Humancar’s Imagine_PS NEV – Human/Electric Hybrid Car

A cool article out of Treehugger about Oregon based Humancar™ and their Imagine_PS NEV (PS = Power Station; NEV = Neighborhood Electric Vehicle). The Imagine_PS NEV is propelled by a rowing action that also generates power stored in the vehicles battery.

[youtube width=”425″ height=”300″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXUJjFvgOdk&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Humancar is taking pre-orders on the Imagine_PS NEV. It’s $50 to hold your place in line and it’s fully refundable. Humancar plans to start building the cars when they reach 800 pre-orders and the final Imagine_PS NEV price will be $15,500.

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Ocean, Air and Auto: Slow Down And Save

Slowing down ocean freight could cut up to 30% in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Slowing down ocean freight could cut up to 30% in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The NY Times has an interesting article about the positive impact slowing down will have on the bottomline and environment with ocean freight, air and auto travel. Saving money with reduced fuel consumption which in turn reduces CO2 emissions. Now, the problem is getting everyone to buy into the “slow down” idea. Full article @ NY Times

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“Put an ashtray on that electric bike and you got a deal.”

Urban Mover UM44 USPRITE Commuting BikeOk, maybe I’m a little old school but the new electric bikes coming out are pretty cush. But maybe that’s it. By being so forgiving, they’ll motivate us to ride bikes more and change our pattern of multiple short driving trips. I’ve been sold on [but not dedicated to] riding a bike to run errands for a year now. The dread of certain hills coupled with our dreary weather in the Northwest is a definite deterrent. The weather won’t change but climbing hills with a full load of groceries could be aided with the use of an electric bicycle. And for others just getting back into biking, knowing you have a power assist option of an electric motor might be the last bit of incentive you need to start riding again. The electric motor is there; over time, you’ll probably rely on it less and less.

Yahoo! Green has a nice breakdown of the electric bike models available by type (all-terrain, off-road, tandem, cruiser etc.) and they list the price and range of some of the models. Pricing starts at $499 for the Currie Technologies Ezip Trailz and go to $13,995 for the Optibike OB1. Optibike will only build 24 OB1’s this year – so get your orders in soon!

Besides the Jubbling, another factor that will drive wider acceptance of electric bikes is the future use of quick-charge, light weight lithium-ion batteries. Think of quick-charge lithium ion batteries as “sponges” rather than a tank you have to fill and you’ll get the idea. One source told us the re-charge rate for future lithium-ion based electric bikes could be as short as 5 minutes.

Currie Technologies Izip TricruiserIf I were to purchase an electric bike today, the model I’d choose would be Currie Technologies Izip Tricruiser. It has a range of 30-35 miles and has a cool basket on the back for carrying groceries or anything you’d want to lug around. Maybe even a small child although I wouldn’t recommend it (the added weight will reduce your range). The Izip Tricruiser can also attain a speed of 15 mph with the electric motor and I’ll need all of it when I’m being chased, laughed at, and harassed by a group of pot smoking teenagers for riding a 3 wheeler.

But then again, I’m old school. I have to suffer a little to pursue my Jubbling so I won’t be buying an electric bike soon. If you are on the fence about biking again and you want to ease yourself back into it, take a look at the electric bike models available. They don’t look like bikes with a lawn mower engine anymore. The power assist motor and battery pack are nicely hidden but the Jubbling will be obvious.

Here are some links to manufacturers of electric bikes:

Jubbling Squared: Bike Works Seattle

Once again my kids are calling me cheap for deciding to purchase my 6 year old a brand new, pre-owned bicycle and I happily made the trip to Recycled Cycles. With a name like “Recycled Cycles,” you’d assume that they would have their way with Jubbling but that is not how it worked out. After making our purchase, I found out from Recycled Cycles that the majority of their sales are for new bikes vs. recycled ones. They were helpful though and told me to contact Bike Works Seattle as an organization that is focused on reselling recycled bikes.

Bike Works is the pinnacle of Jubbling and my only regret is that I didn’t find them first. Bike Works goal is to make biking “more accessible and affordable to people from all walks of life”. Their programs include “Earn-A-Bike” and an annual Kids Bike Swap. With Earn-A-Bike, kids spend 8 weeks learning bike repair and then donate 18 hours of their time repairing recycled bikes to get one of their own. It’s kind of a self-perpetuating Jubbling and is extremely valuable for kids. And Bike Works annual Kids Bike Swap is just that – bring your working, outgrown bicycle and swap it for another bicycle. It’s a great way to upgrade and also to keep a bike out of a landfill.

Their mission statement says it all:

The mission of Bike Works is to build sustainable communities by educating youth and promoting bicycling. For more than a decade we’ve worked to educate and empower youth, and make bicycling accessible and affordable to the Seattle community.

Tina Bechler, Bike Works Program Director, told me that people find out about them through referrals from local bicycle stores, bicycle publications as well as a lot of word of mouth. Tina also told me about several similar organizations in other cities that can be found through the Youth Bicycle Education Network (yben.org). The site is currently down and should be live again soon.

So if you’re in need of some environmental penance and are considering the purchase of a carbon offset or credit to clear your conscience, throw your money toward an organization like Bike Works or a similar organization in your area instead. Or you could show your support by purchasing and making your kid’s next bike a pre-owned, barely loved bicycle. These organizations could use the help and you will have the satisfaction knowing that your money is going to be well spent.

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Bike Dispenser: It’s European

Parking a car in a big city is anything but convenient. Public transportation can be over-crowded and the odors inside the subway typically do not mix well with breakfast, lunch or dinner. That’s where some fresh air and Bikedispenser come in.

This Dutch company created a contraption that literally dispenses a bicycle to a paying commuter right on the street. It’s open for business 24/7/365 and no actual human beings are involved in the transaction. The rental device can be customized for a number of settings including railway stations and park-and-ride lots. It can hold 30, 50 or 100 bikes depending upon need. Who would have thought that the country that brought us wooden shoes could make Jubbling so cool?

Although Jubbling staff might’ve injured themselves trying to figure out how the bikes get to the little doorway when someone places an order, the bigger unanswered brainteaser is how the idea would work here in the U.S. Only a few European countries have been using Bike Dispenser since 2007 so little is known about its long-term success or failure.

A similar rental idea using automobiles, called Zipcar, has been successfully operating in North America and some European cities. However, true Jubbling would lend itself to more pedal power and less throttle power. Even though America’s love affair with the car may be hard to break we can see this starting in already biker friendly cities like Seattle, Denver, Portland and Washington D.C. The only other enhancement would be to make them graffiti-proof. We suggest Brooklyn, NY, for a test city.

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Extreme Jubbling

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjJ3g_wv8H0[/youtube]
If all Jubbling fails, this is the result. Thanks Eric.


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