• Dec 27th 2011 at 4:35PM
  • 28
The name Peder Norby should be familiar to anyone who's been involved with BMW's all-electric MiniE program. The driver of MiniE #183 has put 36,000 sun-powered miles on his EV and has long been a strong proponent of getting more people to make the shift to electric vehicles. His latest target? His wife Julie, who will be using the upcoming ActiveE when BMW makes Norby give the MiniE back and gives him the all-electric 1 Series coupe in return.

The ActiveE is not cheap, and so Norby's wife will be the main driver for the single ActiveE the family will get. Norby made a video about his sunset (get it?) with the MiniE and talks about how even though Julie is not the early adopter type, the ActiveE will suit her just fine on her 45-mile roundtrip commute. Norby writes:

I wish we could afford two electric BMW ActiveE cars but at this early stage, we simply can't afford two payments. We also have yet to wear out our small 2008 SUV. It's Julie's turn next and she is very excited as she waits for her new car, the ActiveE. I'll get to drive it at night and on weekends so I'm not to bummed about it.

The video is available after the jump, and we particularly like the edit of some 1950s (?) informational movie in the middle. Well played.

Sunrise on a Brighter Future from Peder Norby on Vimeo.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      @Peder, Hi Peder, thank you for sharing your experiences. Leasing a BMW EV (even a very small one) for $8.00 per day is certainly a good deal! It's great that you have invested in Solar, to power your personal transport and lifestyle. Like DarylMc, I live in Australia. Unfortunately, in a burst of enthusiasm, the Australian (centre-left) Labour Government, in order to win support from the Green Party, (socialist-left/green) decided to heavily and disorganised subsidise Solar Panels (residential). The result saw a considerable boom in poorly installed, (and sourced) solar panels, virtually destroying the existing industry. Once the subsidies were reduced, most of the domestic Solar industry collapsed. Australia produces it's own EV, the Blade Electron, (a 5 door hatch subcompact) . Unfortunately, EV's receive no incentives in Australia as the 'green fuel' of choice for the Australian government is LPG from Australia's abundant natural gas reserves. LPG is sold at around 40% the price of gasoline, and unlike gasoline attracts little taxation. A change of Government may see a (centre-right)Treasurer willing to subsidise an, 'EV and Solar package' , both domestically and for business.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Are you saying it was the Australian Government who picked the lousy installers, and it was the Australian Government who decided where to source the solar panels from?
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          Every single sector of private business includes waste and profiteering, whether the government is involved or not. That is the nature of the private sector. New businesses spring up and disappear all the time in every sector of the private world, whether there are subsidies involved or not. That also is the nature of the private sector. What is funny is that you can fully recognize the downsides of free enterprise, like businesses coming and going, and people over-paying businesses for what they provide. But then you assign all the blame on government, as if none of these downsides of free enterprise would exist if it weren't for the gov't. It always cracks me up when the pro "personal responsibility" conservatives always blame everything on the gov't. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a well-regulated free market and capitalism, just like Adam Smith. But just like Adam Smith, I'm not blind to the negatives and downsides that come along with capitalism and free markets. ------------- As for large scale VS. home-mounted PV systems, there are upsides and downsides to both. Which is why it is good that the US gov't has incentives for both. Everyone who is paying for it indirectly is also benefiting from it indirectly, and will continue to benefit more and more directly the more successful the transition to alternative energy becomes over time.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          But I think it is still fair to blame the government regardless of what flavour when they implement large scale subsidies and it goes wrong since they are the ones throwing the money at it. I don't think I would be so one sided as to think it is just because of the current government here but it is becoming a recuring theme. If private enterprise can con mums and dads thats not too good but when you scale that up to massive government efforts I would expect better planning. To be fair to the current government in Australia, solar panel subsidies were in place well before they were elected and as far as I know the solar panel industry is far from dead and has plenty of legs left in it yet.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          Hello PR No the government did not pick the installers but I think I can say with some certainty that every time our governments undertake these sort of initiatives that there is a whole lot of waste and profiteering. Maybe that's the same the world over but sometimes I think things could be better if the government wasn't throwing subsidies at companies which spring up to take advantage of it and disappear just as quickly. My personal opinion is that greater good could have been done with large scale projects instead of scattering solar PV systems of variable quality all around the country. Everyone is paying for it indirectly anyway.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          @ PR, That's exactly what I'm saying! The Australian Federal government, for purely political motives, acted against the advice of the existing industry, and the public service, and it's own experts. The government poured a great deal of public money, unaudited, and inadequately monitored into two industries (effectively destroying the existing businesses), to create a favourable impression just prior to an election. The result was obvious, government intervention assorted a flood of inferior cheap imports of dubious origin,creating an unrealistic, and unsustainable boom. In the aftermath of the debacle, public faith in the Solar industry was destroyed! Sales have slumped, bankruptcies of the competent and incompetent alike abound, a vast amount of taxpayers money has been lost, along with responsible private capital investment. Incompetence and misappropriation has proliferated, (enquires into the financial affairs of some government members/supporters commenced) just another financial fiasco, from an arrogant and desperate government, buying temporary success with long term failure. The Labour government and it's green allies, couldn't have done a better job of destroying Solar in Australia if they were the owners of a Brown Coal mine! Yet, this same government refuses to assist local EV production! This has nothing to do with a government wisely investing in future industrial/environmental development, or responsibly protecting local interests against unfair competition. These actions were motivated by political opportunism and unrealistic ideology. Nor has it anything to do with the functioning of a free enterprise marketplace. The market was functioning perfectly well, until the government interfered. The Gillard Government, like it's NSW counterpart, is headed for political oblivion and the dustbin of history. Unfortunately, the taxpayer (and the Solar Power industry) will foot the bill.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          @DarylMc. You are quite correct, the previous Liberal/National (centre-right) Government initiated a generous taxpayer funded, Solar energy assistance package. This package was carefully administrated to ensure that the industry was well regulated and waste was reduced to a minimum. Although house holders could claim for some Solar rebates, the package was heavily aimed at providing solar power for hospitals, schools and community buildings etc. This proved to be very successful in establishing a well managed and sustainable growth in the solar industry ensuring that with growth came the most advanced technology and a quality result. Just like the insulation debacle, the Labour government appointed a former rock singer with no previous administrative experience, to manage a vast expansion of the subsidy. The poorly advised minister, promptly threw out all the previous governments careful monitoring and safeguards. He ignored the advice of the existing Solar industry, public servants, expert advisor's, and created a wild-west atmosphere, during which he lost control of the process . The result is a lot of very angry consumers, irate taxpayers, and a battered and bruised Solar industry which will take years to recover. Of the 14 well established, experienced Solar businesses, only 5 remain viable. 7 are bankrupt, taking with them millions of private capital and employment. It wasn't just the boom time cowboys that went broke! The Solar industry is now only 51.8% of what existed prior to the Labour Governments intervention, and much of that which remains is due State government assistance. It's estimated by independent treasury figures that between the Solar and Insulation financial debacles, the Australian taxpayer has lost 5.5 billion dollars. Think of what magnificent Solar projects could have been undertaken with that sort of money! Think what EVs Ross Blade could have built with that sort of funding!
        DarylMc
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        It is odd that we don't make more use of LPG vehicles here. I think there would be some small environmental gains and large financial gains for the country.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you're broke enough to not be able to handle two payments, maybe you should consider cars from other companies who charge less for their cars.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Since when does not being able to afford two brand new car leases at the same time == "broke"? Only leasing one new car at a time, and keeping an older car sounds like regular responsible budgeting to me, not "broke".
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          Rotate -- Don't get hung up in reductionist logic. If they are perfectly happy with their choices and can afford it, and you agree that they aren't "broke" according to your original post, then why keep going after them for their choice? Do you just hate BMW or German cars, and you are hunting for a excuse, any excuse to bash? I don't get it. Everyone can pare down expenses. We've heard all this before. Here is how it always devolves, so let's skip the back and forth and follow it to the end: 1) You say buy a cheaper brand new EV from a different company to pare expenses. 2) Someone else pipes in that a cheap new gas car like a Yaris would be cheaper. 3) Next the "buy used and save" argument is used to point out that a new car is too expensive. 4) Eventually car sharing (like zipcar) is used to argue that not buying a car is the best way to "buy" a car. 5) Then an electric bike advocate points out how skipping a car completely is even cheaper. 6) Finally, Dan says that every form of transportation needs to be lighter and more aerodynamic (even electric bicycles). All of that is really silly reductionist logic. What really matters is what real world car the EV replaces. That is the only real measure of whether the purchase makes economic sense, because otherwise the arguement always will devolve into what are the cheapest shoes you can buy to walk to work. Most people have already decided what class of car they prefer and can afford (and that they prefer NOT to walk everywhere). So there is room all the way from the most expensive car down to the cheapest car for EV's to replace their gas-class equals. In this case, the BMW is replacing a Volvo that is already in the class of European entry-luxury cars. So as a class-for-class replacement vehicle, the ActiveE is a very good replacement. A discussion about what all choices could be cheaper doesn't really change that. For EV's and BEV's to gain market share throughout the entire US car market, there are going to have to be EV cars competing in every price range, and every size and luxury class. Just having inexpensive EV's isn't any more realistic than saying that all gas car buyers should buy a Yaris gasser because they are cheap.
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          Don't get hung up on terms. Yes, not spending more than you have is a form of responsible budgeting. Another way can be to pare the expenses you have. Like don't buy expensive German cars when there are other companies who charge less.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          @PR You are quite correct. Reductionist logic is just a method of redefining the question until you reach a distorted conclusion to suit your original premise.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not fair. This guy gets to keep trying out electric cars while there are thousands of us who want to but won't get a chance. BMW: he's had his opportunity, can I please get mine?! Thanks!
      Peder Norby
      • 3 Years Ago
      Rotation, The ActiveE is $499 a month unlimited mileage no service cost. When you consider the fact that we/Julie will not be paying $250 a month ( prior cost in a Volvo S60) for gasoline driving 1250 miles a month, the payment of $249 a month is rather attractive for a new electric BMW. I'm looking forward to owning the i3. Cheers and thanks for posting ABG!
        DarylMc
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Peder Norby
        Thank you for the video and post. I am sort of sceptical that the whole solar install and EV's could end up saving money so if you have time feel free to get some more information out about it. It's nice to see how much you enjoy driving the Mini.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Kudos!
      Neil Blanchard
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can you imagine growing corn and distilling it into alcohol at your home to get fuel for your ICE powered car? Better yet, doing this without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Electricity is nexus of renewable energy, and we need to move to EV's! Neil
      Peder Norby
      • 3 Years Ago
      DarylMc, Gasoline is fairly stable cost wise across the US (around $3.50 per gallon). Electricity is not, It can range from $0.05 per KWH to $0.35 per KWH. So solar PV works out well economically in high utility cost areas and not so well in low utility cost areas. Environmentally, it always works out. In San Diego California, utility cost average $0.22 per kwh and if you’re a high user it can be as high as an average of $0.30 per KWh. On average, in San Diego or other high rate areas, a Solar PV system will pay for itself, offsetting utility electricity, in between 6 an 9 years. But the real beauty is that when you use Solar PV to power an electric car thus offsetting gasoline cost, the payoff is around three years in California. That is the game changer and why EV’s will ultimately supplant gasoline cars. You can make electricity yourself, and it’s just simply cheaper... For more info and cost analysis you can read this http://electricmini.blogspot.com/2011/10/solar-energy-beats-gasoline-by-clean.html and this http://electricmini.blogspot.com/2011/06/cost-and-savings-of-herons-house-energy.html That's our real world experiance and utility bill Cheers! Peder
        DarylMc
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Peder Norby
        Hello Peder Thanks for the links. Looks like I've got some reading up to do. Petrol as we call it in Australia is between $5.10 standard and $5.60 premium per US gallon. Electricity is pretty standard across the country at $0.21 per KWH but expected to rise sharply again in the next few years.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Peder Norby
        Peder, You are an inspiration.
      centeredtype
      • 3 Years Ago
      what the hell. how does this couple get to keep trying out these cars? not fair.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @centeredtype
        center- Leasing a Mini E puts you at a priority for getting an ActiveE. This actually makes a ton of sense in many ways. First off, BMW is going to get better comparative data between the Mini E and the ActiveE if a lot of the same drivers end up driving both demo fleet vehicles. Second off, BMW is trying to completely avoid the GM EV1 disaster when GM took away people's EV1's and left them hanging high and dry without another EV to buy or lease. As it turns out, folks who buy electric cars, actually really, really, really like them. So much that they loudly object for years (even decades) when they are taken away. The last thing BMW needs is to copy GM's mistake with the EV1....
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          PR The EV1 was a fairly unique situation, the BMW Mini E is different since it would be defined as a conversion. (like the Rav4 and Ranger).
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Keep driving on sunshine!
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice video, Peter! Keep on living the good life!
      Arun Murali
      • 3 Years Ago
      Very Nice Video, we could take parts out of this video, mash it up and make an awesome ad. I appreciate the effort this guy is taking to stay green. I also sort of understand what he means by he can't afford another EV. I think he means for that he has to expand his solar panel coverage, with increase in storage capacity of the house. Best of luck and have fun.
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      And this is why I will never lease a car.
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