TESLA Semi Truck arriving in September 2017

by John Brian Shannon

TESLA CEO Elon Musk announced at the TEDx forum in Vancouver (April 28th) that the TESLA Semi Truck will arrive in September 2017.

That’s great news from a vehicle emissions perspective as more than half of all road-based transportation emissions are caused by transport trucks and their diesel engines.

In major cities — where stop and go driving demands frequent acceleration, diesel trucks contribute significantly to the smoky, particulate-laden smog layer that is a common sight.

From a human health perspective, the unburned hydrocarbons (a.k.a. particulate matter) caused by diesel truck engines are the single worst pollutant for human health and contribute significantly to the high rates of respiratory disease and healthcare costs extant in the world’s major population centres.

It’s a different story out on the highway. Once they get up to speed, diesel trucks compare favourably to newer cars with the latest emission control equipment installed — on the per pound of cargo transported emissions metric.

If cities with populations of 1 million or more created a law that vehicles over 10,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) must be zero emission vehicles (C40 Cities Initiative, I’m talking to you!) respiratory healthcare spending would drop by half, thereby saving governments billions of dollars per year.

Even if one-tenth of the savings were spent on subsidies for TESLA Supercharger installations, hundreds of billions of dollars would be saved annually in every country.

And national productivity would increase due to fewer sick days for workers in cities that presently experience high pollution levels.

It’s already a done deal!

The mainstream media haven’t realized it yet, but big — very big — changes are coming to road-based transportation systems, and it’s not only TESLA in North America, but Daimler in Europe (part of the Mercedes Benz group) also has big plans for electric semi trucks to hit the roads in 2020.

Cleaner air in cities, much quieter semi trucks, and lower healthcare spending; What’s not to like?

American Samoan Island Powered by TESLA Solar Microgrid

American Samoan Island of Ta’u now powered by Tesla and SolarCity solar microgrid

Ta’u, American Samoa: Elon Musk’s Tesla has just officially acquired SolarCity, but the two have already solar-powered a complete island, it was revealed Tuesday.

It’s powered by a 1.4 megawatt solar-array with 6 megawatt hours of battery storage courtesy of 60 Tesla Powerpacks.

The island of Ta’u in American Samoa, located more than 4,000 miles from the U.S. West Coast had long-suffered power rationing and outages. However, the island is now powered by solar panels and TESLA battery packs, SolarCity said in a post about its latest project with Tesla… Continue reading American Samoan Island Powered by TESLA Solar Microgrid

Electric vs Hydrogen: Which will power our cars?

by John Brian Shannon

As the world begins to transition away from conventionally sourced petroleum to power our transportation network (cars, trucks, trains, ships, and even aircraft) two main contenders have won favour from investors and the public — Electric powered Vehicles (EV’s) and Hydrogen powered Vehicles (HEV).

Both show great promise, but at this point in time they report different results. There is no doubt that the EV has charged well ahead of its nemesis the HEV, but Toyota and Hyundai are making rapid progress on their Hydrogen powered vehicle programmes.

Electric Vehicles are called EV, while Hydrogen powered vehicles are called HEV (Hydrogen Electric Vehicle) — as both use electricity to power the vehicle, but source the onboard electricity via different methods.

Both EV’s and HEV’s produce electrical power to power an electric motor, which is what drives the car. EV’s get their electricity from the batteries in the car, while Hydrogen powered vehicles get their electricity from passing Hydrogen and Oxygen through a fuel cell (while also utilizing a much smaller battery pack) to power the vehicle.

The battle between the two is going to ‘sharpen’ over the next few years, making for a fascinating story for technology buffs and for those interested in a cleaner environment.

This Electric vs Hydrogen infographic is a ‘snapshot in time’ detailing the (today) differences between Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen powered vehicles.

Electric vs Hydrogen
Electric vs Hydrogen by carleasingmadesimple.com

Home Battery Systems – The Next Technology

by John Brian Shannon – Originally posted on JBS News

Home Battery Systems augment your energy needs

Home Battery Systems can store electricity from solar panels, lower utility bills, and provide electrical power during utility company power outages.

Ever since lower priced solar panels hit the market it has become obvious that home battery systems are the next step for our modern, but still evolving, energy grid.

Installing solar panels on your rooftop has never been easier as panel prices have fallen by 80% over the past two years and installation rebate programs are generous in many jurisdictions. But getting all that free daytime energy from the Sun won’t do you much good unless you can store it for later use.

Having a home battery system allows you to store the energy that your solar panels collect every day.

Solar power can make economic sense in many locations. But solar with a battery system will rock your world! OK, maybe not rock your world, but it makes a lot of sense if such a home energy storage system can be had for a reasonable price.

Home Battery Systems can make sense even without solar panels

Without a home battery, you can still sell your excess solar generated electricity to the grid if your utility has a net-metering programme. But some of your profit is eaten up when you must buy back some of that electricity after the Sun sets, at a higher price. Yes, every day of the year.

For homeowners, having home energy storage means you could save a lot of money over ten or twenty years if the system is cost-effective to begin with — and a battery system is a wonderful thing to have during utility company power outages.

If you live in a jurisdiction where you can buy electricity from your utility company at a very low rate during certain hours and store that energy with your home energy storage system for later use, that can work for you — regardless if you have solar panels or not.

Peak rates can be $0.38 per kWh (or higher), while off-peak rates can be $0.08 per kWh (or lower) making the peak rate about five times more expensive in this example, than the off-peak rate.

Prognosticating ten or twenty years out, who’s to say what electricity rates may be? There always seems to be a reason to hike the rates.

Your home or business can run on the power from your stored electricity during high electricity rate periods, and sometime past midnight, your system can be scheduled to automatically connect to the grid and recharge itself at the lowest possible rate.

Home Battery systems protect you during power outages

Apart from collecting solar energy all day, or saving money due to electricity rate fluctuations, (or both), having a stored energy system can protect you from utility company power interruptions, especially for those in rural areas or other areas where power outages are common.

For homeowners in rural areas and who may be subject to frequent power service interruptions, having battery backup can make sense, particularly during storms, typhoons, or very hot or cold weather.

Of course, the old standby has always been an expensive-to-fuel diesel generator and the noxious fumes that go along with it.

Emergency service providers, schools, and other important government buildings and businesses could also benefit from such in-situ battery systems. We can look at a veterinary clinic or other examples where uninterrupted electrical power is important. With stored energy backup, electrical power is automatically restored within a few seconds and the vet can continue with the days’ operations on her four-footed patients — just that easy!

SolarCity and Tesla combine forces to offer home energy solutions

It is interesting to note that Tesla is working with Solar City to offer home batteries, using their proprietary Electric Vehicle (EV) battery technology. A fascinating development and one that holds game-changing promise.

  • Home Battery System by Tesla.
  • Home Battery System by Tesla and SolarCity.
  • Recycled Electric Vehicle batteries still have 70% life

GM wants to use old Chevy Volt batteries and give them a second life as home batteries. GM says that even after ten years of powering your electric vehicle, an EV battery still has at least 70% of the power it had when it was assembled.

In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled. — Pablo Valencia, GM senior manager of battery lifecycle management

Innovations like recycled EV batteries will pave the way forward to a viable and affordable distributed energy future and are an efficient second-use of this technology.

EV batteries store a huge amount of power, enough to easily power a home for two or three days in the case of a service interruption — and in the case of storing energy for everyday use during peak rate periods, would be well within their capabilities.

Stay tuned, because this story is just beginning!

Ubitricity streetlamp plug-in charges German EV’s

by John Brian Shannon
Originally published at JohnBrianShannon.com

One major impediment to the adoption of electric vehicles is the high cost of public charging stations for EV’s, as the charging units are very expensive.

Ubitricity.de has come up with a novel solution whereby ordinary streetlamps could be fitted with an electric vehicle charging point for the reasonable cost of 500 to 800 euros per streetlight, which is certainly more doable than the 10,000 euros of your typical EV public charging station in Europe.

Ubitricity.de - Reuters screenshot
Ubitricity.de – Reuters screenshot

>> Click here to see the Reuters Ubitricity video. <<

Streetlamps in selected cities within Germany are now being fitted with a charging point allowing electric vehicle drivers to recharge their car battery.

Drivers prepay the cost of the electricity via Ubitricity to charge at these locations. Ostensibly, every streetlamp post and parking meter in Europe could be fitted with one of these charging points.

Not only do German drivers have the option of charging their EV’s at home, now they can now pick up a charge while they shop, have coffee with friends, or while they spend the day at their workplace.

“We are convinced there is room for this technology to be applied everywhere it’s needed, but we think that in most places there is a pressing need for investment in a charging infrastructure to allow the installation of charging points, not only here on lamp posts, but also in the workplace, at home and in underground carparks.

Governments are keen to cut the number of gas guzzling cars on the roads to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many are offering cash incentives to drivers to buy electric. But take-up has been slow partly due to the lack of charging stations.

There are lots of lamp posts which are already very well connected to the electricity network. Equipping a lamp post costs between 300 and 500 euros, depending on the circumstances at that location. When you consider the production price of our charging sockets, it is a long way from the 10,000 euros which must typically be invested in a charging station.” Founder of Ubitricity, Frank Pawlitsche

All you need is an Electric Vehicle, your prepaid Ubitricity account and Ubitricity connector cable, and you’re set

Ubitricity portable, streetlight-attachable EV charging unit
Ubitricity portable, streetlight-attachable EV charging unit

The great thing about the Ubitricity parking spots with their electric vehicle recharging connector is that they’re normal parking spots with a charging port added. Your mobile phone app displays the Ubitricity locations.

You can park there all day and return to a car that is fully energized and ready to go! No more petrol stations for you.

It’s a wonderful idea. Streetlamps and parking meters are everywhere it seems and combining a parking spot with an EV charging port is a stroke of genius.

Boy those Germans are smart. Gut gemacht! (Well done!)

Driving electric is a cornerstone of Germany’s Energiewende energy policy

Only when driving on renewables will EV users avoid greenhouse gas emissions — not just locally but on a global scale. Renewable energies and EVs are natural partners of a sustainable energy and transportation sector. — From the Ubitricity website

Not only Ubitricity — but also BMW is getting into the act

BMW i3
BMW i3 receiving a charge at a Ubitricity charge point. Image courtesy of ubitricity.de

Drivers of the much-loved BMW i3 electric vehicle will soon have their own BMW charging network and software to guide you to nearby charge points.

Eventually, BMW will build their network across Europe to facilitate EV travel across the continent.

BMW has a vision to offer buyers their choice of petrol powered, or as an option, electric powered, or hybrid/electric powered cars across all model lines.

BMW is also famous for installing wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass power plants at it’s German factories, and going completely off-grid!

It also has plans to get into the consumer electricity business throughout Europe.

You’ll soon be able to buy a BMW car and a BMW motorcycle for your driveway and BMW electricity for your home and office. All produced by renewable energy and only renewable energy.

A note about TESLA Model S drivers and their unique charging situation/opportunities

TESLA Model S at a SuperCharger location.
A TESLA Model S receiving a charge at a typical TESLA SuperCharger location. Image courtesy of edmonds.com

All TESLA vehicles can access the Ubitricity chargers but don’t forget to bring your Ubitricity charging cable — unlike the TESLA SuperCharger stations where the cable is permanently attached to the SuperCharger unit.

A benefit of TESLA SuperCharger top-ups is that they usually take 10-15 minutes. Look, there’s a Starbucks!

Another benefit is that (TESLA Model S drivers only) enjoy free charging at TESLA SuperCharger stations for the life of the car because that’s what you get for 70,000 euros.

But once your TESLA is charged, you must return to move your car in order to let other TESLA drivers access the SuperCharger, much like gas-engined drivers can’t leave their car in front of the gas pump while they go shopping.

Only the Ubitricity solution gives all EV drivers a convenient parking spot — and a charge. The ability to simply ‘Park and Plug’ at one location in today’s crowded cities is a very big plus indeed.

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