# Electric cars are a pipe dream

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

1. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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I have long predicted that the US, with it fertile mid west and abundant coal will become mainly a economic colony of Asia, especially China, supplying it with raw materials, energy, and food stocks. (as Brazil will become too.) Brazil now has China, not the US as it principle trading partner. Your link also shows that this US transition to an Asian colony is already becoming a reality:

For example US exports to China of food oils /soy beans were up 26.5%.; Plastics (oil made mainly as energy in desguise) were up 14.1%; other organics were up 15.1; pulp/paper up 9.4% were the big increases, but US industrial goods exported were down. I.e. machines (excluding generators) were DOWN by 16.8% and power generation equipment DOWN by 13.8% but the net exports were down by only 2.6% thanks to China using the US, as I predicted, as a supplier of food stock and raw material (and energy too, in the form of plastics and organic chemicals).

Unfortunately your link does not break out US coal exports, but they are up ( I know that as I have shares in Union Pacific railroad and have seen a break out of their increased rail car loadings. I bought them as I knew that China would need them to ship coal and agricultural products to West coast ports and that volume has greatly increased, now limited only by the number of rail cars available, so UP is ordering many more.) Coal exports to China in 2011 will greatly increase mainly due to the flooding in Australia which normally supplies 1/3 of the world’s coking coal, mainly to China. – World’s greatest user and producer of steel. (A lot of steel is going into new high rise buildings, high speed rail, and large-diameter trans-continental oil and gas pipelines).
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Your third link states: “When China established diplomatic relations with the EU in 1975, annual trade was at 2.4 billion U.S. dollars, the volume of about two days between two sides this year. In the past 35 years, trade volume has grown over 150 times. …” Yes, the EU has for at least two year been more important than the US for China in trade. In general, as it is a larger market and as China wants to hold fewer dollars and more Euros in its reserves, China is now financing EU buying, as it once did (and still does to decreasing extent) for the US, with ever increasing loans to EU governments.

Much too much ego here. The US is not God's permanent gift to the world. As I posted at least 4 years ago, and have repeatedly explained why, there will come a day, (less than 5 years now) when it is to China's long term economic advantage (despite the one time loss on dollars remaining in its reserves), to say:
"Go to Hell USA. We don't need to sell to you so will not lend you money. Your green paper is worthless."
China will enjoy great saving EVERY YEAR on the cost of oil & raw materials it must import when US &EU are mostly removed as bidding competitors by their depression. That answers your question as to "what use it will be to have the US & EU in depression?"
You need to look at what China is buying in the US. Things like companies with shale oil extraction technology, not for the natural gas they will produce, but to get their hands on that technology. They would rather own grain storage facilities, etc. than hold declining value dollars. They tried, but were not allowed to buy UniCal a few years ago as it has large oil reserves. etc. Chinese company bought the brake division of GM and another IBM's computer division and moved them to China. Yes, China is willing to spend dollars from reserves buying in the US so long as it gets technical knowledge it needs or assets that will still have value even when the US economy collapses, but China will not be buying stores like Macy or toll roads or football teams, etc. that will not have much value when US is in depression.

PS to adoucette, Electricfetus and others critical of me (but not my facts):

I’m sorry if in your opinions my telling unpleasant facts and making predictions based on the trends shown in them makes me “Anti-American” a “hater of the USA,” etc. but I cannot be an ostrich like many Americans are and only glory in the US’s past dominance.

Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2011

3. ### Stoniphiobscurely fossiliferousValued Senior Member

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Well Billy, I am not critical of you personally, though I have a slightly different perspective than you do on some issues.

I am convinced that the increasing interdependence of our world economy will preclude the type of eco - warfare that you predict. To wit: if the powers that be shake in their collective boots when a country like Spain or Belgium teeters on the brink of insolvency, bringing on warnings of world-wide economic depression, how much worse would it be if one of the top 3 economies in the world - the USA - were to collapse? I recall during the onset of the recent world economic downturn that Russia was loudly complaining that it was all the US doing that messed things up by making bad decisions that brought down the US economy and thus the Russian economy.

The PRC's leaders are not known for their wild ideas and spontaneous actions. To the contrary, they are (collectively) very old and quite conservative. While they might not 'like' the US very much, they are clear that US economic demise would certainly pull them under as well. They know that a US market crash would quickly spill into China. They are also very clear that the loss of one of their biggest customers would ruin their exports and thus their related industries.

I bet they are also familiar with the popular adage spoken by Winston Churchill:

"The US always does the right thing...

after first exhausting all other possibilities."

5. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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All true, especially the part I made bold, but they also know the US and its dollar are on an unsustainable path (to collapse). The truth of your now bold text is why China has been saving the US economy for years with by far the greatest extension of credit in human history. Thus, they are now doing everything possible to become independent of US buying their production.

Some of these actions have great risk for the CCP: Things like rapidly raising the material living standards of the Chinese people - Once they get a strong sense of personal security (I.e. prospects of starvation or no funds for needed medical services becomes a thing of the past) then next thing they may want is freedoms.

The CCP has chosen the "lessor evil" - I.e. they know the US is broke, and will not be able to buy the production of their factories, without Chinese loans. They know that to continue with the old economy will surely result in mass unemployment, riots and the end of the CCP. (The "worser evil" in the POV of the CCP leadership)

I.e. the CCP understands that the only way they can hope to stay in power is to grow the domestic economy, trade more with prospering Asian countries, let the long suffering Chinese laborer enjoy some fruits of his labor, instead of work long hours in sweat shop factories so Americans can buy cheap goods at Wal-Mart.

This transformation of China away from exports to US & EU is a huge risk for the CCP, but at least by taking this "domestic economy" path, they have a chance to avoid the revolution that would surely occur if they tried to continue their old "export to US's and EU's " broken economies.

Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2011

7. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

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This is just Maslow's Hierarchy. Until you arrive at Level X you don't even think about Level X+1.
• 1. Survival
• 2. Security
• 3. Love
• 4. Esteem
• 5. Self-Actualization... This one is not well worded because most of us haven't experienced it.
• 6... There are surely more levels but we don't know what they are because few people have achieved them.
You're still using the Industrial Era model of the world economy, and that's why things look so bleak to you. Each time a Paradigm Shift occurs, the economy changes completely; in fact that's a shorthand definition of the term "Paradigm Shift."
• Agriculture
• Cities
• Bronze
• Iron
• Industry
• Electronics
We're now in the sixth Paradigm Shift (not everyone agrees on this list, Toffler only counts three) and the old industrial economy is collapsing around our ankles as the new information-based economy takes its place.

200 years ago the world economy was driven by scarcity, particularly scarcity of food. 99% of the population worked 80-hour weeks producing and distributing food. Industry--the transformation of chemical energy into mechanical energy--transformed a scarcity-driven economy into a surplus-driven economy, at least within the developed world, whose borders have been steadily expanding. The icon of that transformation is Santa Claus, a figure invented by corporations to encourage us to buy things for people who didn't know they needed them. The corporation itself is an artifact of the Industrial Era: its massive-scale projects like steel mills and transcontinental railroads required massive concentrations of surplus wealth ("capital") that no individual or partnership could gather. Banking--an activity that produces absolutely nothing but merely records and coordinates the increase, decrease and movement of surplus wealth--became the world's dominant industry. It now takes the labor of only 3% of the population to feed us all because the rest of the work is mechanized and automated, so the rest of us get to have interesting, comfortable jobs building, selling and writing about things, and we ALL work only 40 hours per week.

The Electronic Revolution is having a similar impact on the world economy. The building of all of those "things" that drove the industrial economy has been so heavily automated by information technology, that there is simply less work needing to be done. Just as food production shifted from country to country as each one industrialized, but is now rather evenly distributed among the nations that are not despotically dysfunctional (the USA, the world's champion industrial power, is nonetheless a major exporter of food), manufacturing is doing the same thing. It migrated from the USA to Japan, to Korea, now to China, and other countries will surely have their turn as their infrastructure slowly modernizes.

Nonetheless manufacturing is becoming automated just as farming has been, and the quantity of human labor required to satisfy our need for physical products will decrease--just as the quantity of human labor required to satisfy our hunger for food fell from 99% to 3%. As computers do more of the work, the average work week will continue to shorten, perhaps from five days to one. The Chinese will demand shorter hours just like the rest of us, and there will be plenty of goods and services to go around without any country having to go bankrupt.

At the same time, the Industrial Era artifact of the corporation is becoming obsolete. Massive concentrations of capital are not needed to launch Information Age projects. China gave every citizen a telephone without erecting a single telephone pole. The son of a friend of mine and his wife emigrated to Estonia and founded a successful software house--with only their life savings as capital. CAD/CAM technology allows extremely small facilities to "manufacture" products in very small batches, customized for each customer. Only a few mega-corporations that support the infrastructure of the Information Age are still prospering: Microsoft, Google, FedEx, etc. Most other corporations have ceased being producers and have become scavengers: buying up each other's dead carcasses, stripping off the assets that still have some value and throwing away the rest, then waiting their turn to die and be scavenged.

Meanwhile, the Information Age economy is blossoming right under our noses. Our children know it because they're the ones who are building it, even if we don't quite see it because it's not made out of steel and paper and doesn't belch smoky exhaust. The majority of the workforce in the developed nations now spends a significant portion of their work day sitting at a computer and talking on a telephone--artifacts of the Electronic Revolution. Here in the Washington DC region I'd wager that most people spend most of their time doing that and could just as easily perform their jobs at home--saving a lot of petroleum. Work has become information-intensive, as physical labor becomes increasingly automated. It's just as hard to predict what the world will look like 150 years from now as it would have been for a farmer in 1860 to envision what it looks like today.

On thing is for sure: the future looks very bright, even if the present is clouded by the chaos that invariably accompanies a Paradigm Shift. As the old Chinese curse goes, "May you live during interesting times."

8. ### X-Man2We're under no illusions.Registered Senior Member

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403
Billy we all can all relax now since there will be no collapse of the US,you see I watched Obama last evening give his State Of The Union Speech.Everything will be taken care of,Obama said so.Boy oh boy was that a close one huh.

9. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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You see what you want to see, nothing diverts you otherwise. If we export to china is means china is owning our resources

If china increases trade with Asian countries (and so have we ) it means their preparing to cut us off, and if trade drops in a time of global recession it means a trend far into the future.

No, no I don't think your Anti-American or hate the USA, I just think your insane and racist against the Chinese. The decline of the American empire is a fault all its own, not China's, and its not something that can be corrected by blaming china, and china's place as a world superpower is rightfully deserved for the worlds most populated country, the Chinese aren't something to fear anymore than the Americans, in fact less so as China's need for development has made it grossly dependent on others and is leading to a multipolar world.

10. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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not really. I am all for progress. Certainly current populations could not be supported by former era means. Have an hour of light at night cost much less now than when it was a whale oil lamp, etc.

The reason things look bleak to me is not these progressive paradigm shifts, but the per capita debts and to some extent the increasing real cost of liquid fuel. It is wonderful that the real cost of food has come down as horse drawn plows and manual harvest were replaced by tractors and GPS guided harvester, etc.

I would be happy if older human's only job was to teach others how to think and fill their free time as machines made every material item and service they needed. I.e. everything from food, clothing and new houses to automated hair cuts and told them stories via actor-less TV productions etc.

Your post was "preaching to the choir" - not well targeted at me. My bleak POV is founded differently:

The current US dept is 14 trillion dollars and will grow at least by 1.5 trillion this year and when the off budget items and unfunded future obligations are added, but discounted to present values, the US needs to pay / save about 30 trillion dollars, 3E13 dollar. There are roughly 3E8 American. So that means every man, woman and child is obligated to save / pay (not even counting the huge and increasing interest on the growing debt) 1E5 or $100,000 to settle accounts now, but they can not. So they will borrow (or print dollars) more as long as they can and then at some point within the life times of most now living, the financial system will collapse. Without this financial system, horses will be pulling plows again, but only for a a lucky few as most will die in the transition back to that earlier economy, several paradigm shifts lower. Look at the former "bread basket" of Africa. The technical knowledge, the rainfall, the fertile soil, all still exist, but some are starving there now. What has changed is the former financial system has collapsed due to mis management and excessive government spending, borrowing and money printing. What could the latest "paradigm population" of keyboard punchers and telephone talkers do to feed themselves with a near worthless dollar (a collapsed financial system)? Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2011 11. ### PinwheelBannedBanned Messages: 2,424 Hey BillyT is that how you became a millionaire? 12. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member Messages: 23,198 No and No. I.e. I wish I did not see the seed of disaster for US and EU, sown by GWB. and yes; I can be persuaded my POV is wrong - all it takes is a valid refutation of my cited facts. ------- PS to ElectricFetus. I am not racist towards the Chinese as that term is usually understood. I think on average they are with greater innate intelligence than Europeans. I subscribe to the “Out of Africa” origin for modern man with the Chinese (and Japanese) being descendents of those who traveled farther. In their journey extending over 100s of generations they meet new dangers not found in Africa. Things like poisonous berries and roots, frozen rivers to cross, blinding dust storms, etc. Some of the less intelligent in their gene pool did not pass these new survival tests. That is my theory and “higher average innate intelligence” is small part of why they score higher in math tests, etc. and I have posted this idea years ago. I guess this is a “racist belief” but one that sets the Chinese above most all others but the Japanese. Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2011 13. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member Messages: 23,198 Mainly by being frugal and acting on the trends I foresaw. I was a full needs scholarship student at Cornell, worked for my meals and repaired lab equipment or tutored others for pocket money. My father did give me$50/ month as that was equal what he could deduct for me on his IRS return (\$600/ year).

One thanksgiving I did not have even bus fare back to home in West Virginia. If you have been very poor for many years, that makes you very frugal and to some extent permanently psychologically damages you. - Even though I know it is silly, I cannot buy items I want unless I can get them on sale - that even includes food in the grocery store that I expect will go on sale on Wenesday - the discount day in Brazil. I know this is a mental disorder, but it is too deeply ingrained in me to change.

14. ### PinwheelBannedBanned

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Cool, as a stingy git myself I understand. But you can't take it with you when you die....

15. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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This problems were seeded long before Bush, he merely added to it. Also its seems you think your the only one with this knowledge and understanding, there are many others with a fear of China, with a fear of America's inevitable decline, don't go so far in your psychosis as to think your special in all of this.

Its not the facts that are the problem, its your interpretation of them, the facts don't mean china is going to own us all, but you choose to interpret it as that, as such no evidence or facts can be brought against your case, as you will see out of those facts want you want to see.

Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
16. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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True, but I have four grand children living in the US and at least they will have some value in the Brazilain Real I have saved. - very conservely invested, mainly in bank application that pay nearly 1% per month. Brazil has world's highest interest rates (just upped to 11.25%) and inflation at less than half that.

At my age and wealth, making more money is just a game I play but I keep a safe base as I don't always win.

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21. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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Surely this is "plan B" as induction motor use electric power to make the magnetic field the rotor spins in, so ALWAYS are less efficient than a permanent magnet motor.* What this really shows, I think, is that these electric car makers think the supply of rare Earths may / will be either too costly or limited (or both).

This link: http://www.icrepq.com/icrepq-08/352-mantilla.pdf states that 25 to 40 % of the losses of an induction motor are losses in the stator, making the magnetic field. That is why most if not all induction motors are small power units but they are one way to solve a possible Rare Earth cost/ supply problem.

If that way is chosen and China continues to have the cheapest rare earth supply then China's electric car will have greater range for any given battery size and less thermal production / cooling needs.

I would guess that they will "pay thru the nose" if need be to get Rare Earths for the main drive motor(s) but reduce their needs of rare earths for the dozen or so smaller motors a modern car has (raise/ lower windows, windshield wipers, door locks etc.)

This may also be a boost for cloud computing - have no hard drive in your home computer - everything stored in the cloud. Glad I own stock in VZ as net traffic will also grow even faster if that is the case. Boy will Big brother/ IRS / FBI/ CIA sure be happy.

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* Not sure any longer, but 50 year old memory tells me they are terrible torque producers at low speed and easily over heat if running slow for a minute or so. There is little "Back EMF" if the rotor is not rapidly rotating, but I guess they can solve these problems, at some more loss of efficiency and weight added. I think the weight of the copper coils for the stator would be nearly as great as the permanent magnet to keep the I^2 R loss in it down.

Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2011
22. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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Induction motors commonly have efficiencies beyond 90%
http://www.energy.wsu.edu/ftp-ep/pubs/engineering/motors/EfficiencyStandards.pdf

In contrast, induction machines have no magnets and B fields are “adjustable,” since B is proportionate to V/f (voltage to frequency). This means that at light loads the inverter can reduce voltage such that magnetic losses are reduced and efficiency is maximized. Thus, the induction machine when operated with a smart inverter has an advantage over a DC brushless machine – magnetic and conduction losses can be traded such that efficiency is optimized. This advantage becomes increasingly important as performance is increased. With DC brushless, as machine size grows, the magnetic losses increase proportionately and part load efficiency drops. With induction, as machine size grows, losses do not necessarily grow. Thus, induction drives may be the favored approach where high-performance is desired; peak efficiency will be a little less than with DC brushless, but average efficiency may actually be better.
http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/induction-versus-dc-brushless-motors

The Tesla Roadster uses an induction motor, and claim an over all driving efficiency of 88%, that means it includes charging, DC-AC and motor losses.
http://www.teslamotors.com/goelectric/efficiency

More so and again the rare earth problem is merely one of production, the mines exist outside of china and production is now restarting as rare earth prices have made non-Chinese production economically and/or politically viable.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704803604576077320070523728.html
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-24/molycorp-shares-rise-on-expansion-plans-at-mine.html
http://www.earthmagazine.org/earth/article/328-7da-3-19

Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
23. ### Stoniphiobscurely fossiliferousValued Senior Member

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Yep - free market response to higher prices and lower availability of critical resources.

Also, I gotta point out that our human perspectives range from cynical (we are all gonna eat shit and die a miserable death) to optimistic (we are all gonna get fabulously rich and have pie in the sky when we die) - all based on the same data sets. The actuality is most often somewhere in between. (parsimony)

The technical problems are amenable to alternatives, such as said induction motors. We are in a time of enormous flux and change right now. There are a lot of people trying very hard to create/invent a fast, efficient, clean and hassle - free electric vehicle right now. The prize - as always - is a bunch of money.

While the US govt is indeed a 'sleeping giant', sufficient pressure can force it to move, sometimes even in the right direction. It may even be able to slow or stop its insane rush towards insolvency. We shall see.

I must humbly suggest, Billy, that some of your perspective is based on your personal history and location, no insult intended.