# Thread: Electric cars are a pipe dream

1. Originally Posted by Billy T
There are many sources of information about new technologies. What you lack is the educational foundation to recognize what is a technology limitation and what is a fundamental law of nature limitation so you mistakenly believe that a little more research, more development of new technology can overcome any limitation.

For example, high voltages occur if the current in an inductor is rapidly reduced to zero and is required to rapidly increase the current in an inductor. That is fundamental law of nature - Technology advance will not change it. Other facts of space and time I used in my analysis are equally fundamental. For example:

A car moving at 80mph (36m/sec) passing over a roadway coil its same length will have less than 50% of the car's coil over the roadway coil for less than 0.03 sec but the inductance of such a coil will limit the current rise and fall each to more than 0.15 sec if it is also 1meter wide and with enough turns to make at reasonable recharging induction field. ("Reasonable," as if only one turn the current required to get the ampere/turns required would have huge RI^2 loses in the coil.) Inductance is a property of ONLY the coil geometry and the roadway coils are not small, so even only a dozen or so turns makes a relatively large inductance in "car shaped" coil (1m by 2m).

Thus coil will be energized 10 times longer than 50% of the car is over it. This fact alone makes the system efficiency less than 10%.

There are also large losses (compared to energy delivered to the car's battery in less than 0.03 sec) in the essential 1000 to 1 step down, high power rated, expensive transformers, which as it has large inductance is energized most of the time - not possible to turn on and off as needed due to it large inductance.

Not even counting the RI^2 losses, which heavy copper wires and rod conductor can reduce at great expense in copper alone, these switch on and off limitations of inductors and the car high speed (short time over the roadway coil), make system efficiency less than 5%. Thus, with 50% of the electric power generated by fossil fuel, the induction roadway would INCREASE CO2 release by factor of 10.

However, it is the high cost that also destroys the system’s feasibility. Prior detailed analysis in post 1707 shows that the capital cost is greater than \$30/ foot of road, not even including the car’s parts of the system (pick up coil, AC to DC conversion in the car or the optical switching system to turn on and off the coils, etc) as they are not a cost expressible in per mile of roadway, but are significant too especially if the EV battery is included when comparing to a gasoline car alternative, which would be 10 times LESS polluting.

SUMMARY: “Wishing and dreaming” is desirable activity but MUST be followed by analysis to separate the silly from the feasible. You need to understand this.
All your costings are done without a complete picture of the technologies involved. So are therefore not worth the post they are written on. My educational foundation is of no concern to you. I have had to inform you of many of the developments that have been discussed in this thread because you were unaware of them. So who is educating themselves?

2. We have solved all these problems a century ago with the electric trolley. Now we have light rail and subways too. The problem is that these things require public funding, and Republicans will oppose it, probably claiming that they would hurt American auto companies, who make more marketing personal vehicles than they would utilitarian public transportation.

Who cares? The fact is we just looked at the BEST selling vehicles for 2010 for both Canada and the US and in both cases large trucks were by far the most popular vehicles sold, and these trucks will still be around 10 years from now. You say its unjustifiable, yet people bought these knowing the price of gas was likely to go up so clearly they needed the features these vehicles provided. Indeed, when 2011 is over those two models will again lead the sales.
Bull. They just wanted a large truck to look good no doubt. The fact they bought these vehicles possibly aware that fuel prices will go up just compounds their idiocy (a who cares attitude is what is going to bury humankind).

At the same time what the US does with gas mileage will have virtually no impact on the total GHGs in comparison to the additional 3 billion or so people who will be added to the globe over the next 40 years. Cutting our gas use in half would only reduce global CO2 production by about 1.8%, which would have essentially no impact at all considering that so much CO2 comes from Coal and Natural gas and the use of both will be going up, not down over the next 40 years (remember the energy demands of those extra 3 billion people)
Defeatist claptrap. A full movement across to a non/very low CO2 producing technology will have a big impact. Making EVs or hydrogen vehicles at a price the whole world can afford is what it is all about. Forget biofuels and NG which only put CO2 back into the cycle.

Movement to EVs, even if on a massive scale, would likewise have only a minor impact on CO2 because our electrical generation produces ~500 tons of CO2 per GWH produced, which because of transmission losses results in EV-CO2 rates of ~115 g/km, which is more than the new Prius at 89 g/km (True, it's less than the average CO2 per mile, but so far EVs only come in small models, bigger EVs would use far more watts per mile). If half of us were all driving Leafs tomorrow, the net change in CO2 on a global scale would be minimal.
This is complete uneducated, unforward-thinking BS. CO2 capture at fossil fuel power stations pumping into algae houses will stop CO2 going back into the atmosphere. Electrcity use will be the cleanest option. The algae will be utilised for plastics production, and plastics being dumped into landfill will seal the majority of the carbon off from the cycle. This can then be reharvested at a later date.

Nuclear power has much less impact on CO2 emissions as well. And with fusion power on the horizon the production of electricity looks set to be a very environmentally sound source of power.

Burning any form of fossil fuel or biofuel does nothing to seal carbon under ground. Humans have to get smart and impersonate the past functions of the biosphere to return the earth to its customary balance. This is doable.

In any case, the Leaf supposedly went on sale in the UK in Feb, with a price of \$38,500 (after \$8,150 rebate from the UK gov). Personally I couldn't imagine anyone paying that much for that car, but we'll see how well it sells to people who are fearful of GW and want to do their part. Note a Toyota Urban Cruiser (51 mpg) which is a far more capable car would cost \$12,000 less, so the Leaf starts costing less to operate at around 120,000 miles if gas is \$8 gallon and elec is \$.15 kWh. Of course, even for a driver who puts 20,000 miles per year on their Leaf (not that easy to do as you have to drive about 55 miles every day), this savings only happens after 6 years and 1 year after the warranty on the Leaf battery expires.
Once the UK stops giving that huge upfront rebate (and they will), the cost of the Leaf will really be high compared to a high mileage hybrid like the Prius.
:in transition.

Interesting thing I learned while researching this topic.

The mileage tests done by the EU give higher gas mileage for the same car/engine than the EPA milage figures. (The US EPA tightened their tests after consumers complained that they weren't getting the rated mileage)

Turns out the EU tests really keep the speed down in their tests as well as the stops and starts compared to the US tests. They do both an Urban and an Ex-Urban cycle but the average speed in both is only 20 mph.

What seems to make the US test harder is they do a Cold Start test as part of the Urban driving cycle and that's when gas mileage is the worst. They also do a hot start as part of it, after 10 minutes of cooling down, and the highway test is at an average of 48 MPH which is why you see the biggest variation in the highway mileage between the two sets of tests.

So how does this work in real life. Took a while to find identical cars with identical engines to see the impact:

VW Jetta with 2 liter TDI (Diesel) in EU says it gets 42.2/62.8 mpg

Same car, same engine in the US and the EPA gives it 30/42 mpg

WOW!

But then I figure it must be Imperial Gallons for the EU and since 1 US gallon = 0.83 Imperial Gallons then restated the EU says the mileage is still quite a bit higher at 35/52 mpg compared to 30/42 mpg in the US.

Still quite a bit higher, but a bit more reasonable comparison.

SO, the net is when you see these HIGH MPG ratings for cars in the EU remember if they are stating it in MPG, the gallon is 20% larger, so make that correction and even then the testing is like the old EPA tests and so still the stated mileages are higher than what we would see in EPA numbers for the same car.

I also checked out a gas engine car, and the Passat CC is available in the 2.0 liter TSI engine in both the US and EU

In the US it is rated 21/31 mpg but in the EU it is rated as 23/41.8 mpg, again the easier EU Highway test producing a much bigger difference.

http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/#/new/je...l-consumption/
http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/#/new/pa...l-consumption/
http://www.vw.com/en/models/jetta/tr...tta~2Ftdi.html
http://www.vw.com/en/models/cc/trims...c~2Fsport.html

Arthur
This is interesting analysis and I would love to see a comprehensive look at this. I would say that US models of cars in a general sense tend to be more bulky frame-wise, though I am not clued up about the differenc between a US passat say, and a euro one. I would guess the frame is the same but in europe smaller engines are offered.

5. Originally Posted by Billy T

SUMMARY: “Wishing and dreaming” is desirable activity but MUST be followed by analysis to separate the silly from the feasible. You need to understand this.
In science all avenues are pursued for the discovery around the corner can change the feasibility of a particular pursuit overnight. A blinkering of imagination and innovation is not what science is about. Globally there are untold strands of possibility pursued. If Universities worked under your guidelines then they would all be following the same discovery. What would that do for diversity in science I wonder?

Maybe you should talk to the bodies who are pursuing these technologies. I am sure they would be well up for your 'it can't be done' attitude.

6. Originally Posted by universaldistress
Bull. They just wanted a large truck to look good no doubt. The fact they bought these vehicles possibly aware that fuel prices will go up just compounds their idiocy (a who cares attitude is what is going to bury humankind).
Again, just your ignorance and bigotry showing.

Defeatist claptrap. A full movement across to a non/very low CO2 producing technology will have a big impact. Making EVs or hydrogen vehicles at a price the whole world can afford is what it is all about. Forget biofuels and NG which only put CO2 back into the cycle.
Different issue entirely. You've made a number of comments about US gasoline usage but the point is even if the US cut our gasoline usage in HALF it would only cut global CO2 use by a small amount.

This is complete uneducated, unforward-thinking BS. CO2 capture at fossil fuel power stations pumping into algae houses will stop CO2 going back into the atmosphere. Electrcity use will be the cleanest option. The algae will be utilised for plastics production, and plastics being dumped into landfill will seal the majority of the carbon off from the cycle. This can then be reharvested at a later date.
WHEN?
No Commercial plants are doing CCS today.
The US has been funding research into this since 1997 and the DOE still thinks we are a decade or more away from figuring out how to do it and another decade away from widespread use. So yes, it has the eventual potential to be a factor, but not for decades to come, so for the forseeable future, electricity will be mainly Coal and NG fuel based and there will NOT be CCS as part of that production. Coal produces about 900 tons of CO2 per GWH and coal continues to be the major fuel source for our electricity.

Nuclear power has much less impact on CO2 emissions as well.
In case you haven't noticed Nuclear Power just got a MAJOR black eye.
I suspect we will see just the opposite direction on Nuclear power for some time (even more so than what happened after Three Mile Island). Fukishima still isn't completely out of the woods yet. They totally screwed up in their disaster planning and were unable to bring the reactors under control before massive releases of radiation had to be allowed to keep the pressure vessels from blowing, which led to massive H2 explosions in each of three reactor buildings. Indeed, one was so bad they managed to breach the containment structure of one of the reactors, which released much heavier isotopes and managed to make put this at the same level of Chernobyl (1/10th the total radiation release so far, but that is still a LOT of radiation). Ongoing, TEPCO seems pretty inept in their ability to bring these reactors under control and it will likely mean the end of the company and with it all those cushy jobs for the head honchos. Don't think for a minute the head honchos at all the other power companies are thinking what would happen to them if one of their reactors failed). At this point it's unlikely that they will even get all the water pumped out of the number 2 reactor building for several months and all the reactors under control for another 4 or 5 months. The economic impact of this is going to be ENORMOUS, and that's what the other countries and power producers will look at and it will most definately slow down to halt a lot of plans for nuclear power for a decade or more.

And with fusion power on the horizon the production of electricity looks set to be a very environmentally sound source of power.
LOL

Fusion power has been on the horizon since the 1970s. Problem is it is not particularly any closer today then they thought it was back then. Back then they thought it was 50 years away, they still think it's 50 years away.

Despite optimism dating back to the 1950s about the wide-scale harnessing of fusion power, there are still significant barriers standing between current scientific understanding and technological capabilities and the practical realization of fusion as an energy source. Research, while making steady progress, has also continually thrown up new difficulties. Therefore it remains unclear whether an economically viable fusion plant is possible. A 2006 editorial in New Scientist magazine opined that "if commercial fusion is viable, it may well be a century away."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power

The reality is Fusion may never be economical for power production.
Of course you seem to have a habit of counting your chicks before they hatch.

So, back to REALITY.

Right NOW, and for the next several decades, there is no particularly large savings in CO2 emissions by use of EVs, and none at all in comparison to high mileage IC hybrids. So to claim that's a reason to go to EVs instead of Hybrids is simply not true.

Sometime around ~2025, if CCS is found to actually be doable and we eventually begin to build plants with integrated CCS then this may begin to be true and at which time you can try this argument again.

Arthur

7. Originally Posted by universaldistress
In science all avenues are pursued for the discovery around the corner can change the feasibility of a particular pursuit overnight. A blinkering of imagination and innovation is not what science is about.
Absolutely.

And we all hope that breakthrough discovery comes along because such a discovery can make every one of our statements about EVs moot.

But that doesn't mean you can assume these discoveries will occur.

The next leap in battery techology could occur tomorrow or it could occur 30 years from now or it might never occur, so for the sake of having a meaningful discussion it makes sense to talk about what exists, not about what could exist.

Absolutely.

And we all hope that breakthrough discovery comes along because such a discovery can make every one of our statements about EVs moot.

But that doesn't mean you can assume these discoveries will occur.

The next leap in battery techology could occur tomorrow or it could occur 30 years from now or it might never occur, so for the sake of having a meaningful discussion it makes sense to talk about what exists, not about what could exist.
Just talking about projections of what already exists actually. To say development isn't worth talking about is again ridiculous.

9. Originally Posted by universaldistress
Just talking about projections of what already exists actually. To say development isn't worth talking about is again ridiculous.
You can talk about it, but then you need to put reasonable projections as to WHEN that technology will be WIDELY used and what the barriers to adoption are. Indeed you linked to something you claimed allowed Rapid Charge to be possible, but tracking down the actual research made no such claim, so you also have to vet your stories.
Or like the in road system. Yes it was patented, but still you can point to no country that is planning on rolling it out.

Again, just your ignorance and bigotry showing.

Different issue entirely. You've made a number of comments about US gasoline usage but the point is even if the US cut our gasoline usage in HALF it would only cut global CO2 use by a small amount.

WHEN?
No Commercial plants are doing CCS today.
The US has been funding research into this since 1997 and the DOE still thinks we are a decade or more away from figuring out how to do it and another decade away from widespread use. So yes, it has the eventual potential to be a factor, but not for decades to come, so for the forseeable future, electricity will be mainly Coal and NG fuel based and there will NOT be CCS as part of that production. Coal produces about 900 tons of CO2 per GWH and coal continues to be the major fuel source for our electricity.

In case you haven't noticed Nuclear Power just got a MAJOR black eye.
I suspect we will see just the opposite direction on Nuclear power for some time (even more so than what happened after Three Mile Island). Fukishima still isn't completely out of the woods yet. They totally screwed up in their disaster planning and were unable to bring the reactors under control before massive releases of radiation had to be allowed to keep the pressure vessels from blowing, which led to massive H2 explosions in each of three reactor buildings. Indeed, one was so bad they managed to breach the containment structure of one of the reactors, which released much heavier isotopes and managed to make put this at the same level of Chernobyl (1/10th the total radiation release so far, but that is still a LOT of radiation). Ongoing, TEPCO seems pretty inept in their ability to bring these reactors under control and it will likely mean the end of the company and with it all those cushy jobs for the head honchos. Don't think for a minute the head honchos at all the other power companies are thinking what would happen to them if one of their reactors failed). At this point it's unlikely that they will even get all the water pumped out of the number 2 reactor building for several months and all the reactors under control for another 4 or 5 months. The economic impact of this is going to be ENORMOUS, and that's what the other countries and power producers will look at and it will most definately slow down to halt a lot of plans for nuclear power for a decade or more.

LOL

Fusion power has been on the horizon since the 1970s. Problem is it is not particularly any closer today then they thought it was back then. Back then they thought it was 50 years away, they still think it's 50 years away.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power

The reality is Fusion may never be economical for power production.
Of course you seem to have a habit of counting your chicks before they hatch.

So, back to REALITY.

Right NOW, and for the next several decades, there is no particularly large savings in CO2 emissions by use of EVs, and none at all in comparison to high mileage IC hybrids. So to claim that's a reason to go to EVs instead of Hybrids is simply not true.

Sometime around ~2025, if CCS is found to actually be doable and we eventually begin to build plants with integrated CCS then this may begin to be true and at which time you can try this argument again.

Arthur
Japan has the most earthquakes of any nation bar none. The fact the Japanese messed up their emergency protocols has no impact on the viability of nuclear energy. It just puts the way we do it under review. Will any nuclear power plants be shut down now because of the problems in Japan? (except of course at fukushima). Will it stop other nations from completing reactor projects? Will it realistically stop any nation from utilising this resource?

Carbon capture is already running in trials.

Algae is already being converted into plastics.

Fusion is already a reality and just needs to be refined. If a large budgetry boost could be acquired then it would probably come sooner than 2050. New experiments using focused laser power could reap rewards.

Pumping CO2 under ground is also being trialed with success I think I recall.

Removing CO2 production from technology needs to happen period. Anything else is just possibly signing the world's death warrant.

The 'It doesn't matter' attitude has no place in this debate.

You can talk about it, but then you need to put reasonable projections as to WHEN that technology will be WIDELY used and what the barriers to adoption are.
We have been discussing the barriers right here, and that's great. Your attempt to infer I have nothing to offer this debate is patently false. I have continually pointed out avenues you guys have previously overlooked. The 'WHEN' is the future.

Of course none of us here knows which way it will definitely go, and what the time frames will be. I just offer info on routes of development within the EV market. A market that is growing. And have given massive food for thought to you and Billy.

I would just say do not choose to ignore development.

12. Originally Posted by universaldistress
...If Universities worked under your guidelines then they would all be following the same discovery. ...
Here you reflect your ignorance about the difference between basic research and making applications for profit in a commercial world.

Basic research is very diverse as their is no way to tell the silly from the economically promising - it is all an effort to understand the world better. Let me give you a true example:

In solid state physic, especially in semiconductors, the energy level of a tiny fraction of the electrons can be changed by impurities. This variable level is called the Fermi level.

Changing it has no effect on the strength of the material, on its chemical reactions, on its density, etc. - all the material properties thought to be commercially important are unaffected by Fermi level changes. Thus research into how the Fermi level changed with tiny percent of impurities added seemed to be silly - a waste of research dollars.

No one knew back then they were developing the understanding that would make the invention of the transistor possible.

Point is that in basic research it is not possible to separate the silly from the beneficial.

In applications for the commercial world, such as your supported battery swap for public EVs or your support for the induction recharge highway for recharge of moving EVs it is easy to show, as I have, that these ideas are silly beyond words - orders of magnitude too expensive and in one case would produce more than 10 times the CO2 release of a gasoline car! (assuming, as is the current case and for the foreseeable future, US electric power comes mainly from fossil fuels).

In the other case, the average wait for a battery swap, due to the very peaked demand for swaps in the 5:30 to 6:30PM period would produce more than half hour waits in the swap lines. Possibly a two hour wait. (The expensive precision swap machines can not sit idle most of the time and would if there were more than two at the swap station (a capital cost / utilization problem.)

There is a whole field, called "system engineering" which you know nothing of that is essential to separate the commercially silly from the commercially profitable ideas. You have the further handicap that you don't know enough physic to know the difference between fundamental and mere technology limitations. So all you can do is "wish and dream" with zero follow on analysis to separate the silly from the profitable potential commercial applications.

13. Also regarding CO2 capture. The reason it isn't being widely implemented is down to governments giving the plants/energy companies an easy ride. Profit is coming before CC. And of course the best route for commercial plants to take is still not decided. Many more trials need to happen, and will. When a really workable model is established then it will no du=oubt be implemented. these technologies take time to refine. This in fact is the whole problem with this debate because you and Billy want everything now or never. Just wait and see.

14. Originally Posted by Billy T
Here you reflect your ignorance about the difference between basic research and making applications for profit in a commercial world.
I am not the one ignoring possibilities.

Basic research is very diverse as their is no way to tell the silly from the economically promising - it is all an effort to understand the world better. Let me give you a true example:
Exactly, so who are you to judge what is viable and what isn't considering you have little understanding of what is around the corner because you do not read about the relevant research. To try and chastise someone for looking for solutions is stupid.

In solid state physic, especially in semiconductors, the energy level of a tiny fraction of the electrons can be changed by impurities. This variable level is called the Fermi level.

Changing it has no effect on the strength of the material, on its chemical reactions, on its density, etc. - all the material properties thought to be commercially important are unaffected by Fermi level changes. Thus research into how the Fermi level changed with tiny percent of impurities added seemed to be silly - a waste of research dollars.

No one knew back then they were developing the understanding that would make the invention of the transistor possible.

Point is that in basic research it is not possible to separate the silly from the beneficial.

b,In applications for the commercial world, such as your supported battery swap for public EVs or your support for the induction recharge highway for recharge of moving EVs it is easy to show, as I have, that these ideas are silly beyond words[/b] - orders of magnitude too expensive and in one case would produce more than 10 times the CO2 release of a gasoline car! (assuming, as is the current case and for the foreseeable future, US electric power comes mainly from fossil fuels).

In the other case, the average wait for a battery swap, due to the very peaked demand for swaps in the 5:30 to 6:30PM period would produce more than half hour waits in the swap lines. Possibly a two hour wait. (The expensive precision swap machines can not sit idle most of the time and would if there were more than two at the swap station (a capital cost / utilization problem.)

There is a whole field, called "system engineering" which you know nothing of that is essential to separate the commercially silly from the commercially profitable ideas. You have the further handicap that you don't know enough physic to know the difference between fundamental and mere technology limitations. So all you can do is "wish and dream" with zero follow on analysis to separate the silly from the profitable potential commercial applications.
Batswap is viable on a smaller scale to support long-ranged EVs. Still didn't sink in yet hey?

All in all your post is with little substance.

For you to say that talking about developments in labs commercial, subsidised or otherwise is a waste of time just highlights your limitations, not mine.

15. Basic R and D is a big source for potential profitable commercial applications.

Trying to belittle data acquired by this R and D is foolish.

16. Are you guys still relying on the free market to solve our energy problems? Don't you see how they are incompatible? Capitalism depends on endless growth which is inherently unsustainable.

17. Originally Posted by spidergoat
Are you guys still relying on the free market to solve our energy problems? Don't you see how they are incompatible? Capitalism depends on endless growth which is inherently unsustainable.
Good point. That's where governments need to step in. Problem is some governments have oiled sticks up their asses.

18. And a cinder block tied to our ankles called the GOP who label any collective action socialism.

19. Originally Posted by universaldistress
Also regarding CO2 capture. The reason it isn't being widely implemented is down to governments giving the plants/energy companies an easy ride. Profit is coming before CC. And of course the best route for commercial plants to take is still not decided. Many more trials need to happen, and will. When a really workable model is established then it will no du=oubt be implemented. these technologies take time to refine. This in fact is the whole problem with this debate because you and Billy want everything now or never. Just wait and see.
Not at all.

CCS is very difficult.

- A side-by-side comparison of the most promising technologies for advanced carbon capture of coal-fired emissions reveals that the processes are still costly, despite improvements, according to a new report from information and analysis provider IHS.

The IHS report examined the technology and economics of 10 processes for the post-combustion capture of carbon emissions from electric power generation using pulverized coal.

“The scrubbing technologies currently moving through demonstration are very expensive and it’s hard to see how to significantly bring down their cost,” said Michael Arné, senior analyst at IHS and author of the report. “There are some promising new approaches on the drawing board, but they are at least 10 years away.”

Robert LaCount, senior director, climate change and clean energy at IHS CERA, agrees that the processes are costly, particularly in the demonstration stages, but cites a recent IHS CERA report, entitled Carbon Capture and Storage: At a Critical Juncture, which says that, in addition to cost, there are more factors that put carbon capture and storage technologies at a disadvantage today.
http://www.ihs.com/

The problem is it is one thing to build a small demonstration plant, it's another thing to scale it up to the size and efficiency our power companies need.

The second, and larger problem, is that these technologies don't adapt well to existing power plants, and the existing power plants, even several decades old, have life expectancies in the 40 to 60 year time frames. So the reality is even if we figure out how to do CCS at a reasonable cost it will still take a long time to integrate it into our power production.

Arthur

20. Originally Posted by universaldistress
Good point. That's where governments need to step in. Problem is some governments have oiled sticks up their asses.
Dammit Universaldistress you made me cough up my pop I was drinking when I read your "some governments have oiled sticks up their asses" Holy crap that was funny!

Anyway you called that one right on.