Exciting new charging initiative in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe

I was walking on the street in my neighbourhood and noticed a new charging initiative that Sint-Pieters-Woluwe commune is testing. Using the electricity grid of street lighting they have installed new slow charging points for electric vehicles.

To me this seems a great solution. It leverages the existing electricity supply infrastructure, requires no additional space and solves the main issue that electric car owners without garage have – availability of slow charging where you park your car.

If only a part of the lamp posts in the cities had chargers on them, that would remove one of the main issues that hinder the electrification of private transportation – unavailability of slow charging where you park.

I have not tested the speed of those installations yet, and do not know if they are 1 of 3 phase. But for overnight parking it seems that even 16A one phase connection would be sufficient. More is always better – that increases the number of use cases for this infrastructure.

What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

This weekend I read the book of Gary Keller and Jay Papasan “The ONE Thing”.

The authors claim that devotion to only one thing at a time allows achieving extraordinary results. In order to do that they suggest blocking a considerable number of hours every day for doing your one thing.

For determining what your one thing today is, they suggest asking the question: “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

I think they are right. I have noticed, I am more productive when all my energy of a day is devoted to just one task, instead of multitasking. I achieve a lot on that task and the quality of the outputs I produce is substantially above my own average. Also, a correct focus on which task to do is important.

If you are after extraordinary results, this book is a good read.

Strange measurement units in European EVs

I try to buy local and think that it is wasteful to transport freight on large distances if goods can be produced locally, especially cars. But it seems that for electric vehicles it is reasonable to make an exception until Tesla starts building their vehicles in Germany this July or August.

In the electric vehicle fan community European electric vehicles are said to be of lesser quality. They have worst battery performance, they lack features that are important to EV owners, software tends to be glitchy and they have less power than their rivals made elsewhere.

Image source: TeslaBjorn

The reason seems to be the attention to detail, and I think this photo of power consumption meter from Mercedes EQA 250 is examplary of that. There clearly is something wrong with the approach taken in Europe if an engineer can say that power can be measured in kWh/h instead of kW. Also, it is rather strange to come up with a scale from 0 to 50 where 0.8 is in the middle.

Honest ad from Australia makes fun of EV policy

Most governments arround the world are promoting adoption of electric vehicles in one way or another. Unfortunately that is not the case in Australia, where the government is making things difficlut for adoption of EVs.

An honest ad has just come out making fun of the government policies, which is refreshing to see. According to the video the Future Fuels Strategy in Australia is aimed at sustaining the dependence on oil and allow other measures such as extra annual tax on EVs of 300 Australian dollars.

Fragility of supply chains and the opportunity of regionalisation

The supply chains are vulnerable. The incident that is happening these days with the ship stuck in Suez Canal clearly shows the risks involved in transporting large volumes of goods over big distances. For the shippers the associated risks are an expense that should, and I would predict that it will, be included in their cost calculation to a greater extent.

Image source: BBC

As some of the developing countries are reaching higher development levels, which is associated with higher labour costs in the manufacturing sectors, companies are considering production relocation in order to save costs. This shifts production from the most advanced developing countries, e.g. China, to the less advanced ones. One of the main beneficiaries currently is Vietnam due to its cheap labour and manufacturing heritage. Countries like Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia are also benefitting.

The rising supply chain costs are also presenting opportunities for other countries that are closer to the main consumption markets, like Mexico and Turkey for the United States and Europe. In the next years I think this could result in greater regionalisation of supply chains, where the production and consumption location is within the same world region.

Mobility Package I: European Commission publishes study results on vehicle return and cabotage restrictions

The European Commission has just published the results of the studies on vehicle return and cabotage restrictions, which were adopted as part of the Mobility Package last year.

I have been wanting to see what the impacts are of those policies to confirm my suspicions. According to the studies, the impacts of those policies result in up to 3.3 million additional tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, which is comparable to a year’s worth of total transport emissions in Estonia. No surprises.

The two studies are a very good argument for the European Comission to discuss ending these two policies. They go against the Green Deal objectives and hinder competition.

Certificate: Data Scientist in Python

I am very proud to finish my Data Scientist in Python training with Dataquest. Here is my shiny new certificate…

It took 8 months of intensive learning of several hours almost every day. I am now able to perform analysis on large volumes of data that don’t fit in Excel and implement some machine learning algorithms.

Now I know what I don’t know! There is so much more…

Machine Learning in Transport Economics

Most transportation research techniques have been developed in the 1960s and 1970s, but our computational capabilities have vastly grown since then. A lot has happened in statistics and new techniques have been developed since then. Application of those new approaches in transport economics seems to be slow.

I have lately been learning different prediction techniques, which have advantages over more traditional approaches. Decision trees and neural networks are capable of capturing non-linear relationships in data, with much lower levels of error than traditional k-nearest neighbours, linear and logistic regression approaches.

Application of these techniques in transport economics has not been wide, but certainly has potential. Especially with more transportation data becoming available to researchers.

To me training of a decision tree or a neural network still seems to be a challenging art to me. Challenges come from selection of hyperparameters. Some approaches exist for optimisation of hyperparameters in machine learning, but it seems that the traditional approach of grid search, which is simply searching through manually selected subset of hyperparameter space for the parameters that return a model with the lowest error, seems to work ok for the models that I have been calculating lately.

I am looking forward to new projects in the future to apply the machine learning approaches that I have been learning.

Transitioning from MS Access query designer to SQL

SQL is one of the most popular technologies that is used today for working with data. Of course, one can use visual tools, but SQL becomes important when one has to deal with large ammoutns of structured data to answer increasingly more complex questions.

I have started feeling that MS Access with its query designer that I have been using for decades is not sufficient for the work I am doing anymore. Therefore, using the extra time that the current uncontrolled Corona virus pandemic is providing, I have been learning some SQL. I have just obtained a certificate on SQL for data analysis course that I finished at Dataquest.

I must say I feel rather proud being able to write the query below for one of the training excercises.

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