A recent article in the Chronicle about electric vehicles raised the problem of creating an EV that could carry a tonne of fence posts to the back of the farm, a task currently performed by heavyweight diesel utes.
Whanganui is fortunate to be the home of Suzuki, specialists in lightweight farm vehicles and, together with them, Whanganui innovators should be able to solve this problem by applying a recent breakthrough in electric vehicle propulsion.
A team led by Professor Ian Hunter of MIT has designed a rugged, lightweight, electric drive system for vehicles with a motor and power train within the hub of each wheel, suspending, propelling, steering and braking it, thus doing away with the need for today's heavy engine, clutch, gearbox, diffs, brake lines, steering rods, dampers, driveshafts and axles, and consequently a vehicle's need for a heavy chassis and tyres. Their main problem was getting the battery's 400-volt power supply into the wheel without being shorted out by water or mud. They solved this problem by dropping the voltage to 48v, and they are hoping to have their Indigo T1 Traction Units powering production road vehicles by 2022. (indigotech.com)
It may be only a short time before some innovative local engineers create a lightweight electric farm ute. This iJimny would not have to carry a tonne of fence posts: the posts would be carried on one, two, or even a train of six trailers behind the little farm EV. The wheels of each trailer would also be driven, steered and braked by a pair of Indigo traction units powered by a battery on the trailer and controlled by the electronics of the iJimny.
The batteries could all be recharged at night from the farm's wind or water power generators, making the farm as self-sufficient as in the days of pack-horses.
What a load of uneducated tripe from Barry Soper in his editorial of July 10. His description of our current fleet of motor vehicles is nothing more than cheap, political BS.
He refers to them as gas-guzzling, smoke-belching, rust-bucket, grunt machines.
First of all, let's take "gas-guzzling". My 17-year-old Aussie six-cylinder will return as little as 5 litres per 100km — that's at least 50 miles per gallon in old money — around town, plus it has decent towing capacity when required.
Next, his "smoke-belching" and "rust-bucket" statements. Neither of these features would pass a WOF test or get registration.
And since when was a Toyota Corolla or a Suzuki Swift a "grunt machine".
And when was the last time you saw any vehicle belching smoke, be it petrol or diesel?
Also, the vast majority of our vehicle fleet today have computer-controlled fuel, ignition, valve train and exhaust systems. In fact, there are diesel-powered vehicles now available that can, with an additive, render them as clean as a petrol-powered vehicle .
What's more, I find this current Government, at times, nothing more than a bunch of latte-sipping hypocrites. For example, Julie Anne Genter, silly enough to ride a bike in the middle of city traffic on her way to give birth. On the other hand, the Greens will think nothing, having retired from politics, of getting on a jet and heading to Europe for a holiday. Jeanette Fitzsimons, remember?
Unfortunately, we have idiots in Parliament and news media who make these outrageous statements with little rebuttal or questioning.
Suddenly it's news
China's human/religious rights infringements have been perpetrated over decades against Christians. Now, finally, some media attention is focused on China's abuses.
The Muslim victims are being noticed.
I hope the rights groups will also draw attention to the much larger numbers of Christians held in "re-education" camps in China.
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