1978 vs. 2010: What’s changed, what hasn’t

This post was originally published in 2010 on the 1Sky blog. I didn’t foresee fracing, so my predictions related to Peak Oil haven’t come to pass. Most of the rest (e.g. the challenges of nuclear, the growth of EVs, wind, and solar) have been on the mark. Even most of the links were still good.

National Drive Electric Week

This week is National Drive Electric Week, sponsored by the Sierra Club, Nissan and Plug-in-America. The theory behind the event is that one of the barriers to acceptance for electric vehicles (EVs) is that many people think of them as over-priced toys or glorified golf cars. If these people got behind the wheel of a modern EV, then they’d realize that their next car might have a plug on it. Since the Nissan Leaf came out in 2010 I’ve believed that most 2-car families would be well served by one of those cars being an EV (we certainly are).

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Should your next car have a plug?

 This article was originally posted on Sustainable West Seattle’s web site in August of 2010. It holds up surprisingly well. My calculations about charging times are wrong and you can get by with a Nissan Leaf and a level 1 charger.

One of my favorite stories ever on Prairie Home Companion was about a guy who couldn’t take the cold winters at Lake Wobegon anymore. He drove south until someone asked him about the plug hanging from the front of his car. He figured if it was warm enough that someone didn’t know what an electric block heater was, it was warm enough for him.

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I’ve joined the ranks of Electric Car drivers

This is a post originally published at Sustainable West Seattle’s blog in November 2015, not long after we bought our Nissan Leaf. I’m re-publishing it now in honor of Drive Electric Week, which is September 10th-18th.  Soon I’ll publish an update.

For years I’ve been saying that when our Honda Civic died, we’d replace it with a Nissan Leaf. Well, the Honda died and we just bought a Leaf. I thought I’d share our process.

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Hydrogen Power and the Tokyo Olympics

There are a lot of stupid things that happen in the name of protecting the environment (e.g. corn-based ethanol) that you just know that someone with power and influence is making money. So it is with Tokyo’s commitment to power the Olympics in 2020 in part with hydrogen. And this is a commitment backed up with $350 million in cash to subsidize hydrogen-powered cars and fueling stations. In addition they will be building a 6,000-unit Olympics village powered exclusively with hydrogen fuel cells. I’ll explain what all of this means, why it sounds like a good idea, and why it’s actually a bad idea.

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Electric cars and the grid

This article was original published with Plug-in-America, the voice of plug-in vehicle drivers across the country.

One of the things that we hear as owners of electric vehicles (EVs) is that we’re just moving pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant. Is this a fair complaint today and does it have to be in the future? What if there are 100 million EVs driving around the US? Can we charge them all using renewable power?

In this post I’ll show that not only can renewable power like wind and solar provide the energy we need, but EVs actually can increase grid stability and ease our transition to a carbon-free electrical grid.

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