This restless mind got to grinding on what the impact of electrifying transportation in Trinity County might have on the revenue of Trinity PUD. After some back-of-the-envelope calculations and reference to Caltrans traffic counts it looks like some significantly large numbers and dollars may be involved, maybe enough to largely cover that gap between income and expenses. Such a conversion will not happen overnight but there is no time like the present to get started.

It is currently costing folks in the neighborhood of six times more to use gasoline or diesel than to use electricity to power their vehicle. It costs me $3 or less of TPUD electricity to drive to Redding and back. It costs $18 or more to drive on petrol. Add that up over a few days and trips and you are talking real money. YMMV, of course. Remember, that is just the cost of fuel. An electric vehicle requires no oil changes, tune-ups or all the other maintenance required by gasoline and diesel vehicles either. You will have to change tires, but with the regenerative braking you may never need a brake job.

This seems an ideal matching of interests between provider and consumer. The provider, TPUD, stands to gain a new and profitable market for power, while we can save a ton of money, money that can be spent in the stores, restaurants, and businesses right here. There seems little downside to TPUD were it to promote the use of electric vehicles while the local grids have excess capacity to carry the new load of charging cars and trucks. That added revenue can then be set aside for grid upgrades that will be necessary to meet the ever-rising demand from both locals as well as travelers. The Tesla Supercharger station being installed at the Holiday parking lot should be the first of many. We need one in Hayfork, Trinity Center, and one downriver around Hawkins Bar or Salyer. Tesla has a partner program and would like to hear from you if you have a location and would like to host a Supercharger station. If you have a resort, hotel, or motel they would like to set you up with Destination chargers and put you on their map. There are competing EV charging systems, as well. The more charges we can capture on our local system, the better the health of our communities.

The most common questions I get about my car are how far it goes on a charge and how long it takes to charge. Mine has a range of 300 miles, which has proven more than adequate. The different models and brands vary. You will want to shop according to your needs. It may take an additional 15 or 20 minutes to charge your car while on a trip as compared to a fill-up but think about all the time you saved every day by being able to charge your car or pickup conveniently and safely at home instead of driving out of your way to find a gas station, waiting for a pump, and taking the time to fill up. On a dark and stormy night what would you rather do, go to a stinky gas station with sketchy characters hanging around, or simply, safely, and much less expensively plug in when you get home?

One more thing. Some folks are not too sure about the whole idea of electric cars and trucks. I have driven over a million miles in all kinds of cars and trucks on all kinds of roads. I can say without reservation the car I have now is the best vehicle I have ever driven. Between the high torque and regenerative braking from the electric motor, the car becomes an extension of the driver. When you depress the accelerator pedal it smoothly and quickly responds. When you let off on the accelerator the motor becomes a generator and causes the car to slow down as if you were braking. The more you back off the pedal the more braking. It will bring your car nearly to a stop. Take a drive. It will change your life. For more information, write to:

(1) comment

Trinity Bob

I like your ideas and good analysis, Mr. Aven.

While it makes more sense to keep my 30-plus-year-old car on the road rather than incurring the environmental costs of buying a new one, when I do replace it, it will be with an EV.

We in the TPUD service area are especially fortunate to have plentiful, clean electricity. The transition will be bumpy, of course, as are all major transformations, but you're right. The sooner we begin, the sooner we will all enjoy the benefits.

If they don't already, I imagine TPUD will offer rebates/discounts for home-installed chargers, and standalone charging stations installed throughout the county will bring the many benefits you describe.

Thank you for sharing your experiences as well as the details of your "fuel" vs. the fuel the rest of us are using.

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