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'EV Triumph' Needs More Perspective, Less Hype

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Re: I'm one of the nay-sayers
combustioneer   1/11/2013 9:57:40 AM
Or it could be someone who puts 40000 miles a year on their vehicle like I do. I'll stick to ICE or hybrid as long as I'm getting more thaan 50 miles from the nearest city of a population of at least 200000. Besides electric plug in cars only move the pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack. As for photovoltaic charging of the batteries, Solar cells are not economically of environmentally viablle. It requires more energy and produces more greenhouse gas to produce the pure silicon and make the solar panel than you can recover or offset from the panel in it's lifetime. I know this because I helped to develop a more efficient silicon purification process that is in beta testing right now, and it still doesn't balance out energy wise. Solar cells have their purposes but saving the planet isn't one of them.

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Resistance is Futile!
rainmaking   1/11/2013 10:02:08 AM
My next car will be electric (BEV), and I can't find a reason why here in the US at least one electric car per household isn't completely feasible. I know the batteries are expensive but so is gas. The ~$60 per week I spend on gas translates to about $175/month of energy savings which adds >$10k to the price I can pay for the car. I drive less than 50 miles per day 95% of the time, and when I need to drive farther I can trade cars with my wife, or rent a car for that matter. All the naysayers are just resistant to change and can't see the forest through the trees. It is a better solution for everyone, and years from now I will look at the person in the gas car at the signal light and feel just like I do now when I sit down at an outside restaurant and someone lights up a cigarette.

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Re: I'm one of the nay-sayers
Jim_E   1/11/2013 10:02:43 AM
> Sounds more like a whiner that can't let go of his ICE engine.

I clearly stated that I really like internal combustion engines.  I don't consider it to be 'whining' when I mention the FACTS that electric cars are simply not practical yet for the majority of drivers in the USA.

> Oh yea... let's not forget that we could STILL be chained to the pump

I don't mind the pump so much, and I clearly remember gasoline being under $2 a gallon.  I have no idea what the heck happened since 2008. 

> I prefer an electric with a solar panel array on my property to power it. 

Good for you.  I prefer an ICE powered car, and buying pump gas.  As with electric cars, solar power just isn't 'there' yet for me now (and I worked in the solar industry before).

Yea, electrics aren't for everybody, but that argument is mainly for people who have stock in oil companies and those who don't properly research electric technology, and it's use for Americans.  Broad, misinformed drool, spoken by an oil lover, not a scientist or engineer.

I am an engineer, I don't own oil stock (well, unless it's in my 401K) and I was stating facts about the limitation of electrical energy, and my opinion towards liking internal combustion engines.  Way to go off on me like a single point of view, left-leaning, daily-koz reader....  Please tell me where my 'misinformed drool' is, when I only state that existing electric car have limited range and a long charging time?

Not sure if Jim was referring to powering the car "off the grid" or getting power off OF the grid.  Powering "off the grid" is generally accomplished without fossil fuels

I meant charging the car via the electrical power grid, not in your backyard off of an array of solar cells, over four sunny days....  ;)

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Re: Don't believe the hype
Gtxragtop   1/11/2013 10:08:03 AM
Please read this and think a bit about the fact that the energy to power these vehicles needs to be generated somewhere. Also note that last I looked, the energy available at outlet at your house is about 25% of the energy consumed at the point of generation. Coal fired plants being less efficient than other fuels. Yes, Hydro requires no fuel but there are only so many hydro plants that can be built and utilized on a large scale. Are you willing to build, fuel, and live with the waste from nuclear powered plants to run your EV's? I bet most folks would say NO.

There is no simple answer here. I personally believe that small hybrid vehicles are a better more efficient solution than pure EV vehicles. Problem is that there are limited use vehicles. I can't pull a trailer with these, and they are small with little cargo capacity. Nice for commuting. The larger Hybrids like the Toyota Highlander hybrids don't get the mileage that makes them worth buying.



rick oleson
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Re: I'm one of the nay-sayers
rick oleson   1/11/2013 10:08:04 AM
I would like to think that this forum is above the level of sarcasm and insults.  I guess I set my hopes too high.

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Re: Perspective indeed
Weldon   1/11/2013 10:12:43 AM
I enjoyed the article.   It puts production into perspective.  In other industries, there are curves for projections of volumes.  It would be nice to see the curves and not just 10 year projections, but the point is well made that the various forms of electrics are not immediately going to replace existing technology.

I am a tall / 230 lb person, so generally believe most of the advances in efficiency are restricted to the little people of the world.   A couple of years ago, I supplemented my F150 pickup with an economy car to avoid the high cost of fuel, but still need the utility of the pickup, so keep it parked until needed.  (I am still getting used to sitting in an egg crate (Toyota Echo) along side trucks on the highway.)    I recently did my first test drive of a Prius and was reasonably impressed with the regenerative features, but quickly realized this was not a car for passing others on the rural 2 lane highways and is best used by rural mail carriers or in town delivery/taxi...  The Prius happens to have the same 1.5L engine in my Echo, but driving characteristics are entirely different.

I recently have read of the Nissan system to coast the engine while maintaining a 25V battery system for electrical needs.   I think up to 10% gains from this kind of technology while not hybrid, allows using smaller engines and getting most of the fuel efficiency of the hybrid is going to become mainstream for all manufacturers in 5 years timeframe.   I am not sure how this fits into the categories of this article, but 10% mileage enhancement, if one can retain reasonable passing performance is going to be a winner.

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Re: EV's aren't Smartphones
CharlesM   1/11/2013 10:15:27 AM
Smartphones give people something they like, want, or need.  EV's don't do that...

People don't want or need to lower their fuel costs?  Fuel for an EV costs about half that for the highest MPG hybrid generally available, eg, Prius.

People don't want a car that's inherently smoother and quieter than anything else on the road?  Why are they buying Lincolns, Cadillacs, Lexuses, etc.?

They're otherwise a lesser performing and more expensive solution to what people already have.

You have not been paying attention to Automobile magazine and Motor Trend (and other reviews) where their Car of the Year, a Tesla S sedan, blows the doors of the perfomance of cars like a BMW M5 and costs about $3000 less, not including huge fuel and maintenance savings (and a $7500 tax credit). That is NOW.

Lower cost EVs in the $20k class with better batteries may be a few years away, but I wouldn't bet it will be MANY years away. And SOME price premium is warranted to get the lower maintenance costs and quality experience (quiet, smooth, high start torque) of an EV. Have you ever added up all your yearly car maintenance costs? You might be in for a surprise.

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Re: Don't believe the hype
kodaiflow   1/11/2013 10:18:39 AM
These discussions always seem to apply a linear analysis that holds all other values constant.  It is true, one part of the question is if technological advances will increase battery capacity and reduce charge time, but how society will evolve over the next 20 years to change the requirements of a personal transport is a larger issue.  Lack of infrastructure spending would make long commutes challenging, and Gen Y'ers may make different lifestyle choices that will effect the range, speed and capacity demand. To a baby boomer, their car is far more than a transport utility.  This may not be true with new generations, especially depending on how new media fragments the ability to re-enforce certain messages.  Modernization in the insurance industry like linking liability coverage to the operator's license rather than a vehicle registration could make rental markets flourish.  This would reduce the consumer's hard limits on the performance of their primary vehicle, as they could lease specialty vehicles for temporary needs.  

The world is non-linear system, and as such, follows the rules of chaos theory.  The one thing we can be sure of is that Cialis and Viagra will go generic in the next decade, and that is bad news for pick-up trucks and muscle cars. That should be positive for electric cars too.

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Re: Don't believe the hype
snipelee   1/11/2013 10:31:52 AM
Good people,


Until an EV or hybrid can reliably and cost-effectively tow a boat over distances, seat 7-9 passengers, and otherwise beat-out today's modern diesels (which are effectively banned in the US)- they simply cannot be considerd a solution. EVs will never have the power storage and density required for normal, everyday use. Hybrids combine the inefficiencies of EV with a poor overall power-to-weight ratio. 

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Wishing won't do it ! Commitment will
ecolamp   1/11/2013 10:36:32 AM
Wishful thinking and manipulation of statistics won't do it.......At least not for the small group of informed consumers.....We need commitment by the department of energy or the department of transportation at both the federal and state levels to limit and maybe reduce the influence of foreign and domestic oil and gas companies.....There is absolutely no reason why we should be continuing to depend on fossil fuel at the pump...notice I did say at the pump, I would expect energy suppliers to continue to burn fossil fuel until such time as geothermal, wind, or solar, or whatever comes of age. The US state department has the power to change the future but will it ever have the will ? I hope so, because they control the destiny of our childrens children.

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