A Green Ride
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P.O. Box 55252
Madison, WI 53705
USA


Greenhouse gas emission is inversely proportional to thermal energetic efficiency. Electric bicycles provide the most efficient personal transportation possible without slowing below urban commuter speeds, or using a totally enclosed fairing. An electric bicycle will operate very efficiently at average urban transportation speeds of 25 miles per hour. When compared to automobile use, the systemic reduction in greenhouse gas emission is about twenty-five fold. Indirect benefits to electric bicycle use include reducing urban footprint on street infrastructure and parking facilities to a sliver of personal automobile footprint. The Neodymics Cyclemotor can enhance performance and utility of existing bicycles, thereby increasing opportunities for bicycle use.

"Green" is quantified below by systemically evaluating alternatives. Specific pollution reductions, scalability, relative costs and benefits are compared to other transport means.

 

 

The transportation matrix above indicates thermal efficiency, greenhouse gas emissive efficiency, and energetic performance for various modes at typical usage speeds. Vertical position in the graph indicates thermal efficiency in payload kilogram meters per thermal Joule, or 70 kg passenger miles per gallon of gasoline. Thermal efficiency is proportional to greenhouse gas emissive efficiency, as denoted on the right vertical axis. Horizontal position in the graph indicates speed. Horizontal position of the intersection of the diagonal lines with the horizontal blue line indicates energetic performance, which is the product of thermal efficiency and speed. Various conditions are differentiated by the data point icons. Effective values for mass transit take wait time into account are strongly influenced by utilization, delays and terminal pedestrian flow. Steady state cruising conditions are denoted, along with average conditions which include velocity changes in crowded environments. Payload mass is indicated by diagonal line color. Hairline diagonals indicate personal vehicles, in which the driver is also the payload. The price for convenience of personal transit is evident when compared to mass transit. For human powered transportation, the thermal energy content of food was used to measure efficiency and performance. Energy used to obtain food varies widely, and was not included.

Vehicles with the highest level of energetic performance have efficient powerplants, high payload to gross mass ratios, or reduced friction with the surrounding environment. For practical personal transport at urban commuting speeds of 25 MPH or 11 m/s, as exemplified by the Neodymics Cyclemotor, the electric bicycle has the highest thermal efficiency (0.3 kg-m/Jth), GHG emissive efficiency (4.2 kg-km/gCO2e) and energetic performance (3.4 seconds).

It is ironic how efficiently petroleum (crude) is transported. If a person were to be transported around the world with the same efficiency as can be realized in the shipment of petroleum, it would only require two-thirds of a gallon of gasoline! Oil companies are very efficient in delivering their product before it is squandered as gasoline. About 95% of our petroleum is transported by ship or pipeline.

In evaluating transportation choices, efficiency is an important and well characterized consideration. Average speed is also important, since people are paid by the hour and "time is money." Multiplying thermal efficiency by speed, a quantity is obtained that we define as Energetic Performance. Using standard SI units, it expressed in seconds. By evaluating performance with respect to thermal instead of electrical energy, we are comparing apples to apples. The table below gives efficiency, speed and energetic performance for various modes of human transportation. Efficiency is determined by estimating the number of passenger-kilometers obtained per unit of thermal energy present in the fuel consumed. For electrically powered mopeds, the net powerplant efficiency, electrical transmission loss, charger efficiency, and battery discharge loss are all accounted for. Thermal efficiency non gasoline fueled vehicles was used to determine an equivalent fuel economy in person-miles per gallon of gasoline.

Mode
Fuel Econ.
Speed
Speed
Thml. Eff.
Performance
Emissive Eff.
Payload Mass
Conditions
(Person-MPG)
(Mi/Hr)
(m/s)
(kg-m/Jth)
(s)
(kg-km/gCO2e)
(eq. # persons)
Bicycle, Faired
1,152.03
75
33.5
0.973
32.62
1
Qc
Bicycle, Racing
1,234.91
20
8.9
1.043
9.32
1
Qe
Bicycle, Touring
1,972.54
12
5.4
1.666
8.94
1
Qe
Motorcycle, Completely Faired
470.00
50
22.4
0.398
8.91
4.935
1
Qe
Bicycle, Touring
820.51
20
8.9
0.693
6.2
1
Qe
Bicycle, Electric Cyclemotor
358.75
25
11.2
0.303
3.39
4.328
1
Qe
Airplane, 1 Person N99VE
50.91
170
75.8
0.043
3.26
0.533
1
Qe
Elec Trike, Twike
91.53
53
23.7
0.077
1.83
1.104
1
Qc
Moped, Unpedaled Gas
117.00
25
11.2
0.099
1.11
1.227
1
Qe
Auto, Prius Hybrid Hwy
45.00
65
29.1
0.038
1.109
0.471
1
Qc
Motorcycle
48.54
55
24.6
0.041
1
0.508
1
Qc
Electric Car, Tesla
36.67
65
29.1
0.031
0.90
0.442
1
Qc
Auto, Civic Nonhybrid Hwy
36.00
65
29.1
0.030
0.89
0.378
1
Qc
Segway I2 (TM)
182.34
13
5.6
0.154
0.856
2.200
1
Qe
Human Walking
414.40
4
1.8
0.350
0.63
1
Qe
Auto, Prius Hybrid City
48.00
30
13.4
0.041
0.54
0.508
1
Qe
SUV, Escalade Hwy
18.00
65
29.1
0.015
0.44
0.189
1
Qc
Electric Car, Tesla
38.73
30
13.4
0.033
0.44
0.467
1
Qe
Auto, Civic Nonhybrid City
25.00
30
13.4
0.021
0.28
0.260
1
Qe
SUV, Escalade City
12.00
30
13.4
0.010
0.14
0.124
1
Qe
Airplane, 2 Person N99VE
101.82
170
75.8
0.086
6.52
1.066
2
Qe
Auto, Civic 2 Person
49.73
30
13.4
0.042
0.57
0.521
2
Qe
Auto, Prius 4 Person Hwy
180.48
65
29.1
0.152
4.43
1.890
4
Qc
Auto, Prius 4 Person City
192.51
30
13.4
0.163
2.18
2.016
4
Qe
Bus, Avg Load Urban
29.60
25
11.2
0.025
0.28
0.31
9
Qa
Spacecraft, Voyager 1
7,340,800.00
38,012
17000
6200
100,000,000
10
Qc
Train, Avg Load Amtrak
46.18
45
20.1
0.039
0.78
0.48
18
Qa
Train, Avg Load Commuter
48.54
35
15.6
0.041
0.64
0.51
22
Qa
Bus, Full Urban
74.59
25
11.2
0.063
0.7
0.781
36
Qa
Airliner, Avg Passenger
33.15
270
120.7
0.028
3.38
0.347
90
Qe
Airliner, Avg Passenger 2006
63.94
93
41.6
0.054
2.24
0.670
98
Qe
Truck, Avg Intercity
780.26
65
29.1
0.659
19.14
8.17
189
Qa
Train, High Speed Full Load
603.84
110
49.2
0.510
25.09
7.285
200
Qc
Train, Full Load Intercity
140.90
45
20.1
0.119
2.39
1.700
250
Qa
Airship, 1936
224.96
66
29.5
0.190
5.60
2.356
324
Qc
Truck, Best
2,537.31
55
24.6
2.143
52.68
26.570
520
Qc
Airliner 747-8, 467 Pass.
117.22
650
290.5
0.099
28.76
1.227
637
Qc
Airliner, 747-200-CCW Freight
362.30
580
259.2
0.306
79.37
3.794
1,906
Qc
Airliner, 747-8, 10 lb/ft3 Freight
306.66
650
290.5
0.259
75.24
3.211
1,906
Qc
Train, Avg Freight
2,486.40
60
26.8
2.1
56.32
26.04
57,143
Qa
Train, Dense Freight (Coal)
4,428.16
60
26.8
3.74
100.29
46.37
118,571
Qa
Pipeline, 6 Inch Crude Oil
2,971.84
7
3.3
2.51
31.12
285,714
Qc
Tanker, Valdez to Long Beach
20,246.40
18
8.2
17.1
140.63
212.01
1,714,286
Qc
Tanker, VLCC Class
15,705.76
18
8.0
13.265
106.7
164.464
2,857,143
Qc
Tanker, ULCC Class
38,661.15
20
8.9
32.653
291.9
404.842
4,571,429
Qc
Oil, Prudhoe Bay to Long Beach
12,550.40
15
6.9
10.6
73.14
131.42
5,942,857
Qc
Pipeline, 40 Inch Crude Oil
9,093.12
7
3.3
7.68
95.22
12,671,429
Qc
Pipeline, 48 Inch Trans Alaska
5,848.96
7
3.3
4.94
16.25
61.25
18,571,429
Qc

 

For more complete, referenced descriptions of Energetic Performance, click below:

Peer-reviewed article published in The Open Energy and Fuels Journal

The Energetic Performance of Vehicles (PDF, Published January 18, 2008)

Logarithmic Transportation Matrix (PDF)

Transportation Matrix, Referenced Data: Excel File

Locomotive Energetic Performance and Other Transportation Parameters (PDF, published October 13, 2007)

Locomotive Energetic Performance (PDF, published March 23, 2005)

The prototype device uses stored electrochemical energy to provide propulsion. This does not directly produce any air pollution. A vast worldwide fleet of electric mopeds and small streamlined vehicles could meet most human desires for personal transportation, without greenhouse gas emission. At the societal level, electric propulsion allows a great deal of choice in energy feedstock. Alternative sources such as solar, wind, nuclear and hydroelectric can provide electrical energy without atmospheric emissions.