MyEnergi Lifestyle® includes EV, solar panels, lower energy costs

by Tina Casey.

Ford is showing off its new home solar power energy storage system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and if you’re wondering what an auto maker is doing in the home energy business, now’s your chance to find out. The new storage system, by Sharp, is part of Ford’s seamless home-auto MyEnergi Lifestyle® package, which basically treats your house like a microgrid that embraces every appliance, including your electric vehicle.

We’ve noted before that by shaking off the petroleum ball-and-chain and transitioning to EV technology, auto manufacturers have opened the door to a startling array of new marketing opportunities.

That’s a critical shift for US auto manufacturers, which are looking at a market in which car ownership is no longer a priority for many young people. The MyEnergi package makes the financials of car ownership look a lot more attractive.

Ford MyEnergi Lifestyle
Sharp Electronics and Ford MyEnergi Lifestyle team up to help you save money, have backup power during emergencies, and dramatically lower your carbon footprint.

MyEnergi LifeStyle

When Ford introduced the first version of MyEnergi Lifestyle in December 2012, its home-car programmability and remote communications reminded us of the Jetsons. Sure enough, by mid year Ford had announced a partnership with leading developer KB Home to integrate the package into KB’s new ZeroHouse 2.0 model.

The initial MyEnergi package is based around Ford’s new C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid EV. It consists of a partnership between Ford and power management company Eaton, the solar industry’s SunPower, home appliance company Whirlpool, and semiconductor innovator Infineon, along with smart thermostat pioneer Nest Labs.

The basic idea is to combine an onsite solar array with the energy storage potential of the EV battery to enable home owners to shift as much of their load as possible onto solar power and low, off-peak electricity rates, with the help of the latest energy-efficient appliances.

MyEnergi Lifestyle 2.0

This year’s version, MyEnergi Lifestyle 2.0, draws Sharp into the partnership to add a stationary battery component, enabling homeowners to store more solar power.

They’re pitching it from three angles: you save money, you have backup power during emergencies, and you help keep the planet from melting.

There’s also the potential for home owners to make some extra bucks on the side by selling energy from their stationary battery back to the grid.

In terms of saving the Earth, Ford has some big numbers in mind. Last year, Ford ran the MyEnergi package through a computer model developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology and came up with a 55 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity used by the typical home.

For what it’s worth, if every single family home in the US adopted the same efficiencies, it would be like taking 32 million homes off the grid.

You can also check out a couple of case histories from 2013 at Ford’s MyEnergi website.

See Ford’s MyEnergi Lifestyle video.

For you Ford truck fans out there who want to save the Earth, too, our sister site Gas2.org has been following the company’s next-generation F-150, which among other efficiencies, has shed a good 700 pounds.

And for you Jetsons fans, keep an eye on Ford’s experimental LiDAR-enabled Fusion plug-in hybrid

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Psst, wanna keep up with all the latest EV news from CleanTechnica? Subscribe to our Electric Vehicle newsletter.

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This article, Ford Packs More Solar Power Storage Punch Into MyEnergi Lifestyle, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Tina CaseyTina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

Tesla Model S Rentals Now Available In Los Angeles Via MPG Car Rental

by Nathan

MPG Car Rental
MPG Car Rental, rents “Green Cars” at Venice Beach, California. Image Credit: MPG Car Rental

The Tesla Model S — the best car ever reviewed, according to Consumer Reports — is now available to rent in the Los Angeles area, via MPG Car Rental. MPG Car Rental is a rental company that deals exclusively in “green” vehicles.

The addition of the Model S to the fleet, according to the company, is partly as a result of the car’s qualities and great popularity, and partly the result of the company’s “commitment to stay current with the latest green technologies for forward-thinking travelers in Los Angeles,” a commitment that is clearly reflected by the company’s possession of a large fleet of quality electric vehicles, hybrids, and TDI vehicles.

The press release provides more info:

From their headquarters in Venice Beach, California, MPG provides an affordable green transportation alternative in Los Angeles. Environmentally conscious travelers visiting the Los Angeles area this holiday season can reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability by choosing the all-new, all-electric Tesla Model S for ground transportation. The staff of Motor Trend estimated the Tesla Model S would use the electric equivalent of 118 mpg on the popular holiday road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Drivers can expect around 31 miles of range per hour of charge.

Other notable technologies featured in the Tesla Model S include a truly keyless entry, which can unlock the door and even start the car without leaving your pocket; futuristic door handles that retract into the body to streamline airflow, or slide-out when the driver approaches, and a charger cord as simple to use as the one for your phone. The Model S charger is compatible with both 240-volt outlets or 120-volt.

Among the other high-quality vehicles available for rent from MPG Car Rental, there’s the BMW i3, the Chevy Volt, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the Toyota Prius, and a couple of others. Seems like a good opportunity for those in the area to give the Model S a good thorough testing, especially if you’re still on the fence about whether or not to get one. Or, for that matter, even just to give it a go, while imagining that you can afford to own one.

On that note…. “For travelers who may be interested in owning an electric or hybrid car MPG offers a test before you buy program called MPG Test Drive. If you end up purchasing the car you rented from a MPG affiliated dealer you will be reimbursed for up to four days of your rental period.”

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This article, Tesla Model S Rentals Now Available In Los Angeles Via MPG Car Rental, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Nathan For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 3:19

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Palo Alto Requiring New Homes To Be Ready For Electric Cars

by Cynthia Shahan

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Palo Alto, California
Solar panels at the Palo Alto Municipal Service Center. Image Credit: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious (CC BY-SA license)

Palo Alto — nestled in the center of pricey Silicon Valley — is a composed, clean, beautiful community. Presently, Palo Alto walks the talk that is clean energy. Clean, reliable trains connect Palo Alto to Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Biking is very popular within the city and to nearby cities, with Palo Alto having some of the best bicycle facilities in the US. Palo Alto is extremely walkable — the neighborhoods and the downtown. The Valley appears as a big version of a clean Disney neighborhood (in animated film), with Palo Alto being one of its most recognized and notable cities. Life is fresh. And the Valley wants it to stay fresh.

It is fitting that this clean-air community should set some automobile standards to keep its air clean. It seems like an effortless move for a town that is home to the Tesla Motors [NSDQ; TSLA] headquarters. Recently, Palo Alto’s city council adopted a proposal that requires new homes be pre-wired for electric vehicles — new homes must include the installation of 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations. With homes that sell starting around $1 million, this <$200 cost of wiring is a drop in the proverbial bucket. It is a small fraction of the cost of retrofitting an older house with appropriated electrical service and wiring.

Affordability is not the only question. It is a practical one for any community. It is time. It is time for more communities to employ such requirements.

Streamlining the permitting process of installing a charger in an existing home was another move Palo Alto’s city council approved to develop more interest in electric vehicles and increase their use.

The vote for the package of electric-car policies was a clear 9-0. It is easy to see a unanimous vote for such an EV-supportive requirement in progressive areas such as Silicon Valley. Hopefully it won’t take long for others to follow on with such a move.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd added that the memo was spurred by a recent phone call from Sven Thesen, an Evergreen Park resident who has installed a curbside charger in front of his home for public use. “The thing that caught me is how simple and easy and fairly inexpensive it is to rough-in the wiring,” Shepherd said.

Palo Alto electric cars
Palo Alto electric cars. Photo Credit: connors934 (CC BY-NC license)

Other thoughts on the issue from this trendy, wealthy leader spawned in part from engineers and graduates of Stanford University:

Several council members noted that Palo Alto was on the leading edge two years ago when it first started pushing chargers, but it has not managed to keep pace with a recent surge in demand for electric vehicles.  “They really are starting to catch on and get some market penetration,” said Marc Berman, adding that he was “floored” to encounter an all-electric Tesla Model S during a recent trip to Anchorage, Alaska. “It is necessary that we create the infrastructure necessary to allow that to happen. In Palo Alto, of all places, we should absolutely do that.

But at least one council member had words of caution.”No one makes money on it. I’m wondering if in the long run we are not inhibiting the growth of popular usage of electric vehicles because we are mandating leading-edge places where this stuff is free,” said Greg Schmid. “There’s no incentive to create networks through our communities.” Schmid added that the Policy and Services Committee should investigate ways to create incentives. As part of the effort to streamline the permit process, the city council said it also wanted to ensure that fair prices were being charged. “It seems like a lot,” said Council Member Liz Kniss, referring to the $459 the Unitarian Universalist Church paid for its permit.

Jeb Eddy, the self-proclaimed owner of the fastest electric bicycle in the city, said the charger has been a hit with the public. He was among a handful of residents who urged the city council to rethink the fees. “Total strangers show up,” Eddy said. “We have no idea who owns these cars, but we’re very pleased to offer it and it’s a start, we think, of an interesting ramp-up, a kind of multiplier that we want.”

For more electric vehicle news, check out CleanTechnica’s electric vehicle archives and/or subscribe to CleanTechnica’s electric vehicle e-newsletter.

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This article, Palo Alto Requiring New Homes To Be Ready For Electric Cars, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Cynthia Shahan is an Organic Farmer, Classical Homeopath, Art Teacher, Creative Writer, Anthropologist, Natural Medicine Activist, Journalist, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

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Massive Growth Of Electric Cars In U.S. + Who Drives Electric Cars [Infographic]

by Zachary Shahan

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We’ve already covered much of this, but I think there are some new stats here, and it’s always interesting to see these stats about the massive growth of electric cars in the US. So, enjoy this EV Obsession repost!

The Wall Street Journal (which I just railed on the other day for a horrible post about solar energy) has actually published a pretty interesting infographic on who drives electric cars. Granted, I saved myself the probable pain of reading the related article — but maybe it was actually a decent piece as well. If you read it, let me know.

The infographic highlights several interesting facts, which I note here in text form for those of you who prefer straight text:

  • 100% electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars grew tremendously in the US in 2011, and then again in 2012. And they are going to far eclipse 2012 sales in 2013. 2010 sales = 345; 2011 sales = 17,735; 2012 sales = 52,835; 2013 = an even much higher number.
  • Over 30% of 2013 US electric car and plug-in hybrid sales have occurred in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • About 77% of new Leaf and Volt owners have household incomes over $100,000 per year. That compares to about 33% of all new-car buyers in 2012.
  • Plug-in car owners drive these cars less than average Americans drive — about 9,000 miles vs. 13,500 miles. (Notably, this research didn’t include Tesla Model S owners.)
  • Volt owners drive their Volts an average of 41 miles a day, while Leaf owners drive their Leafs an average of 30 miles a day.
  • The most popular time for charging EVs is in the hours just after midnight, thanks to surplus electricity supply and thus lower electricity rates (or no charge at all) in those hours.

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This article, Massive Growth Of Electric Cars In U.S. + Who Drives Electric Cars [Infographic] is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

Free National Plug In Days Will Hit 75+ Cities

by Zachary Shahan – Special to JBS News

national plug in day

The 3rd Annual National Plug In Day is coming up. The 2013 “holiday” will include tens of thousands of people at free events in 75+ cities. Started in the US, the day is still mostly celebrated in the US, but Amsterdam and the city of Hermosillo in Mexico will also reportedly be joining the fun this year.

“The goal of events from West Palm Beach to Seattle to Reno will be to give consumer information and test-drives to more EV newcomers than ever,” a Plug In America press release notes. “These gasoline-car drivers will be able to experience the quiet, clean thrill of plug-in vehicles first-hand while learning about their cost-savings, national security and clean-air benefits.”

“Thanks to the continued drop in prices, plug-in vehicles are now within the reach of millions of Americans. Many are now driving ‘for free’ because their car payments are equal to or even less than they paid for gasoline,” said Plug In America president Richard Kelly. “Our aim is to raise awareness of this affordability and the many other benefits of EVs.”

Events will feature a range of different activities, such as test drives, EV charging station demos, parades, tailgate parties, etc.

The “day” actually varies by city. It could be Sept 28 (Saturday) or Sept 29 (Sunday). A map of participating cities can be viewed here.

Other than Plug In America, national organizers include the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association. National sponsors include the Nissan LEAF and Schneider EVlink.

For related news, check out our EV news archives, previous Plug In America news, and previous coverage of National Plug In Day!

This article, Free National Plug In Days Will Hit 75+ Cities, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

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