Electric vehicles on display and speakers during GEO Solar EV Tour 2012.

The GPAD and electric car charging behing the Electrical Trades Center building on Goodale.

GEO visit to Columbus

First off, a little bit of trivia: Who invented the first electric car?

Surprisingly, Thomas Edison invented The Detroit Electric a century ago. The 1912 auto was charged by Edison with electricity generated from a windmill and used an alkaline storage battery and went approximately 170 mpg per charge at 25 mph.

The first stop on the 2012 GEO EV solar tour was June 6 at the Electrical Trades Center in Columbus. The event featured a number of speakers and showed off the Chevy Volt and Mitsubishi Miev back behind the building on Goodale being powered up by the Green Power Alternative Demonstrator (GPAD). The GPAD features a solar panel array and wind turbine used to make the electricity to power up electric vehicles at the car-charging stations in the parking lot.

The Chevy Volt electric vehicle was being driven by owner Bill Kuss and Green Energy Ohio's Bill Spratley was along for the tour. According to Kuss, he purchased his Volt from a dealer in Michigan for approximately $47,000 with a $7,500 tax credit. The vehicle is a 4 cylinder Internal combustible engine and it is listed as getting 95 mpg city with electric and 93 mpg on highway using electric. It gets 35 mpg in the city with gas and 40 on the highway using gas. He plugs his car into a solar array to charge it. (Kuss owns a solar company in Worthington). Kuss said that he usually gets an average of 29 mpg in the winter and 34 mpg in the summer using electricity.

Attendees were able to try out the Miev and Volt, but I did not have time to test drive either of them.

For more information about the Chevy Volt, visit http://www.chevrolet.com/volt-electric-car/. For more information about the Mitsubishi Miev, visit http://i.mitsubishicars.com/ or try one out in person at Ricart. For more information about Green Energy Ohio (GEO) and events, visit http://www.greenenergyohio.org/.

If you're interested in learning more about solar energy use in Ohio, Westerville has a pilot project going on with SmartGrid and Solar Power. Details can be found at http://www.wattworks.com/SmartGrid%20-%20Westerville%20Ohio.htm.