Rethinking How We Transport Ourselves

by
Kristin Berger, The Climate Center |  Oct. 21, 2015

Nanette
Names is an architect with AXIA Architects,
a Business for Clean Energy member. She has EV envy. Her husband George
Psaledakis – also an architect, working in San Rafael and under his own
shingle, Designs for Sustainable Living – recently leased a 2015 BMWi3. George
said he went with a lease rather than a purchase because he is anticipating
both battery range and shelf life to improve in the near future. And the price is
bound to drop. George gets the pleasure of driving the BMWi3 on his weekday
commute to San Rafael.

George,
Nanette, and their son Max have a goal of achieving net zero energy at their 1939
vintage home. Here’s what they have done toward reaching their goal:

  • Installed six solar panels generating 1.3 kilowatts.
  • Upgraded their service panel from
    100 to 125 amps, adding a 60 amp dedicated circuit for the EV charger.
  • Installed a Level 2 charging station.

Nanette
and George’s top 10 reasons for entering the EV market now:

1.  It’s sustainable.
The BMWi3 was manufactured with renewable energy and materials at the BMW Moses Lake plant in Washington
State.

2.
It reduces my carbon footprint. Driving
an EV significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

3.
It’s saving me money. Our
solar-powered home and electric vehicle combination stabilizes and lowers our
cost of energy. Our PG&E bill last month in Glen Ellen was $27.00, running
on solar and driving the new EV.

4. HOV heaven. I am no longer stuck in
traffic because I can use the carpool lane and have a predictable commute time
to San Rafael. I love having a guaranteed arrival time at work in the morning
and at home in the evening. I negotiated a charging station as part of my
employment contract deal with my employer in San Rafael.

5.
It fulfills my driving needs. It is exactly
what I need in terms of range (80-90 miles, and can plug in at both home and
work).  We decided that we really didn’t
need the “Range Extender” gas tank after looking at my commute. I usually have
25 miles left at the end of the day when only charging one way.

6.
I can do it now. I am currently an
income earner but that won’t always be the case. When I am ready to retire in about
15 years, I will have the infrastructure in place for stabilized energy costs. I
am enhancing my quality of life in retirement because I am strategically investing
in my infrastructure now, when I am earning the income.

7.
Fun, fast. Electric has a much more
efficient transfer of energy from pedal to tires. It is very responsive and
agile (wicked zoom!).

8.
Less petroleum products. We thought
about all of the petroleum-based products used in internal combustion engines:
not only the gas at the pump, but also the products used to maintain and
tune-up our cars.

9.
I am investing locally. We really
thought about how we want to spend our money – on ourselves locally or on oil
companies far away? We choose local.

10. The market is flooded with used EVs. George did
some research for us: “I just confirmed on Craigslist that you can buy a used
Nissan Leaf all day long for under $10K. The BMW i3 first produced in 2014
is still around $38K used.”

So, what
are you waiting for?

Kristin Berger is Development Director for the The Climate Center. She can be reached at kristin@theclimatecenter.org.

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