I would allow that EV's may find some applications off the golf course, but the following well-reasoned article: http://seekingalpha.com/article/323301-10-reasons-why-electric-drive-is-stranded-on-the-bleeding-edge-of-transportation-technology?source=yahoo puts the probable take up at 3%. This just as the brilliant politicians at the CA ARB lead by the lovely and gracious Mary Nichols have ruled that 14% of all cars sold must be EV or other "zero emissions vehicles" by 2025. Insane hubris. The other point is that as gas mileage goes up, the EV penalty (now $200 per barrel of oil saved over the ten year life of the vehicle)goes up. This could be offset by a doubling or tripling of gas prices, however.
I used to own a Solectria Sunrise that with 3 people on board went from Boston to NYC on I-95 with a Car and Driver reporter onboard on a single charge.
It later made a record of 377 miles/charge using EV-1 NiMH battery pack, GM was not happy, which clearly shows that one doesn't need a superbattery as NiMH only has 50% of the energy/lb of Lithium in the 1990's.
Nor will more than a tiny fraction of the grid ever use batteries, just for temp peak power, load, under 15 minutes worth. More is just a waste of money even if cheap. EV and home, building batteries can do this job with a smart grid. New gas turbines can be throttled down to 50% now with eff making this even less of a problem, need for grid batteries.
If they really needed them lead batteries are running $40/kw in grid sizes, 10% of lithiums.
Time for people to stop making excuses and make good, light, aero EV's before gas hits $10/gal in 5-6 yrs, throwing us into recession every 2-5 yrs and 5 of the last ones.
One other point of note about that Wall Street Journal article. There are already 1159 comments to the article as I write this, and the number has climbed by 53 comments in the last 15 minutes. This is unleashing a lot of pent-up emotion on both sides of the issue.
Marshall, thanks very much for The Wall Street Journal reference. I don't claim to know whether there is or isn't warming going on. But I'm bothered by the idea that anyone can be called out as a heretic for questioning the existence of AGW. That isn't the way science is supposed to work, for goodness sakes. It's interesting to note that The Wall Street Journal article was signed by 16 scientists from around the world, including a Nobel-prize-winning physicist, a Fellow from the American Physical Society, and numerous other names of distinction. Undoubtedly, their public declaration will lead other on-the-fence scientists to admit that they aren't sure about climate change, either.
Superbatteries could be most useful in storing energy locally from intermittent sources like wind and solar. I see no need to interconnect them with enormously expensive infrastructure. I understand the engineer's burning desire to help, but the improvements should not be rushed or dependent on government subsidies. Today's WSJ has an editorial (No Need to Panic About Global Warming) in which the following is stated: "A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls."
@ Marshall, concerning global warming: Has anybody checked to see if the sun's output has risen justy a little? What change would a 0.01% increase in the solar energy hitting the earth do? Could anybody measure accurately enough to determine that it had increased?
The big benefit that would come from the superbattery would be in storing electrcal energy from solar and wind generating systems and releasing it to the grid when there was a need. Of course this would be a whole lot of energy, which is why any supercapacitor needs to be quite cheap, as well. The equivalent of a superbattery for a car has problems, since regenerative braking, which it is asserted will save great quantities of energy, is limited by both the battery maximum charge absorbtion rate and also the fact that generators output drops a whole lot before the speed reaches zero. These two areas are where the hydraulic system shines best.
It may be argued that Formula One Grand Prix racing is becoming full of contrived means to better the "show," i.e., more passing and closer finishes, etc., but teams have developed effective systems to capture energy when braking and release it during acceleration. These sysems work best when there is a lot of acceleration and deceleration as found in road racing, regular stop-and-go traffic, or route traffic such as mail delivery and refuse pickup.
Long steady driving is sure to discharge the on-board battery, necessitating an engine-powered charging system. Ultimately, the energy used must still be supplied by a tankful of hydrocarbon fuel.
They faced swathes of America in which there exist no power stations to plug in their Volt and recharge the juice in the vehicle's 288-cell, 16-kilowatt hour battery pack. Right now, 48 of 50 states, according to Car and Driver, have fewer than 10 such stations each.
I think the original Car and Driver article is long out of date.
True, there are great swaths of the country that lack charger support, but these are shrinking. See http://www.plugshare.com/ The Volt appears to use the same charging connector (J1772) and charging equipment as the Leaf. Both may use 120V outlets, and with modified portable EVSE, can also use 240V outlets.
If the public charging infrastructure is important to you, you are likely going to be living in an area with good support if you have a Volt.
The situation with the Electric Car bears more than a passing resemble to the Chicken and Egg Paradox. While this applies to charging stations, it also applies to the ways and means of charging the electric car. Right now, most electricity is generated from coal/oil. Which means that charging the battery requires the energy loss from two conversions. With gasoline, you put it into your car and it produces power, the is a single conversion. Now consider the electric car. First you create electricity by burning coal/oil and then you use that electricity to create the power in your car. With that sort of double conversion, has anybody really done the math to get the real cost per mile for the electric car? The general response I get from environmentalists is: 'Oh, we'll get the electricity from solar/wind.' O-kay, what about the infrastructure to create consistent electricity from solar/wind? You can have the greatest density batteries in the universe, but what does it cost to charge it?
It is ridiculous to compare the price of a barrel of oil (a fixed unit of energy) to a battery. The battery is analogous to the fuel tank - a container for energy. A one ounce 200 kWH battery would not solve the problem of how to generate the energy to charge it. Most of this misguided effort is driven by the hoax of man made global warming, in my humble opinion, and energized by a shameless amount of squandering of tax money on vote buying schemes.
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