BMW Abandons the I3, the Car That Could Have Birthed a Bright Electric Future
I’m a big fan of the I3. When podcast co-founder Simon and I did our 1000 km journey around the UK in a day we used his I3. I got to drive it, saw the charging capability and loved it.
Sure, it’s quirky - and Simon himself says the suicide doors are not the most practical thing when trying to get a child from a rear car seat in a supermarket car park - but the car itself is something of. a technological marvel.
This is even more disappointing when BMW announced
that they are no longer going to produce the vehicle.
The company, which was once lauded as a leader in electrification, has squandered the last eight years. BMW pitched the i3 as the foundation of an entirely new line, and BMW could have seriously iterated on the design. There was talk in the early days of how easy it would be to simply drop a new carbon fibre reinforced plastic body onto the brilliantly engineered aluminium chassis, creating a suite of models that would explore a wide range of electrified mobility. But then BMW wavered and abandoned the i3 platform as an evolutionary dead end.
What would BMW’s future look like today if it hadn’t baulked? It’s hard to say exactly, but I imagine its EV roadmap would be far more inspiring than the half-baked one before us today
Electric Passenger Aircraft on the Horizon for Regional Routes, Aviation Industry Says
Electric aviation is coming on in leaps and bounds. The Evation Alice aircraft has been a feature of this column for a while now.
News now comes that a company called Heart Aviation is producing a 19-seater aircraft that is perfect for smaller, regional routes having a 400km (250 miles) range
In its final advice to the Government on Aotearoa’s roadmap to reducing carbon emissions, New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission said short-haul aviation
, such as a trip from Wellington to Nelson, will begin converting to electric aircraft from 2030. Marlborough-based regional airline Sounds Air has even more ambitious plans, with a goal of flying electric passenger aircraft on regional routes by 2026.
United Airlines to Buy 100, 19-Seat Electric Planes From Heart Aerospace
We mentioned the Heart E19.
The benefit of something like this is that it will allow less economical feeder routes to operate where they might previously not have been able to. The zero-emissions, low-noise aircraft can operate on 750m runways, making new use of the vast network of small airports close to city centres. United Airlines has a base in Chicago and this would make a perfect plane to run the shorter routes such as Newark to Syracuse, Newark to Boston, Newark to Washington, DC, Newark to Albany - some routes which might not be economically feasible right now.
Other potential routes are Chicago to Green Bay, Chicago to Lansing, Michigan, Chicago to Indianapolis and Chicago to Fort Wayne. These are 2+ hour trips by car but could be done in an electric plane in less than 40 minutes.
These would all be done with Zero emissions and at a much lower cost to the airline than at present
The U.S. carrier’s venture funding arm said in a release it is also investing an undisclosed amount in the company with Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Mesa Airlines. Mesa would buy an additional 100 ES-19s, subject to similar requirements, which can fly customers up to 250 miles. The plane will enter service as soon as 2026.
Petrochemicals Are in All Sorts of Products. This Startup Makes the Same Compounds Out of Captured CO2
Without a doubt, one of the biggest problems facing humanity at the moment is the threat of the consequences of global climate change. One of the key contributors to this is the exploration - and usage of - fossil fuels.
Banning ICE vehicles is a relatively quick and simple thing to do. There are technologies at the moment that can replace those (Battery and Hydrogen power depending on the use case)
But one area of fossil fuel usage that seems to sneak under the radar when it comes to proliferation is that of oil-based products being used in everyday items from the foam in your sneakers to your yoga mat, shampoo, makeup, and more—including laundry detergent, plastic packaging, aspirin, toys, appliances, clothes, speakers, bike tires, solar panels, the veneer on wooden furniture, and the paint on your walls. By one estimate, the chemicals are in at least 6,000 products; the real number is likely much larger.
“Basically, we use electricity to break apart CO2 and water,” CEO Flanders says. “And then our catalysts, which are part of our core technology, recombine those atomic bits to make new molecules.” Making products from CO2, Flanders says, doesn’t change the performance of the material at all, so a final product like laundry detergent or a pair of running shoes will be exactly the same as before. Companies can work with existing chemical suppliers, who will add a device called an electrochemical reactor to their production lines.
Study Expects More EVs Than ICE Vehicles Will Be Sold by 2033
With more and more countries and states putting ICE bans in place, it is entirely possible that the number of electric vehicles being sold
will surpass that of fossil fuel vehicles in the near future.
Of course, the number of fossil burners still being driven will dwarf the number of non-fossils due to the fact they’ve had 100 years plus to create a dominant position. The United Kingdom, for instance, has vowed to ban the sale of any and all ICE vehicles after 2030 and like it are thirteen additional countries (mostly in Europe). They have not all agreed on a specific year (or on what exactly they’re going to ban) but the year seems to usually be 2030 or 2035, or in some cases 2040. According to Ernst & Young LLP (EY), EVs will become more popular than ICE vehicles by 2033, around five years earlier than most other estimates
But every BEV that gets put on the road removes a potential fossil burner and is better for the environment in the long term.