Electronics & Test
Tesla CTO Says EVs at Tipping Point

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Tesla, which is often knocked for the price tag on its original Roadster, above, continues to refine its technology and drive down the cost of the batteries, according to CTO and co-founder JB Straubel. (Source: Tesla)
Tesla, which is often knocked for the price tag on its original Roadster, above, continues to refine its technology and drive down the cost of the batteries, according to CTO and co-founder JB Straubel.
(Source: Tesla)

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Jerry dycus
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Re: What about a hybrid Solar EV ?
Jerry dycus   4/2/2012 9:34:32 PM

              While PV might only make 500wthrs/day that is enough for bicycle style E trike to go 20 miles!!     It's far better to put the PV on the home roof. 

              That said I'm about to build a 32' trimaran sailboat to move aboard where I belong  but got thinking it would be a great PV powered boat with lots of area, stability and low drag, thus power needs.

             On US electric power last month broke the record for lowest coal use, now about 39.7 % of US generation. Fact is coal while more cheap is 35% less eff than NG cogen plants. And the new ones can throttle down to 50% eff thus relieving theb need for grid storage except in rare cases.

            Nukes is 20% of US electric with hydro, RE making about 10%.  In most places night time when EV's get charged is mostly nuke and hydro.

            They just foreced utilities to cut any powrplant that wasn't eff and that cuts out  about 50% of them so coal will increasingly be less of our power, down to 20% of US electricity in 10 yrs which is about the time enough EV's to matter will be on the roads

              Most EV owners now either make or buy RE power.  Ev's are so eff the slight extra cost buying the RE isn't a problem.

           Facts on car eff is gas cars only get 7% of the tanks energy moving the car down the road.  If you don't understand why you should be commenting here on this. Look up part throttle eff, etc.

           Luckily EV's are 20-65% eff depending on energy source from powerplant/RE fuel to the road.  The above from EIA, EPA websites among many others who value the real facts. The posts here that have little basis in fact make me think some oil, coal paid flacks are trying to spread their propaganda.

             We can stay on oil and keep having oil recessions, wars one after another killing our economy as it did time and time again.


             So let's get to costs. As Telsa admitted to their low Li battery costs it's hard to see how other keep[ talking aboyt $700/kwhr vs real life is between $250-400/kwhr  pack complete.

             Today was my 4th ride in my new Harley Servicecar size EV trike and working out great using under 1 kwhr to go 20 miles, $.11 for fuel, and I haven't started optimizing it yet.   This EV will cost me about $120/yr to run for everything, electric, battery, tag my biggest expense so about $2/wk.  So go ahead and keep knocking EV's and paying for gas, just remember me smiling as I drive by paying $.005/mile for fuel  ;^P





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Re: Cut our dependence on fossil fuels??
diskguy   4/2/2012 12:49:46 PM

There are GE H Class turbines for combined braton and rankine cycles that get 60% thermal efficiency and even with the worst coal (with scrubbers), EV's are still better than petro for emissions and there are health benefits to moving the tailpipe out of the city.

J. Williams
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Re: Cut our dependence on fossil fuels??
J. Williams   4/2/2012 12:34:47 PM
Badgerfan:  Yes electric motors are very efficient 97-98% compared to ICE, BUT how efficient is the coal fired plant supplying the electricity?  We're decades away from wind and solar providing more than about 10-15% of our load.  The best steam turbines are only about 40% efficient.  Gee, that EV maybe isn't so good after all.  Oh, did we talk about transmission and distribution losses in the grid?  What you will find is that the old, nasty ICE isn't so bad after all when you look at the big picture.

Paul L
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Actual Results
Paul L   4/2/2012 12:27:31 PM
Over the last 11 months I have logged 11,000 miles on a LEAF with no issues. I installed a 2.7kw PV system ($10k net cost) to power the car. I am on schedule to payoff the PV system in less than 5 years. We have 3 drivers with round trip commutes of 60, 11 and 2 miles. We fight over the LEAF. Next goal is a pure SF Bay solution (Tesla S from Fremont, SunPower PV from Richmond and Enphase from Petaluma). We have great local products that have good ROIs.

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Need more whys
ChasChas   4/2/2012 12:09:17 PM
We switched from walking to horses - why? Faster, easier, get more done, etc.    

We switched from horses to autos - why? Faster, easier, get more done, less polution on the ground (horse manure) in cities, etc.

Now we are trying to switch from gas cars to electric cars - why?  Get rid of concentrated air polution in cities.  ....... There are just not enough whys.

So we have isolated polution reasons. Fossil fuel dependency is not working as a why because we are finding more oil every day - even in the US of A.

We need to find enough whys that justify the extra cost - note that every switch had added costs.

The financial tipping point may be getting close  Electric is nice, but how nice?

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Re: Cut our dependence on fossil fuels??
Badgerfan   4/2/2012 10:58:03 AM
I agree that currently 90% of our electrical energy is created by fossile fuels.  However, electric motors are vastly superior in efficency to internal combustion engines.  Gas engines get around a maximum of 20-35% efficiency where as electric motors are closer to 80-95%.  You also can recoop some of the energy when braking with an electric vehicle, not so with one that is powered by gas.   When you look at equivalents there is data that supports that you produce half as much CO2 with a hybrid or electric car compared to a gas car.  Also, if we can continue to promote cleaner energy production (natural gas, wind, hydro, solar etc.) this enviromental impact will continue to go down.  Something has to be done as we continue to increase the number of vehicles on the roads and potential drivers (china, india, etc.) we can not contiue to burn gas.  Starting now means you have a chance to start to curb the trend toward electric vehicles.  Most cars have a life expedancy of 10-15 years, so what you buy today will impact the environment for the life of that vehicle.  If we want to change things 20 years from now, you have to start changing things in the next 5 years. 



Also, when looking at enironmental impact you have to look at the cost to build the vehicle and batteries.  Right now the impact of building a battery can be very costly, not only in $$ but also in environmental impact.  There are new batteries being worked on (aluminum based) that have 2-3 times the density of lithium ion ones, but they years away right now.  Also, the hope is that the new batteries will be less expensive and more environmentally friendly. 



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Re: What about a hybrid Solar EV ?
ervin0072002   4/2/2012 10:34:17 AM
Hey GeorgeG,
Solar is good however i dont believe it belongs on a car. Its better to have it on your roof at home rather then the car. A car has a life expectancy lower then most homes. Accidents, wear, vibration, temperature ETC. I dont think it would be economical to place the cell on the roof of a car. At these prices the solar panel would never pay for itself. a Parking garage wired for 208 or 230 would be something else entirely. Then when you park you charge. If your car has RFID then the owner of the lot can bill you fairly for the energy.

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30-minute recharge @ 150mi?
Walt   4/2/2012 10:28:57 AM
Even the "fast" charge of 30 minutes for 150 miles would add significant time to trips when we can currently go 400 miles with a 5-minute fill-up.  That's a hard sell.  And think of the high current capability charge station infrastructure that would take - regardless of battery technology, Coulombs are Coulombs.

Will states raise the speed limits by 20% for EVs to make up for the lost time?:)


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Re: What about a hybrid Solar EV ?
GeorgeG   4/2/2012 10:22:45 AM
The potential is small, but important. A solar roof on a small vehicle could generate something like 500 Wh per day in the southwest. Compare that to a Leaf, that's ~2% of the full charge. I once calculated that for a compact hybrid and average commuting, a good solar roof could improve fuel economy by about 5%. One thing to consider is that modern vehicles have a huge phantom load i.e. they drain battery power when parked so the solar option might be good for vehicles that are infrequently driven.

As for PV assisted AC, the cheaper option is to buy a silver or metalic white vehicle.              

User Rank
Re: Cut our dependence on fossil fuels??
GeorgeG   4/2/2012 10:08:50 AM
Oh please ...

First, fossil fuels do not account for 90-100% of power generation, although they contribute way too much with or without EVs. This is a problem in itself. The assumption that fossil fuel power generation is the way of the future is sick. Also, the available fraction of renewable energy during off-peak hours, when EVs are likely at home on the charger is much higher. Natural gas in particular is primarily used for on-peak peaking.  

Second, vehicles run on an entirely different form of fossil fuel than most power generation. Power generation is predominantly coal and natural gas while motive power is mostly from petroleum with the former being largely domestic supply and the latter imported. So, EVs and PHVs will at least reduce dependence on foreign oil. The alternative is to keep funneling huge amounts of American dollars to foreign despots.

Third, IC vehicle engines are a poor way to convert the energy in fossil fuels into useful energy. The carbon intensity of motor vehicles is so poor that even with transmission and conversion losses, electricity from NG is better than gas. Also, in spite of the state of the art pollution controls, centralized energy conversion with scrubbers and carbon capture would way outperform the local burn of IC motive power.

There are multiple problems to solve including reducing the carbon intensity of transportation, reducing dependance on foreigh oil, improving economic productivity of fossil fuel use and improving urban air quality. EVs and PHVs address all of these issues.



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