Julie and I are fortunate enough to both own and drive BMW i3 Bev's powered by sunshine. Our BMW i3's are the principal reason along with Solar PV and a very efficient home, that we are able to live and drive with zero net utility or gasoline cost.

The BMW i3 is rated by the EPA at 177.7 MPG (combined unadjusted - see graphics below), an unbelievable 5.6 times more efficient than the the average new gasoline vehicle which is rated using the same methodology at 24.3 adjusted mpg (or ~31.7 combined unadjusted mpg).

MPG Figures For Most Of Today's EVs - Unadjusted Values - For Reference, BMW i3 BEV Is Rated At 124 MPGe On The Adjusted Scale

MPG Figures For Most Of Today's EVs - Unadjusted Values - For Reference, BMW i3 BEV Is Rated At 124 MPGe On The Adjusted Scale

That directly translates into more wealth for those owners and families who own the car, (or any other electric car) and cleaner air for us all.

*Editor's note: This post appears on Peder's blog. Check it out here.

Consider this from a San Diego perspective.

If we as San Diegans achieve 50% electrification of our transportation fleet, we would reduce by 30% the overall emissions in San Diego County. 59% is the total emissions created by our transportation choices. Just as importantly, we would also be creating wealth and economic savings for our families and communities by reducing the cost of transportation fuel.

Our sources of emissions in the City and County of San Diego

Our sources of emissions in the City and County of San Diego

A shift from oil to electricity in our transportation choices enables efficiency gains of up to 700% thus creating economic wealth. As just one example of this, the EPA rates the average new gasoline vehicle at 24.3 mpg ( ~31.7 mpg unadjusted) and the new BMW i3 at 177.7 mpg combined (unadjusted). This is a greater than a 500% improvement in miles traveled using the same amount of energy. The cost savings,wealth generation and improvement in air quality implications if our experience were replicated in an entire city, state or nation is staggering and incalculable.

Most understand the energy savings of a LED bulb versus an incandescent bulb; the same amount of light for 1/5th of the energy used, electric transportation is similar. In any energy or emissions strategy, efficiency is always the highest priority in the loading order and is wealth generating at an equal percentage to the savings.

Using our real world experience gained in the Challenge, as compared to the best utility rate and gasoline." draggable="false">

Using our real world experience gained in the "Driving to Net Zero"
Challenge, as compared to the best utility rate and gasoline.

Our highest priority should be reducing and ultimately eliminating the 59% of our emissions in the County of San Diego that are caused by our transportation choices. We can do this by electrifying our transportation choices coupled with equal effort; land use planning that reduces vehicle miles travelled offering greater mobility choices.

As Americans, a long-standing national goal shared by several Presidents of both political parties, has been to reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependency on foreign oil. In 2014, nine millions barrels of oil daily were imported from 75 countries representing 46% of our total oil consumption. We are currently fighting wars involving cost in both money and blood, because oil is still regrettably a strategic concern.

Focusing on getting to 100% renewables in our San Diego electricity grid does zero to contribute in solving this national problem, as our grid contains zero electricity produced with oil.

Focusing on transitioning to electric transportation choices ultimately solves this national problem as the majority of our oil is used and refined to make gasoline.

Looking regionally, are we really willing to dot our backcountry and uproot farmland with hundreds of 50 to 1000+ acre Solar PV power-plants in order to accomplish the goal of getting to 100% renewable energy? (For the record I have supported with concerns, the first several installations as a San Diego County Planning Commissioner.)

Or is the better strategy at least for the next few decades, something less than a 100% renewable energy electricity grid, with a preponderance of distributed renewable energy installations owned by hundreds of thousands of energy entrepreneurs on our existing buildings, parking lots and garages/carports? Solar PV installations that are focused on reducing the four times greater transportation emissions as well as our building emissions.

There are currently 72,000 energy entrepreneurs with solar PV systems in the SDG&E service area. This number is 50x more than existed 10 years ago. In the next 10 years we can easily predict 10x this number. The energy grid is evolving into a more equitable grid whereby if you provide a benefit, you'll make money, if you are a net user you'll pay money. Soon there will be millions of energy entrepreneurs on the energy grid. Sounds like what happened to our communications grid doesn't it?

We have a lot to think about and plan for, unprecedented changes are happening in our transportation and energy sectors. It’s an exciting time of opportunity on all fronts.

Electricity including renewable energy should be thought of first and foremost as a transportation fuel.

That’s both our greatest challenge and our greatest hope. Let’s get to work.

Thank you BMW for making a fantastic car to drive, for enriching our pocket books and for helping clean our air.