How do we get as many EV's on the road as quickly as possible?
- by combining a disruptive technology with a disruptive process.
Electric vehicles are a disruptive technology
it's our new transportation system.
… but it’s more than swapping an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. That just gets us started. Electric drive systems offer modularity and scalability in addition to energy efficiency. We are creating new types of vehicles and new vehicle categories as quickly as we can think of them. And they are rapidly increasing in performance while declining in cost.
Local manufacturing is a disruptive process it's changing how we make things.
… but it’s more than just downloading a part for 3D printing. 3D printers, CNC machines and even robotics are getting cheaper, more sophisticated and easier to use … and largely open source. These machines just require downloading files to run them autonomously all day long by inexperienced enthusiasts. They have incredible accuracy and repeatability. They produce exactly the same parts everywhere around the world. They enable rapid prototyping as well as low-volume production. That enables a guy in a garage to become a designer/manufacturer with a very small investment and also to accelerate the design and manufacturing of shared-design vehicles. It is a perfect pairing with open source design communities since people can share and produce designs over the internet.
The way to get as many EV’s on the road as quickly as possible … is to grow a global community to develop open source electric vehicle designs using local manufacturing processes. It is a different way to think, to design, and to manufacture.
We can reimagine local transportation by expanding bike paths for commuting and introducing ebikes, then transitioning to velomobiles and enclosed lightweight electric vehicles. And finally there can be autonomous climate-controlled LEV pods. There are no technical challenges; this can be implemented very quickly.
Our current infrastructure is unsustainable and most transportation planning is car-centric and only adds more lanes and more highways. The EPA average car weight is 4,000 pounds to move an average 176 pound person back and forth to work or to run errands. This drives up infrastructure costs and energy usage. There are currently multiple proposals around the U.S. on the order of $10B each just for highway expansion. When we have four lanes of bumper to bumper traffic we add a fifth, then a sixth, then a seventh. We now have fourteen and fifteen lane highways that are congested. China had a traffic jam on a 50 lane highway. We can do much better than a one car per person transportation infrastructure. And parking is another sore point for car-centric planning.
Energy efficient lightweight vehicles can be made but it’s a tough sell when the smaller vehicle has to mix with SUVs and tractor trailers. Dedicated roads and highways would be required but that’s a hard sell without the vehicles. A cost-effective transition plan could start with electric bikes and bike paths, then scale up the paths and the vehicles.
Electric bikes are booming worldwide, getting much cheaper and more reliable. Many cities and towns in the U.S. are expanding bike paths and seeing greater participation for recreation and commuting. An association of bike co ops could build ebikes from simple kits so that open-source designs can be shared. This can expand into building open-source battery packs, electronics and bike frames. Then velomobiles and recumbent trikes can be introduced while continuing bike path expansion, focused on congested areas, major employers and disadvantaged communities and their commutes (ebikes are low-cost transportation with no license required, no registration, no insurance, and negligible fuel and maintenance costs).
It is not a technical challenge to build fully-enclosed, climate-controlled, seamlessly web-connected autonomous "pods" (LEV's) but they are not conducive to mixed traffic with trucks and SUVs. A long term plan to expand bike paths will allow more affordable infrastructure growth with new "highways" that are restricted to lower weight and lower speed vehicles and designed around local commute patterns. If the infrastructure can be planned around LEV's it will stimulate their development. Ideally, some cities and towns could be selected for demonstration programs. The costs are relatively low and a focused effort could implement a system very quickly.
A photo gallery is provided at the bottom here under "references" so that readers can get an idea of what is out there and what designers are working on. Click on the link and then on the photo gallery for bigger pictures. The beauty of electric drives is that they are very modular, scalable and flexible in how they are used. Motors can be placed anywhere including in the wheels, and batteries can be spread around for optimum center of mass.
- create a network of existing bike co ops and supporting municipalities.
- get funding to supply ebike kits and share curriculum to build and maintain ebikes. Eventually sales will support further growth, and bike path expansion will result in long-term benefits of reduced pollution and congestion, and improved health and economy while creating a much more sustainable transportation system with improved quality of life.
- find volunteers to use them for commuting, possibly zero cost leasing for pilot programs. This would get cars off the road and reduce congestion and pollution.
- repeat with subsequently more sophisticated and practical designs.
- there are low-cost open-source design, prototyping and manufacturing tools available that can empower small shops to become local designers and manufacturers in a global open source LEV community. These tools can be introduced to boost education, productivity and local economies. By developing a catalog of baseline vehicles, progress can be accelerated with a cooperative network of synergetic stakeholders. Small business opportunities would be created for producing parts and vehicles, the same open source designs would be locally manufactured all around the world.
Select readily available common bikes in different categories like cargo bikes, commuter, mountain bikes and recumbent trikes. There are plenty of proven, affordable conversion kits for both mid-drive and hub-drive systems. Step one would be to document the source of parts and the assembly process. Then the bike can be tested to verify speed, range, cost and weight. Each design will be completely documented on a website for sharing. In short time, a complete menu of vehicles will be available for anybody to copy. Since these are open source designs, people can build upon them and share upgrades, troubleshooting and more. Battery pack assembly would be pulled in as an open source item, then controllers, chargers and bike frames. There are even open source Battery Management Systems (BMS) based on an Arduino board. This can be an incredible opportunity for education and U.S. production. Once established, this can improve local economies by empowering small local ebike assemblers and manufacturers with a huge support global network (good customer support has been the shortcoming of the industry to date) and this new local transportation industry will become self-sustaining with local shops building and selling open-source designs that are more maintainable and upgradeable than existing ebikes.
The world is electrifying our transportation systems. However, the average electric car gets about 300-400 watt hours per mile (wh/mi). Ebikes can easily get less than 30-40 wh/mi and LEV's can be 50 - 100 wh/mi while greatly reducing our infrastructure costs and space.
The electrification can be greatly accelerated by combining the disruptive technology of electric drive systems with the disruptive process of distributed open-source manufacturing. This plan is simply a start of this concept.
recent article - it's already happening - http://www.businessinsider.com/californias-superhighway-bike-trail-2017-7
A great example of local micro emobility - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=037CAW4Yeug&feature=youtu.be
"The future of urban delivery is electric cargo bikes" - https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=pizza+electric+cargo+bike+delivery+you+tube ....
UPS etrike delivery - https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dhl+electric+cargo+bike+delivery+you+tube ...
... and pizza too - https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=pizza+electric+cargo+bike+delivery+you+tube ...
utility - https://www.facebook.com/100009599118676/videos/2030859707243980/