Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Our 2014 BMW i8, planning a fantastic road trip to the future…Oregon.



Thinking about the future in our prototype BMW Mini-E #183

A journey through the years need not be a prosaic one, make room for personal indulgences and dreams, dreams that are to be chased and dreams that are to be realized.  If one day you’re fortunate enough to peer out the window of reality at what was once a personal dream, dream again and chase…

Our 2014 Electronaut BMW i8 is both a realized dream as  plug in and solar pv pioneers and a personal indulgence.  In a few days, we’re taking SUNGAS 1 on a road trip from San Diego to Oregon that will connect us to a new dream for our future as we think about and drive a very different vehicle architecture, one that’s slotted between a 300 lbs motorcycle and a 3,500 lbs car, one that I think has the potential to change our world as we shift to drivers being optional.  

Wine in Napa and the Willamette Valley are a big part of the itinerary; after all we’re dreaming here and what better than wine to help that dream.  It’s damn hard work to be a pioneer J

On a road trip through five states on Route 66, 

A BMW Isetta?  No, it’s not a three wheel micro car, it’s not even a car.  BMW does give us a solid hint via its Motorrad division and the BMW C1, with the incredible fun and enjoyment of the openness of the road that heretofore only a motorcycle could provide.  So think of the ultimate electric platform, soon to be an autonomous platform,  a stable, affordable three wheeled motorcycle platform crossed with a “Dash of DNA” from the BMW Isetta and the BMW C1 to get a picture of what is soon to be in our garage.

The three wheel BMW Isetta

Funny, Julie won’t allow me to ride a motorcycle, but she likes the idea of the Arcimoto SRK.  www.arcimoto.com  that should tell you something about the future acceptance of this vehicle architecture.  
Beach buddies in Carlsbad Ca 

The BMW C1 with Seat belts.

The past nearly three years with our 2014 BMW i8 has been a love affair of an automotive sort.   Logic does not drive the mood or decisions with the i8, passion with an eye towards the future does.  It’s emotional not rational.  A walk past the i8, static in the garage as I get in my daily driver, the BMW i3, still provides a thrill, a slight shudder of thought that life is grand and that Julie and I have worked extremely hard and are fortunate.  That feeling will be there for the next 30 years as I grow old with SUNGAS 1.  

I imagine myself as an 85 year old with a cane needing a bit of help to get in and out of my old classic BMW i8 with Julie.   Now that’s a vision of how to grow old properly.

Many of the first year 2014 BMW i8s life a life in the garage as queens & collectibles a valuable prized torch carrier for BMWi towards the future that dare not collect miles at the expense of their value in the future collectors market.   Pffff!  Great cars are not meant for safe garages. We purposely chose to drive our BMW i8 touching the emotions and all the senses of life to the fullest when in the cockpit.  It’s both the various personalities of the car, the broadest range I have ever experienced in any car from electric, slow, silent and sultry when approaching a favorite restaurant or hotel, to full throat AWD nastiness on a favored piece of asphalt, as well as the various personalities of those who approach the car in awe that are so special to us.   

From the kids who ask “is that from the future” to foam Minions objectionably bouncing off the car working for photo tips on the Vegas strip, thousands of drunk people at midnight who won’t let you pass when the light turns green because you have a car from the future and they’re blitzed, nothing can go wrong there…thank goodness for alert valets.

What could go wrong at midnight in Vegas? 

It’s not a typical duty life (there is nothing typical at all) for our BMW i8 as our daily drivers are our i3’s.   The BMW i8 essentially leads two lives in our garage.  One is as a weekend driver around coastal North San Diego County in full electric mode visiting our favorite diner houses and watering holes as our region has 120 micro breweries and 110 boutique wineries.    The other is as our long road trip car, in this the BMW i8 is exceptional, exciting as hell and well mannered when not rampaging, as a grand touring car for two.

SUNGAS 1 in front of our Solar powered home. 

Each drive no mater how short or how long has a little blip of the shift lever to the left and insane momentary fun before returning to a life led by most cars.  Each drive involves receiving a thumbs up, a wave, a picture, shaka or other expression…I try to be welcoming and generous with both my time and the car.

We’ve put 18,500 mile on the odometer the past 33 months. 10,000 the first year, 6000 the second and were on track for 5000, for the third. Of the total miles approximately 12,000 are on various great road trips across several states averaging 30mpg and 6,500 are local miles averaging 65 mpg with an overall average of 40mpg. No mechanical issues at all, the doors are amazingly simple in their cfrp construction and single exposed strut and show no reason why they wont be solid for the life of the car with a strut replacement I’m sure sometime in the future. 



As a BMW i8 driver I can certainly afford the gas but that’s not the point. The BMW i8 is over two times more efficient than its class competitors and what I/we can’t afford is twice the emissions and pollution.   BRAVO BMW. 

With two BMW i3’s and the BMW i8, our emissions have been reduced 90% and sunshine is our primary fuel.   This is the path towards the higher performance, lower emissions and strengthened family budgets in our future.  Worry not my petrol BMW friends, electricity generated by sunshine and driving electric is insane and sane at the same time.  Crazy I know. 

There’s always a place for cars made for emotions, alongside the cars made for everyone.  The stories are different for each and the life of the lucky drivers are different as well.   Never forget this BMW. 




What a fantastic car to grow my kind of old with.   

Cheers
Peder 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

EV Drivers & Utilities Hold the Key to Financial Savings and an Emission Free Future.

San Diego County leads the nation in Solar PV and EV adoption. 

As a ten year practitioner of both EV driving & Solar PV renewable energy generation, and nine years as a San Diego County Planning Commissioner leading on complex energy and transportation issues, allow me to share some of my "lessons learned" and insights with you.

110,000 solar PV systems in the SDG&E service area are also EV ready fueling stations.

Transportation and our utilities generate over 90% of our emissions in the U.S.. In larger cities with dense populations like San Diego California, transportation counts for greater than 50% of total emissions. 


95% of emissions in San Diego come from transportation and utility sources.

How are these two emission giants reacting to the challenge of lowering emissions?

Their actions not words, are a mixture of good and bad,  with the “white hat” belonging to the utilities and the “black hat” belonging to the transportation providers with the exception of Tesla.

What is clear when you view this recent 2017 US Energy Information Administration chart is that utilities have "answered the call"  they have already lowered their carbon emissions to 1990 levels and are on a steep descending path of emission reductions to well below 40% of the 1990 levels by 2030. At the same time transportation emissions continue to climb upward.

For the first time in 40 years, transportation is now a larger source of emissions than the utilities.

Source information here 

Why? 

Utilities have embraced cleaner burning natural gas plants replacing dirtier coal & oil, and are investing heavily in renewable energy plants. Renewable energy plants now make up the majority of new power-plant generation coming on the grid in the U.S. and here in San Diego, our utility SDG&E leads the nation at 43% renewable energy content. Regulators, legislators, environmental activist, the Sierra Club, utility watchdogs & the utilities all deserve our praise for this transition. 

Natural gas is being slowly relegated from a “base load” supply to a “peaker” role to augment the intermittency issues of the renewables. In just a few short decades with the advancement of battery technology, utilities will replace natural gas peaker plants with energy storage of all types including battery. This is already happening in San Diego County with SDG&E recently installing the worlds largest battery storage system in Escondido California.   

Unfortunatly, the transportation sector has not embraced the same forces of change and available technology. They are heading "zoom zoom" in a very wrong direction.

Answers  

There is an emerging understanding that our utilities paradoxically, hold the key to solutions for transportation emissions in the form of far less expensive electricity as compared to gasoline. 

EV's represent a new load for our utilities, with new local renewable energy plants creating new local jobs... and forgive my passion here... a retention of our dollars in our own communities, with jobs for our own citizens and an end to the exportation of our hard earned dollars via the local gas pump to obscenely enrich foreign countries, mainly in the Middle East, while our communities suffer.  (Rant over) 


From a colleague and EV pioneer's prototype BMW Mini-E in 2009  

Lessons learned.

In 2014-2015,   Julie and I, documented our personal and private life with Inside Ev's,  chronicling the one year journey of our home with our two BMW i3's plugged into the sun. We continue the zero emission lifestyle today and we succeeded in demonstrating you can live and drive on sunshine.   Here are three main lessons gleaned from that very special year: 

1.  It's far cheaper to drive on electricity than gasoline.

This enriches your family budget and lowers your family emissions substantially. Most of the savings come from the efficiency of the electric motor.  You can achieve the majority of saving with grid electricity however investing in a solar PV energy plant gives you the greatest savings.  Either way, you create local jobs and invest in your own communities instead of exporting your money.
Our actual experience in 2014-2015

2.   For the same amount of electricity, reductions in emissions are 400% greater in transportation than in buildings. 

The effectiveness of measures to reduce emissions are just as important as knowing the source of emissions.   


When you supply a kilowatt of renewable electricity, replacing the current grid mix of utility electricity to a building in San Diego County you save .6 lbs. of emissions per kWh. When you supply a kilowatt at the current utility grid mix to transportation you save  2.4 lbs. of emission per kWh.  This is a 400% greater emission reduction for the same unit of electricity.

Transportation is both the greatest source and has the greatest yield in emission reductions across the nation. 

3.  It's cheaper to save energy than it is to make energy.    

100% renewable energy goals leap frog over the energy loading order which begins with efficiency and demand management for both buildings and transportation.  

Lastly,

Utilities are ripe targets for bashing as behemoth regulated monopolies. Nobody ever likes to pay a high utility bill, yet we all demand more renewable energy.
As the popular saying goes,

"The devil you know is better than the devil you don't."   

In San Diego County, our utility SDG&E deserves praise.  We are leading the way in Solar PV with 110,000 energy entrepreneurs installing solar PV on the SDG&E grid, we are leading the way in EV adoption with favorable EV electricity rates. We are leading the way at 43% renewable energy mix (far greater than the 33% required in California by 2020) and we are leading the way with energy choice where each customer can order up to 100% renewable energy. We are strengthening our economy with local jobs creating local renewable power plants and we are investing in the future of energy both in generation and storage. We are adapting and leading the nation and we are prospering as a region working together.

San Diego is an energy model for the U.S.  If there was ever a case to celebrate success and all its partners including SDG&E,   It's San Diego.

In San Diego, we are charting a course for robust economic health, healthier air and lower emissions moving towards the future. With a firm rudder in the water, full speed ahead, steady as she goes.

Cheers
Peder