Sunday, 3 February 2019

Good Night BONJOUR

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

The news is about day and night, especially the latter.
BONJOUR, i.e. the company Téo Taxi, a new kind of taxi service in Montreal, Quebec, with the common French term for “Hello” (“Bonjour”), literally meaning “GOOD DAY” on its cars has shut down operation.  Just when demand was rising due the cold temperatures in the city.
When launched in 2015, it was widely viewed as a novel cost-saving alternative to common taxi service operations. The Quebec government and major provincial institutions all jumped on board. The company acquired a fleet of vehicles and paid its (450+) employees fair wages.
Demand for the cab service was good, especially in this cold period of the year. Of course, competition from the other service providers of that kind kept profit margins low. Therefore, it wasn’t exactly a highly profitable enterprise at this time but, as I think, the real problem was a serious and insurmountable issue.
So, what’s the real problem and what caused the company’s failure?
The Problem
Now, its main proponent, entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer had no choice but to shut down the enterprise. 
Despite the estimated $30 million of tax dollars plus privately funded capital infusions, estimated at $50+ million (including Taillefer’s personal fortune, estimated at $ 4 million), it couldn’t make it. The competition from other short-haul service companies was just too severe.
At least, that’s what the MSM (main stream media) claim. I have a different view:
The problem was more technical than financial in nature, namely the wrong technology used.
Wrong Technology
BONJOUR’s fleet of a few hundred cars was exclusively “electric cars.”
That (politically correct, hence wrong) “electric idea” was the main cause of its demise.
For brevity, I’ll put it into a bullet form:
  1. Electric vehicles use energy stored in batteries.
  2. Batteries are chemical systems.
  3. By the Laws of Nature, chemical processes are temperature dependent.
  4. Every 10 degrees Celsius (ºC) in temperature change typical process speeds by a factor of 3.
  5. Hence, between PLUS 25ºC (in summer) and MINUS25ºC (in winter), reaction speed changes by a factor of roughly 3^5 = 250 or so.
  6. Both speed of charging and discharging of batteries declines with falling at below freezing temperatures.
  7. The charge capacity of Lithium-Ion batteries also declines with lower temperatures.
  8. More frequent recharging needs reduced operating distances and increased overall charging time.
  9. In short, that’s why you’ll be finding few electric cars on the road in winter.
End of story.