• Energy United & Advanced Energy – EV Workshop Presentation

    (0) Ken Clifton

    On June 5, 2015 I spoke at the Energy United / Advanced Energy Electric Vehicle Workshop about my family’s experience of driving electric for the past 3 years.  The workshop was great, there was a BMW i3, a Tesla Model S, my Volt, an electric dune buggy, and an electric bicycle.

    June 5, 2015 Presentation June 5, 2015 Presentation

    Download a copy of the presentation to view the slides. In short it has been a very rewarding three years. We had the first Nissan LEAF in Western North Carolina, delivered in November of 2011. Our first charging station was provided by Duke Energy as part of their EV Charging Station pilot. The charging station is still being used every day.

    My wife and I both traded our LEAFs in on Chevrolet Volts in 2013. I very much wish we had started out with the Volts. Having said that, we appreciate them much more coming from the LEAF experience.

    Since the last upgrade to our solar PV, we are able to charge both cars and run the house pretty much offset by solar energy. In fact, during the month of May 2015 we produced 48 kWh more than we used to run the house and two cars.

  • Video: The True Cost of Gasoline

    (1) Ken Clifton

    Sometimes the truth hurts a lot. But then again, so does COPD and not being able to breathe. Watch this video on the true cost of gasoline.

  • NISSAN DC Fast Charger in Salisbury, NC

    (0) Ken Clifton

    As of today, NISSAN electric cars with a quick charge port can charge up to 80 percent in 30 minutes here in Salisbury, NC.  The fast charger should really help folks driving I-85 between Greensboro and Charlotte since we are right in the middle. Kevin Murphy of Ben Mynatt NISSAN sent me this photo today of the new DC fast charger that is now operational:  click to view status .

    New 480 volt DC fast charger in Salisbury, NC

    New 480 volt DC fast charger in Salisbury, NC

  • Regressive New NC Fee for Electric Vehicles

    (0) Ken Clifton
    NC Discourages EVs

    NC Discourages EVs

    So, with the New Year, the Legislators officially embark on another quest to discourage electric vehicles. We all breathe the same air, so they will be inhaling the effects of their own work along with the rest of us. Lets hope that all the studies about the ozone and air quality are wrong, otherwise they should worry about the increased risk of COPD, heart disease, lung cancer, etc.

    On an optimistic note, I don’t think their new fee applies to hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Anyone reading this with a different interpretation please comment. Here is a copy of the new law with references:


    SESSION 2013

    SESSION LAW 2013-360




    The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:



    SECTION 34.21.(a) G.S. 20-87 is amended by adding the following new
    subdivision to read:

    “(13) Additional fee for certain electric vehicles. At the time of an initial

    registration or registration renewal, the owner of a plug-in electric vehicle that is not a low-speed vehicle and that does not rely on a nonelectric source of power shall pay a fee in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00) in addition to any other required registration fees.”

    SECTION 34.21.(b) This section becomes effective January 1, 2014, and applies to initial or renewal motor vehicle registrations on or after that date.


    North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) (2013, July 26), Senate Bill
    402 / S.L. 2013-360 Appropriations Act of 2013, Retreived from NCGA Web site:
    http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/Senate/PDF/S402v7.pdf on January 1, 2014

    According to the Carolina Dealer Training (CDT) Web site of Kat Messenger, this new $100 fee is only applicable to vehicles with the fuel type “E” on the registration

    Also, it is imperative that you make sure the fuel code is correct. This is for
    “plug-in” electric vehicles with a fuel type of “E”; meaning, purely electric, and does not rely on a nonelectric source of power.


    Carolina Dealer Training (2013, Nov. 1), One Day Delay in Additional Registration Fee for Electric Vehicles. Retrieved from Carolina Dealer Training Web site:
    http://carolinadealertraining.com/?p=6213 on January 1, 2014

  • Catawba Sustainable Communities Talk

    (0) Ken Clifton
    Photo of Catawba College

    Catawba College, Salisbury, NC

    I gave a one hour talk to the Sustainable Communities class at the Center for the Environment of Catawba College located in Salisbury, NC today (November 11, 2013).


  • FILL-UP, SCHMILL-UP – Last Fill-UP Six Months Ago

    (0) Ken Clifton
    Last Fill-Up 6 Months Ago

    Last Fill-Up 6 Months Ago

    Are gas prices high these days? I wouldn’t know. Most Volt owners fill up once a month, but by charging regularly, I just went 6 months without a fill up in my Chevy Volt! Learn more about how it works: http://www.chevrolet.com/voltdcapp.html

    The VoltDC reports 277 gallons of gasoline saved.  Running the math @ $3.30 per gallon that amounts to $914 saved in less than one year.

    We could not be more pleased with our Chevrolet Volt!  There is no comparison to the Nissan LEAF that I owned for one year.  Chevrolet really stands behind their car and its battery!

    Volt Gallons Saved!

    Volt Gallons Saved!










  • How Far Behind Tennessee is North Carolina?

    (0) Ken Clifton

    Short answer:  real far, when it comes to electric vehicle charging sites…Last summer my family took a trip to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville Tennessee.  As a two electric car family, I popped up the Recargo App on the iPhone to check out near by charging stations.  Here is what I saw,  (notice most sites actually had TWO CHARGING STATIONS) and all this within 10 miles:

    Pigeon Forge Charging Sites Screen 2

    Pigeon Forge Sites Screen 1

    Pigeon Forge Charging Sites Screen 1


    Next, lets compare those screens to a map of Salisbury, North Carolina, aka an “EV Desert” with ONE charging station total:

    A North Carolina EV Desert Map, Salisbury NC

    You be the judge.  There really is NO COMPARISON.  But, it actually gets worse.  The one charging station for 20 miles in any direction is actually in a clean-up area at a dealership, so it is very difficult to even get to the station.

    So, while the North Carolina EV desert suffers from the 13th worst air quality in the entire USA, all efforts to get any businesses to roll out a charging station have failed — even with the free ChargePoint Jumpstart Program last year.  We sure did try — talking to numerous businesses and organizations. The program actually furnished a free station and an installation subsidy — not a single taker. Way to go North Carolina.  Oh, I forgot to mention, NC is going to tax folks extra for driving an EV.


  • NC Legislators Set to UNFAIRLY Tax Hybrid and Electric Cars

    (5) Ken Clifton

    The current NC Legislature is set to UNFAIRLY tax hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, and many more. Looks like folks who purchased a hybrid to save money and help the air quality will have to PAY MORE to do the right thing. I am providing links below to the latest articles at The Wilmington Star and Channel 6, WECT.

    The Senate’s version of the NC budget will tax ALL hybrid and electric car owners as if they ALL drive 20,000 miles per year because a flat fee is going to be charged.

    Fact: I drove 7,500 miles last year, yet with this legislation all hybrid and electric vehicle owners will pay the same amount regardless of the miles driven.
    Question: Why charge hybrid and electric cars a FLAT amount? A pure gas vehicle pays a different amount of tax based upon gallons consumed and miles driven. More efficient gas-only cars and motorcycles pay much less in gasoline taxes.  Gas car drivers can CHOOSE and CONTROL how much tax they pay.  Under this legislation hybrid and electric car owners have NO CHOICE…

    MAKE THIS FAIR: NC Legislators already know how many miles all vehicles are driven. The numbers are captured on EVERY state inspection. LETS BE REALLY FAIR and simply assess ALL vehicles a set fee per mile driven. The State already has the mileage numbers. USE THEM and be FAIR to ALL drivers. Don’t even say you can’t do this… Get real, it is all ALREADY in a computer. This legislation is nothing more than a band-aid. As gasoline vehicles get more efficient tax receipts will continue to fall. Also, next year the Legislators can get back together to tax hydrogen and cooking oil powered vehicles. Where do you stop? Use the odometer readings and fix everything ONCE.

    PLEASE DON’T PUT WORDS IN OUR MOUTHS, as printed in the Wilmington Star on May 21, 2013: (Rep) Rabon said. “I don’t think anyone that owns these vehicles will balk at all.”

    By the way, just mowing my yard I burn 15-20 gallons of NC gasoline per month in the summer which had GAS TAXES charged. My mower never drives on a NC road. Is that fair? Use the mileage readings for all vehicles and be fair to everyone instead of penalizing folks helping to bring our area closer to meeting air quality standards so that new businesses and JOBS can locate to our area.


    WECT Channel 6, “How Hybrid Car Owners Could Pay More to the State.” posted May 23, 2013: http://www.wect.com/story/22411295/how-hybrid-car-owners-could-pay-more-to-the-state

    Wilmington Star News, Draybold, W., “State Senate Targets Electric, Hybrid Owners in Budget.” posted May 21, 2013:  www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130521/ARTICLES/130529908/1177

  • Solar Presentation at Dan Nicholas Park

    (0) Ken Clifton

    I am speaking about Solar and Renewable Energy today at the Simple Living Festival at Dan Nicholas Park in Rowan County, NC:

    Dan Nicholas Park

    Simple Living Festival



  • New 2013 Energy Series Classes in April

    (0) Ken Clifton
    Spring 2013 Energy Series Class

    Solar Electric Class

    To register for the April 26th, Solar Electric Generation Class visit: http://www.rccc.edu/enrichment/events/event/basics-of-solar-electric-generation-2/

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