Getting your home ready for an electric vehicle (EV)

 

Owning a plug-in electric car means a new way to fuel. The convenience of charging at home can reduce or even eliminate your trips to the gas station, but it also comes with choices.

Get a lower rate

We offer 2 rate plans specifically designed for people with electric cars. These plans provide lower rates when you charge at night and during off-peak hours. Your selected rate plan and charging level (or voltage) will determine whether you’ll need to upgrade your home’s electrical wiring.

Do you need a charging station?

If your electric car has a smaller battery, or if you simply drive less, you can charge your electric car within a few hours using a standard household 120-volt outlet. If your electric car has a larger battery or you drive more, you may want a home charging station or dock for faster charging.

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Continue reading Getting your home ready for an electric vehicle (EV)

Are you ready to rent out your car? – ‘Personal Car Sharing’ brings in $2-300/month

Have you ever thought about renting out your car, like an automobile version of Airbnb?

The trend is catching on as “personal car sharing” comes to Los Angeles in March 2012. It already exists in Boston and San Francisco as a distinct service compared to Zipcar, which rents out cars owned by Zipcar-itself.

RelayRides, based in Boston, is expanding a service that allows car owners to rent their vehicles to other licensed drivers by the hour or the day.

Personal car sharing was legalized in California last year, but RelayRides and the other two companies that offered the service in the state (Getaround and Spride) operated only in San Francisco.

“AB 1871 allows Californians to rent their cars by the hour to offset their costs of ownership, as well as cars’ impact on the environment. Previously, California law prevented personal cars from being rented for commercial use.

Under the new law, individuals who rent their personal cars need to carry auto-insurance levels at least three times greater than the state’s current minimums of $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person and $5,000 for damage to property.” via Greenspace

Car sharing would seem to work best where “it’s easy to live without a car,” Clark said, meaning a dense city with good public transportation. In areas such as L.A., where the opposite is true, Clark expects car sharing will be used as an alternative to buying a second or third car.

“A lot of families always need one car and sometimes need two,” Clark said. “Right now, their only option is to round up. The only way to access that car when they need it is to own one.”

The starting price for RelayRides rentals is $5 per hour and includes gas, 20 miles of driving and insurance. RelayRides keeps 35% of the rental cost. The remaining 65% goes to the car owner. Monthly payments, which average $250, are sent to owners.

via LA Times

 

From RelayRides:

Total convenience – No more walking a mile to some gas station to pick up a car: RelayRides cars live where you live! Whether it’s down the block, across the street, or in your neighbor’s driveway, RelayRides cars are always conveniently located.

 

California traffic fatalities down 37% – lowest level since 1944

The California Office of Traffic Safety celebrated their fifth year of consecutive declines in traffic related fatalities.

In 2010, the number of fatalities in the Golden State dropped to 2,715.  That is nearly a 12 percent drop from 3,081 traffic deaths in 2009.  And since the peak in 2005, with 4,333 deaths, California’s numbers have declined by more than 37 percent.

The number of traffic fatalities in California have not been this low since 1944, when only one-tenth the number of vehicles were on the road, driving only one-sixteenth the number of miles California drivers traveled in 2010.

via The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation

 

A very, very big deal considering that driving is one of the top killers in the U.S.:

  • Heart disease: 599,413
  • Cancer: 567,628
  • Automobiles: 359,000
  • Chronic Respiratory: 137,353
  • Stroke: 128,842

 

Statistics from 2009 reports by the CDC and U.S. Census.

Another report claims that the drop could be due to new cellphone bans, “deaths blamed on drivers using hand-held cellphones were down 47 percent.” via Huffington Post

California wants 15% of all cars to be electric by 2025

Less than a year after everyone seemed to agree that 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025 was a properly attainable goal, the California Air Resources Board has decided to change things up a bit.

In addition to CAFE requirements of a 54.5-mpg fleet average, at least 15.4 percent of all cars sold by any major automaker doing business in California will have to be either fully electric, a plug-in hybrid or be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell by 2025.

According to Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, 15.4 percent is “actually a relatively modest goal, but that’s all that we’re mandating.”

Most automakers are on board, says Nichols. “Probably the most heartening aspect of this whole rulemaking was the level of cooperation that we received from the industry… Overall, the degree of support for the package was just extraordinary.”

At least 10 more states are likely to follow California’s lead, reports Automotive News.

via Patrick Roanhouse

The Oil Industry – the most developed world industry, twice the size of the food industry

In 1950, the United States was the only country with a well developed oil industry. Today, the energy sector as a whole is the largest industry in the world and accounts for over $3 trillion dollars in annual sales. The second largest global industry, food, accounts for $1.7 trillion. Between 1950 and 1973 the world oil industry grew 9-fold – a rate of increase of 10% per year, sustained over a period of 20 years. During that time period, the world produced over 2.5 billion new motor vehicles, half of which in the United States.

The world demand for oil has multiplied from 11 million barrels per day (mbd) in 1950, to 57 mbd in 1970, to almost 80 mbd today. The United States consumes 20.7 mbd, which is the most of any nation and equals the consumption of the next 5 largest national consumers (China, Japan, Germany, Russia and India). World demand has recently grown as the economies of China (6.5 mbd) and India (2.3 mbd) have developed, but the United States remains the largest consumer.

The five largest producers of oil are Saudi Arabia (10.37 mbd), Russia (9.27), United States (8.69), Iran (4.09) and Mexico (3.86). Proven oil reserves are concentrated in the Middle East (60%).

via Joseph Coton Wright at Berkeley

Nissan LEAF, electric cars means no oil changes, no tailpipe, and a big market for "charging stations"

The all-electric Nissan LEAF is coming soon to a neighborhood near you. It’s a fascinating new car with many exotic features, as compared to our normal gas-engine cars.

To learn more about it, I’ve pulled out some of the more interesting Frequently Asked Questions. After reading them one realizes that we are facing some serious changes:

  • A new smaller engine that requires no oil or transmission fluid, no gas tank, and no tailpipe. I guess the interior will be bigger?
  • A new breed of mechanics will be required to fix electric engines and repair battery issues. Hot new job?
  • Charging stations, these places should start popping up all around our city.
  • Will they be private or publicly owned (currently most are publicly owned)?
  • Do you think the name will stick, charging station, or will it be the electric station?
  • Zero emissions while driving and a reliance on electricity, which is much cleaner than gas.
  • View pictures of the charging port, interior, and dash.
  • Continue reading Nissan LEAF, electric cars means no oil changes, no tailpipe, and a big market for "charging stations"

    Nissan LEAF, electric cars means no oil changes, no tailpipe, and a big market for “charging stations”

    The all-electric Nissan LEAF is coming soon to a neighborhood near you. It’s a fascinating new car with many exotic features, as compared to our normal gas-engine cars.

    To learn more about it, I’ve pulled out some of the more interesting Frequently Asked Questions. After reading them one realizes that we are facing some serious changes:

    • A new smaller engine that requires no oil or transmission fluid, no gas tank, and no tailpipe. I guess the interior will be bigger?
    • A new breed of mechanics will be required to fix electric engines and repair battery issues. Hot new job?
    • Charging stations, these places should start popping up all around our city.
    • Will they be private or publicly owned (currently most are publicly owned)?
    • Do you think the name will stick, charging station, or will it be the electric station?
  • Zero emissions while driving and a reliance on electricity, which is much cleaner than gas.
  • View pictures of the charging port, interior, and dash.
  • Continue reading Nissan LEAF, electric cars means no oil changes, no tailpipe, and a big market for “charging stations”