1) Sustainability issue: Mass transportation and energy
Flexible solutions for mass transportation is not really an option in today’s society. One is always dependent on the transportation company’s schedule. Ubers are an alternative for transportation, but it does not cater to the masses and it is an expensive alternative for one person. But what if we could merge the bus and the Uber and make a flexible solution for mass transportation that is energy and cost efficient? That is what Olli is.
2) Olli – the electric mini bus
In Maryland in June 2016, the mini bus Olli started running. Olli is a driverless bus powered by IBM’s Watson technology. Olli is like Uber in the way that you order a ride with it and pay for it in the app. You don’t need a fixed bus stop, Olli will pick you up where you are.
It does not operate on a fixed schedule and is ideal for those short distances between your home and where you need to be. It fills in the gaps in public transportation and covers your entire travel route, without you having to walk an inch.
It is also a sustainable alternative to public transport as it is electrically run, and will not release toxic gases on its way. It will be both cost- and energy efficient.
It will also work as a smart assistant, and the passengers can ask it for restaurant recommendations or what the weather is like at the destination.
City transportation planners
Create more of the Olli and test it in other cities
Make the routes it can take as efficient as possible
“This will be helpful for so many EV drivers as they will be able to get their charge practically anywhere. In the distant future, this technology could maybe also be expanded to other areas, like electric ships or even just to charge the phone of a poor soul lost in the woods. It could potentially save lives, both in traffic and other places.”
EV adoption is a chicken and egg sort of problem. Both sides of the market, vehicle owners and charging infrastructure owners, have to feel secure there will be critical mass of the other side to comfortable deploy their capital. Range anxiety is one of the primary barriers to prospective vehicle owners. The fear that mobility and productivity will be limited by the abbreviated range offered by EV batteries coupled with the long duration of recharging reinforces that perception.
From the article:
[If a car was able to be charged while it was being driven, then this would solve the problem of limited range and enable vehicles to travel for potentially unlimited distances.]
The transportation sector was responsible for 27% of all U.S. GHG emissions in 2015, 2nd only to Electricity generation. [EPA.gov] The faster transportation is electrified, and the faster that electricity can be produced from renewable sources, the more likely we are to mitigate the worst consequences of global temperature rise.
2) Technology Summary:
Article: Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Breakthrough Achieved
As is well understood, the greater the percentage of EV fuel derived from renewable sources, the greater the sustainability edge is to electrified transportation over fossil-fuel based transportation.
The need for separate electrical equipment to handle PV capture and EV charging is both a cost and a hassle barrier to adoption. Not all PV users drive EV’s, and not all EV drivers have roofs with PV panels but this is a population which will grow exponentially as both technologies improve and become ubiquitous.
The increased efficiency in EV charging by leveraging gathered solar energy at the point of collection is a material gain to the consumer/homeowner.
From the manufacturer:
The SolarEdge HD-Wave inverter with integrated EV charger offers homeowners the ability to charge electric vehicles up to six times faster than a standard Level 1 charger through an innovative solar boost mode that utilizes grid and PV charging simultaneously. This product is the first PV inverter-integrated EV charger.
The SolarEdge HD-Wave inverter-integrated EV charger reduces the hassle of installing a separate standalone EV charger and a PV inverter. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for additional wiring, conduit and a breaker installation. By installing an EV charger that is integrated with an inverter, no additional dedicated circuit breaker is needed, saving space and ruling out a potential upgrade to the main distribution panel.
2) Technology Summary:
Article: SolarEdge unveils inverter-integrated EV charger
Kuhn&Komatsu have developed a massive new all-electric mining vehicle known as the “E-Dumper”. I liked reading about this vehicle because it represents such a simple yet effective idea: heavy thing going downhill can store its energy through breaking (two birds one stone), and use that energy to put the now-lighter truck back up the hill (three birds one stone!).
-Mining trucks historically are absolute monsters of fossil fuel usage. They need immense power to remove tons and tons of material from mines.
-Much of the time a truck full of materials is going downhill to drop off its load, and then goes back uphill much lighter to be refilled. This downhill phase is very brake-intensive, and the uphill phase is a breeze comparatively.
-This new all electric engine contains a massive battery that charges when the truck moves downhill. Instead of conventional braking, the force of the braking is used to charge a battery.
-With this energy-producing framework, trucks with routes like this (heavy downhill light uphill) can actually generate clean energy that they store per day, effectively using none at all. Of course in actuality one should also expect cases where a heavy truck drives uphill and a light truck goes downhill, like when leaving a quarry, but this doesn’t change the fact that in some mining scenarios this truck consumes no energy and actually produces it.
Truck producers Kuhn & Komatsu
Electric utilities receiving excess electricity from trucks
1 – Assess feasibility of wide production of these huge batteries / their lifespans (is it worth it?)
2 – Market the truck to other mining outfits
3 – Develop a framework for mass production if one is not already in place.