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Real Life EV Stories

Real Life Experiences of Electric Vehicle Owners

Find out how people are living with electric cars and renewable energy today!-

Interviews are available with any of these people, by request.

Please contact Zan Dubin Scott, Communications Director, Plug In America, (310) 392-1130, zan@pluginamerica.org

See these highlighted people below

  • Avi Herskovitz drives over 267,000 EV miles
  • The Straus Manure Powered RAV4 EV
  • Ellie the Electric Car inspires a new generation

Real Sustainable Living with EV+PV

People Living with Solar Photovoltaics (PV) Plus Electric Vehicles (EV). Real examples of people, living today, with sustainable energy and driving.

Arnold de Leon, Cupertino

EV: 2002 Toyota RAV4-EV.

PV: 10.9-kW system.

PHOTO: Click on photos for full size version.


Stephen Casner, Sunnyvale

EV: 2003 Toyota RAV4-EV.

PV: 4-kW system.

PHOTO: Click on photos for full size version.


Norma and Alan Williamson, Cerritos.

EV: 2002 RAV4-EV

Quote from Letter to Governor Schwarzenegger: "Our 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV is powered by the solar photovoltaic system on our home's roof. And this is the exciting part: We offset approximately 40,000 pounds of greenhouse gases each and every year. We are two California citizens, Governor Schwarzenegger, that are actually helping to meet your goals in the fight against global warming by driving an electric car powered by solar panels." - Norma Williamson (download letter pdf)

PHOTO of Norma and Alan Williamson with EV and house with solar PV panels showing. Click on photo for full size version.


Betsy Thagard, Berkeley

EV: 2002 Toyota RAV4-EV.

PV: 3.7-kW system.


Mark Jensen, Los Altos Hills

EV: Toyota RAV4-EV.

PHOTO: Click on photos for full size version.


Peter Buckner and family, San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood.

EV: 2002 Toyota RAV4-EV.

PV: 4-kW grid intertied system offsets 67% of electricity used to power the house and the car.

Quote: "I haven't changed my lifestyle to accommodate solar. This installation pays for itself, so the `green' aspect is merely an additional benefit." - Peter Buckner

PHOTOS: click on photos for full size version.


Meg Newman and Sherry Boschert, San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood.

EV: 2002 Toyota RAV4-EV

EV: 4.8-kW grid-intertied PV system plus solar hot water collector.

Quote: "We went solar in 1998. Then the next logical step was to get an electric car. This is as close as you can get to a car that runs on sunshine!" - Meg Newman

PHOTOS of Newman with RAV, and house with panels. Click on photos for full size version.


Marc Geller, San Francisco's Haight Ashbury neighborhood.

EV: 2002 RAV4-EV

PV: 5kW grid-intertied system

Quote: "After I got an electric car, I realized that I could make my own fuel. Solar PV could power not only my house, but my car. Solar was always attractive, but having an electric car pushed me over the hump." - Marc Geller

PHOTOS of Marc with RAV, and house (panels not showing). Click on photos for full size version.


Todd Fisher, Creston.

EV: 2001 Toyota RAV4-EV.

PV: 8-kW grid-tied system powers the ranch and driving.

PHOTO: click on photo for full size version.


Howard Stein and Linda Nicholes, Anaheim Hills.

EV: 2002 and 2001 Toyota RAV4-EVs.

PV: 4.2-kW grid-tied system powers the house and driving.

Howard Stein and Linda Nicholes’ residential solar array is a 4.8 kW system with solar battery back-up. Most of the panels were installed in 2000 right before the so-called "electricity crisis" in California. The white RAV4 EV was leased in 2001 and has been "fed" by these panels ever since. A radiant red 2008 Tesla roadster also draws power from the panels.  The silver RAV4 EV gets its juice from Howard and Linda’s other solar home.

PHOTO: click on photo for full size version.


Tim & Vibeke Hastrup, Granite Bay, CA

Quote: "We make no sacrifices. We generate a significant portion of our wn energy (almost as many kWh/year as our EV's use). We're not unique. Most folks we've talked to would love to join us plugging in."

PRESENTATION DOWNLOAD: "Plugging In - one family's experiences ", presentation by Tim Hastrup to CARB in Sept 2006 download pdf

PHOTOS attached of family, and house with solar panels. Click on photo for full size version.


More Real Electric Vehicle Experiences

These are real stories about real EV drivers.

Avi Hershkovitz, more than 267,000 all-electric miles and still going!

Over ten years ago Avi drove his first EV1, putting 22,000 miles on it before it was replaced with the EV1 Gen 2. Avi drove 43,000 miles on his second car before General Motors took it back. Next Avi moved to the 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV which he's still driving today for his daily commute of 100-150 miles per day.  He replaced the battery pack at 150,000 miles. And his RAV4 EV is still going strong after more than 202,000 miles! Keep rolling on electricity Avi!


Albert Straus, Farmer, renewable electricity generator, electric car driver

Once upon a time, the Straus Family Creamery had to buy electricity from the utility and gasoline from an oil company. Now, Albert Straus' farm creates renewable power from its methane digester which captures naturally occurring gas from cow manure and converts it into electricity. Some of that electricity powers his electric car, a 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV. Whether using solar PV, wind power or cow poop, renewable power into plug-in cars, trucks and SUVs is true zero-emission driving. Read more.

Strauss Family Creamery uses methane from cows to produce electricity and power an all-electric RAV4.


Ellie the Electric Car inspires a new generation

Julia Ammons and David Ratliff live in a suburb of Atlanta Georgia. David has a background in Electrical and Electromechanical Engineering and owns a growing business outfitting vehicles for law enforcement agencies. He has had an interest in Electric Vehicles for most of his life, but finally got fed up with gas prices when they first rose to above $2.00 per gallon. He was searching for a vehicle to convert when he found "Ellie", a 1995 Hyundai Elantra, sitting with a blown engine at a storage lot, near a friend's auto repair shop. He bought the little car for $70, then by winning various auctions on eBay, he purchased most of the necessary components to convert her to electric drive. He designed the mechanical components and had a friend fabricate them at his machine shop. David then performed the electrical and mechanical conversion work himself. In total, Ellie has cost about $6000 to convert to electric drive, including the batteries. Aside from a flat tire and a once leaky power steering hose, Ellie has been completely trouble-free for over 2000 miles. David is absolutely convinced of the viability of electric vehicles in today's society, and saves an estimated $100 to $200 a month in gasoline bills by driving Ellie. On average, Ellie costs approximately $6.00 a month to charge every night. Ellie has given the "EV Grin" to many people who are curious and want to drive her. More about Ellie can be seen found at http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/887

Inspired by the successful conversion of Ellie, David is now in the initial planning stages of designing a custom-built 2-passenger, 3-wheeled lectric Vehicle. The design goals are for the vehicle to be safe, comfortable, highway capable with a top speed of 80 MPH and a range of 100 miles on commonly available lead-acid batteries. It is planned to have air conditioning and electric heat as well as power windows, etc. In the near future, when new battery technologies emerge, his new vehicle will simply use the new batteries to get an even better range.

Julia is an Early Childhood Educator with a passion for teaching the next generation to "Dump the Pump". After meeting David in 2005 while he was in the middle of converting his to a fully electric vehicle, Julia was inspired to write a children's book telling the story of this sweet little cars conversion. Julia believes that it is imperative to teach children at a very young age the importance of breaking our nations dependency on oil. Julia's goal is to educate the next generation, helping them understand that there is a better and cleaner alternative to gasoline.

At this time Julia is in the process of creating a math and science based curriculum to be taught in elementary schools across the nation using her book "The Adventures of Ellie the Electric Car".

Julia hopes that her passion for EV's will spread to her students and as they become the future leaders of this country that passion will change the world as we know it. Julia and David spend time in schools reading "The Adventures of Ellie the Electric Car" to young students and introducing them the "real" Ellie, allowing them to make the connection between fantasy and reality. By the end of their presentation every child wants his or her own "Ellie". What a wonderful world it will be when everyone has the "EV Grin".