San Diego Balboa Park
Eco-Fest and SDSU L3

02/02/02: We're just about at the point where the Detroit and other Auto companies can no longer claim that high mileage vehicles are undesirable or impossible. The SDSU L3 2-seat mid-engine 80 mpg hybrid was on display, and will I guess be going to the Tour Del Sol this Spring. It was available for the public to get a ride, and it was simply too fast for my taste, I'm not sure I've pulled that many G's outside of a Roller Coaster.

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One of the many facilities at the park. It's a fantastic park, with more museums than you can shake a stick at, the Zoo, a fairly central urban location, folks out enjoying the day, etc. A plaque from the sister-city of Yokohama, located in a garden. I wish they'd talk some sense into our auto executives.
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Sunchoice.net: Altair, Astropower product apparently. Had a talk with the guy about the PV situation in San Diego. Have been having trouble finding a reliable place to recommend to folks. He reviewed that the last couple of years the number of solar installers in SD County has gone from something like 6 to something like 50 but that it might well be down again very soon. I had already heard from a local activist that Altair might be ok. I think it's a business where knowing what you're doing, in installing, is not as common as one might think. He mentioned that you're having competent electricians asked to install products that are new to them, and that it's not always going that well. L3 on a ride around the block. The diesel was not active for the day - just electric. The gearing was a special low gearing that gave extra acceleration from the takeoff line. The rides stayed below 30 or 40 mph. Center-to-right: Hansen's EV1, Honda Insight, Ford Think, Ford Think City, Locally-made EV (Datsun I think), Ford Methanol Fuel Cell Vehicle (I think... it might have been the Toyota Hybrid).
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Ford Think, about 56 mph, maybe 61 or 62 next year? pretty nice-looking for what it is, can't recall what the range is, but the car looked to have that rear-room as I'd heard. Can only be leased, not bought, and although it can be driven on the highway, I think it needs 5-10 more mph to be really safe.
This spot is where there should be a picture of a Ford Ranger EV. There is none here because Ford, one of the world's most powerful companies, has not been choosing to make that many of them available to anyone.
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Specs for the locally made EV The Ford Methanol Fuel Cell powered vehicle. Didn't get a chance to talk with them, but it was pretty impressive to see them driving a little around the parking lot, which you seldom see with these supposedly functional fuel cell vehicle efforts. I was a bit surprised to see Methanol since I've been hearing mostly Hydrogen talk. The 260 hp SDSU L3, with VW 60 hp Lupo 1.2 Liter Turbo Diesel engine in back, and 200 hp AC Propulsion Electric Motor onboard somewhere as well. Not only is it grid-chargeable, but it is operable as an all-electric vehicle at the discretion of the driver. I call this a HGCEVODD, for now. This is the type of hybrid that the Oil companies fear: it will allow consumers to get a taste of driving an electric vehicle, and it does not have to use their product. By contrast, the Insight and the Prius hybrids both must use the Oil Companies' products at all times. Likewise, all of the fuel cell hybrid vehicles proposed thus far would either use Hydrogen not yet available or would use fossil fuels. That's perhaps why they're not as unpopular with the present administration. Only a HGCEVODD is the type of hybrid which would allow consumers to operate without buying an Oil company product. This University prototype is seeing its first miles and it will probably have a lot of attention piling up pretty quickly. Not only does it get high mileage and run as a pure EV if desired, but it got the 2nd fastest ever time in the slalom at the recent Michelin Bibendum.
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Some basics on the SDSU L3.
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I believe this was the fuel cell vehicle but I'm not sure. Ford does not seem to have any trouble digging up pictures of the Ford Ranger EV to include with marketing such as this. If only they would be able to dig up a truck or two for folks who want it.

It's the only vehicle they make which is highway capable (75 mph... 75 mile range.... happy customers!) and uses no fossil fuel, and it's conspicuously nearly impossible to get for those who try to get them.

I'm told that they claim it costs in excess of $120,000 to build one. If so, then they're not really trying to keep their costs down: if you've been in the car business for 100 years, you should be able to build a Lead-Acid electric truck for less than $100,000.00. That's my uneducated opinion anyway, subject to revision should I meet someone who can provide a plausible explanation as to why these electric vehicles cost so much to build.

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Dr. Jim Burns meets with the local press. The existence of 80 mpg coolio sports cars can't be kept a secret forever. Norm Lamarr, lead designer, did all the driving for the day.
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One of my favorite cars, can run on 100% non-fossil fuel biodiesel. Per the high school auto teacher who brought the car, as worked-on by he and his students: runs on "a little" Sodium Hydroxide (I don't know how this is generally made), about 10% methanol and about 90% vegetable oil donated used from a local restauraunt. The methanol percentage is increased if the oil is very dirty with (more?) fatty acids. Apparently the restauraunt gets rid of its grease every couple of days and this is considered relatively frequent. I asked about the methanol since it is generally made from fossil fuels and he said ethanol could be substituted but it is hard to get on the west coast and he got a generous donation of some methanol. Since the only present ways to break the fossil fuel company monopoly on distribution of fuel to cars is to use biofuels or electricity, it continues to not surprise me that they succeed in preventing ethanol from being readily available for fuel on the west coast (denatured or not). The L3 diesel engine also runs well on biofuels, but that engine is not available at present in the U.S. Slides from Dr. Burns's L3 lecture.
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Greg Hansen gets a ride at the end of the day in something a tad faster than his EV1. Lousy Nikon CP950 digicam not quite as easy to set on 1/60 shutter speed as I'd like.