What does driving an Electric Car have in common with PC power management?

Two electric realities collide
 
I’ve just taken delivery of a new car, and it got me thinking that there are a many similarities between my choices in deciding to buy this car and the choices around picking a PC power management solution.

The car I’ve bought is the brand new Vauxhall Ampera – a re-bodied variant of the Chevrolet Volt. My new car has a unique selling point as it’s the first ‘extended range electric vehicle’. It always runs on electricity, and you plug it in to the mains to charge up, but unlike all other electric vehicles it also has an on-board petrol driven generator.

The battery has a 40-50 mile range, and if you only travel that far before getting back home to recharge then it uses no petrol at all, however if you need to go further, the generator kicks in and provides electricity to keep you going for another 300 miles (or as far as you need to since you can fill up at any gas station to go further).

Since my daily commute is approximately a 50-mile round trip, I will be able to drive the majority of that on battery and only need to fill up very infrequently. Couple that with the fact that I’ll be paying no road tax or congestion charges as well as much lower insurance premiums, my running costs for owning a vehicle have dropped dramatically. Also, my need to travel any distance at any time is not limited in any way. The best upshot of all is that now I’ll only be paying about 10% of the cost of my previous monthly petrol bill in electricity costs.
 
That’s where the similarity to PC power management comes in. Availability management is a key efficiency measure within PC power management. With a comprehensive PC power management tool like NightWatchman Enterprise from 1E, less downtime is caused by reboots patching and ensuring the health of PCs out of hours, which means productivity remains unaffected. You can benefit from a more efficient use of resources (electricity) without having to compromise on user experience.

The main reason I chose an electric car was to reduce running costs and to insure against the continued rising cost of petrol. As a nice side effect, I’m also helping to reduce my own personal carbon footprint. Since centrally-produced electricity produces far less carbon than the amount I would have emitted from a normal internal combustion engine, and having switched to a ‘green’ electricity tariff, my footprint is further offset.
 
It’s similar with PC power management. Although many organizations invest in PC power management to lower IT costs, there are very real carbon emissions savings to be made. Typically, an organization can achieve a 40% reduction in PC power costs, around 380 kWh per PC per year preventing 586 pounds of CO2 per user per year from being emitted into the atmosphere.[i].

There were cheaper all-electric cars on the market (such as the Nissan Leaf), but since the Ampera completely removes any range anxiety, it  is worth the extra money, plus it’s a higher spec, more luxurious car.
 
When selecting a PC power management product, there are many options to choose from, including premium, cheap, or even free. While the free options are still preferable to nothing at all, they are missing a number of key capabilities. Sometimes free is too cheap, as we like to say. If you’re interested in reading more about this, please take a look at the article on page 6 of latest issue of V1EWPOINT.

Another reason it makes sense to buy an electric vehicle now is the fact that the UK government is paying £5000 towards it – an incentive to get people into electric vehicles. Many utility companies like Pacific Gas and Electric and Manitoba Hydro, two 1E customers, also offer rebates or incentives for using PC power management, sometimes covering the entire cost of the software investment.
 
I love being able to see the savings I have made on the in-car dashboard. Accurate reporting is a fundamental part of power management. Getting the energy consumption levels right is the principal underlying factor to prove my savings, and the same is true of NightWatchman, with the most accurate energy consumption reporting providing the best results, since CO2 emissions and monetary savings are a function of kWh consumed.

Buying the Ampera has proved the financial savings and efficiencies that I can make as well as how I am reducing my carbon footprint. I could have chosen any number of electric cars but its extended range which gives ability to let me drive wherever, whenever gives me freedom and options. Good PC power management will do much the same – on a larger scale. Anyone can switch off a computer, but automated PC power management tools make sure that the user can use it whenever they need to, that IT can patch it as needed, it remains healthy and energy savings are reported accurately.



[i] Ovum, Selecting a PC Power Management Solution Vendor, December 2011, Rhonda Ascierto.

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