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Old 06-23-2013, 06:27 PM   #261
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It applies to anyone who buy a PV because of their EV. That may not/probably won't happen with non-early adopters of course. It's apparently common enough now on EV forums to get you all riled up.

I'm not riled up about that. I'm just trying to sort out the hype and misinformation from reality. And I had not seen my viewpoint raised before (though it is hard to google - the same terms apply whether in support or not), so I really detailed it out to see if there were any holes in it.

What does get me riled up is all the misinformation from our govt, from CAFE to the the Monroney sticker, and misleading info from Musk (substituting battery draw for the electrical production required to 'fill the battery', and more).


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These Tesla/EV owners have made their driving greener. If they state in an EV forum that their new PV (bought and sized for the EV) is powering their new EV, then it's true, regardless of any sleight of hand you can muster. If they bought a PV 5 years ago and decided to buy an EV this year, without adding more panels, your "truth table" would apply.
There is no 'sleight of hand'. The trouble is, you'd need to get 'inside their mind' to determine if they really would not have installed PV w/o the EV purchase. That's tough to quantify. And if it is less likely to occur with later adopters, as you yourself pointed out, then it is of very minor impact. But there are still people who will do both (w/o the EV being a 'push factor'), and I think it is best that we face the fact that they are not driving with zero enviro-impact.


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We've gone over this. Most of the Leafs (60% as of EOY 2011) were bought in California. Over 40% of the Tesla S' (Q1 2013) were bought in California. You can easily look up the fuel mix of California so I won't bother posting a link.

A MI or HI owner may not be better off than a hybrid, unless they bought a PV because of and with their EV.
And again, how relevant is this to wide-scale adoption? Do you care to comment on SOx, NOx, particulates, mercury, etc?

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Old 06-23-2013, 10:45 PM   #262
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A MI or HI owner may not be better off than a hybrid, unless they bought a PV because of and with their EV.
I did buy my PV because of the EV although I should have purchased a PV a least two and probably three years ago. But Hawaii is a unique case, is arguable the only place in the US, and one of the few in the world,where it makes economic and environmental to do so. It isn't green at all to put up PVs practically anywhere else.

Economically my PV system is $4.16/KWH, since I pay $.35 KWH my pay back period is perfectly respectable 12 year or 8.4% ROI. On the mainland with electricity rates at $.12KWH the payback is 3 times that for sunny places and probably more 4 or 5 for colder places with cheaper electricity. If it wasn't for the provision in most states that utilities have to buy back PV electricity at retail (i.e.run the meter backwards), and consumers were forced to sale their electricity at the wholesale rate of $.035 -.$06 KWH, no one would put up a PV system anywhere.

The reasons EVs make sense is it more efficient to centralize power production. PV are the exact opposite, we are making small panels, expensive inverters and installing them on millions, and perhaps soon tens of millions of roofs and spreading out power production. This is just crazy.

One of biggest growth area in green jobs is folks installing PV systems. Which really means we are increasing the number of roofers, which happens to be the 5th most dangerous job in the country, twice as dangerous as cops. One of the byproducts of installing PV system on all our houses is another 50 to 100 folks dying by falling off roofs a year and thousands more injured.

When you factor in the energy and pollution associated with the manufacturing and distribution of the panels, and the sales, installation, and maintenance of the system, I doubt they are green at all. Certainly far less green and 1/3 the cost of a nuclear plant, and probably slightly less green and 1/5 the cost of replacing coal plants with advanced natural gas plants.
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:45 PM   #263
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I did buy my PV because of the EV although I should have purchased a PV a least two and probably three years ago. But Hawaii is a unique case, is arguable the only place in the US, and one of the few in the world,where it makes economic and environmental to do so. It isn't green at all to put up PVs practically anywhere else.
I'm curious about this, and almost afraid to ask. Here, I've been questioning the eco-benefits of EVs, but had been pretty well convinced that PV was an overall positive (ecology-wise, not the economics of them). I have not peeled the onion very far on PV, from what I have learned the overall energy recapture takes ~2~4 years, and with a >25 year life-span, that should be very positive. I did find some agreement (not always meaningful, a lie repeated..., but) that life-cycle GHG of PV is ~ 10% that of NG which is ~ 60% that of coal.

Now I know there are comments on the web about the toxic chemicals used to produce PV, but I have not found this broken down in any detail. What basis are you using to make your statement? This is going to PO a lot of greenies!


Quote:
... it (is) more efficient to centralize power production. PV are the exact opposite, we are making small panels, expensive inverters and installing them on millions, and perhaps soon tens of millions of roofs and spreading out power production. This is just crazy.
Agreed - I wish we could quash this home-install of roof-top solar PV insanity. It has so much 'emotional traction' and it makes no sense (like so many 'green' ideas). And I've seen some that get some shade during the day, and shading even a small part of the panel drops power near zero because the cells are in series.

So much more efficient to do an industrial scale installation. One site, one analysis, fewer things to work around, probably safer on a flat roof - huge economy of scale. And the greenies won't believe you when you tell them rooftop solar PV is more dangerous than nukes (the falling from roofs that you mentioned). IIRC, that holds whether you look in absolute terms, or in deaths/terraWhr.

And to get my rant mode going, it irks me that my utility is offering incentives for home PV. I end up paying that in my bill, and some other guy gets the economic benefit. I'm helping to pay some rich guy's bill (you need some upfront cash to get these installed), and I'm helping to pay poor people's bills (there are some 'forgiveness' plans that some people can qualify for)! Gimme a break!

It makes so much more sense to do a co-op style solar 'farm', and I have read about some of these. Basically, a co-op installs a large number of panels, and you buy a share of the farm. And you get the credit for the kWh produced by your share. If you move, you can keep, or sell your share. So much better than having it on your house. But as you point out, the economics are marginal. The one I read about was counting on carbon offset credit trading, and the price on those has dropped, so they can't make money now. Sound familiar?



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Originally Posted by eridanus View Post
...If they state in an EV forum that their new PV (bought and sized for the EV) is powering their new EV, then it's true, regardless of any sleight of hand you can muster. ...
I need to get back to your 'sleight of hand' accusation. I've been trying hard to present meaningful numbers in an unbiased, transparent and verifiable manner. Yet you accuse me of 'sleight of hand' because I didn't include a number that you can't quantify and that you admit 'may not/probably won't happen with non-early adopters of course. '?

Tell you what - you come up with some reasonably scientific, verifiable, and transparent methodology (not counts of posts on a forum) to determine an estimate of the % of the first 20 Million EV drivers that installed PV that they would not have installed w/o the EV purchase, and I'll adjust my numbers by that factor. And 20M is less than 10% of vehicles on the road, so even that would include a high % of early adopters. But I'll give you that.

Quote:
A MI or HI owner may not be better off than a hybrid, unless they bought a PV because of and with their EV.
Sounds like I'm making some progress! But I'll ask again - have you give any thought to NOx, SOx, mercury, particulates, etc? Or are you using 'sleight of hand' and cherry-picking CO2 as your singular measure of 'better off'?

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If they bought a PV 5 years ago and decided to buy an EV this year, without adding more panels, your "truth table" would apply.
I have no idea what 5 years has to do with it, or why it would matter if it was installed before or after the EV purchase. The only wrinkle I see is if the EV owner installed PV that he/she would not have installed w/o the EV. And even then, I question whether that PV would have gone un-installed by someone else, plus the EV-PV tie creates that irony that the EV is best applied to a clean grid, and the PV is best applied to a dirty grid.

There are so many of these secondary effects we could banter back-and-forth on. As clifp mentioned, these Tesla owners are often driving their cars aggressively, and not getting the miles/kWh that they could. Due to range anxiety, EVs probably aren't going to be driven as many miles/year as the average vehicle - they are replacing a second, or third family vehicle - so their impact can't then be compared to averages. It goes on and on. I'd prefer to stick to the 'hard' numbers. W/O evidence to the contrary, I think it's reasonably safe to assume that these smaller secondary effects will wash out - there will be as many positives as negatives.

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Old 06-24-2013, 03:08 PM   #264
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How clean is the electricity I use? - Power Profiler | Clean Energy | US EPA (enter a zip from HI and MN. I used 55445 and 96803.

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Interesting. I wonder how often they update that. It shows nuclear for my region at almost 15%... but San Onofre has been offline for more than a year (and is now permanently offline.)

I suppose it could come from nuclear energy purchased from plants well outside of the area. Maybe Diablo... But I've read about energy loss in the grid - so moving it from further away seems to be less than efficient..

I was also surprised by the amount of coal energy. - Much less than national, but still present. Not that many coal plants in CA... but there is one up in Riverside.

I looked up the power generation plants in CA - and it's interesting to match up what I've seen on vacations - Mojave and Imperial county are becoming ground zero for renewables... PV Solar, Thermal Solar, Wind... Makes sense to put this stuff in the desert.
List of power stations in California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:22 PM   #265
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I looked up the power generation plants in CA - and it's interesting to match up what I've seen on vacations - Mojave and Imperial county are becoming ground zero for renewables... PV Solar, Thermal Solar, Wind... Makes sense to put this stuff in the desert.
List of power stations in California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
And another 15-30% of the power used by Californians comes from outside the state, much from coal plants in AZ. The shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant will result in still more pollution in order to meet California's energy demands.
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Old 06-24-2013, 04:24 PM   #266
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Interesting. I wonder how often they update that. It shows nuclear for my region at almost 15%... but San Onofre has been offline for more than a year (and is now permanently offline.)

I suppose it could come from nuclear energy purchased from plants well outside of the area. Maybe Diablo... But I've read about energy loss in the grid - so moving it from further away seems to be less than efficient..

I was also surprised by the amount of coal energy. - Much less than national, but still present. Not that many coal plants in CA... but there is one up in Riverside.

I looked up the power generation plants in CA - and it's interesting to match up what I've seen on vacations - Mojave and Imperial county are becoming ground zero for renewables... PV Solar, Thermal Solar, Wind... Makes sense to put this stuff in the desert.
List of power stations in California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It does say they are using data from 2009...
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:43 PM   #267
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I'm curious about this, and almost afraid to ask. Here, I've been questioning the eco-benefits of EVs, but had been pretty well convinced that PV was an overall positive (ecology-wise, not the economics of them). I have not peeled the onion very far on PV, from what I have learned the overall energy recapture takes ~2~4 years, and with a >25 year life-span, that should be very positive. I did find some agreement (not always meaningful, a lie repeated..., but) that life-cycle GHG of PV is ~ 10% that of NG which is ~ 60% that of coal.

Now I know there are comments on the web about the toxic chemicals used to produce PV, but I have not found this broken down in any detail. What basis are you using to make your statement? This is going to PO a lot of greenies!

Agreed - I wish we could quash this home-install of roof-top solar PV insanity. It has so much 'emotional traction' and it makes no sense (like so many 'green' ideas). And I've seen some that get some shade during the day, and shading even a small part of the panel drops power near zero because the cells are in series.

So much more efficient to do an industrial scale installation. One site, one analysis, fewer things to work around, probably safer on a flat roof - huge economy of scale. And the greenies won't believe you when you tell them rooftop solar PV is more dangerous than nukes (the falling from roofs that you mentioned). IIRC, that holds whether you look in absolute terms, or in deaths/terraWhr.


-ERD50
I haven't really researched the GHG numbers and I was talking in a relative sense. Anyway I am sure that PV is more green than a coal power plant, surprised that is that much better than a Natural Gas. It isn't anywhere as GHG friendly as large scale Wind farm or Solar, much less a nuclear powerplant. There are other factors involved so in my case I replaced my roof 3 to 5 years early (no point in putting on PV system that will last for 20 year if the roof needed to be replaced in a few). So my roof will be burned (at least in Hawaii that create electricity) before its useful life is up. Not to mention all of the energy associated with sales calls, inspector visits, distribution of the panels yada yada.

But the excess deaths bothers me. It seems to me the ultimate the whole point of being ecologically concern is to make the planet a safer place for everything including humans. So it is perfectly fair to calculate the deaths involved with mining both coal, and rare earth elements for PVs. But it seems to me a bit worse that a 25 year old PV installer kills himself falling from a roof than 75 year old dies from cancer due to pollution from a coal fired power plant.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:20 PM   #268
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Each home having its own PV setup seems inefficient to me. Perhaps a setup like Aereo TV, but using PV cells rather than antennas, and delivering electricity over the power lines rather than TV shows via the Internet. Just an idea.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:08 PM   #269
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Each home having its own PV setup seems inefficient to me.
Maybe some sort of co-op ownership sponsored by the local utility. "We're building a PV station to supply power to our grid. It'll be located over the parking lot at the mall. Anybody who wants in, it costs $3 per watt (at max solar input) and you'll get a pro-rated credit on your regular electric bill depending on our actual output each month and based on our regular retail residential energy rate. You'll also get a share of any government credits, etc. We'll charge 10 cents per watt each year for maintenance and for our costs. You can sell your watts/shares to another customer of our utility at any time. The contract is for 40 years."
It would be good insurance for those worried about possible rising electric prices in the future. I'd rather do this than put the things up on my own roof. Better yet would be a nationwide exchange so I could buy my shares in a sunny spot and get better return on my investment.
Or, I guess I could just buy shares in a solar utility company.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:20 PM   #270
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Earlier, I expressed my viewpoint that that 'State of Charge' by the Union of Concerned Scientists was too biased and unscientific for my tastes. Here's a blog from Seeking Alpha that discusses this. It's long (you really need to dig into the comments), and I do think the author is stretching the case a bit, but I generally agree, and I found it interesting and thought provoking.

One of the more interesting aspects was the mix of the grid. He's claiming that renewables have very little impact with regards to EVs - that this become baseline draw, and will be be fed by coal and NG. Not sure I fully buy this, but I can see his point, and renewables may well be a small player overall in charging EVs.

Recent Analysis From The Union Of Concerned Scientist Is Garbage. - Glenn Doty - Seeking Alpha

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Old 06-28-2013, 12:26 PM   #271
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So, based on this thread, I should probably just cut out the middlemen and stick with my safe, clean coal-fired SUV plan.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:39 PM   #272
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...
On the other if you think the DOE is pulling a fast one on EVs, you should see the tricks they pull on making BioFuels look good. I made it post about a few years ago.

It is more than a little depressing that even with Nobel Laurette running the DOE, facts aren't getting in the way of political agenda.

I just came across this - while I'm sure that Stephen Chu is world class in his knowledge of "developing methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light", I don't think he knows beans about business or economy of scale or some other matters of practicality.

My dream is to make renewable energy affordable for all: Steven Chu - Economic Times

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What about storing solar energy?

As the technology gets better, energy storage too is possible, in batteries in your home. It is inexpensive — in 15 years maximum you can have storage inside home where it does not get up to 40 degrees Celsius. Utility companies, if they have to build a building to hold all batteries, will have to bear high costs. All they need is space. Which means they can offer you electricity at lower cost if they have local storage. So the consumer does not have to worry about inflation or equipment but just pay for the electricity. That is the business model I have been talking about to electrical companies this past year. If they know they can make money from solar energy generation on someone's roof, they would be most interested. And with batteries in homes, you would not have to worry about blackouts.
I guess the whole Industrial Revolution was backwards - it would be so much easier to make everything at home, instead of utilize the economy of scale of a large factory.

It takes more than batteries to power your home. An inverter that could power everything for me during a blackout would be expensive indeed. Today, the A/C is running, and my well pump runs occasionally at the same time. That's a lot of batteries and inverter capacity Mr. Chu.

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Old 07-10-2013, 05:42 PM   #273
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It takes more than batteries to power your home. An inverter that could power everything for me during a blackout would be expensive indeed. Today, the A/C is running, and my well pump runs occasionally at the same time. That's a lot of batteries and inverter capacity Mr. Chu.
For what little it's worth, a solar power system, whether grid-tied, off-the-grid, or grid-coupled, will have an inverter anyway just to make the DC from the solar cells into AC. The cheap inverters run roughly $100 per kilowatt of capacity, and the true sine-wave inverters run around $230 per kilowatt.

Note that some snake-oil salesmen sell a 'grid-coupled' system, that is, a system with batteries as a backup and tied to the grid for normal operation, with TWO inverters. One inverter does the normal grid tied operation, and a second one powers loads from the battery during power outages, while a THIRD module manages battery charge from the solar panels or AC line. This is a very silly design, which saves them the trouble of actually designing a proper power management system. Naturally, they charge extra for all the complexity. alm:

There are some really neat load centers designed for commercial use that can help balance things like your well and A/C loads. They use a microprocessor to watch all the connected loads, things like chillers (giant A/C compressors), fans, and pumps, all of which are in intermittent cycle systems. That is, these are all loads which could turn off for several minutes without causing problems elsewhere. The load center controller cycles through the connected intermittent loads using some preprogrammed policies to cap the total load at some preset value. (I dealt with one in a shopping mall a long time back that balanced demand between various systems while watching the total mall power load, so as not to overload their little substation on the electric grid. They got a better rate from the utility by having a guaranteed max load, and by being able to remove load for short periods on request. The mall patrons never seemed to notice the 1-2 degree changes in air temperature that were a side effect of this.)

Something like this could be done in a home power panel for maybe $200, tops. It's a $3 power triac per intermittent circuit to be switched, a load sensor (glorified clamp-on ammeter) and a Raspberry Pi or Arduino module. For bonus points, tie it into the 'smart meter' system and give the utility permission to dial back your load a little when supplies are tight in exchange for a discounted rate or free installation.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:41 PM   #274
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For what little it's worth, a solar power system, whether grid-tied, off-the-grid, or grid-coupled, will have an inverter anyway just to make the DC from the solar cells into AC. The cheap inverters run roughly $100 per kilowatt of capacity, and the true sine-wave inverters run around $230 per kilowatt. ...

There are some really neat load centers designed for commercial use that can help balance things like your well and A/C loads. ....

Something like this could be done in a home power panel for maybe $200, tops. It's a $3 power triac per intermittent circuit to be switched, a load sensor (glorified clamp-on ammeter) and a Raspberry Pi or Arduino module. For bonus points, tie it into the 'smart meter' system and give the utility permission to dial back your load a little when supplies are tight in exchange for a discounted rate or free installation.
Right, the grid tie inverters are there, but as you say, bi-directional ones that can utilize a battery back-up are quite a bit more. I think a typical solar install would not be up to the peak draw from a house with A/C (and esp a well), its power would be delivered in a more level way during the daylight hours. When the compressor kicks in, there is a huge surge (2-5x running current?), and those inverters, AFAIK, have close to zero headroom above their max rating.

And yes, some clever circuitry could control so that two high draw devices don't start at the same time. It's pretty neat that is being done at the level of a shopping mall to level their loading. But $3 for the triac is understating things a bit - by the time you add all the support circuits, heat sinks, get it packaged and certified and installed and customized for the user, well the triac is a minor player.

Here's a link I found - a system that would give about 1 day of normal home power for ~ $10,000. It wasn't clear what the peak capacity was.

Should You Add Backup Batteries to Your Grid-Tied Solar Array? | Solar at Home, Scientific American Blog Network

It uses lead-acid batteries, which as I recall, are far cheaper then lithium, and since weight isn't a factor, are the way to go for this app. But I don't think lead-acids are coming down any steep price curves, so I'm not sure where Mr. Chu thinks these cheap batteries will come from in 15 years. Maybe marginally degraded units from EVs and hybrids?


I think my main point stands, that this makes more sense at a commercial level than the home. I still think Mr Chu is off-base in that area.

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Old 07-10-2013, 09:20 PM   #275
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A battery powered car!? That's what y'all have been blathering on about for 14 pages?

I saw the name Tesla and anticipated great things like maybe an engine that ran on the ambiant static electric in the air ... not a boy-toy hot wheels car that plugs into a wall charger.

Geez give it a break
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:46 PM   #276
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A battery powered car!? That's what y'all have been blathering on about for 14 pages?

I saw the name Tesla and anticipated great things like maybe an engine that ran on the ambiant static electric in the air ... not a boy-toy hot wheels car that plugs into a wall charger.

Geez give it a break
Gotta show some respect! It's Nick Tesla's birthday!

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Old 07-13-2013, 08:34 PM   #277
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A battery powered car!? That's what y'all have been blathering on about for 14 pages?

I saw the name Tesla and anticipated great things like maybe an engine that ran on the ambiant static electric in the air ... not a boy-toy hot wheels car that plugs into a wall charger.

Geez give it a break
Why? It has been a very informative discussion.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:58 AM   #278
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So its been 5 weeks since I've got the car. I am still amazed by in many ways.

Fortunately my PV system and 220 volt charging got activated this week, cause my electric bill jumped $95 last month and with only 700 miles on the car, crazy electricity rates in Hawaii.

I also had an experience which all of us software engineers have joked about for years especially regarding Microsoft products.

Thursday, my touchpad panel went all screwy. It took for ever to boot, the display lighting was all wrong. Functionality was missing, and particularly annoying neither the radio nor AC worked. Fortunately the 2nd time it happened I was just a few miles away from the Tesla center. So they instructed me how to reboot the car. Press and hold two scroll buttons on the steer wheel. Just like a regular computer that cured the problem, and funnily enough that night Tesla sent out a Car OS update.

Anyway I've talked about seeing Microsoft blue screen of death on a car for decades, so I kinda of got a kick out of seeing it real life.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:26 AM   #279
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That $95 is about the cost of 24 gal of gas, which makes your cost the same as driving a car with 29mpg if you do not have solar charging.

About the software bug, hopefully you will not get one that impairs your ability to brake.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:31 AM   #280
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That $95 is about the cost of 24 gal of gas, which makes your cost the same as driving a car with 29mpg if you do not have solar charging.

About the software bug, hopefully you will not get one that impairs your ability to brake.
Given the experience of the electric drivetrain I would still consider it a win even if the fuel costs were the same.
Luckily in Minnesota we have much more favorable rates than Hawaii.
In May we paid an extra $65 in electricity to drive 3000 miles. That would buy about 18 gallons of gas. Which would make our fuel cost the same if a gas car got about 185 mpg.

Cliff, congrats on the solar panels!
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