EVolution

Photo courtesy of GM, Detroit

Darwinian Evolution is defined as: “descent with modification from preexisting species cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations” – From Merriam-Webster

In Automotive Evolution we might say the following: automotive technologies descend with modification and enhancement from earlier preexisting forms and technologies cumulative inherited change of traits occur within a population of automobiles/automakers through time leading to the appearance of new and often more evolved/advanced automotive forms the process by which new automotive systems and/or collections of systems – as dictated by necessity and/or markets – lead to novel and more advanced automotive systems and/or collections of systems developed from preexisting forms through successive generations often (but not always) leading to more superior technological adaptations : those forms and technologies deemed inferior by function/markets are quickly weeded out of the population by the process that drives both automotive and Darwinian evolution – Natural Selection. Those forms and technologies deemed superior and that perform at or above their design will survive and their technological traits will be passed down to future populations.

Recently, I made the EVolutionary choice and I EVolved my automotive system.

In late September 2019 I purchased a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt.

Yep. The days of the BlueWaterLeaf are over.

My trusty old 2012 LEAF “Elektra” served me well for a little over six years but due to her failing battery chemistry and resulting limited driving range of only around 45-50 miles – natural selection prevailed and I was forced to automotively EVolve.

Yesterday meets today.

The old LEAF found a new home with a wonderful couple in a nearby town. Since they only drive around 25 miles per day I believe it will serve them well for many years to come.

For my needs, I require a vehicle that will travel more than 50 miles per day and sometimes upwards of 200 miles at a time. I also needed a vehicle that I can afford to fuel, maintain, and pay for as a company vehicle. Now that we have EV’s I feel that it is not logical nor is it a good use of funds for a small nonprofit organization to pay large amounts of money for fossil fuel powered vehicles and their fuels. Essentially, using a fossil fuel powered vehicle for a nonprofit – or any business for that matter – is like lighting generously donated and/or hard earned money on fire, then tossing it out the window. It is not only a garish waste of funds but it also pollutes the environment – the very thing my organization is working so hard to protect, conserve, understand, and share.

So, after extensive research and planning, I decided to purchase a new 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV – Premier edition as a replacement outreach vehicle for my small, non profit organization Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) – www.earthshinenature.com

I have owned the Bolt EV now for four months and during that time I have driven the little EV close to 6500 miles! It is a remarkable car that makes the old LEAF seem, well, – like ancient technology – or, in keeping with the EVolutionary theme – an earlier form of life.

The last solar charge for Elektra.

I really loved my LEAF but the primary reason I decided to go with a Chevrolet over another Nissan was mainly due to the ongoing terrible experience I had with Nissan HQ. Despite my detailed record keeping, sticking with the car’s dealer defined maintenance/warranty schedule, countless service visits/inquiries/emails/phone calls with Nissan HQ about my LEAF’s battery degradation issue, and even working tirelessly to promote the LEAF to many people online via this blog and in person via my nonprofit programming through EV education classes, and through the Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle Club at EV car shows during National Drive Electric week – all of these things lead up to many people I knew and many I did not who then purchased Nissan LEAF’s for themselves. Despite all this Nissan still refused to stand by their product and would not offer to replace my car’s degrading battery. Then, to make matters worse – just when I was about to consider the purchase of a new battery for my LEAF – Nissan raised the price by thousands of dollars as if trying to force owners of the first generation LEAF’s to upgrade to a newer car!

On top of all this madness, Nissan opted to forgo the implementation of an active battery management system that would extend the useful life of their EV batteries in favor of keeping the costs down so they could then sell more new LEAF’s using an out-dated technology while making a higher profit.

All these reasons pushed me over the edge so I decided that I was finished with Nissan and chose to look elsewhere. I looked at Tesla, Hyundai, Kia and then Chevrolet. Chevrolet already had several years of EV experience with the Volt and the Bolt’s technology was a few years old therefore giving them some time to weed out any major issues with the newer Bolt. Chevrolet also opted to go with a battery management system similar to Tesla’s that would keep the battery at the optimum operating temperature extending its driving range and its useful life. The bolt also has amazing driving range second only to Tesla (at the time) – at 238 it was a massive improvement over the old gen one LEAF which would only travel 73 miles before needing a charge. Another big deciding factor for me was the fact that at the time I was shopping there were some really nice end of model year deals on the Bolt so, for all these reasons, I chose the Bolt EV.

Taking ownership of the new “MIGHTY BOLT” from Walker Chevrolet in Franklin, Tennessee…interestingly enough only a few miles from where I purchased the Nissan Leaf in 2013.
With the new Bolt at the Nissan HQ saying goodbye Nissan!

So far I love the little EV – although, it does have a few odd issues that need mentioning. These are issues that I believe need some real attention from Chevrolet – so let us get those out of the way first.

1: Ultra reflective dashboard deck. The windshield facing side of the dashboard (in my car) is light colored so it reflects sunlight onto the underside of the windshield making it almost impossible to drive without visual discomfort from the “flashing” reflections. This creates an unsafe and uncomfortable driving experience. During the test drive I did not notice this phenomenon – possibly due to the sun angle at the time – or I would have chosen a vehicle with a dark colored dashboard. To remedy the situation I purchased a custom fit charcoal black, non-reflective dash cover from Covercraft.com and the problem was solved.

2: Thin driver’s seat bottom cushion. I am a relatively thin person so the narrowness of the seats do not bother me as they do for some people. However, the thin cushion and adjacent plastic framework of the seat near the seat adjusting levers puts pressure on my left outer thigh region as I exit the vehicle. Over time this fact began to cause my left upper leg to ache. I fixed the issue with a simple pool noodle slipped over the plastic piece. It worked for me but GM should really work to remedy this problem as it may be a deal breaker for some buyers especially those who do not want a pool noodle flopping about in their new car.

This added pool noodle cushion ended all discomfort and is removable if need be.

3: Cargo space. For many people the Bolt will be perfect in size for town runs etc but I needed more carying capacity so I opted to install a roof basket.

This allows me to carry much more cargo when I take long trips and even lumber ūüôā

Or bales of straw for the chickens ūüôā

And even more lumber and conduit ūüôā !

Things I LOVE about this little car.

238 miles of range – and more depending on conditions! WOW! It is a real car!!

Range anxiety is a thing of the past!

Cool UI. I love all the data and functionality the UI provides and it is pretty.

One pedal driving – SO COOL!!! (and the brakes will last MUCH longer!)

Awesome stereo system with the option of SiriusXM.

Roof rack ready.

The three level cargo area.

Arm rest/drink holder in the rear seat.

Heated seats and steering wheel.

USB charging ports everywhere.

Qi/wireless phone charger.

Wonderful windshield wipers that really work well.

Deep, multi-level storage in center console.

Sliding sun visors.

Built-in rear-view mirror backup camera.

Surround view camera.

Automatic headlights.

Automatic Emergency Braking.

Lane keep assist.

Android Auto.

The hulkingly huge 60 kWH battery that lets me go for days without needing to charge.

The insanely low cost to fuel and operate.

In fact, lets look at some numbers on that last topic.

I am not bragging but I feel that I need to share this very revealing automotive data with you should you be considering EVolving up to a Bolt or other EV.

I have calculated the fuel costs to drive the car the 6500 miles I have traveled up to this point.

Are you ready for this?

Are you sitting down?

Here it is.

$119.71

Those costs come primarily from the five ‚Äúquick charge‚ÄĚ sessions I needed during these first four months of ownership. Those sessions resulted in a total charge of $77.95 or and average of $15.59 per charge.

The remaining $41.76 comes from multiple ‚ÄúLevel 2‚ÄĚ charge sessions on the road and from several overnight ‚ÄúLevel 1‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúLevel 2‚ÄĚ charging sessions at home.

In summary, during the last four months, I have driven an average of

1,625 miles per month.
406.25 miles per week.
58.03 miles per day.

At a cost of ‚Äď

$32.60 per month.
$8.15 per week.
$1.16 per day.

119.71/6500 = .0184

So that breaks down to be $0.0184 cents per mile for the Mighty Bolt’s electron fuel.

$0.2 cents per mile! I will let that sink in for a moment.

Those numbers are accurate as I keep detailed notes on all charge sessions/energy costs.

My EV’s electric fuel costs are much lower than many EV drivers since I am able to use locally generated renewably produced solar electricity as my EV’s primary fuel source. The largest percentage of my Bolt EV’s electron fuel comes from the classroom solar array my students, interns, volunteers and I installed on my nonprofit office/classroom.

For the average US homeowner without solar who is charging their EV at home using the local power utility energy mix (US average @ .12/kWh), their costs would be a bit higher than my numbers.

My stats.

Regional Energy Grid Data from: https://www.eia.gov/state/

Arcadia Power: https://www.arcadia.com/

The fact remains that no matter an EV’s fuel source – fueling, maintaining, and driving an EV will always be much lower than anything powered by dirty, toxic, nature, life, earth, and future polluting fossil fuels.

It is very interesting and revealing to note that if I had driven those 6500 miles in my only remaining gas guzzler ‚Äď a 2013 Honda Pilot ‚Äď I would have needed to stop maybe 15 – 20 times to refill the gas tank (and change the oil and oil filter one and possibly the air filter once) and therefore my gasoline fuel bill (maybe we should call it a conveyance convenience cost) would have been a massive $812.50 or around 0.13/mile! ‚Ķthen add in the cost of the oil/filter change of around $50 and that‚Äôs $862.50!!

I do not care who you are, where you are from, or how much money you have to burn but you must logically agree with me – that is a CRAZY STUPID expense for anyone to spend just to get from point A to point B!

In fact, below is a photo of the gas pump the last time I filled up the Honda’s fuel tank…YIKES!

That $47 will push the Honda Pilot around 360 miles but it will also push the Chevy Bolt EV over 2300 miles!!!

Some Maths

6500 miles at an average of 20mpg = 325 gallons x $2.50 (per gasbuddy.com) = $812.50

Or
812.50/6500 = .125 (per mile)

(812.50 (gas) ‚Äď 119.71(electricity))

That is a fuel only cost savings of $692.79!!

No one can deny the fuel savings of driving electric – but what about the grossly unacceptable downsides of driving EV’s:

THE DIRTY DOWNSIDES OF DRIVING ELECTRIC

Charging: What about the horrible inconvenience of charging my EV while I sleep…It is just so difficult and time-consuming to need to remember to plug in the car before going on to other things…oh the horror!

First quick charge!

Stopping: The painfully needling fact that when on a road trip I always need to stop driving every 200 miles or so to plug in my car while I take a break, read a book, surf the net, take a nap, graze on food, have a cold one, get some exercise, go shopping, fish for lunch, fly a drone, watch a movie, spend time with friends and family, ride a zipline, pet a dog, pick some fruit, or just smell the flowers (these are just a few of the terribly inconvenient things I have been forced to do or could do while waiting for my EV to charge)…I just can’t take this intolerable electric car life of any longer!

Gas Stations: What about the hot insanity of never ever again needing to stop at dirty gas stations*? I so greatly miss the ritual of waiting in line for a pump, grasping the infectious germ and “booger” covered gas nozzle, shoving it into my legacy vehicle‚Äôs fuel port, engaging the trigger, inhaling deeply of the toxic and highly flammable hydrocarbon fumes while watching other oil addicted users doing the very same – oh and sometimes some of them leave their engines running and/or are even smoking while fueling – WTF!!! All this time our tanks fill up and our bank accounts drain‚Ķoh and let‚Äôs not forget the great fun of shopping in the station’s store for low quality overly processed foodstuffs‚Ķoh how I miss those days. *Ok, so I do occasionally stop at filling stations ‚Äď but only if they have EV charging stations and/or to use their bathrooms or squeegee my EV’s windshield ūüôā (Read one of my earlier posts about an earlier and most unusual filling station experience.)

Fueling up on electrons at a Dandridge, Tennessee Exxon station – maybe one day the pump locations will be reversed ūüôā

Cash Flow: How about the fact that driving electric means you will never again be forever stuck in the endless ‚Äúsubscription to dependency‚ÄĚ that owning and driving petroleum-powered vehicles truly is. Therefore, I will be FORCED to stop endlessly paying out loads and loads of cash for gas/oil only to just burn it up over and over again harming our individual lungs and our shared environment. Whatever will I do with all this extra cash???

Health: When my asthma and the seasonal ozone/fossil fuel pollution-induced respiratory inflammation and distress go away – I will shed a great and lonely tear of loss. What will I ever do with all this improved health I just do not know…

Maintenance: Then there is the unbelievable madness of having virtually no maintenance costs/repair downtime on the EV‚Äôs motor, battery, brakes, and drive systems‚Ķlike the LEAF before it, this BOLT EV (and all EV’s) are virtually maintenance-free. I am going to really miss the time-honored ritual of raising the hood and/or crawling under my vehicle on the side of a busy road ‚Äď in the rain, mud, ice, snow, and boiling summer heat (been there done all that many, many times) ‚Äď to fix some failing component such as a faulty belt/hose/fuel line/fuel tank/plug wire/radiator/thermostat/clutch/carburetor/alternator/exhaust/intake manifold/”johnson rod” and on an on…and/or wiring up a broken exhaust pipe/muffler…and/or adjusting some broken or maladjusted linkage/shaft in 20-degree weather then bashing my knuckles on a cross member etc…or having my old beater car towed to a repair shop and then waiting hours or days for it to be professionally repaired and then receiving the huge charge $$$$$$ for all those frequent repair/labor costs‚Ķagain, what will I ever do with all this extra money and time? Note: I really do love working on older, classic cars – especially with my dad. However, working on a classic car at home in the garage or in the driveway/yard on a nice day is a totally different animal than what I described above – which is a fresh hell I would not wish on anyone.

Efficiency: Oh, and what about the insanely stupid fact that EVs produce a portion of their own electron fuel through the process of regenerative braking thereby extending their driving range by hundreds to thousands of free driving miles each year and therefore lowering my fuel costs even more…how will I ever adapt to all this egg-headed science nerd tech geek madness saving me loads of money and making my life easier, faster, stronger, better?!

The first road trip from Franklin, TN to Chattanooga, TN – a Bolt and a Tesla Model 3 – so cool! Photo by Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute

Sound of silence: How about the unbearable and unbelievably smooth, quiet ride? I just cannot handle all this calmness, comfort, and serenity. Oh, how I miss the endless internal combustion engine drone drowning out the silence and/or the nuances of my favorite songs, audiobooks, and podcasts. Then there are the random noises, sudden jerks, squeaks, rattles, bangs, parts falling off (yes, that really happened), and body wrenching lurches that used to assault my ears, muddle my thought processes, and often torque my spine in all my previous legacy vehicles…

…all this EVolved silence is just so unbearable – oh, the humanity!

Convenience: What about that ridiculous one pedal driving thing! It is just so bizarre and inconvenient to only need to use one pedal instead of two. Not having to step on the brake all the time means my brake pads may last over one hundred thousand miles – how will I ever adapt to all this efficient madness? What will I ever do with all the extra money that I would have spent on bake jobs? My foot really misses stepping on the brake all the time so sometimes I do it out of nostalgia.

High above my EV’s fuel refinery. Note how clean the air is ūüôā

Safety: I am not at all comfortable with the increased safety of this car. It will automatically and without asking me to authorize it – put on the brakes to avoid a collision!! What a HUGE compromisation of my freedoms to stop whenever I want to and under my own power and control!!! …oh and then there are all the airbags – they wrap around me on all sides – and then there’s the seatbelts holding me down keeping me from flying through the windshield in an accident – I feel so invaded!! …and what about all the CAMERAS!!! Giving over control to the machines – we all know where that leads!! It all must be a conspiracy…a plot fabricated by the Russians or maybe the Chinese…NO it is the greenies working with the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans and the DUTCH!!!! (To be clear: I am not racist and this was not a racial slur – it was a cheezy reference to an obscure comedy movie series staring Mike Myers.)

Furthermore!

I will not stand for all the EV safety madness!!!!

Give me back my 1969 Vista Cruiser!!

That 70’s Show photo courtesy of Carsey-Warner.

Fuel: How about the garishly un-American ability to charge an EV‚Äôs traction battery with home-grown electron fuel made on my own soil ‚Äď be that electron fuel renewably generated by sun, wind, water, landfill gas, cow farts, or even the dirtiest hulking coal-fired power plant.

It is all domestically produced American made energy that does not require dirty deals, endless wars, and the terrible loss of our brave loved ones in the service just to keep it flowing into our tanks.

Nor does all this locally grown renewable energy destroy the very environment that gives all of us clean air, clean water, healthy food, diverse wildlife, our own lives, and a healthy future.

Source: NASA https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2159.html

Driving electric vehicles powered by renewable energy is obviously such an un-American, un-patriotic sacrilege that our founding fathers must be spinning like oil-soaked V8 crankshafts in their graves!

__________________________________________

Ok, so for those of you that somehow missed it ‚Äď I absolutely LOVE my Chevrolet Bolt EV and I absolutely LOVE driving electric. I was attempting to be overly and intentionally sarcastic and humorous with my previous outline of EV shortcomings. From my point of view and over six years of EV driving experience – there really are no EV shortcomings.

Driving electric is simply a better way to drive.

Despite my sarcastic attempts at humor aside and despite all the mostly manufactured EV shortcomings you may encounter from the deniers, doubters, Luddites, and FUD generators ‚Äď and those with money/politics tied up in the legacy automakers and fossil fuel economy ‚Äď I fail to see how anyone can rationally dispute the massive cost savings of driving electric vehicles as daily driver commuter vehicles and soon, much, much, more‚Ķand all this before we have even looked at the significant reductions to toxic air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions saved by driving electric vehicles especially when they are charged by locally grown renewably generated 100% energy secure electricity – but that is another long-winded data-rich topic for yet another blog posting on yet another day.

Final Question:

How much does it cost you to drive your fossil burner 6500 miles?

Charging with my cousin the Chevy Volt

So, suffice it to say that I absolutely LOVE my Chevrolet Bolt EV.

I will keep you posted on my newly EVolved EV life with the “Mighty Bolt” EV and hopefully I will be able to offer you some insight into the world of the Electric Vehicle, renewable energy, and maybe, if you have not already, you will take the necessary steps toward your own automotive EVolution.

SPECIAL THANKS to Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute, Jim Hardy, Catherine O’Neil, Marian O’Neil, and the Blue Ridge EV Club, my awesome students, and everyone who worked with me to make all of this possible – you know who you are!

Note: I do not work for, receive compensation from, or own stock in GM, Chevrolet, Tesla, or any electric vehicle or electric vehicle supply equipment company or renewable energy technology or company. I do however support all of these technologies, companies, and ways of life as long as they stay focused on their goals and work to help more than harm and because they are all working toward a better, cleaner, more energy secure, lower ecological footprint, science-focused way of life that supports everyone everywhere.

Stuck Fast In The Past – Stuck Up – Or Both?

Over the last few weeks, there have been several reported instances from all over the USA of a minority of pickup truck owners intentionally blocking Tesla Supercharger stations (aka Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)/Electric Vehicle charging stations.  This relatively small number of incidents has generated much attention on various social media outlets and from EV owners groups/clubs and other automotive-focused news outlets and on YouTube.

ENPEVSE

At first, I was hesitant to write anything about any of these instances because, in a way, writing about them is drawing attention to the small number of individuals who commit these crimes. However, I decided that – as a previous truck, 4WD, and current sport-utility vehicle and EV owner – it is my obligation to report on these thoughtless incidents and put these narrow-minded knuckle-dragging dunderheads in their places with the facts before they destroy the reputations of respectable pickup truck owners everywhere.

The Problem

For background I will share a few of these incidents below;

This is the first high profile incident that gathered nation-wide media attention – and from my home state no less.

https://electrek.co/2018/12/24/tesla-supercharger-anti-tesla-pickup-truck-drivers/

Then this one…

truck-blocking-tesla-station.jpg

More non-random acts of stupidity.

tesla-supercharger-pickup-truck-protest.jpg

Really people?

supercharger-full-iced.jpg

…even more madness…

Photo from Heniz Baumann of the Tesla Model 3 Owners Club on Facebook

…and this…

From the I’ve Been ICED twitter account.

iced5.jpg

The revealing thing is that the entire parking lot was practically empty…

iced4

It seems obvious to me this was an intentional act directed at Tesla and/or EV’s in general.  The other obvious thing is the driver of the truck either did not care or was possibly not aware they were openly advertising who they were with the conspicuous company magnetic sign on the truck door – what a great invitation by EV owners (and others) to report their team member’s thoughtless EV charger blocking action to the company…oh and what a great reason to NEVER use the services of that company in any way.  Good work Navarro & Wright, what a great way to make a name for yourself…

iced3

In another thread on Twitter, Nascar driver and Tesla owner Leilani Munter garnered some notice when Elon Musk and many others spoke up about this issue;

@LeilaniMunter careful charging in Hickory. The ignorant people are aware of us https://t.co/pqgc3uLsLY‚ÄĒ Mike Hoffman (@McHoffa) December 23, 2018

This is scary. I‚Äôve been coal-rolled in my Tesla by several trucks in NC, the drivers were hostile. If you don‚Äôt know what it is google ‚ÄúStephen Colbert Coal Rolling.‚ÄĚ One day these conflicts will end very badly. @Tesla @hickorypd @StephenAtHome @cleanairNC @cleanenergyorg @CMPD https://t.co/Gd6S6SOhNB‚ÄĒ Leilani M√ľnter (@LeilaniMunter) December 23, 2018

Yet another good example of what not to do.

Recently from not far from my home a Hummer driver intentionally blocks two Tesla Superchargers as a “prank” – what a total wanker.

From this blogger’s point of view these actions do not appear to be accidents since the Tesla Supercharger stations are;

1 – Very visible being lit up with red lights on a white background.

tsc

2 – Well marked as TESLA charging stations…not Ford, not Chevrolet, not Dodge, not Toyota, not Jeep – but Tesla.

tesla-100th-supercharger-hamiltion-nj-10
teslasupersolar

3 – Tesla EVSE stations are most often located in remote parts of the parking areas so as not to take up available parking spots for all other vehicles near the entrances of the nearby establishments where they are found.

tesla-supercharger
tslaaville

In other words – in order for you to block a Tesla Supercharger charging station with your vehicle you would need to either;

1. Drive a Tesla and know where the station is because you have been there before – or you have used your Tesla’s navigation system to guide you to it for a charge.

or

2. You do not own a Tesla and have made a premeditated decision to locate the Supercharger station for the purpose of blocking it with your non-electric vehicle for whatever bizarre load of jollies that action would give you and/or your childish comrades.

or

3. You are a new Tesla owner/driver/borrower/renter who is unfamiliar with Tesla/EV charging etiquette and are unaware that after the car finishes charging you should kindly move it to a nearby standard parking space so the next person will have access to the charging infrastructure.

or

4. You are a Tesla owner on the bleeding edge of the lunatic fringe of Tesla/EV ownership. Perhaps you feel that – because you have the means to own a Tesla, that you are somehow above/better than everyone around and you now have the right to park your car in the charging space for as long as you like.  If this is your reasoning – then you, my friend, are an entitled little bully and are no better than those who block charging access with their garish toy trucks. In my experience this type of Tesla/EV owner is rare, yet I have heard reports that they do exist.

So, aside from the occasional parking accident by the un-observant or uneducated – there is no real reason and no real excuse for parking a non-Tesla vehicle in a Tesla or any other electric vehicle charging station.

Misunderstandings Do Happen

As stated earlier, sometimes EV owners who are new to the world of EV’s and have not learned the appropriate EV charging etiquette might mistakenly leave their EV parked in an EV charging space for much longer than needed after the car’s charge is complete – I did this a few times early on in EV ownership and quickly learned my lesson.  Most of these infractions are innocent mistakes that can easily be remedied with gentle education of the new EV driver either with a few words or an informational card/flyer left for when the driver returns.

However, some entitled EV drivers seem to be treating EV spaces as a pass to free parking, not at all caring about the other EV drivers who need to stop and fill up their “electron tanks” so they can get on down the road. In the following photo, we see a Tesla parked and not charging in an EV only charging space – how rude.

rudeteslaaloft.jpg

This is the same as filling up your gas tank, hanging up the gasoline nozzle, and walking off leaving your vehicle blocking the pump.

I have observed this practice on several occasions and when I do I always leave a nice note in the hopes of educating the parking perpetrator on the errors of their ways. In the above case, part of the error may be in the wording of the signage on the wall beyond the Tesla and it reads – “Electric Vehicle Parking Only.” This wordage may give some EV newbies the idea that they are able to park their EV here even when it is not charging. That is just not the case. and is bad planning on those who chose the signs for this site. Luckily, many charging stations now have signs that read “EV Parking only while charging.” Along with this fact many EVSE units will continue to charge you money if your car remains plugged in after the charging session has ended as an expensive reminder to be courteous and move your car so the next person will be able to charge.

Most EV’s and EVSE come standard with internet connectivity.  This allows them to be easily configured to send a text to your mobile device when your vehicle has finished charging, therefore, you have no excuse not to move your car thereby opening the space up for the next EV needing a charge.

Bad Parking Planning

On several occasions, I have encountered non-EV’s blocking charging stations – most frequently (in my experience) at this downtown EV charge point supplemented with solar power.

icedinavl
iced2-1.jpg

While these non-EV vehicles are directly blocking one of the chargers, at least they are following the directions printed on the pavement and signs that state “EV Only.” In reality, this type of EVSE blocking will not limit the ability to charge an EV since the power leads are usually long enough to reach an EV parked in the EV only spaces nearby.  However, the limiting factor here would be available parking.  There are three EV chargers and only two marked EV parking spaces so only 2 EV’s would be able to charge when ICE vehicles are parked in the non-EV marked parking spaces.  It seems that common sense would dictate that if you install an EVSE for EV’s, then the number of charge points and parking spaces should be equal.

How some Tesla owners may choose to handle EVSE blocking situations – but it is not at all recommended by this blogger…unless there is no other option I suppose.

Obviously, Teslas do have more than enough power and torque to handle any situation.


Another fun option for Tesla owners to get rid of EVSE blockers – this one is in Chinese but no translation is needed ūüôā Follow the link to view the video

https://twitter.com/ShanghaiJayin/status/1107320205326192640

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The Question

So, what do I, as a previous truck/SUV owner and current Electric Vehicle owner and driver of over 5 years, what do I think of this recent practice of some truck owners intentionally blocking Tesla Superchargers with their pickup trucks?

Before I get into my answer I must first note that it is in my humble opinion, based on over 35 years of driving and many more years of life experience, that the perpetrators of these thoughtless acts are a very small percentage of overall truck owners.

So let’s call them the: lunatic fringe.

The vast majority of pickup truck owners I know and have met are good, respectable people that own and drive pickup trucks because they serve a utilitarian purpose in their lives – you know, hauling stuff, pulling stuff, doing work, and having fun outdoors.

These good, respectable truck owners would never intentionally block access to another person’s fuel source and would never think to use their vehicle as a bullying tool/weapon in the attempt to make some sort of misguided personal, political, or anti-environment statement.  They just drive their trucks and use their trucks – and that’s it.

I say this because not only is it common sense and fully supported by evidence – but I also have a bit of experience in this area.  In my over 35 years of driving, I have owned, driven, and used the following vehicles:

My first truck – a 1978 Chevrolet C-10 step side.

stepside.jpg

My first 4WD vehicle – a 1965 Land Rover Series 2a 88″ – before the restoration.

me88

After I personally restored it.

packedrover.jpg

On the trail with friends.

rovering.jpg
rovering2.jpg

It was a wonderful 4×4, and my favorite, that I drove daily and used for the purpose it was intended – an all-terrain, go anywhere utility vehicle – truly the world’s best 4x4xfar (that may change when  Bollinger Motors starts selling their game-changing B1 and B2 SUT’s to eagerly awaiting truck-o-philes everywhere ūüôā

rovering4

I sold my first Land Rover as it was just too nice to drive on a daily basis and then purchased a very well used 1966 Land Rover Series 2a 109″ ExMoD Field Ambulance.  I modified this classic old aluminum workhorse into an overland camper and drove it for several years as my daily driver and on many on and off road-trip adventures, wildlife study and conservation expeditions. When gas prices started to climb I was forced to sell it to continue paying for my college education…

solarrover1

…then came the 1987 Suzuki Samurai – a wonderful little 4×4 that took me into remote areas for my wildlife conservation work and more.

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It was a great little 4×4 that served me well for almost a decade.  It was my daily driver, my wildlife study and conservation vehicle, and my firewood acquisition vehicle making use of the custom winch and bumper to often pull trees weighing more than the vehicle out of the woods for later processing into firewood.

And it was fun, fuel efficient, and reliable off-road…but after over 250,000 miles it began to show serious signs of age so it found a new home and along came…

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…a 1999 Toyota 4Runner – a great 4×4 that served me well.

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And finally, my most recent 4WD is a 2013 Honda Pilot SUV (random internet photo) that we use for hauling the family around and hauling/pulling loads.

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As you can see I love the utility of trucks and 4WD vehicles and I would love to have another one day to make my life and my job easier and more productive.  As soon as the all-electric trucks, vans, and 4WD’s hit the market – I will be driving one daily as my company/commuting and utility/wildlife conservation outreach vehicle – and that day is approaching faster than you may think.

Back to the Question

With all that out of the way, let’s get back to the original question:

What do I, a seasoned truck/4×4 owner, driver and aficionado of many years AND an Electric Vehicle driver of almost 6 years think of the recent practice of some pickup truck owners intentionally blocking Tesla Supercharging stations?

Tesla’s at a Supercharger – photo credit Tesla.com

I could relate to you how unbelievably childish, small-minded, knuckle-dragging, infantile, non-sensical and stupid it is while tossing out many colorful metaphors, however, I will refrain from that level of thinking and offer my answer in the form of the following thought experiment:

What would YOU do, as a gas/diesel vehicle driver looking to fill up your vehicle’s fuel tank with refined hydrocarbons, if you arrived at your filling station of choice only to find an EV driver intentionally blocking your gas/diesel fuel pump with their electric vehicle?

Hopefully, you would think the same way I would: either they had made a mistake or…they may be potentially unstable and may even be dangerous – especially if they insulted and taunted you with vulgar language and gestures as some of the perpetrators are being reported to have done.

Why would you think these things?

The common sense answer:

The evidence is blocking the fuel pump.

Due to the obvious fact that the owner of the pump blocking vehicle is driving a vehicle that does not ever need access to the fuel source it is blocking, then evidence and common sense would dictate the following:

1: They may have blocked the pump accidentally.  After they have been respectfully informed of their error, they should not hesitate to move their vehicle to the correct nearby charging point.  However, being an EV driver I would highly doubt that this would be the usual scenario as EV drivers do not often make the mistake of blocking petroleum-based fuel pumps if the vehicle they are driving is theirs and if they are at all familiar with it.
(If you are driving a vehicle of any kind you had better take some time to read the instructions and become familiar with it – all the more so if it is a state of the art high-speed low drag Tesla aka: Intergalactic SpaceBoat of Light and Wonder  or any other EV.)

Similarly, the vast majority of respectable gas/diesel vehicle drivers would never think to intentionally park their vehicles in front of EVSE stations and/or intentionally vandalize EVSE units and/or intentionally taunt/insult drivers whose vehicles operate on fuels other than gas/diesel…until recently that is…

2: They may have committed this pump blocking act intentionally.  Furthermore, if they were taunting/insulting you or your vehicle/fuel of choice with rude and/or hateful colorful metaphors, it would be even more evidence that their actions were not accidental and they might not be entirely stable individuals – you know, those on the lunatic fringe.

How should you respond?

The safe approach would be to er on the side of caution and be very wary of their actions because no thinking, rational person with even a gram of common sense and decency would ever commit such a blatant act of intentional bullying unless they had an over-sized, unstable, reactionary chip on their shoulder and/or were intentionally looking for a dangerous confrontation.

Suggestion: before you take matters into your own hands in regards to option 2 you should be absolutely sure the situation was not an accident by a person unfamiliar with driving an electric vehicle – possibly something like in the video below where the driver may have  borrowed the car from a friend and/or the owner of the car was playing a joke on them.

Once you rule out an accidental parking maneuver, the next step would be to report the thoughtless, possibly intentional fuel pump blocking action to the nearest authorities, step back to a safe location, and wait for the police/tow truck(s) to arrive to remove the disruptive perpetrator(s) – be they an EV blocking a gas, diesel pump or an ICE vehicle blocking an electric fuel pump.

ICEing

Those of us that drive plug-in electric vehicles refer to the act of accidentally or intentionally blocking charging stations with Internal Combustion Engine powered vehicles – “ICEing” or being “ICEd.”   

For clarity: ICE = Internal Combustion Engine

Most of the time, when an ICE driver blocks an EV charging station it is an honest mistake made by someone either in a hurry or simply not being observant enough to see all the signs denoting the space as EV use only.

These innocent people should be excused from their mistake and politely educated either in person if possible, or if they are not available, with an informational flyer placed under the windshield wiper – many EV drivers carry these for events such as these.

As an EV driver I encounter ICED EVSE stations frequently – in a recent incident, I was sitting in my EV while it was plugged into a Level 2 EVSE and charging during a heavy rain shower. As I sat there in the rain reading a book and charging up the LEAF I watched as an ICE driver pulled hastily into the parking space opposite mine, jumped out, and ran off into the rain.  It seemed to me that the driver had absolutely no idea that he had parked in an EV charging location.  He was in a hurry, whipped into an open space failing to notice the signs, the two EVSE units‚Ķand the EV parked and charging 10 feet away. 

In another recent incident I stopped in a local parking garage to plug in my EV only to find both charging spaces ICED…despite the fact that there were several empty parking spaces in the garage…

…and despite the signs and EVSE (charging station) on the wall in front of them – there they sat blocking access to the charging stations and neither of these vehicles were plug-in electric vehicles. I left respectful notes on their windshields and then later encountered the owner of the Prius. She was very nice and seemed totally unaware of her mistake. Hopefully in the future she will be more observant and leave the EV spaces for the EV’s (If you want to get technical: it’s not like there is a shortage of non-EV parking spaces, it is the other way around – there are plenty of standard parking spaces with EV charging locations remaining in the minority – which means blocking them creates an even bigger negative impact – so please, use some common sense here and just don’t do it.)

I believe what happens in many ICEing events is that many ICE drivers are just not very observant of anything outside of their comfortable, daily frame of reference. They are unfamiliar with EV’s and they do not use the EVSE charging network so they do not see the signs and the equipment – they just find an open slot, park their car and run.  Maybe someone needs to come up with an ICE vehicle detector that, when deployed in EV charging spots, will detect the hydrocarbon-based fuels/lubricants/exhaust gasses used in/produced by ICE vehicles and, when detected, trigger highly noticeable strobe lights and illuminated signage indicating to the ICE vehicle driver their mistake. If their mistake is not rectified, the system would automatically either: identify their vehicle sending them a pricey ticket and/or notify parking authorities so they can move the blocking vehicle, and in repeat offenders/intentional blockers – place a wheel lock on the vehicle and have it impounded.

This past winter I encountered yet another form of ICEing…with real ice.

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The evidence suggested that the snow removal crew chose to pile up the snow in both of the marked EV charging spaces.  This is as irresponsible as blocking the spaces with an ICE vehicle especially since there was ample space nearby on the grass surrounding the parking area to pile the snow where ALL drivers – no matter the fuel that powers their vehicles – would then have access to parking. Yes, it may have been an accident, but due to the perfect blocking of the only two EV charging spaces in the parking area – I cannot help but wonder if the individual(s) that did this did it on purpose possibly as some sort of statement against EV’s, their charging infrastructure and/or the people that drive them.  Hmmm, I wonder if these snow pushers also block “handicap” spaces with huge piles of snow…

Accidental ICEing aside, the thoughtless act of intentionally blocking electric vehicle charging stations with ICE vehicles (or blocking gas pumps with EV’s for that matter) should never be excused and should always be reported to the authorities as soon as possible in the attempt to stop the madness before it gets out of hand.

Speaking of intentional ICEing, I would like to share a couple of unusual examples with you. The first one is an absolutely bizarre case. Apparently the owner of this highly modified and obviously entirely powered by fossil fuels “street-rod” – complete with huge engine, visible gasoline tank, and dual exhaust pipes – has attached a fake J-1772 charge connector to the side of his vehicle to try and gain access to electric vehicle charging locations.

Does he actually believe this ludicrous tactic will work? It is no different that if I parked in a handicapped parking space, hung a fake handicapped tag from my rear view mirror, hopped in a wheelchair and rolled off thinking I was somehow the smart one…riiiiight.

Then recently another “ICEhole” has been intentionally blocking a local EVSE and leaving threatening notes to EV drivers as seen in the below photos.

In the first photo he is parked in a spot where ICE vehicles may park – but only if the rest of the parking lot is full as the below sign reads…

…and it hardly ever is…

…so it is obvious to everyone that he is parking in this location intentionally as an instigator/bully. Another problem I have with this image is how far over he parked into the EV only space to his left. It seems as if he parked this far over on purpose with the intention to instigate a response from the EV owners that use the charging station on a regular basis.

The sign in the adjacent parking space reads as follows:

The true revelation of his intentions came in the form of a venomously worded, hand written letter stuck on the inside of his windshield…

It is obvious that the owner of this vehicle has intentionally ICED this EVSE space even when there are several open parking spaces in the parking lot where the EVSE is located. Why? What are his motives? A few weeks later the Jeep owner even went so far as to again park in the same space and affix another childish sign to his vehicle…

While he would be legally parked if the entire parking lot were full and the space he has chosen to park in was the only one available – that is not the case as there were several open spaces in the remainder of the lot. It seems that Mr. Ledford has intentionally chosen to park his vehicle in this spot in the attempt to instigate a response from EV/PHEV owners. Evidence suggests that he is a bully pure and simple and is looking for a confrontation.

In this type of situation the best action is to report the parking perpetrator to the authorities. However, before reporting the perp, it is probably a good idea to attempt to covertly get a photograph(s) of his/her vehicle and its license plate and the perp’s themselves if possible so you will have evidence to hand over to the authorities. In my opinion, it is not ever a good idea to confront these types of people as they are often aggressive and volatile and may even be intoxicated and/or have dangerous or deadly weapons in their vehicles or on their persons and may even retaliate later with childishly destructive tactics that small-minded bullies often exhibit.

IMHO the best bet in these situations is to just step back to a safe place and watch the action happen when the police,  tow trucks, and news crews arrive.

EVSE Vandalism Issues 

Intentional EVSE blocking is not the only issue.  Most recently a Tesla Supercharger in Utah was vandalized when some lowlife intentionally tried to drill out the charge connector and cut the charging cable – WTF, really people?  How would you like it if I intentionally tried to cut your gas/diesel hose or intentionally vandalized the fuel pump handle that you needed to fuel your vehicle? Grow up people – or crawl back under your rock and stay there.

Source: https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-supercharger-attack-vandalism-drilled-charging-plugs-cut-cables/

I have encountered EVSE vandalism on a few occasions in my area.  This is one of the most recent – a quick charger’s screen was damaged by an unknown assailant.  The crack pattern of the glass suggests a blow from what may have been a hard object such as possibly a rock or hammer or maybe even a fist.  The height of the screen from the ground and distance from the parking space places the EVSE’s screen too far out of range for this to be an unfortunate parking accident.  This suggests to me that this may have been a deliberate act of vandalism.

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Help is on the horizon. Tesla vehicles now come equipped with “Sentry Mode*” that uses many of the vehicle’s external/internal cameras to record all goings on in the vicinity of the vehicle.  I am sure this feature will be very useful in capturing many perpetrators in action be they EVSE blocking lunatic fringe pickup truck drivers, would be thieves, or vandals with a misplaced score to settle with an inanimate object and the progress it represents.   *Read more about sentry mode:  https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/14/sentry-mode-keeps-watch-over-your-tesla-while-it-is-parked/?fbclid=IwAR2QlxVG6ggeQuqotvx88D-tHBwtSm1Mtjhx0kPkA3z3tnrDDvAQYdkhYEQ


The Law

It is unlawful to block an EVSE charging station in at least 8 States and many more cities/towns.  For the details visit: https://pluginsites.org/plug-in-vehicle-parking-legislation-reference/

In many of these places, those ICE drivers who block an EVSE will receive a hefty fine. Raleigh, NC is a great example where EVSE ICEr’s are fined $50 for blocking a charge point – thank you Raleigh!  In my opinion, this should be the rule everywhere and any fines collected could be used to improve roads and infrastructure for everyone no matter what they choose to drive.

Source:  https://insideevs.com/one-charging-spot-generated-27000-fines-ice-drivers/

And now, from one of my favorite YouTube personalities, Robert Llewellyn of Fully Charged Show , comes this great video illustrating that the phenomenon of ICEing EVSE stations is not just a quandary in the States…

Hmmmmm….all this EV charging station blocking makes me wonder if – way back in the early days of the internal combustion engine – did some horse and wagon owners who felt threatened by the gas-powered future, seek out and block fuel pumps?

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horse and gas

I seriously doubt it because I am pretty sure they had something called common sense and morals so they did not waste there time on creating more needless drama.

A bit of a tangent for a bit of a comparison.

Blocking EV charging points is similar to the uncaring, malignant practice that some call ‚Äúcoal rolling.‚ÄĚ This is a practice where some truck owners – a very small percentage overall and yet another lunatic fringe group – illegally modify their diesel pickup trucks to – on-demand – emit clouds of black diesel smoke through over-sized exhaust pipes.

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These “coal rollers” then often use their illegally modified vehicles to intentionally target pedestrians, police officers, bicyclists, runners, groups of people on the sidewalk, and people who drive hybrid and electric vehicles.  They intentionally align their vehicle’s often grossly over-sized exhaust orifice in the direction of their target and flip the switch vomiting copious amounts of dirty, toxic, diesel smoke all over their innocent targets. If you are interested in seeing evidence of this stupidity – just input ‚Äúcoal rolling‚ÄĚ or “rolling coal” into a YouTube/Google search and you will find the video evidence shared by the polluting perpetrators…and you will also find some great memes revealing just how ridiculous the act of coal rolling truly is, such as this one.

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What is a Darwin Award?

For whatever bizarre, childish, testosterone soaked, insecurity driven reasons, this small number of fringe dwelling truck drivers seem to be proud of their illegal atmospheric littering escapades and wish to share their madness with the world.

If a combination of common sense, the law, and natural selection have their way (and they will), then their actions suggest that it will not be long before these polluted perpetrators will be weeded out of the population and the bones of their illegally modified machines will soon be covered in rust fossilizing in the junkyard – or better yet, melted down and recycled into a Tesla, Bollinger, Atlis or any other EV, a bicycle, wind turbine, or solar array.

The act of intentionally modifying one’s vehicle with a driver operated ‚Äúdefeat device‚ÄĚ thereby allowing it to bypass the factory emission controls for the purpose of emitting visible clouds of smoke, and then intentionally targeting people with that hazardous particulate-laden smoke (diesel exhaust is a documented carcinogen by the CDC, the  WHO, and the ACA*) is not only illegal in many areas but is an uncaring, thoughtless act of bullying that should not go unpunished. Recently, I was instructed by a State Patrol officer that targeting and ‚Äúrolling coal‚ÄĚ on a person(s) is considered a form of assault and should be reported to the authorities by calling 911 and reporting the incident making sure to get the make, model and, if possible, the license plate number, road name and direction of travel of the offending vehicle.

*Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nioshtic-2/20000266.html
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/cancer/npotocca.html
https://www.iarc.fr/media-centre-iarc-news-58/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5352477/
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diesel-exhaust-and-cancer.html

Read my earlier post about the time I was almost “coal rolled” in my EV.

____________________________________________________________________

Next I Offer Some Possible Motives Behind The Madness

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Insecurity.

It is possible that these intentional charging station blockers (and ‚Äúcoal rollers‚ÄĚ) may suffer from personal or peer group driven insecurities such as toxic masculinity and possibly even what some may call ‚Äúshort man syndrome‚ÄĚ – or both.  They may be using their huge, overly modified, often garishly loud, black smoke vomiting toy trucks as an attempt to compensate for some emotional or even physical quality in which they perceive themselves to be lacking.

Machismo/hormones.

Another good possibility is that many of these pickup truck drivers are simply just children.  Children who have only recently felt the call of their surging primal hormones driving them to make a place for themselves within their world and to seek out a mate in the only way they know how.

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In their world, all the other young males (and some young females) in their tribal cliques drive large, noisy, dirty pickup trucks.  This being the only courting technique their childish minds can interpret must mean that it is the preferred and accepted way to entice a mate into their arms and beds.  In other words – driving a large, loud, jacked up, overly modified, polluting truck and insulting others with venomous vitriol might just be the mating call of their sub-species.

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What on earth???

I speak from some short-lived experience in this area. When I was a teenager I briefly fell into a similar clique where I tried to fit in and impress by modifying my first truck with a roll bar, light bar, lift kit, loud stereo, and “glasspack.” (No, not on any planet or in any universe was it the truck pictured above) Needless to say, it did not work for me – in any way. This was primarily because of my extreme geek factor/nerdiness that was of such an outward and obvious magnitude that no amount of expensive modifications to my vehicle, myself, piles of money, or purchased trinkets would have ever made me “cool” and popular with the “in” crowd.  At the time I was just trying very hard to fit in – somewhere – anywhere – and I had fallen to peer pressure.  Lucky for me, after about 6 weeks my brain won the fight and I grew out of my fitting in phase.  The glasspack came off and the stock muffler went back on in favor of the stereo because enjoying my music was far more important to me than the garishly flatulent exhaust noise.  I also removed the lift kit as it ruined the truck’s handling and reduced my fuel mileage. I also later sold the roll bar since all it really did was take up space in the bed. Some people grow up, some never do.

Envy

It is also possible, although remote, that many of these folks are just envious and jealous of the awesome Tesla’s and other EV’s and they secretly want one really, really bad – but they could never admit that fact to their fellow pickup truck driving tribe members. To do so would mean ridicule and possibly even exile from their tribe. So to save face they take out their misplaced frustrations in the only way they know how – they block Tesla charging stations and insult the very thing they are secretly in love with and pining away for. It is very much like the jealous little bully in the sandbox breaking the other children’s toys because they are not his.

Don’t be the bully.

Tribalism aka Us vs. Them

Another motive that may drive these individuals to act is simple tribalism. Related and intertwined with the previous motives, tribalism is like the proverbial tick – dug in deeply.  Like the tick, they may be so “dug in” to their tribe and their us vs. them outlook on life that nothing will ever be able to tear them out of their ancient tribal tendencies to do a thing.  All the others in their tribe are doing that thing so that obviously must mean that thing is the correct and acceptable thing to do – even if all the evidence is against it. You know the type: ‚ÄúMy people have always done it this way and I do not believe all the evidence against it so I’m just going to do it anyway!‚ÄĚ

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Fear of Change.

Also tied to the previously mentioned topics, the fear of change is very powerful and it keeps many from ever progressing.  Some of these individuals may do these things out of fear of inevitable change, fear that their comfort zone will be violated. Fear that the comfortable status quo will be disturbed. Fear they will lose their toy trucks to new technology, or maybe fear that “the government” will try to take them away and force them to drive electric cars. The fact is that no one, especially the government – is going to force anyone to drive an electric car – it is more the opposite. The way the system is currently set up favors and promotes the status quo. It promotes vehicles that run on fossil fuels even though all of the available evidence suggests the continued rate we are burning through fossil fuels is harming the very environment we all rely on for our very survival – but that is another story for a different day.

Your Vehicle Is A Tool – Not A Weapon.

A rock, a stick, a knife, a gun, a snowball, a brick, a spoon, a ham bone, a sack of ‘taters, and yes, a car or pickup truck – are only as dangerous and/or potentially harmful as the person controlling them.

Hopefully, if that person has been lucky enough to receive the following;

  • good and positive moral training as a child from parents and mentors
  • respect and trust of their elders – but not blind trust or blind faith – those are very dangerous
  • an unbiased and well-rounded education with a focus on the importance of facts, evidence and critical thinking skills
  • quality time outdoors in nature learning how all things are connected and developing a respect for all living things and for the environment that gives us all life
  • an understanding of the scientific method and how to use it
  • a purposeful separation from lunatic fringe/extremist – hate, religious, and political groups and training in how to recognize them
  • training into how to use the internet appropriately in order to take advantage of the powerful research tool that it is, while intentionally avoiding the deep quagmire of dead-ends, lies, filth, misinformation, manufactured FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and divisive hate that is also the internet
  • the appropriate science-backed training in the appropriate use of their chosen tool(s)
  • the appropriate licenses and certifications to operate that tool or tools in accordance with the laws set by their state/national governments
  • a good dose of common sense

Then hopefully, that person, when they are released into the wild to wield any of the before mentioned tools – including pickup trucks – will use them wisely for the purpose intended and not ever as weapons of hate or malice to be directed at others – even if they do not agree with their driving, energy or life choices.

No matter the motive, the truth of the matter is this: electric trucks (and cars, sport utility vehicles, airplanes, helicopters, motorcycles, buses, boats, bicycles) are here and more are coming fast – and they will eventually replace the majority of fossil burners simply because they are better, faster, safer, stronger, more reliable, less expensive to fuel and maintain, and more convenient than the old smoke spewing, oil leaking, dinosaur juice burners of yesteryear. Yet, even with all those facts we still must deal with human nature, and tribal-focused brains that evolved during the stone age. With human nature and stone age brains, we are forced to contend with all of the above factors which work together to slow the forward march of progress…

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Luddites and complacency aside, nobody will ever take your beloved truck (or car) away from you (unless you intentionally break the law for your own personal gain – then you deserve to have your vehicle impounded and your license revoked). 

Your favorite old car and truck and all the previously produced petroleum burners will always be around (if you take care of them) and will always be available for you if you want them – just like horses, buggies, and wagons are still available – nobody took them away.  These beautiful, classic cars and trucks of yesteryear will always have a place in history and they should as they are a beautiful part of the complex story that brought all of us to this day in time.  They are a testament and a tribute to all the inventors, engineers, makers, scientists, doers and adventurers who had an idea for something better, worked hard to make it happen – and then changed the world.  Yes, their creations were based upon and relied upon the internal combustion engine and petroleum-based fuels – back then they were the only viable power-plant option. It is a scientifically supported fact that these fossil fuels and the machines they powered have allowed the human species to expand across the globe at an unbelievable pace, light and heat our homes, farms and cities, grow more food to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population, develop better health care, science, and systems that allow us to live longer than ever before, explore the depths of the oceans, and the far reaches of our solar system and even peer into outer space and back into deep time almost back to the “big bang.” In many unique ways, these vehicular creations and these ancient fossil-based fuels may be the very reason – or at least have played a key part – in the very existence of many of us alive today – including the author of this blog post. We all owe an undeniable debt of thanks and gratitude to fossil fuels and to the beautiful vehicles of yesteryear.


However, as with all things, as with all seasons, change is the way of things. Now is the time for change, the time for growth, the time for progress – it is time to stop burning things for fuel to move us around. Like the horse and wagon before them, the majority of these beautiful, earlier modes of transportation worked well for a time, but eventually faded away because something better, faster, stronger, lower maintenance, less stinky and less polluting, was invented – think how fast the Ford Model T displaced the horse – and how the majority of the population quickly accepted the change and adopted it because it was the best option.

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Photo source: https://www.icis.com/asian-chemical-connections/2018/12/internal-combustion-engines-car-ownership-to-quickly-head-the-way-of-horses-and-carts/

The transition from internal combustion to electric transportation will be very similar.

Ponderings

Another thing to ponder is this; how long before our gas/diesel burners (if you are still driving one by ~2025) become a wonderful weekend novelty like the horse and wagon/buggy/Ford Model T is today?

How long before they become a cherished piece in a museum collection…or worthless rusting, forgotten hulks covered in weeds in backyards?

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How long before ICE drivers are treated the same way litterbugs (and smokers) are often treated today and end up catching all sorts of flack from those around them every time they drive their old fossil burner because everyone around them is aware, accepts, and understands that toxic emissions from driving fossil fuel powered vehicles harm all life forms and nature – the very life support system that gives all of us life?

A great article on the coming EV and renewable revolution. Here’s the direct link: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/22/electric-vehicles-renewables-the-changing-world-dynamic/

Before some of you start ranting in the comment section about how much pollution is emitted from building/charging/driving EV’s – watch the below video for the facts:

More sources: https://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichmuth/new-numbers-are-in-and-evs-are-cleaner-than-ever

and

https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/11/Cleaner-Cars-from-Cradle-to-Grave-full-report.pdf

How many years will it be before insurance companies start raising their rates on older vehicles because those older vehicles lack any modern autonomous safety features – such as automatic emergency braking, back up cameras, “Autopilot” and “Sentry Mode” – features that make newer vehicles so much safer to drive for the driver and for everyone else on the roads – thereby making older vehicles a dangerous liability to drive – for the driver and others around them – which therefore means it is now much more expensive to insure and to drive the older cars?

If you do not believe autonomous “autopilot” safety features will become popular on vehicles or if you do not trust them – think again and watch this amazing video of the evidence.

Video source: https://insideevs.com/video-tesla-stop-itself-avoid-horrific-crash/?fbclid=IwAR0wOlo6oIudLjlfdZCEoaI3KP0W0bQYWULDWuY3cPZg9-19ECRqO8p5Fbg

And yet another one…

Video source: https://electrek.co/2019/02/05/tesla-owner-autopilot-saves-life-swerving/

Insurance companies are starting to offer discounts for autonomous features on vehicles: https://futurism.com/insurance-companies-offering-discounts-tesla-drive-itself

A very smart and enlightening commentary from Answers with Joe on the automotive autonomy/EV revolution:

When will ICE vehicles become stranded assets we are unable to sell because nobody wants them anymore because their fuel source, maintenance, and insurance costs have become so incredibly expensive?

When will our beloved, classic old gas burners be converted to electric drive and achieve a second life as an electrified classic

Read this great story about a 1963 VW bug that was converted to fully electric by Zelectric Motors

Or follow the link to the story here: https://jalopnik.com/the-electric-converted-1963-zelectric-vw-beetle-is-a-514043175

When will ICE powered vehicles become as obsolete as the slide rule, the film camera, the 8 track, VHS, and cassette tapes, Blockbuster video, Kodak, phone booths, CRT computer monitors and console TV’s…in other words – when will they go the way of the dinosaurs that power them?

A recent article by Zachary Shahan of Clean Technica predicts that the EV disruption has already started and the major disruption will begin very soon. A great comparison between the EV and other disruptive technologies can be seen in this chart.   

It will not be long dear reader, it will not be very long….

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…this is not a question of if, it is a question of when.

More evidence of the EV revolution that is upon us: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/03/hints-of-ev-revolution-rising/?fbclid=IwAR2r9YZ7Mo9Yhh3RwoivSF1VzCE4x7EjCoMUlGw3_fXcANXoZNEYxRvSpiU 

…more powerful evidence: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4225153-evs-oil-ice-impact-2023-beyond

…and even more evidence: https://www.npr.org/2019/02/16/694303169/as-more-electric-cars-arrive-whats-the-future-for-gas-powered-engines?fbclid=IwAR2V6ePb1qnq8a9VSuWwbLYqEUFfa3xWXkc3PpVEKBWAYA5Zu6crVxh0kdE

…and even more electrifying evidence: https://cleantechnica.com/2018/10/27/us-electric-car-range-will-average-275-miles-by-2022-400-miles-by-2028-new-research-part-1/

…and yet even more: https://insideevs.com/electric-ford-mustang-crossover-go-like-hell/?fbclid=IwAR0w9McYNEScnKfTgVHaK9oMo7YcQlyO-Gdx2jO1FpcfYNYBGv_OkNmsFLM

What else is Ford working on?

A great example of the fast-growing trend in vehicle electrification is the simple fact that many young, forward-thinking companies (and even the legacy auto-makers) are working hard to bring more than capable fully electric and hybrid-electric cars and now trucks and 4×4’s to market including but not limited to…

Bollinger Motors

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Rivian

rivian-r1t-driving-forest.jpg

Atlis

atlis1

Tesla

Little is known about the upcoming Tesla Pickup…but they are working on something big….is this a teaser image of what it may be?

Photo credit: Mike Hoffman EV Network

…only time and Tesla and some interesting tweets from Elon may tell.

FORD

That’s right, Ford has confirmed that is will offer fully electric and hybrid versions of the F-150 for the 2020-21 model years. Below is a concept of what it may look like.

ford-f-150-ev-lead-1547759088

Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a25933730/ford-f-150-electric-pickup-truck-confirmed/

As I wrap up I discover that GM is considering electrifying its trucks as well…looks like the days of the dirty ICE powered pick-up trucks blocking charging stations may soon be a thing of the past.

GMC

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/23/pickups-ready-to-plug-in.html?fbclid=IwAR3SQgZvfFEeq4qNusj4oux17xysgg9SQQFNkWGUtM81FPxH2j8YmeNp3mE

and

Even more possibilities: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/12/scoop-gm-working-on-electric-pickup-truck-with-tesla-powertrain/?fbclid=IwAR3WA20t4MHHcnZaII9kgVIESAco599xmqHNOUeuGYwsMDR29bJgAE52TiQ

More Ponderings

Erroneously enough, it seems that some of these EVSE blocking folk may be committing these acts as some form of misguided political statement. There is some anecdotal evidence suggesting some of these individuals may feel that owning Tesla and other electric vehicles are somehow anti-American. If this is true, then it is obvious – these people have not done the simple online research revealing Tesla as an American car company. Tesla’s vehicle and battery factories, parts suppliers, shops, and service facilities create a manufacturing, delivery, and customer care chain employing tens of thousands of hard-working Americans in hundreds of cities, towns, communities, and truckers on the roads (soon to be driving Tesla electric Semi trucks.)

You may also be surprised to learn that Tesla now rates as the

MOST AMERICAN car company.

Furthermore, all of Tesla’s cars (in this country) and all other EV’s in this country – run on American generated electricity produced on our soil by Americans operating American power generating facilities.

Many EV drivers, including this blogger, charge their EV’s at home/work with “homegrown” renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar arrays thereby making them 100% energy secure and practically free to drive. Read my last post about how I power my EV with solar produced electricity and came to the conclusion that my EV (a 2012 Nissan Leaf) costs me only one cent/mile to power and drive!

teslas

In other words – any electric vehicle used in this country – no matter it’s manufacturer – is charged by electricity produced from fuels primarily sourced within this country by hard working Americans operating American power plants. 

The same cannot be said of fossil fuel powered vehicles whose fuels of choice were – as of 2017 – around 19% sourced from foreign lands* at great cost to our countries safety, security, and future. 

*Source: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=32&t=6

All that evidence suggests that driving a Tesla, or any EV  (factory, converted classic, or home built unit) powered by electrical energy sourced in the USA, would be a great act of patriotism that would only support the energy security/self-sufficiency goals of our country.  More on this here: https://cleantechnica.com/2017/05/31/national-security-bulldogs-electric-cars/

tesla-model-s-raffle

Meanwhile

The bullying bozos blatantly blocking Battery-Electric Vehicle charging stations and rolling coal on EV‚Äôs and innocent pedestrians with their garishly modified vehicular dinosaurs while attempting to make some sort of macho, tribal, hateful, nationalistic, political, and/or anti-environmental statement against ‚Äúanti-American electric cars‚ÄĚ – are powering their toy trucks on fuels that a percentage of has been procured in faraway lands with governments and policies often hostile toward our way of life.

crazyredneckinpickuptruck

Seems like someone did not do their research.

On top of all this madness – just keeping the fuel flowing into the tanks of their stinky little trucks (and all of our fossil fuel powered vehicles and systems for that matter) has required decades of war*. It has required the sacrifice and the deaths of tens of thousands of our brave and beloved children, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and lovers who were and are often fighting to protect oil rights and resources to keep your (and my) fuel tanks topped off with petroleum-based fuels because, for the last 100 years there has been no other option – but that is about to change. 

*Sources: http://priceofoil.org/thepriceofoil/war-terror/ *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_war *https://energypost.eu/twenty-first-century-energy-wars-oil-gas-fuelling-global-conflicts/

While I will always 100% support our brave servicemen and women in the military, and all of my friends and family members who are serving and have honorably served – and some who have paid the ultimate price – I am not at all OK with, and will never support sacrificing my loved ones and friends lives just to protect the flow of oil so I can think I am free when in fact I, and all of us, remain addicted to the fossil fuel machine.

IMHO – to be truly free one must be as self-sufficient as possible. If we are relying on imported energy sources while sacrificing our loved ones to acquire and protect that energy – we are not self-sufficient and we will never be truly free.

To be truly self-sufficient and truly free, our country needs to work toward the ultimate goal of sourcing all of our energy needs from our home soil.

Being self-sufficient also means to respect and care for that which gives you life. To me, this means using energy resources that do as little harm as possible to the very environment that provides all of us with all of our survival needs. To me, this means we need to focus on developing the amazing untapped potential of ALL available renewable energy sources available to us and keep fossil fuels as a strategic reserve and a backup power source for the lean times. If the USA continues burning through almost 20 million barrels of petroleum per day not only will we quickly exhaust these finite fossil fuels and be forced to scramble to get renewable energy sources online and operational while millions suffer, but we will also speed up the destruction of our health and shared environment with fossil fuel pollution speeding up atmospheric pollution, planetary warming, and weather weirding due to anthropogenic climate change.

Common sense and scientific evidence say that now is the time to start making a system-wide switch to renewable energy sources.

We need to move toward 100% renewable energy now.

We know what we need to do.

We have the technology.

We have science on our side.

But do we have the personal and political will power to do it?

Which future will we choose?

Sadly, to keep the costs at the pumps down so the fossil fuel addiction can continue to flow to consumers unabated, and to keep EV and domestically produced renewable energy adoption low – the fossil fuel supported powers and bribed politicians in government keep funneling our hard earned money into supporting the fossil fuel producers and pushers with massive subsidies to the tune of tens of billions of our tax dollars annually*! The massively powerful and insanely wealthy fossil fuel machine, working with uncaring, bribed politicians and policymakers on both sides of the political fence, are funneling loads of money into organizations that work to manufacture loads of FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – in the peer-reviewed scientific evidence presented to us by the vast majority of the planet’s climate and environmental scientists. Evidence that has collectively revealed that we humans are changing the climate, the natural processes, and the stability of our atmosphere – thereby bringing about anthropogenic climate change and the sixth mass extinction of life on planet earth – and we just sit back and let this happen.

Why?

What is wrong with us?

oil_addict-1-545x382.jpg

*Sources: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/10/6/16428458/us-energy-coal-oil-subsidies   and http://priceofoil.org/2017/10/03/dirty-energy-dominance-us-subsidies/ and http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-industy-influence-in-the-u-s/

Furthermore, the acquisition, shipment, refining, distribution, and use of petroleum-based fuels has resulted in countless oil, gas, and fuel leaks, spills and other accidents that have created massive impacts to our shared environmental life support system, loss of human life and wildlife, loss of health and livelihoods for countless people and families, oh and those nagging and worsening air pollution and climate change issues…just to keep the oil and gas flowing to feed the status quo so the cash can continue to flow into the deep bank accounts of the filthy mega-rich oil barons and corrupt politicians who are working together to enrichen themselves while destroying our shared futures.

All this madness trickles down and the lunatic fringe – in petroleum production, government, and those in their charging station bocking little toy trucks – who remain free to target and assault those of us working to make good and lasting changes in the world by adopting and promoting the following;

  • promoting and using “homegrown” renewable energy
  • promoting domestic energy security through the adoption of domestic renewable energy resources
  • teaching preparedness and self-reliance through the scientific method
  • accepting science supported evidence and expert guided change
  • driving a much more energy secure, less polluting, lower maintenance, cheaper to drive, electric vehicle built in the USA and powered by American electrons.

Conclusion

The problem with the small number of fringe-dwelling, macho-driven, small-minded individuals that choose to intentionally block and vandalize charging stations, insult EV drivers for childish, thoughtless “reasons,” (and roll coal) is that they do not think – they just act on their primal, fear-driven, toxically tribal emotions without any actual evidence based facts or reason to back up their childish actions.

I could go on but I believe you now know what I think about this issue.

In closing – I have offered examples and explained
ad nauseum the many reasons why the thoughtless practice of intentionally ICEing/blocking/vandalizing Tesla and other EV charging stations is ill-advised. However – while I may have explained it, I cannot understand it for you.  That challenge is up to you and I hope you have the intellect and the common sense to do so…and to never intentionally block access to another person’s fuel source.

Knowledge is power.

Knowledge conquers fear.

Get some knowledge.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

GREEN LEAF!

One of my oldest childhood dreams is now a reality – and more!

That dream was to one day drive an electric vehicle that was charged with electricity provided by the sun.

solarcarhouse

After originally dreaming up the idea in Mr. Jackson’s 6th grade science class way back in 1980*, then pondering, dreaming, and researching the idea for many decades until recently, with the convergence of technologies over the last few years,¬† and by working with great friends, nonprofit supporters, patrons and my amazing students – I have finally made that boyhood dream come true for me and, most importantly, for my students – who are the next generation.¬† Our children are the generation that will benefit the most from these coming of age technologies – technologies that they will soon come to see as normal and as every day as we kids of the last generation viewed the internal combustion engine, land-line telephone, film camera, CD, and MTV.¬† *Read all about my 6th-grade epiphany in this blog post I penned on my nonprofit blog.

Now, over 35 years later, I am finally daily driving an electrically driven vehicle whose battery is charged with locally grown electricity from the sun – and a good chunk of water and wind produced renewably generated electricity!¬† I use this renewable energy fueled electric vehicle for commuting to and from work, as an outreach vehicle for my nonprofit environmental education organization – Earthshine Nature Programs – and as a teaching tool in my middle and high school science classes where I work to demonstrate working models of the “new normal” of these now off-the-shelf technologies to the young minds who will lead us forward into a clean, renewable energy powered, and electrically driven future!

How did all this happen?

It all started in the late summer of 2012 when my wife and I purchased a slightly used 2012 Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle (EV).  I wrote all about that misadventure in this previous blog post.

wejustboughtaleaf

We quickly came to dearly love the little electric car, and for the first 4 years of EV ownership, we charged the vehicle using the local grid provided energy mix.¬† In 2017 this all changed when my classroom’s new 4.8 kW photovoltaic solar array went online.

Now I charge my EV almost every day with sunlight!

The data I have outlined below reveal that 48% of the power I used to charge EV’s drive battery over the period of this study came directly from solar produced, renewably generated, clean electricity produced by the 4.8 kWh photovoltaic solar array at my classroom/office where I charge on weekdays.

Read more about the construction of our student-built solar array.

Due to the logistics of driving an early, short range, EV – the other 52% of the power needed to get me around during the time of this study came from the local power grid’s energy mix.

That energy mix is not perfect but it could be much worse.  As of only about a decade or so ago it was provided by electricity generated primarily by burning coal Рthe dirtiest of the fossil fuels.  As it stands today our local energy mix is a blend of coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, solar, nuclear, and wind (more or less in that order).

This 52% of my electric vehicle’s electron fuel originates from the local energy mix which I source from various 120 volt standard electrical outlets at my private residence and at the homes of friends, and the readily available Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)¬† – aka car chargers – network located all around my “home range.” (Home range = the area in which I spend the majority of my time.)

When on the road I always try my best to use EVSE that are in close association with, or not far from solar or other renewable energy power sources in the attempt to keep my car’s electric fuel as clean as possible.

But how does all this work you may ask?

First, let us look at the solar side of things.

It all starts with our nearest star – the sun.¬† Sunlight, which is made up of photons – that can take up to as long as one million years to be produced inside the sun – is produced by our nearest star then zip through space at the speed of light and around 8 minutes later strike my classroom’s photovoltaic solar array – that’s my classroom in the below photo taken by the ENP solar charged camera drone.

DCIM104GOPRO

The photons are then converted into direct current (DC) electricity by an almost magical process that takes place within in the blue semi-conducting solar cells contained within the 20 solar modules that currently* make up the array.¬† After the electricity is produced in the solar modules it travels (again at the speed of light) via wires to the SMA Sunny Boy inverter where it is modified from DC current into AC current and sent into the building’s power grid.¬† From the there it travels via more wiring to a Clipper Creek Level 2 EVSE.¬† ¬† *I say currently because we are now working on raising funds to complete Phase Two which will add 10 more solar modules to our classroom solar array powering the entire building and the EV with solar!¬† Learn more about how you can help us make this happen for our classroom and nonprofit on our Patreon page or on our GoFundMe page.

Read all about our very special EVSE – donated by Pine Shore Energy

From the EVSE the energy then travels along a cable into my 2012 Nissan Leaf and charges the car’s battery with clean, locally produced, renewable solar electricity.

ENPEVSE

No dirty, toxic, life-destroying fossil fuels needed for this configuration.

just

Sunshine + Science + EV + Willpower + Determination + Generosity +Hard Work = a Solar Driven Electric Vehicle!

sunflowersolargarden1

Renewable energy + EV’s are the “new normal” and they offer all of us¬†freedom from the subscription to dependency that is fossil fuels.

Although I have been daily charging my 2012 Nissan Leaf in this manner since mid-July 2017, this report will only cover a 4-month time-frame between August and November of 2017. At the end of 1 year, I will recalculate and we will take a look at the changes.

I only live about a dozen miles from my classroom/office and during the week I always charge my Leaf at work. After work and on weekends I often travel around the area for work and play so I must occasionally plug my Leaf into a standard power outlet on my carport at home or use the many conveniently located community Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) public charging stations* that are powered by other local energy sources Рand some of these energy sources are not as clean as our favorite neighborhood star.  For these logistical reasons, my Leaf is not entirely powered by the sun Рat least not yet. *see map below and visit Plugshare to learn where there are EVSE near you.

The local charging station network as of the writing of this post.  The blue dot is approximately (but nowhere near exactly for security reasons) where I live.

plugmap

So, how do I know my Leaf is 48% solar powered?

To answer to that question I took a deep look at my “Leaf Log” – a charging status and usage journal that I have been keeping of my daily charging/driving activities since day one of EV ownership.

I compared my Leaf Log with the daily power production logs from my classroom’s SMA Sunny Boy Inverter and cross-referenced those with the power usage records from Duke Energy – my grid power provider.

The Data.

Time period covered: August 01- November 30, 2017.

Total solar array production to November 30th: 1.36 MWh

Average monthly solar production over the time period: 280.45 kWh

Average daily solar production over the time period: 9.34 kWh

Total number of times the Leaf was fully charged* using solar produced electricity over the time period: 65

*I only recorded data for days where solar production equaled or was greater than the kWh needed to fully charge my Leaf EV.

Total number of times the Leaf was charged at home over the time period: 47

Total number of times the Leaf was charged with local energy mix* over the time period: 53  *Our local energy mix includes a mix of Coal, Natural gas, Hydroelectric, Solar, Nuclear, and wind more or less in that order.  From:   https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/#tabs_unit-1

energysourcesnew

Number of kWh from the cleanest solar produced electricity (my classroom solar array) over the time period: 535.19 kWh

Number of kWh from the local energy mix over the time period (home+other local EVSE): 687.3 kWh

Number of kWh sourced from Level 1 home charging: 357.3 kWh

Number of kWh from all other sources outside of solar/home: 330 kWh

Total kWh used by EV over time frame: 1222.49

Leafenergy17kWh

It is important to note that my home energy mix is supported by wind power carbon offsets through Arcadia Power.¬† This is significant because when I charge my Leaf at home, the energy used to charge its battery, while being physically generated by the local energy mix, has its carbon pollution offset by the construction and operation of wind farms which serve to lower my EV’s carbon footprint even more!

Number of kWh from wind energy offsets used to charge my Leaf at home over the time period = 357.3 kWh

Now let’s take a look at the local energy mix.

The total kWh sourced from the grid mix over the time period = 330 kWh.

Total kWh electricity sourced from EVSE in close proximity to renewably produced energy from home range grid mix over the time period = 97.3 kWh

Number of kWh from known renewable energy augmented EVSE stations*: 51.9 kWh * Solar BrightfieldTS EVSE at UNCA/Asheville Public Works BrightfieldTS solar EVSE/EarthFare BrightfieldTS EVSE/Sierra Nevada Brewery/WCU BrightfieldTS EVSE/Cherokee Welcome Center solar/wind EVSE

Total kWh used from charging the Leaf adjacent to the dirtiest EVSE* in our local energy grid over the time period = 27.2 kWh *Note: I refer to this as the dirtiest EVSE in the area as it is less than a mile from and within sight of the largest local fossil fuel-fired electricity power plant in the area Рas you can see from this image.

 

energymixother17

FINAL ANALASYS 

Total energy used by EV over time period: 1,221.77 kWh 

1041.69 + 180.08 = 1221.77

Total kWh from known clean energy sources over the time period: 1,041.69 kWh 

535.19(classroom solar) + 51.9(RE EVSE) + 357.3(home wind offests) + 97.3 (near RE)  = 1041.69 kWh

Total kWh from fossil fuel generation sources:  180.8 kWh

153.6 + 27.2 (fossil fuels) = 180.8

 

leafenergypercents

CONCLUSIONS

My calculations suggest that, over the time period in question, the LEAF received 85.3% of its energy from renewable energy sources via either local sources or via carbon offsets.  The remaining 14.7% of its energy came from local fossil fuel-fired generation sources.

leaffinalenergy

So it seems that if my maths are correct (and please do correct me if you find an error) that my data and calculations suggest that during the time period in question my Leaf was 48% solar charged and 52% grid mix charged with 37.3% of that grid mix being sourced from renewable energy sources.

During the 48% of the time my Leaf was solar charging at my classroom – it was, in fact, receiving its electrons from the sun.

The other 52% of the time, while it is reasonable to deduce that my EV received 37.3% of its energy from renewable energy sources Рit is more complicated to pinpoint the exact energy sources for my vehicles electron fuel.  This is due to the nature of nature, the nature of the electric grid, the loads on the grid at any given time, the nature of electrons, and my varied locations when charging.

Nonetheless, if the numbers and my calculations are accurate then it is reasonable to say that my little EV is truly a “green” Leaf and, for its specific situation and use – it is as clean as it can possibly be when compared to vehicles powered solely by internal combustion engines that receive all of their energy from carbon-based fossil fuel sources.¬† These results make me very happy by giving me the knowledge that I am doing as much as I am able to do to shrink my carbon footprint and I am working to share my findings with the next generation.

I am also fully and acutely aware that everything we do has an impact on our shared earth Рfrom the manufacturing process of the vehicle, EVSE, solar array, and all the parts that tie it all together Рthese all have their own unique carbon footprints.  I am also fully aware that all grid-based energy supply networks Рfrom the dirtiest coal or diesel-fired power plant to the cleanest hydro, wind or solar sourced renewable energy installation also have their own areas of inefficiency and loss that compounds to lower their carbon footprints Рso no, there is no such thing as a 100% carbon-free human-made energy source and there will always be some losses in the manufacturing processes, in the power delivery along the way to you, and in the final use of that power by you, the user.  I am not here to debate those things nor am I hear to claim that I have all the answers.  What I am here to do is share with you the ways I have discovered that you can make use of to lower your personal carbon footprint by using renewable energy and electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf in your everyday lives.  Those other, larger issues Рwe common folk have little control over Рbut those issues will improve as our technology improves.  For those improvements to happen we need to vote strong scientific minds into offices of power and we need to vote with our money in support of renewable energy projects, electric vehicles and their support infrastructure, and better efficiency in our homes, schools and workplaces and maybe then, by working together, we can work to make our collective impacts on our fragile ecosystem as low as possible for the benefit of us all and for the benefit of everything moving forward.

MORE PONDERINGS

The 149.2 kWh of RE generated/augmented electricity sources used to charge my EV varied depending upon where I plugged into the grid, was it sunny, overcast, windy, what was the ambient temperature etc.  Although I am not 100% sure on any of the following I will take a stab at hazarding an educated guess.

Looking at the below map you will see two polygons.¬† These represent my daily home range and the electricity generation sources located therein.¬† I spend around 90% of my time within the area of the yellow polygon while the green polygon represents the extended home range that I visit around 10% of the time.¬† Note: the Duke Energy power plant located just north of center of my primary home range is listed on the map as a Natural Gas Power Plant – however, that listing is misleading as it is, in reality, a¬†“Conventional Steam Coal; Natural Gas Fired Combustion Turbine with¬†Net Summer Capacity by Energy Source: Coal = 378 MW, Natural Gas = 320 MW.” – so it is currently not as “clean” as it is reported.¬† The Oconee Nuclear power station, the closest one to my location, is just off the southern edge of the map to the left of Liberty, SC.

ncenergymap1

On the next map, we see all of the locations where I frequently charge my car and their locations in relation to the local power grid’s energy production sources.

homerangemap1

The L1 and L2 EVSE in the lower left of the yellow polygon are clustered around my home and office.¬† My home is located midway between the Duke energy coal/gas plant and a large clustering of hydroelectric power plants to the west.¬† At first glance it appears that around 50% of my home’s electricity may be provided from this renewably generated clean hydroelectricity – however, those hydroelectric generation stations are on a different circuit so I am therefore unable to take advantage of their much cleaner hydroelectricity.¬† Although my home circuit’s power grid is fed mostly by a mix of coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, and solar more or less in that order – however, when we take into account the renewable energy offsets I receive from Arcadia Power my home energy mix becomes MUCH cleaner!

When I am in the northern part of my most frequented home range I usually charge at solar assisted EVSE locations located in downtown Asheville at the BrightfieldTS solar assisted EVSE stations located on College St., on the campus of UNCA, at the Sierra Nevada Brewery, or at the Earthfare Grocery store in South Asheville.¬† These EVSE stations receive a large portion of their power from solar energy so, if an EV is charging during the day it is solar charged.¬† When an EV is not charging, these EVSE then feed clean solar produced electricity back into the power grid.¬† I can, therefore, hypothesize that when I charge at these locations (on sunny days) I am driving on sunshine and my car’s electron fuel is potentially as clean as when I solar charge at my classroom.

solarcharging714UNCA

Charging on sunshine on the campus of UNCA

When I drive out of my most frequented home range area and into my extended home range (the area within the green polygon) not only is the majority of the electricity in that area provided by clean hydroelectric generating stations, but on top of that,  whenever possible I charge at EVSE locations that are relatively close to hydroelectric, solar/wind* augmented generating stations.  It is interesting to note that the EVSE on the campus of  Western Carolina University is also fueled by a solar canopy as seen below.

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This EVSE is also very close to the nearby Electron Garden¬†, a small campus solar farm seen in the following photo,¬† as well as being located “downstream” from several hydroelectric power generating facilities that produce close to 50 MW of clean hydro-generated electricity – so these facts suggest that this is indeed a very clean EVSE!22279717_10213086155961288_6919179988762042057_n-1.jpg

Another EVSE I use frequently is located at the Cherokee, NC welcome center in Cherokee, NC.¬† This EVSE is powered by a mix of hydroelectric, solar, and wind generated electricity.¬† The building (pictured below) is attached to a hydroelectrically energized power grid and it has two solar “trees” plus a small-scale wind turbine on site that generates even more clean energy from the sun and wind.

cherokee-visitor-s-center

This clean energy is then fed directly into the building’s grid and the three EVSE located in the parking area.¬† If an EV is charging then its batteries will be solar, wind, and water power charged.

EVsolarwind

My Leaf charging at the Cherokee Welcome Center.

On a few occasions, I am forced, due to my Leaf’s limited range, to charge at EVSE located very close to coal-fired generating facilities.¬† On these occasions, my car is fueled with clean electrons produced by dirty energy generation stations.¬† The good thing is that these occurrences are rare and totaled only 27.2 kWh of my total energy usage during the time period under study.

Follow Up

I have arrived at my conclusions based on data from my home range map, charging history data from the “Leaf Log,” and knowledge of the local electricity providers power generating facilities and their service areas.

Even with the gray areas in the numbers this 85.3% renewable energy provided fuel is far and above cleaner and more energy secure and has a significantly lower carbon footprint than anything out there on the roads that runs on any liquid petroleum fuel.

In fact, even if I did not have a solar generating station at my classroom/office, or use Arcadia Power for carbon offsets, or charge at renewable energy powered EVSE – my Leaf would still average around 73 mpg equivalent*.¬† ¬†This is due to our country’s grid mix continuing to get cleaner every day with the retirement of aging coal fired power plants and their replacement with cleaner natural gas and much cleaner renewable energy power stations! *From the Union of Concerned Scientists EV Emissions Calculator found here:¬†http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/ev-emissions-tool#z/28768/2012/Nissan/LEAF (24 kWh)

This data is based on the following chart of the US energy mix as of March 2017.

2014-map_blog_5.19-1024x749 Source: http://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichmuth/new-numbers-are-in-and-evs-are-cleaner-than-ever

North Carolina’s Energy Mix

Now let’s look take a deeper look at my local energy mix.¬† The energy mix is just that – a mix of different energy sources all working together to provide us with reliable power for our homes, businesses, schools, and for a growing number of us – our electric transportation choices.

Traditionally, North Carolina was powered mostly by mostly coal but over the last couple of decades, we have seen a slow but steady growth in renewable power –¬† especially since 2010.¬† Since then NC has gone from near the back of the parade to #2 in the country for installed solar power!¬† Solar now provides NC residents with ~3.57% of our energy mix coming from the sun as well as over 3000 MWh of installed capacity – enough to power over 341,000 homes – and on top of that solar provides over 7,100 North Carolinians with great jobs and in the process, our energy mix just keeps getting cleaner!

Evidence of this can be¬†seen in the below map image of NC’s current solar¬† (hydroelectric and nuclear) situation! (Note: yellow stars=grid scale solar power generation facilities, Blue=hydroelectric, purple=nuclear.)

solarhydronukeNCSC

This trend is happening all over the country as evidenced by this amazing graphic from this UCS article.

State-Generation-20150316

As of May 2016, the USA had installed 1 million solar installations Рincluding around 950,000 rooftop solar arrays! (Source: http://blog.ucsusa.org/mike-jacobs/one-million-solar-energy-systems-now-turned-on-in-us )

Many more solar and wind generating facilities are planned for the 2018 year as can be seen in the map below.

planned RE generating facilities 2018

It is wonderful to see the fall of dirty “King Coal” with no new coal-fired power stations going in and the rapid growth of renewable power generation nationwide.¬† What this means is cleaner air, cleaner water, and a cleaner future for all of us, for nature, for wildlife, for our children, and for the children of the future.

It also means that even when we charge our EV’s on only local grid power they will¬† ALWAYS be cleaner and have less of an impact on our environment than ANYTHING powered by petroleum products (source).¬† Furthermore, with more and more new grid scale and private renewable energy generation facilities going online, the grid just continues to get cleaner – so every time we charge our EV’s anywhere – the electrons fueling our vehicles also just continue to get cleaner.

This is a win-win situation for all of us…well, unless you are still driving around in an old fossil burner because, as we all know, their fuel source can never be made clean and on top of that as they age their efficiency drops as their multitudes of moving parts wear out with use only causing them to pollute more and more.

Below a wonderful sign of the times from the Sunday funny papers ūüôā

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I almost forgot to mention that when I looked at how the numbers have changed when it comes to my fuel costs to push my Nissan Leaf EV down the road – the new solar array has lowered my costs by,¬† you guessed it, almost half of what I was paying in the past.¬† My previous costs of operation for my EV’s electric fuel were around $30/month and now, with my classroom solar array online and charging my car with sunshine, I can now drive my average 1200 miles/month for about $15 – that works out to a little more than 1 cent per mile to fuel my EV!!!

OUTRAGEOUS!!!

That my friends is the ultimate smackdown to petroleum-based fuels.

I could not be happier.

cute-sun-with-sunglasses-clipart-yTkg5reGc

!THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who worked with me to make this dream a reality!

You are all HEROES!

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth is Out There

Yes, when it comes to the internet the truth is out there, somewhere…but to uncover it you often find yourself digging through stacks and heaps of total lies, outright fabrications and willful small-minded ignorance.

And now for a lesson in the realities of the internet.

Recently a friend of mine found a meme* online that disturbed her, knowing that I had some experience in the matter she asked me if the meme was accurate.  As I was already familiar with the meme I responded that it was a pure fabrication trumped up by an organization with an agenda and something to loose.

I could have left it at that but no, I cannot. ¬†I must dig deeper, citing the sources and the science behind the matter in order to reveal and support the truth and lay the lies it to rest for anyone that may read these words. Sadly, in this day and time of crooks, villains, charlatans, snake oil salesmen and outright lairs, I and others like me must stay vigilant¬†and work to expose the real truths behind this terribly inaccurate meme and other lies that the “merchants of doubt” spin on an almost daily basis. (The term Merchants of doubt is from the book and must see documentary by the same name – Merchants of Doubt.)

In the world of the internet and TV, and to some extent the movies, there are many people today who sadly believe what they see without doing any further research at all.  This trend is dangerous and as the great Carl Sagan once said;

The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be¬†counter-intuitive. It may contradict¬†deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.

And as Mr. Spock once said: “Humans are illogical beings, they believe what they want to even when they know it to not be true.”

To find the truth we cannot stop there because in the world of scientifically accurate journalism (which we desperately need more of) we need to dig much deeper in order to find the concrete truth and cite the sources as we go…so let’s do this thing.

PLEASE NOTE: It is most important to not just view and accept the following photograph at face value because it is horribly inaccurate and an outright lie.  Therefore, the author of this blog (and others) are exposing the below meme as 100% erroneous, unsupported, and fabricated, illogical nonsense and supporting this exposure with scientifically supported resources to validate it.

The meme in question is below.

lithium_tar_sands_meme

This meme was obviously designed to;

1. Attack people and organizations who either drive and/or support Electric Vehicles (EV’s) and/or renewable energy and attempt to tarnish the science and¬†fast growing good reputations behind these transportation and energy sources with a poorly researched¬†graphic.

2. Spread manufactured outright lies and disinformation propaganda designed by individuals and/or organizations with ties to the fossil fuel industry, in the attempt to spread doubt with the goal of negatively and falsely influencing uneducated or uninformed people into continuing to support fossil fuel companies by driving petroleum powered vehicles, using electricity produced from coal and other fossil fuel sources, and voting for candidates that support these outdated, dirty, polluting, finite, technologies.

3. Or all of the above.

As¬†you will see by my research in¬†the following paragraphs, images and videos, this meme is 100% inaccurate and garishly untruthful and while I have done the research, anyone reading this, with a half a neuron’s worth of research ability, is capable of finding the same information that I found online by initiating a simple Google search.

My revealing findings and facts of oil sands and/or lithium mining can be found in the following photographs from various sources and the associated links to detailed information on the subject matter.

To begin with the images below show the realities of tar sands mining.

oilsands

Alberta Oil Sands mining from Mining.com

oilsands2

Canada’s Mordor. ¬†From Hubpages.com

And a few from this Greenpeace article

alberta oil sands greenpeace

oilsandsalbertacanadagreenpeace

Alex McLean Oilsands 9 Checkerboard clearing of the overburden for seismic testing, Syncrude Aurora North Mine Site, Alberta, CA Blocks140406-0193

To get at the oil sands the mining company must first remove the “overburden.” ¬†This “overburden” as they call it was once a thriving boreal forest ecosystem. ¬†Please tell me how that is a good thing in any way.

So what are oil sands?  Here is a good overview of the Oil sands from Wikipedia

Another one from Scientific Amerian

And this one also from Scientific American.

I believe the photographs and articles effectively show that Alberta oil sands extraction is one of the most environmentally destructive and toxic mining operations on earth.

The erroneous meme in question seems to have originated from a Facebook group called Saskatchewan Proud (SP). ¬†From what I can deduce after visiting the SP Facebook page they seem to be an organization that is against anything related to renewable energy. They seem to be working to sow doubt, disinformation, and falsehoods in the feeble attempt to protect their poisonous and destructive way of life. ¬†I also believe they are fearful of the growing support and adoption of electric vehicles (EV’s) and renewable energy sources by individuals, businesses, municipalities, and governments all around the world and they see these trends as a threat to their toxic and destructive livelihood. ¬†They are right in that the growing renewable energy sector will end our dependence on fossil fuels but I fail to see how that is a bad thing that requires the creation of lies and propaganda. If they know what is good for them (and from the visible evidence on their Facebook page it appears that they do not or that they are living is denial or both) they would leave the fossil fuels in the ground and embrace the renewable energy resources found all around them in the beautiful land called¬†Saskatchewan.

.

sasket2

If they are not careful they will one day find themselves fat, rich, and sick living in their own self-created version of hell on earth.

mordor

But you still may ask “Where does Lithium come from?”

I have dug up the truth.

Yes, Lithium must be mined from the earth just like any other natural resource however, it has a much lower environmental impact than almost any other type of mining.

Below are a few very good short videos on the subject of Lithium mining and its use.

 

When Lithium is applied and used in batteries for computers, phones, tablets, cameras, and other mobile devices, and electric vehicles – it does not give off any toxic pollution, in other words it’s end use is 100% emissions free. ¬†That fact can never be applied to fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuels in any way.

Nissan produced a great video a few years ago eluding to this fact.

Also, once a lithium battery reaches the end of its usable life, ¬†it’s components and chemicals can then be recycled into another battery or application–try that with fossil fuels, it is just not possible–the end results of burning fossil fuels is only a ride down the road, trail, rail, waterway or airway in return for the undeniable toxic and deadly byproducts listed below –

  1. Wars and lives lost in the dirty deals and twisted politics relating to the expensive acquisition of the raw materials (oil and coal).  If you need an example think Gulf War.

2. Environmental degradation, destruction, human suffering, and death (think  Exxon              Deepwater Horizon) from the mining and extraction.

3. Expensive and dangerous shipping and transportation by ship, pipeline, train and/or            truck with the inevitable life killing oil and fuel spills that happen regularly and                      without fail (Think Exxon Valdez).

4. The billions of BTU’s of waste heat from the inefficient combustion of fossil fuels.

5.  The atmospheric poisoning and warming, and the resulting anthropogenic climate                change from the billions of tons of CO2 and other toxic gasses released by the end                  use burning of fossil fuels.

6. Let us not forget the health and the future of our children and grandchildren and                     beyond who will be forced to live in the world we have created, and polluted for                       them.

Using fossil fuels is like using tobacco Рit is a very bad experiment.

We should be very ashamed of ourselves for continuing this very bad experiment to the detriment of the prosperity of future generations.

Let’s get back to the lithium.

Mining lithium takes place in environments that are mostly uninhabitable by man or wildlife such as  the Atacama Desert in South America.

mina-de-sal-en-uyuni_1

The fact remains that while lithium extraction and processing does have an environmental impact (as does almost everything we do), that impact takes place in some of the most physically and biologically remote places on earth.  When compared to fossil fuel extraction, the processing and end use lithium requires very little energy to extract and process it into a usable final product.  Therefore, lithium extraction is far less damaging to the environment than fossil fuel extraction ever has been or ever will be.  Furthermore, the end use of lithium based products are clean and zero emission Рtry to say that about any fossil fuels, it is impossible.  However, lithium battery reclamation and recycling programs Рwhich currently are few and far between Рdo in fact need to be strengthened in order to make sure spent lithium batteries (and batteries from all sources) are properly recycled instead of being tossed into the garbage only to end up in landfills.

Here are a few more links to other good lithium mining resources.

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2015/10/the-lithium-mine-fields-of-atacama.html

http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/2013/04/05/the-lithium-triangle/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2051639-follow-the-lithium-dreams-expedition-to-chile-and-bolivia/

I believe we have sufficiently busted the myth that lithium mining is worse that tar sands extraction and have therefore destroyed the meme in question.

But that is not all we must address from the ignorant meme generators at Saskatchewan Proud. They have also created two other anti-renewable energy propaganda memes designed to spread lies and sow doubt in the truth of clean, renewable energy technologies.

Some of their other irrational, poorly researched and poorly worded memes follow.

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Really?  Are they really that ignorant?

To begin with Рsteel and iron are not mined.  Iron ore is mined and then refined into iron and steel.  (See this link for the facts) Secondly, while wind turbine support structures, generators and other support structures do contain structural steel they also contain  aluminum, copper and other metals most of which is first mined from the earth in a manner similar to iron ore.  Yes, these mining operations do have impact as does everything we do however, the meme in question is simply an unwarranted and poorly researched over-dramatization of the fear that the people behind SP have toward renewable energy.

Much of the metals that are used in modern wind turbine manufacturing can also be sourced from recycled sources. ¬†The blades of modern turbines are not even made from steel or iron, instead they are “Made from composite materials these blades are usually made of a polyester resin, a vinyl resin, and epoxy thermosetting matrix resin and E-glass fibers, S- glass fibers and carbon fiber reinforced materials.” Source: Wikipedia.

SP also tried to take another stab at a the growing wind energy…and they failed miserably.

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(I do not see any dead birds in the lower photo…do you?)

The truth is that your pet housecat, cellular telephone towers¬†that let your mobile device make calls, connect to the internet and text your friends and check your Facebook, your own house’s glass windows reflecting the forest and sky outside, ¬†and the toxic emissions/spills/mishaps directly or indirectly related to the entire fossil fuel¬†industry – kill many millions upon millions more birds and bats annually than wind turbines have ever done and ever will do.

If you do not believe me then please, take a look at my sources following this paragraph…or just do your own research. ¬†My sources come from the mainstream media, independent science organizations and the wind energy sector and they all agree that yes, wind turbines do kill some animals – but far less than the dramatized numbers purported by Saskatchewan Proud and other supporters of the fossil fuel industry. If SP really wants to attack the industry responsible for killing the most animals then maybe they should attack themselves and the other fossil fuel companies that are quickly destroying our shared planet in the name of massive profit. I am sure that is what this pelican would like to do.

pelican

Photo Source Рand a very good read:   http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/20/opinion/brazile-earth-day-bp/ 

Treehugger: http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/north-america-wind-turbines-kill-around-300000-birds-annually-house-cats-around-3000000000.html

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/15/wind-turbines-kill-fewer-birds-than-cell-towers-cats/15683843/

Science News: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/windows-may-kill-988-million-birds-year-united-states

Science News: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/cats-kill-more-one-billion-birds-each-year

Think Progress: https://thinkprogress.org/chart-how-many-birds-are-killed-by-wind-solar-oil-and-coal-230d2a939bbb#.fx2aooqfm

ABC Birds: https://abcbirds.org/program/wind-energy/

Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-save-bats-and-birds-from-wind-turbine-slaughter-130262849/

The Environmental Defence Fund: https://www.edf.org/ecosystems/six-years-later-whats-ahead-gulf?utm_source=ggad&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=gr-BPOil&gclid=CJSfutD0zc4CFcwlgQodKpQFBw

The fact is that the oil spill resulting from the 2010¬†Deepwater Horizon incident¬†killed or injured an estimated 82,000 birds alone (far more than the purported few dozen as described by SP in the previous meme). ¬†Recent estimates indicate that over 1 million birds and over 1,400 dolphins have died as a result of the disaster. ¬†The deaths of wildlife and the resulting¬†environmental damage¬†and economic damage to the livelihoods of so many fishermen and tourism providers along the gulf coast is in the billions of dollars. ¬†The damage to the ecosystem of the gulf is so great that scientists have yet to fully estimate the true damage and cost of what was the USA’s greatest environmental disaster.

Obviously, the individuals behind Saskatchewan Proud have knowingly and purposefully created this erroneous and totally false propaganda in the attempt to somehow build support for their fossil fuel supporting organization.  They have succeeded greatly, not in propping up their destructive, toxic, earth and life killing industry, but in showing their infantile ignorance, denial of the truth, and complete willful disregard for the future of their own beautiful country and its people.

Good job SP you must be really proud.

I could outline in even more exhaustive detail how blatantly ignorant their memes are but I really do not believe I need to go into such detail when their ignorance in the matter is so unbelievably obvious and when the editor of Cleantechnica has also written an article debunking this very same meme. ¬†To that end I have included many good references¬†from many different sources and studies (see below) that I have found online that will sufficiently and accurately debunk and disprove all of SP’s¬†ignorant postings. ¬†It is obvious to me that Saskatchewan Proud did not do any research at all on any of their memes before they posted them. ¬†It looks like they whipped together their propaganda on Photoshop and dropped them online in the hopes that someone out there would believe their inane childish ignorant drool as fact and then share and spout their nonsense far and wide in the hopes of bolstering their position.

The truly sad thing is that there will be good people out there that will believe them because they are either inexperienced at research or sadly just willingly gullible and will believe many things they find online without question or without doing any further research on their own to confirm or deny their questions.

To further debunk and bust these mythical memes I offer these sources:

SNOPES: http://www.snopes.com/lithium-mine-oil-sands/

Cleantechnica: http://cleantechnica.com/2016/05/12/lithium-mining-vs-oil-sands-meme-thorough-response/

Yet another way many people come to misunderstand and misinterpret the truth of renewable energy and science in general is the use of satire, like seen in the following meme.  It was designed to parody the typically outrageous followers of lunatic fringe right-wing ideologies yet their posts are sometimes mistaken as genuine by those who do not investigate the source, fail to read all the way to the end of the article, do not read the credits, or just look at the pictures and fail to read the text associated with the article at all.

The meme below was developed by a popular satire site known as Christians for Michelle Bachmann  aka C4MB.  When C4MB posted it on their Facebook page many uneducated or uninformed people took it at face value, believed it, and shared it all over the internet.

solar-meme

Photo source C4MB

C4MB created the meme in response to the lunacy that ensued when the people of the small town of Woodland, NC decided to stop the construction of a solar farm in part due to their own ignorance. ¬†After the town decided not to install the solar farm many “news” outlets generated over dramatized stories around the situation. ¬†A good one can be found here:¬†http://reverbpress.com/discovery/science/solar-energy-farm-rejected-nc/

The truth of the matter in Woodland is more complex as this article shows very well: http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/did-woodland-north-carolina-really-ban-solar-farms-because-they-suck-sun.html

…and furthermore this article outlines how many big fossil fuel corporations are working to slow the growth of solar energy in North Carolina and all over the country.

It is sad that the renewable energy sector has so many opponents Рlike SP and others listed here and many more.  From the big fossil fuel corporations and their think tanks spinning out all kinds of disinformation, to the spoon-fed politicians on both sides with oil, coal, and blood soaked money in their bank accounts propping up the fossil fuel industry and getting wealthy in the process, to the common citizen that may not have all the facts about all the amazing renewable energy options and incentives offered to help us make the switch to renewable energy.

The great thing is that although there are many naysayers and deniers out there working hard in the attempt to keep renewable energy from becoming “a thing” the reality is – it is already a thing, it is a really big thing and a really good thing. ¬†The renewable energy industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade and now it is building an unstoppable momentum that will allow it to one day completely burst the fossil fuel fired and funded¬†carbon bubble and quickly replace toxic and life killing fossil fuels with clean, sustainable, renewable energy.

So let us all work together and do this thing!

 

funny-science-news-experiments-memes-totally-turbine

 To recap: yes, mining lithium does have an environmental impact as does almost everything we do on a daily basis.  However, that impact is so much smaller than the impact of all aspects of the fossil fuel culture.   The oppression, dirty deals, wars fought and fabricated to access, protect, and transport carbon based resources, the mining of these resources, and the resulting toxic environmental damage and human cultural  damage.  The toxic emissions and byproducts released into the environment (land, waters, and atmosphere) during extraction, transportation, refinement, shipping and transportation.  Then finally, the end use of the product with all of its toxic byproducts that all cause environmental destruction, degradation and alteration, pain, sickness and death.

Some of these I have included below.

Major oil spills: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_spill

Great article on oil and war: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/08/oil-fuels-war-terrorists-isis-climate-movement-peace-cop-21

Recently a gas pipeline ruptured in Alabama, USA spilling over a quarter of a million gallons of gasoline into the environment and raising gas prices across the south and causing a state of emergency for the economy and more importantly, for the environment. ¬†Read more about this event in my¬†previous blog posting:”Now I Know why Max was Mad.

And even more recently a Sunoco pipeline in Pennsylvania ruptured dumping around 55,000 gallons of oil and gasoline into the Susquehanna river!

The time for change has never been more clear.

Many people feel the same way and are fighting back to stop the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels including:

Go Fossil Free

Break Free

Morgan Freeman’s vision of the future must become a reality.

The Guradian’s¬†Keep it in the ground

Greenpeace’s Keep it in the Ground

350.org’s Keep it in the Ground

Center for Biological Diversity’s Keep it in the Ground

The Sierra Club’s Keep it in the Ground

 

People are protesting and petitioning the White House and demanding that President Obama end our dangerous addition to fossil fuels.

 

While President Obama acknowledges the realities of anthropogenic climate change…will he be able to do anything about it? He must, we must or we will all suffer.

As I write this thousands of Native Americans, their supporters, friends and ranchers are massing in the American west in opposition to yet another pipeline that is designed to carry dangerous and dirty fracked oil to access points for the big oil companies with deep pockets and not a care in the world for the rights of indigenous peoples, landowners and the very environment that supports them.

The¬†Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Rezpect Our Water¬†has been peacefully working¬†to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from destroying their land, waters and atmosphere and recently, actress and environmentalist Shailene Woodley, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, and Deia Schlosberg were¬†arrested for peacefully trespassing, supporting, and documenting activities in DAPL pipeline construction zones. ¬†The truth of the matter is that they were arrested because they were documenting the truth of the situation and the pipeline organization and their supporters felt threatened by their actions that reveal the truth. ¬†In Woodley’s case she was broadcasting live to over 40,000 viewers on Facebook and was arrested by militarized police toting assault weapons and wearing body armor. ¬†Obviously, their serious overkill of dress and arms was an attempt to intimidate and exert power and instill fear in the protesters in the hopes they would leave the scene. ¬†The real reason they arrested these well known¬†activists and journalists was to silence them¬†from speaking out and showing the truth of the situation. ¬†See the below TYT video for an overview of Shailene’s story and arrest as she filmed it.

Shailene was arrested, strip searched and eventually released and later had this to say about her ordeal.

The always eloquent and thought provoking  PrinceEa (Richard Williams) has some great and powerful words to say about our relationship with our home planet.

The Earth Guardians is a growing movement of passionate young people who care about their future and are working in so many ways to protect it from the toxic damage of the past.  Watch this compilation of their passionate and powerful youth director Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez in his quest to raise support for change from world leaders and people of all ages from all walks of life.

Leo has become a great spokesman for the Earth.  We must all be concerned citizens and work together to solve the crisis that is before us.  Most recently DiCaprio produced and stared in the groundbreaking documentary Before the Flood that is a must see for all humans on Planet Earth.

The Pope recently issued his encyclical in support of nature.

pope

Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls for the end of the fossil fuel era.

The Dalai Lama said –¬†‚ÄúThis is not a question of one nation or two nations. This is a question of humanity affecting the whole world,‚ÄĚ the Dalai Lama said in a statement, adding that people are responsible for global warming. ‚ÄúWe have to take serious concern about the protection of the environment.‚ÄĚ

dl

Even some of our most famous Hollywood and other stars and personalities are speaking out against our destruction of the environment.

PrinceEa with more to say

 

350.org fought the phase 4 of the Keystone Pipeline  and together with millions of other supporters, including the author of this blog, the KxL Pipeline was shut down.

The Break Free movement

 

In Germany and all over the world people are standing up and taking action against fossil fuels and the pollution, pain and suffering their use brings upon us all.

 

In 2014 over 400,000 gathered to peacefully march through the streets in NYC to let world leaders know they want change that works toward the reduction of anthropogenic climate change.

NASCAR driver Lelani Munter is working to change the nature of auto racing via her activism and role in the recent must see documentary Racing Extinction.

Bill Nye the Science Guy is always speaking out against climate change denial and backing up all his claims with science!

 

Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s explanation of Climate Change is spot on.

 

And those are just a few of the organizations, famous people, and countless everyday citizens standing up for the future by working to keep fossil fuels deep in the ground  where they belong and make the switch to 100% renewable energy.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.

DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.

FIND YOUR OWN ANSWERS.

BE THE CHANGE.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT.

GO GREEN.

*Definition of meme:

MEME

  • : an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from one person to another in a culture

  • : an amusing or interesting picture, video, etc., that is spread widely through the Internet

NOTE: In his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, British scientist Richard Dawkins defended his newly coined word meme, which he defined as “a unit of cultural transmission.” Having first considered, then rejected, “mimeme,” he wrote: “‚ÄėMimeme‚Äô comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‚Äėgene.‚Äô I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate ‚Äėmimeme‚Äô to ‚Äėmeme.‚Äô” (The suitable Greek root was mim-, meaning “mime” or “mimic.” The English suffix -eme indicates a distinctive unit of language structure, as in “grapheme,” “lexeme,” and “phoneme.”) “Meme” itself, like any good meme, caught on fairly quickly, spreading from person to person as it established itself in the language. ¬†Source:¬†http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme

NOTE: I am not perfect.  If you find an error in my content, spelling, or grammar please do let me know and I will correct it.  This way we can work together to help each other discover the truth and answer their questions with accurate data.

The cost of driving an Electric Vehicle

Many critics of electric vehicles will tell you that owning an Electric Vehicle (EV) is very expensive.

Chevy-Bolt-2015-Orange-889x592

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV w/200+ mile driving range.

The way I see the relationship of debt to owning a car – petroleum or electric powered – is, simply put:

Either one is a subscription to dependency

No matter the car, just the act of buying the thing means you will have to pay weekly, monthly and yearly “subscriptions” for the fuel, repairs, tax, insurance etc…just for the privilege of owning and driving the thing.

moneycar

To me the logical choice is to buy the one that fits your needs and is more, well…logical.

spock

When buying a vehicle I take a scientific approach and try to leave emotion out of the decision so as not to be swayed by peer pressure (from friends, coworkers and the myriad of flashy automotive ads that saturate the mass media) or manufactured conformity (buy this car to be cool, look good, or “fit in” to some imaginary status caste) or manufactured demand (you need this-you need that–because without it you will be nothing so buy,buy,buy!).

carsalesguy

Nor do I listen to annoying, obnoxious, car salespersons like this guy. ¬†I listen more to owners who post their stories and experiences on automotive blogs such as this one ūüôā and then I do all of my own extensive research and crunch my own numbers before making a final decision based on my findings.

sherlock

So, in my rationale I could either;

Buy a gas powered car and pay the (higher) subscription fee for the gas, oil and tune-ups and resulting environmental damage cost caused by the cradle to grave environmental and human cost of the mining, shipment, refining, and distribution of those petroleum products that the vehicle requires to operate.

1970OldsVistaCruiser_01_700

A blast from the past a 1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 

Also, when I drive a petroleum powered vehicle I am willingly but not happily forced to accept the sad but true fact that the actual end use of all petroleum based fuels requires much less time to actually burn the fuel to propel the vehicle down the road from point A to point B…than the entire complicated and precarious supply chain that has been constructed to bring that fuel to my car’s fuel tank.

OilSupplyChain

Source

In other words depending on the country of origin of the crude oil it can take weeks to months to explore, deal, mine, protect, trade, ship, refine, store, and transport the fuel to the station where I finally pump it into my tank and then burn it up in only a few days or even a few hours.¬† Then there is the sad facts that it takes 44 gallons of water and around 15 kilowatts of energy to mine, ship and refine just one gallon of gasoline–ONE GALLON! ¬†That is about half of the amount of water I use in a day and that 15kw of electricity would push my Nissan Leaf¬†EV about 50 miles down the road! ¬†Now if you really want a shocker multiply the above numbers times how many gallons of gas your car holds and if that does not make you furious with the oil companies I do not know what will? ¬†I did the math for my 1999 Toyota 4Runner and the results are shocking: the amount of water required to produce just one tank of gas is: 814 gallons!!! ¬†The electricity needed: 277.5 kW!!! ¬†WOW! ¬†By my calculations that amount of water and electricity would supply my wife and I, our house and EV for over 2¬†weeks (with my car going an average of 200 miles/week)!! Now, figure that for a month…a year…or a decade…of petroleum powered vehicle ownership…it just makes me want to cry.

bpdeepwater The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon incident 

My rather long-winded but valid point here is that the amount of energy and waste required just to get us down the road in gasoline powered vehicles is just incredible!

There is also the huge cost in human damage, suffering, pain and death caused by the fact that the acquisition of a portion of those petroleum products come from powers and factions that may support terrorism with some of that money.  These powers and factions often become involved in wars that drag us into the melee because we are addicted to their product for which many of us cannot live without due to our societal dictated and manufactured purchasing choices so we are forced to fight in their wars in order to keep the oil flowing to feed our sickening dependency.

AddictedUncleSam

We are shamefully and totally hooked on oil.

Last but not least there is the environmental damage and degradation caused by the¬†mining, shipping, refining and burning of petroleum (and all) fossil fuels. ¬†We have been burning petroleum as our primary liquid fuel and coal as our primary solid fuel for a little over a century and in that very short time we have polluted our planet’s oh so very fragile atmosphere, oceans and wildlife with toxic compounds from oil spills and copious amounts of carbon dioxide–a naturally occurring and harmless gas when in “normal levels” but when in excessive levels it becomes a potent “greenhouse gas” with disastrous effects on life on earth. ¬† It is true that CO2 has positive properties when in “normal levels.” ¬† If you think back you learned of this in your high school biology class. ¬†You will remember that it’s positive properties are; ¬† 1. It allows plants to grow and via photosynthesis create oxygen as a byproduct so animals like puppies and kittens, bunnies and whales, and you and me get to live. ¬† ¬† 2. Another one of its positive properties is that when it is in the form of atmospheric CO2 it traps heat like a blanket on a bed. ¬†This heat trapping ability allows the atmosphere of the earth to stay warm enough for life to exist and that my dear reader is a good thing in every way.

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Source NASA

However, due to the continued and rapid burning of fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, and natural gas) what we are doing to the planet is so far above anything that could be ever considered “normal levels” that the planet’s ecosystems are unable to cope with the influx of high levels of carbon pollution and in turn it the climate has begun to heat up. ¬†It is as if we are adding more blankets to our bed without thinking about how hot it is going to get and how hard it will be to remove the blankets. ¬†This process has often been called “global warming” but a more accurate term that better describes the problem would be anthropogenic climate change. ¬†This is climate change caused by things we humans do to the planet such as burning fossil fuels. ¬†If you would like a good visual of how this works consider the following video by one of my heroes – Bill Nye “The Science Guy.”

It is time for a big change. 

Enter the Electric Vehicle

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A Tesla Model S

Or, on the other hand I could drive an EV and pay the much lower cost for the electricity subscription, support the hard working Americans that build the cars (in the case of Nissan, Chevy, Ford, Tesla, Apple, Faraday Future and more) mine the coal, install and maintain the solar arrays, wind turbines, hydro-electric and nuclear power plants that provide my car with power to move down the road. The simple fact is that the electricity supply chain is much shorter and more efficient than the petroleum supply chain. In the area where I live, the mountains of western North Carolina, the power used to fuel an EV (and a house) is produced locally by a combination of coal, gas, solar, wind and hydro power plants so is therefore MUCH cleaner than any petroleum product will ever be.¬† (Read the true facts about EV’s here: https://bluewaterleaf.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/just-the-facts/ )

KUWAIT. US soldiers and helicopters in front of burning oil fields. 1991.

KUWAIT. US soldiers and helicopters in front of burning oil fields. 1991.

The human cost of driving EV is also MUCH more positive in that foreign wars do not need to be fought over their fuel source–electricity–since it is produced domestically, locally and in some cases on your own property!¬† If you have the means to install solar panels or some other form of renewable energy on your property you could easily power your home and EV(s) with clean, unlimited, renewable energy for free (after the cost of the system).

That my friend is brilliant!

solarcharging714UNCA

Charging up my Leaf at a local solar-electric EV charging station on the campus of UNCA in Asheville, NC. 

The sad fact is that now, in many states such as Florida and in my home state of North Carolina, our state government is hell bent on destroying renewable energy development despite the fact that NC is near the top in the nation for¬†new solar installations which, if allowed to continue to grow, our energy grid would continue to get cleaner with each renewable energy installation and in turn the carbon footprint of our homes and our EV’s would just get smaller. ¬†There is absolutely no logical reason this kind of backward action should ever be allowed to happen yet our lawmakers and politicians seem to be simply backward thinking Luddites who fear anything new and fear positive change especially when it means good paying jobs, a cleaner environment, and equal rights for all people. ¬†If we ever want to progress and if we ever want to break our addiction to fossil fuels we MUST get the fossil fuel fired old fossils out of office and replace them with science minded, educated, caring people who think toward the future and want to make good and lasting change happen for everyone. ¬†That change will only happen if we do our research, ¬†speak out, vote, and get active.

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The BMW i3 EV

Either way and whatever car I choose to drive I will always have to pay the subscription to dependency to drive and power the thing…however, I choose the EV because it has a much lower subscription cost* and a much smaller environmental, human and future impact cost and that is as important to me as is the money. *I drive an average of 200 miles/week and my Nissan Leaf EV costs me only about $7-10/week in electricity!!

online

However, something else to consider is that the EV may initially cost a bit more than the gas car so therefore I may need to finance the EV¬†and go into debt. Yuck…yet another subscription to dependency. However, by buying the EV I would, from day one, have more money in my pocket since I have no gas, oil or maintenance costs typically associated with gas powered vehicles (especially used cars) so…all that money that I would have pumped into the gas tank and crankcase and then burned up and spewed into our shared atmosphere (to the determent of my loved ones, wildlife, the earth and future generations) can now be used to pay off the car loan ūüôā

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In conclusion; my sleuthing, science and number crunching all allow me to come to the conclusion that I would rather pay for the financing on the EV than drive a lower initial cost yet high operational, high environmental cost, petroleum powered car…but that is my logic, and everyone’s logic is colored and molded by their knowledge, research and experiences so you can take it with a grain of salt if you wish.

eNV200

The Nissan eNV200 100% electric small van.

The Roadblocks

Do not believe the fossil fuel fed naysayers who have spent millions on manufactured lies, false advertising through mainstream media outlets and propaganda campaigns (online and on TV) that try to say electric vehicles are dirtier to operate than their petroleum powered counterparts–none of these stories are true.

kochdenial

The oil soaked¬†Koch brothers¬†are some of the worst EV bashers who are spending millions in the attempt to make EV’s and renewable energy look bad. ¬†We must do all in our power to end their assault of outright lies against science. ¬†

Even in the dirtiest states with the blackest, coal fired grids, an EV powered by 100% coal produced electricity (which is rare now with all the new wind and solar farms going online all the time) is still much cleaner than any gasoline powered vehicle ever will be (especially Volkswagen’s “clean diesels” or any diesel for that matter) and, because the electricity it uses to push it down the road is generated domestically by Americans – it supports American jobs and does not support foreign wars and terrorism…and that is a really good thing.¬† Furthermore, there are those who will say “what happens to the battery when it reaches the end of its life? It must be toxic waste and more dangerous than the emissions generated over the life of a gas powered car?!?!¬† Answer, ¬†this is simply more lies and fabrications designed by those who want to keep you addicted to petroleum fuels.¬† The truth is that the lithium-ion batteries that drive an EV are 100% recyclable.¬† Before they are recycled they are often used as back up power supplies for computer data centers and soon even houses just like a back up generator.¬† ¬†(Learn more true facts about EV’s here: https://bluewaterleaf.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/just-the-facts/ )

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The 215 mile range Tesla Model 3 will be hitting the roads very soon!

The future

With¬†Chevrolet and Tesla soon to be releasing new EV’s with a 200+ mile driving range, and Nissan releasing their plans to release a redesigned Leaf with 200+ mile range but they have not revealed the release date, (and hopefully they will also release a 200 mile range small van that would be a game-changer!¬† Check out the story I wrote about it here on this blog: https://bluewaterleaf.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/the-env200-nissan-electric-van-where-and-when-is-it-for-the-usa-market/ ) all with prices in the $30-35k range (before the $7500 government tax incentive) Soon, the issue of “range anxiety” is going to be a thing of the past and we will all have no logical excuse to keep driving our dirty old gas guzzlers. ¬†16volt

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt

I truly believe the day is coming very soon when kids will look to their parents and say “Mom, dad – why are you driving that dirty old gas guzzler when you could save so much money, have a great car, and protect my health and future by driving an EV?”¬† and ” I want my first car to be all electric!” ( I already hear that from students in my middle and high school science classes all the time ūüôā¬† Then there’s this very encouraging article from England: ¬†http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/most-british-teenagers-expect-their-first-car-be-electric-1524811

ids

The Nissan IDS concept…is this the new Leaf or something more!?

Soon, I believe within 3-5 years, the choice will be ours to go electric and support a clean, healthy war-free future for us all or…digress and remain in the past while denying the science¬†and refusing to accept the inevitable truth that driving EV is just a better and more economical way to drive for everyone, for the planet and for the future.

What path will you choose?

Be the change you wish to see in the world.