Ivan I think your ROI on the PV panels is a bit optomistic. I've been consistantly told that it is closer to 10 to 20 years for a pv roi based on current effieciencys and costs.
All in all the demand is much much softer than anticipated and you are corrct in that it sounds like the dot.com bubble and bust. I guess this is the dot.green bubble?
I think the biggest cause of the soft demand from my experiences in talking to people is simply that they don't feel these offered vehicles are a "car". They feel they need to drive and maintain them and they will not be able to use them as needed. So regaurdlesss of what the realworld experiences might prove to them typically they are afraid of chance and just not willing to take a chance. With all the over hyping on some aspects it is easy to see why.
Personally I worked on a ethanol fuel cell/ultra cap drive system. In my mind it had none of the issues of a battery powered car or even a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle (fuel scources and cost). What I ran across a lot was all the misinformation you see about ethanol mainly originating from the subsidies or people only familiar with older forms of production ie distilling.
I think there definitly are technologies that are here and available now that would allow the consumer to have and drive just a "car". I doubt we will ever see them until the opec gun to our heads literally runs dry and we are actually forced to do something.
Nice discussion. My hope is that, when lithium-ion batteries are used in autos, that auto and battery makers, as well as consumers, demand that the batteries include a newly discovered -- but little known -- safety innovation.
The two-tiered solution consists of a casing that surrounds the lithium-ion battery cells and a fluid that surrounds the cells. When penetrated, the casing self-seals the opening where, for example, a high-speed projectile enters the energy-storage system. The seal limits oxygen to the cells, so resulting flames can't propagate. The fluid helps disperse the heat from the individual cell to a much larger surrounding area. As a result, it prevents the initially affected cell(s) from reaching a temperature capable of triggering thermal runaway and subsequent fire and explosion.
As a result of the innovation (discovered by Phillips Plastics), short-circuited lithium-ion batteries smolder and extinguish, rather than ignite and explode. The solution has the potential to help minimize harm to property and lives, while significantly enhancing the safety of automotive-, consumer-, and defense-related devices that run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
For more information, visit: http://phillipsplastics.com/case-studies/product-battery-safety
@Ivan, you hit the nail on the head. It takes so long to get payback on this technology investment, few people will do it.
Same with hybrids and EVs. I have a 10-year old gas-hog of a pickup truck that I drive everyday. It was paid for a long time ago. Gas prices would have to get pretty high before it would be a good idea for me to replace it with a hybrid or EV.
When energy costs skyrocket (and they will) demand for batteries will increase as well.
Reminicient of the Dot-Com Era and the current solar panel market. A new technology and associated market emerges. Numerous new companies are formed to compete for market share - and a few emerge as market leaders...
Who will be the Google and Yahoo of the electric car battery market?
"but it seems weird to me to be talking about the relative failure of a market that is still in the very early stages of development/adoption."
You mean like the early deaths of all of those PV companies simply because China decided to step into the market? Investors can't think more than a few quarters away at a time. It's that instant greed mentaility that continues to sell the future down the drain.
It is easy to believe that the annual sales of EV's would be closer to hundreds of thousands versus millions. We reside in a relatively urban portion of Virginia, and the only charging stations that I have seen are at state rest stops. This is not good for travelling around town. I understand that home charge stations will be used, but if you can't charge up when you get to your destination, you would be stranded.
Forgive me if I'm missing something, but it seems weird to me to be talking about the relative failure of a market that is still in the very early stages of development/adoption. I can understand how industry watchers could project that a shakeout is inevitable--that's nearly always the case with highly-touted new technologies, and while difficult for some to weather, just a normal part of market maturation. What I don't quite get is why the commentors seem to be so quick to close the book on what's still a very early chapter in the EV market.
Rob is certainly correct in that the demand just did not wind up being as great as those who drove up the stock prices through their overly-optomistic predictions led some to believe. And perhaps the general public was not yet willing to spend that kind of money for a car that was certified to need a very expensive battery replacement after a few years. IT appears that a lot of folks are just not that dumb, and, of course, with the economy in this present precarious position, spending a lot of money on anything may not feel right.
Possibly large banks of batteries could be used for "banking" power, possibly for a profit, even. Of course, like many comments point out, it would require quite a bit of calculations and study to determine if banking power is even worth the effort. There does exist the possibility that the answer is" NO".
Okay, does this make economic sense? Suppose I can get a 40KWhr battery for my home for $16K. My utility used to offer a Time of Use option which is now closed to new subscribers, however others have claimed a savings of $200 amonth. The estimated payback time is around 80 months or just under 7 years. This is about the same payback period and cost to the homeowenr as installing a 5KW PV array.
I suspect a more detailed analysis of the rate schedule and duty cycle of a home battery storage system might yield more favorable numbers. For example the Time of Use is split into on-peak hours usually around 8 hours of the day and off peak hours. The previously offered rate is about 5 to 1 or 15 cents per KWhr on - peak and 3 cents off-peak. By charging the battery during off-peak and running the home on battery only during on-peak should give better numbers than the 7 year payback.
I looked at the utility rate schedule and all the extra fees, taxes and calculations that go into the bill. It is truly amazing to me that they can make this so complicated. A realistic analysis requires a lot more work and detailed study. One would think it would be helpful to the homeowner adn to the utility in the long run, especially if renewables were making up a larger portion of the utilities total generating capacity.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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