When did you last fill up?

As my regular readers will know, I’m currently visiting family on the East Coast of the USA. While I’ve been here I’ve been noticing the differences between the UK and USA cultures from things as diverse as eating out and shopping to travel and environmental issues.

Now, before I go any further I feel duty-bound to put a mini-disclaimer here. I know the USA is a gargantuan country, encompassing many different communities and lifestyles. But I feel that the generalization I’m about to make holds good enough for most of the country that I won’t feel bad making it. Not only that, but the generalisation I’m about to make holds true for my home country and most of Europe just as much as it is true for North America.

The car is king.

America, like most of the western world, is in love with gas.
America, like most of the western world, is in love with gas.

Photo by Nikki Bloomfield

More after the jump

On EVCast again tomorrow (Mon, 6 April 09)

I’ll be appearing tomorrow again on EVCast, hosted by Bo Bennett and Ryan Levesque. If our Internet connections behave (or rather, mine does,) I’ll be discussing the weekend’s EV news with Bo and Ryan. If you have any questions or comments prior to the show then please email me. If you’re new to the world…

First fill up of a DIY Prius PHEV

Those of visit this site regularly will know that one of my personal projects has been to convert a 2004 Prius (affectionately known as Velma) to a plug in hybrid.

The conversion process has certainly not been plain sailing – but that’s been due to my own stupidity and impatience. (Simply put, I didn’t properly check the battery health when I installed a second-hand pack. I learned the hard way and blew one pack up, a few days after installation. £300 later and I was able to re-install a PHEV pack.)

(Video and more information available after the jump)

Vaporware. The curse of the EV

Yes, it’s April 1st today. I’ve thought about making a joke post, telling you about all the latest wonderful improvements in battery technology, or perhaps about the recent study which states that electric cars can be ran on brainwaves with a simple modification. But After listening to today’s EVcast I think that Bo and Ryan pretty much have the EV gag market sewn up for today.

But it got me thinking. In the world of EVs we’re used to big tales of new vehicles; of fantastic ranges and ‘next year’ promises. Does the public image of EVs benefit from this, or do wild claims and media hype only serve to give the EV haters out there something to base their attacks on?

Warmer for the winter

It’s a known fact that the winters in Washington DC are a lot colder than the winters in Wokingham

So, I took the plunge and ordered some new heater parts.

The front of a rose-taupe 1965 Morris Minor. The Car's front grille is partly obscured by tin foil in an attempt to keep the engine (and the occupants) warmer in winter.

Me being me, I decided that the best way of doing this would be to take out the broken, (or rather perished) items of the heating system and then replace them with new ones when they arrived (Thinking that my parts would have arrived yesterday, I tackled the dismantling yesterday in the hope that I would get a head start on fitting them.