Monday, September 22, 2014

Tesla - Model 3 “mass market” electric car

Going to start this post with a picture of a beautiful car. Beautiful AND ELECTRIC. I see one every once in awhile in the 495 hot lanes and then coming out of the first exit of the Dulles Toll Road. It's a Tesla Model S. Black.

Although the news about which state got the new Tesla factory and the how's and why's of giant incentives (tax breaks to the tune of $500 million) to private companies is interesting and all, what you really want to know is in this L.A. Times article. Such as:

The "company’s founder and CEO Elon has said it would use the increased production of batteries in its new factory to drive production of a lower-priced Model 3 'mass market' electric car. Tesla has said it could market such a car at under $40,000."

Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer said:

“This is a critical step in Elon Musk’s long-term goal of creating a viable, high-volume electric car,”

“The battery pack makes up a sizable portion of any electric car’s total price, but if Tesla can reduce the cost of this component with its own factory, it has a real shot at producing a $30,000 electric car with a 200-plus mile range.”

“This is all about the Model 3,” said Thilo Koslowski, automotive practice leader at the technology research company Gartner. “The factory will not have a huge influence on the Model S or Model X, but they need to offer cars at a better price point. That will really ensure the longevity of this company.”

The factory is slated to open in 2017.

I wanna Tesla! Even a little Tesla.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I found my perfect commute. I think.

I know that's a serious declaration.

The Silver Line opened July 26, 2014. I rode it to work on the first Monday it ran as part of my multi-modal commute. I biked 5 miles to EFC and then caught the Silver Line and took it 4 stops to the Spring Hill Station then walked to my office. This commute should never take me more than an hour, and if all goes smoothly maybe about 45 minutes. It will provide an hour of exercise anytime I do this. If/when I want to ride longer, I can try to reach the stops further out.

As I was waiting for the metro (one train had just left the station as I came up the escalator), I read the free daily express which had SV in bold letters on the cover page announcing the new Silver Line. I read that during rush hour, the trains would run every 6 minutes (reality that a.m.: 12 minutes). Also, my 4-stop commute was to take 8 minutes (reality that a.m.: 13 minutes). Ok, was the first weekday morning rush. By the evening commute I saw the board displaying a SV line train every 6 minutes. My largest complaint is the cost: $3.55 one way.

The view from the train is nice. You ride over 66, Chain Bridge Rd, and along Route 7. The tracks are a couple stories above traffic. The pedestrian bridge over Rt. 7 is wonderful.

I really wanted to take a picture from the station as a memento of my first trip on the SV but I didn't want any questions from the law enforcement which was heavily present that day.

So instead, here's a link to a YouTube video of the ride from Ballston to Wiehle in time lapse.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Endless Oil

High per-barrel prices spur oil companies to continue to explore technological innovations. I found an interesting article about what is going on in various countries in regards to oil production and oil consumption.

Consumer demand, technology, and global politics are shifting in a way that could spell a future of oil abundance, not of catastrophic dearth. As Leonardo Maugeri, a senior executive at Italian oil major ENI, puts it: "There will be enough oil for at least 100 years."

U.S. oil consumption dropped by 9 percent over the last two years. The recession certainly hurt demand, but many analysts think oil use in the West has peaked and will not rebound to previous levels.

Auto emission standards in China are now tougher than those in the U.S. China's official policy mandates that alternate sources support 15 percent of the country's energy needs by 2020, up from 9 percent now. So China's petroleum consumption will keep increasing, but perhaps at not so steep a rate as expected.

The most surprising action is unfolding in Iraq, which has just cut deals with ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell as well as with Chinese and Russian companies. If all these ventures meet their targets, Iraq could produce as much as 12 million barrels a day, putting it in the super league with Saudi Arabia and Russia.

This article is from January 12th, and was written by Stanley Reed for Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Peak travel and the suggestion that there will be less car ownership and usage

Happy New Year!

Aren't you tired of spending all that time in your car? Whether it's moving or not moving?

Car ownership has declined in the U.S. since 2007 because of the recession.

“You get to a point where everybody who could possibly drive, drives.”

A Road Less Traveled by Melinda Burns,

Researchers "speculate that highway gridlock, parking problems, high prices at the gas pump and an aging population that doesn’t commute may be contributing to peak travel."

Silvia's suggestions:
You can bike or walk your errand.
Change your perspective on what a "walkable" distance might be. Increase it.
Use public transportation.
Look for a job closer to home. A lot of people like to say that this is not possible. But when we achieve it, don't we like to brag about it?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Why DO we still drive internal combustion gas powered cars?

Ok, I know why, but really, it's a testament how there is no true consumer choice when it comes to what you personally drive. We have been made completely and utterly dependent on our gas powered cars. It's great that there is a huge demand for hybrids. It still requires gas fuel.

I did not know the story of the EV1 electric car from GM until I watched the movie Who Killed the Electric Car?

Such a neat car.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Day Seven

Wow, I made it. Alright, so I started on a weekend and I was out sick for two days, but nonetheless I completed my 7 days car free.

Today, I left for work from Alexandria, so it was a longer distance but I figured out the metro and bus I should take and also got a ride to the King Street station in the a.m. I left the office early and so at 1 p.m. I had made it to the Westpark Transit Station. Such an interesting place, with a view of the toll-road. Even during the middle of the day, there are several buses that go to EFC and WFC metro. But I was lucky enough to find out that there's a bus 5A that goes between Dulles Airport and L'Enfant Plaza with a stop in Rosslyn. So my ride to Rosslyn took 15 minutes. Awesome! And it's a metro luxury bus. The seats were plush and had headrests. How nice huh? Is it because it goes on the toll road and 66? is used by international tourists?

Annoucement flyer in the bus shelter at Westpark Transit Center: Transit Week September 20th through... How funny, next week we are encouraged to use everything but our car. The flyer shows the same woman on a bus and as part of a carpool, and examples of other modes of transport. 

So the travel by bus and metro takes longer, but it seems to bother me less and less, and I've made a good dent in one of my textbooks.

Today I wonder what the difference would be going without my car for two weeks, or one month.

I did want to use this blog to include more insight about my experience but that may be for other postings.

Here and there during the week sometimes I was irritated that I was at the mercy of the bus routes and schedules. But sometimes things work out just fine.

This evening friends are meeting at a restaurant for drinks in recognition of the Mexican bicentennial. And the restaurant happens to be walking distance from where I am this afternoon. Perfect!

Car trips saved:
RT to work from Alexandria, meet friends after work, ride home = about 35 miles 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day Six

Took a completely different route to work today. This included a different bus to Ballston, metro to WFC and another bus that drops me off right in front of my building. This is the most efficient route and the most costly: $3.40. Worth every penny. Time: about an hour and ten minutes.

At quitting time it was raining. A co-worker was kind enough to give me a ride to WFC. Had a school parents meeting tonight so had to make it to N. Arlington via bus. Since the meeting ended at 8 p.m. my dear S.O. was able to come and pick me up and take me home. No having to find scarce buses at night tonight.

Despite my adventures and having to get up earlier than usual, I feel that after this short time I am getting used to not having my car. I don't feel that I miss it or think so much about when I will be able to use it again--not like at the beginning of the week. That's when I felt more acutely aware that I could not use my car.

Car trips saved:
Home-work-son's school-home = almost another 30 miles