^ ZipCharge Go – an EV booster battery that’s under development
This month’s Net Work suggests some EV booster-battery options that are heading the way of the electric vehicle market. An interesting new semi-portable charger for electric vehicles called the ZipCharge Go was unveiled at the COP26 UN Climate Change conference. ZipCharge Go is a rolling- suitcase style of battery booster with many security features built in. It’s still in R&D, with a likely launch date at the end of 2022. More details from www.zipcharge.global
^Sparkcharge ‘Roadie’ provides kerbside EV charging, using a network of service agents (USA)
Massachusetts-based startup Sparkcharge is taking a different approach in the USA, operating through a network of service providers and its rugged “Roadie” battery system claims to offer ‘a mile [of driving] for a minute of charging’. More details are at https://www.sparkcharge.io/.
MG Cars, the British sports car brand now owned by China’s state-owned SAIC Motor (see Net Work, December 2020 and January 2021) has refreshed its MG ZS EV. More details of UK-spec cars at https://www.mg.co.uk/new-cars/new-mg-zs-ev
^ NIO EV Battery Swap in action in China (YouTube/ Crossing China)
This month’s column introduces to British readers the Chinese NIO brand of EV which is starting to appear in Norway, giving NIO a foothold in the European market. The idea of ‘battery swapping’ has already taken hold in China and is slated to appear (called NIO Power Swap) starting in Oslo, Norway. A NIO owner shared his experiences of the first version of NIO’s battery swapping system in a YouTube video a year ago at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0StTrsdoD3c. How NIO’s latest version of its ‘Battery as a Service’ works in practice is showcased in their promo at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBdQQxgxDrY and a driver’s eye view of this new system is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvMr42VnFyo. Details of NIO’s range will be found at https://www.nio.com
What will happen when an EV reaches its end of life? Car scrap yards are adapting to online sales and web sites such as https://www.breakerlink.com (UK) save lots of legwork and can obtain quotes for used car spares from breakers’ yards.
^ SpaceX Starships ready for tests, aiming for the Moon and Mars in the future. (Image: SpaceX)
Readers might recall Elon Musk launching an EV into space, with his Starman manikin at the wheel (Net Work, September 2019). Its current location is shown at https://www.whereisroadster.com. With recycling EVs in mind, Rich Benoit (“Dr. Tesla Frankenstein”) specialises in salvaging parts from Tesla cars or rebuilding them from scrap. His skills are remarkable and a video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuAMczraBIM shows his dedication to recycling, not scrapping.
^ Coming to the UK is the Ora Great Cat retro-style EV
China’s Great Wall Motor (GWM), the country’s largest maker of pickup trucks, is pinning its latest hopes on a very stylish all-new EV to be sold under their Ora brand. Known locally as the Haomao (Mandarin for “Good Cat”), the car is destined for Britain soon and will be called the Ora Cat 01. More details are at https://uk.ora-eu.com. Meanwhile, on the GWM global website at https://www.gwm-global.com/brands/ora/ I spotted the Ora Heimao R1 or “Black Cat” – will it challenge the Honda ‘e’ city car? For an eye-opening view of GWM’s firepower, take a look at their 2020 sales report at https://www.gwm-global.com/news/3400977.html.
The upsurge in EVs is likely to constrain battery supplies, so in England major lithium deposits have been found by geothermal engineers in Cornwall, with 4,000 tonnes potentially being extracted annually in the future, see https://geothermalengineering.co.uk/lithium/ which may eventually help meet the insatiable demand globally for batteries of all shapes and sizes.
^ Impressions of what a Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) power plant might look like (Image: Rolls-Royce Group)
The overarching question is, of course, how will all this ‘extra’ electricity demand be met in the first place. The UK Government is helping to kickstart Britain’s entry into the Small Modular [Nuclear] Reactor concept by investing £210 million ($275 million) in Rolls Royce Group, which has produced nuclear power plant for Britain’s submarine fleet since the 1950s. The distinctive shape of an SMR power station may become a familiar sight on our landscape within a decade. Learn more at https://www.rolls-royce-smr.com/
^ Is your PC ready for Windows 11 (yet)? We give a few hints and tips
My thanks go to long-term PE reader Dave Bancroft who writes in this month’s issue about the woes of upgrading to Windows 11, particularly hardware requirements. “Delving into the Intel portion of the fully-supported CPU list for Windows 11 (see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/design/minimum/supported/windows-11-supported-intel-processors ) I eventually found the Intel Core i5 section of the rather long list, I see that there is a range of CPU number suffixes from i5-10200H to i5-11600T inclusive, then a second range from i5-8200Y to i5-9600T. My CPU subtype, i5-7400 is a “lower” number and, most importantly, was absent from the list! No doubt this is what has triggered the incompatible-CPU error message I saw on my PC.”
The web is alive with Windows 11 tips and workarounds, and one option might be to ‘force’ a Windows 11 installation using the classic media creation tool, or create an ISO image. The place to start is https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows11. If the host PC is supposedly incompatible, it’s not clear whether such Windows 11 installations will enjoy future security updates though. Check my article for more hints and tips.
Space enthusiasts are eagerly eyeing the next SpaceX milestone: the SN20 (Serial Number 20) Starship powered by a Super Heavy rocket stage. YouTube is full of SpaceX videos and commentaries, but https://youtu.be/TeVbYCIFVa8 gives an insight of the Starship taking shape. You can see more about SpaceX’s Mars-bound program at https://www.spacex.com/human-spaceflight/mars/index.html
^ The James Webb Space Telescope ensconced inside the cleanroom at its launch site at Guiana Space Center, prior to assembling into an ESA Ariane 5 launcher. (Image credit: NASA/ Chris Gunn)
Lastly this month, another ambitious project is fast coming together in the form of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), described as the world’s largest and most complex space science observatory ever built. The telescope is an international effort and is destined to launch from French Guiana in mid December. As the space observatory starts to explore the deepest mysteries of the cosmos, readers will hear a lot about new discoveries and mention of the ‘James Webb telescope’ will become as commonplace as ‘Hubble’ used to be, so rest assured I’ll be covering progress in future columns. For the latest news, see https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/webbLaunch/index.html
Lots more to read in this month’s Net Work column!