Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sharing the “Plug-Love”

In any healthy relationship, sharing is a must.

As more and more Americans begin to venture into the plug-in world, Julie and I thought it would be worthwhile and educational to share with you our two EV one EVSE experience. After all, most American families have no idea what it’s like to have their own personal fueling station and to forego the fun, shared, community experience of getting gas at the gas station and handing over $450 a month for the love of that experience.   

For Julie and I, watching the daily price changes at the gas station is now like watching a very slow version of an old slot machine ever changing the numbers, with the knowledge that the casino will ultimately win.  Have you seen Dubai and the Arab Emirates? Do you know or care why their “Vegas lights” shine so brightly?

Once you have your first L2 charging station at home as part of your first EV or PHEV  purchase or lease, you begin to enrich your family and now have a private, secure and personal fueling station for the rest of your life. Community gas stations begin to resemble a third world way of living akin to community soup kitchens, both  with occasionally long lines when times are tough.

Julie is the driver of our BMW ActiveE and she puts about 18,000 miles a year on her car. Her commute to work and back is 45 miles.   I am the driver of our Honda Fit EV, I drive 12,000 miles a year and my commute to work and back is 25 miles.   We often drive hundreds of miles in a day and we often travel with our EV’s on camping and hotel vacation several hundred miles per trip.   Once every two  years or so,  we take a long drive up to Napa or out to Taos and for that trip we will rent a car or swap with my daughter.   Other than that one trip every couple of years, there is zero difference in our lives (on the negative side) between gas cars or electric cars.  On the positive side the benefits of electric cars are many and great.

On to sharing the “Plug-Love”

When we first became a two EV family 6 months ago, we thought about having a second L2 EVSE installed, one for each car.  The more we thought about it, we came to the conclusion that we could easily share the single EVSE that we have had for a few years.   We devised a trial system to let us try two different charging combinations for three months each, to see which one was more convenient for us. 

Trial 1.  Flapper language.   Think sign language for cars.  Julie as the high mileage driver would have plug priority.  This means that she could unplug me whenever.   When I pulled into the garage (usually with only 25% depleted on the battery) I would simple leave my flap open.  Julie knew this was a sign that when she unplugged at 6:30 am to go to work, she would pull the plug from the Active E and plug in the Honda. When I left for work around 9am the Honda is fully charged.   This system works just fine.  We have never had a “forgot to plug you in moment” and we can both see what each car is doing on our cell phones at any moment if we are curious or want to confirm for sure that we are charged.  

Trial 2.  Private charging for each car adding the 110 EVSE.    In our garage we have a 110 volt 15 amp circuit.  We mounted the 110 convenience charger that came with the Honda next to the EVSE for the BMW.   Julie uses the 220 charger andI use the 110 charger.   When I get home in the Honda I plug in and when I leave in the morning it’s fully charged.  On the once in a month occasion that I need a quicker 6.6khw charge, I’ll use the 220 charger.  This system also works fine and has the added ease of not being responsible for the other persons car.  If we take a long trip, it’s usually in the BMW and we have the 110 charger for that car with us in case of emergency.

Living with one EVSE and two EV’s is a piece of cake and far easier than going to community gas stations.  We prefer the private charging for each car adding the 110 EVSE scenario slightly over the flapper language scenario.  If we were in a garage with no 110 flapper language would work great.

As we drive into the future, most American families will find that one EVSE will suffice for multiple EVs or PHEVs. Either way, the purchase of an EVSE is like buying a fueling station for life.  It may appear to be costly when you buy your first car, but for every car then on it’s a supreme bargain and you'll be hard pressed to buy a private gasoline pump for that price.  I  have no doubt that the future entrepreneurs will invent  EVSE's that will tailor to the two or three car families.  Think larger surge protector multiple plugs for cars.

Julie and I charge our BMW and Honda with the electricity generated by the sun via our six year old 7.5kw Solar PV system. This system was 100% paid off in full in June of 2012 with the utility and fuel savings of the prior 5 years.  Our savings in gasoline is $5000 a year and growing as gasoline increases in price, our savings in our utility bill is $3600 a year for a total annual savings of $8600 a year.   The annual savings  will go on for the rest of our lives.  Our price of energy and fuel for our cars is fixed at near zero for life.  Let's hope they never start taxing sunshine.

Peder & Julie
70,000 sunshine powered miles.


  1. Awesome guys, you are living the future!

  2. Right back at you buddy.

    I am amazed at the progress of the past 3.5 years and look forward to upcoming years with great optimism.