Maryland Electric Vehicle Owners’ Survey

As many of you are aware, I have the pleasure of representing one of many viewpoints of EV drivers on the Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council.  Also on the Council is Dr. Z Andrew Farkas, Director and Professor for the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University.  The Center has put out a brief survey, gathering basic information about plug-in drivers, such as the reasons for getting a plug-in, if you charge at home, what sort of charging you do, and interfacing plug-in driving with rail commuting.  It’s purely informational and anonymous.   He mentioned that he was looking for plug-in drivers, so I thought it only natural to solicit the participation of the plug-in owner/drivers of EVADC. What follows is a brief introduction, and the link for the survey.  I’ve taken it, and is is indeed about five minutes 🙂




The National Transportation Center at Morgan State University, a Maryland transportation research organization, is conducting a study of electric vehicles, and is asking you, an owner of an electric vehicle, to participate in a five-minute online survey on your EV purchase, commuting, and preferred safety technologies.

Participation in this survey is voluntary; you are free to discontinue the online survey at any time. Survey participants must be at least 18 years old and own/lease a plug-in hybrid or plug-in battery electric vehicle registered in the State of Maryland.

All information gathered in this survey will be anonymous and confidential. Only the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University will collect the survey responses, aggregate the data and analyze results. The individual survey responses can not be identified.

If you are willing to participate, please go to or use the QR code below:

Morgan State QR





Dr. Z. Andrew Farkas

Director and Professor

National Transportation Center, CBEIS 327

Morgan State University

1700 E. Cold Spring Lane

Baltimore, MD 21251



“Center for Research in Extreme Batteries”

UMD logoarmbrndSpeaking of the military- the University of Maryland and the Army Research Lab have formed the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries (CREB), and it just held its first colloquium.111144dThey’re working on lithium-sulfur cells, and solid state anodes, of course- everyone’s working on them.  But as the name implies, the Center is also studying beyond-state-of-the-art tech that’s applicable to us, and some not- niches like thermal batteries, that run a missile for a few seconds to a minute, to batteries that have to last thirty years or even longer.  And there’s the stuff the average person doesn’t see: tools and diagnostics, like battery x-rays, neutron beam scanning, and ion beam scanning.  So the next biggest presence was probably NIST. Continue reading

How Big is the Tesla Gigafactory – Washington DC edition


As I write this, the Tesla Gigafactory is currently being built in the Nevada desert, near Reno.  In case you haven’t been following this remarkable project, it is to be an enormous factory for manufacturing lithium ion batteries, entirely in the 18650 cell format, which will be used in upcoming Tesla models.  In fact, by 2020, the Gigafactory alone will produce 50 GWh/year of batteries, equivalent to all current 18650 production worldwide.  I’ve also read that additional Gigafactories may be in the works.

The enormous scale of this project is one aspect that makes it so fascinating.  People all over the place are noting the factory’s gargantuan size.  In fact, when I comment on it in online articles (under the handle Leptoquark), I’ve taken to calling it the “River Rouge of batteries”, in homage to the famous Ford River Rouge factory complex in Dearborn.  When the history of our transition away from gasoline and back to electricity is written, the Gigafactory will likely have a prominent place in that history.

Recently, Zach at EVObsession wrote a piece[1] summarizing size comparisons of the Gigafactory with other large structures, including Dallas Cowboys Stadium and the US Capitol building, which got me to thinking: since so many tourists visit Washington DC every year, the spacing of the iconic landmarks on the Mall would make a good way to understand the scale of this project.

So, using Zach’s estimates of about 1100 m by 430 m for the dimensions of the building, and allowing for a surrounding parking apron matching the Tesla simulation, I created two images.  The first is a map of the Western end of the Mall, showing that the Gigafactory would fit neatly between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.  It would cover the Reflecting Pool, Constitution Gardens and the National World War II Memorial.  The green boundary is the parking apron.

The second image is the view to the West looking out of the top of the Washington Monument, which I took on a recent visit.  I’ve added the Gigafactory building outline in a perspective view.  Note especially the size of the people in the foreground.  This matches the scale of people in recent pictures[2] from Bob Tregilus of the construction site itself.

Hopefully, these images can add some perspective on what is now under way in the Nevada desert.  Or, as Dr. Morbius put it in Forbidden Planet,

“Prepare your minds for a new scale of physical scientific values, Gentlemen”.



Scott Wilson