BMW i3 Driving to Net Zero Energy – Powered By Sunshine – Month 11 Update
Month 11, Harvesting America’s New “Gasoline”
Ubiquitous, equally available to all, zero emission, zero cost, powerful enough to provide the energy for all the cars in the country, and it will last forever. The only question is….
Will you harvest it?
There’s a popular phrase that says, “As goes California, so goes the rest of the nation” Perhaps a bit boastful, but in the automotive context; the pressures, regulations and trends, the forces that will shape the future of transportation in America, it rings absolutely true.
While most Americans only know of Solar PV as way to offset their home or business utility bill, Californian’s increasingly are becoming acutely aware that Solar PV’s highest and best use is as a transportation fuel.
Californians are harvesting sunshine to replace gasoline.
Solar PV is spreading faster than gasoline on fire…
According to the Center for Sustainable Energy and it’s last EV owners survey, 39% of California’s 125,000 plug in drivers (based on respondents to the survey) are making their own fuel on the rooftops and backyards of their homes with solar energy. Surprisingly, the percentage of solar PV + EV combos over the years is growing not shrinking as more and more capable EV’s and PHEV’s come onto the market, and solar PV becomes more affordable and more attainable.
With an electric car, you can make your own fuel. Try making and refining gasoline on your rooftop and let me know how that works for you. I’d love to see a picture.
*Editor’s Note: This post appears on Peder’s blog. Check it out here.
Californian’s know that sunshine is a transportation fuel.
A fuel that when harvested is 1/10th the cost of gasoline, a fuel that when paired with an electric vehicle eliminates the largest source of emissions that American cities face. In many cities, emissions from gasoline and diesel powered transportation contribute to over 50% of the man made pollution in that city.
When a person in a city makes a decision to drive electric powered by renewable energy, each and every breath of air that we all share as a great “commons,” that we all inhale, becomes cleaner for all, and health related issues of air quality are improved for all.
Solar PV when used as a utility offset is good. Solar PV when used as transportation fuel is an enabler of financial savings and family wealth building due to tremendous gains in efficiency.
How, Why, What’s the difference?
Solar PV when used to power the home, powers the same appliances, light fixtures and electronic devices that the utility supplied energy powers. These appliances and devices are no more or less efficient whether powered by solar or utility supplied electricity. Solar may be less expensive with zero emissions, but there is no inherent efficiency savings for the devices and appliances it powers.
Solar PV when powering a car enables an efficiency savings of between 300% and 400% as compared to gasoline powering a car. Simply stated, a gasoline car will go 25 miles on average, and an electric car will go 100 miles on average using the same amount of energy. Said another way, the electric motor is 3 to 4 times as efficient as a gasoline engine in converting energy to power the wheels.
In large measure because of these efficiency gains, the economic return of sunshine being harvested as a transportation fuel, is twice as great as when it is used as a utility offset to power a home or business. Even greater is the environmental benefits which are four times as great, as the emissions in our cities from our cars is four to five times greater than the emissions from our homes.
Both are awesome, both are needed, but there can be no doubt that the greatest environmental benefit and the greatest financial savings are when solar PV is used to replace gasoline.
As goes California, so goes the rest of the nation. Bet on it.
We are demonstrating with this challenge that if you have an efficient home, efficient cars and solar PV, you can power your home and cars with sunshine zeroing out utility bills and gasoline bills.
As we progress forward, our experience and example becomes easier to do for others as solar becomes less expensive, efficiencies continue to improve, electric cars become better, less expensive and homes including the appliances, gizmos within, continue to become more efficient. Energy storage via home and grid size batteries, on the near horizon, will also give a huge boost to solar and EV adoption rates.
We are just at a beginning. But harvesting sunshine as a transportation fuel is spreading rapidly across America and it will not be stopped.
Sunshine is America’s new “gasoline.”
May your days be filled with sunshine, onto the month 11 “Driving to Net Zero” energy challenge results.
Next month will be the conclusion of our 12 month “Driving to Net Zero” energy challenge. What an amazing year for us.
Thanks as always for reading and your comments.
(Past “Driving To Net Zero” articles)