Electric vehicles

Posted on April 8, 2015. Filed under: life, motoring | Tags: , , |

I’ve had a long-standing objection to electric vehicles, based on the way I use my car. I frequently have to travel long distances at short notice.

My problem with EVs is that they either lack range, or take too long to recharge, and I’ve been struggling to reconcile this, but I’ve been thinking

What if the range was shortened to, say, 100 miles or so – that’s about 90 mins. to 2 hours of driving on average. It would mean less battery to carry (reduced weight and cost), and less to charge, so could a reduction in range help to solve the charging time problem too ? As long as 100% charge could be done in about 5-10 minutes every 2 hours, I could live with it.

A break at around the 2 hour point, to refresh the driver, is sensible anyway.

Of course, it doesn’t solve the initial electricity generation and distribution problem, but it would remove an immediate hurdle for many like me who need a vehicle which can move them long distances in a fairly short timespan.

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Posted on August 12, 2013. Filed under: life, motoring | Tags: , , , , , , |

I spent a lot of time on the road last week, probably more than was good for me, but it led to a small moment of clarity.

On Friday, I was trying to get home from Brighton. That involved, notionally, driving around the M25 and then up the M1 to the north-east of England. There are other routes, but when you’ve committed to meeting someone part-way up the M1, it pretty much locks you into that. (And yes, I know that trying to drive away from London on a Friday is always a bad idea because all those who work there do exactly the same).

As expected, within a few minutes of joining the M25, it was gridlocked. Average speed was about 5 mph, it seemed. I couldn’t do anything except sit in the jam, edging forward little by little, watching my ETA increase until, eventually, after an hour-long delay, the jam magically cleared in front of me and allowed me to get off the M25 onto the M1 and to my meeting.

After the meeting, I rejoined the M1 – to see another jam. Now, I had a choice – I could sit in the jam and hope it cleared, I could get out the maps and plan another route, or I could drive in vaguely the right direction to find another good road north and hope that the SatNav would work out what I was up to.

I chose the third option. I had no need to stick to a planned route any more. I just wanted to get on the move and feel like I was making progress towards my destination.

The revelation – a lot of the time, this is how I run my business. I don’t like to have plans that are too well-formed. I need to keep some flexibility because things change, usually unexpectedly and in interesting ways.

I like to feel like I’m making progress, even if it’s not in the way I had planned. I do start with an outline plan, and I always know what my goals are, but exactly how I achieve them is quite loosely defined. It works for me, but it causes problems too.

Right now, I’m stuck on a couple of projects because I made two mistakes. Firstly, I decided to use a large organisation as a sub-contractor and secondly, I trusted them to deliver their contracts on time.

The organisation is so large, and so beset with a mindset that tells it that all risks can be managed, that it’s got stuck in drawing up the contracts. It simply can’t cope with a situation which is flexible and which requires elements of doubt and uncertainty to be accepted.

Unfortunately for that organisation, I’m preparing to take a different route – I can see a promising little side-road up ahead and it looks interesting.

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Finishing that journey means that you have to keep moving, no matter what obstacles get in your way.

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Power & Pageantry

Posted on July 18, 2011. Filed under: motoring | Tags: , , , , |

Those who know me, know that I have interests apart from thing “forensic” in nature – the main one being classic Lotus cars. I’m not going to kick off yet another debate about the direction that Group Lotus, under Proton, are trying to move in, nor am I going to talk about the problems between the new Team Lotus, Group Lotus and Classic Team Lotus.

Instead, something more positive.

I’m fortunate enough to run a 1990 Lotus Excel as my every day car (yes, it can be done, no it doesn’t stand for “Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious”, and yes it is damn good fun). Allied to that, I’m very involved with which has become the meeting place for the unofficial and disorganised owners’ club (we also cater to the earlier wedge Elites & Eclats).

As a club, we were invited to join other clubs at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power over the weekend of 15th to 17th July. It rained. It rained a LOT. We got wet. We got muddy. We had a bloody good time standing in a field watching very expensive machines trying to avoid contact with hay bales on a slipper tarmac surface.

CPOP is described as “The Goodwood of the North”, but it’s far more than that. The Goodwood Festival of Speed has become an event for money & celebrities. Huge sections of it are closed to the public and even the press.

CPOP still doesn’t take itself that seriously and is all the better for it. It’s possible to get close to everything, including unrestricted access to the paddock where you can see the cars up close, talk to the drivers and mechanics and generally do things that are no longer possible anywhere else in motorsport.

Yes, there are some wrinkles still to be ironed out, but on the whole this event needs to carry on so that everyone can get closer to the action and relive the glory days of motorsport while learning a bit more heritage, history and technology.

Of course, the main thing they need to change for next year is to let the clubs onto the track at some point. Even a couple of parade laps would be nice – we promise not to do anything too silly. Honest!


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    This is the weblog of Angus M. Marshall, forensic scientist, author of Digital Forensics : digital evidence in criminal investigations and MD at n-gate ltd.


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