E=mc2 and the $226 Billion Dollar Man


Albert Einstein is widely recognized as the premier “genius” of the twentieth century. He died the year I was born, 1955. In 1905 he published his Special Theory of Relativity and in 1915 his Theory of General Relativity describing the geometric theory of gravitation. Essentially, what is gravity and how does it work? The predictions of general relativity have been confirmed by all observations and experiments conducted on the subject since.

Part of Einstein’s theoretical work was a concept of mass-energy equivalence that explains the relationship between mass and energy.  E=mc2 

I actually like to think of it as m=E/c2 and I think it will soon become apparent why.

Most of us are familiar with this equation as the basis for nuclear weapons. We believe that we can then take a mass of plutonium and convert it into this energy releasing it explosively as the most terrible weapon ever conceived by man. And indeed it is. But it is actually not very efficient.

By splitting the atom with neutrons, which then release neutrons to split other atoms, a nuclear chain reaction is created to release the energy in the mass of the nuclear “bomb”. But that’s not precisely what happens.


The chain reaction isn’t very stable. And as it releases energy, it blows the mass apart and the chain reaction in the parts dies. And so it releases a huge cloud of “dust” that is radioactive. You might think of these as unexploded “cinders” that didn’t entirely convert to energy. And indeed only a tiny fraction of the original mass of the bomb is converted to energy at all.

Somewhat more efficient is the process of nuclear fusion. Let’s again revisit our sun. The sun is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth. Its diameter is about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth, accounting for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. About three quarters of the Sun’s mass consists of hydrogen; the rest is mostly helium, with relatively tiny quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon, and iron.

The Sun is roughly middle-aged: it has not changed dramatically for more than four billion years, and will remain fairly stable for more than another five billion years. And note that 74.9% of the sun is composed of the lightest element in the universe in terms of mass – hydrogen.

Each second, more than four million tons of hydrogen are converted into energy within the Sun’s core, by FUSING two atoms of hydrogen together to form a new single atom of helium. And in so doing, it again is only converting a small part of the mass into energy. At this rate, the Sun has so far converted around 100 times the mass of Earth from hydrogen to helium. And so it easily has sufficient hydrogen to burn for another 5 to 6 billion years.



I’m sorry, the numbers to convert four MILLION TONS of mass into energy are beyond my abilities. It is an immense amount of energy. I can tell you that while it is radiated in all directions equally, at a distance of one astronomical unit – the distance of the earth to the sun, a single square meter of surface would receive a continuous stream of 1346 watts of energy. That’s a pretty narrow angle at 93 million miles to a meter square surface, and an impressive amount of energy then.

In neither case, nuclear weapons or solar fusion, have we completely converted mass into energy.

E is the symbol for energy. The m indicates mass. And c2 is a constant and a rather hugish one – the speed of light squared.

The equation is not precisely dependent on the units of measure. But using the International System of Units (SI), we would express energy (E) in joules. Mass would be expressed in kilograms. And the speed of light would be given in meters per second.

And so the speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second. If we square this value, we get 89,875,517,873,681,764. Let’s round that off to 89.9. And so we see that we are talking about 89.9 PETAJOULES (1015) of energy in a single kilogram of mass (at rest) – about 2.2 pounds.

E/m=c2 = (299,792,458 m/s)2 = 89,875,517,873,681,764 Joules per kilogram

Most of us conceptualize energy best as electrical energy measured in watts. A joule is simply one watt in one second

Our monthly bill for electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and this is the number of watts used by our house over the period of an hour divided by 1000. So if you use 1000 watts of electricity to light ten 100 watt light bulbs for an hour, you have used 1 kWh of electricity. The average price of electricity at retail in the United States currently is about 11.75 cents per kilowatt hour.

89.9 PETAJOULES  is the equivalent of 25 million MEGAWATT-HOURS  of electricity. Or about $2,933,437,042 dollars worth of electricity. So imagine running a LARGE home for a year from the energy contained in a piece of lead shot..

The average American home uses 970 kWh (0.970 MWh) of electricity in a month or 11.64 MWh per year at a cost of $1,368

Your mileage may vary. But to put this in perspective, the amount of energy contained in 1 kilogram of dirt, would power 2,144,325. American homes for an entire year.

All of this describes the usual perspective of converting MASS into ENERGY. But let’s reverse all this thinking and view it from a different perspective. If you were CREATING a universe and you started with a massive explosion of ENERGY, how much energy would you need to produce a given amount of matter – solid matter? Because that is how it started. A huge explosion of energy and no matter at all. Matter would appear to have been conjured up from nothing. But it isn’t so. It was a huge amount of energy that was converted to a very small amount of matter to create a universe.

But I can’t comprehend a universe very well. So let’s take you. We don’t want to take me because I’m over 300 lbs. But the average American male, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, is 170 lbs. Due to supersizing at MacDonalds, we all know this isn’t true, but it’s a handy size to use for the mass of a “person.” And it works for the airlines. So close enough for government work.

170 lbs is just slightly over 77 kilograms. And so returning to our equation, recall that 1 kilogram resulted in 25 million megawatt-hours of energy, the typical American male, as defined by the FAA, would then need 1,925,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy to be converted into mass such that they could exist.

albert_einstein_quoteAnd if one kilogram produces enough energy to power 2,144,325 homes for a year, then one person contains enough energy to light 165,113,025 homes for a year.  That is  more homes than we actually HAVE in the United States – currently about 125 million residences.

Or by another measure, you are worth about $226 billion dollars worth of energy at today’s retail prices.

I do not believe that any but a tiny handful of seven billion humanoids on planet earth, are even mildly cognizant as to the true cost to the universe required to put them here.

Somebody must REALLY love you to have invested all that energy for you to be here at all.

And he does.

You are an EXTREMELY valuable investment of time, energy, and work for you to be here on planet earth. You have a valuable mission in being here in this life on earth. Apparently a VERY valuable one.

A couple of questions.

What have you done with it thus far?

And how are you treating others brought here at such huge cost?

Me? I’ve got to be pushing a half billion dollars in energy with my clothes off.


Here are ten other things Einstein actually said:

1. “Religion and science go together. As I’ve said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth.”
(from a 1948 interview)

2. “I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.”
(from “Self-Portrait,” 1936)

3. “If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut.”
(said to Samuel Woolf, 1929)

4. “Truth is what stands the test of experience.”
(from “The Laws of Science and the Laws of Ethics,” 1950)

5. “The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.”
(quoted in the New York Times, 1921)

6. “I believe in one thing—that only a life lived for others is a life worth living.”
(from a 1948 interview)

7. “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.” 
(from a tribute to Pablo Casals, 1953)

8. “Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and makes life easier bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: Because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it.” 
(from a speech to students at the California Institute of Technology, 1931)

9. “Study and, in general, the pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” 
(from a letter to Adrianna Enriques, 1921)

10. “Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work.” 
(from The World As I See It, 1949)

The ESO Ultra HD Expedition team were able to gaze at the wonder of our Universe and capture some stunning footage at each of the ESO sites throughout their adventure.
The ESO Ultra HD Expedition team were able to gaze at the wonder of our Universe and capture some stunning footage at each of the ESO sites throughout their adventure.

45 thoughts on “E=mc2 and the $226 Billion Dollar Man”

  1. Amen.

    And it’s a couple good questions. After having children it becomes even more important to ask those questions because when we realize we can make more of ourselves it’s hard to tell how far humanity can go. Each one of those humans making up what we hope will be a good particle within that, possibly, immense power.

  2. So THATS how machines used humans to make power in the Matrix 😉

    “My God created laws… His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking but by immutable laws.” (Einstein in conversation with W. Hermann in Hermann’s book Einstein and the Poet (USA Branden Press, 1983), p.132; Jammer, p.123.)

    As always, I enjoy your musings.


  3. If I remember correctly, the FAA has updated the takeoff weight per passenger from 170 lbs to 195 lbs. Meanwhile, my friend Dudo from Indonesia lives in a village where most of the residents regularly go to bed hungry. As a matter of fact, had it not been for the small check that we send him every month, he would probably go to bed hungry as well.

    I just hope that everyone here understands exactly how blessed we are to live in a first-world country. It’s easy to forget that. Especially when your tummy’s full all the time.

  4. It is very interesting analogy. I never thought this way about the enormous value the constant c squared represents, in the famous Einstein equation.

    I always enjoy reading your articles.

    Jack is not a physicist, nor mathematician. Neither am I.
    Reading his calculations, it felt like TERAJOULES sounds a bit small. So I counted the digits and it is something like 90 x 10^15. TERA is 10^12. I had to check, but yes, PETA is the right unit prefix for 10^15.
    Well… the values are unimaginably big anyway, so it will not make much difference if we add three MORE zeros to the equivalent price of 1kg converted to energy. 🙂

    And so… if we talk about accuracy close enough for government work, it is safe to say that the equivalent of one Jack Rickard spit costs about “$2,937,500 dollars worth of electricity”.

    The government in my country started a big project for a new nuclear power plant 34 years ago.
    Now the project is canceled but we have a new bill, the price of about 1.5kg wort of energy for just a part of the equipment, the reactors, already made by the manufacturer. It is about $250 for every single person in my small country.
    We have one working nuclear power plant, it was modernized for the new European standards.

    I prefer to “plug” in our already proven and at safe distance reactor, the Sun!

    Rosen Rusev

    1. My daughter relocated to Adelaide Australia to enter a Masters program at the University of Flinders in Marine Archeology. This was her cat. So we put her in the shop and now we call her “shopcat”. She supervises all work there and complains loudly and incessantly about the way we are doing things.

  5. I love that a true genius judged everyone else to also possess genius. Whereas self-proclaimed geniuses tend to hold the opposite view.

    That the Universe is estimated to have begun with a point of unimaginable (but not infinite) energy, is enough to make one want to be a physicist just for the love of that. “Had we but world enough, and time…”

    1. Stanley A. Cloyd

      I worked with a man at Davis cabinit company for a while back in the seventies. At birth he was given the genes we associate with mongolidism. He was a genuis at many things if you could get over yourself and learn from him.

      1. One of the things I learned in my examination of NDE stories was very hard to get my head around. And that is the concept that God doesn’t make mistakes, and everyone is born “perfect”. How are twin boys born cojoined at the head “perfect”. You have to kind of get your head out of all you know and look at it anew. And suddenly it starts to make sense. Everyone has a mission and a unique set of “gifts”. That you or I judge it “unfortunate” is kind of our problem.

        It is a bit of a surprise to go back and see some of the Einstein quotes, particularly from later in life.

  6. Jack, Great show as always. As EVTV has success in melding solar projects with electric vehicles, I think Tesla will do fine with the whole Solar City deal.

    We all can’t help but notice your political views, however I want to know your take on what Trump would do in regards to energy policy.

    1. THank you. Yes, Elon Musk correctly identifies the co-relationship between electric vehicles and solar power, not in a technical sense, but in the sense that YOU as intensely interested in electric vehicles, are ALSO intensely interested in solar power as an alternate energy source at the point of use. This gives YOU control of your energy needs and YOU control over the energy used by you for personal transportation. I’m pleased to report that all of the pieces are laying on the table to put all that together to the point that within the few years I have remaining, I can expect to see this as commonplace.

      There IS however a threat to this. There is a growing cottage industry of “consultants” plying the utility monopolies with data and strategies to avoid their irrelevance. Ironically, ,they are in no danger of becoming irrelevant and indeed they would naturally be in the catbird seat in all this but it doesn’t matter. Their paranoia has taken off and is fed by this group of strategists who are at this moment gathering arms to prevent you from making electricity with your own roof.

      Which brings me to Donald Trump. Man has there ever been a lot of dust and feces thrown into the air on this one. They are squalling like scalded dogs on a wide array of fronts. The nature of the negative response has convinced me of the worthiness of the cause. I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist, but this one guy has poked the beast and it has essentially gone berserk in response. Where there’s smoke there is fire. And so I have to defer to Mr. Trump’s theory and attempt to rectifiy it.

      With regards to his energy policy I have no concerns at all. It kind of goes in with all of his other “policies” which I essentially look askance at all of them. I guess the broad ax of lower taxes, less government regulation, and NOT involving ourselves in a foreign military action every time a camel sneezes I probably agree with. Beyond that, I’m not really onboard with most of his “policies.”

      Which I’m not worried about at all because he isnt’ either. You see Donald Trump is NOT an idealogue. In fact, the struggles to deal with this through the entire election. He has a very formulaic process, which he has honed over many years and works very well for him. He intentionally does NOT get wed to solutions or theories of solutions. Rather, he has developed a keen sense of what is important and what the future brings, and an unerring ability to pick his targets carefully. His natural state is then to define an “outcome” he thinks is desireable. Then he brings together the smartest people he can find and sets them to fighting over how to get there. He lets that go until they either reach a concensus or don’t. At that point he steps in, picks the solution (almost always the concensus) and issues marching orders to make it so.

      How is he going to stop ISIS? Why would he know, and if he did know why would he tell you, and thus them.??? He hasn’t brought the team l together yet and doesn’t see an efficient way to bring them together until he becomes president.

      Bottom line is he’s not really about policies. He has identified problems he think should receive focus, and has declared that he will prioritize those when president. The actual solution actually doesn’t define him and indeed he views it as a sign of weakness and stupidity if you go into the process with bias. What if you overlook a better solution that the team doesn’t come up with because they are trying to pander to your bias? He’s a leader. Not a manager. And not a politician. He IS kind of used to autocratic responsibility in the end. “If you all can’t agree, I’ll agree for you, but you will be happier if you all come to concensus.”

      More to the point, this election and season aren’t about policy. They are about control. And it is remarkable to me that groups like the never Trumpers and elite of the Republican party do not understand why he doesn’t just kiss the ring and become President. He intends to become president. But he has declared a WAR on the pampered political elite that we have spawned – almost all East Coast metropolitan poseurs who posture and preen about an intellectual superiority that is comical at best but has reached the point of tragedy. We can no longer afford them. And they’ve mucked up the gears of governance beyond all recognition to the point that it is obvious we can no longer afford them.

      This IS kind of a conspiracy of large corporate special interests, a pampered political elite, and a media machine that caters to and serves them because it is OWNED by them. So the media is owned by them, the politicians are owned by them, and indeed they own the army and the Airforce.

      Fortunately, they do not own ME and indeed there are millions of Americans who they THOUGHT they owned indirectly. They never did. In fact they never came close. But they mistook our divided attentions to other matters as a sure sign that they did own us and control us through government and media.

      Trump has alerted that perhaps its time for this matter to recieve our rather undivided attention, at least until it is over. We simply cannot afford the luxury of all that at this time. Correction is required for ongoing survival.

      And so the battle is on. It’s not a normal presidential race. It is the “You’re FIred” version of the Apprentice. It is a reality TV show and he’s the master of that. We have to get these huge corporations and government lackies off our backs so we can do things like make our own electricity.

      Along the way, I’m afraid you are going to endure the realization that global warming is not the emergency you thought. We are not going to run out of oil or gasoline. And that all that is probably going the way of the menace of population explosion and asteroids, and bell bottom pants. And so our oil industries and coal industries are going to be freed to do what they do largely without government restricition, but they are not going to get the government to partner with them to exploit people either. And I would expect Trump to in a very intelligent and pragmatic manner fully embrace solar power and electric vehicles. I don’t know that you will receive “subsidies” to encourage it. But you won’t be beset by bullshit government regulations and laws passed to protect monopolies, oil companies, and utility companies either.

      That may be a bit too rosy a picture. I know and Trump knows that ultimately he is destined to fail. But like Reagan, he can put a hell of a dent in it. He can cause panic and hysteria (which you already now observe). And he’s truly going to shake up the pampered elite class in Alexander County Virginia who has lived so well so long off your labors.

      So the politics of this are a bit larger than any one “policy” and indeed Trump is not only not a demagogue, he’s not even an idealogue and he thinks people who are are simply weak minded. He doesn’t care if he’s a democrat or republican. He doesn’t really care what you call him. He’s very savvy about the game that’s been played and thinks it needs changing. I agree.

      He has played the media like a Steinway and continues to do so. His rallies have reached hysterical levels and in numbers of 30,000 at a stop while his opponent largely struggles to put 1000 people in a high school gymnasium. I think you will be shocked, not that he will win, but by the margin he will win in November. It will be an absolutely clear mandate and surreal given the constant chant of the media between now and then that he cannot possibly win.

      So the EV giveaway is largely over. But they still make economic sense and I think we have a SHOT at going into a very very promising future of solar power and electric cars with the ability of the INDIVIDUAL to have their own solar farm on their own roof and power both their home and their car with the sun. It will take better panels, better batteries, and better cars.

      We’re working on it. And Elon is working on it.

      We need Trump to keep us from all becoming outlaws in doing it. And let me assure you, all of this will be illegal if the corporate interests and east coast political elite is allowed unfettered control.

      We did not leave the stone age because there was a grave and looming shortage of stones. And we will not leave the age of fossil fuels because we had a shortage of petroleum, gas, or coal. We should let those companies produce those energy resources to the point that America becomes DOMINANT in fossil fuels and indeed we can. Our job (you and me) is to make all that gradually irrelevant by adopting newer and better technologies that displace them by being cleaner, quieter, and more efficient and ultimately much less expensive.

      Jack Rickard

      1. I work for a major utility company and indeed, they are opposed to net metering where the utility is required to purchase the excess power that flows back into the grid and currently in many states, the utilities are required to purchase or credit back the purchased power at the retail rate. Edison Electric Institute, the industry organization for electric companies, is proposing Value of Solar Tariffs (VOSTs) or tariffs based on either the size of the solar array or the amount of electricity sold back to the utility. I have read reports from some analysts that suggest without Net Metering, the value of roof top solar systems is greatly diminished and are questioning if the Solar City model can survive without home owners realizing those savings to their power costs. Several states have already revised their net metering formulas giving in to the utility company lobby groups. Not sure how all of this will play out but it makes little sense for the consumer to free themselves of the grasps of the petroleum industry only to be locked into the monopolies of the Utility Industry. The utilities are taking the path of resisting a disruptive technology instead of looking at modifications to their business models that would embrace the change and allow them to profit from it.

        1. Well, there is net metering and then there is net metering. Basically net metering DID mean and probably should mean, that if you run your meter forward you pay retail, and if you run your meter backwards you get retail UP TO THE POINT OF USE. In other words, I should get the same rate going out as going in, for the amount of electricity I use.

          Here in Missouri, electriicity BEYOND that sold back to the utility company is compensated at the “avoided cost of production rate” which around here they somehow magically calculate to be about 1.75 cents per kWh. And in so doing, they are basically admiting that what they sell you for 10 cents, really costs them 1.75 cents to produce, with all the rest going to distribution and billing.

          I would be ok with that, but of course the calculation is essentially a fraud.

          But you get the idea.

          And GENERALLY I like this model. I can offset ALL my electric bill by producing electricity. Any that I produce beyond that I do get compensated for, but at a lesser rate.

          In Colorado, an early net metering state, I think it’s just the retail rate frontwards and backwards. That is to the advantage of the homeowner and tends to make installation more attractive.

          Germany and a small number of other countries have jump started solar and now produce half their electricity through solar. Is this a public good? I think so. Is it worthy of subsidization? I think it should be considered. This was done with a FIT – Feed-in-Tarriff. How does FIT work? Well we simply declare an artificially high value for electricity generated on the homeowners roof. Let’s say the national average in the U.S. is 11.75 cents per kilowatt hour. But we’re going to say that solar generated electricity produced beyond your local needs is compensated at an artificially high 25 cents per kWH. This higher value allows the homeowners to debt finance their solar installations. And the rate is set by contract at the time of the instlallation.

          A couple of key items. The rate is not general. It is set each year and anyone signing up at that rate gets it. And it is generally good for a 20 year contract. And os you can borrow money to install the solar based on that rate.

          But the rate can be changed from year to year to achieve targets. So the homeowners who elect to install next year might only get 22 cents per kilowatt hour.

          How is this paid for? Well you take the total FIT payments made by the utility, and apply it to the rate for ALL electricity to everyone. So every one using electricity, is paying the subsidy to encourage installation. The utility company not only doesn’t lose anything on this transaction, they get a cut -= a vigorish on the entire amount. So utility customers actually pay a 7% MORE than the total FIT payments, spread acrross the entire rate base. The utility companies really do make out.

          And so everyone pays 12.22 cents per kWh rather than the natural 11.75 cents. Indeed, the FIT payments at one point amounted to about EU1.35 per month for the average retail customer. Not really a huge burden.

          As installations grew, that amount also grew. And so over time as targets were achieved, the FIT contract rate declined. Finally Gernmany eliminated it altogether which sent shockwaves through the markets for solar panel manufacturers. But it also had the effect of bringing down the prices of solar panels.

          As utility companies must build to meet peaks occurring in late afternoon on summer days, and that is kind of the peak solar generation times as well, all of this sounds like a marriage made in heaven. Utilities have enormous overcapacity at 3:00 AM. We need a grid system to freely move all this electricity back and forth across daylight and dusk periods – toward industry in the day, back toward residential in the evening, and so forth. And no one has suggested that any of that come for free. But it’s not a perfect world. Utility companies are bent on misbehavior and maintaining an adversarial relationship with their customer base. So it is bound to look more like a war than a happy event. As I say, right now there is a cottage industry in consultants getting big bucks to convince utility companies that they are about to be the victims. It is untrue, but if they react badly, it will lead to the usual adveraarial response.

          And so reflexively they have already gone to ground bribing government officials to rig the game for them against the homeowner. I think the technology is such that they are going to lose that war, having been in a few similar fights in the past. But don’t try to talk corporate neckties out of an act of gravity defiance. It is simply their nature and I don’t have any hope it will be different this time.

          Ultimately telephone companies and the INternet did learn to coexist. But the losses for teh telcos along the way were pretty horrendous. They should have read Boardwatch in the early 1990s. Actually they did, and called regularly to remind me I didn’t know what I was talking about. None of those people work for the telephone company any longer.

          In a perfect world, Utility companies would be SELLING solar equipment to homeowners and FINANCING it for them. There’s a profit in there at every step. Why they let a solar city eat their lunch is beyond me. But similarly the Burlington Railroad did not invent the DC-3, Eastman Kodak did not play nicely with digital cameras, and Exide battery did not get into Lithium. There is a “not invented here” calcification that seems to accompany corporate success. General Motors or Ford should have certainly led the charge on electric cars. It just isn’t the way the world, people, and corporations work.

          I know more about more different things than anyone you will ever meet. Unfortunately, about 95% of the stuff I “know” is not precisely technically true. I’m aware of that. The difference is 99% of the population is certain that what THEY know IS true. And therein lies the difference. And it is an enormous and unfortunate difference.

          And it leaves me as the only guy in the world who COULD actually be wrong. Or something like that….

          1. This net metering for solar and electric companies trying to kill solar makes my blood boil. I don’t mind them making a fair profit, but I don’t like being taken advantage of. If I feel I’m being taken advantage of, I’ll go out of my way to beat them at their own game.
            For instance, if I was being charged for electricity at 12 cents, but only being credited at a tenth of that, I’d take that as a challenge. I would use a MPPT grid tie inverter. I would add another system comprising of a couple Leaf battery packs, chargers, and a “black box”. The “black box” would be a microcontroller that monitored the main house current. If electricity was being fed back to the utility (a bright sunny day), the black box would command the battery chargers to increase charge current until no power was being fed back to the utility. If a cloud goes by, or the air conditioner kicks in, the black box would sense power being drawn from the utility, and reduce the battery charge current.There would also be a second grid tie inverter. This second inverter would be connected to the battery packs. It’s power output would be controlled by the black box. At night, or during high states of charge, the black box would command the second inverter to feed power back into the system providing my house with inexpensive solar power at night. In this way the black box would be a Minimum Power Point Tracking, to essentially MINimize the power being drawn from or fed back to the utility, day or night.

          2. It makes my blood boil too Brian. And you could be a poster child for the process I was alluding to. In establishing an adversarial relationship, as the telcos did with the Internauts, they sow the seeds of their own destruction. What you describe here is a process of outlaw technological development that ultimately, as the price of your “black box” comes down, the price of the panels comes down, the availability of cheap electric car batteries goes up and the price goes down, begins to attract more and more hobbyists to the concept of beating out the electric utilities. Their inclusion of anti-islanding in the UL requirements was essentially an evil of diabolical proportions. And I am just now seeing products emerge that work around this to allow easy battery backup. Imagine having a photovoltaic system that by law requires power from the grid to operate???? The main benefit of solar should be reliable power.

            And the outcome is inevitable. You can’t have thousands of clever people working on technology to put you out of business very long before you either capitulate or actually GO out of business.

            If you will recall, it has now been five or six YEARS since I told you and all our viewers that no sooner would we win the war against oil companies, than the battle with utility companies would begin. Trading one devil for another. And now you see why and how. We haven’t even WON the first battle, and the utility companies, who should be the recipients of a great windfall from our efforts, are already turning on us in a very deliberately planned and executed betrayal of their own best interests. How did I know? It is always obvious in arrears. But if you pay close attention to human nature, it can also be quite predictable in peering into the future. Everyone focuses on the technology development as if shit just springs up in basements like mushrooms. ALL technology is driven by desire. ALL responses are human nature. It’s all about the people, not the silicon or the processes.

            The reason I developed a following over a dozen years at Boardwatch was this predictive ability. Our readers learned they could gain an edge by having a clearer picture as to what was COMING by reading our magazine. It is imperfect. I’m neither clairevoyant or anything of the like. And it will ultimately be the success of EVTV as well. It isn’t a GREAT edge. It’s about a six month jump on the rest of the world on average over time. But it’s enough that people catch on and we build a following in very surprising places.

            But I am convinced that solar and electric cars are inescapably intertwined. We really want to drive on sunshine. And inevitably that leads us to solar power issues in general.

            I hope you and others among our viewers DO develop such products and prosper thereby. But I am very discouraged by developments here in the U.S. Byron mentioned Pika Energy as doing products appropriate for this. So I did take a look. Again, they are not available. The price is a secret. No you can’t order from them. It is just a disease among U.S. companies. Meanwhile I talk to Chinese vendors and they are quite eager to not only sell me the stuff and deliver it, but quite willing to make any changes I might desire to the product just to get me to buy it. That was kind of the attitude here in the Boardwatch days. Today, U.S. companies of the very smallest most entreprenurial sort, think they are somehow a government. You virtually have to “apply” to buy something from them. Then it is 16 weeks to receive it.

            As I pointed out in the current video, Dynoraxx was just like that. After three or four years of losing money, they are kind of coming around to the point where you can order their product and send them a check. They will cash it. And you can get their mounts timely. Hallelujah.

            Jack Rickard

          3. The position the electric utility companies are taking on solar panels makes little sense as they are currently offering a $500 rebate on heat pump water heaters, and $50 on energy star washers and refrigerators, all of which potentially reduce your consumption of electricity. The first month after my GE heat pump water heater was installed, my monthly electric budget dropped 36% and my last two bills have been for a payment even less than my new budget amount. I have been looking for the best way to reduce my electric consumption even further and believe that my greatest value would be a ground water heat pump system. My current system is 20 years old, so I am getting close to an upgrade anyway. Ironically, my electric utility company used to offer rebates on energy star heat pump upgrades but it appears they have figured out that they are costing them too much loss of revenue, as they are no longer listed on their rebate site but believe there is still a federal tax credit. Once my heating and cooling costs are reduced, I could install a solar system that should be able to provide all of my remaining electric needs and if there is excess, I will just charge up one of my Better Place modules and send it over to Brian:) No need to let the electric utility have any of it. Even though I work for one their whole attitude makes my blood boil also!

          4. AMERENUE here in Missouri has had such programs going back to the 1980’s. Actually their “heat pump” deal in the early 1980’s made your utility bill go UP not down and a friend of mine with an apartment building found out just how much – the hard way. But generally they are well intentioned. The hot button with utility companies has HISTORICALLY been load management and so reducing refrigeration and air conditioning costs for their customers made excellent sense. Of the power used at 3:00PM on a summer day, we typically use 55% of that much power at 3:00 AM of the next morning. That is a huge swing during the day from zenith to nadir on the power load.

            Solar actually helps this immensely. But there are some fossil fuel guys basically funding a terror campaign aimed at Utility companies warning of impending doom and destruction for them if end customers gain power (market power) by generating their own power (electrical power). And it has been an effective campaign.

            This is all part of a larger picture and what the Trump effect is really about. Large corporate interests vying to see WHO gets to partner with government to screw the population the hardest to extract the maximum dollar amount from the public. Hillerary Clinton PERSONIFIES this. Her personal net workth has gone from deeply in debt at the end of the Clinton Presidency, to $31 million dollars on the salary of two terms in the Senate and 1 episode as Secretary of State. Along the way, a “foundation” was established that the Clintons control that has about $130 million in the kitty. This is basically selling the American people to the highest bidder. The concept of hiding gross bribery at incredible historic new levels as “speaking fees” is an affront to the intelligence of the American people. No “speaker” is worth a half million dollars for a speaking event. It is unheard of.

            Donald Trump is also a billionaire. He takes slums, and at great personal risk, builds huge Taj Mahal buildings in their place, employing thousands of people in the process. He is being villified, very nearly crucified, by two political parties and the East Coast media, who do NOT want their bake sale interrupted by an interloper.

            Meanwhile, on this particular battle, and really it is a war, we simply have to innovate our way around the utility company. And if you don’t happen to get all the permits and UL certifications required by the monster along the way….oh, well….

            Jack Rickard

  7. Stanley A. Cloyd

    With a Volt, a Leaf, and a better place pack I now have roughly 65 Kw on site worthy of solar charging. Arizona is prime for the task. I’ve also considered Brians work-around with a few twist’s of my own. It will be interesting, as I jump on the solar charger bandwagon, to see if the power company starts clamoring to see my installation. Without the proper permits back feeding the grid would be a fellony. I looking forward to see what the probable cause is presented to a judge for a search warrant. Bring it. A deplorable pig just loves rolling around in the mud.



    This is about a totally misleading “ballot initiative” purporting to guarantee all Florida citizens a “right” to install and own solar equipment to make their own power on their own homes. It is worded as such. And it in fact is specifically designed to do JUST THE OPPOSITE. It has received 21.5 million in funding in the advertising promoting this actually FRAUDULENT amendment from the Utility Companies. It also “protects” other electricity consumers from being forced to “subsidize” solar installations. And it is very clear (though not on the ballot initiative) what that means. Laws allowing the utility companies to charge homeowners additional punitive fees if they DO install solar equipment, to theoretically prevent those poor innocent electricity users from being “forced to subsidize” the solar installers. The “subsidy” is the grid providing grid connection to a consumer who does not use as much electricity as the poor victims. This is what you get when Hilllerary talk becomes acceptable. Up is down. Down is up. And the system is heavily rigged.

    From the wording, I cannot imagine this bill NOT passing. And it will only over time become apparent what a damn mess it is. But as a Consitutional Amendment, it will be very hard to fix later. Brilliant if heinous.

    This is the sort of treasonous behavior that should by all rights be celebrated with prime time televised hangings.

    Floridians already have statutory protection under Florida law to own and install solar power.

    THIS IS WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT. It’s going to be a WAR with utility companies and state governments just for the right to make electricity from sunshine. Like the Kings Forest. It is going to be ILLEGAL to use SUNSHINE.

    And our electorate is so riddled with idiots that this is inevitable. WHO allowed this on the ballot with that wording? It is CRIMINAL. They should be incarcerated.

    Jack Rickard

    1. If people actually read the information before voting it would be obvious. Perhaps I’m the only one who reads the papers for/against. Look at the list of people and organizations for the proposal…all from the same organization. Look at those against it. Pretty much everyone. But your right, if you don’t read this and only read the title of the proposition, it is likely it will pass. Unfortunately it seems like most voters don’t inform themselves before casting a vote. This is why we have dozens of initiatives on every ballot here in CA. Did we not elect some representatives to take the time and read up on these things so that they can be educated voters in our stead? It seems like it is not working as originally designed and we now have the uninformed public voting on things that are written specifically to confuse the uninformed.

    2. Don’t know why you say this ballot measure is “Hilllerary talk”, I do not see any Republican organizations opposed to this measure but a lot of Democratic organizations oppose including VP Al Gore.

  9. Selecting a new president …

    either you vote for a fool then you will be lead by a fool
    or you vote for somebody more intelligent than you – then you are the fool.

    I dont know who electect Don Carlos (Gosn) as new boss for Mitsubishi but the crowd cheered and stocks went up.

    Peter and Karin

  10. Actually, mass energy equivalence predates Einstein quite a lot. E=mc^2 ( or E=mV^2, as it was written in the physical papers, mostly dealing with the science of electricity), as a formulated concept, was known and conceptually well defined before Einstein was born. The limiting concepts on the physical ratio (now commonly) known as the speed of light (“c” as widely written), first was conceptualized in Wilhelm Weber work’s of 1848 “On the Measurement of Electro-Dynamic forces” ( some 60 years before Einstein’s first celebrated paper ), in his extended theoretic work on electrodynamics, developed in consequence of the practical experiments Weber performed in investigation of Ampere’s fundamental research and conceptualization of dynamics of electrical currents. The first work was published only in German and an English publication appeared only 24 years after that in “Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science” from January 1872
    In Weber’s work is technically the first mathematically defined work, derived from practical experiments, that deals with relativity speed between any object and in particular with electric mass objects. It is quite disturbing that this fundamental teaching is technically totally ignored in today’s science teaching.
    If one to look even more down to the “relativity rabbit whole” one would find out that the first person to publish philosophical work on geometry and gravity ( the first conceptual work on technically “Unified feel theory” ) is Boscovich in several works (celebrated among Europe’s scientific community) between 1740-1760 known as “Boscovich theory of natural philosophy”.
    Weber s work, interestingly mathematically predicts, based on electrodynamic conceptualization, what Boscovich expressed philosophically in his work.

  11. Jack, I think you are seriously undervaluing yourself by several orders of magnitude in your calculation.
    IE I think that ’25 million kWh’ should be written as ’25 billion kWh.’

    1. OMG. You are absolutely correct. This has been up for WEEKS and you are the first one to catch this HUGE (three orders of magnitude) error.

      The formula renders 89,875,517,873,681,764 joules of energy for a kilogram of matter. A joule is essentially equivalent to one watt second. 3600 seconds in an hour and 1000 watts per killowatt shojuld give us a devisor of 3,600,000. But I added the “kilo” again in error. So the result is 24,965,421,631.578 kilowatt hours or as you say, about 25 BILLION killowatt hours. That would be sufficient power to run 11,640 homes for a year and represent a retail value of $2,933,437,041.71. And so a 170 lb person would be the equivalent of 1.925 TRILLION kilowatt hours valued at $226 billion dollars. It would also light 896,280 homes for a year.

      Good catch and rather further extending my point. I reserve the right to revise and extend my comments into the Congressional Record.

      Friends don’t let friends play with calculators….

  12. Anyone have any comments on Tesla’s new Solar Roof? There appears to be some styling choices and it is supposed to still operate at higher temperatures, which has been the downfall of other solar roof systems that mount directly to the roof. Interestingly, Elon did mention the need for utility companies to provide grid support and did not appear to be trying to cut them out of the equation. Of course I doubt the Tesla Solar Roof will be offered in Ohio where I live, anytime soon.

    1. The presentation on Friday was primarily about how his new solar shingles look. On that front, they look great. What was missing was everything technical about the panels. How do they interconnect? What happens if there is partial shading? What is the cost? The list goes on and on. It is a very nice looking roof, and if the price is reasonable I’d be interested, but we have to wait for many more answers.

      1. I agree, there was nothing on the of the efficiency of the solar roof and the only mention of price was, when energy usage is considered the solar roof price is comparable to a standard roof. That could mean that it will take you 20 years or so for it to actually be the same cost as a standard roof, so not sure if you would actually see any benefits from the electric it generates.

  13. Excellent show this week! You have lots of exciting projects going on, and it was great to see the Green Thing running so well. I hope now you can figure out how to tame the EVIC battery display/SOC function. Everything else works so well with the EVIC, that will complete the picture. See http://porscheev.blogspot.com/2015/11/a-pinch-of-this-dash-of-that.html for my experience with it.

    Adding to Bill’s battery safety thoughts, never use a metal chain to hoist a battery! Use nylon strapping instead. Don’t ask me how I know. http://porscheev.blogspot.com/2015/03/dodged-bullet-yes.html

    1. I am glad to see The Making of Cars again.
      Thankyou Jack, thankyou Bill.

      Almost OT:

      Yet another Compressed Natural Gas car exploded. This time not a VW. This time not while taking CNG.


      Sorry I can only find it in german language.

      CNG is mostly methane. Hydrogen will be more interesting – when those cars hit the road – when somebody actually builds gas stations for them.

      I like those roofs that dont tell everybody they are solar.

      Peter and Karin

  14. It’s good to see the Green Thing driving; Great Job Bill! There were quite a few EVTV associates who moved it’s completion along but you brought it over the top.







    It is easy go forget just what a remarkable car this is and how many little hidden features were incorporated.

    1. In the US, how the Kooter is classed would be entirely up to the state you live in… and likely to be a bit ambiguous.

      Lacking pedals, it can’t be classed as a bicycle. With a top speed of 20mph, it could be classed as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, but Federal law lists NEV’s as 4 wheel vehicles. In most states it will be classed as a moped or scooter, but in some it could be classed as a motorcycle.

      I live in Texas, and Texas has some weird regulations for mopeds, including an “approved” list of moped manufacturers. Since the Kooter isn’t on that list you have to fill out an affidavit to register it. You must have either a motorcycle drivers license or a “K” (moped) restriction on your license, you must have it inspected yearly and you must have insurance on it.

  15. Catching up on watching videos over the holidays, and hearing Jack talk about his thinking on using stock parts as much as possible in an EV build so you could easily source a replacement part got me to thinking about the importance of documenting whatever you build. While video is nice to have as a reference, I am talking more along the lines of the kind of documentation Eric Kriss of Kriss Motors worked up for his builds.

    Of course, the reality for most people is more likely to be a notebook with some hand written scribbles you can’t figure out a month later, let alone years later. A bit of web searching did turn-up what I think would be useful tool for most people, a purpose printed journal / logbook to track your build. This would be a sort of combination owners manual, shop manual, historic record specific to your build.
    I found it by searching “book to record hot rod build” which turned up this find on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/BookFactory%C2%AE-Journal-Logbook-XLog-120-7CS-L-Black/dp/B00B0QL8VI

    1. Dennis, glad you’re thinking about documentation which is woefully lacking for the most part in the world of DIY car builds.

      My latest project, a frame-up restoration of a Jaguar, was documented using WordPress (see http://jaguar.krissmotors.com) and that worked extremely well for photos, drawings, and videos as well as text. I found that there were frequent changes, so I’m not sure that a paper-based logbook would work except for taking real-time notes. I tended to take dozens of iPhone photos each day, and then write up the day’s work as a blog post that evening. Turned out quite well … composed about 500 posts over 2.5 years and it all seemed pretty effortless. Not sure that would have been the case with a paper logbook (which also tends to get dirty in the shop … and lost!).

      I hosted my own version of WordPress because the consumer-oriented free wordpress.com hosting option didn’t offer enough flexibility. That said, the private hosting was still free (no cost for the WP software). Web-hosted documentation also has the advantage of reaching a worldwide audience at zero incremental cost. At last count, my Jaguar site had some 200,000 visitors.

      So if you pursue the paper logbook route, I hope you also explore putting your work up on the web like in a WordPress presentation.

      Best regards, Eric Kriss

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