Driving the Present: Electric Vehicles Today

driving_the_present_electric_vehicles_optimus_solar_florida.png

The future of cars is electric. This phrase is familiar to most people. We’ve heard that, eventually, electric vehicles (EV’s) will be able to go as far as we’re used to going, charge as fast as we’re used to refueling, provide the space/cargo/hauling capacity we’re used to, and, best of all, they'll be as affordable as our current fuel-burning models. What’s interesting about this vision of the future is the fact that it is already a common reality. 

Today’s electric cars and plug-in hybrids are already efficient, practical, and relevant.  With over 60 models available in the US alone, and rapidly growing consumer options, including the Ford F-150, which opens up a whole new realm of possibility for the truck enthusiasts reading this article, it is clear that the value proposition of owning an EV not only grows every year, but makes very real sense in the here and now.

In an age where many subjects are divisive, EV’s are pretty unifying. The logical and emotional reasons for continued acceleration of EV adoption are simply too motivating for US households to ignore.

From a consumer perspective, most buying decisions are made on quality and price, adding up to a perceived ‘value’.  This value is not only important at the time of purchase, but throughout the lifespan of ownership. Things like long-term safety and durability matter; it’s why we have building codes.  The cool thing about EV’s is that they offer value, safety, and durability based on technology, engineering, and inherent features, not on codes or regulations.

So where do EVs get their value and what makes them relevant right now as a viable product in American households? There are several interesting facts most people don’t know about EV’s that might just convince you the old adage “the future is now” is actually true. 

AS THEY STAND TODAY

electric_vehicle_charging_fast_coffee_optimus_solar.png
electric_vehicle_home_charging_cell_phone_optimus_solar.png
  • EV’s have 90 - 99% FEWER moving parts of an Internal Combustion Engine, allowing for near-infinite warranty opportunities, especially when paired with the data showing batteries are lasting far longer than manufacturers anticipated.

  • They offer households the ability to save over $1,000 per year on driving costs alone, not including maintenance savings. Electricity prices are far more stable than gas prices, meaning more predictable monthly bills.

  • They charge at a similar rate to the American’s average coffee trip, achieving an 80% fast-charge in the same 22 minutes that people spending picking up their morning coffee. Grab your latte while you’re refueling. 

  • With a range of between 200-300 miles, chances are that a bathroom or food stop will be required prior to a refueling stop. And that is key to the EV’s new relevance in a big way. Refueling during reststops is already a common practice. Owning an EV doesn’t change anything about your road trip.

  • They have better low-end torque for towing and acceleration.

  • They are far more energy efficient due to the inherent nature of their power source. According to FuelEconomy.gov, “EV’s convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.”

  • Homeowners with a solar PV system who also own an EV have nearly cost-free fuel over the long-term life of their solar system. Consider the prospect of lowering your electricity bill while simultaneously eliminating your car’s fuel costs. It’s a game changer. 

  • EV’s have a fast-expanding charging network. Charging stations are available across the country at an incredible number of convenient retail, residential, and municipal locations. Optimus Solar alone averages two installed stations per month in Central Florida. 

  • And conveniently, cars are charged at almost the exact same ratio as cell phones: 80% in the home, and 20% ‘on the road’, meaning that worrying about finding a charge is usually not a consideration, even in today’s models with today’s batteries. 

  • They provide a near-silent ride, making family time, conversation, and conference calls far superior in an EV.

  • Finally, EV’s are inherently safer than traditional internal combustion engine cars. Their lower center of gravity (due to the battery placement) means less rollovers. Regenerative braking features on EVs are more effective. They also lack a combustible fuel and harmful exhaust.

AN ELECTRIC PRESENT

EV’s have come a long way. They go faster, last longer, and are as cost effective as traditional fuel-burning vehicles. In the long run, and as renewable energy sources begin to take up a more prominent piece of the energy pie, more EV’s will mean cleaner air in cities around the world. Their benefits speak for themselves. Whether you are motivated by the environment, energy independence, household finances, or even a desire to contribute to improved international relations through the avoidance of fuel imports, owning an EV makes sense and will soon be an inevitability.

When you consider the virtuous cycle of installing solar panels on your home or business and driving an EV that is fueled by the power you produce, they simply cannot be ignored. EV’s will continue improving, and as they do, infrastructure and social structures will change along with them. Instead of filling at the gas station once a week, we’ll be charging at home while we sleep and while at the grocery store. It’s a new normal that many people have already embraced.

The future really is now. It’s cleaner, faster, more reliable, and it’s electric.

Top 5 Reasons to Go Solar in 2019

top_5_reasons_solar_2019_optimus_solar_mount_dora_florida.jpg

The year may have just barely begun, but that’s no reason to put off the things that could make 2019 a stellar year. We put together our list of “Top 5 Reasons to Go Solar in 2019” because today is always the best day to plan for your future.

1.    2019 is the last year for the full 30% federal income tax credit

Starting in 2020, the tax credit will reduce to 26%.  In 2021, it is down to 22%. From there, it will continue to decrease until it is fully phased out. It is reasonable to expect that solar installation prices will not fall as quickly as the tax credit, so 2019 may be a homeowner’s best chance to optimize their financial return on solar.

2.    Utility rates continued to rise from 2018 to 2019

The US national average for electricity rose from January 2018 to late 2018. This means that in 2019, the return on a solar investment is more attractive, the payback period is shorter, and if you install this year, you can offset more future costs.

3.    The price of a solar installation in Florida fell in 2018

According to Solar Power World Online, the average price of a residential solar installation in the US fell in 2018 by almost 6%.  That can amount to meaningful savings for a household seeking to invest in solar in 2019!

4.    Having a solar PV system contributes to household financial stability 

For households that pay cash for a system, there is an immediate reduction in their monthly expenses through a reduction in energy bills.  For households that choose to finance their system, they are trading a volatile monthly payment for a fixed monthly payment over the life of the loan. Of course, once the loan is paid off, the real savings begin rolling in!

5.    Investing in Florida helps the local economy and long-term health of the State

Optimus Solar has written about the compounding power of producing electricity locally vs. importing it from out of State.  Furthermore, using Florida-based solar installers, and Florida-manufactured solar panels compounds the local positive impacts and leads to a multiplier of positive economic activity.

There you have it! This Top 5 list is pretty convincing, but if you need more info or want to chat about what a solar PV system could do for your home this year, give us a call! 352-535-0227

Net Zero Homes Coming to Mount Dora

net_zero_home_solar_energy_savings_optimus_mount_dora_florida.jpg

Picture living in a home that has no electricity bill, includes backup power during outages and real-time management of power use. Add to that a home that provides 100% of your car’s fuel for free plus no landscaping bills, no water bills and no sewer bills.  Now, picture renting that home maintenance-free with no long-term commitment. Sound idyllic?  We believe this model is the future of urban housing in the United States, and are bringing our prototype to Mount Dora!

We are strong believers in the power of local production and local consumption.  To prove how valuable this is to residents, communities and Florida, we are building the first 100% solar-powered rental units in Mount Dora, fully equipped with electric vehicle charging, home automation and available to rent as “all-in” homes, without normal hassles of monthly bill paying, deposits, grass cutting, etc.

While our primary business is residential and commercial solar installations, Optimus Solar is also a company seeking to have a broader impact on sustainability. One of these efforts includes better matching the housing market to the modern job market. The modern workforce is more fluid in their employment, moving frequently and thereby benefitting from less long-term physical obligations.  Cities and towns are more vibrant when those working and living near town are engaged in the full economic life of the city, and Optimus believes housing like this supports that reality.

We will be working with Hegstrom Homes to construct these custom units, and they will be powered by SolarTech Universal solar panels, manufactured right here in Florida.  Additionally, their battery systems will provide critical load power during storm or other outage events.  When paired with a fully electric vehicle, these homes will provide 100% of their electricity and 100% of their resident’s fuel from the sun, saving the average person more than $2,400 per year*!  This turns the old equation of importing fuel into Florida on its head, allowing us to produce what we use locally, providing a 25+ year economic multiplier to our area.

Construction is expected to take 6 months, and when fully operational, these rental homes will serve as a model for how we can better live and build as a community, bringing economic, environmental and civic value to residents, tenants, businesses and the City.

 

*Savings based on $100 per month in gas savings and $100 per month in electricity savings.