Solar Powered Brammo by the Numbers
The beauty of an EV, like the Brammo Empulse or Enertia, is that it will run on any fuel source that can be burned, or better yet harnessed, to create electricity. With a conventional auto, you are stuck with one finite source of energy.
I have seen many arguments about how EVs charge from “coal power” like its some kind of crime to burn domestically sourced fossil fuels rather than foreign sourced petroleum products. First of all lets take a look at how big a part coal actually plays in electricity generation in the US. According to statistics compiled by eia.gov, in 2011 coal comprised 42% of US electricity generation, less than half by a healthy margin. This number drops every year, while cleaner sources of energy increase every year. The fact is that EVs will always get cleaner as the grid evolves away from fossil fuels. The main point being that with an EV there are always options, in fact you can simply install a solar PV system essentially creating your own renewable and clean fuel. You cant drill for and refine your own oil out of your back yard but you can install solar panels on your home’s roof, or wherever direct sunlight is available.
Solar PV systems used to be relatively expensive, but in the last few years competition among other factors has brought prices down drastically. Add to that generous subsidies and rebates and solar PV system is a very worthwhile investment especially if there is an EV (Brammo) or two parked in your garage. Why is that? Consider the current price of gasoline is about $4 dollars a gallon, now with a properly sized solar PV system your electricity, in this case fuel, has essentially been paid for in full. That said, when you offset the price of gas with free fuel, your PV system and EV combo pays for itself that much faster for every mile you drive. This is compounded by the ever increasing price of gas and the fact that you are no longer subject to the whims of a relatively volatile market. Now that is energy independence!
To illustrate this pont, my modestly sized solar PV system is rated at 4.96kW and currently generates over a 1200 kWh surplus each year. Using Brammo’s proven combined range data of 77 miles, 50% City and 50% Highway, that 1200kWh will power a Brammo Empulse R for about 9240 miles every year. The cost to me, zero dollars and zero cents, unless you consider my initial investment for the PV system (~$9 thousand dollars). Compare that to a conventional motorcycle that gets about 35 mpg and I am saving over $1 thousand dollars a year:
(1200kWh / ~10kWh) * 77mi = 9240mi
(9240 / 35) * $4.00 = $1056.00
Considering my savings on utility bills and gasoline that I wont have to buy, my solar PV system will actually pay for itself in almost half the time with the help of an electric motorcycle.
Be sure to check out my recently updated Solar PV System ROI Calculator App. This app illustrates your return on investment (ROI) when combining a solar PV system with an EV, like the Brammo Empulse ;), while offsetting the price of gas.