Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Electric Vehicles

This article raises an interesting vulnerability of electric vehicles, then goes on to talk about something else. Mostly it focuses on whether the grid could handle a huge increase in demand. But what really interests me is the first bit: what happens when the power goes out. Sometimes blackout conditions can last for days, or much longer in a large-scale disaster. Right now, it's pretty straightforward for people to leave if that happens. With electric vehicles, though, a simple blackout would quickly paralyze travel. That seems like a very bad idea. It's an even worse idea if the ban is total and even emergency vehicles are trapped in electric power.

One possible workaround would be to break up the grid, so that people wouldn't be dependent on it. So for instance, if many houses and businesses had solar panels, and charging stations also had them, then a grid blackout would take out some but not all of the supply. There should be enough left for at least partial evacuation, and with that demand gone, plenty for emergency vehicles during the cleanup phase. Another option would be wind power. But good luck breaking the grip of the power companies, who have spent decades blocking green energy as much as they could get away with.

EDIT: I forgot to add tips on coping with chaotic weather and unreliable supplies, so here are some:

* Identify the major hazards in your area. Make plans to cope with those. Given the chaotic climate changes, it would also be prudent to make some contingency plans for things that have not historically threatened your area but might start now. The maps are no longer reliable, just a starting point, because they depend on past data. If your home is in a high-risk area that's getting worse, consider moving while you can still find some sucker to buy out any investment you have in property.

* Check your national, state, and city or county preparedness plans. If they do not meet your standards, you will need to plan how to handle it when the authorities fuck up. Do not trust their estimates or recommendations of how long you have to take care of yourself. Look at their actual performance in past disasters, which tends to be much slower and shabbier.

* Get active in energy resilience. Promote projects that help withstand disasters.

* Check what renewable resources are available in your area.




* If it is feasible for you to obtain independent essentials, do so.
** Solar panels, wind turbines, etc. can generate electricity.
** A generator can provide some electricity, but not always as much as you want, and is limited by fuel.
** A woodstove or fireplace will heat a home quite well, better with an electric fan, but you can also get a thermal fan that moves air a little bit without electricity. You can also cook with these.
** A solar oven can cook food. You can make or buy one from sheet metal, but it also works fine with a cardboard box covered in aluminum foil. Here are more designs. This is probably the cheapest and most useful piece of solar equipment.
** Another good option is a coffee can stove, which works over a small wood fire or tuna can burners.
** Check whether you have utensils and food suited to off-grid dining. If not, this is an easy and affordable thing you can fix.
** Survival foods store for a long time. Here are some suppliers. If you have any special needs, ensure your own supply; do not assume other people will be willing or able to help, even if they are "supposed" to do so. See advice for disaster preparedness with dietary needs.
** Similarly with medical needs, do not assume anyone else will care if you live or die. Make medical preparations for disasters with the expectation that you may be on your own for quite a while.
** Water storage starts with reusing jugs you already have, and goes up to costly long-term barrels. If you have special needs and/or dehydrated food, know that this can run your water use way above average. Water purification is a good idea too. Know how to make an emergency filter with silk or charcoal, and a solar still.
** Ensure that you have nonelectric lighting. Candles and flashlights are a good start, but for anything longer than a few hours you really need camp lanterns and/or hurricane lamps that use paraffin oil or kerosene. Most camp lanterns are now LED which may be insufficient. There are still lanterns based on incandescent, fluorescent, or fuel lighting if you hunt around.
** Know how to make a camp toilet. If you need arms, cut the seat out of a plastic chair with arms and put that over the toilet. Know what to use instead of toilet paper.

* Finally, connect with your neighbors if possible. Know who has which supplies and who's willing to team up in a crisis.
Tags: energy, how to, networking, safety

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