Electric cars are a pipe dream

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

  1. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    I kind of like the reference to electric truck posted by syzygys.

    I quote :

    " More than half of the truck's cost is the battery, in part because A123 basically hand builds each one now, and Terblanche expects that cost to come down dramatically. A123 is building a battery factory in Michigan with the help of a $249 million manufacturing grant from the Department of Energy. When that gets up and running, as early as later this year, Navistar expects battery prices to fall and, with it, the cost of the truck."

    Which is what I have been saying all along. We can expect evs to be exactly the same as computers, flat screen TVs, and all other electrical goods. They will begin expensive, and over time, will become cheaper and better.

    The time scale I project is 10 to 20 years. At the end of that time, evs will quite likely outnumber petrol and diesel vehicles on the road.
     
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  3. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Even as it renders that point irrelevant:

    I.e., trucks don't need to carry heavy shit on land for very far at a go, mostly.
     
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  5. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I think the transition is going to be hybrids for a good 10-20 years and when the peak oil curve will obviously go down, the EVs can take over. I forgot which hybrid it was but it gets 70 mpg, that is pretty damn good, even with 5-6 bucks per gallon.

    Going back to Toyota's RAV4, some of them are still running and have 150K miles on it with the same battery. Again, this is since 2002, so there was decent production back then, just the carmakers killed it. That was an SUV with a large cargo space, not like this small European golfcarts.
    There was one on Ebay for 65K:

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/09/toyota_rav4_ev.php
     
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No, you haven't. Compare equivalent distances with equivalent parameters of operation (speed, starting and stopping, up and down hill, etc) - I'll bet any amount of money you want that over flat ground at steady and equal speeds a train is more efficient than a ship at moving weight.

    And the electric switch engines running around my local rail yard have no problem moving boxcars full of heavy stuff.

    You are playing games with your criteria - first it's speed, than efficiency ignoring speed, then it's range, then it's price, make up your mind.
    Electric power is well suited for what you mentioned - most delivery vehicles and vans etc - because the advantages of no power consumption at idle and regenerative braking and the like are greatest in the common circumstances of such use.
     
  8. Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack Registered Senior Member

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    Common sense and public knowledge apparently disagrees with you, to include posters on this forum.
     
  9. kororoti Registered Senior Member

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    Hybrids are probably a good transition, as long as they remain popular enough to fuel research into better and better batteries. Certainly technologies centered on reliability and longer battery life will improve over time. (Maybe not capacity, though, since you don't need it as much on a hybrid.)


    I also agree. Water has more drag because of its greater viscosity, but it also has an advantage air doesn't: it's non-compressible.

    When a car drives in normal air, it creates a vacuum behind it, and an area of compressed air in front of it. Resisting those two forces is not easy. It would be like continually pushing against a spring. The uncompressibility of water makes these effects meaningless.
     
  10. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    ...and you had a couple of examples in your post. Oh wait, you didn't.

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    Opinions are like ass holes, next time try to be constructive, instead of just throwing off a soundbite...

    I understand you didn't get it, but that doesn't mean I haven't proved it. Also what is this electric switch engine shit? Weren't we clear on the PORTABLE battery concept?? That's what we are talking about...Unless you are talking about battery powered train...

    Anyhow, try to move on...

    It underlines the limitation of battery power in vehicles. We want to have it all, with EVs it is either or....
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  11. John99 Banned Banned

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    Syzygy, the problem with the thread is the use of the term 'pipedream'. People hundreds of years ago would have said the same about cars today, or say for example the difference between a 1930 automobile and a 1960. Huge difference there.

    Even cell phones or thumb drives.
     
  12. akshay Registered Member

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    Electricity is gonna be a problem to produce from conventional sources...so...
     
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Is there a reason the fuel-cell car has been overlooked in this thread?

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

    The only issue here is the production of the hydrogen.
    It is still technically an EV.
    It has a range of 280 miles or so and takes about 2 minutes to "fill up" at a service station that is equipped to supply the fuel.

    Yes - as an immediate answer to the situation it is lacking the infrastructure. But I wouldn't overlook it as a possible answer.
     
  14. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    1,449
    To Sarkus

    It appears that syzygys is starting to admit that the battery operated electric car may have a future in a decade or two, which I am willing to go along with.

    However, the hydrogen fuel cell operated vehicle is likely to be further down the road. More likely 2 to 4 decades. There are major practical difficulties is manufacturing hydrogen gas in an environmentally acceptable way, and in both delivering it and storing it. Long term, I agree with you. It has great potential. But it is a lot further away than the simple battery operated electric car.

    Another issue that does not seem to have been much discussed in this thread is that of electricity supply. Whether hydrogen fuel call or lithium battery, to power a whole new generation of personal vehicles will require a lot of electricity, with a lot more distribution capacity and a lot of new electricity generating plants - that will need to be non-carbon emitting. That is, probably wind or nuclear power.
     
  15. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    because
    - They cost far more then even battery powered cars, the price needs to be dropped by nearly 1/50 to be competitive, while today electric cars of equivalent range are being built at prices between 1.5-4 times greater then economy gas cars and and equal prices to luxury cars of those classes.

    - They are less efficient: Making hydrogen from water (75%) efficiency, PEM fuel cells at best 50% efficient, total 37%, Batteries typically get totally efficiencies of 80-90%. Efficiency can be greatly improve upfront by using natural gas to make hydrogen but then your just using a fossil fuel input and even worse you could just run a car straight off natural gas instead for much cheaper and four times greater volumetric density.

    - They present infrastructure challenges even greater then electric cars: The need for mass hydrogen production, hydrogen pipelines, hydrogen storage. Electric cars charging at night off of off-peak power could replace 80% of the small car market without a single new power needed, we have the power today for electrified personal transport, and we don't have anything near ready for a hydrogen economy.

    I feel the long term greatest potential is not in hydrogen but in metal-air flow cells a hybrid of battery and fuel cell if you will. Energy can be stored in a inert/fire resistant zinc microparticles or aluminum nanoparticle organic past with very high energy densities, the metal paste would be pumped into alkaline fuel cells not needed expensive catalysis like hydrogen fuel cells, the metal paste would be oxidize into a metal oxide paste and pump into a storage badder in the fuel tank. The flow cell can be charged at home like at battery by running the cell backwards or fast fueled like gasoline at a "gas" station by pumping in fresh paste into the fuel tank while simultaneously pumping out waste paste, the paste then can be re-charged at the "gas" station or shipped to a centralized re-charging plant. Metal-air cells have the advantages of hydrogen (High energy density, rapid re-fueling, low toxicity) with the advantages of batteries (home recharging, low fire hazard)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  16. kororoti Registered Senior Member

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    My understanding of the problem is that efficient hydrogen-to-electricity converters always require platinum as the catalyst. It only needs a small amount, so at today's platinum prices one could probably afford it, but if the technology were mass produced....... there's no way to increase platinum production to meet demand, so the price per ounce would sky rocket.

    (Because platinum is like any other rare Earth element: it's impossible to produce, only mine, and only when you're lucky enough to find it.)
     
  17. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    You have a point but:

    1. It is a catchy title.
    2. Until EVs can compete with gasoline cars in EVERY regard, they ARE a pipe dream...
     
  18. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I guess it is my bad. I reread the first post and I missed the word "near" in the very first sentence.

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    Sometimes I like to start a thread early when I don't have all the info and keep collecting the information as we go along.

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    I wonder how a worldwide epidemic whipping out a decent % of the population would throw back the development of the EVs? Suddenly humankind would get a few decades more before we need to switch....
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Of course. It's you having failed to compare equivalent operating parameters that means you have failed to prove it. There's a reason so many canal systems of England and the US were essentially abandoned after railroads went in parallel to them.
    There are several kinds of battery powered train or track vehicles operating here and there, including in rail yards as switch engines (more common in Europe, they tell me), in mines and large factories, and so forth.

    Your claim was that powering heavy machinery was beyond the capabilities of batteries.
    The limitations of battery power are well known. What needs better argument is the assertion that a power source superior in four categories is eliminated by its inferiority in a fifth, with the fifth category chosen from the five according to circumstance.
    It is either/or with gasoline engines, as well - you sacrifice reliability and durability and ease of maintenance and operating expense and even accelleration etc, you endure noise and other pollution (from the gas stations, etc, as well),

    there are always tradeoffs.
    Thermal solar, with DC transmission lines, is ideal for charging batteries or fuel cells.
     
  20. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    That like saying diesel is a pipe dream, motorcycles are pipe dreams, scooters are pipe dreams, etc, etc, in short your just making a false dilemma to cover your fail.
     
  21. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    You are an idiot, here I will prove it:

    1. Diesel can compete in EVERY regards with gasoline, so really bad example.

    2. Bike and scooters are completely different category, so there is a built in advantage/disadvantage already. But other then that, they can aslo compete with gasoline cars, so again, really bad example...

    I don't think I failed, but I would rather fail then to stay incorrect. I am a big enough man to acknowledge when I am wrong.

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  22. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I apologize but you lost the right to be taken seriously, so I don't read your posts from now on. No hard feelings, I hope...

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    So let's summarize where we got:

    I was correct that EVs' range didn't really improve in the last 100 years, because we gave up the technological improvements of battery technology for more features. What is more sad that although we had at least 2 very promising EVs 8-12 years ago (EV 1 and RAV4) even during that last 8 years range hasn't improved, thus today's EVs get the exact same range than the electric cars of GM and Toyota using the same NiMH battery.
    The battery industry did find a new technology, the Li-ion battery, what could be a break through, if the price can be brought down to acceptable level for mass production... But until that a fully competitive electric car is going to be a pipe dream...
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Except in engine price, engine miniaturization, NOx pollution, sound pollution, start performance, etc, etc, tell me then if diesel can compete in every regard was is gasoline more popular in most places. Everything has pros and cons and its just a matter of when and where pros/con ratio of one thing overrides the other, as gas prices rise the con of paying for gas becomes greater then the cons of limited range and long recharge times for EVs, as pollution standard become more stringent the pros of zero emission override the pros of longer range and fast fueling times. EVs will become the majority small transport vehicle in some places when and where oil and pollution prices get high enough, and those areas will enlarge as the price of manufacture EV gets more and more competitive with manufacturing gasoline vehicles. Just as diesel is the majority fuel in come countries because of low population standards and properly adjusted fuel prices.

    So can electric cars so your relativistic fallacy does not fly.

    Then you would have apologies several pages ago.
     

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