Soessex: I agree. The Space Race and Interstate system were great achievements, but even in the case of the moon landing, the required science advancements were much less than that of the air cathode battery.
I clearly remember the zinc-air battery that came out in the late '60s (maybe 1970). These served ONLY as 'emergency back-up" (e.g. very long shelf life, moderate-low energy density, NON-RECHARGEABLE). They had a seal tab that you tore off to activate by allowing oxygen (the other half of the couple) to enter the cell. They were a good alternative to the other "back-up energy source" of the time, the sea-water activated cell that was used for emergency beacons and lanterns for ocean disasters. They were only around for a couple of years because of the special applications were a very limited market. Definitely NOT a usable mechanism for the EV!
Regarding the referenced accomplishments of Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Kennedy, their projects were each based on proven science which is what engineers employ in their work. Advancements in battery technology are dependent of new science as yet unproven. None of the presidential projects would have been as easily accomplished if the engineering had to wait on further science.
On another subject: Here is a new patent for energy conservation primarily for motorvehicles.
January 3, 2012
Reference: US Patent 7,931,107 B2
VEHICLE KINETIC ENERGY UTILIZATION TRANSMISSION SYSTEM.
This recent patent enables the reduction of fuel consumption in motor vehicles by the storage of kinetic energy for reuse. This technology incorporates an infinitely variable transmission (IVT) in the form of an eddy current induction device (called a Modulator) coupled to a gear system to conquer the torque flow management problem caused by infinitely varying bi-directional energy flow between a moving vehicle mass and an associated rotating flywheel mass created by the fact that the respective mass velocities move in an inverse acceleration relationship.
To illustrate this phenomenon, observe that as kinetic energy passes from the moving vehicle to, and is captured by, the flywheel it is caused to accelerate, however the vehicle is consequently caused to slow; but to function efficiently, the flywheel requires an ever increasing input-speed factor from a source which is ever slowing. This always changing speed dichotomy can only be effectively managed by an infinitely variable transmission, and, other than that offered by the above patent, none have been successful for the subject purpose.
The technology reflected in this patent involves very few parts, and is therefore economical to manufacture. It is in addition, long lived, requires little maintenance, and is very durable. Importantly, this system is suitable not only for passenger car use, but also for delivery vans, trucks, and buses.
The conservation of kinetic energy through the use of battery energy-storage technology is exceedingly inefficient while such a mechanical approach is well known to be very high in efficiency. As may be realized, existing battery hybrid technology was developed because it was a way around this, now solved, torque-management problem. As these complicated and costly battery-related electric energy arrangements only avoid, and do not solve this problem, the penalty for this has been the great loss of efficiency as compared to a mechanical storage system such as that proposed by the subject patent.
I agree. Advances in batteries are a technological imperative. I would just say that, as with other technologies, if we pay for the research, we are investing in our economic future. Thus, we should not let the results so easily get transferred to China.
The author makes his case compellingly and I agree with the premise that we need to fund this research. That said, there's been far too much hyperbole about batteries over the past 25 years, and I think we need to show respect for, and understanding of, the task at hand. The solution is not tantalizingly close and we are not in the home stretch, unfortunately. This will be a long haul, as it always is with batteries.
Electric or hybrid vehicles do reduce vehicle emmissions and that is a real benefit. Unfortunately there is an efficiency problem in that generating power, charging batteries, discharging batteries, and driving motors, are all not 100% efficient. So we lose power all along the way.
The problem with cars in general is that our government has kept demanding so very many things that don't add to the good mileage at all. Safety is a primary thing: you can drive a current model car into a solid barrier at 40 MPH and walk away, even if you were unbelted. I have seen the barrier crashes and that is how it is. Of course, that adds a bit to the vehicle in both size and weight. OTher systems add some weight and a lot of complexity. Check out some of the cars in some other countries that have less comprehensive safety rules and see how much lighter they are.
The reality is that it takes a given amount of energy to move the mass of car and driver from one place to another, and there is presently no getting around that. Perhaps the development should be more in the direction of "transporters" , similar to "Star Trek" always had available.
Of course the other thing that many don't like about our cars is the amount of personal freedom that they provide us with. WE can drive wherever we want, whenever we feel like it, and the only restriction is the price of gas. That is a freedom not held by a whole lot of folks.
I didn't miss your point. Efficiency is a good thing, but it is only delaying the inevitable. And I guarantee that we won't acheive a doubling. No matter what approach we take, we must solve the carbon free energy problem, and the sooner the better. If we have to solve that problem, it is useless to fuss about problems that will be solved by that solution. The indirect pollution caused by EVs will be non-existant when the electricity is carbon free. End of problem.
Incidently, I don't think wind power is the solution. It is not well matched to our energy usage patterns, and it will require over 2 million windmills to meet our current needs.
Right now here today there is no clean source of electricity except nuclear, hydro and to some extent wind. So when you plug in the Volt or any other plugin vehicle you are more than likely burning coal, gas or oil with the concommtent emmisions.
As I mentioned, we don't know what the real impacts of wind farming will be on the weather just like we didn't know the impacts of hydro when we built big dams.
My whole point was that a super battery is not the solution. Being more efficient is the solution. I guess I am a bit of a Luddite too.
There are things we can do today, and there are things we wish we had tomorrow. Let's do the things we can do today, or knew how to do yesterday while figuring out what to do tomorrow.
Funny how you changed subjects. How do the emissions associated with a battery powered vehicle relate to the fuel efficiency of a gas powered vehicle? If you are referring to the 30 mpg figure of the Chevy Volt's backup engine, so what? It is a backup engine, the whole idea is to use it as little as possible. That its backup engine gets only average mpg is irrelevant if you rarely use it.
I've said it before and will probably have to say it again. EVs eliminates one of two major consumers of fossil fuels. The other one is power generation. The fact that EVs increase the fossil fuel use of power generation is a temporary problem. When we solve the power generation matter, both major fossil fuel consumers disappear.
So, EVs are a step in the right direction. Let's stop complaining about the temporary issues that they create and solve the power generation issue. That is a problem whether EVs are in the mix or not, and solving it solves the temporary problems with the EVs as well. Then we have the whole ball of wax.
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