Archives – January 9, 2015

Exploring the Potential of the Combination of Electric Vehicles and Solar Power

imagesAccording to the chairman of SolarCity and Tesla Motors, there has always been a huge potential association between electric vehicles and home solar power. In California, the bundling of solar energy and electric vehicles is trending already. This may be a combination that is too good to ignore, considering the fact that there has been a gradual technological advancement over the last couple of years. One of the blog posts from the Washington Post emphasized this issue last week. According to the blog post, Magal Delmas and two other colleagues from the UCLA Environmental Institute are working on a paper that reports on the increasing appeal for solar panels and electric cars. This implies that suburban consumers may soon become accidental environmentalists.

The monthly expenses for a household purchasing an electric car and at the same time owning a solar panel generating enough power for the car and the home might be approximately $89. This is in comparison to $255, a rough paper estimate of a household that runs a regular vehicle and does not own a solar panel. This study is a clear indication that it is possible to achieve such huge saving, thanks to the fact that the installation of solar and purchase of electric vehicles have increased options for zero-down payment. A significant overlap was found in two groups, the rooftop power installers and Tesla buyers. According to the data obtained from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project in California, rebate applicants with all-electric cars utilizing home solar panels or planning to install the panels, accounted for 45% of the total number of applicants.

The paper further indentified other trends indicating a positive relationship between Tesla Motors’ stock price and shares of many solar firms. In other words, solar panels and electric vehicles are getting cheaper and better with time. There is also a gradual improvement in Tesla’s financing options. Mathew Kahn, a UCLA’s economist and one of Delmas’ co-authors, has written a paper on the increasing “synergistic possibilities” for people who own both technologies. Currently, it is increasingly possible to own both the solar panels and electric vehicles by taking advantage of the great financing packages available. With SolarCity, the money generated from the system can be used to pay for installation of the solar panels. Meanwhile, figures cited in the study have been coined in Clean Technica, and they show that the average prices of solar panels have steadily declined since 1977. In 1977, a solar panel costs around $76.67 per watt and currently, it cost $0.613 at today’s prices.



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Why Plug-in Hybrid Electric Cars Should be Termed Electric Cars

LeafCurrently, there are different systems used to name 100% electric cars, electric cars, plug-in hybrid cars and the traditional electric hybrid cars. There are some people who have no idea of what an all-electric car is and how it differs from a plug-in electric. The essential aspect to keep in mind when labeling a vehicle as electric is if it can or it cannot drive on pure electricity when the driver wants to. Additionally, it is necessary for a driver to know how to plug in a vehicle and use electricity for charging it up.

Essentially, this is inclusive of plug-in hybrid cars (electric cars). A perfect analogy made by Bob Wallace and an electric vehicle obsessive reader is that of comparing a plug-in electric car to a bike having training wheels. A bike having training wheels is in the long-run still classified as a bike. The only difference is when it comes to the training wheels. The same case applies to plug-in hybrid electric cars, which are still electric vehicles. It is just that such vehicles have gas tanks and engines with an extendable range to help a driver drive farther.

This however, does not imply that there is no difference between plug-in electric cars and 100% electric vehicles. There are plenty of benefits associated with owning a 100% electric vehicle, and plug-in electric vehicles also have their unique benefits, as well. Although the benefits of 100% electric vehicles outweigh those of plug-in electric vehicles, it is evident that the plug-in electric cars that are currently in the market offer an alternative for people who are less adventurous or those who cannot afford the high-cost of electric cars like the Model S by Tesla.

Another point worth noting, with the hope of promoting 100% electric vehicles is the fact that most people tend to drive less than they actually realize. Pure-electric cars such as the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf have a range that is pretty high for many drivers with the exception of a few trips annually. The reality is that many drivers can mostly use electric energy to drive since the distances covered are short. Even plug-in electric vehicles are still a good option.

Generally, it has been proven that many people have limited information concerning electric vehicles. Perhaps, “plug-in hybrid electric vehicle” is a too complicated and bulky term for such people. People should be introduced to the topic using simpler concepts and terms. In this way, they will understand that it is possible to drive using pure electric energy and that it is possible to charge a vehicle by merely plugging it in a wall.



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