GivEV Campaign 2014
The one and perhaps only way to reach a tipping point for EV adoption in the mass market is to have charging infrastructure installed at those locations of high utilization. These locations may be where we go every day or where our children go. I want to seed the idea of financially-capable EV owners to act as a benefactor to a non-profit institution to install at least one charging point at a facility of their choice to begin a more widespread visibility of EV charging infrastructure.
I will start with my own story and then offer some ideas for the reader to consider. My story goes back to 2007 regarding EV adoption. I was involved in RC Car racing with my son at some local tracks in my area. We were racing various scale models using batteries made with the NiMH chemistry. New Lithium Ion batteries were just coming out but they were very expensive ($100 or more each). Most RC Car racing up through that time was done using Nitrous fuels (base on alcohol) but the move to battery was starting to take hold. RC Car as well as full scale car racing is more exciting (they say) because of the noise. However, as electric race cars started to show up, they started to perform better than the fuel cars and this led me to believe that "if RC Cars will switch over to electric, so can our commuter cars".
I followed the development of the "real" consumer cars happening. Fisker Motors was one firm I followed because it was going to open up a plant in Delaware, not far from me. I also watched as GM and Nissan brought their cars to production in 2010. Fisker is no more but I did follow closely enough to buy a GM Volt in July of 2012. In the name of sustainability and financial resources, I chose to buy a one year old new 2011 model and saved quite a bit off the MSRP. I wanted one - but didn't want to pay full price. This car made perfect sense. Drive locally 100% electrically and drive long distances with the gas generator at over 41 mpg. I didn't buy the car to save money - I did it to significantly cut my gasoline usage. And, technically it was interesting and quite a bit of a hobby like my RC Car racing was.
I began attending energy fairs in my area and researching Solar PV technology. In 2012 I was able to learn all about Solar and install our own Solar PV array, outlined in this BLOG post. For that project, I chose to buy products from companies who made the products in the USA. This cost me a bit more but it also was the right thing to do to help slightly maintain our workforce here in this country. In fact, I enjoyed the quality of the products so much, I bought stock in the inverter company - it was called PowerOne at the time. That stock value sat quietly at roughly $4.00 for months until the company was bought out by ABB, a very large conglomerate electronics firm based out of Europe - for a share price above $6.60. This gave me a relatively large payoff - enough to pay for the Solar PV array that I had put in entirely (before taxes on the gains). A lot of people have benefitted by growth in some stocks like TSLA and SCTY. Some may have not sold shares yet. You can donate shares to a non-profit directly, as I did with PowerOne shares and the giving is tax deductible.
An so, I thought "why not give something away to help benefit the EV cause."
We all are given opportunities to make a difference and I contacted my son's college, which happens to be where I personally went as well back in the late 1980s. From my other blog posts, you can deduce that I went to RIT in the Rochester, NY area. In contacting my son's school, I learned the school had a brand new college of sustainability and had already installed four J-1772 charge locations in the parking lot outside of their school of sustainability. They did so to study the charging habits and draw of users of those free charging locations. It was told to me that once the charging stations went in, two faculty members bought EVs. From recent visits to the school, at least four faculty are driving plug-ins since every time I go to charge there during a school day, all four spots are taken up with cars charging. The school's president also drives a plug-in vehicle as well but charges in a different location using 120V.
So I decided to do something about this. I contacted the school to try to give money to provide more charging stations. I believe the school has told me that the monies I gave will be used for at least four more J-1772 charging locations, if not more. I have to check back with them to verify. The goal of the school is 40 charging points around campus and apartment complexes. I ask you - "Is this really enough?" With thousands of students commuting to the school each day, from locations 5 to 25 miles or more away, this school is a perfect location to install more EV charging points. Students and faculty cannot all buy Tesla Motors' Model S or forthcoming Model X vehicles but they can lease a Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt and become part of the EV community. Also, this school has access to matching NYSERDA monies for donations. In addition, the school is about to offer land for a Solar PV company to install a 3MW Solar array and then become involved in a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for power from this large array. It is Rochester, NY, it is typically cloudy but this array will perform well enough to provide a large amount of sustainable power to this area of Rochester.
Now that I have given my story - I want to call out to others.
What will your story be?
I believe everyone who drives an EV with financial means should consider being part of the solution to help grow the EV adoption in your local community or at your own college or university. If you donate enough to have a charging point installed and that then attracts another EV purchaser, I think you have planted another seed for the growing adoption of electric transportation. It is not up to our government or businesses to solve this for us. It is for us to become a "pay it forward" organized group of benefactors helping to lead to a final tipping point where EVs become far more common than they are today.
Some ideas for installations and giving:
Colleges and Universities
- L1 charging points for students who may buy used Leafs or Volts (free charging)
- L2 6.6KW J-1772 for commuters (free or $1.00 hour)
- Assist with purchase of EV service vehicles like a Nissan e-NV200 or other to-be-designed models
- If the school already has charging, they don't have enough. They need more.
- You're a business owner and you installed charging for your own EV
- Install L2 6.6KW capable charging for employees ($.50/hour)
- By offering low-cost charging, you are not favoring fueling for some select employees.
Will you be part of the solution? If you can - then you should. If you are a Tesla or a Smart ED owner, you have the same passions involving EVs. If you have the ability to install just one more charging location at a non-profit institution, it can make a big difference if enough people get the momentum going. As Red Green says "We're all in this together."
Thanks for considering this idea. If you are taking part, leave a comment on this blog post below.