The wirelessly charged electric bus line

From Charged:

The city of Milton Keynes will replace the diesel buses on one route with eight electric buses that will use wireless charging. The route currently transports more than 775,000 passengers a year over a total of 450,000 miles. Electrification is expected to remove about 500 tons of tailpipe CO2 emissions per year, and cut running costs by between £12,000 and £15,000 per year.

The busses will charge when parked over a primary coil in the ground. In 10-minutes the coil can send enough energy to the secondary coil in the bus that it can complete its route. The plan is to place the primary coils at the beginning and ending locations for the bus route and coordinate charging with bus driver breaks.

If all goes well this technology could be “real contender in the future of public transport.”

 

Learn more –  UK city to add wirelessly charged electric buses to fleet

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Ford Focus Electric – now all major manufacturers sell EV’s – comparison of the basic specs

Note these specs are the most hotly contested in the industry. The price is based on MSRP excluding tax credits and all those crazy option packages (for Tesla you can get the base model for $50k and the same car with options for $100k).

Battery power and range are based on EPA estimates (though, those vary a lot too).

 

Ford Focus Electric

  • $39,995
  • 23 kWh
  • battery range – 76 miles

 

Nissan Leaf

  • $35,200
  • 80 kWh
  • battery range – 73 miles

 

Tesla Model S

  • $49,900
  • 40 kWh
  • 160 mile battery range (+$10k for 230 mile range)

 

 

Hybrid Plug-In

These two cars are marketed as Electric Vehicles (EV) even though they have a gas engine. What separates them from other hybrids is a larger battery pack that requires a charge (plug-in) to function.

 

Chevy Volt

  • $39,145
  • 16 kWh
  • battery range – 35 miles
  • 1.4L 4-cylinder gas engine

 

Toyota Prius Plug-in

  • $32,000
  • 4.4 kWh
  • battery range – 11 miles
  • 1.8L 4-cylinder gas engine

 

Photos of each EV:

 

Continue reading Ford Focus Electric – now all major manufacturers sell EV’s – comparison of the basic specs

Speed record set for all-electric airplane – 204.4 mph

Chip Yates does not like sitting still. Just a day after piloting his electric-powered Long EZ airplane to over 200 miles per hour – making him the fastest electric-airplane pilot in the world – he had to disassemble the airplane, pack it up and drive 2,000 miles east to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Here at Airventure, Yates continues to be busy answering questions about his record-setting run. And perhaps one of the more surprising answers is that Yates is a not a veteran test pilot. He just got his license in June and has about 58 hours of experience, including the record-setting run last week.

When the electric vehicle pioneer bought the used airplane it had a 118 horsepower, four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that is fairly standard for a Long EZ. Over the course of several months Yates and his team pulled the four-cylinder engine out of the Long EZ. They then pulled the 193 kW (258 hp), liquid cooled electric motor out of his record setting battery powered motorcycle and mounted it to the back of the Long EZ.

With the very well used (Yates calls it “abused”) lithium polymer battery back from the motorcycle in the back seat, the Long EZ was being prepared as a test bed for some of the technologies Yates needs to develop for his transatlantic flight. But after setting speed records for an electric motorcycle, first up for the Long EZ was a speed run.

 

Keep reading: Wired – The Story Behind a Record-Setting Electric Airplane Flight

 

 

Continue reading Speed record set for all-electric airplane – 204.4 mph

Getting your home ready for an electric vehicle (EV)

 

Owning a plug-in electric car means a new way to fuel. The convenience of charging at home can reduce or even eliminate your trips to the gas station, but it also comes with choices.

Get a lower rate

We offer 2 rate plans specifically designed for people with electric cars. These plans provide lower rates when you charge at night and during off-peak hours. Your selected rate plan and charging level (or voltage) will determine whether you’ll need to upgrade your home’s electrical wiring.

Do you need a charging station?

If your electric car has a smaller battery, or if you simply drive less, you can charge your electric car within a few hours using a standard household 120-volt outlet. If your electric car has a larger battery or you drive more, you may want a home charging station or dock for faster charging.

Resources

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Review – new MacBook Air has great performance improvements, no design changes

You have to give it to ars technica, they write the best, most in-depth reviews. If you’re interested in buying the new MacBook Air the whole 4-page article is worth reading.

But, to cheat, I skipped to the last page and copied the conclusions below:

 

Conclusion

The 2012 MacBook Air doesn’t look any different than its last couple of predecessors, but the upgrades on the inside are what make the machine. Although Apple elected not to try and squeeze a “retina” class display into the MacBook Air this year, such a change would have come with great sacrifice to performance and battery life. And let’s be honest—with the MacBook Air, there’s very little wiggle room on either of those metrics. For me at least, I would rather have the performance and battery life.

For someone like me upgrading from a 2010 MacBook Air, or even a MacBook Pro from the last couple years, it would be no question: go ahead and buy one of Apple’s latest MacBook Airs. The performance increase is noticeable even during everyday use (even while using the lowest-end 2012 machine), and Apple finally gives users the option to upgrade from the soldered-on 4GB of RAM to 8GB of RAM in the Air.

Finally, this makes it a more serious machine than it was pre-WWDC, and the battery life of the MacBook Air has reached a respectable level as well. With the addition of Thunderbolt for I/O and USB 3.0 this year, it’s going to be difficult to convince me (or most other existing Air owners) to go back to a MacBook Pro—unless they are hankering for that shiny new retina display or even more significant performance improvements.

 

Review: The 2012 MacBook Air soars with Ivy Bridge

Continue reading Review – new MacBook Air has great performance improvements, no design changes

Electric Car Owners Dish on Their Real-World EV Experiences

Safety first

“I’d rather sit on batteries than a tank of gas, in terms of explosion risk,” says Olivier Chalouhi, who became the world’s first Nissan LEAF owner when he took delivery of one in late 2010. It is a sentiment that Patrick Wang, one of the first to own the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt, shares. “There’s a ton more energy in gasoline than in the battery pack—so to me it’s not a concern at all,” he says.

The only safety concern among a small sample of EV owners interviewed in conjunction with the May EVS26 electric vehicle symposium in Los Angeles relates to pedestrians’ obliviousness to the quiet electric drivetrain. Chalouhi, whose LEAF is equipped with an automatic pedestrian-alert sounder, says he has not had any such issues. Yet Wang, whose Volt is equipped with a driver-actuated pedestrian-alert sound, says that sometimes in parking lots pedestrians have not noticed him, so he activated the chirping noise.

Maintenance and driving range

Given that the battery pack is the single most expensive part on the vehicle—some estimates are up to 45 percent of the total cost of the vehicle—questions have been raised as to how frequently it will need to be replaced.

 

via Nick Chambers – Scientific American

Continue reading Electric Car Owners Dish on Their Real-World EV Experiences

Bill Gates invests in the future of electricity storage – Liquid Metal Batteries

Liquid Metal Battery Corporation, an MIT spin out that’s developing new technologies for electricity storage, has raised $15 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Total and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The technology behind the company was developed by Dr. Donald Sadoway (his famous TED Talk), a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

“Large-scale electricity storage will be a critical part of reinventing the global electric grid infrastructure, and LMBC has developed the most innovative chemically-based solution that we’ve seen,” said Andrew Chung of Khosla Ventures.

via GeekWire

 

***

Bill believes that creating large-scale batteries to store energy is a critical problem to solve if solar and wind energy are to become mainstream. In this video, Bill and MIT Professor Donald Sadoway discuss the importance of new battery storage technology and Sadoway’s focus on the development of a “liquid metal” battery.

via Gates Notes

 

 

To get more technical, the liquid in the all-liquid battery is molten salt and liquid metal, which:

“…avoids cycle-to-cycle capacity fade because the liquid electrodes are reconstituted with each charge – similar systems have operated in a lab environment for more than 17 months with daily cycling and no reduction in performance. The molten salt electrolyte combines high conductivity with abuse tolerance at low cost. Self-segregation due to three immiscible liquid phases of different densities (e.g. oil and water separation) allows for robust operation and ease of manufacture. Together, these attributes will enable the liquid metal battery to exceed 70% round-trip AC efficiency for over a decade without degradation.”

Learn more on the2-page information sheet from LMBC (pdf)

Continue reading Bill Gates invests in the future of electricity storage – Liquid Metal Batteries

Energy 101 – Electric Vehicles

This edition of Energy 101 highlights the benefits of electric vehicles, including improved fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, and lower maintenance costs.

Electric Vehicle = EV

“80% of drivers travel less than 40 miles round-trip for their daily commute. Which is just right for an EV.”

“Many of today’s EV’s can go up to 100 miles on a single charge, and battery technology is continuing to advance. Becoming smaller while storing more energy.”

“It’s a highly efficient technology, up to 80% of battery’s energy is transferred to the car.”

5 energy saving tips, what are yours?

Yesterday, Google released it’s electricity usage and the numbers are fantastical.

The company uses 260 million watts which is the output of 1/4 of a nuclear power plant.

For each google search we use 0.3 watt-hours of electricity. I’m not sure how much that is but I do like the idea of server firing up when I type in “chad ocho cinco”.

This got me thinking about my last posts discussing how electricity is the main cause of global warming, the follow-up about my local power plant, and the popular solar parking lots.

Electricity is the problem of the decade and any bit of savings we can get are huge. A little research shows that retail prices are shooting up, over 41% since 2000 (3.5%/year), and expected to go even higher.

This website gives electricity prices for each state and here are the winners:

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Highest average price, 2010

  • Hawaii (25.12¢ per kWh)
  • Connecticut (17.39¢)
  • New York (16.31¢)

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Lowest average price, 2010

  • Kentucky (6.75¢)
  • Idaho (6.54¢)
  • Wyoming (6.20¢)

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I hope you live in the one of the cheap states!

 

Without further ado, here are my 5 favorite energy saving tips.

1. Hang-dry clothes like it’s Little House on the Prairie. There ain’t no shame in letting your undies fly in the wind.

2. Shower quicker or turn off the water during the lather phase. It feels weird at first but you get used to it. Remember, every time you touch warm water you are paying to heat it up. Do you use warm water in the hot summer to wash dishes or your hands?

3. LED bulbs require some new knowledge. If you shop for one here is what the package will say, “6 Watt LED Replacement for a 50 Watt Incandescent.” That’s a near 90% reduction in lighting costs if you switch to LED but it’s not yet cheap with bulbs going from $12-30.

4. Fresh Air…my mom raised me on the stuff. Always opening the windows for me to make sure I didn’t get stuffy. Now I need it all the time and that means no A/C for me. I would rather sweat than breath recycled air. Huge energy saver for me.

5. Solar charger for phone. Life is better off the grid and to get started I purchased a solar doohickey. I haven’t plugged in my phone or iPad since. Tip: When buying solar, know that solar panels only produce energy, which means you need a battery pack to store the energy, otherwise you have to plug your phone in when the sun is shining.

 What Are Your Tips?