Going Green

Environmental issues, energy and electric cars

Tales of an Electric Car Road Trip and Supercharging strategy

I digitally removed a score of instagrammers trampling these lovely flowers.

This month we took an electric car road trip in the California desert to see the flowers. The idea of a road trip in the desert with an electric car would have been crazy not too long ago. Now it's becoming possible, soon it will be easy, but there's still lots to learn.

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The end of the A380 and California HSR teach us smaller is better

It was just too big to succeed

I have written often about the new economies in transportation that future technology like robocars provide. In my research I've learned something that seems to not be well known in the transportation world -- that often, smaller is better and more energy efficient.

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I got an electric car. My electric bill went down

Here's a moderately surprising result of switching to an electric car. Here in California, my electric bill went down. Just by a little, but in essence the (green) energy for my car is coming for free.

On my recent bill I used 900kwh and paid $168. 2 months ago I used 700kwh and paid $178. I drove around 900 miles. A small amount of my car electricity came from Tesla superchargers or other charging stations. Most was from my house. Yes, I use an above average amount of electricity already.

Why this this happen?

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EVSEs (car chargers) should be designed to do pass-through on dryer plugs

You probably have this (or the 4-pin version) in your laundry area

As an update to my proposal for a special circuit breaker to assist in managing home power I thought I would propose a much simpler alternative for those who have a dryer plug in their garage.

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If you're a computer nerd, buy the Tesla model 3

The new blue Tesla Model 3 on delivery

As I posted earlier I purchased a Tesla Model 3, the mid-range version with one motor and autopilot.

There are many reviews of this car out there, so I will go quickly over the common issues to get to areas I can give a special perspective on.

Scooters are so efficient we should fix them, not ban them

Scooters from Lime and Bird have been causing a stir as they move quickly into cities. There's been blowback, because riders travel recklessly, often on sidewalks, and they also leave scooters just lying on the sidewalk, blocking things, because as dockless scooters you can drop them anywhere. Riders are also getting hurt, these are not the safest things to ride.

So cities are striking back, trying to stop, regulate or collect money from these scooter operators.

Using cars for backup grid energy probably doesn't work

Pumping water into a reservoir is great for storage

In the world of electric cars, some people talk about an idea called "vehicle to grid" or V2G. Renewable energy's biggest challenge is storage -- wind and solar only come at certain times of the day, but we need electricity all day. The V2G hope is to use all the batteries in electric cars as a means of grid storage.

Cars will go to the chargers, you don't need to bring the chargers to the cars

This is where your car charges, not at your house

Many of us believe that there's a natural fit between electric drive trains and robocars. It's not required -- you can certainly make robocars driven by gasoline, natural gas, hydrogen or anything else.

Electric has several advantages:

Calculating all the externalities of driving

I and many others feel the best way to set urban and transportation policy is to properly price in the "externalities" into our travel, and to remove all other penalties and subsidies. If you can do this, then everybody is incentivized to improve the public good. In particular, entrepreneurs and companies are motivated this way, and it's their job to think of the new things nobody else thought of.

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