Cyclists Making the Electric Car go Farther

Electric automobiles are popping up everywhere now.  Even the big three (Gm, Ford, Chrysler) are back in the game.  And how about an all-electric Hummer from GM!  Things have changed from the time when they were killing off the electric car.  Remember the 2006 documentary, ‘Who Killed the Electric Car’.

Canada is leading in this area as well.  A team from Carlton University’s Industrial Design, in Ottawa, has won a zero-emission design competition.  They named their vehicle ‘Project Arrow’; a nod to the famous Avro Arrow supersonic jet.

To make these EV practical, they need great battery technology.  Here again, Canada is leading.  One of the leaders in this field is Professor Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dahn is a lithium-ion battery pioneer.  According to Professor Jeffrey Dahn, Canada’s reputation for turning out top talent, innovation, and products in battery technology is polling worldwide at an all-time high.  Dahn holds the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada/Tesla Canada Industrial Research Chair.

While there is natural competition in the race to the best battery, Canadian researchers and developers champion each other’s successes. And they have been significant. The world’s first alkaline and lithium batteries were invented by Canadian Lewis Urry, in 1954. In 1977, the world’s first rechargeable lithium-metal battery was commercialized, in British Columbia, by Moli Energy Ltd. — the company of Dahn’s early mentor, Rudi Haering – from:

The tradition continues with Professor Dahn and several post-graduate students working with Dahn.  Two of these post-grad students who have worked on lithium-ion battery technology at Dalhousie are Leah Ellis and Christopher White.  Both Leah and Christopher received $10,000 grants from the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation.

Read more about Professor Dahn’s work here.

Leah was a PhD student, studying lithium-ion batteries under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Dahn, at Dalhousie University. This work is done in partnership with Tesla’s cell development lab. The purpose of her research is to improve the lifetime and energy density of lithium-ion cells, for use in green technologies.  Leah is now at MIT.

More about Leah’s research here.

Chris’s current PhD work aims to develop sustainable-energy storage technologies to support the clean-energy transition, through smart control systems, for repurposed electric vehicle batteries.

More about Chris’s research here.

And that’s how we get to cycling.  The above-mentioned foundation has a yearly fundraiser called ‘The Ride for Clean Energy.

The Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation has been established by his parents, in memory of Tyler G. P. Lewis, to fund alternative energy and applied sustainability research initiatives. Tyler grew up in rural British Columbia and was taught the importance of environmental awareness from a young age. Tyler recognized the world’s impending energy crisis and had a strong “desire to leave this planet in a better position for future generations”. Tyler believed that, as an engineer, “it is our duty to address global issues, such as climate change, in a manner that is environmentally and socially sound.” – Tyler G. P. Lewis

My wife, our daughters, our son-in-law, and I participate in this annual ride.  The ride is held in Maple Ridge with a route snaking through the Fort Langley area.  Due to COIVD-19, this year’s ride was done remotely; the riders chose their own route, on the day of the ride.

So, our cycling efforts are helping to power those EVs, which we are seeing more frequently on our highways, to go farther.

Our ride last year:

Our ride this year:

by Darrel Lewis, Tyler’s Uncle