100 Days To Enlightenment

“Tesla (TSLA), has teamed up with a French renewable energy firm and an Australian state government to install the world’s largest lithium ion battery.
Paired up with a wind farm in the state of South Australia, the battery will be three times more powerful than the next biggest in the world, Musk said at a news conference in the city of Adelaide on Friday.”
See Elon Musk promises world’s biggest lithium ion battery to Australia
Storing energy during calm/dark times is a key factor in exploiting wind/solar energy. Sure, the energy is cheap and plentiful but if it’s not there when you need it, what’s the point?

Tesla is making that point with a commitment to set up a huge battery for an Australian wind-farm in 100 days or it’s $free. He’s pretty seriously believing that’s doable. Production and shipment must take a good fraction of that time, so he’s going to have a lot of labour or automation in place to set it up. Typically batteries need trays/racks to make use of space, bus-bars and connectors, a lot of connectors, to make it all work. Oh, yes, they’ll also need a few circuit-breakers and fire-extinguishers, I’d bet.

I’d bet on Tesla. They know how to do things or make the effort to figure it out in a hurry, just like their electric cars, PV rooftops, charging stations etc. Batteries should be easy. Mostly, they just sit where you put them.

I’d bet this project will win future sales too.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Electra Meccanica Vehicles Delivers

“Our Canadian production facility has completed and delivered our first customer car, with the next 4 (chassis 10-14) all lined up in various stages of completion. We should deliver the next SOLO the first week of July, and then between 2 and 10 per month from then on.”
See From the Desk of Jerry Kroll
July 2, 2017
Well, it’s still not certain when I will receive my Solo EV but Electra Meccanica Vehicles has started down the path to delivery. They claim 536 Solos on their list of reservations. At 10 per month, it’s not happening in 2018, but other means of production will commence shortly. I hope. Who knows whether I will live to 2022? Who knows whether other competitors will flood the market before then? EMV and I are both motivated to deliver and to receive a Solo as soon as possible. I vote for sooner.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments

Competition In EVs Ramps Up

“The car is to start around $35,000 and with a $7,500 federal electric car tax credit, could cost $27,500. Tesla says the five-seat car will be able to go 215 miles (133 kilometers) on a single charge and will be sporty, accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds. Musk had said that production was on track to start in July, but Tesla has often faced delays in getting vehicles to market. The Palo Alto, California-based company aims to make 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of this year and 10,000 per week in 2018.”
See Tesla says its Model 3 car will go on sale on Friday
My preferred EV is not alone. Competition in EVs is ramping up. Even Tesla which has started with very expensive high-end models is now competing with the likes of Nissan Leaf in price/performance. Solo, however, is in a niche by itself, a single-seater commuter, but in a year or two competition will ramp up there too. It may help that some people don’t know a kilometre from a mile as in TFA but Solo is by far the most efficient EV I’ve seen. It can compete on the numbers: miles/kWh, cost of operation and price. It’s aerodynamic, it’s light, it’s small and doesn’t lug around anything that’s unnecessary. That keeps down the price and gives the customer what they want, trouble-free transportation from A to B.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Not Presidential, Aberrant

“US President Donald Trump has defended his use of social media in a series of tweets, following a row over comments he made about two MSNBC TV presenters.
“My use of social media is not presidential – it’s modern day presidential,” he tweeted on Saturday.”
See Trump defends his use of social media in a series of tweets
When some scum gets elected president due to some missteps from the competition and lots of help from Russia, he’s not really POTUS. He’s an aberration. In particular, scum like Trump deserves to be locked up, not residing in the White House. It’s an embarrassment to USA that despite the illegal assistance Trump should win. He’s the worst USA has to offer, not the best. Impeachment or failure to re-elect can’t come soon enough to remove this thug/buffoon from office.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Going Solo And Solar

“Given the current costs of generating and storing power at home, even residents of sunny Arizona would not have much economic incentive to leave the electric-power system completely—full grid-defection, as McKinsey refers to it—until around 2028. But partial defection, where some homeowners generate and store 80% to 90% of their electricity on site and use the grid only as a backup, makes economic sense as early as 2020.”
See Batteries and solar panels threaten to turn the electrical grid into a giant backup system, upending the utility industry’s business model
The current price of hardware for home solar generation is OK for those buying or building a home. It would be just a tiny slice added to the mortgage. It’s those who pay out of pocket who recoil from the sticker price. It’s ~$1/watt for solar panels, a few $K for an inverter, and a few $K for installation. Also, it’s a few days of disruption/construction around the home. Also, TLW isn’t ready to have solar anything conspicuously decorating her home…

I, OTOH, relish going solar even in part and plan to set up a small system of just a few KW to run my new Solo EV. It makes sense, particularly if I get to drive as much as I want and TLW will never see it on the utility bill… Chuckle.

My plan is this, making a picnic table out beyond the garden with a solar panel shade pivoting above it. Being a welder, I can make a frame allowing the panels to follow Sun and shade the table all day long. Cool, eh? It’s pretty easy except one has to anchor it really well against the wind. I need a substantial concrete/stone foundation, a sturdy post with a hub pointing to the North Star, a mechanism to adjust elevation according to the season and a mechanism to rotate the panels keeping them always pointed to Sun. It’s a bit of work, but I’m retired and enjoy making stuff.

Each 1x2m panel makes ~300W in full sunlight, so it would take 11 or so to charge Solo at 240V. I can lighten the burden on panels by using a battery to accumulate energy all day long and deliver it through an inverter for charging Solo. 4 panels could refill Solo completely in a day but 6 would be more sure. I could stack them in a 1-2-2-1 pattern to approximate a circular solar shade for the table. The battery is expensive because it’s so heavy and requires freight from China for NiFe types. Cells in the range of 100-400 Ampere-hours store 120-480 W-h and Solo needs 16.1kWh nominally, so 40 cells, one crate, deliver 4.8-19.2 kWh. On average, Solo will likely need only 4kWh to top up or would need to drain the smaller battery multiple times or the larger battery once for a full charge. It’s doable.

In a 25 year lifetime for solar panels, this system would recover many $thousands of solar energy easily paying for the whole investment. If I drove my Solo hard, say 32000 km per annum and charged only at home, that would be 200 full charges, 3200kWh, $320 worth of electricity per annum. Over 25 years that’s $8000 worth of electricity from 4-6 panels costing $500 each, so the system pays for itself sooner or later. The hardware and mounting I would build will last indefinitely, so that cost could be spread over a lifetime. I like the numbers. I will dip into my pension next year to pay for the car and the charging system. TLW won’t mind because she’ll want a Solo too, and a shady spot to sit in the back yard.

Posted in family, technology | Tagged , , , , | 52 Comments

OMG! Here’s A List Of Foods I Mostly Like!

“A new study calculates how much climate-warming pollution is created by food production, and red meat comes through as the worst offender.”
See These are the most climate-damaging foods
OMG! I love 8 of the ten foods listed:

  1. beef, – one of my favourites but we also love venison and have a year’s supply in the freezer
  2. lamb, – too greasy if you ask me
  3. butter, Yes! Love it on fresh bread, mashed potatoes, in cookies, on asparagus…
  4. shellfish, – Yes! I’ve collected mussels in the wild. Love the taste and productivity.
  5. cheese, – OMG! Yes! One of my favourite sinful foods.
  6. asparagus, – This vegetable actually enjoys living in my garden. It’s about the only vegetable I can reliably grow there, except lettuce.
  7. pork, – TLW loves pork chops and so do I. Ham is great too.
  8. veal, – Too expensive if you ask me.
  9. chicken, – Nice and easy to chew but rather tasteless compared to
  10. turkey – I would buy 12 when they are in season but TLW is not fond of it (Dry, she says.) and the freezer is not large enough.

I’m all for treating the environment kindly but when it comes to choice of food, I’ll stick with hammering infernal combustion vehicles as a source of CO2 we can live without. The CO2 produced in the production of cattle is absorbed by the grass they eat, after all. It’s recycled annually unlike fossil fuels which put CO2 in the bank millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed Earth. Unless we want an Earth where dinosaurs feel comfortable we should cut way back on burning fossil fuels. Asparagus is less expensive than beef when you grow it in your garden as I do but it’s hard to live on asparagus alone whereas beef will keep one well/overly nourished. Besides, I’m diabetic and I need lots of protein rather than carbohydrates to keep my internal chemistry in balance. So, I’ll continue to eat meat/cheese/shellfish, lots of it.

Posted in food, horticulture | Tagged , , | 28 Comments


“The long-awaited project, expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, involves the expansion of Kenaston Boulevard to six lanes, the expansion of the St. James Bridges to eight lanes and the acquisition of all or part of 136 properties, including 30 structures located on Kapyong Barracks”
See Winnipeg takes another step toward Kenaston widening with St. James Bridge replacement study – Manitoba
My, how time flies! It seems like only yesterday I was a boy growing up about a few miles east of this bridge. My main interest in it was that the family travelled over it to get to Assiniboine Park Zoo by car. The construction was one of the first I remember with steel-reinforced concrete beams trucked in to the site. The supports were cast in place.

Now, it’s at EOL (End of Life) but I’m still here dealing with other changes in me, technology and my environment. This project will involve expropriating properties that were developed around WWII. Houses and yards were small. I guess not so many want them any longer. Perhaps this is a better use. I’ve not been aware of the traffic problems, because I almost always avoid rush-hour over that bridge. I know it backs up for a mile or so… but I just sail right through on my own time or use a couple of other routes depending on where I’m going. IKEA and Cabela’s are that way and so are some rural relatives.

It’s interesting that the price-tag of this project is an order of magnitude larger than the original bridge. Inflation and scale, I guess. More stuff. More cost. I wonder if they will get the ramps right this time. Going from Portage East to the bridge was a nightmare. You have to merge with ~60km/h traffic, a buttress obscures the view and you have to have the neck of an owl to look back that far. Another ramp, on the north side of Portage, has a berm obscuring the view… Sigh. I hope they remember the pedestrians and cyclists too.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Electra Meccanica Vehicles Will Trade As ECCTF on OTCQB

It takes money for a start-up like EMV to ramp up production. They can do it the slow way by selling cars and recycling the profits or they can do it faster by selling shares of the company or increasing indebtedness. EMV now has the possibility of selling shares to grow the company. Shares have been sold privately and those shareholders can cash in, buy more shares or hold the ones they own. I’d bet with the start of production most would see holding or buying more shares as the right thing to do. Shares of a productive company should be worth more than shares in a bottomless pit of R&D. Anyway, you can watch the action here. When I last checked there was no quotation yet and the shares are listed as in the “grey” market. That will change.

Posted in investing, technology | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Battle Of The 3-wheelers

Arcimoto plans to achieve its mission by replacing the global urban and suburban use of 4,000 lb. internal combustion engine vehicles for regular daily trips with the Arcimoto SRK, a pure electric solution that is a quarter of the weight, a third the purchase cost, and ten times as efficient as the U.S. average passenger car.The Arcimoto SRK delivers an estimated 230 MPGe ultra-efficient operation — all at an affordable target base model price of $11,900. Arcimoto has taken the SRK from a napkin sketch, through eight generations of product development, to a refined design on the cusp of series production and market availability.””
See Maker of 3-wheeler EV Arcimoto looks to raise $10M in initial public offering

“Powering the SOLO is a 16.1 kWh lithium ion battery. The chassis is made of a composite aerospace lightweight material combined with an aluminum drivetrain which both contribute to an overall vehicle weight of approximately 1,000 lbs. The IT in the SOLO is state-of-the-art, it can be charged with both 220V and 110V, has ten cubic feet of carpeted cargo space, goes from 0-60 mph in under eight seconds, and cruises along at 80 mph.”
See Charged Up: Electric Cars Are Morphing Into Many Species
This makes things interesting. Now there are three contenders in the North American small commuter space, including the ICEd Elio. I won’t dwell on that last one because it’s damned to using petroleum for energy. That’s so 20th century. This millenium, people want to drive smarter electrically.

The upstart isn’t really an upstart. Arcimoto has been around for years but just now got around to raising serious money and putting a design into production. It’s “efficiency” is debatable too. With all that air-drag hanging out there, I doubt 220MPGe is possible at highway speeds. Meanwhile Electra Meccanica Solo is streamlined up to the nth degree and is actually in limited production. EMV has spent millions getting to this stage and they used the Corbin Sparrow as a starting point. If you don’t want wind in your hair, I think Solo has a huge advantage as well as more luggage space. The Arc does carry one passenger more or less in comfort but it still looks and feels like a motorcycle. I’d bet Solo would be way more comfortable when the bugs are flying or in winter. Arc has front wheel drive so in slippery conditions it will fishtail or spin. Solo at least has neutral torque under slippage.

So, my money is on Solo. It would be a major shift in lifestyle to switch to Arc and except for a passenger, it’s a lot less flexible. I still question the efficiency. You can’t get more range per kWh by dragging more air around. Solo’s slightly higher price is worth it. I’ll drive it more in greater comfort and at lower cost in the long run. I believe Solo will cost less in energy so eventually the price difference will be overcome. Further, Arc can be bought with side-panels for $3K more, so the price difference between comparable models is only $1K and still I question the difference in drag.

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Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Trump

“President Donald Trump has accused his predecessor Barack Obama of inaction over alleged Russian interference in the US election.”
See Trump accuses Obama of inaction over Russia meddling claim
Wow! Just when we thought we’d heard all the nonsense possible from Trump, he tops it. Claiming Obama was inactive when Obama did not have full confirmation from multiple soucrces while the damage was done and could not be undone in any case nor responded without influencing the election, is utter hyprocrisy. Trump has all the latest research and analysis. What the Hell has Trump done to go after Putin? Nothing. He’s colluding with Putin by downplaying the act of cyber-warfare inflicted on USA. He’s like a commander in chief not responding to Pearl Harbour or 9/11. Why aren’t bombs landing in Russia to take out their cyber-crime-factories? The attack was a year ago and Trump has done nothing and plans to do nothing until Putin shakes his hand on the steps of the White House. Trump will then hand Putin the keys.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

The Only Good Murdering Bastard Is A Dead Murdering Bastard

“A sniper in the Canadian special forces shot and killed an Islamic State (IS) fighter from a distance of 2.1 miles (3,540m) in Iraq last month.”
See Canadian sniper ‘kills IS militant two miles away’
It used to be thought by some that snipers were somehow immoral being a able to kill from long range. Then came the murdering bastards who think nothing of slaughtering thousands just for show. Killing the murdering bastards by any means is the right thing to do. Doing it before the murdering bastard kills several attacking forces in Mosul and slaughters the civilians behind which he hides is just a bonus, extra points.

Posted in firearms, politics, technology | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

First Delivery Of A Solo EV

“We are thrilled to be able to deliver our very first SOLO to a family right here in the Vancouver area,” said Mark West, President of Electra Meccanica. “We think it fits perfectly with their local healthy food business as an attention-getting, environmentally-friendly vehicle with enough storage for all of their daily needs.”
See Electra Meccanica
It was a long time coming but the first buyer received their Solo last week and here’s the video of the sweet day. It’s not every day you get to watch the first of a great product delivered so this is historic. No matter what the evolution of EMV will be, this is a milestone many start-ups don’t reach no matter how good their concept is. Solo is a great concept, a reliable minimal car for commuting and errands using mature technology all held together by a bit of motivation and innovation. My delivery will not be so historic but I will make my own video on the day. I’ve already picked out the videographer…

Posted in family, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments