Carbon impact, power plant efficiency and incremental vehicle cost are minor issues. If electric cars ever became common then our AC power distribution grid is going to be overwhelmed. The cost of upgrading our power distribution network to support electric cars is going to huge. Virtually every part of the system would need to be upgraded or replaced. Household wiring, pole transformers, substations, transmission lines, everything.
Todays electrical power distribution system counts on a big drop in demand at night to give the transformers a chance to cool off in the summer. If a significant percentage of households have electric cars charging at night then you can expect to see a big uptick in transformer failures (and power outages).
This problem already happens during heat waves due to increased use of air conditioners. Add 10's of millions of car chargers to the grid and this problem is only going to get worse.
Why are we spending effort and money on electric cars when magnesium injection cycle engines make so much more sense.
The Chevy Volt seems to be the most logical choice. If I would exceed the electrical charge limit the gas motor keeps the car running until I could recharge the battery from an outlet. With the Leaf if I exceed the battery limit I walk or wait to recharge the batteries. Most of my daily driving is less than 50 miles so either would do for the majority of the time. There are numerous times a year I would exceed the Leaf's range. If I would buy an electric car the flexibility of the Volt would be a deciding factor. I am about 1-2 years away from making that decision.
I am the owner of two Toyota Prii, one of which has over 85,000 miles on it. Neither car has given me a minute of problems, and are probably the most reliable cars I have ever owned. The older one still gives me 48mpg, and the newer one well over 50mpg. Performance is never lacking either. Why on earth would I even consider a Leaf or a Volt?
I completely agree with Charles Murray. The Volt would be a perfect fit for me. My daily commute is well within the Volt's electric range. And I can charge it at work all day, so it would reduce my fuel cost to zero. But I do occasionally make longer trips, and the gas backup is the best solution.
The ONLY thing stopping me from buying the Volt right now is the cost. And I don't think the cost is outrageously high, I simply can't afford to spend that much on a car.
re: Jeff Johnston - I think your assumption that a power plant is about as efficient as a gas engine is way off, I'm pretty sure the power plant is much more efficient than the thousands of small gas engines it would be replacing. Especially considering that the plant is always running at its optimum efficiency, whereas all of those gas engines are very rarely running at optimum efficiency. When you're sitting at a traffic light your engine is still burning gas; an electric motor is not consuming energy when it isn't moving.
If forced to choose between a Volt or Leaf, I'd definitely take the Volt. Because I make many trips of 300 miles or more (I have kids in college), a Leaf wouldn't work. If I owned a Leaf, I would have to buy an extra car for the longer trips. In truth, though, both scenarios are too costly for me. Either I buy a Volt for approximtely $40K, or I buy a Leaf for $30K and then need to buy another car.
Lantronix Inc. has expanded its line of controllers for sensor networks with the release of a rugged controller that improves management of automation systems used in a number of industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and chemicals.
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A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is