|A Sun Rise viewed through Particulate Smog |
Forest Fires Create Dangerous Air Pollution
Air quality is something that everyone should be thinking about when shopping for a vehicle of any kind. Clean technology vehicles create less air pollution, and if you think about your car, its probably the tail pipe of carcinogens that you interact with the most, and this is true for most people in America, who in one way or another are hopelessly linked to using a car for transportationPublic Transportation Sucks near Seattle
The Broken Bus in King County Wa, where population density and the tax basis is big enough to support a public transportation system as good as or better than the one in central Tokyo, Japan. We should be building light rail systems, and fortunately that is happening. Slowly America is sobering up to intelligent transportation options. Our bus system is a waste of time and mostly useless for most people, funky and is lacking routes. Geetting around on the bus requires a lot of transfers and time, the bus is not immune to traffic, and buses showing up early or late are common. I speak of the public transportation where I live, but lets get back to the core issue, vehicle choices, your choice at the gas pump, your energy options at home potentially if you park in an electrified garage, and what all of this means for Air quality.
Regular Gas Car are Cleaner
We even have a regular gas powered scooter, Howard the PCX150, its a 150cc Honda single fuel injected liquid cooled that makes 13HP and 11ft/lb's of torque, redlines at 8800RPM, and tops out at 68MPH before the rev limiter activates. It has a few thousand miles on it now and is camped out waiting for a lot of changes in our lives to catch up. I even plan on using it this winter, on dry days, using electric motorcycle clothing that has heating, especially for my fingers.
Fortuitously, the 350W ACG crank mounted starter alternator generator system of the PCX150 is designed to power lots of electrical loads, and two 55W Halogen lamps in the front throw the power of tungsten metal heated for light with warm white photons that make the road glow at night time. Our headlights and those retroflective road markers and signs are the Tron of our times, HID and LED emerging at the forefront of advanced lighting solutions in automobiles, motorcycles, scooters, boats, trucks, planes, trains, snow-mobiles, tractors, earth movers, construction equipments, buildings, etc. This high powered alternator will have extra cloth heating capacity, when I retrofit the head lamps system with two 14w LED's. With 28W of LED forward lighting, the 110W halogen system uses almost 4x more energy. By simply converted to LED head lights, the balance of energy for clothes heating increases by about 80W. This means the little 12v Z7S battery and 350W alternator can heat two sets of clothes, so Meg and winter ride with me.
I dream of a HVAC controlled helmet, with defrost and face-shield wipers, that runs on solar energy created by thin rugged aerospace grade high efficiency thin film solar panels laminated into the roof layer of the helmet, in a rechargeable battery system based on user replaceable 18650's, in a water proof cartridge system, that gives 10Hr of runtime per charger using three 18650's.This helmet would cost $1800 or so to custom fab today, assuming some creative use of online 3D printing was utilized. A Tenergy T4 or T4i or similar charger can recharge the 18650's four at a time :)
|Our 89-102 MPG PCX-150 Honda 2013 Scooter|
Fuel Injected and Liquid Cooled & ACG350W
Clean Diesel Technology 2013 and onward ^^
|The VW EA288 TDI Engine ^^ Makes Me Smile|
I thought about getting a VW Jetta Diesel Value Edition for $24,000, but after thinking a lot about exhaust gas chemistry, air pollution and the public health fallout from breathing smog, I ended up going with a super ultra clean AT-PZEV 2014 Honda CR-Z hybrid manual sport coupé 1211kg OR 2639LBS. This is the same emissions designation AT-PZEV as our 2005 Toyota Prius II ^^ Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions.
|Astro the 2005 Prius II: From our 2011 Road Trip |
Its lifetime average is 46.4MPG for 107,000mi
Winston the 2014 Honda CR-Z ex Man ^^
I started watching YouTube videos about the CR-Z, I read the America Honda Motors pages online for the US version of the 2013, 2014 Honda CR-Z. I learned all about the CR-Z in great detail on the Honda Japan web page for the CR-Z, translated by Google into English, I browsed the information learning a lot about the history of technology that went into the CR-Z, the manual transmission designed by the group the develops the Civic Type R, under senior leadership of those that designed the NSX transmission, and designers that worked on the Original Honda Insight. I consulted my wife Meg and some friends about the CR-Z, I got a green light from everyone, and bamm!, I was driving the Nissan LEAF nearly 60 miles to the Honda Dealership with an agreement that I could park the Leaf overnight and recharge using a 110v outlet behind the automatic car washing station the have on their lot. My butt was puckering up as the warning lights for critical low started flashing for the last 14mi of my journey. The Leaf was only partially charged, 72% when I left bellevue. I was averaging 5.1mi/kWh in careful city driving, so the display indicated that I had 88 miles of remaining range, but the Leaf only gets 4.1mi/kWh on the freeway at 60MPH, and sometimes less then that depending on the weather, meaning my actual range was 70mi till complete snail mode depletion. When you have 14mi remaining on the display, the LEAF starts blinking up a storm warning you to save your power and plan the rest of your trip carefully to avoid being charge anxiety bricked with a dead battery before your destination.
Winston the 2014 Honda CR-Z ex Man ^^
|Winston Our 2014 Honda CR-Z ex Man Hybrid|
The CR-Z was burning a hole through the lot of the Honda dealer I got it from, so they swung me a deal. The commercial sales manager where I work once worked as the finance manager at an auto dealership for many years. He told me they are willing to make killer deals to move inventory that has been sitting around. This particular CR-Z was built in September of 2013, and sat on the lot until April of 2014, and its was exactly the wrong colour, but everything else was right. I longed to own a manual hybrid, with a 6sp tranny, for even more to think about while driving, its called hypermiling or sport driving, and is way more fun that spaced out commuting. It has a wonderful audio system that the homeless dude that broke its window did not steal, an OEM stealthy system that doesn't look like much ^^ he just broke the passenger window and stole our groceries, a tablet computer, a Garmin, my non vehicle key cluster (headache) and the owners manual of the vehicle. Those last two had me scratching my head, why would he want the owners manual for such a rare car? To only understand the mind of this person, instead I hold only pity for the fool that broke my window. He was eating a moulding biscuit when he spotted our car. Its a shiny newer car, so I guess that makes it a target in Seattle where vagabonds and the mentally ill homeless roam delinquent, living under i5 at 6th and Marion St in Seattle.
Today millions of hybrid vehicles roam the roads of the world, and they are much better at reducing tail pipe pollution because they can stop the engine when a normal car would idle, at traffic lights for example, or when going down a hill they hybrid can capture the brake energy and use it to offset gasoline when accelerating. Hybrid vehicles offer up more torque at lower engine speeds because the electric motors in the hybrid produce peak torque instantly.
|The GM Volt : Range Extended Plug-in Hybrid|
|The PORSCHE 918 Spyder Plug-in Hybrid|
|Our Lease 2013 Nissan Leaf S : Pure Electric|
Snorging Power at My Favourite Charging Spot
|The Amazing 2015 Tesla Model S P85D $130K|
Batteries by the Billions
Today the Tesla Model S is powered by a $50,000 Lithium battery, the Nissan Leaf uses a $5000 lithium battery. This is why the Model S can go 300mi per charge, can soak up recharging energy much faster, and can accelerate like a monster. The Tesla Model S battery is 10x more expensive then the battery in the Nissan Leaf. At 85kWh the Model is battery is a lot bigger than the 24kWh Leaf battery, but it is not 10x bigger. If you gave a vehicle 10x more battery then the Leaf, it would have 240kWh of storage range, and that would produce an electric 8000lb SUV with 900mi of single charge range, with a very expensive battery.
Lithium IMR Fade Problems
Sadly the Leaf uses a fragile battery chemistry that has rapid performance fading issues, known as Lithium IMR, or Lithium Manganese Carbon, it is cheap, environmentally non-toxic, and can dump current really quickly in pulses, but lithium IMR is heat sensitive (breaks down faster when hotter than 70deg F), and cycle fades more quickly (heavily degrade after 10 years), while the Tesla Model S uses a special Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Hard Carbon chemistry developed in collaboration with Panasonic. It is more energy dense, more robust, more heat tolerant, has a longer shelf life, longer cycle life, and is far more abuse tolerant when electrically throttled hard by the motor controller in the Model S.
The Electric Tail Pipe in the Distance
The cool thing is that an electric car has a tail pipe, its called the electrical grid. Here in Wa, the grid energy is dominated by hydro power, but coal power from montana is also part of the mix. Everything electric that plugs into the grid, our computers, tablets, cell phones, TV's, Appliances, etc, these have the same grid based tail pipe, off at a power plant far from where most people live and breath. This means that even if electric cars are recharged from coal power, as long as the coal plant is dumping its air pollution far away from where most people are breathing, this transportation is much cleaner overall then millions of privately owned gasoline and diesel vehicle tail pipes.
Better is Better
The technological progression here is better and better, more technology, better technology, less pollution per mile, more recycling, less smog, cleaner air, a clean technology future is unfolding before our eyes. We have a lot of cool new vehicles that are hybrid to choose from now. In the near future our choices will grown with more plug-in hybrid options. Electric vehicles will become popular when the batteries are more affordable.
The BMW i3 for example
The BMW i8 for example
Toyota and Lexus Hybrids
The Nissan LEAF has outsold every other electric vehicle combined 2 : 1 and Nissan is glad :) But for electric to sell by the millions we need cheaper high performance batteries.
Pure electric needs more affordable batteries to be feasible in more vehicle models. The automakers think of it like this : The electric drive train, controller, motor, batteries, charge system, etc, need to cost about $8000 or slightly less to compete against a clean well designed modern gasoline or diesel vehicle energy system directly, and that is supposing they can be recharged from empty to full in 5min or less and are able to go more than 250mi per charge. Using technological progress and historical data, we can estimate that such vehicles will come to the show rooms near you in the 2030's.
Today the Tesla Model S is a luxury car for a small segment of vehicle buyers who purchase luxury cars. Used Model S vehicles will become more affordable as they age. The question about the battery life will become more thought about as the Model S gets older, as used car buyers are leary of that expensive part breaking down and robbing them of useful range. This will be interesting to see as time goes forward.
If you live in a snobby rich area like Bellevue, Wa or Kirkland Wa, or Mercer Island Wa, you will see a lot of Prii, a lot of Model S's, and a lot of Nissan Leaf's. Here clean technology vehicles sell really well. I spot dozens of Lexus hybrids regularly, the Hybrid Camry and Hybrid Highlander, the Toyota hybrids are everywhere, by the millions. Electric cars have sold a few hundred thousand, we have a lot of new vehicles to sell to clean up the air quality around roadways.
As the old models die and rust apart, they are replaced by cleaner newer models, this is the evolution of clean technology across time. This is how we jump as a society, slowly and iteratively towards an all electric future :) Think Wall-E, nuclear fusion, and high performance electric motorcycles :)