Smartphones + Shared Electric Scooters in San Francisco (Scoot)

Smartphones + Shared Electric Scooters in San Francisco (Scoot)

SEPTEMBER 28, 2012 BY  LEAVE A COMMENT

Need to rent a hip electric scooter for short jaunts around San Francisco? Want to causally zipin and out of all your runs for errands and feel the breeze causally on your commute. Here’s how: get your iPhone (or other smartphone, if you have one), look for a scooter, zoom in and pick one, reserve it, go to your scooter, dock your phone on the scooter, your smartphone connects to and unlocks the scooter, and you are good to go — what a smartphone does nowadays!

Scoot Scooters

The Wonders of Smartphones and Scooters

We use smartphones for transportation, maps, looking for routes, plans for buses, talking to our friends, etc. Now, explains Michael Keating, “we just built the smartphone directly into our service of fast easy light transportation.”

These scooters are for short trips around the city, replacing the bus, taxi, etc. All you need is a CA driver’s license and you can rent one. Getting around the city used to be a trouble, but not now.

Because scooters are so small, parking in the city now will be easy and perfect for errands. One’s daily commutes will be quite relaxed compared to the stress of finding parking and maneuvering cumbersome vehicles. Scoot’s on-demand service means no more waiting for a ride. 
Time is saved by the quick action of your smartphone, and now the time is yours to enjoy. The initial locations will primarily be in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood, and are aimed at both residents of the neighborhood and others who work there. There will be 50 scooters in the initial deployment.

Many Reasons for Scooters

 

 

San Francisco is Committed to Environmental Economy

San Francisco is committed to making the Bay Area the center for the EV market, reducing our reliance on foreign oil, and boosting our green economy,” said Mayor Lee. “Scoot’s launch combines the innovation of San Francisco companies with our City’s commitment to a green economy to provide yet another clean alternative mode of transportation for everyone.”

Electric Scooters Made in America for China (10,000,000 a year)

As the video above notes, electric scooters are being made in huge quantities for China. This makes them affordable for us, replacing gas-chugging cars for quiet trips around the city.

From Keating: “Right now to use Scoot’s network it costs $10 to sign up, $5 per month, and $5 per hour. There’s also a $10 per day option (that seems like a steal), and a $25 per month package that includes four half day rides. Additionally there’s an option to rent out your own personal Scoot for $185 per month.”

The company recently closed a $550,000 round of funding with several high-profile angel investors, including Tim Young (About.me, Socialcast), Lisa Gansky (Ofoto, The Mesh), & Jerry Fiddler (Zygote Ventures, Wind River). Scoot is also an alumni of the Greenstart accelerator program in SF, where it was selected as part of the top 2% from a pool of 165 startups and received a $115,000 investment from that.

Again, how Scoot works:

  • Sign Up Online: New users sign up on the website and pay $10 to join the service.
  • Orientation: Scoot gives new members a quick orientation that covers how to safely ride a scooter, along with some hands-on training.
  • Find a Scoot and ride: Members can take a Scoot out from any one of a number of locations across the city simply by plugging their phone in the Scoot’s smartphone dock. Once the scoot is started, the phone becomes the dashboard, providing members with a map, speedometer and battery gauge.
  • Payment: Members pay by the hour ($5/hr), or a flat fee for round-trip commutes ($10/commute) during the week.

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1oBmz)

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Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging — Will it Work?

Parking_bays_for_electric_cars

It’s intended to take the hassle out of electric vehicle charging, and, according to its designers, Qualcomm, is a simple but effective alternative to cumbersome plug-in charging stations. Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) is designed to eliminate unsightly charging stations and unnecessary cables, and with just about everything else we use today incorporating wireless technology, it seems like the next logical step for the plight of the eco-friendly car. Here we look at how plausible the innovative idea is before it goes on trial in London in November.

How would it work?

Wireless charging makes use of an electromagnetic field which transfers energy between two objects. The idea is that drivers will be able to park up at a charging station and have their vehicle recharged without even leaving their seat. Those who struggle to remember the basics of parallel parking from their driving lessons need not worry, as perfect pad and vehicle alignment won’t be necessary.

The technology, named Qualcomm Halo, will incorporate smaller batteries than are currently used at charging stations, but Qualcomm explains that drivers will be able to charge their car little and often, with increasing convenience. As these spaces will remain reserved for electric vehicle owners, there will hopefully be an increase in those converting from fuel cars.

The London experiment

The main vehicle test will be carried out using a specially adapted Delta Motorsport E4 Coupe. The Formula 1 car designer was required to add the pad to the vehicle in order to connect it to the road unit, as well as a touch screen interface to let the driver know when he or she is aligned with the charging pad.

Throughout the trial, charging pads stationed at Qualcomm’s West London office and at minicab company Addison Lee, will be put into practice. The initiative, supported by Prime Minister David Cameron is designed to demonstrate how WEVC can work in busy cities, such as London.

Time, or rather the lack of it, is everything in the city, so the option of quick, easy, and readily available charging is particularly appealing. With many making short but frequent trips, presumably the need for more charging pads will grow, as, hopefully, will the market for eco-friendly vehicles. As an added incentive, drivers of electric cars can expect to avoid the daily cost of London’s congestion charge.

So, is it plausible?

In short, yes. Technology is ever advancing, and Qualcomm Halo not only recognizes this, but also promotes the needed reduction of fuel emissions.

It’s not, however, alone in its wireless charging quest, with a similar trial already underway in Germany. Concept vehicles have also emerged from both Rolls-Royce, Delphi, and Infiniti/Nissan that include wireless charging technology. GoogleHertz, and Plugless Power are also testing out wireless charging technology. And researchers in Tokyo have created an electric roadway demo that wirelessly charges EVs.

Although wireless charging is designed, first and foremost, for city driving, it remains to be seen if it could ever work outside of the city. The fact that motorists may well require a car for both urban and rural driving, therefore, poses a problem.

Eco-friendly driving constantly comes up against questions of how practical it is, and Qualcomm’s idea is no exception. Certainly, the short-term vision has a lot of promise, but the long-term success of WEVC remains to be seen.

This guest post was written by an eco-friendly driver and blogger, Isabelle Guarella, on behalf of PassSmart.com.

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1m5rg)

Fueling Stations of the Future Here Now

The 21st century’s just about sure to see the end of what, in terms of human evolution, has been aptly dubbed “The Fossil Fuel Era.” The transition to cleaner, renewable forms of energy and power — be it for lighting, heating, cooling or industry — is (pardon the pun) gaining steam. And while gains are slower and more difficult to come by, the same can be said when it comes to transportation, that other major component of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

A growing number of entrepreneurial companies — from multinational giants such as GE to small-scale newcomers, such as Tesla, A123, and a bevy of others — are hard at work developing electric, flex and hybrid fuel vehicles, as well as the infrastructure to support them.

Electric vehicle (EV) sales jumped 164% year-over-year in June. Sales of the Lexus CT200h increased 500%, while Chevy Volt sales surged 200% higher, according to the Kelley Blue Book Market Report.

There’s good reason to believe that this surge in the search and development of clean, alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure will be different; that a drop in oil, gasoline and diesel prices won’t be enough to derail progess, as happened in the eighties and nineties subsequent to the oil crises of the 1970s. Two news items this past week provide supporting evidence.

Of Skypumps and Solar Trees

GE’s industrial division and Urban Green Energy (UGE) came out with word that the first installation of their Sanya Skypump is up and running at the headquarters of environmental services company Cespa near Barcelona, Spain. Integrating New York–based Urban Green Energy’s 4-kW vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) and GE’s DuraStation EV chargers, the Sanya Skypump points the way toward fueling stations of the future that gather all the energy they need from the wind.

Along a similar vein, San Diego’s Envision Solar announced it has successfully completed engineering and manufacturing of its first run of pre-cast concrete columns for its Solar Tree arrays. Parking lots are ideal sites for Envision’s Solar Trees. Combine them with EV chargers and you have a clean, renewable fueling station right where EV motorists need and want it.

The Sanya Skypump can fully charge EVs in 4-8 hours, using electricity produced by UGE’s 4-kW VAWT, which stands 42 feet high, according to the partner companies. Winds of at least 7 mph are needed to generate electricity.

Plans are in the works to install Sanya Skypump EV fueling stations in the US and Australia before year-end, GE and UGE say. Sites include shopping malls and universities, as well as other locations.

A big advantage of the Sanya Skypump wind-powered EV fueling station is its installation time. The entire system takes less than two hours to get up and running, the companies say.

Envision Solar’s new pre-cast Solar Tree concrete columns are part of its “Drag & Drop Infrastructure” product line, one that “offers much faster, more efficient deployment of Solar Tree structures,” the company explains.

“We are continually leveraging technology to increase our efficiency and quality. We call this new modularized approach: Drag & Drop Infrastructure™ — creating the shortest possible time and ease for deploying the best solar shaded parking products in the industry with the least disruption in the field,” Envision Solar president and CEO Desmond Wheatley elaborated.

“That means lower costs, lower risks, higher quality and higher customer satisfaction. We have to take these steps in order to efficiently meet the volume demands that our business development activities will be creating. We are in this to deploy thousands of Solar Tree arrays and we are going to have to be highly efficient to get that done.”

Manufacturing the concrete columns in a controlled environment enables Envision to produce the highest quality results. It also makes for much more efficient installations. The new Solar Tree columns enable Envision to install the solar PV structures in hours rather than the days or even weeks required for columns that are cast in place, director of Program Management Peter Seiler added.

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1le69)

Electric Hybrid Trucks & SUVs from Via Motors Could Be a Game Changer

Don’t look now, but it looks like the evolution of electric automobiles may finally be turning towards trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) thanks to Via Motors.

Recently, I watched a video featuring Jay Leno’ s Garage. In the 12-minute video, Leno discusses what “more or less is a truck version of the Chevy Volt,” called VTrux. Via Motors board member Bob Lutz, who was instrumental in getting the Chevy Volt off the ground, further discussed the potential of these new hybrid electric trucks and SUVs in the market.

What I found interesting is that the new hybrid electric pickup truck will allow you to drive the first 40 miles purely on electricity, resulting in close to zero emissions. That is partly thanks to a 24kWh Li-ion battery pack as part of the Via Motors Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) power train. The vehicle takes about four hours to charge at 220, according to CarTech.

After it reaches the first 40 miles, a small V6 engine can give the truck an extra 400 miles, according to Lutz.

The new hybrid electric trucks will get around 100 estimated miles per gallon in fuel economy, according to Via Motors website. The company even points out that the new electric hybrid trucks can cut 75% off fuel costs. Meanwhile, charging the vehicle daily can possibly reduce refilling the gas tank to even less than ten times a year, and cost six cents per mile (driving in electric mode).

General Motors builds the basic specs of the truck, then sends it to Via Motors, who then electrically modifies it, Lutz said.

Currently, the first deliveries are going to big fleets, including PG&E, who are testing it out, Lutz said.  He expects high-volume production of standardized vehicles is eight to nine months out.

While some may have moaned about gas-guzzling SUV and pick-up trucks as environmentally unsustainable in the past (or even today), and sales of SUVs and pickup trucks have slowed in recent years, the idea of a hybrid electric pickup truck may pump some new life into the truck market, as Lutz acknowledged in the video. He noted that the drop in sales is due to high gas prices and their negative environmental impact. Of course, electric hybrid trucks get around both of those hurdles.

Sources:  egm CarTechVia Motors
Image Credit: VTrux via Flickr

Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1kRAV)

Urban Green Energy and GE Announce First Sanya Skypump Installation

BARCELONA, Spain–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Urban Green Energy (UGE) and GE (GE) have unveiled the world’s first integrated wind-powered electric vehicle charging station. The innovative Sanya Skypump pairs UGE’s cutting-edge vertical wind turbines with GE’s electric vehicle (EV) charging technology to offer completely clean energy to power electric vehicles.

Installed by UGE Iberia, the Spanish branch of New York-based Urban Green Energy, the first wind-powered EV charging station is located at Cespa’s global headquarters near Barcelona. Cespa is the environmental services subsidiary of Ferrovial Servicios, the world’s largest private transportation infrastructure investor.

More Sanya Skypumps will be installed later this year in the U.S. and Australia at shopping malls, universities and other locations.

The integrated system incorporates both the energy production capacity of UGE’s 4K wind turbine and the EV charging capability of the GE Durastation in a single unit, with all required electrical systems located within the tower.

Designed for commercial and government customers, the Sanya Skypump combines environmental benefits with a strong statement to customers and the public.

“Since launching the Sanya Skypump, we have received inquiries from companies around the world that are looking to embrace sustainability,” said Nick Blitterswyk, CEO of UGE. “The Sanya Skypump is one of those rare products that enable institutions to demonstrate their commitment to the environment while providing a really useful service as well.”

The Sanya Skypump delivers power through a GE DuraStation EV charger, which enables faster charging using higher voltages.

Charles Elazar, marketing director of GE Energy Management’s Industrial Solutions business in Europe, says, “GE is launching a family of electric vehicle charging systems in Europe offering domestic and commercial users a range of easy-to-use, flexible systems to help make electric vehicles a practical, everyday reality.”

GE is a keen supporter of electric vehicles and has announced plans to purchase 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015 for use as company cars and to lease to corporate customers through its Fleet Services business.

About Urban Green Energy

With installations in over 65 countries, including installations for several government agencies and Fortune 100 companies, UGE is changing the face of distributed renewable energy. UGE puts users in control of their energy source by designing and manufacturing more versatile wind turbines and hybrid wind/solar systems for use in applications ranging from residential to commercial, from suburban US homeowners to off-grid telecoms towers in rural Africa. Visitwww.urbangreenenergy.com today to learn how together we can create a greener tomorrow.

About GE

GE (GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ge.com.

GE Energy works connecting people and ideas everywhere to create advanced technologies for powering a cleaner, more productive world. With more than 100,000 employees in over 100 countries, our diverse portfolio of product and service solutions and deep industry expertise help our customers solve their challenges locally. We serve the energy sector with technologies in such areas as natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear energy; wind, solar, biogas and water processing; energy management; and grid modernization. We also offer integrated solutions to serve energy- and water-intensive industries such as mining, metals, marine, petrochemical, food & beverage and unconventional fuels.

Follow GE’s Industrial Solutions business on Twitter @GEindustrial and @GE_WattStation.

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2014 Tesla Model X Vs. 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV: Electric SUV Showdown?

The 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is unique, the only all-electric compact sport-utility vehicle sold by a major automaker in the U.S.

Behind the wheel, its Tesla-developed powertrain makes it peppy but quiet, while it maintains all the cargo and people space of the original gasoline version.

There’s really only one vehicle that’s even close to comparable, and that doesn’t exist yet: the 2014 Tesla Model X all-electric crossover, of which prototypes were unveiled in February.

Comparing a real car to a hypothetical one is an exercise in speculation.

But spurred on by a review on TheStreet.com that suggests buyers view the Toyota RAV4 EV as a Tesla for half the price, we decided to do it anyway.

SIZE:The 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is a compact crossover, in the popular segment that includes the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue. The 2014 Tesla Model X, on the other hand, is a segment larger, competing with the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and undoubtedly pricier and more luxurious import-brand SUVs like the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Range Rover, and Mercedes-Benz GL. Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] says the Model X has the dimensions of the Audi Q7 but 40 percent more interior space.

SEATING: The RAV4 EV seats four comfortably, five in a pinch. The electric Teslasport utility, on the other hand, will offer seven seats (as does the Model S sedan with its optional jump seats, though the last two are only child-sized).

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012

WEIGHT: The electric RAV4 weighs 4,030 pounds, while no weight has been given for the Model X. Since it’s larger, we’d expect it to be rather heavier than the Model S sedan on which it’s based, which comes in at 4,650 pounds for the 40-kWh version.

BATTERY SIZE: The RAV4 EV has 41.8 kilowatt-hours of usable pack capacity, though oddly Toyota won’t give the total pack size. The Model X will offer 60-kWh and 85-kWh options, though unlike the Model S sedan, it won’t have a 40-kWh version.

POWER: The Toyota RAV4 EV uses the same electric motor as the Tesla Model S sedan, but its power is limited to 115 kilowatts (154 horsepower) by the battery pack output.The Tesla Model X will likely use the Model S motor–with peak power of 270 kW (362 hp)–in the standard version, and two electric motors (one per axle) of unspecified power for the all-wheel drive model. Tesla says there will be a Model X Performance edition as well.

DRIVE WHEELSToyota’s electric RAV4 is offered only in front-wheel drive, although Toyota’s program leader Sheldon Brown said that at least one all-wheel drive prototype was built, adding a second motor at the rear to complement the existing one up front. The Model X will be offered with rear-wheel drive standard, plus an optional all-wheel drive version that adds a second motor for the front wheels.

VOLUME: Toyota will build only 2,600 RAV4 EVs for the 2012 through 2014 model years. Tesla has said it could sell 10,000 to 15,000 Model X crossovers a year once full production levels are reached.

Tesla Model XTesla Model X

PRICE: The list price of the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is $49,800, with a $2,500 California purchase rebate, and buyers may qualify for a $7,500 Federal tax credit. No price has been announced for the 2014 Model X, but Tesla says prices will be “comparable” to the base

Source: Green Car Reports

Goodbye petrol stations? EVs could recharge through their tires as a developer team manages to send electricity through 12 inches of concrete

As the fuel revolution begins in earnest and we begin to reduce our dependence on petrol, one key question remains: How do we charge up on the go? While many electronic refuel stops are now being built alongside roads across the country, a Japanese team of researchers has come up with another method, after demonstrating a way of sending electricity through 12 inches of concrete

The technological achievement could see cars being recharged through special tyres that could such charge up through the tarmac while on the move.

The Toyohashi University of Technology say there are no technological hurdles to bringing ‘EVER’ – or Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway – to the roads, other than gaining mass-approval and adoption. The team’s demonstration last week used the same concrete as used for public roads in Japan, and showed electricity being sent through six inches of road surface.

In the demo, electricity between 50 and 60 watts was sent to actual tyres, with a light-bulb lighting up to show how the electricity was moving from the base, through six inches of concrete, and then into full-size automobile tyres.

Lead professor Takashi Ohir said the concrete could be scaled up to 12 inches without a problem, although the voltage would need be scaled up 100 times in order to power a car. However Ohir said this was not a technical issue. He added that the efficiency of the power transmission through the concrete was 80-90 per cent or higher.

Other companies are looking at similar technology, such as Toyota, which suggests a system of metal plates on the road.

Source : Petrol Plaza