Sounds like a neat idea. A couple more ideas to throw into the pile: Offer businesses free advertising if they'll allow a free charge. Have people sign safety disclaimers so the businesses will feel better about signing up.
----- Original Message ----
From: "[email protected]
" <[email protected]
To: Electric Vehicle Discussion List <[email protected]
Sent: Wednesday, August 8, 2007 8:53:17 PM
Subject: [EVDL] How to help move things forward
When it comes to finding a way to contribute to the adoption of electric
vehicles, I think there is lower hanging fruit to pursue before attempting
to climb a mountain as big as making advanced batteries from scratch.
In fact I just came up with something internet-related to keep me busy in
the scene until I have the opportunity to convert my car, something that can
use my skillset. Let me know how this sounds...
A few days ago I was thinking about how to make EV use more practical for
longer trips without official charging stations. I noticed that there are
old lists of people online intended to provide informal charging to others.
In the early period of a hobby, information tends to be scattered around and
disjointed like this. That's really the state of things today with EV
stuff. This mailing list is probably the closest there is to a single
central hub. But as people have said recently, it is old-school technology.
There aren't a lot of tools you can hang off of this. It's just raw
So my idea is to form an EV community around the social networking
structure. So take Facebook for instance. Facebook has something called
the Facebook API which allows you to extend the system in different ways.
My idea is to create a network of EV owners (or just sympathetic friends and
family) on Facebook who can publish their location as an open charging
service for their other EV friends. Then you use the Google Maps API so you
can plot long trips that utilize your friends' charging services to get from
point A to point B. Because everything is database-driven, you can
carefully reserve these reservation windows and avoid contention for a
single charger or showing up when the resident is not around. To make it
more reliable, you slap on a rating system. If someone "flakes" on you,
either preventing access to the charger, or is a no-show, then you rank him
down. This is the Ebay honor system. As for privacy, all of the sensitive
information here is very carefully controlled on Facebook. There is a lot
of detailed settings at your disposal. You would opt into this stuff only
if you feel there is the proper trust-level with your potential charging
partners. Jerks would be quickly blackballed out of the system due to the
rankings. (I'm not dealing with the issue of back and forth credits or a
payment for electricity used right now. That can be worked in later.)
In addition to all that, you then wire up your navigation system (i.e.
laptop) with GPS. So you sync all your travel data back and forth. Now you
have a system that can analyze your driving habits and make realistic range
estimates. It will try to keep you from plotting the trip unless it thinks
you can't make it. For instance, if it remembers that the last time you
took street X, you had to go over a steep grade that lowered your range, it
will take that into account next time. If the batteries follow an unusual
discharging pattern, the system will be able to warn you in advance and
suggest a detour to a closer charging location or suggesting that you
double-back. Also, you would be able to publish your driving statistics.
So for those with similar cars, it might be able to collectively average the
data in order to accelerate the process of honing the range estimates over
various streets that have different conditions. You could also have a
competitive leaderboard. You could have people with the top range per
charge, or group them by the car's model. Like "highest range Super
Beetle". This is similar to what John Wayland wrote about in 'gaming' the
EV1 rental, but taken to the next level. I think a lot of this sort of
thing is what Th!nk is planning to do, but none of this is impossible to do
at the grass-roots level.
It might be nice if there were charging stations everywhere so you could
just charge at work, the movies, the mall, or various parking meters, but it
might actually be a good thing for people to have to rely on EACHOTHER a
little bit rather than infrastructure. You might start out in a simply
pragmatic charge-charge relationship with another EV owner, but then you've
GOT to "hang out" while the car charges assuming the person's home isn't
adjacent to some other area of interest. So it presents some good
opportunities to slow your life down a little bit and get to KNOW other
people, presumably other people who have common interests. It seems like
the two things go hand in hand, and would be therapeutic.
Does any of this seem appealing to you all?
Totally Glenn. I'm in your camp here. This is why I am so frustrated that
the Lithium battery makers are so high priced right now. I checked on
wholesale (not direct) prices on components to make lithium cells and it is
miniscule compared to what we are being asked to pay. I know they have to
recoup R&D but jees! That's all we would need to make 200mile machines in
our backyard... lower Lithium cell prices.
I get so frustrated about this, I found myself putting together research
material for a small scale, JIT large format Lithium battery plant.
knows? It might be nifty to have Made In The USA on the battery label. (Yes,
I know nobody would want to finance this,, etc etc
My faith is in the small makers taking more and more of market share until
the big makers are forced to compete, at which point they'll try to buy a
few up. What happens after that depends on if they still have serious
competition or not.
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