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August 13, 2011

Leafs and Volts

-- by Dave Johnson

In the last week I have seen six (Nissan) Leafs and three (Chevy) Volts in my area. I'm in Redwood City/Menlo Park, in the Silicon Valley area, so you would expect more rapid adoption of electric cars. (The very first Leaf sold in the United States was in Redwood City.) But still, this is more than I expected and a lot of the Leafs still have the dealer plates. So they were probably back-ordered and a shipment just arrived.

My aunt is considering buying a Leaf. I'm thinking of getting the new Ford Focus Electric. We have a 2007 Focus, and we love it. My Honda Accord is 11 years old now... and the electric Focus comes out soon...

Here's the thing about electric cars. Have you ever had to repair your refrigerator motor? Almost the only maintenance you'll ever need on an electric car is replacing tires and lubricating bearings. There is no water pump. There is no timing belt. No valves to adjust. No fuel filter. No oil changes. No exhaust system...

One more thing: Ford and SunPower announce deal to bundle electric cars with rooftop solar power Ford has teamed up with our own SunPower to offer a special deal on a rooftop solar system. The system doesn't directly charge the car -- the system feeds power into the grid during the day and you charge the car at night from the grid. You could make a profit on the power, by the way, if you only count the car-charging, but it will knock down your electric bill enough to pay for itself either way. From the story,

The "Drive Green for Life" program is designed to provide the cars' owners the opportunity to fuel their vehicles with clean energy and have a carbon-free driving experience.

SunPower will offer a 2.5-kilowatt rooftop system, which should provide enough electricity to fuel an electric car that travels about 1,000 miles per month, for less than $10,000, after the federal tax credit. Typically, SunPower charges at least $18,000 for a system of that size.

"This is a great opportunity to take solar mainstream," said SunPower CEO Tom Werner. "We're thrilled to provide electric car owners with a clean source of fuel."

So here we are, finally getting away from being tied to the oil system and the (literally) centralized power structure.

Update - Saw two more Leafs just this evening.

Posted by Dave Johnson at August 13, 2011 10:45 AM


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