In the news: Avista’s Sun car   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Electricity, Renewable Energy

Avista's Sun Car
Post by Dan Kolbet

If you happened to read the Spokesman-Review this morning, you might have seen a great article about Avista’s Sun Car and electric vehicle work along with the smiling mug of my co-worker and occasional blogger Hugh Imhof. You can check out the article here.

I’ve written about the Sun Car a few times, but it was nice to see the broad reach of the S-R to spread the word too. Here’s the deal – the car (actually two cars) are hybrid electric Toyota Priuses that have been modified to plug-in to electricity and hold a charge. The modifications roughly double car’s miles per gallon to around 90 MPG (not too shabby).

Employees of Avista have been driving the cars around our service territory in Idaho and Washington since last summer. As part of the project we installed solar panels on our company headquarters to help power the cars too. You can see a live feed of the power generated by the solar panels here.

On a personal note, I think this technology is pretty cool. Driving around in one of these cars is a different experience – it’s really quiet – but it’s also just the beginning of the electric vehicle revolution. As the price of gasoline goes up, more of us think about cutting back our driving or carpooling more. But what if you could plug in your car every night and get the juice to power your travels right from your utility? It seems like a convenient option.

Yet, from a utility perspective, it’s somewhat of a tricky prospect. These new cars will collectively take a great deal of power. While I don’t think everyone can afford to rush out and buy a brand new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle today, there will come a time when these cars become a viable (and affordable) option. Testing the cars as Avista is today ensures that we will be ready if and when our customers need us to meet their car-charging needs.
Posted by  System Account  on  3/1/2010
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