(Reprint Shae Singer’s July 14, 2011 Speech to CAMU)
Many people are not aware of what a neighborhood electric vehicle is.
NEV/LSVs are 100% slow speed neighborhood electric vehicles. They have a limited driving range and are regulated by law to travel up to speeds of 25 mph.
They are the ideal transportation for short local trips. While they may look like a golf cart to the casual observer, they are, in fact, a motor vehicle requiring a driver’s license, registration, and insurance. They meet all federal safety requirements for low speed vehicles.
NEVs are specifically designed with communities in mind and have been on the streets and roads almost 20 years.
They have a range on a single battery charge of between 15- 40 miles per charge, depending on terrain, outside temperature, the weight the vehicle is carrying and of course the types of battery they use.
This means that the owners and drivers of these vehicles live, work, and socialize within a small radius usually 12 miles or less.
People who drive an NEV stay in the community and spend their money eating, shopping, and playing close to home.
It’s always amazing when I drive one of these cars that the kids are totally aware that they are electric. They always get the parents or adults attention and point it out to the grown up, “look an electric car- no pollution, it’s so quiet.. how cool!”
This next generation expects alternative vehicles, and they expect and take it as normal that we recycle, reuse and develop clean energy for transportation.
You might have seen them around your communities or maybe you even have some in your own fleets. They are the fun looking, sometimes odd shaped and often brightly colored cars.
They usually have smiling relaxed people driving them; maintenance workers, your neighbors, your lodge and hotels shuttle drivers and local business owners.
Yes….. NEVs are all around us and we can expect more every day. Now that you know what you are seeing, I am sure you’ll notice them more often.
PIKES RESEARCH did a study on NEVs and found that:
Currently, there are almost 500,000 NEVs on the world’s roadways and that number is projected to increase to almost 700,000 by 2017.
North America will account for a whopping 45% of annual sales… with additional sales of nearly 55,000 annually of new NEV vehicles.
That increase is a moderate number when you compare it to other emerging automobile markets, but to put it in perspective, the number of MEVs on the road will double that of the total light duty vehicle market during that same period. Impressive isn’t it?
With this many NEVs already on the road and more coming, it is unfortunate that they are often overlooked with the focus being on the few thousand big name electric vehicles like Tesla and the Nissan Leaf.
To repeat myself there are almost 500,000 100% electric NEV slow speed vehicles on the road TODAY compared to just a few thousand of the newer electric street vehicles like Tesla and the Leaf.
Those kinds of numbers puts things like multiple plug charging systems and electric power usage in a new and different light doesn’t it? We must focus on providing infrastructure for what we have now and what is good for our communities and municipalities.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t put time, energy, and research into creating street worthy highway speed 100% electric vehicles, or alternative vehicles.
President Obama said in his state of the union address that his goal is to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, but it is important to acknowledge the growing numbers of NEV that are here NOW and put effort into providing incentive and infrastructure.
We must provide community planning for roads and signage and charging for easier use of these vehicles and the new vehicles that are sure to follow.
It’s common knowledge that Electric vehicles have proven their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as help to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. They interact with energy grids very easily and as technology increases it will become more and more efficient to share power back and forth thru grid technology.
MIke Ogburn from Cleer (and formally of Aspen Electric Cars) shares some very interesting information with us regarding electric vehicles vs carbon vehicles.
Even when using our Nations coal-dominated electric grid, Electric Vehicles emit less carbon for every mile they drive. In fact, an average automobile emits 280% more carbon per mile than an electric vehicle.
Every 1,000 miles driven by an electric vehicle saves 39.5 gallons of gas… of which more than 50% is now imported from foreign crude oil.
An electric car driving 5 miles uses about 1 kwh of electricity and produces about 1.34 pounds of “smokestack “carbon …..smokestack because they have almost zero emission when driving…
which means that 1 mile of electric powered driving = .27 lbs of carbon.
That’s not much at all when compared to gasoline vehicles that burn about 19.5 lbs of tailpipe carbon per gallon, which means about .77 lbs of carbon per mile.
The energy consumption of an NEV is most often less than 1/5 that of a conventional carbon vehicle.
Did you know that the very worst emissions from a carbon based vehicle are spewed out in the first 10 miles of driving?
So if you wake up in the morning and realize you need a gallon of milk or cream for your coffee and jump in your car and drive a mile or two to the grocery store, you have just released a lot of pollution and carbon into the atmosphere.
Now you drive home… same thing. Then it’s time to take the kids to school or head off to work. With statistics showing that most people work 10-15 miles from home, you are still spewing all that nasty greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pollution.
Electric vehicles can help diminish those emissions in your community.
Think about it, vehicles with virtually no noise, no pollution, recyclable parts that keep people living working and spending money in your community.
They are all around you NOW. So let’s make it easier for people to use them, buy them and drive them.
Senator Gail Schwartz created AND PASSED through our legislature SB09-75 in 2009 that defined and allowed for the legal use of NEV on the streets of Colorado.
In doing so, tax incentives were also adjusted to allow them to pertain to the NEV as well, since they are now registered and licensed. Most NEV qualify for a 10% Federal tax credit based on the purchase price of the vehicle and up to $7,500 on Colorado taxes based on the vehicle.
Consider an NEV that has a cost of $16,000 less the $1,600 from federal tax and $7,500 State tax bringing it to $6,900 and you never add gas to it!! That really makes a vehicle affordable.
Senator Schwartz bill also provides that some of the revenue from the registration of the NEV is held for municipalities to create infrastructure for them.
Towns and cities may offer additional incentives for electric car use. Aspen for instance offers free parking in the downtown core.
This is a great perk since parking is at a premium and it shows appreciation for the people who live and work here that have made an investment in clean energy and community.
First and foremost if you live, work, or travel in an NEV you are always close to home or the office. If you need to charge up then any plug will do.
The basic infrastructure is there and exists. It just needs to be made available.
A basic rule of thumb is for every 15 min you are plugged in you regain 1 mile of drive time. That being said it cost less than 50 cents to fully charge your NEV. So one mile is less than 1-1/2 cents.
With alternative power like solar, wind, water, and off peak charging times that cost drops even more.
Most communities already have electric plugs on light posts, base of trees for holiday décor, and on the sides of buildings for maintenance work.
Designating a few of those for NEV charging is really all that is needed to get started to becoming an NEV or electric vehicle ready community.
If a few solar panels were designated to feed into the grid they could cover the minimal cost of the electricity used by the cars.
The solar panels can be artistic and show that they are feeding into the grid system for electrical car charging use. Sort of an art piece if you will, designed for attention and education of their function.
Places like New York City have taken steps to experiment with electric cars for taxi, police cars, security vehicles, and sanitation.
Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison has a “cart o saurus” 14 seat electric NEV bus that takes visitors on tours of fossils up and down the hills. Crested Butte ski area uses 2 NEV busses for skier transportation. The City Rifle purchased a fleet of 100% electric NEV last fall for use for parks, administration, and animal control. And, the Viceroy hotel in Snowmass has a people mover NEV that is so popular that guests wait in line to ride in it.
Yes NEVs are all around us!
There is much that can be done to accommodate and become NEV ready communities. Most of it is simple and very cost effective when compared with the issues of the larger standard carbon vehicles.
I have touched on just a few of the benefits of NEV use in your community.
– no noise and zero emissions
– small vehicles take up less space when it comes to parking
– NEV use supports the local economy by encouraging people to shop locally
– encourages the use of existing public transportation for longer trips out of town
– improves air quality
– they have a great safety record and they allow for personal freedom and individual schedules in a clean and conscious way
NEVs are all around us. They are the largest electric vehicle class in the world! They are fun and they are easy to drive and maintain.
Imagine in the not too distant future when our cars plug into the grid and energy is interconnected and shared.
A time when the kids on the street point at the carbon vehicles and say wow look at that old fashioned car…what does it run on?
NOW is time to focus on NEV… for the good of community.