Why and how to joyfully move our butts around town, without mucking the place up.

Clean Energy and Transportation News for 2017

2018 Hyundai Ioniq line-up adds versatile and efficient plug-in Hybrid variant to hybrid and electric models

(December 23, 2017)

Hyundai becomes one of the first automakers to offer the same model with 3 or more drive-trains. In theory this gives car purchasers the power of choice. As a plug-in Hybrid the Ioniq offers a paltry 29 miles electric range, which hardly seems attractive.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation wins FTA LOW-NO grant and selects Proterra to provide 25 zero-emission buses for one of California's largest bus fleets

(December 22, 2017)

ABB delivers Bulgaria’s nationwide fast charging network

(December 12, 2017)

Jaguar I-Pace tested in Los Angeles ahead of 2018 reveal

(December 6, 2017)

Jaguar shows off the all-electric I-Pace SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The car will be available in production in early 2018, with more details in March 2018.

Yosemite becomes first U.S. National Park to purchase zero-emissions buses from Proterra

(December 4, 2017)

ABB powers 450kW fast charging for electric buses in Gothenburg

(November 22, 2017)

Volvo Cars to supply tens of thousands of autonomous-drive-compatible cars to Uber

(November 21, 2017)

Uber is taking a step closer to eliminating those pesky humans driving cars for Uber. Volvo is supplying a fleet of cars to Uber, which Uber will use to develop self-driving cars. At the same time Volvo will use the same base vehicle for its own autonomous car development work. What Uber looks to do is to develop cars that drive themselves around a city, so that Uber doesn't have to hire humans to do that work.

KmanAuto's spy shots of the Tesla Semi drive train

(November 21, 2017)

Last week Tesla Motors unveiled the Tesla Semi, and in a "one-more-thing" moment, they also unveiled the Tesla Roadster2. The Semi is perhaps the more important vehicle, and in any case the guy behind the KmanAuto YouTube channel was at the unveiling, and managed to sneak underneath the truck to take this video. The drive train - motors, gearboxes, wiring, etc - was all exposed underneath the truck, and Kman was able to post this 5-minute video tour of the parts. In a second video he demonstrated that the charging port is NOT the same as a Supercharger port, meaning it's gonna be a different charging cable and connector for the MegaCharger.

Volvo Cars to supply tens of thousands of autonomous-drive-compatible cars to Uber

(November 21, 2017)

Eventually all vehicles must be electrified, including police cruisers. Ford is taking a step in that direction by offering a pursuit-rated plug-in hybrid sedan. This car is targeted at personell whose job does not require a pursuit-rated vehicle, though Ford also describes it as being pursuit-rated. There are a number of features for police officers, including "anti-stab plates" which would seemingly mean a metal plate in the driver seat preventing someone in the rear from stabbing the officer through the seat. Ford does have decades of experience in building police cars, and obviously understands what they need. Another interesting feature is a power export outlet in the trunk, presumably to run lights or other equipment off the traction pack without having to idle the gas engine.

Chilicon/Intertek Certifies the CP-250E Micro-Inverter as UL 1741 SA Smart Inverter

(November 17, 2017)

California Rule 21 phase 1 requirements took effect in September 2017, meaning that solar inverter makers are required to achieve UL1741SA certification to continue selling inverters in California. The phase 1 requirements, a.k.a. the autonomous functions, mean that the inverter can automatically, without any intervention by a human, take actions to support the grid in case local grid conditions go wrong. Those functions are as described by Chilicon in the press release below. What's interesting is they could implement the update without changing the control board -- it's just a software change.

Over the next year or two further requirements, phases 2 and 3, will kick in requiring communication across the Internet with cloud systems for command/control of inverter capabilities. The goal is even more support of electricity grid reliability as well as orchestrating energy production and energy storage systems to time-shift electricity produced from renewable resources to other times of the day.

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid pricing announced - $33,400 MSRP

(November 17, 2017)

If Honda had brought this to market in 2011 or 2012 or 2013 we'd be jumping up and down excited about this. As it stands, this isn't any more capable than the Chevy Volt except in two ways -- first, the electric range is a smidgeon longer -- second, and this is actually very important, the charging rate is 6 kiloWatts versus the 3 kiloWatts for most other Plug-in Hybrids. You calculate this by dividing the battery capacity (17 kWh) by the charging time (2.5 hours) and you end up with a number close to 6, meaning it's a 6 kW charging system. Or maybe 5 kW. The point being that the more powerful the charging system the more degrees of autonomy the driver has. Conceivably a driver taking a longer trip might feel more encouraged to plug in and charge the car during the trip, because of more miles of range gained per unit of time, than with a lower-power charging system.

Because it's not 2011-13, this car is (to me) an interesting curiosity. Honda wants us to believe they're really interested in green and minimizing the harmful pollution from the vehicles we drive. But they're behind the game on electric vehicles and instead spent a few years working on fuel cell vehicles rather than battery electric.

This price, base MSRP $33,400, also leaves me a little underwhelmed. At not that much more dollars one can buy a 200 mile range battery EV and not have to put up wth stinking gas car attributes like oil changes and gasoline stations. If that sentence made one say "hey wait a minute, gasoline isn't all that bad, and it lets me take long trips" then this car is for you since it'll let you continue using gasoline as the means to long trips. I apologize, but my point of view is the necessity of switching completely to electricity.

Greensboro Transit Authority to debut North Carolina's first battery-electric public transit bus fleet

(November 14, 2017)

U.S. Subpoenas Icahn Over Biofuel Policy (Renewable Fuel Standard) While Trump Adviser

(November 8, 2017)

Billionaire Carl Icahn is under investigation for double-dealing, a.k.a. personal enrichment, regarding biofuels policy changes he pushed for while an advisor to the Trump Administration. Namely, in December 2016 Icahn joined the Trump Transition team to help shape Trump's regulatory agenda. During the time he was in that role, Icahn pushed for changes in the renewable fuel standard that would have benefited CVR Energy, an independent oil refiner in which Icahn owns a majority share.

ABB helping Iceland beef up fast charging network

(November 8, 2017)

Iceland has wanted to exploit its significant geothermal electricity resources to produce clean electricity to power a clean electric vehicle fleet. ABB and Iceland have teamed up to expand Iceland's fast charging infrastructure to better serve the growing electric vehicle fleet on the island.

Countries like Iceland have a big incentive to switch to renewable energy due to the high cost of importing fossil fuels from elsewhere. Electricity generated from Iceland's abundant geothermal resource is a fraction the cost of imported oil or coal. Twenty years ago Iceland's goal was to be the first full-fledged Hydrogen Economy, but the underlying fuel cell technology is completely impractical for vehicles and is still 5-20 years away. Obviously Iceland has decided to go with electric vehicles to solve their fuel price problem, instead of Hydrogen Fuel Cells.

The plan is to install fifteen Terra 53 dual-protocol DC Fast Charging stations along Iceland's main highway. This highway rings the island and clearly will allow drivers the freedom to drive on electricity pretty much anywhere in Iceland. A trip from Reykjavik to Vallanes, at the other end of Iceland, is about 650 kilometers, and therefore the trip would require several charging stops.

Volkswagen and Google to collaborate on Quantum Computing for improved cars and driving

(November 7, 2017)

Volkswagen and Google are announcing a plan to do some kind of research using Quantum Computing. The focus of the research is said to be "traffic optimization" meaning aids to drivers navigating through cities, "high-performance batteries" meaning using computing resources to guide R&D of high performance battery materials, and "machine learning" as applied to the artificial intelligence required for autonomous driving. It's not clear from the press release how "Quantum Computing" is used in relation to this sort of research. Each of those tasks does require extremely high computational capabilities, and perhaps the team is looking to quantum computing to implement super-computer capabilities within the space constraints of a family car. The autonomous cars I've seen were dominated by the computing equipment being carried on-board, which obviously would be unacceptable for a regular car, meaning that some kind of magic computational wizardry will be required to shrink the enormous computational requirements into a tiny box.

Volkswagen had previously used a Quantum Computer for traffic optimization of 10,000 taxi's in Beijing, China. The are looking at the Google universal quantum computer and are looking to develop algorithms to optimize travel times across an entire city, as well as assigning access to charging stations and parking spots. With such a system, traffic in a city could automatically route around major events, optimize the flow of traffic, and eliminate traffic congestion.

Another development area concerns developing chemical structures in advanced batteries. Computationally designing battery chemistry could conceivably lead to better designs with optimum weight/performance ratios for various target scenarios.

The last area of effort, machine learning, is rather general. The phrase refers to the capability of a program (or system) to link data, analyze relationships and make predictions on this basis. Machine learning is widely used in modern artificial intelligence techniques. Advanced AI systems are a prerequisite for advanced autonomous driving capabilities.

Lamborghini announces stunning all-electric sports car, the Terzo Millennio

(November 5, 2017)

Italian supercar maker Lamborghini has announced an intriguing all-electric supercar, the Terzo Millennio. Large portions of the car will be made of Carbon Fiber with unique new properties. The CF will act as an "accumulator for energy storage", meaning the shell of the car will be part of the battery pack. Further, it will continuously monitor the carbon fiber structures for cracks or damage, and use "self healing chemicals" to perform self healing of the vehicle. It's claimed this will reduce to zero the risks of small cracks propagating further in the carbon fiber structure. It will be an all-wheel-drive car with one electric motor per wheel, and obviously Lamborghini will strive to implement torque vectoring for superiour handling at high speed. They are talking about this as an all-electric super sports car, that's made for future sports car enthusiasts, who will want to take this to race tracks, and who will really appreciate any handling benefits Lamborghini can implement with four-wheel-drive.

Ionity plans 350 kiloWatt fast charging network across Europe

(November 3, 2017)

Europe is pushing ahead on electric vehicle adoption, and this plan is poised to make European electric car manufacturers relavent in the face of advances by Tesla Motors. Tesla has been building its proprietary Supercharger network aiming to have a ubiquitous fast charging network that can only be used by owners of Tesla's automobiles. That network makes Tesla's cars far more attractive than cars built by other automakers. By leapfrogging to a 350 kiloWatt charging rate, these automakers (all of them Combo Charging System proponents) will have a network offering potentially higher speed charging than Tesla's Superchargers. Except, nobody is making a car capable of a 350 kiloWatt charging rate. Going by the number of installed stations, Tesla's Supercharger network is way ahead of this plan which will see a paltry 20 stations installed by the end of 2017, and only 400 stations by the end of 2020. Any expansion of the fast charging network is good.

First In-Depth look at the Tesla Model 3 | Model 3 Owners Club

(October 30, 2017)

We're intensely interested in the Tesla Model 3 and whether it will live up to the hype. The guys running The Model 3 Owners Club got this chance to make an in-depth evaluation of the Model 3, giving an hour of video going over all kinds of details.

Nissan tests fully autonomous prototype technology on streets of Tokyo

(October 26, 2017)

In the 4+ years since BMW started mass production of the BMW i3, sales have reached nearly 100,000 electric and plug-in-hybrid BMW i3's, and yearly production capacity stands at around 25,000 vehicles. By comparison, that is one quarter of Tesla's production capacity for the Model S and Model X, meaning that Tesla Motors has achieved a faster production growth velocity than BMW. In any case the BMW i3 is a fine electric car, and BMW has achieved a significant milestone.

One step taken to mark the occasion is innauguration of a second-life battery facility at the BMW i3 factory in Leipzig. The phrase "second life" means that after a battery pack's first life as the traction battery in a car, it can be repurposed as an energy storage unit.

What happens to an electric car battery pack that's depleted to 80% usable capacity? That battery still has significant usable capacity, and can be reused. In theory. Hence the "second life" concept.

The facility being built by BMW will hold 700 BMW i3 battery packs, some recycled from old cars, the others from newly produced packs. It is to be paired with wind turbines on the site, to time-shift some of the electricity produced by those turbines to being used at other times of day.

BMW starts building second-life battery farm at BMW i3 factory in Leipzig

(October 26, 2017)

In the 4+ years since BMW started mass production of the BMW i3, sales have reached nearly 100,000 electric and plug-in-hybrid BMW i3's, and yearly production capacity stands at around 25,000 vehicles. By comparison, that is one quarter of Tesla's production capacity for the Model S and Model X, meaning that Tesla Motors has achieved a faster production growth velocity than BMW. In any case the BMW i3 is a fine electric car, and BMW has achieved a significant milestone.

One step taken to mark the occasion is innauguration of a second-life battery facility at the BMW i3 factory in Leipzig. The phrase "second life" means that after a battery pack's first life as the traction battery in a car, it can be repurposed as an energy storage unit.

What happens to an electric car battery pack that's depleted to 80% usable capacity? That battery still has significant usable capacity, and can be reused. In theory. Hence the "second life" concept.

The facility being built by BMW will hold 700 BMW i3 battery packs, some recycled from old cars, the others from newly produced packs. It is to be paired with wind turbines on the site, to time-shift some of the electricity produced by those turbines to being used at other times of day.

Single-axis tracker manufacturer Soltec Doubles Turnover in 2017

(October 25, 2017)

"Turnover" means that Soltec has essentially doubled their sales, with over 200 percent revenue growth in 2017. The company supplies solar tracker systems across three continents. It's likely the company will rise to 3rd place in global PV Tracker supply market in 2017. Whatever good that means for Soltec as a company, it is an early indicator of continued strong growth in solar for renewable electricity production.

NREL Research Yields Significant Thermoelectric Performance

(October 25, 2017)

Carbon nanotube fabrics could be used to convert waste heat into electricity or serve as a small power source. This is the result of research by NREL scientists announced today. The research concerns using semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as the primary material for efficient thermoelectric generators. That's opposed to the current practice of using that material as a composite, e.g. carbon nanotubes and a polymer. The research revealed that removing polymers from all SWCNT starting materials served to boost the thermoelectric performance and lead to improvements in how charge carriers move through the semiconductor.

NREL Inks Technology Agreement for High Efficiency Multijunction Solar Cells

(October 25, 2017)

NREL's patented inverted metamorphic (IMM) multijunction solar cells are coming down to earth thanks to a licensing agreement with MicroLink Devices. The IMM technique enables multijunction III-V solar cells to be grown with both higher efficiencies and lower costs than traditional multijunction solar cells. It gives two advantages, the first being greater power extraction from the higher-bandgap sub-cells, and the second being more efficient low-bandgap sub-cell materials such as Indium Gallium Arsenide. Further, manufacturing improvements act to lower device costs, while also reducing the weight allowing these cells to be used on solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (a.k.a. Drones). The NREL technology adds to MicroLink's existing expertise in producing lighter-weight solar cells.

Entire Ginlong Solis 4G Inverter Line Now Available with the UL 1741 SA Certification

(October 24, 2017)

California's plan to reshape the electricity grid is taking a big step forward as solar inverter makers, like Ginlong Technologies, adopt UL1741SA. The plan hinges on smart inverters, with the UL 1741SA standard being the first concrete step. Previous inverters would, if grid conditions go wonky, disconnect from the grid. Power systems engineers thinking about the problem recognized that inverters could help prop up the grid, to remedy certain wonky grid conditions.

The increasing rate of installing solar inverters gave California an opportunity to field a different kind of solar inverter. California Rule 21 governs the methods of interconnecting solar power systems to the electricity grid. Over the last 3-4 years, the Smart Inverter Working Group convened by the California Public Utilities Commission worked on redesigning solar inverters to provide grid support functions. The content of UL1741SA, which was ratified in September 2016, is the first concrete result and describes the sort of grid support functions required of solar inverters.

UL1741SA contains what is called the "Rule 21 Phase 1 autonomous functions", meaning these functions automatically kick in whenever the electricity grid frequency, voltage, power factor and similar measures are out of line with grid stability requirements. If the grid strays beyond certain parameters, the inverter will still disconnect itself from the grid, but so long as the grid stays within those parameters the inverter will assist with keeping the grid stable. This may seem like a small thing, but it is the first step of a cooperatively managed electricity grid.

Over time Rule 21 Phases 2 and 3 will be standardized and be required features of future inverters. Those phases add communications ability so that smart inverters can be proactively managed from a central cloud-based service. It's thought that over time the electricity grid will morph from a system of large centralized electricity generation resources, to a distributed set of electrical grid resources of many types and sizes. A distributed management system will orchestrate electricity inflows and outflows to balance electricity demand throughout the day, and also take care of the intermittency issue.

NY City Mayor de Blasio announces crackdown on electric bicycles - citing safety concerns

(October 24, 2017) Electric bicycles are an excellent way to travel around. They're quiet, low energy impact, very affordable, miniscule resources required to build them, able to fit into any place a non-powered bike can go. In New York City, electric bicycles are legal to own, but not legal to ride on the street. Apparently many in NYC have a mistaken idea electric bicycles are dangerous.

U.S. Energy Department Announces $15 Million for Batteries and Electrification to Enable Extreme Fast Charging

(October 23, 2017)

The US Department of Energy is pushing for even faster charging time. The agency is ponying up $15 million in R&D grants to develop batteries and infrastrcture supporting 400 kiloWatt charging and a 15 minute recharge time.

BMW Brilliance Automotive opens battery factory for BMW 5 Series Plug-in Hybrid in Shenyang

(October 23, 2017)

BMW is building a battery factory, but it doesn't appear to be on the scale of a proper Gigafactory. This factory is based in China, and is positioned as producing battery packs for the BMW 5 Series Plug-in Hybrid for the local market, meaning China. In other words, sales volume for that vehicle may not be that significant and therefore the factory described below is likely to be at a much smaller scale than a Gigafactory. On the flip side, a BMW Board Member is quoted discussing the planned expansion of BMW's electrified vehicles to be 15% to 25% of global sales. It may be this new battery factory is intended to expand battery production capacity to meet that future demand.

Bottom line is that Tesla Motors has demonstrated that to move electric vehicles to the mass market requires building a massive increase in global battery production capacity. Whether we are to perceive BMW as being serious about electric vehicles depends in great measure on how big they go in battery production.

ABB unveils Smart Charging solution for bus depots at Busworld 2017

(October 23, 2017) ABB is showing a new fast charging solution for electric buses. Meant to be installed in a bus depot, the system is designed to charge the bus overnight. It can schedule the charging of three buses, charging one after another after each bus finishes its charge cycle. The system is also upgradeable from 50 kiloWatts to 100 kiloWatts and even 150 kiloWatts.

Volkswagen teases all-electric race car for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

(October 19, 2017)

Volkswagen is announcing a return to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2018, driving a custom-built four-wheel-drive all-electric race car. It will have been 31 years since Volkswagen's last attempt at that race, in that case with a highly modified VW Golf that failed to reach the finish line. Pikes Peak is a very dangerous race course, climbing up to the top of the 14,000+ foot Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs CO. As you might expect, the course includes many stretches of road carved literally out of a cliff face, and a single mistake can send a racer plunging down a thousand-foot high cliff.

In recent years electric vehicles have made a significant showing. In 2015 electric cars won outright, taking both 1st and 2nd place. In 2012, Lightning Motorcycles won the motorcycle field outright, beating the entire motorcycle field by 20 seconds.

Racing is one place where electric vehicles will prove themselves to the public. The stereotypical die-hard petrol-head fast-car-fanatic will need to see concretely that electric cars can serve their need-for-speed. To the extent that these people are influencers, the more who convert from fast-petrol-cars to fast-electric-cars the more successful will be this project of converting to electric vehicles.

Ford learns 'if you build workplace charging they will charge'

(October 19, 2017)

After home charging, workplace charging is the most convenient place to charge an electric car. The 4 hours for a full recharge doesn't matter if you're inside the office working. Your personal involvement is the time to plug the car in, and the time to move the car when charging is complete. Having charging facilities at the workplace obviously will make folks more amenable to driving electric if only because the total driving radius is greatly expanded.

Ford Motors says they've learned, after installing 200+ charging stations at 50 facilities, that Ford's employees are more open to buying a plug-in electric car knowing they have charging available at the office.

This isn't exactly an earth shattering ground breaking research result. This result has been seen by others over the years, and it is an intuitively obvious result. It's nice to see the intuitively obvious verified by actual research results. And, it's nice to see that the results of this study will convince Ford to triple the number of workplace charging stations at Ford facilities. Maybe it will finally start sinking into the collective knowledge at Ford Motors that Electric is the direction we all need to take.

Last thing to note is that Ford's charging facilities expansion is meant to enable bad charging etiquette. The press release says the burden of moving ones car after it's fully charge is a major downside to electric car ownership. I can imagine certain office campus situations where that would be true. However, it means the folks who plug in to charge in the morning will be hogging the charging station all day. That a car is parked in front of a station tends to make it impossible for another car to use that station. Bottom line is that electric car charging facilities are a scarce resource that we must learn to share. This plan instead gives folks the idea they do not have to share charging facilities.

Cummins Announces Acquisition of Energy Storage Technology Brammo Acquisition Will Accelerate Electrification Platform

(October 16, 2017) Brammo is best known for its motorcycles, and a later plan to become the electric vehicle division for Polaris Industries. Apparently that has fallen through, and now Cummins is starting its move into clean energy technology with a purchase of Brammo. It's not that Cummins is looking to get into the motorcycle business, but that Cummins is looking to have energy storage technology and to apply that technology to the large vehicles that are Cummins bailiwick.

Toyota drives the future of zero emission trucking

(October 12, 2017)

Toyota has long held off from supporting electric vehicles, instead relying on hybrids and fuel cells as their contribution to cleaning up the transportation system. In this project Toyota is deploying prototype fuel-cell class 8 big rigs in the Port of Los Angeles area. The task of drayage trucks is delivering containers offloaded from ships at the port over to rail facilities a few miles away. Traditionally this has been done with regular diesel-powered big rigs, and as a result the area around the Port of Los Angeles is horribly polluted.

GM advances self-driving vehicle development with acquisition of LIDAR developer

(October 12, 2017)


(October 9, 2017)

With a dual-motor drive train, Proterra is now offering an electric city bus with nearly twice the horsepower and acceleration of previous models. The new drive train will be five times more efficient than a standard diesel bus, an industry-leading 26.1 MPGe. That the bus can climb a 25 percent grade makes it attractive to the Park City Utah transit organization, who must climb a steep mountain from Salt Lake City to Park City.


(October 9, 2017)

Van Hool, the leading bus and coach manufacturer, has chosen Proterra to supply its battery platform for Van Hool's first all-electric motor coach. The plan is to integrate Proterra's electric drive train with Van Hool CX45E coach platform. That model is designed for long-range intercity travel, while delivering a world-class customer experience in quality and comfort.

Last month, Proterra drove one of their heavy-duty buses for over 1100 miles on a single charge, blowing away the previous record. Given that Van Hool plans to integrate Proterra's drive train into Van Hool's long-range bus platform, it's next to obvious that Van Hool plans to deploy these electric buses to customers with long-distance inter-city routes.

GM outlines possibilities for flexible, autonomous fuell cell platform

(October 6, 2017)

Earlier this week GM announced a plan to transition to all-electric vehicles. Curiously the only vehicle mentioned in the announcement was a fuel cell autonomous vehicle platform, which is a non-electric hydrogen powered vehicle type. Here is the announcement concerning that fuel cell vehicle platform, and the fact that it's targeted at the military and heavy duty trucking sectors.

The military faces a deadly problem with "regular" military vehicles, because of the necessity to deliver fossil fuels to the field. The delivery process exposes more soldiers to harm because delivering fuel to remote outposts requires driving convoys through possibly hostile territories. The military has been interested for several years in other energy systems if only to reduce the risk to soldiers. You might think that instead of invading countries willy nilly for unclear reasons and terrorising the population so badly they want to fight back, that the best choice would be to pull out and say we're sorry and try to make amends. But the political leadership we have instead wants to keep the war going and obviously I've flown off into tangent land.

That tangent was meant to explain why the press release stresses "minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm." Clearly this Association of the United States Army meeting will include some attention on the issue of mitigating risks from delivering fuel to dangerous territory.

I don't understand why General Motors thinks this is a solution to the named problem. Fuel cell vehicles require pure hydrogen. Since it's difficult to deliver fuel to a remote outpost in hostile territory, how does switching to hydrogen fuel make any difference? The hydrogen still has to be delivered to the field.

Cummins to Feature Electrified Power for Transit Bus for First Time at APTA Cummins Broadens Power Portfolio with Battery Electric and Range Extended Electric Systems to Offer the Most Energy-Diverse Solutions in the Industry

(October 6, 2017) Cummins is developing electric power technology for transit buses. Several manufacturers of transit buses are making electric buses, and Cummins is developing drive trains for both battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid, range extended electric vehicle (REEV), applications.

Toshiba Achieves World's Highest Conversion Efficiency in 5 cm X 5 cm Film-based Perovskite Solar Cell Mini-modules

(October 5, 2017) The battery-breakthrough-of-the-week comes from Toshiba. They're announcing an update to the SCiB battery using a new battery anode doubling the storage capacity of the batteries. Energy stored (kiloWatt-hours) per unit of volume is double that of the previous generation SCiB, and the maximum recharge rate is high enough to support a 6-minute recharge time. They claim the battery can withstand 5000+ discharge/recharge cycles while retaining 90% of its original capacity, and that it works well in cold weather. If all this pans out it can be a real game changer in the electric vehicle industry, as energy storage capacity and recharge time are key concerns. On the other hand a 6 minute recharge time is unlikely to be implemented for the general public because it requires a 500 kiloWatt or more charging station.

Toshiba Develops Next-Generation Lithium-ion Battery with New Anode Material

(October 5, 2017) The battery-breakthrough-of-the-week comes from Toshiba. They're announcing an update to the SCiB battery using a new battery anode doubling the storage capacity of the batteries. Energy stored (kiloWatt-hours) per unit of volume is double that of the previous generation SCiB, and the maximum recharge rate is high enough to support a 6-minute recharge time. They claim the battery can withstand 5000+ discharge/recharge cycles while retaining 90% of its original capacity, and that it works well in cold weather. If all this pans out it can be a real game changer in the electric vehicle industry, as energy storage capacity and recharge time are key concerns. On the other hand a 6 minute recharge time is unlikely to be implemented for the general public because it requires a 500 kiloWatt or more charging station.

ABB powers e-mobility with launch of first 150-350 kW high power charger

(October 3, 2017) Competition is coming to high speed DC fast charging. Tesla's primary advantage is a ubiquitous DC fast charging network running at 120 kiloWatts or more, with credible plans to increase the power levels. The problem is that Tesla's network is proprietary and works only for Tesla's cars. The other manufacturers use standardized charging protocols (CHAdeMO and CCS) but have been limited in the maximum charging rate. With this new charger, standards-based charging networks can now begin to offer a charging rate high enough to compete against Tesla.

GM outlines All Electric path to Zero Emissions

(October 2, 2017)

The last few months several carmakers have announced plans to go fully electric. General Motors, the company that killed the EV1, has announced their own plan. You'll notice that details are lacking below just what is meant, and that the announcement curiously includes discussion of a fuel cell prototype vehicle platform. Fuel cell vehicles are driven by electric motors, but it's hard to call them "electric" since they do not plug in to a power socket to recharge. Remember, "It's not electric if you can't plug it in".

Call me hopeful but skeptical. The image GM included with the announcement is obviously meant to convey several vehicles in the R&D stage waiting to be unveiled.


(September 19, 2017)

STEREOTYPE: A full-size electric bus would necessarily have a short range. A vehicle that big can't possibly be practical as an electric vehicle, except for uselessly short routes for a company wishing to greenwash itself. In other words, conventional wisdom would say an electric bus can't be used for regular transit routes, who why even try.

Proterra just proved all those stereotypical ideas to be completely wrong. Driving a heavy-duty electric bus for 1,100 miles is an astonishing feat. It's doubly astonishing considering the previous record, 1,013 miles, was set by a light-duty passenger bus 46 times lighter than the Proterra Catalyst E3 used in this record-setting run.

Proterra appears to have a winning combination on their hands. Battery prices are falling rapidly, and electric buses have a significantly lower fuel cost than diesel buses. Between those two factors, electric buses could quickly become the most financially pragmatic choice for transit fleets. Falling battery prices mean Proterra should be able to rapidly drive down the cost for their electric buses. The low fuel cost will make these buses financially attractive to transit operators, and a lower up-front price will only increase that attractiveness.

On the heels of this announcement Proterra is claiming a nominal 400 mile range for the Catalyst E2. This is well beyond the typical driving range required for intra-city transit routes, and is closer to what's required on long-distance bus routes.

Also today, Proterra announced a battery partnership with LG Chem. Given what LG Chem has done to enable long driving range for many electrics, this record is surely due in part to this partnership with LG Chem.


(September 19, 2017)

Like almost every other announcement of a long range electric vehicle, Proterra is announcing a partnership with LG Chem to supply batteries. Proterra's new battery pack manufacturing plant is capable of producing 500 megaWatt-hours of battery packs per year. With the new battery technology, Proterra just drove one of their buses for over 1000 miles on a single charge, an astonishing distance for a vehicle this big.

Ford, Virginia Tech, go undercover to develop signals that enable autonomous vehicles to communicate with people

(September 13, 2017)

'Audi on Autopilot Future: The Audi Vision of Autonomous Driving'

(September 11, 2017)

Audi's Elaine electric SUB coupe, and Aicon four-door 2+2, are meant to show that highly automated driving is around the corner. The Aicon has no steering wheel, no pedals, and can (within a designated area) automatically drive itself to a parking space in a parking garage.

2017 Honda Clarity PHEV achieves class-leading all-electric range

(September 11, 2017)

Plug-in Hybrid's with significant range are rare - specifically, the BMW i3 REX, the Chevy Volt, and now the Honda Clarity PHEV. Most PHEV's have a paltry electric range of 20 miles or less. The longer the range, the less often the car owner will have to hit the gasser engine, and the more often they can drive on electricity. The 40 mile threshold is enough to cover most driving since the average driver travels less than 40 miles a day on average. With a 47 mile electric range, the Clarity PHEV should handle an even higher percentage of drives on electricity.

The recharge time of 2.5 hours at 240 volts says this car has a 6 kW on-board charger that would give 20-25 miles range per hour of charging. This is higher power than other PHEV's.

"Future-type Concept: Jaguar's vision for 2040 and Beyond"

(September 7, 2017)

'Electric Jaguar e-Type Zero debuts at Jaguar Land Rover Tech Test'

(September 7, 2017)

"Every Jaguar and Land Rover Launched from 2020 will be Electrified"

(September 7, 2017)

2018 Nissan Leaf makes North American Debut

(September 6, 2017)

Domino's and Ford begin consumer research of Pizza Delivery using self-driving vehicles

(August 29, 2017)

One of the long-predicted primary uses for autonomous self-driving cars is all kinds of delivery services. You could order a pile of lumber from Home Depot, and rather than rent a truck by the hour to drive it to your house on your own, Home Depot could send it in a self-driving truck. In this case instead of a human pizza delivery agent (a job I had myself over 30 years ago), Dominos would instead send the Pizza in a self-driving car. How does Domino's expect to get the Pizza upstairs to, for example, the second floor of a college dormitory? Or inside a hospital to a surgery team that's about to start an operation? Or elsewhere in that same hospital to a mother that just gave birth? Or upstairs in an apartment complex? Or to a hard-to-find apartment in a house that's been divided into aprtment units? There's all kinds of special situations I recall as a Pizza delivery driver that aren't satisfied by driving a car up to the front door and tooting a horn and expecting someone to come outside to retrieve the pizza.

Domino's has long been exploring alternate vehicles. Back in the 1990's they hired Corbin Motors to build a special version of the Corbin Sparrow where the rear end was designed for pizza's. Those cars are affectionately known as the Pizza-Butt Sparrows. Amongst the select few of us who know Corbin's history that is. You can imagine that a large cost center in Domino's financials is the salary and fuel costs for their current pizza delivery system -- humans driving gasoline powered cars. And, no, I did not work for Domino's. Instead I worked for Archies Pizza, a Pizzeria in Lexington KY that went out of business years ago but made really nice high quality pizza's from all kinds of fresh ingredients. There was a Domino's a half-block away from our store, of course.

I foresee this being a difficult service to develop because of all the special delivery situations that exist. One way it might work is to have a van with a mobile pizza kitchen. The raw pizza would be assembled at the store, then the delivery agent loads those pizza's into ovens in the van, and manages the cooking process while the van is driving the delivery route. That would be tricky to implement, but would give a human delivery driver tasks to do while the van is driving from place to place. And the pizza could plausibly be deliveried more freshly cooked...? Which would address one of the key issues of pizza delivery -- keeping the pizza hot while driving to the customer's residence.

Ford furthers global electrification expansion; signs MOU in China with Zotye Auto to explore all-electric vehicle JV

(August 22, 2017)

For Ford, "electrification" means any kind of electric assist including mild-hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric. In this case Ford is exploring a partnership with Chines automaker, Zotye Auto, to maybe sometime in the future possibly build some electric cars.

Volkswagen takes bold decision to put I.D. Buzz Electric Concept to Production

(August 19, 2017)

A few years ago the Volkswagen Group showed the I.D. Buzz concept car. Think the iconic VW Microbus modernized with various things including an electric drive-train. Now that Volkswagen was found guilty of defrauding emissions regulation systems around the world by faking emissions results in Diesel cars, they're looking to launch more electric vehicles. In this case they're bringing the I.D. to production, with it going on sale in 2022.

Study of an Ultra-Stylish Luxury-Class Cabriolet - Mercedes-Maybach electric car concept

(August 19, 2017)

Mercedes-Benz has decades of experience building luxury cars. Give them the opportunity to design a luxury electric car, and sure of course they'll do a good job with the luxury car side of the thing. For a few years they owned a chunk of Tesla Motors, and worked with Tesla on at least two electric cars including the Mercedes B-Class Electric.

Nissan sells its Battery manufacturing business to GSR Capital -- Preparing switch to LG Chem batteries?

(August 8, 2017)

Since launching the LEAF, Nissan's battery packs came from its subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC). That subsidiary is now being sold to GSR Capital. The deal is being spun as a win-win as GSR Capital has deep pockets necessary to develop this battery business faster than Nissan could. Supposedly.

That might be accurate, ...or... It's long been rumored that Nissan wants to switch to LG Chem battery packs. If Nissan had switched to LG Chem batteries by now, the 2018 Leaf (due to be released soon) might have had a 200+ mile range with a 60 kWh pack. Instead the 2018 Leaf is rumored to have a 40 kWh pack which would give a respectable-but-not-competitive 150-180 mile range.

According to CleanTechnica, NEC also sold its portion of this business to GSR Capital. According to Nikkei, where Panasonic had a growing EV battery marketshare due to its partnerships with Tesla and Toyota and others, NEC relied on Nissan and Nissan is looking to broaden its battery supply chain.

Nissan originally built batteries in Japan. With the shift to localized Leaf production in 2013, Nissan launched battery factories in both England and Tennessee. The original vision was that owning the battery factory would give Nissan an economic/price advantage. One supposes that would have only held true if Leaf sales had risen enough, but instead Leaf sales have held steady for several years.

In any case, the Renault side of the Nissan-Renault alliance already uses LG Chem batteries. That partnership has been very good for adoption of the Renault Zoe in Europe. A Leaf with better batteries should sell very well.

Volvo and Chinese automaker Geely partner on electric vehicle technology companies

(August 4, 2017)

Volvo Cars and Geely Holding are announcing two joint ventures to rapidly develop next generation electrified vehicle technology. GV Automobile Technology will be 50/50 owned, with operations in China and Gothenburg Sweden. The LYNK car line will be manufactured by LYNK & CO, a newly formed JV between Volvo and Geely.

According to Reuters, they'll be sharing engine technology as well, and that Geely purchased Volvo from Ford seven years ago.

This is not about Volvo switching to an electric-only strategy. In July, the company said it would fully electrify its model line by 2019. This announcement with Geely obviously sets Volvo on that path. However the key word is ELECTRIFY, not ELECTRIC. That word lets an automaker weasel around, making it sound like they're moving to an electric drive train, when in reality an ELECTRIFIED drivetrain could be a gasoline engine with mild electric assist.

It is a big deal that Volvo's total model lineup will have some kind of electrification. It would have been far more significant if Volvo had announced an all-electric-only plan. Instead, they'll stick with plug-in hybrid or even more mild electrification for now. The company is pledging to launch five all-electric vehicles over the next few years.

Proterra electric bus service in downtown Chicago

(August 3, 2017)

The Aon Center and Prudential Plaza in downtown Chicago are being served by the first all-electric commercial transit bus fleet. The fleet shuttles employees at those locations to transit centers in downtown Chicago including the Amtrak station. That enables employees to commute to work by train, and cover the last mile in an electric bus.

CarCharging announces a new and integrated design for its CarCharging.com and BlinkNetwork.com websites

(August 3, 2017)

A few years ago the CarCharging Group bought out the Blink Network assets from ECOtality, which was rapidly going out of business. Until that time CarCharging's charging stations were on the ChargePoint network, which one would notice only if one paid attention to host site ownership details. By buying Blink, they got themselves an independent identity and a large charging network with its own identity.

What they also bought was a piss-poor reputation grounded in the reality that their charging stations are often broken and not maintained properly. The name, Blink, lends itself to jokes about Blink Being On The Blink.

While I'm sure updating the website is important for establishing corporate branding and whatnot, that shouldn't be their highest priority. Electric car owners unanimously want CarCharging to focus on reliability and good quality service.

2017 Honda Clarity EV begins arriving at California and Oregon Honda dealerships

(August 1, 2017)

Honda, nice try, if you'd delivered this in 2011 or 2012 or even 2013 there'd be a market for this car. Today, you're competing against the Chevy Bolt EV, the Tesla Model 3, the 2018 Nissan Leaf, etc, all of which have more range than what you're offering. As we point out elsewhere total driving range autonomy makes one car more valuable than another. By offering an 80ish mile range Honda is not making a competitive offering versus the other automakers.

Tesla Energy providing Energy Storage for Deepwater Wind's proposed Offshore Wind, Energy Storage Combination

(August 1, 2017)

Tesla Energy, the Energy/Solar side of Tesla, is partnering with a large off-shore wind farm on an energy storage system that will be the largest that industry. The project, called Revolution Wind, will be off the coast of New Bedford, Mass, and include a 144 megaWatt wind farm paired with a 40 megaWatt-hour energy storage system provided by Tesla.

Discover the federal capital or the beauty of Northern Germany with the electric Maxi Scooter BMW C evolution.

(August 1, 2017)

BMW's electric maxi-scooter, the BMW C Evolution, is being deployed in Berlin for a guided tour service. For just 49 euros, you get to experience riding an electric maxi-scooter while being guided through the sights of Berlin and potentially surrounding areas like the Harz mountains.

Porsche to join Formula E competition in sixth season

(July 31, 2017)

The Formula E electric race car series will be joined by another large car manufacturer for the 2019/2020 season (season 6). Porsche is a major performance car brand, and plans to join the Formula E series the year after next.

Tesla Model 3 first impressions, videos from first time drives

(July 29, 2017)

Yesterday was Tesla Model 3 day, meaning it was the first deliveries of the Tesla Model 3. Expectations are HIGH for this car and what everyone expects Tesla Motors will do. While there were 30 cars delivered yesterday in Fremont, there was also a test-ride event where attendees were driven around a course on the Tesla Factory grounds. Several people who took those test rides filmed their experience.

Electric Bus-Maker Proterra opens manufacturing facility in Los Angeles

(July 26, 2017)

Following yesterday's signing of climate change legislation, California Governor Jerry Brown commemorated the opening of Proterra's West Coast Manufacturing facility. Proterra is a rapidly growing manufacturer of electric transit buses. The new facility will handle production of buses for its West Coast customers, and adds to Proterra's battery manufacturing facility in Silicon Valley, and its East Coast manufacturing facility in South Carolina.

The Los Angeles area is already a strong customer of Proterra. Foothill Transit has 17 Proterra buses and serves 22 cities in the area. That agency plans to go 100% electric by 2030.

Electric Bus-Maker Proterra sells buses to Lexington KY transit system

(July 26, 2017)

Last Winter Lextran, the transit system for Lexington KY, bought five Proterra Catalyst all-electric buses plus one charging station. Lextran plans to buy another shortly, and hopes to buy others as they secure funding to do so. The charging station is installed at the Transit Center on High Street, near the downtown area. Most bus routes in Lexington go through this Transit Center.

Louisville KY, a nearby city engaged in a 100+ year long friendly rivalry with Lexington, has had Proterra buses for a couple years.

US Dept of Energy has NOT canceled the 2017 Solar Decathlon

(July 26, 2017)

The Solar Decathlon is a yearly contest held by the US Department of Energy. They line up University teams to each develop a solar-powered high efficiency house. For the contest, each team must develop and build the house on their campus, disassemble it, transport the house to the contest site, reassemble it for the contest, then after the contest is finished to disassemble the house, and transport it back to their campus. The contest encourages lots of cross-field development work, covering 10 areas (hence, a Decathlon), and acts as a job training exercise for the students.

The big point is that even though the Trump Administration is pushing all things fossil fuels, the US Department of Energy has not canceled this contest. The contest is all about solar power and energy efficiency, but they're letting it proceed as planned. Hurm...

Nissan Leaf spyshots helps Transport Evolved make educated analysis

(July 26, 2017)

A Transport Evolved viewer in Europe happened upon a Nissan Leaf in the wild, that happened to be at a charging station, shared the pictures with the show, letting them make educated guesses about the car. The Nissan Leaf still has dual charging ports, still sporting CHAdeMO, but the AC charge port was larger implying that Nissan a switch to the Type 2 port for Europe instead of the J1772 port. Doing so will make the Leaf more compatible with Europe's charging infrastructure.

The other detail is that this car seemed to allow a maximum 160+ miles range, implying it has a 40 kiloWatt-hour battery pack. Hurm... is Nissan going to wait on offering the 60 kiloWatt-hour battery size required for a 200+ mile range?

The competition is over what? Will more market share be had with a lower priced car that still offers a significant range boost? What if a 160-180 mile range 40 kWh Leaf can be bought for significantly less than the 238 mile range 60 kWh Chevy Bolt EV or the Tesla Model 3? Would that mean more Leaf buyers because it's much less expensive?

On the other hand, Nissan has long talked about offering multiple battery pack capacities, and has shown promo videos of a Leaf with a 60 kWh pack. It's far more likely that Nissan will offer both 40 kWh and 60 kWh capacities on the Leaf.

Greenlots Secures Strategic Investment from Leading Utility Coalition

(July 25, 2017)

Greenlots is a leading company in the electric car charging space. One big claim they continually make is of being the "Open Charging Leader", meaning that their charging network is implemented using open protocols versus the closed proprietary protocols used by other network operators. While the end customer doesn't care about this issue, it is important to network operations. By using open protocols, in theory, Greenlots has a wider choice of charging station providers compared to the networks using closed protocols.

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signs climate change law extending cap-and-trade for 10 years

(July 25, 2017)

California Governor Jerry Brown today signed significant climate change legislation, AB398/AB617. Part of what happened is the extension of a law originally signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger 10 years ago. With AB398, we have a Cap-And-Trade program that is an attempt at economic pressure to solve for climate change. With AB617, certain gasses are defined as air pollutants and toxic chemicals.

What follows is the text of the legislation.

Mercedes-Benz to join Formula E competition in sixth season

(July 25, 2017)

The Formula E electric race car series will be joined by another large car manufacturer for the 2019/2020 season (season 6). Mercedes-Benz had previously intended to join during the 2018/2019 season, but has instead chosen to wait a year.

A Metallica-loving ICE-hole forgets car in Toronto, blocking EV charging for 4+ days

(July 21, 2017)

This feel-good story about a guy finding his car after he forgot which parking lot he'd parked in has a dark side. His car was blocking an electric vehicle charging station for 4+ days. The news article doesn't talk about this, and the parking lot owner did nothing about this. The parking lot owner should have seen this gasoline car parked at the EV charging station and had it towed.

WTF: eVgo publishes Facebook Post claiming electric cars are dangerous

(July 21, 2017)

Back in 2010-2011 an association for blind folk began a push for electric cars to make noise, because quiet cars are dangerous to blind people who use sounds to navigate the world around them. While it's obvious that blind folks need to hear things to avoid risks, it's only part of the story. What about the pedestrian/bicyclist deaths due to gasoline cars and even big trucks? Obviously it's not about the noise emitted by the vehicle. What about noise pollution in our cities? When will we solve for noise pollution?

Instead, doesn't it seem possible the "quiet electric cars are dangerous" idea might be pushed by organizations seeking to delay electric car adoption?

By that measure why is an electric car charging network like eVgo publishing a note saying electric cars are dangerous? What the ____, as they say! I think I'm speaking for all of eVgo's customers when I beg them to please please please work on improving your back-end services.

Lightning breaks records at el Mirage in shakedown run for new LS-2?? electric hyperbike

(July 20, 2017)

Lightning Motorcycles can rightfully claim to produce the fastest production motorcycle in the world, an all-electric bike dubbed the LS-218. The name was earned in August 2012, when Lightning set a land speed record at Bonneville of 218 miles per hour. The record was actually 215.960 miles/hr averaged over two runs with the faster run being 218 miles/hr, forming the basis for the bike's name. The next year they took the bike to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race, and beat the entire motorcycle field by over 20 seconds. That bike was one of a handful of prototype bikes Lightning built for racing, and the company now sells a production version to the public.

Lightning's engineering team has been at work on two tracks -- One is developing the manufacturing expertise required to produce motorcycles -- The other is to develop a new prototype bike. The team plans to take this new bike to the Bonneville speed trials this summer where the team intends to set a new land speed record, and the new bike will be named after whatever speed it attains. In the riders seat is a leading land speed record holder, Jim Hoogerhyde.

In their "shakedown run", at the El Mirage track in California, they recorded a 211.730 miles/hr record from a standing start. The standing start is a different format than is used at Bonneville, which uses a "flying start" where racers are timed over a 1 mile stretch in the middle of a longer run. In November 2012, Lightning recorded a 189 miles/hr standing start speed at El Mirage compared to the 215.590 miles/hr record at Bonneville. Does this imply they might hit 250 miles/hr at Bonneville?

The company has long used racing as the cauldron within which to develop their motorcycles. They achieved many wins in earlier years, but the last couple years their racing program took a back seat to the priority of building bikes for customers. Lightning has long promised a range of motorcycles targeted more typical usages than racing, such as the daily commute. This press release repeats that promise. At their shop I've seen several prototypes such as an urban-oriented scooter, and a street bike meant for every-day riders.

Previously, Lightning had partnered with Remy for the motor and Ener1 for EnerDel batteries. In this press release Lightning names Farasis as the battery partner. That company has supplied super powerful battery cells to several electric racing teams.

Optimizing hydrogen-powered passenger ferries focus of Sandia Labs study

(July 13, 2017) Building on earlier research into hydrogen fuel cell powered ferries, Sandia National Labs scientists are working to optimize the design. The design in the previous phase, 150 passengers and a 35 knot speed, turned out to be an outlier compared to other passenger ferries used in the USA. This was both a faster-than-normal ferry, and carrying fewer-than-normal passengers.

eMotorWerks and Share&Charge Deliver North America's First Peer to Peer Electric Vehicle Charging Network with Blockchain Payments

(July 11, 2017)

Encouraging person-to-person sharing of charging stations is one way to expand the electric car charging network. It's clear a key to a successful switch to electric cars is the speed with which the charging network becomes ubiquitous. This isn't the first effort at person-to-person charging station sharing. To my knowledge that honor falls on PlugShare/Recargo/Xatori (Xatori and Recargo merged). In any case, the interesting twist in this case is the use of Blockchain to record payments.

Blockchain? That's the transaction recording technology underly Bitcoin and most other digital currencies. Blockchain is a simpler mechanism to record transactions than the prevailing system of monetary settlements through the ACH banking system. Blockchain-style transactions are as fast as an API call on an Internet service, and are touted as being highly secure due to well-thought-out algorithms and encryption mechanisms. Instead of Bitcoin, the team is instead using Ethereum.

Almost two years ago I had a frenzy of excitement about Bitcoin, and posted some theorizing that using Bitcoin in charging stations would reduce the need for charging networks. Who knows if that would be the result.

Newest Products from Enphase Energy Meet the Needs of the California and Hawaii Markets

(July 11, 2017)

In California and Hawaii, policy changes are underway requiring "smart inverters" for solar power systems. Requirements going into effect in September call for what's called "Phase 1" functions, comprising a set of "autonomous" actions providing "grid support" functions like voltage or frequency support. That is, these functions happen automatically without any explicit control, and act in reaction to grid conditions. For example the voltage or frequency might go out of bounds, and rather than disconnect from the grid the inverter instead shifts into a mode of helping to correct the problem.

The industry developed a supplemental standard, UL1741SA (Supplement A), defining those autonomous functions. Shortly Enphase, and the other solar inverter manufacturers, will be unable to sell inverters in California that lack this feature.

ChargePoint Takes Over Management of GE’s Electric Vehicle Charging Network

(June 28, 2017)

GE has for a few years operated their own charging network. It wasn't widely recognized nor popular, but they were doing it. It makes sense that GE (a.k.a. General Electric) would get into such a business. The name of the company says it all, that GE's corporate purpose is anything to do with electricity. But, their charging station business and network was never very popular.

GE selling its charging network to ChargePoint is likely part of a larger transformation underway at GE. According to current news reports, GE sold off its appliance division, most of GE Capital, is thinking to sell its "lighting" business, amid a general sell-off of "side businesses" so that GE can return to its "industrial roots".

In other words, it would seem GE see's the charging network business as a "side business" it should jettison. If so, I'd suggest that to be short-sighted since electric vehicles are the future. Shouldn't GE be positioning itself to reap the rewards of the rise of electric vehicles?

Why you shouldn't buy a battery-electric car? Doesn't hold water

(June 26, 2017)

This Chevy Volt owner (note - Plug-in Hybrid) tells us he is frequently asked why he doesn't own a Tesla. In other words, why not own a battery electric car, and why instead to own a plug-in hybrid? The obvious first answer is that the Volt and other PHEV's are nowhere near as expensive as a Tesla Model S or Model X, and therefore regular folks can buy a Volt. That's a completely understandable answer, though will change later this year as the Tesla Model 3 comes on the market.

Next reason - usable driving range for road trips. That is, when the Volt runs out of battery power you just keep on driving because the gasoline engine kicks in. You can even never touch the charging port and drive forever on gasoline. Or, that's what the guy in the video says. Too bad that's an incorrect idea.

Gasoline vehicle owners can have range anxiety because they can be just as stuck on the side of the road having run out of fuel. It's called "running out of gas" and happens to people all the time. For more information on Range Anxiety see: A brief history of Range Anxiety

It boils down to refueling time, effective trip speed, and refueling/recharging infrastructure. Gasoline does have a very fast refueling time and therefore effective trip speed is high with gasoline. Effective trip speed means the distance traveled divided by travel time factoring in everything including pee breaks, food breaks and refueling breaks. As more DC fast charging infrastructure is built, electric car effective trip speed will increase. The guy is right that currently the balance tips towards plug-in hybrids if your primary goal is optimum trip speed on road trips. To understand the calculations see EV Charging Rates

For most of us road trips are a secondary use of our car, and the primary use is around-town driving. That means we don't need to optimize for road trip effective speed, but we need to optimize for around-town driving. See Charging rate needed

What about battery swapping as the solution for increasing charging time? It's not a good choice that failed in the market. See Battery swapping

Marc Tarpenning - Tesla's High Speed Innovation at 2017 Product Leader Summit

(June 26, 2017)

If you pay closely to your electric vehicle history, you may be aware that Elon Musk is nothing more than a co-founder of Tesla Motors. Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning started Tesla Motors, with Elon Musk joining shortly afterward as the Angel Investor. This talk is by Marc Tarpenning talking at Stanford University to a group of entrepenuerial people.

Martin and Marc had built and sold a previous company, and were looking for a new challenge. They decided to look at the Oil industry, that is to disrupt the Oil Industry out of existence. The primary place Oil plays is transportation, specifically for cars and light trucks. It's unrealistic to use biofuels -- for example corn-based-ethanol would require more arable land than exists in the USA to fuel the vehicles used in the USA. On the other hand, electric cars can be powered by the solar panels on the roof of the house. See Solar/Electric Vehicle Nirvana

They chose to build a sports car first because it's an area where they could more easily compete than other market segments. The electric drive was able to outpace gasoline powered cars because of "100% torque at 0 RPM". The Roadster doesn't do so well at a race track because they knew high speed wasn't so important for daily driving, and instead the 0-60 miles/hr time was most important.

The real plan was to make an extremely compelling attractive car at the high end, and then move towards the Sedan market.

Building the SOLN1-2000 Watt Capacitor Solar Generator

(June 21, 2017)

Supercapacitors are like batteries because they store electricity, but they're different from batteries because the electricity is not stored as a chemical reaction. Supercapacitors are capacitors, but super, meaning they hold far more energy than regular capacitors. Capacitors store energy between metal plates that are separated by an insulator, and are used in pretty much every electrical gizmo to smooth out electricity, store bits of electricity here and there in a circuit and so forth. In some cases capacitors are used as primary energy storage -- for example some photography flashguns have a large capacitor that's charged up from a battery to emit a huge flash of light.

This video shows a Supercapacitor system built with easy-to-assemble modules with built-in balancers, that is charged from regular solar panels, and can drive regular 120 volt equipment from an inverter. The system is small and lightweight, but provides great energy storage capability.

With the system shown here, he went to a remote site and ran a cement mixer and various power tools all day long straight off sunlight and a small solar array.

Polestar announces new management team to develop electrified performance brand for Volvo Cars

(June 21, 2017)

Volvo is spinning off a new company intended to enter the Electric Performance Car market.

Energy Department Announces Nearly $32 Million for Innovative Small Businesses Focused on Clean Energy Technologies

(June 21, 2017)

We're continuing to see rays of possible sunlight at the US Department of Energy. That while the Trump Administration is chock-a-block full of fossil-fuel-loving partisan advocates, that somehow the DoE is still supporting clean energy work. This set of funding supports clean energy technologies, and is part of a [larger $116 program of awards](https://energy.gov/articles/department-energy-announces-116-million-small-business-research-and-development-grants) across a wider range of technologies.

A spreadsheet showing [all the projects is on the DoE website](https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/06/f35/FY%202017%20EERE%20SBIR%20STTR%20Phase%20II%2C%20Release%202%20Award%20Selections.xlsx).

The Breakthrough in Solar Energy

(June 21, 2017)

Renewable electricity with Wind and Solar is quickly becoming financially viable as the cheapest form of electricity production. The cost curve is falling rapidly thanks to production efficiencies as the manufacturing volume rises, and as the manufacturers grow more and more comfortable with producing the technology. The cost is low enough, that in some places, it is cheaper than natural gas electricity without subsidies.

Case in point, Dubai, in the middle of the Oil-Rich Persian Gulf, is building out a massive solar farm that's slated to expend to 800 megaWatts within a few years. In the middle of the Persian Gulf region, they're able to build solar at a cost cheaper than natural gas. Let that sink in.

In the USA we did elect a government full of climate change denying fossil fuel loving leaders. But the economics dictates a different solution. The economics says that the future is renewable electricity.

One of the voices in this documentary points out that the price-cost-curve for renewable electricity is dictated by manufacturing efficiency, while the price-cost-curve for fossil fuel electricity is based on the price for the resource. With renewable electricity the resource is as endless as the Sun. With fossil fuel electricity the resource is limited, and the price for that resource goes higher the more you extract, simply because as fossil fuel resources reach depletion extraction is more expensive.

Another case story is an island in the Canary Islands. They have a high cost of energy because there is no local energy resources. Their goal is moving 100% to renewable electricity, with local energy storage, organic produce, and electric vehicles. Once accomplished more of their money will stay on the island, as opposed to the current situation where money is shipped off the island to buy fossil fuels. In other words, locally produced renewable electricity can produce great economic goodness.

The more renewable energy is deployed the less need there is for wars -- since in many cases wars (especially in the current time period) are often to do with resources. The whole mess in the Middle East is, after all, a war where the West seeks to protect access to the fossil fuels in the Middle East.

Two manned multirotor helicopter-like flights -- Kitty Hawk Flyer seen in San Francisco

(Jun 18, 2017)

Multi-rotor aircraft are related to those "Drone" devices making all those fantastic aerial movies. Except, they use quite a few more motors and propellers, and in some cases they carry passengers. Electric manned flight is happening, and it may happen faster than we expect.

We have two aircraft to report on today. The first, the Kitty Hawk Flyer, got a lot of overly hyped attention back in April. In this video we see one flying not in the overly scripted scenario of their advertising footage, but along the San Francisco waterfront. For previous coverage, see Kitty Hawk Flyer - electric powered quad-copter electric motorcycle thingymajob

The second is a gentleman with a german accent flying a vehicle in a forest, presumably on his own property. He recently posted a video showing the first flight of his multi-rotor design, and today's video shows a tuning test-flight. He flew for 11 minutes achieving 80% depth of discharge, indicating more flight time than the previous video. For previous coverage see Very cool Manned multirotor helicopter-like -First Flight!

Very cool Manned multirotor helicopter-like -First Flight!

(Jun 14, 2017)

First test flight with this aircraft - 8 minutes of flying time consumed 57% of the battery capacity. The power comes from a 35 kG LIPO battery pack, and it's estimated to have 14 minutes total flying time or 11 minutes to 80% depth of discharge. He's not wearing a helmet to feel the freedom thing.

It kicks up quite a bit of "wind" while flying - notice what happens to the plants.

Since this is an initial test flight, he's taking it easy ("don't fly higher than you want to fall"). Certain control system limits were set conservatively and he may loosen those limits for future flights.

GM's assembly line for producing Self-Driving Chevrolet Bolt EV Test cars

(June 14, 2017)

Yesterday GM released news that a hundred or so Self-Driving Chevy Bolt EV's were being manufactured on an assembly line, and being shipped to test fleets around the USA. They described this as a milestone, as the first self-driving car to be built with mass-production techniques. We've found a video that goes over the assembly line.

This is clearly not a robotized modern assembly line. Instead of an building the cars from scratch, they are attaching parts to a pre-built chassis. It looks like Engineering team members are doing some of the assembly.

The other thing to note is the size of the computing cluster, and that it takes up a significant amount of cargo space. As advanced as their self-driving technology surely is, they still haven't shrunk the equipment down to where it fits into the woodwork.

Deutsche Post and Ford to manufacture electric delivery van

(June 13, 2017)

Deutsche Post DHL Group and Ford have announced a plan to develop an all-electric delivery van for use in Germany.

GM produces first round of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV test vehicles

(June 13, 2017)

For the first time, autonomous self-driving cars have been built using mass-production methodology. As we can tell via the pictures released with this press release, they built some kind of assembly line for this purpose. The assembly line clearly isn't "high-end" (no robots), but it's an assembly line, letting them claim to have used mass-production methods. GM is deploying the 130 vehicles to test fleets in San Francisco, Scottsdale and Detroit.

Another thing to see in these pictures is that these cars have many sensors, including a whole sensor package mounted on the roof, and some sensors at the side near the front. The press release talks about LIDAR, cameras and other sensors, as well as computing equipment.

BMW I Ventures announces strategic investment in Proterra

(June 13, 2017)

Proterra has been raising lots of investment capital the last few months.

First automated vehicle in New York, an Audi

(June 13, 2017)

What Audi has done is achieve the first license for automated vehicle testing in New York. They held a technology demonstration in Albany NY, of the Audi Highway Pilot technology, showcasing their "Level 3" capabilities.

Available in August, Honda announces 2017 Clarity Electric lease price at $269 a month

(June 12, 2017)

The Honda Clarity Electric may be a waste of time - 2011 called, and they want their electric car. That is, the Honda Clarity Electric has specifications (80 mile range) that were hot in 2011, but are has-been today given the 200+ mile range of the Chevy Bolt EV or the Tesla Model 3. This lease price means you're not getting a lower price in exchange for sub-par capabilities.

At the same time we must recognize that Honda has until now refused to deliver a credible electric car in anything but "compliance car" quantities. Just enough Honda Fit EV's were made to produce enough electric car sales to earn enough ZEV credits so they could stay in the business of selling gasoline vehicles. This new car perhaps represents a change in tune for Honda given their long term focus on fuel cell vehicle research. Except that we see in the press release below that the Honda Clarity Electric, just as the Fit EV, is limited to California and Oregon, and is therefore a "compliance car" until proven otherwise.

Another item of note is that it supports fast charging -- using the Combo Charging System. This is the first time for a Japanese automaker to be selling (er.. leasing) a car with Combo Charging System. The Honda Fit EV was not delivered with fast charging. In general the Japanese Automotive Market requires CHAdeMO, because that system was developed in Japan long before the Combo Charging System (CCS) was developed. CHAdeMO charging infrastructure in Japan is ubiquitous, but the technology failed to take off in the market largely because the Society for Automotive Engineers choose to take a different direction. See

US Energy Department Announces $3 Million for High Performance Computing to Advance Clean Energy Manufacturing

(June 12, 2017)

We're seeing a ray of hope that all is not bleak in Washington DC, because the US Department of Energy is still moving forward on clean energy projects. In this case they're ponying up $3 million in funding for "High Performance Computing" projects meant to be applied to manufacturing processes in the Energy Industry. Specifically: "aid in decision-making, innovate in processes and design, improve quality, predict performance and failure, quicken or eliminate testing, and/or shorten the time of adoption of new technologies."

What that means is using high end computer-aided-design technologies in the product design process. For example with virtual reality hardware, an engineering team can create a virtual 3D mockup of a product and more quickly iterate the design without having to build physical hardware. Other techniques can simulate physical stresses to predict failures without building physical hardware. In general, by using virtual modeling techniques, an engineering team can iterate through large number of designs in a fraction of the time required to build and test physical hardware.

The Department of Energy is seeking proposals in these areas --

  • Proposals that require HPC modeling and simulation to overcome impactful manufacturing process challenges resulting in reduced energy consumption and/or increased productivity.
  • Proposals that uniquely exploit HPC modeling and simulation to reduce energy consumption through improved clean energy technology design and clean energy manufacturing.
  • Proposals that accelerate the development and qualification of new energy materials; with a primary emphasis on the nuclear and fossil energy program areas of the Department of Energy.

Solar-Electric VW Bus conversion

(May 18, 2017) Generally speaking solar powered electric vehicles aren't feasible because the weight and aerodynamics of the solar array offset any gain the solar panels might give. It's a dream many have, solar powered vehicles, but in reality-land it doesn't work too well. Unless your vehicle already has the aerodynamics of a brick, such as the old-school VW Bus. This nice video shows an excellently thought-out VW Bus EV conversion that has an excellently thought-out solar array attached to the roof. The installation covered the struts holding the array in place, for example, to minimize aerodynamics problems. Going by what's said in the video, the system offers 40-50 miles of EV range (using a lead-acid battery pack, the next phase is a Lithium-ION pack giving a couple hundred miles rage) but a fairly lengthy recharge time because the system produces 12 amps peak. That last bit confirms the problem with solar powered EV's -- it's difficult to carry enough panels to recharge the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time. Also notice that the VW Bus is parked at an odd angle in the parking lot, because it has to be oriented optimally to the sun.

Nissan teases picture of new Nissan Leaf

(May 18, 2017) The 2018 Nissan Leaf is supposed to be a big jump forward. That would mean a jump in battery capacity well beyond the 30 kWh Nissan currently sells, and perhaps other improvements. Today Nissan released this image which doesn't show us much other than a redesign in the headlight assembly. Big whoop. We wanna know real important stuff. Yes, this headlight assembly is important for aerodynamics. The strangeness of the current LEAF headlight assembly is due to aerodynamics. But that's kind of a secondary thing, what we need to know is the characteristics of the vehicle, the price range, the charging system, the capabilities, the cargo capacity, etc.

Mercedes-Benz Energy and Vivint Solar Team Up to Bring Automotive Battery Innovation to the U.S. Residential Solar Market

(May 18, 2017)

Dept of Energy posts videos pushing Solar Energy -- wasn't Trump Admin going to kill Solar?

(May 11, 2017) Most of the Trump Administration appointees are people who seem tasked with killing the departments they're overseeing. The US Department of Energy is headed by Rick Perry, who in the 2012 race had promised to kill that department. We've been worried the DoE programs on solar energy and other clean energy technologies would vaporize, and we'll all fry in a few years because climate change will be running rampant. These are very real concerns, but it's useful to check whether the reality measures up to that fear. These video releases are perhaps a sign that the Dept of Energy will continue promoting solar power.

Tesla Model X accident avoidance mode - accelerating to avoid rear-ender

(April 24, 2017) We know that Tesla Motors is a leader in developing autonomous driving technology. This video shows an example of automatically avoiding an accident. Watch the white Model X in the lane to the right. An SUV rear-ends a car, that then rear-ends another car, but the Model X automatically moves itself to avoid being rear-ended.

Converting a 60 kWh Tesla Model S to 75 kWh in under 5 minutes

(April 24, 2017) Upgrading the electric car battery capacity sounds like it would require a trip to a service station, putting the car on a lift, and a couple hours to swap the battery packs. A newly released video shows the process to upgrade a Tesla Model S 60D to a Model S 75D. Instead of shop time, all that's required is tapping a PURCHASE button on a web page, and a $2000 payment. Within a couple minutes the car gets a software download, the infotainment system reboots, and all the screens start saying '75D' instead of '60D'. It doesn't, though, change the badge on the back of the car.

Kitty Hawk Flyer - electric powered quad-copter electric motorcycle thingymajob

(April 24, 2017) Electric drive trains give vehicle designers the freedom to think up what would have been wackadoodle ideas just a few years ago. Case in point are variants on the Quadcopter, meaning a vehicle with multiple downward facing propellers. A quadcopter has four downward facing propellers, and I've seen designs with a dozen or more propellers. The Kitty Hawk Flyer appears to have eight propellers, making it an Octocopter? The initial reporting on this calls it a 'flying car', but it's clearly not a car, and it's clearly meant for use in limited scenarios. The Kitty Hawk Flyer is going on sale later in 2017, so this isn't an early prototype like so many of the n-Copter's for humans, but is close to production. Going by the video it looks like a flying electric motorcycle that would be fun. One wonders how much of a control system is on-board or whether the pilot steers merely by leaning. Going by the website, it's going to be ultra-expensive. Going by the legal and technical limitations of this incarnation, the Kitty Hawk Flyer will see its primary use as a playtoy at peoples' lake house. Who knows whether legal and technical limitations can be transcended to allow this type of vehicle to be used for regular travel around cities?

The Middle East is a huge morass of problems because of USA's meddling in their affairs

(April 17, 2017) Why are there so many Syrian refugees? Why are Muslim Terrorists attacking us? Why is there so much bloodshed in the Middle East? Why are we forced to take our shoes off at the airport? Why oh why oh why ....

Honda Electrified! Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric unveiled at 2017 New York International Auto Show

(April 12, 2017)

Is General Motors' Policy on DC Quick Charging Slowing Chevrolet Bolt EV Adoption Rates? (Transport Evolved)

(April 10, 2017) Chevy Bolt EV sales are not taking off like a rocket making people think the car is a failure. On Transport Evolved, Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield suggests the cause is GM's lackluster support for building charging infrastructure. Clearly Tesla's big sales advantage is that the Supercharger network is so well developed. CCS fast charging infrastructure is at least 3 years behind other DC fast charging methods. Since it is not as widely available, the CCS fast charging standard is less attractive than either CHAdeMO or Supercharger which are much more available. GM doesn't help by steadfastly refusing to participate in building fast charging infrastructure.

Tesla Model 3 spoted 'testing' on I-280 near Tesla HQ

(April 9, 2017) A blue Tesla Model 3 is filmed in the wild, if nothing else letting us know these things actually exist. Going by the road signs this is I-280 near Tesla's headquarters. Not much to say, but for those of us waiting to place our orders this is a good sign.

US Department of Energy is Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution

(April 9, 2017) The US Department of Energy has for decades led development of clean energy technologies. According to David Friedman, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, since 2008 their group has contributed to a massive cost reduction in clean energy technologies, that drove massive adoption. One hopes that under the new political administration, the Dept of Energy will keep up the good work. This video was published in March 2017, after the new political administration came to office, which might be a good sign. On the other hand, it was filmed on January 8, 2017, before the new political administration came to office. The date is important given the radical shift in policy currently underway, and the budget cuts threatened at the Dept of Energy and EPA and other agencies. This new political administration seems dedicated to undermining the clean energy revolution described in this lecture. The lecture outlines some truly excellent reasons for continuing that revolution.

What Does The Proposed U.S. EPA Budget Cut Mean For Automakers, Car Buyers, And the Environment?

(April 7, 2017) Now that the Trump Administration is in power, lots of changes are underway. One of which is drastic cuts for the EPA. According to budget documents, the EPA will have to layoff 25% of its staff and cut over 50 programs. Some programs will be cut altogether, while others will be a husk. One cut is the vehicle emissions testing program. The automakers are concerned about this because while the emissions testing program is due to be cut, the automakers still have to meet the requirements in order to sell their vehicles. One idea is for the automakers to pay higher fees to have their cars tested. The fear is less stringent testing. Wouldn't the automakers have more control over the process and therefore commit more fraud?

Ford announces ambitious China electrification strategy; confirms two new EV's for China, broad range by 2025

(April 7, 2017) Ford Motors routinely makes big claims about plans to electrify their vehicle line-up. The details are important, because Ford rarely means fully battery-electric vehicles but instead a hybrid or plug-in hybrid drive-train. In this case one of the two new EV's is a PHEV (plug-in hybrid) rather than BEV (battery EV). While this is a step towards the goal of a fully electric (no fossil fuels) the vehicle fleet, that's nowhere near what Ford is promising. When Ford promises 'to electrify 70% of Ford nameplates sold' in China, that simply means 70% of their vehicle line will have an option for an electric something-or-other in the drive-train, which could mean a simple hybrid drive-train. It doesn't even promise 70% of their sales will have electric components in the drive-train, but 70% of the vehicle line.

Energica's 2017 model year updated with increased power

(April 7, 2017) Italian electric motorcycle Energica has announced model year 2017 updates to their product line. The primary update is to increase the power output from 107 kiloWatts (145 horsepower) in the Energica Ego, and 80 kiloWatts (108 horsepower) for the Energica Eva. Energica entered the electric motorcycle market a couple years ago, after starting research and prototyping in 2010.

What happens to a Chevy Volt when it runs out of electricity AND gasoline?

(April 7, 2017) What happens if you run out of gasoline while driving a Chevy Volt? In a 'regular' gasoline car, running out of gasoline means you're stuck by the side of the road. While driving a battery-electric vehicle, run out of electricity and you're just as stuck. Plug-in hybrids, like the Volt, let you keep going if you run out of either gasoline or electricity. When electricity runs low, it automatically turns on the gas engine to recharge the pack. What happens, in the Volt, if you run out of both?

New home page for US Bureau of Land Management pushes coal, and more coal

(April 7, 2017) Given the Trump Administration actions on fossil fuels and climate protections -- namely, a push to expand fossil fuels while gutting environmental regulations -- this switch on the Bureau of Land Management home page is to be expected. Where the BLM had formerly pushed natural scenery and national parks, it's now a gigantic coal seam in Wyoming.

Tesla raises cash for Model 3 launch, from Chinese company Tencent

(April 2, 2017) Tesla Motors has to spend $2.5 billion before July to launch the Model 3. As with the Model S and Model X launches, Tesla Motors is going through deep cash burn for capital expenditures to build up capacity to launch the new model. Making ends meet requires selling stock to raise capital from investors. This time that included Tencent, a large Chinese company. That company is backing a self-driving-car startup, Nio. Tesla Motors is advanced into developing this technology of course, so does Tencent intend to drive a merger? Tencent spent $1.78 billion buying their stake in Tesla.

Trump Administration set to destroy Obama-era climate-environment-protection policies

(March 28, 2017) The Obama Administration put in place many regulations and laws protecting the environment, and working to mitigate climate change. Since his inauguration, the Trump Administration has seemingly been focused on one thing -- gutting President Obama's legacy. Today they went after those clean energy and environmental protection policies. The Executive Order issued today is a litany of bad ideas and policy regarding the environment and energy policy. The list of reasons for the world to abandon fossil fuel consumption is too long to list here.

Ford's eQVM program certifies 3rd party truck electrification

(March 15, 2017) Ford's Qualified Vehicle Modifier program certifies companies who perform specialized customization of large trucks for specific commercial uses. Truck manufacturers frequently sell through truck customization shops who produce trucks for specific purposes. For example a shuttle bus manufacturer might take a stock Ford E450 truck chassis, install a passenger cabin and bus doors and other accoutrements of a passenger bus. The truck manufacturer doesn't have the capacity to grok the specialized needs of each niche market, and instead rely on truck customization shops to do so. What's new is adding truck customizers with electric or hybrid drive-train expertise.

Enbala Power Networks Raises $12 Million to Transform Distributed Energy Resource Market

(February 24, 2017) Growth in renewable energy adoption (solar, wind) means developing new energy storage to manage their intermittent nature. The sort of system described here takes in signals from utility companies, and prices on the real-time-energy-market, to determine when to absorb energy from the grid, or release energy to the grid, and even when to perform other grid services like voltage or frequency regulation.

2017 VW e-Golf offers improved range and fuel economy

(February 22, 2017) This is a significant improvement over the current VW e-Golf. Improved driving range will be the common theme the next couple years. While they aren't announcing the MSRP it's possible VW will do as Hyundai, and instead of going for 200+ miles range at a $30-35,000 MSRP, they'll go for a lower MSRP instead.

Tesla Prep For Model 3, Lucid Air PR, Self-Driving Bolt EV -- Transport Evolved Feb 18, 2017

(February 18, 2017) GM expands Maven car sharing to Los Angeles. Latest Tesla update provides real-time Supercharger status, preparing for an influx of more EV drivers. Adds data about congestion at upcoming supercharger stations so you can make additional plans. Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Sedan recalled for software glitch that's expected to be rare but wasn't found in testing. EV Sales in Norway, where electric car sales are extremely popular, top 37 percent of new car sales last month (January 2017). That's just 13% from bypassing the 50% sales level. Hyundai announces $29,500 entry-level price (MSRP) for 2017 IONIQ EV, and combined with tax incentives it is extremely affordable. Jason Hughes, a famous Tesla Hacker, hacks his Model S to make it 30% more powerful. Electric bus maker, Proterra CEO predicts one-third of all new busses will be electric in just four year’s time (by 2021), and by 2030 all such busses will be electric. Daimler announces their Smart brand will become an all-electric brand in the U.S., completely eschewing gasoline. Was Waymo’s Brain Drain caused by overpaying its staff? It seems Waymo's parent company (Google/Alphabet) paid those employees enough to make them independently wealthy, allowing them to leave to start their own self-driving-vehicle startups. Kia exec says NIRO EV will hit market in 2018. Mercedes-Benz starts small series production for Daimler Urban eTruck. A patient Bolt EV owner has driven their car 300 miles on a charge, or 70 miles more than the EPA rating.

February 18 2017 Model 3 Updates, Bolt EV test drive -- Model 3 Owners Club

(February 18, 2017) Reporting from an auto show in Canada, the guys review latest Model 3 news.

Toyota and Shell one step closer to a hydrogen refueling network in California

(February 17, 2017) Fuel cell vehicles are supposedly the solution that will one day eliminate the need for battery electric vehicles. What's missed is the expense for hydrogen refueling stations (over $1.5 million apiece) versus the much lower cost for DC fast charging of battery electric vehicles (under $100,000). That means the same pool of money could build a whole lot more DC fast charging stations than hydrogen. The $16 million here to build 7 hydrogen stations could build 160 or more DC fast charging stations.

Ecotricity - Green Gas - Industrial scale biomass replacement for natural gas

(February 15, 2017) Clean electricity from Solar or Wind is great but it doesn't power natural gas fired stoves or heaters. It isn't entirely feasible to replace those with electric stoves or heaters, creating a problem of getting a clean renewable fuel that's equivalent to natural gas. Ecotricity has developed a biomass system fed with regular grass, that can grow on marginal land, producing renewable methane gas that is clean enough to go into the natural gas grid. Any longer continuation of natural gas to fuel industry or homes requires either fracking (which is horrendous) or some kind of biomass solution.

ABB to charge the largest single network of 101 electric buses in Europe

(February 14, 2017)

Lockheed Martin on rebooting the Atomic Age with Compact Fusion Research

(February 13, 2017) Who says nuclear power has to be dangerous? Lockheed Martin's Skunkworks is working on a semi-portable nuclear fusion reactor they say could be small enough to power an airplane. Current research fusion reactors are humongous build-sized extremely expensive monstrosities that probably will not work out. This is relatively small, and the team leader is oozing with confidence they'll get it to work. Nuclear power safe enough to fly an airplane. It presents no proliferation risk, making it possible to ship to any country. If it works it could revolutionize the energy system, if it is inexpensive enough to financially supplant fossil fuels.

PG&E Unveils New Plug-In Electric Truck That Will Help Keep the Lights on During Outages

(February 13, 2017)

ABB brings electric hybrid bus charging to Luxembourg City

(February 13, 2017)

Gigantic Antarctica glacier melting at alarming rate

(February 11, 2017) Russian scientists studying the Mertz Glacier in Antarctica expected the glacier to extend over 500 feet below the ocean surface. This glacier extends over 40 kilometers out over the ocean, and of course would normally have ice extending well below the surface. They sent a robotic submarine to explore the glacier, found the water to be warmer than expected, and the sub-surface portion of the glacier to be riddled with caves.

Winter test of the VW eGolf 24 kWh - Bjorn Nyland

(February 10, 2017) Bjorn Nyland puts the eGolf through its paces in the Norway winter.

Tesla Prep For Model 3, Lucid Air PR, Self-Driving Bolt EV -- Transport Evolved Feb 10, 2017

(February 10, 2017) To prepare for start of Model 3 production, Tesla Motors will do a short factory shutdown in order to install the necessary equipment (tooling, etc). Audi has been trash-talking Tesla Motors, claiming Audi will supply the first properly Premium Electric Car. Honda put out a strange fuel cell advertising campaign. Hyundai Ioniq beginning deliveries in USA, but with only 120 miles range probably cannot compete against Chevy Bolt. Because of Dieselgate, Volkswagen is launching its Electrify America plan with a website and a request for ideas. Nissan is in trouble for emissions of its Diesel powered vehicle. Lucid Air giving test drives to select people. The Tesla Model X can be easily accessed with just a screwdriver. Both Tesla and SpaceX joined a large group of Hi-Tech companies complaining about the Trump Administration Muslim travel ban. GM released a new video on progress towards a self-driving car. Electric car sales in the UK totaled 4.2% in January 2017.

February 9 2017 Model 3 Updates and rumours? -- Model 3 Owners Club

(February 9, 2017) To prepare for start of Model 3 production, Tesla Motors will do a short factory shutdown in order to install the necessary equipment (tooling, etc). This does not yet include the big Schuler Press that will produce the body panels. Model 3 Beta production should start by the end of the month. Supposedly a Model 3 with Ludicrous mode has been built that has a 0-60 miles/hr time of 2 seconds, but is unlikely to be a production car. Perhaps that performance level will wait for the Roadster 2.

Maven launches City Car Sharing in Atlanta

(February 9, 2017) General Motors car sharing service, Maven City Car Sharing, is expanding. Like most automakers, GM is looking forward to a future where autonomous cars can be deployed as an automated car sharing service. We should see this sort of service as a form of "dabbling" as they (GM) prepares for that future.

ABB and Nova Bus announce collaboration on electric transportation.

(February 9, 2017)

Chevrolet Bolt EV full review -- SlashGear

(February 3, 2017) The Chevy Bolt EV is GM's latest attempt to enter the electric vehicle market after they smashed the EV1. This review spends a long time talking with the Chief Designer talking about the choices going into many design details. The design team was in South Korea, perhaps to ease the collaboration with LG as that company is providing most of the components. It has many advanced features some of which really add to usability. An example is the front seats, which are very comfortable, yet they're very thin giving them a few inches extra room in the rear. I can attest having sat in the rear seat, that it has an amazing amount of room.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV First Drive Review -- Transport Evolved

(Jan 27, 2017) Can General Motors be trusted with electric car production since they axed the EV1. GM's first attempt to remedy that reputation was the Chevy Volt (with a V). The Chevy Bolt is their second attempt, and does a reasonably good job of being a great electric car, and remedying that reputation. It has a 7 kiloWatt AC charging system for an 8 hour recharge time. The DC Fast charging system is a $750 option, stupidly.

24 Hrs. With A Chevy Bolt: In-Depth Look By A Tesla Owner

(Jan 27, 2017)

A Tesla Model S owner managed to snag a Chevy Bolt EV for 24 hours. He isn't doing a comparison between the cars because the Model S and Bolt EV are very different market niche's. What he's doing is an in-depth examination of the Bolt EV.

Winter test of Kia Soul EV - Bjorn Nyland

(Jan 26, 2017) Bjorn Nyland, best known for his many videos about Tesla Model S ownership in Norway, recently tested the Kia Soul EV in Norway's harsh winter.

Nissan and BMW partner once again to expand DC Fast Charger access across the U.S. to benefit EV drivers

(January 24, 2017) More expansion of dual-protocol DC fast chargers is coming, with continued partnership between BMW and Nissan. The 50 kW charging rate won't provide good service to the coming 200+ mile range electric cars, since a full recharge at 50 kW is 1.5 to 2 hrs. Will eVgo realize this and upgrade to 100 kW or faster chargers eventually? And, will eVgo change their policies to allow charging sessions longer than 30 minutes? The attached map doesn't indicate they're thinking about long distance travel corridors either.

Winter test of Renault Zoe 210

(Jan 20, 2017) Bjorn Nyland, best known for his many videos about Tesla Model S ownership in Norway, recently tested the Renault Zoe in Norway's harsh winter.

With 73-bus sale to King County, Proterra says electric buses are now mainstream

(Jan 19, 2017)

King County Metro, in the Seattle area, has announced they will purchase 73 Proterra electric buses. For its part, Proterra claims this is "the moment when batter-electric buses crossed over to mainstream acceptance." The advantage an electric bus brings is fuel cost reduction. The cost for electricity-as-a-fuel is lower than the cost of diesel-as-a-fuel in equivalent vehicles. The more the vehicle is driven, the greater the gain from fuel cost savings, and since city buses obviously drive a lot there's a big opportunity to save on costs. See Cost per mile of Electric Vehicle Range

Fully Charged tests the 40 kiloWatt-hour Renault Zoe

(Jan 18, 2017) Robert Llewellyn (Fully Charged) test drives the new Renault Zoe in Portugal. Where the original had a 24 kWh pack, the new version has a 41 kWh pack, giving it over 180 miles in the summer, and 120 miles in cold conditions. The bigger battery fits in exactly the same footprint and they'll even allow the new battery to be used in the older Renault Zoe.

New Supercharging rates and your Model 3, what to expect -- Model 3 Owners Club

(January 13, 2017) In January, Tesla Motors instituted a new scheme for Supercharger access in newly purchased cars. The new scheme does not affect cars sold prior to that date, as those cars will have free Supercharger for life. Cars sold after that date receive a 400 kiloWatt-hour credit per year (about 1000 miles), awarded on the anniversary date of the delivery of the car. Unused credits are not rolled over to the next year. The amount will be tracked in your MyTesla account. Depending on location the fee will be either per-minute or per-kiloWatt-hour. The laws in some locales do not allow electricity sale and therefore supercharger usage must be charged per-minute. Future supercharger should support a 350 kiloWatt charge rate, going by an Elon Musk tweet.