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Author Topic: The coming automobile revolution
scifibum
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Ah, I see.
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noel
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The best long-term bet is still hydrogen-cell technology.

While the vehicle cost is still prohibitive, it has the analogous advantage that a book holds over a scroll, or a CD over a cassette tape.

The cycling time is just too long with capacitors to be practically feasable as a replacement for the ICE.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
The cycling time is just too long with capacitors to be practically feasable as a replacement for the ICE.

I assume you mean batteries. However, I don't agree with your comparison. Batteries are a replacement for fuel. If you just compare DC motors vs ICE's then DC motors win hands down.

It's the vastly superior liquid fuel to inferior batteries which hold back electric cars. And even then the general inefficiencies of ICE's (internal combustion engines) compared to DC motors make electric cars a potential replacement.

quote:
Originally posted by noel:
[QB] The best long-term bet is still hydrogen-cell technology.

Yes, but hydrogen-cells are basically just a very expensive battery. Hydrogen is extremely expensive to create and storage is still a nightmare. I think hydrogen-cell technology has failed to prove itself in any kind of real world test. In the future it might pan out, but if batteries get significantly less expensive it won't even matter and battery technology is available today.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

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noel
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JWatts,

quote:
I assume you mean batteries.
The discharge on a Li-ion "battery" more closely resembles a capacitor as I understand it.

quote:
If you just compare DC motors vs ICE's then DC motors win hands down.
On this we agree. The ICE is ~20% efficient in converting fuel into mechanical energy, while the Li-ion cell/motor-inverter is ~72% efficient. The catch is that the electricity must be generated. The Hydrogen-cell/motor-inverter is ~64% efficient, but when you fill the tank with pure liquid hydrogen, you are ready to go... no eight-hour wait, unless you what to use an over-night home hydrogen generator (which also runs on electricity).

quote:
It's the vastly superior liquid fuel to inferior batteries which hold back electric cars.
I agree completely, and production/distribution of pure hydrogen is one of the developmental hurdles for a practical hydrogen-cell vehicle. Honda is already running these by the way.

quote:
Yes, but hydrogen-cells are basically just a very expensive battery.
Yes, a replacement for the platinum cataylist is the key here.

quote:
Hydrogen is extremely expensive to create and storage is still a nightmare.
Once again we agree, but it makes sense to me that the time invested in development will produce practical results justifying continued primary reliance on gasoline for a decade, or two, longer.

quote:
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Except that we end up with at least one bird, even if this GM experiment goes forward and fails dramatically. [Wink]

My concern is that the current li-ion EV programs have, and will continue, to divert resources from more promising systems.

quote:
but if batteries get significantly less expensive it won't even matter and battery technology is available today.
This is not really an either-or proposition. Like I said, I am fine with beta-testing that does not cost taxpayers the full-freight subsidy of an alleged production ready product.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
quote:
I assume you mean batteries.
The discharge on a Li-ion "battery" more closely resembles a capacitor as I understand it.

Not really, capacitor's only hold their charge for a very short period of time. Often under a second, most are in the mSec discharge time.

(There are some experimental capacitors that can hold their charge for a long period of time.)

About renewable subsidies:

quote:
US states that enact renewable portfolio standards (RPS) have created local markets for renewable energy credits, allowing utilities to meet their requirements by buying RECs. In order to stimulate solar, a number of states have created “solar carve outs”, i.e. a separate standard for solar energy with its own SRECs, which have initial market prices in the 30-60c/kWh range – Massachusetts has set a floor price of 30c/kWh
quote:
Even for those who are fervent advocates of renewable energy, does it make sense to provide such huge subsidies to solar, when modest subsidies for land-based wind power of around 2-3c/kWh serve to make it grid competitive in many regions? Would the money be better spent on research and development, and the development of local workforce skills and business clusters?
Source
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noel
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quote:
The discharge on a Li-ion "battery" more closely resembles a capacitor as I understand it.

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

Not really, capacitor's only hold their charge for a very short period of time. Often under a second, most are in the mSec discharge time.

I was referring to the flat discharge curve. If you take a Li-ion cell apart, you will see that it is constructed exactly like a Kettering ignition capacitor, except it uses rolled foil lithium, rather than aluminum.

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3443

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
I was referring to the flat discharge curve.

I'm not sure what you are referring to. A distinguishing characteristic of capacitors is a very 'curved' discharge curve.

Capacitor Curve Image

Whereas, a typical battery does have a flat discharge curve.

Battery Curve Image


quote:
Originally posted by noel:
If you take a Li-ion cell apart, you will see that it is constructed exactly like a Kettering ignition capacitor, except it uses rolled foil lithium, rather than aluminum.

I think that's actually the Kettering ignition system:

quote:
The first reliable battery operated ignition was developed by the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co. (Delco) and introduced in the 1910 Cadillac. This ignition was developed by Charles Kettering and was a wonder in its day.
It consisted of a single coil, points (the switch), a capacitor and a distributor set up to allocate the spark from the ignition coil timed to the correct cylinder. The coil was basically an autotransformer set up to step up the low (6 or 12 V) voltage supply to the high ignition voltage required to jump a spark plug gap.

The points allow the coil to charge magnetically and then, when they are opened by a cam arrangement, the magnetic field collapses and a large (20 kV or greater) voltage is produced. The capacitor is used to absorb the back EMF from the magnetic field in the coil to minimize point contact burning and maximize point life. The Kettering system became the primary ignition system for many years in the automotive industry due to its lower cost, higher reliability and relative simplicity.

Wiki


Of course ultra-capacitors they discharge much more like a battery and since they are essentially mechanical versus the chemical nature of batteries they have significant benefits in number of potential discharge cycles (at significant costs)

Clearly though, ultra-capacitors are blurring the line between batteries and capacitors. If ultra-capacitors can flatten the normal capacitor discharge curve, maintain the very high amount of full charge/discharge cycles of traditional capacitors (>100,000) and creep down to roughly the same cost /wH of storage they will completely replace rechargeable batteries.

Image

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JWatts
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quote:
Honda announced it will begin selling two new plug-in electric vehicles in the United States in 2012.

The automaker will begin selling a small plug-in electric "commuter car" and a mid-sized or larger plug-in hybrid vehicle, Honda Motor America said.

Before mass-marketing these vehicles, Honda will roll them out in a test program in California beginning this year.

While other major automakers, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Fiat and Nissan have all previously announced plans to begin selling plug-in vehicles in this country by 2012, this is the first such announcement from Honda.

Both GM and Nissan will begin selling plug-in vehicles --- the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, respectively -- in relatively small numbers by the end of this year.

Ford Motor Co. plans to begin selling its Ford Focus BEV plug in car early next year. Fiat, now partnered with the U.S. automaker Chrysler, will begin selling an electric version of its tiny 500 hatchback in the U.S. in 2012.

Link
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JWatts
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EPA's Ratings for 2011 Chevy Volt: 60 MPG... With Some Caveats

quote:
The EPA has released its final gas mileage ratings for the much-anticipated, electric-toting 2011 Chevy Volt. The vehicle, scheduled to hit the pavement in early 2011, actually comes with three separate ratings: one for driving only on the car's 111-kW electric drive unit, one for driving on a combination of electricity and the car's four-cylinder engine, and one for driving on gasoline alone.

If anyone, Toyota's likely the least to be thrilled about the Volt's ratings. That's because the car has officially bumped out Toyota's Prius line as the most fuel-efficient series of hybrid vehicles on today's market. According to the EPA, the Volt is expected to get a flat 60 miles to the gallon using a combination of its gas- and electric-based propulsion.
...
If one were to just drive on the car's electric battery alone, you'd be able to max out at an equivalent of 93 miles per gallon
...
According to the EPA, Volt drivers will only be able to get around 35 total miles of operation before the car's battery goes kaput and the gas engine takes over. After that, you'll be able to continue on for around 344 miles gas-only, but the car's fuel economy drops to around 37 miles per gallon sans electrical assistance.

Link
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scifibum
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Any idea how they equate MPG to battery-powered driving efficiency? Is it based on cost to the consumer, or consumption of fuel (at the power plant)? Something else?
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G2
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Seems like a good thread to drop this one in. Consumer Reports has reviewed the Chevy Volt:
quote:
"When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it's not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy," said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here.

<snip>

The magazine said in its testing in Connecticut during a harsh winter, its Volt is getting 25 to 27 miles on electric power alone.

GM spokesman Greg Martin noted that it's been an extremely harsh winter — and as a Volt driver he said he's getting 29-33 miles on electric range. But he noted that in more moderate recent weather, the range jumped to 40 miles on electric range or higher.

There's the 5 hour recharge which Champion says is "annoying" and the heating system: "You have seat heaters, which keep your body warm, but your feet get cold and your hands get cold," Champion said.

Check me ... am I reading this right? One charge can get you only 25 miles in cold weather? You just gotta be ****ting me. I've run further than that, literally.
quote:
After the Volt battery is depleted, it switches to extended range mode, when a small 4-cylinder internal combustion engine burns premium gasoline to power a 55 kW (74 hp) generator supplying the electrical power to extend the Volt's range.
Premium gasoline. GM says it will get around 37 mpg in gasoline-only mode - my guess is it will be under 30 mpg in real world conditions. At nearly $4 dollars per gallon for premium, that's gonna be just dandy. I wonder what the effect of all that bio-fuel is on these engines? Can't be good can it?
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
Premium gasoline. GM says it will get around 37 mpg in gasoline-only mode - my guess is it will be under 30 mpg in real world conditions. At nearly $4 dollars per gallon for premium, that's gonna be just dandy. I wonder what the effect of all that bio-fuel is on these engines? Can't be good can it?

Why does it need premium? Does it actually have a high enough compression ratio to matter? If so, the premium will be cheaper per mile. I have a VW that gets about 12% higher mpg when running premium over regular. Considering that premium is usually only 6-8% higher than regular, why would I not use premium?
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G2
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I don't know why it requires premium. That's just what is reported.

USA Today reports:
quote:
The main advantage of premium-grade gas is that it allows automakers to advertise a few more horsepower by designing and tuning engines to take advantage of premium's anti-knock properties. But auto engineers generally agree that if you use regular in a premium engine, the power loss is so slight, most drivers can't tell.

<snip>

The only modern engines that should really need premium are those with superchargers, which force-feed fuel into the cylinders.

<snip>

High-test does have a potential fuel economy benefit. It is slightly denser than lower-octane gas, meaning there's a little more energy in a gallon. But the small difference is hard to measure in real-world use, and that same density can contribute to undesirable buildup of waste products inside the engine.

No data show that engines designed strictly for regular run better or longer on premium.

The Federal Trade Commission, in a consumer notice, emphasizes: "(I)n most cases, using a higher-octane gasoline than your owner's manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit. It won't make your car perform better, go faster, get better mileage or run cleaner."

There is "no way of taking advantage of premium in a regular-grade car," says Furey.

"There is no gain. You're wasting money," insists Jim Blenkarn, in charge of powertrains at Nissan in the USA.

"No customer should ever be deluded into thinking there's any value in buying a higher grade of octane than we specify," says Toyota's Paul Williamsen, technical expert and trainer.

Scientific American says:
quote:
But for standard cars on the road today, purchasing premium gasoline is simply paying a premium for a fuel that delivers no added benefits. "If you think you need it," Green says, "you're being very eccentric."
So maybe the Volt doesn't really need premium, it's just what GM puts in the literature. I don't know the specifications of that engine, maybe it does have something to force-feed fuel so it requires it.

Either way, Consumer Reports sure ain't a fan of the Volt.

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TheDeamon
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Having kept a logbook, and now keeping one on my smartphone where it does the MPG much more often than I could be bothered to. I have done test runs(from nearly empty tank to nearly empty tank, and successive refuels, even using an octane booster once just for the heck of it. And one of the tests was on a long highway drive(multiple refills) that I've done multiple times before)... If there was a fuel efficiency difference between Premium/Mid-grade/Regular unleaded gasoline for my Ford Taurus, I've never noticed one.

Family members who have kept log books of their own for their cars also have not reported a noticeable mileage difference between the octanes in their experience. It doesn't keep some of us from checking when we get a new car, but so far all we've received for doing so was the excuse to buy gas that was more expensive than we needed.

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JWatts
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Did you notice that Consumer Reports paid a $5,000 premium to the dealer for the car? It's not doing that bad if GM can charge that high a premium. However, the car will remain a niche car at prices over $40K.

Still despite everything (and I assume it will only get approx. 30 miles in the summer with the A/C at full blast) the car wouldn't be bad for commuting. If your round trip is 30 miles, you'd spend about $2 on the charge vs a gallon of gas.

If they can increase the battery capacity over time & reduce the cost it will be successful. If not it will join the GM EV1 in the dustbin of history.

As to the Premium fuel, that's probably a CYA by GM and is more than likely unnecessary.

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Pyrtolin
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The grade of fuel depends on the compression ratio the engine needs to operate efficiently.

In a car that requires premium, the difference you'll see is not in mileage, but in engine knock, and eventually buildup of crud from improperly burned fuel; the mileage itself is built into the compression ratio.

It's possible that they designed the Volt's engine to require a lot of compression, since that would improve overall efficiency. (I'd love to see more options where they go all in on compression and put in a modern diesel engine instead, but I'm not sure about how much that would add to overall weight)

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cherrypoptart
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Giant sky slides.

Say from Katy to downtown Houston which may be about a 30 minute drive, in the morning in Katy you go up an elevator to the top of a specially designed water tower and then get into a little slingshot that gives you a small push down a very small gradient water slide tube made out of bullet proof high grade industrial strength steel reinforced super low friction tinted glass. Then you take a similar fun commute back home in the evening.

Is this anything like what we're talking about?

Well, you can get into your green car that you left at the park and slide parking lot and finish the trip to your final destination from there. You can take mass transit or walk the tunnels downtown and use your car to and from your house and the starting slide point.

Kids twelve and under ride free.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:

Still despite everything (and I assume it will only get approx. 30 miles in the summer with the A/C at full blast) the car wouldn't be bad for commuting. If your round trip is 30 miles, you'd spend about $2 on the charge vs a gallon of gas.

15 miles each way, that's a pretty short commute. The average one-way commute in the US is 16 miles. That means the average person could probably not get to work and back in this car on one charge. Even if you do a below average commute, it's straight to work and back - no running errands after work or during the lunch hour. Even if you have it on a charging station, if you go out to lunch or have something out of the office you need to do then you probably won't get a full charge. This car is going to spend a lot of time on its generator.

I'm pretty surprised at how bad the battery performance is, it's gonna have to really improve.

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TheDeamon
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Electric cars are going to be a novelty item until the battery technology improves dramatically both in terms of charge/discharge times, and in terms of energy densities. Lithium batteries as they currently exist are not a viable solution for anything more than "novelty cars" you can use for some limited puttering around town in.

That specific market is rather small, and most consumers won't jump at the chance to buy one when they can get a more fully functional vehicle for considerably less money spent.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
15 miles each way, that's a pretty short commute.
You're also ignoring the fact that even if your commute is sixteen miles each way, you're only driving for about five miles daily -- assuming a lengthy side trip for lunch, and radio and A/C use -- on gasoline. So you get an estimated 93 miles per "gallon" for thirty miles, then around 32 miles per actual gallon for five miles. So each day of your normal commute, you're going 35 miles on just under half a gallon -- including real and electric "gallons." That's not shabby, and works out to 73 miles per gallon under "real-world" conditions.

The Volt is perfect for someone who needs a commuter car and nothing else. Unfortunately, it's not efficient enough at long ranges to be a versatile player -- and probably won't be until a couple generations of batteries have gone under the bridge.

[ March 02, 2011, 10:14 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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TheRallanator
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quote:
Originally posted by TheDeamon:

That specific market is rather small, and most consumers won't jump at the chance to buy one when they can get a more fully functional vehicle for considerably less money spent.

Or until the price of gas becomes so cripplingly expensive that the inconvenience of electric cars is seen as the better of two poor choices.

Although hopefully the early adopters will drive enough demand for auto manufacturers to keep stumping up large sums of cash to design new generations of electric cars until they're good enough for the gas-to-electric transition to be a matter of consumer choice instead of consumer necessity.

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TheDeamon
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quote:
Originally posted by TheRallanator:
Or until the price of gas becomes so cripplingly expensive that the inconvenience of electric cars is seen as the better of two poor choices.

Thing is, there is a rather long laundry list of "synthetic" petrol options that become viable to start ramping up once oil is in the $95/barrel range(and the expectation is that once some of those techniques are up and running at a suitable capacity, their cost begins to decrease with some estimate suggesting a floor under $50/barrel).

Now going back to previous price shocks we've had, that likely works out to roughly $4/gallon in most of the United States. The problem is getting those processes up and running. They're not likely to start until gas is a consistent $90+/barrel outside of events causing speculation bubbles/spot shortages/demand spikes.

So I guess I'm generally in the camp of I can see "price shock" situations where the price of gasoline goes through the roof for weeks/months at a time. However, I'd be surprised if the overall average gets far beyond the $5/gallon of unleaded(when adjusted for inflation) in the long run, with it dropping back down to the less than $4/gallon price point(inflation adjusted, pre-tax cost, value) over time.

We easily have have another 100 years worth of known fossil fuel substitutes for petrol sitting in the ground waiting to mined and converted to synthetic petrol, it just has to hit the right price.

quote:
Although hopefully the early adopters will drive enough demand for auto manufacturers to keep stumping up large sums of cash to design new generations of electric cars until they're good enough for the gas-to-electric transition to be a matter of consumer choice instead of consumer necessity.
At this point I don't think its the electric car design part of the equation that is the problem. I'm more satisfied that has been sufficiently resolved, as most of the things are the same, some other advanced techniques can be used to advantage(like regenerative braking) which don't apply to a standard ICE car. Electric motors have been demonstrated to be able to deliver the torque and horsepower needed to give a vehicle performance specs that drivers want(even for the NASCAR types).

The issue with electric cars now is the power source, in other words, it is all about the battery these days. The money sink in electric cars at this point is pretty much revolving around battery storage capacity(since it sucks compared to gasoline and ethanol), and improved charging characteristics paired with extending battery lifespans.

The thing holding back electric cars at this point are their batteries, not lack of imagination on the part of the automakers when it comes to packaging what's currently available.

I think it is actually is somewhat questionable on whether or not the market will ever get to the point that lithium batteries become a viable electric vehicle choice in the mass market consumer vehicle sector, as I don't think fuel prices will remain in a range where most people are going to be willing to pay the premium for the Electric Vehicle to avoid gasoline, unless an artificial market forcing is introduced(a much harsher tax on petrol(they need to raise the fuel tax rate anyway, since they failed to index the gas tax to either inflation or average MPG in an American vehicle in the first place)/subsidies on going Electric).

Of course, the head of DOE gave a presentation in Mexico where he said he's expecting very significant improvements in battery technology to reach the market sometime in the next 5 to 10 years(while also leaving the impression for many that he also views lithium as a dead-end battery tech). Not holding my breath either way.

[ March 04, 2011, 01:16 AM: Message edited by: TheDeamon ]

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JWatts
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quote:
The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf got top safety ratings in some of the first-ever tests of electric cars by an insurer-funded research group.

Both cars earned top scores for front, side and rear-impact crashes and for rollover crash protection, according to results released Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Link

Well, both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are in low production and on the market. It will be interesting to see how they perform. It's pretty much head to head as none of the other car manufacturers have an electric vehicle for mass sales. Furthermore, they are two fundamentally different designs which makes the final outcome even more interesting and hard to predict.

I'm hopeful they'll be successful, because the intrinsic benefit to the country (and world) is pretty large if production can ramp up and costs can come down.

Relevant statistics:
Nissan Leaf $40.3K (-$7.5K US subsidy)
Expected Range 65 miles

Chevy Volt $32.8K (-$7.5K US subsidy)
Expected Range 23-28 miles
(but has on-board engine to continue driving when battery is depleted).

I think the Chevy Volt might be a more practical design, but I've worked at both Nissan and GM and no one I know would bet that GM's dysfunctional structure could out compete Nissan.

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JWatts
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General Motors is either scamming it's customers or the IRS, either way they should be held accountable for their actions:
quote:

Chevy Volt spokesperson, Rob Peterson, states that "NLPC is confused." He then goes on to confirm that the dealerships purchasing Chevy Volts and reselling them as used vehicles are entitled to the $7,500 tax credit.

So GM dealers are selling Chevy Volt's among themselves to claim the $7,500.

quote:
Peterson also claims that no issues exist with dealerships taking the tax subsidies as long as they are honest with customers. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of that being the case. Many customers who buy Chevy Volts may feel that they are entitled to the tax credit, especially if they are paying near MSRP and the vehicles have such low mileage. The IRS form in its current form does not safeguard against double claiming of the tax credit.

An identifier field for the Vehicle Identification Number should be added to the form to prevent double claims of the tax credit. General Motors has a responsibility to ensure that Chevy Volt tax credits are reserved for the consumers that they were designed to benefit.

Link

So apparently the current $7,500 credit is on the honor system and there is no way to identify if the same vehicle has qualified for the credit multiple times.

Hmmm, if a company owned by the government is defrauding the IRS is it really fraud?

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Pyrtolin
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The article doesn't suggest anything about honor system or being unable to track which vehicles have has a credit claimed; it says that the policies around the credit, as they stand now, allow for multiple credits to be claimed. It's shady, and the rules need to be changed to put a stop to it, but as it stands, it's just a rational business decision since there's no rule against it.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
... it's just a rational business decision since there's no rule against it.

heh, just had to highlight that. [LOL]
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
... it's just a rational business decision since there's no rule against it.

heh, just had to highlight that. [LOL]
That is the key point, and precisely why regulation against such abuses is needed, regardless of what lays the foundation for said abuse.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
... it's just a rational business decision since there's no rule against it.

No, not even then. The PR is horrible. Granted the Dealers pocket the money and GM gets the bad PR, but from GM's perspective it has the potential of becoming a PR disaster. All you need is an IRS investigation, culminating in the denial of the Federal credit to the actual customers and the Chevy Volt will be starring on 60 Minutes for all the wrong reasons.

[ June 01, 2011, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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G2
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The Chevy Volt is back in the news with its recall and the need for a 6 figure subsidy to make it affordable for those making $170,000 a year or more. Yeah, good times. But how about that other up and comer, the Nissan Leaf? It's gotta be better right? Sure. We have a report on the Leaf from Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Hey, that guy's gotta be all for it right?
quote:
“It was a little nerve wracking,” Stephen Smith told the Nashville-based newspaper. “I’m finding the range is not 100 percent accurate.”
Oh yeah, Stephen just turned a 180 mile, three hour trip into six hours of "nerve wracking" hops from charging station to charging station. It sounds pretty much like the Consumer Reports reviewer, Rob Eshman:
quote:
“My life now revolves around a near-constant calculation of how far I can drive before I’ll have to walk,” Eshman wrote. “The Nissan Leaf, I can report, is perfect if you don’t have enough anxiety in your life.”
I guess Rob should look on the bright side, the Leaf won't spontaneously combust like the Volt.

Stephen says, "It’s good knowing we didn’t use a drop of oil getting down here." One thing he's missing: the heavily coal-generated electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority that powered his trip.

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Wayward Son
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For some reason, G2, you remind me of the guy who argued that the Model T was greatly inferior to the horse, and the technology would never go anywhere. [Smile]
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
Oh yeah, Stephen just turned a 180 mile, three hour trip into six hours of "nerve wracking" hops from charging station to charging station.
...
Stephen says, "It’s good knowing we didn’t use a drop of oil getting down here." One thing he's missing: the heavily coal-generated electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority that powered his trip.

This was local news for me and the man was pushing his luck.

Fist, the Nissan Leaf has a maximum rated range of 105 miles from Nissan (technically it's 47-105 miles) and a EPA expected range of 70 miles. So to attempt to drive a Leaf from Knoxville to Nashville in one charge is not possible by any measure. However, he did say he planned to stop at various Cracker Barrels for recharging. But he just checked a web site, not with the actual store. It turns out the Lebanon stores fast charger wasn't working and he had to plug it into a wall socket.

You get about 5 miles of charge per hour out of a standard 120 volt charge. So honestly he did pretty well considering he made it all the way to the Lebanon Cracker Barrel before he had to resort to a slow charge. He stopped multiple times at various Cracker Barrel's that all have fast chargers. Only the Lebanon store had a problem and it's only 20 miles out of Nashville.

Honestly, this might turn out to be a stroke of genius for Cracker Barrel. The cost of energy to charge the vehicle is minimal compared to waiting two hours for the vehicle to charge on the fast charger while your wife and kids hit the restaurant and then the gift shop.

But as to your point G2. Pure Electric cars are basically commuter vehicles. There is nothing wrong with the concept if you use it right. Is it a good idea for the Fed's to subsidize them as heavily as they do? That's questionable. But it's not as fundamentally as wasteful as the Ethanol or solar subsidies have been. It's certainly not nearly as bad as the Cash for Clunkers program was.

To put it in perspective a federal tax credit of $7,500 per vehicle amounts to $7.5 billion for the first million electric vehicles. The US spent $6 billion on Ethanol subsidies last year.

Electric cars do move us away from a dependency on foreign oil. They are fundamentally more efficient than gasoline engines. Even when the fuel source is partially coal, they are still better than gasoline engines are for the environment. (And TVA gets less than half of its power from coal).

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Pyrtolin
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Also- there was no "spontaneous combustion" issue for the Volt. Badly damaged Volts, left to sit for a week or so, may eventually degrade to the point where they catch on fire if the batter isn't discharged. That's about equivalent to puncturing a full tank of gas on a car and letting it sit without draining the tank.
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JWatts
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No, it indeed was 'spontaneous combustion'. The Volts self ignited with no external source of ignition. That's the definition of spontaneous combustion.

However, leaving the wrecked vehicle sitting for days with an electrolyte leaking is comparable to allowing a wrecked vehicle sitting for days with a leaking gas tank.

No one would have thought it was a condemnation of the car model if the NHTSA had left a wrecked gasoline vehicle leaking and it caught fire. It would have been reported as incompetence on the part of the NHTSA if it was reported at all.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
For some reason, G2, you remind me of the guy who argued that the Model T was greatly inferior to the horse, and the technology would never go anywhere. [Smile]

For probably the same reason, you remind me of the guy that, a couple times a year, proves the world will end tomorrow. [Smile]
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G3
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Heh. [LOL]

quote:
SAN FRANCISCO (Bloomberg) — Hybrid and electric cars are sparing the environment. Critics say they’re hurting the roads.

The popularity of these fuel-efficient vehicles is being blamed for a drop in gasoline taxes that pay for local highway and bridge maintenance, with three states enacting rules to make up the losses with added fees on the cars and at least five others weighing similar legislation.

“The intent is that people who use the roads pay for them,” said Arizona state Senator Steve Farley, a Democrat from Tucson who wrote a bill to tax electric cars. “Just because we have somebody who is getting out of doing it because they have an alternative form of fuel, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay for the roads.”

quote:
In Washington state, electric-car owners this year began paying a $100 annual fee. Virginia in April approved a $64 annual fee on hybrid and electric cars.

In New Jersey, Senator Jim Whelan, a Democrat from Atlantic City, has proposed a $50 annual fee on electric and compressed natural-gas cars that would be deposited into a state fund for road and bridge maintenance…

In Arizona, Farley’s measure, which has stalled, would impose a tax on electric cars of 1 cent per mile driven on the state’s highways, amounting to about $120 annually per car, he said. Texas lawmakers considered a similar bill this year.

In Indiana, lawmakers created a committee to study a local road impact fee on electric and hybrid cars to be paid at registration.

North Carolina’s Senate on May 23 approved a budget plan that includes a $100 fee for electric cars and $50 for hybrid cars, said Amy Auth, deputy chief of staff for Phil Berger, Senate president pro tempore. The plan has gone to the House for review, she said.

The automobile revolution...
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TomDavidson
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I would have thought that you'd be surprised to discover that electric cars and hybrids have become popular enough to make a dent in the collection of gasoline taxes.
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D.W.
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But Tom, isn't the idea that they haven't put a dent into it and this is actually the result of some oil lobby flexing to disincentivize electric cars a more amusing hypothesis?
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Viking_Longship
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I wonder if it's got more to do with people driving less.
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djquag1
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It's easier to drive less in some places then others.

Phoenix is mentioned, for example, and Phoenix is a lot like LA in that the city and it's surrounding towns making up the Valley megacity are a dubious testament to urban sprawl. Everything is just very spread out. The public transportation system is average, I'd say, but it's never fun walking to and waiting at bus or lightrail stations in 115-120 degree heat. Anyone who can get a car, gets a car, in the Valley.

The rest of the state is even worse. The next biggest city holds around four hundred thousand people.

Between the deserts, scrubland, mountains, and pine forest, the population outside of the Salt River Valley is very spread out.

I'm also not sure what point G3 is trying to make here. The legislator did break up a valid point ; gasoline taxes pay for roads, and if you use the roads but don't use gasoline, that's not very fair.

Is this supposed to be some example of liberals promising one thing and delivering another? Even paying one cent per mile, which looks like the most burdensome rate, owners of such vehicles are still saving money on not buying the gasoline.

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WmLambert
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Interesting thread.

The future of electric storage is probably at Dow Kokom. Their program is arguably the foremost in the world.

A post above from 2010 mentioned electric charging is done with coal powered plants - which makes the whole effort a wash.

Has anyone brought up Tesla and his designs for universal energy? It is reported that he had a broadcast energy vehicle that drove around successfully for no cost.

quote:
Nikola Tesla proved in 1931 that it is possible to power our vehicles without a drop of fossil fuel. He removed the gasoline engine of a Pierce Arrow and replaced it with an electric motor and drove for hours, at speeds as high as 90 mph.

...Supported by the Pierce-Arrow Co. and General Electric in 1931, Tesla took the gasoline engine from a new Pierce-Arrow and replaced it with an 80-horsepower alternating-current (AC) electric motor with no external power source. At a local radio supply shop he bought 12 vacuum tubes, some wires and assorted resistors, and assembled them in a circuit box 24 inches long, 12 inches wide and 6 inches high, with a pair of 3-inch rods sticking out. Getting into the car with the circuit box in the front seat beside him, he pushed the rods in, announced, “We now have power,” and proceeded to test drive the car for a full week, often at speeds of up to 90 mph. His car was never plugged into any electrical receptacle for a recharge.

His project for the Wardenclyffe Tower is well known. His other inventions were better than anything Edison ever conjured up, so just on his successful track record, you'd think we would have some definite engineering understanding of what he was up to.
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