Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Leucadia Goes EV

There was this red Nissan Leaf driving in my neighborhood and I thought it might be Jerome Stocks. It turned out to be one of our neighbors instead.

Leucadia is full of old longboarders, down-to-earth yuppies, and enviro's. The new leaf owners were the green type of Leucadian. They said this is the only new car they'll ever expect to purchase.  Carbon emission reduction was a motivation for their purchase. 

There isn't really much discussion in the local environmental community about compensatory usage of fossil fuels and supply side of petrolem equation (See here). An important green test question should be: if you take the bus (or drive an EV), will the Saudis leave that extra gallon of oil you "saved" in the ground forever? I'm pretty sure the Chinese will be happy to use every drop Americans don't buy. Yeah, I'm skeptical that electric vehicles will make a different for atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

I think cars like this Leaf are part of Leuadia's future. A U.S. dollar on a crash course and dwindling easily extractable oil reserves means rising oil prices. People are busy and love to live in their single family homes because of all the great benefits that come with that sort of infrastructure. Most* of us aren't wealthy enough to opt to work part-time and have excess time to allow them to jettison their cars for more time consuming means of transport. Instead, I expect to see Leucadians trade their cars in for cheaper driving options. We are still going to need roads for people driving in cars.

*Leucadia is one of the few places where you can find people who have really given up their cars 90%+ of the time. More on them later.


  1. Hey, Nice car!

    No, the fuel will not stay in the ground if you buy an electric car. However, you're doing something more important than saving green house gasses.

    The guy who bought this leaf is investing in a technology that, like computers, will benefit from scaling up and more consumption. Rare earth metals are actually not rare at all. A 200 watt solar panel used to cost $900 minimum, now you can buy a 200 watt solar panel for $369 (not including tax credits or rebates!). In S. Cal, depending on your house, solar actually makes economic sense WITHOUT tax credits. That was not the case 10 years ago!

    The new Mitsubishi electric car coming out in November will make sense for some people without tax credits (but the credits & rebates will still be there). It will come in at $20k, hold 4 passengers, and have an 80 mile range. The Mitsubishi can go on the highway. Instead of buying a $50k lexus, buy the mitsubishi and stick some solar panels on your house... saudi arabia will no longer be on your payroll.

  2. All electric cars are great but they need to have a dedicated solar charging system to plug in to. Other wise we are still using fossel fuel to drive them around. Every residence and business in the county should have solar panels on their rooftops. HH is correct but we need to go further with our commitment to green technology.

  3. There would be great economic benefits to distributed PV electricity generation in San Diego. I doubt it will change the end game for global CO2.

    Are there buses that don't run on fossil fuels?

  4. Hah! Getting people to park their SUV will be hard, getting them to ride in a bus will be impossible.

    The hope is to make the renewable technologies a cheap alternative to fossil fuels so the choice for the consumer is easy. For example, right now the cost per mile of fuel only for driving an SUV is approaching the *total* cost of ownership (per mile) of owning a Prius. Thus, a consumer could theoretically park their SUV and go lease a Prius. Their ongoing costs would be the same, on a per mile driven basis.

  5. @LL. Even without personal solar panels, EV's are far kinder to our planet, and national security. In SoCal very little of our electricity comes from Oil, most is natural gas, nuclear and hydro, plus significant and growing portions from solar and wind. But even for areas that do burn oil, I understand it's FAR more efficient to burn it at a power plant out of town rather than refine it into gasoline, truck it to a network of gas stations, then burn it in small inefficient car engines.

  6. SW. Points well made. I agree with all of it. I still feel that we need to do more. PV cells are getting much more efficient, less expensive, smaller, etc. I would like to see it go to a level where the entire roof of the car is a PV system that self charges it as you drive/park around town. It would be even more awesome if some type of turbine could spin and generate electricity when the vehicle is in motion.


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