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Captain Hybrid

Battery-Electric Vehicles: It's a Question of Trickle-Down

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naperlou
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a long slow road
naperlou   7/21/2014 11:01:33 AM
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Cap'n, it is going to indeed be a long slow road to adoption.  My neighbor has a Volt (which I think is the better interim system) and he gets good costs, etc.  On his commute he can go all electric almost all the time.  On the other hand, he still has to recharge each night.  With an ICE, if I am low on fuel, I can pull into a gasoline station, one of over 100,000 in the US, and fill up in minutes. 

At present the cost of charging EVs is low, but if there were large scale adoption, that equation would change.  I am not saying this is the wrong way to go, but we would then need to build more powerplants.  This will up the cost significantly. 

It is an interesting question, but I would hope that people would concentrate on the real issue.  That issue is energy storage and utilization.  On the utilization front we have many efficient alternatives.  It is storage (gasoline, hydrogen, batteries) that is the issue.

Charles Murray
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Re: a long slow road
Charles Murray   7/21/2014 5:50:32 PM
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I agree with you and your neighbor that the Volt (and other plug-in hybrids like it) are the best interim solution. With a Volt, an owner can travel back and forth to work for weeks without filling up on gasoline. The problem right now is cost. But it will be easier to reduce the cost of the Volt because it has a smaller battery.

tekochip
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Re: a long slow road
tekochip   7/22/2014 10:43:45 AM
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I agree that the strategy of fulfilling the luxury market first is the best approach.  The extra money spent on the power-plant is absorbed into the already high sticker price.  Tesla was very wise to take that approach and it may be another ten years before an electric power-plant becomes mainstream.


William K.
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Wishes don't make it work
William K.   7/22/2014 1:26:24 PM
NaperLou is right on all his points. No question there. But the reality is that no matter how hard the pundits wish for the all electric car to take over, wishing won't make it happen. The closest would be a government mandate, but presently, if our government did that, we would replace them all with a new batch of politicians that were hopefully less independant of societie's needs and wishes.

The truth is that no matter how big a hammer is used, utopia will not be created, except as an illusion, in the minds of a few.

Charles Murray
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Re: Wishes don't make it work
Charles Murray   7/22/2014 6:17:00 PM
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It's easier for political leaders to push the auto companies to meet mandates, William K. If they pushed consumers -- for example, if they demanded that all second cars were electric -- they'd lose votes.

William K.
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Re: Wishes don't make it work
William K.   7/22/2014 6:24:33 PM
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Charles, you are correct, although I am sure that if they could do it they would. But so far voting is our only defense against really bad ideas. And what would happen if the supreme court decided to mandate all electric cars? That court answers to nobody, in practice, although in theory they do answer to the legislature, I think.

But just becaause something is a really bad idea does not mean that the legislators will not embrace it. We have seen that a few times.

CharlesM
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Re: a long slow road
CharlesM   7/23/2014 9:00:23 AM
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 On the other hand, he [Volt driver] still has to recharge each night.  With an ICE, if I am low on fuel, I can pull into a gasoline station, one of over 100,000 in the US, and fill up in minutes. 

Naperlou, I'm sure you know better, but this kind of propagation of common misconceptions illustrates one of the hurdles plug-in hybrids have to overcome in order to gain acceptance. The Volt doesn't ever have to be plugged in. Your neighbor can just drive from gas station to gas station, the same way you do, if he chooses to skip getting 100 or so MPGe from cheap electricity, and instead get only 35-40 MPG from gasoline.

CharlesM
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Re: Wishes don't make it work
CharlesM   7/23/2014 9:11:17 AM
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And what would happen if the supreme court decided to mandate all electric cars? That court answers to nobody, in practice, although in theory they do answer to the legislature, I think.

{FACEPALM} Uh, almost. The judicial branch doesn't write laws. And can anyone imagine this Supreme Court (or any in history) going out of its way to rule in favor of clean air at the expense of "individual liberties, freedoms," etc.?  And what lawmaker would try to do that? It would be direct political suicide and clearly and obviously unconstitutional.

naperlou
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Re: a long slow road
naperlou   7/23/2014 12:49:25 PM
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CharlesM, of course you are correct. On the other hand he would not get the per mile cost he is so enamoured with.  I should have been more clear.  He is very happy that he almost never has to use the generator, which would change is cost metric.  If he does need to drive somewhere distant, then he does have the ability to do that.  Frankly, if he was using the generator a lot, he might be better off with a Cruze (which is about the same size). 

CharlesM
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Re: a long slow road
CharlesM   7/23/2014 1:47:30 PM
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The Volt won't fit everyone's needs and budget, no. (What car can?) It's definitely all about the first 40 miles per day, as you rightly point out. And the number of generator miles after that (a lot) that it would take to erase that benefit. And the electric propulsion experience that continues in any mode. And the low maintenance. That's about all.

But few know much about the car. I get odd and simple questions all the time. "Does it use gas?" "How far can it go?" "How can it keep going after the battery's dead?" Etc.

Until I owned one, even I thought that the depleted battery becomes just dead weight until it's recharged. No; it still fuels the car as a high current buffer and just gets recharged in bursts from the generator to its same average state of charge. That's why it's always an electric car. It's a little complicated, true, but the general public is mostly oblivious. Things won't stay this way forever. (Especially after the Supreme Court requires everyone to buy one! ; >) ) 

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