# Electric cars are a pipe dream

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Syzygys, May 20, 2010.

1. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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I wish to educate the dreamers, that electric vehicles (EVs from now on) can replace combustion engine cars for mass transportation in the future. Just to make sure, we are NOT talking about hybrids, but fully battery powered cars.
EVs have limited usage, mostly because of range and difficulty to charge. Their range hasn't really improved in 100 years! Oh yes, there is the price issue too, they are not cheap!!

Sure, they can be used for small range city dwelling, but if green people are dreaming that in the future millions will be buzzing around in EVs, well, they have a rude awakenings coming.
Not to mention that battery power will not drive heavy trucks or machinery. I will also mention that since the electricity does come from coal burning power stations, the enviromental footprint is also very high for EVs, so there is no overall saving for Mother Earth.

One can dream that one drives into an eelectric charging station and charges in 5 minutes, then be able to drive 300+ miles, but it is just not happening...

Maybe we should go to Mars instead... Don't get me wrong, I would love to speed down the highway by 100 MPH quietly in my cool electric car, but I also live in reality, and a reality check is long time due for dreamers....

Any takers????

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3. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Oh yes, since I am a lazy bastard, I will base my knowledge mostly on this article:

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6480#more

You are very strongly advised to read it (it is interesting) and try to come up with arguments against facts in the article before you wish to be buried by me...

And "we will improve in the future more" kind of arguments will not be accepted, unless similar improvements can be presented based on the previous years.

I will summarize what the reasons are against EVs:

1. Price.
2. Range.
3. Difficulty to charge. (it has to be quick and widely aviable)

Unless 2 of these 3 problems can be solved, they won't be a real competition/replacement for combustion engine cars. And we are going to expect the same or at least similar size, safety, and features (yes, heat and AC too) in an EV. After all we don't want to drive a golfcart....

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5. ### phlogisticianBannedBanned

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I'm kind of on your side here, but with a caveat, .... many car journeys are quite short, under four miles, in 25% of cases iirc. I think therefore there could be a place for electric vehicles in urban environments, where amenities aren't far away, and where lowering emissions would help air quality.

So, I'd word your argument that electric cars cannot completely replace conventionally powered vehicles at present, or indeed, the near future.

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7. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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The new Leaf ...

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features
zero tailpipe emissions
100% electric – no gasoline required
high response synchronous AC motor 80kW
range –100 miles/charge based upon US EPA LA4 City cycle2
speeds up to 90 mph
5 passengers, 5 doors

mechanical
80 kW AC synchronous electric motor
24 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery
3.3 kW onboard charger
Emissions – Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV)
Power-assisted vented front disc/rear disc brakes
"Coasting" regenerative brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA)
Electronic parking brake
Front and rear stabilizer bars
Vehicle speed-sensitive power-assisted steering
Portable Trickle Charge Cable (120V/EVSE) 3
Tire repair kit
exterior
16" alloy wheels
P205/55R16 tires
Dual power outside mirrors
Chrome door handles
Aerodynamic under body
cover and rear diffuser
Rear spoiler

interior
Nissan Connection powered by CARWINGS – allowing for remote connection to vehicle Monitor battery state of charge/charging status
Start charging event
Turn on Automatic Temperature Control (ATC) system
Digital meter cluster
Trip computer (instant/average energy consumption, driving time driving range and outside temperature)
Palm-shift drive selector
Cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls

seating
5-passenger seating capacity
6-way manual adjustable driver's seat
4-way manual front-passenger's seat
60/40–split fold-down rear seatbacks

Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition
Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Automatic Temperature Control (ATC)
Power door locks with auto-locking feature
Power windows with driver's window one-touch auto up/down
Variable intermittent windshield wipers
Intermittent rear window wiper with washer
Rear window defroster with timer
Dual sun visors
Illuminated glove compartment
Front door map pockets
Cup holders (2)
Bottle holders (2)
12-volt DC power outlet
Tilt steering column
Height-adjustable 3-point front seat belts
audio
AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3/WMA CD playback capability
XM® Satellite Radio 4
Auxiliary audio input jack 5
USB connection port for iPod® interface and other compatible devices 6
6 speakers
safety and security
Nissan Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat-belt and occupant-classification sensors 6
Driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags 6
Roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front- and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection 6
Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) 7 with Traction Control System (TCS)
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Nissan Vehicle Immobilizer System
Vehicle Security System

28,000.00 US price tag

8. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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12,671
>range –100 miles/charge based upon US EPA LA4 City cycle2

I would like to see this thing making 100 miles on the highway with 4 adult passengers doing 60 MHP at least. 2 things kill the battery most, speeding up often and maintaining high speed.

I didn't see the charging time, but I assume it is at least 4 hours. Again, this is not really a car but a city commuting vehicle...

Oh yeah, you can buy a similar small car for 18-20K, or even less...What is the cost per mile, not counting the purchase price? Here is a quick cost for the average car:

annual average miles: 8000
average miles per gallon: 25
average gas usage annually: 320 gallons
cost $4 per gallon: 1280$

Not let's assume the cost of the electricity annually is 280\$ for the EV. Then because the 10K extra price it takes 10 years to make it as cheap as a normal car...Here I am assuming everything else (repair and such) are the same....

9. ### kororotiRegistered Senior Member

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252
I would take the position in favor of the electric car, so long as there is a basic ground rule that we don't talk about where the electricity comes from. That expands the debate too far out in order to discuss it in a practical amount of time. It is also a wedge that is commonly used by anti-green energy proponents.

If you talk about a solution that could solve the power grid (getting electricity to your home), a lot of anti-green people will immediately point out that you can't run cars off of it. If you go the other way, and talk about solutions to run cars, they shift it over and talk about where you'll get the electricity from. The 2 problems are two entirely separate problems, which demand two entirely separate solutions. Oil is an effective answer to both right now, but when we shift away from oil, we probably won't be able to find another "one size fits all" solution..... and why should we try? Why not employ multiple methods? For the power grid, the best solutions are things like solar, wind, tidal, and nuclear power --- all things you can't put in a car. But, if it's a battery powered car, then you can put solar, wind, tidal, or nuclear energy into your car.

As for the rest of the topic, I'll wait until we're actually debating to discuss things like longevity, range, and potential for technological improvement. There's actually a very good chance I will lose, but this is definitely an important issue that is worthy of discussion.

10. ### John99BannedBanned

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i dont want to influence the debate but syzygy is far too pessimistic.

11. ### draqonBannedBanned

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we could set up magnetic highways instead, that way we dont really have to change the current infrastracture that uses various of fuels. For long distance we would set up maglev-like highways which would have an individual base for every vehicle. A vehicle would enter on this base and it would use energy from the maglev-like highway to zip it long distance to any destination, than the vehicle uses its own engine and gets off. We could have train like station but for cars going long destination.

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12. ### John99BannedBanned

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i think that one way to alleviate the long charge time is to set up stations where you just drop the vehicle off and pick up a fully charged one. I dont think it would be so bad to limit speeds to 30mph anyway.

13. ### John99BannedBanned

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i was watching a youtube video on the Tesla and o-60 it passed the gas powered lotus (which it is based off of) like it was standing still.

14. ### draqonBannedBanned

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you can just have a slot in all the cars for large power cell batteries whatever they are. Changing cars would be too hard to handle of an infrastracture, too long.

15. ### draqonBannedBanned

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are you kidding me? :bugeye: From past century to this one and next one ahead of us the speeds at which we travel have increased as demand for speed is going up. 30mphs is snail speed. First we traveled by horses and carriages, than we traveled by steam cars, than cars with gasoline...it lets us go faster.

16. ### kororotiRegistered Senior Member

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252
Electric cars do really well on zero-to-60 type tests because an electric motor generates its maximum torque when it is stalled. In the higher speeds is where they start to falter. (Even that might not be a problem if they actually gave them gearboxes, but a lot of them have single gear transmissions.)

Yeah. Infrastructure is important. Battery swaps are probably about the limit of what we can do for quick charging. Either that, or maybe using the regenerative brakes most of them are equipped with. (Attach something to the wheels and then spin them really fast and hard with the brakes engaged...... ?)

17. ### spidergoatValued Senior Member

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49,306
I wouldn't want to argue with you, you're right! Electric cars can be made for sure, but will not be practical except for a few rich people unless and until we solve the problem of clean sustainable energy.

18. ### John99BannedBanned

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Interesting. How about something attached to the tires for kinetic energy?

19. ### kororotiRegistered Senior Member

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252
All we have to do for that is go nuclear, or use solar/wind in a way where your battery charger is programmed to do most of its charging when the sun is shining and/or the wind is blowing. (A massive network of batteries soaking up the generated energy is exactly what is needed in order to make those two power types practical. )

I'm not sure what you mean. Regenerative braking means that the brakes are designed to generate electricity whenever you engage them. The reason this works is that you're trying to slow down anyway, so you might as well convert the kinetic energy of motion into electricity instead of just heat. (Heat being what normal brakes convert it into.)

In order to use those brakes as a battery charger, some external machine would have to force the tire to spin while the brake is engaged. But.... there's no reason we couldn't do that, and it might be faster than plugging a wire into a power outlet, depending on how much current that power outlet is able to sustain.

20. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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This thread is deteriorating fast. This thread is not discussion, specially getting offtopic like Dragon's. Anyhow I don't think there will be a debate so I just mention that today I bought a cordless handheld vacuum and it takes 20 hours to charge it first.

20 hours!!! Where is the battery technology when I need it???

21. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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If nobody else is willing to argue for the EVs, I can give this concession... Although I would like to note that we want to look at the full picture....

An extra point I would like to make about the advertised range:

"100 miles = upper limit

In fact, the range of the Nissan Leaf or the Mitsubishi i-MiEV may be far worse than that of the 1908 Fritchle. The range of the latter was (officially) recorded during an 1800 mile (2,900 km) race over a period of 21 driving days in the winter of 1908. The stock vehicle was driven in varied weather, terrain and road conditions (often bad and muddy roads). The average range on a single charge was 90 miles, the maximum range recorded was 108 miles. (sources: 1 / 2 ).

The range of the Mitsibushi i-MiEV and the Nissan Leaf was tested in a very different manner. On rollers instead of on actual roads, and in a protected environment, but that's not all. Both manufacturers advertise the US "EPA city" range, a test that supposes a 22 minutes drive cycle at an average speed of 19.59 mph (31.5 km/h), including one acceleration to 40 mph (64 km/h) during no more than 100 seconds."

22. ### John99BannedBanned

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I was just wondering if it is feasible to suppose that having generators (of some kind) attached to the wheels, rims, axle or driveshaft can be used to supply kinetic energy to the batteries. Here we have two ideas, the breaks and the energy from the naturally present rotation of the contact points to the movement of the vehicle itself. TBH, i dont know how the break idea would work, though i kind of understand the concept.

I still say the best solution is to just bring a vehicle in to trade for another fully charged one at stations like the gas stations we have now. Which is the best idea because this will have many benefits, like not ever having to clean your own car, but humans are very possessive. My interest in cars, aside from practical purpose, subsided soon after around 18 years old so i wouldnt mind that at all.

23. ### phlogisticianBannedBanned

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Nah, that's being too gracious. The cost both fiscal and environmental of the electricity must be taken into account.

There are zero emissions benefits to going electric if the electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels, and the cost of setting up nuclear power stations must then be factored if we want to remove emissions from the equation, but then that gets factored into the comparison.

Also, the environmental cost of producing the elements used in the batteries must be considered.

We aren't playing 'Top Trumps', and selecting one superlative here, we are trying to be balanced.