PV2EV* AT SAND RIVER
*Photovoltaics to electric vehicles
Sand River initiated a virtual
car-sharing project in 2010 to examine
the community's driving needs and the logistics of organizing a car-sharing group. Project results showed that residents collectively drove less than 100 miles per day, meaning that an envisioned fleet of shared cars only needed to include
a few extended-range cars while most
could be all-electric.
Sand River's electric-car-sharing group—Shari Hirst, Linda and Garland Bellamy, Pauline Sargent and Tanny, Adele Strasser, Pam Gilchrist—with the Nissan LEAF, powered by solar panels on the common house
Solar ribbon cutting in October 2012 with Jenny Wages, Willow Murphy, Ellie Breslin, Adele Strasser, Pam Gilchrist, Dan Baker, Senator Jeff Bingaman, Dick Cramer, Pauline Sargent, et al
Visionary synergy in action
INSTALLING PHOTOVOLTAICS First, a third-party investor group was created to fund the common house solar installation with the help of Dan Baker, a PV-financing and gas-to-electric car-conversion consultant. Next, Positive Energy Solar installed a 5.52-kw grid-tied, photovoltaic (PV) system, which offsets all electricity used in the common house and generates enough additional electricity to offset daily use of three to four electric vehicles.
In October 2012, Sand River celebrated its new PV installation. This festive event, with music by Sand River resident Dick Cramer and The Santa Fe Chiles, was attended by the Sand River community, neighbors, contractors, conservation groups, and local dignitaries—including Senator Jeff Bingaman.
PV2EV In November 2012, PV2EV was formed as a limited-liability corporation, owning the shared electric vehicle(s). PV2EV leased an electric Nissan LEAF, which was shared among six households. Later, a subgroup of the six began sharing two of their three conventional cars, including one hybrid, which in effect created a small fleet of cars with capability for longer trips than the LEAF could accommodate.
EXPANSION During the life of the project, PV2EV had hoped to add more electric and conventional cars as well as additional members from Sand River to the car-sharing LLC. To that end, the group explored the possibility of a potential investor, such as an electric-vehicle manufacturer or dealer, a funding organization, or even an individual.
CREATING A MODEL The plan was never fully implemented. Due to the particular challenges of living in a small city with the only large urban area and major airport situated 60 miles away, and having limited public transportation, it became difficult to sustain the project over time using an electric-only vehicle. It nonetheless stands as a powerful teaching tool for sustainability that might be more easily applied to urban areas without similar distance constraints.
NOW PV2EV disbanded in late 2015. Most former participants drive privately-owned hybrid vehicles. The common house PV installation continues to power the common house as well as two plug-in hybrids.