Momentary Lapse of Blogging

During the summer months the quantity of articles I write and publish are often minimal. I enjoy my summer activities of bicycling, motorcycling, camping, and other family activities too much to sit in front of a computer all summer long. Not being much of a winter outdoorsman and living in South Dakota, the winter months have always been my time for focusing on my personal blog as well as writing some articles for socPub.

I’ve been using the past few months to figure out my next step for all of my websites. None of my sites are as successful as CMS Report once was. The rebranding of CMS Report to socPub a couple years ago, while not a failure, never met its intended goal of increasing traffic by diversifying the topics covered at the website. Some of my most passionate interest, lifestyle or hobby related articles that I’ve published on socPub just aren’t going over well with the site’s more established tech and content management audience.

Most of the people that visit socPub.com come to the site for business related and professional purposes. I have come to realize that articles focused on say music or power tools that keep me interested in writing articles are a distraction for the site’s niche audience. I’ve actually had people over the months write to me to let me know how they’re upset I’ve moved away from the sites original focus on content management systems. I think I have a path forward that should make the software developers, IT gurus, and CMS folks happy at socPub yet grow an audience elsewhere. I’m not ready to announce that solution, so for now lets just call it Project Forward. I’ll be revealing additional details as they happen in the coming months.

Meanwhile, I haven’t completely dropped the ideas behind another website of mine, Powered by Battery. I really think the electrification of everything currently with a gas-fueled motor is this century’s greatest technological story. I just personally haven’t found the time to do the website justice and I’m afraid of starting something great that I can’t follow-through and complete on my own. But I think with Project Forward this site may eventually become the most important website I mange and own. Time will tell if my predictions are true.

So in summary, more articles are coming this Fall for BryanRuby.com and socPub.com. Also in the mix, a new strategy for how I support and manage my websites that should give a bump up to also PoweredbyBattery.com. Stay tuned…

Powered by Battery in 2020

Welcome to the new year! Just a quick note and a promise that as 2020 begins so will an increase in stories here at Powered by Battery. Lots of battery powered tools in my arsenal for review and more coming my way (an EV truck is definitely in my future and I’ll be exploring options this year). Plus, we’ll keep an eye on the headlines.

In the meantime, there is no reason to finally get out a review of EGO’s Power+ Snow Blower Single-Stage (SNT2100) in the coming weeks. I have a year’s worth of videos and enough wear and tear to tell you what I think of this battery-powered snow blower. A really quick teaser of how it handles wet heavy snow of about 3-4 inches is below.

This is the EGO handling 3 to 4 inches of heavy rate snow. It’s not throwing the heavy wet snow far (neither is my neighbor’s two-stage gas) but it’s getting the job done.

It’s not a Tesla-thing, It’s a car-thing

A few days ago, there was a MarketWatch article published that summarized the difficulties Tesla’s competitors are having going electric. The article goes through a litany of companies in electric vehicle manufacturing having difficulty catching up to Tesla. Some of the companies include Volkswagen, Jaguar, Dyson (yes that Dyson), GM, Porche, Toyota, Kia, China’s Nio, etc. The article even includes mention of Harley-Davidson briefly halting production of its LiveWire electric motorcycle due to charging issues via low-voltage home outlets.

While the point of the MW article was to discuss how much Tesla has a head start in the electrification of cars and will maintain its leadership role in EVs for some time, it occurred to me that the article itself could not have been written even five years ago. Half a decade ago, Tesla’s competition didn’t include other electric vehicles but only manufacturing building cars with engines that run on gas. That long list of today’s competing electric vehicle companies have led me to conclude the EV industry is about to enter a new phase as the industry matures.

The market is changing very fast and as more and more electric cars hit the market we as consumers are focusing less on the fact that these cars are not running petrol. Instead our attention has begun to focus on traditional car differentiation factors such as comfort features, body style, safety features, maintenance needs, and the type of personal service the dealer has to offer. Case in point, Ryan Wallace who is a YouTuber with a Tesla Model 3 has a series of videos that doesn’t always acknowledges the Tesla is an electric vehicle. In a recent video on Tesla Model 3 Autopilot he mentions while the talk of charging and range is important (he’s made those videos too), for Tesla the “cool factor” is actually its advanced driver-assistance system, AutoPilot. AutoPilot offers the driver automatic lane centering, adaptive cruise control, self-parking, the ability to change lanes, and recently the ability to summon your car from your garage or a parking spot.

As electric cars become more common, we as consumers are most likely still going to talk about the driving range of a vehicle but more and more those car discussions will be in the same context we discuss range and the MPG of our gas automobiles. These will be “fun facts” letting us tell others we bought an efficient vehicle, but those other factors of convenience and luxury that help us personally differentiate that one car we decide to buy among many other cars will still remain. We’re not going to buy a car just because it’s electric because over time that will be a given just as buying gas powered vehicle once was. In 2001, I never told anyone I bought an Acura TL because it ran on gas. A decade from now, buying electric will not be as significant of a differentiation as it is today.

In the next few years, we’re likely to see affordable electric pickup trucks from Tesla, Rivian, and Ford.  When all three vehicles are electric…what’s the most important feature to a truck driver? Well for me it’s the creature comforts of the cabin (I like a nice roominess, the stereo, and heated seats of my F-150) as well as the towing and cargo capacity of a truck. How well will this truck pull my Jayco travel trailer? I’m just going to expect the truck can go 300+ miles on a “full tank” like any other truck…but which truck is better at towing my 8000 lb trailer over Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado? The answer to these questions will always remain why I buy one pickup truck over another.

In another video, Ryan Wallace asks the question, is the Tesla Model 3 the perfect car? His answer right up front is “no”, the Model 3 isn’t a perfect car. But in this particular video he notes that the issues he’s found in Tesla’s cars “isn’t a Tesla thing, it’s a car thing”. His point is that all cars are going to break, it’s going to happen, so why would you expect the Tesla to be any different?

My prediction is the electric vehicle skeptics will go the same route as those annoying friends of ours insisting we need to learn how to drive a manual over an automatic.  Sure, hile learning to drive a stick shift may have been important one time, the world has moved on with 90% of us driving an automatic and now expect any car we drive to be an automatic. As more and more electric vehicles hit the road, there will be a day where the decision to driving an electric car over a gas car won’t be a second thought. Electric cars will no longer be electric cars…they’ll just be cars. That’s not a Tesla thing, that’s a car thing, and that’s the next step in the evolution of the electric vehicles industry.

Is this EGO’s new cordless electric mower for 2020? The EGO 21 inch Select Cut Self-Propelled

Whether intentional or not, Home Depot briefly listed a never before seen “21 inch Select Cut Lawn Mower with Touch Drive Technology” .  While we’re unaware of public announcement from EGO POWER+, we came across a couple interesting pages online via Home Depot Pro that may very well be an upcoming new EGO Power+ mower about to hit the market. Details on this new mower are subject to change but below is what we can speculate from the information we know so far.

EGO is about to introduce to market a new 21 inch 56-Volt cordless electric walk behind mower with two significant features:

1. EGO Select Cut System – A multi-blade cutting system that allows you to not only allows you to run 2 blades simultaneously (think Honda Twin Blade here) but also allows for interchangeable blade at the lower level. From what we can tell the mower contains an Upper Blade and a Lower Blade. For the Lower Bade, it looks as if  you will actually be able to choose between two different style blades, an EDGE Premium Mulching Blade and a EDGE Tri-Cut Blade.

Still a little confused what Select Cut includes? Let’s separate this out better by presenting it this way:

  • Lower Blade Choice One – A Mulching Blade “for weekly mowing and gives you the run time and cut quality you expect from a high-end lawn mower”.
  • Lower Blade Choice Two – A Tri-Cut Blade that is a heavy-duty blade which turns grass into fine fragments.
  • Upper Blade – The EGO Edge Upper Blade is the “2nd part of the multi-blade system. This blade slices the grass the lower blade sucks up to enhance the cutting performance”.

2. Self-Propelled Touch Drive Technology – Put plainly for current owners of EGO mowers…no more single right-hand-only green handle making it difficult to control the mower from the left side of the mower. It appears to us that EGO has designed this mower to give you all the drive control at the palm of your hand across the entire bar with a scroll dial to adjust speed at the center.

Looking at additional features new to this mower, probably the design change that stands out most to us is the front lift handle. The handle has moved from the front-facing tip of the mower to the front-top of the mower. This subtle change is a fantastic design improvement in our opinion as owners of the previous model have complained that the front-tip handle created too much of a gap that prevented you from cutting grass all the way through at the front edge of the mower.

Other features of this mower listed on Home Depot’s page include:

  • Push button start
  • Self-propelled
  • 7 cutting heights maximum cutting height: 4 in. minimum cutting height: 1-1/4 in.
  • Using the power of the 56-Volt 7.5 Ah ARC lithium battery, you will get up to 60-minutes of run time on a single charge
  • Brush-less motor
  • Bright LED headlights
  • 21 deck
  • Variable speed: 1.1 MPH to 3.1 MPH
  • Compact storage
  • 3-in-1 function: mulching, bagging, side discharge
  • 3-position handle heights
  • 1-handed height adjustment
  • Grass bag capacity: 2-bushels
  • 5-year tool warranty, 3-year battery warranty

Below is an image of the specifications table that was pulled from the Home Depot page:

egospecifications_lm2135

We would like to reiterate that the specifications pulled from the Home Depot page could change from the actual product we see hitting the market. For instance the specifications for the LM2135SP says the kit includes two 7.5 Ah ARC lithium batteries. Given the price (also subject to change) shown with this model we’re leaning this is a misprint and the kit most likely only includes one battery.

If two batteries are indeed included with the kit, then there is the question of whether the second battery would be used as a backup spare or if both batteries are to be used at the same time similar to EGO’s current Peak Power mower. We’ll have to wait until EGO presents us with more information or Home Depot corrects the page before we find whether one or two batteries are needed for this mower.

Currently, Home Depot is listing two model variations:

  • LM3130SP – Tool Only – EGO 21 in. Select Cut 56-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Electric Walk Behind Self Propelled Lawn Mower (Tool-Only)
  • LM2135SP – EGO 21 in. Select Cut 56-Volt Lith-ion Cordless Electric Walk Behind Self Propelled Lawn Mower, Battery and Charger Included

Before the pages disappeared, Home Depot Pro was listing the LM2130SP for $460 and LM2135 for $660. However, this price is subject to change. We’ve seen plenty of times where new products are given “placeholder prices” until the product actually becomes available to market.

So that’s as much as we know about EGO’s new cordless electric mower for the upcoming lawn season. If you have additional information to add yourself, please do so in the comments below. We will make corrections and updates to this page as more official information is provided by EGO and other reviewers.

Updates

Nov 2, 2019 – Reworded the article for improved clarity. Also removed links to Home Depot pages as those pages are no longer available.

Huritgruten and Battery-Powered Snowmobiles

Hurtigruten has announced that their land-based adventure travel company will be providing tours that include electric snow mobiles. A Finnish start-up company called Aurora Powertrains will be providing the technology to make this happen.

With the eSled snowmobiles, Hurtigruten expands its battery revolution on shore—adding a truly unique experience for adventurous Arctic explorers.

“At Aurora Powertrains, we have a global mission to make ‘Snowmobiling Recharged.’ eSled is based on ready-made chassis, combined with revolutionary technology. This will take Hurtigruten Svalbard’s guests into the Arctic wilderness, without emissions, or the risk of disturbing wildlife,” says Ari Karjalainen, CEO of Aurora Powertrains, Ltd.

Travel Pulse

While that’s interesting news, I thought it was even more interesting that Hurtigruten is also setting up it’s own power infrastructure which it will use to charge these snow mobiles. Because, you know, who really wants to get stranded on a snow mobile without power near the Arctic Circle or anywhere?

To fully utilize the green potential in the sustainable operation of electric snowmobiles, Hurtigruten Svalbard will set up a separate power supply including solar panels, a windmill and battery packs for energy storage. The complete renewable energy solution will be delivered by Assemblin AS.

“Our eSleds and the entire operation will literally be powered by the midnight sun and Arctic winds. For us, this is only the beginning—we’re already planning similar solutions to be installed at our hotels and other parts of our Svalbard operation,” says Krisztina Uzonyi, Hurtigruten Svalbard destination director.

Travel Pulse

In the month of May of this year, my family had the privilege of touring with Hurtigruten by sea along the coast of Norway. That “midnight sun” is really cool and it’s pretty surreal to be on a boat with the sun shining at you at 1 AM. Having an interest in solar energy, I wondered why not rely more on solar energy during the summer months.

I’m not so sure how power from the Sun is going to work during snow mobile season as the nights are much longer . So it seems to me that “windmill power” will be much more of the renewable energy for snowmobiling purposes.

Anyone actually ridden on an electric snowmobile? I wonder how the batteries do during the cold of winter?