What Drives Us episode

#349 Whose Data is it, Anyway?

16 Jan , 2020   Video

In this week’s show:

1) The current NTSB requirements for black box data is woefully short of all the data required to determine the actual situation of a modern-day crash. Manufacturers are not required to hand over additional data. Should owners be able to pull the data themselves to turn over to the police? Should they be able to pull data from a used car prior to purchasing it?

2) Tesla’s stock has soared recently to the point that the company is now valuated higher than GM and Ford, combined! It doesn’t help that Ford and GM have seen their own valuations dropping in the recent months.

3) The Boring Company’s 0.8 mile tunnel is completed under Las Vegas between convention centers. It’s likely not going to reach 140mph like previously advertised, it might use skates to move cars or not. Details are few and far between.

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What Drives Us episode

#348 Dieselgate Saves VW

14 Jan , 2020   Video

This week:
1) States face roadblocks on path to lower tailpipe emissions.
2) BMW remains committed to ICE cars for at least 30 more years.
3) The Prius is no longer Toyota’s top-selling hybrid.
4) Sony shocks CES by unveiling a car.
5) The Fisker Ocean might actually be areal thing.
6) Tesla’s Gigafactory 4 has to tread lightly in the forest.

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audio only,What Drives Us episode

# 347 Robot Replacements

3 Jan , 2020   Video

1) Tony reviewed the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Be sure to check out his two separate reviews:
Ride-along review: https://youtu.be/ed4CUB73QWE
Walk-around review: https://youtu.be/hty_KFkWZMY

2) At the beginning of the 2010s, Lithium-Ion batteries were projected to herald in the era of the electric vehicle. We discuss accessibility of battery components and the drop in prices.

3) Volkswagen has released conceptual animations of very cute little battery charging robots. You park your car anywhere in a parking garage and the robots will not only bring a mobile battery pack, the pack will plug itself into your car.

4) December saw a flurry of Tesla software updates. We pick them apart.

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audio only,What Drives Us episode

#346 Last Episode of 2019

3 Jan , 2020   Video

In this, the final episode of 2019, we discuss:

1) The environmental impact of our instant gratification economy. Is it better or worse when we can order almost any amount of almost anything online and have it delivered to our house?

2) The US House passed a new spending bill that extends credits for EV chargers, motorcycles, and fuel cells but fails to extend credits for EV cars. Also, coal plants owned by Native Americans are subsidized.

3) The E-RV is a pretty awesome 5th Wheel camper that has a huge battery for full off-the-grid living. The battery can be recharged by plugging in, solar on the roof, and/or regeneration while being towed.

4) Portland, Oregon, is really stepping up their mass transit game by implementing impressive measures with their Trimet system. From green buses to renewable diesel and free rides for minors, this is mass transit done right.

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audio only,What Drives Us episode

#346: Last Episode of 2019

23 Dec , 2019   Video

In this, the final episode of 2019, we discuss:

1) The environmental impact of our instant gratification economy. Is it better or worse when we can order almost any amount of almost anything online and have it delivered to our house?

2) The US House passed a new spending bill that extends credits for EV chargers, motorcycles, and fuel cells but fails to extend credits for EV cars. Also, coal plants owned by Native Americans are subsidized.

3) The E-RV is a pretty awesome 5th Wheel camper that has a huge battery for full off-the-grid living. The battery can be recharged by plugging in, solar on the roof, and/or regeneration while being towed.

4) Portland, Oregon, is really stepping up their mass transit game by implementing impressive measures with their Trimet system. From green buses to renewable diesel and free rides for minors, this is mass transit done right.

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audio only,What Drives Us episode

#342: Clean Coal Powered Station Wagons

30 Nov , 2019   Video

russell (and everyone)
Ford Mustang Mach-E debut https://www.forbes.com/sites/samabuelsamid/2019/11/17/2021-ford-mustang-mach-ethe-pony-goes-electric/

mark
VW May Toughen Up Production ID. Space Vizzion With Alltrack-Like Looks

Tony:
Did they really think they could take sides and not encounter fallout? https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/california-to-stop-buying-gm-toyota-and-fiat-chrysler-vehicles-over-emissions-fight-idUSKBN1XS2B2

russell
you guys are killing me
https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/13/jetpack-aviation-raises-2m-to-build-the-prototype-of-its-flying-motorcycle/ russell Lyft scaling back dubious scooter ops in six cities https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/14/lyft-is-ceasing-scooter-operations-in-six-cities-and-laying-off-20-employees/

russell
Just plain get out of here https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/12/20961812/elon-musk-berlin-tesla-ceo-fourth-gigafactory-construction

Tony
Even if all these things are true, my guess is that people will hate them. http://theconversation.com/smart-tech-systems-cut-congestion-for-a-fraction-of-what-new-roads-cost-125718

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audio and video,Featured,Special Episode,Special Guest,What Drives Us episode

#202 8640 Miles w/ Ben Rich

27 Oct , 2016   Video

Electric motorcyclist, Ben Rich joins us to follow up on his earlier visit detailing his plan to drive around the US. The trip totaled 8,640 miles and Ben is now the first person on an electric motorcycle to make that trip. We spend the hour talking about his experiences and how he did it.

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What Drives Us episode

Hypermiling in the Social Media Age

28 Aug , 2016  

I’m in the process of recording these articles in a series of videos.  Click the image to the left to watch them.  While there, be sure to subscribe to the channel.


-Tony Schaefer

A lot of people are seemingly (or actually) addicted to Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, InstaGram, and/or whatever new social media app / website just went online while I was writing this sentence. So much time is spent (some would say ‘wasted’) electronically interacting with people, the whole concept of social media has gotten a really bad reputation. However, it can be argued that there are  beneficial facets to social media interactions and the ability to instantly engage with multiple people regardless of time and distance.

This article will discuss ways in which you can use social media and internet communities to improve your fuel economy. When possible, links are provided to online sources; this is not a promotion of one site over another. If one of your favorite online resources is missing, let us know so we can include it.

Join a Hybrid / Car / Hypermiling Community

Have you ever heard of those car clubs or motorcycle clubs who just get together once and a while to talk about their cars or motorcycles. All they do is get together, hang out, talk car, and perhaps drive around. Sounds really silly, doesn’t it? Well, congratulations: now you can do all those things online!!

Thanks to Google, online car forums are really easy to find. In the forums, you can find information about driving techniques, how to perform regular (or not-so-regular) maintenance, or speculation about upcoming models and features. Some forums are broad in their scope while others are relatively granular. But they all have one thing in common: they are all sustained by a group of individuals with mostly the same interests and concerns as you. Because of that, it is usually pretty easy to be welcomed into the community and easy to form friendships with other forum members.

Here is a list of some online forums and communities. This is clearly just a partial list:

Send us links for your favorite online community or any other community you know of.

Create / Join a Fuel Consumption Challenge

A few years ago, a couple coworkers were curious about this whole hypermiling thing. The best way to get them personally invested was to set up a competition between them. Using a relatively simple spreadsheet, we used their car’s EPA numbers to gauge how their MPG improved by implementing some basic hypermiling techniques. The entire thing was based on the honor system so there’s really no way to vouch for its accuracy, but according to their self-reporting, each were able to achieve more than 10% above their EPA ratings. It’s hard to say whether they would have achieved these results had they not been competing.

When you know your results are going to be seen by others, you will try harder. This is why a little friendly competition might give you the push to kick your efforts up a notch or two. It’s not only competition that provides the incentive to improve; sometimes simply knowing others are watching is enough.

If you join one of the online communities mentioned above, see if they have a place where people can post their fuel economy averages. Many do. If you are using a spreadsheet to monitor your mileage, consider making it available online via Google Docs, DropBox, or any other online storage service. If that’s not possible, consider creating an account at Fuelly where you can enter your tank-by-tank averages. Then you can distribute the hyperlink to your Fuelly account.

Participate in Ride Sharing Programs

While this might not improve your individual fuel economy, it will reduce your overall fuel consumption.

Check around to see if there are any local web resources where neighbors can set up a ride-sharing program. You know, a good old-fashioned carpool. For example, check out NextDoor.com to find neighbors and start a chat. Find out if anyone works near you.   The best-case scenario would be if someone lives and works near you.

If you like your coworkers, at least a few of them, find out if they live near you or between you and your job. Some days, you can pick them up; other days you can park at their place and they drive. Either way, that leg of the trip is done with one car rather than two. Word to the wise: you have to really like that person because if it gets to the point that you can no longer stand riding them or if one of you gets a promotion and now it’s awkward, you will need to cancel the carpool. Of course, you’ll still see that person at work every day.

Use Waze

Waze is a free, real-time traffic service owned by Google (or Alphabet, whatever). It is primarily used via the phone app. As people drive, Waze uses geotracking to monitor their speed to provide everyone else real-time traffic information. Drivers can also manually provide information to the system such as backed-up traffic, a traffic accident, car stopped on the road, or even where the police are hiding today.

Once the user enters their destination, Waze evaluates all its information to determine the fastest and most trouble-free route. Unfortunately, Waze cannot apply hypermiling logic to calculate the most fuel-efficient route. But by directing you around stopped traffic, the amount of time you spend idling is greatly reduced. This will save gasoline and/or battery charge.

One note about Waze: you are providing your real-time location to the Waze application. As the adage goes: if the product is free then you are the product. If this makes you a little uneasy, just skip this suggestion.

Attend Driving Clinics or Seek Help from a Hypermiling Expert

In addition to the first suggestion promoting online communities, you might want to also look into local, real life groups. As a side note, it’s funny how we now have to distinguish things as being in real life (IRL).

These groups are usually formed and populated by like-minded people. Some of the events I’ve attended have been held in parks, parking lots, even car dealerships. In some states, it’s not legal to sell cars on Sunday but it is legal to have the service center open. This means a friendly dealership might welcome a group for a meeting.

At these meetings, technical car reviews might be provided, maintenance information, and tips from other drivers. It’s usually pretty easy to find someone who is achieving really good gas mileage and who is more than willing to talk with you about improving yours. Many of the meetings I’ve attended have include “ride alongs” in which the ‘expert’ hypermiler will ride with the learner, providing advice for improvement. I’ve performed several ride-alongs; trust me: people are happy to do it. Just ask.

Search your local area for car groups. Here are two groups on MeetUp.com that might help get you started:

Conclusion

In this day and age, it should be easy to find like-minded people which whom you can discuss fuel efficiency. Whether online or in real life, working with others – and maybe even competing – will certainly give you that extra boost to improve your overall mileage.

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