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July 2008 Posts


  The EVcast
Blog Entry

EVcast #27: Interview with Russell Sydney on the Medium Speed Vehicle Law

Thursday, July 3rd 2008 @ 11:23 AM (not yet rated)    post viewed 8941 times

click to download this audio file

  • Interview
  • Alternative Energy that Sucks Less than Gasoline
  • Conversion Gurus
  • The Efficiency Argument

Here is the petition:

Warning:  I did get care2 "newsletter" (spam) right after the show - despite the fact that I specifically chose NOT to be added to the list.  It was an easy opt out, but I wonder if they wil really opt me out.  Suggestion, still sign the petition but don't put your real email address.  Care2 has nothing to do with Russell or the initiative - it is just a 3rd party petition service.


Don't just listen to the EVcast -- experience and be a part of it!  Join us at 1:00pm Eastern, M-F, in our live video broadcast and chat along with us!

add a comment  rate this post: very bad poor average good fantastic!

Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Thursday, July 3rd 2008 @ 6:23 PM:

Hi guys!  I am not seeing the podcast itself- the 'listen to today's show' link brings it to the blog- no audio is available- or at least visible;-)  I even tried manually inputting the http link with but it says it does not exist- although I am guessing as to the file name;-)  Perhaps, as a suggestion, you could keep the mp3 files of your podcasts within the video/mp3 section of your website for easier searching/download.  Enjoy your 4th of July Holiday guys!

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Bo Bennett
Tuesday Host
Group Administrator
Bo said on Thursday, July 3rd 2008 @ 8:19 PM:

Do you not see the flash player?  Check to make sure your browser is allowing/showing flash.  Otherwise, clear your temp internet files.

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Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Thursday, July 3rd 2008 @ 11:15 PM:

Ah!  There's the podcast- not sure what happened- Flash was enabled, but I occassionally get odd things occur with it, no matter how many times I update or reinstall it. I will chalk it up to running Vista on a system that was not really made to use it;-)

35 mph, intermediate speed vehicles are a good idea- it is not a good idea however to circumvent the DOT safety guidelines.  This is not safe, probably not insurable, more costly in the long run and if there are a few fatal incidents, could hurt the development of EV's as a whole.  Would you want yourself, or worse, your children, on the roads with vehicles that are not as safe?  I would like to see this type of vehicle developed, maybe even at a 40 mph limit, which is more realistic, especially within the extended urban area of a city- 35mph in a 55, or even 50mph speed zone is slow and not safe- think of the last time you were stuck behind someone going 15 mph slower than the posted speed limit- were you patient, or wondering why this inconsiderate person in front of you was making you late? 
 Now, maybe we need to change our attitude about how we commute, but it is not the reality today, and will not be for a long time, if ever.  I think this idea of intermediate speed vehicles should certainly be explored, but do it right and have it developed fully, and let's not take shortcuts that open the doors to the degradation of our safety standards, and maybe hurt innovations down the road, or worse, hurt more drivers.  But also be prepared to accept the outcome that intermediate speed vehicles may not be viable due to higher development costs that may make it almost as costly as a full-speed vehicle in order to make it safe at a higher speed.  All those crumple zones and air bags that make us safer and more likely to walk away from an accident cost money, and would make those simple $10,000 cars go to $20,000 in a hurry.  Now what we really need is an $85,000 federal rebate for all Tesla's bought;-)

Whew!  Pretty wordy for a simple Texan;-)

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Bill Berggren
Free Access
BillBerggren said on Friday, July 4th 2008 @ 3:46 AM:

Mr. Cummings.   Motorcycles are legal to drive on U.S. roads.  Why not leave it to drivers.

IMHO the auto industry will strongly fight this.  This will create a whole slew of U.S. companies to compete with.  The best way to fight is to make it national issue.  Thus, they want the issue to go national thus they can lobby for it, using the exact logic Mr. Cummins used.  Congress is owned by the corporations so they will probably win.

As for alternative energy (equilivent gallons per acre)

1,000,000 Spectrolab PV Panels, Inyokern

200,000 Sunpower PV Panels, West USA

100,000 Average PV Panels, U.S.

2000 Algae Biodiesel

1000 Cellulostic Ethanol

400 Corn Ethanol (state of art)

100 Biodiesel (state of art)

After looking at the numbers ethanol and biodiesel are a waste of time except for ethanol to control smog.  PV Panels belong on peoples houses not on BLM land.  Utilities are now trying to steal BLM land to put their solar projects on.  Forcing the consumer to get a bill.

IMHO BLM lands belong to the U.S. people.  PV panels can be put there if and only if the plants are owned by the U.S. people.








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Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Friday, July 4th 2008 @ 2:25 PM:

Hi Bill!  You are right about motorcycles- but they look very different from cars, and are widely known as being different from cars and are accepted as being more dangerous- whether right or wrong, they have evolved to an accepted status as such.  The problem is going to arise when people buy 'motorcycles' that look like cars, they are going to expect the safety of a car. Or worse, when they buy a car that has the safety of a motorcycle!

I also have concerns for the safety of the slew of 3-wheel vehicles that are coming out as such to bypass the more stringent safety requirements of cars- and I say this even while salivating over, and wanting, the VentureOne Carver when it comes out (even my teenage daughters think it is cool;-).  I am in favor of innovation, and would like nothing more than to see all ICE vehicles banned from the roads- if I was President, I would attempt to enact legislation to ban all passenger ICE vehicles from US roads in seven years, and let the market place compete to replace them- but I would not let them put out products that compromise on safety.  We all (well, 'we' being the listeners of EVCAST!) want to see the advent of EV's on the road, and the sooner the better- but I do not think taking shortcuts to get there is a good solution.  It took a long time to implement the current safety standards we enjoy on today's cars, and I do not think we really want to take a step back from that.  What if GM says "we can only produce the Volt for under 30 grand if we could do without all these features, so we can help America get off of the oil addiction- it is for our National Security as well..."  Should we let them?  Would it be worth getting a car for 10 grand less?  No, it would not- the cost in the long run would be far greater,  both in terms of injuries and fatalities, and in terms of auto repair.  There's a reason that a lot of cars sold overseas have to be 'upgraded' before they can be sold here.  And I do not think that is a bad thing.  I grew up and learned to drive in Houston- believe me, you want as much metal, air bags, and crumple zones around you as you can get;)

And I do agree- forget ethanol and biodiesel for passenger cars- electric motors are the way to go! Much more effient in its power generation and usage.

Happy Fourth of July, Y'all!!!

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Bill Berggren
Free Access
BillBerggren said on Friday, July 4th 2008 @ 3:34 PM:

I still like a class of vehicles where the average joe has the chance to compete with the larger car companies.  MSV 35 mph max to be allowed on 40 mpg roads does it for me.  If you buy a vehicle in that class you are aware (or should be made aware) of the risks and will have to listen to the sales pitch of the dealer on why the car is safe.  I think 10s of foriegn companies could put EVs on the road for less than 10K as one already has OKA.  I am happy about that.   I don't think they should ban the ICE, I just think they should put a $5-$10 a gallon environment tax on gasoline.

I truly think the country would be a much safer place if all city roads were 35-40 mph limit anyways.   Every city that has a lot of fast 50 mph roads in the city always seems to be a much more dangerous place.


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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Saturday, July 5th 2008 @ 3:53 PM:

  People should have solar panels on their houses (I do).  However, the rate of adoption is very slow.  We should let anyone put panels anywhere that it makes sense; commercial buildings, public lands, etc.  We need to get more renewables up and running and soon.

  The other thing to keep in mind is that these large projects are much more cost effective than residential solar.  It costs $10/watt for residential solar and about $6/watt for commercial solar.  This is the economy of scale.  So if rate payers have to pay for these things (which they probably will) commericial solar gives much more bang for the buck.

John C. Briggs

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Bill Berggren
Free Access
BillBerggren said on Saturday, July 5th 2008 @ 5:55 PM:

Response to John Briggs.

Nanosolar can produce PV for $1 a watt. Within 50-years solar will be so cheap it will be the only way to generate power.  So what are the utilities going to do to combat this?  They are going to try to corner the energy market by controlling the public land.  They want you to send them a large monthly bill so you can do all the hard work like flipping burgers and cleaning houses.

I truly believe the public lands of the United States belong to the people of the United States.  I am against ANWR drilling, sagebrush rebellion, gas drilling, BLM solar plants, private hydroplants, where the public gets a very unfair shake on the resources they own.  I don't like the idea of private controlled power lines going over public lands and private properties. These large public companies, may bid billion's of dollars for these resources.  However, compared to the long-term value of the resources they take it is basically free.

Solution.  I think the government should run the electric grid (or allow private companies to maintain it).  Create a remote net metering law where everyone has the right to generate 10,000 square feet of their own electricity on public land.  Set the rights to 300,000,000 or the current population of the United States.  Create no new permits!!!!!  Allow permits to be sold.  Kick hard all the private companies off the public lands asap asap.

Create assets for the people not the corporations.


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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Saturday, July 5th 2008 @ 8:49 PM:

   While the NanoSolar product sounds interesting, I am very skeptical that anything close to $1/W will be realized.  For my system, even if the panels were free, I would have had to pay $5/watt for the solar system (with free panels).  So residential solar panels will remain expensive.

   As for who should own the solar panels, I was trying to think of existing systems with government run power plants.  Here in Massachusetts, several cities and towns have their own power plants; e.g. Concord MA.  It is an interesting arrangement,  but the power is about the same price as the power from private companies.  Hull MA has their own windmills too, but again, lower prices is not the reason.

   I am not quite sure why you think the government can manage the electricity any more cheaply or fairly than private companies.  Also consider that electrici companies are heavily regulated anyway because they are a monopoly.

  But if you feel safer with the government running things, that is fine.  But don't hold your breath for NanoSolar's claimed $1/watt.  Their technology is still being proven out.  These type of thin-film solar panels have a history of degrading performance in the sun.  Also, I don't think they will start dumping panels onto the market at $1/Watt when panels are selling well at $5/Watt.  NanoSolar will sell panels at $5/Watt and keep the profit.  One more thing to consider is these are probably not very effecient panels, so they will need a lot of area in which to generate power, more area than needed with silicon-based panels.  This also increase the cost.

   I am a big fan of solar power, but I am also realistic about what it can accomplish. For what ever it is worth, I sincerely hope NanoSolar succeeds.

John C. Briggs

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a guest said on Sunday, July 6th 2008 @ 9:45 AM:

you're getting caught up on attempting to create a vehicle construction classification for the speed of the vehicle. What, for example, is the constructor's speed limit for and ICE vehicle? Don't think there is one...right. The use of an EV is more an issue as to which road classifications are allowable...not how fast the vehicle can go. If you are caught exceeding the legal limit of the road way classification, then you're busted. It's not important what kind of drive train you have.

Chris Sherman

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Bill Berggren
Free Access
BillBerggren said on Monday, July 7th 2008 @ 4:39 AM:

The solar components, mppt controller - $0.50 a watt, utility grade sinewave inverter $1.00  a watt are not expensive.  And probably 1/2 that if bought in quantity or size.   Most of the cost goes having to use a licensed contractor or member of union to install system.

If you believe the BLM belongs to the people, then the most land any company or person should be able to secure is about 1/10 an acre assuming everyone is given equal access and 30 million acres dedicated to solar.  Why is the BLM offering larger tracts?

Basically what you are saying only somebody with money and power can use the public lands, public bases, ANWR, ...  If so why not just deed off Yellowstone to Warren Buffett.

I don't want private or public run solar plants.  I want individual run plants.  Where if you remote net meter on the grid you will not get an electric bill.  Maybe a $5 a month bill to maintain the grid.  Furthermore, if you make more than you use you can get the market rate.  Thus, if you own say 10 acres of solar you might get a $5000 monthly check.

Even without nanosolar go to solarbuzz if you devide oil index by solar index you will see solar gets cheaper and cheaper.  Maybe 1 maybe 50 years before solar is $1 a watt.  However what is valuable are the solar rights.

Why should some guy living in Maine be forced to install PV with 2 sun-hrs a day.  When they could install pv on their land in California with 7 hrs-day sun.  When basically the utilities, and their $million dollar CEOs, are doing the same thing with your land.  While they charge you market rates.

Furthermore these plants are themal plants wasting precious water.

If I had it my way any BLM official that approves of these would be leaving the agency and possible criminal actions taken.  Basically it is stealing land and giving it to a minority.  Just because someones emails support in, it is no excuse for theft.  I am sure many people email the governor requresting to be pardoned too.

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