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Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
"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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Grant (Member # 1925) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Hannibal (Member # 1339) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Aris Katsaris (Member # 888) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by RickyB (Member # 1464) on :
 
"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?
 
Posted by jasonr (Member # 969) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Michelle (Member # 3237) on :
 
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.)
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by Clark (Member # 2727) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Grant (Member # 1925) on :
 
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
 
Posted by Michelle (Member # 3237) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by jasonr (Member # 969) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
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)
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by Hannibal (Member # 1339) on :
 
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
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
JWatts,

The case for that has not been made.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Michelle (Member # 3237) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 945) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
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
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 945) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 945) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
"Early adoption" implies it will be the eventual choice. I question that implicit premise.
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 945) on :
 
Ah, I see.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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
 
Posted by noel (Member # 6560) on :
 
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
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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
 
Posted by scifibum (Member # 945) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by philnotfil (Member # 1881) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by TheDeamon (Member # 551) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
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)
 
Posted by cherrypoptart (Member # 3942) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by TheDeamon (Member # 551) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by TheRallanator (Member # 6624) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by TheDeamon (Member # 551) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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 ]
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by Wayward Son (Member # 210) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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).
 
Posted by Pyrtolin (Member # 2638) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by JWatts (Member # 6523) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
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]
 
Posted by G3 (Member # 6723) on :
 
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...
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by D.W. (Member # 4370) on :
 
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?
 
Posted by Viking_Longship (Member # 3358) on :
 
I wonder if it's got more to do with people driving less.
 
Posted by djquag1 (Member # 6553) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by WmLambert (Member # 604) on :
 
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.
 
Posted by djquag1 (Member # 6553) on :
 
I'm convinced Tesla was a wizard or a time traveler.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
Just FYI: the Tesla electric car story is almost certainly a myth. It's nice to imagine, though.
 
Posted by G3 (Member # 6723) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
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.

Let's check that ...

According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics for 2009 there are 254,212,610 registered passenger vehicles. According to the US Energy Information Administration there are 67,295 electric or hybrid cars in 2011. That's about 0.026%.

So, yeah, I'd be very surprised to discover that electric cars and hybrids have become popular enough to make a dent in the collection of gasoline taxes.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
Yes. I was speaking firmly tongue-in-cheek.
 
Posted by G3 (Member # 6723) on :
 
Sure.
 
Posted by Wayward Son (Member # 210) on :
 
Actually, according to this site, they said there were 2,126,357 hybrid gas/deisel-electric vehicles in the U.S. in 2011, quite a bit more than 67,000. And it is probably significantly more today.

Not that even these numbers have made a dent in gas tax... [Smile]
 
Posted by G3 (Member # 6723) on :
 
Yeah, I thought we were talking about electric so bump that percentage up to 0.8%. Significantly more today? I doubt that. These cars are mostly priced for the 1%, they're not cheap and the Obama economy has not been kind the last couple of years. More, sure. I'd think maybe it might reach up to 1%.

But the real question is, after all the subsidies and how this is the moral thing to drive, why is there now a penalty being generated?
 
Posted by djquag1 (Member # 6553) on :
 
It's not a penalty. It's a tax.

Gasoline taxes pay for roads. Electric cars use no or very little gasoline. Therefore, electric car owners are not helping to pay for the roads they drive on. This makes up for that.

If 120 dollars a year is going to be a deciding factor in purchasing an electric vehicle, then I seriously doubt the people in question could afford an electric vehicle to begin with.

Also, what is your vision for funding roads in a world where all or most automobiles aren't powered by gasoline anymore?
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
djquang1,

a big problem I have with gasoline taxes, is that the maintenance costs are mostly payed for by average americans, whereas most of the cause of the need for maintenance is from heavy trucks.

Ie result from a study of heavy loads on road maintenance costs,

quote:
The study found that 55% to 65% of
the recent estimates of road wear cost were due to heavy vehicles for the average level of traffic
loading on the bituminous surfaced arterial road network of Australia

http://www.iri.ku.edu/publications/HighwayDamageCosts.pdf


Thus most of the cost is caused by corporations. (Other major issue is that the oil companies lobbied to get cheaper asphault used which greatly reduces road durability) Thus the tax burden should be born primarily by corporations which are causing the cost to be incurred. (Yes the cost would/could be passed on to consumers, but then the specific consumers would experience the costs. Also it would properly allocate externalities, encouraging using transport with a much lower true cost).
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
I imagine that in such a world, G3 will be waving an axe duct-taped to an assault rifle from the sidecar of an armored motorcycle, his purple mohawk flying in the wind.
 
Posted by djquag1 (Member # 6553) on :
 
Lulz. I don't know if you're poking fun at my question or G3, but I chuckled regardless.
 


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