Featured Post

This is the Kodak Moment for the Auto Industry

Plug-In Drivers Not Missin' the Piston Electric vehicles are here to stay. Their market acceptance is currently small but growing...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Elon Musk: Refining Gas Uses More Electricity Than Electric Cars

Elon Musk: Refining Gas Uses More Electricity Than Electric Cars: "You have enough electricity to power all the cars in the country if you stop refining gasoline," says Musk. "You take an average of 5 kilowatt hours to refine [one gallon of] gasoline, something like the Model S can go 20 miles on 5 kilowatt hours."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Portland Driver Escorts Kids to Safety Before School Bus Erupts in Flames

Portland Driver Escorts Kids to Safety Before School Bus Erupts in Flames: " bus erupted in flames. When firefighters from Portland Fire (Woodstock) Station 25 arrived, they found that the school bus was fully involved in flames"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fast Charging in Portland

Sometimes being on the bleeding edge means suffering the unexpected failure. These events help harden the technology and make it more acceptable to the general public. This is the situation with two of the three DC quick chargers (DCQC) currently in the Portland Oregon area.

The connectors on the DCQCs are not as simple as the Level 2 chargers that most EV drivers have at home. There are two levers on the connector. The smaller of these two can easily be broken if not used correctly.

The three DCQCs currently in Portland are located: one, downtown at the World Trade Center;  two, at Portland State on Electric Avenue; and three, on the east-side at the Hollywood Fred Meyer store. The only one of these three not to have had this problem is the World Trade Center system. It has an earlier design connector that is more robust.

The failing connectors are made by Yazaki Energy Systems. As I write this, the company has completed a redesign of their connector and it is currently going through certification. In the mean time, the broken connectors have been replaced with the fragile design that is currently approved.

So Portland is back to having three DC quick charge stations operating until one of them breaks again.

To use a DCQC without breaking it, follow the instructions on the charger and heed the below precautions:
  1. When inserting the connector, do not squeeze the black handle until the connector is fully inserted into the receptacle.
  2. Do not squeeze the black handle with any significant force. If it doesn't move easily, the connector isn't inserted correctly.
  3. Once inserted, gently squeeze the black handle. It should move effortlessly. The back part of the blue handle moves forward towards the receptacle.
Happy Charging! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

EV Courses at Portland State

Portland State University has an electric vehicle course sequence. It was developed by Mike Butts and  Dan Hammerstrom. The first course in the sequence, EV1, will be offered this Winter term and the second course, EV2, in the Spring.

Although the primary emphasis is on electric drive, the course is taught as an application of embedded computing. As one of the engineers of the Toyota Prius put it, “It’s all about the software.”

The course uses the Arduino as the primary embedded computing platform:

The sequence also spends time on power electronics and Lithium-ion batteries.

EV1 – Introduction to electric drives and drive control, with emphasis on brushless DC and induction machines, which are the most are relevant to electric vehicles. The topics covered include: switch mode power electronics, brushless DC motors, induction machines, and an introduction to battery technology and management. Laboratory: Matlab/Simulink, experiments with the Power-pole board and a motor workstation based on the Arduino microcontroller.
Syllabus:  http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~strom/ev1/ev1.html

EV2 – Study of electric vehicle systems. Topics include vehicle dynamics, weight and power trade-offs, electric drives and electronic control, system design, regenerative braking, hybrid drives, and energy storage technologies, including batteries, ultra-capacitors, and fuel cells. There will be an electric bicycle project, involving the design, implementation, and performance analysis of a BLDC/Li-ion drive system. Tasks include selection of motor and drive and energy storage, hardware and software development of Arduino-based controller, charger and BMS, system implementation and measurement.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Inside China's secret toxic unobtainium mine | Mail Online

EXCLUSIVE: Inside China's secret toxic unobtainium mine | Mail Online: "They are also used in mobile phones, computers, iPods, LCD screens, washing machines, digital cameras and X-ray machines, as well as missile guidance systems and even space rockets."