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General Motors Selects Envision Solar’s EnvisionTrak™ Solar Trees®, CleanCharge™ Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

San Diego (October 14, 2010) – Envision Solar International, Inc., (OTCBB:EVSI), a leading sustainable infrastructure designer and developer, announced today that the company has been selected by General Motors, LLC to install its CleanCharge™ solar powered electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations integrated into EnvisionTrak™ tracking Solar Trees® at a number of prominent locations.

“We are pleased to have been selected by General Motors for these strategic installations that will enable Chevy Volts to leverage clean solar power to recharge their batteries without relying on carbon fuel generated electricity,” said Bob Noble, CEO of Envision Solar. “We applaud GM’s commitment to clean energy as well as green job creation through this initiative.”

The Chevy Volt extended-range electric car is expected to hit showrooms in November 2010 and will be rolled out initially in California, Michigan, Washington, D.C., Texas and New York. New Jersey and Connecticut will join in mid-2011.

“GM is committed to reducing carbon emissions and reliance on petroleum,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman, global product operations. “We chose Envision Solar because its clean charging infrastructure allows us to maximize the environmental benefits of our electric vehicles through the use of clean renewable energy and further demonstrates our commitment to the proliferation of sustainable EV charging infrastructure.”

Envision Solar’s Solar Tree with EnvisionTrak™ is a highly engineered parking lot solar array that is 20 to 25 percent more productive than conventional fixed solar arrays, due to the incorporation of dual axis tracking which enables the canopy to follow the sun throughout the day. “We have designed this technology with an architectural focus that enhances the overall aesthetic of corporate and commercial campuses,” Noble added. “The addition of our CleanCharge system makes this a truly comprehensive design and technology package, offering a value-added investment for businesses anticipating the dramatic growth in the electric vehicle market over the next decade.”

Pike Research forecasts that the market for plug-in hybrid and battery electric passenger cars and light duty trucks will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 106 percent between 2010 and 2015, resulting in sales of more than 3.24 million vehicles during that period.


Has Electric Transportation Arrived?

This is not a real magazine cover, but someday electric transportation, whether two wheeled or four, is bound to make the covers of mainstream media. Electric bikes for under $500 are widely available now, and 3 and 4 wheeled, 1 and 2 person conveyances, including cars and trucks are available for those with deeper pockets, in limited numbers. The E-Zip shown is ours, and is charged by the solar panels shown. No fossil fuels necessary.


Putting it all together: The electric cargo bicycle

The longtail cargo bicycle and the electric assist are both pieces of a puzzle. That puzzle is how to make a bicycle into a practical people-and-stuff mover for everyday use for short trips, in place of a car. The cargo bicycle on its own is a great concept, but if you live in a hilly place (like I do), it can be a bit difficult to haul a hundred pounds of kids or dog food up and down those hills on a regular occasion. After we got our new Madsen cargo bike, which can haul up to four kids at once (covered in more detail in Part II), I was excited to own a whole-family transportation bike. But the ride from my home starts with a big hill. And if I was feeling less than 100%, I was just not motivated to pedal that bike full of kids up that hill. The end result was that, in the first 2 months that we had the bike, I used it about once every week or two for a weekend outing to the park or farmer’s market, and that was all I could handle. The point was really driven home to me on Easter weekend when I wanted to bike the family over to an Easter egg hunt, which was in a hilly part of town about 8-9 miles away. After getting everyone together, I realized that I didn’t even know exactly where the hunt was located, and since it was in the hilly part of town, I might get lost and wander around for a while looking for the place. The thought of hauling a bike full of kids over steep hills when lost was too much for me, so we took the car. It turns out we did have troubles finding the place, so my concerns were founded.

Then we installed an electric assist kit by eZee. What a difference! Suddenly it became fun to load up the bike with kids and go out for a ride. I wouldn’t have worried about getting lost, because hauling the kids up the hills became easy to do. This particular electric motor kit is activated by a throttle control that is on the handlebar, similar to a motorcycle throttle. I can pedal the bike, I can use electric power, or I can do both together. So I have complete control over when and how much power I want the electric motor to add (and even though I’m in pretty good shape, the motor can do more than I can!) We now use the bike all the time for running kids around the place. And it works great for doing errands like picking up dog food, garden mulch, and other big bulky stuff.


SXM Needs to invest in wind and solar energy

St. Maarten, “Today”, Monday June 9th, 2008


GREAT BAY – We haven’t seen anything yet as far as the global energy crisis is concerned, says Steve Spence, director of New York-based Green Trust. “Gas at the pump is now around $4 a gallon in the States, but within three years I expect to see prices like $10 a gallon. We have to conserve; there is no other solution. Renewable fuels will not solve the problem, simply because we are unable to plant enough crops to produce a sufficient amount of bio-fuel.”
What does this mean for St. Maarten? The price of gas has just gone up to Naf. 2.50 ($1 .404 per liter). If the price were to follow the trend Spence predicts for the United States, motorists would be paying Naf. 6.25 ($3.51) per liter by the year 2011 –  and that’s right around the corner. Such fuel prices will have a serious impact for the island, not only on motorists, but also on our whole energy supply system. “St. Maarten will have to invest heavily in solar and wind power,” Spence says. He outlined his vision on St. Maarten’s energy-future Saturday evening during an exposé at Enviro Week in the Emilio Wilson Park. Spence, 43, has been living off the grid for five years now, meaning that he does not buy any energy from a utilities company back home. He is an IT engineer and an electronics technician who describes himself as a green conservative. “I probably would have been a hippie in the 60′s if I had been old enough,” he says on his web site. Spence lives off grid, powering his energy needs with solar and wind energy. As a back up, he uses a diesel generator that runs on vegetable – oil.


Production is down, demand increases

Spence’s view on the future of the energy markets hinges on two principal observations. First of all, the emerging economies in China and India result in a higher demand for oil. Arab countries also start using more oil. At the same time, world oil production has peaked in 2006, and is now in decline. To sum up: demand is increasing, and production is falling. That makes oil –  and by extension gas at the pump, and the traditional production of electricity – more expensive. “There will come a moment when you will not be able to buy oil at any price,” Spence says. “So you need alternatives for the moment when oil is no longer available.” In St. Maarten, utilities company GEBE produces electricity using diesel generators. Last year, the company invested. $31.9 million in two new Wartsilä diesel generators that will be delivered to the island next year; they will become operational in 2010. If Spence’s doomsday scenario becomes reality, the island will have to invest in alternatives –  and fast. Sun and wind energy are two untapped resources, the New Yorker says. One wind turbine can produce enough electricity for 700 homes.”
Twenty wind turbines

There are approximately 13,500 homes on the Dutch side of the island. To cover all energy needs with wind power, GEBE would have to install 20 wind turbines with a production capacity of 2.3 Megawatt each. The investment would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $94 million, or 167 million guilders. What if GEBE does not jump on the bandwagon? Spence: “This island enjoys plenty of sunshine and there is plenty of wind too. It blows my mind that not every home in St. Maarten has at least one or two solar panels on its roof. Why this is so, I do not know.”  Spence also discovered a misconception about solar panels. “Many people think solar panels are only fit to heat water. But there are also solar panels that produce electricity.” If GEBE, for one reason or another does not make the switch to wind energy, citizens have the option to take their own measures. “I can install a 1000 watt residential wind turbine for $1,000,” says Spence. “They are not hurricane resistant, but there is a solution for that situation. When a hurricane approaches, you crank down the turbine tower and when the weather improves, you crank it up again.” Investing in wind energy does not mean that diesel-powered systems have to be discarded. They can function as back up. In remote locations, wind energy is a cost-effective alternative for grid-extension. Private investments in wind energy do not have to cost homeowners any money. They can finance their investment and pay off the loan to the bank in seven to ten years in installments they would otherwise have to pay to the utilities company. “You don’t pay more money every month, but you are disconnected from the grid,” says Spence.


The decline in oil production and the world’s ever-increasing demand make the need for conservation more pressing, Spence says. Energy efficient lighting and vehicles and insulated homes have to be part of the solution. “People will also have to consider car pooling, and limit the amount of trips they make with their cars.” Another energy-saving method is eliminating what Spence .calls “phantom loads.” This is the energy electrical appliances like TV’s, VCR’s and computers consume in stand-by mode. “I connect these appliances to an electrical strip and when I switch the strip off, they do not consume anything anymore,” Spence says. St. Maarten is also an ideal environment for the introduction of electric cars, Spence points out. “I could build an electric car with a range of around fifty miles that performs better than a gasoline-powered vehicle, even when it has to go up steep hills.”

Paul Mooij, founder of the Caribbean Foundation for Sustainability (CFS) that organizes Enviro Week, told Today that his organization will write a pressing letter to the Executive Council to draw its attention to the looming energy crisis and the possible solutions for St: Maarten.
For more information about living of the grid and other alternative energy solutions, go to




One could of course argue that Green Trust director Steve Spence has a product to sell and that we ought to take his message about soaring oil prices and the subsequent consequences for energy supply in St. Maarten with a grain of salt.
The Dutch Prime Minister Colijn famously told his citizens in a radio address on March 11, 1936, “I request that the listeners, when they go to bed, go to sleep as peacefully as they do on other nights. For the time being there is no reason whatsoever to be really concerned.”
These lines, later condensed to the more accessible term, “Why don’t you all go to sleep peacefully”, are often mistakenly contributed to Colijn on the eve of Germany’s invasion. In reality, Colijn spoke the words four years earlier, a couple of days after Nazi-Germany cancelled the treaty of Locarno, and after Hitler began to militarize the Rhineland.
Looking back, the four years that passed between Colijn’s unfortunate assessment and Hitler’s attack on the Netherlands, seem like an awfully short time. The Dutch had every reason to be concerned about Hitler’s activities. Had the government inspired them to take measures, many lives could have been saved. But the why-don’t-you-go-to-sleep-peacefully speech gave citizens a false sense of security.
A few years later, the Dutch government was off the mark again, when it told citizens how to deal with German firebombs (pick them up and stick them in a bucket of sand). Images of Rotterdam’s bombardment did not stop the government from repeating this type of ridiculous advice for a nuclear attack at the height of the cold war (cover yourself with a white sheet).
In other words, history proves that governments are not the reliable partners they ought to be. How does this relate to Spence’s predictions about the energy market and the way St. Maarten ought to react to it?
We let our readers be the judge of that, but it is almost certain that the energy markets will at least move in the direction that Spence has indicated.
That ought to be §sufficient reason to jump into action and to review the way St Maarten meets the community’s energy needs thoroughly. How our government will react to the situation is anybody’s guess. It will be a rainy day in hell when oil prices drop back to that idyllic level of $25 a barrel. That is not going to happen, ever:
Will it get worse? All indicators point in that direction.
Do we have alternatives to fend of the consequences of Spence’s doomsday scenario?
To make those alternatives a reality we need political awareness first, followed by the political will to create solutions for the future that makes the island less dependant on a commodity that becomes scarcer every day. That future is not a next-generation thing; it is right around the corner.
It brings to mind the American expression, “the light is on, but there is nobody home” – a reference to somebody who is mentally not all there. If we do not tackle the energy issue in a decisive manner, Country St. Maarten could end up in a situation where “everybody is home, but all the lights are out.”
For sure, nobody wants that to happen.




Refrigeration: Out with the propane, in with the electric

After 4 years off-grid with propane refrigeration, we have our power system built to the point where we can afford the electric to power a fridge. OK, it’s not all us, refrigeration technology is advancing, efficiency is increasing, and the prices are dropping. For less than half the price of the propane fridge, we picked up a Kenmore 9.5 cu. ft. (Model 62912 – $350) that uses less electricity than a 100 watt light bulb, 75 watts running to be exact (750w startup surge, as reported by our Kill-A-Watt kWh Meter, for a total of .7 kWh / day with interior temps of 75F – 85F)*. Propane is common in off-grid homes because the power systems tend to be small, and some devices, like refrigeration, cooking, water heating, and drying, are not appropriate to be driven from a limited power source. Propane is the necessary evil. Now that we have moved to a energy efficient electric unit that’s within our generation capacity, our propane usage will drop, as well as the additional (but minor) maintenance that the propane units require. This is a big plus for us, as the electronic control module on our Norcold unit has died twice, and although a warranty repair, no local Norcold dealer will make a house call, the warranty is a depot repair only (parts & labor), and even though we have offered to pay for the house call, Neither Norcold nor the local dealers will oblige. We are done with Norcold.

* See the new P4460 Kill-A-Watt with builtin battery backup so memory is not lost during power outages or moving the meter. It also allows you to enter your “per kWh charge” to track usage costs.


Electricity for the Farm

Just finished reading a free online text called “Electricity for the Farm” at This is an excellent old time text on hydroelectric and pre grid living. You’ll absorb some great old time knowledge and ideas on how you can use waterpower for your home or business. We also recommend “Steam, Steel and Electric” at and “Electricity for Boys” (though that’s not terribly PC anymore, and girls will like it too) at


Florida’s Diesel Electric Hybrid Buses

A buddy of mine, Ron Morrison, grabbed a shot of this Diesel Electric Hybrid bus.

Farther away from the beach I saw this city bus. Hybrid diesel-electric. It was really quiet zooming away from a stoplight & was hitting 40 mph. I had to wait till both of us caught a stoplight for me to hop out of my car to take this picture.

More info can be found at


Upgrade your bicycle to electric

We have had an eZip electric bike for 2 years. We have been very pleased with our solar charged electric transportation, and a kit is available for you to upgrade your bike.

This new Currie Electro-Drive Conversion Kit easily transforms a standard bicycle and converts it into a modern electric powered ride. The Currie Electro Drive conversion kit is designed to fit on bicycles that use a standard 7-speed freewheel which is quite common today. If the bike that you are planning on converting has something other then a 7-speed freewheel, the kit may still be fitted however we strongly recommend that the conversion be made by an authorized Currie Dealer.


* Powerful 450 Watt Rear Wheel Drive System
* Stylish Rack Mount Battery System
* Thumb Actuated Throttle with Battery Guage
* Complete with all the Necessities to Convert your Bike
* Easily Add an Optional Second Battery Pack to Double the Range


“Weird Trick” eliminates electric bills, fat, and annoying posts?

I hate all these “Weird Trick” emails and advertising links. You know right from the title, they are promoting some “secret” method of getting something for nothing, and they are right. That something is money from your wallet, and the nothing is what you get in return. There are very few shortcuts in life. You can’t get rid of your electric bill without a significant investment in Solar Panels, Inverters, Batteries, and other pieces of equipment. You can’t get rid of fat without changing your eating and exercise habits.

That said, If you are serious about reducing your bills (and your waistline), there are tried and true methods of reducing your resource consumption, and efficiently using the resources given to us.

Grow a garden, and eat your own produce.
Turn lights and equipment off when not using it.
Install more efficient appliances.
Live closer to the natural sun cycles, don’t stay up late at night watching TV.
Work outside more, gardening, microfarming, and more.
Use site grown wood for heat and hot water (saves money on fuel, and grows muscle / reduces fat).
Use Solar / Wind to power your home (it’s not cheap up front) and insulate yourself from power outages and increasing electric / fuel bills.
Get a bicycle and reduce automobile usage when practical.
Harvest and store rainwater for domestic or irrigation purposes.

There, those are some weird tricks. Learn more at the ESSNMAG Resource Page.


The Electric Taylor-Dunn Truck

Taylor-Dunn Electric TruckHere’s a flexible electric vehicle. In Panel Van and Stake Body versions (other formats available), it can suit a wide variety of applications. With a 25 mph top speed, and a 40 mile range (terrain dependent), it’s ideal for around town or around the farm use. It would even be useful as a local delivery vehicle, with many short range hops, like the old milk or ice delivery. Load capacity is 1000+ lbs., and can tow 2000+ lbs. (model dependent), although range will be affected.

By adding one of our power panels, consisting of a Inverter / Charger and a Solar Charge Controller, you have an ideal base for a solar charged vehicle with onboard 120vac. The Van version even makes a nice camping vehicle, just customize interior as wished. Combine with a Solar Tarp with integrated rain water harvesting capability.