Saturday
Dec222012

Electric Cars, Insurance, and Accidents

It was bound to happen. Driving three different EVs in our family on a daily basis, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to slam into one.  Things could have been worse and I am just very glad and consider it very fortunate that no one was hurt.

It was a perfectly fine December morning and I was on my way to the grocery store in my baby blue 2012 Leaf.  After waiting at a stop light for the light to turn green and enjoying the pleasant silence of the lack of toxic chemicals combusting under my hood, I proceeded across the intersection.  All traffic was appropriately stopped to my left but unfortunately, a Toyota Camry came barreling through the intersection from the right, ignoring the red light and heading straight for me (the driver later said that sun glare prevented her from seeing the light!).  I tried to turn the vehicle to the left to convert a direct blow into a glancing hit, but only accomplished a small manuever before the Toyota slammed into the front right door/fender area of my Leaf.

Nissan Leaf after being hit broadside by Toyota Camry

 

Toyota Camry after smashing into side of Leaf

My driver side and the the impact-side curtain airbags deployed.  I was expecting a good smack to the face from the airbag but fortunately the dual-stage feature of the Leaf's advanced airbag system spared me from even a scratch, particulary surprising given I wear a fragile pair of rimless eye-glasses. More fortunately was the fact that the airbags provided sufficent force to save me from banging my head against the steering wheel or windshield.  All in all, the Leaf had fared pretty well and protected me quite adequately from what was a pretty nasty collision.  

I tried to stay calm and recover my wits a bit.  My first thought was to get out and see if the other driver was okay. Although a few fires in electrical vehicles had caused an uproar in the press recently, I knew none of those had been attributed to the drive battery in the vehicle, and in fact, in the case of Fisker, the incident had been traced to a short circuit in a low-voltage control module - a component common to most gasoline-fueled cars as well.  My major concern was therefore focused on the driver in the gasoline vehicle who sat still in the driver's seat as liquids leaked out of her car onto the road and smoke poured from the engine under the cars now crumpled hood.  I approached and waived her quickly out of the car and after determining she was okay, we both quickly grabbed Christmas gifts from her vehicle and set them a good distance away.  

The car continued to smoulder but it did not burst into flames.  No Hollywood explosion, though such depictions are supported somewhat by statistics on gasoline cars catching fire in accidents and they are nothing to take lightly.  According to a report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology "Automobile fires are consistently among the largest causes of fire death in the United States (about 500 anually) and the U.S. motor vehicle industry has spent $14 million in recent years studying the problem."

I then phoned my insurance agent.  State Farm had been pretty good about insuring my electric vehicles after some confusion early on with what to do about my Tesla Roadster.  State Farm does not offer any special discounts specifically for electric vehicles but in general, large insurers such as Aviva, Allstate, Geico and Progressive have at least discussed considerations for reduced rates based on the reduced risk associated with EV drivers.  "When you look at electric vehicle owners, you probably have a pretty careful bunch there," said Jack Nerad, market analyst at Kelly Blue Book. Hartford recently announced a 5% auto insurance discount for EV drivers, citing environmental stewardship but likely getting a push from their actuaries as well.

EVs may sport a small premium relative to similarly-equipped vehicles based on their potential increased replacement parts costs for repairs.  This is a volume issue as much as anything else, offset somewhat by the potential safety factors, but in the end, things tend to even out.  Ford has addressed the parts issue with their Ford Focus electric by making the electric version of the Focus with over 80% of the same parts as the regular version.  The profile of the tyipcal driver has a lot to do with insurance costs that are associated with a vehicle.  For example, a 36,810 Cadillac CTS carries an insurance premium of $2,024 versus the more expensive Chevy Volt, which has an insurance cost of only 1,452.  The average premium for a Leaf is $1,513 versus, $1,8801 for a similarly featured and priced Nissan Maxima while the Leaf has a $3,000 premium on purchase price over the Maxima.

In summary, EV drivers tend to be a bit more thoughtful, demanding ultimately a safer vehicle and receiving lower premiums.  EVs tend to be very safe vehicles with less fire risk than comparable gasoline vehicles, and judging from all the sand that had to be poured on the road around the Toyota, plowing into an EV leaves less of a mess to clean up.  The EV did need to go back to the dealer for assessment rather than directly to the body shop but otherwise, towing, claim procedures and other items are just the same as if I were driving a "normal" car - how about that!?

I just got feedback from the repair shop that my little Leaf is going to pull through.  Though I would rather not go through this again, it was interesting to have experienced first hand that my EV can take a licking and keep on ticking - and no, I need no such crash proof test of my Roadster, knock on wood!

Saturday
Sep222012

Does Governor Ed Rendell think Electric Cars are for Wusses?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Advisory for Philadelphia Sunday 9/23/2012; Franklin Institute

Contact:  Michael L. Craner, Michael@renewamericaroadtrip.com, (215-874-7182)

 Does Governor Ed Rendell think Electric Cars are for Wusses?

 Find out this Sunday, Sept. 23 from noon to 4 pm at the Franklin Institute when Ed Rendell speaks at 1pm on the politics of energy and transportation, signs his new book “A Nation of Wusses – How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great,” and thousands come to Ride, Drive, and Experience some of the latest electric vehicles and related technology as part of Philly National Plug In Day at the Franklin from noon to 4pm.

Discover the benefits of the new 54.5 MPG standard, the real cost of gasoline, why we should push to continue wind energy incentives; and get the facts on solar energy and global warming from a presentation by Richard Whiteford at 12:30pm on the Science of Global Warming, and discussion with other experts, while seeing and getting a chance to experience hands-on the electric vehicle revolution in transportation.

Lean how adoption of electric vehicles is a core component of economic recovery and national security and key to our nation’s survival and a prosperous future; see the PECO Chevy Volt and learn about rebate programs for EVs, and speak to actual EV owners about why they drive electric and the benefits of zero emissions, significantly reduced maintenance costs, and decreasing their cost per mile of driving by as much as a factor of 10!

See and test drive some practical electric cars you can buy today like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and Mitsubishi Miev, and some exotic electric luxury/sports cars like the Fisker Karma and Tesla Roadster.

Find out why one EV owner and his wife drove across the country to educate people about renewable energy and lifestyle and see the RARdster, the Tesla Roadster that made that historic journey.

Experience the genius of Nikola Tesla, whose inventions power our lives and are at the heart of the EV revolution, through live demonstrations of a Tesla Coil and wireless power transfer.

Speak to real moms who fight the cause against air pollution for all of us by visiting with Mom’s Clean Air Force and enjoy a ride on an electric scooter around town, courtesy of Penn Scooters of Philadelphia.

Get in touch with what is happening at Plug In Day events in other cities by video conferencing into their concurrent events courtesy of Telikin computers Franklin Science center.

Learn about how electric vehicles are coming back with a vengeance after being effectively banned by big oil interests over a decade ago by watching the film “Revenge of the Electric Car” in the Demonstration Theatre at 3pm.

National Plug In Day is Sunday, September 23, 2012. For more event details in each city and to RSVP visit: http://www.pluginday.org

For details of the new data analysis see: http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2012/09/national-plug-in-day-oil-free.html

 

 

 

 

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About the Franklin Institute:  Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned leader in science and technology learning through hands-on exhibits, theaters, live shows, outreach and awards recognition. http://www2.fi.edu/ 

About the Renew America RoadtripThe Renew America Roadtrip™ (RAR) made history in July of 2009 when it completed America’s first volunteer, green, charity drive coast-to-coast in an all-electric sports car - a Tesla Motor's Roadster. RAR continues to raise money for charities and awareness of renewable, sustainable, and eco-friendly practices through an on-going series of educational/advocacy campaigns and appearances throughout the country. www.renewamericaroadtrip.com

About the Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization with 1.4 million members and supporters and chapters in all 50 states.  The Sierra Club’s national electric vehicles campaign advocates for a switch to EVs as one important way to reduce emissions and cut our addiction to oil.  www.sierraclub.org/electric-vehicles

About Plug In America: Plug In America is leading the nation’s plug-in vehicle movement. The nonprofit organization works to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation's dependence on petroleum and improve the global environment. We drive electric. You can, too.  www.pluginamerica.org

About the Electric Auto Association: The Electric Auto Association, formed in 1967, is a nonprofit educational organization with 75 chapters worldwide that promotes the advancement and widespread adoption of electric vehicles.  The local Philadelphia chapter www.electricauto.org

About Exton NissanExton Nissan is a premier Nissan dealership serving Chester Springs. They are also the regional leader in sales of Nissan’s new all-electric Leaf.  They have a strong commitment to green practices and offer four level-2 J1772 standard charging stations to the general EV public. www.extonnissan.com

 

About Advanced Solar IndustriesWhen you switch to clean, locally produced, solar energy you become part of the energy solution.  Leasing options make this easy.  When you lease, Advanced Solar Industries will install your system, and perform troubleshooting and maintenance as necessary over the lifetime of the lease. At the end of the lease term, you may either renew the lease, buy the equipment at fair market value, or request that the system be removed at no cost to you. http://advancedsolarindustries.com/

 

About The Tesla Science Foundation: Promoting the legacy of Nikola Tesla by raising awareness of his accomplishments and contributions to the 21st Century to include introducing his many patents and inventions that remain applicable to our current needs.  We bring together those with a genuine interest in Tesla through educational programs, workshops, meetings and public events. http://teslasciencefoundation.org

 

About Mom’s Clean Air Force:  Moms Clean Air Force is national movement of more than 80,000 moms — and dads too! — who are protecting our children’s right to clean air — just as our parents fought for us, forty years ago, when the Clean Air Act was first passed. http://www.momscleanairforce.org/ 

 

About Clean Air Council: Clean Air Council is a member-supported environmental organization serving the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Council is dedicated to protecting and defending everyone’s right to breathe clean air. The Council works through a broad array of related sustainability and public health initiatives, using public education, community action, government oversight, and enforcement of environmental laws. http://www.cleanair.org/

 

About Penn Scooters: Penn Scooters, LLC is an electric scooter rental and sales business located at 115 South Street, Philadelphia, PA. Our mission is to provide an inexpensive and eco-friendly mode of transportation as well as a new and exciting recreation to Philadelphians and tourists alike. We are the first to provide such services, offering hourly and daily ELECTRIC scooter rentals along with scooter accessories. http://pennscooters.com/

 

About Telikin Computer:  Telikin is a simple and easy to use family computer that combines video chat, photo sharing, email and many more popular features into a sleek, touchscreen device.It's fun for young and the young at heart and easy to use for seniors, the elderly and their families. http://www.telikin.com/

 

 

About Richard Whiteford: Richard Whiteford is a writer, environmental activist, and a communications professional. Alarm over the massive loss of Earth’s variety of plants, creatures, and ecosystems, the dangers of pollution on public health, and the impending impacts from climate change, compelled Mr. Whiteford to devote his life to fighting for environmental protection. http://rdwhiteford.blogspot.com/

 

About Governor Ed Rendell:  Ed Rendell is a longtime proponent of clean energy and "green economic growth", Rendell recently left Harrisburg after two successful terms as Governor of Pennsylvania and as a nationally recognized leader on the national stage as Chairman of the National Governors Association and the Democratic National Committee. Under his leadership, Pennsylvania rose to be ranked third in the nation for green job creation and one of the top five states generating solar power.  As Governor of Pennsylvania from 2003-2011, Rendell served two terms as chief executive of the nation’s 6th-most-populous state and oversaw a $28.3 billion budgethttp://www.elementpartners.com/team-edrendell.html

 

 

Saturday
Aug182012

Renew America Roadtrip speaks at Ecotality Public Forum Announcing the EV Project Expansion into Philadelphia

 

 

 

Public Statement

Michael L. Craner – Co-founder Renew America Roadtrip

 

Date:  August 16, 2012,  Location:  National Constitution Center, Time: 10:00 AM EST, 

 

Good morning.  My name is Michael Craner and I drive an electric vehicle.

 

However, this is not a 12-step program meeting and I am not ashamed to say my electric vehicle gets the performance of a Maserati at over twice the fuel efficiency of a Toyota Prius. The performance of your EV may vary, but the efficiency numbers are pretty consistent for all electric vehicles.  Up to 10 times less expensive to operate per mile than a traditional gasoline vehicle, quiet, efficient, zero emission – what have we been doing?  Why aren’t we all driving electric?

 

In the Spring of 2009, our country was reeling from the effects of poor choices in our energy and economic policies.  Our new president had challenged us all to take ownership of some of these problems by volunteering our time to make a difference in our local communities through an initiative he called “Renew America Together.”

 

My wife, a physician in family practice, and myself, an engineer and patent agent, took that challenge by combining our causes for charity work and energy policy reform into a high-profile, mass-media publicity event we called the “Renew America Roadtrip.”  After a tremendous number of setbacks and considerable work, the Roadtrip made history in July of 2009 when my wife and I completed America’s first volunteer, green, charity drive from Times Square in New York City to Seal Beach, California in an all-electric sports car – a Tesla Motor’s Roadster – the only production electric vehicle available at the time.

 

We held press events in each major city along the route, doing what we could to raise money for the charities we worked with, and raise awareness that there are alternatives to our addiction to dinosaur-fueled vehicles AND there are ways we can avoid fighting wars for oil in the name of freedom.

 

For in reality, energy independence is inseparable from national security, and our freedom depends more on breaking our oil addiction than it does on fooling ourselves that we can satisfy an ever increasing thirst from a dwindling supply – particularly when powerful rivals are competing for the same scarce resource. 

 

In the summer of 2009, driving an electric car across the country was indeed a challenge.  Not only were the public facilities for power limited but the lack of a standardized connector for electric vehicles made it difficult to know whether we would be able to adapt to one of the variety of non-EV-legal plugs that were available. 

 

People were also hesitant to help us, concerned that we would “set their garages” on fire by plugging in.  We found that what was standard for a power connector in one part of the country was not standard in another.  However, by bringing along multiple adapters, convincing facilities such as hotels to install standard power receptacles in advance of our arrival, utilizing the fairly consistent 240V/50A at RV parks, and plugging into a dryer hookup of a homeowner or two, we managed to get by.

 

People always ask me “where do you plug in?”  That really is a rather odd question when you think about it.  “Where can’t you plug in” should be the question or perhaps, “Why can’t I plug in?” Electricity is, after all the most ubiquitously distributed power source in the country.  It is only our “culture of oil” that blinds us to this reality.  We have laid the wires to electrify all of our homes and businesses.  Why we burn fuel for trucks to haul dangerous, flammable, and noxious chemicals into our neighborhoods when we already have electricity at every point we need it, should have been posed as a thought question to someone a long time ago.  Why we have standards for power connectors that are good enough for RV hookup but which specifically say “not for use with electric vehicles” is at least a little suspicious.

 

Nissan has a great commercial that you can see on youtube which does a good job of addressing our love affair with oil.  It is called “What if everything ran on gasoline?” (for example, our hairdryers and coffeemakers).

 

But the reality has been that while the electricity is available, forces that be have seen to it that it is not tappable for use by electric vehicles.  All that was needed was a standardized outlet accessible in the garage or exterior of the building, but that was not available, even as recently as a year ago.

 

We even failed to get support from places we most expected it.  Certain pro-EV organizations challenged the wisdom of us attempting such a drive cross-country, saying that it would potentially accentuate the limited range of EVs and heighten so-called “range anxiety.” 

 

But the good news is that with the help of other grassroots EV organizations such as the Electric Auto Association we did get across and I like to think we reached at least a few people with our “use less oil” message.

 

Now it is 2012, I drive my Roadster when the weather is nice and my Leaf is a daily commuter.  Both are powered by solar on my house.  We have a standardized and legal EV connector called EIA J1772, and a fleet of new electric vehicles from both new and incumbent players is available.

 

AND as evidenced by this forum today, through progressive programs such as the EV project, public charging facility availability continues to grow.

 

As my wife says, “Green is the new Black,” and when I drive my Leaf around town I feel like a character from the Jetson’s or Meet the Robinsons – these vehicles - clean, efficient, and quiet, truly are part of a soot-free utopian future.

 

If I may, I would like to pre-announce an opportunity for all Philadelphians to experience that future by joining us at the Franklin Institute on Sunday, September 23, for a celebration of electric vehicle technology as part of the Sierra Club’s National Plug In Day event.

 

And remember our Roadtrip mission, “Keep Driving America Green”  Thank You. 

 

Thursday
Apr192012

Renew America Roadtrip hosts "Revenge" movie parties in MidAtlantic Region 

Media Advisory

Renew America Roadtrip (RAR) is hosting and facilitating "Revenge of the Electric Car" movie parties in conjunction with their sponsors and affiliated charities throughout the MidAtlantic region this year in support of the Sierra Club and the President's "EV everywhere" initiative. See  http://renewamericaroadtrip.com/events-and-campaigns/

RAR started off this series of showings with a private party at their solar-powered eco-friendly home this past Sunday April 15th, where roughly 30 Pennsylvania residents and VIPs gathered to watch this new award-winning documentary, receive a tour of the home's 15.75 kW solar power plant & Geothermal HVAC system, and see RAR's two electric Cars - a Tesla Roadster and a Nissan Leaf (both vehicles types of which are featured in the film).  Exton Nissan, Advanced Solar Industries and Ground Source HVAC were also present, Nissan providing test drives in their Leaf, and the latter two answering guest's questions regarding solar and geothermal. RAR also raffled off rides in the RARdster to a lucky few guests. See pictures at http://renewamericaroadtrip.com/gallery/revenge-of-the-electric-car-movie-party/

This Saturday, RAR will be part of a "Revenge" movie event hosted by Exton Nissan in Exton, PA. 

Exton Nissan, Renew America Roadtrip, and Advanced Solar Industries (ASI) invite you to "SHIFT__the way you move and power your commute" with a movie party featuring a screening of the award-winning film "Revenge of the Electric Car" and test drives in the new all-electric Leaf.  In addition, learn how you can power your commute with solar energy from ASI and see RAR's Tesla RARdster and the Leaf in exhibition "acceleration" demos against Exton Nissan's fastest and most economical gasoline-engine competitors. Raffles will be held in support of charity for test rides in the Tesla RARdster and a limited number of "in-car" movie viewing seats, and food and drinks will be supplied.  Movie times are 10:30 AM to 12 PM and 12:30 PM to 2PM with rides, demos, and dicussions throughout.  More information about the Leaf and Exton-Nissan can be found at: http://www.extonnissan.com/.  More information on Advanced Solar Industries can be found at:  http://advancedsolarindustries.com/ 

Watch RAR's event page http://renewamericaroadtrip.com/events-and-campaigns/ for announement of numerous events, exhibits, and lectures coming up in the MidAtlantic region including a number of addtional free showings of "Revenge."

In "Revenge of the Electric Car," a follow-up to director Chris Paines’ 2006 film "Who Killed the Electric Car," filmmakers go behind the factory and board room doors of Nissan, GM, and Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the global resurgence of electric cars.  "Revenge" follows the race to build the electric vehicle that will win the hearts, minds, and dollars of the public.  

As part of a national Sierra Club initiative in the week leading up to Earth Day, hundreds of select national screenings of the film will be held. These events will include demonstrations of electric cars, discussions among EV owners and their neighbors about what the switch to an electric vehicle means for the driver (savings at the pump) and the nation (reduced emissions and oil dependence).

Last Sunday's screening took place at the home of Michael & Maddy Craner and their son Jose.  Michael is a technology executive and renewable-energy evangelist, Maddy is a resident in family medicine involved in charity work, and Jose is a middle school student and basketball enthusiast.  Michael and Maddy are also co-founders of the Renew America Roadtrip, a environmental advocacy initiative.  All organic hors d'oeuvres and refreshments were provided by Cucina Verde and Maysie’s farm.

The event ran from roughly noon to 3:30 PM with the film playing from 12:30 PM to 2PM.  There was social time and introductions before the film and tours and electric car fun afterwards with an expert panel discussion immediately following the film.

The film trailer can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkRIu5a6Sb0

ABOUT THE FILM:  “An entertaining roller coaster ride…well shot and sharply paced (with) genuinely human drama. Wall Street might want to take notice of how quickly tides can change.”

 - Mindy Farbee, Los Angeles Times

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 About the Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization with 1.4 million members and supporters and chapters in all 50 states.  The Sierra Club’s national electric vehicles campaign advocates for a switch to EVs as one important way to reduce emissions and cut our addiction to oil.  www.sierraclub.org/ev.

 

About Exton NissanExton Nissan is a premier Nissan dealership serving Chester Springs. They are also the regional leader in sales of Nissan’s new all-electric Leaf.  They have a strong commitment to green practices and offer four level-2 J1772 standard charging stations to the general EV public. www.extonnissan.com

About Advanced Solar IndustriesWhen you switch to clean, locally produced, solar energy you become part of the energy solution.  Leasing options make this easy.  When you lease, Advanced Solar Industries will install your system, and perform troubleshooting and maintenance as necessary over the lifetime of the lease. At the end of the lease term, you may either renew the lease, buy the equipment at fair market value, or request that the system be removed at no cost to you. http://advancedsolarindustries.com/

 

About the Renew America RoadtripThe Renew America Roadtrip™ (RAR) made history in July of 2009 when it completed America’s first volunteer, green, charity drive coast-to-coast in an all-electric sports car - a Tesla Motor's Roadster. RAR continues to raise money for charities and awareness of renewable, sustainable, and eco-friendly practices through an on-going series of educational/advocacy campaigns and appearances throughout the country. www.renewamericaroadtrip.com

About Cucina Verde: Cucina Verde offers culinary wellness, catering, and education in the art of wholistic nourishment through locally grown organic cuisine under the guidance of gourmet chef Annmarie Butera Cantrell.  Annmarie, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts continually studies the connection between nutrition and vitality and helps clients creat more vibrant balanced lifestyles through their food choices.  http://www.cucina-verde.com

About Ground Source HVACOur company has been helping customers reduce their dependence on gas and oil for over 27 years. Now that ground source heat pumps have become a viable alternative, Ground Source H.V.A.C. is proud to offer the most cost-effective solution to your home energy needs.  http://www.groundsourcehvac.com/

Friday
Apr062012

Renew America Roadtrip planning to Drive Congress Green in their Tesla RARdster

RAR planning to help select Congress members experience the benefits of green via white-knunckled, clean-air-in-the-face rides in their all-electric Tesla RARdster convertible, and they ain't blowing smoke.  See map and get involved -   http://renewamericaroadtrip.com/events-and-campaigns/