Archive for the 'Electric Vehicles' Category

Portland’s Electric Avenue

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!

Additional resources about Electric Avenue including a map can be found here.  A March 2012 Forbes article summarizes 10 lessons learned from Portland’s Electric Avenue thus far.

NPR’s Science Friday: Making the Shift To Electric Vehicles

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!

Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations

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.

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