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Comment: Re:Not impressed... (Score 1) 636

by BostonPilot (#47154537) Attached to: Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

From what I've read so far, I have to agree. Like lots of people I first went to and started reading and got really excited. Wow.. Apple has taken this dataflow language and adapted it as a programming language. What a cool way to keep all those cores busy! Finally, a parallel programming language adopted by the mainstream.

Then I realized my mistake. Now I'm pretty let down. Seems kind of lame, from what I've read so far. Also, I think I prefer the elegant way of handling nil in the runtime versus spreading ?'s all over my code

Comment: Re:Solar power is cheap as coal? (Score 1) 462

by BostonPilot (#47086597) Attached to: Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car

Really, solar power is as cheap as coal now. If that is true then why don't I see solar panels popping up everywhere?

OMH they are! I'm a helicopter pilot and when we fly around these days we're amazed at how many solar panels there are! We see two different forms: lots and lots of rooftop installations, both commercial and residential. They're *everywhere*. And then, solar gardens, i.e. 5-10 acres of land someone has installed solar panels on. Again, we see huge numbers of these around.

It's been an amazing thing to watch over just the last 2 years. Also, on a slightly different subject I was ferrying a helicopter across the country a couple years ago and was amazed by the number of windmills in Kansas. Thousands and thousands and thousands of them!

People are making investment in solar and wind

Comment: Re:Infrastructure (Score 1) 659

by BostonPilot (#47030439) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

All this report shows is the the grid can handle a few EVs it says nothing about handling a lot of EVs.

Some quick googling shows lots of similar articles and studies. The utilities don't seem to be worried. My guess is that they are happily anticipating becoming the energy provider for transportation in addition to their current business. And, if BEV takes a decade to become commonplace they have a full decade to upgrade the grid.

"As the power grid stands right now, it can already handle millions of electric vehicles without bringing any further power plants online."
( http://science.howstuffworks.c... )

"Kjaer is less concerned about transmission or generation being overtaxed, as long as consumers are taught to charge their plug-in cars at night, during off-peak demand periods, to smooth the load. "
( http://www.scientificamerican.... )

"Doggett is CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas – which oversees the state’s electric grid. On Tuesday he told lawmakers on the Senate Natural Resources Committee that he doesn’t believe even widespread adoption of electric vehicles would have any negative effect on the transmission system."
( )

"“Surprisingly, we found that in general, the electric utility infrastructure is already prepared to meet the President’s 2015 challenge. Our research revealed that utilities will not likely need to upgrade or expand transmission or generation capacity in the next ten years specifically to meet electric demand from EVs at projected adoption rates."
( )

And here is a paper from Southern California Edison which doesn't seem too worried about the impact of BEV on their grid:

Comment: Re:What about Ammonia? (Score 1) 659

by BostonPilot (#47027935) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Only downside, it's poisonous. On the upside, you can easily smell a leak at safe levels 1ppm.

I knew a guy who worked on Ammonia refrigerations systems. One day he told me they had a safety drill, simulating an Ammonia leak at the facility. The fire department was called, they drove through where the Ammonia cloud would have been, and he said that they figured 100% of them would have died if it had been a real leak. Granted because it was simulated they couldn't smell it, but he believed that by the time they would have smelled it, they would have been doomed. Just saying!

He also said that when they were working and the managers would hang around getting in the way, they would just surreptitiously vent a little Ammonia and the managers would scatter.

Seems like a nasty material for the general public to be pumping into their cars!

Comment: Re:Electric is the clear choice... (Score 1) 659

by BostonPilot (#47027889) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Even if that Carbon-Carbon battery turns out to be a scam, it's hard to believe battery technology won't improve dramatically in the next 10 years. It's not just EV automobiles driving the technology, it's portable electronic equipment and probably at some point home solar installations.

Comment: Re:Either way the tech needs another 15-20 years (Score 1) 659

by BostonPilot (#47027839) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Battery tech needs to go up in power density at least an order of magnitude

That seems an exaggeration. I have a Honda Fit EV that will go about 105 miles on a charge (best case). I have a Subaru STi that goes 250 miles on a fillup. There are electric vehicles that have smaller and larger ranges, and the same is true for gas powered cars, but I don't think we need an order of magnitude improvement in battery capacity in order to be useful to the majority of people. The Fit EV is a lease (it's a compliance car) but my plan when the lease ends is to get a Tesla Model-E with 200 miles of range. Based on my experience with the Honda, 200 miles of range should be enough for all but a couple trips a year that I do.

With the Honda, I use about 50% of a charge on my 55 mile commute. It takes about 90 minutes to recharge that when I get home, i.e. I can commute to work and back home again, grab a bite to eat and have nearly a full charge before I'm ready to go back out that night. This is all without public charging infrastructure!

I think that when people talk about wanting to recharge their EV in the same time it takes to fill a gas tank, they're missing the point that the refueling of the two vehicles would typically be different, specifically that cars tend to sit for long parts of the day and installing a recharging network that can be used (say, while you are at work) is not an insurmountable barrier.

Long trips are indeed the one case that the EV struggles with, but I think that Tesla et al will come up with reasonable ways to deal with this, whether it be superchargers or towed battery packs

I maintain my gas car for just such trips, and I find that when I'm commuting daily with the EV, the gas car only gets run once or twice a month (seldom enough that I've had problems with the brakes rusting so that it's difficult to get the vehicle to move).

Comment: Re:They made a decision that's easier for them. (Score 1) 659

by BostonPilot (#47027743) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

I have to question whether this is really the Toyota plan, or whether Hydrogen is a delaying tactic to be able to continue shipping their ICE cars, which let's face it, they have a large investment in. My gut tells me that Hydrogen powered cars in large numbers is decades away. If I'm right, why would Toyota be jumping on a technology that isn't likely to be useful anytime in the near future when we have a technology (BEV) that is already sufficient for a large number of people (the technology is, perhaps the price point isn't there yet) and it's a technology that is almost certainly going to greatly improve during the time frame necessary to bring Hydrogen automobiles to market.

Comment: Re:Hydrogen Vs Batteries (Score 1) 659

by BostonPilot (#47027581) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

I've read that the grid is already capable of charging large numbers of EV cars. For instance:

Also, if the electric company offers off-peak discounts, people would almost certainly take advantage (my Honda Fit EV, and most if not all of the other major EVs can be programmed to charge at a specific time, i.e. I just enter into my smartphone when I want the car to charge and it will then delay charging until that time. You can force it to charge immediately if you think you'll need to use the car again that day before normal charging time).

Comment: Re:Electric. (Score 1) 659

by BostonPilot (#47024647) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

I'm leasing a Honda Fit EV which has a quoted range of something like 84, but when not using heating systems during the winter I see about 105 miles per charge (which costs about $2.50 in electricity). Interestingly, if you encounter a traffic jam in an electric car your range tends to go up because higher speed causes higher drag and a loss of efficiency; the EV car loves low speed driving. It's only a 19 kWh battery, so it would be relatively easy for Honda to produce one with more range (and I think Tesla has the right amount of range). There are enough chargers that there is little chance of getting stuck, but it would be a pain to have to plug in and wait, so typically I would only charge near my destination (like, if I'm going shopping and the mall has a charging station). The charging station issue is fairly easily solved - certainly there are no technical hurdles to greatly increasing the number of chargers out there - there simply needs to be a large enough user base to justify adding more. The fact is, however, that it's very rare that I charge away from home. Most of the time the range is sufficient for all the driving I do in a day, and I can simply plug in at home. I have a dryer outlet installed in my garage so that I can recharge at the end of a typical day in about 90 minutes (about 50% of the capacity is pretty typical when I get home from my 55 mile commute).
I've already decided that my next car will be a Tesla Model-E (200 mile range in a beemer 300 style chassis). I would guess that with that range, I might have to rent a car a couple times a year for long trips...

Comment: Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (Score 1) 398

by BostonPilot (#46822825) Attached to: Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price?

I commute about 2 miles to and from work each day.

But the Leaf is ugly, the Tesla S is expensive and neither is convertible.

I agree about the Leaf - I'd buy one if they weren't so darn ugly. I'm currently leasing a Honda Fit EV and love it My commute is 48 miles round trip and it can do that twice before recharging (but obviously I just charge it every night when I get home). Biggest drawback so far has been wintertime in Boston - the range drops by 50% when you have to run the heat (so I just drive my Subaru instead).

Comment: Re:Somewhat cheaper... (Score 1) 496

by BostonPilot (#46663385) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

You have a good point, but there could be an advantage to your night vision with the camera - since you can limit how much light the screen emits, you won't be blinded by the reflection of someone's headlights But as someone else mentioned, it's important for the screen to properly dim (which seems to be something that eludes manufacturers).

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.