Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More on the Tesla roadster

The BBC ran a story on the tesla roadster recently - there's speculation that it'll be available in the UK for about £50,000 in 2008. Start saving :-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Carbon Trading

Ebico do a handy online CO2 calculator which takes your energy usage details and has a guess at how much CO2 you produce - in my case, it's about 6 tonnes per year. They then go on to suggest that you buy CO2 credits to cover it. I'm not entirely convinced by that - the theory is, because you are buying the credits from the general industrial trading scheme, you are capping the amount that industry as a whole is allowed to produce. But the caps are fairly generous, and people wouldn't be selling them if they needed to produce that amount of pollution. And if a company starts polluting more, who's going to stop them - or measure it precisely enough to prove it ?

I would have thought it would be far better to spend the money on renewables schemes, or planting trees, or sending Goats to Chili, or on a few low energy lightbulbs - otherwise you're just lining the pockets of some market trader with no net practical outcome. In particular, a quick google for 'carbon scheme' came up with a stack of articles entitled 'carbon scheme doomed' and similar.


A report has come out recently suggesting that recycling is saving 10-15 million tonnes of CO2 per year, and that we are now recycling nearly a third of rubbish. A couple of years back, there were claims that recyling was 'burning trees to reuse trees' - ie, that it was pointless and we should just make stuff and put it in landfill. I suspect the people making those claims are the same ones moaning about new landfill sites. To be fair, I think their arguement was based on people driving 5 miles once per week with a few newspapers to recycle, which is clearly daft.

Our council are apparently going to replace all our wheelybins with compartmentalised ones - to help lazy people sort their rubbish. One of our neigbours always fills their bin to the brim - there's usually a wadge of paper or something recyclable or compostable preventing the lid from closing - and there's only one person in their houshold. We've got a baby (about the most un-environmental think you can do!) and we only produce a third of the rubbish - mainly just through sorting out paper, glass and cardboard. The new scheme claims to take plastic bottles as well - excellent news as there hasn't been anywhere local that could do that - and I'm not going to drive miles to the nearest plastic recycling plant!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Carbon neutral housing

The government has finally made some attempt to change the building standards in the UK to be more ecologically sound. This is good news as there seems to have been little improvement in housing technology in the 100 years. A new proposal from Communities and Local Government secratary Ruth Kelly will require new homes to be carbon neutral by 2016. Houses will also be given a star rating for energy efficiency and zero emmision homes will be exempt from stamp duty. It is hoped this will act as an incentive for property developers.

Housing accounts for 27% of the carbon produced in the UK so this move could be a major part of the government's attempt to reduce carbon emmisions by 60% by 2050.

The BBC story can be found here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Electric car cont'd

Found an even nicer looking electric car - the Tesla Roadster.

How annoying it this ? According to the FAQ, they are built by Lotus in the UK (thought the backend looked familiar) and shipped over to the US. They have no intention whatsoever to sell them over here *groan*. For a performance car, they're not even that expensive - $92,000 .

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


245 bhp

0-60 in 4.3 seconds

range about 200km

Looks, well, rather nice I think. It's the venturi fetish - costs about £300k or thereabouts. Oh, and it's electric.

Yup, you read right - someone has built a proper electric car that's road worthy, isn't just 'not slow' but actually 'really fast' and looks like a proper car. OK, it looks like a proper sports car, but the point is, it doesn't look like one of those stupid concept cars that are designed to look futuristic and end up looking like something from either thunderbirds or the teletubbies.

That's a real pet peeve of mine - just because a car uses an electric power source, why on earth should it look like anything other than a normal car ? No, the designers insist on making them look completely stupid.

There's a film coming out called who killed the electric car, looking into why GM crushed all their electric cars. Basically the public think that all electric cars are milkfloats, requiring 16 hours to charge, range 30 miles and top speed of 5 mph. The fact is, since the 1890s when the first electric cars were about, the technology has got far, far better than that. Even in the early 1900s, 20mph was quite normal for an electric vehicle, which was comparible with internal combustion driven cars at the time. Now, they are at least as good in most respects - just the cost of the batteries to sort out now !

And before anyone asks 'filling up a petrol car is really easy' - well, if you're out and about, that is true - however, you can't fill up with petrol at home, or at work. Swings and roundabouts I guess, but if I could plug the car in for a few hours and get 200 miles in the tank, well, that's as far as I really want to drive in a day so that would be enough.

speeding ticket

Just discovered an electric car in the US recently got aspeeding ticket. It is suspected that it's a publicity stunt, though it's a good'un. is a good looking uk based blog about electric transport; headover and take a look.

On the same site is a list of electric cars which kind of proves my earlier point about how stupid people make them look. There are about three or four on there I wouldn't be ashamed to own; the rest look utterly ridiculous - imagine the smart car with all the style removed, crossed with that BMW motorbike with the roof and you'll get an inkling...

Solar generation getting more cost effective

The payback time on photovoltaics is getting better. Not, you might thinkk, because economies of scale are making the manufacturing process cheaper. Not because they are getting more efficient. Nope, it's because the unit cost of electricity generated by other means is going up *groan*.More here.

I spotted a letter in the guardian today - complaining about the 'hidden' CO2 emmissions of wind turbines. Yup, the anti wind league is now bleating on about the energy used to make the 'wretched things' - for example in the concrete bases. Funny that, what do coal fired power stations use for foundations then ? I don't think they publish the enbergy payback time for fossil fuel plants.