(Not only has) UPS ordered 10,000 electric delivery trucks…


UPS

UPS has ordered 10,000 electric delivery trucks from electric vehicle maker Arrival, in what it calls a move to accelerate fleet electrification.

It’s the shipping giant’s largest-ever single order of electric vehicles

UPS also announced it is partnering with Waymo to test autonomous vehicle package pickups in the Phoenix area. UPS said Waymo’s Chrysler Pacific minivans will shuttle packages from UPS Stores to a UPS sorting facility, with a driver on board to monitor operations. The technology allows the company to test later pickups at UPS stores…

RTFA for even more purchases, tests, investments. Looking forward to that brown truck rolling into our driveway – sooner or later – under electric power.

Region by region, switch to renewable energy continues

Tri-State Generation and Transmission, the power supplier for Southwest Colorado, announced Wednesday it plans to build solar arrays in the region as part of a larger plan to replace coal-fired power plants in Colorado and New Mexico.

Tri-State announced last week it plans to close the Escalante Station near Prewitt, New Mexico, by the end of 2020 and the Craig Station and Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado by 2030. The move will eliminate Tri-State’s coal emissions in both states.

To help replace the power produced by those plants, Tri-State plans to build eight new solar and wind projects by 2024, enough to power more than 800,000 homes, Tri-State CEO Duane Highley said. The projects will increase the percentage of renewable power consumed by Tri-State customers from about 33% to 50% by 2024.

The transition is expected to drive lower rates for customers because the price of renewable power has fallen by 85% in 10 years and is cheaper than any form of fossil fuel, he said. He described the savings as a “green-energy dividend” that will also allow Tri-State to pay off its coal-power plants on an accelerated timetable…

Way too much good sense at play here for the clown show in Congress and the White House. Can you imagine for-real leadership away from polluting 19th Century technology and into renewable energy sources coming from either of the two old parties?

Native American tribe insulated from California blackouts


Jana Ganion, energy director for the Blue Lake Rancheria tribe

After months of wildfires, an essential question in a warming, windy California is this: How does the state keep the lights on? A tiny Native American tribe, settled here in the Mad River Valley, has an answer.

Build your own utility

In early October, Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to more than 2 million people across Northern California, including all those who live here in rural Humboldt County, where redwood forests fringe the wild edge of the continent. The shut-off aimed to reduce the risk of wildfire, and as the region sat in darkness, the tribe’s multimillion-dollar investment in its power system glowed.

Responding to public needs, the tribe transformed a hotel conference room into a newsroom so the local paper could publish. It used hotel guest rooms to take in eight critically ill patients from the county’s Health and Human Services Department. The reservation’s gas station and mini mart were among the only ones open, drawing a nearly mile-long line of cars.

The Blue Lake Rancheria served more than 10,000 people during the day-long outage, by some estimates, roughly 8 percent of Humboldt’s population.

Power to the People acquires new meaning.

Guess who gets to live and die downwind from pollution sources?


Click to enlarge

❝ University of Washington researchers have found that air pollution from electricity generation emissions in 2014 led to about 16,000 premature deaths in the continental U.S. In many states, the majority of the health impacts came from emissions originating in other states. Interactive map of the U.S. where the states are colored according to the number of premature deaths per 100,000 people in that state. Darker colors represent more deaths.

No surprises here for me. Growing up downwind from 2 of the 3 largest factory complexes in my hometown – one of which even generated electricity from its own powerhouse – we would wake in the morning, throw open the windows, scrape the soot from the windowsill and close the windows back up till the following morning.

Fortunately, we moved upwind from the whole city by the time I was 12.

Aptera Claims Three-Wheel EV Can Go Shopping on Solar Only

❝ Aptera…is claiming its forthcoming electric three-wheeler can operate on solar power without ever plugging in to charge.

Every hour it’s parked in the sun generates five miles of range, so Aptera claims 44 miles of range in a day based on solar charging from the summer sun in San Diego.

Users can still plug in the Aptera EV, which Aptera recently claimed will have a 1000-mile range between charges.

Interesting reads, warts, caveats and all. If it performs as promoted – and affordable in my retiree household – it makes all the sense in the world. Our average weekly shopping trip to town rarely exceeds 30 miles roundtrip. We’re in sunny New Mexico with all the solar energy you could ever wish for pouring down every day. Enough room for my wife and me + groceries, etc..

Ford EV Owners will have access to VW’s 12,000 US charging stations

❝ Ford is sweetening the deal for its future electric car owners. The “Mustang-inspired” EV crossover that’s on its way will come with access to 12,000 charging stations Ford is calling the “FordPass Charging Network.”

❝ While they might have the Ford name attached to them, these stations were not built by Ford, and the Blue Oval also won’t be building any new ones itself. However, Ford EV owners will have access to all of them for the first two years of ownership. Some of the 35,000 plugs among the 12,000 stations will be DC fast chargers built by Electrify America. With one of those 150 kW chargers, Ford says its electric cars will be capable of gaining 47 miles of range in just 10 minutes. A charge from 10 percent to 80 percent will be a 45-minute wait, according to Ford. One can likely thank the recent Ford-VW partnership dealings for this Electrify America (a VW subsidiary) access, as the two companies continue to share more technology and resources with each other.

❝ The FordPass app and FordPass dashboard assistant will help make charging easier, as well. Despite Ford saying owners will have “complimentary access” to the charging network, owners will still have to pay to charge. This can be done via the FordPass software baked into the car’s infotainment system. It also has a trip planner to help identify charge points along your route, similar to Tesla’s navigation system. You’ll be able to tell if a charger is available or not on your vehicle’s dashboard…

Don’t need all the grunt of my old 4WD Ram Pickup, nowadays. Love to have someone offer an affordable, lightweight, not-so-big electric pickup for the kind of tasks where that vehicle class shines. Something akin to this VW TriStar concept – electrified!

1970 Toyota Land Cruiser – with all-electric drive

❝ For many decades, so-called crate engines—most often V-8s—have been the basis for adding more excitement or a life extension to old cars and trucks, fresh out of a shipping crate and with a minimum of fuss.

So how about a “crate” electric motor system that’s disguised as a V-8?

❝ Electric GT, of Chatsworth, California, is in the process of doing a “TLC build” electric conversion of a 1970 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser. This conversion, which is nearly complete, also happens to be a testbed for an all-in-one modular “crate” system.

❝ With Electric GT’s product, it should be a matter of dropping the “crate engine” in as you might an engine swap of a V-8 into an old car, then attaching harnesses and installing the battery. The goal is to have something that greatly reduces the number of conversion hours while offering something that’s “very stylistic, all functional,” according to WInberg.

Eventually, easier means cheaper, as well. Be nice to turn my 25-year-old Dodge pickup into an electric beastie.

Our Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole Has Pooped Out a Big Bright Flare

❝ The supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*, is relatively quiet. It’s not an active nucleus, spewing light and heat into the space around it; most of the time, the black hole’s activity is low key, with minimal fluctuations in its brightness.

Most of the time. Recently, astronomers caught it going absolutely bananas, suddenly growing 75 times brighter before subsiding back to normal levels. That’s the brightest we’ve ever seen Sgr A* in near-infrared wavelengths…

❝ “I was pretty surprised at first and then very excited,” astronomer Tuan Do of the University of California Los Angeles told ScienceAlert.

“The black hole was so bright I at first mistook it for the star S0-2, because I had never seen Sgr A* that bright. Over the next few frames, though, it was clear the source was variable and had to be the black hole. I knew almost right away there was probably something interesting going on with the black hole.”

The explosions in the video up top from DOCTOR STRANGELOVE are little pinpricks compared to the energy from interaction with a black hole. Luckily, not a neighborhood happenstance.