San Diego, What’s with the pink mustaches?

So what’s with the pink car mustache I keep seeing in San Diego? It’s LYFT, that’s what.

If you’ve been walking around downtown or taking a stroll through PB you might have noticed a new crop of cars driving around with some bright pink mustaches and wondering, was there a Fab.com deal I missed or something?

No, you didn’t miss a deal. But you can get one by using the code “LYFTSD003” under your settings on your new app for Android and iPhone, Lyft.

Lyft is a ride sharing program, basically, “your friend with a car.” Going out to a bar? Going to an event with horrible parking? Just don’t feel like driving in traffic? You are in luck, there are over 60 drivers in San Diego ready to take you around. Just a week old in San Diego and the SD crew is breaking records with the amount of rides and the amount of sign ups.

Sign up today for your own Lyft account and receive your $10 credit by typing in “LYFTSD003” under settings.

Happy Lyfting everyone!

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Tesla’s Not-So-Free Free Supercharging

Ok, ok, so we were all blown away at the media event that Tesla Motors threw a few months ago, especially when they announced that their supercharging stations were already in existence and the entire network was built in secret. Kudos to you Tesla, that was some sneaky $hit.

Though what really blew us away was the announcement that these stations were going to be completely free for Tesla Model S EVs, for the life of the car. But there is a price to free, and to Tesla, that price is a $2000 upfront fee.

Got it, $2000. One hundred dollars, twenty times. Hmmm… Anyone else wondering how this is considered “free?”

Suppose that even if you we’re able to charge up at these stations for free “for the life of your car,” how many years would you actually keep a Model S before trading it in for the next beauty that Tesla will unleash?

Kelly Blue Book reported that Americans are now holding onto their cars longer than ever. That length, just shy of 6 years (71.4 months to be exact.) Still though, is this long enough to really consider the “free charging” to be close enough to free?

Say you keep your Model S for 7 years, I mean it is electric after all. That would bring your average charging bill to $285 and some change a year ( $2000/7 years=$285 a year.) Divide that now by the average a person drives in a year, 15,000 miles, and you end up with almost .02/mile.

That is about the same amount I am paying for my not so free charging at Blink Network stations. Not to mention the price tag of a Tesla model S runs about $49,900 for the base model. At the end of the day it appears Tesla’s Model S and free charging options are just for the wealthy, ultimately making the wealthy more wealthy with insanely low, “free,” transportation fuel.

As with any new technology you should consider all of your options. Although Telsa’s gorgeous Model S base model starts at $49,900, the battery technology it holds is by far the greatest in the EV market right now. Also consider how long this car will last. Yes, $49k is alot of money, but how long will you be driving this electric powered machine? Probably well beyond any average motor vehicle you’ve ever driven before, so cost versus time might balance itself out with gasoline and car repair costs.

So Tesla, yes, you’ve brought the world a sexy S, but like so many mama’s have said before “nothing in life is free,” not even free supercharging.

 

 

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Vote Electric


Four years ago we were a country brought together out of hope for the future and what tomorrow could bring. Here we are again, waiting to see what tomorrow brings and how our future will once again change for progress or change for the worst.

I urge everyone who is interested in clean renewable energy to vote for President Obama tomorrow. Yes, he might not be the most progressive and he might not have the most green agenda, but I can tell you this, we do not need a President who ridicules an independant car company (Tesla) that has made more advances in clean renewable energy technology than any other car company to date. Mitt Romney would be an absolute devastation to the renewable energy progress we as a country have made.

So tomorrow, get out there and vote. And when you are voting, think about voting electric! Just remember who’s got your back and who makes fun of the technology you love so dearly. ( Pssssttt it’s Obama that’s got your back )

 

 

 

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Electric Power Structure

Owners Vs Renters Round 1

As I was enthusiastically ready for National Plug-In Day 2012, the air had a different charge of energy in San Diego during certain seminars. The feeling was literally a power struggle between Car2Go and San Diego EV owners.

It seemed that the booming company Car2Go was gaining so much popularity amongst the San Diego crowd that it was outgrowing the charging structure SD had to offer. Any earth loving, patient person would understand that this is somewhat of a good problem, proving there is a demand for a larger charging grid. But alas this predicament caused frustration and growing pains amongst EV owners.

This dilemma seemed to be the cause for all the funk in the air during the plugin event at the CCSE in San Diego. Car2Go had literally taken over a good majority of charging stations in the nation’s 8th largest city overnight. This, I have come to learn, causes EV owners to be very angry. At first I thought people were just being irrational. I don’t own a home charging station and haven’t had any trouble charging during the first two weeks of ownership of my EV, what was all the fuss about?

Five charges later and I’m literally bouncing between the Car2Go and Plug Share iPhone app every ten minutes just to see when a station becomes available. Suddenly the funk from the Plug-In Day meeting came over me, “What the F#çk Car2Go, are you going to take up every charging spot in the entire county?!”  I couldn’t help but feel frustrated that I had to battle for a spot to charge my car during lunch.

What’s a guy gotta do to charge here?

Fortunately when I purchased my car the salesmen at the dealership told me that Car2Go realized this was a problem on the rise and began coming up with solutions to the problem. One of the solutions was providing a friends and family code to the EV owners so that we could move the tiny two seaters out of the way, with certain limitations of course.* A second solution the up and coming business developed was to not bogart all of the chargers at any one “filling station.”

These seem to be good solutions, though I’m not sure they practice this 100% of the time, as with any business, time and money are key and Car2Go is in the business of providing fully charged cars to paying customers. Naturally this becomes a problem when the charging grid is only so large.

Blink Network Saves the Day

Enter the Blink Network. Something rad about San Diego’s National Plug-In Day was our Blink Network representatives coming out to give mini seminars informing everyone in the audience about EVs and the charging structure that San Diego has to offer to date. During the meeting, Blink reps stated San Diego has “around 270 charging stations” and “that number would double in the next 3 to 4 months.” This was excellent news for a room full of disgruntled EV soccer moms, tech nerds and general enthusiasts. The cherry on top was to hear that Car2Go would be installing 4 dedicated charging stations near it’s headquarters to help pull from public infrastructure charging.

Soon SD would be back to those first two weeks where I didn’t have to bounce between apps and a latte just to find my next electric fix.

*Car2Go requests that before moving their cars, the two seaters have at least 50% charge. On another note, the Car2Go vehicles won’t let you move them at all unless they have over a 40% charge.

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Oldie, but Goodie.

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Dream Come True: Month 1

Everyone seems to always claim “it feels like time is flying by.” I have a theory that maybe time slows down when your dreams come true and you live in the moment.

Well my dream of owning an electric vehicle came true and the first month of ownership was lengthy. After much research, I finally broke down and bought a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV.) The funny thing was, the final push to buy one was more to prove a point that owning an EV could be done without actually owning a home or personal charging station. A sort of social science experiment if will.

Balancing my checkbook, researching refunds from the state of California and federal income taxes were the first thing in order. After confirming that the Ford Focus Electric (FFE) was eligible for both refunds I moved forward with finding a dealership that could answer all the questions I had.

How did the refunds work? Did I get the money back right away for my electric vehicle purchase? Did I have to do anything special for my tax return to receive the federal credit? I had so many questions that led to even more questions with the answers received.

Working with a local dealer that knows or has a dedicated person for EV sales is highly important. Buying an EV isn’t the same as buying any standard ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle. There are questions to consider and others that you might not even think about until you’re five signatures into signing your soul away for that shiny piece of metal.

My New Shiny Piece of Electric Metal

After determining and answering these questions, if your outcome is still, yes, than you are ready for an EV, than congratulations and welcome to the family. I can tell you that in the first few weeks your going to feel like the new kid on the playground with an even shinier new toy that everyone has questions about. The question is , will you share? In my case, I look forward to sharing everything that I am learning along the ride.

One of my first feelings developed was the all familiar “range anxiety” you hear so many EV owners talking about. The first week had me questioning if an EV was really the car for me. Luckily the FFE has an onboard battery range feature that let’s you know how many miles you have before hitting “empty.” This feature eventually calmed my nerves and I got used to the fact that I wasn’t going to be stranded on the side of the road hoping for a wall plug to magically appear.

Although it was nice to know that I had a full tank of gas with a range of about 250 miles when I drove my old 2005 ICE Focus, I actually never drove that far in one day unless I was going on a business trip or vacation. The fact is, an average driver doesn’t exceed 50 miles in a day, so I was fine charging once a day or maybe not even at all. Your range anxiety will subside, it’s just a new behavioral pattern to get yourself into. A gas station might be more easily accessible, but Wholefoods or a public park might soon become your future “gas station.”

Gas Prices Skyrocket in California

And speaking of gas stations. It was nice to pass them up day after day knowing I would never have to fill up my personal car again. After a month of driving electric, I hit 1000 miles and spent just $20 charging up at Blink Network stations (I had a few free charging stations along the way.) Basically 2¢/mile for my daily commutes. It all adds up, and in fact on the low end of savings, I saved over $180 on gas my first month by going electric. Multiply that by 12 months and that’s over $2,100, not to mention saving carbon emissions from entering our atmosphere.

2¢ Per Mile Ain’t Bad at All

All in all the first month of owning a PEV has been exciting, challenging at times and a learning experience. But if you’re like me, I will always and forever be a student of life, longing to learn and share knowledge for the greater good.

#luv4EVr

 

 

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Tata to Electricity.

Has India already surpassed the U.S. in clean air (literally) vehicle technology? In a sense, yes, in reality, no.

Tata Automotive company has been for years now talking of a car that runs on… wait for it… compressed air. That’s right, this lovable tiny tot of a car producer has a prototype that runs on compressed air.

Tata Air Concept Car

But how does a car like that even work? Did you ever build one of those balloon cars as a kid where you would blow up the ballon and let the air out? Well, it’s kind of like that, but a little more complex.

The air inside the Tata concept is actually highly compressed dehydrated air. In order for this to happen an air compressor that runs on electricity is used to pump air into a storage tank where the car can later release the air to move the vehicle. Unfortunately compressed air has a relatively low energy density. In fact, gasoline has 188 times more watts of potential energy per liter compared to compressed air. Factor in that you have to run an electric air compressor to get the air in the vehicle and you probably aren’t doing much in terms of eco friendly alternatives to gasoline (unless of course your air compressor relied strictly on solar or wind power.)

For now Tata has some hurdles to jump through before the Air can really take off. Crash testing of the concept needs to be done, a tank big enough to carry passengers more than 20 miles needs developing and quite honestly the design is a bit unappealing to the eyes. So it’s tata for now, until we meet again. Perhaps next time with a more developed compressed air concept car.

 

 

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How do you charge an electric car if you live in an apartment?

Well that’s a good question, now isn’t it? Click here if you want the answer immediately, otherwise read on.

There are many various ways to charge an electric car while living in an apartment complex.

For starters though, if you are asking this question you are probably wanting to know the answer because you want to buy an electric car. Your first step should be to find out if an electric vehicle (EV) is right for you based on how much you drive in a day.

Many Americans drive an average of 32 miles a day to get to work (based on a reference.com answer.) That being said, if you drive more than 50 miles roundtrip for work on a daily basis and live in an apartment complex, an electric vehicle might not be the right car choice for you.

A nifty tool that can help you decide if an electric car is right for you is CODA Automotive’s “Is CODA for me?” (though this widget can be used to help you decide if any EV is right for you.)

Decide if an EV is right for your driving needs.

CODA’s General Guide to Going EV

Well now that we’ve digressed and you have figured out whether or not an EV is right for you, we’re back to our original question… how do you charge an electric car if you live in an apartment?

There are several factors to take into consideration when asking this question. Likewise, there are several answers and solutions to this question. Not every charging challenge is the same either, so we’ve developed a little helpful chart to get you started with charging in apartment and condo basics.

Click on the chart below to help you out.

EV Charging in Apartments

 

 

 

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Dream, research, dream, research.

My interest in electric vehicles (EVs) first peaked during the early ’90s when I was just 10 years old, watching the C-rated movie “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.” During this pretty horrific sequel, there were character building scenes of the father driving around a solar panel charged EV GMC Safari that was a bit clumsy looking, but nevertheless a nerd’s dream come true.

Yes to you solar van!

Back then everything seemed futuristic and beyond our lifetime, still the memory and want for an electric car stuck in my head. Fast forward 12 years and bam, EVs were a reality, still somewhat out of grasp for the general public, but still a reality. I began researching even more when I heard about an independent car company named Aptera. I immediately had to know everything about this car. It was everything I hoped for when I was just a wee lad – spaceship looking, electric and economical (yes I was well aware of being frugal at that age, mom taught me early.)

After much research of the Aptera, I put a down payment on the vehicle. This all seemed to good to be true. The company was just a 45 minute drive north of where I lived, celebrities were being reported of putting down payments on the car, production was heading into full steam ahead. This was a sure thing until of course, the government got involved.

The Aptera Hybrid Electric. Aptera Motors™

Like most startup companies, you have to have an enormous amount of capital to get the ball rolling, especially when going against an already giant industry with the backing of government dollars. Aptera sought out to receive government grants to help production move along quicker and get these beauties out onto the highways of California. Unfortunately the grants were denied due to the fact, of what I can remember reading, that this was a “three wheeled vehicle, disqualifying it for government grants.” Naturally once the word got out, down payment refunds were requested back by many including myself.

My dreams of owning an EV were crushed. It seemed like unless I was a gazillionaire I would never own an EV in my lifetime.

Fast forward 6 more years and bam! Obama took office, California kept pushing for clean air and clean air vehicles and American car companies got bailed out. EVs were being pushed again and my research of owning an electric vehicle began again. And so Plug In The City was born.

 

 

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Previously Posted on Unplugged

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