Published Sunday August 24, 2014: Updated 9/9/2015
I recall from my youth, in the mid-1980’s, my dad had an air compressor in the shed. He drilled a hole in the wall and ran the air line outside to the car port. While it was meant to make it easier for us kids to fill up our bike tires, all the while preventing theft and weather exposure to the air compressor, it ended up being a super cool addition to the neighborhood. Our house became the "happening" spot for kids on bikes who needed to add air in their tires. And what did it cost my dad? Pennies in electricity each month!
What did he gain? Instant respect from every kid riding a bike. For a slightly over-weight, balding, middle aged man who couldn't pop a wheelie, let alone ride a bike anymore, he was a totally awesome, radical dude.
Back in the old times, before we got all greedy on oil, there was a water trough next to the hitchin’ post so the horses could “re-charge”. It’s time we get back to the golden age of sharing “free air” and guest “recharging’, only, this time with a high tech twist.
Since the solar panels cover most of my home's energy needs, why not give some of this “free” energy away?
To make this more compelling, (factoring in the home energy cost savings and gasoline/maintenance cost savings for just 1 of our electric cars), the PV solar array on the house roof paid for itself on March 2015, (4.2 years after we installed it). With that investment recouped, the solar energy that it collects is in every respect, free, and plentiful.
Sharing the Love
Every 2-3 weeks, my sister Vera drives up from Salt lake in her electric car to visit us. Not that she needs the car's battery charged, still, with our abundance of free, renewable energy, it would be rude to not offer to charge it up for her.
But it's kind of a hassle moving one of our electric cars out of the garage so she can pull in next to the charging station.
"Why not add another charging station?", I thought.
So for $179, (plus cabling), I bought and installed another 15,000 watt Juicebox charging station just for guests to use.
Now it's super convenient for all our progressive guests and visitors to plug in while they visit. Guests and visitors can even use it when we aren't home.
Guest Charging Station (JuiceBox) mounted on the inside of the garage.
Charging cable routed to the outside of the garage, free for anyone to use 24-7.
The members of the PlugShare community are an amazing group of people. Since the future charging infrastructure is not coming soon enough, (especially in oil-junkie, fossil-fuel hooked Utah), PlugShare members willingly offer their electricity (often solar powered) to strangers that need to charge up their electric vehicles.
I wanted to be part of such an amazing organization too, so I joined PlugShare and opened our guest charging station up for anyone to use 24-7.
Tesla Model-S from Idaho stopping in for a cup of electricity.
And why not? It’s not like people are actually going to be plugged in, charging 24-7, every day of the year.
My sister Vera's Leaf, charging up, on solar energy, for FREE!
Plus, electric cars are so incredibly energy efficient, the equivalent energy of a 3 liter bottle of gasoline (but in electricity) will power an EV for over 100 miles. It’s not that much energy and if you have solar panels, that energy is being provided for FREE anyway.
If you want to get your own 40-Amp Juicebox Charging station click here.
Here's a short video of what happens when you plug share.
Come on in and sit a spell. Plug in and charge up for free, (on sunlight no less), while you are here.
FREE Business Opportunity:
OK business owners, listen up! Did you know that an electric car charging on your FREE charging station equals a captive, shopping audience? Do you realize that by giving a few cents in electricity, they will be spending 100 times that amount on food or merchandise in your store? Those now loyal customers will come back again and again too. There is no such thing as a free lunch. That saying goes both ways and can be used in your favor.
Gas Stations: You make most of your money from selling stuff other than gasoline and diesel. Why not keep up with the times, branch out and offer electricity as well? If someone really needs a charge, they will pay for it and while they wait, they will shop and shop. Don't forget to offer free WiFi too.
Movie Theaters: You will bring in more movie goers, sell more tickets and concessions to customers that have time to kill while they charge. Why not make money on both ends?
Restaurants and Sandwich Shops: Fill the batteries for free while your EV driving customers pay to fill their stomachs.
Electric car driving customers + Free charging station = A Captive Shopping Audience
It’s time to tweak your business model into the 21st century. Use pennies as bate for dollars. Install a charging station and watch your business pick up. I dare you to try it and prove me wrong.
While you are at it, take it a step further and install a fast DC quick-charger. You will be the coolest, hippest, most popular business around.
Or you can ignore this new and amazing disruptive technology, pretend things are going to stay the same, while your business goes the way of Blockbuster Video in this Redbox/Netflix world.
You PAY for FUEL?
The following is an example of what our children and grandchildren's reaction will be when we tell them we used to drive gas cars and had to "pay" for fuel.