What about an electric car

My electric propulsion projects have so far been on the water and I’m now ready to turn my attention to an electric car.  It would be nice to buy one ready made but my taste for a Tesla is not well matched to my impecunious budget.  Even a second hand iMiev would set me back about $20k.  The iMiev is quite small, and limited range and yet would serve this family quite well for most of the motoring we do, and perhaps it would be a good candidate one day when we have the spare cash at hand.

In the meantime I have in mind to convert a regular internal combustion engined car to electric. What would be a suitable donor vehicle? A Prius is a good option because it already has an electric motor so only needs a battery and controller to be added. But a Prius is a bit boring and if I’m going to the trouble to rebuild a car to make it electric it might as well be a special car.

The technological excellence of the Tesla sets it aside from most other manufacturers. As well as being electric powered the Tesla has many advanced features not found on most cars and is setting the standard for safety and performance which other vehicles can only aspire to.  It is many years and perhaps even decades ahead of mainstream cars. Tesla has picked up the batton of technological innovation dropped by Citroen 20 years ago.

Citroen was the car that set the standards for the 20th century, and since it became part of the Peugeot group it has lost its mojo. Peugeot is quite conservative and and its ethos has gradually permeated through Citroen so much that its done nothing really advanced since the Xantia Activa — the car that’s still the world’s fastest through the Moose test of Sweden’s motor magazine Teknikens Värld.  The Moose test, or Elk test has been raising eyebrows since the Mercedes Benz A-Class tipped over in this test and Mercedes recalled the cars that had been sold to that point and redesigned the suspension. And just recently the Toyota Hilux performed poorly in this test.  The Citroen Xantia Activa was tested in 1999 and no other car has come close to its speed since then.  The Xantia Activa holds the fastest speed through the Moose test by a significant margin and all the more surprising because its a family car and outperforms every other car ever tested  including track-oriented vehicles such as 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 RS or the 2017 Mclaren 675LT supercar.

I enjoy technological excellence and like to choose devices that are innovative and set standards that are (eventually) adopted by most devices of their genre — for example I have enjoyed Macintosh computers since 1985, the year after its introduction. I would like to be driving an electric car and will have to get into such a vehicle by starting with a second hand donor vehicle and aspiring to include at least some of the features of a Tesla.  As the donor vehicle I have chosen a Citroen that was arguably 20 or more years ahead of its time at its introduction — it included such innovative features as hydraulic brakes, front wheel drive, monocoque body construction, overhead valve engine, torsion bar suspension, independent front suspension.   Even though it was designed in 1935 the innovative features of the Traction Avant are still the mainstay of all modern cars and you could say it was the inspiration for the modern vehicle.  I hope that by adding some more modern features such as airconditioning and power steering, as well as electric drive, its strong foundation can support these additions in a way that will bring the car into line with modern vehicles.

Knowing all this my lovely Deb bought me a Traction Avant that had been parked since 1979 when it was last registered. This particular car was owned by one family in Morningside since new. It passed to another owner 5 years ago who had the intention of restoring it but did not find the time. Its in quite remarkable condition and as the first step I intend to get it running, if possible, and registered with its current engine and running gear.  Then I’ll add some some creature comforts before launching into the electric conversion proper.  Its a 1953 model which is kinda cool because that’s my model year as well 🙂


The trimaran is now sold – new life for this website

My trimaran is now sold to my mate Tony and and its time to repurpose this website.  The name Current Sunshine was intented to represent the source of fuel to run the trimaran — that is, from today’s sunshine, as opposed to ancient sunshine that we use from fossil fuels.

The name Current Sunshine encapsulates my interest in renewable technologies and my work in promoting the use of renewable energy based on its commercial credentials.  There is much interest in the adoption of renewable energy for the purpose of minimising man-made global warming.  This topic generates divided opinion and creates much separation and so the focus of this site will be directed to sharing other compelling reasons for using renewable energy.

The use of distributed renewable energy is ideally suited for adoption in the Australian electricity grid where have large areas of sparse population and the cost of supplying electricity using poles and wires is expensive and requires large subsidies to keep prices of delivery at parity with city dwellers.  Local generation and storage has commercial advantages and is being adopted by electricity distributors such as Ergon energy.

In city areas the use of solar power is particular interesting for businesses where their electricity demand is largely during the daylight hours and can be substantially provided by solar power with grid backup. Prices of solar installations are falling rapidly and can supply power at about grid parity.

The technology that particularly interests me at present is pumped hydro for energy storage and there is an ideal site for this in my local area.  I am also interested in community engagement and connection and I wish to explore the possibility of building a hydro power station that is owned and operated by the local community.  I’ll write more about this in another post soon.

I’ll also be changing the look and structure of this site to support the new purpose.  Stay tuned…

Current Sunshine is for sale

Simon at the helm off Barrenjoey

Current Sunshine is for sale.  Alas I have not been able to use her in the way that she is meant to be…  She would enjoy travelling to other interesting places but she’s been here on her mooring for too long now with only occasional short trips in this area.

She needs some attention to small mostly cosmetic details.  She’s been bumped here and there from incidents while on the mooring.  Clearly she is not meant to be hanging around on a mooring 🙂 So I plan to take her back up to Monty’s Marina near Brisbane later this year and haul her out where it easier to attend to the knocks and scratches and get her looking pristine again.  After that she’ll be for sale for $180,000.00 which is her proper price.Sunset at Crystal Bay

She needs antifouling and the slipways down are few that can haul her out.  There are some that will do it and it exceeds my budget just now.

But having decided to sell her I am ready to do so now.  I’d like to have a quick sale without fuss and bother.  If you are ready to become the caretaker of this boat and give her a good home I will take $140,000.00 for a quick sale for her as she is.

With Deb in America Bay

This offer is only for a limited time and when I take her up north and haul her she will be taken off the market until she’s tidy again.  And perhaps then I’ll have changed my mind and want to keep her.  This past week I have been working on some projects on board and it reminds me that I do enjoy it immensely and would also enjoy an adventure north to Queensland.

She has been my home now for the past 5 years and she is easily the loveliest boat I have lived on.  In this respect she has served me well. She has a great layout and far more space inside that you would believe from her external appearance.

There's sails and there's sails

If you’re interested in her, just take a quick look at the other trimarans for sale just now and you’ll see that there are none that match her in looks or pedigree. This is a rare and iconic boat and if you’re prepared to act quickly she can be yours.  (Well, not really yours, I see myself as her caretaker just now, and am ready to pass her on to her next caretaker.  And I would like to see her go into the care of someone who is able to look after her well. So you might want to think of yourself as her next caretaker.)

Off Broken Bay in 12 knot breeze

She is structurally strong as ever and I would take her to sea tomorrow if it suited me.

The details that need attention are just that, details.  She will fly through any survey inspection and if you decide to come and take a look, be warned that you could easily fall in love with her.

If you are in a position to buy this lovely boat please give me a call on 0409466271.