Electric Cars Keep Driving in Hurricane Sandy Gas Shortage
If you currently live in New York or New Jersey,Hurricane Sandy has most likely caused you to deal with long gas lines, even if you don't own a car. People with electric cars however, like the Nissan Leaf, seem to be making out ok.
After Hurricane Sandy, millions of people in New York and New Jersey were affected by flooding and massive power outages. Even now with electricity restored and debris out of the way, Hurricane Sandy's massive damage is still being felt as it is a huge pain to get gas in the Tri-State area. In the early hours in the morning people are queuing up at gas stations to make sure they get some of the limited supply.
People like Varun Bhatia, who lives in Long Island isn't having as much trouble with his all electric car, the Nissan Leaf. “I didn't realize I would be the only one driving for a couple of days and everybody else would be just in a tough position,” said Bhatia of Long Island, New York.
Bhatia got his Leaf shipped from Washington State so he could be among the first in New York to own a Leaf. Now he is happy with his choice to buy an electric vehicle, especially since he can skip the long gas lines. He also has made good use of his Leaf putting 300 miles on the car during the three days after the storm hit. Not only has his Leaf saved him money, but his popularity seems to be going higher too. Bhatia helped saved a couple of friends who got stranded because of Hurricane Sandy.
Let's face it for most of us gas is essential for getting around. Also if you didn't have electricity during a Hurricane it would be hard to charge your electric vehicle. Still, it seems Bhatia made out pretty good with his Nissan Leaf in the great gas shortage. Maybe this will cause a lot of people to change their thinking about electric vehicles and cars.
Do you want a chance to actually see and ride aboard the famous Titanic which sunk over 100 years ago? Clive Palmer, an Australian billionaire, is betting you do as he just announced he will be building the “Titanic II.”
Only a few weeks after the 100th anniversary of the original Titanic sinking, Fox News has reported that Mr. Palmer has commissioned and signed an agreement with the Chinese company, CSC Jinlin Shipyard, to help him reconstruct and build a new Titanic, which is being dubbed “Titanic II.”
It is important to note the new Titanic won't be a miniature replica or something stupid ridiculous. It will be a real recreation of the White Star Line's ship that was supposed to be “unsinkable.”
The plan is for a historical research team to help recreate the new Titanic to same dimensions as the original Titanic, and it will feature the same stunning 9 decks and 840 rooms
Construction of the ship is set to start sometime in 2013 and should be completed in 3 years. The plan is for the Titanic II to take the same route, without sinking obviously, from England to New York.
“It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic, but … will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems,” said an excited Palmer in a statement. He thinks the Titanic II will be “a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic.”
It won't be an exact replica, as there will be differences in how the boat is powered. Instead of using coal to chug across the ocean it will have a large diesel engine. The bow will be more bulbous for great fuel efficiency and the rudder and bow thruster will be larger so it can maneuver better.
It will have four smoke-stacks, like the original Titanic which was powered by coal, but those will be just be decorative and for fun.
Mr. Palmer was asked if the Titanic II would sink, his reply, “Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it!” however he added, “It is going to be designed so it won’t sink. It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology to ensure that doesn't happen.”
We all hope this is true. I also hope Mr. Palmer puts enough lifeboats on the ship this time. Let's not make the same mistake twice!
Titanic II is the first of four luxury cruise ships Mr. Palmer has commissioned the Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build for him under his new company, Blue Star Line Pty. Ltd.
The cost of building the Titanic II has not yet been revealed. Hopefully Mr Palmer doesn't need to spend too much of his coal mining money to build it.
There have been other attempts to rebuild and recreate the Titanic, but most failed due to lack of financing. I doubt Mr. Palmer will have that problem as his estimated net worth is more than $5 billion dollars
When the original Titanic sunk 100 years ago, more than 1,500 people died. The vessel struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City on April 14th, 1912. The Titanic sunk less than three hours later.
At the time the Titanic was a symbol of the Industrial capabilities and was the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liner ever created.
Of course the Titanic is now most famous and iconic for being the subject and title of the 1997 James Cameron movie “Titanic.” This vaulted Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into super stardom. (It also vaulted Leonardo DiCaprio into the hearts of girls and women everywhere.) The movie “Titanic” was recently released in 3D and is playing in theaters currently.
The real question most people are asking right now is, “Would you buy a ticket on the Titanic II?”
Probably the best thing I have written about on this blog was my road trip from Irvine, CA to back to Baltimore. It was an amazing trip and I hope to do many more road trips and a cross-country road trip again soon.
You know, I started this blog and didn't have set high hopes for my writing but look at me now! I am a full time auto journalist and blogger. I was able to go from writing as a hobby to writing about cars professionally.
Looking back at my first post, and some of my early writing such as this Top Gear editorial my writing has come a long way and fast. I am fortunate to be able to be doing something creative and love what I am doing.
I feel proud of everything I have been accomplished with this blog and other writing I have done.
As well sharing my experience when I appeared on Anderson with Anderson Cooper for the TV show's New Year's Special. I performed “Auld Lange Syne” with my singing dogs, Cody and Sierra, which was an amazing experience which I shared on this blog. (Of course it had nothing to do with cars, but I did drive up to New York-City with my dogs.)
I am glad to have had all these interesting and varied experiences. I hope to share more auto news, advice, tips & tricks, product reviews, with everyone via Adam's Auto Advice. I know I will continue to grow and experience more amazing automotive experiences in the future.
I also appreciate all the people with a shared passion for cars I have meet along my journey. We have exchanged web advice, writing tips, and personal stories of “Auto Awesomeness!”
Someone who deserves credit for my blog is my brother Jason. He helped me get this blog up and running and switch from Blogger to WordPress. He's also helped keep this blog going and updated. Thanks Jason!
I certainly have not crossed everything off on my automotive bucket list. I know I have a lot more great experiences ahead of me.
This is actually my 200th post! I didn't plan that, but it is a happy coincidence. There will be hundreds of more great articles and posts along the way. I am going to make an effort to post more and most likely shorter articles in the future.
I hope all of you continue to follow my writing and work. Please Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest to keep updated.
I look forwarding to writing about cars and on this blog for many more years.
Back in September I took a roadtrip with my brother Aaron to Brooklyn. He needed to transport paintings for an art show he was part of. It was very exciting for him as an artist since it was the first show he had in New-York. He's how it the roadtrip went.
We got going late around 10:45am or so. We rented a Uhaul the day before and got the paintings all packed and ready to go so we wouldn't have to worry about it in the morning. Aaron and I decided instead of spending money on tolls on I-95, we would avoid them. We set our GPS to “Avoid Tolls” and off we went. The nice thing about not driving along I-95 is that it's a little more scenic. You tend to see more interesting things, like a Hydro-Electric plant we passed along Route 1. One side of the dam was extremely high due to all the rain. The water was deep into the forest and we saw cops had blocked off a road leading down to that area.
Aaron was doing most of the driving, so my duties mainly were navigating (well making sure the GPS wasn't throwing us completely off track). For the most part not taking 95 up to New-York was working out well. Sure it was more slow going, but it gave us a chance to see little towns and places you would never have seen otherwise. Like a Harley-Davidson dealership, antiques stores, cows, and the countryside. Driving up 95 is kind of ugly, especially the Jersey turnpike.
Avoiding tolls surprising only took probably about 1 hour longer than if we had taken 95. Finding Gowanus Ballroom, where Aaron was showing his paintings was fairly straightforward, and dropping off the paintings didn't take long either. Gowanus Ballroom is an interesting place to show art. It is a metal fabrication shop, but they also use the space to display art. They move all the heavy metalworking material away for showing art, then back when they are done.
After we left Gowanus, we had to return the Uhaul truck. We went to the Uhaul center, which was a few blocks away, and then the attendant pointed out we had not filled the tank. I think it was a $50 surcharge to fill it, so we decided to find a gas station. We found this run down on nearby, and to my delight there were a few cool and interesting cars there.
After we returned the Uhaul truck we headed to the train station to go into the New York City to catch the Bolt Bus back to Baltimore. For $19 bucks 1-way, it is not a bad deal. Only thing is we didn't realize how long we had to wait to catch the train into the city, and that it took us about 30 minutes once on the train to get where we needed to go.
When we emerged from the dirtiness of the NY subway system, we had a little trouble finding the stop on 7th and West 33rd. Aaron kept trying to use his smartphone but it was not loading the map or something. It kept getting closer to 6 and our bus was leaving at 6:15pm. I was getting nervous and was saying “Let's just ask someone!” after trying to ask several people on the street who ignored me with a New-York attitude, I went into a Gap store. I asked a clerk folding clothes “Where is 7th and 33rd?” he pointed and said “That way!” We got to 7th and 33rd no problem. Smartphones are not all that!
When we got to the bus stop, it was in front of Sbarros. I hadn't eaten lunch and went in to get 2 pieces of cheese pizza. Aaron went to get some snacks at a convenience store close by. I think at that point it was around 6:10 or slightly later. There were tons of people waiting for different buses there. So many that they were blocking the sidewalk, so the bus moved down a block. Then we got on, and the bus left later than 6:15.
The buses are ok, but my expectations were higher from what I had heard. I thought my seat was a bit uncomfortable. I noticed that every other seat had a power plug, while I got stuck with a seat without one. The nice thing was the bus had Wi-Fi, so I checked my email. Then I attempted to sleep, but you are always in that half-awake mode on a bus. We stopped once in Delaware, then continued on to Baltimore. I think we got in around 11, and the bus drops you on Saint Pauls right near Penn Station. So it is easy to get a cab to where you need to go. We had a family member pick us up from the train station, then went home.
This is Part 3 of my interview with Nick Miller, Co-Founder and CEO of ParkingPanda. Click Part 1 and Part 2 for the whole interview. If you did not see my article on ParkingPanda, check it out!
A: So you are looking for a big investment?
NM: We were in this tech accelerator, and the culmination of that was a demo day. All tech companies in the accelerator, we all gave 7-10 minutes pitches and demos to a room full of investors. In addition to all the people we were meeting with and talking to throughout the summer. That kicked off the process of, ok we are out here we are live now. Now we want to raise a little venture capitol to grow the business and expand. On day 1 we made money on our first transaction. We really need to be widespread to make a lot of money. So taking venture capitol will help us accelerate that process. So that's what we are in the process of doing right now.
A: Have you had a good amount of people interested in the business?
NM: Yeah, you know it's always a process and a time consuming thing of people digging into your business finding more about it, finding more about you. Your growth, and all of that stuff. It's going well so far. We are meeting with a lot of people interested in the idea and the space. Meeting with a lot of individual investors and venture capitalists. We are definitely hopeful, it continues to go well.
A: If I rent my space for $10, you guys take a 20% commission?
NM: Right, we take 20% and the rest goes directly to you.
A: You get a check?
NM: Right now we send you a check. We are working on integrating the ability to get PayPal payments or Direct Deposit payments in your bank account. So you will have the option to get whatever you want. If you want a check mailed to you, that's fine. If you want direct deposit in your bank account, that's fine as well. That 20% we take covers all the operating fees and credit card costs, all that maintenance. We want to keep that as low as we can, because we want the community to benefit from it. If people aren't making money on this, then we are not making money on this either.
A: How are you promoting and getting the word out about this?
NM: We love to talk to people like this. A lot of what we do is local focused, we want to build up Baltimore we want to build up DC. We go to commuter areas. We talk to people, we go to football games, talk to people, pass out flyers.
A: So Guerrilla Marketing
NM: A lot of grassroots type guerrilla stuff, because buying Google Adwords for us, it's expensive and it's not relevant for us. Not too many people Google search “Where can I rent out my parking space?” not a big thing. Once you get out there and talk to people about it, they see the value of it. That's what really does it for us.
A: I assume you are trying to use Social Media?
NM: Of Course! Both Adam [Z] and I, and the company are on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, everything. We encourage friends, people who use the service when you book space. “Hey I'm using this” or “Hey, I just made a bunch of money using this!” Particularly with our early users if you refer your friends or neighbors.
A: You get a discount?
NM: Right, you get a discount. So you know we really want to encourage people's friends to sign up. If they don't want their neighbors to sign up with the same spot, but maybe their friend on the other side of the city. The more spaces we have available the more we will focus on bringing people in. For most people with their parking spaces they have found money. The Worst Case Scenario it's exactly the way it was before. The best case is you start making a bunch of cash on your driveway.
A: Since the Grand Prix, which was about a month ago, you have had no problems with people saying “Oh this person was causing problems in my parking space?”
NM: So far we haven't! We have built in as many things as possible, in our terms of service. We have backs-ups if there are any issues, we are there to handle them as quickly as possible. So far you know the community aspect of it naturally protects itself. It is bound to happen if we get big enough, there will be a bad experience for someone. We will do everything we can to protect from that.
A: Yeah, with Couchsurfing at first you think, “This is really weird. I don't know if I want to do this.” Then you try it out. You realize the community aspect does work itself out somehow.
NM: Even with Couchsurfing you can see if people have hosted before. We are building in reviews as well. You can see on both ends of the spectrum. So you can see this person has used our service 10 times and this person has 15 thumbs-up, it is a great space. A little thing goes a long way. Protecting people's reputation on the website. Providing that extra level of security.
A: Do you have anything else you want to tell me?
NM: I think we covered it! Working out of the accelerator with these other companies, our concept is simple. You can sit down with someone and in 2 minutes they know what we are doing. It is not some crazy ad-technology, where 2 months later they are like what are you talking about? How does it work? There is a community marketplace for parking. We want people to share their parking spaces with one another. It's straightforward!
A: Where did you come up with the name, ParkingPanda?
NM: We first built the prototype, the initial version of the product, at the Startup Weekend Baltimore which is a weekend long start-up business event, where you create a business, Friday night to Sunday night. Buying a domain name is very difficult, everything you think is cool or good is taken. We were looking and couldn't find anything. I don't remember who said it, but someone said, “You guys should get a mascot!” I think Adam [Z] might have been like “the ParkingPanda” and it became a running joke throughout the weekend. Then ultimately, we were like, this is fun, people love Pandas. It fits with us, our attitude, the way we approach the business. It turned into a great marketing thing, people love ParkingPanda! When it gets out there people recognize it. So we just went with it. After start up weekend, we actually won the start-up weekend event.
A: Do you get money from that?
NM: We got a little money to help us incorporate. Once we incorporated the company got money. Adam [Z] and I didn't collect anything from it, but the company did. So that led back into our marketing and building out the site.
A: Were there domains that you thought were really good, but they would not work or were not available?
NM: For the longest time we wanted ParkingSpace, we tried a million different things, but they were all taken. We didn't let ourselves linger. We went to check and if it was taken, we were like “Eh!” That's the way domain names work now, it is hard to get them. That is why you see all these ridiculously named companies. ParkingPanda is a little bit ridiculous but it is fun and it works.
A: It took a while for me to come up with my Blog name, Adam's Auto Advice. When I thought of it though it was like “Oh! That's great!”
NM: That's what happens when you build this out in a weekend. We are happy with it, it has worked out great. It is recognizable, we have our little logo which is a car Panda.