I agree that energy storage is the greatest challenge in this space. One possible solution that looked promising, I think from MIT a year or two ago, was that demonstration of an electrolyte (I think) fluid, that carried the energy in it, that could be cycled thru a fuel cell of some sorts. When the fluid was depleted of energy, you just replaced the fluid, and within minutes you were back at 100%. Has anyone heard any more about this? I know it was just a lab demo at the time.
I saw a Model S yesterday at the "Domain" mall in Austin, Texas. I didn't look at it in detail, since I don't have $90K lying around, and even if I did, I'm not really in the market. However, it looked like one nice car! High-quality and huge screen, nice accommodations and quite a bit of luggage space, for example.
Probably the main thing that struck me as appearing to be missing, and reallyshould have lots offor its $90K price tag, is ADAS functions, like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, automatic parking, etc.
You must (hopefully) realize that the electric cars are NOT zero emission; they are DISPLACED emission. If you have an all-electric car like Mr. Musk is referring to, it still has to be charged, which means you need a generating station to charge it, which means the generating station is where the emissions occur. You are still responsible for emissions into the atmosphere! Just because you can't see where it's occuring doesn't make you any less of a contributer than anybody else to greenhouse gas emissions.
You've just hired a hit man to take care of your business instead of you doing it yourself, but you're still guilty.
Want zero emissions? Nuclear power generation. That's the only real solution. Wind and solar are along the same veins, but they cannot supply us with the amount of energy we need, period. Any other method produces emissions, just not at the car's location.
Perhaps it's hard to understand if you've never driven an EV or hybrid, but gasoline engines have started to gross me out. Every time my Prius kicks in the ICE, especially when it seems to do so for no good reason, it keeps reminding me, "this thing is noisy, big, Rube-Goldbergy, complicated, high-maintenance..."
I hope that in 25 years or so, we'll look back at gasoline vehicles, shake our heads, and ask ourselves, "isn't it bizarre how, for almost a century and a half, everybody just assumed that there's something *normal* about a car belching smoke out a tailpipe? Eeeeeeew!"
I do agree that naperlou has this well sorted-energy storage is vital to mass market penetration. I would add widely available, rapid re-charging to that requirement.
The Tesla S is is cool, but it is an expensive toy for a limited market-that's great and a perfectly viable buisness model. But lou is right the next step is far tougher.
For all of Elon Musk's abilities and obvious intelligence I am still amazed at his claim that half the cars on the road will be electric in 15 years. If the market was now 100% electric vehicle turnover might get us there by then. 10% would be a high estimate in my opinion.
Still, I wish him good fortune, men of vision like him are rare and valuable.
I saw that interview with Mr. Musk, as well, and I shook my head when I got to the part about half of all cars being electric in 15 years. Think about how radical of a change that would be, if by that time 30 MILLION cars being made each year were electric? It's too big of a shock to the system and it can't happen. We don't have the generating capacity to keep them going - and look at how the current administration treats those who want to open a new generating plant. From 2008:
"So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can," Obama continued. "It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."
The EPA is also constricting natural gas and nuclear activities with respect to constructing power generation plants, so I don't see how in the world people like Mr. Musk believe that we'll be transitioning to an all-electric-car world anytime soon.
I can't help wondering if in 50 years people will be looking at us burning oil to get around in the same way we look at our parents painting things with lead based paint and using asbestos in building construction.... Or will they be wondering about us all carrying lithium batteries around going "but didn't the ol fogies know how poisenous lithium is to the environment...?". I wonder which it will be if not both? They were crazy in the early part of the 21st century.. just crazy..
But can it take you back in time and forward in time on just banana peels and garbage? No- you still need a gas powered Delorean for that. Plus a flux capacitor. So gas engines still have their place in the future.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Are you being paid enough? Do you want a better job? According to a recent survey Manpower released just before Engineers Week, employers and engineers don't see eye-to-eye about the state of US engineers' skills and experience.
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