Category Archives: car

This test shows the cold reduces an EV’s range by more than 50 percent.

http://www.plugincars.com/reduced-ranges-electric-cars-cold-129205.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PluginCars+%28PluginCars.com+RSS+Feed%29

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Filed under car, erik-green, green

ESC – electronic stability control

This is partly why we bought the minivan we did — it has ESC. I also see it is in the top 20 list for fewest driver deaths.
I believe IIHS also has a chart with injury statistics as well, though I assume it is correlated pretty well with the deaths one.

“Institute research shows that ESC reduces
fatal single-vehicle crash risk by 49 percent
and fatal multiple-vehicle crash risk by 20 percent
for cars and SUVs (see Status Report, June
19, 2010). It lowers the risk of a deadly crash
by 33 percent overall and cuts the risk of a fatal
single-vehicle rollover by 73 percent.”

http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4605.pdf

More recently, more and more cars offer “forward collision warning and automatic braking systems”. That’s going to become like ESC — required (since 2012 in US).

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/thirty-nine-vehicles-meet-tougher-criteria-to-earn-2014-safety-awards-from-iihs

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On electric cars…

“Once consumers get used to the charge-at-home ritual, the pilgrimage to the gas station will very quickly feel as inconvenient as rewinding the VHS tape and driving it back to Blockbuster.” LINK: https://medium.com/the-tesla-collection-1/7cbf5130e11

One caveat with electric cars is that in the winter when it is very cold, you have to use the battery to heat the cabin. Apparently new models (like 2013 LEAF) are getting heat pump heaters which will be 2-3 times efficient at heating.

BTW, Saw my first LEAF today at… the Whole Foods parking lot in Andover.

My sense is a plug-in hybrid would be most practical for the new few years, but at some point I bet the full-EVs will take over.

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Filed under car, erik-green, green

Drive to the library? Yeah right.

Careful towns of the world out there… before you spend lots of money on new or revamped libraries. Unless you are in a city, or near a walkable and vibrant town center, they are a tough sell, even with cheap $3.50/gasoline. And how long will that last?

Here’s the math for me in suburban MA:
- Distance to library: 5.2 miles. 10.4 miles round trip
- Our minivan — let’s say I get 20.8 MPG to make the math simple.

So that’s:

10.4 miles * 1/20.8 MPG * $3.50 $/gallon = $1.75 per trip assuming there is no overlap with other errands, which is likely given the route.

And that’s just the cost of the gas of course. If you use the ~$0.50/mi that the US government uses for taxes for business mileage (accounting for the full cost of ownership) then that’s 10.4 miles * $0.50/mi = $5.20 per trip.

And then add in the cost of the time. Let’s say 20 minutes of driving.

It’s a tough sell. Not just the library. All of suburbia. It’s ultimately kinda in serious doo-doo, ain’t it? James Howard Kunstler is probably on to something.

Counter-points and followups:

1) I say all the above as someone who has LOVED libraries in the past. But I guess the difference was: 1) that was pre-interweb and 2) that was libraries I walked to or rode my bike to (the Amherst Jones Library, and the UMass/Amherst Dubois library)

2) I am fond of the idea of the library being a “town center” that is more about ideas and people than being about media (paper or digital). Related concepts are Sudbury Schools, the Transition Town movement (tool sharing, etc), Cohousing.

3) The article linked below talks about “Library as Platform” which to me is basically acknowledging that there are increasing numbers of private services we use which “out do” libraries in terms of connecting us with media. Amazon. Google Books. Goodreads. “The Library” *could* do all of that. But how?
LINK

4) PS. And what about all those duplicate public school libraries! What a shame! What if all the schools in town were clustered around the town’s libraries and they all shared! I know, I know… one can’t turn back the clock on sprawling suburban development. It’s just sorta a shame.

5) Speaking of poorly designed public resources… I’ll talk about the placement and design of playgrounds sometime soon. Ugh. Almost always another huge missed opportunity. But there are some good ones!

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Filed under car, cities, Cohousing, community, erik-green, green, libraries, local, money, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

On driving and turning left in MA…

You’d think I would have learned this by now, but alas, I have lived a sheltered life recently…

Dear car GPS companies, Please step it up and add an “avoid left-hand turns from side-streets in MA” checkbox option in your software! (I mainly care about living and not crashing trying to get onto that busy main road, but UPS says it also saves gas.) Dear Erik, take some responsibility and use the map sitting there and ignore the GPS if you want to. It won’t kill you (actually… that’s the whole point!!!) to turn right and drive an extra mile to avoid that insane left turn into crazy traffic. RECALCULATING… LINK

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The 100-year-old electric car

“One hundred years ago there were electric cars that went 30 mph and had a range of 100 miles. They also had swappable battery packs and features that we pine for today.

So what happened?

Well, we like to drive faster than 30 mph.

The 100-year-old electric car is another story. It is simple. It is reliable. It is repairable by anyone. No wonder it did not succeed.”

– Tom Gocze

FULL ARTICLE LINK

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Nissan Leaf / EV calcs

NISSAN LEAF CALCS
100 miles for full charge of battery (24KWh)
sudval.org commute for one year:
7200 miles/year (10 miles one way x 4 a day)
so that’s 7200 / 100 * 24KWh = 1728 KWh / 12 = 144 KWh per month
$28/month (at $0.20/KWh) vs $66/month for gasoline (at 26MPG and $3/gallon)
And no oil spill guilt (just solar. and/or mountain top removal type guilt)

I doubt we’d buy a LEAF. Probably a plug-in hybrid instead. But who knows.

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