The author was not being very practical. some people cannot afford 2 vehicles, so the 1st and only one needs to do it all as far as range is concerned. I commute too far for an electric (other than Tesla). Public charging stations are non-existant. In winter the range is very much less than advertised. In summer the battery gets more efficient, but the demand goes up with airconditioning. Try sitting in traffic in Texas in 100+ weather not moving. The AC will eat the battery pretty quickly. Heating would too in winter. The all electric vehicle is not ready for this kind of use. A plug in hybrid would be more practical.
I'm in full agreement with the other folks concerns about both range and refuling. Personally the majority of my commuting is >40 miles round-trip but round-trip to my doctor is 105 miles and 120 miles to my wife's doctor with no charging stations anywhere so what's the point of licensing, insuring and maintaining a second vehicle costing a great many times more to purchase than our old caravan that is essentially nothing more than a glorified golf cart?
Hybrid you say? Let's see, between trips to the doctor the gasoline will rot in the tank so when it is needed it won't work anyway. Oh, yes ... wonderful politicians sticking their fingers into everything so the mandated ethanol laced gasoline gets waterlogged from our southern humidity; after a few days in the vehicle tank it's already highly corrosive and within 20 days that same crap-o-line that started our 10% less efficient is >20% less efficient. Two of my clients purchased hybrids, both have spent more time in the repair shop for fuel problems than they have on the road. EV's owned by the local power company can only be parked in the shade otherwise excessive heat from the Florida sun shortens battery life to barely 30%
50+ mpg diesels are in-use in Europe but banned in the USA because of the nonsense EPA reg's and it's the same bureaucrat problem that afflicts production of the highly efficient opposing piston engines.
I believe there is more of a anxiety of potential "range anxietyr". No car exec wants to stick out his neck on a technology that could be rejected. The dealer networks amplify this effect because they have to by the rigs up-front and hope someone buys them. The car companies often are blamed for lack of vision, but their consumer feed-back is filtered by the very risk adverse marketing structure. Because of some historical trend, the established dealers in the mid-west seem to get their voices heard more than dealers in the larger markets.
I do think that the range anxiety will actually play in the favor of electric vehicles. People experienced with battery operated tools will know that electric vehicle won't strand you on the freeway like an ICE. You may look a little silly limping to the exit at 30MPH but that is better than walking that mile with a gas can.
The real problem isn't range anxiety, it's budget anxiety. Why buy an over-priced golf cart that in reality will satisfy 95% of most peoples' needs if you have to buy (or rent) a second car for that 5% of the driving? However, for some people who are road warriors, an EV doesn't even get them through the first half of the morning.
It's interesting that EV engineers are so convinced, they don't 'listen' to the consumer. That sort of attitude will be a death knell to the industry.
Let's consider a Toyota RAV4 EV. It has a range of 103 miles, and a charging time of "as little as" five hours to achieve that driving range.
Now suppose I want to take a 200-mile (400 miles round trip) business trip. I can drive 103 miles at 55 MPH in 1.87 hours. Then, I have to arrive at a charging station, if I can find one, or call a tow truck. I wait five hours at the charging station (yeah, right, like public charging stations will allow this), then drive the remaining 97 miles in 1.76 hours. If I can't find a charging station, then I am forced to terminate my trip. If all goes well, I travel 200 miles in 8.63 hours, for an average speed of 23 MPH.
Now, let's consider the same trip in my gas-fueled car, which has a range of 334 miles on the highway. I drive the 200 miles in 3.63 hours for an average speed of 55 MPH. On the way back, I will have to stop at a gas station and spend an insignificant five minutes refueling. Gas stations are everywhere, and the owners don't mind me spending five minutes on their property.
So my gas-fueled car got me to my destination 2.4 times faster than the EV. That is a substantial speed advantage.
Rather than calling a tow truck if I can't find a charging station, I could tow a diesel generator to recharge my EV. What? You say diesel exhaust pollutes? Well, how do you thing the electrical energy you use for charging is generated? Yes, that's right; it is probably generated using fossil fuels.
Our battery technology and infrastructure are not ready for EVs yet. Right now, EVs are much more useful than scooters or golf carts. You still need a real car.
Has anyone seen information on battery efficiency? If I charge 100 kWh into a battery, how many kWh will the battery give me back? No, you silly EV people, the answer is not "100 kWh."
@ck_02: Traffic jams really aren't a problem. If you're not moving, you're not drawing (much) current. Going slowly actually increases your range. If the jam doesn't involve having to go any extra distance you're OK.
@a9astrid: No point in using solar panels on an EV. There isn't enough surface area to collect enough energy to do a lot, except maybe run a few accessories like the radio. I think the Prius offers one as an option but it's more for show/feel good/marketing than anything else.
Considering that the range of an EV will get me to work and home just one (1) time, while my gasoline powered vehicle will get me to and from work all week. That is a serious change in mileage. It is not possible for all of us to uproot and move just because our job happens to be 2 miles out of range. I would consider that 100 miles would be the minimum required range for any vehicle. I have had several motorcycles that had that range and it required a stop by the gas station every day, with some miles to spare for a side trip. That allowed for the extra trip without requiring me to push. An electric car with 40 miles is A JOKE because it then becomes just like an ankle bracelet that limits your ability to live your life. You must plan ALL you transportation around the available miles in your battery. And what happens if you just get home from your 40 miles and someone has an accident and needs minor emergency services? - you'll have to wait a couple hours while the battery charges? Even with an empty gas tank you could get them to care faster with just a gas engine.
The all electric car, as presently presented, is nice in theory, but does little to account for the real world. The reason that gasoline works is because it packs a fairly high energy density in a relatively small space. Either we have to make the structure of an electric car much lighter (present safety rules prohibit that...) to compensate for the excess weight of the batteries, or we need to have some miracle battery that has a much much greatere energy density.
And I would like to see an honest evauation of the real polution cost of an electric vehicle. Most comments that I have seen totally ignore that the energy has to come for somewhere and consider that these electric vehicles don't polute because they don't have an exhaust pipe. What is the true impact of one of these vehicles for manufacturing and disposal?
Question: How effective would solar panels, built into the hood, roof and trunk lik be in extending the range of an electric vehichle?
It took about a generation for the internal combustion vehichle to be accepted as a replacement for the horse and buggy.
I suggest that for electrical vehichles to become common, a similar paradigm shift is required.
Electric vehichle manufacturers are trying to make a replacement that directly competes with the gasoline powered car.
Instead, they should be offering suburban families a road worthy, street legal, inexpensive car that fits two or three people and some packages for the 90% of communting and errands. Something along the lines of a Smart Car. It would have to be able to deal with snow conditions.
Many such families now drive an old clunker that they call their "station Car," or their "communting car." The insurance rates on it are lower because they don't carry collision or comprehensive and the get a low-milage rate.
For now, leave the larger vehichle market to the intenal combustion engins. When we go on trips, we like the comfort of a larger car to fit luggage. I like to keep a cooler handy in the back seat, and frequently take my children's friends along.
In urban markets, the problem with a rental car is exhorbitant insurance fees and taxes and the time it takes to fill out all the paperwork. I paid over $1000 last summer to rent an economy car for 1 week. And that was with the AAA discount on the already low internet special price.
If somehow the rental costs were cheaper, I would happily buy an electric vehichle for day to day use and get a rental for the "exceptional" uses. Perhaps Zipcar and similar programs can help with this market shift.
There also needs to be better infrastructure for recharging. Rest stop areas need to have good highway signage like you now see on billboard sized sign for gas stations and restaurants.
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.
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