I am excited that the creators of Earth The Operators’ Manual have just released two new PBS episodes, Powering the Planet and Energy Quest USA. I just watched an excerpt from Energy Quest USA titled Portland: the “Trip Not Taken” and learned about many of the things happening in the city of Portland, Oregon to promote “green” transportation including something called Electric Avenue, a street of electric charging stations. Furthermore, all Electric Avenue charging stations are powered with 100 percent renewable energy and the charging is free! Check out this August 2011 New York Times article about Electric Avenue and its solar powered charging stations and perhaps encourage your students to plan and design what an electric avenue might look like in their town. What additional city planning strategies can your students come up with that would enable residents to move about town and commute to and from work without relying on gasoline powered cars? Perhaps invite local government officials to hear your students’ ideas!
Archive for the 'Transportation' Category
On the Friday March 23, 2012 episode of Science Friday, Ira Flatow discussed electric car technology with industry experts, including author Seth Fletcher, author of Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy. Listen to this episode to learn about lithium ion batteries and charging stations and to hear experts discuss what they think it will take to encourage drivers to make the shift to electric vehicles. You can also find links to related Science Friday stories in case you want to learn more!
The Dean of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, Bill Chameides, recently drove a Nissan Leaf with one of the Department of Energy’s car specialists and created a 6:44 minute video about it. This electric car gets 99 miles “per gallon equivalent” and zero emissions are generated by the vehicle during use but the video does a good job of reminding the viewer that there is a power plant behind the scene generating electricity (and thus emissions) to charge the battery. Get an up close look at the two charge ports found at the front of the vehicle: a DC Fast Charge Port and a Standard Charge Port. The video highlights other features the car has that are designed to increase its efficiency, including aerodynamic design and low-rolling resistance tires.
According to the US Dept of Energy (DOE), Raleigh, North Carolina, is “paving the way for successful deployment of plug-in vehicles and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) infrastructure.” WRAL featured Raleigh’s move to become one of the first cities in the nation to install publicly available charging stations in a January 2012 broadcast.
DOE’s Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles website provides information about charging equipment, charging at home and charging in public places. A list of public and private electric vehicle charging stations is available and a map of the nation shows how NC compares to other states in terms of number of charging stations.
For those of you who teach about the physics of electricity, evaluating the different types of charging stations and the advantages and disadvantages of each could be a useful exercise to reinforce student learning about current, voltage, and power.