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Issue #70 - Berlin going car free, cigarette-like warnings in car ads, Volvo truck testing in Arctic conditions, and what devastating floods look like without cities

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #70 - Berlin going car free, cigarette-like warnings in car ads, Volvo truck testing in Arctic conditions, and what devastating floods look like without cities
By Gary Comerford • Issue #70 • View online
This week we’re looking at a couple of environmental issues such as the impact of adverse weather events and how cities are contributing to that as well as places that are looking to create car-free zones.
These are all small steps and will usually get pushback from various groups with vested interests. But at the end of the day if we try to keep everybody happy in the fight against climate change we will keep nobody happy and the planet will become uninhabitable.

This Week's Podcast(s).
115 - The Hubdate Episode
116 - The Battery Myth Episode
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
Berlin Is Planning a Car-Free Area Larger Than Manhattan
Traffic-free zones in cities are nothing new. London has implemented a congestion zone several years ago to penalise vehicles wanting to travel within a certain perimeter. But Berlin is the first city to look at completely removing vehicles from a huge area of its city centre.
The citizen-driven plan that the city is considering now would create the largest car-free area in a city anywhere in the world. The goal, they agreed, should be to limit cars within the space inside the Ringbahn, a huge circular train line in the city.
California Support for Long-Duration Storage ‘Shows Energy Transition Leadership’
Despite the fact California has recently looked at removing subsidies for solar installations, they are still a state which relies greatly on renewable energy from solar and wind. This is evidenced by financial support for long duration energy products which will be ke to smoothing out the peaks and troughs between renewable availability.
California has set itself the policy goal of sourcing 60% of its electricity from renewable sources and eliminating greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the electricity sector entirely by 2045. This meant the state would need to deploy between 2GW and 11GW of long-duration energy storage by 2030
California’s inclusion of US$380 million financial support for long-duration energy storage projects could “activate” up to 20 projects in the US state, which has a “tremendous need” for energy storage
Car Ads Get Cigarette-Like Disclaimer in France Suggesting Walking or Biking Instead
It works for tobacco and drugs - both scourges of society - so why not add warning signs to adverts for fossil fuel vehicles?
The new law in France will soon require automakers to include a disclaimer in their advertisements encouraging more energy-efficient transportation alternatives such as walking, biking, or public transit
The three options are:
  • For short journeys, walk or cycle
  • Think about carpooling
  • Take public transport
Not including the disclaimer could net automakers a fine of up to €50,000 (approximately US $56,000)
An excellent idea, and one which other coutries should seek to emulate.
Volvo FMX Electric Was Tested in Arctic Conditions
Another nail in the coffin of hydrogen-powered road vehicles?
Volvo were able to test electric trucks for carrying finely ground iron ore at large quantities in winter conditions. Sure it was a 174 mile round trip that needed a charge halfway, but the feedback from the drivers was excellent
A pre-production Volvo FMX Electric tipper (a 32t gross weight version) was used over four weeks in February 2021 to transport ore concentrate, i.e. finely ground iron ore, from the iron ore mine in Kaunisvaara to the trans shipment station at the Iron Ore Railway Line. The Volvo FMX Electric with a 264 kWh battery (there will be 180–540 kWh battery options in the final product) and 400 kW of power was able to do the job during winter time where temperatures dropped to -32 degrees.
What Devastating Floods Look Like Once You Remove Cities From the Equation
One unfortunate (but forecasted) side-effect of global warming is the increasing prevelance of adverse weather events across the globe. When somewhere like the Central Sahara has 50+ degrees of sun in the middle of the day we can look at it and say “OK, so what?” But when countries such as Germany experience devastating (and deadly) floods it beceomes an issue that is rather too close to home.
Scientists created a computer model that simulated the storm as it unfolded over Rotterdam, Netherlands; Brussels; and Cologne, Germany, over the course of five days. Then they “removed” the cities from the model and simulated the same rainstorm lashing out over undeveloped land, with temperatures that were closer to pre-industrial levels
A city by itself doesn’t create the storm,” says Dev Niyogi, a professor in the UT Jackson School of Geosciences and Cockrell School of Engineering, and one of the study’s authors. “But it is important to recognize that the design of a city can have a say in what happens.”
A cool EV or renewable thing
From Episode 115
Many readers will be aware of Ken Block. He’s an ex-rally driver who made a name for himself by specialising in car manoeuvre displays that often seem to be defying the laws of physics. He had a contract with Ford Motor Company and - over a period of 11 years he produced a series of videos showing him doing spectacular driving stunts with a Ford Focus rally car.
They were called Gymkhana videos and - using the branding of ‘Hoonigan’ - involved things like high speed drifts around cityscapes such as San Francisco, Universal Studios and Las Vegas.
At the start of 2021 he terminated his contract with Ford and signed with Audi in September. They’ve spent the last few months developing a new car for him to hoon around in - and it’s electric.
It’s based on the Audio RS e-Tron GT and it’s called S1 e-tron quattro Hoonitron. It’s spectacular and it will soon be used in another of his Gymkhana videos called Electrikhana.
No official specs for it but Ken’s quoted as saying ‘Spinning into a donut at 150 km/h directly from standstill – just using my right foot – is an all-new experience for me.”
You know EVs are gaining popularity when die-hard petrol-heads like Ken Block ditch ICE cars and go electric.
Stay tuned for more about the resulting video.
From Episode 116
This was on the Fully Charged Podcast recently so apologies for rehashing this, but I’m quite taken with the idea of the Vertical Aerospace VX-4.
It’s the latest in the stream of eVTOL aircraft (electric vertical take-off and landing) that seem to have popped up recently. However this is different. It actual looks like a proper aircraft - with a fuselage, wings, and propeller engines. The difference is that this can take off from a normal helipad, has 100 times less noise than a helicopter, zero emissions while flying and can work out at about £1 per passenger mile for flying.
The business model is for almost a taxi service and the company is in discussion with Heathrow airport to provide a 13 minute flight from the airport to Canary Wharfe (as an example) when certification is complete in a few years.
Plus it currently has over 1300 pre—orders from companies all around the world including Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines who will use it as a shuttle service to bring passengers in from places like New York City and downtown Chicago to the nearest airports.
Something To Think About.
Finally...
If you’re a patron of this brand you’ll probably have been a little surprised to get two episodes of the podcast from me this week. Although the content was identical for both of them, one of them was the audio podcast and the other one was an experiment I’m trying out which creates a Vlog of the podcast episode 116 where you can actually see me as I record the podcast.
So If you want to know what I actually look like (strange concept, I know) you can catch the video version of the podcast here.
Click it! What's the worst that could happen?
Click it! What's the worst that could happen?
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Gary Comerford

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