astrobuf; I resemble your comment. My wife has a Toyota Prius and mainly drives to and from work. Her 'normal' daily drive is about 20 miles round trip. Only recently has she done a couple of 1,000 mile return trips. The Prius has done about 15,000 miles in 30 months. I have a hybrid Aspen with a 5.7 Hemi. Sort of like the Suburban in your comment. The Aspen is the usual vehicle to haul 2 humans plus 2 felines plus associated and assorted on long trips, and sometimes tow a trailer. The Prius doesn't have the cargo space. The Aspen has done about 30,000 miles in 16 months. Since the bank actually owns both vehicles and we just make the payments, I couldn't justify having a 3rd car, a high-mpg for my daily drive. The savings in gasoline would not make up for another payment plus insurance etc. I used to drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 4.7 that averaged about 18 mpg at best. The Aspen consistently averages over 20, usually about 22 mpg; better enough than the Grand Cherokee for me. The Prius averages about 50 mpg. The bottom line for us is that we each have a hybrid that suits our needs, even if it is just a political statement.
US Diesel fuel is now the same as European diesel fuel. Very low sulphur and well refined. Despite all of EV hype, it's still pretty much impossible to beat a modern Turbo diesel for total cost of ownership, fuel included for a vehicle that is regularly usable by most people. The best value today is the VW Turbo Jetta, but soone enough, Honday will bring their Euro Diesel to the US and then we'll ahve a real race.
Some posters pine away at the cost of having a large vehicle or extra batteries to lug around and wish for multiple vehicles to keep in their fleet so they can have the right vehcile for the day's job. This is really goofy. The energy cost of production fo the these vehicles is not being considered when one thinks this way. Owning a shiny new Prius and a Suburban is more of a political statement than a real effort at economy.
The truth is, in total energy consumed, we are all far better off learning to take care of well engineered and efficient vehicles that meet our actual needs for transportation and safety and driving the wheels off them. Reduce, Reuse and Recycling is still the best way to be a real conservative.
That is too bad. I have not read that yet. There is just a great resistance is Earth nations to use a FREE energy like solar. Money is casting a shadow on maintenence cost of ANY other sources of energy , ESPECIALLY nuclear. in today's times modern solar batteries are not only inexpensive , but long living , unlike they used to be in sixties and seventies. It is interesting that ALL satelites and Space Station rely on solar....funny...isn't it?
Sometimes I really need a pickup, but most of the time I don't. I don't want to slug the mass of a truck around town every day just for the few times I need a truck. Neither does it make sense to have a single purpose vehicle like a truck sit idle around the yard on the majority of days I don't need it for commuting.
My solution to the intermittent need for a truck is to put a trailer hitch on the car, and gently pull a low boy when I need it. (3/4 ton of firewood across town is about my limit, more than that and I worry about the trailer's tires) Yeah, that makes me weird though. But I grew up on a farm, so I used any car I've owned like a pick up (occasionally like a tractor). (weird again)
Likewise, for EV, if I need a carload of batteries for interstate travel, that is a huge mass that I don't want to slug around for local driving. In fact, I would think that the inert mass of long range battery capacity would reduce the efficiency in short range city driving -- if I was just driving local, I would want to jettison the 100 mile batteries. Yeah, trailer batteries would make a lot of sense to me, but would be just too weird for nth generation apartment dwellers.
Regarding expansion and quick-change battery packs; I have sometimes wondered if the battery pack could be built into a small trailer. Unplug the discharged pack, unhitch, hitch up the charged pack, plug it in and go. That would require a standard plug - does anyone know if all electric fork trucks have a standard plug, or does each manufacturer use a different plug ? This would be a little more complicated than the propane cylinder exchange service. And I don't know how well towing a battery pack / trailer would go over with drivers.
I remember a Popular Mechanics article comparing a small Italian diesel with the Prius. The Italian car won because it was more fun to drive. Even though it was not available in the U.S., and averaged less mpg. Supposedly European diesel is low-sulphur, and that diesel fuel is not availble in the U.S. Also, emissions standards are supposedly different between the U.S. and Europe. So any comparison between European and U.S. vehicles is apples to oranges.
When the motor car was new, there wasn't an Interstae Highway System. There were few roads, and cars broke down much more frequently. More and better roads, and more reliable cars, resulted in longer driving ranges, which would then become a factor between ICE and electric.
Somewhere I read that the first internal combustion engine ran on gunpowder, but not very well. The development of gasoline and diesel was a big improvement.
You have a good point; these are all sort of vanity purchases. Some like to drive fast, some like to look good, and some like to be noise and (arguably) emission free.
I disagree about the sports cars being non-profitable. The Ferraris of the world generally don't have problems keeping the lights on. The EV market is different in that it is being pushed hard by government regulations (encouraged as a way to meet unresonable CAFE standards).
You don't have to work very hard to get people to buy attractive cars that go fast, you just have to find a resonable price point. To sell an EV to non-evironuts takes some effort because they are not attractive (to the broader market) and their performance can be exceded by the most basic, entry ICE version.
I definately see your point about movies. Sometimes I wish you got to pay after watching - then box office stats would REALLY mean something.
I am just assuming that the Nissan EEs will have a significant increase in the scope of their work for the leaf as compared to to the ICE variant. Also, the planned production run of the Leaf (# of units NRE is amatorized across) is far less than the ICE version. But, being a niche car with limited market opportunities, they may have done it on the cheap.
I do agree that EV prices seem to be price fixed in the market. The government rebate (which is indefensible) taints the issue. Why not just rebate the money back to the people they stole it from and let us choose what we want to drive?
I suppose to be a good conspiracy there should be some sort of shady Big Government tie-in.
@Kevin. I see all good points in your comment. We are far behind Germany in utilizing solar energy , or other renewable energies.The last number that I have seen for Germany is that 41% of their electricity is derived from alternate energy sources , solar vbeing a huge part of it. I have seen roofs of industrial buildings covered with solar cells. Somehow in US story is grim to say the least.Great comments. By the way Michigan utility comany will discount energy cost, just like they discount "interruptable power" for my A/C.The risk is that it will be interruptable also (1 hr max), if the grid is overloaded on hot nights.Cheers to you!
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
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