Thursday, 31 July 2014

Electric cars have no personality? Think again!!!

What happens when you combine one of the most iconic vehicles of all time with modern electric engine technology?

The Zelectric Beetle: proof that electric cars can have as much style and grace as anything else on the road.

Californian inventor David Benardo has created a truly special car, capable of 110 miles and a shed load of smiles.

this car just may change the way we view electric cars.

According to Zelectric Motors’ website, their Franken-Beetle is capable of 90+ miles-per-hour and will last an average of 90 to 110 miles on one charge. The space where the petrol gauge used to be now has a range anxiety meter :)

Of course, with all of the additional electric car equipment fitted to an old frame modifications are needed to make it drivable.

Zelectric updates the suspension to accommodate the extra weight. disc brakes to ease any fears of stopping within a reasonable distance.

After all of these upgrades are fitted, this little lightning bug still weighs less than a Nissan Leaf, and a lot better looking

Also, as a first in the electric car market, the Zelectric is available with the Beetle’s original 4-speed manual gearbox, which after the upgrades is less of a transmission and more of an engine aggression selector.

now the problem - you have to got to California to get one with £38k in your back pocket plus import tax

Pier fire had been started by an electrical fault.

Fire rips through Eastbourne Pier destroying roof

The main roof of the pier, built in the East Sussex seaside town in the 1870s, has been completely destroyed, leaving only a metal skeleton.

The pier was evacuated. No-one was injured in the fire and police said it was not thought to be suspicious.

The fire service said late on Wednesday the incident was being scaled down and 30 firefighters were expected to stay at the scene overnight.

Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt said he was hopeful the pier could be repaired and understood the fire had been started by an electrical fault.

"The emergency services have done a fantastic job," he said.

read more here

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Will you be paying too much for your next TV?

UK consumers are getting a "raw deal" by paying more for technology products than US shoppers, a watchdog has reported.

Which? compared the prices, excluding tax, of 13 identical products ranging from televisions and gaming consoles to desktop applications and security software and found UK consumers are paying more than they would in the US.

The price difference of some items, calculated on June 18, ran to hundreds of pounds.

The consumer group found a Samsung television was £402 more expensive in the UK, and an Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop cost £194 more here than in the US.

The Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 were both £57 more expensive here.

 UK shoppers are also paying "over the odds" on digital goods, with a 12-month subscription to the imaging software Adobe Creative Cloud costing £114 more here than in the US.

 Microsoft Office Professional digital software cost £236 in the US compared to £325 in the UK, a price difference of £89.

Which? advised consumers to consider buying digital products in-store where possible, as items such as Microsoft Office were sold by the company at a fixed price but physical versions were sold by numerous retailers and more likely to be discounted.

The watchdog has called on manufacturers to "play fair" and explain why technology products are more expensive in the UK in comparison with the US.

It is also calling on the Government to raise the current threshold for import duty on goods bought online to the same level as that placed on goods brought back from abroad to allow shoppers to take advantage of cheaper items on sale in the US.

The current threshold for customs duty for technology products bought online from a country outside the EU is currently £135, but travellers can bring home goods worth up to £390 without having to pay duty.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

EU member states will have to boost their energy efficiency by 30%

After months of difficult negotiations, commissioners agreed to a goal they termed ambitious but realistic.

Some member states have been pushing for an even higher target amid concern over the security of gas supplies from Russia.

European leaders, meeting in October will decide whether the new goal should be legally binding.
The 30% target will be based on projections for 2030 that were made in 2007.

In a statement, the Commission said the new goal would build on existing achievements, pointing out that new buildings across the EU now use half the energy they did in the 1980s.

Industry is about 19% less energy intensive than it was in 2001, they argued.

Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said the proposal would increase the security of supply and sustainability in an affordable way.

we accept it is ambitious but feel that it is unrealistic seeing as we are set to miss targets already set.

This harks back to our blog highlighting massive govt under investment

you can encourage further investments in energy saving technologies to the benefit of businesses, consumers and the environment all you like but what we really need is a culture change. we used to light a room with a 60w GLS bulb, now it is 300w - 500w of halogen light. we are over lighting rooms and wasting power on a massive scale.

President, Jean Claude Juncker, who recently told the European Parliament that a 30% target was a minimum for him is a politician looking for big numbers , a political legacy. we say it wont work and is not achievable.

Germany and Denmark had pushed for a tough, legally binding goal, because they have either better invested infrastructure or a small population making it easier for them to achieve the goal

good news for Europe's energy security and independence. Meaning no such good news for Putin.

I Think not, do you think Putin cares about 2030??? really?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Billing Aquadrome Car Show

Thank you to Darren Randall for taking our Classic HA van to the Billing show.

not only did he show the car, he drove the van all the way to Billing. such is our confidence in our little van. Trailers are for wimps.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Power cut compensation increased to a minimum of £70 but not till April 2015

I know that with the temperature outside needing the air-con on, you wont really have the winder bad weather power cuts at the forefront of your mind.

People whose power is cut off for long spells during bad weather will be eligible for much higher compensation payments.

The regulator Ofgem is raising the minimum payment per customer from £27 to £70 for those who go at least 24 hours without power.

It follows the storms last Christmas when nearly one million people in southern England were cut off.
Of those, 16,000 were without power for more than two days.

Ofgem was particularly aggrieved by the efforts of the power supplier SSE and the power distribution firm UKPN (UK Power Networks) to restore power quickly enough to their customers.

The firms have already paid £4.7 million in compensation to their badly affected customers.

Now, after Ofgem pressure, the companies will donate a further £3.3 million to organisations like the Red Cross which help distressed customers during power cuts and bad weather.

"Ofgem's findings showed that while SSE and UKPN's southern arms were particularly badly hit by the storms, they could have done more to get customers reconnected faster and to keep them better updated on what was happening," said the regulator.

"The companies have recognised that they must improve their procedures for any future major interruption and Ofgem has today put the industry on notice that any repeat of last year's performance issues will trigger further action," it added.

As well as raising the minimum compensation payment to £70, the maximum amount that can be claimed by a customers is also going up - from £216 to £700.

The higher level of compensation payments come into effect from April 2015.

Ofgem said the point of raising the payouts was to give the firms an incentive to work faster at reconnecting customers.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

TV innovations at Commonwealth Games

The BBC is using the Commonwealth Games to experiment with new ways of delivering TV coverage of live events.

High-frame-rate (HFR) and ultra-high-definition (UHD) streams of the tournament will be publicly tested in London and Glasgow, alongside regular broadcasts.

Other innovations include a "venue explorer", which allows users to pan around an area on their tablet.

Immersive viewing using virtual-reality technology is also being trialled.

In a blog post, the BBC's research and development (R&D) team explained that while the "technical infrastructure doesn't exist yet" to deliver these new formats to the average viewer, the public would "be able to come and get a taste of it at our public showcases in Glasgow and London".

The department will document the experiments' progress throughout the games, via its blog.

A BBC R&D engineer sets up one of the UHD cameras at a games venue  A BBC engineer sets up one of the UHD cameras at a Commonwealth Games venue UHD streams, which have a native resolution of 4K or higher, (roughly four times the resolution of standard 1080p high definition) were already tested during the World Cup, earlier this year.

For the Commonwealth Games, BBC R&D is testing a higher frame rate - the speed at which images refresh on the screen - to reduce flickering.

"The high-frame-rate TV demonstration in the Glasgow Science Centre will show that this is even advantageous at 'regular' HDTV display resolutions, let alone for UHDTV," the blog states.

"A frame rate of 100 frames per second enables the human eye to fuse motion in a realistic way and is also high enough to avoid visible flicker."

Venue Explorer The venue explorer provides graphical overlays of useful information

The BBC is also experimenting with delivering live TV streams over internet connections, rather than via traditional satellites.

Innovations in the way audiences experience live events will also be unveiled, with an "augmented video player", which can overlay interesting data about the athlete or sport directly on screen.

Another new product is the "venue explorer", which, as the R&D team explains, "allows you watch live video feeds on your tablet and then zoom into the images and pan around".

Friday, 25 July 2014

Friday Fact

More than ten people a year are killed by vending machines.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

EV update

A lot of the EV research now is all about sustainability and battery tech.

University of Wisconsin students will have access to small electric cars for rent in the autumn as researchers prep a project focusing on sustainable transportation.

This is part of a larger study on sustainable transportation will be to evaluate various aspects of electric car usage, such as driving patterns and fuel consumption trends.

The project will also monitor trends in the usage of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the campus and city


Sunswift, a team of engineering students from the University of New South Wales, designed and built a car that holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest solar-powered vehicle.
In 2011, that car reached a top speed of 88 km/h (55 mph).

Its newest vehicle, eVe,  is hoped will break a 20-year-old electric vehicle record for the highest average speed over a 500 km (310 mi) distance. The current record is 73 km/h (45 mph), and the Sunswift team is confident that eVe can beat that by a comfortable margin. For the record attempt on July 23, 2014, the car will only use a fully charged battery bank without help from its solar panels.
Speed vs. distance is one of the trade-offs with electric vehicles. Going fast increases drag, which decreases range. Many “novelty” solar cars are designed for high speeds while most commercial electric cars are optimized for long distances. The Sunswift team wants to create a practical solar electric car that can drive at sustained highway speeds while still providing a respectable range.
eVe is powered by a Li-ion battery pack, an enormous bank of off-the-shelf laptop computer batteries, that drives a pair of custom designed motors with a staggering 97% efficiency.

The motors were designed by the Australian national science agency, CSIRO. A solar array consisting of high efficiency flexible thin-film silicon PV cells provides up to 800 Watts of power on a sunny day. Regenerative braking replenishes the batteries, recovering up to 80% of the braking energy.

The car is capable of traveling 140 km/h (87 mph). Driving at highway speeds, eVe uses the equivalent power of a four-slice kitchen toaster. Its range is 800 km (500 mi) using the battery pack supplemented by the solar panels, and 500 km (310 mi) on battery power only.
The TeXtreme carbon fiber body keeps the car’s weight at a trim 300 kg (661 lbs). Its wheels are made of carbon fiber (front) and aluminum (rear).

The driver is the next big variable with such a light vehicle

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Just under 120 turbines catch fire each year - the reported industry figure is 12

The researchers claim that out of 200,000 turbines around the world, 117 fires take place annually - far more than the 12 reported by wind farm companies.

Each wind turbine costs more than £2 million and generates an estimated income of more than £500,000 per year.

Any loss or downtime of these valuable assets makes the industry less viable and productive.

Wind turbines catch fire because highly flammable materials such as hydraulic oil and plastics are in close proximity to machinery and electrical wires.

These can ignite a fire if they overheat or are faulty. Lots of oxygen, in the form of high winds, can quickly fan a fire inside a turbine.

having said that, the risk to you or I (unless you are a wind turbine engineer) is negligible.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Another flash in the pan idea...

Whoop whoop, David Cameron is getting an EV. big news...

DC 'could' swap his ministerial limousine for an electric car under plans to make Whitehall's vehicle fleet greener.

Charging points for electric cars will be installed in Downing Street and a Cabinet minister said he expected all members of the Government "will want to be at the forefront of this".

Under the plans, the use of vehicles by Government departments will be reviewed and where appropriate ultra-low emission alternatives will be procured.

But the Prime Minister's heavily modified and armoured vehicle would not be immediately replaced, as security concerns would need to be addressed in assessing any potential alternative.

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin confirmed that the infrastructure for electric cars was being installed in the heart of Government.

But maybe just to charge his golf buggy.

Come on government, you can do better than that.

how about 25% of all government expenditure of ferrying MP's around London to be 'electric' with a 50% target for 2016.

Now that's a headline...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Only £10m to improve energy efficiency and reduce electricity demand - get your calculator out!!!

The UK Government has announced a £10m funding for business, industry and other organisations to help improve energy efficiency and reduce electricity demand.

The electricity demand reduction auction, which has a £20m budget, will provide funding for projects that may not otherwise have happened.

The projects will save businesses money on their bills, cut carbon emissions and reduce demand on the grid.

About 300 organisations have expressed interest in the programme, which will open on
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said greater electrical efficiency could create savings equal to 9% of total demand by 2030.

The government is testing whether schemes that deliver electricity savings at peak times may get payments in the capacity market.

UK DECC secretary Ed Davey said: "Our plan is powering growth and jobs in the UK economy.
"We are building a secure, sustainable energy system for the future, dealing with an historic legacy of underinvestment and neglect that threatened to undermine the whole economy.

"The funds we invest now in keeping the lights on could, in the future, be available to support cheaper projects that deliver lasting reductions in peak electricity demand."

A new report by the DECC revealed that £45bn has been spent in the UK's energy sector since 2010, with about £8bn investment in renewable technologies in 2013 alone.

Our comment - 10 million is s drop in the ocean to avoid the investment of a new power plant

Hinkley Point C will be built in Somerset and is scheduled to begin operating in 2023.
It's estimated to cost up to £16bn.

how much would you proactively invest to avoid having to spend £16bn in the future? maybe a quarter - around £4bn may be nearer the mark to make a real impact..

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Rolls-Royce Builds Electric Car With the help of School Children

A group of 10 boys and girls from 5 to 6-year old built and piloted a specially developed electric car in race against teams from schools across the UK. Called the Greenpower IET Formula Goblin race, the event hold on Sunday was organised by the Greenpower Education Trust, a charity that aims to promote sustainable engineering and technology.

“Team March” from the March CE Primary School adjacent to the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, finished well up the order and scooped the prize for “Best Bodywork.” Before racing, the kids visited Rolls-Royce factory and learnt fundamental engineering, manufacturing and teamwork skills in the process, from a team working at their car.

 Team March were also presented with specially hand-stitched race overalls prepared in the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Leathershop before posing for a photograph in the Analysis Centre as the car underwent final pre-race checks. A team of the British car designer helped the youngsters to turn their vision into reality and off they went.


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sorry there hasn't been a blog

Sorry that there hasn't been a lot recently. I am on paternity leave and read learning how to change nappies I don't have any great insight into electrical things in this process and consequently a bit out of the loop I will get back to blocking soon as I get to my desk

Friday, 11 July 2014

Friday Fact

Dell Computers was started by a 19 year old with only $1,000.

Just goes to show what you can do with a Grand

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Survey highlights lack of fire safety awareness among small business owners.

A survey carried out recently by FireUK highlighted a ‘staggering lack of awareness’ among the owners of small businesses about their responsibility to undertake appropriate fire risk assessments.

FireUK contacted 580 owners of UK-based small businesses, including offices, pubs, take-aways and restaurants, the majority of which were ignorant of the laws surrounding fire safety.

Mark Hall, the company’s Commercial Director told the FIA : “Most of the companies were very honest with us and admitted they were unaware that they needed to undertake proper fire risk assessments, regardless of the numbers of employees they had.

“Often companies have no idea that they are breaking the law until they are fined, or they know someone who has been prosecuted and then they suddenly realise that they might find themselves in the same position. Frankly, if I wasn’t in the industry myself, I probably wouldn’t know what I was obliged to do in terms of fire safety,” he said.

Mr Hall believes that very small businesses would benefit from some advice as soon as they are set up, either via national government or local authorities, however he admits that this would be a huge bureaucratic undertaking –.

“I understand that it can be expensive to be assessed and this may put a lot of business owners off, but cost should not be an issue when lives are at risk. Prevention is a lot cheaper than cure in the long run, as your insurance company will then pay out in the event of a fire, and more importantly, you, your staff and your customers will be safe.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

In a bid to remove potential fire hazards, commercial buildings and non-domestic premises in Scotland are already forced to carry out a fire safety risk assessment under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, in conjunction with the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the enforcing authority has the power to prosecute the Dutyholder.

A suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment must be conducted on all commercial properties in Northern Ireland under the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010.

If the fire risk assessment is deemed to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Appropriate Person can face an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.


Monday, 7 July 2014

Jailed for illegally exporting electrical waste to Africa

A waste dealer has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for illegally exporting tonnes of hazardous electrical waste to Africa, the Environment Agency said.

The agency's investigators found broken cathode ray tube televisions and ozone-depleting fridge freezers in four containers intercepted at ports between September 2012 and April 2013.

Joe Benson, 54, of Broad Street, Loughton, Essex, was sentenced to 16 months in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court for illegally exporting 46 tonnes of hazardous waste to Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and the Congo. He had earlier pleaded guilty.

He collected the electrical waste from civic amenity sites in London and the Home Counties and took it to his licensed waste site in Walthamstow, where it should have been tested for functionality and safety before being exported, the Environment Agency said.

It is thought he stood to make around £32,000 from the export of the intercepted containers, making money by collecting the waste and selling it on, and avoiding the costs of dealing with it safely.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

What would the UK be called without Scotland?

Just a thought???

In reality the country could, and probably would, continue to be known as the UK. It's difficult to imagine a Westminster government advocating anything else.

But the suggestion that "UK" might need replacing if Scotland becomes independent after the referendum on 18 September has already led to some alternative shorthands being bandied about.
"The rest of the UK"

Are you ready for the printing costs of changing all that government stationary to rUK

Well that's allright because Scotland is not going to vote yes, and if they do will foot the bill!!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday Fact

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.

expected really!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Chevy Volt drivers want

Chevy Volt customers are telling General Motors they want three things
  1.  a fifth seat,
  2. a longer electric driving range
  3. a lower price.

Larry Nitz, GM's executive director of hybrid and electric powertrain engineering, said GM is working on the next generation of the Volt, expected in 2016, but he wouldn't say how the car will evolve.

A recent study of 300 Volts in use in California showed that 63 percent of all driving is done in electric mode, 15 percent of drivers are exceeding the car's rated 40-mile electric range, and Volt owners who charge regularly go about 970 miles between fill-ups. They visit the gas station about once a month.

GM is readying a turbocharged 1.0-litre engine for its small cars, but it won't say whether the new smaller and lighter three-cylinder engine will replace the Volt's current 1.4-litre four-cylinder.  GM also is working on improving the performance of the Volt's batteries.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Two Indian restaurant owners who breached fire regulations may face prison

Owners of an Indian restaurant in Coventry who have pleaded guilty to 12 charges of breaching fire regulations, and a further two charges of failing to comply with a prohibition notice, may be sentenced to a prison term.

As well as a broken fire alarm system, lack of working smoke alarms and virtually no lighting on emergency exits, fire officers also found that self closing doors had been propped open, putting the safety customers and staff at risk.

In addition, fire alarm manual call points did not work and first floor entrances were not operational, plus there were no suitable maintenance systems in force either for fire detection or fighting a fire.

Among the charges admitted by the couple, Mohammed Uddin and his wife Monowara Begum, was the fact that they had not carried out a suitable fire risk assessment or complied with the prohibition notice that had been issued after a visit by West Midlands Fire Service in 2012.

The notice, which was issued after several inspections, prohibited the use of the floors above ground level for any purpose other than remedial fire safety work. Despite that, the couple then went on to lease out the third floor in blatant disregard of the notice.

Aside from breaching fire safety regulations in the ground floor restaurant, the couple also put lives at risk on the second floor, which was used as sleeping accommodation. Fire doors were held open, there were no smoke detectors and no emergency lighting.

The couple accepted that they had failed to take general fire precautions, placing both employees and non-employees at risk of death or injury in the event of a fire and the judge warned them that they could each be facing a custodial sentence.

Both Uddin and Begum have been bailed to await sentencing.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

Story original source: Coventry Telegraph

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Would you consider an Electric Car?

Its a typical chicken and eggs conundrum sparked by of the Government survey, “Public attitudes to electric vehicles”.

They might as well have called the report “Just Don't Bother" because no one is listening. or if they are listening they don't trust or understand the message. its a leap of faith that so few are willing to make.

The public reported that the most important factors putting them off buying an electric car or van were recharging (40 per cent), and the distance travelled on a battery (39 per cent) followed by cost (33 per cent) and lack of knowledge (16 per cent).

Less than one per cent (0.3 per cent) of respondents already owned an electric car or van and only five per cent of respondents said that they were thinking about buying an electric car or van.

The most dispiriting finding of the DfT report though, is surely the 69 per cent of drivers, who when asked if they were thinking about buying an electric car or van, answered not “yes” or “no”, but “I haven’t really thought about it”.

its quite clear that on the whole 'average Joe' or Josephine is feeling ambivalent.

14 per cent of those surveyed had considered the vehicles and decided against buying into the technology, over half of the sample simply hadn’t even thought about it.

when we do a proposal for a LED lighting upgrade we do a payback time, so we can demonstrate the benefits of the upgrade.

maybe the industry are stuck in the mud note because they don't detail the benefits, but maybe because they don't see an electric car as an upgrade but more as an environmental compromise that will place more restrictions on their freedom - i.e. range anxiety.

or is it that they think that you never see them on the road and EV is Betamax and they are waiting to see they VHS will be?