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Captain Hybrid

Can Automakers Meet the Growing Number of EV Mandates?

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Bunter
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Platinum
Re: Volt sales
Bunter   7/3/2014 12:48:21 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts CharlesM.

Just a few notes.

Yes, few people make much use of the 5th seat.  Most PU  drivers make little use of the bed.

They still like to have it there.  It's really just a inkling.  No big.

Mileage: Most of the road tests I have seen on the Volt got low 30s when the battery is down.  Prius tests usually hit mid 40s.  Yes the battery drive and quiet are great-I do get why people like Volts.  As sales have been level/slightly down with a lower price it is apparent that something does not click for the public in general.

I guess I see the Volt, once you are past the green/tech crowds running against the Fit etc. for practicality.  My thoughts, not gospel.  Enthusiast tend to think of the Prius as a compact but I suspect a lot of buyers see a car with the price and interior/luggage room closer to a midsize with a bonus of using half the gas.  Pretty easy sell when  they get that.  Plus historically excellent reliability and proven battery longevity.

Even though I tend to want crisp handling in a vehicle I suspect most "car guys" way over estimate the value of that for the average buyer.  Toyota gets this, how long has the Camry been the best selling sedan?  Forever.  Enthusiasts are demanding freaks in the car biz, the folks just looking for a reliable vehicle that meets their needs and make few demands pay the bills and make the profit.

Dang, ran on. Gotta' go.

Enjoy.

Dennis

CharlesM
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Silver
Re: Volt sales
CharlesM   7/2/2014 11:38:44 AM
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I think you're about 180 degrees wrong on the Volt, Bunter/Dennis. Let's take your points one at a time.

Functional issues/room. The Volt is based on the Cruze small sedan, except that it sacrifices one potential seat to be a 4-seater instead of a 5-seater. Also, it changes the sedan configuration to a hatchback. Seriously, how many people ever put 5 people in a Cruze? How many cars do you even see on the road with more than just one or two people in them? The Volt drives and handles far better than a Prius, which you seem to think was designed correctly. As for the hatchback configuration, it has both advantages and disadvantages compared to a sedan, but there are certainly plenty of successful hatchbacks in the marketplace, including the Prius. So being a hatchback must not be part of your problem with the Volt. 

Mileage beyond battery reserve. How many 5-seaters that don't drive or feel like they are tiny, dangerous tin cans get the Volt's 35-40MPG in all around driving on gasoline? I don't know what it takes to be more compelling than that for the mere 30% or so of the time that the average Volt owner drives on gas. It doesn't negate the car's average, overall fuel efficiency or fuel costs, which solidly trounce those for the Prius, at about 3 cents per mile instead of about 7.

Practicality/price. The Volt is still premium priced for most, but also drives and rides better than the Prius and can cost close to $30k after the federal tax credit and even less with some states' added incentives. So the net difference is still a few thousand dollars, although the Volt's fuel is less than half as costly and it requires much less maintenance. Not even considering those cost savings in use over time, an EV is much more refined in ride, noise, vibration, etc., and there has always been a market segment that will pay thousands more for those qualities (e.g., Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes, Rolls, etc.). I'm not sure if $30k constitutes being "far above anything that is practical competition," especially when the Volt is possibly the most practical car on the road, except for buyers who need to actually carry 5 people.

I too have pondered the question of why there are so few plug-in cars on the road and have a different theory beyond the "personal identification" one of yours, though I don't deny there is that too.  EV owners consider a smooth and quiet car to be ideal. However, the reality seems to be that people prefer the individuality that comes with having myriad different noises to choose from, even if it comes at the expense of efficiency. That is what identifies their personality in their vehicle. Consider the popularity, at least in my area of the country, of the diesel pickup with large, loud straight pipes, or H-D motorcycles with loud pipes. These are neither cheap nor practical. They're fun and defining to their owners, however. If all cars are EVs, nobody's car sounds really any different from anyone else's. It's as if all EVs are one color, say white. All other cars can be purchased in any other color. Which would most people want to choose from? So there's a personal ID factor for all car owners, not just the EV owner. It's just different priorities. In addition, there are other factors such as the lack of number of plug-in models to choose from, and fear of change.

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: EVs are the future
patb2009   6/30/2014 7:13:14 PM
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Charles

 

1) I'm working on Lithium-Sulfur, it's pretty amazing stuff

 

2) Consider the Growth curve of battery to the growth curve of Gasoline Engines.

In the last 50 years, Gasoline engines have maybe doubled their Energy efficiency

and Power density.  

In the last 50 years, we have seen remarkable increases in Battery and motor efficiency.

3) With the money at stake, there is too much research happening.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: EVs are the future
Charles Murray   6/30/2014 6:09:14 PM
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Thanks for the link to the lithium-ion battery curve, patb2009. It makes sense. I have to admit, though, I'm skeptical that the same compound annual growth rates, or any growth rates for that matter, could be predicted for any new chemistries. Lithium-ion is now well understood, wheras other chemistries are still unknown commodities.

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: EVs are the future
patb2009   6/27/2014 11:04:05 PM
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I think Kurzweil is right, the swap to new chemistry and methods

are changing at a compounding rate.

 

 

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: EVs are the future
patb2009   6/27/2014 11:02:55 PM
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http://i1.wp.com/evobsession.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Lithium-ion-battery-experience-curve.png?resize=550%2C413

 

http://i1.wp.com/evobsession.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Lithium-ion-battery-experience-curve.png?resize=550%2C413

 

At $250/KWH,  the curve hits an inflection point

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: EVs are the future
patb2009   6/27/2014 10:57:42 PM
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Dennis,

 

Energy Density is going up 7%/year.

Cost/KWH is going down some 40%/year.

When The Cost for Auto Battery drops below $250/KWH, there won't be a reasont

to not do an EV.

 

 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: EVs are the future
Charles Murray   6/27/2014 5:38:33 PM
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Interesting points, patb2009. I think the 7%/year rate will hold for lithium-ion chemistries until we reach a plateau, which will be determined by thermodynamic limits. Moore's Law held true because the material -- silicon -- didn't change over a long period of time, and the growth rate was largely dependent on manufacturing technology, not on material science.  I'm not familiar with Kurzweil's Law, but it sounds like his paradigm shifts would apply to new battery chemistries -- the ones beyond lithium-ion. If he's right, then we'd have a new growth rate (possibly a steeper one) for the succeeding chemistry. Nice discussion.

Bunter
User Rank
Platinum
Re: EVs are the future
Bunter   6/27/2014 3:35:37 PM
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Thanks for the data Pat.

Perhaps this is a perspective thing.  I see your numbers and think 36% is far more than 7%, especially compounded over a decade.  You think these rates feel similar, I see them as very far apart.  That's OK.  Different perspectives.  Different scales.

The chart you reference indicates energy density doubling in 10 years.  OK.  For practical EVs for the mass market, if charging is fast and widely available, if the new batteries are half the price, then in perhaps 15-20 years we can go electric on a wider base.

Anyway, thanks for a thoughtful discussion.

Enjoy.

Dennis

 

patb2009
User Rank
Gold
Re: EVs are the future
patb2009   6/27/2014 12:14:47 PM
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Dennis

 

"An order of Magnitude, is just a compounding percentage over time".

 

Moore's law is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a denseintegrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. 

 

That's is approximately a 36% annual growth in transistor density.

In batteries, we have historically seen a growth in energy density of 7%/year.

 

http://kk.org/thetechnium-mt/Battery%20Energy%20Density.jpg

 

if you look at the curve above, it's been 7%/year and if you look at the new stuff, it's getting faster.  At least in the last 10 years the rate has been getting faster.

 

Much in accord with Kurzweils law

 

 Kurzweil proposed "The Law of Accelerating Returns", according to which the rate of change in a wide variety of evolutionary systems (including but not limited to the growth of technologies) tends to increase exponentially.[7] He gave further focus to this issue in a 2001 essay entitled "The Law of Accelerating Returns"[8] which, after Moravec, argued for extending Moore's Law to describe exponential growth of diverse forms of technological progress. Whenever a technology approaches some kind of a barrier, according to Kurzweil, a new technology will be invented to allow us to cross that barrier. He cites numerous past examples of this to substantiate his assertions. He predicts that such paradigm shifts have and will continue to become increasingly common, leading to "technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history." 

 

Battery is moving into such new fields at such a fast rate, that it's taking a while for perception to catch up.

 

 

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