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Electric Vehicles: How Far Have We Come in 100 Years?

An Edison storage battery in test setup, from the 1916 monograph 'The Edison Alkaline Storage Battery,' by the technical staff of the Edison Storage Battery Co.
An Edison storage battery in test setup, from the 1916 monograph "The Edison Alkaline Storage Battery," by the technical staff of the Edison Storage Battery Co.

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Jerry dycus
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Re: Battery advances and electric vehicles
Jerry dycus   11/11/2011 7:36:44 AM

  No it doesn't need paint as it's finished clear epoxy/wood constaction including the chassis and rear trailing suspension arm. The pic was taken after living 6 yrs outside in the rain and hit by a car.

  What it really needed was another body to fix the mistakes I made in it as my first car design.

Dispite being made of wood a compact car rear ended me at 25mph closing speed and totaled the car while it only took $40 to repair mine.  Interestingly the wood/epoxy trailing arm was hit and with the wheel still one, was driven over by the car but was barely damaged and was just bolted back on to new chassis pivots.

 Just to be clear I build fast/racing boats and use that tech to build light, strong body/chassis now which I believe as the costs of materials rise, composite uni-bodies will be the future in both EV's and ICE's. In just 10 unit production I can beat big auto mass production cost/body compared to steel while making it stromger and about 50% lighter. 


Jack Rupert, PE
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History - Gas vs. Electric
Jack Rupert, PE   11/27/2011 3:13:56 PM
It seems that there is a comparison between gas engines, when they were first developed and electric cars today, especially in the low ranges and lack of infrastructure (i.e, gas stations).  It would be interesting if one of the automotive historians out there would put together a short article that compares the present state with the birth of the auto industry and see if there is anything to learn.

Charles Murray
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Re: Charging
Charles Murray   12/2/2011 5:13:47 PM
I agree with you, Tool_Maker, that charging may be a bigger factor than range. Experts tell us that when driving long distances, we should get out of our cars and walk for a few minutes every hundred miles (I don't know how many people do it, but that's the recommendation). If, during those few minutes, we could re-charge our electric vehicles, the range wouldn't be as big a factor. Right now, though, we would have to pull over for eight hours if we found a 220V line and twice that long if we could only find a 110V outlet.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Charging
Alexander Wolfe   12/4/2011 6:29:40 PM
I still don't get why Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which have been viable demonstrated by Honda and others -- Honda had some great ones at the NY Auto Show only a few years ago -- are completely off the table as far as alternative energy vehicles are concerned. They have NONE of the problems of electrics. The only stumbling block is a complete lack of interest and will in building the infrastructure (i.e., hydrogen stations) to support them. This is a Betamax versus VHS argument on steroids, and the poorer VHS technology -- electrics -- has won.

Ozark Sage
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Re: Charging
Ozark Sage   1/31/2012 3:21:57 PM
Alexander  The simple answer is H2O when chemically disassembled makes some interesting things like explosives, oxidents, corosives, and undrer elevated or decreased presures various predictable and unpredictable reactions.  The interesting thing is how the public might be affected by unauthorized modifed designs that cause undesired product liability.  In any case CHARGING is NOT the END GAME PROBLEM but rather the eventual POWER SYSTEM CHOSEN which WON'T be a Battery!

No matter the cause, right now I believe it is more important to FIX OUR PATENT system so we can induce inventors of the world to bring their ideas to the USA FIRST and let the MARKET PLACE decide the success or failure outcome.  

As far as HONDA, I would bet certain political, patent, underwriting, safety, or industry economics spy network affected their decision at the time.  Or did they have such good info on upcomming competition? 

See: TATA MOTORS of India, compressed air car due out this year. The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy N.For Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air to push its engine's pistons and make the car go.  Engine vegetable oil changing of 1 liter is only necessary every 50,000 KM or 30,000 miles. Neat little machine!

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Re: Charging
Watashi   2/1/2012 2:07:59 PM
The whole Tata thing isn't really panning out.  I can't find the article I read where Tata was shelving the project but here is a link that shows that and other attempts:


A for effort, but I guess it's not quite here.

I'll just stick with my HEMI until one the these alternatives can blow MY doors off!

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EV batteries
protobobby7   2/4/2013 12:06:38 PM
Why can't the auto industry standardize battery sizes to say 4 or 5 sizes and capacities? This would allow refueling stations to stock batteries in a charged and properly maintained condition.  With some forethought auto makers could standardize a switchout system allowing 5-10 minute battery swaps and the customer is back on the road. A side or rear access to quickly change out batteries on tracks/rails and lock them in place for security should not be that difficult.

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Learned in 100 years?
GuidoBee   3/20/2013 4:11:20 PM
If you google "Lohner-Porsche" you can get an idea.

No idea what the mileage might have been in the early 1900's, but the technology at some fundamental level has not changed much...  Note the credit to Porsche's ideas in the development of the Lunar Rover.

The old guy may have been on to something. 

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EV Has Problems
danharres   5/10/2013 9:18:21 AM
I've mentioned this before on these topics, but an all-electric vehicle has a major problem that ICE vehicles do not have - the EV must store both reactants for the generation of mechanical energy, while the ICE only has to store one of the reactants, gasoline.  The other reactant, oxygen, is available for free in the air.

Imagine if ICE vehicles had to store both the gasoline and the oxygen onboard the vehicle.  The storage tanks would be huge - not unlike EV battery systems.

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