Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Fastest road legal car around the Nürburgring is electric

EP9 from NIO
Credit: Twitter

With just 7 built to-date, & 10 more planned, NIO’s EP9 is not a good fit for the description, “production car”, which some are prepared to give it. But it is road legal. From the look of it, make that, “barely road legal racer”.

One of the more interesting things about the EP9 is that, driven at competition speeds on the Nürburgring, a Tesla Model S drops into reduced power mode due to increasing battery temperature.1 A time of 6:45.90,2 suggests that the EP9 has the battery heating problem under control. Equally, a build price of $1.2 million3 (notice that’s, “build price”, not, “retail price”), suggests, “cost is no object”, is part of NIO’s solution.

Electrek – “NIO’s EP9 EV beats every production car ever with a Nürburgring lap record of 6:45.90”,

EP9 is also the fastest autonomous car at the Circuit of the Americas

Jalopnik – “The 'World's Fastest Electric Car' Just Set Two Incredible Lap Records”

1 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Tesla Model S racing series”,

2 To put 6:45.90 in perspective, a Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 SV just scrapes under 7 minutes

Road & Track: “Ten of the Fastest Production Cars to Ever Lap the Nürburgring”,

Auto Express: “Fastest Nurburgring lap times 2017: quickest cars & lap records”,

3 Road|Show: “Electricity has never been more exciting”,

/ Tesla Model S racing series Electric GT World Series grid modified Model S zero-emissions GT road car based racing championships begin 2017 car grid Tesla Model S P85+ new championship Electric GT World Series seven-race season 2017 races Europe America Asia organisers tracks used Barcelona Spain Donington UK Mugello Italy Estoril Portugal 10 teams team two modified Tesla Model S P85+ road cars power unit control software unchanged standard road car 416hp horsepower 601Nm torque changes aerodynamics suspension brakes more suitable for racing car's weight reduced tearing out unneeded upholstery battery's cooling system improved drivers foot on the throttle longer Agustin Paya professional racing driver promoter Electric GT World Series P85+ rear-wheel-drive newer P90D all-wheel-drive chosen more suitable for racing easier to fix in a pinch drivers prefer RWD track future Formula E plan Electric GT World Series allow range different cars grid Tesla Model S one of the best cars ever made best 100 percent electric cars luxurious super tourer made for racing weight distribution low centre of gravity considerable mass more than two tons allows unbelievable cornering speed unending torque add up great racing car testing Barcelona Catalunya F1 Circuit Madrid Jarama circuit Model S GT champion Electric GT pull in the punters Formula E engine noise Model S much larger battery Formula E cars car-switching battery back swapping races last more than 100 or 150 miles Tesla racing exciting techies Teslaphiles tune in favourite car electric race car racing car lithium ion LiIon battery charge recharge range Electric vehicle EV decimating records internal combustion engine vehicles ICE vehicle NIO NextEV $1.48 million electric supercar NIO EP9 set a new lap record one of the world’s most famous and grueling racetracks Nurburgring Nordschleife electric car time of 6:45.90 fastest lap ever set by an electric vehicle around the track faster than any production vehicle electric beating Lamborghini Huracan Performante over 6 seconds fastest lap ever done by any production vehicle EP9 production vehicle NIO built seven EP9 plans another production run of ten more cars small number of units smaller production runs high prices McLaren F1 XP5 prototype production vehicles EP9 Nordschleife famously difficult track benchmark overall vehicle performance length and grueling nature track over 12 miles long German countryside includes high and low speed turns varied road surfaces lots of bumps and hills NIO EP9 lap of 7:05.12 suboptimal conditions cold and slightly moist track surface electric vehicle record beating handful street-legal gasoline-powered vehicles Huracan Aventador Porsche 918 big deal EV company with no racing heritage not even any automaking heritage beat cars from companies century of racing experience toughest track in the world incredibly impressive new lap NIO video video EV-record-setting lap /

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Modern day book burning, but still glimmers of hope

EPA – information on climate change deleted
Credit: Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA/Newscom/Daily Signal

Although the new US administration is implementing a modern day book burning,1 it’s not time to give up hope just yet – material on climate change recently deleted by the EPA, has been reposted by The City of Chicago:

The City of Chicago – “Climate Change”

Thanks Chicago!

Good news elsewhere too:

HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech – “Coders just rescued NASA’s Earth science data”,

HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech – “Not all of the news from the United States is bad” – California state Governor, Jerry Brown, on California’s plans to continue to act against climate change –

1 The Huffington Post: “EPA Purges Pages That Highlight Climate Change From Its Website”,

/ coders rescued NASA’s Earth science data coders took action to make NASA’s climate data safe UC Berkeley’s campus 200 adults Doe Library rescue federal climate data groups more than 20 cities believe Trump administration might want to disappear this data down a memory hole hackers scientists students collecting save outside government servers groups like DataRefuge Environmental Data and Governance Initiative organized Berkeley hackathon collect data from NASA’s earth sciences programs Department of Energy doing more than archiving diehard coders building robust systems monitor ongoing changes to government websites keeping track of what’s been removed learn exactly when the pruning began Tag It Bag It data collection is methodical group immediately sets web crawlers easily-copied government pages sending text Internet Archive digital library hundreds billions snapshots webpages tag more data-intensive projects pages lots links databases interactive graphics for the other group called baggers coders write custom scripts scrape complicated data sets sprawling patched together federal websites systems written piecemeal over 30 years no coherent philosophy providing data websites Daniel Roesler chief technology officer UtilityAPI volunteer guides Berkeley bagger group coder who goes by Tek download multi-satellite precipitation data NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center starting August access Goddard Earth Science Data required login totally legal digging around site DataRefuge prohibits hacking Tek found buried link old FTP server clicked started downloading data all of 2016 some 2015 non-coders hit dead-ends too 404 Page not found errors NASA’s Earth Observing System website empty databases Global Change Data Center reports archive NASA’s atmospheric CO2 datasets real problem when or why data disappeared backed it up scientists understand it better DataRefuge EDGI monitoring changes and deletions building software that can do it automatically Future Farming most advanced software builders tools they’ll need filters separate mundane updates major shake-ups explored blockchain-like systems build auditable ledgers of alterations engineers call version control how do you know if something has changed How do you know if you have the latest How do you keep track of the old stuff writing code volunteers signed build tools DataRefuge EDGI organizers movement vast decentralized network from all 50 states and Canada volunteers code tracking software archive a little bit every day group had collectively loaded 8,404 NASA DOE webpages web pages Internet Archive covering the entirety of NASA’s earth science efforts built backdoors download 25 gigabytes from 101 public datasets scripts larger datasets finished running mood was somber still so much work to do climate change data just the tip of the iceberg Eric Kansa anthropologist manages archaeological data archiving non-profit group Open Context huge number of other datasets being threatened with cultural historical sociological information National Parks Service huge data portal contains park visitation stats GIS boundaries inventories of species computer ran scripts pull out a list everything in the portal working his way through each quirky dataset /

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Tesla founders on electric cars, lithium, hydrogen, energy & climate change (video)

Tesla Roadster
Credit: Tesla/The Morning Bulletin

Martin Eberhard & Marc Tarpenning, were the founders of the Tesla electric car company. Elon Musk came along later as an investor, flush with Paypal money.

In October 2016, the Tesla founders, spoke at Stanford University on a range of topics, including electric cars, lithium, hydrogen, energy, car-to-grid & climate change.

● Solving problems from first principles (01:42)

“Somewhere along the way, I started thinking that maybe this global warming thing was not a hoax & that maybe that the wars we were having in the Middle East were at least somehow involved in oil & decided that we needed to do something different. I did not start off as an electric car enthusiast, my interest was just simply using less energy. So I spent some time doing a real careful well to wheel energy analysis for every kind of technology I could find & built a spreadsheet that calculated the actual energy footprint & carbon footprint of every pathway I could find … & it was to both of our surprise, that the electric car pathway was not just better than the other choices that were out there, that included hydrogen & every form of petroleum & natural gas & so on, it wasn’t just better, it was dramatically better. So much better that it was stunning to us that no one else was doing it.” – Martin Eberhard

Elon Musk has spoken about the importance of approaching problems from first principles.1 In the quote above, Martin Eberhard, seems to be describing doing just that. Which begs the question: Did Elon Musk learn the importance of approaching problems from first principles from the Tesla founders?

● Tesla – naming the company (03:44)

● Why was the first product a small sports car? (30:00)

● How did they decide that Lotus would be the best source of a rolling chassis? (06:00)

● Lithium – sources, use in batteries, & recycling (16:25)

● Hydrogen fuel cells (22:00)

“Hydrogen is not a fuel … to make elemental hydrogen, to make H2, you have to put energy in. … the efficiency of that, if I’m using the very best technology available today, is in the order of 20-22% efficient. Compare that to a lithium battery which runs in the order of 95% efficient. It’s just not worth it. The hydrogen fuel cell car will require ... 3 to 4 times as much of whatever your source fuel is …”2,3,4

● Vehicle-to-grid (40:50)

“There’s this whole concept of vehicle to grid storage. The idea is the vehicle could draw off the grid & put energy back on the grid. … There’s two troubles with that: one is that every cycle through your battery has some cost – it’s not zero. ... Second thing is that when you’re putting energy on to the grid, (as for example, does the inverter on your solar panel), it puts some pretty heavy-duty regulatory burden on the design ... of the car – it adds some non-trivial cost to the cost of the car.”

“But, there’s another thing to think about: & that is that you can get about 90% of that value, not by allowing the vehicle to put energy onto the grid, but rather, just allowing the grid to have precise control over the charging of the vehicle. So that it can say stop & start or stop & start at this level in real time, OK? And what happens then if you have a large number of vehicles that are plugged in just statistically speaking is that all these electric cars can be used as grid regulation, & they can allow the power company to have a much much smaller amount of what’s called spinning reserve. That’s to say, generating capability that’s not being used. ... So that for example, when a big cloud passes over the giant solar panel array in the Mojave Desert, the grid then tells a whole lot of cars to, ‘Hey stop now,’ & they get off the grid, & when the wind starts honking on Altamont Pass, they can tell a bunch of cars to, ‘Hey start charging now.’ And you get about something like 90% of the value of the vehicle to grid idea, without actually taking energy out of the vehicles.”

● Electric cars will become cheaper than internal combustion engine cars (46:12)

“I’ve been looking closely at the cost of batteries recently, & it’s my belief that the cost of making an electric car will match the cost of making an equivalent gasoline powered car, probably in 2020 or 2022 – it’s coming up pretty fast.”

● Battery swapping (52:19)

“The reason that you would want to do that is because the batteries don’t have enough range, & the reason they don’t have enough range, is basically because they’re too expensive. … And so what you’re doing in a world of battery swapping is you’re taking the most expensive part of the car & you’re making it more expensive because I’ve got to have to have 20-30% more batteries around than I have cars, so I can swap them in.”

● Adapting to climate change (1:09:50)

“Quote from ... some science fiction writer: ‘The future is here now, it’s just not evenly distributed.’ … that is in many ways true, like we know how to do this. We know how to have a really advanced society that is carbon neutral. It’s just hard & it’s only in a few places … it is possible. So, I figure ... we’re gonna have to adapt to the climate change – that train has left – the CO2 is there.”

EV Annex – “Tesla founders Mark Eberhard & Marc Tarpenning talk electric vehicles”

1 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Tesla cell size comes from the first principles of physics & economics”,

2 HichHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Can fuel cells compete with batteries?”,

3 HichHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Battery electric vehicles outperform hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – even Toyota has noticed”,

4 HichHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Honda Clarity – all the shortcomings fundamental to fuel cell cars”, / Tesla Roadster Martin Eberhard Marc Tarpenning founders Tesla electric car company Elon Musk investor Paypal money October 2016 Tesla founders spoke Stanford University electric cars lithium hydrogen energy car-to-grid climate change solving problems from first principles global warming not a hoax wars in the Middle East involved in oil electric car enthusiast using less energy well to wheel energy analysis technology spreadsheet calculated energy footprint carbon footprint electric car pathway better than the other choices hydrogen petroleum natural gas dramatically better stunning to us that no one else was doing it Martin Eberhard Elon Musk importance of approaching problems from first principles Elon Musk learn importance of approaching problems from first principles Tesla founders Tesla naming the company first product a small sports car Lotus best source of a rolling chassis lithium sources batteries recycling hydrogen fuel cells hydrogen is not a fuel elemental hydrogen molecular hydrogen H2 you have to put energy in efficiency very best technology available today in the order of 20-22% efficient lithium battery 95% efficient hydrogen fuel cell car will require 3 to 4 times as much of whatever your source fuel is vehicle-to-grid vehicle to grid vehicle to grid storage vehicle put energy back on the grid every cycle through your battery has some cost not zero putting energy on to the grid inverter on your solar panel heavy-duty regulatory burden on the design car it adds some non-trivial cost to the cost of the car allowing the vehicle to put energy onto the grid grid to have precise control over the charging of the vehicle electric cars can be used as grid regulation power company much much smaller amount of spinning reserve generating capability that’s not being used big cloud passes over the giant solar panel array in the Mojave Desert Altamont Pass vehicle to grid load shedding sheddable shedable load electric cars will become cheaper than internal combustion engine cars cost of batteries cost of making an electric car will match the cost of making an equivalent gasoline powered car, probably in 2020 or 2022 it’s coming up pretty fast battery swapping batteries don’t have enough range too expensive most expensive part of the car making it more expensive swap them in adapting to climate change science fiction writer we know how to have a really advanced society that is carbon neutral we’re gonna have to adapt to the climate change HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech Tesla cell size comes from the first principles of physics & economics fuel cells batteries Battery electric vehicles outperform hydrogen fuel cell vehicles Honda Clarity all the shortcomings fundamental to fuel cell cars Tesla founders Martin Eberhard Marc Tarpenning electric vehicles start-ups Stanford University talk Tesla founders Martin Eberhard Marc Tarpenning controversial departure from Tesla partner early days of Tesla electric vehicles two engineer entrepreneurs shared interest fast cars environment starting companies lithium-ion lithium ion batteries what oil does to a local economy where our treasure ends up going pernicious effects of our fossil fuel addiction Middle East reducing fossil fuel usage Tesla was all about moving beyond gasoline this concept predates the involvement of Elon Musk initially came on board as an investor Elon Musk started as the company's biggest investor in the early days of the Roadster using less energy real careful well-to-wheels energy analysis dramatically better founding of Tesla /

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Elon Musk – why Tesla is Boring, SpaceX, Mars, autonomy, Semi (video)

Teaser image of the forthcoming Tesla semi-truck
Credit: Tesla/TED/Tech Republic

Recently, Elon Musk appeared on TED Talks – a few highlights:

● Add one more problem to the list of shortcomings of the internal combustion engine (ICE) – it makes tunnels more expensive – cost of tunnelling is proportional to the cross sectional area of the tunnel – tunnels need to be 26-28 feet (7.9-8.5 metres) to allow (amongst other things) for ventilation to cope with the poisonous gasses ICEs emit.

● Semi – load-capacity, range, torque (19:48)

“So this is a heavy duty, long range, semi-truck. So it’s like the highest weight capability & with long range ... out-torque any diesel semi & if you had a tug-of-war competition, the Tesla semi will tug the diesel semi uphill.”

● Semi – driving experience (21:40)

“I mean it’s quite bizarre test driving. You know, when I was driving the test prototype for the first truck, it’s really weird because you’re driving around & you’re just you’re so nimble & you’re in this giant truck.” – no doubt, at least in part, due to the low centre of gravity which electric drive makes possible

● Interplanetary Transport System (32:00)

“This configuration is about four times the thrust of the Saturn V moon rocket ... This thing can take a fully loaded 747 with maximum fuel, maximum passengers, maximum cargo on the 747. This can take it as cargo.”

Elektrek – “Elon Musk on Boring Company, Semi-Truck, Mars – TED Talk
/ boring tunnel tunnelling bore elevator car skate entrance exit parking space 200 kph 130 mph Westwood to LAX 6 minutes toll road traffic soul destroying fully loaded 747 maximum fuel maximum passengers maximum cargo 747 take it as cargo /

Monday, 1 May 2017

Last post for now

Credit: HitchHiker's Guide 2 Tech

HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech has been published for a little over 6 years (first, 16 March 2011). Since that date, at least one item has been published every day – holidays, weekends, significant family & life events. In total, over 8,000 posts have attracted over 115,000 page views – even deducting a generous allowance of 56,000 page views to account for spamming from known sources.

At the moment I have a major project in train which has to be completed in a little over 60 days. As you may imagine, HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech consumes a substantial amount of time, which is interfering with the completion of the major project. Thus, it is with some reluctance that I will be ceasing publication on these pages with this post.

After completion of the project, time may become available again.

In the interim, I may find time to make occasional posts which will consist simply of a heading & a link to a particularly interesting article.

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Thanks to all who have enjoyed my posts. Among those 8,000 plus posts there is still much of interest to read.

For now ...
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