Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Tesla model X [image credit: IB Times]


Can electric car companies ever be financially viable? The Tesla example isn’t looking too good since government subsidies were withdrawn, pushing up prices. This article asks if Tesla is running out of buyers for its vehicles.

Late last year, Tesla Inc. was fully charged and cruising down the highway on Autopilot, says Phys.org.

Shares were trading above $370 each, sales of the Model 3 small electric car were strong and the company had appointed a new board chair to rein in the antics of sometimes impulsive CEO Elon Musk.

But around the middle of December, investors started having doubts about the former Wall Street darling’s prospects for continued growth, and the stock started a gyrating fall that was among the worst in company history.

For the year, the share price is down around 40%, largely on concerns Tesla is running out of buyers for its vehicles, which range in price from a base $35,400 Model 3 to a larger Model X SUV that can run well over $130,000.

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Nissan Leaf electric car on charge [image credit: drive.co.uk]


Oh dear. Bribes not big enough any more? No sign of mass market take-up anyway.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association says 2018 sales of EVs were more than twice as high in France and Germany than in the UK, says Energy Live News.

That’s the verdict from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), which has published a new report showing the UK sold a total of 15,510 fully electric cars last year, a rate of 13.8% growth on 2017.

However, it highlights that average growth across the continent between the two years was 48.2%, rising to 53.2% among just EU member states.

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Towing is not suitable for EVs


All wheels should ideally be off the ground when moving EVs from point to point. But now a diesel rescue van can generate enough of a boost charge to enable stranded drivers to get to the nearest charge point in their own EV – in parts of the UK at least.

In readiness for the UK’s expected electric vehicle boom, the RAC has developed its EV Boost system – the first lightweight mobile EV-charger capable of giving stranded out-of-charge cars a power boost from one of its standard orange roadside rescue vans, says NextGreenCar.

The bespoke solution can be rolled-out to hundreds of patrol vehicles ensuring the RAC can match the scale of demand as electric vehicle ownership grows in the coming years.

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Choking off demand by restricting supply of flights would not be exactly popular with either airlines or would-be passengers. So who is it supposed to be popular with, other than the usual climate-obsessed minority who gladly swallow all the propaganda fed to them? People who want to travel will probably find a way, whether the government or anyone else likes it or not.

Concerns over climate change might restrict the growth of flying in the UK, the government has admitted.

The advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently said the UK’s planned increase in aviation would need to be curbed to restrict CO2, says BBC News.

Now a senior civil servant has told a green group that means ministers may have to review aviation strategy.

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E-truck test route [image credit: transport-online.de]


Back to the future? This is the truck equivalent of the trolleybuses that operated in some UK cities until the 1960s, and are still in use in a few other countries – except that these trucks do still have engines. Another expensive and over-engineered attempt to make a tiny reduction in trace gases in the atmosphere, in pursuit of futile ‘climate targets’ and to fool the public that such things matter.

Germany has opened its first autobahn test track for overhead power line (catenary) e-trucks, the environment ministry (BMU) announced in a press release [which says: ‘The Federal Environment Ministry has funded the construction of the plant with 14.6 million euros. For the field trial in Hesse, which runs until the end of 2022, a further 15.3 million is available’].

After years on a non-public testing ground, five hybrid test trucks will use the five kilometre long autobahn section between Frankfurt and Darmstadt in the state of Hesse until 2022, reports Clean Energy Wire.

The trucks are equipped with electric and diesel engines as well as batteries that can be quickly recharged via the overhead lines.

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Even assuming CO2 reduction to be a worthwhile policy, which is far from certain, electric vehicles may be far from an ideal option despite vast investments in the technology by many car firms, as Green Car Congress reports. Part of the supposed problem of course is that much electricity still comes from fuel-burning power stations.

According to a new study published by the ifo Institute Center for Economic Studies (CESifo) in Germany, EVs will barely help cut CO2 emissions in the country over the coming years, as the introduction of electric vehicles does not necessarily lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions from road traffic given the current power generation mix.

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The makers claim that ‘global and orbital travel will never be the same’.

A new air-breathing rocket engine is ready for a major round of testing in the next 18 months after having passed a preliminary design review by the European Space Agency (ESA), reports Space.com.

The Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), which is being developed by the U.K. company Reaction Engines, can switch between two modes.

In aircraft-engine mode, it uses oxygen from the atmosphere, and in rocket-engine mode, it burns an oxidizer carried onboard together with the fuel liquid hydrogen.

The technology, deemed particularly promising for suborbital spaceflight and supersonic intercontinental travel, could one day revolutionize space transportation, advocates say.

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Central London [image credit: carmagazine.co.uk]


It’s not clear how vehicles that have passed the mandatory annual ‘MoT’ test, which includes an emissions check, can then be selectively penalised for causing air pollution. London seems to be saying an MoT pass is not good enough, in some cases at least.

London motorists driving older, more polluting vehicles must pay a new charge from Monday as part of one of the world’s toughest vehicle emissions programmes, reports Phys.org.

The ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) charges certain polluting vehicles a £12.50 ($16, 14.5 euros) fee to enter the centre of the British capital under mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to reduce air pollution.

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This looks like a ‘build it and they will come’ strategy. But the problems of EVs such as high cost, range anxiety and heavy depreciation mainly due to uncertain battery life, are not going away – as shown by the very low numbers of adopters compared to fuel-burners. Using EVs to help charge the grid, as proposed here, could adversely affect their battery life.

A consortium is preparing to start building solar-powered car parks across Scotland as part of a trial project for so-called Smart Hubs that will feature both EV charging points and battery storage, reports OilPrice.com.

The six trial sites will also include vehicle-to-grid facilities (V2G) so EVs can feed energy back into the grid when necessary.

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Typical electric car set-up


H/T Euronews

So this claimed solution turns out to be part of the supposed problem. Of course they are promoting their imaginary ‘climate crisis’ at the same time, while insisting that ‘the batteries which power green vehicles will continue to be tainted by human rights abuses’. EV owners should be feeling as bad as their diesel counterparts by now, with such negative press.

Extracting the minerals for the lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles and electronics is fossil-fuel intensive, the NGO warned on Thursday.

Amnesty International called out electric car manufacturers on Thursday for producing batteries through unethical and fossil-fuel intensive methods.

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Not the 2019 model [image credit: camaro5.com]


A short post from our Hollywood reporter, or something – amidst reports of ‘007 going green’ (is he ill?) and ‘Dr No…petrol’ – and we’re not making any of this up. You’d need to be on a big budget to afford his ride though – the price is shocking.

Silent EV in Her Majesty’s secret service will have all the gadgets, reports Autoblog.

England’s The Sun newspaper, in a piece fabulously titled “The Spy Who Plugged Me … In,” reports that James Bond will drive an Aston Martin Rapide E in the next franchise installment.

Quoting “an insider,” it’s said director Cary Joji Fukunaga is a “total tree-hugger” and pushed to include a more environmentally friendly set of wheels.

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Image credit: emeraldmedia.co.uk


How about a ban on endless international climate conferences that lead to hundreds of flights – including many long-haul – but produce little of value, ‘to save emissions’? In fact the ’20 flights in a lifetime’ proposed here would probably have that effect anyway. The report ends with an apparent claim that particulates in the air are a ‘climate problem’.

Leading German climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has called for a substantial shift in strategy for the tourism industry to make sure that its carbon footprint does not contribute to the sector’s possible demise.

“Tourism bites the hand that feeds it if it contributes to climate change,” the former director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) said at the ITB international tourism fair in Berlin.

If beaches around the world are flooded due to a global rise in temperature of 4 or 5 degrees Celsius, “there will be no more beach tourism,” Schellnhuber said.

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Electric Tuk Tuk [image credit: cleantechnica.com]


But India makes a point of not handing any money to people wanting to buy the more expensive EVs, as Forbes News reports. Whether they can produce enough electricity to back up their policy is not clear. The majority of their power supply is from coal, plus some diesel generators.

To encourage the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) industry in India, the government has developed a two-pronged strategy aimed at both buyers and manufacturers: $1.4 billion in subsidies are to be offered, followed by a hike on import tariffs within the next year to spur domestic companies to build the vehicles.

The new policy, which was cleared by the cabinet late last month but the details of which were not available till now, kicks in with the new financial year in April.

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Any takers?


From next year EU-based carmakers will be hit with monster fines if, or far more likely when, they fail to sell enough ‘low emission’ vehicles to a public that has an increasing taste for SUV models but lacks interest in electric power.

European car makers complain they are being crippled by controversial EU emissions rules, rising US tariffs and uncertainty about UK leaving the bloc, says the South China Morning Post.

The Geneva Motor Show kicks off this week with carmakers eager to show off new electric models, even as they nervously eye a horizon coloured by trade wars and Brexit uncertainty.

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H/T The GWPF
Fuel-burning car usage in the USA shows no signs of going out of fashion.

Remember how oil demand was going to fall because green millennials are different and don’t want to kill the planet? Well, think again says the Energy Institute at HAAS.

Starting around 2012 there was a lot of discussion about millennials being different.  “Why Don’t Young Americans Buy Cars?” asked Jordan Weissman in the Atlantic. “Why Aren’t Younger Americans Driving Anymore?” wrote Brad Plumer in the Washington Post.

At the time, it made sense to ask these questions.

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Credit: carsdirect.com


As with all battery-related news, it has to be treated with caution. Such ideas more often than not fail to turn into practical realities.

New technology promises an end to motorists’ ‘range anxiety’, reports NBC News.

Electric vehicles are easier on the environment than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but their long charging times and the scarcity of charging stations can make life hard for the eco-conscious motorists who drive them.

Now help may be on the horizon.

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Wavy jet stream
[image credit: BBC]


Fly like the wind – but not your everyday wind.

Airplanes often receive a speed increase from air currents high in the skies, but very few get an insane boost like this: helped by a tailwind of more than 322 km (200 miles) per hour, a Boeing 787-9 jet reached a ground speed of 1,289 km (801 miles) per hour on Monday night, reports Science Alert.

The top speed was recorded by the Virgin Atlantic commercial flight from LA to London while over central Pennsylvania, at somewhere around 10,670 metres (35,000 feet) above ground.

“Never ever seen this kind of tailwind in my life as a commercial pilot!!” tweeted Peter James.

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Antarctica [credit: Wikipedia]


It’s hard to be too surprised by this news even though it’s well into the Antarctic summer.

A British-led expedition to find the Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, has been defeated by horrendous weather and pack ice – the very conditions that trapped the explorer’s vessel in Antarctica more than a century ago, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The expedition was called off on Thursday after “extreme weather conditions” led to the loss of an autonomous robotic submarine that, it was hoped, would have located the wreck.

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So much for trains replacing planes in line with current US ‘green’ ideology? The UK equivalent is the HS2 project which is also under pressure from various quarters. Both eye-wateringly expensive.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that he was abandoning plans to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, citing the high cost and the time it would take, reports Phys.org.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that he was abandoning plans to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, citing the high cost and the time it would take.

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The craze for national economic self-harm in the name of supposed climate virtue-signalling seems to be spreading, among politicians at least.

Proposal put forward for country’s first climate law takes swipe at auto-industry, scraps fossil fuel subsidies and sets 2050 goal for 100% renewable power, reports Climate Home News.

Spain is proposing to ban fossil fuel subsidies, dump investments that encourage dirty energy use and drive lighter diesel and petrol vehicles off the road.

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