Peter has written an article on the future of cars for The Conversation.
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Over the weekend our web site Trevipedia.net disappeared, due to an administrative bungle with the domain name. It is back now, but prompted us to consider moving to a Google Site instead of the current MediaWiki site. If you are, or would like to be, a Trevipedia contributor, you can try the new site and let us know what you think.
Earlier this year we were contacted by an organisation in Zimbabwe enquiring about the possible use of solar-powered vehicles for transporting pregnant women from rural villages to health care facilities. Our initial reaction was that off-the-shelf petrol vehicles or golf carts would be more versatile and reliable. But petrol and electricity are too expensive and often unavailable in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world. One of the factors that contributes to the high maternal death rate is the difficulty that expecting mothers have in getting from rural villages to health care facilities such as delivery hospitals. Almost half of the births in the Mashonaland Central region are delivered at home without formal medical assistance.
We are currently working to design, develop and demonstrate a system for transporting expecting mothers from rural villages to health care facilities. The system will comprise vehicles that can be used to transport women to and from health care facilities, and a system for scheduling and managing the vehicles to maximise their effectiveness.
Because of the high cost and low availability of fuel or electricity to power vehicles, the vehicles will be powered by human and solar power. Bicycles with trailers are being used in some parts of Africa for patient transport, but speed and range are limited by the endurance of the rider. We will investigate the use of electrically-assisted cargo bikes with trailers, or custom designed low-energy vehicles based on readily-available components, with solar panels for recharging batteries.
The key vehicle requirements are:
vehicles will service villages within 30 km of a health care facility, and travel up to 80 km per day
vehicles must transport the rider, the patient and an accompanying friend
vehicles must be capable of travelling on unsealed roads and tracks at speeds up to 30 km/h.
If you are interested in being involved in this project, contact Andrew: email@example.com
With Zero Race well and truly behind us, and with Trev back in Adelaide, Team Trev is focussing now upon activities closer to home.
First up, we need to get Trev re-registered in South Australia. When we registered prior to departing for Zero Race, the assessor said that we’d need to complete a lane-change test prior to driving on Australian streets again. We’ve upgraded the front suspension over recent weeks and we undertook a successful swerve test last week, so we hope to be back on the road very soon.
Our next plan is to use Trev for urban commuting, which after all is what it was originally designed to do. We plan to install data loggers in the car to record energy use, then share the car amongst team members to commute and use for their everyday driving, one week each.
With Trev out and about on the streets of Adelaide, we expect to get a lot interest in the car once again, which will give us the opportunity to share our story about Zero Race, and more importantly, to demonstrate that if a little green car can drive around the world in 80 days, it is also more than capable of commuting to and from work.
Trev-heads Chris and Alexandra are in Morocco. They have unpacked Trev, checked over the car, topped up the battery, and driven in the chaotic Casablanca traffic. Apparently they are not the only drivers unsure about which way to go around round-abouts.
Today they will drive to Rabat, the first stage of the final leg through Morocco, Spain, France and Switzerland to Geneva—the end of the first around-the-world Zero Race.
Trev has been in the Zero Race workshop since arriving in Lucerne on Thursday. Nick and Jason (now joined by Keith) have been working hard to iron out a number of issues in preparation for the race prologue later today.
Our Battery Management System has some glitches caused by corrosion and perhaps by some transit induced faulty connections. Trev’s tie-down points inside the shipping crate had pulled away from the surrounding timber, so perhaps it was a very bumpy flight across from Australia.
Yesterday we were lucky to have the assistance of Simon and family, expat Aussies living in Switzerland, who helped us to find and purchase various items locally. Thanks guys.
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