I haven’t been blogging too much lately and there are still about 5 entries waiting for completion…I’ll get to why in this post, which is a re-cap of what went on in November and December 2017.
First of all, I decided to quit my job after 3 years to pursue a new career in regulatory compliance. After two decades in IT-security it was time to take on a challenge in a completely new environment, at a start-up with me being able to build everything from scratch on a green field – as a result, many evenings were spent on setting up the frameworks and other tasks, such as traveling to Singapore to support the founders with some human bandwidth.
But first, I met with a founding member of Spark Horizon, a start-up focusing on delivering ubiquitous free charging.
The start-up really gets what electric motoring is about: Being able to slowly charge whilst parking, since your car will be stationary during most of the day.
The charging stations will offer advertising and semi-fast charging – USB and other localized info to follow soon.
Then, it was time to travel to Singapore – unfortunately, my stay had nothing to do with electric motoring.
In Singapore, I attended a conference, an official reception by the official Swiss trade delegation, networked a lot and had some meetings at a few of the many banks in Singapore. Most evenings were filled with ‘locally organized dinners’ and invitations to private events laid on by various sponsors.
Singapore is a vibrant city and definitely is trying to embrace a greener image. EV-wise, my last news was that they started taxing Tesla’s at S$15k due to their ’emissions’ and then reduced this rate by 20% to make them ‘viable’ again. This, mind you, with only 132 plug-in hybrid cars, 12 electric cars and 18 electric vans in Singapore – or less than 0.1 per cent of the total vehicle population. Lots of noise about nothing.
Especially, when around 99% of Singapore’s bikes are still petrol-powered.
It was interesting to see that nevertheless, there are a few chargers available. All the grey markers are not yet in operation, red ones are private, green denotes Type1 and blue are Type2.
One day, by chance, I stumbled across one of the non-operational ones – equipped with the usual RFID-nonsense.
At least they’re doing it right – the charging station will only provide single-phased 16A per parking spot.
As usual, when I’m in Asia, time flies and my 9 days away draw to an end much too quickly.
Back in Switzerland, for the first time, in a parking garage, I am asked not to charge.
For the last 10 years, parking garages in Switzerland were a virtual charging network no-one really acknowledged and most of us early adopters relied upon heavily – thanks to Switzerland’s lax outdoor wiring legislation, nearly every public parking garage usually has multiple triple-phase plugs which usually are used to connect cleaning equipment … twice a year. Depending on the plug they can deliver up to 11kW – a fast charge for a TWIKE!
On the other hand it’s a good sign – electric cars are going main-stream!
Beginning of December I was invited to the unveiling of the largest fully electric vehicle world-wide: A dumper truck!
Initially powered by a diesel engine, its owner got in touch with their Swiss service centre and asked if it wouldn’t make sense to electrify this vehicle since it would be climbing up into the quarry without load and would be able to produce a lot of energy recuperating coming back down to the valley.
The company got in touch with a few specialist companies in Switzerland and hey – presto, we have (besides the largest EV worldwide) the first energy positive vehicle! It produces more energy than it consumes! (besides not burning 50’000 litres of Diesel every year!)
The ‘charging station’ at HQ doesn’t charge at all: It channels up to 450kWh a day back to the grid every day – during the night, when the grid needs it most.
Not only is e-Dumper the largest EV world-wide, but also sports the largest battery installed in an EV: 700kWh! (TW560 could drive ~18’000km on one charge 😀 )
In other news – we had a few days with snow! Driving a TWIKE in these conditions is very interesting: Narrow tyres ensure unparalleled grip and the electric drive is a very finely tuned ESP.
A TWIKE’s special setup with >80% of total weight on the rear axle enables special features such as the so-called ‘toboggan-mode’: lock all wheels on ice and with a car, your doomed, since there is no way to beat physics – you will go straight ahead.
In a TWIKE, however, you will still be able to steer, like a three-skid toboggan with delayed reactions. Super fun!
(L&C-driven disclaimer: This is advanced TWIKEing – Don’t do this without some serious practicing somewhere safe – you might trash your precious TWIKE!)
Now, finally, at the end of this entry, we come to the stats everybody has been waiting for: how far did TW560 go 2017?
This is definitely more than an average Swiss car which clocks (not approximately, but EXACTLY, since we’re in Switzerland!) 13’469km a year.
I enjoyed every one of these kilometres (well, except maybe these).
This is the magic of a TWIKE – even after 10 years, I’m always looking forward to my next drive!
On the battery pack & total kilometre-front things are looking very good:
235k and my current usage patterns make TW560 a contender to soon be the TWIKE ‘with the most kilometres, period‘.
5000+ Ah is already one-third of the total energy dispensed by TW560’s (first NiCd) pack – and I’m still at around 95% original capacity of my current pack due to the small depths of discharge during daily use. -> I hope to go for another 200’000km with this pack … and TWIKE!
Stay tuned – with 200k still coming up, this blog might just be going on for another bit!