Saturday, July 7, 2007

Thoughts about energy

Since I've been thinking about building an electric car, I've gotten a lot of questions about them. I'm far from being an expert on the subject, but I have picked up a few answers as well. I think the most frequent question is something like "Can you put some solar panels on the roof and make it run that way?" The answer is yes, but the car would be slow even by classic British standards. For comparison, an average-sized solar panel makes about as much power on a bright day as a healthy adult in a hurry on a bicycle. You could maybe fit three of these panels on a car without looking ridiculous or getting in trouble with the law. That doesn't mean it is a stupid idea. Solar car races (I guess "rayces" if you're into that sort of thing) are pretty cool. And then there's this guy if you prefer the Mad Max look. The best thing is to have a solar powered carport to park your car under while you're at work, or just a roof full of panels at home. Even if you get all your electricity from the power company, though, electric cars are an improvement over the gas variety from an environmental view. The movie "Who killed the electric car?" presents arguments from this side quite well.

Engine sold

I listed the gas engine on Ebay last week, and there was a fair amount of interest. Some in the motor itself, but also quite a bit in the idea of an electric conversion. I'm glad I started this journal, so I could point to it as a place to begin learning about electric cars. The auction ended last night, at a little over two hundred dollars. I'm mostly happy to have the engine out of the way so I can begin the conversion, but I don't hate two hundred dollars. That's almost two batteries!