Major auto companies are now close to bringing their first electric vehicles onto the market. But in many cases these new vehicles are as big and heavy as their gasoline powered brethren, and consequently burn just as much energy even though they take it from batteries rather than a fuel tank. In the greater scheme of things, I’m not convinced that helps us very much.
I believe there is instead a bright future for a spectrum of ‘micro’ electric vehicles, from battery powered bicycles up to compact size cars, including this new concept car named Trev (Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle).
Electric motors and batteries have improved substantially over the past one hundred years, but today’s much hyped electric cars have a range that is – at best – comparable to that of their predecessors at the beginning of the 20th century. Weight, comfort, speed and performance have eaten up any real progress. We don’t need better batteries, we need better cars.
John here, this is a very long quote from the end of a long series of posts on investing in alternative energy. I think it is extraordinarily clear-headed, and clearly stated. It mixes discussion of the technical limits of what can be done, with the emotional/human limits of what we are capable of doing. I like the methadone metaphor, whether it fits perfectly, because it casts petroleum in just the right light. Heroin feels great, but you can’t do it forever. Crank might be a better drug to pick, but never mind, you get the idea….
chime in with your thoughts.
… The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part IX: The Methadone Economy
Tom Konrad CFA
No alternative fuel or combination of alternative fuels will allow our transportation system to operate the way it does today on oil. As oil becomes increasingly scarce and expensive, the way we get our transportation needs met will have to change. Understanding what the future of transportation may look like is key to making good investments in transportation.
If the measure of success for alternative fuels is the ability to continue to live in suburbs and commute in multi-ton boxes of metal on congested freeways for hours each day, then alternative fuels will fail. No alternative fuel has the existing infrastructure, supply potential, energy density, and low environmental impact that we would need to replace oil without changing our unsustainable lifestyle.
Peak oil may mean the end of bigger and bigger cars driven farther and farther on more and more congested roads. Peak oil may mean the end of suburban life as we know it. Yet life as we don’t know it does need not be a vision out of Mad Max. Peak oil will mean changes, some for the better, some for the worse.
The surest change peak oil will bring is less driving, in fewer vehicles that are filled closer to capacity. Those vehicles will use less oil (or alternative fuels) per person-mile. We’ll also find ways to satisfy the desires and needs that we currently satisfy with travel without traveling. Continued
Fighting for ‘made in the USA’
A battery maker’s story shows the hopes and hurdles of green technology.
By Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
9:00 PM PDT, May 8, 2010
Yet-Ming Chiang relishes his 20-mile drive to work. His hybrid car gets more than 100 miles per gallon, recharges by plugging into a regular wall outlet and purrs so quietly that it’s his favorite place for making important phone calls.
But what makes Chiang’s ordinary-looking beige Toyota Prius even more special is that it’s powered by a breakthrough battery that he invented and is working to turn into the kind of high-tech, green, “Made in America” product that many see as the key to the nation’s economic future.
Safer and longer-lasting than conventional lithium-ion car batteries, the 52-year old MIT professor’s invention packs 600 cells into a case the size of an airplane carry-on bag. His technology has transformed the batteries used in many cordless power tools.
So why are Chiang and his company, A123 Systems, having trouble moving to full-scale commercial production and creating thousands of new American jobs with his better mousetrap? Continued
May SBEVA meeting will be on Tuesday May 4th at the Hitchcock Natural Cafe.
The 3 R’s:
Ron is EverReady to enter the battery fray…ah, or not…come and find out…
Robert got some fancy new wheels…
Roy is working on his eMoto…got lots of little LiPo’s…remounting his motor…
What are you working on?
Hope to see you on Tuesday!
SBEVA meets on the first Tuesday of the month @ 6pm.
Currently gathering with conversation and conviviality at the Hitchcock Natural Cafe.
Santa Barbara Electric Vehicle Association (SBEVA) – a chapter of the Electric Auto Association (EAA)[googleMap name=”Natural Cafe – Hitchcock” width=”600″ height=”400″ directions_to=”false”]361 Hitchcock Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93105[/googleMap]
AutoBlog Green story here.
It’s mostly a pretty picture, but maybe there’s an idea there to be used.
The Automotive X Prize:
$10 million in prizes will be awarded in September 2010 to the teams that win a rigorous stage competition for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG energy equivalent (MPGe). We are proud to announce that the on-track Competition Phase will be hosted at Michigan International Speedway.
Latest News here. The cars are at Michigan Speedway now.
The pick of the world’s most fuel efficient vehicles are lining-up at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn this week for stage one of the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.
The field now stands at 36 vehicles from 28 teams, with automakers, universities, inventors and one high school vying to see how their 100 MPG (or energy equivalent) cars stack-up against the competition. Electric and gasoline powered machines make up the bulk of the list, but entrants also include biodiesel, E85, hydrogen and even one hybrid steam powered vehicle.
During the initial unscored “Shakedown Stage” (April 26-May 7) the vehicles will undergo official safety checks before hitting the track for final testing, giving teams the opportunity to iron-out any last minute bugs.
Things will really start to get interesting in stage 2 – the Knockout Qualifying Stage – which takes place on June 23 and 24 ahead of the finals in late July. Three weeks of Validation Testing will then take place at the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago before winners are announced in September. As well as being able to achieve more than 100mpg or energy equivalent (MPGe), the vehicles must be marketable and able to meet price, size, capability, safety and performance demands in the real world. Entrants are divided into two classes – Mainstream vehicles, which must carry four or more passengers, have four or more wheels, and offer a 200-mile range, and Alternative vehicles, which must carry two or more passengers and allow for a 100 mile range.
Public days are scheduled for June 25 and July 23 along with an Open House event at MIS next month which is yet to be finalized.
* Mainstream Class Teams: American HyPower, Centennial, Colorado (Gasoline, Hydrogen)
* APET-X, Hong Kong, China (Electric)
* BITW Technologies, Palmyra, Indiana (Biodiesel)
* Cornell 100+ MPG Team, Ithaca, New York (Biodiesel)
* Edison2, Charlottesville, Virginia (E85)
* Enginer, Troy, Michigan (Gasoline + Steam)
* Envera, Mill Valley, California (Gasoline)
* Global-E, Mandeville, Louisiana (Gasoline & Electric)
* Illuminati Motor Works, Virden, Illinois (Electric)
* Liberty Motors Group, Botkins, Ohio (Gasoline)
* Team FourSight, Morgantown, West Virginia (Biodiesel)
* West Philly Hybrid X (EVX), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Gasoline)
* WIKISPEED, Seattle, Washington (Gasoline)
* Alternative Class Teams: amp, Blue Ash, Ohio (Electric)
* Aptera Motors, Vista, California (Electric)
* Edison2, Charlottesville, Virginia (E85)
* Envera, Mill Valley, California (Gasoline)
* FVT Racing, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada (Gasoline)
* K-Way MOTUS, Turin, Italy (Gasoline)
* OptaMotive, San Jose, California (Electric)
* RaceAbout Association, Helsinki, Finland (Electric)
* Spira, Banglamung, Chonburi, Thailand (Gasoline)
* Tango (Commuter Cars), Spokane, Washington (Electric)
* Tata Motors Limited, Coventry, United Kingdom (Electric)
* Team EVI, Mooresville, North Carolina (Electric)
* Team EVX, Dallas, Texas (Electric)
* Team FourSight, Morgantown, West Virginia (Electric)
* TW4XP, Rosenthal, Germany (Electric)
* West Philly Hybrid X (EVX), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Biodiesel)
* Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington (Gasoline)
* X-Tracer Team Switzerland, Uster, Switzerland (Electric)
* ZAP, Santa Rosa, California (Electric)
Stay tuned for updates at Gizmag.com as the competition unfolds.
From the official website, go there for more information and to register.
[googleMap name=”Four Seasons Biltmore ” description=”Posh Hotel on Butterfly Beach” width=”400″ height=”400″]1260 Channel Drive[/googleMap]
Wednesday, May 12
Continental breakfast & networking
* Henry Yang, Chancellor, UC Santa Barbara
* Dave Auston, Executive Director, Institute for Energy Efficiency and Center for Energy Efficient Materials
8:45-9:00AM New Ideas in Energy Efficiency
* John Bowers, Director, Institute for Energy Efficiency
9:00-10:00AM Opening Keynote
* Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, Google
10:00-11:15AM Enabling Technologies for New Energy Sources
* Moderator: Gui Bazan, Production & Storage Solutions Group Head, Institute for Energy Efficiency
* Howard Wenger, President, Utility & Power Plants, SunPower Corp.
* Dina Lozofsky, Vice President of Corporate Development, Solarmer
* Tim Keating, Vice President of Marketing, Skyline Solar
11:30AM-12:30PM Implementing Energy Savings
* Moderator: Jeffrey Henley, Global Advisory Board Chair, Institute for Energy Efficiency
* Joe Pettus, Senior Vice President of Fuel and Energy Operations, Safeway
* William Sisson, Director of Sustainability, United Technologies Research Center
12:30-1:30PM Networking Lunch
1:30-2:45PM Energy Efficient Computing at a Large Scale
* Moderator: Fred Chong, Computing Solutions Group Head, Institute for Energy Efficiency
* Bob Sproull, Vice President and Fellow, Sun Labs, Oracle
* Katherine Yelick, NERSC Division Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
* Rich Wolski, CTO, Eucalyptus Systems
2:45-4:00PM Energy Efficient Information Technology
* Moderator: John Bowers, Director and Electronics & Photonics Solutions Group Head, Institute for Energy Efficiency
* Mario Paniccia, Director, Photonics Technology Lab, Intel
* Michael Lebby, President and CEO, Optoelectronics Industry Development Association
* Mark Rodwell, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC Santa Barbara
* Daniel Blumenthal, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC Santa Barbara
* Richard Newell, Administrator, U.S. Energy Information Administration
At the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, featuring local Santa Barbara wineries and seasonal fare
Thursday, May 13
Continental breakfast & networking
8:30-9:45AM Tools and Technologies for Energy Efficient Building Systems
* Moderator: Igor Mezic, Buildings & Design Solutions Group Head, Institute for Energy Efficiency
* Cary Vandenberg, CEO, Agilewaves, Inc.
* Takashi Hikihara, Professor of Electrical Engineering (Power Conversion & System Control Lab) Kyoto University
* Marti Ogram, Strategic Product Specialist, Emerging Technology Group, Cisco Systems, Inc.
9:45-11:00AM Moving Towards a Viable and Large Scale LED Market
* Moderator: Steve DenBaars, Lighting Solutions Group Head, Institute for Energy Efficiency
* Robert Karlicek, Director, Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center at Rensselaer
* James Speck, Professor, Materials Science, UC Santa Barbara
* Jed Dorsheimer, Principal, Senior Equity Analyst, Canaccord Adams
11:15AM-12:30PM Most Promising Technologies for Energy Efficiency
* Moderator: Jon Guice, Managing Director of Research, AltaTerra Research
* Gene Rodrigues, Director of Energy Efficiency, Southern California Edison
12:30-2:00PM Lunch and Closing Keynote
* Michael Peevey, President, California Public Utilities Commission
2:30-4:30PM UC Santa Barbara Lab Tours
(register at check-in for this supplemental activity)
Accelerometers, found in iPads and Wiimotes and airbags and so forth, can be used to track all sorts of movement. For example lean angle on a motorcycle, or acceleration on anything. here’s a tutorial on some basics that looks pretty helpful.
Basics of accelerometers from here.
One of the newer sensors to come about in recent times is the accelerometer. Granted the idea and implementation of a sensor that measures acceleration has been around for a long time the newer technologies available to industry have made them super accurate.
The MEMS Accelerometer usually comes in the smallest surface mount package and can detect acceleration in up to 3 axis. This tutorial will cover capturing data for onle one axis. The PIC will be used to capture the data and make sense of it.
Purpose & Overview of this project
This tutorial is meant to show you how to use a PIC microcontroller to take data from a MEMS ADXL320 and make sense of it. To demonstrate that it works the ’tilt’ sensing attribute of the accelerometer will be used.
A simple blinking LED will be used to gauge the acceleration being applied to the sensor.
What a fun time! We had two cars; Ron’s blue beauty and Roberts wire frame hot rod, and Jim’s full suspension hybrid trike. Sri’s electric Ninja and Roy brought two bicycle based electrics…here are a few photos:
Largest attendance with lowest impact
It was our largest event yet with 31,123 people attending. More than 1,000 people valet parked their bikes for free, and thousands more came on foot or bus, thanks to our partners at the SB Bicycle Coalition, MTD, and Santa Barbara Car Free. Even with record breaking crowds, there wasn’t a dumpster on site; 85 percent of the waste collected was composted or recycled!