Monthly Archives: August 2005

More on the magic car

Asymetrical Information has an average post (which for them is of high quality) on the article on hybrid cars I mentioned yesterday. However the really interesting part is in the comments. That site really does have the best and most reasoned commenters.

One thing the blogosphere has left unsaid so far is: What changes can we expect with a year or two of gasoline at $2.50 a gallon? Presumably it won’t stay that high for much longer, but if it did, how much more bottom-up innovation becomes feasible?

Cool and needed

I came across an interesting article on Fox News

Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg

It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid (search), but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret — a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car’s high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.

Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car.

Like all hybrids, his Prius increases fuel efficiency (search) by harnessing small amounts of electricity generated during braking and coasting. The extra batteries let him store extra power by plugging the car into a wall outlet at his home in this San Francisco suburb — all for about a quarter.

He’s part of a small but growing movement. “Plug-in” hybrids aren’t yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg.

University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank built a plug-in hybrid from the ground up in 1972 and has since built seven others, one of which gets up to 250 mpg. They were converted from non-hybrids, including a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Suburban.

Frank has spent $150,000 to $250,000 in research costs on each car, but believes automakers could mass-produce them by adding just $6,000 to each vehicle’s price tag.

Instead, Frank said, automakers promise hydrogen-powered vehicles hailed by President Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though hydrogen’s backers acknowledge the cars won’t be widely available for years and would require a vast infrastructure of new fueling stations.

“They’d rather work on something that won’t be in their lifetime, and that’s this hydrogen economy stuff,” Frank said. “They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially.”

Curiously missing from this article is any mention of a break-even point. Namely that at some price per gallon a $3,000 add-on is well worth the expense. Granted, it comes on top of an already high hybrid price, but a back of the envelop calculation would be welcome.

It sounds very intresting, though I am a bit dubious about the “quarters worth of electricity” bit. If true, that is just staggering.

Happy 32 Mr Leland

I just got back from dinner with the House of Leland (celebrating Adam’s recent birthday) at Manuel’s Tavern. I had a nice time. Upon my return through the ever-flooded Dekalb County streets I find that Drex has torn down more of the blinds. Oh well.

Here are the photos I took

Light blogging lately

I finally got the prints in (yay!) and now I just need to get more frames from Sam Flax, but they look very nice.

Blogging has been very light as I deal with the work that has been piling up lately. And as I spell check this before I post it I see that the word “blogging” is flagged as a misspelling.

And happy birthday Adam.

They said it

From Paul Krugman’s latest column, where insists that there is a housing bubble, albeit not in areas with better geography

Housing prices move much more slowly than stock prices. There are no Black Mondays, when prices fall 23 percent in a day. In fact, prices often keep rising for a while even after a housing boom goes bust.

The bubble (construct that it is) pops and prices still increase? We have such happy problems in this country, it reminds me of our obesity “epidemic”. It reminds me of the old adage “Economists have predicted 14 of the last 5 recessions”.

Computer annoyances

Last night my computer was randomly freezing. I reboot and find that my two CD-rom drives are no longer working. Not really a huge problem.

I wake up today one of the CD-rom drives door is locked open. Later email goes down. What’s the deal?