* Posts by Alex Willmer

10 posts • joined 19 Mar 2009

Electric cars not as 'green' as advertised

Alex Willmer

Recycle em

Why throw the battery away? Once it's down to 70% original capacity stick it in a big UPS-shed for load balancing/emergency backup. Once it's down to 30% shred it and recover all that valuable copper, aluminium and lithium.

Alex Willmer

Source of 7.5 kWh

Hi Robert, I'm not bashing, or even disagreeing, but what's your source for 7.5 kWh/gallon refined. I'd like to use it and be confident I can back it up. My email is alex@moreati.org.uk if you'd prefer to discuss off-forum.

Who are the biggest electric car liars - the BBC, or Tesla Motors?

Alex Willmer

Why can't the register stick re: something or other here

I don't recall perfectly, but I think they warrent it will have more than 80% original capacity. Hence range would be 80 miles vs 100 miles when new. Such a battery will still have resale value - for use in those dedicated chargers, or general big-ass UPS applications.

The car is more likely to depreciate due to newer models with better range (the same as laptops) than to battery wear. Perhaps I should add:

7. Electric cars will likely be subject to earlier adopter market factors for the next few years.

Alex Willmer

Some things worth mentioning

1. Petrol cars are better for long distance driving. Some people drive that far often (BBC journalists for instance), some people don't.

2. Mini E was a rush job by BMW, it's very far from a good effort. The production cars coming this year (Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi iMiev) will have the same or slightly better range and back seats.

3. The Leaf and the iMiev can charge faster than 32 A/240 V. The Leaf can be charged to 80% in 30 minutes at a dedicated charger. Still not as good as petrol, but much better than reported here.

4. The public charging network is indeed _very_ sparse outside London, and particularly up North. That is slowly changing.The dedicated chargers haven't been deployed yet - so the Mini E was representative of that journey today, though I expect not 12 months from now.

5. Electric car Batteries do degrade with time, not as fast as many fear. Laptops use a Lithium Colbalt chemistry which has high energy density, but lower cycle life (~300 cycles to 80%). The Tesla also uses this chemistry - which is partly how it achieves the 200+ mile range. The Leaf, iMiev and Ford's 2012 Focus use other chemistries (LiFePo4 and Lithium Manganese IIRC) that get 2000-3000 cycles to 80% (but lower energy density). The Leaf's battery is warranted for 8 years or 100,000 miles in the US - longer than most cars are warranted.

6. If electric cars get as popular as proponents would like then on-road parking/charging will happen - think oyster type card + bollards with sockets. It's not that hard.

Bottom line:

- Electric cars are different to petrol cars - worse in some ways, better in others. For now their niche is as a 2nd car and/or for urbanites.

- They'll get cheaper, and the batteries will get better (i.e. longer range, faster charging.)

- Petrol and diesel vehicles will be with us for a long time to come - like COBOL.

OOo's put the willies up Microsoft

Alex Willmer


"When confronted in the flesh by OOo evangelists I often ask "Can you do a mail merge from a source database that contains the information in stored queries or views?" and typically get back a blank look."

I expect you'd get the same blank look from most Office evangelists as well, if you asked them that question. It's a fairly obscure one.

Disclaimer: I'm a card carrying OOo user. I find it good enough, but not great. I haven't used Base in anger, from what little I have I'd tend to agree it's no Access. I have used Access, and it's made me angry as often as not.

OOXML and open clouds: Microsoft's lessons learned

Alex Willmer

Office 2003 didn't implement OOXML

"Paoli was once one of Microsoft's XML architects who designed the XML capabilities of Office 2003, the first version of Office to implement OOXML."

Office 2003 could save to an XML format, but it wasn't OOXML. Office 2007 was the first to implement (something resembling) OOXML. Hence why 2003 requires a seperate download to view a .docx or .xlsx file.


Researchers probe net's most blighted darknet

Alex Willmer

Mobile internet traffic?

Some 3G providers use 1.2.x.x for transparent http proxies. I wonder if an of that traffic has leaked on the public Internet.

Google puts Chrome updates on Courgette-only diet

Alex Willmer

Re: Take note MS

The generic term for this is differential compression, only sending the differences between a file and the updated version. Microsoft (Windows Update) and Novell/SuSE (delta RPMs) have been doing it for years.

What Google have discovered is a better differential compression algorythm, not the technique itself. Now if only Ubuntu, Red Hat and Debian would take note.

Enertia e-bike wheeled into shops

Alex Willmer


The Ego will not take you 40 miles, and certainly not at 30 mph the whole way.

Most of the importers of these Chinese electric scooters are optimistic about the range. They seem to take the specs at face value, and unlike for cars, there's no standardised rolling road test for making fair comparisons.

Philips GoGear Spark MP3 player

Alex Willmer

I just want the radio

I already have an MP3 player, I may get this just for the FM radio. Does it have presets and/or RDS?

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