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Apr 2, 2012

Voicing Support for Electric Vehicles Despite Struggles and Criticism


Do you support electric cars? If you do, these could be discouraging times. Sales have slowed in early 2012, critics are legion, and startup businesses are scuffling for traction. The struggles are real, and any added bump prompts headlines that build on a well-documented flawed narrative.

So RMI today is kicking off a solution-oriented forum. We know the problems (some of them exaggerated) that others are writing and talking about a lot. As gas prices spike again—as they are certain to do periodically as long as we rely on oil for transportation—how can we offer encouragement and perspective amid these setbacks?

At RMI, we believe a transition to a clean energy future is critical. But we don’t expect that change to be easy or quick, or the path to a brighter future to be straight. And we believe that electric vehicles hold the single greatest promise to address America’s dependence on oil, a challenge identified by every president since Richard Nixon, but one that remains unsolved and dangerous.

Oil use endangers our country’s economy, health, security, and natural environment. This country uses 13 million barrels of oil a day on transportation at a direct cost of $2 billion. Our oil dependence also incurs hidden costs totaling roughly $1.5 trillion a year, or 12 percent of GDP—more than our annual budget deficit—plus untold costs to human health and the environment.

None of the headlines or setbacks involving electric vehicles changes these facts, dismisses the need to change, or disproves the potential of EVs to address these risks.

Reinventing Fire, Rocky Mountain Institute’s blueprint for a business-led transition from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewable energy by 2050, shows how electric vehicles made from ultralight, ultrastrong materials can provide radically improved fuel efficiency without compromising performance and safety. It shows their potential to store energy and feed it back to the electric grid to help equalize power generation from renewable sources, further moving us away from fossil fuels toward a cleaner environment.

Progress is being made. We are heartened by California’s new Advanced Clean Car rules, which will help accelerate adoption of EVs and plug-in hybrids. We are encouraged that major automakers continue to add electric offerings to their lineups. We are encouraged by the military’s commitment on alternative fuels and reduced energy use, and by the U.S. Department of Energy’s move last month to invest $14 million in accelerating adoption of lightweight automotive materials.

We believe EVs are too good an idea to not catch on. Sticker prices remain high, but research shows that 40 percent of Americans are extremely or very interested in buying an EV. Early adopters are extremely satisfied.

We believe manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and our leaders will find solutions, improve battery range, and bring down costs. We think EVs are a key part of the way to build a cleaner, safer world as they help reignite America’s innovation machine, reinvigorate our economy, help transform our aging electricity system, and enable us to rethink and rebuild our communities.

How about you?

Join our discussion in comments below, on our Facebook timeline, or on Twitter using the hashtag #EVsupport


Showing 11-20 of 22 comments

April 5, 2012

"So RMI today is kicking off a solution-oriented forum" - do you mean an actual forum site? That's how I read it at first, but I can't find a link or more info.

April 5, 2012

As an EVSE installer, I've driven a few of the EVs, including the Tesla, Volt, and Leaf, and they're all amazing, innovative vehicles. Although it's inevitable that we shift to electric technology for transportation, there's a lot of inertia with the gas guzzler world that shouldn't be underestimated. Let's hope the automakers can keep their momentum up and we everything possible individually to go electric.

Also, as a solar installer, it's really extraordinary to see in person how sunlight can provide the fuel to run a car. It makes a real connection between our energy needs as a society and the potential for clean sources to satisfy it.


April 7, 2012

We've had our Chevy Volt for over 2 months and love it. I had to convince my husband it was a good investment, like our SunFrost frig we got in 1991, which paid for itself in 16 years from the difference in electricity costs over a reg frig, plus from the unexpected bonus of less veggie spoilage, and is now going on now to save us $100s.

My Excel spreadsheet came up with 7 years to pay for the difference btw the Volt and the Ford Taurus hubbie wanted (including the $7500 tax break we expect next year), and should go on to save us $$. Only bec we drive less than 6,000 miles a year it will take that long. And the rebate could go up to $10,000 cutting down that time - see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/15/electric-car-rebate-obama-budget_n_1279852.html

Meanwhile in this mild weather in S. Texas (mainly 70s & 80s since Jan), using the AC only occasionally, we are getting about 42 miles per charge (6 miles more than I put on the spreadsheet), and 45 miles with the radio/screen off. The little green efficiency ball helps us "hypermile" with gentle starts and stops. We do expect to get less miles in the dead of summer when it gets to the 90s & 100s & we need the AC more.

Our electricty is 100% wind generated from GreenMountain, and the cost per 9.6 KWH full charge (42 miles) is $1.30. That's 3 cents a Volt mile v. 20 cents a Taurus mile, tho I'm not too sure what the price of gas is now :)

The Volt is not for rich profligate people, but for money-conscience people who can't afford to lose money, and for those who value life on planet earth.

April 7, 2012

I love my Chevy Volt! I've driven over 2,300 miles and used less than three gallons of gas because almost all of my trips are 40 miles or less round trip. I figure the electricity I've used to drive all those gas-free miles costs me about the same as gas would have cost me if I averaged about 60 miles per gallon.

The car is very stable, handles well, and has very quick acceleration if needed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given five stars, its highest rating, to the Chevy Volt. The Chevy Volt was named 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the 2011 North American Car of the Year, was recommended by Consumer Reports, and earned the highest safety ratings in 2011 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the first-ever U.S. crash test evaluations of plug-in electric cars. The IIHS also named the 2012 Chevrolet Volt a Top Safety Pick for 2012. And Kelley Blue Book just announced the Chevy Volt wins the Kelley Blue Book Total Cost of Ownership Award in the Electric Car category!

April 12, 2012

Periodically, I’ll hear someone with a fair question: “Doesn’t charging EVs using electricity from the grid create as much, or more, C02 than fossil-fueled vehicles produce?”

The answer, especially in California, is a pretty clear “No”.

Here’s what I found about charging Electric Vehicles on the grid:
in California, EVs are responsible for about half or less CO2 of fossil-fueled vehicles, thanks to California’s lack of coal-fired energy.

A car that gets 23 miles per gallon and drives 12,000 miles a year, uses 522 gallons of gasoline and produces 5.1 tons of C02 at the tailpipe.

A similar electric car driving the same distance is responsible, when charged solely on the grid, for about 2.7 tons of CO2 at the powerplant where the electricity is produced.

But there’s an interesting consideration left out of this comparison, which changes the game, greatly in favor of the electric vehicle.

It’s the energy cost to refine one gallon of gasoline, estimated to be about 6 kWh. Apply that up-front energy cost to the 522 gallons of gasoline used by the fossil-fueled vehicle and that same electrical energy would power the electric car for about 10,500 of the 12,000 miles in the comparison.

So, if you consider the combination of California’s cleaner energy at the source of generation, AND the CO2 avoided in refining, electric vehicles outshine fossil-fueled vehicles by a long shot.

Now, think of the added CO2-saving benefits solar charging your electric vehicle brings. Let me count the ways!

April 12, 2012

I have been re-building batteries with the Bedini chargers for over three years now and can re-build about 75% of the ones ready for the landfill. I just re-built my first Prius set and they work wonderful saving the owner thousands of dollars in replacement costs. I have a retail outlet here in Idaho that has been open for 1 1/2 years and is very profitable. Looking to get electric cars on the road as we can not only re-build batteries we can increase their range with each charge from the Tesla chargers. To my awareness we are the only ones in the world producing Tesla chargers. www.sunlightbioelectric.com
Owen Mullen

April 12, 2012

Venus Motors Company, the first female owned auto manufacture in America was started in Oregon. Their systems are based in the world of Custom Kit Cars. They use all new American Made components with unique proprietary transaxle drive systems with lithium-ion battery packs. Consumers can choose from a NEV system, a commuter system or a high speed, long range touring car system with a choice of dozens of different body styles ranging from a Jeep to a Jag! All at thousands of dollars less than a foreign cracker-jacks toy or super expensive Tesla...

Venus marketing is based on regional manufacturing facilities with a network of local dealerships to provide local Green jobs all around the country in the EV business.
Oregon, Washington, Nevada and possibly Arizona territories have been spoken for. If you are interested in learning more about an opportunity to become part of the future of EV's in America, please contact us at Electric Car Options Oregon at

April 13, 2012

We have owned a Leaf for 8 months now and love the car. Great performance and a joy to drive. And unbelievable economy. It is definitely our car for driving around town, but we have the Suburu in the garage for an extended trip. (P.S. Because the Leaf is the only car we are driving in town, we are taking the "Buru" to the gas station about once every three weeks. Even better savings than we calculated!)

April 14, 2012

Here's a positive story on EVs athttp://wvgazette.com/News/Business/201204130117 --

"Hybrid and electric cars see record sales in March":
"...GM sold just 7,671 Volts last year, below its goal of 10,000. But in March, it set a new monthly record of 2,289 for the Volt, an electric car with a small backup gas engine. Sales of the all-electric Leaf nearly doubled to 579.
The Volt got a boost from California's decision to make it eligible for high-occupancy vehicle lanes. Starting March 1, buyers with a low-emissions Volt could use the HOV lane and get a $1,500 state tax credit on top of a $7,500 federal tax credit..."

May 23, 2012

I love my Volt! Hardly any gas bills to speak of, 145 mpg over 15 months. The City of St Petersburg has even installed charging stations around town and the Vinoy Resort has too. The only problem is that these spaces are not reserved for electric cars and are normally occupied by regular gas burning cars not using the chargers!

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