I don't think we're likely to become much like Europe, Robatnorcross. The U.S. has always been a vibrant country of entrepreneurs and innovators. That's as true now as it's been at any given time. The economic sluggishness is making that a tad harder to see these days, but it's there and it will shine well again soon.
Ironhorse, thanks for that analysis (and for the reference to Norvig's Law). It makes total sense in the real world as well as in the theoretical mathematical world. One thing that's also worth remembering is that Moore's so-called Law was merely an about memory chips, as he himself said. But it's been taken as a prescription, which he never intended, and which doesn't work, not even for memory. I was reporting on memory technology when the first generation in the sequence got skipped (I think that was the jump from 4 to 16 MB).
Sorry, I don't have a link for you on the $500/mi Toyota battery estimate.
I think was in a privious article here in DN. I would guess it is not just the raw battery cost-probably includes the numerous costs that grow as the battery pack grows (structure/cooling/management).
My primary point was that I see folks talk about bringing a specific EVs price (used the Volt as an example) down from the current advertised level is that these prices are a fiction that does not reflect any market realities. We really do not know what they cost to make. We do know that batteries-in their best current form-are a heavy, bulky, expensive and provide limited range with slow refueling.
As the article points out, development will probably not provide an elegant, quick solution to this.
Continued research in this area is a good thing. Expecting a revolution in the near time frame is probably not realistic. My opinion anyway.
It seems that the payoff for a high energy density battery is so big, that somebody somewhere has to come up with the breakthrough. I'm sure the battery companies are working hard on the solution - but it seems that everytime I hear of some lab experiment that "holds the promise" of this mythical beast it never seems to make it into production. Anybody out there enough of a chemistry expert to say if there is some fundamental limit to this battery "holy grail", or even if we've really improved over the standard lead-acid battery in the last 20 years? I'd be curious to know.
But if things automotive were standard on all cars as were the US mandated sealed beams of years ago, then most Automotive engineers would be out of a design job, for they would not be needed to re-invent the bulb for each model year.
Have you noticed there are over 53 P/N for "bulbs" for tail lights and in 1970 there were only TWO - a single fillament and dual fillament and in pre 1966 before NHTSA got going there was only the dual fillament version as reverse lights were not required.
Today the ONLY automotive item that is universal (but probably not for long due to TPMS) is the air valve in the tire stem used World over and also the thread size on the tire valve cap.
Everything else is different on every make, model, brand and model year - if those un-necesarily different parts were "standartized" cars World over would be up to 40% less expensive !
Yet all the famous "mergers" are to cost cut the parts that are inherently different when the mergers occur like Chrysler Daimler now FIAT Chrysler, Suzuki VW that used to be GM Suzuki, etc.
You do not have to "merge" to cut costs, just use the SAME SUPPLIER - as simple as that - and buy what they already make in volume "for the other guy" !
Why do people always hold "Europe" up as the thing we should compare ourselves to? Didn't we get the hell out of there a couple of hundred years ago because the place was so screwed up?
My first trip to Europe was about 20 years ago (England) and I had a depressing feeling that I was seeing the future of the U.S. Some roads were so narrow that if two cars approached that one would have to pull over and stop to let the other go by.
I went to a hardware store one day and they had a display of garden hoses with no ends on them. My friend explained to me that the spigot on the front of his house was different than the one on the rear. I joked that some were probably left hand thread and he told me that some actually were.
Half of the problems we (U.S.) have are as a result of Brussels and the EU.
There is PLENTY of energy around. The problem is the COST of it. If gasoline were 32 cents per gal. we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Four dollar/gal gas is due to commodities futures trading, taxes, politics (foreign and domestic) and wars (actual or potential).
The price of petroleum should be tied to the cost at the wall outlet to run the pump to get it out of the ground + some transportation charge.
If 6-32 screws were traded on the commodities exchanges, I would have to run a new bill of materials twice a day just to know how much to charge for my widgets. Every time you went into the store to buy my product the price would be different. Add to that the "screw tax" and things would be even worse because Washington politicians would stay up nights trying to raise the screw-tax-rate.
In addition (no I wasn't finished yet), batteries are statistically safe compared to anything else containing a high energy density material. Take gasoline for example: Take a 5 gal can of gasoline, pour it out on the ground and supply a spark. I suspect the result would be MUCH worse than any problem with a battery you could come up with.
Beth, I've gotta correct at least one big misconception. I can personally attest to the fact that modern digital cell phone technology was NOT a quick development! Way back around 1970, I worked in the Product Research labs at Motorola Comm Division. I was asked to consult on a new project, run by Marty Cooper (aka "the father of the cell phone"; Google him!). All around the new HQ in Schaumburg, there were 6-inch aluminum cubes hanging from the hallway ceilings; these were breadboard cell towers! It took a lot longer than "overnight" by any definition for that technolgy to become commonplace reality! Even the PC took quite a few years to become a consumer product (IBM started the PC development with a "skunk works" group in Boca Raton in 1979; not until the early '90s would the technology become commonplace in homes). Similar story with computer games: my first exposure was to "Space Wars" running on a PDP1 in the basement of the MIT EE department in 1962! BTW, that had 2 jet fighter training consoles attached (the original joysticks!), and included gravitational fields around the stars, hyperspace, and a toroidal universe (the center of the recycled PPI screen display was the same point as the entire perimeter; you could fly off the screen and emerge from the center, and vice versa), and IMHO it is still among the best interactive games ever!
The general form of Moore's Law is exponential growth.Exponential growth requires two things, demand for growth and margin to grow into.Once a parameter has reached 50% of maximum possible growth, it will never double again, no matter the level of demand. (cf. Norvig's Law) If a system is already on the order of 25% efficiency, there is not much room for exponential growth in efficiency.If you are relatively close (i.e., the same order of magnitude) to limits for the best possible values for physical and production parameters, you can't have exponential growth.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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