Solo EV Versus The Competition

“For 2017, all LEAF trim levels offer the 30 kWh battery that was previously only available on LEAF SV and SL grades. Along with the 100-mile plus range, the 30 kWh battery can be quick-charged to 80 percent (from the low battery charge warning) in about 30 minutes. Charging on a home charging system (Level 2, 240V) is estimated to take about six hours with the 6.6 kW onboard charger.”
 
See 2017 Nissan LEAF priced from $30,680 before incentives
Solo EV gets >100 mile range from a 16.1kWh battery and carries just the driver. The competition, the Nissan Leaf, will do that for five people with a 30kWh battery for > twice the price. If you just have one person to commute or two people to shuttle around on errands, two Solos is a better, more flexible, deal. If you just have one person to commute or shuttle around, Solo is a better deal by far. Yes, the Leaf is luxurious. Yes, it has airbags. It costs more than twice as much. Do you choose the diamond-studded loaf of bread or the standard stuff for dinner? I choose the standard stuff. Efficiency and price are more important to me than luxurious affects. Further, front wheel drive is nice in slippery conditions but it’s way more complex and has more moving parts than Solo’s drive. I don’t want to pay extra for more to go wrong.

So, basically, there is no competition for Solo except perhaps a motorcycle and you can have that slipstream in your teeth and hair if you want. I’ll pass on that. Solo uses less energy than a gas-guzzling motorcycle by far. I don’t want to waste energy on moving air out of my way.

One more thing. My Solo will be bright red. Leaf only has muddy red… Why wear camo on the highway?

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Whoosh! The Air Goes Out Of Trump’s Balloon…

“The Senate was nearly unanimous on Thursday passing a bill that would slap Russia with new sanctions and give Congress the power to review any White House attempts to roll them back.”
 
See Senate passes Russia sanctions bill, pushing back against Donald Trump
I’ve been holding fire a bit lately, watching the Trump-train derail:

  • USA rejected Trump’s “Health Care” bill to the point that Trump began calling it “mean”.
  • Witnesses on The Hill refused to answer questions saying they were preserving Trump’s right to invoke executive privilege. This gives new meaning to the term “StoneWalling”.
  • Trump doesn’t know whether to denounce or take credit for the blockade of Qatr. He threw a lit match into the powder keg of the Gulf and wants it back…
  • He promised USA no one would mess with USA militarily and Russia, China and Iran are all harassing USAian vessels.
  • Coal miners are going back to work without healthcare insurance but not in the numbers Trump promised. Oh, he promises to retrain people except that part of the budget was cut back…
  • Trump held a cabinet meeting wherein every one around the table worshipped Trump as if he were God incarnate.
  • Really putting things off his rails is the announcement that Trump is being investigated for obstructing justice.

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.”. The Bible, Proverbs, Chapter 11 verse 2.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Growing

I took a tour around the yard today. Summer is officially here. We’re starting to get really hot days interspersed with gentle showers. Nature is taking care of its own. I recycled some pots, pulled some weeds and admired the surviving plants of spring. Tomatoes that I placed in a sheltered position against a wall have grown tough woody stems so I repotted them into larger pots in full sun. Asparagus seedlings are standing up as they should. The petunias are doubling their flowers and leaves on a weekly basis. Pretty soon they will take over the 5 gallon pots in which they reside. Pine seedlings are putting out lots of new growth. Grapes have come back after looking poorly in the spring. Even one of the apples which was apparently barked to death by hares has sprouted all up and down its denuded trunk. Miracles do happen and this time of year renews my faith that the time/money/energy invested in a garden and other horticulture is well spent.

One problem with all this growth is that I’m completely out of empty pots. Recycling the few whose occupants did not survive the winter is just delaying the inevitable. Sooner or later, I will have to buy more pots, or TLW will buy out nurseries old stock or I will have to stop planting new stuff. 😉 Urgently, I have asparagus and grape seedlings that are crowded in a few flats. I can distribute them among more flats, put them in the ground somewhere or move them to pots. Decisions. Decisions…

The garden is rapidly becoming an orchard with most of the young trees surviving despite winter and hares and deer and mice… For a few years longer I can plant flowers and vegetables between the trees but then the shade of the trees will win out. I have a few more places in the yard where beautiful things may grow but TLW is hard on me when it comes to vegetables. I may be restricted to growing veggies in pots. That does make dealing with weeds much easier. I still have thousands of flowers to plant and grass too, so I will have a busy growing season keeping up with the weeds, the planting and soon, the harvest.

Posted in family, food, horticulture, weather | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Gold In The Hills And Valleys

“Qatar. The latest terror attacks in London. The upcoming U.K. election. More drama in the Trump administration as former FBI director James Comey is set to testify in front of Congress Thursday.
 
Is that enough turmoil for you?”
 
See Gold rush: The yellow metal is soaring again – Jun. 6, 2017
I hate Trump. He breaks everything he touches and now he sits in the Oval Office. OTOH, if he doesn’t send us all to Hell quickly one day, I may benefit largely thanks to Trump. When he’s promised the world and built up hopes of Utopian tax-regimes and walls that will never be built and universal healthcare that won’t be universal nor affordable by anyone who isn’t well off, reality will creep in and everything will crash down around our ears and people will buy gold, lots of it. Fortunately, I have shares in a company with lots of gold in the ground. If the price rises or they dig it out, I’m laughing at current prices. If things go as I expect, the price will rise dramatically.

So, in every cloud there is a silver lining. It’s too bad so many will be hurt by this man before the GOP gains enough spine to impeach him. What does he have to do? Shoot someone?

Posted in investing | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Solo EV Update For June, 2017

Highlights (for me) of the June CEO Update:

  • My questions were dealt with first… The whining noise prominent in some videos is just automatic gain control raising the volume when the car is quiet which it usually is. I can live with that. My SUV sounds like a tank…
  • Certification testing is almost finished for USA. Canada will take longer but it’s underway too.
  • Greens and Beans Deli could have their Solo this week. The last detail was obtaining the vehicle registration.
  • Production is starting, slow at first to 10 a month ASAP. Should be 40-50 units shipped in 2017. 2018 will have more pre-assembled sub-assemblies and other good news to speed things up. Deliveries in USA should begin in September.
Posted in technology | Tagged , , , | 33 Comments

Here We Go. Trump Destabilizes Middle East. Foments War In The Gulf.

So, Trump visits with the leadership of Saudi Arabia and is celebrated at a big conference in Riyadh. Of course, Trump will give his blessing to Saudi Arabia for whatever punishment they wish to give to Qatr for promoting democracy in the region. Why not? Trump doesn’t value freedom and democracy. He scorns the rule of law. He has no moral compass. So, what do we get? A blockade of Qatr, an almost certain prelude to war. Iran is only too willing to help lift the blockade, eh?

Ugh! This is what USA gets from choosing an idiot as fearless leader. They get to follow him to Hell and, perhaps not, back. How much chaos will the world undergo because there is a child with his hand on the button in the White House? Trump doesn’t care. He’ll be well cared for. He’s a draft-dodger and the grandson of a draft-dodger. It’s always someone else who has to suffer for Trump’s stupid choices.

UPDATE
“US President Donald Trump has claimed credit for the pressure being placed on Qatar by Gulf neighbours who accuse it of supporting terrorism in the region.
 
He said his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was “already paying off” and the development might mark the “beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism”.”

Now Trump admits he betrayed the trust of an ally, Qatr, in the fight against terrorism. He sided with the Saudis who spent $billions funding “islamic” schools around the world where Al Qaida and ISIS felt welcome and were offered the youth of a whole generation to extreme views on everything islamic and east-west. Further, Trump makes no attempt to hide his Machiavellian intrigues. The guy’s a traitor to USA, and a wicked emissary to the world. Who can trust anything he says or does after these first few weeks in office? Who will trust the word of any POTUS for decades? He’s done the work of Putin and broken all pretence of right and justice in USAian ways. At the same time he’s put US military in harm’s way needlessly if this standoff descends into a shooting war with Qatr and Iran. What a thoughtless buffoon only interested in the size of his ego and bank account!

UPDATESaudi Arabia has demanded Qatr surrender to a long list of degrading demands, probably driving Qatr into the arms of Iran with some support from Turkey. Meanwhile, Trump fiddles while the Gulf burns.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Possibilities

“It fit! Long legs were the issue, but once in, I couldn’t touch the firewall. The cabin was roomy and comfortable. The stomach, though oversized was comfortably accommodated!”
 
Any grumbling that EMV’s Solo EV is too small are blown away by reports from actual occupants of the cockpit like this guy or test-drivers. I’ve only read of one who had many complaints afterwards. This car is designed to be driven by people who don’t want to mess around at gas-stations, service-stations or any other kind of station but home and work. It will also work for me. I have a home but my work is there too. I want the freedom to come and go at the lowest cost possible and it’s hard to beat a Solo in cost per unit distance.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

SBCs

“Over the last year, LinuxGizmos has reported on dozens of new community backed, open spec, hacker- and developer-friendly single board computers that run Linux and Android. We’ve added these to a curated list of earlier boards to publish a catalog of 98 SBCs. The boards included in our survey must be priced under $200 (not counting shipping), have a promised shipment availability by July, and meet our relatively flexible selection criteria for open source compliance”
 
See Catalog of 98 open-spec, hacker friendly SBCs
Thanks to LinuxGizmos for their latest survey of FLOSS-friendly hackable single board computers.

Lowlights for me are that this market is still handicapped by limited RAM and SATA. The only boards that meet my requirements are too expensive to be on their list despite modest capabilities. Sadly, LinuxGizmos has one x86 board that blows away most of the selections. Why can’t board-makers make an ARMed SBC that’s just a little more expandable? It’s not as if a few connectors breaks the bank. People have been buying motherboards with empty connectors for decades. Just make the boards a little larger, please.

Highlights for me include Odroid-C2 which does make a nice PC client and is very suitable for hacking into some project like the Raspberry Pi and the like. It’s one drawback is that it’s still not supported completely by Linux. It needs some magical bits to boot. Then there’s FireFly RK3399 which comes close to what I want for a server except RAM is limited to 4GB and SATA requires use of USB or M.2 PCIe. Other better boards are too expensive to make the list. The doubly priced Marvell Community Board is an example.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Canada Waking Up To The Potential Of EVs

“So far, electric vehicles — small cars packed with expensive technology — are not a big money-maker for the car companies. They prefer the profit margins on thirsty SUVs containing technology paid for decades ago.
 
No wonder Canadian electric car sales remain low.
 
According to BNEF, a trend to improving battery technology and falling costs, combined with higher costs for diesel and gasoline cars, will mean electrics will match the cost of internal combustion engines by about 2025.
 
As is usual with such long-range predictions, the exact dates can only be an estimate, but the direction of the trend is clear: People are going to be using less gas.”
 
See OPEC can’t stop the slow, painful death of the oil economy
This may be news to some but many of us have figured it out long ago, ICEd (Internal Combustion Engine) cars are a bottomless pit of money: sticker price, taxes, insurance, registration, fuel, oil-changes, service, repairs, replacement parts and labour. Consider my current car, for example. It cost about $25K used. We’ve had it about 10 years now and it costs $1600 per annum for fuel, $200 per annum for oil-changes, $1500 per annum for repairs to keep it going, $1000 per annum for insurance (based on the as-new price…), and $200 per annum for wear on tires. I rotate my winter/summer tires in my garage. I won’t count the repairs we haven’t done because some luxurious feature quit… We’ve spent $4500 per annum for the privilege of supporting Big Oil. Some of these costs would be similar with an EV but fuel costs would drop 80% or more, oil-changes would disappear forever, fewer moving parts would mean fewer repairs/replacements. I figure a Solo EV would be a better buy instantly because of the lower sticker price, having only 3 wheels and being much lighter in weight. Surely it would cost much less over five years. Even offsetting battery replacement every decade against engine replacement, I would be way ahead because the Solo EV has only a small battery compared to some EVs. On top of this, IT’S MADE IN CANADA! On top of this, it emits ZERO CARBON. Wake up, Canada. The solution to your transportation problems is imminent. You don’t have to wait until 2025. The government of Canada wants you to wake up by 2018.

Posted in family, politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 131 Comments

Names, Logos, and License Plates

All over North America, license plates are required on automobiles allowed on the public roads. This helps identify vehicles/people for police, buyers, suppliers, etc. The usual plates are some random string of numerals and letters. However, my province, Manitoba, allows “prestige plates“. Since I’m going to proudly drive around in my bright red Solo next year, I thought it only fitting that I should have a special plate, front and back.

The application process involves filling out a form and paying a fee of $100 CAD. There are of course restrictions. The plate must not offend public decency, or be more than 7 letters and numerals, or resemble the stock licence plates which have a form AAA NNN. One can submit three choices in order of preference. I’m terribly poor at making arbitrary choices. Perhaps readers can help…

Currently, some of my ideas include:

  • ELECTRIC (one too many characters)
  • SOLO (might work if I happen to be the first in Manitoba)
  • REDRIDER (again, too many characters)
  • SMALLEV (that could work)
  • ELECTRA (yes)
  • VERYRED
  • OLDGUY
  • POGSON
  • 16KWH (the capacity of the battery – probably not OK)
  • J1772 (the plug-in standard, probably not OK)
  • GOSOLAR
  • GOSOLO
  • SMARTEV
  • EV1 (probably not OK)

Well, you get the idea. What should I have on my plates?

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Debian Stretch Is Imminent

“On 2017-06-03 at the latest, we will tag all remaining RC bugs with either stretch-ignore OR stretch-will-remove. Packages that have RC bugs tagged with stretch-will-remove will be removed the weekend before the release unless they have been fixed in testing prior to that. Please note that the automatic removals are still in effect and may remove packages before that deadline.”
 
See Planned release of stretch on 2017-06-17 and the last weeks up to the release
I’ve been slow this year. I have five systems running Debian 8 and I have only one virtual machine running 9/Stretch. Dist-upgrade worked for that. I guess I will start dist-upgrading the lot this weekend if I ever get caught up with my planting and the weeds and watching the Trump-train-wreck…

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Onions

Yesterday I got serious about planting my seedling onions. It’s a hard job, not to be done standing at a long handle or some noisy machine. I spread some good loam on a patch of garden, cut small trenches with a trowel, untangled the roots of the seedlings crowded in a flat, and laid the seedlings gently in the trough before covering them. This is all done in a humbling kneeling position which is hard for me with my big belly and too much weight… Finally, I hoisted myself up and watered the patch with a garden hose. I will finish this task today, if I don’t die first.

There are rewards for this effort: salad greens, tender baby onions, and big fat storage onions full of pungency and a sharp green odor. I love onions, sliced, diced and cooked in soups and pizzas. I love them raw, cooked and dehydrated. The weather is cooperating, with occasional showers, moderate temperatures and some clouds after setting the tender plants out. This gives the roots time to adjust to the change and pump life-giving water and nutrients towards the bulbs and leaves. It’s all good.

I had enough planting later in the day and took out the new rototiller to give an infestation of dandelions for a spin. It was fun… Next on my radar: planting a few more tomatoes, beans and corn and a Hell of lot of flowers. With luck these will be visible from space. Oh, yes, I’m also going to plant a few square metres of grains: wheat, oats, barley and millet, just for fun. Next year I will be able to produce my own birdseed.

Posted in technology | 46 Comments