EV skeptic becomes an avid EV driver with solar panels on his roof



"When I filled out the online application to drive an electric MINI Cooper in 2008, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Back then I didn’t know much about electric cars. Sure, I knew about the EV1 and had seen Who Killed the Electric Car?, but since I had never personally seen an electric car (or actually driven in one) it was difficult to understand why I might prefer to drive an EV over an efficient gas-powered or hybrid vehicle. When I got the call a few months later that I was selected to be in the MINI-E Trial Lease program I had to think for a while. Did I really want to do this?

After talking it over with my wife I decided to do it. “How bad could it be?” I thought. If it breaks down all the time or if it loses power suddenly and is unsafe I’ll just give it back to them and refuse to pay. After 14 months and driving 38,000 miles in it my thoughts now are “How can I convince them to let me keep it longer?”

I still have 10 months left before I have to give it back and I’m already sad that I’ll have to say goodbye. The car is such a joy to drive it has convinced me that I’ll be driving electric from now on. The smooth acceleration, the regenerative braking, the instant torque and the quiet, peaceful driving experience makes it better than any other car I’ve owned… and that includes Mercedes & Porsches.

Everywhere I go people stop me and ask about the car. I’ve given dozens of test drives- some to total strangers who ask me about the car- and every single person who has driven the car said they would love to buy one and wanted to know when they can buy an electric car. People are constantly beeping their horns and giving me a “thumbs up” while I’m on the road and I even see people taking pictures of the car and my license plates that proudly say “EF-OPEC.” I even started a blog about my experiences with the MINI-E and I get emails from people all over the world asking me questions about the car and are looking for electric car information and contacts. My blog [] has had about 20,000 visitors in a little over a year. Clearly, people want to know more about electric cars!

I am so convinced that I’ll drive electric cars from now on that I recently installed an 8.8kw solar PV system at my home. It generates enough electricity to power my EV and most of my home’s electric use. This will ensure my fuel cost will be stable even if electricity rates go up in the future. Once people get a chance to experience electric cars I think many will share the same opinion as I do and decide that electric is the propulsion system they prefer. After all, even if the driving experience wasn’t better, (which it is!) there would still be the environmental benefits, energy independence, national security and low cost of ownership to consider! Go EV!"