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Solar Powered Mobility Networks

Request:  Leadership support for building solar powered mobility networks at


  • Self-reliance. 
    • Change our economic lifeblood from oil to ingenuity.
    • Powered by abundant locally available source, sunshine.
  • Economic lifeboats.  Each instances of distributed power generation becomes an economic lifeboat, making civilization more durable against uncertainty and terrorism.
  • Mobility regardless of age, ability or wealth.
  • Housing.  Housing/transportation burden is major factor in the mortgage crisis.  Cut transport costs for working families by 65%.
  • Inflation.  Remove inflationary pressures from food and fuel.
  • Trade Deficit.  Local manufacture cuts import of cars and oil while expanding export of JPods.
  • Jobs.  Local manufacture and infrastructure build.
  • Security.  High value targets (trains, buses) disperse into low grade targets.
  • Foreign Policy.  Remove accusation that America’s is in it for oil.
  • Climate Change & Kyoto.  Comply by profiting from preempting waste.
  • Food.  Oil-independent food distribution network.  Limit ethanol programs.
  • Avoid Famine. Price spikes and fuel shortages can collapse our long distance food distribution networks.

Action:  Re-tool highly repetitive transportation for on-demand mobility of people and cargo within a solar budget.

  • Apply Deming, Six Sigma, Just-in-Time process practices to energy/mobility.
    • Drive out sources of variation
    • Zero defects.  Take care to make each item/trip within high quality specifications.  You cannot manage quality in a batch, it must be by individual.  Buses and trains are batch processes. The best service is to move the person/cargo from origin to destination on-demand, non-stop.
    • Excellence is the process of relentlessly improving.
  • Ingenuity. De-monopolize transportation and power generation.
  • Simplicity.  Only simple things will be possible once the looming crisis impacts.
  • Scalable
    • Darwin economics, try a lot of things, keep what works.
    • Lifeboats, "Feed In Tariffs", "many hands make light work"
      • Germany's five year old Lifeboat program has created 250,000 new jobs, $12 billion in exports in 2007 and they are ahead of schedule to generate 12% of power needs from renewables by 2010. In 2006 they produced 202 Terrawatt hours, enough for 10 million homes.
      • California moving to follow German lead. Current central planning resulted in 242 MW add in the last five years.
      • Ontario has adopted a partial program
  • Profit.  Doing must add strength.  Target 10X improvement.  Incentives for performance will accelerate viable solutions.  Subsidies are not sustainable.
  • Leverage what works
    • On-demand, personal mobility is the answer
      • Cars are the right answer. They have a 97% market share (80% in Europe).  Cars are just the wrong mass and random behavior in the niche of repetitive travel. JPods provide the convenience of cars using 4% of their energy, and thousands of times more safe.
      • Elevators, based on riders per day, are the most successful form of public transportation.
      • Build a network of Horizontal-Elevators™, JPods/CargoPods/TrashPods/MedicalPods/etc...
    • DOT’s solution to Oil Embargo is Personal Rapid Transit and Automated Guideways
    • Modern deployments
  • Synergy between transportation’s distributed need for power and sunshine’s ability to deliver it across a network.  JPods require 200 watt-hours (5.4 hp engine) to travel a mile a 30 mph.  Solar collectors 6-foot wide, gather 2.5 million watt-hours in a typical day (12,500 vehicle-miles). 
    • Power is used where it is gathered.
    • Distributed power generation is durable.
    • Power source is locally available.

  • Economy
    • Amplifying natural resources
    • Held together by abilities to Trust, Transact and Transport
    • Confederation of up-side-down pyramids
      • Individuals, communities, industries, nations
        • Base, resources consumed
        • Top, value added and risk acceptance
    • Vulnerability, famine, inadequate Trust, Transact or Transport, 20th Century's Top 10
  • Economic Stability = Work * Churn * Vulnerability Containment
  • Opinion_Personal
    • Vulnerability Containment is often called energy efficiency.
    • "Efficiency" is an elective nicety, not a mission critical imperative
    • An astute Senior Coast Guard official noted, "We have no culture for efficiency."
      • Fuels are allocated
      • Missions are allocated
      • No profit feed-back mechanism as in commerce

Vulnerability is increasing
  • Even if we have oil, we cannot use it without depression consequences
  • People who made $billions being right about oil supplies and price: Pickens, Simmons
  • Supplies are at risk
    • Access to oil is destabilizing.  GAO report on Peak Oil, 2007
      • Current supplies 62.8% medium or worse risk of delivery
      • 84.9% medium or worse risk to investments required to develop reserves into deliveries.
    • Suppliers have problems
      • Venezuela, 4th largest supplier openly hostile “Not a drop to America” was a recent campaign speech by Venezuela’s President.
      • Mexico, 3rd largest supplier (12%) will no longer export by 2012. 
      • Saudi Arabia, 2nd largest supplier, long supply lines in a hostile region.
      • Canada, largest supplier, environmental damage from oil sands, Kyoto.
    • EIA conference Dec 5, 2007 
      • BusinessWeek:  “Some 37.5 million barrels a day of additional oil-production capacity is needed by 2015, but only 25 million barrels a day are planned, International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol said.”
      • “If supply turns out to be less than this (25 mb/d), we are in serious trouble.  If these projects do not come on line, the wheels will fall off our energy system.”  Mr. Birol, Chief Economist, EIA.
      • An economic Titanic needs economic lifeboats
      • Retooling transportation and energy is an overwhelming task. Take the ant approach to eating an elephant, small bites, lots of friends.
      • End monopolies
    • Oil risks increase risks to the electrical grid.
  • Oil is a finite resource.
  • Transportation (personal and economic mobility) is less than 1% efficient.
    • Congestion costs a work-week per year (48 hours)
    • Moving a ton to move a person?
    • Parasitic Energy Consumption (PEC)
      • Ratio of moving mass to cargo mass times start-stops.
      • “Beam me up Scotty” would be a prefect 1.  Move only what you want to move, non-stop origin to destination.
      • JPods PEC is about 4.  350 pound vehicle, 1 start-stop.
      • Cars PEC is about 280,  2,000 pound vehicle, 20 start-stops
      • Train PEC about 300, 6,000 pounds of train per passenger, 10 start-stops.
      • Congestion costs a work-week per worker per year (48 hours)
    • Efficiency/conservation have the greatest immediate affect. In short distance, repetitive travel we are less than 1% efficient.
    • Re-tooling mobility will take 50 years, much longer than cheap oil will be available to fuel the transition.