The following content is posted on behalf of the upcoming Smart Future Cities conference, which Quiet Rush is participating in behind the scenes effort to bring to Newcastle.
"The University of Newcastle’s Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and The City of Newcastle have joined forces to deliver the Hunter region's first Smart Future Cities conference and exhibition, which is to be held from 1 - 3 October 2015 at Newcastle City Hall.
Smart Future Cities 2015 is the first of its kind to be held in Australia and will bring together international and national experts, researchers and businesses to present their latest findings on how to grow a Smart City. The conference is being held on 1 and 2 October 2015 and will address the importance of renewable energy technologies with a focus on future transport, innovation and emerging technologies in the built environment, electric vehicles and driverless cars. It will culminate in a free public event at Newcastle City Hall showcasing Newcastle's Smart City Initiative.
On day three (3 October 2015), an Electric Vehicle (EV) and Clean Energy Expo will be held in Wheeler Place and on the ground floor of City Hall. The EV and Clean Energy Expo will showcase electric vehicles and associated technologies as well as clean energy technologies. Now in its fifth year, the EV Expo was recognised in 2014 as the largest electric vehicle show in Australia attracting attendees from manufacturers such as Renault, Tesla and Nissan. The expo will be open and free to the public.
Professor Tim Roberts, Director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, says that: "The Institute is extremely excited at the opportunities Smart Future Cities 2015 will generate. We will have some of the brightest minds from across Australia and the world here in Newcastle for three days, helping to promote Newcastle and the Hunter region as at the forefront of planning for a renewable energy future, and indeed a Smart City future."
"Research will be showcased at this event from locally and internationally recognised experts in the coming era of electric vehicles, renewable energy, autonomous electric vehicles, and the Internet of Things. The presentations will impart valuable skills and knowledge to our local researchers and businesses and industry, which are on the ground solving the problems of the future."
Newcastle Lord Mayor Cr Nuatali Nelmes says: "Councils across Australia must take a leadership role by embracing smart city technology and the opportunities it provides for our communities and businesses. Council acknowledges the role we must play in making our city a smart city and we are extremely proud to have launched our Newcastle Smart City Initiative, in partnership with Newcastle NOW and Cisco. This conference provides a unique opportunity for us to talk as a community about what it means to be a smart city and to embrace the opportunities it will provide."
The conference is an initiative of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle in partnership with the Regional Clean Energy Program of NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and The City of Newcastle. An estimated 50+ speakers will bring the latest information in their fields to delegates through presentations and networking sessions and this will aid in business development and growth within Newcastle and the Hunter Region.
Details of the Conference and Expo can be found at www.smartfuturecities.com.au
For interviews or further information please contact the UON Media Team on 02 4921 5577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org"
We're delighted to see this important evolution of the Industry aspect of the HunterEVFestival, which is still happening for 2015, see www.hunterevfetival.net for details.
New possibilities for Electric Action riding
With the 2014 Hunter Electric Vehicle Festival now done and dusted, capped off with a 1500 Class win and Energy innovation award, Quiet Rush have started to reach out to new regional destinations to see if we can bring a taste of electric riding action a little further south. The proposed new facility at CASAR Park represents a great option for motor sports enthusiasts of the Central Coast, with the potential to become something more than just a motor-sports venue and broader appeal for boosting already healthy regional tourism numbers.
What we've seen and proven in the Hunter EV Festival is that motor-sports are evolving and innovating in new directions, with exhibitors showcasing cutting edge vehicles in Electric Superbikes, Electric Motorcycles, Solar Racers, Electric Bikes (for On and Offroad action) and Electric Cars. The great example being set by Newcastle based ELMOFO as they redefine racing with their own vehicle, drivetrain and power source systems is a shining example of what's possible, leading to results that see them thumping its petrol powered competitors. Within our own modest racing class, we've experienced the thrill of seeing what its like to ride a bike that blends the best of human and electric performance to create a unique racing format, done at human-scale speed where you can still chat away with competitors whilst racing elbow to elbow in a clean, emissions free racing format.
Within adventure seeking always comes a compromise between adrenaline (proportional to perceived and actual risk) and survivability in the event of adverse outcomes - it's why GP riders often start out racing 125's, before progressing through 250s to higher power machines, honing their race craft, riding and racing skills. With a rehabilitation and human factors background highlighting for us the downside risk potential when things go wrong, we think there's ample space in the adventure sports space to innovate and create a new racing class for introducing new riders, using new zero-emissions machines such as our Stealth Fighter, racing at what we call human-scale speed. We use this to describe a speed that is fast enough to create the perception of risk, induces adrenaline and requires focus, but still occurs within an acceptable risk envelope where the risk to the rider is mitigated by modest power, with lower top speeds, lighter machines and nimble handling. You can read about what it's like to race a Stealth Fighter on a GoKart track to get a bit more background on why it's such enjoyable format, or take a look at others impressions.
With an initial orientation ride offered to Brad Wilson from CASAR Park to get a feel of what its like to ride one of our Australian made Electric Off-Road bikes from Stealth Electric Bikes, we're entering into more detailed discussions to see how we might be able to jointly create an entirely new riding experience, where novice riders can take part in a socially inclusive venue, getting a chance to try powered riding in a low risk riding and racing format. With plenty of sunshine, the CASAR facility is ideal for running an electric race format, powered by solar options, with people able to get a taste of how energised riding can boost their own riding skills and confidence. It can also be a place to participate in non-racing formats, where people of all ages might wish to experience an electric bike, ranging from mild to wild, build their skills and confidence with graded challenge areas (see this example of the The Playground Bike Park at Mt Stromlo to get an idea of what's possible). By combining the option of motorsports and family based activities achievable for all ages, with a road safety and competence building focus, places like CASAR park can help ensure cyclists and motorists leave after days fun at the facility with mutual respect and enhanced road safety behaviours.
Since writing our last post on eBike charging off grid using renewable sources we thought it was time to give a bit of an update of our current approach. Our partner company, Laughing Mind, is now a dealer for Goal Zero portable power products which gives us ready access to an awesome range of portable power products from Goal Zero. People might have caught a glimpse in some earlier posts from Stealth, appearing on Pinkbike.
Our two favourites from the GoalZero Product range from Laughing Mind so far include the Guide 10 kit and Yeti 1250 Solar Generator.
Goal Zero Guide 10 Kit
We use a Goal Zero Guide10 Kit for slinging across our backpack, providing power on the go for charging up smartphones and our camera batteries, or giving us power on the days when we're exhibiting. We'll be using this setup at the 2014 NSW EV Festival later this year, along with a range of other upcoming shows - we think its perfect for athletes and adventurers on the move who need power in the field. It powers iPads, smartphones, cameras and keeps some market stall based friends of ours juiced up through the day, supporting them in mobile retail and image creation.
A Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator (shown under the front wheel of the blue Fighter) provides power for the heavy lifting, keeping a fridge running, recharging our Fighter and occasionally customer Bombers as well as providing solar sourced power for mobile office duties when the Guide 10 Kit is occupied- laptops, iPads, smartphones, cameras and our lights.
We're able to keep the Yeti1250 charged up as a backup power source, using either grid sourced power from the wall or using the Goal Zero Boulder 30 Solar Panels in a portable array. No more need for carrying fuel or dealing with buzzing petrol powered generators. Just silent, clean charging.
With more products coming up for release in Australia later in 2014, we're going to enjoy acting as a test lab to help refine the ideal product mix for Laughing Mind's Energy Autonomy initiative, as well as bike owners looking for clean, portable, rugged power products. If you want to take a closer look at them, just get in touch, or be sure to schedule the NSW Electric Vehicle Festival into your calendar for 16-17August, 2014 where we'll have them on show.
One of the interesting aspects of running an eBike is the extent to which you can eliminate fossilised fuel dependence out of your riding - as the folks at Shrinkfoot have identified, your EV power source does matter. We get quite a few enquiries from people living offgrid, disconnected from electricity mains and running self-sufficiently with their own power generation.
The bikes are well suited to being used in these kinds of settings, but we need to address some of the issues of equipment specification to make it clear for owners and prospective customers what sort of capacity is required. Of course, an EBike is going to have a larger footprint than a standard bicycle, but that footprint can still be minimised.
The Stealth Bomber has the largest battery capacity in the Stealth range, which requires at least the following:
In our case, since we're mainly using a Stealth Fighter as our preferred demonstrator, we've opted for a middle of the road, RV-style configuration that consists of the following:
Whilst there are nicely prepackaged RV style kits such as this, they do take up a fair bit of space. In our case, we wanted a bare-bones setup that minimised space requirements and could be transplanted readily between fleet vehicles. So, we opted for an alternate inverter/charger and portable PV as the main changes from this example prebuilt bundle.
Other options that we considered on the way through this exercise were some of the products available from GoalZero, including their Yeti off-grid generator and panels (shown below). We'll be taking a closer look at that setup over the next few months.
This means that when we're attending ebike or sustainable living events, we're now power independent and have plenty of juice on hand for running a mobile office from our van, along with capacity to do a replenish charge in the event we drain the battery of one of our demonstrators.
A setup like this provided us with ample power to recharge at the recent 2013 HunterEVPrize race between qualifying practice and race time. It also forms the basis of our mobile office for the work we do at Laughing Mind, providing us with a high level of flexibility for working anywhere, anytime.
We're proud of the work being done by schools as part of building their entries for the HunterEV Prize, so we thought it fitting to make a contribution by adding in an incentive prize to the overall potential prize pool for school entrants - we're calling it EcoGeekFactorX, recognising the importance of the Festival in National Science week as a breeding ground for the next generation of manufacturers, makers, designers, innovators and -maybe- physicians.
We wanted to have a way of rewarding and recognising integrated responses to climate science challenges, based on hands-on engineering and 'making' whilst also building an understanding of the role of considered design, taking into account materials selection, intended functionality, versatility of use and the ability to integrate human effort.
Whilst the EV Prize requires entrants ebikes to be solely powered without pedal assistance, we know there is also a need for designs that can allow for rider input, so we're going to be looking for adaptable designs that can be easily retrofitted for accommodating rider effort. That means having a way of thinking about the design to incorporate another of the sciences - the science of Ergonomics (see more on that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergonomics)
EcoGeekFactorX will be an incentive prize based on the best integrated design that embodies eco-design principles, visual aesthetics, versatility, ergonomics and responsiveness to climate change and population health challenges. After all, eBikes are sometimes also about their ability to be pedalled in comfort for extended distances, across a wide variety of terrain, making sure we're also able to be active when we want to. We think our Stealth Fighter and Bomber ebikes handle that brief pretty well, but want to reward teams efforts for matching such a profile.
After all, the Hunter, whilst recognised for its innovativeness, also has some serious population health challenges that we encounter in work done at our sister company (Laughing Mind) - see http://www.newcastle.edu.au/news/2012/07/23/shed-it-motivates-blokes-to-battle-beer-bulge.html and http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au/medicare-local/ml111 - which need appropriate responses.
We want to recognise the work of each schools entry and their role as future makers, wish them well in getting their entries in place and ready.
We'll look forward to announcing the recipients of EcoGeekFactorX at the event and awarding our incentive prize to the winning team.
You'd think that there would be a lot in common between groups of people who share:
It's interesting to observe the comment threads for articles like the following:
It seems from reading through the comments that people fit into roughly three camps: Deniers, Integrators and Challengers
- Deniers take the line that anything with a motor is definitely not a bicycle - human effort alone is what counts, getting to the top of a hill can only be done by the applied use of personal sweat and determination (never mind if you've got a health condition that might compromise your ability to do so);
- Integrators take a more open view, noting that there is merit in giving some level of assistance to riders who need it or desire it, who might be happy to share a trail with an assisted rider, but it's not quite their cup of tea;
- Challengers are open advocates for mixed trail use and wanting to question why they might not be allowed to share trails, seeking well supported evidence to demonstrate why they should be excluded.
The thing is, they also have a lot in common:
Getting those trails endorsed and supported by land managers takes advocacy effort, time, clearly expressed positions and goodwill between the groups. But it can be done.
Using a multi-use trail in a way that endangers any other user risks the viability of that resource for continued use by anyone on two wheels. That too, can be done. It's a shared problem.
IMBA have made their position clear at the present moment, through:
Here's an extract from the first IMBA link
Will IMBA eventually need to retool our approach to sustainable trail design and construction to accommodate these bikes? We recognize the benefits of e-bikes, yet also recognize that this type bike creates many added challenges for land managers and for IMBA's approach to mitigating the impacts of bicycling in natural environments.
I wonder if advice like this would be given if the writer had bothered to actually try an eBike. Once you do, you very quickly realise that they're a long way off being a motorcycle. Especially at the lower end 200W output bikes.
Whilst the two tribes are recognised, their ability to play together nicely is not supported. It seems a little sanctimonious and elitist given the scale of the challenges our planet faces and the extent of population health issues. Which would you prefer: seeing an overweight relative die an early death, or making the modal switch from car-use with a bike that makes the transition easier to going completely unpowered?
I'd ask you to consider, when we have so much in common, why this should continue to be the case when the world needs a combined, urgent and relentless focus on getting onto a lower emissions trajectory - two wheeled transport is a big part of the solution opportunity for doing that. Especially when bikes such as these are fully capable of being charged in offgrid setups.