Palm Springs Perspective
By Bill Hammons
I just returned from the Ninth National Clean Cities Conference and Exposition and wanted share my thoughts and opinions with EV World's readers.
To give you some back ground on me. I am an individual that attends on my own expense and select the ones in my region to attend. This was my second Clean Cities Convention to attend and I attend the quarterly meetings in San Diego. I own two EVs and I attended hoping to gain knowledge on an American made hybrid, somewhere between having an electric mode of operation or ultimately a V2G operation. In this area all I found was the typical hand ringing and moving the expected production date still further out.
In my opinion the Clean Cities Conventions are put together in an excellent manner year after year, as DOE knows what they are doing and have an excellent history for this event. My observation beyond the published program is that the phrase that seemed to rise from within the attendees was “American Fuels”, being electric, wind, E85, biodiesel and gases including H2.
I found that as the American Fuels pendulum swings, it is in favor of the gases. However, propane and the natural gas industry did lay claim towards laying the road to hydrogen. With this claim I dream of a hydrogen hybrid vehicle, within my lifetime. But before I got too deep into my dream, I heard that hybrids are viewed as the biggest threat to fuel cell vehicles down the road and in the short term, because they still leave us 100% dependent on gasoline and diesel. It makes me wonder if those darn “fool sells” are ever going to become an obtainable reality. Reflecting on this, maybe if Ford or GM were to subscribe to this theory, would they flood the market with green-washing hybrids?
To begin with, it seems to me that there is always the "Wild Card" item. Like the widget that will double your gas mileage.
Well the one that caught my attention was a combination generator motor, which Trinity Motors claims, "will change the type of power used in the cars we drive." In summary they have placed a passive magnetic rotor assembly into a multiple field, single-phase AC stator configuration. This proved to be momentous. The result was an all new combination generator/motor which could mimic the way a AC/DC synchronous motor starts and then runs for load, yet start and run continuously as a single phase AC motor. Unlike typical single phase AC motors which 'switch-off' their start windings after startup to keep from burning up. I do not know that all this will actually work, but what if.......
The tour of the “Clean Fuels Mall”, developed by Sunline Transit Agency was interesting and demonstrated innovation. This tour is available to the public on Saturday mornings. The tour covered the following areas: Fuel Cell Vehicle Garage; Teledyne Electrolyzer; Tracking Solar Collectors; Stuart Energy Electrolyzer; Mini Hydrogen Station; Hydrogen Storage System; Inverter; Reformer; and Fueling Island. I recommend the tour for those interest, if they are in the area.
I even found the tour of Waste Management Inc. Interesting. In summary they have converted just over half of their heavy truck fleet to CNG and LNG. The emphasis of the tour was providing clean American fuel emissions. I would have liked to learn about exchanging emission credits and the use of grants as this information could apply to EVs.
My big surprise was to learn that USPS is scrapping their battery EVs. The story is that they will be stripped for mirrors and windshields and other parts useful on gasoline vehicles with Grumman Olson utility bodies. It's like deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.
In closing, I found the Closing General Session (which took place after many of the attendees left), to be the most thought provoking. Dennis Weaver’s comments from Ecolonomics (ecology/economics), to searching within for solutions of challenges that we face in our world, were direct and to the point. Simply put, Ecolonomics means maintaining natural resources in ways that are economically sound. Then an actor as Thomas Jefferson held a debate with the mayors of Palm Springs and Riverside. This was more intriguing than it sounds on the surface, as the 18th century met with the 21st century.
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