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Archive for the category “transport”

Nissan Leaf Autonomous Drive Demonstration in London

The London experience was not without problems and glitches. But again: the self-driving car harbors the potential to abolish expensive private car ownership and make it part of the public transport system. This will lead to fewer cars driving on the roads and zero cars parked, with as a consequence less embodied energy of the entire car fleet, that will be far more utilized than privately owned cars. More people will have access to affordable (because driverless) “taxis”.

[] – Firsthand Account Of Self-Driving Nissan LEAF Trip In London

Track Side Solar Panels in UK?

Belgium giving the good example: railway tracks covered with solar panels.

Great-Britain is a mid-sized country with high population density. Not strange then that a study has been started to see if space near railway tracks can be used to place solar panels.

[] – UK Studying Track Side Solar Panels To Power Electric Trains

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Dutch Rail Runs 100% on Wind Power

Roger van Boxtel, the CEO of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Rail, DR) could be persuaded to pull a stunt and let himself be tied to a wick of classic Dutch wind mill to promote the point that as of January 1, DR is for 100% powered by wind energy.

The international dispersed wind parks obviously don’t really power the locomotives of DR, but what DR did was subsidize the construction of sufficiently wind power, matching their own electricity demand. In end effect it doesn’t really matter, since Europe has an interconnected grid. What DR did was giving the good example to other corporations to do the same and as such give themselves a well deserved green image and help realizing the renewable energy transition.

[] – All Dutch Trains Now Run 100% On Wind Power
[deepresource] – Dutch Railway Powered for 100% by Wind in 2017

Dutch Railway Powered for 100% by Wind in 2017

Windpark Westermeerwind – largest power contributor Dutch Rail

By 2017, all of our trains will run on sustainable energy. This will provide passengers with access to climate-neutral travel over longer distances… The electricity will be generated by newly constructed wind farms belonging to our energy supplier Eneco. This will also stimulate the energy market and help the growth of sustainable energy providers. By 2017, all electric trains in the Netherlands will run on sustainable energy.

European wind parks contributing to Dutch Rail

[] – Sustainable Energy
[] – Windpark Westermeerwind
[] – Official site (English)

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How Big Oil Conquered the World

No Peak Car Yet


Predicting is easy, being right a different matter altogether. Many voices said that peak car was in 2008, coinciding with the Lehman crash. Apparently, a somewhat recovering economy and more important collapsed fuel prices, growing population as well as more fuel efficient cars, have made that Americans are driving more miles than ever before.

[] – Why driving in the US is making a big comeback

E-Raw & Juicer Retro Design E-Bikes

[] – Elektro-Zweirad-Studien: Die große Freiheit
[] – e-raw electric moto




Wisdom from the East? Not really, they are repeating all the mistakes the West made. The entire world wants to copy the West, that isn’t too wise either, but at least understands best that the situation is untenable.

[] – Carmageddon: This Is What 750 Million Chinese Hitting The Road Looks Like


Charging While Driving


[] – The UK is testing out roads that charge electric cars as they go

Cars Don’t Belong in the City

Electric Cars Are Dirty


The naive thought is: electric cars have no exhaust, hence they are clean.


Electric cars drive on electricity, that is generated in power stations running on fossil fuel.

Richard Pike of the Royal Society of Chemistry provocatively determined that electric cars, if widely adopted, stood to lower Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions by just 2 percent, given the U.K.’s electricity sources. Last year, a U.S. Congressional Budget Office study found that electric car subsidies “will result in little or no reduction in the total gasoline use and greenhouse-gas emissions of the nation’s vehicle fleet over the next several years.”

Rather than powering your car, fossil fuel is used to power a generator in the power station. Next, the generated electricity is send down the wire to charge your battery. That charging-discharching cycle costs energy that wouldn’t be wasted if you would use fossil fuel to power your vehicle directly.

Theoretically, driving would be clean if the electricity would come from solar and wind. but that is not bound to happen any time soon. Not during the economic life span of your Prius.

[] – Unclean at Any Speed

BMW Technology Applied to Bicycles

[] – Heisenberg XF1 Electric Bike Utilizes BMW i Patent

Not BMW, but an illustration of how fast an e-bike really can go.

100 kmh. With these kind of speeds, who needs a car for average commuting distances?

Electric Vehicles Infographic


[] – EV Infographic With Ton Of Interesting Stats

Stella Lux

Solarteam Eindhoven, a club of students from the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, has presented the successor of the ‘Stella’ solar car that won the Solar Challenge 2013 in Australia: the Stella Lux. In Oktober the Stella Lux will participate in the 2015 edition, 3000 km from Darwin to Adelaide. Improvements: more comfortable, more solar cells, increasing range from 750 to 1000 km (on a sunny day + fully charged batteries). A few key facts:

  • Development effort: more than 20 student year
  • Participation cost Solar Challenge 2015 Australia: 100,000 euro (donate here / premium)
  • Less aerodynamic drag due to a ‘tunnel’ under the car
  • Improved interior
  • Maximum speed: 125 kmh
  • Solar roof: 5.8 m2
  • Electrical storage capacity: 15 kWh (City Smart: 17.6 kWh)
  • Dimensions: 4,52m long, 1,75m width, 1,12m height
  • Weight: 375 kg (carbon fiber)
  • Obviously you never have to visit a petrol station ever again. An Australian pensioner wit modest income, who happens to owns a solar car, can spend the rest of his life driving if he wanted to. Since operational cost is near zero, expect congestion of solar cars to be a distinct possibility in the future.

graph_range_1The average commuting distance in countries like Holland and Germany is ca. 40 km/day. That means that almost all year round these types of cars can be utilized without extra charge from the grid. It is enough to have the car parked in an open space to get the batteries sufficiently charged for these kind of relative short trips.

Solar cars like the Stella Lux require far less maintenance than the diesel/gasoline powered standard car; electric motors can run for decades.

[] – Stella Lux, The energy positive family car
[] – Stella Lux sees the light and it’s going to surprise the world
[] – Solarmobil Stella Lux: Schnell, bequem, 100 Prozent öko
[] – Opvolger van gezinsauto op zonne-energie Stella heet Stella Lux


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Chevrolet Bolt EV

Range: 200 miles on a single charge
Cost: $37,500 (or $30,000 after tax breaks)

Editor: very expensive and the electricity needed to drive them doesn’t grow on trees, but in practice will be generated by fossil fuel in conventional power stations for many years to come, not by wind and solar.

Driving a car costs 1 kWh per 5 km. That amount of energy is enough to power a desktop computer + screen for an entire 8 hour working day. In Holland for instance, the average car commuting distance is something like 22 km or 44 km to and fro (9 kWh). In other words, if office workers would work from home, using their internet connection and Skype for communication and meetings, they would save a huge amount of energy and the need for car ownership would evaporate. Irregular car use could be satisfied using community or rented cars.

[] – GM’s 200-Mile Range Chevrolet Bolt EV Prototypes Hit The Road, Target Tesla Model III

fiat-panda-gasFor Europeans it makes much more sense to drive a Fiat Panda on natural gas as your last privately owned car. Range on natural gas is also 200 miles (300 km), but you can fall back on petrol (additional range 700 km), if you can’t find a natural gas station. Cost: 13,500 euro; that’s about half the cost of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Fuel cost is very low: 1 euro/kg (= 25 km). And with CO2 emission of 29g/km even cleaner than a ‘clean’ e-vehicle, that outsources pollution to the power station.

[] – Fiat Panda (aardgas)
[] – Why CNG?

But why are we still muddling on with this outdated concept of a 5-seater sedan if the average occupation rate is 1.25 passengers?!

Moving 12-Month Total Vehicle Miles Traveled USA


Talk about ‘recovery’ is not completely unsubstantiated.

Vast Increase Shipping Northern SeaRoute


Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order for the development of the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic. The aim is to increase capacity from the current 4 million to 80 million tons in the next 15 years. “This is the shortest route connecting Europe with the Far East, with the Asia-Pacific and the Western part of North America,” the prime minister said Monday… It reduces the transport time from China to Europe by at least 12 days compared to the traditional Suez Canal route… the process of global warming had notably accelerated by the end of the 20th century, which gave vessels an opportunity to sail through the Northern Sea Route all year round with the help of icebreakers.

[] – Russian PM orders plan to increase Northern Sea Route capacity by 20 times

Driverless Car

Everywhere on the planet there are projects underway to make use of the new possibilities of mapping, GPS and IT (keyword: ‘location awareness’) to develop a ‘driverless car’, both for individual and freight transport. The potential is huge, because for the first time, the need to own a car would disappear and mass-car ownership can be replaced by ‘car on demand’. Additionally, the size of the car can be adapted to the number of people that need to be transported. In most cases, small, energy-efficient scooter-cars like these should suffice for most-often single-person transport:

All you need to do is use your mobile device and check availability and make a reservation. The transporter will drive to your home without a driver and all you need to do is step in and travel to your destination. Maintenance of the transporter is a responsibility of the company, not the individual.

Most commercial airplanes spend more time in the skies than on the ground and this for decades on end, which is unproblematic as long as the maintenance is done properly. With cars that is not different. The big advantage is that the transporter will be used all the time, based on the ‘law of large numbers’. In other words: the same transportation performance can be realized with far fewer transporters.

An additional advantage is that the cities will be freed of cars that spend most of their economic life time in a parked condition. Example: average number of kilometers/year driven in Holland per car is ca. 13,000. With an average speed of say 60 khm, that’s 200 hours, in a year that has 16*365 = 5840 daylight hours. Using supply/demand principle and subsequent pricing, people are encouraged to travel outside the peak hours as much as possible. Public transport can be used to take the brunt of commuting transport. When energy shortages really begin to bite, the number of kilometers/month can be rationed. If you realize that the embodied energy of a car is something like 76,000 kWh (that’s 14 kwh/day on a 15 year lifespan) before it has driven a single kilometer, the energy saving potential is considerable (ratio embodied energy/fuel cost is ca. 15-25%).

But hey, why not expand on the idea of driverless vehicles. Why go to the supermarket, if you can shop from home? Send your order over the wire and a little self-driving robot will come your way and deliver it literally on your door step. Why use a 1000+ kg car to drive to the supermarket to fetch perhaps 5 kg of groceries, if a small vehicle of say 50 kg will give the same result.

[] – Google Driverless Car

Additional advantage of automatic driving: using the driverless principle and accurate computer control, large columns of personal cars and trucks can drive close to each other in a convoy and thus save a substantial amount of fuel.

And again, you don’t need fossil fuel to drive:

The car shown absorbs enough energy from the environment all by itself to transport 4 adult persons over 700 km/day (at least in a sufficient sunny environment like Australia).

Read more…

Cargo Bikes

[] – 5 Reasons Cargo Bikes Are the Perfect Mode of Transportation

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Meet the Carver

Average occupation rate of your standard 5-seater clunker in Holland is 1.25, probably the same elsewhere, at least in the West. So why keep driving around with a sofa set if nobody is sitting in it anyway? Meet the Carver. In the back there is still plenty of room for at least a 0.25 passenger to sit as well. The result is the comfort of a car, but with greatly reduced fuel consumption because of the narrow profile and less weight.

Carver from ’s-Gravendeel, the Netherlands and went bust in 2009, because nobody was interested in a scooter-car priced 30,000 euro. But now a, surprise, surprise, big Chinese scooter producer Sunra (Xinri) has shown interest in the concept and will start selling the scooter-car later this year, on the Chinese market. Turnover expectations: 60,000-100,000/year. Price tag, a ridiculously low 3,800 euro.

[] – Carver
[] – Carver keert terug op de markt… in China
[] – Vandenbrink Design
[] – Vandenbrink Design

In San Francisco somebody picked up a similar concept in 2010, Lit Motors, albeit with gyroscope stabilizer added, eliminating the need for a third wheel.

[deepresource] – Lit Motors C1

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