Category Archives: car

EVs

Folks, EVs are definitely going to take over. Even without rebates/tax incentives.

1. Such high MPGe. The Prius Prime (for example) is rated 133 MPGe for 25-30 miles before it has to use the gas engine which gets 52 MPG. And I regularly get 168 MPGe. (The car reports 5.1 KWh/mile and using roughly 33 conversion… that’s 168.) I suppose I should adjust downward to take into account that the charger is not 100% efficient… so that’s maybe why something closer to 133 is more accurate? So that’s roughly 2.5 times more efficient with energy than a standard Prius getting 52 MPG.

2. Easy to offset for green energy. MA for instance already has a great program that automatically charges your credit card a little extra to turn you into 100% wind energy. So now your car is wind powered.

3. Other stuff: Quiet. No gas-station visits. Low-end torque/acceleration from 0-30MPH in traffic.

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EU emission laws will impact US as well. In a good way.

For example… BMW sees the future vis-a-vis tough emmisions regulations in the EU and is moving more and more towards electric and plug-in hybrids. This will clearly impact the cars they offer in other parts of the world, and will also influence other automakers.
http://m.nasdaq.com/article/bmw-all-models-electric-within-decade-20150629-00597
(By way of Paul Graham https://twitter.com/paulg)

I realize that the cars will only be as “green” as the electricity they use, but here is a US map that analyzes how green the electricity grid is when used for an all-electric car:

“… Below is a map of the updated regional estimates for global warming emissions for the 26 electricity grid regions across the US. Compared to our previous analysis, nearly every region of the country has improved emissions for EVs. ”

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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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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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Destroying the earth by buying organic locally produced food?

Philip Greenspun has a great point here.

I think he’s right. I also have probably written on the blog before that CSAs that mean an extra drive each week needs to be considered (since the farm is probably not right on your commute to work or on the way to the grocery store you’d be driving to anyway). If you drive a 20MPG car, are those nice local bio-dynamic vegetables really worth the 1/2 gallon of gas you just burned driving 5 milesx2 to the farm? Visualize 1/2 gallon of gas for a second. It’s not!

See also:
Visualize Energy
Hans Rosling: The magic washing machine

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Filed under car, contrarian, erik-green, food and farming, green, local

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