This month we are pleased to introduce Mark Goodier as our guest blogger. Mark is a DJ on Smooth Radio and a pioneer of green technology, he has most recently become the first man in the UK to purchase the new Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. Here he discusses his experiences to date.
I heard the first mention of the phrase "hosepipe ban" on the radio this morning. Didn't we have enough rain this winter?
Aside from loving these brighter days for the obvious reason of how good they make us feel, my renewed interest in hours of sunshine is down to the 14 solar pv panels British Gas installed on our roof nearly 4 weeks ago.
We did have some initial concerns about how they would look on the house but after talking with one of our neighbours in particular who showed huge enthusiasm, we went ahead and now they are up, I think they look great.
What was particularly impressive was the care taken with the planning of the install. Lee Barlow from British Gas was meticulous in both the planning and execution of the install, which was completed in just one day - thanks to the diligence of the team on the job.
The 14 panel photovoltaic array is a 2.94 peak system and the best we have had in a day so far is around16 kWh of power generated. In total in the three weeks plus since install, we have generated more than 300 kWh.
The trick of course is to make use of as much of the electricity you generate as you can. So we're trying to charge the electric cars during the day when they need it as well as training ourselves to doing things like running the washing machine and dishwasher in daylight time, rather than at night when of course the system is not generating.
It's pretty infectious this stuff. I started driving electric cars about ten years ago because they are exempt from the congestion charge, and they are also free to park on meters and pay and display bays in central London. For many years I've enjoyed not visiting the petrol station for my day to day driving and that sense of relief has been amplified by the big rises in the cost of fuel recently.
Generating some of the power you need also gets you thinking about saving energy and I'm watching with interest the range of LED low energy lights and bulbs that are coming to market from companies like Philips. I've tried a few and they do seem to work very much better than compact fluorescents but at this point they are so expensive that you will really pay for being an early adopter. I'm tempted to wait a few months to see if the prices come down.
Having driven my Ford Th!nk all these years I'm well used to the “dodgem car” leg pulling, but last month, I was lucky enough to be one of the first in the country to get the best new production electric car the Nissan Leaf. In my opinion this is a revolutionary vehicle. It drives like a top end petrol car, but much quieter, and a really smooth ride. People are no longer taking the mickey and several of my friends have said they want one.
When I went to the Geneva motor show Francois Bancon, the guy at Nissan who heads up the future new vehicle operation for the company, described the decision to develop the all electric Leaf as a strategy correction. Meaning that Nissan see electric vehicles as a definite part of the future of motoring as opposed to some sort of experimental phase and their commitment to the Leaf is huge, with several production and battery plants around the world.
It looks like all the major manufacturers agree at least in part with that strategy correction and you can expect to see lots of EV's on the road this next few years.
Mark has been a radio DJ for 25 years and has presented shows on both local and national radio. His presenter credits include shows on: Classic FM, Smash Hits Radio, Real Radio and BBC Radio One - where he presented the prestigous Radio One Breakfast Show and the Official UK Top 40 Chart. You can currently listen in to Mark's show 10-1pm daily on Smooth Radio.