As I was talking to a high-level electric vehicle (EV) engineer recently, I was surprised to hear him say that driving range shouldn't be an issue for EVs, and that the term "range anxiety" was unfairly harming sales.
"We've taught people to be very concerned about range," he told me. "But do you know what the range of your gasoline vehicle is? Most people don't, but they certainly know what the range of an electric vehicle is."
That engineer isn't alone in his beliefs. An auto industry analyst recently told me, "Range anxiety isn't a real issue for most consumers, but automakers still have to consider it." Similarly, a BMW study involving 1,000 consumers this year revealed that the "average daily distance covered was around 30 miles (45 km)." The movie Who Killed the Electric Car? hammered home the same message by saying 90 percent of driving is done within the range of a short-range EV.
Should range not be a buying issue? There are certainly many consumers who simply don't need a longer driving range. Urban commuters come to mind -- a short drive to work, a daily recharge at a parking garage, and then a brief ride home in the evening. As long as the car isn't needed for long night or weekend trips, the EV is a good choice.
But the implication here seems to be that those who don't share that vision are myopic or are resisting EVs because they fear change. It's more likely, though, that those consumers are resisting EVs for a different reason. They don't buy cars to satisfy their average needs. They buy cars to satisfy their exceptional needs.
"We think that a very, very small number of people will buy a car for their average use, rather than their exceptional use," Bill Reinert of Toyota told us in 2011. "Even if you're covered in 90 percent of the cases, you're unlikely to buy a car that leaves you uncovered 10 percent of the time." He was explaining why Toyota supports the idea of a plug-in hybrid with a backup gasoline engine to extend the range.
Designing for exception, of course, isn't a new idea. Engineers do it every day. Automotive seating is a prime example. Though the average number of people in a car for any given trip is about 1.4, most consumers prefer to buy vehicles with four or more seats. That doesn't mean they're suffering from some kind of phobia that causes them to crave extra chairs. It simply means they're buying for the exception, not the average.
So, no, I don't think it's quite fair to point a finger at range-anxious consumers and imply they're afraid of change. In truth, the problem is much simpler than that. Most of the people concerned about range just need to drive their kids to college, visit the in-laws, or take the family on vacation. After they've spent $30,000 on a new car, they don't want to have to get a rental car to fulfill those needs.
Besides, it's the job of engineers to figure out what consumers want and then design to it. It's not the job of engineers to say, "Here's what you should want."
My understanding of the ice ages, is that they are caused by the Milankovitch cycles of the earth orbit. When it is an ice age, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun at the same time the earth is closest to the sun in the ellipiical orbit. Naturally then, the southern hemisphere is pointed toward the sun at that time. The ice age is a time of a warm southern hemisphere, and a cold northern hemisphere. Likewise, between ice ages, the opposite is true. A warm northern hemisphere coincides with a cold southern hemisphere.
But, global warming, affects the whole planet. So why the increase in southern sea ice? .... The story I've read is that the antarctic ice shelf (not sea ice), has melted, and cold water has resulted, which allows the antarctic sea ice to expand. Also, that the loss of ice up north exceeds the gain of ice down south.
As for predictions, I think the plot of arctic sea ice vs. time is sufficient evidence of where it has been and where it is going. Of course hind site is always more accurate than prediction.
I saw a good argument on your side about surface temperature. I don't remember the site, but something about Watts up? Anyway, it pointed out that the surface temperature record was suspect because so many thermometers were located in urban areas that have been shown to be heating up.
Next, if the earth were entirely dirt, (no ice or water), the average surface temperature would track the net forcing quite quickly because dirt does not easily conduct heat down into great depths. A few feet of dirt would be heated probably within a year. Given that assertion, we would only expect 0.4C increase in average surface temperature for 1.6W/m.sq. Any added temperature increase would have to come from 'amplification'. We would expect the temperature to be proportional to the forcing over these small forcings. Given the noise in the data, the current 'stabilization' of surface air temperatures at 0.8C rise doesn't bother me. Ocean temperatures have not been measured enough yet to indicate anything. Again, ice melt seems to be the best indicator of warming.
I don't have anything to say about politics, other than that it sucks.
The IPCC says with 95% confidence that warming is real, and man made. We know that means a bit more solar absorption than heat radiation output, for whatever reason. If not greenhouse gas, then what?
Of course during the ice ages, the temperature changes first, then the CO2. The driving forcing is the earth orbit change. During heating, the CO2 quickly follows. During cooling, the CO2 lags up t 10000 years. That inability of the earth to absorb the excess CO2 is scary!
Right, we will not settle the science of CO2 as a greenhouse gas easily. There are nice graphs of spectral absorption in space. But, we need nice graphs of differences of spectral absorption in space vs. changes in CO2 concentration. ... hmmm, I think thay have that. http:// www.youtube.com/watch ? v=FqDBcoTSd1M
The CO2 concentration is not uniform, and the satalites can see it. How? I suspect by sending laser beams from space into the atmosphere and measuring the reflections at the CO2 wavelengths. ...
But, that is not the same as measuring a difference in output radiation through the CO2.
Or we need theory that is beyond the scope of this discussion.
Final conclusion? I still suspect excess fossil fuel CO2 causing warming, on a very slow time scale, but with an enormous inertia. Sooner or later fossil fuels extraction will require as much energy to extract as is obtained from the fuel. That will be the end of fossil fuels for energy use. Fossil fuels are used for a lot of other purposes. Moving long distance travel to renewable energy is very difficult. But most other energy uses seem simple enough to change to renewable. If we think long term, we should be trying to preserve the planet for future generations. We don't seem to be doing that.
On your side? I suspect it is don't worry. Don't let the government interfere with free enterprise.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.