Energy Neutral Transportation

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait 'til oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

Walking barefoot on sun-baked asphalt, you quickly get an idea sunshine is a potent and widespread energy source. Harnessing this power to make oil independent transportation requires three actions:

Convert transportation network into solar collectors

In the North American Solar Challenge cars travel 2,500-mile/4,000 kilometer (from Austin, Texas to Calgary, Alberta, Canada) averaging speeds of 46.2 mph; powered by 2 m x 6 m solar panels.

Solar JPods

JPods expand this known technology. Vehicle weight is reduced, room made for up to 4 people. Rails with near perfect rolling surfaces and roller coaster mechanics reduce add stability and safety. Computer networks and controls add safety, flexibility make operating the vehicle independent of the ability of the pilot. Solar collectors are mounted on the rail to reduce vehicle weight and harvest sunshine over a very large area.

Electricity converted from sunshine exceeds that drawn from the grid. Here is the math:

Drive Parasitic Mass towards Zero Parasitic Energy Consumption

Parasitic Mass is the mass we pay to move that is not cargo or passengers. Currently we are creating congestion and consuming energy moving a ton to move a person. We need to strive towards moving only the person.

Further, the number of stop-starts, instances of consuming electric power to build kinetic energy, needs to be driven towards one. "Beam me up Scotty" would be perfect use of energy. You move only what you want to move and move it from origin to destination in a single action. We do not have the physics for this but the idea is right. A metric for it is PEC, Parasitic Energy Consumption.

PEC is the moving mass divided by the mass you wish to move, multiplied by the number of stop-starts (applications of kinetic energy):

JPods are ultra-light computer controlled vehicles suspended from rails that move people and cargo non-stop from origin to destination. JPods implement the simple physics that it costs less to move less.

Deregulation, Opening Transportation to Innovation

Like the Wright Brothers, inventors of the airplane, most innovators work in small companies with limited cash and few lobbying skills. JPods LLC, a Minnesota company, fits this mold. With limited resources their invention was packed into a trailer and taken on a coast-to-coast migration looking for a city open to granting right of ways in which their innovation can be applied. Starting in Ottawa, Canada the tour ended in Santa Cruz, California.

Ottawa, Canada.
In front of Parliament is Candidate for Mayor Peter Anweiler.
Santa Cruz, CA.
Pauline James sitting in a JPod at the beach.

More at including Animation of Energy Neutral Mobility.