What I've been up to: electrifying my ride

Some regular readers may have noticed that I’ve been a bit detached from the blog in the past week. There’s a good reason for that. I’ve been immersing myself in the joys of owning and learning about the nuts and volts of an electric car.

Yes, that evil old Anthony Watts, doubter of Anthropogenic Global Warming, is now driving an NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) to and from work every day, to lunch, and on errands in town. I put 100 miles on it the first week. Of course this sort of energy efficiency isn’t anything new for me, since I put solar on my home, and on one of the local schools when I was a trustee. But never mind that, I’m still “evil” for doubting AGW. 😉

It would be interesting to see what some other pro-AGW folks drive. I see Jim Hansen has a 85 mile each way commute from his house in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania to Columbia University in NYC.

The NEV is a 2002 Ford “Think” which is no longer in production since California dropped the ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) mandate in 2003. It is one of the rare “pickup truck” models, and as seen below, the former owner drove that point home:

If you are a Ford pickup truck owner, you’ll recognize the logo. The famous Ford F-150 pickup truck is rated for a 1500 pound cargo capacity. This vehicle is rated at 500 pounds, hence the designation, though not an official one.

Those who have owned Fords are often reminded of these famous F.O.R.D descriptions:

“Fix Or Repair Daily”, or “Found On Road Dead”.

Since this operates on 6x 12V Gel Cells, which are under the seats, I’ve added a new one:

Found On Road Discharged

Though not really, I get about 25-30 miles of range from this vehicle, and finding a power plug is easy between my home, office, and some folks around town I know. Currently it has a top speed of 25MPH, which is limited by a controller, but the vehicle can be modded with new programming and an enhanced efficiency motor to reach up to 39MPH. I’m not sure if I need that, as I have not found the speed to be an issue. I mostly take the back streets anyway, and my office is about 2 miles from my home. The only place I can’t go is the Highway, but I don’t need to.

The complete vehicle specs are listed here, from testing done by the US Department of Energy.

Now here is the really important part, look at the DOE rated energy cost:

Energy Cost: @ $0.10/kWh: $0.016/mi

In California, I pay about 15 cents per kilowatt/hour, so my cost would be: $.024/mile or 2.4 cents per mile. With battery replacement every 4 years, I figure that will rise to 3, maybe 4 cents a mile. Even if I’m off by a factor of 100%, and it costs me 6-8 cents a mile to drive, it is still a bargain. In my regular vehicle, given the $3.89/gallon gas price, I figured I was spending about $40-$50 per week in gasoline costs just doing my daily routine and errands.

So, my mission here is simple; I’m not saving the planet, I’m saving money.

That is infectious, and my local newspaper editor, David Little, did his weekly Sunday column on it and the electric car club in town. He’s hooked.

Right now the vehicle is in my garage, I completely disassembled the body and dash so I could locate an intermittent electrical connection and give the entire vehicle a good cleaning and inspection. The former owner lived in a desert area, and there was a lot of sand in it. It has been a joy to work on. It is simple and efficient in design, and easily maintainable with simple hand tools. I’ve located the electrical problem and fixed it. Once I get the vehicle reassembled, I’ll get back to blogging more on the issues related to USHCN and surfacestations.org

In the meantime, I’m having a ball! Bumper sticker suggestions are welcome.

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a. fucaloro
May 12, 2008 10:11 am

The links on your web page are gone.
REPLY: What links on what page? I don’t see any issues.

May 12, 2008 10:24 am

Okay, it’s cool in a geeky kind of way, but with only 2 miles to commute, a bicycle isn’t a better deal? Yeah, the seats are better, you can take a passenger and some cargo, and the windshield will keep the bugs out of your teeth. Still a bicycle will be cheaper.
But the real issue for most of us is that we live with snow and ice 4-6 months of the year, travel 10-20 miles to work (at least), have to use 45-64 mph highways, travel over lousy, frost-heaved, pot-holed local roads (I’m talkin’ New England here). This buggy doesn’t cut it. Show me one with quadruple the speed and mileage for a couple of thousand $. Otherwise and very sadly, it’s not an alternative to my 29 mpg Accord. And my insurance company might have some concerns too…
REPLY: I have a bike, but I often make trips to get parts for various projects my business does. Last week I was hauling several pieces of steel tubing (about 75lbs worth) in the bed of this vehicle. Can’t do that on a bicycle. A bike just isn’t practical for me given the number of business errands I run for parts locally. Otherwise, yes I’d ride my bike.

May 12, 2008 10:28 am

Electricity in the US emits on average 1.35 pounds/kWh
( 0.61kg/kWh)
So your electric car’s CO2 emittions are: 0.06kg/km
– (0.016 / 0.10) / 1.6093 * 0.61
Which is good!

Pamela Gray
May 12, 2008 10:29 am

“Hey Baby, turn me on!”
“I have an electric personality”
“I turn my car on!”

Alan S. Blue
May 12, 2008 10:36 am

My early edition Prius came with an appropriate sticker:
Eat my Volts.

May 12, 2008 10:40 am

“So, my mission here is simple; I’m not saving the planet, I’m saving money.”
I keep saying those words *exactly* to by TBF (true-believing friends), and it goes right over their head. They just cannot understand why people aren’t lining up for 10kW solar systems, windmills and electric cars. I keep saying that when they are cheaper than buying power from Duke Energy, or can go more than 100 miles on a charge and not need 8 hours for a full re-charge, you’ll see me at the head of the line. I could invent a device that turns dog turds into pure energy, but if it costs $100K, no one except Ed Begley Jr would buy one.
It’s about the money. Period.

May 12, 2008 10:50 am

I could sure use an idea on how best to go about using solar power in our school. Specifically I need to cool a room with lots of computers in a climate that is not arid. Fortunately hot days are often sunny.

Adam S.
May 12, 2008 10:53 am

very cool.
I am also a “wallet green” – 7.5 kv array for my all electric home in Southern Claifornia. It came down to saving money when i remodelled it – SDG&E charges criminal rates, and the place was all electric. Piping in gas would have cost the same as the PV after taxes and rebates. No brainer.
When people come over they assume my motivation is political, and you get all sorts of interesting comments. The die hard AGW believers feel the need to tell you what they are doing to reduce their footprint. They just oooooze guilt at not having invested in PV Solar (but can tell you about their amazing jet-fueled vacations).
Then I tell them about the debate not really being over, refer them to your site and icecap, and show them that the politicising of “science” is headquartered at the IPCC. It is fun to watch what happens afterward!

Wondering Aloud
May 12, 2008 10:54 am

This is very neat looking and I’d love to drive it but it wouldn’t work very many days of the year around here… I at least need a closed cab. Still, I love the Ford 50..

May 12, 2008 10:55 am

I drive about 15 miles per week (15 is the average, a typical week is about 5), get about 22/30 MPG (city/highway; didn’t actually calulate it, from fueleconomy.gov), and walk to work. I refuel about once every 3 months.

May 12, 2008 10:59 am

Writing as usual from 41 and change north, 96 and change west, I wonder how one would work out here in a couple of months. Hmmmm….in dry, warm (it _has_ happened, warm. I clearly remember it) weather it is 25 miles to lots of places I have to go.
An way, I forget. does it snow in Chico?
REPLY: It snows on average once every 5-8 years. Typically it is a one-day event that doesn’t accumulate. I have weather doors for it.

May 12, 2008 11:08 am

It is certainly more economical than my 1970 Bronco and probably less bumpy a ride. But…I’ll stick with the Bronco.
REPLY: The Bronco does a better job with hills where you live.

May 12, 2008 11:19 am

While you may be saving money, you are not saving energy. An electric car has an energy efficiency of around 12%, about a third of a petrol car of equivalent size.
The calculation is,
Efficiency of power generation (40% for coal) X
Efficiency of distribution system (about 80%) X
Efficiency of battery charge and discharge (about 50% for lead acetate) X
Efficiency of electric motor (around 80%)
People normally dispute the battery charge/discharge efficiency so here is a reference.
REPLY: Good point. But when you charge the vehicle from a solar array, you don’t have the transport/efficiency issues to worry about. I’m putting a small solar charger on the roof of the vehicle so that I won’t have to plug it in at my office. While it won’t do a complete charge, it will help.

Pierre Gosselin
May 12, 2008 11:20 am


May 12, 2008 11:21 am

Well, like atmoz I don’t drive all that much. I fill up about once a month. But there are definitely times I’d prefer more than 8 or 9 mpg.
Biz travel keeps my Carbon footprint high though. Last week Kansas City, this week Vancouver, next week Phoenix.

Mike from Canmore
May 12, 2008 11:30 am

It would be interesting to see an ROI done on your solar panels.
REPLY: Oh I know the numbers, neither my home or school project would be economically viable without a rebate from the State of California. The cost per KW is quite high.

Mike Bryant
May 12, 2008 11:38 am

How about,
“My other car is a Hummer” or “Free -Take One”…

May 12, 2008 11:44 am

My comment doesn’t make much sense after the post was minorly edited, and can probably be deleted as it’s now decidedly off-topic.
Also, I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but the link in your blogroll to “Atmoz” points to the Atomz site search.
REPLY: I thought I’d broaden the topic a bit, so I expanded beyond just bloggers, thus I’ll leave your comment – unless you were trying to say that you are not pro-AGW?
I added (AccuWeather) and updated the blogroll links this weekend. Yours got deleted accidentally when I was editing and I put it back right away, but must have simply typed it wrong when I put it back. Atmoz and Atomz – fixed now. My sincere apology for my Atomic dyslexia. I’m sure you get that a lot.
But if you want to say it was “intententional” for your peanut gallery over there, be my guest. It certainly couldn’t be any worse than the other ad hominem comments you are allowing. 😉

May 12, 2008 11:46 am

My F.O.R.D. is First On Race Day

Jeff Alberts
May 12, 2008 11:51 am

I’d love to go solar here on Whidbey Island, about 50 miles NW of Seattle. But fear it wouldn’t work well with the huge number of overcast days we get, and the low sun angle up north here.
I’d also love an all-electric car for commuting. But I live in an apartment during the week, closer to Seattle, and have nowhere to plug it in. That’s one of the major disadvantages to plug-in electric. It’s going to automatically exclude anyone without an exterior plug (apartments, condos). Some major infrastructure needs to be implemented. Such as plugs at parking spots, maybe with a security PIN so it won’t turn on unless the right PIN is entered. And it would need to turn off as soon as unplugged so someone couldn’t come along and unplug your car just to plug theirs in for a free charge.
As it stands, my 35 mpg Matrix does a very good job, and has plenty of cargo space (I keep my bicycle in the back).

Dan Evens
May 12, 2008 12:00 pm

Speaking as a member of the nuclear power industry, I must say that I am very very happy to see electric vehicles. The more the better. Keep pushing the industry to develop better batteries and better motors. If a couple 100 thousand people bought vehicles like this, maybe the industry would see them as a good place for some big research bucks.
I live about 5 km from the office. One of these would be practical for about 8 months of the year when there was no snow or slush. The rest of the year it would be tucked away in the garage.

Alan S. Blue
May 12, 2008 12:02 pm

There’s ‘economically viable’ when you compare to the rates for grid power – then there’s ‘economically viable’ when compared to miles in your vehicle.
Just guesstimating from the numbers above, using solar power as the sole source and including that in your vehicle’s cost-per-mile, it looks like you’re still ahead. (Or will be, eventually.)

May 12, 2008 12:04 pm

F50 … LOL!
En espanol …. F.O.R.D … Fabricado Ordinado para Repario Diario (trans. – fabricated for daily repair).

Joe S
May 12, 2008 12:11 pm

I’m envious.
I would love to have something like that to play with.

May 12, 2008 12:12 pm

My sincere apology for my Atomic dyslexia. I’m sure you get that a lot.

A real lot, probably more than half the time. Probably because Atomz sounds a lot cooler than Atmoz. 🙂
I didn’t think it was intentional. If I did, I assume you would have just deleted it. That’s why I mentioned it here.
As for ad hominemers at my site, I used to remove/edit them but found it took too much time. If you would like, I can delete them. A search for TCO would find most I imagine. [a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:What_is_a_troll%3F#Not_feeding_the_trolls”>DNFT]
REPLY: Well it’s your site, its matter of what professional standards you want your blog to aspire to. In my case I read/moderate every comment, and in some cases where comments are really OT or ad hom that is really personal, I simply press the “delete” link as opposed to the “approve” in the WordPress comment form. I find that the time is identical to do either.

May 12, 2008 12:21 pm

Man oh man Anthony, that’s about the ugliest golf cart I’ve ever seen. If you decide to go into production make sure the northern New England edition has 18″ balloon tires, and a Briggs & Stratton auxiliary engine for cold weather starts.
Oh, and heated seats would be a great feature for those frosty mornings. What about air?…sure would be nice on those hot & muggy July afternoons. When will you be accepting down payments for the new and improved advanced edition,
the FX50WATT?

Richard Percifield
May 12, 2008 12:49 pm

I have a few bumper stickers:
“Watts for my Truck”
“My chemical reactions are reversible.”
“Displaced Emissions”
“My CO2 is released in (pick a state)”
Have fun with your new toy!

May 12, 2008 1:11 pm

Bumpersticker suggestion – “Caution : evil climate change denialist on board”
Should be in a yellow diamond shaped sign.
REPLY: “Driver emits CO2” with one of those hazmat stickers might work also.

May 12, 2008 1:11 pm

Hi Anthony,
I guess I’m going the opposite way. With gas here in the Hearland going to $4 a gallon, I’m close to getting a used Ford Excursion. All of a sudden they are on lots everywhere, the prices are falling fast!
REPLY: Your bumper sticker could read “Giant Sucking Sound”.

May 12, 2008 1:13 pm

very nice. I’ve seen a couple of Smart Cars, which look very similar to yours, riding around my city here in central Pennsylvania.
you should also put thato n your bumper sticker: I’m not saving the planet, I’m saving money.
far more people respond to the “wanna save some bucks” rhetoric then the “you must do this or we all die!” rhetoric.
(that said I don’t drive at all. Because I’m an incredible penny-pincher, not because I believe the world will end if I do start driving.)

May 12, 2008 1:14 pm

I’m not saving the planet; I’m saving money
He doth protest too much, methinks
Neat little car, though – I like the idea of overclocking it…
Bumper sticker, obviously: “Driven by Watts”
REPLY: Best one yet!

May 12, 2008 1:28 pm

I scanned through the above talented notes and hope I don’t plagiarize anyone.
First you should send your good governator a thank you for not taxing your ‘fuel’ for road use.
Also you should make note of your savings on tune-ups and oil changes and just think, no radiator to leak antifreeze on your driveway to poison your neighbors dog.

May 12, 2008 1:28 pm

good thing, like that.
Personally, I had a “riksha” – type (one front wheel, two rear wheels) for 17
years (made from three used bikes), added some solar panel (four years ago)
Officially it was capable of 6 kmh (really 9.5) with a diesel battery (65 kwA)
for energy storage. It was harder than biking, but I saved the fee for a gym
(or fitness studio, as we name it here). So far, it worked in both ways, have
same weight at 54 as with 19 years (Or as my wife may say, “Soo old, but still
no fat ass in his trousers”, OK she is younger than me.)
The luggage/baggage room is between the rear wheels. On occasions I had
about 50-60 kilograms in there.
REPLY: The “riksha” lives on see http://www.zapworld.com

May 12, 2008 1:32 pm

How About:
“Real Men Have Huge Carbon Footprints”

May 12, 2008 1:32 pm

Don’t get in an accident in a golf cart. We have plenty of them around here, the results are not pleasant. They won’t let the golf carts drive on the sidewalk, so you are on your own.
Me, I won’t ride in one if it were free. One accident and you are likely finished for the rest of your life. There is more than just saving money …
Here is something to think about — I have a friend who was driving down the few miles to get an ice cream one evening, he and the wife on board. Along comes a big car, driver loses control, hops the medium, headons his car — Been limping ever since, can no longer work, back surgery helped a little, his wife is in constant pain after hip replacement, she eats pain killer pills like popcorn. Sorry, not gonna do that for no amount of money.
REPLY: I hear you, the same would be true if a rode a bycycle. The key is alert and defensive driving, and using side streets (which I do) rather than the main thoroghfares.

David S
May 12, 2008 1:41 pm

If you like electric cars the Tesla is pretty spiffy.
100% electric
0-60 in 3.9 sec
220 miles per charge
2 cents per mile.
Sharp looking sports car.
Unfortunately the price tag, > $100k, is also pretty spiffy.
I’m hoping that once they develop the technology they can produce a more reasonably priced car that the average person can afford.

Steve W
May 12, 2008 1:46 pm

I am about 8 miles from my office. I would love to do this, but it needs to have 45 mph speed to handle the city streets. It also needs to close up securely. I am waiting for batteries to get better like these: http://www.fireflyenergy.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=273&Itemid=100
They have a version 3D2 battery in the works that will be much better yet. I hope to get a small older car that has a blown engine and a manual transmission, and convert it. Unfortunately the conversion cost looks to be about $10k.
REPLY: For that, you need a Zap car or a Zap Truck. see http://www.zapworld.com Used trucks on Ebay for about $8K

Mike Walsh
May 12, 2008 1:50 pm

Completely off-topic, but the F50 and various slogans made me think of it…..
Years ago, when I lived in the Toronto area, I knew a fair few people that worked for the Ford plant in Oakville.
The (unofficial, I think) slogan for the union workers at the plant was “UAW – We screw Ford together”
In the same vein, the Litton workers used the phrase “Litton – we put a little cruise into everything we build”, since they were manufacturing cruise missile parts at the time.
Hehe. Post or not, as you see fit….just thought you might enjoy the comment personally.
Mike Walsh

Wondering Aloud
May 12, 2008 1:55 pm

He He, I always thought it was Atomz until this thread. You aren’t the only one with this dyslexia

Mike Bryant
May 12, 2008 1:57 pm

I know this is OT…. but Arizonans sound pretty smart….

May 12, 2008 1:58 pm

I confess that I tried onece to buy a Citicar (Citivan, actually). Wife pointed out correctly that we would be able to buy batteries for it if we did.

Tom in Florida
May 12, 2008 2:02 pm

Please don’t take this the wrong way BUT:
What’s the crash rating if broadsided by a real F150?
REPLY: I thought about that long before and it is the same as riding a bycycle on city streets. The key is defensive driving.

jorge c.
May 12, 2008 2:18 pm

mr. steve sadlov:
in spanish is:
“Fabricado Ordinario para ReparARLo DiariAMENTE” or better:
“Fabricado Ordinario para Repararlo a Diario”
and remember, that if you are in Barcelona or San Sebastián, you must say “castellano” not español!!!!

Tom in Florida
May 12, 2008 2:52 pm

“Please don’t take this the wrong way BUT:
What’s the crash rating if broadsided by a real F150?
REPLY: I thought about that long before and it is the same as riding a bycycle on city streets. The key is defensive driving.”
Not much comfort when the other guy is drunk or distracted on his cell phone. I have been broadsided by a drunk driving old 89 Olds. I caught his lights out of the corner of my eye as he ran the red light at the intersection I was just entering. It was only the power of my V-8 Mustang that saved me as I gunned it and took the hit in the rear panel instead of the driver door which would have killed me. I have always driven a full sized, 4 door, V8 since. When my real estate agent friends complain about the current price of gas I tell them this. If they get 20 miles per gallon, and drive a prospective buyer around for 400 miles before they buy, you have used $80 worth of gas (rounding up to $4 per gallon). The commission on that sale will be somewhere around $6000 on average. Not so bad when you look at it that way.

May 12, 2008 3:10 pm

I’m going to echo what you and others have said – the only way that “green” technology will succeed in the long run is if it is cost-effective, saves money and is thus what people will prefer to use. Not sure if I would be brave enough to use your electric vehicle on my daily commute through west London, as it’s a regular carmageddon out there – but if it was bigger, heavier and more armoured (and still economical!) I’d consider it.

May 12, 2008 3:26 pm

To: Tom in Florida.
That was one of the reasons I bought the Bronco 8 years ago.
11 years ago I survived a drunk driver rear ending me at 3 am while I was stopped at a red light. He was traveling 60-80 mph and never hit his brakes.
My truck, a jacked up Nissan SR5 was thrown end over end and I ended up over 40 feet and upside down from the original point of impact. I was saved by the the guy hitting my tires and throwing the truck in the air. He was saved by the same thing as my car went up before my bumper took off his head. ‘
The heavy duty rollbar also prevented me from being crushed. I was taken Code 3 to the hospital taped to a backboard and then walked home after being given a clean bill of health 3 hours later–hence my Bronco.

May 12, 2008 3:27 pm

I used to ride a bicycle a few miles to work each day. I did not take roads. It was about 10 miles round trip. Did it for years, because I enjoy riding a bicycle. Mostly in parks and trails now, never on the road anymore. Too many ignorant inattentive drivers on the roads nowadays.
The problem is the odd accidental occurrence will eventually befall you. No one can be alert for everything all the time. It only takes one.
I value my healthy life and the lives of my family, much more than I do anything else.
Stay safe.

Craig Moore
May 12, 2008 3:37 pm

The only thing that appears missing is the rack for the golf clubs.
REPLY: No it is not missing, I don’t play golf.

Arch Stanton
May 12, 2008 4:29 pm

Good for you Anthony. Saving a buck is saving a buck.
>“It would be interesting to see what some other pro-AGW folks drive.”
My wife and I have a Honda Insight. Over 40,000 miles we have averaged 59.5mpg. For both of us it is our first choice ride. Because we live out a dirt road that sometimes gets snow we also have a Toyota Tacoma 4WD (4 cylinder). It also comes in handy to collect wood we use to heat in the winter.
We looked into various electric vehicles, but to find one (other than the Tesla) that could handle the 1,800’, 10 mile climb from town is daunting. It will be nice when/if batteries improve somewhat.
I am retired, so it is relatively easy for me to avoid driving as much as possible. If I still worked I would be living closer to town.

Evan Jones
May 12, 2008 5:35 pm

I am shocked. Shocked.
REPLY: Bzzzt!

Steven Goddard
May 12, 2008 5:51 pm

One of my favorite movie lines was Rocky from Chicken Run –
“In America when we want to motivate someone, we don’t talk about death”
The constant drumbeat of stories about Armageddon has likely done more harm than good for the environmental movement. It is much easier to motivate people by telling them a valuable truth, rather than trying to scare them with absurd fantasies.
I ride my bike to work and get excellent gas mileage – though I hear that exercise causes a lot of “dangerous” greenhouse gas emissions.

May 12, 2008 6:01 pm

“It would be interesting to see what some other pro-AGW folks drive.”
Or how about us anti-AGW people who just value economics? I drive a 22-year-old Mercedes diesel (champagne tastes, beer budget) – it is all steel and leather (M-B doesn’t use much plastic!) so it is all recyclable or biodegradable when it has passed the 1,000,000 mile mark so it is much more Earth-friendly than trying to scrap a Prius with all its batteries! I am also comfortably wrapped in a very strong steel cage in the event of misadventure. And, yes I also have a bike and hiking boots.
Enjoy your electric toy! Watts revolts!

May 12, 2008 6:47 pm

BTW, how much did you pay for it?
How much time have you put into it? (What is your time worth–at least 25/hour).
[beyond the work I’m doing this week, about 10 hours for inspection, cleaning, minor repairs – like any used vehicle, none beyond thta this year. I see the car as a hobby value also, I ENJOY working on it.]
How many miles do you expect to go a year?
[ 3000]
How many years do you expect to own it–five is a reasonable depreciation schedule. [up to ten, since it is very easy to maintain, unless something better comes along]
Looking forward to your revised cost per mile figures.

Craig Moore
May 12, 2008 6:52 pm

>>>>REPLY: No it is not missing, I don’t play golf.<<<<
Probably just as well. It leads to global cursing. Weather you take it up or not, be advised that it leads to ‘fore’ casting from reality diverging from the model swing…or is that a SWAG?

Craig Moore
May 12, 2008 7:15 pm

Another thought. As I watch Detroit kick the puck out of Dallas (4-2 in the 3rd) perhaps your little electric chair has possibilities as a ZAMBONI. A Zippy Aerosol Minimizing Bio Oxygen Neutral Infuser. A machine like that could smooth the ice and put any curve desired in a climate hockey stick for a mere pittance of eco-Watts.

May 12, 2008 8:11 pm

My Ford Explorer bumper sticker reads “powered by hydrogen-loaded nanorods”. Unfortunately, most people have forgotten about the hydrogen economy and fuel cells.

May 12, 2008 8:45 pm

Oh and bumper sticker:
Watts amatta 4 u?

Joe S
May 12, 2008 10:44 pm

I’ve a friend that lives south of Atlanta in Peachtree City. Before I ever went to visit and witness it for myself, he had told me it was likely to be behind a golf cart at the McDonalds drive-thru and see them parked in the grocery parking lot…picking up the kids at school.
It would be nice if my community would try to even accommodate a stinkin’ bicycle. They don’t, won’t and it’s dangerous as heck to try and go anywhere outside the neighborhood on one.

Joe S
May 12, 2008 11:35 pm

Hey Aviator, “Watts Revolt” would make a good bumper sticker for Anthony.

Jeff B.
May 12, 2008 11:50 pm

It’s a good idea for now. But if everyone had electric cars, then electricity would be a lot more expensive. The long term solution is better technology, more nuclear power, and a willingness to actually use our natural resources.

May 13, 2008 12:24 am

Well, all I have to say is that, I am not a “credited” Climate Scientist, but after the last 4 years of “my humble research” on this complicated issue, “I do not agree with the Gore/ IPCC/ McCain/ Enviromentalist Greenies” solutions to what is (non) AGW problem. “It is my believe that humans”, do not have a “Nat’s A-s effect on Global Climate change”. Man should not promote action’s that have an “unreasonable impact” on “Earth’s enviornment, but enough of this ‘Greenee” BS. Someone, please “prove to the the world” that, it is the “Sun” not “humans”, that “Rules”. As a result of my belief’s, I just went out and bought a “New Chev. 4×4 Truck”. (Down sized from an 8.1 to a 5.3) as my contribution. “Please end this Madness”, before this Country’s “way of life” is “destroyed by Socialisim”. As much as I hate to do it, “I’m holding my nose” and voting for McCain. Not the best of ‘all possibly solutions’, but better than the alternatives. I also pray alot!!!!

May 13, 2008 1:50 am

Or, to mix an electrical pun with Brit. sl.:
2W Motor

Jack Simmons
May 13, 2008 2:59 am

I’ve coauthored a new phrase patterned after Galileo’s legendary response to oppressive and incorrect authority:
Eppure, si rinfresca which means Yet, It Cools
Galileo’s original phrase was:
Eppur si muove which means Yet It Moves
Just a thought.

May 13, 2008 3:22 am

.well its a fancy looking golf kart…
but, 3.85 $ for a gallon is CHEAP!!!!..
here (netherlands) its 1.60 euro a liter (so around 9 (yes nine, IX) dollar a gallon)
So stop complaining..! 🙂

May 13, 2008 3:27 am

980 & 1 Watt
regards from Switzerland,

May 13, 2008 5:10 am

My only complaint is that gas taxes are used to pay for the roads. If you aren’t buying gas, you aren’t helping to fund the roads that you are using.
REPLY: Alright, fine. I’ll get an electric airplane.

May 13, 2008 5:55 am

Thanks, Anthony. You’ve shown what I’ve been thinking for some time. The “solution” to gas prices is available right now — existing electric cars — and no basic tech advances necessary.
Of course, some infrastructure additions are needed. “Public”, metered electric outlets situated in accessible places — relatively simple.
Eventual problem, tho, is a biggie. Millions of electric vehicles will require more electric generation for recharging, and it’s darn near impossible right now (NIMBYS) to build anything other than small, cheap natural-gas-powered turbines.
REPLY: The charging problem is only a problem from noon to 6PM, during peak demand hours. There is scads of excess capacity at night, and many power plants throttle back. Charging these vehicles overnight can make use of that excess capacity.

Ron McCarley
May 13, 2008 6:13 am

My father-in-law, an old diehard Nascar fan, has always said that FORD stands for “First On Race Day”.

Pierre Gosselin
May 13, 2008 6:45 am

The following says that climate models have been worthless:
But Gavin at RC says they’re as prcise as a micrometer:
Who should I believe?!

Pierre Gosselin
May 13, 2008 6:47 am

My Benz (200c 4 cyl.) is 5 years old – and has lots of plastic. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

Bruce Cobb
May 13, 2008 8:01 am

Electric: It’s watts for driving.
REPLY: Good one!

May 13, 2008 8:36 am

The electric cars are coming & in a big way from all the auto makers. They are now pouring billions into them. Why ? They want to get around the CAFE standards is one reason.
As one exec said, to meet CAFE, emissions & safety standards there will have to be a ‘chemical refinery under the hood’.
So far, they have gotten the prices down on all future cars to ‘only’ $11,500 extra above the ‘normal’ price of the car. So, my 2000 Sephia, instead of $14k would be $25.5k.
The state of California is looking into charging a ‘mileage tax’ to make up for the losses in gasoline taxes.

May 13, 2008 8:40 am

Makes me thing about this whole “ZEV” thing.
I remember being surprised to read that back in the 1980’s electric cars were found to outgas the same amount of lead vapors as a car burning leaded gas.
I guess battery tech has improved a bit with the sealed batteries, but even if they’re considered to be “sealed,” they can still vent, esp. if they’re charged too quickly. A wee bit of lead comes along with any hydrogen that’s vented. Even AGM or gel lead-acid batteries need good ventilation to prevent hydrogen gas build-up.

Mike Kelly
May 13, 2008 8:45 am

My money saving item is a push mower for my yard. I mean a rotary blade no engine type. The input is biofuel. i.e. what I ate the night before. There is little exhaust except my hard breathing when getting out of breath.

May 13, 2008 9:22 am

I ride a bike, and occasionally rent a car. Fuel for the bike is really cheap if I stick with pasta but is raised somewhat from my appetite for meat 😉
Renting a car is actually convenient as I don’t need to wash, maintain and clean it. And it certainly prevent unnecessary use. I do realize however that you need a significant interest in environment stewardship to do without the car, but it works.

Jeff Alberts
May 13, 2008 9:25 am

The state of California is looking into charging a ‘mileage tax’ to make up for the losses in gasoline taxes.

Wow. So they just plain don’t want people to drive, regardless of whether they’re polluting or not. Idiots.

May 13, 2008 9:28 am

Anthony, I know AGW and policy isn’t your thing, but you and other readers may find this interesting: Lower fuel efficiency may be an unintended consequence of higher gas prices.

Russ R.
May 13, 2008 9:38 am

Top 10 Bumper stickers:
10) “Nuclear powered: when I can get the good stuff”
9) “Feeling Guilty? Carbon Credits for Cash”
8) “My Footprint = Al Gores Little Toe print”
7) “This car available for celebrity photo-ops”
6) “It comes with golf course blinders, for the headlights”
5) “Is that Another gas station I just passed up??”
4) “This car is emission-free! The driver … not so much.”
3) “Caution: Eco-Redneck is a baaaaad man”
2) “I stop for wattage”
1) “Wattsssssuuuuuuupppppp!!”

David S
May 13, 2008 9:58 am

” I see Jim Hansen has a 85 mile each way commute from his house in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania to Columbia University in NYC”
Anthony do you have a source for that info? This would definitely be a good one to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the warmers. They don’t seem to be interested in setting good examples.
REPLY: Look at the links in the post. I have his home address from his 2007 testimony before congress, and then there’s the link to Google Maps showing the actual commute. So yes, I have a source right there in the posting.

Russ R.
May 13, 2008 10:00 am

Hopefully something at this conference will pan-out.
Then those of us, that have serious snow-shovel experience, will be able to join in the electric car fun.

May 13, 2008 10:14 am

Brilliant – it isn’t about AGW, just like energy saver lights, it’s about money.
Has the added advantage of not using a commodity too valuable to burn, whatever the type of combustion. Plastics will be hard to replace without going back to heavier materials.
The next step should be filling stations providing pallets of batteries to exchange those near discharge – a slot out/in system.
Of course there is also the prospect of cutting off revenues to inimical states.

May 13, 2008 10:20 am

Suggestion for a bumper sticker: “Watt’s up with this?”
On a more serious note, I also agree that a major consideration involved in building a sustainable, clean energy future is wrapped up in the phrase: “I’m not saving the planet, I’m saving money.” I’m afraid I don’t have time right now to go into detail, but I think there are two things to keep in mind:
(1) There is currently a large discrepancy between the cost of liquid fuels specifically devoted to transportation (e.g., gasoline and diesel) and the cost of fuels devoted to powering the grid. As you point out, even considering replacing your battery every 4 years or so, it still works out to 6-8 cents/mi. I have no idea what a gas-powered golf cart gets in terms of MPG, but assuming gas is $4/gal, it would have to get between 50 and 75 MPG. My guess is you’re in the ballpark right now. However, as battery technology improves while gas gets more expensive, I’d say the advantage is in your favor. As I am wont to say (over and over), it’s a question of spending money now or spending even more money later.
(2) There are several grid technologies that are very close to competitive with fossil fuels, especially when all the externalities are considered. And more are likely in the near future. The problem is, they don’t match well with current policy. In most cases, changing the policy could be done at little to no cost overall. The hard part is convincing all the players that it’s in their best interests to change the policy. After all, if the way utilities make money on the basis of the amount of energy they provide (which is the way things are set up in most places), it stands to reason that they are not going to be very interested in promoting energy efficiency. However, if they can make money on the basis of how much energy they save, it likewise stands to reason that they will promote efficiency. Similarly, in order for intermittent, load-following, and distributed sources of energy to become real players in the energy equation, it stands to reason that smart grid technology has to become available. But that won’t happen unless the cost burden of providing it is shifted away from the utilities. Sure, the end result would be better, more energy efficient and more cost-efficient for everyone. But until the policy changes, what’s the incentive?

Bill P
May 13, 2008 10:26 am

That is a golf cart. I know because I played golf once.
REPLY: Looks don’t equate. Actually there are a lot of differences. For example it has a regenerative braking system. It also has double the range of a golf cart. It has street wheels and tires, Mcpherson struts, a magnesium alloy roll cage. Safety glass, seat belts.

Craig Moore
May 13, 2008 10:29 am

bumper sticker: Rubber Baby Elecro-Buggy Bumper

May 13, 2008 10:32 am

Joe S (23:35:31) – That was the idea!
Pierre Gosselin (06:47:28) – 300SDL 6-cylinders and better mileage than my old four-banger
Back on-topic: Across much of the prairies you will find electrical outlets for block heaters, so Anthony can recharge on a cross-country; mind you, he may have to drive in winter…

May 13, 2008 11:05 am

I like the idea of the “solar during the peak hours” concept and I have a south facing barn roof and 300 sunny days a year that would make a good bit of power to run my air conditioning (and, like you, I also have a deep well with a full horsepower pump to run).
My average electric bill last year was $110 per month. I need the price of solar photovoltaics to come down quite a bit before I’m willing to cover the barn with solar panels even with gummint rebates.

May 13, 2008 12:13 pm

bumpersticker “Take that Saudi Arabia”.

May 13, 2008 2:13 pm

Bumper stickers:
“In case of Rapture, this car will be Mann’s”
“I keep the spare on my keychain”
“These wheels save money for meals”
“Hansen’s in the trunk”
“If you can read this, I’m 12 inches from death”
“I don’t brake for bikers
They have to brake for me”
“Assembled by Elmer’s”
“F50: 1/3rd the truck, 1/4th the price, 1/5th the speed”
I’m being facetious on some of these, of course. All in good fun.
As an accountant, cost-benefit governs my decisions. If an electric car were feasible for me, I’d already be driving one; but everyone’s situation is different, and that’s the beauty of choice in the free market.
REPLY: Hey, don’t knock it, Evel Knievel drove an electric car before he died.
here he is driving it: http://www.clear-lake-reflections.com/evel2.jpg

May 13, 2008 3:36 pm

Portion of Job ad from 10 years in the future:
Benefits: We offer a comprehensive benefit plan including full medical and dental coverage, a 401K plan, 3 weeks paid vacation, and free recharges for your electric car while you work.

May 13, 2008 4:03 pm

I’m from Québec, Canada and here with the snow and the cold it’s almost impossible to use these small electric cars. But still we see a lot of Smart cars around here.
But did someone ever realize that if big oil companies see their gaz sales going down, they will, like any other companies, raise the price of their products to gain the same profits years after years… !

Evan Jones
May 13, 2008 5:10 pm

If the demand goes down, price will go down. Or not go up as fast as it would have otherwise. The good old supply-and-demand curve.
I am all in favor of whatever option is cheapest. I strongly prefer that the gummint does not interfere. Not that it hasn’t already. As it is the gvt. pulls in around five times as much on a gallon of gas as Big Oil makes.
Whenever i point out that oil companies make around a 10% profit, no one wants to believes me. It’s true, though.
(Why would anyone want to invest in a company that gets accused of price gouging and hit with windfall profit taxes when it pulls down a lousy 10%?)

May 13, 2008 5:30 pm

Stickin’ It To The Mann!
My Other Car Is A…. Car!
Don’t laugh, it’s…
OK, laugh.
It does have airbags…
When my wife rides shotgun!
(sorry ’bout that last one, but I just had to go there)

May 13, 2008 7:31 pm

Lukewarmer on board!

old construction worker
May 13, 2008 7:59 pm

Good idea. I have considered buying an old harley and convert it to electric. Then I could put all my tools in a trailer, tow it to the job sight the first day and ride the bike the rest of the time. But it would be my luck, I would ride up to the sight and my trailer would be gone. I still may convert a harley to electric.

May 13, 2008 8:38 pm

First On Race Day
My primary transportation has been motorcycles for the last 30 years!! My car is literally rusting away!! I supplement with my bicycles and public transportation. As you say, it is CHEAPER!!! AGW is a bad joke.
I’ve been keeping an eye on alternative energy motorcycles, but, too limited or expensive so far.

Joe Shaw
May 14, 2008 12:46 pm

Anthony, I bought the “Ford Think” from the folks that won it from the local radio contest….just yesterday. I’m looking forward to fun new adventures but am having doubts about the mileage it will get per charge. Hoping I didn’t get screwed. So far it hasn’t gone very far on a couple of quick charges, but havn’t tried it yet on a full overnight charge…we shall see. Do you have any suggestions where I would go to get the batteries modified or updated?
REPLY: Batteries plus on lower Skyway can provide new gel-cells.
Here is a help forum you can look at for ideas:
I drove it from my office on north Cohasset near the airport, to downtown, to KPAY, and back to my office on north Cohasset on a single charge. The key to battery life is to constantly charge it. Deep cycling the batteries will create lead sulfate in the battery plates much faster. Always plug it in when you can, even if you’ve only used it a little bit.

Joel Shore
May 16, 2008 8:05 pm

” I see Jim Hansen has a 85 mile each way commute from his house in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania to Columbia University in NYC”
Actually, here is the full story according to the book “Censuring Science” by Mark Bowen:
“Jim leads an ascetic life. He and Anniek keep a tiny apartment a few blocks from his institute, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is located on the campus of Columbia University. On days when he doesn’t get up at 4:30 A.M. to catch a train to Washington for a meeting at NASA headquarters or the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, he tends to spend the early morning thinking and writing in the peace and quite of the apartment…At some point in the morning, when a meeting or some other pressing duty calls, he will rush downstairs and walk–more exactly run–a few blocks south to GISS, where he will work into the night. He claims that his only regular exercise comes from running up the stairs to his seventh-floor office. He and Anniek also own a small farm in rural Pennsylvania, to which he commutes by car about once a week–less in winter.”
Hope that helps put it in perspective: He lives during the week in a tiny apartment that he walks to work from, he takes the stairs up to his office, takes the train when he has to go down to D.C. for a meeting, and commutes out to his farmhouse that you mentioned at most once a week.
Congratulations on your electric vehicle!

May 17, 2008 9:58 am

How does your automobile insurance company feel about this rig? Any restrictions? What is the annual rate? (if it isn’t too personal).
REPLY: It costs $180 per year, not too bad.

Allan MR MacRae
May 17, 2008 11:25 am

Hi Anthony,
I support the use of rechargeable electric vehicles, especially for urban use. I would, however, like to know more about their full-life-cycle energy efficiency, operating and capital cost.
My objective is not to reduce atmospheric CO2 – since the science of catastrophic humanmade global warming is fatally flawed.
We have now experienced a ~900% increase in humammade CO2 emissions since 1940, and the latest data shows there has been no net global warming since that time.
My primary objective is greater energy independence for our next-door neighbour, the USA.
Some good ideas have been discussed here – following is an email I sent two months ago which covers similar points.
Re: Robert Bryce’s idea of a “superbattery”.
First, I know a fair bit about energy and agree with Bryce’s views on corn
ethanol. I had a corn ethanol plant in Wyoming in the 1990’s. The energy
input to produce such fuel often equals or even exceeds the energy output
when the fuel is consumed. Hence the foolishness of such technology, and the need for huge subsidies. Also there is the water consumption issue.
Wind power suffers greatly from the lack of a superbattery and requires
almost 100% conventional backup. However I am not convinced that anything,
even a superbattery, will save wind power from being a total boondoggle.
Nuclear energy also suffers for lack of a superbattery, since nuclear plants
reportedly are not easy to ramp up and down, even overnight. I expect that
even large coal-fired plants are somewhat inflexible in this regard. Natural
gas-fired plants are most flexible for providing peaking power.
Back to the superbattery:
If a significant percentage of the vehicle fleet were (over time) powered by
electric motors and batteries, which could be refueled overnight during
non-peak periods, this would significantly level-out electricity demand.
Added benefits would include significantly lower urban air and noise
pollution. Adequate batteries exist today, but are not inexpensive, and
there is always room for continued technological improvement.
My “guess” is that moving in this direction would be vastly more beneficial
for society than the current governmental mania to subsidize wind power and
ethanol-from-food, both expensive boondoggles that produce no energy
benefits and cause significant societal and environmental damage.
Best regards, Allan

David Walton
May 17, 2008 2:21 pm

Hey Anthony! Nice sled!

May 17, 2008 7:44 pm

Good choice.
Sincerely, I’d like to thank you for providing this site as well as all of your hard work.
I just downsized and bought a “small car” myself! (It isn’t electric).
REPLY: VERY nice! If they had that Cobra setup for electric I’d buy it in a heartbeat!

May 18, 2008 5:07 am

Heh, Heh……..Really, you’re doing a great job. Please keep it up.
God Bless.

May 19, 2008 11:14 am

Allan MR MacRae (11:25:35) : “Wind power suffers greatly from the lack of a superbattery and requires almost 100% conventional backup. However I am not convinced that anything, even a superbattery, will save wind power from being a total boondoggle.”
You might want to read this recently published report from the DOE:
It’s an analysis of the impacts accrued if the US were to convert to obtaining 20% of its electrical energy from wind. While what you say about wind requiring backup is true, that doesn’t make it a boondoggle. They go into great length about how wind energy can be integrated into the existing energy portfolio in a way that optimizes the advantages and minimizes the disadvantages of both.
Nor is it likely to be expensive: they estimate that it would increase the cost of the average household’s electricity bill by somewhat less than 2 cents/day (over CURRENT costs — if costs of traditional fuels increase then the premium would be even less). Other impacts include:
* Reduce natural gas use by 11 percent.
* Reduce cumulative water consumption associated with electricity generation by 4 trillion gallons by 2030.
* Support roughly 500,000 additional jobs in the U.S.
* Reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 25 percent in 2030.
Couple wind with a load-following technology like solar thermal (with heat storage) and the need for “conventional backup” as you call it would be reduced considerably.
And I think you’re similarly right and wrong about nuclear too. In other words, though a nuclear plant cannot be turned on and off as load requirements fluctuate, that’s not how they are generally used in the whole energy portfolio. They are intended to supply base load power, while other sources supply dispatchable power. That DOE study I cited indicates that the average “capacity factor” (the ratio of power actually produced/total capacity) of nuclear power plants is 75%. And if the DOE doesn’t know that, who does?
As for your take on batteries, I pretty much agree. However, I’d like to add that the role of vehicle batteries in leveling out grid load would be significantly enhanced by “smart grid” technology. On a smart grid they could not only be recharged at night, but function as an energy storage mechanism.
IMO, if we let it happen (and our congresscritters let it happen) the future could be very bright. We can significantly wean ourselves off fossil fuels, reduce our trade deficit, increase our energy security (and decrease the possibility of a resource conflict in the process), create jobs, improve our environment (burning fossil fuels has deleterious effects besides CO2), and do all that at little or no cost in the long run. But it will require an investment in the short run — not to mention a significant change in the current energy regulatory and deployment structure. I’m sure some people are going to squawk really loud about that. But as that DOE study I cited indicates, significant federal investment and significant government intervention the regulatory and deployment structures in our nation’s energy backbone have happened before. They happened in the 40s and 50s when we went on a binge of building large hydropower plants, and again in the 70s when we went on a binge of building nuclear power plants. And I’m sure there were many critics back then, too.

Allan MR MacRae
May 20, 2008 9:34 pm

Hi Rico,
E.ON Netz in 2005 produced its informative Wind Power Report, which clearly outlined the shortcomings of wind power.
At that time E.ON was the largest wind power generator in the world – and may still be. I think E.ON has very significant credibility when they openly discuss the main disadvantages of their very large wind power portfolio.
Summarizing the key points:
1. Note the very low Substitution Capacity from the E.ON Netz report: 8% dropping to 4% in 2020 – this is the key to why wind power is not economic. This means that German wind power requires almost 100% conventional backup power. Quoting the E.ON report: “As a result, the relative contribution of wind power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously to around 4% (Figure 7). In concrete terms, this means that in 2020, with a forecast wind power capacity of over 48,000MW (Source: Dena grid study), 2,000MW of traditional power production can be replaced by these wind farms.”
2. Wind power output varies approximately as the cube power of the wind speed, so wind power causes huge, short-term fluctuations in power supplied to the grid, and can cause serious grid instability.
Quoting the E.ON report: “Handling such significant differences in feed-in levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.”
This report demonstrates the key flaw that is ignored in many analyses of wind power – wind does not blow enough when you need it, so wind power is ineffective at replacing conventional power stations, and the problem worsens as more wind power is added to the grid.
Best regards, Allan
P.S. Re nuclear plants supplying base load power – that works if there is not too much nuclear capacity as a total percentage of grid generating capacity – but look at Ontario and France, where nuclear predominates. The situation I described (underutilized overnight generating capacity) becomes much more significant as you add more and more nuclear power to the grid.
Comments and excerpts:
E.ON Netz Wind Power Report 2005, Germany
Capacity Factor and Substitution Capacity (Capacity Credit)
E.ON states that in 2004 Germany had an installed wind power of 15369MW and an average feed-in of 2968MW or 19.3% Capacity Factor. In 2004 E.ON operated over 40% of the wind power in Germany (more than the entire installed USA wind capacity), so one assumes their numbers must be representative for their grid size, layout, wind speed, etc.
A very important sentence from the E.ON report is:
“In concrete terms, this means that in 2020, with a forecast wind power capacity of over 48,000MW, 2,000MW of traditional power production can be replaced by these wind farms.”
E.ON calls this factor Substitution Capacity (the US EIA calls it Capacity Credit) – Germany is now at 8% Substitution Capacity, which is low, but will decline to 4% by 2020 if all goes according to plan.
In summary, an analysis by a German industry leader, which operates more wind power than the entire USA, says it must install 12 to 24 times more wind power capacity than the conventional power that the wind power replaces.
Figure 7 of the E.ON report, entitled “Falling substitution capacity”, states:
“Guaranteed wind power capacity below ten percent – traditional power stations essential.
The more wind power capacity is in the grid, the lower the percentage of traditional generation it can replace.”
Full quotation, from page 9 of E.ON report:
In order to also guarantee reliable electricity supplies when wind farms produce little or no power, e.g. during periods of calm or storm-related shutdowns, traditional power station capacities must be available as a reserve. This means that wind farms can only replace traditional power station capacities to a limited degree.
An objective measure of the extent to which wind farms are able to replace traditional power stations, is the contribution towards guaranteed capacity which they make within an existing power station portfolio. Approximately this capacity may be dispensed within a traditional power station portfolio, without thereby prejudicing the level of supply reliability.
In 2004 two major German studies investigate the size of contribution that wind farms make towards guaranteed capacity. Both studies separately came to virtually identical conclusions, that wind energy currently contributes to
the secure production capacity of the system, by providing 8% of its installed capacity.
As wind power capacity rises, the lower availability of the wind farms determines the reliability of the system as a whole to an ever increasing extent. Consequently the greater reliability of traditional power stations becomes increasingly eclipsed.
As a result, the relative contribution of wind power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously to around 4% (Figure 7). In concrete terms, this means that in 2020, with a forecast wind power capacity of over 48,000MW (Source: Dena grid study), 2,000MW of traditional power production can be replaced by these wind farms.
Figure 7. Falling substitution capacity
Guaranteed wind power capacity below ten percent – traditional power stations essential.
The more wind power capacity is in the grid, the lower the percentage of traditional generation it can replace.
Wind Variability and Grid Operability
The E.ON report states:
Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only 10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired power station blocks.
Full quotation, from page 8 of E.ON report:
FIGURE 5 shows the annual curve of wind power feed-in in the E.ON control area for 2004, from which it is possible to derive the wind power feed-in during the past year:
1.The highest wind power feed-in in the E.ON grid was just above 6,000MW for a brief period, or put another way the feed-in was around 85% of the installed wind power capacity at the time.
2.The average feed-in over the year was 1,295MW, around one fifth of the average installed wind power capacity over the year.
3. Over half of the year, the wind power feed-in was less than 14% of the average installed wind power capacity over the year.
The feed-in capacity can change frequently within a few hours. This is shown in FIGURE 6, which reproduces the course of wind power feed-in during the Christmas week from 20 to 26 December 2004. Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only 10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired power station blocks. On Boxing Day, wind power feed-in in the E.ON grid fell to below 40MW.
Handling such significant differences in feed-in levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.

May 21, 2008 10:39 am

Allan MR MacRae (21:34:08): I must confess my virtually complete ignorance of the status of wind energy in Germany. But the Substitution Capacity numbers in the Eon report you cited seemed extraordinarily low — especially considering it was coming from a company that controls a considerable amount of the market. On a closer read I got the distinct impression that they were primarily complaining about the limitations in the existing grid. That does appear to be a big issue…
And it is one that was addressed in the DOE study I cited in a previous comment as well: wind power cannot be optimized without a robust, widely integrated high voltage grid.
I don’t know how related it is, but it seems Eon is the subject of a couple of anti-trust suits. Eon, along with RWE, France’s EDF and other big groups, was raided by EU and national competition officials in 2006 in the wake of a long-running energy sector inquiry which accused them of preventing rivals from entering the market through their control of grids and of forcing up wholesale and retail prices. Eon was recently fined for breaking official EC seals on a room containing seized documents.”

May 31, 2008 10:32 am

[…] I drive a 2002 Ford Think, the open frame model. I’m pretty happy with it, at 3 cents a mile, and I’ve put about 300 miles on it around town since buying it 3 weeks ago. It has gotten a lot of attention in my hometown of Chico, and people are constantly asking me how much it cost and where could they get one? The town is blessed with many alternate back routes, so I don’t have to travel the main congested roads. […]

June 2, 2008 11:47 am

I’m about to purchase a 2002 Ford Think! also. Please everyone pray that the deal goes through. I’ve been wanting one for a long time. Oh, and by the way, It is not cheaper to ride a bike. Riding a bike burns calories. Burning more calories means eating more food. Food is EXPENSIVE!
REPLY: Good luck, contact me here if you need help. -Anthony

June 2, 2008 7:37 pm

Well CRAP ! it was a scam ! The Ford Th!nk I wanted to buy, listed on Craig’s List, is a scam. I did some research and found the EXACT same reply letters on an online Scam Forum. I was wondering why the guy wasn’t directly answering my questions.
REPLY: try Ebay, that is where I bought mine.

June 19, 2008 9:24 pm

HELP!!!! Can you help me find where to buy one and how much they typically go for…. thanks!
REPLY: Ebay, $4000-6000

Rich Ortale
June 21, 2008 9:35 am

is the Ford Think for sale? If so, how much and where is it?
REPLY: Try Ebay, that is where I got this one.

June 27, 2008 4:49 am

I will be getting my Ford Think next week but having problems finding insurance. Does anyone have info? I live in Florida. Thanks
REPLY: I use Allstate, they have it in the database already.

November 6, 2008 3:53 pm

Just fyi, golf carts also have regenerative braking systems and a range of about thirty miles on a full charge. Many of them (Club Car’s Pathway models spring to mind) also have ISO-certified Roll-Over Protection Systems and safety belts. Street tires are easily installed. No McPherson suspensions or safety glass, though. No glass at all, actually…
So, pretty much a golf cart, yeah. Except parts are probably a little tougher to find…

Ron de Haan
December 15, 2008 3:35 pm

“REPLY: VERY nice! If they had that Cobra setup for electric I’d buy it in a heartbeat!”
The electric Cobra is produced by SST
Have a look here:
You could do with a less powerful engine and a cheaper battery pack.
Maybe you could find an unfinished kit on e-bay and you perform the electric conversion yourself if you can find the time.
There is also a British kit car producer that offers an electric version of the Cobra.
I have to look for the link and send it to you as soon as I have found it again.
Ron de Haan

December 18, 2008 5:59 pm

Nice ride. I could use one of those to go the store…

January 23, 2009 3:18 pm

I hope you don’t mind a late addition to the list of bumper sticker suggestions… mine is an extension of Paul Clark’s… “Powered by volts, driven by Watts”

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