Electric Vehicles 2015 – Prices, Efficiency, Range, Pics, More

Originally published at EVobsession by Zachary Shahan.

Electric Vehicles 2015

The following are electric cars that are for sale today in the US or are supposed to be for sale at some point in 2015.

The first prices listed are base prices before the federal tax credit, and in parenthesis are prices after the federal tax credit (normally $7,500, but often less than that if the cars aren’t 100% electric cars).

Other tax credits and rebates potentially available in your city or state (such as the $2,500 California EV rebate or $5,000 Georgia EV tax credit) are not included.

Range and MPGe/MPG data come from the EPA.

Check these electric cars out and go test drive some this weekend!

BMW i3 100% electric or REx with 81 miles/130 km range. Priced at $33,850-41,350. Seats 4.124 MPGe
BMW i3 100% electric vehicle with 81 miles/130 km of range. Seats 4. Priced at $33,850-41,350. 124 MPGe

BMW i3

The BMW i3 is BMW’s first 100%-electric car built electric from the ground up. It is part of BMW’s “born electric” i series. It’s price puts it somewhat in the middle of the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S.

Despite looking a bit bulky, the BMW i3 is the lightest electric car on the market, thanks to its carbon fiber body. It’s a smooth & sweet drive. Compared to BMW’s overall sales, the i3 is selling very well, making it clear that BMW is one of the auto-manufacturing pioneers in the electric vehicle space. Read my full BMW i3 review here.

Chevy Spark EV 100% electric 82 miles (132 km) $19,995-27,495 7.2 seconds 4 seats 119 MPGe
Chevy Spark EV 100% electric vehicle with 82 miles/132 km of range. Seats 4. Priced at $19,995-27,495. 119 MPGe

Chevy Spark EV

The Chevy Spark EV is a low-priced 100%-electric car that has gotten good reviews (compared to its gasoline cousin, that is) but is only available in a few markets. The Chevy Spark EV was the first car on the market that could use the SAE Combo Fast Charging system.

Ford Focus Electric 100% electric 76 miles 122 kn $21,670-29,170 10.1 seconds 5 seats 105 MPGe
Ford Focus Electric 100% electric vehicle with 76 miles/122 km of range. Seats 5. Priced at $21,670-29,170. 105 MPGe

Ford Focus Electric

The Ford Focus Electric is Ford’s only 100%-electric car has long been overpriced and simply unable to compete with competitors like the Nissan Leaf. It has long been priced considerably higher than the Nissan Leaf — which is also more widely available — but Ford finally knocked the price down by several thousand dollars in recent months… but with very little broadcasting of the price drop. Needless to say, it still isn’t selling nearly as well as the Leaf.

Fiat 500e 100% electric 87 miles 140 km $24,800-32,300 8.7 seconds 4 seats 115 MPGe
Fiat 500e 100% electric vehicle with 87 miles/140 km of range. Seats 4. Priced at $24,800-32,300. 115 MPGe

Fiat 500e

The Fiat 500e has gotten great reviews. However, the head of Fiat apparently hates electric cars (I know, crazy) and is only producing the 500e in extremely limited quantities for a couple of states (basically, because it has to in order to sell cars in California).

Hopefully the cute electric car will someday soon be available to a broader market. With its relatively low price, good reviews, and cool styling, it could give some of the top-selling electric cars on the market a run for their market.

Kia Soul EV 100% electric vehicle with 93 miles/150 km of range. Seats 5. Priced at $26,200-33,700.  105 MPGe
Kia Soul EV 100% electric vehicle with 93 miles/150 km of range. Seats 5. Priced at $26,200-33,700. 105 MPGe

Kia Soul EV

The Kia Soul EV is a snazzy electric vehicle with a bit more space on the inside than the average car, and a clear youngster appeal. With good specs and a decent price, the Soul EV could sell well… if Kia really tries to sell it.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric 100% electric vehicle with 84 miles/135 km of range. Seats 5. Priced at $33,950-41,450. 84 MPGe
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric 100% electric vehicle with 84 miles/135 km of range. Seats 5. Priced at $33,950-41,450. 84 MPGe

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric is an extremely close competitor to the BMW i3, and is a first-offering from Mercedes in this department. It has Tesla’s interior, and reviewers have been split between it and the BMW i3, with some preferring the i3 and some preferring the B-Class Electric. One of my friends recently bought the B-Class Electric and reviewed it for us here.

Mitsubishi i 100% electric 62 miles 100 km $15,495-22,995 0-100 13.5 seconds 4 seats 112 MPGe
Mitsubishi i 100% electric vehicle with 62 miles/100 km of range. Seats 4. Priced at $15,495-22,995. 112 MPGe

Mitsubishi i

The Mitsubishi i (aka Mitsubishi i-MiEV) is one of the most basic electric cars on the market, but also one of the cheapest. As noted below, the Citröen C-Zero, Peugeot iOn, and Mitsubishi i all have essentially the same design but serve different markets.

Nissan LEAF 100% electric 84 miles 135 km $21,510-29,010 10.2 seconds 5 seats 114 MPHe
Nissan LEAF 100% electric vehicle with 84 miles/135 km of range. Seats 5. Priced at $21,510-29,010. 114 MPGe

Nissan LEAF

The Nissan Leaf is seemingly the most competitive electric car on the market. It is the world’s best-selling electric car, and sales have only been increasing (thanks to falling prices and word of mouth). After test driving several EVs myself, I have to say that it would be hard to beat the Nissan Leaf for the money… unless you have enough money to dump on a higher-end EV, like the Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric, or BMW i3. Read my full Nissan Leaf review here.

Renault Twizy 100% electric 50 miles 80 km $12,490 on eBay Top speed = 50 mph 80 kmh
The Renault Twizy is a 100% electric vehicle with 50 miles/80 km of range Seats 2. Priced at $12,490 (on eBay) Top speed of 50 mph/80 kmh

Renault Twizy

The Renault Twizy is a cute and fun little two-seater that comes in at a super affordable price. With just two seats, it’s clearly not a “family car,” but it is a ton of fun to drive and very adequate for most driving needs.

Despite (or because of) its small size, the Twizy was the 10th-best-selling electric car in Europe and 15th-best-selling electric car in the world in 2013.

It’s really a blast to drive. I’d recommend it. Read my full Twizy review here.

Smart Electric Drive 100% electric 68 miles (109 km) $25,000, or $19,990 + $80/month battery rental ($17,500, or $12,490 + $80/month) 9.8 seconds 2 seats 107 MPGe
Smart Electric Drive 100% electric vehicle with 68 miles/109 km of range. Seats 2. Priced at $25,000 ($19,990 + $80/month battery rental) or $17,500, ($12,490 + $80/month) 107 MPGe

Smart Electric Drive

The smart electric drive could be the cheapest electric car on the US market… if you don’t own or lease it for very long.

However, due to an $80/month battery rental, the price rises to about the same as a 2014 Mitsubishi i within 3 years (note that the Mitsubishi i seats 4, while the smart electric drive seats two). Within about 6 years, the smart electric drive is about the same price as a 5-seat and much more plush Nissan Leaf.

In my personal opinion, the smart electric drive is a hard sell — unless you really want a tiny car or only want it for 2 to 3 years. Read my review of the smart electric drive here or the review of an owner who sold his Camaro for the smart electric drive here.

TESLA Model S 100% electric with 208-270 miles/335 km-435 km range -- depending on the battery option selected. Priced at $54,570-71,070 depending on battery option 5-7 seats 95 MPGe
TESLA Model S is a 100% awesome electric vehicle with 208-270 miles/335 km-435 km of range — depending on the battery option selected. Seats 5-7. Priced at $54,570-71,070 depending on options. 95 MPGe

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is widely regarded as not just the best electric car on the market, but the best car of any type on the mass market (see here, here, here, here, and here for just a few examples).

So, for many people, if they can afford a $70,000–$120,000 car, the Model S is as good as it gets.

This car has flipped the electric car and overall auto world on its head in many respects.

It is a top-selling luxury/performance car, and it was the 2nd- or 3rd-best-selling electric car worldwide in 2013, despite its high price tag. All the while, it was production-limited rather than demand-limited.

Volkswagen e-Golf 100% electric with 83 miles/134 km range. Priced at $27,945-35,445. Seats 5. 116 MPGe
Volkswagen e-Golf 100% electric vehicle with 83 miles/134 km range. Seats 5. Priced at $27,945-35,445 and €34,900 in Germany. 116 MPGe

Volkswagen e-Golf

The Volkswagen e-Golf is VW’s second electric car, following close behind the VW e-Up! Clearly, it’s an electric version of VW’s extremely popular Golf model.

The e-Golf is one of the closest competitors to the world-leading Nissan LEAF, so it could potentially see very big sales numbers. However, its significantly higher price is certainly keeping sales down a lot, so VW will have to change that if it actually wants to sell this car. Read our VW e-Golf review here.

Hybrid Vehicles

BMW i8 PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 15 miles/24 km of battery-only range. Priced at $131,907-135,700. Seats 4. 76 MPGe
BMW i8 PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 15 miles/24 km of battery-only range. Seats 4. Priced at $131,907-135,700. 76 MPGe

BMW i8

The BMW i8 is BMW’s second i-series car. It’s one of the most expensive cars on the market — actually, the most expensive on the mass market today.

It comes with a ton of style and great acceleration (0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds only trails the Tesla Model S P85D’s 3.2 seconds amongst electric cars). It’s hard not to covet this beauty.

Cadillac ELR PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 37 miles/60 km range. Priced at $67,500-75,000. Seats 4. 82 MPGe on battery; 31 MPG on gas
Cadillac ELR PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 37 miles/60 km of battery-only range. Seats 4. Priced at $67,500-75,000. 82 MPGe on battery; 31 MPG on gas

Cadillac ELR

The Cadillac ELR is a high-end, luxury, plug-in hybrid electric car that hit the market at the very end of 2013. In many respects, it is essentially a more luxurious Chevy Volt.

It is pretty. Though, its high price was hard to justify compared to other options on the table, so you can now find the car for a price much below its MSRP… as in, cuts of nearly $30,000.

Chevy Volt PHEV Plug-in Hybrid 38 miles 61 km $26,845-34,345 8.8 seconds 5 seats 98 MPGe on battery; 37 MPG on gas
Chevy Volt PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 38 miles/61 km of battery-only range. Seats 4. Priced at $26,845-34,345. 98 MPGe on battery; 37 MPG on gas

Chevy Volt Plug-in

The Chevy Volt is one of the most widely acclaimed electric cars on the market. It is the top-selling electric car in the US to date.

In 2013, it was the 2nd-best-selling electric car in the world. Volt owners are known as Voltheads and were “the happiest drivers” in the US for two years running… before the Tesla Model S arrived (as per Consumer Reports owner satisfaction surveys).

Ford C-Max Energi PHEV Plug-in Hybrid 21 miles 34 km $27,885-31,635 8.5 seconds 5 seats 100 MPGe on battery; 43 MPG on gas
Ford C-Max Energi PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 21 miles/34 km of battery-only range. Seats 5. Priced at $27,885-31,635. 100 MPGe on battery; 43 MPG on gas

Ford C-Max Energi

One of two cars in Ford’s Energi (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) lineup, the Ford C-Max Energi has quite good specs for someone who doesn’t drive very far on most days but wants to take very long trips fairly regularly. It’s also good for larger families, as it seats up to 5 people. Despite seating 5, it is cheaper than the Chevy Volt… until you factor in the federal tax credit.

The C-Max Energi is also the most efficient plug-in hybrid electric car on the market. As a result of all of this, the car has sold quite well. Despite only being available in the US, the C-Max Energi was the 8th-best-selling electric car in the world in 2013.

Ford Fusion Energi PHEV Plug-in Hybrid 21 miles 34 km $30,793-34,800 7.9 seconds 5 seats 100 MPGe
Ford Fusion Energi PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 21 miles/34 km of battery-only range. Seats 5. Priced at $30,793-34,800. 100 MPGe

Ford Fusion Energi

Quite similar to the Ford C-Max Energi but with a few more bells & whistles, the Ford Fusion Energi has done quite well since its introduction in February 2013.

The Ford Fusion Energi certainly offers some competition to the Chevy Volt, the Toyota Prius Plug-in, and its sister, the C-Max Energi.

Importantly, for some people, it is larger than all three of these competitors. It has a bit less electric range than the Volt, but it has enough seats for five passengers.

(It has much more electric range than the Prius, and the same as the C-Max Energi — both of which seat 5.) And it is quite the looker.

Honda Accord PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 13 miles/21 km range. Priced at $36,154-39,780. Seats 5. 115 MPGe on battery; 46 MPG on gas
Honda Accord PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 13 miles/21 km of battery-only range. Seats 5. Priced at $36,154-39,780. 115 MPGe on battery; 46 MPG on gas

Honda Accord PHEV

Coming in a bit higher in price than the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Ford C-Max Energi, and Ford Fusion Energi has certainly hurt the Honda Accord Plug-in‘s sales. However, limited availability has likely had an even stronger impact on those sales.

Furthermore, having just 13 miles of electric range doesn’t particularly excite would-be electric car buyers. The good news is that the Accord Plug-in is very efficient when using the electric motor. But, yeah, this is a compliance car.

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid Plug-in Hybrid with 14 miles/23 km range. Priced at $71,064-76,400. Seats 5. 47 MPGe
Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid Plug-in Hybrid with 14 miles/23 km of battery-only range. Seats 5. Priced at $71,064-76,400. 47 MPGe

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Following the successful Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid (see below), Porsche launched the Cayenne S E-Hybrid at the end of 2014. The Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, and has a top speed of 151 mph. I think “wicked” is the word for that.

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Plug-in Hybrid with 22 miles/35 km. Priced at $94,248-99,000. Seats 4. 50 MPGe
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Plug-in Hybrid with 22 miles/35 km of battery-only range.Seats 4. Priced at $94,248-99,000. 50 MPGe

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid electric sports car that is everything you’d expect — awesome. It can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in ~5 seconds.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid now accounts for nearly 10% of all Panamera sales.

Toyota Prius PHEV Plug-in Hybrid 11 miles 18 km $27,490-29,990 10.2 seconds 5 seats 95 MPGe on battery; 50 MPG on gas
Toyota Prius PHEV Plug-in Hybrid with 11 miles/18 km of battery-only range. Seats 5. Priced at $27,490-29,990. 95 MPGe on battery; 50 MPG on gas

Toyota Prius Plug-in

The Toyota Prius Plug-in was either the 2nd- or 3rd-best-selling electric car worldwide in 2013. Unfortunately, its electric range is just 11 miles, then the gas engine kicks in. The Prius PHEV is most likely aided by the strong, high-selling Prius brand.

It mainly competes with the Chevy Volt, Ford C-Max Energi, and Ford Fusion Energi, but it has more seats than the Volt and is almost $10,000 cheaper than the Fusion Energi. So, its closest competitor is probably the Ford C-Max Energi. This seems to be a good place in the EV spectrum, as both cars have been doing quite well. Of course, the C-Max Energi has 10 more miles of electric range, almost double the Prius PHEV’s 11 miles.

Either due to the increasing competition, people simply deciding they want more electric range, or Toyota cutting supply, sales of the Prius Plug-in fell off a lot toward the end of 2014.

Basic Electric Vehicle Information

Electric vehicles (EVs) run on electricity. Some EVs run on 100% electricity, while others (hybrid electric vehicles HEVs) run partly on electricity and partly on some other fuel (e.g., gas or diesel).

Vehicles that can at times run solely on electricity, and can be plugged in to charge their batteries, are called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). 100% electric vehicles and PHEVs are clearly much better for the environment (and thus, humans) than their gasoline-powered cousins. Their fuel (electricity) is also much cheaper.

Originally published at EVobsession by Zachary Shahan. This article is posted here with the authour’s permission.

The Chevrolet Bolt, the ‘Next’ Electric Vehicle

Affordable, long-range concept builds on brand’s electrification leadership

DETROIT – Chevrolet today made a significant statement on its commitment to electrification with the introduction of the Bolt EV concept – a vision for an affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 miles of range starting around $30,000.

“The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

“Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”

Leveraging the electrification prowess established by Volt and Spark EV, the Bolt EV concept is designed to offer long-range performance in all 50 states and many global markets.

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle. Front ¾ in city scape. Bolt EV Concept builds upon Chevy’s experience gained from both the Volt and Spark EV to make an affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle to market. The Bolt EV is designed to meet the daily driving needs of Chevrolet customers around the globe with more than 200 miles of range and a price tag around $30,000. © General Motors
2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle. The Bolt EV Concept builds upon Chevy’s experience gained from both the Volt and Spark EV’s to bring an affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle to market. The Bolt EV is designed to meet the daily driving needs of Chevrolet customers around the globe with more than 200 miles of range and a price tag around $30,000. © General Motors

Drivers will be able to select operating modes designed around preferred driving styles such as daily commuting and spirited weekend cruising, for uncompromising electric driving. The modes adjust accelerator pedal mapping, vehicle ride height and suspension tuning. The Bolt EV concept is also designed to support DC fast charging.

“We have made tremendous strides in technologies that make it easier and more affordable for Chevrolet customers to integrate an all-electric vehicle in their daily lives,” said Barra.

“The Bolt EV concept demonstrates General Motors’ commitment to electrification and the capabilities of our advanced EV technology.”

The Bolt EV concept also pushes the envelope for crossover aesthetics. Its unique proportion, with practically no front or rear overhang, makes the most of interior space and was designed to create a roomy environment for four that feels expansive. Lightweight materials, including aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and even woven mesh, complement the design, while driving down the curb weight to help maximize range. Aero-optimizing features such as vented rear fenders also help contribute to range.

“Form and function have never meshed so well together,” said Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design.

“No compromises were made when it came to aesthetics and the elements that contribute to the Bolt EV concept’s range, resulting in a unique proportion that’s sleek, efficient and obviously a Chevrolet.”

The Bolt EV concept’s airy interior ambience is enhanced with bold use of glass all around – as well as a full-length, frosted glass roof with unique, faceted design elements. A high beltline sweeps upward with the D-pillar, culminating in an integrated roof spoiler, for a lean, athletic stance.  An advanced nano-composite rear hatch and wraparound rear window give the Bolt EV concept a distinctive appearance and flood the interior with more natural light.

High-intensity, efficient light-emitting diode (LED) headlamp and taillamp elements are housed behind jewel-like faceted lenses in which translucent elements illuminate evenly to create the signature lighting effect.

Airy, intuitive interior

Inside, the Bolt EV concept has a large feel reinforced by generous headroom and legroom dimensions. A flat, flow-through floor adds to the roominess, while a contemporary, light color scheme adds to the feeling of an open, airy cabin and conveys warmth.

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle interior. Unique crossover proportions provide a calm, welcoming interior blending technology and efficiency with a roomy, airy feel. Glass roof, thin seat design, aluminum seat structure, flow-through flat floor, anodized orange accents and 10 inch capacitive touch screen. © General Motors
2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle interior. Unique crossover proportions provide a calm, welcoming interior blending technology and efficiency with a roomy, airy feel. Glass roof, thin seat design, aluminum seat structure, flow-through flat floor, anodized orange accents and a 10 inch capacitive touch screen. ©General Motors

The cabin’s airy, high-tech environment is reinforced with lightweight, slim-architecture seats mounted on exposed aluminum pedestals that create a floating effect. The minimalist center console “floats,” too, suspended from the front seats.

“The Bolt EV concept’s interior is intended as a sanctuary, with materials and technologies that reinforce the airy ambience and help contribute to the vehicle’s overall efficiency,” said Welburn.

“It also incorporates technology in a subtler and simpler manner, for a more soothing driving experience – particularly in busy, urban environments.”

Chevrolet’s signature dual-cockpit interior layout incorporates easy-to-use technology designed to make the driving experience easier and more enjoyable. It wraps into the door panels and features a frosted and translucent appearance – and a subtle glow at night.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV concept vehicle makes its global debut Monday, January 12, 2015 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The Bolt EV concept is Chevrolet's vision for an affordable, long-range, all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 miles of range - starting around $30,000. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) © General Motors
The Chevrolet Bolt EV concept vehicle makes its global debut Monday, January 12, 2015 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The Bolt EV concept is Chevrolet’s vision for an affordable, long-range, all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 miles of range – starting around $30,000. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) © General Motors

The concept’s technological intuitiveness can be accessed via a smartphone with the concept Bolt EV Connect app, which is designed to:

  • Allow a smartphone to perform as the key fob
  • Allow ride-sharing management, including reservations, vehicle location, digital key and even payment processing via the smartphone
  • Incorporate the concept automatic park-and-retrieval technology, which enables the driver to exit the vehicle and tell the Bolt EV concept to park itself – and when errands are completed, the Bolt EV concept can be summoned to return to the owner’s location.

A large, color 10-inch-diagonal capacitive-touch screen, with interface features, complements the concept Bolt EV Connect app. It even allows the projection of all the application and other smartphone data onto the screen.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

In-pipe Hydropower System Produces Clean Energy

PRESS RELEASE – January 20, 2015

The Portland Water Bureau “Put a Turbine In It” and began generating renewable energy for Portland General Electric earlier this month

The in-pipe hydropower system will generate $2 million worth of clean electricity over 20 years, in Portland, Oregon.

The new four-turbine LucidPipe™ Power System project in Portland, Oregon is the first in the U.S. to secure a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement for renewable energy from in-pipe hydropower.
The new four-turbine LucidPipe™ Power System project in Portland, Oregon is the first in the U.S. to secure a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement for renewable energy from their gravity-fed, in-pipe hydropower system. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and Lucid Energy, a provider of renewable energy systems for in-pipe hydropower and smart water infrastructure, have flipped the switch, officially turning one of the city’s major water pipelines into a generator of renewable energy.

The LucidPipe™ Power System uses the gravity-fed flow of water inside a PWB pipeline to spin four 42” turbines that are now producing electricity for Portland General Electric (PGE) customers under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the utility, helping promote renewable power development and resource diversity for Oregon.

LucidEnergy three-turbine system. Image for illustrative purposes only. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.
LucidEnergy in-pipe hydropower system, three-turbine design. Image for illustrative purposes only. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.

The system, which was installed at no cost to PWB or the City of Portland, is the first project in the U.S. to secure a 20-year PPA for renewable energy produced by in-pipe hydropower in a municipal water pipeline.

The Water Bureau welcomed the opportunity to explore the innovative use of a Portland pipe delivering water to create hydroelectric power as well. — Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff

The system will begin full energy production within the next two months. LucidPipe has been tested and Certified by NSF International to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for use in potable water systems. It does not disrupt pipeline operations and has no environmental impact.

PGE’s goal is to be our customers’ partner in helping to build a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for Oregon.

We’re pleased to integrate new generating technologies and applications like this into our system when they offer cost-effective solutions for our customers and the environment. — Brett Sims, PGE director of origination, structuring and resource strategy

The Portland LucidPipe system was fully financed in October 2014 with capital from Harbourton Alternative Energy, a subsidiary of Harbourton Enterprises.

The Water Bureau welcomed the opportunity to explore the innovative use of a Portland pipe delivering water to create hydroelectric power as well [as delivering water].

Water and energy are closely linked. The Lucid pipe system provides a way for the Water Bureau to contribute to generating electricity for our community in a clean, low-cost and renewable way. — David Shaff, Water Bureau Administrator

The project will generate approximately $2 million worth of renewable energy capacity over the 20-year PPA period, enough electricity for more than 150 homes in Portland. The Portland Water Bureau and Harbourton will share in the revenue.

After 20 years, PWB will have the right to own the system and all the energy it produces.

Water agencies are looking for ways to be more energy efficient, energy utilities are seeking more renewable sources of energy and investors are seeking opportunities in smart water and energy infrastructure.

The industry is looking to Portland as an example of how all of these entities can partner to take advantage of in-pipe hydropower to generate investment returns and reduce the cost of delivering clean, safe drinking water. — Gregg Semler, President and CEO, Lucid Energy, Inc.

The first installation of the LucidPipe Power System is at Riverside Public Utilities in Riverside, California. Lucid Energy is currently exploring opportunities with municipalities, water agencies and renewable energy investors from around the world.

Close-up of the LucidPipe Power System turbine. Renewable energy from municipal water supply systems. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.
Close-up of the LucidPipe™ Power System turbine. Clean, renewable energy from existing municipal water supply networks, courtesy of an in-pipe hydropower system. Image courtesy of LucidEnergy.

_______________________________________________________________________

Lucid Energy has secured private funding from a very active syndicate of investors including Northwest Pipe Company, the Israeli hybrid venture capital/crowdsourcing platform OurCrowd, Star Energy and the Harbourton Fund as well as more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. The funding is being used to accelerate commercialization of the LucidPipe Power System worldwide.

About Lucid Energy

Lucid Energy, Inc. is a provider of renewable energy and smart water management solutions that improve the economics of delivering water. Lucid Energy’s patented LucidPipe™ Power System enables industrial, municipal and agricultural facilities to generate clean, reliable, low-cost electricity from their gravity-fed water pipelines and effluent streams.

Lucid Energy co-developed the technology with Northwest Pipe Company (NASDAQ: NWPX), the largest manufacturer of steel water transmission pipe in the United States. www.lucidenergy.com.

Air Pollution Cost Approaches $1 trillion in the West

by John Brian Shannon
(Originally published at JBSnews.com)

Air pollution has a very real cost to our civilization via increased healthcare costs, premature deaths, lowered productivity, environmental degradation with resultant lowered crop yields, increased water consumption and higher taxation.

However, air pollution is only one cost associated with fossil fuel use.

There are three main costs associated with energy

  1. The retail price that you pay at the gas pump or on your utility bill for example
    (which is paid by consumers)
  2. The subsidy cost that governments pay energy producers and utility companies
    (which is ultimately paid by taxpayers)
  3. The externality cost of each type of energy
    (which is paid by taxpayers, by increased prices for consumers, and the impact on, or the ‘cost to’ the environment)

Externality cost in Europe and the U.S.A.

A recent report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) states that high air pollution levels (one type of externality) in the EU cost society €189 billion every year and it’s a number that increases every year. (That’s $235 billion when converted to U.S. dollars)

To put that number in some kind of context, the cost of the air pollution externality in the EU annually, is equal to the GDP of Finland.

Let’s state that even more clearly. The amount of taxation paid by EU taxpayers every year to pay for airborne fossil fuel damage is equal to Finland’s entire annual economic output!

It’s getting worse, not better, notwithstanding recent renewable energy programs and incentives. Even the admirable German Energiewende program is barely making an impact when we look at the overall EU air quality index.

“Of the 30 biggest facilities it identified as causing the most damage, 26 were power plants, mainly fueled by coal in Germany and eastern Europe.” — Barbara Lewis (Reuters)

That’s just Europe. It’s even worse in the U.S., according to a landmark Harvard University report which says coal-fired power generation (externality cost alone) costs the U.S. taxpayer over $500 billion/yr.

“Each stage in the life cycle of coal—extraction, transport, processing, and combustion—generates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. These costs are external to the coal industry and thus are often considered as “externalities.”

We estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually.

Many of these so-called externalities are, moreover, cumulative.

Accounting for the damages conservatively doubles to triples the price of electricity from coal per kWh generated, making wind, solar, and other forms of non fossil fuel power generation, along with investments in efficiency and electricity conservation methods, economically competitive.

We focus on Appalachia, though coal is mined in other regions of the United States and is burned throughout the world.” — Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal by Dr. Paul Epstein, the Director of Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, and eleven other co-authors

The report also notes that electricity costs would need to rise by another .09 to .27 cents per kilowatt hour in the U.S. to cover the externality cost of American coal-fired electricity production.

The externality cost for solar or wind power plants is zero, just for the record

Dr. Epstein and his team notes: “Coal burning produces one and a half times the CO2 emissions of oil combustion and twice that from burning natural gas (for an equal amount of energy produced).”

There’s the argument to switch from coal to natural gas right there

Also in the Harvard report in regards to the intrinsic inefficiency of coal: “Energy specialist Amory Lovins estimates that after mining, processing, transporting and burning coal, and transmitting the electricity, only about 3% of the energy in the coal is used in incandescent light bulbs.”

“…In the United States in 2005, coal produced 50% of the nation’s electricity but 81% of the CO2 emissions.

For 2030, coal is projected to produce 53% of U.S. power and 85% of the U.S. CO2 emissions from electricity generation.

None of these figures includes the additional life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from coal, including methane from coal mines, emissions from coal transport, other GHG emissions (e.g., particulates or black carbon), and carbon and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from land transformation in the case of MTR coal mining.” — Harvard University’s Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal report

It’s not like this information is secret. All European, American, and Asian policymakers now know about the externality costs of coal vs. renewable energy. It’s just that until recently everyone thought that the cost of switching to renewable energy, was higher than the cost of fossil externalities.

It’s not only an economic problem, it’s also a health problem

“Air pollution impacts human health, resulting in extra healthcare costs, lost productivity, and fewer work days. Other impacts are reduced crop yields and building damage.

Particulate matter and ground-level ozone are two of the main pollutants that come from coal.

90% or more of Europeans living in cities are exposed to harmful air pollution. Bulgaria and Poland have some of the worst pollution of the European countries.

An estimated 400,000 premature deaths in European cities were linked to air pollution in 2011.” — CleanTechnica

Externality cost in China

Remember the Beijing Olympics where the city’s industry and commercial business were shut down to allow visitors and athletes to breathe clean air during their stay (and Wow!) look at their clear blue sky for the first time in decades. Great for tourists! Bad for Beijing business and industry, with the exception of the tourism industry (for one month) of course.

The Common Language Project reported in 2008 that premature deaths in China resulting from fossil fuel air pollution were surpassing 400,000 per year.

“China faces a number of serious environmental issues caused by overpopulation and rapid industrial growth. Water pollution and a resulting shortage of drinking water is one such issue, as is air pollution caused by an over-reliance on coal as fuel. It has been estimated that 410,000 Chinese die as a result of pollution each year.” clpmag.org

The die is cast since it is becoming common knowledge that renewable energy merely requires a small subsidy to assist with power plant construction and grid harmonization — while fossil fuels continue to require truly massive and ongoing subsidies to continue operations.

Subsidy cost of fossil fuels

Already there is talk of ending fossil fuel producer subsidies, which in 2014 will top $600 billion worldwide

Want to add up the total costs (direct economic subsidy and externality cost subsidy) of fossil fuels?

Add the $600 billion global fossil fuel subsidy to the to the $2 trillion dollars of global externality cost and you arrive at (approx) $2.5 trillion dollars per year. Then there is the more than 1 million premature deaths globally caused by air pollution. All of that is subsidized by the world’s taxpayers.

Compare that to the total costs of renewable energy. Well, for starters, the economic subsidy dollar amount for renewable energy is much less (about $100 billion per year globally) and there are no externality costs.

No deaths. No illness. No direct or related productivity loss due to a host of fossil fuel related issues (oil spills, coal car derailment, river contamination, explosions in pipelines or factories) for just a very few examples.

The fossil fuel industry is a very mature industry, it has found ways to do more with ever-fewer employees, and it gets more subsidy dollars than any other economic segment on the planet.

By comparison, the renewable energy industry is a new segment, one that requires many thousands of workers and it gets only relative handfuls of subsidy dollars. And, no externalities.

It becomes clearer every day that high carbon fossil electricity power production must be displaced by renewable energy

No longer is it some arcane moral argument that we should switch to renewables for the good of the Earth; Fossil fuel is proving to be a major factor in human illness/premature deaths, it sends our money abroad to purchase energy instead of keeping our money in our own countries, and the wholly-taxpayer-funded subsidy cost of fossil is out of control and getting worse with each passing year.

The time for dithering is past. It’s time to make the switch to renewable energy, and to start, we need to remove the worst polluting power plants from the grid (and at the very least, replace them with natural gas powered plants) or even better, replace them with hybrid wind and solar power plants.

To accomplish this, governments need to begin diverting some of the tens of billions of dollars annually paid to the fossil fuel industry to the renewable energy industry.

Germany’s Energiewende program was (and still is) an admirable first step. Once Germany has completed it’s energy transition away from oil, coal and nuclear — having replaced all of that generation capacity with renewable energy and natural gas, only then can it be hailed a complete success — and German leaders should go down in history as being instrumental in changing the world’s 21st century energy paradigm.

Dank an unsere deutschen Freunde! (With thanks to our German friends!)

If only every nation would sign-on to matching or exceeding the ongoing German example, we wouldn’t have 1 million premature deaths globally due to fossil fuel burning, we wouldn’t have almost 2 trillion dollars of externality cost, we wouldn’t need $600 billion dollars of direct subsidies for fossil fuel producers — and we would all live in a healthier environment, and our plant, animal, and aquatic life would return to their normally thriving state.

Taxes would reflect the global $2.5 trillion drop in combined fossil fuel subsidy and fossil fuel externality costs, employment stats would improve, productivity would increase, the tourism industry would receive a boost, and enjoyment of life for individuals would rebound.

It’s a truism in the energy industry that all energy is subsidized, of that there is no doubt. Even renewable energy receives tiny amounts of subsidy, relative to fossil.

But it is now apparent that over the past 100 years, getting ‘the best (energy) bang for the buck’ has been our nemesis. The energy world that we once knew, is about to change.

The world didn’t come to an end when air travel began to replace rail travel in the 1950’s. Now almost everyone travels by air, and only few travel by train.

And what about the railway investors didn’t they lose their money when the age of rail tapered-off? No, they simply moved their money to the new transportation mode and made as much or more money in the airline business.

Likewise, the world will not come to an end now that renewable energy is beginning to displace coal and oil. Investors will simply reallocate their money and make as much or more money in renewable energy.

Large Scale Job Sharing Could Prevent a Host of Societal Ills

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Truism: Whenever and wherever the unemployment rate is low anywhere in the world, drug abuse, crime, and homelessness drops.

Jobs prevent the depression that leads to drug abuse, crime, and eventually, homelessness.

Because corporations in North America prefer a high-ish unemployment rate (to guarantee they get the choicest and hungriest applicants, and to ensure a large pool of seasonal labour, and as a device that works to continuously dampen calls for a higher minimum wage) we have the follow-on problems of depression, leading to drug abuse in some cases, which eventually leads to crime and later, homelessness for many of the working poor.

Which results in higher costs to society and it’s the taxpayers who must cover those costs, one way or another

To solve this utterly predictable set of problems, all levels of government should be working with corporations to ensure that corporate needs are met — but without destroying the lives of many people who would frankly, rather be working!

When everyone matters, society works better.

Nordic countries ask; What societal problems?

Sweden has mandatory job sharing in those industries that can’t employ all of their workers. Except for retired people, students, those with chronic illness, or the very wealthy, everyone in the country works for *at least* 6 months of the year. Which neatly prevents such societal ills.

If you’ve ever visited Sweden, you’ll notice nobody lives in dumpsters there

Nordiske-flag Image courtesy of Hansjorn
Nordic flags. Image courtesy of Hansjorn. From left; Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark.

Some industries in Sweden can’t use all of their available workers, so if you’re a worker in that particular industry it simply means that you’re ‘on work’ for 6 months and you’re ‘off work’ for 6 months of the year.

The ‘alternate person’ steps in and does ‘your job’ for 6 months while you’re on mandatory time off. Both people get Unemployment Insurance (UI) from Day 1 of their respective layoff dates.

It’s not like layoffs in North America. It’s more like, “Your scheduled time ‘off work’ is coming up, Anders. So, have you arranged the dates with your temporary replacement? You have? Thank you.”

In Sweden, you ‘own’ your job, you’re responsible for it, and you want to perform well for the company that has given you the responsibility for making sure that ‘your job’ is done properly

Also, even though you’re ‘off work’ for 6 months, you’re still expected to be available to fill that position whenever the alternate worker is ill, or can’t make it to work for any other reason. You like that a lot, because their UI system doesn’t penalize you for kindly making yourself available to the company AND you get to keep the wages you earned that day.

If you’re ‘on work’ for your 6 months and suddenly want a day ‘off work’ to go buy a house, propose to your partner or whatever, you just arrange it with your job sharing partner — and you’re covered. They come in and do your work for you. You inform the company merely out of courtesy that this will be happening. It’s ‘your job’ after all — not the company’s job.

So, let’s say that you’re off work for 6 months and ‘Sven’ (the person doing your job) has a skiing accident and needs 10 days off work to recover, you not only get your regular UI payment, you also get the normal wages for each day that you replaced Sven.

In this hypothetical job sharing scenario, the job of ‘Anders’ and ‘Sven’ is totally covered no matter what, 365 days of the year

Overtime wages? Unknown in Sweden. With one phone call the company simply adds another already trained worker to the project, and can keep them employed any number of days, or until project completion. Then, they send them back home until the company calls again to help with another project.

Everyone has a job, or is on UI for part of the year. Consequently, depression, drug abuse, crime, and homelessness are almost unknown in Sweden

Everyone has a job. Whether you are ‘off work’ for a time, or ‘on work’ for a time — you have a job, you have a place in society, you belong to a community. You may work 100 days per year, you may work 200 days per year, or any number of days between 100 to 365 days per year in Sweden. It depends how busy your particular industry is in that particular year.

The takeaway point is; If you live in Sweden — you’re a worker, you’re a valued person, you’re part of Sweden’s ongoing success, you belong.

When everyone matters — corporations work better, society works better, and the UN scores your country highly on the UN Happiness Index

Corporations like this employment policy, because more employees than they can afford to keep employed year ’round ‘own’ their particular position and over the course of a year, both workers communicate often, to make certain that every single working day of the year is ‘covered’ for the company.

The company doesn’t care which of the two workers are onsite on any given day, because both are eminently qualified and both feel that they ‘own the job’ and are responsible for it. Which is much better for the corporation when compared to only one person owning that job.

What happens in a Swedish company when an employee has time off due to illness, mandatory maternity leave, vacation times, or car trouble?

Nothing. The alternate worker is likely already on the premises doing the job. Utter, boring, Swedish efficiency! Also known as the Nordic Model — a fascinating mix of social and economic policies which has shown steady, predictable results, going on four decades.

The company knows that every work day of the year, each position in the company will be filled by the regular worker or the alternate worker — no matter what!

The inequality in North America is stunning. And there’s no good excuse for it. It’s merely a lack of leadership. Governments are kowtowing to uninspired, faceless, and unaccountable corporations that only care about the bottom line.

But hey, don’t blame the corporations! They’re in business to make a buck — not to solve social problems — that’s the government’s job.

But when the corporations are the ones causing the social problems via their policy of keeping workers hungry for work through a policy of high unemployment, union-busting, threats to export jobs to Asia, downsizing threats and more — that’s when we need to look at a better model.

And in the case of Sweden and the other Nordic countries, a much better model already exists — not just for society, but one that works better for corporations as well.