No surprise here: the Golden State is quite green when it comes to plug-in vehicles.

California, which accounts for about one-tenth of both the U.S. population and registered vehicles, is home to more than a third of all domestic plug-in vehicles, the California Center for Sustainable Energy says in a new report. Better yet, almost 90 percent of plug-in owners use those vehicles as their primary rides.

More than 12,000 Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius Plug-in vehicles – and other electric-drive models – have been sold in California, where around 1,000 plug-ins are being purchased each month, the report says.

About 40 percent of plug-in owners also have solar-energy systems at home, while about a third charge their vehicles only at home. That said, the report indicates that access to publicly accessible charging stations is growing, with nine in 10 respondents saying they can find free charging either at work or some other location.

California has long been considered a leader in the advanced-powertrain movement, with automakers like General Motors and Nissan including the state in its first U.S. sales markets for new models like the Volt and Leaf.
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First CA Electric Vehicle Survey Shows Broad Benefits

PEV Survey ResultsNew study shows electric vehicle owners cut fuel costs and emissions

San Diego, Calif. (Aug. 21, 2012) - The more than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles in California provide both consumer and environmental benefits, according to a new study by the California Center for Sustainable Energy ( CCSE). The study shows owners drive their cars an average of 26 miles per day and charge their vehicles primarily at night, the type of data valuable to the auto industry, utilities and officials in further developing the market and infrastructure for electric vehicles.

The center surveyed more than 1,400 plug-in electric vehicle ( PEV) owners in coordination with the California Air Resources Board ( ARB) in early 2012. Owners supplied information on vehicle usage, charging behavior and access to charging infrastructure. CCSE conducted the survey in support of California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.

California is the nation's largest PEV market with roughly 35 percent of the U.S. total, and sales add about 1,000 additional cars in the state each month. Although the study did not directly calculate greenhouse gas emissions, PEVs produce considerably fewer emissions because California produces the bulk of its electricity with efficient and low-carbon natural gas. California PEV owners also have a high adoption rate of solar power, with 39 percent of respondents currently owning solar and 31 percent considering solar installations within a year.

"This is the largest plug-in electric vehicle owner survey ever taken in California," said Mike Ferry, CCSE Transportation Program manager. "It's still early in the development of a robust PEV marketplace, but California is firmly established as a national and worldwide leader in supporting advanced technology, zero-emission automotive transportation."

Some of the highlights from the survey include:
  • 85% of owners use their PEV as their primary car, driving an average of 802 electric-fueled miles per month.
  • In San Diego, favorable utility rates result in some PEV owners paying equivalent to $0.90 to $1.90 per gallon of gasoline to power their electric vehicles.
  • Because California does not use oil to generate electricity, the current electric vehicles in the state save approximately 350,000 gallons of petroleum every month, decreasing imports and reducing the overall demand for oil.
  • Roughly two-thirds of vehicle charging takes place in off-peak hours (between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.).
  • 39% of the state's PEV owners have also invested in home solar energy systems, helping to power their vehicles with renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In addition to charging at home, 71% of PEV owners report having access to either public or workplace charging or both.

CCSE also has prepared in-depth analyses based on survey results that address three specific topics: residential charging and the use of lower cost "time-of-use" electricity rates, the link between PEV ownership and residential solar, and vehicle owner access and willingness to pay for public vehicle charging.

CCSE and ARB, in partnership with other key stakeholders, plan to conduct additional surveys in support of the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. The project provides rebates for the purchase or lease of electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicles, ranging from $900 to $2,500. The ARB funds the project, and CCSE administers it throughout the state.

For more information about the PEV survey results and the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, go to CCSE's website at www.energycenter.org/pevsurvey.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      • 1 Day Ago
      I like that. Live in Minnesota. have a 5KW solar PV and Priyus plug-in. an extra battery on a 2010 Priyus - a 4KW-Hr lithium ion. 1 KW-Hr gets about 3 equivalent electric miles. I would like to some-how convert these into "Barrels of oil". on a per week basis or a monthly basis. Then I would like to start a movement to take a pledge - that I as a citizen of USA, would like to save 1 barrel of crude oil for every XX weeks". Then explain this and ask 1 MILLION Americans (out of a population of 320 million) or out of a around 100 million houseolds to TAKE THAT PLEDGE. If we Americans will not save America from our stupid habits, who will save America. Will the Germans, Koreans, Chinese, Indians save America. NO. Only Americans can save America. If there is someone in this readership, who is good in promoting this idea, please help me (so we can all come together to help America. Ram
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        What do you do about snow in the winter? Do you just let the PV panels get covered? Are they angled so steeply that the snow doesn't stick? Do you brush it off?
      oollyoumn
      • 1 Day Ago
      9 out of 10 can find free charging! That should make the cost of ownership significantly better (solar charging isn't free unless you did pay for the panels).
      Spec
      • 1 Day Ago
      Well . . . we are doing our part. C'mon the rest of the nation, join in. You mostly have cheaper electricity rates too!
      PR
      • 1 Day Ago
      With this percentage of solar panel installations, EV cars will actually greatly reduce peak grid demands in California. First, the solar panels will pump electricity into the end-points of the grid close to where it is needed the most at the exact time that the grid needs it the most. Home solar produces electricity right in the middle of the day when AC demand is high, and because your solar panels are skip the grid and directly power your AC (and possibly your nearest neighbor's AC) it reduces demand on the grid. Second, using solar electricity instead of gas means that the electricity required to refine and pump gas is no longer needed. And typical US refineries use a whole bunch of electricity to make gas. So gas car drivers will not only benefit from breathing fewer gas fumes, gas car drivers will also benefit from lower peak demand on the grid. Plenty of gas drivers will just take that for advantage, the same way they take LA's cleaner air for advantage, and just bash the hippie greenies for stealing their "freeeeedum".
        Rotation
        • 1 Day Ago
        @PR
        Probably your solar array doesn't produce enough power to cover your A/C. When you are running your A/C, you are buying electricity. I say this because my array is quite oversized, big enough to run an EV on top of my A/C and normal use and my A/C still uses twice (or more) the power my panel outputs when it turns on. In aggregate, your solar array could easily cover the daily energy needs of your A/C, and mine does many times that. But it still cannot directly power my A/C, let alone mine and my nearest neighbor's. Maybe if you had a super insulated house and could then halve the size of your A/C. Is that possible? Does a more insulated house mean you have a smaller air conditioner? Or do you just run it less?
          PR
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          Rotation, I was referring to when your A/C cycles off, your solar panel's electricity can power your neighbor's A/C units until your A/C unit cycles back on again. Either way, the entire amount of electricity that your solar panels generate no longer has to come through the grid. In hot regions, this is happening at exactly the point in time that the grid is under the most stress. So if you are buying half your electricity to run your A/C, you are still cutting your personal grid demand in half at that instant. When your A/C cycles off, and your electricity from your solar panels then goes to power your neighbor's A/C, and now you are cutting their grid demand in half. If you neighbor has solar panels, and you both spend half the time with your A/C cycled off, and half the time with the A/C running, the net result would be zero draw from the grid. Luckily the grid is big, and evens out all the rough edges on all this, so you don't have to worry about exact timing regarding who is running A/C at what exact instant. Especially as more and more people put solar on their houses. The net end result is that over the hottest hour or two of the day, overall grid demand drops in a very linear way. If you are into Chaos Theory, you can picture it as a set of bounded random points that will always magically form a clear geometric shape in the end, given sufficient number of incidence. Same concept.
          Ford Future
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          This is CA, in CA you can get Quad-pane windows, to greatly reduce your sunshine heating of your home, and you AC demand. Double pane windows, with a UV rating, allowed me to cut my heat by 1 degree, and also cut into my AC demand. Now, I almost have a system that it too big for the house. But, PA isn't CA and mostly the advanced window products are not available, as Pennsylvania builders don't innovate like CA builders.
          Rotation
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          dr61: Even if your PV system is 25% oversized your PV system provides enough ENERGY to run your A/C system, but not enough power. Look at your meter when your A/C is on. You are buying electricity at that time. You will sell back more than enough later to cover the that usage since your A/C isn't on all the time the sun is up. But your PV system doesn't provide enough power to run your A/C. If you weren't grid tied you wouldn't have enough power to run it.
          Ryan
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          And I wish that the building codes were better and geared towards efficiency and lower energy use. I installed some new cellular window blinds with mylar inside and they helped lower the temperature quite a bit in the Summer and help keep the heat in during the Winter.
          dr61
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          It is very possible: at our home, in a hot area of California, we have very efficient mini-split heat pump units, which can be set to cool only when people are present (infrared detectors). Our 3.1 kw PV system provides enough power to cool the house for about 90% of summer days. It also helps to have a whole house fan to reduce the house interior temperature when it is cool in early morning hours. On a yearly basis we use only 80% of energy generated by the PV system.
          Peder Norby
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          Rotation, A thick well insulated shell will make a home more temperate all year in the heat and the cold. It will lesson the need for conditioned air or heating. flat ceilings at 9' or 10' are better than vaulted ceilings that rise 24 ft. Natural ventilation with casement windows that catch more breezes are also a great help. Natural lighting, led lighting and on and on. In short, 50%-70% can be saved by better design in new construction. Those improvements while costly are less costly than generating the extra energy with PV. Cheers
          dr61
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          Actually, I WAS talking power; when I made that post I went out and checked my meter - it was running backwards, PV system making 2000 watts, while my AC was cooling me off as I sit at the computer making that post. That is what a very efficient mini-split ductless system can do.
          Ryan
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rotation
          He could of meant AC = Alternating Current? And your A/C doesn't run all the time, at least in western California. Here in Ohio where I am, I haven't used my air conditioner in 4 years. But, I think it is a 2400W max system. (It is on a 20 Amp breaker.) I would only want to use it for a few minutes around 9pm and then before going to sleep for a few minutes and it is only from June-August. So, maybe 1200W used, and I will have a 1600 W system installed next month that generates a curved line up to 1600W throughout the day. :) Yes, it does still need the grid though or a big battery bank in order to power the A/C unit.
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