EVSE Tax Credit Extended to 12/31/2011, but reduced to $1,000 Res/$30,000 Com

Sunday, December 19, 2010 2 comments
Great news...the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit has been extended one year to 12/31/2011, but reduced to $1,000 for Residential installations and $30,000 for Commercial installations.

Link to IRS Form 8911 (PDF): www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8911.pdf 

Read the full story on Edmunds blog: http://blogs.edmunds.com/greencaradvisor/2010/12/obama-signs-tax-package-with-credits-for-biofuels-car-chargers.html

Read the full text of the bill (and cure your insomnia) here: S.A.4753: The Reid-McConnell Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010

Overview of existing credit: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/law/US/351

Three Key Advantages for Going Electric

Sunday, December 5, 2010 0 comments
Whenever I talk to people about EVs, I try to emphasize the three key advantages for going electric: Electricity is Cheaper, Cleaner, and most of it comes from Domestic sources (in the US).  To give me some proof points for an upcoming presentation, I spent some time analyzing energy data at www.eia.doe.gov and came up with these great points to support the transition to EVs.

Cheaper

In the US, gas prices will be the key driver for people going electric.  The higher and quicker they rise, the faster the transition to electric drive.  Want historic proof?  Check out the article I wrote last year comparing Gas Prices with Hybrid Sales.  If you compare Gas prices with Electricity prices using EIA data, you can conclude some big advantages for Electricity...

  • Historically (1999-2009), gas prices in the US have risen 5 times faster than electricity prices.  While prices have collapsed since the Great Recession, they are rebounding quickly and should accelerate as the world's economy heals.
  • Electricity prices are regulated in the US and increase slower than oil prices.  In the US, electricity prices increase after Public Service Commissions vote on proposed rate changes from electricity providers.  These requests for rate changes are usually publicized which gives the public a chance to voice their opinion on their impact.  This process is in stark contrast to changes in gas prices which are driven primarily by world crude oil prices and how much the oil companies want to charge for refining the oil to gasoline.
  • No Gas Taxes: Now that gas tax increases are being discussed as a means of reducing the US deficit and paying for infrastructure improvements, it's likely that the US will see an increase in taxes either at the state and/or federal level that raises the price at the pump.  Going Electric means that you get out of this tax until enough EVs are on the road to justify a change to a mileage tax on Vehicles.

Domestic 

In the US, we consume over 22% of the worlds petroleum and we import 60% of it..which means we write big checks (>$200B) to a league of wacko nations including Canada for our energy every year.  If we were smart (like Germany), we'd get real serious about reducing this demand and making our own power with renewables.

  • Electricity in the US comes from multiple fuel sources which are mostly domestically sourced.  Since we have to import over 60% of the crude oil we use in the US (and we use more than any other country), we have little control over the price of Oil.  However, the US has lots of control over the price of a kW since it comes from several fuel types...that we mine from our own lands.  For instance, the US Electricity fuel mix as of August 2010 is:
Fuel Type 1999 2010 Difference
Coal 51% 45% -12%
Natural Gas 15% 24% 60%
Nuclear 20% 19% -5%
HydroPower 9% 6% -33%
Other Renewables 2% 4% 100%
Petroleum 3% 1% -66%

Cleaner

A common objection I hear to going electric is that EVs simply move the emissions from tail pipe in the city to the smoke stack in the country.  However, the data from the EIA tells me different.

  • It's far easier to manage the emissions from a few thousand power plants vs. millions of vehicles.  There are approximately 250 million vehicles in the US (with little verification on how much pollution they emit) and 1,436 coal powered generators in the US (with lots of verification of how much pollution they emit). 
  • From the table in the Domestic section above, you can see that the US is slowly reducing our use of the dirtiest and carbon rich fuels (coal and petroleum) and increasing our use of cleaner fuels (renewables and natural gas).  Therefore, our electricity is getting cleaner and emitting less GHGs.
  • Even the Conventional Power Plants (Coal) in the US are getting cleaner - they are emitting about 55% less Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxides than 10 years ago.  However, since coal is a carbon based fuel, it will always be dirty from the stand point of GHG emissions.
    • Carbon Dioxide (CO2): -4.09%
    • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2): -53.52%
    • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx): -59.78%

    So there you have it, some good sold data to support the transition to EVs.  Electricity is Cheaper, Cleaner, and uses more Domestic fuel sources than Oil.  While it will take a few years (10?) for battery technology to equal Gasoline's big advantage (energy density), it's only a matter of time.

    The GM Volt's Unique "Delayed Charging" Feature

    Sunday, September 26, 2010 0 comments
    Trent Warnke (Propulsion Engineer on GM Volt Team)
    shows us where to plug in the Volt.
    The Volt has a little known, but brilliant charging feature that solves a big future problem.  To understand why I think it's cool, you need to know a few things...

    Like setting an alarm clock, most new EVs will allow you to schedule the beginning of charging your car.  This allows you to plug your car in when you get home...but only start charging the car at some time at night when the rates are cheapest.

    For example, this means that most people in Pacific Gas & Electric territory will set their cars to start charging at 12am when the cheapest rates begin...since that's when rates drop in half to 5-6 cents per kilowatt.   BTW, at this price, it only costs ~$300 to fuel your car for 14,600 miles!  That's $1,690 cheaper than a gas car getting 22 MPG at $3/gallon.

    However, if everyone's car started charging exactly at 12:00:00:00am, the initial surge could overstress local power grids...especially in neighborhoods with old/undersized electrical infrastructure.  This could cause local/neighborhood blackouts...and thus local hatred of people who buy electric cars...and that's never good. 

    So how do you allow everyone to charge within a small time window and not stress the local grid?

    © GM Corp - Delayed Charging.
    You use the Volt's cool charging feature to schedule the END of charging...so that the car is fully charged by your departure time.  The Volt is smart enough to know how long it will take to recharge based on what Charging Level your Volt is plugged into, and automatically start charging when it needs.  For example, setting your Departure Time at 6:00am might cause cause your Volt to start charging at 3:37 am...because it knows you only need 2h 23m of charge at Level 2.

    Since Charge Start Time depends on the how much the battery is depleted, the Charge Start Time will be fairly random...so it's VERY doubtful that charging will start at the same time as any of your neighbor's cars.

    So, you get your car charged by time you need it...and you don't contribute to any electrical problems in your  neighborhood!

    Brilliant.  Now, when will the other car companies adopt this feature?

    © GM Corp - The 2011 Chevrolet Volt allows owners to select
    from three different charge modes, including immediately,
    delayed based upon departure time and delayed based
    on both rate and departure time.

    Test Driving a GM Volt - The Uncompromising EV

    Friday, September 24, 2010 0 comments
    I was a very luckily boy last week...I got to drive a preproduction Chevy Volt and spend time talking with Britta Gross (GM, R&D and Strategic Planning on GM Volt Team) and Trent Warnke (Propulsion Engineer on GM Volt Team).  It was fun to get around two people excited to tell you all about their creation.

    I gotta say, the Volt is a very impressive car...and I haven't been a fan of General Motors. 

    The Volt is the most uncompromising EV on the market: it drives like a performance V6 sedan, only cost you ~$2 to go the first 40 miles, has lower maintenance than a gas car, and you can drive it across America today without having to worry about finding a charging station.


    This car will win over the minds of many EV critics. 

    Why?
    • It hides A LOT of complexity and works like a regular car.  Anyone who has ever designed something, knows how hard it is to make complicated things...simple.  Considering all of the technology in this car, it behaves and drives any other car, except you get these huge benefits if you charge every night...
      • Lower engine maintenance since you won't be using it much.  GM has even factored in automatically starting your engine periodically just to keep the engine lubricated and in good working order.
      • Longer brake life since you'll using regenerative braking...which puts braking energy back in your battery - an impossible feat in a gasoline powered car.
      • Very quiet operation...even when you put the petal to the metal - it's the quietest EV I've been in. 
      • Half Price fuel.  How about $2.10 for 40 miles of fuel vs. $4.36?  Assumes $0.13 kW/h, 28 MPG, and $3/Gal.
      • Smart Phone Control.  Check your available range...and chill down/warm up your car before you get in it...all from your smart phone!
    • It's quick/fast...at least from 0-30 mph (which was all we could safely do in the parking lot).
    • Nice and clear dash/instruments.  The LCD display in the dash was clearly labeled and easy to control what you were looking at.  The LCD display in the center console was also easily understood and it was a touch screen.  The "buttons" on the central console were touch sensitive...which looks cool, but isn't something you can easily operate without looking at your finger.
    All this said, I'm seriously considering getting a GM Volt.  Too bad Orlando is not on Volt's early adopter city list.

    Here's what it's like inside...Trent takes us through the Volt's power up sequence, tells us all about the instrument panel, and narrates our drive. Nicely done.

    Future Nissan Leaf owners are not happy about the price of Charger Installations

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2 comments
    AutoBlogGreen recently published a scathing article on how pissed off future Nissan Leaf customers are with AeroVironment's quotes for home charger installations.  See Future Leaf owners revolt over AeroVironment's outrageous charger installation quotes.  Given that I am one of those future Nissan Leaf owners...and an installer of EVSE,,,I thought I'd weigh in on this.

    I've read most the comments about charging on the "My Nissan Leaf" and the negative comments are mostly about the estimates, not the AVI product...since it hasn't been released yet.  No one seems to have a big problem with AVI's $800 price for the charger (which is cheap when you consider the J1772 plug is about $400 now)...but they have a hard time being roped into one vendor to install a simple device. 

    The higher price is likely because of two reasons:
    1. Every installation is custom.  Because of this, it always comes down to the Estimator to estimate the job properly...and s/he's influenced by their own experience, margin requirements, complexity of job, and unknowns of what's behind the wall or in the circuits that they don't know about (no one tells us about the grow lights! :-).
    2. Two additional vendors in the supply chain that might be marking up the installation - AVI and Nissan.  Nothing weird here, but the more middlemen you have in the value chain, the higher the price.
    Most of the readers love the Leviton product since they can have any electrician install an outlet...and then just plug in the Leviton Level II into the outlet once they get it.  This puts the customer back in the driver's seat on price...and I can certainly respect that.

    I just went through the long vetting process for being an AeroVironment Installer for the Electrical Contractor I work for (www.Palmer-Electric.com).  They asked a lot of questions and had us price out several scenarios to ensure we quoted correctly - they even pushed back on some prices we had for certain materials.  In the end, we got the contract...but we turned it down.  Mostly because of their strict non-compete clause and that the product has not seen the light-of-day yet.  I'm sure they'll deliver, but I'd much rather bet on Coulomb since they've got a very well engineered product that has an installed base. 

    Coulomb's CT500 product is targeted for OEMs, Light Commercial, and Homes.  For many people buying an EVSE for home, it may be overkill, as they won't benefit by a Smart Charger that is aware of Time Of Use rates or care about features like getting a Text message when charging is done.  The CT500 is more like the iPhone from a design perspective...and the basic Level II chargers are more like your standard cell phone: both get the job done, but one offers more features.

    Everyone in this space is a pioneer.  From what I saw of AeroVironment, they attempted to control their pricing of installs, but they are building a brand new business and mistakes will be made.  I'm glad that websites like My Nissan Leaf are around to shed some light on the problems and solutions.

    Personally, I'm waiting on a company to deliver an EVSE that I can install in the ceiling of my garage...so I can pull it down like a drop light.  That gets rid of the worst thing about charging an EV...the cord.  PS: yes, I know about wireless charging.

    Evoscape: Cleanly Cutting Grass in Winter Park

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 9 comments
    One of my favorite fun facts to tell people about EVs is that if you must have a car, switching to an EV is the most significant way for you to reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions.

    So if that's true, then dumping my gas mower is an awesome idea. Why?  Two Big Reasons...
    1. Small gas engines under 25 hp contribute about 16 percent of HC emissions and 21 percent of CO emissions from mobile sources nationwide!  April 2003 EPA Program Update Report  
    2. Because one hour of lawn mowing with a gas-powered lawn mower produces as much pollution as driving your car for four hours.  
    Amazing eh?  That's BIG pollution from a lot of small engines.

    So what's a better alternative?

    If you can't get rid of your lawn, then switching to cleaner lawn equipment is the next best thing.  Since this an EV inspired blog, wouldn't it be smart if there was a lawn service that used an EV to drive their clean lawn equipment around?

    There is...and I just met them today.

    The company is called Evoscape from Winter Park, FL.  It was dreamed up by two brothers (Jarrett and Ardis Phillips) that have owned other lawn service companies in the past.  The company has only been alive for a few months, which included 3 months for buying and configuring their equipment. 

    These guys did their homework.

    Their "rig" caught my eye on my walk back from lunch today and I stopped to learn more about them.  After giving me their "reused" business card...which was a cut up Morning Star Farms box of veggie burgers with their stamp and phone number on it...they gave me a tour of their VERY well thought out rig...
    • The Truck: A Chrysler GEM eL XD.  They love this thing.  They can get 40 miles of range with it empty, but only 25 miles with it pulling the trailer.  The range isn't a big deal since their growing client base is just a few miles away.
    • The Trailer: This is where the magic is...
      • Positioned for visibility and functionality, it has three solar panels right up front.  They plan to put more on top of the trailer, but having them up front is a great marketing tool...once people stop looking at the GEM.
      • Inside, they have a battery backed up power supply that charges the batteries used in their electric power tools (18V & 36V).
    • The Tools:

    Their goal is to go all electric with their rig, but until battery prices come down (and energy density goes up) enough to power energy hungry devices like mowers, edgers, and blowers...they'll be using propane.

    That said, I'm thinking that in 5 years, we'll see mowers competing with cars to recharge their equipment at Charging Stations.  I hope by then, the guys who started Evoscape with a dream to do lawn maintenance with a Low Carbon Footprint will be running a large operation by then.

    Good luck guys, you've got a great idea!

    Finally, a Commercial Charger that Captures the Cord...Thanks GE!

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 0 comments
    Today, one of the oldest companies in the world jumped into one of the newest "industries" - General Electric formally announced a commercial EVSE...The WattStation.  GE partnered with Plug Smart (a.k.a. Juice Technologies) for the charger's "Smart Grid" intelligence. 

    The product is beautiful...it looks like it was designed by some ultra-creative, swiss guy...and it was!  His name is Yves Behar and his firm has designed several innovative products (see video below).

    Although the design is unique and looks very functional, the best part is that it captures and stores the cord in it's base.  No other EVSE on the market that I know of does this...but every EVSE manufacturer I've talked to recognizes cord management to be significant issue.

    Why?

    Level 2 EVSE Cords are...
    • Long: up to 25 feet (7.62 m) long by NEC Standards.  Most I've seen are about 15-18ft.
    • Heavy: the diameter of the cord is about 1/2 inches (12.7 mm) - you could tow a boat with these!
    • Dirty: after dragging the cord around your car a few times, the cord will not be something you want to touch.
    After reliability, the biggest challenge to using an automated reel system to store the cord is how to address a twisted cable.  If the user stores the J1772 connector into it's holster and tries to retract the cord, it would be nearly impossible for the mechanism to retract the twisted cord.

    GE's approach to cord management is a vertical reel which pulls in the cord after use.  This seems like a good plan since the reel is visible and minor cord tangling issues can be fixed by the user or "host" of the charging station. 

    Anyway, I'm surprised and impressed that one of the oldest electrical supply companies in the world came up with a design so functional and elegant.  I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a production version soon.

    Charging for Charges, the Economics of Charging EVs

    Sunday, July 11, 2010 0 comments


    To charge EVs, or not to charge...that is the question for many governments and businesses today.

    To answer that question requires a good understanding of the business case of charging cars.  As I see it, the Benefits and Cost of charging EVs comes down to these key variables...

    Benefits
    • Financial Benefits: Revenue from charging, Tax Credits, Rebates
    • Marketing Benefits: New customers, Green marketing, Employee Satisfaction
    • Environmental Benefits: GHG Reduction, Oil use reduction, Help with LEED Points
    Cost
    • Capital Expenses: Chargers, Installation
    • O&M Expenses: Energy, Dedication of Parking Space, Maintenance, Insurance (Vandalism)
    For this article, I'll focus on the 2nd most popular question customers ask me:

    How much can you make from charging cars? 
    This depends on a few key variables, like...
    • How will you charge for X minutes of power?  
    • How many charging stations do you plan to deploy?
    • How often will people use them?
    • What are the transaction rates associated with an eCommerce transaction? 
    • How much does it cost for electricity?
    • Are there any subscription charges per charging station?
    • How fast do you plan to charge?  Level 1 or Level 2 - You can find out how many miles an EV can go on an hour of charge here.

    Charge Calculator
    To make calculating all these variables simple, I created the spreadsheet below.  You can press the "Click to Edit" and enter your own assumptions in the YELLOW CELLS.  As you will soon see, you can earn some good income from charging vehicles, once the EV market matures and you have a good location.

    BTW, the number one question I'm asked is: How much will it cost?...which I'll cover in future articles.

    Orlando is ChargePoint America's First City to Formally Announce - 6/17/10 at 2pm

    Monday, June 14, 2010 0 comments
    Orlando has the distinction of being the first city in ChargePoint America's grant roll-out to formally announce the plan to its citizens.  Here's the agenda...please RSVP if you plan on coming...I'll be there!

    More announcements to come...Central Florida is getting hot about EVs!

    Electric Vehicle Charging Station Announcement & Ribbon Cutting
     
    ChargePoint America logoJune 17 2 p.m. · Orlando City Hall Plaza
    Please join us for the launch of the ChargePoint America program in Central Florida! ChargePoint America is an ambitious plan to bring necessary and needed public and home charging infrastructure for electric vehicles across the United States. Orlando will unveil the first installed charging station as a part of this program. Please join our electric vehicle friends, government officials and executives at Orlando City Hall Plaza as we officially plug in and charge up.

    · City of Orlando, Mayor Buddy Dyer
    · Orange County Government, Florida, Mayor Richard T. Crotty
    · OUC-The Reliable One Board President, Katie Porta· Coulomb Technologies Executive Vice President, Bret Sewell· NovaCharge President, Helda Rodriguez
    Featuring: Coulomb Technologies' ChargePoint® Networked Charging Station for Electric Vehicles / The smart fortwo electric drive

    RSVP by Wednesday, June 16
    Click to RSVP now:
    Yes, I plan to attend.  

    About ChargePoint America

    The $37 million ChargePoint America program is made possible by a $15 million grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the Department of Energy. ChargePoint America will provide 4,600 public and home ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations by October 2011. For more program information, visit www.chargepointamerica.com.


    City of Orlando Seal   orange county alliance   ouc logocoloumb NovaCharge new

    EVSE and LEED, Two Acronyms That Work Well Together

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010 0 comments
    How can installing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE...a.k.a. Charging Station) help a building get LEED certified?

    The answer depends on whether you're talking about installing about installing at New Construction or an Existing Building.

    EVSE in New Construction
    In the 2009 LEED Reference Guide for New Construction, EVSE is addressed in Sustainable Sites Credit 4.3 Option 2.  You can get 3 points for satisfying the requirement is to provide Alternative Fueling Stations for 3% of the parking capacity (or 3 spaces for every 100).  If you would like to see a nice overview of this Credit, checkout this video from www.LEEDForContractors.com.

    EVSE in Existing Buildings
    In the 2009 LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Operations and Maintenance, EVSE is addressed in Sustainable Sites Credit 4.0.  You can get 3-15 points for satisfying the requirement to reduce the number of commuting trips by your occupants using conventionally powered vehicles by 10-75%.  This requirement requires you to survey your building's occupants to understand how much your actions have reduced commuting trips.  Installing EVSE is one of the incentives the guide suggests to reduce the use of conventionally powered vehicles.

    The riddle is: Why have two different requirements?  Seems to me that both of these credits could be used in New AND Existing Buildings.  Anyone got an answer?

    EVs will Fail in the Marketplace!

    Friday, June 4, 2010 0 comments
    I recently read a great article on BNET from Jim Motavalli that covers a negative view of the success of EVs.  I think it's great to read and consider the dissenting opinion as it helps those of us trying to make EVs succeed...besides, no one really knows what will happen...we just have educated guesses.  You can read Jim's article below...and make sure to check out the linked article.


    I ultimately think EVs will take over most of the light duty vehicles because of their efficiency (esp. less waste due to heat), fuel prices (only going up), and their superior management of energy (regen braking, idle).  Batteries are just on Version 1 and they will get better due to the immense amount of R&D they are getting and the ultimate upside potential of the killer chemistry.

    An announcement that gave me LOTS of hope about EVs was the Nissan Leaf's price...and the assumptions that they were able to get the price of their battery pack to less than $400/KWH big bright spot on EVs biggest announcement.  Previously, the conventional wisdom was that new generation Lithium Ion EV batteries were going to cost $900/KWH+.  The fact that Nissan/NEC has figured out how to make their Lithium Ion Spinel batteries this cheap is a huge accomplishment and stake in the ground for EV batteries.

    I think the EVs growth is tied to gas prices...the more they go up, the more EVs will be sold.  For each event that causes petroleum prices to spike (hurricanes, wars, spills, mid-east troubles, etc.), we'll see short term growth spurts like we saw with Prius adoption in the 2000s.  I graphed this relationship back in September 09: http://www.pluginrecharge.com/2009/09/gas-prices-key-incentive-to-go-electric.html

    There has been some false starts with EVs, but I think the battery technology is finally good enough so that drivers don't have to give up much to switch.

    Electric sex on wheels: The Fisker Karma

    Monday, May 31, 2010 0 comments
    On May 17th, the Fisker Karma made it's way to Orlando on it's nationwide tour. The car was at Fields BMW in Winter Park for 2 hours to let people have a look at this gorgeous EV.

    Spectators were able to get in and around the car without limit, kinda nice considering this prototype is two of a kind in the world. However, it was at a posh BMW dealership, everyone was dressed up, and there was champagne flowing...so the biggest risk was a spilled drink..

    The car was beautiful...inside and out. Here are some noteworthy tidbits that I learned...

    EV Automakers: Can you standardize on where we'll plug-in your cars?

    1 comments
    Dear EV Automakers,

    Thanks so much for standardizing on the plugset for charging the new electric vehicles...but now could you standardize on WHERE you put the charge receptacle on the car? 

    Why?  Because it will make it easier to standardize on where we install the chargers (EVSE).  This might sound like a trivial gripe, but people will likely be charging their car EVERY day...so a small inconvenience will become a big one over time....kinda like pulling up to the gas pump on the wrong side because you drove someone elses car.

    Of the EVs that will be released this year, they all have different places where you plug them in.  For instance...

    UCF's New Solar Powered Charging Station is a "Test Mule" in Disguise

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 5 comments
    Update: This project was featured in the cover story in the Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Trade Magazine - Click here to read.

    I recently finished a Case Study for Palmer Electric in Winter Park, Florida on the largest Solar Powered EV Charging Station in Central Florida...and it might the largest in the Florida. But this station is much more than it appears, as it's actually a "test mule" to allow the University to test new technology that will make the process of charging EVs from Solar more efficient.

    The University of Central Florida's College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (my alma mater) is working on new technology to increase the efficiency of power conversions...specifically DC-DC power conversions. The big idea is to make the conversion from photons (sunlight) to EV powering electrons much more efficient...like 2x more efficient.

    Nissan Leaf...Reserved! Now for a dose of Range Reality

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010 0 comments
    I did it...for $99, I reserved my place in history.


    We're at T-Minus 7 Months before electric Leafs start to fall in Orlando, Florida...and one of them will be mine.

    It took me 5 minutes to complete the reservation process...which started with an overview video describing the process...and ending with my Visa card number.  The only thing I missed was getting a receipt mailed to me, but I suspect that's a glitch.

    As someone who is in the EV infrastructure business, it will be a good test to live with range anxiety first-hand.  This way, I can understand what it's like living with a car that only has a 100 mile range in city that isn't exactly what you would call "compact".

    28 Minutes with Felix Kramer

    Thursday, February 25, 2010 0 comments
    To me, Felix Kramer is the Yoda of the modern day push for Electric Vehicles...and I mean this in a good way.  While he's not 3ft tall and doesn't have big ears, he is a bit nerdy and has been a passionate and rational champion of EVs throughout the 2000s since he started CalCars in 2002.

    CalCars created the first Prius Plugin conversion in 2004 and with that he became the "world's first non-technical consumer owner" of a PHEV. Since then, he's been advising and speaking about EVs...pushing their adoption as a viable path to energy independence, cheaper transportation, and especially a big way forward to curbing climate change.

    In this 28 minute interview from BigThink, Felix addresses topics like...
    • How will a cleaner electric grid make cars cleaner?
    • How can business and government work together to allow for this to happen?
    • How efficient is the electrical production of energy?
    • Are there any fears that the lithium used to create so many batteries is an unsustainable resource?
    • Do you think America can lead the transition to electric cars?
    • Which countries are currently leading in this field?
    • How can we overcome the huge costs of creating sustainable energy is America?



    To read more about Felix Kramer and Calcars, visit these links:

    Black & Veatch Survey on the state of the US Electric Industry

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 0 comments
    Have you wondered how US Electric Utilities feel about Cap & Trade, where they need to invest, and what keeps them up at night?   Wonder no more...

    Black & Veatch, a 95 year old Energy Consulting Group, recently released their 4th annual Strategic Directions in the Electric Utility Industry Survey.  To get the data, they surveyed 329 utility industry representatives from public (78 respondents) and investor-owned (147 respondents) utilities as well as 104 architects, builders, engineers, non-regulated generators, financial institutions, attorneys and others affiliated with the industry.

    I've included some of the findings of the report below, but it only scratches the surface of the full report that you can download free from their website: http://www.bv.com/energysurvey.- it's worth the read.

    Here are the top 10 Insights from the report...
    1. Energy industry participants rate their top three concerns as reliability (old equipment and workforce), regulation (how will the carbon be regulated) and long-term investment (economic climate preventing rate increases).
    2. Many utilities rate their generation assets as near, at or passed planned service life.
    3. Survey respondents believe there remains a future for coal in U.S. power generation.
    4. Utilities perceive nuclear technology as the best technology for meeting environmental standards.
    5. Utilities expect nuclear power will play a larger role in the U.S. electricity mix by 2050.
    6. Utilities are investing in renewable energy with wind and solar leading the way.
    7. Carbon legislation and water supply are the most pressing environmental concerns for utilities.
    8. Most utilities believe that some type of carbon legislation will be approved at the national level by no later than 2012.
    9. Survey participants do not favor the cap-and-trade approach as specified in current legislation.
    10. If cap-and-trade legislation approved by the U.S. House in June 2009 is enacted, a plurality of survey respondents believe it will add between $500 and $1000 to the average homeowner’s annual energy expense by 2015.

    Here's a concise list of insights into other forces that are influencing the industry (page 18)...
    • Consistent with trends in general public opinion (as reported by respected public opinion polls), the respondents seemed a bit more reserved this year than last on whether global warming is man-made, and if carbon legislation would be passed anytime soon. Fifty-two percent of the respondents believed that the country can ill afford carbon legislation, while only 28% felt otherwise.
    • Just less than two thirds of our respondents expect cap and trade legislation to result in increases in annual residential electricity bills of over $500; 25% expect the impact to exceed $1,000. This is roughly consistent with recent Department of Energy projections.
    • Thirty percent regarded generation as the asset class most in need of replacement. However, running a very close second place – at 28% - was information technology (IT), no doubt reflecting the priorities created by the Smart Grid and the need for improved cyber security.
    • Computers and networks were regarded as the asset classes most at risk of harm by outside forces, such as acts of terrorism and cyber attack, up from last place in 2006, the first year of our survey.
    • No doubt reflecting concerns about the security of assets, respondents expect the cost of complying with Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) security standards to increase significantly. Approximately 60% of the IOU and public power respondents expect cost increases of over 10%; over 30% of respondents expect increases greater than 20%. By contrast, in 2006 – the first year of our survey – only 34% were concerned about cost increases greater than 10%.
    • Respondents believe that regulation is by far the strongest driver of new technology implementation. IOUs think government incentives – inspired no doubt by the federal stimulus program in the Smart Grid and renewable supply arenas - are the second most important driver, while public power systems see customer-focused initiatives as number two. Ironically, IOUs –which in many cases have open retail access – rank customer-focused initiatives as the fourth most important driver. Industry R&D ranks last for both IOUs and public power systems.
    • DSM and Energy Efficiency programs continued to grow in size and scope. More than 50% of our respondents indicated they were spending 2% or more of gross revenues on such programs. This equates to IOU expenditures of between $5 billion to $6 billion annually - roughly 15% to 20% of before-tax-earnings. DSM and Energy Efficiency spending by public power entities is up as well. New expenditures for Smart Grid applications by both IOUs and public power systems would be in addition to this.
    • Respondents expect load and revenue growth to recover as the Great Recession unwinds, but at rates below pre-recession levels.
    • Renewables appear promising. We know that while still somewhat expensive, the costs of renewables are declining and beginning to close the gap with the costs of more traditional generation. However, the respondents identified two major challenges: (1) the cost of wholesale power and other competitive options relative to the present cost of renewable technology; and (2) interconnection and transmission capacity issues, including the management of intermittent power.
    • As in 2008, ALL respondents ranked carbon emissions and water supply as the first and second top environmental concerns. This year, mercury replaced nitrogen oxides as number three. 
    • Respondents continue to believe that the industry should place its emphasis on nuclear power as the most environmentally friendly technology for the future.
    • A large majority of respondents do not buy into the notion that the future of the industry is a highly dispersed generation model. They see, instead, an evolution towards a hybrid of central and dispersed electricity production systems by 2015.
    Link to the full report: http://www.bv.com/energysurvey

    Wanna buy an Electric Vehicle with 100 mile range, battery swap ready, and just $1000?

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 1 comments
    Wanna buy an Electric Vehicle with 100 mile range, battery swap ready, and just $1000?

    You're 90 years too late.

    I had the opportunity to ride in (and drive!) Tom Henry's 1920 Milburn, one of the first vehicles that women could drive because you didn't have to start your car using a hand crank.  While it may seem so foriegn to us now, most cars didn't have an engine that you could start electrically until 1926 (that's when the Model T got electric start as standard equipment).  If you didn't start a hand cranked car correctly, it might cause a "kick back" which can make a mess out of you.  If you've ever started an old Huskavarna motorcycle, you might know the pain. 

    The Milburn is simple, pragmatic, and humble looking...it was all about utility...
    • The interior is open...I mean WIDE open...like there's NOTHING in the middle of the interior except for the petals for the parking and standard brake right in front of the bench seat in the back of the car.  The seating arraingement is 2 people in the back (including the driver on the left) and two in fold down jump seats in the front.  It's very easy to get around inside, but not too safe given the driver is could be surrounded by passengers,
    • Swappable Batteries. Under the hood and trunk lid, there are battery trays in the front and bank of the car which can be slid out to swap the batteries.  If you want to charge the car, there was also a DC charge port on the back of the car...but that's not used anymore since someone installed an onboard AC charger.
    • 100 Mile range.  A rack of lead acid batteries would get the car 100 miles down the road.  At a top speed of 20mph, that would be a 5 hour trip.  Does it seem odd that 100miles was the range of electric vehicle then...and now?  100 miles is the range of the new Nissan Leaf EV and Ford Focus EV. 
    • Less Maintenance.  There's not much to the car...suspension, brakes, motor, batteries, lights, and a dry place to sit.  No gas powered motors, radiators, oil changes, belt changes, tune ups...all the maintenance stuff that sucks about owning a car.  EVs were a good idea then and a better idea now for many of the same reasons...and now there's the added benefits of aiding climate change and easing our reliance on foreign oil.


    The funkiest thing about the Milburn is how you drive it...it doesn't have a steering wheel!  Instead, there are two bars you lower over your lap that control the direction (right hand) and speed (left hand).  On the floor are two petals for the parking brake (left) and standard brake (right).  If you watch the video, you can see how it works.

    Even back then, Electric Vehicles came at a premium price because of their low volumes...with the Milburn setting you back $1,000+ when Model Ts sold for $250.  Oddly enough, General Motors ended up killing the electric Milburn once they bought the company after 1923...which means that they killed two electric cars in their history once you include the EV1 in 1999.  If you want to learn more about the Milburn and find out who owns one near you, check out the Milburn fan site.

    The owner this very well preserved Milburn is Tom Henry.  Tom is a 72 year old electrician-turned-educator who owns Tom Henry's Code Electrical Classes which has taught over 28,000 people since he opened in 1982.  Over the years, he's owned several vintage cars, including 16 Model T's he recently parted with to expand his business into teaching solar courses.  Tom kept the Milburn since, in his own words: I'm an electrician, I figured I needed to have an electric car!

    Frost & Sullivan offers new research into the mind of an early adopter of Electric Vehicles

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010 0 comments
    In Q4 last year, Frost & Sullivan interviewed 1770 people across the United States about their interest in Electric Vehicles.  Today, the analyst company released the findings of the survey in a presentation called...

    Automakers Braving to Launch Electric Vehicles to Skeptic U.S. Consumers -Who will be the Early Adopters, and will their Needs and Expectations be Met? 

    It was presented by...
    • Veerender Kaul, Research Director, Automotive & Transportation, North America
    • Michael Coury, Vice President, Customer Research, North America
    The 45 minute briefing covered some highlights from the insights they gained from the survey.  If you haven't attended a Frost & Sullivan briefing, you should...they're always insightful.  Here's a link to the briefing: http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/analyst-briefing-detail.pag?mode=open&sid=191240672

    Here's some highlights from their highlights of the report...

    Demographics, needs, and wants
    • The Target "Very Interested" Early Adopter (12% of respondents): 18-45 male with a college degree in the suburbs that owns a single family home, makes $80K+ and has kids.  However, most broad categories of potential buyers are likely to be 36-45 year old females living in the suburbs and are environmentally conscious.
    • 97% of owners park their car in same location everyday, of which 74% live in homes, 10% in apartments, and 16% in condominium or town homes.  Average parking time during weekday is: 12.8 hrs. at home, 4.9 hrs. at work and 2.7 hrs. at other places.
    • Average weekday driving distance is 43.5 mi and weekend distance 57.5 mi.
    • The more people learned about EVs during the taking of the Frost & Sullivan survey, the more they liked them...from 25% to 50%.  This might show that don't understand the benefits of EVs today.  However, this number reversed when they were presented with the costs.
    • Range anxiety is a serious impediment to the adoption of EVs. E-REVS and PHEVs will be overwhelmingly favored.
    • Customers are more likely to purchase Hybrid, then Range Extended (Volt), then PHEV, then EV (smallest niche)
    • Development of a public charging infrastructure is critical -mitigates range anxiety, enable optimization of driving range, and reduce vehicle cost.
    Vehicle characteristics
    • Acceptable price for an EV: $33K
    • 2015 demand for EVs based on performance criteria ~2.3M...but analyst said that he thinks that it's more likely that 750K-1M will be actually purchased.
    • Charging time didn't seem to make a big difference to the respondent (30m to 8h)...but 4 hours was preferred.  I'm thinking that customers didn't understand the impact of the question.
    • Roadside Assistance and Telematics and LBS services are “a must have” feature for EVs. Must be provided standard.
    • A vehicle with a driving range of 100mi is unlikely to be seen by most Americans as their primary vehicle. A range of 150mi is more likely to merit that consideration.
    • Vehicle manufacturers could consider offering BEV with a package of some free rental car days to position a BEV as a primary vehicle.  Interesting idea given that most automakers have existing relationships with rental car companies.
    Information like this helps us target our efforts this year as we Get Ready  for EVs in Central Florida.

      Comparing the Energy Efficiency of a Gas Powered Vehicle to an EV

      Sunday, February 7, 2010 0 comments
      The goal of transportation is get something from Point A to Point B as efficiently as possible.  If you take your car as an example, all you really want it to do is get you from your home to work...comfortably.  If you had a choice, you probably wouldn't choose to waste money heating the engine up to 220F degrees or to keep the engine quiet while it silences the millions of explosions your car makes.  You also probably would pass on the hundreds of pounds of cooling equipment to keep the engine from overheating either..that's all waste when your goal is just to move something.
       
      I thought it would be interesting to find a report comparing the difference between the efficiency of a vehicle powered by an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and an Electric Motor...but I couldn't find one.

      I've known from DOEs site that Gas Powered engines only convert about 20% of the gasoline's energy down to the wheels...while EV's convert about 75% of the battery's energy to the wheels.  This is a HUGE difference, but I was wanting to see a breakdown of how they got this number.

      Then I found the above graphic on DOEs site under the Energy Requirements menu.  This breaks things down nicely, but there's no comparison to EVs...so I made a SWAG at from other data I could find and filled in the table below. 



      Internal Combustion
      Engine Losses
      Electric Drive
      Losses
      Notes
      Energy In 100%
      100%
      Fuel or Electricity
      Engine Losses
      (friction, heat, charge)
      -62.4%
      -15%
      10% for motor and 5% for power management.
      Standby/Idle -17.2% 0%Electric Motors use nothing at 0mph
      Accessories
      (A/C, Heater, etc.)
      -2.2%
      -3%
      I assumed higher because of cabin heat
      is more expensive in an Electric Vehicle
      Driveline Losses
      -5.6%
      -2%
      Most EVs that I know of have no transmission
      which makes driveline losses much less
      Total Available Energy
      for Acceleration
      12.6%
      80%EVs have 67.4% more energy available to move the vehicle than ICE powered vehicles...that's a HUGE difference in Efficiency!

      So there you are, an unvalidated breakdown of how EVs are much more efficient than ICE vehicles...it's really all about wasted heat.  Once the new EVs hit the street later this year, maybe someone will actually compare two similar cars (like a Nissan Versa and a Nissan Leaf) and we can see how close these guesses are to reality.

      Given the fact that petroleum is only going to become more scarce in the future, it's only sensible to use this resource more efficiently as time goes on...and using it in ICE powered vehicles is a waste compared to EVs!

      Get Ready Central Florida! Orlando is officially an early adopter of EVs

      Thursday, February 4, 2010 1 comments
      It's official, the Central Florida area (Orlando) will be an Early Adopter of EVs!

      On February 2nd, we had a double header event which was officiated by the Mayor of Orange County, Richard Crotty, the Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, Nissan's Tracy Woodard, OUC's Byron Knibbs, and Progress Energy's Rob Caldwell.  Here's what was announced...
      • Orlando becomes a Partner City for RMI's Project Get Ready.  We join 6 other cities that have been working with the Rocky Mountain Institute to get ready for electric vehicles. You can think of RMI's Project Get Ready as a recipe for how to rollout EV infrastructure in a given metro area.  This recipe was created by RMI by talking to Govs, Vendors, Utilities, and Auto Manufactures and learning from past mistakes of prior EV launches in the 90s.  This relationship also gets us access to all of this experience when we want too.  Here's the website for "Get Ready Central Florida".
      • Orlando becomes one of the Early Adopter cities for the Nissan Leaf.  We join just 20 other cities that will be selling the Nissan Leaf this year.  Together with the Project Get Ready initiative, we'll be working with Nissan to prepare Central Florida for the Leaf.  You can read the details of this relationship below in the press release below.
      The ceremony was at the Jefferson Street Parking Garage in Downtown Orlando...and although it's not the swankest place to have a ceremony, it worked out good because it was raining that day and no one had to get out in the weather to attend.  The other reason to have it there was that the test cars are not street legal.

      Centerstage was the "pretty" Nissan Leaf...the one that looks close to the final production version.  There's only 2 of these on Earth now.  The Leaf is very smart looking both inside and out and has a good amount of room inside.  The instrument cluster is clean, easy to see, and "space age" - it reminds me of the bridge on Star Trek, The Next Generation.  As a Carrot to get you to drive efficiently, you'll get little Tree icons when you drive sanely...and you'll hear a sawmill if you drive aggressively...just kidding about the sawmill.

      After the ceremony, we were offered to drive the Leaf's ugly brother...the "mule".   This version of the car is a Nissan Versa with the powertrain and battery which is close to the final production version.  For my quick lap around the garage, the car accelerated great and I didn't notice any weirdness in the transition between regenerative and real breaking.  The powertrain was very responsive and "snappy"...I'm looking forward to the real deal.

      A couple of tidbits that I picked up from the Leaf's handlers are...
      • Nissan will NOT be offering to lease the batteries if you buy the car...and Mitsubishi announced the same a few days ago.  I think this is a good move as you can lease the whole car anyway...which is what I would do if I were worried about battery life.
      • For the longest battery life, you should let the batteries deplete until a 30% State Of Charge and then charge them up to 80% SOC.  You can program the car to only charge it up to 80% if you want...and this upper limit is preset when you use the Level 3 Fast Charger to manage the intense heat that is created during fast charging.  Now we just need some time on the batteries to know HOW much longer the life will be if you follow different charge patterns.  I'm thinking most people will just charge it 100% and charge it again when they get home no matter what the SOC.
      I've been on the Steering Committee with "Get Ready Central Florida" since October 09 and I'm really excited about the future of EVs in Orlando.  We've got the commitment from several key stakeholder groups (Gov't, Utilities, & Car Companies) and the group works well together.  We're gearing up now to fill out our working groups with stakeholders in the community and we're planning some new events with other automakers...this will be fun!

      As a Floridian, I've always been jealous of the progressive EV initiatives on the West Coast.  However, after today, I don't have to be so jealous anymore.

      If you would like a presentation made to your group on the topic of EV infrastructure, just shoot me an email via my About page.



      See the Nissan-Orlando press release below...

      AeroVironment gearing up for Nissan Leaf charger installs via certified electrician program

      Sunday, January 31, 2010 1 comments
      AeroVironment recently partnered with Nissan to supply and install home chargers for customers that purchase the Leaf.  To install these things on a nationwide basis, AeroVironment plans to partner, train, and certify with electrical contractors so they know how to properly install and maintain them.  From looking at their careers page, they are preparing for this program now.  Electrical contracting companies wanting to enter the EV charge market should probably contact them soon to see about entering this program.

      AeroVironment recently posted an impressive video on their website which walks you through a customer experience on getting a charger installed.  It's worth a watch...

      AeroVironment GoEV Website


      Image and Video Source: AeroVironment

      A Quick Look at Fast Charging for Electric Vehicles

      Wednesday, January 20, 2010 0 comments
      The smartest and cheapest way to charge your electric vehicle is at night and "slowly" (>4 hours), but when you need to travel cross country, you NEED to charge up FAST (<15 min).

      Fast charging is also known as Level 3 charging, and the NEC defines it as 480V AC Input at 400 Amps...or 192KW.  Since most U.S. Homes only have a 200 Amp service to power the whole home, you won't be finding these in average homes.

      In the near future (2011), you'll start to find Level 3 chargers in three primary places...
      1. On or near Interstates, Turnpikes, and other major roads
      2. In the service depots for organizations that have fleets of Electric Vehicles
      3. On the backs of trailers that will come to your car in case you "ran dry"...or to charge the cars of evacuees as they flee a city in case of emergency (hurricanes!)
      So why wouldn't you want to charge at Level 3 all the time?  Two reasons...
      • Heat: The act of charging or discharging a battery creates heat.  The faster you charge/discharge, the faster you create heat.  Typically, the higher the temperature in the battery, the faster the battery will "wear out" or become damaged.  That said, it's better to charge slower to get the greatest life out of your battery.
      • Energy Cost: Over the next decade, we will see more use of "Time of Use" (TOU) rates from our utility companies.  TOU ratings adjust the price of electricity during the day...which can vary from 8 cents/hour at night to 30 cents/hour during the day if you're in some parts of California.  TOU rates will incent us from charging during the day when electricity is most expensive and in the highest demand.
      Unlike Level 1 or 2 charging, Level 3 chargers will use Direct Current (DC) to charge the batteries...which store electricity as DC anyway.  Why?  Given the high currents that the Level 3 chargers operate at (400 amps), the inverter (the device that converts AC to DC) must be large and heavy...and you don't want excess weight in your car.  

      So, who makes Level 3 Chargers?
      The big challenges for Level 3 chargers are...

      Finally, the long waited "filler hose" for Electric Vehicles has been approved by SAE

      Monday, January 18, 2010 1 comments

      The "filler hose" thingy (see picture at right) that will be on the end of most charging stations was finally approved by the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE)!  This device will make it simple and especially safer for you to charge your new electric vehicle.

      This is a very important step the evolution of Electric Vehicles as this will be the standard connector that new vehicles will use.  Today, each manufacturer uses the plug system that they think is best, but that is not best for us (the user).  Just think if you had to search for a gas station that supported your car!

      The J1772 standard was developed by the SAE Hybrid J1772 Task Force in cooperation with major automotive OEMs and suppliers, charging equipment manufacturers, national labs, utility companies, universities and standards organizations from North America, Europe and Asia, so it's been vetted by stakeholders worldwide.

      Now, if we could get the makers of cell phones, laptops, and other gadgets to decide on a standard for all of their products...

      See the press release after the break...

      Charge Calculator for Electric Vehicles

      Sunday, January 17, 2010 1 comments
      Here's a spreadsheet that I created to do some rough calculations on Electric Vehicle charging, like finding the cost to charge, watts per mile, and the range per hour of charge.  Simply enter the Range (miles) and Battery Capacity (kW/h) of the car you want to solve for in the Yellow cells and see the resulting calcs.  Feel free to change the assumptions such as energy cost, charge voltage and charge amperage too.

      What this calculator doesn't do is account for the capacity that an automaker might be guarding to protect the battery.  For instance, even though a battery has a given capacity, the automaker may not allow the entire capacity to be used in order to protect the batteries from damage via over-discharge.

      If you find errors or have suggestions, please let me know!  If you save the spreadsheet as an Excel Spreadsheet, you will be able to see the formulas that I used.

      Notes
      • The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt only charges at 3.3kW/h at Level 2 (220V), so you need to enter 15A for the charging current to see more accurate estimates.  The Coda Sedan charges at 6.6 kW/h, so you would enter 30A for the charging current.
      • The Chevy Volt has a 16 kW/h battery, but limits the use (via software) between 30% and 85% of capacity to prolong battery life.  Therefore you should figure to recharge only 8.8 kW/h.


      Test Driving a Tesla Roadster

      Saturday, January 16, 2010 1 comments

      Do you...
      • Love the acceleration of a very quick roller coaster launch, like Polterguiest or The Increadable Hulk?
      • Like a car that listens intently for your actions and responds instantly to them?
      • Appreciate ultra-light cutting edge materials and being able to lift your hood with your pinky?
      • Like the idea of a no maintenance car?  Except for feeding it sticky tires...:-)
      • Love the idea of filling up your car with clean electricity vs. dirty petroleum?
      Then you'll LOVE the Tesla Roadster...I certainly did!

      I had a chance to drive a Roadster on my visit to the new Tesla Dealership in Dania, FL near Miami at the beginning of January.  Here is a short list of things I liked and disliked about the car...

      Pros
      • It's electric (clean!!!)
      • More than 200 miles on a charge!
      • Instant, smooth, silent, linear, and strong power...simply breathtaking!
      • Lifting the accelerator slows the car quickly...like you are in a lower gear.  The best part is that the braking energy goes back into your batteries vs. wasted as heat...and this means less brake maintenance!  Regenerative braking rocks!
      • Go-cart like handling.  If this car had power-steering, one good sneeze could equal a lane change.
      • Hand-built and unique feeling to the car.  The cockpit was well laid out and had good "character"

       Cons
      • Not easy to get into or out of if you're tall.  Although I was comfortable when I got in, it's not easy getting my long legs into the car (I'm 6"2").  Your "significant other" probably won't like being a copilot often since it's work to get in it "gracefully".
      • Since the Roadster doesn't have power steering, you have to use some elbow grease to get it to turn...but you get used to it quickly.
      • The heated seats needed a turbo button.  Heating your body with the seats is more efficient than heating the cockpit...and easier on the battery life.
      • Not impressed with the user interface for the onboard computer, but Tesla probably knows this based on the improvements they're putting in the "S".

      Charging the Roadster
      • Slow Charge: The base Tesla only ships with a 110v charge cable, which will fully charge the car in about 24h.  You could probably get away with primarily using this if you just used the car daily for short drives (<50m) and only had to top off the Roadster's charge each night.  
      • Medium Charge: If you wanted to fully charge the Roadster in about 8 hours, you could purchase their Mobile Charger for $1000 and plug it into a 240v Dryer outlet.  This is the charging method of choice for cross country travel with your Roadster.
      • Fast Charge: If you want to fully charge your Roadster in 3.5 hours, then you'll need to pony up for the $3,000 fast charger from Tesla and then pay an electrician to plumb it a 240V/100A circuit to feed it...which could be expensive ($500+) since that's a lot of electrons and most homes only have a 200A service to start with.

      Driving the Roadster
      Here's a video of what it's like to be in the Roadster during a drive...including what it sounds like.  In addition to a 0-60 run, I got to overtake other cars twice, so you can get an idea of how quickly it accelerates...and how quickly it slows down. 



      Thanks to the crew at Tesla South Florida for the hospitality and test drive! 

      Tesla South Florida
      1949 Tigertail Boulevard
      Dania Beach, FL 33004
      1.754.816.3069