Archive for September, 2015


28
SEP

Vince Adams says:
Irony but the future is electric….


Category: Electric Transport, Uncategorized
Tags:


IMG_0220

Having heard so much good about petrol cars, we decided to test drive one. They are said to combine cheap price with long range and fast charging. A winning formula on paper – but how are they in real life?

We sat us in the loaner car at the car salesman’s office. Automakers do not sell the cars themselves, only through independent car repair shops as middlemen. It may sound like a bad omen to buy the car from a car repair shop that you want to visit as seldom as possible. But you apparently can’t buy the car directly from the manufacturer but must go through such intermediaries. The seller was very ”pushy” and tried to convince us to buy the car very forcibly, but the experience is perhaps better elsewhere.

So we sat in the car and pressed the START button. The car’s gasoline engine coughed to life and started to operate. One could hear the engine’s sound and the car’s whole body vibrated as if something was broken, but the seller assured us that everything was as it should. The car actually has an electric motor and a microscopically small battery, but they are only used to start the petrol engine – the electric motor does not drive the wheels. The petrol engine then uses a tank full of gasoline, a fossil liquid, to propel the car by exploding small drops of it. It is apparently the small explosions that you hear and feel when the engine is running.

The petrol engine consists of literally hundreds of moving parts that must have tolerance of hundredths of a millimeter to function. We begun to understand why it is car repair shops that sell the cars – they might hope for something to break in the car that they can mend?

We put in a gear and drove away with a jerk. The jerk came not from any extreme acceleration, but gasoline engines apparently cannot be driven as smoothly as electric motors. The acceleration did not occur at all, because we could not get the car to go faster than 40 km/h! By then the petrol engine literally howled and the whole car shook violently. Convinced that something must have broken we stopped the car. The seller then explained that with petrol engines you need to ”change gears” on a regular basis. Between the engine and the wheels are not a fixed ratio gear, but a variable one. The petrol engine can produce power only in a limited speed range, and must therefore be geared with different ratios in order to continue to accelerate. There are 5 different gears we can select with increasing speed as result. It is -as we learned quickly- very important that each time select a suitable gear otherwise the engine will either stop or get seriously damaged! You need a lot of training to learn to select the right gear at the right time – though there are also models with automatic transmissions that can do this themselves. In the manual transmission car, we needed to constantly guard the engine from damaging it. Very stressful.

We asked if the constant sound of the engine -that frankly disturbed us from being able to listen to the radio- could be turned off. But it couldn’t. Very distracting.

After getting the car up to speed through intricate changing of gears we approached a traffic light. Releasing the accelerator pedal resulted in no significant braking, we had to use the brake pedal very much to slow down the car. We were surprised to hear the brakes are completely mechanical! The only thing they generate is heat – braking gives no regeneration of gasoline back into the tank! Sounds like a huge waste, but it would soon get even worse.

When we came to a stop the engine continued to run and the car vibrate – even though the car was standing still! The engine continued to burn gasoline without moving the car forward. Can it really be true? Yes, the seller explained, it is so with gasoline cars: the engine is always running and burning gasoline – even when the car is stationary. Some models however switches off the engine at a red light, he explained. Well that certainly makes more sense.

After a while we came to a gas station where we could charge the car. The car claimed that it still had half a tank left, but we wanted to try the famous super-fast charging of petrol cars!

So we drove to the gas station and opened the fuel cap. The filling nozzle is very similar to a charging connector, but it is not electrons that come out of it but gasoline. Gasoline is a highly carcinogenic, smelly and flammable liquid derived from plants and animals extinct since millions of years ago. The gasoline is pumped to a tank in the car, which then drives around with about 50 liters of this hazardous liquid in it.

We put the nozzle to the car, but nothing happened. The seller then explained that we must pay to fuel! Much like those extremely expensive fast chargers some electric utility companies have set up. After we put the credit card in the reader we could start fueling. It was extremely fast! In just two minutes we filled the gas tank to the max! But there were two counters on the pump: one that showed the number of liters we have fueled and one that showed how much it would cost us. And that counter was spinning so fast that we could hardly keep up with its pace! Sure we filled the tank full in two minutes, but it did cost us an unbelievable €30! A full charge would thus cost us double that – a whopping €60! We cursed our luck that we apparently have chosen one of the most expensive gas stations, and began to ask the seller what other alternatives are there? How much does it cost to fill up at home, and how many free stations are there?

The seller looked very puzzled at us and explained that it is not possible to refuel gasoline cars at home, and there are no free gas stations. We tried to explain our questions, in case he had misunderstood, but he insisted that you can not. Apparently you have to several times a month drive to the gas station to recharge your petrol car at extortionate prices – there are no alternatives! We thought it was very strange that no gasoline car manufacturers have launched their own free gas stations?

There are no gas stations either where you can fill up more slowly at a cheaper price. We started calculating price versus consumption and came to the shocking conclusion that a petrol car costs unimaginable €12 per 100km! Sure, electric cars could also theoretically come up to these amounts if they quick charged at one of the most expensive charging stations in the country – but for petrol cars there are no cheaper alternatives! While electric cars are comfortably charged at home every night for €2 per 100km petrol cars must make detours several times a month to fill up at these extortionate rates – without exception! Monthly cost for a petrol car can -just for the gasoline alone- easily exceed one hundred Euros! We begun to understand why they are so cheap to purchase – operating them is extremely expensive instead.

We also begun to understand why there must be so many petrol stations everywhere, if all petrol cars always have to drive to them to refuel. Imagine if you could charge your electric car only at the power companies’ most expensive fast chargers – and nowhere else!

With this in mind we ended up in a traffic jam and was horrified that the gasoline engine continued to burn these expensive gasoline drops even when the car was standing still or moving very little. With gasoline vehicles it is easy to run into cost anxiety – the feeling that the car literally burns up your money! No cheap home charging and no regeneration of gasoline back to the fuel tank when braking sounds like economic madness – especially given that all gasoline must be imported from abroad.

We returned the car to the dealer’s premises, pulled the handbrake and step out of the car. The petrol engine continued to run! Apparently one must manually switch off the combustion of the precious liquid. But we wanted to see the petrol engine, so the seller opened the bonnet. The entire front portion of the car was completely cluttered with hoses, fittings, fluid reservoirs, and amid all a huge shaking cast iron block which apparently constituted the motor’s frame. There was no space for luggage in the front of the car! Despite its enormous size, high noise and vibration, the engine barely delivered one hundred horsepower. The engine was also extremely hot, we burned ourselves when we touched it. Even though this was on a warm summer day so the engine did not need to generate heat to the passenger compartment.

We became also worried about what would happen if we crashed with a petrol car? The cast iron block that occupied most of the engine compartment was sitting in the middle of the collision zone! Where would it go if we collided – would we get it in our lap? The salesman assured us that the motor in such case somehow gets folded down under the car but we could not escape the impression that the engine block was very much in the way at the front – the safety beams were built around it, which surely impairs their functionality. Avoiding that one hundred kilo iron lump in the front of the car makes it so much easier to build safe cars. In addition, we have seen on the Internet hundreds of pictures and videos of burning gasoline cars. The petrol tank apparently often leaks after an accident so the flammable liquid pours out and becomes ignited!

From the engine, under the car runs an exhaust system – a kind of chimney for engine exhausts. When you burn the carcinogenic gasoline a lots of noxious gases are produced. The car cleans away the most dangerous gases, but what remains is released into the open air behind the car. It is still unhealthy to breathe in – and smells very bad! And petrol cars are allowed to emit these harmful gases in the middle of our cities? Do not confuse petrol cars’ exhaust pipes with fuel cell cars’ – while hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles emit only water vapor gasoline cars spew out noxious gasses, and even fossil carbon dioxide that contribute to Earth’s future-catastrophic warming!

We thanked the seller for the display, shook our heads and gave back the ignition key (yes, it’s called that) to him. He realized that there would be no business for him so except for one lame attempt he did not try to sell us the car any more.

On the way home in our electric car we looked with completely different eyes at our poor fellow commuters, who still had to put up with their gasoline cars. But soon it will be their turn to trade up, too!


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "I heard a little snippet from the VW fallout that rather excited me. There is a rumour that they have a peoples photo-type electric car similar in concept to the launch of the beetle many years ago.
    The price and performance would make this available to millions more motorists and revolutionise the car industry overnight.
    VW you have sinned but this is your moment in time to put that behind you and do something amazing for us all.
    “Beetle Electric the new people’s car”, could it be true ? "

    October 9, 2015 a 9:01 am

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "A very interesting take on the situation. I agree, petrol cars are so old fashioned. "
    October 8, 2015 a 11:53 am


21
SEP

Vince Adams says:
The latest lunacy to spend £2billion of tax payers money on Nuclear Power


Category: Uncategorized
Tags:


We at Lets get Energized are non-plussed at the Governments latest decision to prop up the Nuclear power red herring. Clearly neither EDF or even the Chinese really believe in the validity of the investment but George Osbourne’s offer to support the initial stages with a £2 billion loan is just the precursor to even more gurantee’s and loans in the future.
At the sametime the latest moves by the Government to bring the Solar Energy Industry here in the UK to its knee’s is quite amazing.
What does it tell us about our future. How will our children childrens live with the growing cost and potential dangers of Nuclear fusion. Where will be put all the waste material.
We hear such a lot about national security and yet the Government is considering letting the Chinese build and I assume run a nuclear plant here in Essex.
Down the road we are about to have a huge debate on whether or not we should continue pouring billions into Trident because of the “threats to our national security” One set of principles for war and another for saving the worlds climate by setting the UK firmly on the path to a renewable energy future.
Its interesting that whilst China is selling us rather old technology such as nuclear they are investing hugely in their own renewable energy future.
Are we becoming a dumping ground for old technology because of the backward commercial thinking of our Government.
Please support renewables, comment its time this debate began to take centre stage.



16
SEP

Vince Adams says:
Are Americans bright or just caught in the headlights ?


Category: Electric Transport
Tags:


Cheap Gas Fires Up Big SUV Sales, Slows Electric Cars, Hybrids

More cars and trucks are being bought in the U.S.—and fewer of them are gas sippers

By Benjamin Hulac and ClimateWire | September 8, 2015

©iStock.com

Consumers in the United States bought automobiles in the four months from May through August at the fastest clip in more than a decade, propelled by strong appetite for trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossover models and by low gas prices.

Light-vehicle sales for August surpassed 17 million units for the fourth month in a row, measured at an annualized, seasonally adjusted rate, according to automotive data company WardsAuto. The last time that happened was 2000, the firm said.

Compared against August last year, total sales were down less than half a percent for all light-duty vehicles, and light car sales were down about 10 percent. But light-duty truck sales—up a little more than 8 percent for the month, despite the fact that Labor Day sales will be counted in September—pushed some models to record sales totals and buoyed results overall.

Ford Motor Co., the second-biggest player in the United States by market share, reported a 5 percent increase and the greatest sales volume since 2006. “Consumer demand for our newest vehicles made August a strong month for Ford,” Mark LaNeve, vice president for marketing, sales and service in the United States, said in a statement. “We also had our best month of Ford SUV sales in 12 years.”

Like cross-town rival Ford, which saw sales of its brawny Mustang and immense Lincoln Navigator models jump 70 percent or more, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler, the smallest by market share of the former U.S.-owned and so-called “Big Three,” reported sharp increases in demand for many of their largest vehicles.

General Motors sold more than a quarter of a million cars in August, down from the same month last year, but buyers snapped up Chevrolets, pushing the brand’s truck sales up for the 16th month straight. Sales for Chevrolet’s Silverado climbed 20 percent, and Tahoe deliveries rose 5 percent; it was the best performance for both models since 2008. And GMC, the maker of freight-hauling, burly pickups, had its best month since 2005, the company said.

Fiat Chrysler also reported a monthly gain: The company’s U.S. division had its best August since 2002, as eight Fiat Chrysler cars sold in the country set sales records.

“In spite of a tough 2014 comparison and extreme stock market volatility, our dealer’s competitive spirit kicked in and propelled us to our 65th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases,” Reid Bigland, the head of U.S. sales for Fiat-Chrysler, said in a statement.

Market fundamentals look good
“All of the economic fundamentals that we look at, including job growth, disposable income and fuel prices, are in good shape and that should keep sales strong,” Kurt McNeil, vice president of General Motors’ U.S. sales operations, said in a statement. Sales at Toyota Motor Corp., the third-largest player in the U.S. market, declined about 9 percent.

Economists consider rising demand for and orders of durable goods—items expected for work for three years or more, such as appliances, furniture, heavy machinery and vehicles—as an indication of improving consumer sentiment and a rosier economy.

And wings of the federal government haven’t overlooked the industry’s growth and brisk business.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said Wednesday that new orders of manufactured goods rose in July by 0.4 percent.

Transportation equipment—including light trucks, utility vehicles, heavy trucks, and vehicle bodies, parts and trailers—fueled an increase with a 5.5 percent gain in new factory orders. Shipments of transportation equipment, which climbed about 3 percent in July, pushed up shipments nationwide. According to Commerce Department data, heavy-duty truck sales in June and August this year reached their highest volume since January 2007, before the global financial collapse. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that businesses that produce and maintain motor vehicles and parts added about 6,000 jobs in August alone.

“The majority of auto dealer contacts indicated an increase in sales since the beginning of July compared with the same period last year, and many expect the trend to continue through the fourth quarter,” said the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, summarizing business activity in its region in a report published last week. “Several dealers reported a shift toward more high-end and new cars. One dealer reported record sales of its high-end models. A few contacts noted that low gas prices continue to have a positive impact on demand.”

Flagging interest for fuel-sippers
In the same report, officials from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which covers central Plains states between Wyoming and New Mexico and Missouri and Colorado, described flagging interest for more fuel-efficient cars.

“Dealer contacts noted increased sales of larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs, and slower sales for small and hybrid cars,” the bank said. “Auto inventories fell modestly, although most contacts expected levels to rebound in the next six months.”

The latest figures from the Electric Drive Transportation Association, a trade group that advocates electric, electric-hybrid and fuel-cell car technology and infrastructure, reveal a diminished share of the car market.

Cars that either partially or entirely use electricity to function make up slightly more than 3 percent of the U.S. auto market, the lowest share since 2011 and a sharp contraction from 3.5 percent last year, according to EDTA.

Meanwhile, the AAA motor club predicted in a statement called “Gas Prices Under $2 on the Way” that drivers over the Labor Day holiday weekend would pay the lowest gas prices since 2004. In the winter months, when there are fewer drivers on the roads and refineries are typically finished with autumn maintenance, gas prices could dip below $2 per gallon by Christmas, AAA said in an August report.

Americans are also driving more, whether or not they’re directly influenced by low prices at the pump.

The Federal Highway Administration, housed within the Department of Transportation, said in mid-August that Americans drove more in the first half of the year than ever before in the same time period. U.S. drivers covered 1.54 trillion miles in their cars from January through June, besting the previous record of 1.5 trillion miles set in June 2007.

“This is more than double the amount driven during the same period in 1981, continuing a trend of America’s driving mileage doubling nearly every generation,” FHWA said.

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "Comments from my Friend Jack Olver an electric car owner in Montereym Ca
    “Americans have never been the brightest bulbs in the bin when it comes to buying cars and that is playing out once again. After years of being informed of the devastating impact of burning fossil fuels US consumers, now presented with the gift of cheap oil, are buying gas guzzlers at a record pace. This is like getting on the scale and seeing that you’ve lost a pound and therefore deciding to eat nothing but cheese cake for the next month.” "

    September 16, 2015 a 2:58 pm


15
SEP

Vince Adams says:
Who’s kidding who ??


Category: Uncategorized
Tags:


http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2985371/osbornes_nuclear_fantasies_can_you_hear_me_major_tom.html

My money is on renewables, lets collectively let our present Government and all local MP’s know we are against this extention of nuclear.

Not only is the financial case wrong, the comparison with renewables total nonsense but we lumber future genrations with clearing up the mess that is Nuclear.

 



08
SEP

Vince Adams says:
What is the M and S Energy Fund


Category: Community Energy
Tags:


  • Here at M&S Energy, we want to enable more communities in Great Britain to generate renewable energy and become environmentally and financially sustainable when compared to not having such renewable energy technology installed.

So we’ve launched The Community Energy Fund to help you do just that. 

It’s part of the M&S ethical and ecological programme, Plan A, which sees us aim to source responsibly, reduce waste and help communities. 

If you’ve got a project that wants to use renewable energy, produced locally, to provide community benefits, this is your chance to try to secure funding. Community energy groups come in all shapes and sizes, so whether you’re a sports club, a neighbourhood or simply an organisation that wants to have a positive impact on the environment – we want to hear from you.

Funding available

There are 4 types of funding available to support renewable energy projects across Great Britain3.

    1. A national funding pot for a project that requires a maximum of £40,000
    2. A national funding pot for a project that requires a maximum of £20,000
    3. Regional funding pots for projects that require a maximum of £12,500
    4. A judges award of £15,000 of funding which will be split between the most inspiring projects
  • How you can get involved
    1. Step 1. To have a chance to win, simply register at www.mandsenergyfund.com and complete the online application for the funding amount you need. You have until 26 July 2015 to enter.
    2. Step 2. If your project has been shortlisted, the competition begins! Organise support from your community to vote for your project. 
    3. Step 3. The most voted for projects per region will secure their funding. We’ll also announce funding for those inspiring projects we felt went the extra mile for their community. We’ll announce the results by the end of October 2015.

If you simply want to support your local community energy group, check back on www.mandsenergyfund.com for campaign information and placing your vote.

For full terms and conditions please visit www.mandsenergyfund.com.



08
SEP

Vince Adams says:
Time to support local community project


Category: Community Energy, Uncategorized
Tags:


Hi All,

I hope you don’t mind, but I am shamelessly getting in touch with all my contacts! Over the summer I have been running a project to install solar panels at Ludwell Community Primary School, where Karen and I are Governors. Now that the panels are in place, we need to pay for them, so I’m now heading up the fundraising effort, part of which is to try and obtain grant funding from various organisations, one of which is the M&S Energy Fund. We’ve been shortlisted, so
what we now need is lots of votes for our project on their website. I would really appreciate it if you could vote for the Ludwell School solar panels project!
Please go to the link below, enter your email address and create a password. You will then get an email from M&S Energy – click on the link, click the link to login, login with your email address and password and finally click on the vote for project link! Then, if you want to, please spread the word, share on social media, and ask as many friends, family, etc. to do the same. The more votes we get, the better chance of getting the grant. Please don’t delay! The deadline is 30th September!
Just a quick update on our progress in the competition – we are currently lying in 4th place in the South West Region and have 137 votes. The leaders, who are a very large outfit in Exeter who have already received a grant of £320,000 from the Arts Council, have 264 votes. As we are only a small village primary school with 70 pupils, we need all the votes we can get! I feel this is very much a David and Goliath struggle – but I seem to remember that David won in the end, so I am hoping with your help we can too :-)
PS You can vote more than once with different email addresses from different devices J
https://www.mandsenergyfund.com/project/28483/
Any problems with voting please contact me: richardecclestone@btinternet.com or 01747 829261 or 07713 686368
Many thanks!
Richard

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