Car and Driver: Jaguar Is Reportedly Considering Going Fully Electric

Jaguar could drop all of its gasoline-powered models and become a fully electric luxury brand in the near future, if a report from the U.K.’s Autocar is to be believed. Jaguar has already stated publicly that all new models it launches starting in 2020 will offer some sort of hybrid power train, but a move to sell exclusively battery-electric vehicles—if it comes to pass—would be far more drastic.

–  Joseph Capparella, Jaguar Is Reportedly Considering Going Fully Electric across Its Entire LineupCar and Driver, October 12, 2018.

The EGO Power+ Nexus Escape Power Inverter

Given my continuous obsession with the EGO Power+ product line, I couldn’t resist buying this new product by EGO. The new EGO Power+ Nexus Power Inverter just arrived at my doorstep. This new 150 Watt Inverter should be a nice convenient addition for whenever I need need backup power indoors to run my smaller devices.

All of EGO’s current line of 56 Volt Batteries will work with the Nexus. The power inverter provides two USB ports and one AC port. While 150 Watts isn’t a huge amount of power it’s enough to power a tablet and laptop while out and about, lamps in the house, and even your TV and router in a power outage. While run time will vary, there are a number of reviews showing people powering their television for a few hours off  a single 5.0 Ah or 7.5 Ah EGO battery.

As my wife reminded me, I already have a Honda generator I use when camping with my travel trailer or when I have need for backup power here at the house. So why did I buy this product if I already own a generator? The problem with my Honda generator is that it is gas-powered so it has to stay outdoors when it’s running. It’s a bit of a hassle to have to pull in the power from the generator through a number of very long power-chords. This EGO inverter will let me bring a power source right into the house without having to crack the door open every time I need power.

If you already own EGO products, the purchase of this inverter seems to me to be an obvious purchase to make. Currently, the Home Depot sells the Nexus Escape for $99.99. I was able to purchase the product for $75 at an introductory price.

New Atlas: BMW beefs up its EV battery for 160-mile i3

Electric cars are on the march and critical to their appeal are advances in battery capacity, or in other words, how far you can drive them on each charge. BMW has made new efforts to ease range anxiety among future owners of its premium i3 EV, packing more battery density inside for an extended range of up to 260 km (160 mi) in everyday conditions.

– Nick Lavars, BMW beefs up its EV battery for 160-mile i3New Atlas, October 1, 2018.

CleanTechnica: Time to ditch that gas-powered weed eater for a battery-powered one?

The big news in the battery-powered garden tools sector may be the advancing tech that allows for higher voltage tools. Battery voltage for weed eaters seems to be going to infinity and beyond. The weed eater that won my informal whack-a-thon was an 80 volt machine. 80 volt weed eaters break new ground in the “high voltage” string trimmer space. The evolution in cordless power tools in general has been marked not only by steady improvements in battery chemistry, but also by continual increases in the battery voltage these tools run on… from the first 4.8V cordless drills in the early 1960s, to the 18V cordless tools in the 2000’s, to the 20V+ cordless power tools of today. The first of these trimmers I purchased was a 20V unit. Soon after I learned there were 40V versions of the garden tools, then 60V versions, and finally I discovered the king of the hill 80V line.

Steve Bakker, Is It Time To Ditch That Loud, Polluting, Hard-To-Start, Smelly, Obnoxious Gas-Powered Weed Whacker?, CleanTechnica, September 23, 2018.

Forbes: Review of the 2018 Zero FXS Electric Motorcycle

My experience with the ZF7.2 taught me that I could expect a reliable 60 miles per charge in mixed riding situations, and close to the full 100 when I rode around town exclusively.

The issue of range might be enough to scare off some potential buyers, but it shouldn’t. The FXS isn’t a touring bike, nor does it pretend to be one. It’s an exciting, lively bike for commuting, weekend rides, and quick hops. Leave it plugged in in your garage, and it’s always ready to go, with minimal maintenance required. You don’t have to worry about your gas going stale in the tank, or keeping track of oil changes, or gapping spark plugs. There’s no clutch to adjust, no cables to lubricate. The FXS has black composite body parts that don’t require wax or paint care, so you won’t need to spend hours detailing and polishing the bike. I really like the rough and ready aesthetic of the bike.

–  Jason Fogelson, 2018 Zero FXS Electric Motorcycle Test Ride And Review: Charged UpForbes.com, September 17, 2018.

Los Angeles Times: Electric motorcycle is a magic carpet ride

For two months this year I used a Zero DSR electric motorcycle as my main commuter vehicle. The experience deepened my appreciation for battery-powered transportation, and my admiration for the Zero line. But it also taught me that electric bikes aren’t for every rider, or for every ride. Even a state-of-the-art bike like the DSR could not satisfy all of a dedicated biker’s biking needs.

The DSR is Zero’s top model, and the company is right to be proud of it. Wickedly quick off the line, delivering spookily seamless power, the bike feels like a magic carpet ride that violates the laws of thermodynamics.

– Charles Fleming, Zero DSR electric motorcycle feels like a magic carpet ride — for everything but longer trips, Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2018.

Electrek: Are you killing your lithium batteries?

Micah Toll wrote a great article at Electrek on two factors that threaten the longevity of lithium-ion batteries.  While most people understand that high temperatures can shorten a battery’s life, probably a less recognized  factor is high voltage. Much of Micah’s article sources a discussion by Professor Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University where it’s claimed that “high charge levels result in extra performance for a few cycles, followed by a crash in performance and much faster deterioration of the cell”.

In the article Toll writes:

Next, you should aim to charge to lower levels when possible, especially if the car will be resting for a long period of time. While it may be comforting to see your battery meter read “100%”, your battery will be anything but comfortable.

It is important to note that the most damage from high charge levels comes from when the battery rests at such high levels for long periods of time. I’ve heard of many people who freak out after learning about the effect of high charge levels, with some swearing off 100% charging forever.

But 100% charging isn’t a big deal in small doses. If you are planning a long trip and will be heading out shortly after you finish charging, a 100% charge will have very little impact on your battery’s lifespan. However, if you will be leaving your battery unused for many days or weeks, a charge level of between 30-60% is much healthier for the batteries over the long-term.

So in summary, avoid heat and a long-term full charge on your lithium batteries.  While some batteries will discharge on their own after so many days of storage, others you may need to discharge  to a lower level manually if you have no plans to use the battery in the near future. I’ve seen some recommendations that for long-term storage a charge level of 30-60% is recommended, but some manufactures have suggested a charge level of 80% is acceptable for long-term storage of your lithium batteries.

I’ve included below Jeff Dahn’s lecture entitled, “”Why do Li-ion batteries die and can they be immortal?”