With 120,000 Prius miles since 2005, the same skeptic claims are heard today against EVs as were voiced seven years ago. Batteries are too expensive; too hazardous; too small; too heavy; bad handling; plenty of oil; too quiet; e.t.c. So I upgraded my traction battery on the older Prius, $1,700, about as much as a transmission rebuild or four sets of rims and performance tires, from an independent traction battery rebuilder who used salvage modules.
The old traction battery modules measured 5.5 Ahr versus new 6.5 Ahr. Like replacing OEM tires with performance tires, the original battery was still good (and I kept the modules.) I just wanted the improved modules and the price was right.
The newer battery modules have half the internal resistance and better thermal characteristics. Accidents are the greatest risk, ~2% of the fleet per year, and I have no doubt these modules will be recycled into another rebuilt traction battery. With no moving parts and improved internals, Prius hyrid batteries have an easy life and no known end-of-life limits . . . they are that good.
Averaging 52 MPG for those 120,000 miles, 85% city, we burned 2,300 gallons. Our previous sedan got 30 MPG or 4,000 gallons over the same distance. Avoiding 1,700 gallons netted $4,250 (at $2.50/gal Gas Buddies past 7 years) after tax dollars. But gas prices are rear-loaded, today just under $4/gal up from $2.25/gal at the beginning.
So our Prius experiment continues and two years ago, we bought a second one. It has more power and payload yet gets the same 52 MPG using NiMH battery chemistry. Prius continues now with four models and one using LiON, the plug-in.
WE still have compressed Hydrogen, or compressed Methane as possible fuel sources, that would still run the current engine designs. OR what I'd work on is a 12" cube 12 KW nuclear box good for 100,000 years that would never need recharging. We made one for a test probe to the moon, can we manufacture such an item to use in our cars? Worth a try.
I've yet to see any listing of range of operation using the Air Conditioner, or Heater, or windshield wipers or other electronic equipment. Plastic cases for the batteries? that melt when overheated! I'm not sold, indeed there are many living in rural towns that these cars may be perfect for them, But in the frozen north, -20 degrees or the southern states with 90 + degree weather, the electric only car is a joke. The car uses X amount of energy, whether from gas generator or electrical charging, no one seems to realize the physics of this operation.
The reliability of the electronic parts to control charging, and to regulate the output of each cell, is still to be improved before I'd pay one dime. I want a car that I can drive across country in 48 hours if needed. Since it will be an even colder day below this earth before I'll ever go through the TSA experiance at our airports, bus stations, train station, let alone the upcoming road blocks expected to be enacted in the near future.
With Microsoft Maps in my notebook so I can find alternate paths, I need transportation that will get me there, with no dead battery or charging station. How can we trust this technology, when the electronics in our current cars fail all the time now. When I see Tantalum capacitors in the equipment, I might believe they want this circuitry to last. Till then!
>What's not efficent about a battery? You get out most of what you put in.
Not really. 80% cycle efficiency is good but not great. 1/5th of energy lost.
Electronics power conversion good, typically >95%. No prob there.
Improve mileage maybe 20%-30% by lowering aerodynamic drag, making car even more unsafe and uglier than even a Prius. Great--till everybody drives more miles so total gas consumption does not drop. Tax revenue drops, so tax rates must be raised by politicos.
Use lighter materials -- tissue paper cars kill more people.
> You would be hard pressed to heat your electric car in an Indiana winter.
You bet. Advertised range takes huge hit. Sometimes that "waste" heat is useful, no?
>When your battery no longer fuctions, you can recycle it.
Where? At how much cost? Energy needed to recycle? Centralized or distributed? How often? Toxic waste? ...<crickets chirp>...
>...make better use of grass clippings and ... leaves that are gathered in the Fall? Many landfills are already a viable source of fuel.
Don't make me laugh. Do the numbers on biomass to synfuel conversion, and capturing methane from landfills (not sustainable) and you'll see how pathetically little useful energy can be got from those sources.
>We are getting close to seeing how many people it takes to destroy the planet.
More greenie angst; this is just so sad. If all the illogical, math-impaired enviros would just jump into those biomass digesters, it would address the humans-bad, overpopulation, and energy shortage issues--briefly, anyway.
I have not run the numbers on battery efficiency, but even if you get out close to that you put in, it is the conversion of kinetic to electricity and back from electricity to kenetic that is going to be wasteful. Electrical devices are never very efficient. But you have a point that internal combustion is not that efficient either. It is just that people do not realize how much energy the sun, plants, and bacteria have concentrated in oil, over 100s of million years. Internal combustion just seems efficient because of the black gold we get for nearly free.
What's not efficent about a battery? You get out most of what you put in. Electric cars don't have all that heat that needs to be disipated as in an internal combustion engine. You would be hard pressed to heat your electric car in an Indiana winter. You can charge a battery with a solar panel. Filling your gas tank at home is a little more difficult. When your battery no longer fuctions, you can recycle it. One problem I see is trying to find enough raw materials to make enough batteries to power the devices that are now run on oil. That problem will only get worse with time and population growth.
Can we make better use of grass clippings and all the leaves that are gathered in the Fall? Many landfills are already a viable source of fuel.
Electric vehicles with high Voltage batteries running into the water as a result of an accident needs to be addresed. I saw all the cars in Japan being swept away by the Tsunami. We have flash floods in America too.
We are getting close to seeing how many people it takes to destroy the planet.
It is true batteriers are not efficient, but in general we do not import fuel for electricity. And external combustion for electricity is much more efficient and clean than internal combustion could ever be. We could easily make external combustion electricity production far cleaner.
I have not read it carefully, but it seems to show not only that we are way past peak production, but that use rate is rapidly climbing. You also have to remember that when countries like Canada say they have over 100 years of oil left, that is tar sands that no one wants because it is so expensive to extract. The thing to remember is not that there will be no oil in 20 years, but that the production rate will no where near to match the consumption rate. There will be a trickle of oil available forever, but it won't help us very much. We know this is true, or else we would not be spending billions on things like the Deep Water Horizon disaster. Easy oil is history. And it takes over 100 million years to make more oil naturally.
1) How much "imported oil" was used to generate the electricty your car supplemented gasoline with? If that electricity fuel had been applied directly to your car's engine instead of into storage (your battery), how many additional miles would it have given you?
I realize everybody has a different answer to this because there are numerous ways to charge up a battery. The point is that it takes fuel of some sort to store energy in a battery and there is no lossless process to do that.
2) You single out "imported oil" - but there are numerous other quite portable and distributable ways to power a liquid or gas-powered engine. If we were willing to toss aside Kissenger's agreement with the Middle East to buy their oil if they would use our money, we'd find that there are many alternatives that don't hold us hostage to their oil.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.