Ready or Not, Hydrogen Cars Are Coming

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Toyota will sell hydrogen fuel cell- powered cars in the United States in 2015, Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc. claims, emphasizing, “Fuel cell electric vehicles will be in our future sooner than many people believe, and in much greater numbers than anyone expected.” Despite there being only 10 public hydrogen fueling stations in the US, with nine of those clustered in and south of San Francisco, and only one on the east coast, Toyota claims that they will be installing up to 100 additional stations in the Golden State in the next decade.  Already, 19 are under development, 20 more are “expected” in 2015, and the state has allocated $29.9 …

While EV Battery Costs Decline, Repurposing Adds Life

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Cleantechnica has heartening news from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.  Battery prices for electric vehicles, a key factor thus far in keeping electric cars more expensive to buy than smoggier alternatives, are dropping, and somewhat quickly. “According to an April 2012 Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, the average price of batteries used in electric vehicles dropped 14% from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012. ‘The average price of an EV battery at the end of Q1 2012 was $689 per kilowatt hour, compared to $800 per kilowatt hour in 2011, according to that report. “Compared to 2009, prices were down approximately 30%. “By 2030, BNEF projects battery prices will fall to $150/kWh (in 2012 dollars).” The report explains, “Electric vehicles such as the Mitsubishi Motor …

BC to BC – Electrically

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Baja, California Norte, Mexico to British Columbia, Canada is 1,400 miles, a few days of hard driving in a good car, but one not attempted in a pure electric vehicle until this last June. Tony Williams, an unemployed airline pilot, lives in San Diego, California, and needed to attend a wedding in the northern BC. He could not afford air fare for himself and his young daughter, so he decided to drive his Nissan Leaf, testing the full length of the West Coast Electric Highway, just recently completed with charging stations every 50 miles or so along the I-5 highway that connects two countries and three states. His pre-departure checklist shows his pilot training and his knack for planning for …

CAFE News: Comparing Apples, Bananas, Oranges and Doughnuts

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

One of the problems facing judges in the July Green Flight Challenge the CAFE Foundation is managing for NASA is that of determining fairly who gets the best fuel mileage.  Since “fuel” in this case can be traditional aviation gasoline, bio-diesel, electricity from batteries or solar panels, or some other energy storage medium, wildly different energy densities have to be taken into account. If TSA “freedom feels” seem intrusive, the scrutiny applied to GFC entrants and their craft will be even more onerous.  Aircraft will be impounded once inspected and registered, and the only contact pilots may have with their planes before taking off will be to “top off” their fuel tanks or batteries just before the start of their …

Tripling Battery Range and Quelling Anxieties – Or Adding to Them?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

Having recently been allowed a test drive in a Nissan Leaf , in which the late autumn leaves falling on the car made more noise than the car, I was taken by the quiet, the reasonable performance, and general sense of how much more refined everything is than on my well-worn 1995 internal-combustion vehicle.  Cars are indeed getting better, but an issue remains with electric cars and airplanes – range.  The Nissan representatives, a lively bunch of presenters who took prospective drivers through a “pre-flight” education program, admitted that shortcoming, and promised a coming series of charging stations dotting the I-5 from Canada to Mexico at 100-mile intervals, the demonstrated range for the Leaf. Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi has come up …