Google Delivers

“Google announced that it will add electric vehicle charging stations to Google Maps from several networks around the world.
 
A quick search for keywords like “EV charging”, “EV charging stations” or any other similar term on Google Maps will display the nearest supported stations.”
 
See Google Maps adds EV charging locations around the world
This is cool! One problem for drivers of EVs outside their local territories is finding charging stations. Makers like Teslas have created a huge network which takes care of their vehicles quite well but others are left in the lurch. One may need an adapter to charge at a Tesla station. There are several other networks but they lack coverage and a driver may have to check multiple networks to find a charger. That sucks. So, Google is going to be one-stop shopping for charging stations. Let’s try it out!

“charging stations Manitoba” finds three (3), two Tesla’s and a Sun Country Highway. “charging stations brandon, mb” finds 9 but they are all in Winnipeg. Apparently the search tracks the current map… Oops! I guess they are still working on it. My tiny brain knows of dozens… My kids call me “Mr Google” but this is ridiculous. Let’s hope Google does a more thorough harvest of the data available out there.

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Nissan Torpedoes The Leaf

“The good news for Nissan LEAF fans is that the second generation car with a 60 kWh battery is scheduled to go into production early next year. With the larger battery, the LEAF will have a projected EPA range of 225 miles. That’s important. Putting aside whether people really need that much range, a popular perception is beginning to emerge that an electric car needs at least 200 miles of range to be worth considering. The larger battery will make the LEAF more competitive with the Chevy Bolt, which has a range of 238 miles.”
 
See 60 kWh Nissan LEAF Projected To Cost $5,500 More Than 40 kWh Version
HUH?!? Nissan is raising the price of Leaf and justifying it by the addition of 20kWh of battery (75 miles range)! It might make sense if they left the smaller battery as an option for drivers who rarely travel outside of a city or the Leaf were truly a luxurious EV. It’s not. It’s a decent family car but decent families may need a smaller more efficient car not a small truck.

Further, the idea that range of an EV must be >200 miles is just silly. Lots of commuters and drivers for errands take short trips with an empty car. That’s why I like the Solo EV, costing half what a Leaf costs but doing what I need done, transporting me and a bit of stuff from A to B. Nissan is painting Leaf into a corner where rich USAians might shop but the rest of us avoid. In my family one or two Solos would be much more useful than one of these higher-priced Leafs. TLW and I could go to multiple destinations simultaneously. We could haul all the usual stuff and we are rarely far from Winnipeg. TLW has only been away from Winnipeg by road twice in the last year. Should we have a useless Leaf and unused battery sitting around idle all year long for that? Nope. Further, Solo could have done one of those trips easily, the other with some serious planning and a couple of extra days. We are retired folk. A couple of days somewhere else can be welcome.

Nope. This is a move which will severely impact adoption of Leaf. Tesla took away some of the initial steam from Leaf but it wasn’t for lack of range. Tesla’s cars are truly luxurious and some want that. For Pity’s sake, people who drive ICEd vehicles are happy with compact and sub-compact cars. Why would EVs be different? They wouldn’t. QED

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Hopeful Signs

“Washington’s 2035 goal is to lower emissions by 25 million tons annually. 70% of the proceeds will go towards funding clean energy infrastructure, including but not limited to solar, wind, public transportation, and energy efficiency. Interestingly, it even would allow funds to improve rural broadband, with the expectation that it would decrease miles driven.”
 
See Please Help Pass Washington State Initiative 1631
 
“If the automobile industry doesn’t grasp the fact that it has to invest more in electric vehicles, especially in cities, then it will be very hard to defend combustion engines — gasoline and diesel — over the long term. We must do all we can now, so that the best electric cars are built in Germany.”
 
See Exclusive: Angela Merkel Put Heat On Automakers To Electrify Faster
 
“Hundreds of people, including physicians and health advocates, former EPA officials and technology entrepreneurs, environmental advocates and local officials, testified against the plan, vastly outnumbering the handful that came out in support. Even representatives of automakers and the aluminum industry opposed the effort to water down the standards.
 
A former EPA analyst who spent years working on emissions policy testified that the technical analysis for this proposal was the “most biased and dishonest” he had witnessed in his 40-year career at the agency.”
 
See Hundreds Speak Against Rollback Of Clean Car Standards At Public Hearings
 
“When I first started driving electric, about 3 years ago, when driving on longer journeys I had to share the chargers with a few Tesla drivers, or the occasional Leaf. With the roll-out of Tesla supercharger stations in the UK, the Tesla drivers have migrated to their own charging area, and for a while, especially since charging ceased to be free, I seemed to have the chargers pretty much to myself. On my drive down south, however, it was very much a case of “spot the EV.” At Gloucester southbound services on the way down, a Hyundai Ioniq was just finishing at the chargers as I drove in. At Gloucester northbound services, on the way back, I parked next to a brand-new Jaguar I-Pace, and had a pleasant chat with the new owner, who seemed thrilled to bits with his first electric car. Nissan Leafs are to be seen very often. Where the Tesla charging stations used to be conspicuous by being brand new, and entirely empty, now there seems to be quite a number of Tesla cars all charging up at the same time. I am used to members of the public occasionally asking me a few questions about electric vehicles while I am charging up, but on the last occasion no fewer than 3 different people asked me to explain all about it. That is more than ever before on a single occasion, and seems a definite indication that the electric vehicle revolution is finally gathering momentum.”
 
See Home, Home On The Range: Homing In On Electric Vehicle Ranges
Chuckle. Only a few years ago, driving an EV was a novel concept and reduction in automobile emissions was about taxation/regulation/urban living. Today, EVs are on everyone’s radar and folks want the performance, ease of maintenance and efficiency that EVs provide. Even the Trumpists, intent on pushing through rollbacks of emission standards are encircled and taking fire from all sides. The USAian mid-term elections are partly about the environment. Many millions of USAians hate Trumpism, a total substitution of transactional cost versus morality, and they are angry at Trumpists for one or more issues. They are all going to vote on issues. So, it seems the power of the congressional purse will restrain Trumpists until they are finally retired from the playing field.

Today, about half the driving public wants an EV and is impatiently waiting for manufacturers to crank them out. Witness the explosive growth of Tesla. That’s only because Tesla is not going slowly. Tesla has been able to charge a premium because their cars are better than gas-guzzlers for obvious reasons and because Tesla is not trying to preserve revenues from selling gas-guzzlers. Today, just about every driver has seen someone driving an EV even if the percentage of EVs is small. There is positive feedback in the market for automobiles. I can’t imagine ever buying a gas-guzzler again except for small engined machines or a truck. At my age I’m not likely to buy a truck. EVs are good enough for what I need done and they are affordable and perform well.

The last obstacle to widespread adoption of EVs is not technical but psychological. People resist change and are bathed in slick commercials promoting gas-guzzlers. It took a decade or more to get the first half of humanity convinced that EVs made sense. I expect in five years the other half will also see the light from behind their stacks of bills for fuel, maintenance and repairs.

These are hopeful signs and I believe the next generation will accept EVs and planting trees as the right thing to do. Several of my kids’ cousins are married now and buying real estate. They are open to planting trees and shrubs for shade, protection from the wind, and absorption of CO2. It’s all good. I’m ready, willing and able to provide advice and seedlings. Soon I’ll have my own EV to share with them.

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To Crush Or Not To Crush

“The All-Electric SOLO Notably Exceeded Canadian Testing Standards, Having Withstood 20,617 lb in Side-Crush Testing, as Compared to the Required Minimum of 2,977 lb”
 
See Electra Meccanica SOLO Successfully Completes Canadian Side-Crush Testing
Many uninformed critics of the Solo EV claim that it’s a flimsy vehicle which will fold up in a collision. Well, the truth is different. Solo is designed like an egg-shell and is self-reinforced to a high standard. It will easily withstand a rollover or even a mild T-boning. Such tests usually require less than a certain deformation at the rated force as a multiple of the weight of the vehicle. Solo’s light weight helps a lot.

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Another Of Trump’s Many Lies Bites The Dust

“While the vast majority of the individual’s ancestry is European, the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the individual’s pedigree, likely in the range of 6-10 generations ago.”
 
See Report From Prof. Carlos D. Bustamante, Ph.D.
Trump is fond of repeatedly goading Elizabeth Warren about her aboriginal heritage. Trump even offered to donate a $million of his ill-gotten gains to charity if she took a test of her DNA and it proved to have an aboriginal component. That has happened. Let’s see the $million and let’s see Trump shut up.

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Good, Bad and Ugly News About Global Warming

“Premier Brian Pallister pulled the plug on his “Made in Manitoba” carbon-price plan. Instead, he’ll help us stay under two degrees by developing more hydropower, continuing with the long-planned closure of the province’s sole (small) coal plant, and recycling “more and better.” Ottawa’s backstop carbon price will pick up the slack in Friendly Manitoba on January 1.”
 
See Why half a degree is a lot
There’s some good news on the fight to limit global warming. Several governments and the world generally are investing heavily in becoming more efficient and developing renewable energy to reduce the foolish and short sighted burning of fossil fuels. On the bad side, several Canadian provinces are resisting the imposition of a “carbon tax” to nudge the economy towards renewable/sustainable energy. My own province, Manitoba, claims developing more hydroelectric power and increasing efficiency of use of energy is enough. Manitoba is better off than Alberta and Saskatchewan but then there’s Ontario with it’s “mini-Trump” premier… I’m really going to have to vote Green next election. These jokers are out to lunch.

On the good side, I’ve ordered more tree-seeds for next year. The ones I bought last year are in pots now grown to a size that can survive our winters. I’ve read that one, Nanking Cherry, may even flower next year. No sign of the requisite buds yet… Driving electrically and planting trees is about all I can do without putting up a wall of solar panels in my yard. TLW might notice and respond to the carbon tax though… 😉

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Solo’s Coming

I was scanning the web for any new images of Solo and came across this picture of a lady sitting in the frunk (Front Trunk) of a Solo at a trade-show. Sure, it’s unauthorized for transporting a person that way but it does show the size of the storage space, enough for a bit of luggage or groceries. Combined with the rear storage compartment, Solo is very suitable for most of the errands I have shopping or moving small items around the country. It certainly encourages me to visit towns on the prairies offering birdseed or plants or trees or whatever…

So, we have once again evidence that the Solo EV is nearly perfect for commuters, retired old guys like me, shoppers, delivery people, etc. which forms a large chunk of humanity tootling around with one person in a five-seater fire-breathing ICEd car.

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Solo Giggles

A lady encountered a Solo EV in a parking lot in BC. She giggled about the “cute little car”…

I doubt she will buy one but it definitely tweaked her pleasant side. I’ve seen this before when Solo is on display. Women love it that Solo is small and cute. It could work for them commuting and running errands. I know it would work for me.

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Extreme Extreme Fear

CNN’s Fear and Greed Index took a nosedive this week. There wasn’t any particular trigger or stampede involved. I think it’s just some nervous investors heading for the exits.

Either being more cautious or cashing in make sense after such a huge gain in stocks over the last couple of years. This could be either the beginning of a stampede or just a small correction. Stay tuned. If it’s a stampede, voters might notice. I think it would be a good thing if folks realized Trump’s perpetual optimism is a scam. He promotes himself as the one and only good choice to spark the economy. The stock market is a leading indicator of confidence in the economy. This could be a leading indicator of Trump’s status as king. Expect voters to shun Trump in the midterm elections and if this is a big event, possibly to support a primary challenge if Trump is not impeached sooner than 2020.

Since Trump loves polls, expect a violent response if this gets bigger. Of course, whatever Trump does to fight gravity will increase it. His trade wars, ballooning deficit, and erratic ways all contribute to certain chaos. Trump is not a business man. He’s a con-artist. Telling USAians that the sky is not falling will convince many that it is. Telling USAians that USA can do better than 100% employment while cutting immigration will convince many that Trump is insane and heading the ship towards the rocks. Telling USAians that USA can grow more than 4% per annum while laying on tariffs will convince many that Trump is insane. Telling USAians that universal medical insurance is “socialism” will convince many that USA will continue to have the most wasteful healthcare system on the planet. Whatever he does will convince many that USA is not a good long-term investment and it’s time to cash in the chips. That’s OK for me. I’m not invested in USA and gold will probably rise in price.

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Do You Have Two Or More Vehicles For Personal Transportation?

“In a one-vehicle household the average daily mileage is about 30 miles, according to the 2017 National Household Travel Survey. In a two-vehicle household, the first vehicle averages nearly 40 miles in a day; in a three-vehicle household, the first vehicle averages over 40 miles per day. This trend continues and the average daily miles of the first vehicle in a six-vehicle household is about 50 miles a day. Daily miles for the second vehicle in each of these categories is 50-55% that of the first vehicle.”
 
See FOTW #1047, September 17, 2018: Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled Varies with the Number of Household Vehicles
I love it that one of the roles of government is to collect data that is valuable but yet extremely expensive/difficult for individuals, no matter how thoughtful, to collect.

In this case, it’s the US DOE (Department of Energy). It’s their business to know things like how much energy is available and how it’s used. In this case, it’s energy used by electric vehicles. They found a pattern, that families that have a second or third vehicle usually have one vehicle that gets twice the use as the next and so on. Where I live most houses have “three-car” garages. Most have about two cars but some have six or eight cluttering up their driveways. I guess we’re affluent. Unlike DOE, my observation is that after two cars, the extra vehicles are rarely used. I swear they mostly have square tires… In any case, Solo EVs could deal with the average daily distance of the average family car even in a six-car family.

In my own home, I plan on going from one hybrid EV to one hybrid and one fully electric vehicle, the Electra Meccanica Solo. My usage of a vehicle will definitely increase. At the moment, TLW mostly drives the gas-guzzler. I will mostly drive the Solo so our total distance driven will rise but the cost of driving will drop dramatically. I am hopeful that when TLW sees the advantages of Solo, we will become a two-Solo family. Solo is perfect for what she does. In the past the gas-guzzler was a saviour when we had a family, furniture, wood, steel, stuff to drag around, but we rarely do that now, just groceries/medical/visits. The kids have flown the nest. They can drive their own offsprings.

A Solo is about eight times more efficient (measured by kWh per km) than a gas-guzzler so if we double the distance we are still saving ¾ of the energy used for transportation. As we age further, I expect the savings in energy will be larger.

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Electrified Vehicles

“All major automakers reported September sales numbers for electrified vehicles.Numbers are considerably higher than the totals in September 2017. For the month, more than 44,400 electrified vehicles were sold compared to last year’s 21,516 vehicles.This means that more than 235,000 electrified vehicles have been delivered in the U.S. through the end of September 2018.”
 
See September 2018 electrified sales in the US
A doubling in sales of EVs in September 2018 compared to 2017 seems great until one looks at the details. Almost all the increase is due to a single maker, Tesla, shipping a single model, Tesla 3.

Think about that. Clearly, people and the market want EVs, lots of them. Makers clearly aren’t making and distributing enough. OK, they may want to preserve their cash-flows from gas-guzzlers. Then buy from real EV-makers heavily invested in EVs like Electra Meccanica. There’s no doubt about them wanting to sell every EV they can make ASAP just to stop the loss of blood. Solo EVs have a high enough margin that EMV can break even in a year or so selling just a few thousand vehicles annually. If they ramp up to tens of thousands per annum, they will be rolling in money and increasing production. That’s what we need instead of makers of gas-guzzlers timidly putting their toes in the pond. Once people are able to buy an EV instead of a gas-guzzler makers will fall all over themselves trying to entice customers to buy their EVs. Until that happens, they will make a few EVs available as a token of interest.

Buy an electric car from someone who cares. The makers of gas-guzzlers don’t seem to care much at all.

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 Charging Electric Vehicles

“I am convinced many comments are from tree-hugging crazies living in their parents basement that don’t have an EV. Many advocate plugging into a standard ac outlet. My owners manual says that is only for an emergency and constant use will result in battery damage. To say nothing of the 39 hours it would take to fully charge.”
 
See Electric cars still face a big hurdle: the charging system
I saw this comment about EV-adoption and reflected. Clearly, there are at least two schools of thought:

  1. I need to drive hundreds of miles as conveniently as I commute to work, shop or pick up pizza.
  2. I want the best tool for the job and like a small/short-ranged EV to minimize cost.

I only drive long distances relative to the range of my long-sought Solo EV a few times of the year. Clearly, it’s silly to drive a Cadillac luxury car all year long just for those few trips. I can easily drive all the way to Edmonton in the west or Toronto in the east stopping frequently to recharge the Solo if I’m happy to stop along the way and smell/see/taste the terrain. I’m that guy. I used to drive 14-16h just stopping for chips, pop and gasoline but no more. I want to enjoy the trip not be exhausted at the end. I want to stop and smell the roses/trees/bison rather than just drive on. If I can do that for a couple of cents per km rather than twenty-five or so with a gas-guzzler, so much the better. All I need are charging stations within the range of my EV. On major routes, they are there.

Further, Solo has a small battery. Even at 120V it can do a complete recharge in 13h, about right for a meal, a sleep and another meal. With commonly available Level 2 chargers, the recharge only takes 3h. Perfect! The larger EVs with the longer ranges need DC fast chargers to do better because they have huge batteries like 100kWh compared to 20kWh for Solo. Also, it will be unusual to need a full recharge as stations are randomly spaced. One might need only half a charge on average, less for the local commute/errand.

So, while there may be some that need huge batteries and fast chargers, many of us don’t need either. Those aren’t barriers to entry to the EV market. Availability of EVs is. If one can’t go to a dealer, kick the tires and take a test-drive, most won’t buy an EV. That’s the case where I live. There are few dealers selling EVs and they don’t have inventory. Put that on the makers. They make large profits making and servicing gas-guzzlers. They only offer EVs to boast of a planet-friendly capability. Stop buying the gas-guzzlers and the EVs will come. Stop buying gas-guzzlers from the old makers and buy an EV from the specialists like Electra Meccanica. They’ve made the investment and are committed to delivering product now not next decade.

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