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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for June 2022

Annals of Aeronautics

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This is a blog. That is a contraction of Web Log – a record of the sites on the internet that I have been visiting. Today there are three stories all about ways we may fly in the future. They share some common features – regenerating old technologies, and using electricity to power aircraft. But they are all quite different. Except that in my life time each one of these ideas – in different forms – has popped up more than once. For example, when I went to and from Nottingham during my university days, the train took me past the hangars at Cardington. I would like to be able to say I saw airships flying but that wouldn’t be true. Though I have seen the Goodyear “blimps” now and again. That name is a travesty. It was originally applied to the tethered balloons used in London during WWII to try to force luftwaffe bombers to fly higher (and thus be more inaccurate). The Goodyear airships are true dirigibles (balloons you can steer) just like zeppelins.

The only real question I think is about the probability that these things will actually fly commercially.

The most likely, I think is the Hawaiian version of the flying boat. Unlike the effort here to refit existing floatplanes with electric motors, these aircraft are based on the aeronautics of the cormorant – to be seen every day across the Burrard inlet. By flying low and close to the water – but not actually touching it – a great deal of energy is saved. Quite how this can be turned into a commercial service around the Hawaiian islands remains to be seen. Presumably, this new type of aircraft will be able to rise quickly to get over the top of those who stick to their own preferred seaways.

I think that Sergey Brin may be the more likely to get approvals since the changes he proposes to make Zeppelins are designed to take advantage of our much better understanding of the physics of lighter than air flight, strength of materials science, and what the challenges were that lead to the rapid demise of airships both military and commercial.

I like the idea of cruising in an airship (see the works of Cory Doctorow for what he thinks might happen). The appeal of the giant flying cruise ship – not so much.

For one thing it relies on nuclear energy – always a bit of a problem in my mind – but more especially in this case since it has to be both “small” and fusion powered. As far as I know, there is not yet anything like a feasible fusion power plant.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 27, 2022 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Air Travel

Consumer EV Charging Experience in Canada

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The Press Release below arrived at lunchtime today, just when we were talking about cars, again. Now that Modo has a car close to us, I have started to use it for pre-booked trips. The car is a Toyota Prius, and the traffic was so congested this morning, coming back from Oakridge along 49th that I was easily able to keep the car in EV mode all the time. We live in a condo with underground parking, and people using EVs have become something of an issue. Initially because they weren’t paying for those charges. That has been changed to a flat fee for people with EVs. I have an older, conventional IC car but I have been seriously considering replacing it, in part because there seems to be very little opportunity to find investments in renewables – although I have found at least one. There is also some doubt in our building if our old infrastructure can actually cope with EV charging as nothing much has changed here since the building went up in 1974. There are three transformers in the basement, which turn out to be the property of BC Hydro, which have literally not even seen any maintenance let alone upgrading in that time.

There is also of course a current disruption in new vehicle deliveries, due to the pandemic, and a six month wait for a new car. While I have a Prius Prime on order, I still don’t know if I will be able to charge it overnight here – which would meet most of my needs. In the meantime I am using both Modo and Evo more often to see if there is any real need for car ownership at all.

The report cited below found

 Over 40% of respondents in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) stated that more than half of all their charging needs are met using public infrastructure. The needs of MURB residents are critical to address as they represent 33% of Canada’s population and are often constrained in terms of their ability to charge at home.

which pretty much backs up my experience. We are supposed to be examining the need for more in house charging but we do not have a good track record in terms of getting agreements with enough residents to change anything at all.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen_rees/52078080619/

My nearest public charging station West Boulevard @ 40th Ave

EV Fast Chargers



Pollution Probe Releases Groundbreaking Report on the Consumer EV Charging Experience in Canada

TORONTO – June 23, 2022 – Pollution Probe is pleased to release the results from a first-of-its-kind national survey of electric vehicle (EV) owners. The survey captured the real-world charging experiences of Canadian EV owners from coast-to-coast to identify gaps and weaknesses in existing charging networks, as well as strengths that can be used to maximize the benefits of future charging station deployments. This work was made possible through the generous support of the Office of Consumer Affairs at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).

The comprehensive survey received responses from more than 1,600 EV owners drawn from every province. Results were categorized into four key areas: charging behaviour, network coverage satisfaction, network service satisfaction, and network payment systems.

An adequate public charging network is frequently cited as one of the most important factors in accelerating EV adoption. Not only does public charging make long-distance travel in EVs more convenient, but it makes the prospect of EV ownership more feasible for Canadians who live in high-rise buildings or homes that lack a dedicated parking space that can accommodate a charging station. Not surprisingly, one of the key findings of the study is that EV owners residing in high-rises rely much more on public charging than those in single family homes. Over 40% of respondents in high-rise buildings indicated that more than half of their charging needs are addressed using public charging stations.

While the installation of public EV chargers continues to accelerate thanks to the efforts of both government and industry, right now most Canadian EV owners think that the existing number of public chargers is insufficient. While Canadian EV owners’ location preference for the slower level 2 charging stations is varied, preference for DC fast chargers is more concentrated at highway rest stops and urban retail centres. Another key finding is that EV owners are very interested in demand management methods, such as smart charging and vehicle-to-grid charging, that could reduce their charging costs. These methods can be leveraged by utilities to avoid stressing local grids as more EVs come online.

As of 2021 EVs comprised almost 6% of new passenger car sales in Canada – but the EV market is just getting warmed up. Canada has set mandatory ZEV sales targets of at least 20% of new passenger vehicle sales by 2026, 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2035. Regular assessments similar to this onewill need to be led in the coming years so government policy and industry practice can efficiently address the needs and expectations of the next generation of Canadian drivers.

“Findings highlight mixed attitudes and behaviours from Canadian EV owners depending on the type and age of EV owned, their location in Canada, household type, travel patterns, and charging networks used. This pioneering work is an important start in terms of aligning consumer expectations around the convenience of EV use with public charging infrastructure availability across Canada.”

–  Christopher Hilkene, CEO, Pollution Probe

Read the report at the links below to see the full results as well as a summary of key findings and recommendations for next steps. Our transportation team is available to respond to questions and comments.

ENGLISH & FRENCH REPORT CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE

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About Pollution Probe
Pollution Probe is a national, not-for-profit, charitable organization that pursues environmental gains by productively working with governments, industry and the public. With a steadfast commitment to clean air, clean water and a healthy planet, Pollution Probe has been at the forefront of environmental issues and action since its inception in 1969. www.pollutionprobe.org

Written by Stephen Rees

June 23, 2022 at 1:37 pm

Updates

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Quite a lot happening recently, some of which relates to issues that have been dealt with in blog posts on here. So I thought that I should do a single post to bring you up to date. I will also add the links to the previous posts on the topic just in case there are some readers who missed them first time around.

Arbutus Mall Redevelopment

The second stage of the project is now getting started in earnest. This week the excavators arrived and started tearing down the remains of the Mall Building. This used to accommodate the Safeway Pharmacy, BC Liquor Store, Bank of Montreal and Dance Company. They all have now moved across the Yew Street extension. I have tried to update Google maps with the new locations as the old ones keep appearing elsewhere. That has certainly added a lot more views to the photos I attached to those posts.

Pedalheads, who used to run swimming lessons in the old community centre pool (located in the basement) are now in the Jericho Hill Centre.

Arbutus Mall Redevelopment
Yew Street at Lahb Avenue

Modo Car Share

I was doing a Leo survey into travel in the region, and one of the questions was why I was not using Modo car share. The answer was going to be that they did not have a car based nearby – but I checked the map to see how far it was. And discovered a new Modo parking spot is on Yew at Eddington. So I have revived my membership. My suspicion is that it is the new development of rental apartments that has spurred Modo’s interest in this location.

Welcome to the neighbourhood
Toyota Prius Hybrid

This car is brand new! If you were in the market to buy one of these there is currently a six month wait! I know that because that is what I did this week when I decided to end the experiments I had made investing through WealthSimple and VanCity. The downturn in the stock market means that they are now both worth less than I started with, so I thought that it would be a good idea to get into an electric car and trade-in my 2007 Yaris. I also have over $500 in Open Road points by having my car serviced every six months but much to my surprise even though these points can only be used to help pay for servicing or buying a new car, apparently that did not include the $500 that I was asked to put down as a deposit for a new Prius Prime – which is a plug-in hybrid rather than a pure EV. My concern has been that the Strata Council was not being very proactive in installing charge points in the garage, but apparently that may be changing too. Given that I have at least a six months wait, I will be using the Modo when I can to see if I even need to own a car at all. Especially after reading this article today which states that tire wear particulates are much worse than tailpipe emissions – and this is directly tied to vehicle weight. Batteries are much heavier than fuel tanks – and in North America the car makers are promoting ever larger, heavier vehicles. Not only do EVs not help at all with traffic congestion, they may make local air quality worse than ICE vehicles.

Broadway Subway Construction

Broadway Subway Construction
Arbutus Station: looking west from Maple St

Traffic deck installation begins today
www.broadwaysubway.ca/app/uploads/sites/626/2022/05/2022_…

Broadway Subway Project traffic deck installation
Traffic deck installation at the future Arbutus Station site BCTran photo

and the boring machines have arrived and are being installed at the eastern end of the new tunnel. That link gives you a PDF file of what is happening here at the other end of the new line but that website, run by the province, is by far the best source for detailed information on the project as a whole. In due course I hope to be able to make a video of the pictures that are collected now as a Flickr album to show the transformation.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 3, 2022 at 4:57 pm