On July 26th, ReVision Energy officially unveiled Maine’s first public solar powered electric vehicle charging station, attracting what must have been the largest gathering of electric cars in Maine outside a dealership! A trio of Chevy Volts was there – ReVision’s own, that of our sister company ReVision Heat, and a fleet vehicle from Central Maine Power.
Close to 100 people came and went through the course of the evening, enjoying tunes from ReVision’s in-house guitar virtuoso Josh Rollson, victuals from Katie Made bakery, and of course, the star of the show: the electric cars.
ReVision offered a special thanks to Fred Garbo, who brought his fully EV Nissan LEAF to the event, and allowed several interested people to take it for a spin around the block. Garbo is under contract to install a dual-axis solar tracker with ReVision so that his LEAF will be fully solar powered.
One of the most commonly asked questions, “Is it like a regular car?” is answered with “Yes! It’s just like a regular car… only without oil changes, gasoline, or transmission fluid.”
Some Compelling MPG
Based on the surprising abundance of solar power in Maine, 9 solar panels will provide roughly enough electricity throughout the year to power about 12,000 miles of driving on an electric car. If you swap out a 20mpg vehicle to an electric car, your fuel savings alone will pay for the solar panels in around 2 years. Assuming you keep driving some sort of electric car for the next 20 years, this is like buying gas at $0.32/gallon!*
Transportation accounts for 27% of all energy consumed in the U.S., and is responsible for 50% of the carbon emissions generated in our region. As electric cars become more widely available, we finally have the opportunity to cut our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels and the associated geopolitical, environmental, and economic toll they take on our society.
Evan Sohm, of Londonderry, NH, owns a Chevy Volt and solar panels installed by ReVision Energy. He describes his experience like this:
I drive from Londonderry, NH to Methuen, MA for work, Monday through Friday. It’s approximately a 37 mile round trip; the Volt will go approximately 40 miles on 10kWHr of charge. As a result, I’ve been driving the Volt to and from work without using any gas.
The PV Solar Panels on my roof produce 4kW of power in full sun. So if the sun shines on my roof for 2.5hours, that produces 10kWHr of energy which is enough to drive the car for 40 miles! On average our PV system produces 18.9kWhr/day. If you use all that energy to charge the Volt you could drive 75 miles per day with zero fuel expenses.
If we drove a regular car that gets 25mpg for 75 miles, that would require 3 gallons of gas. So for us, it’s like our solar panels produce 3 gallons of gas per day, every day.
I couldn’t be happier, because in all honesty, I hate giving my money to the oil companies. Not only do I get to save money and help the environment, but I get to drive a really cool car! Everybody who takes a ride in it says it’s like a space ship. But the Chevy Volt is not rocket science. It’s like any other regular car, only much more efficient. So far, I’ve driven 7,000 miles and the lifetime fuel economy is 107mpg.
The return of the electric car ushers in a new era of transportation, where the Northeast can finally sever ties to dirty, finite fossil fuels and get where we need to go with clean power from the sun. ReVision Energy has launched new content for you to learn about electric car charging and solar options for your home.
* Assuming all-electric driving, which is possible for some but not all Volt drivers. Our prediction is based on real-world data collected from a 2012 Chevy Volt, where we are able to achieve 40 mi driving radius on pure electric. The 20-year cost of energy on a 4.8kw solar electric system (as of Aug, 2012) is $0.08/kWh. The Chevy Volt’s battery pack is 16kWh and Chevy claims that up to 50% will be discharged in driving. 4kWh gets you 20miles, for a cost of $0.32, vs. the $3.60+ that will cost you in gasoline.