it equally stunning that so very few know about these facts.
With a 30-year loan at 3%, for the PV system, the cost of driving goes down to about 90% less than with gas, and co2 emissions reduce by 100%! As they say: It’s a NoBrainer.
The 7.6 kilowatt PV system on this little garage/apartment is nowadays capable of producing 13,000 kWh annually (in often cloudy New England!) – plenty enough to power 2 Nissan LEAF cars and the entire household with all appliances and electronics. The numbers on this drawing are way outdated because, over the years, PV has gotten so much more efficient and so much more cost-effective!