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MY PERSPECTIVE

My views are my own... but I can be persuaded by the facts



The Dubious Math of AEG

Is it really cheaper to drive 100 miles in a gasoline car than electric?

Byline: Bill Moore

Today I came across an article entitled "Driving 100 Miles in an EV Is Now More Expensive Than in an ICE". It starts off with the following statement:

"...a recent report from the Anderson Economic Group (AEG) found that fueling costs from mid-priced ICE-powered vehicles are lower than similarly priced electric vehicles. Combustion drivers pay about $11.29 per 100 miles on the road. EV drivers who charge up at home spend about $11.60 per 100 miles."

Now that raised an eyebrow. Knowing the efficiency of your average electric car where you'll see mpg equivalents of 80-140 miles, how could that possibly be true when the average ICE car gets maybe 25 mpg. Even the best hybrids are 35-50 mpg. AEG apparently assumed 27 miles per gallon.

I don't know how AEG came up with their numbers, but as an EV driver, I am skeptical. Instead, I did my own quick calculations based on average electricity costs and miles per watt for an electric car, based on the results of Google searches, starting with the price on a kilowatt hour (kWh) basis. Google tells me that the US average cost for electricity is 16 cents per kilowatt hour. Next I asked how many kWh does it take for the "average" electric car to travel 100 miles. It returned 34.6 kWh. To travel 100 miles an electric car at .16¢/ kWh would cost $5.54. That is half the number reported by AEG.

Additionally, Google reports that the national average price for a gallon of gasoline in 2022 was $3.12. Assuming a highway mpg for the gasoline car, like a Honda Accord, is 30 miles a gallon, the gasoline burned to travel 100 miles would cost $10.39. And that's being generous. The Ford F-150, one of the most popular vehicles in America, is rated at at 24 mpg.

Last time I checked $5.54 is less than $11.29. Sorry, but the math doesn't lie.

First Published: 2023-01-26


Are EVs Pricing Britain's Poor Out of Car Ownership?

The editors and readers of Britain's Express newspaper seem to think so, but have they done the math?

Byline: Bill Moore

As I daily curate global news about the world of EVs for our RSStream, a daily RSS news feed, I occasionally come across stories that viscerally "trip my trigger." I have to look deeper. Such a story was this headline this morning from the UK's Express, "Motorists are being 'priced away' from car ownership as petrol and diesel ban looms". Now, I admit that EVs do seem expensive,at least in terms of their upfront costs. However, numerous studies have shown that over the lifetime of the vehicle, they will be less costly to own and operate, something one of the letter writers to the Express obviously doesn't understand when he/she commented (or was it a lament?), "My drive takes 45 to 50 minutes and costs £12.50 in fuel."

Now, I have lived in the UK as a undergrad exchange student just north of London in Hertfordshire. I know how crazy London traffic is. There's a reason why years ago the city instituted a congestion charge in an effort to not only reduce the number of polluting petrol and diesel vehicles, but discourage their use even further. That charge hits rich and poor alike, though I suspect it fiscally impacts the middle class more. But that reader's comment about it costing him the US equivalent of about $15USD clicked my mental calculator, the Sharp version of which I proceeded to whip out and start running the numbers. Now there are some assumptions here, like assuming the reader commutes daily into the greater London area, which means not only does he/she have to pay for fuel, but also the congestion charge if they have to enter one of those zones. Below is a description of the current charge rate:

"The Congestion Charge costs £15 if you pay in advance or on the same day. It costs £17.50 if you pay by midnight of the third day after you travel. You can pay the Congestion Charge online, by auto pay, app or telephone. If you do not pay the Congestion Charge, you will be fined £160."

To calculate the distance the writer drives, I took the average travel speed on the motorways around London, which is 24.1.mph. He/she writes that their commute takes 45-50 minutes, or average of 47.5 minutes. This means their commute is 23.75 miles; actually similar to the average commute on this side of the "pond." What's not clear from their comment is if their travel time is one-way or round-trip: home-to-office-back-home. I assumed its the latter.

Next I picked a nice, but not overly expensive (comparatively) EV for them: the MG 5 costing around £30K. It has a 61.1 kWh battery and reportedly gets up to 235 miles range. That means it could get upwards of 3.85 miles per kilowatt hour of charge. That 23.75 miles commute would consume right around 6 kWh, though in reality, it's likely to be a bit more.

Now admittedly the cost of electricity is high in the UK just now, really high: upwards of 34p/kWh. That's roughly 41¢/ kWh here in the USA! Let's assume the Express writer pays that and charges the MG 5 at home. 6 kWh times 34 pence equals 204 pence. There are 240 pence to the English pound!

So, in theory, the writer's daily commute would be less than £1 a day! AND he/she would not have to pay that exorbitant Congestion Zone charge!

You do the math and it seems pretty obvious that the electric car makes a whale of a lot more sense than burning £12.50 a day on imported petrol (and maybe another £15 on congestion zone charges). And as an added benefit, "Wind power generated about 25% of UK electricity, having surpassed coal in 2016 and nuclear in 2018." And even more promising on January 10, 2023, three days ago now, "Wind generated 21.6GW of electricity in the half-hour period between 6-6.30pm, providing 50.4% of the UK's power."

First Published: 2023-01-13


Of Whales and Wind Farms

Are offshore wind turbines why cetaceans are washing ashore?

Byline: Bill Moore

The discovery of a juvenile humpback whale on a beach off Atlantic City this past Saturday prompted local ocean activists to blame offshore wind farm development, calling on both the governor of New Jersey and President Biden to halt development and investigate. Here are two headlines:

CBS News: Dead whales washing ashore prompt local activists to call on President Biden to halt offshore wind energy activity

...and..

Philadelphia Inquirer : Humpback whale washed up in Atlantic City had a head injury, officials say, as groups call for wind turbine inquiry

Now I don't mean to question the motives or sincerity of these groups, but their sort-of “shoot first, ask questions later” response got me to wondering about the possible connections between offshore wind farm development and cetacean beachings, which typically prove mortal to the animal. Discovering a huge marine mammal washed ashore either dying or dead, is emotionally disturbing, but are offshore wind farms to blame?

The short answer, at least from the articles I found and posted below, would suggest there is little, if any connection. Warming waters from climate change, global plastic pollution in the oceans, changing food patterns, noisy marine traffic from ship sonar and engines, these appear to be the leading causes of cetacean stranding, and not just off the New Jersey coast, but globally.

Comparatively, the US is just beginning to develop a handful of offshore wind farm projects. Of the proposed 196 offshore wind farms, only two are currently operational: Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island and Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind 25 km east of Cape Henry. There are no operational wind farms off the coast of Atlantic City. Ocean Wind 1 and 2 are planned for an area 15 miles off the New Jersey shore.

By contrast, the North Sea between Britain and Norway is one of the most heavily developed for offshore wind. There are nearly 200 operational offshore wind turbines, so if they are the cause for whale stranding, it would seem logical to conclude there would surely have to be many, many more whale carcass washing shore, but there doesn't seem to be a correspondingly higher number. Yes, beachings do occur, but nowhere in numbers one would expect given the level of wind farm development. Instead, those few that do occur seem to be related to feeding grounds shifting further south into shallower waters, again possibly due to climate change and warming ocean waters.

The cause, or more likely, causes of whale beaching seems attributable to multiple factors. Underwater acoustic distribances generated by operating wind farms likely isn't one of them, but certainly more study needs to be done. The only question is, do we "shoot first and ask questions later"?

We all want and need healthy, vibrant oceans where marine life and (hopefully) renewable energy can peacefully coexist.

Here are some relevant articles on the topic.

https://www.pennlive.com/news/2023/01/whales-are-washing-up-on-the-jersey-shore-heres-what-we-know-about-what-may-be-killing-them.html

https://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/largest-sperm-whale-stranding-ever-recorded-in-the-north-sea/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352484722021795

https://www.vox.com/2019/5/24/18635543/plastic-pollution-bags-whale-stomach-beached

https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-whale-strandings-offshore-windfarms/

First Published: 2022-01-11


Lit Motors and the Long Road to Balance

End-of-year email newsletter from Lit Motor's founder Danny Kim on the future of the innovative C1 two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle.

Byline: Bill Moore

I met Danny Kim... wow... a decade or so ago? I had read about Lit Moto's self-balancing enclosed two-wheeled EV (motorcycle???) and made a point to see him and the team the next time I was in San Francisco. Somewhere in our archives is video of the tour he graciously gave me of their facility and their daunting engineering project, the goal of which was to create a practical, safe, incredibly efficient and equally stylish electric commuter vehicle. Somehow, he and his team have managed to keep the project alive and maturing technologically as illustrated by the email newsletter I received just a few days ago as we close 2022. I was not only pleased to see the project is still moving along, but maybe more importantly, focused on what is going to increasingly be an area of concern: the efficient use of resources. I have taken the liberty to reproducing his email below, along with a couple of the graphics included in it.

May 2023 bring Lit Motors the long-awaited success they deserve!

Danny Kim and C1

Season's Greetings!

In the last newsletter, we discussed how market saturation of 4 wheeled EVs is projected to plateau in the next 5-10 years. This month we will go in depth about how Lit Motors will enter the EV transportation sector and what it can offer that other companies cannot. It is impossible to ignore major shifts in the automotive industry towards producing EVs and diversified transportation. Although growth in the market has faced challenges, in 2023 EVs will have crossed the chasm once supply chain infrastructures become more streamlined.

Single driver

As of 2019, in the United States alone, 75.9% of all ICE cars (4,000+ lbs each) on the road were driven by a single driver. In Europe, India, & China, 50% of cars on the road were driven alone. These staggering numbers significantly contribute to a negative impact on our planet. This is an inefficient use of metals and raw materials in the life cycle of a car, equating to being unnecessarily expensive, wasteful, and unsustainable.

Smaller EVs are mass market

By 2021, there were nearly 450 EV models available worldwide with the biggest sales increase in China, the largest market (70% of global EV volume), were in NEVs (Max 25mph / <GVWR 3000lbs). Auto manufacturers are intent on maintaining this growth and plan to go fully electric within the next 20 years. The future of transportation is primed for revolutionary advancement with a smaller lighter electric vehicle architecture.

Holy Grail

With little existing competition currently on the market, the C1 is positioned to have a first to market advantage in the industry. The AEV is intended to be more conducive to commuter traffic with its compact size (86" wheelbase / 40" vehicle width), weight (800-1200 lbs), aerodynamics (.198-.206 CD), and a self-balancing platform which achieves a 6x better range (170-200 mile per charge) per kWh (1 kWh = 13 miles). No other vehicle can provide all these features while maintaining car like comfort.

Better use of resources

Battery size is the main factor in the cost of current EVs (1/4 total vehicle price), with lithium being a finite resource, and battery production contributing to manufacturing waste. While the average EV has a 66kWh battery pack, the lightweight C1 contains ? the battery size (13-15 kWh), which will greatly improve the ability to achieve more distance per charge. Our AEV will consume less energy, provide top speeds of 100+ mph, and hold an equivalent value proposition as a 4W EV, but with 1/10th the metal and lithium costs, reducing its energy cost during its life-cycle.

Lit Motors 1

Safety

Thanks to IIHS, NHTSA, and EURO NCAP, we take engineered safety for granted in modern automobiles. Seat belts, Safety cell + Crash zones, and airbags are three major facets of saving lives. The CMGs (gyroscopes) of the AEV add a fourth layer of protection no alternate vehicle can match. The gyroscopes naturally transfer roll moments from a side impact to the gyros and not the occupants. The CMG system allows for our two wheeler to maintain stability where motorcycles fail. Additionally, a helmet is not required to drive this vehicle because you're sitting in it.

Emissions

In the US, the transportation sector is the largest source of polluting emissions next to manufacturing. Lit Motors can make a positive ecological impact by reducing manufacturing waste, decreasing transportation congestion/emissions, and reducing your commute time by 20-30% (through traffic). This will position Lit as a triple bottom line company; meaning that instead of focusing solely on profits, there is focus on future proofing the positive impact on society as well as the planet.

Less Parts, Less waste

Manufacturing costs, supply chain resources, and time to produce the AEV are huge differentiators in our production. The C1 contains a far less parts count than other EVs and ICE vehicles, allowing for more efficient and quicker manufacturing, thus costing far less to produce by comparison: C1 (2.5-3,00 parts) vs. EV (12,000 parts) or ICE (24-36,000 parts).

Lit Motors 2

All of these advantages are protected by our comprehensive patent portfolio (which we will discuss in upcoming newsletters). The window of opportunity and development for Lit Motors' production is open. In the new year we will reopen pre-orders to reach our new goal for serial production of 10k-100k units, or "1 Slice" (22 minute mark) in the auto industry. This is the bare minimum of what Volker Kaese says our production can be. We?re currently at 1,000 pre-existing pre-orders and we want to thank everyone who believes in Lit Motors; your patience and perseverance is appreciated. We have a production plan we will share next month. There may also be an investment opportunity available for new stakeholders.

We wish you a happy holiday season, and look forward to sharing more with you in 2023

First Published: 2022-12-31


Cardano Founder on Elon Musk's Twitter Debacle

The founder of the Cardano proof-of-stake blockchain, Charles Hoskinson opines on Musk's Twitter takeover and how it should have been handled.

Byline: Bill Moore

In case you aren't aware of him, Charles Hoskinson was one of the original co-founders of Ethereum, but after a disagreement with Vitalik Buterin over the direction of the project, left and began a years-long search for a better approach to running a secure blockchain. The result is Cardano, considered one of the most scholarly buttressed cryptocurrency blockchains in existence, named in honor Girolamo Cardan or Cardano, a 16th century Italian doctor and mathematician. Even Cardano's native token, ADA, is named after Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, the 19th century English female mathematician who is considered the first computer programmer.

Hoskinson, himself likely a billionaire or at very least a multimillionaire, resides in Colorado. He owns a bison ranch in Wyoming and engages in various other business pursuits from funding a medical clinic to setting up a computer gaming studio, as well as various philanthropic causes to further the science and security to cryptocurrency and the blockchain.

He periodically conducts “surprise” AMA ("ask me anything") sessions, often lasting two or more hours. He candidly speaks his mind and shares his perspective on lots of disparate topics, usually from a right-leaning libertarian slant, as you'll hear in his comments about the “Democrat” moderators at Twitter. During the most recent AMA, he was asked about Elon Musk's troubles with the social media giant: "should he resign?", he was asked.

I thought his comments of sufficient interest to EV World followers to excerpt them from the two-hour plus AMA on December 19, 2022. Interestingly, Hoskinson and others apparently reached out to Musk to offer advice only to be ignored.

In the interest of transparency, I "hodl" a small holding of Ada that is staked on the Cardano blockchain, and in 2021 I submitted several proposals to the Cardano Foundation to fund a blockchain NFT game called "ReWILD!" ™ to teach the importance of environmental conservation and greater multi-cultural understanding. None of the proposals were funded.

First Published: 2022-12-22


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