Blog Update

Just a quick update to let you know I have not forgotten this blog, but, I admit, neglected it. I do tweet (mostly re-tweet) on cars (and other subjects of personal interest), mainly EVs, and you can see these on my twitter feed at the bottom of this blog, no twitter account needed. Or just go here: https://twitter.com/benji888578. I do plan on posting my own explanation of EV terms, without the marketing B.S. I see all too often…recent news has caught my attention that they are still at it, so, I will be writing soon on the subject of electric cars and what all-electric is, and how some call their not-all-electric cars all-electric. It has created some confusion for consumers, I hope to clear this up soon, along with explaining EV acronyms and terminology.

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On The Road App Update

Alright, so, with this update I also bring an update to a blog post from a year ago (posted Feb 2, 2013), where I shared a few of my favorite on-the-road apps. I found that “Rest Area Finder” was not being kept up to date and searched and tried out a couple different apps, I found “Road Ahead” to be a good one for when you are on an Interstate Highway, as it will show you what’s at the exits ahead of you. It has some other ways you can use it also. (This one is free, I’ve heard good things about “Road Ninja” also, but, not a free app). “Trucker Path” is a good one if you’re just looking for a bathroom or gas station, it brings up a map and pins the nearby truck stops, gas stations and rest areas, click on it and it shows how far it is.
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For those with EVs, or considering one, I have a few apps below, plugincars.com has a news app available “PlugIn Cars” (via Recargo, Inc). Three apps for finding alternative fuel, “Alt Fuel” is the new one from the gov. that will help you find not only charging stations for electric cars, but also biodiesel or other alternate fuels. I’ve included two electric charger finding apps that I think are kept up to date, “Plug Share” and “EVSE Locator”.
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Correct tire pressure helps maintain your fuel economy or range and is good for your car, check it once a month, or, at the very least, at season changes…sometimes, when the weather changes or severe weather, can cause your tires to lose pressure. I found an app that helps you adjust for seasonal conditions, you put in the expected low and high temps for the next few weeks along with the proper psi for your car, and it tells you what psi you should have depending on what temperature your tires are. Tire Pressure Correction or “TP Setter”.
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Lastly, a newish app you may find useful for finding local eateries, “ScoutMob“, has a limited number of cities they cover, but, if you live in or will be visiting one of those cities, it appears to be a good way of finding something local and unique over finding your favorite chain:
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As far as I can recall, all of these iOS apps are free. (Sorry, I don’t know if any are available on other platforms.)
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Please, if you don’t have bluetooth for your phone in your vehicle, remember your hands-free device before you go on the road. If you have an iPhone, it came with a headset (that’s not just headphones, it has a mic too), at least use this. Also, if using any of these apps on the go, please hand your device to someone else, pull over or at least use a windshield or other mount so you are not holding your phone while driving. 🙂
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Road Ahead
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Trucker Path
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Plugin Cars (EV news)
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EVSE Locator
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PlugShare
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Alt Fuel (other fuel types, not just electric)
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ScoutMob

Smart FourTwo Goes Off-Road :o)

I’m not a big ad person, but, this one is fun…Overseas ad for Smart FourTwo:

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Thanks to @CarTalk for the tweet:

Screen Shot 2013-07-04 at 4.19.09 AM

The Tweet: https://twitter.com/cartalk/status/352596573731041282

Top 10 Viral Videos of the week (The above vid., and 9 more): http://www.autonews.com/article/20130702/VIRALVIDEO/307029999/#axzz2Y2tymzXK

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Refuel 2013

The 5th Annual Clean Power Motorsports Event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was same day as Pikes Peak (Sunday June 30th).

This was done quietly, I have a bit of coverage I’m finding as the week progresses (see my twitter). I did a search for vids and found a bunch, people are still uploading, so I will create vid playlists and do a new blog post w/Refuel 2013 coverage sometime over the next week.

http://www.refuelraces.com/about.php

Ride The Future Tour (EV) Launch Today

Today (July 4th) Ride The Future will begin an all-EV transcontinental trek (cars, bikes, motorcycles, and scooter), starting at 9AM in Charleston SC and finishing 3,745 miles, zero gas, across the country at Google HQ, Mountain View CA.

They will be setting three world records:

The Guiness Record for the Longest Journey:

1) in an Electric Car

2) on an Electric Scooter

3) and on an Electric Motorcycle

(Complete information at their website, here’s “The Scoop”: http://ridethefuturetour.com/how-it-all-began/)

If you’d like to help send them off, come out around 8am at Brittlebank Park on Lockwood Blvd, Charleston SC

I will be (re-)tweeting anything I find on this 44-day trek (see sidebar for my twitter link). There also is a twitter you can follow: https://www.twitter.com/@Ride_the_Future

Chicago Tribune writeup: http://cars.chicagotribune.com/fuel-efficient/news/chi-transcontinental-electric-vehicle-parade-20130626

Here are the stops: http://ridethefuturetour.com/611/

2013 Luxo-Sport Sedans, Leaf, Rav4 EV & More

$46K Sport Sedan Shootout

The winner is no surprise, but 2nd place might be.

 

Hurricane Sandy and CNG fueled vehicles

 

2013 Nissan Leaf

First Look:

 

UK Review:

 

2013 Toyota Rav4 EV (CA only for now)

Translogic test drive w/Toyota

 

A full review:

 

One Year Driving the Nissan Leaf

For those seriously interested in this or other all-electric vehicles

(from description: “My good friend Chris Emerson has driven a Nissan Leaf for the last year, and we spent an afternoon chatting about his experiences driving an electric vehicle. Friendly warning that this is a long video, but Chris is a pretty insightful guy. If you’ve been curious about EV’s in general (and the Leaf specifically) this is a pretty in-depth look at what owning one in Los Angeles is like”)

 

I hope to blog more often in the near future, enjoy these videos for now. 🙂 -Benji

A Few of My Favorite Automotive/On-The-Road Apps

I will be posting soon on the topic of electric cars, in the meantime here are a few of my favorite automotive/on-the-road apps (all apps are free unless otherwise stated). (Links open in a new page/tab in your browser.):

Automotive News

Automotive news apps I like on my iPad:

Automobile Mag. News:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/automobile-magazine-news-for/id395579285

“CarBuzz”:
http://www.carbuzz.com/carbuzz-apps.aspx

Motor Trend Mag. News:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/motor-trend-news-for-ipad/id395055760

(more Motor Trend apps iOS & Android: http://www.motortrend.com/mobile/app_page/)

—If you have Flipboard you can also get Car & Driver magazine news (maybe others as well).

There’s an app for that!

MPG? “Road Trip Lite”
If you want to know what kind of MPG you’re getting “Road Trip Lite” is a free app, input your mileage, gallons, price per gallon, filled/not-filled and upon your 2nd filling it will begin to give you your current MPG and average MPG. It graphs your price per gallon, miles driven, costs/averages and your MPG for one car. (If you forget to use the app while at the gas station, you can input the info. later, if you have your gas receipt.) You can input/output data in CSV or MS Office format as well. This free app is limited to one vehicle.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/road-trip-lite-mpg-mileage/id299392794
 “Road Trip”
You can upgrade to the full version (not free) of “Road Trip” which lets you input unlimited vehicles, adds a service and repair log, expense tracking and more.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/road-trip-mpg-mileage-fuel/id298398207

“Rest Area Finder”
If you are on an Interstate highway and need to go soon, but want a rest area and would rather not take an exit for a (possibly dirty) gas station rest room, or simply for trip planning “Rest Area Finder” is great for finding rest areas closest to your current location (you can zoom out as far as you need to as well):
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rest-area-finder/id330740828

“Parking Time”
Where’s my car? How much time left on the meter? This nifty little app answers those questions with a parked car GPS tracker and parking timer with push notifications, (just remember to open the app after you plug the meter 😉 ).
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/parking-time/id551244666

“KBB.com”
Kelley Blue Book Official Guide:
http://www.kbb.com/company/mobile/

“Foursquare”
A great app for finding eateries and other local businesses when you are out of town (pull over or let a passenger use this, please). https://foursquare.com/download/ 

“Car Talk”
Lastly, have you heard Click & Clack the Tappit brothers? Don’t have the radio on at the right time? You can listen anytime…there’s an app for that too! Although you can no longer call in live as they have retired as of last fall (after 35 years), the “Car Talk” producers at NPR are assembling shows using the more than 1200 programs the brothers have recorded since 1987 (it’s well done, you can’t really tell). If you haven’t heard them, they are funny and informative, you must download this app and hear at least one show. The current show is available for free. The weekly show is updated on saturdays at 6pm (I think). They also are continuing their blog for the time being (see below).

Car Talk iOS app: https://itunes.apple.com/app/car-talk/id325965405 (listen to this week’s show via wifi or 3G or better data connection (data rates apply)).

Tom & Ray’s blog: http://www.cartalk.com/content/tom-ray

iTunes podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/npr-car-talk-podcast/id253191823

“Breakdown Lane” In the event of a breakdown, this app helps you locate the nearest consumer-recommended mechanic, (not free): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/breakdown-lane-from-car-talk/id548771566

Website: http://www.cartalk.com Here you can listen online via computer, there’s a consumer-recommended mechanic finder, forums, all kinds of goodies.

Article about their retirement: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/09/entertainment/la-et-0609-car-talk-20120609

 

(You can find these apps by searching on your mobile device using the name of the app inside the quotes””, or (via computer or mobile browser) by clicking on the hyperlinks above. Some apps may only be available for iOS devices.)

Don’t Panic…There are different types of Lithium Ion batteries!

 

Boeing 787 Batteries Same As Those In Electric Cars? Umm, NO

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1081753_boeing-787-batteries-same-as-those-in-electric-cars-umm-no

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Uses the Most Flammable Battery on the Market

http://mashable.com/2013/01/19/boeing-787-dreamliner-battery/

Don’t buy into the negativity that will/has been fed to the media about electric transportation technology because of Boeing’s problems with the 787, read the articles above to see that there are most definitely differences between Boeing’s 787 batteries and those used in electric and hybrid vehicles.

For more on what’s going on with the 787 Dreamliner: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-01/why-boeings-787-dreamliner-such-piece-crap

 

Driver Benji (this blog) update:

I have decided to focus this blog on electric cars, hybrids & other alternative energy transportation and also solar technology. I will be posting soon on how all-electric car technology has been available for some time. Some years ago GM was given a head-start opportunity and dropped the ball and Tesla (& others) has picked it up, but there are those that make big $ the way things are now that act like bullies to anything that threatens their stranglehold on consumers (mostly behind the scenes). I will start by posting a must-see documentary. Also I will give tidbits of the history of the electric car w/links to articles on this subject.

I will also blog on the other things already stated in “About This Blog”, just bringing more focus on ZEV or EV news and information. (Zero Emissions Vehicle).

Next blog post coming soon!

Disney’s 1958 ideas for the Highway…

Here’s a little Disney vid from 1958 (discovered via a @ZelectricBug tweet)

Talk about “idealism” …keep in mind, the Interstate system of roads was started just two years earlier, and the original portion took 35 years to complete. Initial costs were underestimated, and required maintenance was very much more than expected.

How many of these ideas do you see in actual use today?

What ideas seem a bit far-fetched, or trendy for the times in which the animation was made?

What ideas would you like to see developed that haven’t been yet?

Comment!! 🙂