[Oeva-list] The Sunday Oregonian, 1915: Driving Electric on the Columbia Highway...In almost 100 years later the dream becomes a reality!

Gary Graunke gary at whitecape.org
Wed Apr 17 11:37:59 PDT 2013

I'm a retired scientist from Intel Labs, and have consulted with Intel
Capital regarding electric vehicle and battery technology. I have three
purely electric vehicles of varying efficiencies and ranges.
While battery technology has only really taken off in the last 20 years, the
main differences are that cars are much less efficient and driven at much
less efficient, higher speeds. 
We have some 1920's autos in the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association. They
are "horseless carriages"-sometimes with a tiller rather than steering
wheel. These cars are extremely light, have extremely tall, thin, low
rolling resistance wheels, but have maximum speeds near 25 mph-a one
horsepower vehicle (literally). There is very little wind resistance at
those speeds.
Today's vehicles have short, wide tires and are much heavier. While they are
much more aerodynamic, they are driven at relatively high speeds where wind
resistance comes into play. It is not uncommon  to see folks going 90 mph on
I5 in Washington. At the same time, our EV caravan of 3 Leafs and 2 Yaris
conversions drove 108 miles from John Day to Fossil in one charge at 30 mph.
(Range anxiety: One year motorcycles had to spend the night since the only
gas station in town was closed-we charged and drove on).
Batteries improved somewhat, but not very much until consumer electronics
came along. In the last 20 years, Lithium batteries have become 18 times
better (KWH/kg) and also in $/KWH and replace many other chemistries. They
are slowing from that rate as diminishing returns approaches, but there is
still considerable continuous improvement as well as many new approaches
that may provide a disruptive breakthrough. We see this in our own vehicles
as we upgrade to better batteries. 
The energy dissipated as heat in the tires goes up linearly with the weight
of the vehicle and rolling resistance. The energy for wind resistance
increases linearly with the frontal area and coefficient of drag, but is
cubic in the velocity (air speed, not ground speed). 
One good but somewhat dated reference many of us that design our own
electric vehicles is the book "Build Your Own Electric Vehicle" by Bob
I'm expecting EV's to have the same range as gas powered vehicles for the
same vehicle cost within the next 10 years. The total cost of ownership
(including the interest on the loan for the more expensive vehicle) is
already lower if you drive enough.
As for the 1920's EV with today's batteries, we might expect them to get
about 600 miles on a charge for the same weight batteries.
From: oeva-list-bounces at oeva.org [mailto:oeva-list-bounces at oeva.org] On
Behalf Of Bill Jones, Ph.D.
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 4:15 PM
To: HORVAT Ashley N
Cc: NORMAN James B; BECK Richard C; oeva-list at oeva.org; HADLOW Robert W
Subject: Re: [Oeva-list] The Sunday Oregonian, 1915: Driving Electric on the
Columbia Highway...In almost 100 years later the dream becomes a reality!
What an incredible article to dredge up.  Thank you Mr. Hadlow.
The only distressing thing about the otherwise wonderful description of the
drive to the Gorge was the fact that battery energy storage has progressed
so little in nearly 100 years.
After all was said & done using battery power to drive the car, they went 50
miles round trip. Many of today's EVs are also limited to 50 miles/charge.
While there are certainly batteries that go further, it points to the fact
battery technology has not made the same progress as other areas of energy
BTW: they didn't seem to have the same level of "range anxiety" as we have
now.  Back then, if they ran out of electrons they would have really been in
a world of hurt.
fantastic article & thank you, Ashley for sharing it!
bill jones

William M. Jones, Ph.D.
Faculty Coordinator, Business Strategy Program 
Advisor, MBA/MSFA/MIM Capstone Programs
More Information go to: http://www.pdx.edu/sba/capstone; 
Office: Room 441
School of Business Administration
Portland State University
P.O. Box 751
Portland, Oregon, USA 97207-0751
Office: +1 503-725-9992 
Mobile: +1 503-869-6407
email: wmj at pdx.edu
On Apr 15, 2013, at 10:55 AM, HORVAT Ashley N wrote:

What an incredible find-an article from a Sunday Oregonian published in
1915, penned to describe the need to EV charging stations along the Gorge
for EV drivers! The talented Robert Hadlow, ODOT's Region 1 Senior
Historian, was responsible for uncovering this gem and we are incredibly
grateful. History can teach us a thing or two, right?
Now, in 2013, the Columbia River Gorge has been electrified thanks to the
West Coast Electric Highway EV Charging Stations in Cascade Locks, Hood
River, and soon to be The Dalles. Troutdale and Wood Village also have EV
charging stations.
What was once the dream of a few adventurous travelers trying to make the
Columbia Highway the place to drive an electric car, has now become a
reality. These intrepid travelers, Charles E. Warner and Will Spalding
should be credited as the first two EV drivers to traverse the Columbia
Highway in an EV.
In a quote that just as soon could be ripped from the pages of a Sunday
Oregonian in 2013, one of the drivers stated, "It is to be hoped that the
owners of electrics will be able to enjoy the Columbia Highway, along with
the gas cars and they can do so by charging fully before starting. After the
proposed charging stations are installed, electric cars may go clear to
Multnomah Falls."

Not only can EV drivers travel to Multnomah Falls in an EV in 2013, they can
travel as far as The Dalles along the Gorge, as well as to Mt. Hood, up and
down U.S. 101 from Astoria to Coos Bay by this summer, and across the
Cascades to Bend in the next year.
What a great piece to give a little perspective on a Monday morning. I'm
just sorry that it took almost a 100 years...
I really found one of the sub headers that said "Troutdale Hill the Hardest"
Ashley N. Horvat, State of Oregon EV Lead
Oregon Department of Transportation
Office of Innovative Partnerships & Alternative Funding MS 32
355 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-3871
Cell: 503.385.3293
Fax: 503.986.3679
Email: ashley.n.horvat at odot.state.or.us
Project Website: www.oregonelectrichighway.com
Twitter: @ashleyinoregon
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