From Climate Concern To Repeat EV Ownership
During my 30 year career in NASA, I was always on the forefront of the latest computers, image processing technology, and HD video movie making. I also learned from our NASA imaging that all the mountain glaciers in the world are receding, that the ice in the Arctic Ocean is receding, and about many other events that have convinced me that anthropomorphic global warming is real. It was a small step for me to become an advocate, and evangelist for technologies that could reduce the human causes of climate change. What could I do personally to have an impact? Purchase an electric vehicle and install solar panels on my roof.
I read everything I could find about the development of EVs and home solar panels. I read about the introduction of the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt in 2010, but I didn’t know anyone who had one. However, a member of my ward (congregation) had removed the gas engine in his MG sportscar and installed an electric motor powered by lead-acid batteries. I talked to him weekly about his project, but there was always a technical problem that kept his vehicle from practical use.
Over 8 years ago, Nissan was offering a two-year lease on a Nissan LEAF with 81 miles of range for $200/month. I figured I would save that much just in avoided gas purchases, so I made the leap on February 21, 2014. This coming February (next month), it will be 9 years ago. Two other members of our ward did the same. Those two didn’t renew their leases, but I was hooked and went on to trade in for a 119-mile-range LEAF, a 150-mile-range LEAF, and on October 19, 2019, a white dual-motor 310-mile-range Tesla Model 3. Another member of our ward purchased a red Performance version of the Model 3. He has also purchased the option to buy the Tesla Cybertruck when it finally comes out (he has been waiting almost 3 years now). Since then, my EV pioneer neighbor purchased a Chevy Volt and a Chevy Bolt while my neighbor just across the street purchased a Chevy Volt. How things have changed since then!
Not Just Teslas — Other EV Brands Also Popping Up In My Neighborhood!
For the next two years — nothing! However, in the last few weeks, one of the early LEAF owners in my ward purchased a Ford Mustang Mach-E (see Figure 1). He likes the sexy yellow color but is quite disappointed because he doesn’t think the technology is quite up to the standards of Tesla. I just found out that another ward member purchased the gorgeous white Rivian pickup truck that I saw drive by my house a few weeks ago. It’s the featured vehicle on the Drop Detailing website (see Figure 2.) He made a cross-country trip recently and was not impressed with the CCS fast-charging infrastructure at this point. In the meantime, Teslas here in Utah are multiplying like rabbits. I have counted up to 20 per day and have found myself following an identical white Model 3 more than once.
Just a few days ago, I saw an Amazon Prime Rivian electric delivery van just across my street (see Figure 3). The driver said he loves the new van and was kind enough to pose for pictures and show me inside. He said Amazon already has ~100 electric delivery vans operating out of their distribution center just north of us in American Fork, Utah. These are some of the first of the 100,000 electric delivery vans that Amazon has on order from Rivian.
Coming out of our neighborhood church last Sunday, there was a black Tesla Model Y parked next to my Model 3 (see Figure 4).
In Figure 5, you see the solar panels that I had installed on my roof. They have already paid for themselves in the 8 years since I had them installed. And now, I’m driving on sunshine! They have ideal performance here in our sunny Utah climate. However, a number of recent heavy snowfalls did cover them. I was pleased to see the snow finally sloughed off when the temperatures warmed up and we got some rain as you can see in Figure 5. We are hoping that the atmospheric river bringing water out of the Pacific Ocean which is inundating California now and bringing snow to Utah will end the 200-year drought in the Western US. We had 18” of snow last night, with another 18” falling now at the Brighton Ski Resort where I teach alpine skiing.
Hopefully, along with more electric vehicles on the streets around me, we’ll see more and more solar roofs to power those electric vehicles.
What are you noticing in your neighborhoods? Are you noticing more electric models in neighbors’ driveways, or higher numbers of the same models? Are you noticing electric delivery vehicles?
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