Is Formula 1 becoming extinct?

By: Ennio Longo (Follow him on twitter)

“Is Formula 1 on the verge of becoming irrelevant and extinct?”, is the question which I have been pondering. More importantly, how can me make it relevant again? I propose that F1 should transition to electric vehicles over the course of the next few years.  I can see people swearing at the screen right now, questioning my intelligence, my ancestry, my loyalty to the sport and are probably uttering a number of words to which children should not be exposed.  However, after your blood pressure returns to normal, I would challenge you to have the courage to listen to my argument with an open mind and read through to the end dismissing it as fodder. Remember that great change comes not from doing that which has always been done but by doing something which people think is crazy and making it work.  The world is littered with these people.

Keep reading

Steven Johnson on the impending electric car revolution being led by Tesla:

And if that’s the case, then the automobile industry will go through exactly what the computer and software world went through with the rise of the PC, the Web, and the mobile revolutions. Smaller companies that bet heavily on the new paradigm will become dominant in an amazingly short amount of time; behemoths who cling to the old models will swiftly become afterthoughts. The EV revolution will be like Hemingway’s classic line about going broke: it will happen gradually, then all of a sudden.

Agreed. This is going to happen sooner than most people think.

[via Daring Fireball]

The electric bus that charges when driven | SmartPlanet

The fledgling electric vehicle industry is fraught with problems including so-called ‘range anxiety’ and the long wait for charging at stations, but an EV developed in South Korea could show us a glimpse of future public transport.

The Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV), developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), is an electric vehicle that can be charged while stationary or driving — removing the lengthy wait at a charging station between trips.

Volvo and Siemens in electric car tie-up - FT.com

Volvo, the Swedish carmaker owned by China’s Geely, has formed a partnership with Siemens, the German engineering group, to develop electric cars and the equipment needed to run them. Siemens’ industrial head told the Financial Times that the group was in talks with several other carmakers to provide them with hardware for electric cars, and that it saw this as a “significant” future business.

Siemens and Volvo said on Wednesday they would work together on joint development of electric motors, inverters, and charging elements for electric cars, as well as charging infrastructure and software to manage the cars’ motors.

The two companies plan to integrate the technology initially into an electric version of Volvo’s small C30 hatchback, which the Swedish carmaker will begin producing in small volumes this year. Volvo will deliver up to 200 vehicles to Siemens for internal testing by the end of 2012.


NASA Investigating Electric Propulsion For Flight

NASA engineers in Virginia successfully flew this remote-controlled aircraft that can hover like a helicopter and fly like an airplane. Its 10 rotors change direction on wings that tilt from vertical to horizontal.

Their purpose in testing the 10-foot-wingspan vehicle that they call the GL-10 Greased Lightning? To see if aircraft powered by multiple electric rotors might be the future of air travel. The first flights at the agency’s Langley Research Center saw the Greased Lightning tethered for safety. Researchers expect to run untethered flights later this year. 

Keep reading

High Temperature Capacitor Could Boost Electric Vehicle Reliability

A new capacitor design which can better handle the temperatures in electric vehicles has been developed as part of the Advanced Capacitors for Energy Storage (ACES) project, a technology strategy board project.

According to National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the goal to get electric vehicles an automobile market share of more than 50% by 2050 is impeded by the ability of capacitors to handle high temperatures generated by electric vehicle components, making them less reliable than desired.

Read more.

The landscape of electric charging stations

The car had a profound impact on the landscape of our cities (and that’s probably the understatement of the year). Not only did it force the decentralization of our cities (i.e. sprawl), but it dotted the landscape with gas stations and other things that cars required.

According to the Verge, the first gas station was built in 1905 in Missouri. And it was really thought of as a side business for pharmacies and other business owners. But as of 2012, there were 121,466 gas stations throughout the United States. It obviously became a big business.

But as we make the transition from gasoline cars to electric ones, we’re going to need a new network of “refill” stations. In fact, this network is probably more important than the cars themselves if the goal is widespread adoption.

Below is an animated GIF depicting Tesla’s plans to blanket North America with its Supercharger stations by the end of 2015. By then they will have covered off 98% of the US population and many of the most densely populated parts of Canada.

But there are two important differences when it comes to comparing Supercharger stations vs. traditional gas stations.

First of all, these won’t be the only places where drivers will be able to recharge. People will also charge their Tesla at home. In fact, I would assume that for regular city driving, most people would do just that. It’s far more convenient to just drive home, plug in your car, and have it recharge while you’re sleeping (just like we already do with our smartphones). And if this is the case, then these Supercharger stations will be primarily used for long drives, which means we probably won’t need as many within our cities.

Secondly, these Supercharger stations are free to Tesla drivers (provided you purchase that option with your car). This is really interesting, because it changes the economics of the industry. Selling gas is no longer a profit center. 

But what I wonder — especially now that Tesla has open-sourced its technologies — is how these free Supercharger stations will ultimately fit into the broader electric vehicle market. Will other manufacturers create Tesla Supercharger compatible cars? Or will we see a rival set of charging stations emerge?

My sense is that Tesla is doing what it can to ensure it becomes the standard.

Volvo Tests A Road That Can Charge Cars And Trucks | FastCompany

Charging electric vehicles while they are on the move may seem a bit out-there. But, in fact, we already do it for major groups of vehicles—trams and trains, for instance. French cities have completely wireless trams, and their record is good. After 10 years and about 7.5 million miles, they haven’t reported serious problems.

In Sweden, Volvo is applying the same technology to roads, opening up the possibility that people would no longer have to fear getting stranded by a dead battery—a major hurdle to people’s willingness to buy an electric car.