The new plug-in Hybrids (PHEV) will revolutionize the way we think about fuel efficiency. Chevy has one called the Volt and Toyota has a new version of the Prius. Currently, neither one is available for purchase to the masses, but there are 3rd party conversions that you can get to transform your current Prius into a plug-in right now.
The idea is that the PHEVs charge overnight and then run off the electric battery until the power is depleted, at which point, it switches to the standard Hybrid method of fuel consumption.
CalCars.org agree that the initial charge should last between 50 to 70 miles. Which means if you drive less than 25 miles to work each day you could conceivably get there and back each day without using a drop of gasoline. Now, that’s what I call reducing dependency on foreign oil. But can we do even better? Let’s at least give it a try, shall we?
The car will need at least 9 kWh of energy each evening and that can easily be achieved by plugging it into a standard wall outlet. But emissions from electricity generation account for a higher portion of world greenhouse gas emissions than transportation. Clearly, a better way is needed. We can imagine a way that is totally clean and will produce sufficient energy to fully power the car’s battery at $0 cost… A solar panel garage door.
Solar panels are able to produce about 1 kWh of total energy for every square meter of surface area. A standard double-wide garage door measuring 16’x 7′ provides about 10.4 square meters of surface space. That should produce the amount of energy needed.
Solar panels have advanced to the point where they can be anywhere. There are marine solar panels and Karma has the world’s first curved solar panel. So, why not on the garage door? We are going to begin testing this as we believe it makes a tremendous amount of sense.
Think about it… the technology exists right now – right now. That we could drive back and forth to work every day and never use a drop of gas (as long as it’s less than 25 or 30 miles from home).