• Driving toward efficiency
    January 02,2013

    New technology has the potential of being the primary means of reducing carbon emissions and helping to slow down the disastrous consequences of global heating. Whether it is solar power, appropriately scaled and sited wind energy, or hydro electricity that is generated by diverting some of our river and stream current into new off-setted hydro-power technology, the use of new technologies can be major part of how we generate and use energy. We now have another new technology thanks to the introduction of several models of all-electric vehicles.

    Having recently leased an MiEV (editor’s note: the MiEV is an electric vehicle manufactured by Mitsubishi), I find the technology really fascinating. By driving on just battery power I am able to go approximately 62 miles on a round trip, which is more than enough to meet most of my needs. Then I just plug it into a regular outlet when I get home and by the next morning it is ready to go again.

    The car is equipped with three modes of operation. The Eco mode is the most efficient. Going up steep hills I shift into the “drive” mode for extra energy. And when going downhill I shift into the “brake” mode and the car then regenerates electricity and I gain an extra mile or two. While I am driving I can watch a gauge and see how efficiently I am driving and how many miles I have left on the charge.

    In addition to eliminating carbon emissions I am also able to save a considerable amount of money. It costs me about 5 cents per mile compared to at least 10 cents per mile for a gas-driven car.

    New technology such as laptops, Smartphones and Ipads have dramatically changed our lives in recent years. Maybe it is now time to add an EV to our personal driving options and our business fleets.

    There are now EVs registered in more than 65 communities in Vermont. To see a map of where these are and to learn more about EVs go to www.driveelectricvt.com.

    George Plumb of Washington is executive director of Vermonters for Sustainable Population.

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