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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...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Everything You Think You Know About Electric Cars Is Wrong

Everything You Think You Know About Electric Cars Is Wrong: "Just as autos replaced horses en masse once their technological superiority was undeniable, EVs will have to be objectively better than internal-combustion vehicles to justify widespread adoption. There are bound to be some bumps and bankruptcies along the way. After all, more than 1,000 automakers of all sizes were founded between 1896 and the mid-1920s. How many of them are still around?"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fox Reports False Telsa Battery Range Problems

Fox Reports False Telsa Battery Range Problems | EV.com - Electric Vehicle Authority - News-Reviews: "Elizabeth MacDonald claimed that Tesla Motors and Space X founder Elon Musk “has got to fix the Tesla (Model S) battery–which conks out after 16 miles or about a half-hour of usage.”"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Paul Scott - What is the real TCO of gasoline?


Paul Scott I take issue with the study's methodology. Nowhere does this article identify the comparison vehicle. You can't just say the LEAF costs 10% more than a comparable vehicle without telling us what it is.

I sell the LEAF and have been driving one since they first came out. This is a very nice car. There isn't any car that is an ideal comparison since there are so many variables to consider.

For instance, how would you value the fact that it's extremely quiet and smooth. The Lexus is essentially a quieter and smoother Camry. They share the same platform, but the Lexus is twice the price. Does the fact that a LEAF is quieter and smoother than a Rolls Royce have any bearing on the value of the car?

Just as importantly, many of my customers value the fact that they can make the energy for their car from sunlight falling on their roof. This is a big deal and not one single ICE car can make the same claim!

Add that no soldier or civilian has ever died in a war over electricity, and you get one of the most powerful aspects of the EV. Many people hold that characteristic in high regard.

We are willing to pay more money for these things!

So, if you insist on writing these lame articles proclaiming that EVs are in some way "comparable" to another car, you HAVE to tell us what you're comparing to.

I believe you are doing a disservice to those good people who care whether they pollute the air, contribute to the need for wars, or give their money to the oil companies.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ultracapacitors in Tesla's Future?

In a recent earnings announcement for Tesla Motors, Elon Musk said that Tesla would demonstrate something that will make their superchargers look slow. “I mentioned that there would be an announcement on June 20... not an announcement... a demonstration,” said Musk.

Tesla's superchargers are the fastest, highest-power charging technology on the market today. They are the state of the art. So what could be faster? What could make rapid 20-minute supercharging look positively slow?

Most of the twitter-sphere, blogosphere, and autopress seem to agree that Tesla will demonstrate a battery swap station. There are statements like "Tesla will have swap stations like Better Place, but they will have a better business model or make them free."

Elon Musk has publicly talked about battery swapping several times. He has said that Tesla may offer an option to rent a high mileage pack for a roadtrips. Something like this would require the ability to swap battery packs but overall his comments about battery swapping have not been glowing. Battery swapping is not a "first principles" solution. Battery swap stations make an assumption that the current energy storage technology will not advance rapidly. Swap stations workaround batteries recharge time limitation. Tesla is not a half-measures workaround type of company. They prefer the pure play. The company is betting on the advancement of energy storage systems.

Despite the consensus on of cyberspace, I predict that they will not be showing a swap station on the 20th. It is not an Elon move. I have a different guess as to what Tesla will be showing. I think they will be showing a car that has ultracaps.
Why do I think it will be an ultracaps demo?

There are hybrid buses on the streets today that use large format ultracaps to store energy from regenerative braking. There are also wind turbines that use ultracaps to smooth out the variable power that intermittent wind can cause. Portland, Oregon's Tri-met recently announced that their light rail trains will be the first in the country to use ultracaps to improve power delivery from the overhead lines.

Given that there are many applications using ultracaps on the market today, including transportation uses, I think Tesla has made a prototype EV that has ultracaps rather than (or in addition to) batteries for the energy storage system (ESS).

Elon said that the demonstration will make the current Supercharger systems (still being rolled out) look slow. The bottleneck of the current system is not the ability to deliver energy. Delivering more energy may have some logistical problems, but it is not technically difficult. Rather, the limiting factor of recharge time is the ability of the batteries to absorb the energy. Ultracaps have no such limitation. Since ultracaps stores energy in an electric field, rather than in a chemical reaction, they can store the energy as fast as it can be delivered.
Ultracaps are Virtually Lightning in a Jar
Given the strategy for both the Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Model S has been to take commercial 18650 form-factor laptop batteries and pack them together for vehicle solutions, ultracaps would be the logical evolution beyond batteries.

Ultracaps have several advantages over batteries including charge-time and cycle life. They can survive hundreds of thousands more charge and discharge cycles than a battery can. There have been great strides in graphene supercapacitors recently. Including methods to make them significantly cheaper.

Batteries still have several times the energy capacity of ultracaps. So, if my speculation is correct and the demo is an ultracap car and an ultra-fast supercharger, and a vehicle with either a shorter range than the current production models, or it will be a hybrid energy storage system with both batteries, for range, and ultracaps, for fast charging and improved regen braking energy capture.

The Tesla Roadster has 6,831 batteries and the Model S has over 7000 of the 18650 laptop batteries. So, if there is any company out there that knows how to package a large number of little rechargeable devices together in a crash and fire-safe manner, it is Tesla.

We'll find out on June 20th!

Oregon's First Nissan Fast Charger

The Oregon Electric Highway Expands with Addition of Nissan Faster Charger at the State Capital

On Thursday, June 13, at 1 PM, Governor Kitzhaber will be joined by representatives from Portland General Electric, Nissan North America, and IBEW will dedicate a new Nissan DC Quick Charging (DCQC) Station and two Blink Level 2 EV charging stations at the State Street entrance of the Oregon State Capitol building in Salem. The site is officially part of the Oregon Electric Highway due to its proximity to US Highway 99 and Oregon Highway 22 and their nearby connections with Interstate 5.

The DCQC station was donated by Nissan, with installation donated by IBEW Salem Local 280.

You are invited to attend and show your support for additional EV charging in Oregon!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New all-solid sulfur-based battery outperforms lithium-ion technology

New all-solid sulfur-based battery outperforms lithium-ion technology: "The ORNL team overcame these barriers by first synthesizing a never-before-seen class of sulfur-rich materials that conduct ions as well as the lithium metal oxides conventionally used in the battery's cathode. Liang's team then combined the new sulfur-rich cathode and a lithium anode with a solid electrolyte material, also developed at ORNL, to create an energy-dense, all-solid battery.
"This game-changing shift from liquid to solid electrolytes eliminates the problem of sulfur dissolution and enables us to deliver on the promise of lithium-sulfur batteries," Liang said. "Our battery design has real potential to reduce cost, increase energy density and improve safety compared with existing lithium-ion technologies.""

Galway Independent | Tesla's power surge

Galway Independent | Tesla's power surge: "Elon Musk, the billionaire philanthropist, CEO of Tesla, seems able, thus far, to shrug off the vagaries of the stock market’s panic mentality. This week he took to his Twitter account (which has 199,000 followers) to announce, somewhat inscrutably, that “there is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.”

Tesla recently unveiled a plan for a national (and international) network of solar-powered ‘Superchargers’ – fast charge points which can recharge a Model S’ batteries to 80 per cent full in about 30 minutes. Now that’s far longer than it takes to refill a conventional fuel tank, so what does Musk have up his sleeve? All he will reveal so far is that it’s “part of a mystery announcement. Part five of the trilogy.”"

Debunking the "Electric Cars Aren’t Green" Myth

EV Myths Debunked: "Electric cars are as green as their juice Critics of electric cars love to talk about manufacturing emissions and putting horses before carts.  But they never seem to offer any better solutions.  If they were waxing lyrical about urban densification, electrified public transport and the joys of bicycles their critiques would ring true, but that’s not what you hear."

Charging Lithium-Ion Batteries – Battery University

Charging Lithium-Ion Batteries – Battery University: "Simple Guidelines for Charging Lithium-based Batteries

A portable device should be turned off while charging. This allows the battery to reach the threshold voltage unhindered and reflects the correct saturation current responsible to terminate the charge. A parasitic load confuses the charger.

Charge at a moderate temperature. Do not charge below freezing.

Lithium-ion does not need to be fully charged; a partial charge is better.

Chargers use different methods for “ready” indication. The light signal may not always indicate a full charge.

Discontinue using charger and/or battery if the battery gets excessively warm.

Before prolonged storage, apply some charge to bring the pack to about half charge.

Over-discharged batteries can be “boosted” to life again. Discard pack if the voltage does not rise to a normal level within a minute while on boost. "

'via Blog this'

Saturday, June 8, 2013

To Great Wolf & Back on the West Coast Electric Highway

My family and I like to go to Great Wolf Lodge once or twice each year. If you've never been there, Great Wolf is a hotel with an indoor water-park and MagiQuest wand-waving fun. It is a nice two day vacation within driving distance from our home.

Great Wolf is a little over 100 miles from our home, about a 2 hour drive, primarily on Interstate 5. At freeway speeds, my Nissan Leaf can only travel about 65 miles. So on all of our previous trips, the Leaf has stayed home and we took our Toyota Prius.

When I charge my 2011 Leaf up at home, I use a 240V charger (Level 2). This gives me about 15 miles of range per hour that it is charging. This works great for overnight charging, but this charging rate is not conducive to road-trips. For road-trips there is a better option, DC fast charging (DCFC). These stations can take my Leaf from near empty to 80% full in less than 30 minutes.

The West Coast Electric Highway is a project that is putting DCFC stations along I-5. Oregon and Washington state have both been deploying these fast chargers, so we decided to give it a try and take the Nissan Leaf on the "freeway of the future".

To plan the trip I went to PlugShare and looked at the potential charging stops.

As you can see in the map above, there was a DCFC station very near the middle of our planned trip and one near our destination. This was perfect. We could charge up half way there and with the DCFC in Centralia, it would be easy to charge up for the return trip.

There were also several Level 2 chargers along the way that we could use if things didn't go according to plan. In this area, AAA has roadside service for EV charging, so if our backup plan failed, we had Nissan or AAA roadside service that we could call for help. Yes, we were setting off on an adventure, but that does not mean I shouldn't be prepared.

For our trip to Great Wolf, here are each of our stops:
Destination                                        Distance  
Country Cafe in Ridgefield, WA 33 Miles
 Select Market in Castle Rock, WA 36 Miles
Great Wolf in Grand Mound, WA  39 Miles

Each hop was well within the car's range even with the climate control on while driving at freeway speeds. We likely could have skipped the first stop, but having it there allows us to leave the house with only an 80% charge.

If fact, I plan on driving the entire route using only 80% charges. The charge rate slows down considerably once the charge level goes above 80%. So it would be both faster to charge and better for the batteries to limit the charge to 80%.

Our first stop was at the Country Cafe. 

We plugged in. To enjoy the minutes we would be waiting, we pulled out the smartphone and looked for a nearby geocache. Surprisingly, there was one right there in the parking lot. We found the cache, logged it, and bought soft-drinks at the next door gas station convenience store and went back to the car.

I was happy to see that it had completed charging and was ready to go.
Fast Charge Complete at Country Cafe
We sucked up over 9 kWh in less time than it took for our fun and purchasing. In the image above you may note that it is showing that the car is 89% charged. The car actually stopped at 80% but due to a quirk of the CHAdeMO protocol, the car does not accurately report the charge level to the charger; rather the car uses this as a method to control the charge rate from the charger.

We unplugged and hopped in the car. It showed 10 of 12 bars with 67 miles of range. The temp had bumped up from 5 of 12 to 6 of 12 bars. Nothing to be concerned about. We set off for waypoint #2.

36 miles later, we pull into the little town of Castle Rock. The car reported 2 bars and 19 miles left.

As I was plugging in, a man coming out of the store stopped by and asked about the car and how the charger worked. Driving an EV automatically makes you a spokesperson for them.

We finished plugging in and set out to explore the area.
We, again, went looking for a nearby geocache. This time it was not as close. We did find a nice waterfront trail. When we got to the cache area, we didn't have any luck finding it this time.

Our hiking adventure took just over an hour. This is more time than we planned on spending there, but we hate to post DNF on our geo-hunts. When we got back to the car, it was done charging.
We sucked down 10 kWh and got back on the road. The batteries were at 9 of 12 bars and reported 70 miles of range. The heat was still at 6 of 12 bars.

Next stop: Great Wolf Lodge!

We skipped the charger in Centralia and went straight to Great Wolf.

We arrived with 16 miles of range left.

Unfortunately, there are no charging stations at Great Wolf. We checked in to the hotel and had an afternoon of fun.

That evening we went into Centralia for dinner and plugged in to the fast charger in the Wendy's parking lot.
From here, there were several restaurants within walking distance. We went to the Casa Ramos Mexican restaurant. During all of our previous visits to Great Wolf, we ate our meals at the hotel. By not having charging there, they lost this income. Casa Ramos, on the other hand, received our business just due to the fact that they happen to be near a DCFC, one they are not even hosting.

We came back to a completed charge. At 13.18 kWh this was the biggest charge session of our trip.
I should also point out that I have a card on my dash with my phone number. If another EV driver pulls up and needs me to move my car, I can run over and accommodate them.

Reflecting on the Trip North

During the trip there, with each leg of the journey I became more confident that we'd have no problem making it to our destination. This confidence even allowed me to skip the Centralia station, going directly to the lodge and then driving back to the Centralia station for dinner. That added 10 miles (at surface road speeds) to the last leg.

The only thing that would have made the trip more convenient would have been charging stations in the Great Wolf parking lot. They do have RV parking there, but they do not provide RV services either.

Heading Home

We played in Great Wolf much of the next day too, before starting our return trip. Before jumping on The-5 and heading south, we decided to top off in Centralia. We headed back to Wendy's.

This time we were not the only plug-in car there. It was great to see other EVs on the road. One of the cars left soon after we pulled up. So I moved the car to plug in to the Level 2 while we waited for the fast charger.

It turned out that the driver of the other remaining EV was a fellow Oregonian and someone I knew. He was just completing his charge.

He unplugged, we said our goodbyes, and I had the charging station to myself. I was the 3rd car there, yet less than 5 minutes later, I was the only car there.

We plugged in and went into the Wendy's. We got food and Wendy's Frosties for the road. Wendy's is not someplace that we would normally stop. I wanted to thank them for hosting the DCFC, so we bought food there.

Leaving, we were at 10 of 12 bars on the charge meter with 85 miles showing and we started the journey home.

Heading home we didn't spend much time at the charging stations. After 2 days of playing hard, my daughter had fallen asleep in the back seat.

On way home, I put in just over 10 kWh at each stop. This only charged the car to 8 or 9 bars, but it was enough to get us to the next station with at least 2 bars remaining.

Again in Castle Rock we were approached by people that were curious about the car. This time it was two women. One of them asked about my "Solar Powered" license plate. I explained that I had solar panels on my house that generated twice the amount of energy that my annual EV driving currently uses. She said she worked in a local solar panel assembly plant.

We made it home with 2 bars left. We were able to make the entire ~220 mile trip without the use of gasoline. And since the West Coast Electric Highway stations are currently free, we didn't pay anything for fuel either.

It was a fun and adventurous trip.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Central Oregon Coast 4th of July Parade

EV owners are invited to participate in the Gleneden Beach 2013 4th of July parade on the central Oregon coast. Last year, there were two LEAFs in the parade owned by Gene and Melody from Sherwood and Patrick and Debbie from Lincoln Beach. With the installation of the DC Fast Charge (DCFC) stations along the way from the valley and in Lincoln City, it is now a much easier trip from the valley to the coast. There are numerous Level 2 chargers in Lincoln City that are free. Newport, Yachats, Florence, Tillamook, and Cannon Beach also have a DCFC stations available, if people want to travel the Oregon coast. Patrick and Debbie’s house is not far from the parade location with a Level 2 station available in their garage that they will make available to anyone participating in the parade.

It would be fabulous to have more EVs in the parade this year. Last time we were placed right behind the very noisy, engine-revving Corvette club and received much enthusiastic applause from the onlookers! A registration form is required and will soon be available. Please call Patrick or Debbie Jimmerson at 541-764-2826 or e-mail at runningknots@centurytel.net and we can forward a hard copy or send a link. The parade begins at 1:00 p.m. but participants need to stage earlier behind the Depoe Bay Fire Dept. station at Gleneden Beach. This is a funky little parade and doesn’t last long once we get going, but there are other activities such as a pancake breakfast in the morning and craft and food vendors near the center of the parade area. A Rusty Truck beer wagon is usually in the staging area along with a band. You can decorate your vehicle with patriotic decorations if you wish. Overall, it’s a fun, festive afternoon. We would like to hear from anyone attending so we can give the coordinator of the parade a heads up on how many EVs there will be and in case we want to put some munchies together. Hope you can attend!
Debbie Jimmerson
63 Beaver Tree Lane
Lincoln City, OR  97367

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Age of the Petroleum Motion Machine is Coming to an End

The Age of the Petroleum Motion Machine is Coming to an End

Definition of MORIBUND
mor·i·bund adjective \ˈmȯr-ə-(ˌ)bənd, ˈmär-\
1: being in the state of dying : approaching death
2: being in a state of inactivity or obsolescence"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Let’s not reward them, let’s tax electric cars

Let’s not reward them, let’s tax electric cars - News-Record.com: Letters To Editor:

"I am so proud of the state Senate’s proposed budget, which includes an annual tax increase of $100 on all electric vehicles and $50 on hybrid vehicles.

Let’s help kill incentives to reduce carbon emissions those tree-hugging, socialistic liberals so wrongly worry us about. After all, there is only hard climatological, geological and meteorological proof that the planet is warming."