About four years ago MIT and some others designed an integrated wheel/motor/battery assembly to turn a bike into a human-electric hybrid. It was a refined version of the BionX ebike kit. More recently it was announced it would become available for about half the price of the BionX .. about $700 for the kit. You add it to your current bike and all of a sudden you have an ebike - perhaps a very appealing one. I'd be reluctant without testing one as ebikes have their own characteristics, but at this price - if it is basically ok and can last - it would be something of a steal.
A summary of several studies - I've have only skimmed, but it appears to have a lot of information on evs in the bay area. (4MB pdf and about 350 pages)
Bay Area Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan Contents
The Bay Area Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan is comprised of two parts: the Summary and the Background and Analysis. The Summary is a high level review of the Plan, while the complementary Background and Analysis contains more detailed information about key planning elements covered in the Summary. The numbered sections in the Summary correspond to the numbered sections in the Background and Analysis. Additionally, the Background and Analysis includes a glossary, a complete list of references, and appendices containing additional information that was used to develop the Plan. The following is an overview of the contents of the Plan:
Status of Plug-in Electric Vehicles in the Bay Area
Strategies to Accelerate Plug-in Electric Vehicle Adoption
Nissan has been playing with an interesting design for race cars that has about half the weight and horsepower and more than twice the fuel eocnomy of other competiting cars. The race car design has progressed for a few years and now they have shown a consumer level prototype that would be an electric vehicle.
Clearly a niche vehicle, but if done well one that could be something of an icon. Something a bit closer to their ZEOD in black would be very batmobile.
Lane-Free Driving: The concept of lanes simply does not exist for many drivers in India. The number of vehicles on the road is quite large and people like to utilize to roads to the fullest extent. Lane-free driving allows every square centimeter of the road to be fully utilized. It is not an uncommon sight on highways to see a giant truck going the wrong way (if you believe in lanes!) and hurtling towards your tiny car. Often it appears that people are playing a game of “chicken” while driving, eventually requiring one of the vehicles to yield and go off-road to avoid an imminent collision. A major challenge for autonomous cars will be to figure out when it should attempt to intimidate other vehicles on the road and when it should get out of the way.
Amphibious Operation: There were several situations when roads we intended to take were covered with water due to heavy downpours. There was no good way to judge the water depth on the road. Moreover, we were unable to see the potholes under the water. The best idea that I came up with to deal with this challenge was to wait patiently and let some other vehicle with prior experience with the area to go over the water-filled road. If they were successful, then we could follow them. If they got stuck, then we better find an alternate route. This idea gives a new twist to the learning from demonstration concept. You might be tempted to park your car and swim if you don’t need to go too far, but I would advise against it.
People have been running very wide tires - 3.5 to over 5" - at very low pressures (single digits for sand and snow, perhaps 15psi for commuting) on bikes for about a decade. Great for the snow, sand dunes , gravel and rolling over about anything. At first they were homemade with homemade rims and tires, but a few speciality manufactures stepped in and the niche grew.
Now Trek has one - the Farley - so the category must be official. This one weighs a bit over 30 pounds and has 3.8" wide tires.
Someone around here has a Surley Pugsley - you'd see his tracks during and after every snowstorm. I stopped him at the local store during a storm - he was just grinning. Perhaps a suburban toy for playing in the snow when you can't XC ski - or a Winter bike for very serious commuters.
And for the wealthy there are now carbon and titanium frames for these monsters.
We've seen the surveys on the world's happiest countries (usually the Nordic countries with Denmark leading) .. but what goes into making the happiest cities? A piece in The Guardian
f one was to judge by sheer wealth, the last half-century should have been an ecstatically happy time for people in the US and other rich nations such as Canada, Japan and Great Britain. And yet the boom decades of the late 20th century were not accompanied by a boom in wellbeing. The British got richer by more than 40% between 1993 and 2012, but the rate of psychiatric disorders and neuroses grew.
Just before the crash of 2008, a team of Italian economists, led by Stefano Bartolini, tried to account for that seemingly inexplicable gap between rising income and flatlining happiness in the US. The Italians tried removing various components of economic and social data from their models, and found that the only factor powerful enough to hold down people's self-reported happiness in the face of all that wealth was the country's declining social capital: the social networks and interactions that keep us connected with others. It was even more corrosive than the income gap between rich and poor.
As much as we complain about other people, there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert. The more connected we are to family and community, the less likely we are to experience heart attacks, strokes, cancer and depression. Connected people sleep better at night. They live longer. They consistently report being happier.