For an engineering audience, the downside of the film is that it takes an all's-well-that-ends-well approach, essentially glossing over the fact that the struggle for pure electric vehicles will likely be with us for a long time. It makes the assumption that the technical work is completed, and it fails to address the fact that EV batteries are still prohibitively expensive.
At the film's end, we see a "good news" montage of successes for GM, Tesla, Nissan, and Abbott (the EV converter). Tesla's stock soars, and its massive DOE loan comes through. GM rolls out the Volt. Nissan gets a $1.4 billion loan to build Leafs, and Abbott's business recovers from a devastating fire.
Danny DeVito joins the montage long enough to remind us that we've left the Dark Ages. Another actor, Adrian Grenier, tells us that he can't wait for the electric car era. "The innovations are here now," Grenier says, smiling brightly. "Bring them to me. I want to play." The viewer is left to wonder what Grenier might think of today's paltry electric car sales figures.
Still, Revenge is perceptive. It shows the pain of taking risks, and it honors those who have the courage to initiate change. It gives us a glimpse inside the minds of the EV faithful. And it reminds us that we're heading in an electric direction, ready or not. Yes, the movie gives a one-sided view of the auto industry, but it also provides real insight into why we're going in that "electric direction."
Have you seen Revenge of the Electric Car? Do you agree/disagree with this review? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
For a close-up look at GM's Chevy Volt, go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller.
That (commercial use) is very likely. I've actually bet on it, in terms of buying a chunk of Westport's stock! It's up about 21% today (recovering from a long slide, but way above my cost). If you look at their web site (or look up WPRT on any financial news site) you'll see all of the action going on in the commercial/fleet business in conversion to CNG. Mass transit (buses), waste services (including Waste Management, which gets double benefit by using waste methane from their landfills), local delivery services (including all major players), etc. are all making major commitments. You're right when you point out that fleets generally will put their own infrastructure in place rather than relying on retail sources, but they will certainly help the economics by encouraging large-scale compression facilities.
Ratsky; I don't recall which post I saw this on, but Jerry dycus believes that commercial trucking will convert to CNG - possibly the majority. That would go a long way to making CNG filling locations widespread vs. relying on home-based refueling. Unfortunately, that would also make the levying of road taxes inevitable.
I couldn't find the trucking / CNG topic, but Jerry dycus also has comments on the Fuel from plastic topic.
Many years ago (like over 30) I lived in South Florida. Both the houses I lived in during that time had natural gas connections, for heating (yes, you do need it on occasion), cooking, and hot water. It was certainly generally available in my area (Broward County) but I can't speak for the rest of the state. Sorry to give you offense; I am a fairly sarcastic guy by nature! I did wait a long time waiting for someone else to comment on "propane vs. methane" but it never happened, and I got a bit carried away. There are more than a few "true believers" who are regulars whenever there's any discussion of EVs on this site; you know who you are!! You, GlennA, probably know them too. BTW, I assume Google led you to my favorite author, Eric Hoffer. Worthwhile read in these times of mass hysteria. You might also want to read up on Westport Technologies, a leader in the diesel-to-CNG conversion technology. Even with a road tax equal to that on gasoline, CNG is significantly cheaper. Today's pipeline prices for natural gas are at historic lows, and going lower every day.
Ratsky; Since you intended to offend me, I will take offense: I worked in propane and natural gas for years, as a licensed pipefittter, and was qualified (at the time) to do on-the-road vehicle propane conversions. So I have some familiarity wth LPG, CNG, and LNG. And I was the one who posted that CNG has a lower energy density than gasoline.
Rather than a "True Believer" (yes I Googled it) I think you could call me a true skeptic. I am familiar with Science and Facts, and I have seen how 'facts' can be manipulated, which is why I tend to take into consideration whose dog is in which fight.
I am not against CNG in cars, or other on-the-road-vehicles. I think Hybrid technology will help CNG through regenerative braking to offset the lower energy density. I am not familiar with CNG and fuel injectors - LPG was done as a carburetor modification. One of the reasons that LPG went out of favor was that road taxes were added when it became more popular. Another was that propane filling stations were not as plentiful as gasoline stations.
CNG will also lose some of its lustre when road taxes are added - it is inevitable that on-the-road CNG will somehow be levied with road taxes. Another factor is that CNG is not universally available - I was surprised when I was told that natural gas is rare in Florida. I guess because air conditioning is more prevalent than heating. So when you drive your CNG car to Florida, or any other long distance, plan ahead to find out where you can get fills.
GlennA: first of all, natural gas is METHANE (CH4), a cousin of propane (and butane, and even OCTANE). Second, it is not a liquid at all in vehicle use today (which is why it's called CNG (compressed natural gas), not LNG (Liquified natural gas) which IS problematic in many ways. Third, it's a fuel that has some other attractive aspects: it can be a GREEN fuel (as in a by product of landfills), the proven reserves in the USA are IMMENSE and growing, and it is a relatively small jump from gasoline-fueled ICE technology. Actually, the preferred implementation today is a variation of Diesel technology! Yes, as one other poster has noted, its specific energy density is less than gasoline, and, as a hydrocarbon, it does have a "carbon footprint" when it burns (but a much smaller one that gasoline or diesel). I know it's hard for a True Believer (Google that) like you to understand real science and real facts, but at least make the effort! As another poster pointed out, there already are compressors that can fuel your CNG vehicle directly from your natural gas pipe at home. BTW, they are significantly CHEAPER then any of the "fast-charge" home stations for pure EVs!
Natural gas is only "Subsidized" if you look at it like a politician and ANYTHING you fail to tax is a subsidy.
It is a loaded term. Is your house subsidized because you take advantage of the mortgage tax break? The argument is that the oil industry is subsudized becase they take advantage of tax breaks in their industry
used to be a subsidy was something you recieved a payment for. Now it has become anytime goverment doesn't take its chunk, or any benifit I think you get that I'm not able to take advantage of.
There's a second in the film Vengeance of the Power Car when a Popular Aspects journal writer says, "The most frightening part is, can they get the cost of the battery power down?" If you watch the film, that's about as close as you'll get to a real specialized controversy on the long run of energy source. Wouldn't want to be stuck in a traffic jam on a freeway on a 110 degree day when the EV battery dies and the radiators won't work. It could be life-threatening.
CraigHolm; (With the exception of all electric vehicles) On-the-road vehicles pay road taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline. Licensing and vehicle registration fees can also be construed as 'taxation'. A natural gas fueled vehicle that does not pay road taxes on natural gas fuel is subsidized by those unpaid taxes. Gasoline for farm equipment used to have a dye added - if that dye showed up in a road vehicle gasoline tank you could be fined. I don't know if farm gasoline is still dyed. Note that an 'odometer' tax has been suggested so that high-fuel-efficient vehicles could be taxed through mileage rather than fuel consumption.
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
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