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Captain Hybrid
Big Battery EVs Under Fire
10/1/2012

Light plug-in hybrids, like the Prius PHV, have a better near-term outlook than pure electric cars with big batteries.   (Source: Toyota Motor Corp.)
Light plug-in hybrids, like the Prius PHV, have a better near-term outlook than pure electric cars with big batteries.
(Source: Toyota Motor Corp.)

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naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Scientific breakthrough
naperlou   10/1/2012 9:56:55 AM
Chuck, the situation with battery packs seems to be following the trajectory of nuclear fusion.  Let me explain.  The situation in fusion is that we know we can generate energy from it, but can it be sustained and can it be better than break even.  There is even a big international project underway.  It took them something like ten years to decide where to put it.  The point is, that while we think it can be done, the uncertianty is so great that no commercial venture would approach it.  In fact, it looks like no single government has the funds or will to do it alone either. 

Battery technology is the same.  There are commerial companies working on it, but most, if not all, get direct government subsidies.  There is still no guarnteed way to get to a battery cost and density that would make all electric vehicles a true competitor.  Sometimes these scientifc breakthroughs don't come along, or come along too late to "save" a particular industry.

The final piece of the puzzle is charging time.  What happens when you are running low on charge.  Even if there is a high voltage charging station nearby you are talking a couple of hours.  If you are running low on gasoline, you pull into a gas station, of which there are many, and in a few minutes you are on your way with a "full charge".  There has been talk of having battery swap stations for decades.  I mean decades.  Ever since the first electric vehicle mandates in California this has been a solution discussed by the industry.  What that would require is a standardized battery pack.  Perhaps you could have a small number.  Just think of that in terms of the EV car industry today. 

So, as I have been advocating on this site for a while, we need to look to solutions that improve our efficiency while keeping total cost of ownership at current levels or better. 

Jerry dycus
User Rank
Gold
Re: Scientific breakthrough
Jerry dycus   10/1/2012 3:55:18 PM
NO RATINGS
 Nice accurate post Brian.

Naperlou

As I've said before, the present batteries are fine, it's the overweight, overpriced, overteched EV's big auto is making because they don't want them in great numbers. 

Next your charging point isn't true as EV batteries, especially ones in lighter, more eff EV's can be charged in 15 minutes with the present charghe points being put in now.

 EV's are not designed for long distance, but local driving,go somewhere, park/charge while doing whatever it is you went to do, then go to the next thing. But rarely would one do over 60 miles/day according to national studies of actual daily travel needs. 

Changing battery packs was  normal in 1900'1910 as NYC Taxi , delivery trucks had them then, No?  A Better lace has stations in Tokyo  and building them in Cal Hawaii, Israel, Denmark, etc.

Most in fact would be used for commuting with side trips going to, from work which it's perfect for 90% of US car trips.  If one needs longer range they can rent or own a small fueled generator onboard, Lotus makes a 35kw unit that weighs 115lbs IIRC, though most smartly done EV's need less than 1/3 that takes away all charging needs.

Who one buy a Hoe to plow a field?

EV 'problems' all have reasonable solutions but too many don't want to think critically enough to find them by bias, laziness, ignorance though I have to admit the common propaganda put out by big oil, auto certainly would make one think they are not practical.

But are we not suppose to be designers, engineers here who should be able to look at the real facts and tell them from the obvious propaganda?

Charles I noticed your quote of me, EV's are overweight, overpriced, overteched in EV article in the print DN's.  That big Auto is against EV's is a fact, not a idea as Chevron did buy up the NiMH patents and did stop others from producing EV size batteries from them, No?  GM did crush rather than sell the EV-1's at a nice profit, No?  Is it parnoid thinking if they actually do it or just a fact? 

Luckily there are now so many diffeent battery types especially of various Lithium versions they can no longer buy them all.

Here is what with a better looking body, 100 mile battery range  and using medium tech composites EV's should be.
www.worldcarfans.com/10710103425/toyotas-1x-concept-baby-prius

With work well underway on the facelifted new Prius, Toyota will be exploring new avenues of green machines at this month's upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.
www.greencarcongress.com/2008/02/toyota-1x-plug.html

« GM Introduces Flex-Fuel Version of Chevrolet HHR; First Four-Cylinder Flex-Fuel Engine from GM in North America | Main | Hyundai Introduces i-Blue Fuel

 

emachado
User Rank
Iron
Re: Scientific breakthrough
emachado   10/2/2012 10:51:05 AM
NO RATINGS
The replaceable battery pack solution is so obvious to me that it hurts not seeing more effort being put into it. Is there any work at all being done by the powers that be (ISO, IEEE, etc.), along with the car industry, into looking at creating a standard (or standards) for battery packs?

One could think of specifying a few different platform form factors, energy content, voltage output, cooling requirements, and so on. New industries would then pop up providing (selling, leasing, renting) the packs, leaving the car companies to innovate on "content", which would immediately decrease the price of a EV car, making it a lot more attractive.

Pack replacement could be done by small robots in a 5 minute job and charging done in the background. The incentive would be there to improve the quality of packs (chemistry, use of super capacitors and other energy storage solutions, improving reliability, repair), thereby increasing the profits for the provider and allowing for price/rental reductions.

It is, however, a big infrastructure transition, where things have to come together at the same time: No point in having these stations if there are no cars, and it is very limiting to have cars without these stations.

Do we have to wait for the military to take the first step?

 

technowatcher
User Rank
Gold
Re: Scientific breakthrough
technowatcher   10/2/2012 12:42:10 PM
NO RATINGS
emachado,

There is one company that I know of that is actually deploying battery swap stations in several countries on a trial basis.  see:  http://www.betterplace.com/

While the concept has some issues (eg. how do you guarantee that every battery pack is as good as the original?) - it seems pretty workable and practical.

There is a bigger issue, however.  Most people (esp. non-technical zealots like some posters here) seem to ASSUME that EV's are the future, if only the cost can be brought down.  They think that EV's are automatically the best solution, that they are "obviously" zero emissions.  Clear thinkers, in contrast, study the details to understand the bigger picture - that EV's are only as "clean" as the power grid that charges them.  The batteries are the weak link, with high cost and also rare, expensive, often caustic chemicals, and a huge issue with useful battery life and recycling old ones.

I think the fundamental question needs to be asked (and answered) - what, exactly, is the problem that EV's are supposedly solving?  If it is to get us off of fossil fuels - they don't really do that (with today's avg. power grid)...only shifting fuel from oil to mainly coal+natural gas.  If THAT were the main goal, we could easily shift ICE cars to run on natural gas or coal-based synfuel (as China already is).  In the more distant future, solar-created synfuels could be used - eliminating the need to further burden the electric grid or have massive batteries, yet acheiving 100% renewable power for cars and all the infastructure, range and convenience as today's cars.

I think that hybrid cars make much more sense than EV's because they acheive fantastic MPG gains in city driving, yet make do with frugally small batteries (and maybe in the near future - ultracapacitors instead of batteries).  They are the best balance of efficiency, range, practicality and economics.  THAT is the reason that Toyota is not very interested in pure EV's - as the hybrid leader they are aware of these facts.

In the end, once the distortions from the massive government support spending on EV's  stops - what will drive the mass market is ECONOMICS.  EV's are just a passing fad for mainstream cars, but will probably remain a viable solution for short-range city cars and taxis.  

ScotCan
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Scientific breakthrough
ScotCan   10/2/2012 11:00:39 AM
NO RATINGS
40 odd years ago Mallory/Duracell Canada produced a primary D cell with an energy density which matches the Lithium  products of today. It was difficult to manufacture, but significantly outperformed anything on the market at that time. The application that it was designed for was highly specialized so its commercial viability was limited, and an alternative solution to the cold weather application was cobbled around existing product so the project was shelved. It was called the 10K63; it had a specialized anode and a development was in works to make a specialized cathode to further improve its performance. Admittedly it was a primary cell, BUT, the chemistry and structural changes did make it the most powerful D size cell in the world at that time. Perhaps if our States side cousins ferreted around in the Duracell archives they would find what it was all about and perhaps, just maybe, advance battery technology courtesy of the Canucks...how about it eh? (humour)

Brian Keez
User Rank
Bronze
EV-fear
Brian Keez   10/1/2012 11:12:39 AM
The CBO report on federal tax credits and electric vehicles is incomplete and relies on poor assumptions.  They use no actual statistic from the 40,000 PHEV and BEV's (AEV) that are mentioned in the report. - It assume that the average range of an all-electric is 55 miles (pg. 32) - It assumes that EV's are only be charged once per day (pg. 7) - It assumes that EV's are driven fewer miles than an ICE would be by the same driver The report was obviously written by people who are only academically familiar with electric vehicles.  Who chose not to use available real-world data and instead chose "CBO assumptions." Toyota just does not want to build an EV, they stated that they were focusing on hybrids-only a couple of years ago. With the failure of the EV Project, the slow roll-out of infrastructure has hindered the demand of the cars. Constant misinformation supported by very deep pockets is another challenge. However, as I continue driving my Nissan LEAF in my daily commute alongside the gas-burners, people will realize that there is a lot of money to be saved by owning an EV.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: EV-fear
naperlou   10/2/2012 10:33:19 AM
Brian, your statement that there is a lot of money to be saved with an EV is false.  You may want to look at other posts that I have made on this subject on the Design News site. 

The problem again is the cost of the batteries.  If you want to get to some serious range you are talking about the Tesla cars.  The original Tesla roadster could get over 250 miles.  The battery, on the other hand, weighs 900 lbs and costs the manufacturer $25,000.  To replace it in the field costs $40,000.  This is not worth it. 

The other issue with EVs is the driving pattern.  Sure, most trips are short.  But most people do take longer trips with their car.  Having a vehicle that can only be used around town, whcih would require a vehicle to go on trips with (or to haul more that a small amount of stuff) is a luxury.  There are plenty of times when my wife and I need to drive a distance at the same time.  So, owning one EV and one ICE powered vehicle is not practical.  If you are in the a situation where you can own a third or fourth then you don't need to suppossed savings you are talking about. 

Brian Keez
User Rank
Bronze
Re: EV-fear
Brian Keez   10/2/2012 11:59:53 AM
NO RATINGS
naperlou, I own and drive an EV every day.  I don't think that anything that you have posted before will convince me that what I do everyday isn't really happening.

I drive 2,200 miles per month at a cost of around $120.

It's true that without the state and federal rebates the car would not make as much financial sense.  With the amount of driving that I do and the current price of gasoline, even with the unknown cost of the battery - I am saving quite a bit of money.

I take longer trips and since the charging infrastructure is so poor, I cannot drive an EV, however, that is slowly changing.  Some EV owners are working on directly building-out the infrastructure because it makes sense for us to do financially vs. buying gasoline.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
There you go again
CharlesM   10/2/2012 9:52:37 AM
I don't have time now to address this adequately, but for now let me just point out that the problems ramping up production of the Tesla S have nothing at all to do with its battery pack or the size of that pack.  This is all anyone needs to know to see the bias of this article. (2nd quick point: Why is the Chevy Volt doing so well? That doesn't figure in with your premise.  No matter, you'll re-spam your subscribers yet again with the link to the old articles about the bogus and overblown "Chevy Volt Battery Fires!!" any day now.  That'll scare potential buyers off yet again.) 

UBM Electronics publications never stop their drumbeat of doubt and pessimism about the technologies for environmental sustainability and the need for any at all (e.g., climate "skepticism," etc., ad nauseam). In spite of those technologies thoroughly dominating your articles and advertising over the last few years. A few examples: Avnet Chevy Volt Drive, the "greening" of power supplies with lower power, reduced standby current and power factor correction, wind turbine innovations, and LED lighting. This is where your and the industry's growth is, but you can't stop bashing it.

Is it is the controversy you want because it's good for business, or is it something more about UBM's politics? 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: There you go again
Charles Murray   10/2/2012 1:12:39 PM
The fact that you disagree with this article doesn't mean that UBM articles are biased, CharlesM. Moreover, your accusation about Chevy Volt battery fire stories couldn't be more inaccurate. During the media-wide spread of battery fire stories, we were the ones that pointed out -- repeatedly -- that there was nothing to worry about.

See "Experts Say Managing Risks Properly." http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=250517

See "Don't Worry, Your Battery Won't Explode." http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=242177

When the Volt production was idled in March, we were the ones that said, "It isn't a sign that the Volt is dead or electric cars are disappearing." See, "GM: We're Not Pulling the Plug on Chevy Volt," http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=240199. Two weeks ago, when Reuters wrote an article saying Volt production costs exceeded its selling price by $49,000, we were the ones going to bat for GM and saying the Reuters assessment was wrong. See "Chevy Volt: Not Time to Panic," http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=250517.

Regarding our Avnet Drive for Innovation: Editor Brian Fuller has toured the country with the Volt, driven it up Pikes Peak, and written a boatload of positive stories about it. When I reviewed the Volt, I called it an "astonishing vehicle, a lot of fun to drive, yet stingy in its use of energy." We've also done a similar positive review on the Prius PHV.

Oh, and there's also our Engineer of the Year award three years ago: We nominated JB Straubel of Tesla Motors, named him the winner, and wrote a four-page magazine piece about his efforts. See "Tesla Engineer Boosts EV Range to New Heights," http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=228520.

If that shows a "drumbeat" of bias against EVs and sustainability, then we sure have a funny way of showing it.

MIROX
User Rank
Platinum
Re: There you go again
MIROX   10/2/2012 1:46:07 PM
NO RATINGS
Great links !

And don't forget the Fisker fires and CR report as well as the fact that TESLA if it does not get more investors $$$ is out of business !!!

 

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: There you go again
CharlesM   10/2/2012 11:26:10 PM
If that shows a "drumbeat" of bias against EVs and sustainability, then we sure have a funny way of showing it.
 
Mr. Murray, I couldn't have put it better myself.  It's funny that you may equivocate or have mitigating words defensive of EVs buried in your articles, but people who aren't enthusiasts or don't have time to read these only see their DN Daily Update in their IN boxes with titles including words like "...Volt fires..." (plural). I've found these two UBM pieces:
 
http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-blogs/other/4230609/Chevy-Volt-fires-cause-concern?cid=NL_Automotive&Ecosystem=automotive-design
 
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=236254
 
Then in the article that is the first link in your comment, you subsequently wrote: 
 
Chevy Volt batteries have caught fire. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) is investigating, and General Motors has offered to buy Volts back from any owner who fears the electric cars will catch fire.Chevy Volt batteries have caught fire.
 
So does it mean the Chevy Volt is unsafe? The short answer is, no -- ... 
 
You used the plural of battery, yet the previous link, written by Brian Fuller, lists 3 fires of which 2 were said to be not caused by the Volt. I've since only seen the debacle referred to as fires, as in > 1.  If there was more than one NHTSA or other fire, I haven't read it reported in DN or elsewhere. Something's missing or there's a fear factor not being accounted for.
 
Then, you got the jump on the Volt cost issue with this article you wrote: 
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=238707&cid=NL_Newsletters+-+DN+Daily
 
Tell me what sounds optimistic or positive about this for EV's. You include: "...Those (high price) numbers place the Volt close to low-end luxury vehicles. As we've said before, the Volt is a car for those with an untraditional sense of luxury -- well-to-do people who are willing to spend the extra money to clean up the environment. ..."
 
Ouch. Then, after quoting two anti-EV commenters on this site (great research!), there's: That's probably why, before the fire investigations (my emphasis) affected sales (helped by UBM articles), the Volt was still running below its projected sales levels for 2011. Even with a big December, it fell about 2,300 units short of its year-end sales goal of 10,000. So it's a stretch to blame everything on bad publicity.
 
Yes, we know EVs are pricey until they mature in technology and in economies of scale.  They need to be produced in higher volumes before they can compete with high volume cars like the Cruze. That's why financial incentives are needed from the government.  Then in that same article you raise the question of whether the Volt can continue in the marketplace. Where did that come from?! You seem to be among the first, if not the first, to have suggested that the Volt may or could be terminated. Of all the EV sources I read, Greencarreports, Autoblog, gm-volt.com, mynissanleaf, etc., I'd never heard that suggested anywhere else. What effect was this supposed to have?
 
Last comes your March 7 article addressing speculation that the spring production line shutdown again spelled doom for the car:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=240199&cid=NL_Newsletters+-+DN+Daily
 
WTF?! It doesn't matter that you conclude the opposite, it's the threat you lend credence to. It's as if my wife hurt her leg and then you announce to the world that it's not because I beat her.  Here's more cold water: When the Volt returns, however, it will still face stiff competition. The Chevy Cruze Eco, built on the same platform as the Volt, offers more than 40 mpg and costs half of what the Volt does.   
 
I've driven both cars and the Cruze, while nice for what it is, is no Volt. It doesn't have the latter's high torque, smooth, quiet propulsion and in the real world few Cruze owners would ever see 40MPG. The average Volt owner sees 128MPG from gasoline.
http://www.voltstats.net/
 
So why the article and its pessimism?  Do you think it helped drive perspective buyers to dealerships or away from them?  I understand it's not your job to sell their cars, but this was just doing the opposite. Is that your job, to drum up fears and doubts?
 
And finally regarding another topic critical to sustainability, there is the regularly and oft repeated Daily Update headline, which I most recently received just today(!):
 
Global Warming: Are the Skeptics Right?
Is the science of global warming incontrovertible? Sixteen distinguished scientists say no.
 
Why does UBM keep linking this?  Of the hundreds or more climate scientists in the world--not just scientists in general--, at least 97% of the experts believe global warming is a grave and serious threat to our planet, and probably underestimated in its effects, rather than overestimated. Yet a mere 16 known deniers, some of whom are not even climate scientists wrote this letter that has been debunked in Forbes and the Guardian, among other publications. 
 
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/01/29/413961/panic-attack-murdoch-wall-street-journal-finds-16-scientists-long-debunked-climate-lies/
 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/01/wall-street-journal-climate-change
 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2012/01/27/remarkable-editorial-bias-on-climate-science-at-the-wall-street-journal/
 
That last link mentions that "...255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a comparable (but scientifically accurate) essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered it to the Wall Street Journal, and were turned down."  
 
Did you report that or that the 16 denier letter was followed up by a letter written by 39 climatologists that thoroughly put the WSJ 16 letter to shame?  
http://climatecrocks.com/2012/02/01/scientists-answer-the-wall-street-16/
 
I haven't seen any UBM teasers out on this rebuttal.
 
What does this say about UBM other than that it severely cripples your publisher's scientific credibility to the point of laughingstock? Except that global warming is a very serious topic and it could really use some credibility in engineering media. Does UBM have an anti-science bias? Sure seems so with respect to climate science. What else is there?
 
So yes, Mr. Murray, UBM's headlines and general tone comes off as negative toward EVs, and reads like a drumbeat against EVs and against sustainability.


fixitsan
User Rank
Silver
Re: There you go again
fixitsan   10/3/2012 6:50:25 AM
I agree there appears to be bias, reporting on space travel many technical reporters will go to great lengths to share their hopes, but on EV's the same reporters don't have hopes at all, a lot of the time. Why have hope for space travel when it isn't going to happen, not for a useful purpose at least,  in your lifetime ? Surely having hopes for EV's isn't a sin ?

I have to disagree with the use of the CO2 'denier' label though. Is someone who doesn't believe in god a god denier ? surely the lack of proof over the existence of AGW and god is the same ?

If ten years ago i had made a prediction of 20% return on your investment over 30 years of investing with my company, yoiu might have been sceptical, but might have thoguht it possible and even believable, and so invested with me. Then over the past ten years my prediction of the level of return has diminished, from a  hardcore 20%, to 10%, then 5%, then ' Probably will return something'

I'm using this investment analogy because the  IPCC has continued to reduce it's predicted environmental 'disaster returns on investment' continuously over the past 10 years from 'All hell and fury and floods and plagues' to 'probably going to see something different, somewhere'.

All I ask is, at what point int he financial investment scenario above do you realise there is asomething wrong with the predictions ? Most people would remove their financial and intellectual investment well before the return dropped to just 5%.....so why are so many people still investing  in the dropping return of the AGW argument.

If I am labelled a denier for being shrewd with my intellectual investment (after doing much research and watching how the IPCC have continually reduced the level of predicted disasterous effects) then so be it. but i am shrewd enough to know that denying means refuse to believe the truth, and as yet the IPCC hasn't been able to say just what the truth is, without changing it later on, and that, looks a lot like con to me.


I am against pollution which is dangerous, and if someone can categorically prove that CO2 is dangerous I will be against it too, but for now, the trees which are increasing their rate of growth as a benefit from higher CO2 levels, and the debatable temperature 'rises' (depends who's data you use, NASA satallites say there's lots of cooling going on and the ANTArctic ice is this year at it's greatest volume ever recorded) I am going to hold off from intellectual investment with what appears to be an intellectual con.

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

akwaman
User Rank
Gold
You know what happens when you ASSUME...
akwaman   10/3/2012 9:36:10 AM
NO RATINGS
fixitsan: yup. you are a denier, I said it. Your first paragraph ALMOST gets to a good point, but the rest leaves much to be desired.  Number 1:  No evidence of God exists whatsover.  There IS a lot of evidence that points to the conclusion of a warming trend GLOBALLY.  Your argument is based on faith, but in science, faith plays no part.  Here is a classic Fruedian slip:  "i am shrewd enough to know that denying means refuse to believe the truth"  You are a denier by your own definition, because you fail to examine the facts, and instead go on your feelings.  I would like you to examine the evidence on this page before you say "the ANTArctic ice is this year at it's greatest volume ever recorded"   http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/climatechange/september-2012-a-record-breaki-1/83218

and here: http://grist.org/news/watch-the-arctic-thaw-in-video-and-graph-form/ 

You are probably referring to the SEA ICE EXTENT, which is a far cry from "the ANTArctic ice" which on one side of Antarctica is high, and other regions are low, mainly due to prevailing winds (it seems).  The acutal amount of ice in Antarctica is decreasing, and more sea ice extent would lead one to believe that more ice is separating from the continent, leading to the more evidence of global warming.  Here is an reality check concerning any increase in ice extent in the Antarctic (BTW:  The Arctic ice extent is at record lows).  This was at the bottom of the article, so probably went unnoticed by our brilliant contributor, who overlooked the first several charts, to find the chart at the end of the article he thought would support his biased and unresearched notions.

Dr. Sharon Stammerjohn of INSTAAR, University of Colorado, provides a review of the differences between Arctic and Antarctic climate controls on sea ice and helps place the events in context.

 "First, climate is warming over much of the Antarctic continent, as shown in several recent studies (e.g., Steig et al., 2009) and is related to Pacific Ocean warming (Ding et al., 2010) and circumpolar winds. Both warming and ozone loss act to strengthen the circumpolar winds in the south. This is due primarily to persistently cold conditions prevailing on Antarctica year-round, and a cold stratosphere above Antarctica due to the ozone hole. Stronger winds generally act to blow the sea ice outward, slightly increasing the extent, except in the Antarctic Peninsula region, where due to geography, winds from the north have also increased, pushing the ice southward. Thus, sea ice extent near the northwestern Antarctic Peninsula continues to decline rapidly, while areas in the Ross Sea and the southern Indian Ocean show significant increases (Stammerjohn et al., 2012).

Comparing winter and summer sea ice trends for the two poles is problematic since different processes are in effect. An expansion of winter Antarctic ice could be due to cooling, winds, or snowfall, whereas Arctic summer sea ice decline is more closely linked to decadal climate warming."

to fixitsan:  Deniers are usually the people who read the headlines and never actually look at the evidence in detail.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: There you go again
CharlesM   10/3/2012 9:38:38 AM
NO RATINGS
surely the lack of proof over the existence of AGW and god is the same ?

Surely no. You're conflating religion, which is faith and without uncertainty, with science, which is evidence-based and always has uncertainty by definition.

Please provide references where the IPCC has backpedaled on its predictions. Where is the "dropping return of the AGW argument"? Where do NASA satellites disprove AGW by showing "there's lots of cooling going on"?

if someone can categorically prove that CO2 is dangerous I will be against it too

No one is claiming there aren't uncertainties, otherwise it's not science. Just that the uncertainties are down to being somewhere between we're screwed and we're truly doomed. Obviously, if you need 100% proof without uncertainty, then you'll stay in denial, convenient for a piggish lifestyle and to not being part of the solution. Hence the problem is harder to solve. That's society's dilemma, the mother of all tragedy of the commons.

fixitsan
User Rank
Silver
Re: There you go again
fixitsan   10/3/2012 3:17:42 PM
NO RATINGS
Well, I don't know whether to be amused or flattered. I came, I posted and I was argued with. I was just talking openly, wasn't trying to make a new argument, but merely find some facts. And i have to say I still didn't get any.

Let me see if I can make an argument then and we'll be able to shine some light onto all the points we all think make a great argument. but all I ask is that yiou try to remain emotionally ambivalent , forget the namecalling, it doesn't suit grown intelligent men one bit.

I am the same as you if you think that AGW theory is fact. That might be hard to believe, but read it again, because if you believe in AGW theory and I do not we are still the same, especially if you claim to be a practitioner of the scientific method. Allow me to explain.

The first position of the practitioner of the scientific method is scepticism. Now imagine that if you are now an AGW (theory) adopter and you are a practitioner of the scientific method, then there is no question at all that at one time you too were sceptical about the idea of AGW. Yoiu must have been, otherwise yoiu cannot claim to have used a scientific method.

Maybe you were alive with me in the late 1970's and can remember how we were facing entry into a little ice age in the not too distant future...and you and I were sitting together on a bus, on our way to work and I opened the newspaper and read that a new theory is suggesting global warming as a result of CO2 'pollution' is a terrible disaster in the making.

Well, as good sceptics we might look at one another and laugh, and tut, and say 'humph, not likely' because that is the privelege of the sceptic.

And then, for no reason which I can see, the next day we sit together again, and this time you are no longer a sceptic.

What are you now ? To me you are an AGW theory adopter. I'll refrain from using the term 'converted' or any other controversial name for use only by men below our standing.

All i ask is, despite you being able to make arguments where they do not exist, can yiou just tell me about yoiur eureka moment when yoiu went from being the sceptic to being the adopter of the theory as fact ? What is that vital piece of evidence that deniers, woops, I mean sceptics like you used to be (makes you an 'ex-denier', right ? ) don't seem to be in possession of ? What one thing made you go 'Wow, that just proves it, i must now stop being sceptical' ?

You see, my concern is that too much emphasis is put on things like Vostok ice core samples, as used by most AGW proponents, (not least Al Gore in Inconvenient Truth) and the graph against CO2 levels and temperature which apparently 'proves' that CO2 level rises cause temperature rises.

The only problem there is that the high Court in London [1] ruled that contrary to the 'great assertion' that the graph proves a connection between CO2 and temperature, actually it proves no less than CO2 levels lagging behind temperare changes, by a period of about 800 years.

Now, as reasonable sceptical men, we all can see that courts rarely concern themselves with the business of science, they often care little at all about science. However, what courts excel at, is finding proof. They look for truth and from truth they produce poof.

 

So again, since the highest court in my land has declared that the famed ice core sample graphs show  that CO2 rises lag behind temperature rises by about 800 years, am I missing something else which shows the courts decision to be controversial. Are there ice core sample graphs to declare those used by the court to be false ?

So I ask you again , ex-sceptics (not ex-deniers, we're men, not kids so we should be emotionally ambivalent) What was the turning point for you personally when in yoiur role as a practitioner of the scientific method yoiu went from going 'no, no , no'  to ' yes, absolutely' ?

I still wait with great eagerness for any 'proof' that rises in CO2 is likely to cause anything more than an increase in the growth rate of vegetation.

Why the drinks industry gets away with forcing 24g/L of waste industrial CO2 into every litre of carbonated drinks is beyond me, if it going to cause us so many problems ? if yoiu are non-sceptic, you could try answering that, if yoiu are going to keep a big secret and not tell me when you abandoned the scientific method position of sceptic, for that of AGW theory adopter as fact.

So, my equal men and practitioners of the scientific method. can you share with me the secret info ?

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/oct/11/climatechange

(NASA proof of global and atmospheric cooling is easy to find using suitable Google clues)

 

 

CharlesM
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Re: There you go again
CharlesM   10/4/2012 12:07:09 AM
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fixitsan, I'm not going to bother with your sucker's game. You've made up your mind but pretend you're open minded to me proving things that can't be proven and which must meet only your own standards for truth. All of the scientific body of evidence hasn't yet convinced you, though I might be able to if I play with you! Nice little game.

I will just point out real quick that the '70s theory of a coming ice age was just a fringe theory like those you cling to now, even if Time magazine reported it.  Global warming was already dominant and not a "newer theory." It had already been well established by real scientists for many decades.

Being a skeptic (with a "k") implies being on the fence. Some evidence is compelling, some not. They would be undecided. Climate skeptics like yourself are not skeptics. You've made up your mind, so why don't you man up to that?

fixitsan
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Re: There you go again
fixitsan   10/4/2012 3:22:06 AM
Charles, adn anyone else who feels the same, to you I owe an apology.

I'm not playing a game. I find that AGW adopters always do the same thing, they talk about the importance theory, but don't act as if it is real.

If AGW theory is correct, if the world is without question being affected by CO2, why is the original piece we are discussing not finished off with a sentence to the effect of "But as we know, CO2 is terrible, batteries are our only hope, so we should pay what every it costs or we are killing the world"

Do yiou see what i mean ? Yoiu can evangelise about AGW theory, anybody can evangelise about anything and use broad, quanititatively weak arguments about a 'body of science', but what matters is do the people who preach practice what they preach enough to put trivial matters like cost behind us. Because that is what is required here, isn't it ?

If your country were about to be invaded would you declare defeat based on the grounds that yoiu couldn't afford to fight the war ? Of course not.

Instead of evangelising, simply answering my question would suffice, it isn't a game, I just want to know, what one piece of evidence tipped your balance into become an AGW evangelist from the position of scepticism

 

Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:
sceptic /ˈskeptɪk/ (archaic & N. Amer. skeptic)
▶noun
  • 1 a person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions.

 

 

It's no game, it's a question, as if yoiu were sat next to me on the bus. Surely something took yiou from the position of doubt to the position of acceptance. What was that one thing ?

 

You see, I'm in a difficult position. I'm building my own EV. Environmentalists love me, but I don't agree with what they say regarding AGW. that upsets them. Engineers like me for having a go for myself, but many of them call me an environmentalist.

 

I don't care what I'm called, except maybe being called 'piggish' because lets be honest, nobody here has met me or knows how I live so calling me piggish for doing for myself as an engineer, in an intelligent way as a member of Mensa, really is playing the sucker game of all sucker games.

 

If AGW is so important to you why aren't you saying 'Buy the batteries whatever their cost, they're always better than buying gas because they will save the planet' then I might be tempted to give the AGW theory more attention today. I studied all the data for years and it was all conjecture so why should I go back to that ?

 

Not to mention that if the CO2 coming from cars is such a problem, why do we not just pull off the CO2 generating catalytic convertors and accept the carbon monoxide instead (with relevant restrictions on car use to prevent the smogs) because if AGW theory is such a certain thing, every little will help, and we cannot be so stupid as to say "We will only save the planet if the solution to doing so is both cheap and convenient"

 

You see, the one thing giving me the biggest doubt that AGW theory is actually AGW fact, is that it is still being analysed as a cost based aspect. The reason mercury cannot be dumped carelessly is because it is harmful to the environment and to us. Likewise, for so many other pollutants.

But, those pollutants can only kill us, they aren't likely to destroy all life, cause floods and plagues....but AGW, so I am told, can do that.

So why then, are we still allowed to discharge CO2 into the environment ? That stuff, apparently , is going to ruin the planet permanently....so why let it out ?

Strange, isn't it, don't you think ? That something which is harmful regardless of your distance from it's source (unlike mercury and most other pollutants where increasing distance reduces risk) is still being pumped into the environment, from the catalytic convertors, for example ? Why aren't government pumping cash into the catalytic convertor buisiness to help pay for the 'non CO2 catalyst'  (in an amount relative to the supposed level of risk)


Gentlemen, you're clearly not going to answer my questions, because you feel you shouldn't have to, because you feel you have done enough just by accepting AGW theory. All I wonder is, are you doing enough just by arguing, pell mell, about what are comparatively petty things like financial cost, if the future of the planet really is at risk ?
Can we afford to think of this as a financial issue ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

technowatcher
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Re: There you go again
technowatcher   10/4/2012 2:08:58 PM
I think it is possible to be both a skeptic and also have an open mind...in fact I think this is the optimum mindset of a technical person.  I've followed the AGW issue for years...studied many details - and yet I must say that there is STILL room for doubt on both sides.  I'm not dragging my feet - I'm honestly and logically vetting the arguments of both sides.  FYI: here are some of my findings, and a few personal opinions (always open to revision based on new info):

1.  It is certain that temperatures have been rising, but is today's temp higher than ever before?  The answer is clearly NO - there is evidence of much higher (and much lower) temperatures in earth's history...so why is today's rise cause for mortal concern, and did mankind CAUSE it?

2.  No doubt, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and the burning of fossil fuels contributes a lot of CO2.  HOWEVER, nearly every article that decries the terrible effects of manmade greenhouse gasses fails to even mention the natural greenhouse gas that DWARFS all others.  Any guesses?  It's water vapor.  Also, natural vegetation decay and even cows contribute a significant amount of greenhouse gas (methane).  I'm just saying - it is crazy complicated and causality has NOT been proven...only inferred.

3.  Whether AGW has hit a critical point or not - may be a moot point.  We are not that far away from "peak oil" (some people believe we are already there) or even near depletion of most oil reserves ...so the burn rate will probably be slowing down whether we like it or not within the next ~50-100 years.  So maybe it is <almost> a moot point to worry about AGW...but of course this issue makes converting to renewable energy sources MORE important than ever!  This urgency takes on an even greater weight when you realize that almost 100% of modern farming's fertilizers (all ammonia based) are synthesized from natural gas...so our addiction to fossil fuels not only is an energy issue, but a food issue.

4.  What role do EV's have in converting to renewable energy sources, getting off of fossil fuels, and reducing CO2?  This was an area that surprised me when I studied deeper, as I was always 100% for promotion of EV's, and still like the technology aspect of them.  However, an EV is only as clean as the power grid that charges it, and the fuel cost only as inexpensive as electric generation.

5.  EV's do NOT directly create any renewable energy benefits - they only can leverage renewable deployment as it is rolled-out to the power grid.  Therefore, I believe that converting the grid to renewable sources should be our highest priority...which will take a long time, given the scale of the grid and the pace of power plant replacement (it will take 50-100 years).  Of course, regionally there are very different pictures:  If I live in Idaho, Washington, Oregon - my power is 95% hydro and EV's are wonderful.  If I live in many other states, my power is primarily COAL, or Natural Gas.  The national average power grid is ~68% fossil fuels (Coal + NG), and not changing very fast.  See:  https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/content/energy/energy_archive/energy_flow_2010/LLNLUSEnergy2010.png

6.  By the way - if I live in Hawaii, my power is 87% petroleum oil based - so why in the world would I buy an EV there until they convert to more renewables?  An EV doesn't even change the fuel from oil to coal+NG.  I should note that the misguided federal (and state) tax credits for EV's exists in Hawaii too.  This money would be better spent on developing renewable sources and better battery technology - not supporting consumer products that aren't really that beneficial with the existing infastructure.

7.  Although EV's are very efficient once the electricity is in the battery - that is not the issue.  The generation of that electricity from fossil fuels is (on average) NO MORE EFFICIENT than today's most efficient cars...actually less!  This seems hard to believe - but is 100% true.  The average COAL or OIL power plant is 33% thermally efficient.  The Prius engine is 38%.  However, the new Combined Cycle natural gas plants (not many deployed yet) can be up to 60% efficient - so that is definitely a step in the right direction...but it is still running on fossil fuel.  

8. Once better batteries can be developed and the grid coverted to renewable sources - EV's make perfect sense.  However, they are not the only possible "green" path forward.  Solar-syntheized fuels may allow cars to have all the convenience of today, yet still be internal combustion driven.  In fact, if ammonia (or hydrogen) were that fuel - the combustion products can be carbon-free as well.  Even a hydrocarbon based fuel could be "carbon-neutral".

9.  The best installations of wind power have now acheived near cost parity to conventional power plants...but not really the newest natural gas combined cycle type.  This, plus cheaper natural gas from fracking will keep cost pressures on renewable sources for some time to come.  Solar power, sadly, is still not that close yet.  However, Wind, Solar, geothermal and if a miracle happens - fusion are really the only long-term renewable (or non-CO2 generating) power sources.  Developing and deploying these should be our top priority, in my opinion, and EV's IMO are mainly a distraction in this regard for most regions...especially for mainstream cars.

10.  Wind and Solar power can not be installed on the grid over approx. 25% total content without requiring massive grid-scale energy storage.  Therefore, this is a priority that emerges nearly as high as deploying renewable sources.  There are those that believe the batteries in a zillion EV's could be this storage.  I think this might be a partial answer...but the problems and weaknesses of this idea run deep.  It would be much better and more universal to deploy the energy storage at the power plants.

11.  An interim energy solution that is worthy of consideration is deployment of new generations of nuclear reactors that actually run on NUCLEAR WASTE.  see: http://www.ga.com/nuclear-energy/energy-multiplier-module  This could help solve our nearly intractible issue with existing nuclear waste and yet contribute reliable power with safer, proven technology.

So...there is a brain-dump of a lot of important factoids that have taken me years to learn amid the din of zealots who claim to know all the answers.  Things are not aways what they seem or what you hear on the news.

fixitsan
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Re: There you go again
fixitsan   10/4/2012 2:35:06 PM
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Technowatcher I'm in the same park as yourself.

In my first post I pointed out that one possible way to encourage a greater uptake of EV's, and so causing cost reductions via the economies of scale was to seek greater involvement from large companies, car hire companies and carpark owners in particular.

After adding a bit of humour about being labelled 'a denier' I was surprised that there has been no comment on my point but plenty made of me as a person, even to the poinbt of calling me piggish. Am I, and my point of view, so threatening that a grown man resorts to personal insults ? Deary me !

CO2 levels have been much higher than they are today, and yet the temperature was colder at times furing that that period.

 

There has never ever been a time when the earth's climate was stable. It has always been rising or falling in temperature, in level of atmospheric CO2, in levels of methane, background radiation and trying not to point at the elephant in the room too obviously, the level of solar radiation.

In one report the IPCC produce (support by the CRU in East Anglia) we read the ridiculous statment that 'The sun does not affect earth's climate".

When yiou read something like that yoiu can be forgiving for being shocked into breathlessness by the audacity of their selective ignorance.

 

If No Sun = No Climate and Some Sun = Some Climate,  then clearly, the sun affects our climate. but the 'experts' say no.

 

I'm sorry we've become sidetracked in to the unsettled science of AGW, I only wanted to suggest a simple way we might be able to see more EV's on the road for less cost (IE battery cost).

 

Chris

 

 

technowatcher
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Re: There you go again
technowatcher   10/4/2012 6:31:25 PM
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Just saw this headline - sorry to see it, actually:  http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2012/10/04/can-electric-cars-go-to-a-better-place/

It looks like Better Place is imploding, another victim of over-selling the dream, and failing to produce a product that is ECONOMICALLY VIABLE.  

Fisker isn't far behind:  http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/25/autos-fisker-karma-idINL1E8KP2GN20120925

Volt and Leaf volumes are petering-out.

It's beginning to look like Tesla may be one of the "last men standing" in the EV arena, in no small part credited to Elon Musk's phenomenal skills and vision.  I really think the Tesla S model is by far the most amazing consumer EV ever designed, although the price still relegates it to high-end customers.

The only 2 other EV's I've seen that have a chance are:

A) Ford's upcoming Fusion EV

B) the EV Edision2 (an amazing car that may change everything): 

http://www.edison2.com/next-generation-vlc/

 

If none of these contenders can actually create a sustainable business model, then my conclusion is that clearly the technology and economics of EV's are not a ready at this time.  

It may take a number of decades of further battery development, gasoline price increases, and converting the power grid to renewable sources before the EV is really ready for prime time.

 

CharlesM
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Re: There you go again
CharlesM   10/4/2012 11:37:30 PM
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Techno, where are Volt volumes "petering-out"?

The LEAF, OTOH, is overpriced right now because it's very low volume even with good sales, built in Japan with the high markup of the Yen conversion like Infinitis which can tolerate that, and not like high volume Versas which are made in Mexico. That's expected to change when the Tennessee factory is completed. The Passat price dropped almost $10k when VW moved production from Germany to Tennessee.

Fisker's problems have little if anything to do with it being battery powered. It's a brand new startup car corporation, without the multi-billions of needed dollars or the expereince of an established auto maker. And some would say it's poorly designed, totally and merely coincidental with it having a battery.   

Tesla is also a brand new startup car corporation, also without the multi-billions of needed dollars or the expereince of an established auto maker. Yet they have launched an amazing, some would say game-changing product. Their demand strongly outstrips supply. How is that a failure and how does this fit in to the article we are supposedly commenting on?  Their business model, whether it succeeds or fails, has many more components than to build and sell a "battery car." If Tesla is failing, the world needs more of these kinds of "failures."

The Edison 2 is vaporware and a total non-starter. The airplane look is a total joke that no real car company would dare build. I can't even remember the name of the EV prototype that looked like that and never got off the ground a couple years ago. Surely you jest.

You won't have long to wait before gasoiine prices will rebalance the market, no matter how much we drill, drill, drill or whether or not Rolls and Royce get elected.

technowatcher
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Re: There you go again
technowatcher   10/5/2012 1:09:44 AM
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CharlesM,

Volt sales have been trending downward, forcing two temporary production line shutdowns due to excessive dealer inventory in the past year or so.  Very recently, GM decided to "blow out" more Volts with super low cost leases and  up to ~$10K ADDITIONAL incentives.  Sales bumped up due to this, but I'm guessing that they are just clearing the decks before shooting the product in the head.  As soon as the massive support dollars dry up - it's "fad over".

http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/11/chevy-volt-sales-continue-to-disappoint-causing-gm-losses/

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/09/21/are-the-chevy-volts-sales-being-inflated-by-giveaways/

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/gm-offers-big-discounts-boost-volt-sales-17298804#.UG5gNk3A_-t

If you re-read my comments, I didn't criticise the TeslaS.  I think it is the best EV yet (but is very expensive).  My comment was that if THIS model can't become commercially successful, then perhaps NONE can at this time.

Your comments on it, however, don't make much sense to me:  "Their demand strongly outstrips supply."...yeah but there really isn't any supply yet since they have only shipped about 150 to date: http://gigaom.com/cleantech/tesla-quietly-says-its-delivering-model-s-cars-slower-than-expected/

Regarding Edison2, frankly you don't know what you are talking about.  This is NOT vaporware, and Oliver Kuttner and team are the most amazing and competent group of dedicated professionals.  They won the $5M Automotive X-prize, and not only won - but basically won every single stage (emergency handling, braking, skid-pad G's, etc).  The main designers on their team have designed race cars for many years, winning the Lemans endurance race several times.  Their body designer is the chief aerodynamicist of Northrup Grumnman.  The aero drag is the lowest of any 4-seater car ever measured by GM's wind tunnel and the EPA's official coastdown testing.  etc.

Before and during the X-prize competition I conversed with Oliver via email many times, and believe me - he is the real deal.  I hope they are successful, and if you don't like the way the car looks - don't buy one!

The car that your are trying to remember was Aptera.  They also had an ultra-streamliner car (airplane-like).  However, their implementation was much less sophisticated than Edison2, was a 3-wheeler and they did not do very well in the competition and are now out of business.

Take a deep breath and put your zealot badge back in your pocket.  There's no reason to wear it here...we are technical people talking about technology and opinions.

 

ttemple
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Re: There you go again
ttemple   10/4/2012 6:56:09 PM
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fixitsan,

I won't cave to the AGW crowd either.  I don't care how many people declare AGW as "fact", it is not.  It is a theory that the AGW crowd attempts to elevate to fact status through opinion polls, not through objective scientific process.

For me, a theory is not a fact just because a large group of people claim it to be so.  Facts and objectivity really don't matter to these people.  When you press them with arguments that don't fit with their opinion, they react by name calling.

fixitsan
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Re: There you go again
fixitsan   10/5/2012 2:53:47 AM
NO RATINGS
 

 

ttemple

 

I can't see how people can ignore the importance of the data collected by NASA.

Data published in the Journal 'Remote Sensing' shines ligth on NASA's findings

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/07/27/new-nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-in-global-warming-alarmism/

They have proved unequivocally that the heat being lost from the earth and it's environment is in actuality much much greater than the figure being used in the 'normal' climate change model, produced and maintained by CRU for inclusion into the IPCC reports

IPCC papers are used to guide all world governments on the climate change future, and they are all wrong, as proved by NASA. When asked if the latest report will include NASA's recent findings they have not been very forthcoming with an answer. That speaks volumes.

if yiou are using a computer model (all predictions to date are based on model, produced by conjecture and assumption, and yoiu were given the chance to include some actual fact figures representative of accurate measurements made in the real world, wouldn't yiou include them even just to test your model's ability to reflect reality. i would

I don't know an engineer worth his salt who would say that actual measurements are not worthy of inlusion either in the model or in arguments connected with it.

 

CharlesM, are you aware how wrong the model and all the papers, peer-reviewed and otherwise, which have been produced on the back of the assumed figure for heat loss into space must now be considered to be flawed, because new evidence containing measured facts has come to light ? I hope you can see there is no point in contesting the use of a actual measurement in favour of all previious assumed or presumed heat loss figures.

CharlesM
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Re: There you go again
CharlesM   10/4/2012 11:10:12 PM
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You're inundating me with BS, fixitsan. First you need to reread my statement before you misconstrue:

Obviously, if you need 100% proof without uncertainty, then you'll stay in denial, convenient for a piggish lifestyle and to not being part of the solution.

Where did I call you piggish?  Maybe your inability to comprehend explains a lot of your problem with GW too.

CO2 levels have been much higher than they are today, and yet the temperature was colder at times furing that that period.

Attribution and context please.

There has never ever been a time when the earth's climate was stable. It has always been rising or falling in temperature, in level of atmospheric CO2, in levels of methane, background radiation and trying not to point at the elephant in the room too obviously, the level of solar radiation.

Ah, it just depends on how you want to define the relative term stable.  This too is laughable, were this not a serious topic.

In one report the IPCC produce (support by the CRU in East Anglia) we read the ridiculous statment that 'The sun does not affect earth's climate".

Attribution please. Did you find this buried in a so-called skeptic website on the intertubes? Congratulations! You obviously can't distinguish signal from noise, and noise is always present. Therefore you can't be trusted to interpret signals.

fixitsan
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Re: There you go again
fixitsan   10/5/2012 3:20:25 AM
Charles, only a piggish person can live a piggish lifestyle and as you have declared that all deniers can be piggish, are yiou saying with a matter of certainty now that all of the converted couldn't possibly live a piggish lifestyle ?

Give that a moment's thought, please. Yoiu are attemptiong to say that only the people who refuse to give up the position of sceptic , defined by the OED as a person who doubts accepted theories, can be piggish. Should i assume when you went from being a doubting sceptic (as a practitioner of the scientific method, yiou must have changed over at some point), that a new halo together with a pair of gilded wings were installed on you.

Like I said, it is evangelism. it has no purpose in this discussion. There is no moral high ground to be had in science. Science has no morals, just facts.

 

CO2 levels have been much higher than they are today, and yet the temperature was colder at times furing that that period.

Attribution and context please.


I made an assumption that you have read the leading reports by the IPCC, the same reports used by your government, and also used by as many other governments as the IPCC can convince to use them, and upon reading at least one of those reports you will have seen data reflecting the historic changes in the levels of CO2. Thos ereports show data in graphical form which accurately supports my statment that CO2 levels on earth have been higher (over ten times higher at some points) than the current level.

Did you ever read an IPCC report Charles ?

 

There has never ever been a time when the earth's climate was stable. It has always been rising or falling in temperature, in level of atmospheric CO2, in levels of methane, background radiation and trying not to point at the elephant in the room too obviously, the level of solar radiation.

Ah, it just depends on how you want to define the relative term stable.  This too is laughable, were this not a serious topic.

 



 

http://www.eoearth.org/article/Milankovitch_cycles

It is true that stability is a relative term. Relative terms are not normally laughable, in and of themselves.

If yiou wish, we can adopt a period of time to the resolution of 10 years for the purposes of making a measurement of stability. This makes it possible to say that at no time in earths history has the climate been stable between any time successive ten year periods. At grosser resolutions, this instability becomes increasingly more obvious.

 

Who laughs ?

 

In one report the IPCC produce (support by the CRU in East Anglia) we read the ridiculous statment that 'The sun does not affect earth's climate".

Attribution please. Did you find this buried in a so-called skeptic website on the intertubes? Congratulations! You obviously can't distinguish signal from noise, and noise is always present. Therefore you can't be trusted to interpret signals.

 

Attribution is extant in the first sentence. If you do not read the IPCC reports yourself it is unsurprising you have no access to their statments.


 

CharlesM, as mentioned in my response to ttemple, NASA has shown that accurate mesurements made from space shows beyond all reasonable doubt that the figure used by the IPCC or heat lost into space to be fallacious.

 

Are you a designer, CharlesM, or a reporter ? When you design something, starting with a model, do you design using assumed or presumed figures, or do you include as much real world data as possible ? If you use real world data (which I sincerely hope is true) would yoiu suggest that maybe the IPCC ought to also do the same thing and now include the  new NASA produced data concerning the heat lost into space from earth and it's environment ?

 

Chris

 

 

fixitsan
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Re: There you go again
fixitsan   10/5/2012 3:44:19 AM
I am leaving this link here, for anyone who wishes to read about the measurements of true heat loss into space

http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/8/1603/pdf

 

The figure used in climate models underestimates this figure by a huge amount.

in my opinion, the model needs to be updated. The IPCC refuses to acknowledge this new real world measurement and continues to use their original short estimate

 


Have global warming alarmists now reached the stage where they can ignore real world measurements ?

 

 

 

ttemple
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Re: There you go again
ttemple   10/5/2012 8:05:42 AM
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Interesting document.

I like this quote from the article:

"The magnitude of the surface temperature response of the climate system to an imposed radiative energy imbalance remains just as uncertain today as it was decades ago [1]. Over 20 coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models tracked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produce a wide range of warming estimates in response to the infrared radiative forcing theoretically expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions [2]."

 

technowatcher
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Re: There you go again
technowatcher   10/5/2012 2:03:43 PM
As (mostly) engineers on this board, I think that we all know that the nature of "computer models" is that until all inputs & parameters are understood - results can be "garbage in = garbage out".  Once those items are understood, the computer model can have tremendous predictive powers (FEA, CFD, etc.).

Note that my personal position on AGW remains one of skeptic (of BOTH sides...but most suspicious of the ZEALOTS that loudly scream their positions using only partial or feeble proof).

The NASA measurements are interesting, and throw water on a lot of zealot fires.  That still doesn't prove, however, that AGW is NOT happening, as there is still enough uncertainty for an intellectually honest person to say "we don't know for sure yet".  More research is appropriate.

When one considers the complex feedback loops in the earth's biosphere, it gets very complicated:

a) higher temps and higher CO2 will create more algae (and plant) growth - absorbing more CO2, helping reduce the problem.

b) higher avg temp will evaporate more water, potentially creating more clouds, which reflect more solar energy, cooling the earth.

c) higher avg temp will increase the avg radiative emissions from the earth, cooling it.

d) a positive feedback issue: as ocean temps rise, the dissolved CO2 starts to outgas - adding to greenhouse gasses.  Also, frozen methane hydrates in the polar zones can start to sublimate methane - which would be destabilizing.

So...while I'm not saying this is anywhere near complete - there are certainly reasons why the earth's temperatures have been as stable as they are...and we are nowhere near understanding how the big picture of these interactions works.

Also, you'll see that I'm 100% in favor of getting us off the use of fossil fuels ASAP...but my core reasons are different.  I'm not sure if AGW is something we should be scared to death about, but a much more certain fact is that fossil fuels are finite and will be depleted in the not too distant future.  Therefore, even if our underlying reasons are different - we can agree that the prioritization of deploying renewable energy sources should be extremely high, so that we are ready when fossil fuels run low.  Also - why not use oil for more useful things like synthesizing plastics, etc. instead of just BURNING it?  Once oil / fossil fuels run low - manmade CO2 levels will fall dramatically, and the AGW arguments become moot.  The earth's temperatures will still continue to fluctuate, possibly even to disasterous levels, driven by nature's own forces.

The other fact that I have become convinced of that is controversial to many is that EV's are NOT very beneficial in converting our energy usage to renewables.  They are at most a "second phase" that can leverage the renewable sources once they are deployed on the grid.  As long as the majority of electric power is generated by fossil fuels - the BIG PICTURE is that EV's don't really help much in this regard.

Now...EV zealots, searching for any toehold in this debate will typically drop back to smaller facts to continue the debate, such as:

1.  The grid has SOME renewable content now, so won't EV's at least partially benefit from these ?  The answer is YES.  Especially in regions with high renewable content.  It is a judgement / opinion, but using the USA avg. grid sources of 68% fossil fueled electricity - I think that the benefit is not enough to justify retooling our entire infastructure and making the significant cost and convenience trade-offs that EV's currently require.  On an individual basis - sure...if you want to spend your money that way - go for it.  In fact, for best benefit, buy $30K worth of solar panels and charge your EV with it.  Just don't think about how much money you have spent doing the "green" thing.  Also, I should note that the main benefit in this case comes from the solar panels, not the EV.

2.  Maybe we should "prime the pump" of EV technology, to make sure it is ready when the grid is converted to renewables.  Well..again....a half-truth but impractical IMO.  The support costs to sell EV's today are HUGE, the benefits small and temporary, and the grid will not have a high percentage of renewable sources for many decades.  So...it's too early to get too excited about EV's, IMO.  Let's take that stimulus money and put it directly into developing better renewable energy power sources and grid-scale energy storage (Bill Gates gets this...he has funded at least one major effort for grid storage).

My biggest concession: maybe the government supports should be tailored more intelligently - subsidize EV's only in regions that have high renewable / non-CO2 grid sources (hydro, wind, geothermal, nuclear).  That would give the most environmental "bang for the buck".  By the way - remember the "buck" is your money, taken from taxes, so let's spend it wisely.

cheers, we are all on this planet together.  let's try to act accordingly.

 

fixitsan
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Re: There you go again
fixitsan   10/5/2012 4:16:58 PM
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I welcome yoiur level headed words technowatcher.

 

Regarding your list of a - d   ....what about 'e - lower temps, higher CO2' and 'higher temps, lower CO2' these are both equally valid.

 

Living in Scotland gives me the benfit of access to 30% renewable electricity and no nuclear in the mix. We have a surplus of homegrown electricity and export a continuous amount down to north England. Of course , we are blessed with plenty of wind and water.

I think you're correct to bring taxes into this. If we all didn't have to pay the huge amount of tax burden to pay for troops to safeguard our oil in other countries, because we didn't need the oil, then how much richer will we be, and we can then afford to be more generous with funding alternative ideas, EV's for example, and other developments across the board.

Perhapsthe biggest shame in all of this, isn't anything to do with AGW, or renewable energy, or being smart with nuclear. The biggest issue for me is that considering the huge amount of beneficial medicines and fertilisers we extract from crude oil....it seems like burning it in internal combustion engines is the most stupid thing you could do with it

 

 

ttemple
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Re: There you go again
ttemple   10/6/2012 7:31:50 AM
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tech,

That was without a doubt the best post I have ever seen on DesignNews.  Very well thought through, and very well stated.

technowatcher
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Re: There you go again
technowatcher   10/6/2012 10:35:50 PM
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Thank you, ttemple & fixitsan.  You're comments are very kind.

I hope that I don't come across as too much of a "know it all", because there is always so much more to learn, and experts in any given field that know so much more than me.  However, as you might guess - I've been interested in and obsessively studied many different aspects of alternative energy, technology, cars, etc. My biggest strength, I guess, is being very broad, deep in a few areas, and my mindset is to always try to cut through hype and dig to the REAL understanding of issues.  Today, there is a lot of hype about EV's, AGW, and of course many other things!

fixitsan - I've always wanted to visit Scotland.  I visited northern Ireland (Belfast) this year...maybe soon?

best of luck to all. 

Fred McGalliard
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Re: There you go again
Fred McGalliard   10/15/2012 1:41:32 PM
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Note that the lovely charts presented below (above if oldest first) do not show that the earth's GW parameters are just variable, but that they tend to oscillate in a well defined band. A constant oscillarion(similar to a fixed AC voltage). This does not imply that the range with human intervention will not change noticably, and has no real data on our comfort (food sources and weather patterns) as this range shifts. What I got out of the heat balance is that our contribution is a small part of the total, but that this may be all that is required to swing us from one extreem to another. I would feel a lot happerier about this if we knew what limited the extreemes in the past and that our massive water impoundments and deforestation, had not weakened exactly that limiting factor.

Perhaps we should be developing electric rail cars, with modest batteries? A lot more construction involved, but it will certainly work technically.

ttemple
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Re: There you go again
ttemple   10/4/2012 6:35:56 PM
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tech,

Very good analysis, very good points.  I like your way of thinking.

Ratsky
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Re: There you go again
Ratsky   12/7/2012 1:12:40 PM
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Charles, don't waste your time and precious electrons trying to debate with a "true believer."  Their motto is "Don't confuse me with facts. My mind is made up."

Consultofactus
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Urban transportation
Consultofactus   10/2/2012 10:01:23 AM
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The main problem with EVs is one of marketing. The travel profile that today's EV are designed for (short range urban transport of a limited number of passengers, little luggage space, no towing capabilities) are better addressed by mass transit. Even if true running costs of EVs would be competitive to a similar sized IC vehicle the same traffic and parking hassels as well as sky-high insurance rates apply to both technologies. Whenever I travel to places like mid-town New York or Chicago during business hours I wouldn't think of driving in the central city. I know several adults who live in Manhattan who don't own a car, don't want a car, and drive only when out-of-town using rental vehicles. So this leaves the market for EVs being a second car for the suburbanite who wants to over-spend for a vehicle that could be nicely addressed by one of the many MUCH cheaper IC, high mileage offerings on the market.

D. Sherman
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Re: Urban transportation
D. Sherman   10/2/2012 11:38:15 AM
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The main problem with EVs is the ones that try to be like regular cars. There's a nice little niche market for "NEVs" (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles), which are licensed for use on streets and arterials but not on freeways and other high-speed roads. They are basically enclosed, comfortable electric golf-carts. They don't pretend to be suitable for inter-city travel, but they're great for in-town shopping and commuting. The main thing electrical vehicles, and their marketeers, need is humility. Don't try to sell a million units the first year by claiming that they're just like a regular car, but more green. Market EVs of modest capability and modest cost for the niche where they're really good (the NEV niche). If at some point in the future it becomes feasible to make them go farther or faster, then evolve them in that direction. Meanwhile, let them do what they're good for, and stop trying to pretend they're something they're not.

Ratsky
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Re: Urban transportation
Ratsky   12/7/2012 12:57:29 PM
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Peachtree City, GA (where I used to work) has a huge network of paths specifically designated for bicycles AND GOLF CARTS.  Virtually 100% of the households there have at least one golf cart.  These are registered and licensed by the city, and are EXTREMELY popular.  Some of these are gasoline or propane/CNG powered, but the vast majority are electric.  One factor: these are permiitted to be driven by UNLICENSED drivers too.  These are the perfect NEVs you want (at least in a moderate climate like Atlanta) BUT it also requires an infrastructure (the network of paths and dedicated bridges to keep the "real cars" and golf carts from "fraternizing") and maintenance of same.  A lot of these are actually configured as 4-seaters!

D. Sherman
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Re: Urban transportation
D. Sherman   10/2/2012 11:40:51 AM
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The main problem with EVs is the ones that try to be like regular cars. There's a nice little niche market for "NEVs" (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles), which are licensed for use on streets and arterials but not on freeways and other high-speed roads. They are basically enclosed, comfortable electric golf-carts. They don't pretend to be suitable for inter-city travel, but they're great for in-town shopping and commuting. The main thing electrical vehicles, and their marketeers, need is humility. Don't try to sell a million units the first year by claiming that they're just like a regular car, but more green. Market EVs of modest capability and modest cost for the niche where they're really good (the NEV niche). If at some point in the future it becomes feasible to make them go farther or faster, then evolve them in that direction. Meanwhile, let them do what they're good for, and stop trying to pretend they're something they're not.

Consultofactus
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Re: Urban transportation
Consultofactus   10/2/2012 6:38:34 PM
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Yes, in southern retirement communities (almost like small cities) many people do use golf carts for short range travel. However where I, and many millions of people live, snow and fridged temps render these car "wannabes" useless 7 months per year

D. Sherman
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Re: Urban transportation
D. Sherman   10/2/2012 7:40:23 PM
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A "neighborhood electric vehicle" is basically a weatherized golf cart, so it solves the problems you described. There are a bunch of models out there but no single one has garnered a lot of market share. Here's just one example so you can see what I'm referring to: http://www.greencar.com/articles/bombardier-debuts-under-7000-neighborhood-electric-vehicle.php

Common sense
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EV cars still impractical and expensive
Common sense   10/2/2012 10:17:04 AM
Yes it is true that EV cars could be used as a commuter car tha will go 60 miles, and this would satisfy many commuting needs 90% of the time for most people, but to what benefit?  A similarly small gas car would still be cheaper by comparison, and there would be no limits imposed on driving distance.  How convienient is it to drive an hour, stop and fire up a generator to recharge the battery, drive another hour, stop to reecharge the battery, etc.  How stupid an idea, and this has become a gas powered car at this point by the way.  And, everytime I want to drive 70 miles I have to go rent a gas car?

The arguements I'm hearing in favor of electric cars are basically that the consumer is too stupid to know how good he/she would have it with an electric car.  I'll agree that there are a lot of stupid people out there, but when it comes down to it most people manage to figure out what works for them, and obviously most do not want to stop the car every 60 miles to recharge it.  Where in the heck are they even going to stop at anyway, just pull off on the shoulder or in the ditch?

How about everybody that wants to drive an electric car just go buy one (and how about just use your own money to do that without expecting the rest of us to help you pay for it), let the rest of us choose what we want to spend our money on, instead of worrying so much about how the rest of us can be forced to drive golf carts too.  I'm quite OK if you want to drive a golf cart, doesn't bother me a bit, but I'll stick with  my truck or MG Midget for the time being.

EricMJones
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Electric Cars
EricMJones   10/2/2012 10:30:44 AM
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My daddy said it 50 years ago and it's still true: "EVERYBODY knows how to build an electric car. NOBODY knows how to build the batteries."

 

 

EricMJones
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Gas-Electric Car 1916
EricMJones   10/2/2012 10:38:41 AM
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Read it and weep...

Popular Science August 1916 page 253 "Gas Electric Car"

I think this is a Chevy Volt almost a century ago....

warren@fourward.com
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EV Batteries
warren@fourward.com   10/2/2012 10:40:22 AM
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I guess we are so used to sitting in a car with a bomb in our trunk (gas tank) and so we nitpick the EV batteries. I think they have their place and we should not expect them to be like gasoline or diesel vehicles.  It just needs to be inexpensive, easy to charge, and safe. I don't expect to drive non-stop 1000 miles in any car I have. Why expect itfrom electric?

The reality is that there is a lot more power per pound in gasoline than there will ever be in batteries. And that is OK. It goes according to need. We don't complain because our flashlights go dark and say "I wish it had a gasoline engine instead of this stupid battery!"

So with that in mind, it seems to me that the car companies are chasing the tax relief instead of the market. There should not be a bounty on gasoline cars, i.e. tax deduction on electric, but let the market decide. Look at the success of the Smart car. We just need a "smart" electric car that fits the needs of the short range driver, and that is a lot of us. It just needs to be inexpensive, easy to charge, and safe. I don't expect to drive non-stop 1000 miles in any car I have. Why expect it from electric?  But I repeat myself...

 

 

yars
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Re: EV Batteries
yars   10/2/2012 11:06:50 AM
1,000 miles isn't the problem.  120 reliable all-weather miles is.  That gasoline "bomb" in a traditional car explodes at a statistically insignificant rate, while inadequate battery storage is a problem 100% of the time.

When somebody produces a cost-competitive electric car that reliably can deliver 300 miles of all-weather range on a 30-minute charge, I'll give serious consideration to buying one.  Until then, common EVs are useless to me, and I object to my tax dollars being used to subsidize the manufacturing of them or the purchase of them.  The handful of people who want them already are buying them, and not one of the buyers I've met made his/her decision to purchase dependent upon a tax credit.  Not even one.  Driving around on local hops in an EV just makes them feel superior.  There's nothing wrong with that.  But neither you nor I should have to pay for their self-indulgence.

kyleafdotcom
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Re: EV Batteries
kyleafdotcom   10/2/2012 11:26:29 AM
@yars

 

I like the "here we go again" title of an earlier post.  Anyway, tax dollars subsidizing oil drilling and the war in the middle east to allow us to have cheap oil are not worth mentioning, but a tax reduction that doesn't come out of your pocket is "self indulgence?"  Okay, so we know where you are coming from.  A Nissan Leaf with more than enough winter range enough for my wife's 38 mile RT commute that never needs to stop at a gas station on a cold, rainy day, yes, that is her self indulgence.  I'm guessing you drive a 1985 Dodge Colt, because anything else would be self ingulgence, oh, wait!  You ride a bicycle, becasue you don't want my tax money protecting your oil.  Thanks a million for your concern!  I'm glad you are not wasting one penny of the many thousands of dollars I pay in federal income taxes every year.

wishboneash
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Re: EV Batteries
wishboneash   10/2/2012 12:34:52 PM
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Great post kyleaf. yars and their like want to close their eyes when it comes to the true cost of oil. We just spent a $1 Trillion or more in the last decade on assuring that. I have a 60 mile round trip and my Leaf is handling that very well for the past one 1.5 years. The Leaf *CANNOT* be driven like a gas guzzling ICE and most intelligent EV owners know that. There is a bit of a compromise and adjustment in driving style. A high efficiency car needs to be driven appropriately as there is little margin for waste. A 25mpg car is less than 15% efficient in terms of converting the energy in gasoline to traction. The EV is over 90% efficient. IF you are an engineer you understand the implications of this. It costs me $1.10 to drive the 60 miles. No ICE will come close.

kyleafdotcom
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Re: EV Batteries
kyleafdotcom   10/2/2012 12:52:21 PM
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@wishboneash You know many of the EV bashers have never been in one. Our Leaf is perfect for my wife's commute, she makes it to work, school, and back to the house no problem. I can't emphasize enough how great it is to start with a full tank every morning, just unplug the car (in a comfortable garage) and go. Never late to work because you are low on gas. I'm sure it is self indulgent, but as it turns out, many MANY vehicles out there are indulgent. I've posted before that I have two children in the Army, and they have both been deployed in the middle east recently. If you don't think they are protecting our oil supply, you are kidding yourself. Iran would fill the vacuum if we pulled our Navy fleet out of the waters surrounding the middle east, and oil prices would skyrocket. So tax dollars for this or tax dollars for that, I'd prefer to use my Kentucky coal miner powered Leaf over any OPEC oil powered ice any day. We are so close to the solution that gets us off the OPEC drug, using home grown oil, NG, coal, solar, wind, hydro, so close.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: EV Batteries
warren@fourward.com   10/2/2012 12:01:48 PM
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Amen, brother!  There should be no government involvement in the marketplace.  Period!  Let supply drive demand.  It has always worked in the past. I don't know any politician or bureaucrat who can decide for me what to wear, eat, or drive.  None!  Let the market drive production.

100 miles might be enough for some people.  Plenty of people drive around our small town in golf carts.  That is enough for them.  I live 8 miles from a larger city with some hills between us.  I would want something a little heftier than a golf cart. 

I really need something that will go 200 miles reliably, as that is the most I drive 99.9% of the time (50% margin of error :-)).  How hard can that really be?  I bet most of this nation could get by happily with that.  Especially if we could solar or wind charge it and not pay a utility monopoly.

Eh?

CharlesM
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Re: EV Batteries
CharlesM   10/2/2012 12:43:34 PM
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There should be no government involvement in the marketplace.  Period!  Let supply drive demand.  It has always worked in the past.

That may be funny, but it's not grounded in reality. The world spends $775 billion per year in subsidies for fossil fuels.  And OPEC, an illegal cartel, influences oil prices by modulating supply. How is the market "free"?

warren@fourward.com
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Re: EV Batteries
warren@fourward.com   10/2/2012 1:07:17 PM
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It wasn't meant to be funny.  It is the truth.  The free market works every time it is tried, and always will.

tekochip
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Re: EV Batteries
tekochip   10/2/2012 1:49:29 PM
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and then there's the airlines, rail system, highways and public transportation.

MIROX
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Re: EV Batteries
MIROX   10/2/2012 4:16:02 PM
And then there are EV owners:

 



Ratsky
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Re: EV Batteries
Ratsky   12/7/2012 1:07:25 PM
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Your post would more properly be titled "Ignorance is bliss."  The US is one of only a very few countries in which cartels are "illegal."  Despite the fervent hopes of the "progressive" element, thankfully there is no "world government" that has thge power to make (and enforce) such a law.  In fact, most of the nations that you admire most actively ENCOURAGE and participate in cartels!

jfphx
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Re: EV Batteries
jfphx   10/2/2012 12:50:40 PM
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OMG  wake up and look around. Here in the US oil companies have been getting corporate welfare for over 100 years. In the recent past this corporate welfare is in the billions of dollars. Worldwide automakers are almost universally receiving substantial government assistance. This includes companies like Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Kai and many more. Yet you think US companies don't deserve the equal footing with their worldwide competitors. There's a time and a place for government assistance. Oil companies don't need that assistance anymore but new emerging technologies are the way technology has been commercialized since the dawn of civilization.  It's like going to a fight where are your right hand is tied behind your back and you have a 20 pound weight attached to your left leg, not a fair fight.

HaleyPE
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Re: EV Batteries
HaleyPE   10/2/2012 1:16:30 PM
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In an April 2010 White Paper, I proposed the focus should be on a vehicle with a 30 to 50 mile battery range and a range extender.  The driving range was supported by a three year trip generation study of a single family use of multi vehicles.  There was very little use over 50 miles (16% worst case) but this must be recongnized in the user psychology.  The system was to have the minimum battery for the selected range and the range extender should match the required capacity (approximately 20kW).

The range extender is: 1) cheaper than the battery required to replace it, 2) support to the psychology of the user, 3) very efficient when designed and operated at a specific load and constant speed, 4) shut down when the battery charging is not required and 5) back up for a failing or failed battery.  While any engine runs best under these conditions, a new concept called the CV Engine is 1/4 the size, twice as efficient and less pollution (for equal power).  This improvement moves the cost of electricity closer to home utility charging and may be less than "on the road" charging.  There is more but to much for a thread.

The USPTO issued their Notice of Allowance to Issue a Patent on 09-12-12 for the CV Engine/Technology.  More to come later perhaps as article in Design News.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: EV Batteries
warren@fourward.com   10/2/2012 1:21:13 PM
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And best of all, if the marketplace wants it, it be a success, and billions and billions of our great-grandchildren's money won't be wasted!

I look forward to your next article on the subject!

CalGeorge
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Re: EV Batteries
CalGeorge   10/2/2012 1:35:38 PM
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Warren, It's easy to say we want less government involvement. But, that is too simplistic. I don't want the government trying to compete with private enterprise. However, I wouldn't want to have them stop building/maintaining roads.

There are areas where there is not enough demand for simple basic services to make it worthwhile for private companies to attempt to compete.

If the rural electrification program had not happened, we would be looking at a very different nation today.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: EV Batteries
warren@fourward.com   10/2/2012 4:54:04 PM
When I say "government," I mean Federal government.  I believe in States Rights and an extremely limited federal  government.  Just like the Constitution allows.  Believe me, Texas would have a COLONY on the moon with all the extra tax revenue it would have had if the feds hadn't taken if first.

solarsculptor
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Re: EV Batteries
solarsculptor   10/2/2012 1:36:08 PM
The EV has some significant advantages over a gasoline fueled automobile, but to make it work is a bigger engineering problem than any one auto company can solve. an example, Ford and GM just signed an agreement to develop the next generation of transmissions (10% better gas mileage) because neither had enough cash to design it. Getting two companies together is difficult, and only the government is big enough to get all of the companies together to solve a problem as big as the EV car or the self drive car.

Warren, you make it sound like you are buying the car of your choice , when you are in fact only able to choose from the models that the car companies decide to sell you. The car companies are bureaucrats with armies of marketing people who have been studying the comsumer and know just how to extract the maximum dollars from you, and make you think that you have choosen freely. They have been selling you the same old car for 100 years, but each time you buy it you think it's the greatest new thing.At least with the Government you have a vote, and if you choose well people who will try to take into account the overall problem of the impact of cars on society.

Look at the fight that the car companies are putting up to stop the self drive car in California! Part of the reason the car companies failed in 2008 was poor choices by company managers on what type of car to sell the public. They guessed monster SUV's would make them the most money but when gas prices went up and people couldn't afford the cost of their commute look what happened.

 

afrank
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Re: EV Batteries
afrank   10/2/2012 1:58:28 PM
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Your note onthe small battery "EV" is called aPlug-In Hybrid that i pioneered 25 ears ago and have a patent issued in 1997.  I prposed then that the baterypack should be on the order of 16 to 20 kwhrs for vehicles up to 5000 lbs. i constructed 10 cars of different size over a period of ten or ore years demonstrating that 60 mils of all electric Range AER would displace 90% of the gaoline used with elecricity and that the charging infrastruture only needs to be Level 1 or 110  volts.  I have Chevy Volt 30 ad have 24000 miles in 1.5 years and use only 110 volt charging and have achieved 128 mpg or I hav displaced over 600 gallons of gasoline with110 volt electricity with no range anxiety!

Prof Andy Frank

HaleyPE
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Re: EV Batteries
HaleyPE   10/2/2012 2:50:49 PM
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I agree with what you have done and think we are saying the same thing but I avoided saying "EV".  My study found worst case trips over 50 miles at 16% while you have 60 miles at 10%.  These are both valid and a range extender is meant to address the psychological impediment of the customer (user).

What most people think of as Hybrid is the electro-mechanical modulation vehicle whether plug in or onboard generator charged.  I think of the battery/range extender system as pure EV with backup.  My current understanding is that the Government would consider the battery/range extender vehicle as an EV because the range extender is not necessary to the primary operation of the vehicle.  In fact, I would suggest the range extender as an after market product.

My point was to suggest a better engine as a great step in economy and a huge pollution reduction from less fuel/mile and higher thermal efficiency when you need an engine.  My company abandoned the electric car many years ago as a project because we concluded it was the battery and we don't do batteries.  We still support electric vehicles but will focus on our engine concept.

fixitsan
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Re: EV Batteries
fixitsan   10/2/2012 2:47:15 PM
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I agree with analysis supporting the benefits of battery changing systems. It seems to be the quick and clean solution,

"leave the charging to someone else, just gimme a full pack"


That's how we roll these days, but is it a practical attitude ?

 

I think what is needed to get things underway is large scale involvement of a company which wants to use battery changing stations as a way to win customers for their products. After all, nobody is going to just start a business building battery changing stations when nobody has a car to use them yet...and it works the other way around too.

 

Which is why i'm starting to think this could be an ideal way for car hire companies to get involved. They have safe storage, they have power (usually), they have security, they have a simple administration system, and so on.

 

So what happens when you want to go further in your electric car than there is miles between you and the next battery station ? Well, the hire car company would no doubt be happy to hire you a gas car as a gap filler. You know, they could even give discounts. They savings in gas expenditure (especially here in the UK) would easily pay for day trips in hire cars in the long run.

 

"Leave the charging to someone else, just gimme a full pack.....and when I need to go further gimme a gas car"

 

Just an idea

 

Battar
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Re: EV Batteries
Battar   10/2/2012 3:30:49 PM
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Fixitsan,

            Do your home work. That is not "just an idea" , it is a practical proposition already in operation in Israel. Look up "Betterplace".

Problem is, the company is targeting the wrong market, pushing "company cars" and family saloons, instead of concentrating on the market where electric power gives the greater advantge and where limited range is less of a problem - light delivery vehicles which operate mostly in urban environments and are little used outside normal working hours.

MIROX
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Platinum
Re: Better Place
MIROX   10/2/2012 4:07:07 PM
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If loss of 500 million and ousting of founding CEO is your perception of "viable" then all we need is more investors willing to say good by to their billions, and we all will be driving "FREE" EV provided to every taxpayer by IRS in lieau of "refund" !

fixitsan
User Rank
Silver
Re: EV Batteries
fixitsan   10/2/2012 5:14:31 PM
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I've known about Better place since it was just a rumour.

 

Like you say "The problem is...."

 

The problem with limiting your market to light delivery vans, as yiou suggest, is that vans aren't cars.

 

Plenty of guys have built their own EV's, I'm currently building an EV bike, after toying with an EV car idea for far too long.

If you build it yourself your savings _can_ be huge, the obvious problem is that not many people can build their own EV, but the EV ownership experience is suitable for so many more people than the number who can build it themselves, so there's room for growth of the product base right there.

The issue is, how to lever it into the market., to put them on the road and prove their viability (Like the RAV4 EV)..I think as well as car hire companies, carpark companies could be involved (many already are, homework done years ago there too)

 

The 'problems' we can all stumble on needn't be stumbling blocks, just stepping stones, it's all about just finding a way to get more people to take them on.

 

 

 

Dave
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Gold
Plug-ins may not be not very practical, either.
Dave   10/2/2012 10:49:42 AM
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The vehicles that I am wary about the most are plug-in hybrids. Let's say that your commute is just beyond the max distance of all-electric propulsion. Your car's engine needs to run for all of one minute or perhaps not at all for a month. How do you think this would affect the life of the IC engine? Our "standard" hybrid covers this issue by ensuring its IC engine runs often enough to keep the oil free of harmful moisture/sludge, but an extended range plug-in is far more likely to consume very minimal IC use time.

 

 Instead of replacing batteries, prematurely, folks would be replacing their IC engine! I have seen arguments that this is unlikely to happen but I am not convinced.

tekochip
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Platinum
Valid points
tekochip   10/2/2012 11:48:33 AM
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Nothing lights this board up faster than an EV story.
 
This is a excellent article and makes a valid point about the battery size versus cost, and why a hybrid is really the only EV running right now.  The low range of an all electric vehicle would be fine for me, but of course our family could use my wife's car for long trips, since a full EV couldn't go the distance.  That means that the consumer would have to be willing to pay a much larger price-tag for a vehicle that was capable of much less, and that simply won't happen.


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Valid points
Rob Spiegel   10/2/2012 11:56:47 AM
I think you nailed it, Tekochip. There are still a good number of people who want to see a big move toward environmentally friendly cars. But they're a minority. Most of us really want a good balance between cost and performance.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Valid points
CharlesM   10/2/2012 12:57:15 PM
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But how do we get the costs of new technologies down without economies of scale which cannot occur without demand? This is the chicken-egg syndrome that only government can solve. That's why there are gov't cost incentives for early adapters, who are still willing to pay more and accept early technology risks. But only this way can the costs and reliability issues of mass production be solved. We can't wait for a magic cold fusion-esque breakthrough to occur (fuel cells, anyone?), and even if that does occur the transition of whatever that is to mass production will still be costly and unreliable until significant deployment happens.

Meanwhile you're always free to not be an early adapter and buy for only your pocketbook. In that case, your best bet is a used car with maybe 40k miles already on it, a small economy four cylinder. Most everything else is just throwing your money away. You can get one with a turbo if you want performance (--but why, given your frugalness?).

 

technowatcher
User Rank
Gold
Re: Valid points
technowatcher   10/2/2012 3:46:26 PM
Interesting debates about govenment subsidies.  While I'm generally in favor of minimal government intervention and am pro-free-markets...I have some observations that I feel are relevant:

Government support of the FINAL PRODUCT (such as for EV's) is quite contrary to "free market" approaches and is pretty much a waste of money.  The problem is - the money (which, by the way is OUR money via taxes) is going to the wrong place and funding the wrong thing...  It subsidizes the manufacturer and indirectly the consumer for a product that is not economically viable without support.  Take away that support - and it will die (as EV's are now seemingly starting to do).

I do, however, believe that government funding of new technology has a much more productive place:  fund the development of the CORE TECHNOLOGY such that the ECONOMICS of the final product (EV's in this case) actually are positive.  After that - the products will sell themselves and not need any subsidies.  

Now...if the government is to fund technology development on a large scale, it needs to be managed in a proper way (quite UNLIKE the funding of Solyndra which was basically dropping over half a billion dollars by helicopter with no accountability whatsoever).  Several models have worked well historically: A) DARPA / ARPA-E, where there is a phased approach to the technology development, checkpoints, deliverables, etc.  A given company gets only "progress payments" as they meet goals - not a lump sum to go have a "financial party" with (by the way - Solyndra spent most of their money building a $733M lavish business park, not really developing the technology).  B) NASA did a great job in years past developing technology to take us to the moon (an admittedly questionable goal, but phenomenally achevied) - much of which subsequently was able to be commercialized.  Unfortunately, NASA became an inefficient bureaucracy in later years...

So...my point is that if we are to use the govenment as our "venture capitalists" to fund technology development that may have a longer timeframe than traditional VC's would fund - OK...but run it LIKE A BUSINESS, and don't fund the PRODUCT, fund the TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT.

Does this resonate with anyone?

By the way - I've always found Charles Murray's articles to be balanced and practical.  So... I think it is quite unfair that some of the noisey zealots are making a big stink just because they don't like to see FACTS or OPINIONS published if they don't align with their agenda.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Valid points
Charles Murray   10/2/2012 4:25:40 PM
I agree with you when you say that government funding of core technology is more appropriate, technowatcher. An example: ARPA-e's BEST (Battery's for Electrical Storage in Transportation) is funding next-gen battery chemistries, such as lithium-sulfur, lithium-air, zinc-air and magesium. I have no horse in the race and don't care which one is successful, but I think the idea of funding core technologies is a healthier one.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Valid points
Rob Spiegel   10/3/2012 8:03:13 PM
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I agree CharlesM, that is a difficult wall to overcome. Take the Chevy Volt. Even with a $7,500 tax credit and with GM selling the vehicle below cost, sales volume still isn't sufficient to bring down production costs. How long is the government and GM going to lose money on an idea that still isn't financially feasible in the market?

CharlesM
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Silver
Re: Valid points
CharlesM   10/3/2012 11:45:35 PM
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Incentives are investments, not losses. The answer is they need to double down on incentives until production volumes, economies of scale, and technology improvements for these new tech vehicles level the playing field with fossil fuel vehicles, and this leveling is rapidly approaching. How many billions are spent on fossil fuel pollution-tied diseases and how much is spent increasingly in economic costs due to climate change?  Ask the insurance industry what their losses have been for the unprecedented drought, tornadoes, wildfires and heat waves over the last few years.

See the Envia link below and the carmakers' roadmaps for how this cost reduction is already occurring at a relatively rapid pace, given the >100 years in which ICE cars have enjoyed continual evolution, and given the huge fossil fuel subsidies you people never acknowledge. Is the Prius finally a success in your eyes?  It's only existed within the blink of the automobile era's eye.

I'd also point out that thanks to government incentives renewable energy for the electrical grid is on track to be cheaper than fossil fuel electrical power in the next few years. The fossil fuel-owned so-called "free market" would not have let that happen. Also see what Germany has done with progressing toward sustainability while we're still arguing over tar sand pipelines and listening to people who think we can drill our 20% world energy consumption out of our 4% of oil reserves. 

   

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Valid points
Rob Spiegel   10/4/2012 12:15:41 AM
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CharlesM, thanks for the excellent points and perspective. By the way, I didn't see the Envia link.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Valid points
CharlesM   10/4/2012 12:35:27 AM
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Thanks, Rob. Didn't mean to be too harsh, at least with such a broad brush. Glad to see open minds, which I try to have too!

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Valid points
Rob Spiegel   10/4/2012 12:42:12 AM
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Actually, your argument really did open my mind, CharlesM. I wasn't prepared for that. But your perspective is valid. Ultimately, I really think we will need incremental or sudden technology breakthroughs.

wedonedat
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Iron
experience in best
wedonedat   10/2/2012 12:41:03 PM
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It comes as no surprise that the battery is limiting the acceptance of electric only cars. I have been slogging my way through an electric conversion for two years now and have gained a greater respect for the technical challenge of electric only transportation. Range and battery safety/reliability/longevity is without doubt the most significant challenge to overcome. My conversion platform is a 1972 SAAB 99.


I have coined a term, EVgallon, which represents the amount of battery capacity necessary to produce approximately the same result in an ICE vehicle. An EVgallon comes out to be 6KWh. My LiFePO4 battery weighs 150 lbs takes up nearly the entire volume of the former gas tank and yet holds only one EVgallon of charge. So, my vehicle, when completely charged, can go approximately as far as the original vehicle with 1 gallon of gas in the tank.


This actually works just fine for driving the kids to school, or athletic practice, or doing a grocery run. It charges in about 1.5 hours off of a 220v 15 amp service, so it is very functional in that way. However, there is no way in He!! that this technology is going to challenge an ICE vehicle for long range or heavy load operation. Replaceable battery packs is really not practicle either as one "gallons" worth of batteries is 150 lbs. I don't seem many "Leaf" owners lifting six 75 lbs blocks in and out of their vehicles. Also notice that the Toyota pluggable EV has less than one gallon capacity. This probably explains Toyota's reluctance to make its hybrid pluggable. A lot of additional electronics to accomplish little additional vehicle ability.


I have owned electric scooters and electric motor bikes, which seem to perform much closer to their ICE counterparts, so maybe there is where the emerging market really is.

For now, EV is probably constrained to short run haulers. My wish is that the tax credits would stop but that legislation would be initiated to give insurance breaks so that there is no inherent penalty for having multiple vehicles for different purpose. Having a vehicle devoted to kid hauling would be wonderful. This mode of use is probably the least efficient for ICEs and the most plausible for EVs.

Re-aligning the insurance issue could go along way toward supporting the manufacture and sales of this specific purpose additional vehicle market.

 

MIROX
User Rank
Platinum
Cost per Mile
MIROX   10/2/2012 1:38:40 PM
When all they hype is over, the fact remains that the cost per mile for EV is in premium over Gasoline powered vehicle if the cost of the replacement battery is either included, or the "bricked" vehicle is depreciated to ZERO when the battery warranty is over and in most likelihood a replacement battery is not even available at any price.

Just was at Altcarxpo this weekend (www.altcarexpo.com)

Not a single exibitor could give a price for a battery on ANY of their offerings !!!

 

Theay also sang the same song, the battery price will go down by the time you will need one, and do not worry the battery has 8 year warranty, 80,000 to 100,000 miles, etc.

Yet NISSAN in theri Warranty book specifically states that "deterioration" or range with battery use and age IS NOT COVERED by theri "Warranty" !!!

Thus legal action is the only thing people can do to get their what they thought they bought XXX miles per charge !

 

 

 

solarsculptor
User Rank
Silver
Re: Cost per Mile
solarsculptor   10/2/2012 3:45:42 PM
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Two weeks ago I was looking for a used car with my son. We came upon a 2003 Honda Insight with 234,000 miles! It was still running, original battery, passed inspection, I guess it is only 7 years old. He didn't want to buy something with quite that many miles on it, but who ever owned it saved a lot on gas! The car is in Massachusetts, so it doesn't have the summer heat to break it down like desert states might have.

Constitution_man
User Rank
Gold
NOPE, still not convinced...
Constitution_man   10/2/2012 3:45:45 PM
If you take all the idealists out of the equation and just look at the buying public for a minute... there's a problem.  These cars are not competitive, gas savings be darned.  Even with the federal kickbacks [that is YOUR money already... they're just giving it back, minus overhead] the economic equation just does not work out.  I'm not knocking the idealists one bit... God bless 'em.  But, consider this... the idea of buying a $40K car with its most mission-critical component being a mystery is just too scary.  Why won't a GM dealer give me the price, availability, and lead time for a VOLT's battery pack?  

GM's answer... "Don't worry about it!  you get a warranty!"  

Not good enough.  Go back to the buying public.  FYI they expect to do a couple of things with their cars, regardless of propulsion method...

a. trade it in someday... or

b. buy one in good used condition.

I'm not saying that EV's are incapable of showing their value in either of these scenarios, but I AM saying that nobody in automotive marketing has allayed those concerns.  maybe Apple needs to rebadge the darn things as the iCar.... problem solved.

robatnorcross
User Rank
Gold
Re: NOPE, still not convinced...
robatnorcross   10/2/2012 4:50:15 PM
Constitution_man... Or Google could label it the Gcar and give them away for free in exchange for constant advertising on the video screen in front of every seat.

rfbrost
User Rank
Iron
Tesla Has Solutions To Many Of These Problems
rfbrost   10/2/2012 7:26:07 PM
I was reading the comments and struck by the intelligence and level of discourse when I realized that this was an engineering audience. Engineers are often tasked with researching new technologies and preparing a competitive analysis for executive management. If any the responders to this article were actually in that role they would not have omitted the current Tesla Model S and the companies recently announced FREE national supercharger network. While the largest auto company in the world, Toyota goes on and on about how insoluble the EV car problem is, Tesla's engineers have gone on to SOLVE all these problems. Yes, I know that the current Model S (well equipped) is $80K but as engineers you guys know that new technology always starts out expensive and then "walks down the cost curve" as knowledge and volumes improve. This tradeoff is NOT an accident but part of a deliberate strategy by Elon Musk to introduce EV technology in a way that one can write a fundable business plan. Tesla has sold 2500 Electric Roasters and gained essential experience at building electric cars. These hand built $110K two seaters produced enough revenue for a sustainable small business but Elon, like Steve Jobs, wants to "make a dent in the Universe" so this endeavor was but a stepping stone. The Model S is a marvel of engineering fully Electric solutions to the problem of an electric car not a mere retrofit. All aluminum body, lowest drag coefficient of any production vehicle to maximize efficiency at highway speeds, the "heavy" battery pack is mounted at axle height for great handling response, seven seat capacity with the largest cargo capacity of any four seat sedan on the market, and 0-60 acceleration in 4.4 seconds to please the "little boy" in all of us who wants to go fast. This car is targeted to the luxury vehicle segment vs. BMW 5 Series, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Lexus, etc. The Model S is very price competitive within this market segment. The company has $5K deposits on all the cars they can build through mid 2013. Finally, the Tesla national charging network being built by Tesla will enable travel coast to coast, it is powered by Solar, and is FREE to their customers. Charging stations are strategically positioned at mid-points in travel between large cities. They have 10 stations in California NOW to enable long distance trips through out that state with a plan to complete 100 stations by the end of 2013 to cover the entire nation. Rather then complaining to the government about lack of action to produce national infrastructure, they have set out to demonstrate a solution to the problem of long distance travel. Is it the solution perfect, no. When was your last product perfect before it went into production?  It is A solution, I think a brilliant one. For full disclosure, I am a Model S reservation holder #7299 and I am a TSLA stock holder. Our profession is generally well paid and I think many of us could afford this vehicle and its many benefits. And before anyone asks, in 2015 Tesla expects to introduce a "consumer" sedan close to the $30K price point. We should all thank Mr. Musk for his efforts in dragging our stubborn asses into the 21st Century.

motorhead
User Rank
Iron
Re: Tesla Has Solutions To Many Of These Problems
motorhead   10/3/2012 10:48:27 AM
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Tesla and Frisker have both raised money claiming they will have $30k electric cars.

I'm still trying to figure how you can sell a car for $30k that has a $25k battery pack ?

 

And how do you make a profit on free charging?  How do you raise investment money to build free-charging stations?  I'd like to see that prospectus. 

akwaman
User Rank
Gold
Re: Tesla Has Solutions To Many Of These Problems
akwaman   10/3/2012 11:59:25 AM
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Where does the 25k battery pack figure come from, motorhead?  The free charging stations are free only for the Tesla customers, but anyone will be able to use them.  Actually a great investment to get in on the energy distribution network of the future. Obviously, there are no investors that would invest in a product that gave everything away for free, if so, they would call it charity, there is always a catch somewhere, the smart people look for the catch, and can read between the lines.

naperlou
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Blogger
Re: Tesla Has Solutions To Many Of These Problems
naperlou   10/3/2012 1:45:03 PM
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Actually, the $25K came from me.  I got it from a former Tesla executive who presented to our local IEEE chapter.  The $40K came from an incident where a couple of owners had let the cars run out of charge.  In 2009 the CEO of the company, Elon Musk, quoted a replacement cost of $36K.  They were also selling futures on a new battery for $12K.  This is all a matter of public record. 

The packs need to be actively managed.  If the control system goes down, the pack will have problems, and perhaps fail.  They are actually assembled by hand from a very large number of cells about the size of a standard battery (I think it is AA size, but it could be slightly larger). 

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Tesla Has Solutions To Many Of These Problems
CharlesM   10/3/2012 2:32:12 PM
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Tesla uses 18650 size cells, 18mm dia x 65mm long. Certainly they don't expect that cost structure to continue. The $40k pack was for the $110k Roadster. If nothing else, it's noted the packs are currently highly labor intensive. That's an obvious opportunity to cost reductions.

Another possible path using cheaper cells: http://enviasystems.com/

d_c_weber
User Rank
Bronze
re:valid points
d_c_weber   10/2/2012 7:51:26 PM
There is only one way to get efficient transportation and cut our National trade deficit:  tax all foreign fuel.

If gasoline had a pump price of $10/gallon, the extra money could be used to reimburse the automakers for the domestic content (translate as American jobs) that they contribute.  And pay their legacy costs of retirement funds for existing retirees and the health insurance of their older workers (which the transplants don't have).

Then, because the cost per mile would be so high for gas guzzlers, no one would buy them. And many more people would buy electric vehicles and PHEV's, since they run on nuclear powered electricity (and hydro and wind and solar - none of which use foreign fuel). And many would use public transportation saving more fuel, and move closer to work saving more fuel and car-pool saving even more and other things that nobody has even thought of yet but will come out of the marketplace when gasoline and diesel are expensive.

Nothing beats the invisible hand theory of Adam Smith - i.e. capitalism creates improved products at the lowest cost.

William K.
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Platinum
Big Battery EVs
William K.   10/2/2012 9:29:05 PM
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The sad fact is that pure EVBs are not the solution, although providing an option of different sized battery packs could go a long way towards solving a few of the problems. Why carry a 200 mile range battery pack when one's daily commute is ten miles? A 50 mile battery pack would provide a very good margin and be only a quarter of the weight.

The real solution, for those willing to forgo air conditioning, is in the manually controlled start-stop vehicle. Manually controlled because there is no possible way to have a computer be adequately aware of it's surroundings, and no way can a computer system adequately handle driving conditions, and no way an automated system could be idiot-proof enough to provide good performance. Start-coast-stop control can easily triple the miles per gallon delivered, with no modifications to the engine program, only  different starter motor and a means to uncouple the engine while stopped or coasting. 

Only a small portion of city driving involves acceleration, with the result that the engine can be off for a large part of the time, which results in the reduced fuel consumption. Of course, this method provides very little improvement in the constant speed, long duration, driving modes. But the advantage is that it is simple to include and does not need any breakthroughs to implement.

CharlesM
User Rank
Silver
Possibilities with newest battery technology
CharlesM   10/4/2012 12:32:44 AM
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If the Envia Systems battery figures hold up, an 85kWh battery pack (same as largest in Tesla S) would cost about $11,000 and maybe the rest of the pack w/ markup would make that $20k (using Bob Lutz's cost figues for the Volt). You could put that in a Volt without the range extender ICE and its fancy torque converter/generator that shouldn't add more than another $15k or so (i.e., a Cruze with electric motor substituted for ICE and transmission). That could be a $40k EV car that goes 300 miles per charge.

If that's not enough range, a 48kWh version of that pack would be about $6000, same as Lutz claims the present 16kWh battery costs. So there's a potential Volt that has triple the electric range or over 100 miles pure EV before the range extender kicks in.

Lastly I would ask people who don't see much difference between a Volt and a Cruze to consider whether the difference between a BMW 3-series is really a 2:1 cost premium to a Cruze. I have a 5-series and I have a good idea where that comparison leads, except in the boy racer car mags which would conclude the opposite. You could also compare a $20k Cruze with $40k Buicks that aren't much different except for their options lists. At least the Volt saves a $1000 or so a year in gasoline. That should count for something.

 

 

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