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Issue #74 - Concern about battery safety, Uber funds 700 London chargers, Washington state bans ICE cars after 2030, and NetJets agrees deal for 130 electric planes.

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #74 - Concern about battery safety, Uber funds 700 London chargers, Washington state bans ICE cars after 2030, and NetJets agrees deal for 130 electric planes.
By Gary Comerford • Issue #74 • View online
I don’t know about you but the weather in my part of the world is looking a little bit more spring-like nowadays. Unlike friends of mine in Australia who are experiencing some of the worst flooding in recorded history. If you get a chance to look at some of the time-lapsed webcam footage of roads being inundated, it’s quite an eye-opener, and very scary.

This Week's Podcast.
No podcast this week as we are on hiatus. Instead here’s one from the archives: Episode 85
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
Half UK Drivers “Concerned” About Safety of EV Battery Repairs
Not sure I’ve ever had this come up before as it relates to EVs.
It is fair to say that EVs break down a lot less than ICE cars purely due to the relative lack of moving parts (2000 vs 20)
But it’s also true to say that if an EV does break down - and it’s the battery - it can be quite expensive to fix. Battery replacements under warranty aren’t an issue, but if you’re in an accident or out of warranty they can be expensive.
Also, those of you who follow Formula E and Extreme E will know that when a car has been in an accident the driver has to remain in the car - and marshalls cannot approach - until the car has been deemed to be electrically safe. If there is a short circuit anywhere and the battery or wiring comes in contact with a metal part of the structure it can deliver a nasty (maybe fatal) kick to someone who touches it.
More than half of UK drivers are concerned about the safety of electric vehicle battery repairs after a crash, according to research by the AA. The motoring organisation’s Accident Assist service said 52 per cent of the 13,500 drivers questioned thought the safe repair and any potential replacement of the battery was a worry
Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, the study revealed that almost two-thirds of respondents were most concerned about the cost of repairs for an electric vehicle. Some 62 per cent said they would be most worried about the price of repairing a battery-powered vehicle after it had been in an accident
Half of the drivers (49 per cent) said they thought it would be important to have specialist electric vehicle mechanics carrying out repairs to the car, while 45 per cent said the availability of parts for their vehicle would be important. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) said they would consider the environmental impact of the safe disposal or recycling of the main driving battery as important to them
Hemp Can Be Used to Make Rebar That’s Just as Strong as Steel
Steel ‘rebar’ is a big source of fossil fuel usage. Anything we can do to reduce this should be considered.
Steel reinforcing bar, or rebar, is a key part of the way buildings like that condo tower are built, and it is critical to their structural integrity.
But steel rebar is also susceptible to the moisture that can wind its way through concrete, causing largely invisible corrosion that can lead to structures collapsing almost without warning
A team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has an alternative. Instead of using steel to reinforce concrete, they’ve developed a composite reinforcing material made of surprisingly strong hemp fibre
The scale of the material’s potential is massive. Steel rebar is everywhere, from sidewalks to skyscrapers. “It’s pervasive in any concrete structure. They’re just full of rebar,” says Dan Walczyk, a professor of mechanical engineering at RPI. “And it’s millions, if not billions, of dollars of construction material annually.”
It may sound advanced, but the material is not particularly complicated to manufacture, according to Tsamis, who notes that the project started during the pandemic when the university’s labs were closed. “The first experiments that we did with consolidating happened in kitchen ovens,” Tsamis says. “And the first ropes we were making by hand. I had my son pull the other side of the rope I was making at my desk. My student’s cat was chewing on the rope while he was making his own version. So the beginnings of it were pretty modest in terms of the technology we had available.”
NetJets Agrees Deal for Up to 150 Electric Aircraft
As the drive for emission-free aviation continues, there seems to be a new article almost every day about electric aircraft.
Netjets who is a fractional ownership company based in the US known for private jets has signed a deal with Lilium to take 15 electric eVTOL jets.
The uses of these jets are rather limited - the range isn’t great at the moment. But if they could be used, for example, for the really short-haul jaunts linking, say, New York, to Washington, there could be a huge market here.
Private aviation firm NetJets has agreed on a provisional deal to purchase up to 150 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jets.
Lilium’s jets feature a flexible design that allows for different cabin configurations for between four and six passengers.
As part of the agreement, the two companies will also explore a business model for the operation of Lilium’s network in Florida, as well as other regions in the US and Europe.
Uber Teams Up With London Boroughs for 700 EV Charger Rollout
There are many in London who don’t like Uber - ask any Black Cab driver what he thinks of the company that comes in and puts drivers on the street to undercut his rates. But one thing Uber is doing in great leaps and bounds is pushing the adoption of electric vehicles.
To add to this they are now teaming up with three London boroughs to roll out 700 new EV chargers.
At the moment these look to be ‘fast’ chargers (i.e. 7 kWh or 11 kWh) and they will be open to the public, so this can only be a good thing for London.
Now we need this in other towns and cities where Uber operate.
Washington Passes Bill to Ban Gas Car Sales by 2030 – For Real This Time?
Countries like the Uk and Norway already have firm deadlines for the banning of new fossil fuel sales. But the United States has devolved this decision to the individual states. This means that some states are faster than others and many states have not put a deadline in place.
One which has, however, is Washington State in the North-West corner of the country.
If signed, this will become the earliest gas car ban in the US, five years earlier than the gas car bans adopted by California, Massachusetts, and New York.
Washington has relatively clean and cheap electricity as compared to almost every state, given the state’s high hydropower mix
The current effort is part of a $16.9 billion transportation package called “Move Ahead Washington.”
Notably, this looks like it would apply to any vehicle registered in Washington, not just sold and purchased. This suggests that gas cars of the model year 2030 bought outside of Washington could not be registered inside the state of Washington, which would eliminate one of the possible workarounds to this ban
A cool EV or renewable thing
From our archived episode:
I don’t know how many of you remember the lunar rover that landed on the moon back when the world was still black and white. The tyres on that thing were made of a flexible metal material that couldn’t puncture, and gripped on the dusty lunar surface.
Well, the Smart Tire company has taken NASA’s airless tires and commercialised them for bicycles.
The main driver behind doing this is to reduce both tyre wear and tyre loss due to punctured tyres being thrown away. By one estimate, riders in San Francisco alone throw out more than 100,000 tubes every year, enough to wrap the Golden Gate bridge 33 times
In order to grip onto the ground, the tires have a tread around the alloy made from Polyurethanium, SMART’s “code name” for a proprietary, rubber-like material. Though riding may cause some of that tread to wear away, SMART says it will produce less total waste—and need to be disposed of less frequently—than all the rubber that goes into regular bike tubes and tires.
Tyres for bikes, then scooters, then cars. Watch this space!
Something To Think About.
I had a great discussion with motoring journalist and EV enthusiast Quentin Willson this week. Our discussion will be released as the first episode in season 7 of the podcast which will be on March 28th. This means that the episode will appear as ‘This Week’s Podcast’ in the next newsletter.
If you’re not already subscribed to the podcast please consider doing so.
Thank you.
A mystery box, you say? How mysterious...
A mystery box, you say? How mysterious...
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Gary Comerford

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