Alex, a Toronto-based flight attendant who has worked for a major Canadian carrier since 2000, has also observed that “the mask issue seems to set certain people off”. Most offenders, in Alex’s experience, have been middle-aged to senior white men – a demographic cohort that roughly echoes Molly’s observation from south of the border. It’s an extension of an increased pattern of behavior Alex began to notice even before the pandemic, wherein more and more passengers (“always white men in business class”) would push back against standard flight rules like wearing seatbelts and storing their hand luggage underneath the seats in front of them.
Another pattern: passengers going to and from cities with stricter Covid safety mandates tend to be more cooperative about following masking requirements on board the aircraft. “In places where there are basically no rules, passengers [are likelier to] think those lax rules also apply in the air,” says Alex.
Although Nelson, the US union president, pushes back against the suggestion that any single group can be singled out as the primary culprit for the ongoing behavioral scourge, she agrees that there appears to be a link between regional attitudes about Covid safety and passenger insubordination, which so frequently involves upset over masks. She lists Texas, Florida and Charlotte as particular hotbeds of unruly passenger incidence.
It is very much a work in progress. The batteries are only used to help get the plane airborne. “We could get half an hour of juice out of them but the batteries wouldn’t be happy with that,” said Seguin.
The plane has been built by California company Ampaire, which believes hybrid, and eventually, completely electric planes may, in the not too distant future, be used for short hops – for example from Exeter to the Isles of Scilly.
Susan Ying, Ampaire’s senior vice-president, said she believed that as well as being good for the environment, hybrid planes will cut the cost of flying.
She said the cost of the hop from Exeter to Newquay in Electric EEL was 30% cheaper than in a conventional light aircraft. “And batteries are coming down in price all the time,” she said.
Converting the nation’s fleet of automobiles and trucks to electric power is a critical piece of the battle against climate change. The Biden administration wants to see them account for half of all sales by 2030, and New York state has enacted a ban on the sale of internal combustion cars and trucks starting in 2035.
But making America’s cars go electric is no longer primarily a story about building the cars. Against this ambitious backdrop, America’s electric grid will be sorely challenged by the need to deliver clean power to those cars. Today, though, it barely functions in times of ordinary stress, and fails altogether too often for comfort, as widespread blackouts in California, Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere have shown.
The Economist » Hydrogen’s moment is here at last
Instead, hydrogen can help in niche markets, involving complex chemical processes and high temperatures that are hard to achieve with electricity. Steel firms, spewing roughly 8% of global emissions, rely on coking coal and blast furnaces that wind power cannot replace but which hydrogen can, using a process known as direct reduction. Hybrit, a Swedish consortium, sold the world’s first green steel made this way in August.
Another niche is commercial transport, particularly for journeys beyond the scope of batteries. Hydrogen lorries can beat battery-powered rivals with faster refuelling, more room for cargo and a longer range. Cummins, an American company, is betting on them. Fuels derived from hydrogen may also be useful in aviation and shipping. Alstom, a French firm, is running hydrogen-powered locomotives on European tracks.
Last, hydrogen can be used as a material to store and transport energy in bulk. Renewable grids struggle when the wind dies or it is dark. Batteries can help, but if renewable power is converted to hydrogen, it can be stored cheaply for long periods and converted to electricity on demand. A power plant in Utah plans to store the gas in caverns to supply California. Sunny and windy places that lack transmission links can export clean energy as hydrogen. Australia, Chile and Morocco hope to “ship sunshine” to the world.
When Aptera debuted plans for their electric vehicle in 2007 the solar panels were only powerful enough for climate control, but now, 14 years later, Aptera’s 3-wheeled rig relies on just the sun for most of its charging needs.
To achieve this “never charge” status, they created a hyper-efficient vehicle and added 700 watts of solar power, capable of covering most commuting needs just on the solar, bringing the car’s range to 1,000 miles of autonomy on a full charge.
“It starts with a math equation,” explains Aptera co-founder Chris Anthony, “which means first aerodynamics, because what you don’t realize is that with a typical sedan you use 60% of your fuel just pushing air out of the way…”
“Then, if you couple it with an electric power train which gets much more power to the wheels versus an internal combustion engine, and then if you make it lightweight you decrease rolling resistance and other things and you end up with a math equation that is very, very efficient. And when you’re very efficient you can do things like put solar panels on your vehicle to charge your vehicle with a reasonable amount of range.”
The UK-based technology and manufacturing firm is incorporated in Canada, has a Montreal office and tells Electric Autonomy in an exclusive interview that it is close to securing premises in Quebec for its second gigafactory to serve the North American EV industry and plans to expand into cathodes and R&D
This is the second such announcement this week.
Canadian start-up StromVolt Americas has announced that it will be building Canada’s first lithium-ion cell factory for electric vehicles. StromVolt will work with the Taiwan’s Delta Electronics and the factory will be located in Quebec.
StromVolt Americas, a Canadian company, is proud to announce that it has signed agreements with Taiwan-based Delta Electronics to build the first lithium-ion cell factory in Canada. StromVolt will be the first North American firm to fully own such a facility along with the rights to develop and scale up this critical technology.
“StromVolt’s agreements with Delta Electronics are a landmark opportunity for North American cell manufacturing. StromVolt would gain, through this close cooperation, the cell technology, extensive in-person support for the factory construction and the sale of brand-new machinery. The partnership drastically reduces the timeline for the factory to become operational and eliminates the uncertainty for such an ambitious project.” says Maxime Vidricaire, CEO of StromVolt.