Electric Everything Part 2: What I Missed In Part 1

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Thanks to numerous comments on my first article, I am including many of the electric things I missed in my first version of Electric Everything.”

Hunter electric skateboard built to reduce your risk of falling. Image courtesy of Hunter.

The smallest electric vehicle on the market these days may be the electric skateboard. This one is capable of speeds up to 34 mph!

Image from Brian Stewart and the American Green Zone Alliance, “The Fully Electric Future of Landscape Maintenance.”

One of the comments on my previous Electric Everything article was that I had left out electric gardening equipment. Since my main focus was on electric mobility, I forgot to include electric gardening tools. Also, all kinds of hand tools — like drivers, jigsaws, routers, pneumatic nail guns, and impact wrenches — have been essentially electric forever. More recently, almost all of these tools now come battery powered, so workmen no longer have to find an outlet and drag a power cord or air hose around. Look at the photo above: We see electric riding lawnmowers, electric chainsaws, electric leaf blowers, etc. — along with all the spare battery packs and chargers necessary to make them all work. Today, you can go down to any Home Depot, Lows, or Harbor Freight and come home with an electric lawnmower with enough power and spare battery packs to mow a decent sized lawn.

SEABOB, courtesy of Cayago.

Here’s another thing I missed in my first version of Everything Electric — the SEABOB from Cayago.

City Street in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 2005 – tuk-tuk, taxi, car, and motorcycles. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

Anyone who has spent time in Bangkok, Thailand; New Delhi, India; Hanoi, Vietnam; or almost any developing country in Asia has seen and ridden in one of the 3-wheeled, 2-cycle, air-polluting tuk-tuks that dominate in those cities. Companies like GMW (see below) are leading the “charge” to electrify and clean up those cities.

Three-wheeled electric tuk-tuks, courtesy of Gayam Motor Works.
Aurora eSled electric snowmobile
Image courtesy of Aurora Powertrains.

If you have ever been around a ski resort, traveled in Yellowstone in the winter, or traversed any of the endless miles of snowmobile trails of Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, you know that snowmobiles are used both for work and play. The electric snowmobile in the photo above was developed by Aurora Powertrains of Rovaniemi, Finland.

Electric police cars. Image courtesy of Fleet Auto Supply @fleetautosupply.
Tesla Model 3 taxi in NYC. Image by Brendan Miles/CleanTechnica.

Electric cars are no longer just personal vehicles. They are also work cars — police vehicles, taxis, ambulances, etc.

Then there are the electric buses — how could we skip those?

Electrics buses are growing fast, bu many more are needed. Courtesy of Lion Electric.
On-route ABB pantograph chargers installed by Laketran at a Park-n-Ride location. Image courtesy of Laketran.

Many US cities and municipalities are experimenting with electric busses. So far, that’s normally just a handful in each location, but there are hundreds in some cities and thousands in some Chinese cities.

Shenzhen electric buses from BYD dominate the city’s streets. Image courtesy of Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

Out of almost 425,000 electric buses worldwide at the end of last year, some 421,000 were in China. The global electric bus fleet grew about 32% in 2018. The city of Shenzhen alone has over 16,000 electric busses and 22,000 electric taxis. It is the home of the BYD electric battery, car, and bus company. 

Figure 17: TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) – Near LaBonnardeliére France – June 21, 2010 (Fritz Hasler Photo)

An obvious omission in my first article was electric passenger trains. They are virtually nonexistent in the US but very common in Europe and China.  In the figure above, the TGV streaks through the French countryside at 200 mph near the small village of La Bonnardelière, speeds almost incomprehensible for Americans. The speed record for the TGV is over 350 mph.

My granddaughters arrive in Paris on the TGV high-speed electric train in 2010. Photo by Fritz Hasler.
electric trains
My grandson prepares to board the TGV to Munichin 2014. Photo by Fritz Hasler.
Paris to Munich on the TGV at over 200 mph. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

The TGV in France and ICE trains in the rest of continental Europe make train travel an attractive alternative to air travel.

The world high speed train network consists of  6,552 miles in Europe, 24,653 miles in China and zero miles of true high speed rail network in the US. However, this may improve slightly by next year. Amtrak has purchased upgraded train sets from Alstom which tilt on the turns allowing faster speeds. The new trains are expected to operate up to a top speed of 160 miles per hour, 10 mph faster than the current generation of rolling stock. The increase might seem small, but the design of the train isn’t the limiting factor. Alstom states that the Avelia Liberty trainsets could travel at speeds over 185 miles per hour. The only thing left holding back Alstom’s Avelia Liberty trains are the ancient tracks.

The Amtrak Acela runs between Washington, DC, and NYC, and Boston a total distance of 451 miles. This is the only semi-high-speed rail service in the US at the present time. It will take several billion dollars to upgrade the tracks in the Northwest Corridor to get true 200+ mph service. Biden’s Build Back Better Bill may include money for this upgrade.

The California High Speed Rail Authority is in full construction on 119 miles of track for high-speed trains in the central valley of California. This is to be the first true high-speed rail network in the US. Eventually the network will link San Francisco to Los Angeles. However, at the present time only the easy part is under construction. The most expensive sections will connect downtown LA and San Francisco, which are not funded at the present time. The California high-speed rail service will not be truly useful until the whole project is completed. Once again, the Biden Build Back Better Bill may have money for those projects.

Joby’s all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is pictured on the company’s Electric Flight Base website, located near Big Sur, California. NASA began flight testing with the aircraft as part of the agency’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign, Monday. This test runs through Friday, Sept.10. Credits: Joby Aviation

Many electric aircraft take their cues from the ubiquitous drones, which are used for both hobbyist models and for larger delivery vehicles.

eHang Drones, photo : http://www.ehang.com/news/526.html
Electric Droneim of EHang.

Speaking of miniature drones, these carry high-resolution video cameras, which make them extremely useful for hobbyists and let Hollywood feature film producers eliminate helicopters.

There you have it! Many of the things that I missed in my first Everything Electric article. Thanks for all your comments. I’m sure that there are still “Ethings” that I have missed. Please clue me in with your comments.

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Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler, PhD, former leader of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization & Analysis Laboratory (creator of this iconic image), and avid CleanTechnica reader. Also: Research Meteorologist (Emeritus) at NASA GSFC, Adjunct Professor at Viterbo University On-Line Studies, PSIA L2 Certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Brighton Utah Ski School.

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler has 113 posts and counting. See all posts by Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler