Living Sustainably
in the shadow of climate change

March 2015
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Solar powered driving
Filed under: Electric Vehilces, Our Chevy Volt
Posted by: Guy @ 9:28 pm

My wife and I are very concious of the energy we use to operate the Volt and try to keep our trips within the 40+ mile EV range whenever possible.  We have also become very aware that charging the Volt from our solar panels only really works on sunny days.  On cloudy or overcast days we often do not generate enough power to run our home, much less charge the vehicle, so we’re paying the utility 13 cent/kWh to charge it up.  Being committed to a low carbon footprint we prefer to charge from solar.  Now that we have passed the summer solstice our available solar energy is declining too.  I am lobbying my wife to approve installing more solar panels on the house before the end of the year.  So far fiscal prudence has sway!

2 Responses to “Solar powered driving”

  1. Andhika Says:
    I would like to purchase an elcteric car, however I’m still skeptical of the cost/benefit. It is not enough to be just environmentally friendly. The business case has to close, and there are many variables. If all cars were like the Volt, what would the effect be to the grid as a system? How will moving to this type of car effect the taxation system that currently is based on fuel taxes? There are so many questions like this? If coal is the fuel to generate the elctericity, does the carbon footprint merely get transferred to another source so that a car’s’ footprint remains the same? Are we all being fooled by the fact the there is no free lunch with energy costs.Is the Volt built in American by American’s? Does this really matter anymore? Why is this better than mass transit? $41K is a lot of money for a car, even with a rebate! Th
  2. Guy Says:
    Andhika, One can noodle around with all the pros and cons and debate the cost/benefit, but ultimately electric vehicles are one of many solutions to the global issue of Climate Change - when applied correctly. Certainly no-one expects all cars to be like the Volt, and we will have to shift our electric infrastructure further toward renewables for it to make sense to go in that direction. I have made the choice to charge our car without using fossil fuel, and that is one option, albeit an expensive one. The Volt is absolutely built by Americans! I watched the first ones rolling through the Detroit production line! This matters to me a lot, we need to keep those jobs in the USA. Mass transit is a viable alternative to electric vehicles, but no so much out here in rural Maine. This is where the Volt works really well for us as there are no mass transit options out here. Sure it’s an expensive car, but it’s SO MUCH FUN to drive! :)