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Author Topic: The coming automobile revolution
JWatts
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It looks like 2010 might be the year of the electric car. A massive, move to electric cars would have a significant affect on the entire worlds energy and transportation structure.

It should result in a noticeable increase in world wide wealth.

My personal favorite is GM's upcoming product:

Chevy Volt
The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid with a 40 mile electric range. Since the average American commute is less than 40 miles, general acceptance of this kind of vehicle would drastically decrease American oil usage. It is a hybrid so when the electric battery is depleted the vehicle uses a small gasoline engine to continue running. So for long trips it will get about 50 mpg. For short range trips no gas will be needed.

My wife hates going to the gas station. I suspect if she had one, I would have to buy gas stabilizer, since she would probably go months without going to the gas station.

Expected launch date: November 2010
Cost: $40K
Range: 40 mi electric \ 300 mile gas
Build plant: Detroit-Hamtramck

Note: The volt is technically not a hybrid, since the gas engine recharges the battery and does not drive the wheels.

Wiki

Nissan Leaf
The Leaf is a pure electric play. So it's going to be a little cheaper than the Volt, not requiring an extra gas engine. However, the trade-off is no long range highway capability. Once you've hit the 100 mile range you must stop for a lengthy electric recharge time. Charge time is 30+ minutes to 16 hours.

It's longer pure electric range would in theory mean it is a more efficient vehicle, but I think in practice the recharge limitation will significantly reduce its usefulness. Personally, I'd have no problem having a plug-in hybrid like the Volt as a second vehicle, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with such a short ranged vehicle such as the Leaf, on the other hand it's much cheaper.

Expected launch date: Late 2010
Cost: $33K
Range: 100 mi electric
Build plant: Smyrna, TN

Wiki

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Pyrtolin
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"It's longer pure electric range would in theory mean it is a more efficient vehicle, but I think in practice the recharge limitation will significantly reduce its usefulness. Personally, I'd have no problem having a plug-in hybrid like the Volt as a second vehicle, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with such a short ranged vehicle such as the Leaf, on the other hand it's much cheaper."

If they can make replacing the entire battery easy, it might e possible to aim to work around this issue by treating the batteries themselves shared property. Drop a wind farm in at regular intervals along major highways and have them dedicate their off-peak hours to charging up capacitors that then are used to recharge batteries throughout the day.

Then, when you hit the services station, you swap batteries and continue on your way pretty quickly.

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noel
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JWatts,

Now all that they have to do is replace all of the fossil fueled generating plants, with nuclear fueled power generation. Electricity rates would skyrocket in direct proportion to the number of cars plugged into the grid as a consequence to the inefficiencies of power conversion... assuming the electric vehicles themselves were attractive to the purchasing public.

To the extent that any data exists on this, the battery life/replacement cost alone is enough to sour the appetitite of most cost conscious consumers. (There is a $7,500 taxpayer-funded subsidy to bury this inherent defect in the plan)

[ May 11, 2010, 10:03 PM: Message edited by: noel ]

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Grant
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The Future of the Internal-Combustion Engine - Feature

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/10q2/the_future_of_the_internal-combustion_engine-feature

To summarize, even the electric car builders only believe that 10% of the market will be electric by 2020. ICEs continue to develop at such a rapid pace in terms of fuel economy and emissions control that batteries can't seem to catch up in terms of cost. This shouldn't be a surprise, we've had over 100 years now of research and development into the internal combustion engine, and not nearly the effort put into battery development. All the best engineers hired by Ford, GM, Honda, BMW, etc, have been developing combustion engines forever. Until 10 years ago the electric vehicle engineers were probably stuck in a broom closet working with abaci (sp).

Finally, despite hollywood, the real autophilliacs still get chubs when they hear a V8 roar. I think eventually before I die, electric vehicles will be relegated to the compact car division. Big spenders will continue to buy combustion engines the same way they prefer Starbucks coffee.

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Hannibal
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The Gasoline burning of the car engine will only be transfered to fossil fueled power plants. there will be zero benefit to the world's health.

someone will still need to generate the energy to propel the cars. it will be the same amount of energy no matter where it is generated (E=mc^2). so instead of burning oil inside your car, more oil will be burned at the power plants.


mankind should form up an a-politics multi national energy company non profit organization that will establish and monitor nuclear reactors world wide to generate enery for everyone for cost prices.

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LetterRip
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The number of powerplants buring oil/gasoline is negligible.

Coal is what most powerplants run on.

Also CO2 from coal is potentially a lot easier to sequester.

Also electricty from nuclear, solar, and hydro can be substituted for coal.

LetterRip

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
it will be the same amount of energy no matter where it is generated (E=mc^2)
Did you just randomly insert that equation there, regardless of whether it contained relevant meaning or not?

That equation says *nothing* about whether stationary power-plans are more efficient in extracting energy from fossil fuels than car engines are -- and it certainly says nothing about which method sends more crap into the atmosphere. And as such it's utterly irrelevant to your argument.

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RickyB
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"The Gasoline burning of the car engine will only be transfered to fossil fueled power plants. there will be zero benefit to the world's health."

So you don't think there's any benefit to concentrating all the pollution in one spot and removing all the exhaust smoke from where people actually live and breathe?

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Gaoics79
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quote:
That equation says *nothing* about whether stationary power-plans are more efficient in extracting energy from fossil fuels than car engines are -- and it certainly says nothing about which method sends more crap into the atmosphere. And as such it's utterly irrelevant to your argument.
Not to mention the fact that stationary power plants are not all dirty. If the vehicles become clean, then at least half the equation is complete. Between Hydro, Nuclear, Wind and Solar (and God willing, perhaps even Fusion one day?) it is possible to supply at least a portion of our energy needs with clean energy.
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Michelle
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Help me. I want to look at the new environmental friendly vehicles, but I'm at a loss. I need something that can drive two-to-four-hours a day easily without recharging, carry up to four passengers, and load like a SUV. What do you have for me?

Battery-operated cars seem to me to be more for people with money to burn and a need for the newest toy. Recharge every hundred miles? You are kidding, right? Guess: straight to work and back, no bank; no store; no picking up kids from so-and so.
Can't be your sole transportation if you have a kid in college more than two hours away. (I'm thinking out loud here.)

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Hannibal:
The Gasoline burning of the car engine will only be transfered to fossil fueled power plants. there will be zero benefit to the world's health.

Hannibal, your correct to a degree, but let's examine the worst case scenario.

Let's assume that 100% of the power for an electric vehicle is generated by a coal plant and let's further assume that the billion dollar coal plant's environmental equipment is no better than the $30,000 car's equipment.

An average car has about a 18-20% combustion efficiency. An average older coal plant has an effiency of about 30%. So even in an absolutely worst case scenario the cost and pollution will be 50% more for an existing IC vehicle versus a legacy coal plant.

quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
Battery-operated cars seem to me to be more for people with money to burn and a need for the newest toy. Recharge every hundred miles? You are kidding, right? Guess: straight to work and back, no bank; no store; no picking up kids from so-and so.

[Smile] Indeed, that's why the Chevy Volt is my favored of the two. If you'll look at what was posted you'll see that the Chevy Volt, uses both electricity and gas. So you start the day using very cheap electricity and when your battery is low (less than 33%) the vehicle switches over to gas. Basically you have unlimited range on gas. (The 300 mile listed range is just how much gas the gas tank holds, you can refill it just like a normal car).

However, the drawback to this is cost. The double engine (electric and gasoline) drives the car up to the $40,000 range. Still plenty of people currently spend that much money on small cars today and with higher sales the price will come down.

Technically, there is also a $7,500 rebate from the Feds, so early buyers would only have to pay $32,500 with you and all the rest of the tax payers picking up the difference. But it's free money from the government, right? [Wink]

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Clark
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Michelle,

You can get a hybrid version of lots of different cars these days, including SUVs. Google could tell you much more than I can, to be sure. I think the Ford Escape was the first one, but I bet most manufacturers have at least one smallish sized SUV as a hybrid.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
Help me. I want to look at the new environmental friendly vehicles, but I'm at a loss. I need something that can drive two-to-four-hours a day easily without recharging, carry up to four passengers, and load like a SUV. What do you have for me?

Battery-operated cars seem to me to be more for people with money to burn and a need for the newest toy. Recharge every hundred miles? You are kidding, right? Guess: straight to work and back, no bank; no store; no picking up kids from so-and so.
Can't be your sole transportation if you have a kid in college more than two hours away. (I'm thinking out loud here.)

BMW X6 ActiveHybrid 383mi range $80K
Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 490mi range $75K
Chevy Tahoe Hybrid 515mi range $50K
Ford Escape 500mi range $26K limited cargo
Mercedes-Benz ML450 BlueHybrid 427mi range $58K
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 450mi range $35K
and
Lexus RX450h 525mi range $45K

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Michelle
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Thank-you, Clark, Grant and JWatts.
Certainly many options out there.

I'm wondering has anyone thought whether there might be a backlash of running everything off electricity?

My parent's generation was always superstition of all the plugs necessary to run a household. I'm beginning to understand how they felt -- I'm a bit leery myself of how much more we rely on electricity, since the birth of the tech-age.

There must be a drawback, or a psychical liability unforeseen from constantly being surrounded by voltages in use.

I would like some reassurance that any potential health risk from every, able-body driver plugging in has been examined.

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noel
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JWatts,

The GM Volt requires a 16 kwh battery to achieve the advertised performance. It's current 400lb battery costs a minimum of $450/kwh ($7,200 unit price), with an estimated life expectancy of between 5-7 years. In other words, you will need a $7,500 (wholesale) replacement battery just about the time your extended warranty expires.

The tax credit is typical Washington economic logic. You earn the extra $7,500, plus mark-up, to pay for your first battery, and they will "allow" you to deduct it from your tax liability, for a net reduction in taxes of $200... what a deal. Free money!

Meanwhile, the consumer is faced with a decision, five years later, to replace the battery for full fare of ~$7,500 (assuming drastic reductions in production costs), or just buying a new glorified $40,000 golf-cart.

Assuming that the energy conversion efficiencies which you cited are accurate;

"An average car has about a 18-20% combustion efficiency. An average older coal plant has an effiency of about 30%. So even in an absolutely worst case scenario the cost and pollution will be 50% more for an existing IC vehicle versus a legacy coal plant."

... The ~7% AC transmission inefficiency almost wipes out the advantage of the stationary coal power generation plant over a new automobile.

If the lithium-ion battery technology is really as good as the proponents assert, then the power plants should buy them to store power in lean use periods, and inject the reserves during high-demand hours.

Curious minds want to know why they do not. [Wink]

This is about as promising as the "cash for clunkers" program. What is really required is aggressive development of nuclear energy production, and OFF-SHORE DRILLING. If we started now, it would still be ten years before the benefits are realized. The bottom line is that the Enviromentalist lobby has hamstrung our industrial potential for the forseeable future, and the Obama Administration it taxing the crap out of what remains.

I'm done.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
Thank-you, Clark, Grant and JWatts.
Certainly many options out there.

I'm wondering has anyone thought whether there might be a backlash of running everything off electricity?

My parent's generation was always superstition of all the plugs necessary to run a household. I'm beginning to understand how they felt -- I'm a bit leery myself of how much more we rely on electricity, since the birth of the tech-age.

There must be a drawback, or a psychical liability unforeseen from constantly being surrounded by voltages in use.

I would like some reassurance that any potential health risk from every, able-body driver plugging in has been examined.

Even the connection between high voltage power transmission lines and disease has never been conclusively established as far as I know, and an electric motor on a car would (one presumes) be vastly less significant than those.

By contrast, I believe the connection between lung cancer and air pollution is well-established.

So worrying about a speculative risk to your health from an electric motor while ignoring the proven risk to your health from gas motors seems a little strange to me.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
There must be a drawback, or a psychical liability unforeseen from constantly being surrounded by voltages in use.
As compared to that from constantly breathing combustion fumes?

And more to the point- by now we're already completely surrounded by those fields as it is, and that's not even getting into the panoply of radio transmission frequencies that we're swimming in.

And another point where electric provides significant gains over combustion is idling- if you're sitting in traffic and not moving, you're not using up power for the engine, unlike a gas engine, which keeps chewing up fuel. If they can find a way to safely put inductive chargers in areas with big backups, it might even be possible to actually charge up while you're crawling along. That might start to trip into the territory of extra EM fields, though.

On the other side of things, though, is that we still suffer from significant inefficiency in electric power transmission. (Though I'm not sure how they compare to the inherent inefficiency as far as fuel use to ship fuel goes)

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
JWatts,

The GM Volt requires a 16 kwh battery to achieve the advertised performance. It's current 400lb battery costs a minimum of $450/kwh ($7,200 unit price), with an estimated life expectancy of between 5-7 years. In other words, you will need a $7,500 (wholesale) replacement battery just about the time your extended warranty expires.

quote:
GM expects ten years of life out of the batteries. As of early 2008, they had started extensive battery testing and planned to have 10-year battery results in two years.
Source

quote:
GM has previously said they expect to warranty the Volt batteries for 10 years/150,000 miles. In this new interview Lutz said “We’re being conservative on battery life.
Source

So, you'll need to pay $7,200/150,000 miles = $0.05/mile in additional costs. While not insignificant, I don't think that's enough to drastically change the functionality of the car.

quote:
Originally posted by noel:
The tax credit is typical Washington economic logic. You earn the extra $7,500, plus mark-up, to pay for your first battery, and they will "allow" you to deduct it from your tax liability, for a net reduction in taxes of $200... what a deal. Free money!

No, it's not a deduction but an actual credit. The taxpayer in me cringes, but it's available so you'd be foolish not to take it.

quote:
Originally posted by noel:
"An average car has about a 18-20% combustion efficiency. An average older coal plant has an effiency of about 30%. So even in an absolutely worst case scenario the cost and pollution will be 50% more for an existing IC vehicle versus a legacy coal plant."

... The ~7% AC transmission inefficiency almost wipes out the advantage of the stationary coal power generation plant over a new automobile.

[Big Grin] LOL, so the gas you buy at the gas station magically appears there. Nope, it arrives through a large network of tankers, pipes and diesel trucks and I'll bet you the the total loss rate is a lot higher than for AC power.

quote:
Originally posted by noel:
If the lithium-ion battery technology is really as good as the proponents assert, then the power plants should buy them to store power in lean use periods, and inject the reserves during high-demand hours.

That would be horrible. The cost is much more efficient to just use an on-demand natural gas plant. But you can't take a natural gas plant down the road with you without making it so small you lose the efficiencies [Wink]

And I've heard the proposal of using millions of electric cars to store power for power companies from solar and wind and draw it down when needed. That's a completely horrible idea. You would be letting the power company cheaply use your very expensive premium battery and wear it out.


quote:
Originally posted by noel:
This is about as promising as the "cash for clunkers" program.

Not really. Think about it. Only the US Federal government could think that crushing affordable used cars and replacing them with expensive new cars is somehow a good idea for the environment. (OK in reality it was just a vote buying scam for the UAW, but it was advertised as environmentally friendly).

quote:
Originally posted by noel:
What is really required is aggressive development of nuclear energy production, and OFF-SHORE DRILLING.

Yep, we need both. We need nukes for the increased electrical demand and drilling to provide fuel for the trucks, planes and trains. You can't run a commercial airliner off of a battery and the extension cord would be a tad long.


quote:
Originally posted by noel:
If we started now, it would still be ten years before the benefits are realized. The bottom line is that the Enviromentalist lobby has hamstrung our industrial potential for the forseeable future, and the Obama Administration it taxing the crap out of what remains.

Actually the Environmental lobby may have inadvertently done a good thing. We have strategically kept a very large portion of our oil reserves untapped. When oil hits $200 a barrel the environmentalists will be kicked out on their ear and we'll still have very large stocks of oil. But we still need to get our domestic consumption down to 1/3rd of what we currently use for even those reserves to make a long term difference.
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noel
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JWatts,

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GM expects ten years of life out of the batteries. As of early 2008, they had started extensive battery testing and planned to have 10-year battery results in two years.

GM claims eight to ten year life, and warrants for five years. Five to seven is what I infer from their unconcluded testing.

quote:
So, you'll need to pay $7,200/150,000 miles = $0.05/mile in additional costs.
... In heaven maybe. Do you remember the pre-release publicity over Mazda's "Wankel" powerplant? Automotive engineers tend to see the world through rose colored glasses. The fact that GM is 60% government-owned, and is now led by con-man & CEO Fritz Henderson (Obama appointee), does not instill confidence. Bob Lutz was pulled from retirement to oversee this project, at the request of Henderson, and re-retired just ten days ago.

quote:
No, it's not a deduction but an actual credit. The taxpayer in me cringes
Yes, I know. It makes me cringe also... don't encourage them.

quote:
LOL, so the gas you buy at the gas station magically appears there.
No, it arrives at arrives at power plants through energy consuming delivery systems also. [Wink] (... unless the plant sits on a natural hot spring.)

quote:
The cost is much more efficient to just use an on-demand natural gas plant. But you can't take a natural gas plant down the road with you without making it so small you lose the efficiencies
Nor can you switch out coal/oil plants to LPG at will, not to mention that our greatest natural gas reserves are currently out of reach, and known reserves are rapidly depleting;

Natural Gas Technically Recoverable Resources
Natural Gas Resource Category
(Trillion Cubic Feet) As of January 1, 2007

Nonassociated Gas

Undiscovered 373.20
Onshore 113.61
Offshore 259.59
Inferred Reserves 220.14
Onshore 171.05
Offshore 49.09
Unconventional Gas Recovery 644.92
Tight Gas 309.58
Shale Gas 267.26
Coalbed Methane 68.09
Associated-Dissolved Gas 128.69
Total Lower 48 Unproved 1366.96
Alaska 169.43
Total U.S. Unproved 1536.38
Proved Reserves 211.09

Total Natural Gas 1747.47
Source: Energy Information Administration - Annual Energy Outlook 2009

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by noel:
This is about as promising as the "cash for clunkers" program.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not really. Think about it.

JWatt, I was being ironic. [Smile]

quote:
Actually the Environmental lobby may have inadvertently done a good thing. We have strategically kept a very large portion of our oil reserves untapped. When oil hits $200 a barrel the environmentalists will be kicked out on their ear and we'll still have very large stocks of oil.
You may be onto something here.

quote:
But we still need to get our domestic consumption down to 1/3rd of what we currently use for even those reserves to make a long term difference.
... Not if the nuclear generation of electricity resumes in ernest.

[ May 13, 2010, 01:50 AM: Message edited by: noel ]

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Hannibal
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I was merely saying that the same amount of energy will still be produced, if not in cars then in power plants.

I also might be provincial and un aware because I am Israeli, but it seems to me that there is no great shift in the way countries produce energy.

I mean, sure, france and sweden generate alot of energy out of nuclear sources. but alot more energy is generated out of oil and coal in comparisson with nuclear. and far more coal/oil power plants are built with comparrison to nuclear. so with all the benefits of concentrating pollution in one place (not true because we are talking about hybrid cars) are good to some extent, but at the end, pollution is not greatly reduced.

Countries prefer to establish coal/oil power plants because they are abundant and easier to maintain. on the other hand nuclear reactors have the advantage that they can be built anywhere without any great logistics difference. the biggest problem with establishing nuclear power plants is politics. This is why I think that a non-politic, non-country-affiliated organization should be constructed to build, maintain and monitor nuclear power plants.

once nuclear plants will be standarized their prices and maintentance will be cheaper and will be available to more countries, this will greatly lower energy costs, and pollution levels around the world

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Hannibal:
I was merely saying that the same amount of energy will still be produced, if not in cars then in power plants.

I understand that, but it's wrong! Differences in efficiencies mean that you'll only need 2/3rds of the energy production to power a car off of electricity as you do gasoline.
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noel
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JWatts,

The case for that has not been made.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
GM claims eight to ten year life, and warrants for five years. Five to seven is what I infer from their unconcluded testing.

I provided a source for my quote of 10 years, do you have a source for that. Particularly, since the source I used said:

quote:

GM has previously said they expect to warranty the Volt batteries for 10 years/150,000 miles.

quote:
... In heaven maybe. Do you remember the pre-release publicity over Mazda's "Wankel" powerplant? Automotive engineers tend to see the world through rose colored glasses.
I agree in spirit and if it were just one company and just one car I'd be very skeptical, but since multiple car companies are coming out with a wide range of cars over the next several years there is plenty of opportunity for at least one model to be a game changer.

quote:
Nor can you switch out coal/oil plants to LPG at will, not to mention that our greatest natural gas reserves are currently out of reach, and known reserves are rapidly depleting;
LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is not the same as natural gas. We would need to import LPG, if the shale discoveries hadn't changed the market so much.

Indeed, it was our previous discussion on natural gas prices that had me read up on why nat gas prices have dropped so much over the last 2 years. It's not just the recession, it's also significantly due to very large recent natural gas discoveries and tech changes making them possible. And this isn't pie in the sky future tech, this is deployed and currently extracting nat gas at $3 per MBTU.

quote:
Total U.S. Unproved 1536.38
Proved Reserves 211.09

Total Natural Gas 1747.47
Source: Energy Information Administration - Annual Energy Outlook 2009

Total Natural Gas of 1750 TCF is a Whole Lot of Gas!

The US currently uses about 23 TCF per year! So that's equivalent to over 75 years at current consumption.

US Consumption

quote:

quote:
But we still need to get our domestic consumption down to 1/3rd of what we currently use for even those reserves to make a long term difference.
... Not if the nuclear generation of electricity resumes in ernest.

They are mutually compatible. We need the Nukes to generate electricity, the Natural Gas for heating and some fuel use and the remaining oil for planes, trains and trucks.

It would be nice to supplement with Wind Power also, but with current technology that's going to be at most 20% of electricity production, maybe 10% of total energy consumption. Solar will probably be negligible.

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Michelle
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quote:
So worrying about a speculative risk to your health from an electric motor while ignoring the proven risk to your health from gas motors seems a little strange to me.
quote:
As compared to that from constantly breathing combustion fumes?

I didn't make any comparison, or claim that methods now are safer. I ask has anyone really looked at where we are heading with our dependency on electricity, and it's that safe?
I'm questioning the prudence of a mad rush to plug in.
All I've got to say to your responses is -- better the devil you know than the devil you don't, which isn't any argument at all, so maybe we will pick this up some other time.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
All I've got to say to your responses is -- better the devil you know than the devil you don't, which isn't any argument at all, so maybe we will pick this up some other time.
While there's some truth to that, here were dealing with two devils that we know, so it would be nice to work toward just having one to deal with if we can.
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noel
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quote:
I provided a source for my quote of 10 years, do you have a source for that. Particularly, since the source I used said:
http://www.gm.com/experience/warrantyandquality/

In conjunction with this;

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/reviews/preview/4283076

"Of course there's no way to perfectly test 10 years of battery use without, well, 10 years. But engineers and close followers of the propulsion research continue to argue that, when the Volt does appear in late 2010, GM will essentially be rolling the dice with an untested battery pack that may very well fail prematurely."

... note Lutz's statement:

"Bob Lutz, GM's vice president and product chief, admits that there's an element of risk but insists that the battery's development remains on track. The li-ion engineering has been "so routine, that it's almost scary," Lutz said. 'We haven't had one chemistry related failure.' ".

... Nobody expects a "chemistry failure".

I have also read statements from him indicating that he expects the battery to fail within a ten year period (I will go with 5-7). If Government Motors actually does end up supplying a ten-year battery warranty, then they have "generously" put the tax-payer on the hook for a $14,400 contribution with every Volt sold. This makes "Cash for Clunkers" look like economic brilliance.

quote:
I agree in spirit and if it were just one company and just one car I'd be very skeptical, but since multiple car companies are coming out with a wide range of cars over the next several years there is plenty of opportunity for at least one model to be a game changer.
It is the battery manufacturers (2) to which you need to look for diversity... and there is precious little. A large number of eggs are being placed in one basket.

quote:
LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is not the same as natural gas. We would need to import LPG, if the shale discoveries hadn't changed the market so much.
LPG is lean on methane, but "natural gas" also contains large amounts of ethane, propane, butane, and pentane. The heavier gases are separated out for domestic distribution, but I doubt that a gas fired generation plant is going to run on the lower calorie refined gas. It would constitute yet another loss in efficiency.

quote:
Total Natural Gas of 1750 TCF is a Whole Lot of Gas!
Yes, and unverified, or tapped.

quote:
The US currently uses about 23 TCF per year! So that's equivalent to over 75 years at current consumption.
Provided it actually exists, yes. The work needs to begin!

[ May 13, 2010, 04:48 PM: Message edited by: noel ]

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scifibum
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75 years seems like a very worrisomely low supply to me. It seems like we need to move as much as possible to nuclear and solar/wind, quickly (and better short term storage for the latter).

I'm anxious to see whether we can realistically use the small scale nuclear power generation such as the Hyperion version. I believe there are several other companies with the same aims.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
The heavier gases are separated out for domestic distribution, but I doubt that a gas fired generation plant is going to run on the lower calorie refined gas. It would constitute yet another loss in efficiency.

Actually, I think they do. That's why natural gas is always sold by MBTU's. If you are getting lower quality gas you are getting more gas. Indeed, it's my understanding the critical factor in natural gas' value is not the BTU content, but the pressurization level.

Pressurizing low calorie gas can use more energy than it has. My final in Thermodynamics was to calculate the economic value of a given gas well at a given pressure. The correct answer was that the well had $0 value. Actually, technically it was negative, but any answer that equated to Don't Drill! Baby, Don't Drill was considered right [Wink]

I understand your suspicion of Government Motors, but if they can't carry it off, I'll bet money that either Ford, Nissan or Toyota can. All three of those are world class companies.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
75 years seems like a very worrisomely low supply to me. It seems like we need to move as much as possible to nuclear and solar/wind, quickly (and better short term storage for the latter).

Since, Social Security only has another 10 years, I wouldn't sweat the 75 year thing. It's not like we only have 75 years worth. That figure means we've only identified 75 years of economically extractable reserves. Granted most of that is "unproven reserves". To prove reserves you have to actually drill a well.

All of the proven reserves have had exploratory wells drilled and geologists are positive there is natural gas at that spot and there is a 90% confidence interval of the given amount. Keep in mind to have a 90% confidence level in a hard engineering profession generally applies that its a conservative estimate.

I too, however strongly support a much increased Nuclear program.

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LetterRip
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The reserves estimates are fairly bogus since a number of actors, especially OPEC countries but also any publically traded oil company, have strong incentives to mistate their proven reserves.

http://royaldutchshellplc.com/2008/05/22/jeroen-van-der-veer-and-the-shell-reserves-fraud-2/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7500669/Oil-reserves-exaggerated-by-one-third.html

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
The reserves estimates are fairly bogus since a number of actors, especially OPEC countries but also any publically traded oil company, have strong incentives to mistate their proven reserves.

http://royaldutchshellplc.com/2008/05/22/jeroen-van-der-veer-and-the-shell-reserves-fraud-2/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7500669/Oil-reserves-exaggerated-by-one-third.html

We were referring to US reserves. The mis-stated Shell reserves weren't in the US as far as I know. And OPEC countries numbers are indeed probably very bogus, since the reserves effect their inter-OPEC production quotas.
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noel
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quote:
If you are getting lower quality gas you are getting more gas. Indeed, it's my understanding the critical factor in natural gas' value is not the BTU content, but the pressurization level.
It would make sense. One of the costs which I was factoring, into the cost competitiveness of electric vehicles, is the efficiency of fuel delivery to the generation plants.

quote:
I understand your suspicion of Government Motors, but if they can't carry it off, I'll bet money that either Ford, Nissan or Toyota can. All three of those are world class companies.
Someday there will be a practical electric automobile, but this hinges almost entirely on the development of low weight/cost power storage. This specialization is not currently a forte of any of the auto manufacturers. The follow-on issue will be an electric generation infrastructure which simply does not yet exist, and power plants are pricey.

As has always been the case, new technologies come with their own justification... but it is still fun. I just wish this experiment was funded by private dollars.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
The follow-on issue will be an electric generation infrastructure which simply does not yet exist, and power plants are pricey.

I don't think this is a very significant issue. Our current power grid maximizes power production (expensively) during the day and tends to overproduces at night.

Assuming that most charging is done at night, we would need to add a very large number of electric cars to the grid before it was a constraint. Essentially, the electric cars would act to balance the load and would actually improve the electrical grid, since it would become cost effective to build more base load power plants (like nuclear plants), replacing a lot of the current peaking plants.

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noel
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JWatts,

I did a brief search to determine average daytime power consumption separate from vehicle usage.

This is the best that I could come up with;

http://www.peci.org/documents/PECI_UtilBills1_1002.pdf

Given that building heating/cooling cycles heavily overlap the likely vehicle recharge period, power spikes could actually be aggravated in late afternoon/early evening depending upon location, and season. If recharging was limited to late evening, plugging everyone's car into a 220v outlet (I realize the hybrid Volt uses a high amperage 110v charger) would place a serious draw, assuming wide EV ownership, on the grid even it it was the only thing which an average household had going regardless of other considerations.

There is an understandable emotional element invested in the success of this technology that seems to be over delivering on expectations, and underdelivering on field testing. This is all fine provided miscalculations are not footed by the taxpayer who, I understand, will also be subsidizing the the charging units to the tune of $1,000-$2,000 each. [DOH]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
Given that building heating/cooling cycles heavily overlap the likely vehicle recharge period, power spikes could actually be aggravated in late afternoon/early evening depending upon location, and season. If recharging was limited to late evening, plugging everyone's car into a 220v outlet (I realize the hybrid Volt uses a high amperage 110v charger) would place a serious draw, assuming wide EV ownership, on the grid even it it was the only thing which an average household had going regardless of other considerations.

Yes, to avoid over loading the grid, some kind of timer will need to be used. If every vehicle plugged in at 6pm automatically starts charging the battery, the grid will be overused. However, if a some kind of timer is used to delay the start of the charging cycle 2-4 hours most of the problem will be alleviated.

I believe that the Volt and the Leaf both accept 220v input and since the charging time is significantly less at the higher voltage a significant amount of owners may pay to add a couple of 220V outlets in the garage.

quote:
Originally posted by noel:
There is an understandable emotional element invested in the success of this technology that seems to be over delivering on expectations, and underdelivering on field testing. This is all fine provided miscalculations are not footed by the taxpayer who, I understand, will also be subsidizing the the charging units to the tune of $1,000-$2,000 each. [DOH]

I agree with your point, but when you compare it to the ridiculous hype of solar power this seems like a surer cheaper bet.
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noel
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JWatts,

quote:
Yes, to avoid over loading the grid, some kind of timer will need to be used. If every vehicle plugged in at 6pm automatically starts charging the battery, the grid will be overused. However, if a some kind of timer is used to delay the start of the charging cycle 2-4 hours most of the problem will be alleviated.
Yes, but to do this, the EV must also be considered a once-per-day use vehicle, and as battery/capacitor capacity increases with technological innovation, the time conflict with grid capability is exacerbated.

quote:
I agree with your point, but when you compare it to the ridiculous hype of solar power this seems like a surer cheaper bet.
It is much better, but why choose among poor bets? We are very good with both nuclear, petroleum based technologies. It seems like just a tad too early to jettison the internal combustion engine as a matter of government policy.
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scifibum
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When would the time be right? I don't mind subsidizing early adoption because I think it helps reduce the risk of a serious crisis later on.

(I don't think we can make a wholesale conversion to electric cars yet, but putting some pressure on the grid while we improve the tech seems fine.)

[ May 19, 2010, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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noel
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Scifibum,

Provided the technology provides it's own economic justification, I agree with you completely.

The main problem that I have with the EV program, is that it is a prototype masquerading as a proven, production-ready, technology... and the taxpayer is underwriting the premature release. This is just plain stupid.

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scifibum
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I guess we don't agree, because this:

quote:
The main problem that I have with the EV program, is that it is a prototype masquerading as a proven, production-ready, technology... and the taxpayer is underwriting the premature release.
...is what I mean by "subsidizing early adoption". [Wink]
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noel
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"Early adoption" implies it will be the eventual choice. I question that implicit premise.
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