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Emmsys
User Rank
Silver
EVs, plug-in hybrids and the Volt are still misunderstood
Emmsys   4/9/2012 2:09:44 PM
NO RATINGS
Hi,

 

I think people need to be better informed about the goals of the current crop of EVs, extended-range vehicles and plug-in hybrids. I hear so many people complaining that the Volt barely gets 40mpg on the highway if you drive across the US. That example completely misses the point of the Chevy Volt. Driving across the US in the Volt is at least possible (and much faster than in a Nissan Leaf where you need to charge it often). However, the Volt really shines in city driving and short distances in general where it can potentially run 100% on batteries alone. That is what should be marketed first, then mention that you can still gas up for the long road trips.

The same goes for EVs like the Nissan Leaf. Saying that it is useless for long distance travelling is like saying a Ferrari 458 Italia is useless because it can't carry 10000lbs of cargo like a pick-up truck can. 

I think the average person is not ready for these types of vehicles moreso than the battery technology. My friend's wife has such acute "range anxiety" that she has NEVER driven their Nissan Leaf. My wife agrees with her and would never want to even step in the Leaf for fear of running out of battery power. 

If people understood the purpose of these technologies then they would understand the advantages and the limitations of the current generation of EVs and Volts. 

On a side note, my friend with the Leaf just went through his first Quebec winter. Some interesting tidbits include:

-The LED headlights can't melt any ice formations.

-The car's climate control (and front/rear heated seats) cannot handle temperatures below -19degrees C. He says the car's interior is lukewarm but never warm. He recommends heated floors.

-The range drops approximately 35-40% during the winter when everything is running (climate control, heated seats etc.). i.e he gets around 70km on a charge.

-He admits that he does quick back-of-the-hand calculations to see if he's got enough juice in the batteries for round trips on cold days. 

-It is a very solid, well-built car.

 

In my opinion, I'd prefer the Volt as my first step into the EV/range-extended market. However a decent equipped Volt was quoted $52000 here in Montreal, Quebec. INSANE. And people wonder why the Volt isn't selling well?

 

 

Emmsys
User Rank
Silver
Re: stale gasoline ?
Emmsys   4/9/2012 1:46:04 PM
NO RATINGS
The Chevy Volt avoids stale gas by running the gas engine once in a while and is programmed to use up all of the gas periodically. I can't remember the specifics but GM/Chevy already thought of that. Despite so many people wanting the Volt to fail, there is an incredible amount of engineering that went in that car. I personally think it is one of the most advanced cars on the road today. 

MIROX
User Rank
Platinum
Re: No Choice
MIROX   4/9/2012 1:45:57 PM
NO RATINGS
There always is a BIG choice and that is to align your wants with your needs!

For in city (that is "big" city of anything of one million + popluation) you will find just about anything you can ever want and need in less than 5 mile radius.

But ultimately you want things like housing, job, or that special store that has stuff on sale that is 40+ miles away - but most people do not add the cost of driving the extra un-necessary miles to the cost of the "sale item" or the 2 or more hours of going to/from work as their true cost in terms of time and money.

For in city driving small EV with as little motor as 15 Hp is quite OK, but the same size (one or two cylinder) gasoline engine in the same application would deliver over 70 MPG - yet it is impossible to find a "small car" in USA, even "mini cars" sport engines of 100+ HP and are close to 2,000 lbs in curb weight.

Vehicle for two or even four people with lead acid batteries at under $300 per Kw/h are available today - except people do not seem to be interested in buying them, Think!, Aptera, Zenn and others are already out of business.

OKA NEV ZEV (www.okaauto.com) is still available at about $8,000 per copy.

But then as many articles point out you many need another car for the 5% or less of your other long distance needs, and as long as you have a parking space for it, not really a problem to have extra car, truck or SUV that would be used only about 750 to 1,500 miles annually. And there always is Rent-a-Car in every city.

The consumers however choose to have a vehicle 100% of the time that they only have real reason to have 5% of the time and as long as fuel is as inexpensive as it is in USA the 300 hp 5,000 lbs vehicles will be popular.

As many researches point out fuel has to be from $8.00 to $12.00 per gallon to make EV or even Volt, cost effective.

When cost of travel gets to be "expensive" suddenly there will be lot of other choices, such as public transport, bikes, and even walking a mile or two !

Or even a "minicar" !

 

ttemple
User Rank
Platinum
Re: No Choice
ttemple   4/9/2012 1:37:53 PM
NO RATINGS
Rigby,

You have a bad case of it.

 

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Re: No Choice
Jon Titus   4/9/2012 1:26:20 PM
NO RATINGS
Hmmm.  We always have choices, Rigby5.  I'd like to know where the "We have less than 20 years of oil left..." came from. There's a lot of information out there, but how much has any credibility?

tluxon
User Rank
Gold
Re: No Choice
tluxon   4/9/2012 1:22:47 PM
Sounds like the response of a salesman or politician, not an engineer.  Batteries are one of the least efficient known ways to store energy.  Perhaps that will change someday, but the drop-dead date for liquid and gas fuel energies is a long way off.

Think "Can do" instead of "Can't do" - it'll open more doors...

Rigby5
User Rank
Platinum
No Choice
Rigby5   4/9/2012 12:08:18 PM
The main point forgotten is that we have no choice but batteries.  We have less than 20 years of oil left, and it is foolish to waste it on cars.  Alternative biofuels compete with food so also are not viable.  The only sure thing is electricity, whether hydro, nuclear, solar, etc.  And that means batteries.  So stop trying to sell batteries as an alternative power for normal cars.  The whole world has to switch to understanding batteries are all that matter, and the car has to change in order to fit that.  So cars have to be light, aerodynamic, plastics or aluminum.  Batteries have to be in a standard module for rapid replacement instead of slow recharge. Everything else has to change as necessary, in order for batteries to work.  There is no other option. 

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: safety-safety-safety
Nancy Golden   4/9/2012 11:47:37 AM
NO RATINGS
"To say we have to create new standards without regard to previous standards is a cost death nail."

That is where priorites can differ...engineers in the battery industry that I am acquainted with are very concerned about safety issues and in that industry (as in any other)  it is often a battle of priorities. Battery technology is different, so their standards are going to reflect those differences. I am not calling for different safety bars - but safety bars that are reflective of and make sense for the technology being used.

You make valid arguements but I personally don't think that safety is adequately proven, because nobody has shown me that it is. I am hearing about doubling the density - how does that affect volatility? The scenarios for manufacturing decisions and safety are endless and I understand the need to define reasonable limits. I have a horse (which is the ultimate gas saver!) but of course every time I ride, I put myself at the mercy of a 1200 lb. prey animal with a mind of its own. But there are habits that I have formed that give me the best chance for a safe ride. While we can't control everything, we can be as thorough as possible in our design which includes extensive safety testing. 

I have reached the limits of my knowledge on this subject, but as a consumer, this is what I personally am concerned with.

DrGamma
User Rank
Silver
Re: New battery technology?
DrGamma   4/9/2012 11:36:58 AM
NO RATINGS
Spoken like a true oil industry representative. Stay stuck with the past. These cars are used differently and do not require the same energy density as gasolie to be useful. As in my post on this site, I have used 400 less gallons of gasoline from imported oil in just 4 months driving my Volt. That alone is worth it to me.

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Re: New battery technology?
Jon Titus   4/9/2012 11:32:55 AM
NO RATINGS
I didn't say that a battery of any type would displace gasoline, just that a different battery chemistry might increase energy density. If someone wants to buy a vehicle that includes a large bank of batteries, that's fine.  They should aim for the highest energy density available when balanced against cost. For me, a gasoline-powered vehicle is just fine.

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