Projections for the Future of Transportation Fuel (Oilprice.com)

This article, reprinted with permission from Oilprice.com, is not dealing with LENR, but it’s an analysis of the future of transportation, and how solar could impact the way fuel efficiency is measured in electric vehicles. I found the article very interesting. I agree that the internal combustion engine is on its way out, and solar has the potential to provide cheaper transportation. However, the whole projection could be quite different if LENR is added to the mix. 

Consider: 

1. Current power plants that convert to a LENR source of energy would not need the huge amounts of fossil fuels they currently burn to create electricity. Centralized LENR power plants could be very competitive with solar, without the need for dedicating lots of land for solar panels.

2. Distributed energy production from LENR could do the same as 1. without the expense of lots of grid infrastructure

3. Eventually on-board power generation from LENR could be available for vehicles.

Why Buffett Bet A Billion On Solar
by Henry Hewitt
Originally published at Oilprice.com here

Miles Per Acre Per Year

During the late innings of the ICE-age (as in the Internal Combustion Engine age) it has become clear that feeding gasoline and diesel to the next billion new cars is not going to be easy, or cheap. In China alone, 500 million new vehicles can be expected to jam the roads between now and 2030.

That may sound far-fetched but considering annual sales have already made it to 25 million units per year (vs. around 17 million in the U.S. – China became the top market in 2009), it only requires a 4 percent growth rate to reach that target in fifteen years.

The cost to operate an EV, per mile, is already well below the cost to drive a standard ICE-age model, and the advantage is likely to widen. The average U.S. residential customer pays 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which means the cost to drive one mile in an EV is somewhat less than 4 cents. By contrast, at 25 miles per $3 gallon of gasoline, those miles cost 12 cents each.

Coal still supplies more power in the U.S. than anything else, with natural gas next. However, building more coal and gas power plants to make miles for transport is counter-productive if the game plan is to reduce carbon output.

Fortunately, abundant renewable power, is getting cheaper, while gasoline from finite fossil fuels may get more expensive. (Even after the fall in U.S. crude, gasoline in California costs $4 on average. At that price, California miles are 16 cents each. If you drive an SUV in Southern California those miles cost over 30 cents each.)

Even though not all renewables are created equal, power purchase agreements (PPAs) for PV projects with utilities in the U.S. Southwest are now coming in under seven cents per kWh for a twenty year period. At that rate, the cost to operate an electric vehicle is 2 cents per mile. Hydropower in Seattle will push you around for the same price. The first ‘eye-opener’ for large scale solar was the Austin Energy PPA last year that was priced at 5 cents. What this country needed was a good 5-cent kWh, and now we have it.

It is generous to say that an acre of Iowa can provide 12,500 miles per year at a cost of 10 cents each. (Average fuel efficiency in the U.S. is 22 miles per gallon (mpg). New cars in 2015 get 25 mpg.) An acre of corn that provides 500 gallons of ethanol, at 22 mpg, gives you 11,000 miles, or would, if such gallons had the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline.

Unfortunately, they don’t. Ethanol packs about 70 percent of the punch of gasoline, so you actually need 1.4 gallons of ethanol to get you as far as a gallon of gas. (Instead of 11,000 miles per acre for the average 22 mpg model, the figure drops to 7,850 miles per acre per year.)

But suppose your new car is up to current Chinese standards (~35 mpg). In that case, Iowa’s acres provide 12,500 miles in a year (17,500/1.4). This is still roughly two orders of magnitude less output per acre than Warren Buffett’s Agua Caliente array in Arizona. No wonder Berkshire Hathaway has already bet a billion on PV arrays. One could say that Mr. Buffett has not only seen the light but invested heavily therein.

Sunrise in the Desert

An acre of desert in Arizona, Nevada and many other places on earth ‘sees’ on the order of 3,000 hours of direct sun per year. (This amounts to 34 percent of the total 8,765 hours available, half being dark.) PV arrays on a house are spaced closely together and it is reasonable to figure 250 kilowatts (kW) per acre of aggregated rooftops. However, it costs more to build an acre of rooftop PV. On the ground the figure is closer to 150 kW per acre.

The biggest difference between rooftop and most of the utility scale arrays yet to be built is that it makes sense, when possible, to track the sun. Since not everyone can afford to build houses that track the sun, let’s just assume that all residential rooftop arrays will be fixed. In the commercial sector, and in the case of community solar, there is more flexibility and tracking arrays may make sense, especially when mounted on the ground.

The arithmetic is pretty simple. You get about 20 percent more yield by tracking the sun. A rooftop array is pointed directly at the sun (known as direct normal irradiance) only for a short while each day, assuming the roof pitch is right, and most aren’t. If it costs 1o percent more to get that 20 percent extra yield, do it.

Critics will say that more structure and added tracking motors and mechanisms will add to the chance of system failure. This, however, is a fallacy. Consider the venerable oil drilling donkey, which cycles once every 7 or 8 seconds. At this rate (480 cycles per hour, and 11,520 cycles per day), these ancient and effective oil rigs cycle more in a day than a tracking PV array in its 30-year lifetime. (365.25 days x 30 years = 10,957 cycles.)

An acre of desert PV will easily yield 300,000 kWh (150 kW per acre x 2,000 hours of direct normal sun) and a million miles per year for an EV. Since 2,500 to 3,000 hours are available in many places, the figure jumps to between 375,000 and 450,000 kWh per year, yielding between 1.25 million and 1.5 million miles per acre per year.

In other words, the output from (more expensive) ethanol is little more than a rounding error compared to the output from PV. The choice is between a million miles per acre per year, costing 2 to 4 cents each from the sun, or 10,000 miles per year costing 12 to 20 cents from a cornfield that would be better served making food.

Even if the figures were more supportive of the ethanol case, biomass in general does not scale very well. Silicon based PV, on the other hand, is hugely scalable and relatively cheap. It really isn’t a fair fight.

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(Click to enlarge)

The calculation for rooftop solar is not quite as straightforward as multiplying the number of kilowatts by the number of hours of sun in a year. NREL has done the math on how many kWh you get from a fixed (non-tracking) array per day from a square meter depending upon location. It is roughly the measure of how many hours per day the panels will produce peak power. The US average is around four hours which means that,

For an individual homeowner, a 3-kW PV system in a less than arid region will still yield 4,000 kWh (3 kW x 4 hours x 365 days) and enough EV miles to cover the average annual 12,000 – 15,000 miles of commuting. Even at 15 cents per solar kWh (and, as mentioned, many PPAs are coming in at half that figure or less), you will save about 10 cents per mile over the gasoline price. The 5-year fuel savings will pay for a 3-kW system.

Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell cannot stop this; they will begin to bleed trillions of miles per year. They had better think seriously about financing solar and wind arrays. The estimated one million EVs on world roads by the end of this year will cover roughly 10 billion miles per year, and over 100 million miles over their lifetime. What will ExxonMobil’s share price be when cumulative EV sales reach 100 million units?

EV Sales Worldwide (740,000 units)

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By 2030, millions of people will have transport fuel that is ‘on the house.’ During the midday hours, many grids will experience negative pricing as solar PV floods the market to the extent that the power cannot be stored. As millions of EVs hit the road, four percent of the time, on average (the rest of the time they are in a garage or parked on the street), they will likely become the default destination for stored electricity.

When there are 100 million EVs, figuring 60 kWh batteries, the fleet will provide 6 terawatt-hours of storage, enough to run the U.S. (with 1,000 GW, or 1 Terawatt, of power capacity) at peak power for six hours, or the world (with 5 Terawatts of capacity ) for over an hour. If all the cars sold in the U.S. this year were electric, their battery capacity would be sufficient to power the country for an hour (17 million vehicles x 60 kWh). How many gigafactories will Mr. Musk have to build?

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-Buffett-Bet-A-Billion-On-Solar.html

By Henry Hewitt for Oilprice.com

  • Mytakeis

    You could join in LENR development and make even more money, after Rand Paul, as president, successfully implements his flat tax. Bet that would be more exciting for you. Not much call for tax men then!

  • Omega Z

    stefenski
    The UK has heavy taxes on their Gasoline to pay for social programs.
    Obviously, If gas is no longer needed, they will have to devise new taxes elsewhere. All countries do this. They just use different means. Nothing is free.

  • Omega Z

    roseland67
    Follow the link provided by Brent Buckner above.
    Even if Solar was outlawed, Buffet will get his money.

  • Omega Z

    1) The owner gets a cash grant equal to 30% of the construction cost, or;
    2) The owner gets a break on their federal taxes equal to (get this) 100% of the cost of the project. This “Bonus tax deduction” can be used to reduce federal taxes in the year that that the project is first completed.

    The 25 year (Power Purchase Agreement) PPA with (Pacific Gas & Electric)PGE will return all of Buffett’s $2B of investment plus a return of at least 5%.

    These PPA’s usually include the purchase/payment of power even if not needed or used. It’s a no lose for Buffet$.

  • Omega Z

    I read a report a couple years ago that calculated that solar produced 50% as much CO2 as a coal plant cradle to grave. I thought at the time that would be comparable to N-Gas. It also produces about 50% less CO2 then coal.

    I guess in 30 years or so, all the ignored contaminates will fall to the Federal Superfund cleanup. Oh well, Those who allowed this will be dead & gone. It becomes someone elses problem. Love Canal anyone?

  • Daniel Maris

    I’m increasingly coming to the view that solar plus storage (let’s call it SPS) will be in a position to meet all our energy needs within the next 20 years. The cost of both photovoltaic panels and chemical batteries has been reducing so rapidly – and nearly all analysts (banks and investors as well as environmentalists) think the downward trend will continue for many years – that we can see SPS beating the cheapest fossil fuels within a generation. It’s already happening in the sunnier parts of the globe.

    This is a good article but it doesn’t focus on the cost of EV batteries – and that is the main cost of an EV.

    The good news is that Musk and others are working credibly to substantially reduce the cost of the batteries – that is what will launch the EV economy.

    Another great thing about EVs is that they will be able to serve as a nation’s grid storage – so on those rare occasions when it’s very cloudy and there is no wind the nation’s EVs can feed electricity back into the grid (with financial incentives to encourage that), so avoiding the need to build separate storage facilities.

    • Alain Samoun

      In one month after his announcement Elon Musk has sold 30,000 of his batteries.

      • Omega Z

        Not His Batteries.
        I don’t recall the (2)manufactures, but 1 is a 7Kwh & the other is 10Kwh.

        The 7Kwh costs about 15 cents per kilowatt of total life-cycle. That’s cost divide by the capacity & the average number recharges. Tho less capacity, it is by far the better deal.

        The 10Kwh costs about 33 cents per kilowatt of total life-cycle. Also cost divide by the capacity & the average number recharges.

        You need to provide & pay for the electricity for charging them.
        I heard somewhere they may reduce the price a little. (Not confirmed)
        Maybe a customer did the math & said WTF. 🙂

        • Omega Z

          Musk at a shareholder meeting(Powerwall).

          Powerwall is theoretically economical. In reality they are quite expensive for most people(His words).

          1st. You can not run AC off these unless you have multiple packs. They are for basic power needs. Lights, refrigerator etc. Even with 2 packs, they wouldn’t run an AC for long. The kilowatt storage cost does not include the electricity you feed into them. It’s also not recommended to mix the 7Kw with a 10Kw pack. 7Kw charge rating is 5000 times. 10Kw charge rating is 1500 times. Averages are lower.

          The 10Kwh Powerwall. Average 1200 charges. Previously posted 33 but more like 35 cents per Kilowatt “storage” cost. It’s primary purpose is for power outages. It isn’t meant for daily charging like from solar panels or off peek energy rates. Maximum peek draw is 7Kwh of which would last about 1.4 hours. My opinion, Your probably better off with a N-gas or gasoline generator. Seriously, if your in a hurricane or tornado, solar panels probably wont be in very good condition for recharging this system.

          The 7Kwh Powerwall Average 4500 charges. Previously posted 15 but more like 18 cents per Kilowatt “storage” cost. It can be charged daily from solar panels or during off peek hours. Musk didn’t give Maximum peek draw but I would guess somewhere around 4Kwh. If I had to have 1, this would be the better deal. Even if you need to have 2.

          Most of the U.S. is flat rate & electricity to cheap for these to be of benefit beyond backup purposes. California/Hawaii are exceptions with high electricity costs & lower off peek hour rates. Why would you want to store 12 cent electricity at an additional 18 or 35 cents per Kwh. You can’t really justify this even if you have solar panels. So California/Hawaii other areas/States/Countries these may be of benefit. Not most of the U.S.

          The Primary Target of Powerwalls- Business, Power plants & off griders.
          Note that many business can negotiate their energy costs & get special off peek rates even if the general public can’t. If their big enough, they can generate their own electricity if the power companies don’t negotiate. This actually benefits you, because if business generates their own, the power companies would have to charge you more. Business help to cover overhead costs. With lower off peak rates, this may be viable.

          Power Plants, But not necessarily to store energy from those with Solar panels back feeding. Large power plants my shut down there generators when the power isn’t needed, but the boilers are kept going in many cases.

          Shutting down boilers can take several days to bring back up to operating temps. There merely idled down. They still have operating & fuel costs. They could just charge batteries at night & use them during peak demand. No real savings in doing this, but huge saving if it reduces the number of power plants that cost Billion$ They also have many power plants that don’t operate for half the year. Needed only during summer when everyone fires up the AC.

          One thing Musk didn’t take into account. You can’t use them for daily peak/off peak & seasonal peak/off peaks. It’ll be 1 or the other. Not both.
          Another thing is 1 size doesn’t fit all. There are a lot of variables. Much of the year, when your solar panels produce the most energy is when You need it the most. During the hot summer cooling time.

          • Daniel Maris

            Grandma has read your piece and says she knew how to suck eggs already.

            Musk is changing the world. For whatever reason, you don’t like that. We get the picture.

            • Alain Samoun

              “Grandma has read your piece..” ;=))

            • Omega Z

              Got it
              Check your utility bill
              How many Kilowatts did you use & divide it by the number of billing days.
              Compare that to the 7Kwh battery.

              With that battery, you can’t use your AC & it’s advised not to do laundry & if you use an electric range for cooking, plan accordingly. It’ll drain a large portion of your battery. There is a fix for that. Buy additional batteries. Their only about $5K each plus install.

    • Omega Z

      Daniel
      Your (SPS) will eventually be cheaper then Fossil Energy.
      In some places it’s already competitive. If you live in California, Hawaii or a number of other places in the world where they already pay 30 to 50 cents a Kilowatt during peak periods. When electricity costs that much everywhere then PV can easily compete on the front end.

      In the U.S. N-Gas is cheap & expected to stay cheap for several decades. The downward pressure of this has had a suppressing effect on coal. Electricity is cheaper to make in the U.S. then it has been in several decades. But certain Government policies have been implemented to force the price up by about 50% over the next 5/6 years. More will follow.

      Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where this is headed. I stumbled across a Government report that had a chart that projected & proposed 40/50 cent a kilowatt electricity. The chart was laid out for prices reaching $1Kwh. Simply a plan if the market doesn’t go in the direction they want it to, they will manipulate it.

      At 1 end, Solar has been so expensive that a 25% decrease in cost is still expensive. On the other end you have projections of raw materials for solar substantially increasing(2x/3x) with demand. Labor is going to at least double. The only way to make solar competitive is by manipulating the cost on the cheaper energy higher. Using these inflated costs to offset solar energy costs with subsidies. That’s how you make solar competitive. You can’t make it cheaper, you make the other cost more.

      There is an eventual downside. When cheaper fossil energy is phased out, the true cost of solar hits home. Thus, the projected cost chart. by that time, it’s to late to intervene. The consumer is stuck with it. If LENR doesn’t prove out, the future looks kind of bleak.

      A lot of talk about Lithium batteries. Very little about it’s limited availability. An unspoken, but very smart reason for Musk to place his Mega-Plant in Nevada. A new Lithium mine is going to be opened up within a 100 miles of that plant. You can bet some back room deals will take place to assure his supply for that Mega-plant.

      There are other known Lithium deposit possibilities around the world that aren’t being exploited. Not viable at present prices. But they are being studied for future operation. They expect prices to increase at least 300% in the future. At that level, they become viable & profitable to process.

      Now, As much as I hate Government interference & price manipulation, I have to concede 1 thing. Even without them getting involved. This is all inevitable. Fossils will deplete, prices will go up & we will go this route out of necessity. More then enough reason for even skeptics to hope LENR works out. Because unless they are Aliens or time travelers that can leave this mess behind, they will feel all the negative impacts just as everyone else.

    • Omega Z

      Daniel
      I’m not at all keen on the use for grid storage.
      I need to go somewhere & find that instead of storage, it was used for power draw. I climb in & the needle indicator drops past empty out on the ground.
      Not Cool.

      Note that even if Musk reduces the battery cost, it is still very expensive. With massive increased demand for lithium, they will probably increase.
      What’s needed is a breakthrough of carbon or graphene batteries.

      • Alain Samoun

        “What’s needed is a breakthrough” It will come on time but right now Musk is leading the way Whatever it pleases you or not omega…

        • Omega Z

          When you realize what Musk is actually offering & how little it really is for the price, Then probably it will not please you so much.

  • Frechette

    These solar panels are all very fine and dandy. Our town is now considering taxing home owners for installing solar panels by increased value of their homes.

    • bachcole

      I would think that that would be natural. The assessed value of the house goes up; so also should the taxes. Why should it be any different? If I put a patio behind my house and the assessor sees it and assesses my house at $5000 more, then my taxes go up. Why should solar panels be any different?

      • Alain Samoun

        Nope Bachcole,it doesn’t make sens: The US gov should promote energy independence (from middle east) and clean and renewable energy to fight climate change. I think that those taxes are coming from oil/coal interests afraid of losing their market.

      • Omega Z

        I wonder if they depreciate the house annually. At least the solar value. Solar panels depreciate every year & at around 20 years reach zero. When they no longer function & aren’t replaced they become a value liability.

        One needs a good tax man. If Government is going to tax it, the owner should be able to depreciate it’s value. I guarantee if a Business does this. Say, Apple installs them on their facilities, They get all kinds of tax credits & subsidies, & they can also depreciate them over 5 or 20 years. The time frame difference is somethings can be depreciated at an accelerated rate. I don’t know which category Solar panels would fall into.

        • Mytakeis

          Or introduce a high VAT, and delete the IRS. Make tax men LENR, Solar, and wind experts. What a world that would be.

          • Omega Z

            Yep,
            Your products already include a corporate tax, a sales tax, in Europe the value added tax(VAT), next a carbon tax, probably to be followed by a climate change tax & when their done, that product that left that manufacturer at $2 will cost $20. And we’ll all complain about the greedy corporations.

            In the U.S., the Government is going to help pay for our healthcare with a tax on healthcare. Wait. Wont that make it cost more. Governments are good at packaging trash.

            • Mytakeis

              Sigh…

              • Omega Z

                A word of caution when trying to entertain.
                Leave out such things as “delete the IRS”
                They don’t have a sense of Humor that I’m aware of.

                As it is, We are now probably both in their sights of investigation. 🙂

            • Frechette

              They are already taxing health care for people who have Cadillac Health insurance plans.

              The power to tax is the power to destroy.

              • Omega Z

                They also tax certain medical devices & a few other items.
                This is like helping pay for your gas for the car.
                They add $1 a gallon tax & provide you 90 cents of that so you actually come out on the short end.
                Saddest part is people will fall for that.

      • Frechette

        The ROI on solar panels with government tax credits and state subsidies is between 15-20 years. This is just around the time frame when the panels fail and need to be replaced. Adding a real estate tax on solar panels pushes the ROI out further making it a negative investment. I refuse to put up solar panels in this uncertain environment until the situation stabilizes. In the meantime I live by the rule Apres moi le deluge (After me the deluge) and continue to send my money to the utility company instead of the town government. Incidentally, our town not so long ago refused to provide building permits to home owners who wanted to install solar panels or wind mills on their properties. Go figure.

  • bachcole

    Very encouraging. I’ve been listening to conservatives far too much. Even if solar is a good way to go, this does not mean that the government should be involved. Nor should the government be involve in subsidizing oil or coal.

    Notice that if Buffett is not a TPTB, then who the heck is? And if he is, he is making a huge mistake with this ginormous investment. Therefore, either there is no self-aware TPTB, or they don’t know about LENR, or they are stupid, or any or all of the above.

  • Nigel Appleton

    A very, very interesting article.

    But I was struck by one particular – the average mpg of American vehicles. It’s asserted that 2015 model US cars get ~ 25 mpg.

    That’s appalling. Even accounting for the difference between the US and the Imperial gallon, that’s still only 30 miles/imp. gal

    Here in the UK, 2013 figures are 50 mpg for petrol cars, 58 mpg for diesel. My own climate-destroying 3-litre V6 diesel gives me 44 mpg (37 per US gallon) overall, 50+ (42+ per US gallon) if I drive like a saint on uncrowded roads, and that’s a big engine by UK standards.

    Naughty Americans!

    • Omega Z

      Nigel

      The ~25 mpg is an average fleet rating. There are a lot of 1/2 & 3/4 ton & bigger trucks sold & on the road that pulls that average down. There are a lot of vehicles on the road that get 30/40+ mpg.

      People also opt for a slightly larger engine in the U.S. then you in the UK.
      The U.S. is a Huge country with a lot of hilly & mountainous areas. You need a little more power. Unless you’d prefer to get out & push to get up some of the hills.

      I’ve been to a few areas where a 3-liter V6 wont get you there. Hills so steep, when you near the crown the road disappears below the bonnet & you look out the window to the ditch to make sure of where you are on the road & hope that if someone is coming up the other side, that their doing the same. You sure don’t want to meet in the middle. Your also usually going a pretty good clip so you don’t stall out and have to roll back down & try again.

      I tell you this because, When you wonder why those yanks do crazy things, From our perspective, not so crazy. Europeans wonder why we don’t use more rail transit. Because you don’t spend 2 Billion$ to transport a dozen people. It’s cheaper to just buy them an airline ticket. Once you get outside the big cities, were pretty scattered. Mass transit isn’t viable. You burn more fuel then just sticking with cars.

      Europeans also make snide remarks that most yanks are neither bi-multilingual. Yeah. Why would we. We can drive 3000 miles in a straight line & never leave the Country. It’s not like I know what language to learn. Imagine I learn French or German & end up in Beijing or Tokyo. How embarrassing. I’d rather they think I’m dumb for not learning their language then know I’m dumb for having learned the wrong one. 🙂

      Oh well, Back to the Topic. I see a lot of misleading info in the article. Not the least is the Kw prices. Musk’s Mega-plant wont be making batteries until at least late 2017 & possibly 2018. He’s building it because he sees a battery shortage approaching. His plant wont be fully operational until 2025. Another “80” Mega-plants (@ 6 Billion+ a pop & 10 years to build) & they can actually start talking about replacing all the ICE vehicles. Of course to complete the process, they’ll need to build even more Mega-Plants. Were looking at about 30+ years to replace all the ICE vehicles. About 2 billion by then.

      Then there’s the coming Lithium supply shortage. Takes about 15+ years to open a new mine after they locate a source. It’s about 10 years with the last 6 with huge subsidies & solar makes up about 0.8% of our energy. In about 15 years, it’ll be time to think about replacing those already built. This is all a lot bigger then people realize or they would know there being fed a lot of hype.

      Note: Just to say, I am multilingual. Except for some of the lingo, I’m fairly fluent in British, Irish, Scottish & Australian. Some Canadian as long as I stay out of certain provinces. 🙂

      • builditnow

        It’s true that my 2 liter Camry totally runs out of power at 8000ft. Local passes can be 10,000ft. Big 18 wheeler trucks pass me (because they are turbo powered). A good solution is a turbo, particularly a turbo diesel.
        None the less, I agree, we in the US are “very naughty” because people buy huge utility trucks, jack them up, and drive them to and from work on flat roads with just one person on board at 80mph. We probably don’t make 25mpg in practice.

        • Omega Z

          builditnow
          “huge utility trucks, jack them up ….), But they are a minority. i live in a more rural area & you may see some of that, but many also make use of them. If you can’t afford 2 vehicles, you do what you have to. The cost of gas eliminated much of that quite some time ago.

        • greggoble

          Just for fun… from Ars Technica

          “1-megawatt electric car sets new record at Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb”
          Unencumbered by the effects of altitude, EVs are coming into their own.
          by Jonathan M. Gitlin – Jul 1, 2015

          Electric racing cars are in vogue right now. The first Formula E championship just concluded in London (sadly the Ars-sponsored car did not win), and this side of the pond saw an electric vehicle win the prestigious Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, setting a new record in the process. Rhys Millen took his Drive eO PP03 to the top of the mountain in 9:07.022, beating rival Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima by more than 20 seconds.

          http://arstechnica.com/cars/2015/07/1-megawatt-electric-car-sets-a-new-record-at-pikes-peak-hillclimb/

    • William D. Fleming

      So many of my fellow Americans insist on sporting around in big, high-powered pickup trucks, but they seldom haul anything which requires such a vehicle. It must be herd mentality. A few farmers and contractors need trucks. Those people are seen as very manly; therefore if I drive a pickup I’ll be manly and women will throw themselves at me.

      What I’d like to see is the use of bicycles for most trips. Bicycles are the ultimate in both manliness and feminity IMO.

      But naughty me. I have a Miata which gets only 30 mpg of gasoline. I have to keep the top up. Otherwise when I slow down women leap in right over the door. I am 72 years old and have trouble in that department.

      • Omega Z

        What you described is mostly the SUV crowd with 4 wheel drive for going off road. You know. When they pull into their yard. The scenario you describe with trucks make up the few.

        A few farmers & contractors. How about 2 Million farmers & much of the farm help that includes millions more. Same with millions of contractors & their help. Many more in the service industry. I doubt your Miata would be of much use for landscaping equipment. Note many mentioned above have economy cars when the truck isn’t needed. Also some can only afford 1 vehicle so their truck is duel purpose. Or there significant other has the economy vehicle.

        I know some who have 2 economy cars which is fine in general, but when the family goes somewhere together, it requires both vehicles. Yeah, that 1 required some compromise. They should have 1 economy vehicle & 1 larger & those I’ve talked to realized that later.

        Myself, I have a small Ford Ranger. It’s a compromise. If I need to haul something that don’t fit, I can still pull a trailer. An economy car wouldn’t handle that. My girl friend has the 40 mpg economy car for work etc. Even at 24mpg, the Ranger isn’t for joy riding but it’s still used for none hauling purposes when she’s using the car. It’s cheaper then payments & insurance fees on a 3rd vehicle.