electric cars

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robertts12
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electric cars

Post by robertts12 »

Cleanova system turns cars into electric. See this link: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Ne ... eId=120055
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.

Post by robertts12 »

In other source, I read these cars are very economic, it costs no more than 1 euro to drive 100 km (60 miles).
btenny
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evworld.com has lots of info on this approach

Post by btenny »

I have read a lot of stuff on evworld and now I am convinced that quite a few new small cars and trucks are going to be introduced in the very near future that will be very useful. The Tesla is a high performance sports car that is being built in LA. The one referenced above is being built in France. A delivery company truck is being built in England, etc.. TBD if these cars will catch on and sell very well as battery performance is still a big limiting factor.
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Post by Opponent Process »

I say bring 'em on as long as they're safe.
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Post by BigFoot48 »

GM had a fun time grinding their electric cars into post-consumer metal shavings. $10,000 extra cost will buy a lot of gasoline!
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Post by Valuethinker »

Opponent Process wrote:I say bring 'em on as long as they're safe.
Battery life is still the killer.

We don't have cheap batteries that can carry the power density required, and live through 3,000 recharging cycles.

Lead acid can take the cycles, but have low power density.

Another factor is how the power is generated. It's not a win from an air pollution point of view (or rather it is less of a win) if the electricity is generated from dirty coal-fired plants (c. 40% of all US CO2 emission is from coal).

Petrol cars are actually incredibly unsafe (a petrol tanker is the nearest thing to a rolling bomb that we can come up with without explosives), not to mention air pollution, noise pollution etc. Gasoline catches fire and burns people all the time.

I won't even begin to consider the costs of getting oil out of truly dangerous and unpleasant places (Nigeria, Iraq) and getting into western gas tanks. Now that is truly unsafe.

We've learned to live with those risks, we will learn to live with the risks of electric cars.
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Post by Valuethinker »

BigFoot48 wrote:GM had a fun time grinding their electric cars into post-consumer metal shavings. $10,000 extra cost will buy a lot of gasoline!
And neatly opening a market opportunity to Toyota Hybrids.

Electric cars will come, no doubt, in time, but the battery problems are not yet (economically) solved.
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Here is the one I want

Post by leonard »

Here is the one I want:

http://www.commutercars.com

They are custom built now, so beyond the willingness of this diehard to purchase at $100k+. But, if they ever get to mass production at a price point below $20k (best guess of the company), I would likely get one.

I think they have a unique approach to not only the electric vehicle but to make it "fit in" the existing infrastructure to solve the fossil fuel problem and the freeway overcrowding problem.

Anyway, not an employee or owner of commuter cars; I just think they are cool.
Last edited by leonard on Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Karl »

Where does all the power come from?

Wisconsin already has a problem where businesses must be forced to shut down on the hottest days to prevent blackouts due to demand from AC.

Wouldn't the nation need lots of new power plants if electric cars ever became popular? This issue never seems to be mentioned when environmentalists discuss electric cars.
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Post by Valuethinker »

Karl wrote:Where does all the power come from?

Wisconsin already has a problem where businesses must be forced to shut down on the hottest days to prevent blackouts due to demand from AC.

Wouldn't the nation need lots of new power plants if electric cars ever became popular? This issue never seems to be mentioned when environmentalists discuss electric cars.
Electric cars are almost certainly inevitable, although they will be plug-in hybrids rather than pure electrics. A plug in hybrid could potentially get the equivalent of 80mpg in urban driving.* In 30 years time, I expect 80% of cars will be plug in hybrids of some form or another (barring some breakthrough in other technologies).

The fundamental inefficiency of a gasoline-powered car AFAIK is that you are running the engine at far faster speed than the wheels turn, requiring expensive gearing and big losses of energy. An electric drivetrain steps around this problem, for the low speed driving and for acceleration, which are the main types of driving. It also picks up c. 10% of energy wasted due to braking.

Actually power has been looked at in mind-numbing detail:

- the total energy demand for electric cars wouldn't be huge on national consumption c. 10% I think is the estimate

(the rough efficiencies are as follows. Your car engine converts 25% of the energy available in gasoline into motive power. But there is a lot of energy consumed in extracting crude oil, pumping and refining that gasoline, as well. Your local coal fired power plant is about 33-35% efficient, but then loses c. 8% getting the power to your house. If your utility happens to use natural gas, then it is 55-56% efficient as a generator.)

- it would actually benefit the electricity grid if cars are recharged at night, when demand is low

- even if electricity is generated in the most dirty manner possible (coal fired power plants) it still is a net benefit over burning gasoline, in air pollution terms

- this is still the case if we include the environmental cost of making and disposing of the batteries

- coal plants will be a lot cleaner in the future than they are now, and of course there is wind (fastest growing power source in the US), nuclear, gas etc.

- solar might make a very neat solution. Plug your car in, the solar cells charge it. That's further out (cost)

- the grid problem would come if everyone was trying to charge their cars at 4pm on a hot day. But already my parents have a power tariff that lets the utility cut off large appliances for 30 minutes every 2 hours at peak. That kind of utility-household mesh is going to become more common. See the 'Smart Grid' concept.

My guess is what is happening in Wisconsin is what happened in Ontario. Outside the big cities, no one wants the new power lines (which go through the countryside). So the utility is struggling to keep up with peak demand in the cities, which keeps rising with the hotter summers, more air conditioning etc.

* Peugeot-Citroen has a prototype that gets 80mpg, diesel electric hybrid (not plug in). The problem is cost: both the diesel and the hybrid engine cost more, so the total increment of cost is too high. But the technology is already there.
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Post by leonard »

My opinion is that the "battery problem" for electric cars is largely a myth. Sure, batteries can be improved, but there are examples of electric cars that can get >80-100 miles on a charge that exist today (the Commuter Cars Tango is one such example.) Also, the GM EV1 could get (I believe) 50 or 60 miles, which would cover most everyday commuting needs.

Valuethinker has some great points regarding electric cars.
- solar might make a very neat solution. Plug your car in, the solar cells charge it. That's further out (cost)
In some climates - California for example - there are (and were with the GM EV1) - people making solar work to charge their car, part of their house energy needs and selling power back to the power company. They are still doing this today. If they can make solar more efficient, it might broaden its cost effectivenss in less than optimal environments, like the pacific NW.
the grid problem would come if everyone was trying to charge their cars at 4pm on a hot day.
If it gets that hot, it is a perfect candidate for solar charging. Charging at night, as Valuethinker mentioned, is a great solution when the grid is undercapacity.

My opinion is that the added complexity if a hybrid is simply not warranted. Their are working electric cars that handle 95% of common driving. Most of us have 2 (or more cars). I would love to have 1 electric for commuting and 1 gas. Might even give up the gas car and just rent for longer trips.

I would love to be able to buy a full electric car now, if they were reasonably priced.
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Post by cdelena »

A little early for the technology...

A friend has a pure electric car for in town. It is great for grocery shopping but when she goes to visit her sister 60 miles down the road she has to spend the night to wait for a recharge to get home.

Not for me yet.
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Post by leonard »

A little early for the technology...
Is it the car, the battery (I believe named by Ben Franklin), or electricity that is "early"?
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Post by Valuethinker »

leonard wrote: I would love to be able to buy a full electric car now, if they were reasonably priced.
http://www.goingreen.co.uk/

works well in London. They get an exemption from the Congestion Charge (£10 per day) so they are quite economical.

*however* my understanding is this was classified as an 'enclosed motorbike' for road safety purposes. Whilst I am happy with the safety aspects of, say the Mercedes SMART car

http://www.smart.com/-snm-0135035552-11 ... ault-Start

I am less happy with that revelation.
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Post by leonard »

Valuethinker said:
am less happy with that revelation.
Sorry, which revelation? Not clear if you are referring to the smart car or the electric in the first link.

Thanks.
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Post by cdelena »

leonard wrote:
A little early for the technology...
Is it the car, the battery (I believe named by Ben Franklin), or electricity that is "early"?
You decide, but a car with a forty mile range and eight hour charge time is simply not advanced enough to spend my money on.
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Potential dangers of electric cars?

Post by satori »

I have heard and read one downside of the hybrid car, and I guess by extension, a fully electric car: If a hybrid is in a crash and someone is trapped inside, to avoid electrocution of the rescuers, the network of high-voltage circuitry must first be disabled or precisely cut around, to save a trapped victim. This takes some specialized knowledge, and I'm thinking precious minutes could be wasted while rescuers try to figure out how to shut things down. Or is this an urban myth?
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Post by leonard »

You decide, but a car with a forty mile range and eight hour charge time is simply not advanced enough to spend my money on.
Your notion of what an electric car can be seems to be a technology generation behind.

Commuter Cars Tango. 80% recharge in 10 minutes (which is sufficient for most driving needs). 100% recharge in the 3 hours. Range 60-80 miles on Lead acid batteries. 80-160 miles for nimh batteries. Top Speed: 150 mph (not a typo).

There are a few other electric cars under development or in prototype that have similar recharge, range, and speed capabilities. Many are on the verge of coming to production - particularly the Chevy Volt.

My current internal combustion vehicles don't fly me to California or Europe. But, I still keep them, eventhough they don't supply 100% of my transportation needs, like flying. I think the analogy holds for electrics. If we hold up the standard of 100% replacement for our current cars, they will probably "only" cover 95% of our car needs in the immediate future. Might it be reasonable to get 95% replacement (with the many cost saving benefits) and find an alternative for that other 5%?

Of course, that's a call that we can only make as individuals.
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Post by Valuethinker »

leonard wrote:Valuethinker said:
am less happy with that revelation.
Sorry, which revelation? Not clear if you are referring to the smart car or the electric in the first link.

Thanks.
No the road safety test it passed was much less exacting than a conventional motor car. This isn't a SMART Car, this is an enclosed motorbike (literally).

Being in one when a Land Rover or a Porsche Cayenne goes over the top of you is a life-limiting situation.
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Re: Potential dangers of electric cars?

Post by Valuethinker »

satori wrote:I have heard and read one downside of the hybrid car, and I guess by extension, a fully electric car: If a hybrid is in a crash and someone is trapped inside, to avoid electrocution of the rescuers, the network of high-voltage circuitry must first be disabled or precisely cut around, to save a trapped victim. This takes some specialized knowledge, and I'm thinking precious minutes could be wasted while rescuers try to figure out how to shut things down. Or is this an urban myth?
It's a problem if the circuitry didn't happen to get cut in the crash.

Think your power windows, which will cut out, making it harder for rescuers to get to you.

My understanding is they have issued highway rescue crews with grounded pliers for precisely this problem.

The scenarios where this happens are very rare in automotive accidents, in any case.

Simply switching from a petrol driven car to a diesel driven car would do more good for your safety, than switching to a hybrid would do bad things for your safety. That's because diesel has a much higher flashpoint than gasoline.
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Post by Valuethinker »

cdelena wrote:A little early for the technology...

A friend has a pure electric car for in town. It is great for grocery shopping but when she goes to visit her sister 60 miles down the road she has to spend the night to wait for a recharge to get home.

Not for me yet.
What we need is 'hot swaps' of battery packs at the local garage. Which will come.

I predict one of the early adopters of electrical vehicles (or some form of alternative fuel) will be the military.

The US Army has been aptly described as a 'fleet of fuel tankers with some combat support attached'. An M1 Abrams tank gets 2 gallons per mile, a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle around 4 mpg. Even a HumV sub 10 mpg.

This sharply constrains the operational and tactical flexibility of the battlefield commander, especially when your supply line runs hundreds of miles through hostile territory.
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Post by Sidney »

downside of the hybrid car
Slightly off-topic of the off topic but I have heard also (and admit it is complete hearsay) that when air conditioning is on, hybrids are always running in "gas" mode and, as a result, actual savings in warm climates are illusory. Again, I heard this from someone and have no facts to back it up. Anyone heard similar?
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Post by Valuethinker »

Sidney wrote:
downside of the hybrid car
Slightly off-topic of the off topic but I have heard also (and admit it is complete hearsay) that when air conditioning is on, hybrids are always running in "gas" mode and, as a result, actual savings in warm climates are illusory. Again, I heard this from someone and have no facts to back it up. Anyone heard similar?
From what I've read, that is not always true.

In addition, a Prius uses regenerative braking, that is 10-15% of the energy savings, and you are still getting that. It also uses a relatively small gasoline engine, it doesn't participate in the 'horsepower race' that US cars have become (but maintains adequate performance because an electric motor is better for acceleration from low speed than a petrol engine).
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Electric cars on the way

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Post by nisiprius »

Valuethinker wrote:Battery life is still the killer.
Indeed.

People don't seem to "get" the brilliance of the basic 1970s TRW design... the one on which the Prius and similar hybrids are based... the one that TRW couldn't get American manufacturers interested in.

It doesn't require a battery made of unobtainium. It only uses the battery as a kind of buffer for torque requirements. It is not an electric car with a gasoline generator bolted on. It truly is a "hybrid," an integrated system in which it's impossible to separate the functions of the electric motors and the internal combustion engine.

Without the gasoline engine, the Prius would only have a range of about one mile or so. The fuel savings come from the use of a small engine operated only in its efficient speed range; the electric components provide drivability. Because the battery capacity doesn't need to be high, the battery can be relatively small, light, and affordable... and is kept within a narrow range of charge, one that maximizes battery life, because it's not necessary to extract every joule of energy from it. (I suspect that narrow range of charge probably is beneficial to battery safety as well, because the battery is kept in the range where it's happy and unstressed...)
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Post by ryuns »

I'll be the contrarian and say my money's on the fuel cell. Honda's FCV advanced SO MUCH between the previous generation and this one. It's really quite amazing. Purported to be safe. Hydrogen provides the same flexibility of source that electricity.

Electricity has the huge advantage that it can be made to charge with an extension cord. Getting hydrogen out to centralized stations will be a pain.

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Post by cdelena »

ryuns wrote: ...
Electricity has the huge advantage that it can be made to charge with an extension cord. Getting hydrogen out to centralized stations will be a pain.
...
Hydrogen not only is difficult to store and ship but it is expensive to make... the only reasonable approach proposed thus far is to extract the hydrogen from natural gas at the fueling station.
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Post by OptionAl »

Electric is the answer. Such cars could use the grid or even local power.

Hydrogen is a con job being foisted off on people by the oil companies. They know it is a dead end, so they push it in their ads. Anything the US spends on it is a waste of money. Hydrogen is a very volatile gas that requires replicating the complex distribution system of gas. Remember the Hindenburg.
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Post by chaz »

Maybe solar cells?
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Post by ryuns »

OptionAl wrote:Electric is the answer. Such cars could use the grid or even local power.

Hydrogen is a con job being foisted off on people by the oil companies. They know it is a dead end, so they push it in their ads. Anything the US spends on it is a waste of money. Hydrogen is a very volatile gas that requires replicating the complex distribution system of gas. Remember the Hindenburg.
Hey, I said I was trying to be a contrarian. And, to be fair, the best hydrogen car is much more practical than the best electric car. Honestly though, electric does seem like a better answer as the electricity grid gets smarter, we have much more distributed generation (local solar and wind power, NG/H2 fired co-gen), and innumerable other changes. We're still really waiting for a good way to store that energy in a place that can take thousands of charging cycles (as valuethinker has said on several occasions). We're just not there yet. Hopefully we'll see a breakthrough soon.

I think hydrogen fuel cells will have a number applications, but transportation, which really magnifies every storage issue associated with the gas, may not be one of them.

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Post by hello77 »

Electric is the answer. Such cars could use the grid or even local power
The reality is that we need to start drilling for oil while developing these alternatives. Battery operated cars that are economically feasible are at least 10 years away; if not decades. They do not have sufficient range and the recharge time of 12 hours makes any fillup to increase range almost impossible.

The nations power plants also cannot handle this type of demand; and wind and solar is not going to be able supply this demand; we need to go to clean coal or nuclear.

We have enough coal and we have enough oil in this country to supply our current needs without importing anything. The shale oil deposit has more recoverable oil than the entire Saudi oil reserve.

Im not saying to not explore alternatives; only that putting all of our bags in one basket is dangerous and saying we dont need to drill for oil is making an "assumption" that these alternatives will somehow become magically available in the near future.
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Post by Ruprecht »

hello77 wrote:The reality is that we need to start drilling for oil while developing these alternatives. Battery operated cars that are economically feasible are at least 10 years away; if not decades. They do not have sufficient range and the recharge time of 12 hours makes any fillup to increase range almost impossible.

The nations power plants also cannot handle this type of demand; and wind and solar is not going to be able supply this demand; we need to go to clean coal or nuclear.

We have enough coal and we have enough oil in this country to supply our current needs without importing anything. The shale oil deposit has more recoverable oil than the entire Saudi oil reserve.

Im not saying to not explore alternatives; only that putting all of our bags in one basket is dangerous and saying we dont need to drill for oil is making an "assumption" that these alternatives will somehow become magically available in the near future.
Agree 100%.
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Post by OptionAl »

I see some of us have bought the nonsense the oil companies would have us believe. They have some people thinking using oil resources that will take 10 years to develop is a better way to go than new clean electric technology that will take 10 years to perfect. The concept of a phase-in of electric and a phase-out of oil, to the point in 10 years we need LESS oil than we use today, completely eludes them.
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Post by Ruprecht »

OptionAl wrote: I see some of us have bought the nonsense the oil companies would have us believe. They have some people thinking using oil resources that will take 10 years to develop is a better way to go than new clean electric technology that will take 10 years to perfect. The concept of a phase-in of electric and a phase-out of oil, to the point in 10 years we need LESS oil than we use today, completely eludes them.
I don't want to get into a political discussion, so I won't say much more than this: your phrase "...new clean electric technology that will take 10 years to perfect" is hypothetical. I sincerely hope you prove to be correct, but you are guessing.

There are some uncertainties with regards to new oil drilling also, but at least we already know how to use oil.

You're also guessing as to how much oil we will need in 10 years, even if all of our fondest dreams for electric power are realized.
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Post by Nitsuj »

leonard wrote:My opinion is that the "battery problem" for electric cars is largely a myth. Sure, batteries can be improved, but there are examples of electric cars that can get >80-100 miles on a charge that exist today (the Commuter Cars Tango is one such example.) Also, the GM EV1 could get (I believe) 50 or 60 miles, which would cover most everyday commuting needs.
50 or 60 miles is barely any distance at all when you need to run errands, drop kids off, pick kids up, grocery shop etc. as well as go to and from work, and lunch.

Even 100 miles wouldn't cover me just to and from work, but I realise that is an anomaly.

Then there are the salespeople that go from place to place peddling their wares...
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Post by greg24 »

Why don't we cover cars in solar panels like the experimental cars do? Just vanity, or are they too fragile to consider for a marketed car? Right now, millions of cars sit baking in the sun every day, with nothing but an irritatingly hot interior to show for it.

Once gas hits $20 a gallon, we'll start to consider all sorts of new things...
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Post by nisiprius »

Nitsuj wrote:
leonard wrote:My opinion is that the "battery problem" for electric cars is largely a myth. Sure, batteries can be improved, but there are examples of electric cars that can get >80-100 miles on a charge that exist today (the Commuter Cars Tango is one such example.) Also, the GM EV1 could get (I believe) 50 or 60 miles, which would cover most everyday commuting needs.
50 or 60 miles is barely any distance at all when you need to run errands, drop kids off, pick kids up, grocery shop etc. as well as go to and from work, and lunch.
On the one hand: I think all-electric cars have the problem of being "disruptive technology." As in Christensen, "The Innovator's Dilemma." He chronicled something like six generations of disk drive manufacturers, all of whom failed in the same way for the same reasons. At each cycle, the smaller drives had smaller capacities and higher costs per megabyte than the current mainstream drives, while customers were demanding larger capacities and lower cost per megabyte. So at each stage, the mainstream drivemakers couldn't see any point in smaller drives. At each stage frustrated engineers left the mainstream companies and started new companies to make smaller drives even though they did not know of any market for them. At each stage, it turned out there was enough of a specialized market for the smaller drives to support a small company. And the smaller drives always improved and began to eat the mainstream company's lunch. Lather, rinse, and repeat from 14" down to 3-1/2" and beyond.

I'm sick to death of people complaining that a pure electric car doesn't meet the needs of the average car owner. Of course it doesn't. Fine. What Detroit should do is just make them anyway, and sell them to the people whose needs it does happen to fit. If they don't, someone else will.

On the other hand: I wonder whether an electric car has a "forty mile range" the way a laptop has a "four hour battery life," i.e. does that mean forty miles, or does it mean forty miles when the battery is new and you are not using the heater or the headlights or the windshield wiper and the route is level and the outside temperature is above 60 degrees? I'd hate to get stranded in winter because my "forty mile range" electric car only had a twenty-five mile range...
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Waiting for my car

Post by bogey »

While waiting for my electric car to materialize, I have just installed a wood stove to offset heating oil costs this coming winter. The savings will be applied to my 2010 electric car purchase...
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Post by btenny »

The 2009 PRIUS will have solar cells on one version of the car according to several sources. They have not said if the solar panels will be an option or basic required equipment on the high end model. Release date is TBD but next year for sure.

Typically Toyota uses the US market to drive design improvements that they want to make and can't pay for at home via high profit margin specialty items. This is why they created the EV RAV4 way back in 1994 and the first round of PRIUS sedans when California backed off the polution requirements. Those early models were a way to pay the designers and engineers to improve the technology and get smarter without loosing buckets of money. Currently they are packing high demand US cars with extras like navigation (and solar panels starting next year) to increase the volume of the technology they want to use elsewhere on other things to drive down costs. Great smart marketing and management by them when they sucker us into paying high prices for these extras but we want the cars so we pay up and they make a lot of extra profit.......

So net net the US market will help pay for Toyota to get smart in solar energy so they can sell better houses via their Japanese home building division. Plus this unseen subsidy will also pay a great amount towards Japan's forays into solar energy. For those that don't see this a a big deal here is some math: $500 solar panel sold at $1500 = $1000 extra profit per car times 200,000 cars = $200 MILLION dollars to pay for a great solar manufacturing plant. Same math applies to the $2000 navigation system that costs $500 to $1000 to make. Nice huh!!!!

Honda has been doing the same thing with engine technology in other products like race cars, snow blowers, ATVs and motor cycles for years. The technology and design features discovered and the factories built for one product pays for the design improvements in other places like great small cars......

C'est la vie.....

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Post by OptionAl »

The US may miss the boat again, thanks to total lack of imagination.
Stop reading the oil company ads that try to divert people from real solutions and dependent on burning oil forever.
Andy Grove agrees that the electric car is the future: "To start with, the U.S. government should lead the way by requiring that a growing percentage of new cars be built with dual-fuel capability. These dual-fuel cars would have both an electric engine and an auxiliary gasoline engine to augment it."
A transition to full electric would then not be far off. In any case, with or without the US government and car makers, it will arrive sooner than people think:
Nissan will have an electric model out by 2010 and 60 models, including a Maxima, worldwide by 2012.
Renault will introduce electric cars in 2010 and Israel plans a national network to support them by 2011.
Mitsubishi announced its intention to launch its i MiEV, or Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle, next year.
Tesla, which now makes an electric car that is THE FASTEST CAR IN THE WORLD, will start production of a mass model in 2010. It will be a big 4 door sedan with a 200-plus-mile-range battery, costing around $60,000. The fuel cost will be like buying gas at 75 cents per gallon. By 2011 a 300 mile range is expected. Further down the road, Tesla plans on rolling out cars for less than $30,000.
Nor is solar energy far off. Futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil is part of distinguished panel of engineers that says solar power will scale up to produce all the energy needs of Earth's people in 20 years. The technology needed for collecting and storing it is about to emerge as the field of solar energy is going to advance exponentially in accordance with Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns. That law yields a doubling of price performance in information technologies every year.
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Post by Nate265 »

I can't believe no one has mentioned HHO gas.


Just kidding :lol:
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Ruprecht
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Post by Ruprecht »

Nate265 wrote:I can't believe no one has mentioned HHO gas.
That's because it utilizes dihydrogen monoxide, a dangerous chemical compound.

The oil companies don't want you to know the facts about dihydrogen monoxide. To get the facts, visit: http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html
hello77
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Re: Waiting for my car

Post by hello77 »

bogey wrote:While waiting for my electric car to materialize, I have just installed a wood stove to offset heating oil costs this coming winter. The savings will be applied to my 2010 electric car purchase...
I like this idea...i wonder what a ton of coal costs as i might want to burn that rather than wood. Maybe, I could even install my own coal fired boiler to power my own electric generator.
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Post by nisiprius »

btenny wrote:The 2009 PRIUS will have solar cells on one version of the car according to several sources. They have not said if the solar panels will be an option or basic required equipment on the high end model. Release date is TBD but next year for sure.
I flatly don't believe it.

It makes no sense whatsoever. In the following back-of-the-envelope calculations, I think I'm tilting everything heavily in the direction that would make this feasible, but it doesn't come close to adding up.

In the first place, sunlight is only about one kilowatt per square meter. In the second place, car roofs don't tilt to track the sun.

If you assume 20% efficiency, that's 200 watts, maximum.

Current Prius batteries only store enough energy to drive the Prius about a mile. So even if the Prius could somehow be smart enough to end every trip with the battery charge at its lowest allowable level, and if solar cells always fully charged the battery while the car was parked--which would take about 2-1/2 hours--you'd only get one "free" mile per trip.

At current gas prices, that would be worth about 1/50 of a gallon = eight cents.

Meanwhile, I believe solar panels cost on the order of $4 per watt. Given that this one would have to be shaped to the shape of a curved roof and nicely finished and protected against normal road hazards I'd think it would cost at least $1000. So it would take about twelve thousand trips to recover the cost.

P. S. And I doubt the effect on fuel efficiency would even be noticeable. I believe regenerative braking contributes far more to charging the battery than a solar panel could do, and I think regenerative braking is only responsible for two or three mpg of the Prius's fuel efficiency.
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Post by cdelena »

nisiprius wrote:
btenny wrote:The 2009 PRIUS will have solar cells on one version of the car according to several sources. They have not said if the solar panels will be an option or basic required equipment on the high end model. Release date is TBD but next year for sure.
I flatly don't believe it.

It makes no sense whatsoever. In the following back-of-the-envelope calculations, I think I'm tilting everything heavily in the direction that would make this feasible, but it doesn't come close to adding up...
The rumor I have seen says it is only designed to be the primary source of power for the electric AC. Besides being a PR advantage.
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Post by JW-Retired »

leonard wrote: Commuter Cars Tango. 80% recharge in 10 minutes (which is sufficient for most driving needs). 100% recharge in the 3 hours. Range 60-80 miles on Lead acid batteries. 80-160 miles for nimh batteries. Top Speed: 150 mph (not a typo).
Really leonard, this statement is more than a little deceptive. Tango is basically an electric motorcycle that sells for $108,000. To quote from Tango's web site.
"A dryer outlet will give most of a charge in an hour, or a full charge in less than 3 hours. With a 110-volt outlet it’s still easily charged overnight. With a 200-amp off-board charger, the Tango can be charged to 80% in about 10 minutes."

200 amps! Sure just plug it in and get your recharge when you stop for coffee at Starbucks.
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Post by cdelena »

The Tesla electric sports car has a range of 80 to 200 miles depending upon use only gets a fast charge from a dedicated charge system:

How long does it take?

'That depends on how far the battery has been discharged and what source is being used to charge the batteries. A full charge using the Home Charging Station (included in the price of the Tesla Roadster) can be achieved in as little as 3.5 hours.'

or longer...
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Post by Ruprecht »

cdelena wrote:A full charge using the Home Charging Station (included in the price of the Tesla Roadster) can be achieved in as little as 3.5 hours.'

or longer...
The above quote illustrates what I think is the main problem with some of the fervent, quasi-religious support for alternative energy sources that I've been hearing from a variety of sources. Everything is based on the best-case scenario, just like cdelena points out. We hear about the fastest possible recharge time, not the longest possible recharge time. We hear about cars that do not yet exist, but are confidently proclaimed as "will be available in 2010..." Everything is in the future tense or the subjunctive mood.

I think the reason I have found this website to my liking is that I have been essentially a "Boglehead" before I ever even heard of Jack Bogle or mutual funds. The core of "Boglehead" philosophy is that one should not risk everything on the dream of things that may or may not come to pass (high returns), but rather focus on those things that are known to be 100% certain (expenses and taxes).

To my way of thinking, the energy crisis is easily approached in the same manner. I am very much in favor of accelerating our efforts to develop alternative energy sources. Who in their right mind wouldn't be? But what is still completely unknown to all but the most-accomplished soothsayers is how long it will take before we can truly reduce the world's need for fossil fuels. No living person knows the answer to this question. We cannot predict the future in the stock market, nor can we predict the future of scientific discovery. To say otherwise seems so ridiculous to me that I just can't comprehend any other viewpoint on this issue.

What this means is that we have to diversify. I strongly support an intensive effort to develop viable alternative energy sources, and would like to see the effort undertaken with similar fervor as the space race in the 1960's. But we cannot risk everything on the hope that alternative energy sources will show up right on schedule to solve all of our problems. We need to increase our supply and improve our efficiency of usage of fossil fuels ASAP, because it may take a lot longer than we think before new technology can finally make an impact.
Last edited by Ruprecht on Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Anil
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How about this?

Post by Anil »

hello77
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Post by hello77 »

What this means is that we have to diversify. I strongly support an intensive effort to develop viable alternative energy sources, and would like to see the effort undertaken with similar fervor as the space race in the 1960's. But we cannot risk everything on the hope that alternative energy sources will show up right on schedule to solve all of our problems. We need to increase our supply and improve our efficiency of usage of fossil fuels ASAP, because it may take a lot longer than we think before new technology can finally make an impact.
I agree and would also say that increasing our own supply of fossil fuels including oil and using clean coal should also be done on the same fervor as the space race in the 1960s and with a congressional mandate from congress that we increase our own oil production to be free from using imported oil in 10 years.

I was around during the 1970s oil crisis and remember people talking that the future was electric cars; here we are 40 years later and we are still trying to make electric cars a reality. Making an assumption that somehow we can make electric cars a reality in the next 10 years and thinking that we do not need to develop fossil fuels provides no fall back position in the event the electric car fails. We need to be developing fossil fuels while we are working on alternatives so we have a fall back...its simple risk management.
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