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Plug In Drivers Not Missin' the Piston

This is the Kodak Moment for the Auto Industry. Electric vehicles are here to stay. Their market acceptance and growth will continue....

Monday, February 28, 2011

Consumer Reports says GM Volt falls short on range - Yahoo! Finance

Consumer Reports says GM Volt falls short on range - Yahoo! Finance: "General Motors Co's (NYSE:GM - News) mostly electric Chevy Volt turned in a lackluster performance for efficiency in its first series of road tests by product raters at Consumer Reports.

'We would have really liked to have loved it,' David Champion, director of Consumer Reports auto test center told Reuters on Monday after announcing the organization's top picks for 2011."

Revenge ON the EV - Oregon Wants to Tax the Ride : TreeHugger

Revenge ON the EV - Oregon Wants to Tax the Ride : TreeHugger: "Discovering EVs was, for many of us interested in sustainable transportation, like falling in love with the wrong person. First that honeymoon period when the new love could do no wrong - no fossil fuels! reduced carbon footprint! energy independence! - then the uncertainty and doubt - EVs will make us build more coal plants? - and finally the realization that this new electric vehicle love wasn't perfect.

The same remorse and disappointment some of us experienced when the EV honeymoon ended is spreading to the regulatory world, as cash-poor states begin to grok that electric vehicles don't participate in the road-repair revenue gathering known as the gas tax."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center: Oregon's Plug-in Vehicle Activities and Processes

Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center: Oregon's Plug-in Vehicle Activities and Processes: "Oregon is coordinating many activities and developing processes to facilitate successful, widespread deployment of plug-in vehicles and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) infrastructure.
Oregon's Plug-in Vehicle Evolution

Oregon has supported alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) since 1991, when it established AFV tax credits, and recently began focusing on plug-in vehicles as part of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction efforts."

Oregon EV Study

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SOLAR TODAY: Exclusive: Plug-In Electric Vehicles: How Ready Is Your City?

SOLAR TODAY: Exclusive: Plug-In Electric Vehicles: How Ready Is Your City?: "Portland, Ore.: An Early Adopter, Progressive Leader. Portland, a city with a strong clean-technology foundation, is an example of an early, proactive and progressive PEV leader. Last year, Portland developed a strategic plan with ambitious targets to prepare for electric vehicles. Their plan proposes that 10 percent of vehicle miles traveled should be in PEVs by 2020. This aggressive planning, when combined with a favorable set of regulations, utility partnerships and a consumer base inclined toward “green transportation,” has made Portland one of the readiest cities in the United States.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Start-Stop Boom Coming

"A new boom has been born.
It has everything we look for in an emerging trend.
Its benefits significantly outweigh its costs to users.
It’s already proven. It works and the technology has already established a beachhead in some rapidly recovering market.
It’s not controlled by a start-up which has to have a lot of stars align to work out. The big industry leaders have already deemed it the future."
http://news.goldseek.com/GoldSeek/1297443600.php

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Einstein and car batteries: A spark of genius | The Economist

Einstein and car batteries: A spark of genius | The Economist: "ALBERT EINSTEIN never learned to drive. He thought it too complicated and in any case he preferred walking. What he did not know—indeed, what no one knew until now—is that most cars would not work without the intervention of one of his most famous discoveries, the special theory of relativity."

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Time for America to Run With an Idea Popular in 1905 -- The Electric Car - FoxNews.com

It's Time for America to Run With an Idea Popular in 1905 -- The Electric Car - FoxNews.com: "America must continue to lead, and today the need is to lead in the development and production of a clean and affordable energy and products.

The goal of clean and affordable energy is not partisan, it is American.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First LEAF Owner, Olivier Chalouhi, Gives Updates on Vehicle’s Performance

First LEAF Owner, Olivier Chalouhi, Gives Updates on Vehicle’s Performance: "After receiving his LEAF this past weekend, Olivier Chalouhi has been actively answering questions and posting his various ventures/experiences with the car on MyNissanLeaf.com. After riding around in the car and testing it out, Chalouhi believes that Carlos Ghosn was right when he said “once you buy one EV, you won’t go back to ICE.” Being that Olivier is not on Nissan’s payroll, it’s refreshing to get his view on things. Here’s a rundown of some of the interesting findings the new owner has made so far."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chrysler Ram Plug-In Hybrid Showcased | EarthTechling

Chrysler Ram Plug-In Hybrid Showcased | EarthTechling: "20 miles of range. Electrovaya also said it provided the mechanical, thermal, electrical and electronic subsystems for the rig.

image via Chrysler
According to Edmunds.com, the hybrid truck, which was on display at the Washington D.C. Auto Show last week, was partly funded by a $48-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Edmunds said the 12 kWh battery is paired with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 and beats typical fuel economy for such a vehicle by 65 percent."

Green Overdrive Video: Neighbor Car Sharing With RelayRides! | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World

Green Overdrive Video: Neighbor Car Sharing With RelayRides! | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World: "Here comes the next generation of car sharing: neighbor-to-neighbor, or car sharing 2.0! RelayRides is a young startup that connects people who want to loan out their car to people that want to rent local cars on demand. The car owner sets the price and makes money off the deal and the car borrower pays for driving per hour. It’s a much more efficient way to use transportation resources. Check out our interview in this week’s episode of GigaOM TV’s Green Overdrive show:

GREEN OVERDRIVE >"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Are electric cars irresistible beacons to rats? | DVICE

Are electric cars irresistible beacons to rats? | DVICE: "In the aptly named 'A Rat Ate My Chevy Volt,' Wiesenfelder tells of how he was alerted that his Volt, which was at a parking structure in downtown Chicago at the time, had disconnected from the grid and was no longer charging. Turns out the culprit was a rat Wiesenfelder nicknamed 'Chilly,' as rats have been known to climb into the housing of cars or trucks to keep warm during these colder months."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Durango Herald 02/06/2011 | This could be the year to purchase an electric car

The Durango Herald 02/06/2011 | This could be the year to purchase an electric car: "January/February 2011 issue of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review explains that the three best hopes for carbon dioxide emission-free cars are electricity, hydrogen and biofuels from nonfood sources. All three face serious technological challenges, but the automotive industry appears to have picked electricity as its winner. There are at least 10 car companies with some form of electric model in the works, and several are scheduled to be ready this fall.

Electric, apparently, is also the pick of the Obama administration. In his 2011 State of the Union message, the president said, “The goal is to have everyone driving electric cars by 2030.” To skew the market toward that goal, the government offers a $7,500 tax incentive to buy the cars"

Mercedes F-Cell World Drive gets off to an inauspicious start -- Engadget

Mercedes F-Cell World Drive gets off to an inauspicious start -- Engadget: "Circling the globe on hydrogen power sounds like a bit of a challenge, what with the lack H2 pumps and all, but Mercedes-Benz set off to show that it could do just that -- with the help of a mobile filling station, natürlich. It's the F-Cell World Drive, and unfortunately, things got off to something of a bad start with two cars running out of fuel on the very first leg of the journey, one with Autoblog's Michael Harley at the wheel, no less. This first leg apparently began with a trip down an unrestricted bit of the Autobahn and, well, it seems the drivers of the cars decided to see what the little green B-Class F-Cells could do. The answer is 110mph, and of course moving along at this rate of speed did little for their range. The two cars came up 20km short of their first planned refueling stop, heavy right feet resulting in consumption of 1.5Kg of hydrogen per 100km distance -- roughly equivalent of 45mpg and way less than the 71mpg equivalent the cars usually manage. We're told day two, when drivers kept the speed to around 70mph, progressed much more smoothly, with both cars covering their expected legs without issue."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Commercials

The big game is tomorrow. A huge event for football fans everywhere, especially Packers and Steelers fans. But there is another battle that will be going on at the same time, on the same channel. This other battle is for your attention during the commercial breaks. The Super Bowl commercials are legendary and they even have their own TV show that will air after the game.

A big theme this year will be cars. There are some initial signs of economic recovery and there is a pent-up demand for new vehicles. This coupled with the new disruptive cars with cords and there are plenty of companies that want you to think of them first when you look at your dented ride this spring and think I want a new car.

A couple of these commercials have had an early Internet release to add to the build up. One of my favorites is a car commercial that does not even show the car.


GM will be showing the innovative American spirit that is behind the Chevy Volt.


These two commercials and all the Super Bowl XLV ads will be competing to stand out above the noise. One commercial that did just that last year was the Nissan LEAF polar bear ad. It was named the 2010 Commercial Of The Year by TopSpeed.


Nissan has a history of commercials that can help you think about a vehicle's features and its impacts in a new way. The below ad for example demonstrates the beauty of independent front end suspension.

Will charging infrastructure be the electric car’s speed bump? | VentureBeat

Will charging infrastructure be the electric car’s speed bump? | VentureBeat: "Driscoll sees charging infrastructure expanding in future years, he sees the current dearth of charging stations as a deterrent to electric car sales right now.

“It is one aspect of the auto purchase decision that is an hindrance to the adoption of EVs (electric vehicles),” Driscoll said.

Scott of Plug In America disagrees.

“There are tens of millions of people for whom it’s not an issue at all. (Electric) carmakers will not run out of customers for years to come,” Scott said."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Misplaced modesty? « evchels

Misplaced modesty? « evchels: "By my count, we have about 997,500 cars left to go- slightly fewer if we’re counting conversions. And it’s true that belief alone is not enough- but neither will we get there without it. So if we’re serious, we must allow for optimism- and then continue to dig in and do the work. There will always be armchair critics on the sidelines…but only those who join the game have the chance to win it."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Video: More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Lithium Batteries

Robotics Institute: Videos: "Jay Whitacre, a Carnegie Mellon professor with a joint appointment in Materials Science and Engineering and Public Policy, gives a quick overview of Lithium-ion batteries. Starting at the chemical level, he explains the properties and mechanics of the battery which give rise to macroscopic behavior, especially focusing on issues relevant to electric vehicles and other high-power systems. He then fields questions about the batteries themselves, ongoing research at Carnegie Mellon, and tricks for improving long-term performance, such as pulse-charging and pairing batteries with similar defects"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lithium Battery Charging

Prof Dan Hammerstrom of Portland State U. to OEVA

For Lithium batteries (the Leaf uses AESC's patented laminated lithium ion batteries) the lifetime of the battery is directly related to current rates into and out of the battery as well as how often it is deeply discharged.

Batteries store charge by undergoing fairly complex chemical interactions, each time they charge and discharge there is slight degradation to the molecular structure of the battery.  Lithium ion batteries operate by the inter-calation of lithium ions into the molecular structure of an electrode, which involves even more complex chemistry.

I couldn't find any lifetime numbers for the AESC batteries, but as of a few years ago, a typical Li-ion battery would exhibit serious degradation after a few thousand deep discharge / charge cycles.

Lithium battery chemistries are getting better all the time.  But there is no question that fast charge is hard on batteries, you are putting huge amounts of current into the battery in a relative short time.  Batteries have fairly high resistance, so there are thermal effects too.  Unlike the Volt and the Tesla which liquid cool their batteries, the Leaf uses simple air cooling (a fan).  So there is the possibility of  elevated temperature during fast charge which can also reduce lifetime.  (Be glad you are not fast charging your Leaf in August in Pheonix.)

If your driving patterns involve regular fast charge, then you will most likely reduce the lifetime of your batteries, the question is by how much.  I'll keep looking for lifetime numbers for the AESC's cells and report back to you all if I find anything (some of you may be able to find such information too).  As people have more experience with the Leaf, those numbers will become available.

As Mike Butts points out, it is ironic that the Tesla, which has a huge battery system, probably rarely fully discharges the pack and therefore has less need of fast charging, which means that it will probably have the fewest problems and longest battery lifetime.  So the most expensive car will probably have the lowest battery replacement rate.

BTW, I have a friend who continues to "deep discharge" his cell phone and laptop to avoid "memory" effects.  Li-ion batteries have very little memory effect (unlike Ni-Cad batteries), so my friend is basically just dramatically reducing the lifetime of these batteries for no good reason.

Proposal would charge drivers of electric cars | A “vehicle road usage charge” would stand in for the gas taxes other owners pay to help support the road network

Proposal would charge drivers of electric cars | A “vehicle road usage charge” would stand in for the gas taxes other owners pay to help support the road network: "Everyone benefits from the use of electric vehicles in many ways"

1) The decreased gasoline demand will help keep prices in check. That saves money for gas drivers.

2) OR DEQ issues several Toxic Air advisories each year. Gas drivers seem to completely ignore these and drive anyway. Better air will save the state millions in medical costs. EVs (even coal powered EVs) produce far less pollution.

3) More Stable grid. Oregon has a large and growing wind power install base. The wind often blows harder at night. EVs will most often be charging over night. This stabilizes the grid and allows more renewables to be used in our state.

4) Gasoline is heavily subsidized in many ways. Avoiding its use means lower taxes for everyone.

5) EVs can be "fueled" in many ways. This creates a much more stable energy system than the dependency on a single source. Disruption in a single supply-chain will not result in price spikes since other sources can "pick up the slack".

6) We don't have to send the military to foreign countries to defend local energy systems. We can save billions in military spending and avoid the tragic loss of our sons and daughters. (Tillman Story)