Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to henry laurensen,

    Too expensive to run , apparently.

    They probably didn't have mains power then, so charging the battery would have been done with a generator. Just transfers the fuel burning somewhere else, plus the added inefficiency of pushing it into a battery, and carrying the battery around on the tractor. I bet the expense would be a lot less with cheap electricity via mains to the farm.

    ETA: Ok, no battery. It ran a cable from a truck carrying a transformer? So a truck was tied up for the entire time. Not surprised that would be expensive. Not sure how the electricity got to the truck, presumably from mains. It does look like a much more complicated set up than just a single vehicle plowing away, and the underlying efficiency is dependent on how they made electricity, and how efficiently they delivered it to remote locations. What would the mains have been powered by? Coal?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Looks like the bad weather's finished here, just cleaned up the wreckage around the property. Who'd a thunk that only a few days after this thread, Tamaki Drive would be underwater?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    For a modern version the Wrightspeed garbage truck. I had the great pleasure to meet Ian Wright at a Kiwifoo camp and was quite surprised and pleased to hear that his actual aim was not to really sell the amazing supercar that he designed, but to retrofit electrics into truck fleets using the same technology. I fully expect the guy to eventually make an absolute fortune out of what he's doing. I really hope that happens.

    Not bad for crazy Kiwi inventor.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate,

    That's a truck, not a car! Cool that they existed, but I'm not surprised that the rise of gasoline vehicles would have superceded something with a top speed of 22kph and an "optimistic" range of 65km. Good idea for an around town delivery vehicle, if there was a lot of individual deliveries or pickups (like a postie or a milk truck, or garbage truck), though, starting and stopping all the time, and wanting to be quiet and unsmokey. I'd expect the average top speed around Auckland would have been about 5kmh, and the range closer to 10km. This based on my experience with electric bikes that have had all their stats calculated in Christchurch.

    But the electric trucks of now are much much more capable. Trucks are actually much easier to convert than cars, because their structural load bearing is designed for heavy weight, so they don't need to be altered to hold the batteries. Amongst electric conversion enthusiasts, the recommendation is to convert a ute. They've already got somewhere to put the batteries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to henry laurensen,

    With NZ headed towards 80% renewable electriciity it should have been a no-brainer , if the price was right.

    Yup. And the price is incomprehensible. I presume it's predicated purely around the current novelty of the vehicle, rather than any justifiable link to its development cost. But that makes it waffle in a silly middle ground. It's neither cheap, for people conscious of budget, nor is it a performance vehicle for anyone who just likes cool cars. The Tesla makes more sense to me.

    Maybe it’s those distant weekends away that kill the idea ; the idea of a “work-car” is not new. It ’s just that the “work-car” is usually the old inefficient low cost dunger.

    Which is precisely the opposite of how it could be for anyone capable of thinking it through. The work car car should be the electric, cheap and reliable and short range, and small, easily parked. The play car would be petrol powered. It's for the trips around the country, or the hauling of loads, trailers, boats, etc, and the occasional rescue of the electric car if it got accidentally taken beyond its limits. It's inefficiency is counterbalanced by the infrequency of its use, and the sheer utility for a much wider range of purposes. Most of the time it's parked at home next to the other infrequently used luxuries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to henry laurensen,

    The future is plugged in. I still can't really understand why we weren't here 10 years ago, though. Pure plug-ins, rather than hybrids, are considerably simpler to make - we could have had the Nissan Leaf back then. The batteries wouldn't have been as good, but that could also have been a modular part, so that upon upgrading the end-of-life battery, you get a car that's actually better than it was new. The efficiency is pretty compelling.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to bmk,

    Unfortunately people have often simply used the inefficiencies to buy bigger cars.

    Good charts of what's happened here. Seems that the weight has stopped increasing since about 2005, after quite a long downturn after the 70s oil shocks. But average efficiency has made quite a gain since the weight stopped going up. And horsepower has been on a steady rise. These are US figures. If horsepower were to stabilize or even go down, there's a lot more room to get efficiency, and of course dropping the average weight .

    I expect reality lags behind these figures quite a lot, though, since they are about new cars only, which are obviously a small fraction of the total fleet. I guess if we knew average age and variance of all cars we could probably work it out pretty accurately. But that does mean that we're probably hitting the sweet spot of the retirement of the less efficient fleet now. In other words, we're actually at the bottom of that upturn, but we do know the upturn is coming.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    should fall well within the ambit of committed future planners

    Heh. I make all my plans at least that long. Otherwise, one might be taken by surprise!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    In 2004 I had two massive CRTs on my desk.

    Sure. What's happened with the serious power usages in your life, though? Transportation and heating, and hot water, presumably? Any comparable inroads?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You keep talking about losing things and I keep trying to talk about using something different or better.

    I think we’re talking at cross purposes. I meant what I was saying over short time period, like 5-10 years. But if you’re talking about this kind of change over the next 50 years, then I can hardly disagree. Many more things are possible over such a period. I’m as optimistic as you on that kind of time frame that solutions of many different kinds will be presenting themselves, and that the gradual iterative build of renewable energy will have reached pretty impressive heights compared to what is in place now, and that efficiency and emission reduction will have improved considerably.

    Of course I’m not sure what new challenges might also present. That’s a time frame over which the current geopolitical makeup of the world is questionable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

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