Who killed the Electric Car?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by moementum7, Aug 10, 2006.

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  1. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Billy, a buck-boost regulator setup works if you can get a loop of wire around a ferrite core. It is quite lightweight and convenient for many setups. A hobbyist typically loops a few turns around a ferrite toroid form.

    However, you don't need that. All you need is for the motor to run at a much lower voltage than the capacitors are charged to, and use a suitable controller. The controller chops the voltage down. There is indeed a power factor problem using a chopped DC supply with any motor, too, so an intelligent controller has to account for that. These days a 12 dollar chip suitable for such uses has eight 80 MIPS cores in a 40 pin package, so even a ridiculous amount of overkill is cheap. Buck-boost regulation lets you supply a higher current at a lower voltage, too. But it's not nearly as heavy or expensive as a transformer. It's basically a choke coil and some kind of controller. When you Google "buck-boost regulator" you find out that there are dedicated chips on the market for many applications. One application sucks a battery dry to supply LED flashlights. It would be very similar, just souped up a bit, for an electric motor.
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  3. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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  5. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Time for an update. Here GM's Bob Lutz with the latest news on the Volt:


    Rumour has it that CPI will be the winning battery supplier...not A123 Systems.
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Sorry to get back so slowly - did not see earlier:
    Thanks. These buck -boost systems did not exist when I was doing some power work. I did not know of them. Thanks again.

    I did Google as you suggested and found following relatively recent useful:

    I suspect that there are limits on the voltage difference between the high voltage source and the square wave drive source applied to the "gate terminal" (not sure that is its the name) but if worst came to worse, one could supply gate drive thru a high impedance from the high voltage source its self via an optically transister. That would avoid "gate-to-high-voltage- source" breakdown even if the high voltage useful range was large (as you would want it to be for full driving range in an electric car.) I'm sure the gate is some sort of "field effect" (no current, normally, as the "grids" of old vacuum tubes required)

    I also bet there is a trade-off between the size of the in-series "choke coil" (that is what they were called when doing the same task in an old fashion "bridge rectifier" power supply) and the efficiency. I.e. if your choke coil is larger, then it can supply energy from the collapsing magnetic field longer before the gate opens to let a new slug of current start to flow (or build up again the almost dead one) in the choke. The coulombs of charge transferred with each "slug of current" thru the choke coil during the on part of the gate’s duty cycle equals the total charge out of the capacitor in one duty cycle period.

    Short, rapid duty cycles are adverse to efficiency as it is only briefly as the gate changes state that there is dissipation in the switch. (If it were perfect - no current when off and no resistance when on - only during the switching is there both some current and some resistance.) In a car a choke of a few pounds, like was common in old power supplies, would be good, I think.

    You spoke of: "...12 dollar chip suitable for such uses has eight 80 MIPS cores ..." I do not know what the 80 MIPS refers to - your turn to educate me.

    In my earlier post I suggested that DC motors were desirable as (I think) only they have significant torque at zero RPM. Is this still true or has modern solid state technology gotten around that two. Fundamentally it was (still is?) caused by fact that AC motors work with only small range of "lag" between the poles of the rotor and stator magnetic fields. I call the stator the part that is fixed to the car frame (never rotates) and the "rotor" the part that rotates when the cars wheel's do. Although the stator is not rotating the AC causes the magnetic field it is making to rotate and when car is moving the frequency (and/or gears) can keep the rotator's magnetic field "lagging" a little behind, and torqued to try to catch up (but never can as the stator's field is spinning forward also to keep the lag angle constant.)

    Perhaps the dilemma I see when the cars wheels are not rotating there is no torque in AC motors is now false? I.e. the AC motor's frequency, more than gears, can be controlling with modern electronic to keep the stator's magnet field always just a small angle advanced of the rotor's field. I.e. when the car is stopped and driver "steps on the gas pedal" (It will still be called that inappropriately for at least a generation to die away. - I still keep my milk in the "ice box") to "burn rubber" pulling away from the light the AC motor initially has frequency = zero. Perhaps with modern electronics, the distinction between AC and DC motors is disappearing?

    Either the efficiency of this buck-boost system, when getting energy from a high voltage capacitor to supply a modest voltage motor, IS TERRIBLE.
    There is something I do not understand still.
    {To be continued with analysis in a second post.}
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2008
  8. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    FOR EXAMPLE (of efficiency problem mentioned in my last post, 284):

    Let the supply be a high-voltage capacitor, C, charged to max voltage, Vm, which is large compared to the motor input voltage v. Initially the capacitor is holding 0.5C(Vm)^2 of energy. Consider a later time when there is only V on the capacitor as charge q has been taken from it and delivered to a perfect motor to do work equal to qv. (Note if D is the Duration of this discharging period in seconds, then q/D is the average current supplied at voltage v for D seconds so the D drops out when power x time product is made leaving just qv as stated. However, if D is short, then the power handling requirements of the equipment are large and this probably this is required for safety.)

    So the energy removed for the capacitor, e, = 0.5C{Vm^2 - (V)^2} but V = [1 -q/Q]Vm,
    so (V)^2 = [1 -2q/Q + (q/Q)^2]Vm^2. (Note the Vm^2 terms inside the {...} will kill each other in the expression for e.)
    Thus, e = 0.5C(Vm^2){2q/Q - (q/Q)^2} = 0.5QVm{2q/Q - (q/Q)^2} = 0.5qVm{2-q/Q} = qVm{1-q/2Q} Later by edit I droppped the sub script m on Vm when first posted but have corrected now. V was used, not Vm and that increasingly OVER ESTIMATES the average efficiency. I.e. the story is much worse than even the "green version"
    This energy removed can be arbitrarily greater than the work done, qv.
    The efficiency, E, is the ratio of work done to energy used or (v/Vm)/(1 -q/2Q). Initially it is just the voltage ratio, (v/Vm) because the charge removed, q is very small compared to Q. Note that Vm >> v leads to low E, but lets be generous and assume that the max voltage is only 10 times greater than the motor voltage required. I.e. initially V = Vm = 10v so initially, E = 10%, but as q increases, the term (q/2Q) becomes important and the efficiency will improve.

    Lets ‘now look at system efficiency when half of the full-charge, Q, has been used. Then V = 5v and q = Q/2 and 3/4 of the initial energy has been consumed: So:

    E = (v/5v) / [1- (Q/2)/(2Q)] = 0.2 /[1 - 1/4] =0.2/.75 = 0.2666... or E < 27%
    The initial conditions had V = Vm and that caused my error to not be noticed. In line above the (v/5v) should be (v/10v) so the efficiency at half full charge will be even less by a factor of 2. I.e. E = 0.1333 I thus think the point I was making is likely to be even more valid, ... Still later. Yes that is correct but I will just color these cases that over estimate the efficiency green and now skip down to the general expression using "f" instead of correct the "green cases."

    When (2/3) of Q has been removed, the remaining energy is only 4/9 (or less than half the original). Then
    V =10v/3 and q = 2Q/3 so E is:

    E = [v/(10v/3)] / [1 - (2Q/3)/(2Q)] = 0.3 / [1 - 1/3] = 0.9/2 = 0.45 I.e. even with more than half the stored energy already used the efficiency is still below 50%, even in a “perfect system.”

    When 80% is removed, q=0.8Q and with 20% is left: V=2v so (v/V) = (0.5) & (1 -q/2Q) = (1 - 0.8/2) = 0.6
    So E = 0.5 / 0.6 = 5/6 = 83.333…% but only 1 / 36 or less than 3% of the original energy remains.

    Lets become general and remove the decimal fraction f of the original charge (and noting for future use 1-f = X is the fraction of the charge still in the capacitor). Then q = fQ and V = (1-f)10v. So:

    E = [v/(1-f)10v] / [1 - fQ/2Q] = 1 / [(1-f)10] [(2-f)/2] = 1 / [5(1-f)][1 +(1-f)] but I set (1-f) = X and to find where the efficiency gets up to 50% I now set E =0.5 or:

    I will copy this line above and correct it soon. Still later it is now corrected below (but still in error in the green above).

    E = [v/10v] / [1 - fQ/2Q] = 1 / [10] [(2-f)/2] = 1 / 5[1 +(1-f)]

    0.5 = 0.2/[1+X] or 5/2 = 1 / [1+X] or [1+X] = 0.4 or X= -0.6 =1-f or f=1.6

    Which is telling us that you now never get to 50% efficiency as to do so you need to remove 160% of the charge put in i.e. take out 1.6 times Q

    I will for now just make the remainer green and come back and more calmly correct it later. (Fortunately this correction also eliminated the need for solving a quadratic equation; but I am so seldom willing to do that much work, I may just leave it posted below in green.

    in standard quadratic form: X^2 + X – ( 2/5) = 0 with conventional coefficients a = b = 1 and c = -0.4
    Then the “discriminate” b^2 - 4ac = 1 + 1.6 = 2.6 whose sq root is 1.61245
    So if I remember correctly and realizing the negative sign solution is nonsense in this case:
    X = (-1 + 1.61245)/ 2 = ~0.306 and hence f = 0.694 or 70% of all the stored energy will be used for the system efficiency t o rise up from the original 10% to 50% !!!!!

    Perhaps someone reading will integrate the general expression for E (1/[5(1-f)][2-f]) from f = 0 to f = 1 to tells us accurately the average efficiency of the system if the capacitor is “drained dry” – I guess it will be about 30%
    And also evaluate the way it would actually be used by the drivers who do not want to run out of energy on the hi-way. For example, only used 75% of the stored energy before recharging. That is the integration for f =0 to f =0.5. In this practical case, I guess the average efficiency is less than 20%. A real system would not be the perfect system assumed in this analysis, so probably the average efficiency drops to 10% and this was with the generous assumption that the capacitor is charged to only 10 times the motor voltage.

    Recall the expression energy used, e, from above: (Fortunately, the dropped m was later, so the remainder was correct originally.)
    e = 0.5C(Vm^2){2q/Q - (q/Q)^2} = 0.5QVm{2q/Q - (q/Q)^2}
    and note that the work done qv does not depend upon either Q or Vm so if the capacitor were charged up initially with Vm = 30v instead of 10v as assumed for this analysis, then BOTH Vm and Q would three times larger and the average efficiency 9 times lower to any level of discharge. I.e. with the capacitor rated for 30 times the motor voltage 9 times more energy is stored but it is used with nine times less efficiency so there is no energy reason to have it even greater than the motor voltage!

    In other words, we have the surprising result that:
    The driving range is independent of the full charge storage voltage even though the stored energy goes as the square of the storage voltage (assuming the Farads of the capacitor remain constant).

    My next post will point out a few things about the storage capacitor, but I may delay it some, to give time for you (or someone else) to find some error in the above analysis.

    Comments? (Thanks again, not often I can learn from you, but I surely did this time.) That buck-boost idea is so simple it is beautiful, but I doubt it is useful for a car. A multi tap transformer looks better to me still.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2008
  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Sorry about the mess that is post 285. Here is a quick summary of calculation and its point:

    What is the efficiency when there is only 100 volts left on the capacitor? Well (v/Vm) is still 0.1 and q is now 0.9Q so the (1 -q/2Q) term is (1 - 0.9/2) = 0.55 so the efficiency is:

    E =0.1/0.55 = 0.1818 or to summarize:

    The efficiency, (even with perfect system and a storage capacitor voltage only 10 times greater than the motor input voltage), is 10% in the first few minutes of driving and slowly grows to ~18% when when 99% of the stored energy has been used.

    Because the stored energy is falling with the square of the voltage remaining in the capacitor and the efficiency is only slowly improving (For example when ¾ of the energy is used up the efficiency is only ~13.33%) the average efficiency will be less than 13%

    The itegration to get it accurately is now (after correction of the original error in post 285) much easier - hell I may even do it, but need to go out to eat now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2008
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    In prior post 285 I proved mathematically* that energy initially stored in a capacitor, even if at voltage only 10 times higher than the motor needs, is very inefficiently used. Less than 13% efficiency, if car driver recharges when 75% of the original energy has been used. Even if he is willing to become stranded on the road by using 100% of the stored energy, the average efficiency is only 18.2% !! (Actually much less as I have assumed there are NO other losses. Regenerative breaking permits one to travel further, but does not change the efficiency of the motor drive system.)

    This post shows that electric cars with only capacitor energy storage are not attractive for a second reason. The negative observations given do NOT apply to the hybrid of a small fuel motor-generator set driving electric motors (perhaps in the wheels). If the capacitor is charged to only slightly more than the motor voltage requirements, the efficiecy is acceptible and not often a factor if mainly used for a sudden, brief, surge of power (more than the fuel motor capacity). Also regenerative braking with recovered energy stored in the capacitor is easy. Obviously my negative comments do not apply to the fuel cells as that system does not need any capacitor storage but probably would benefit from it for the two reasons just stated. (I.e. smaller, cheaper, lighter, fuel cell is practical and system is more efficient with braking energy recovered.)

    To illustrate the capacitor problem with numbers, assume Vmax =1000V and v = 100V motor and after 2 hours of driving (7,200 s or 120miles at 60mph) V = 500V. (Note: This means I am assuming a 180 mile range if capacitor could be "drained dry" and fixes the size of the capacitor I am in process of calculating. As noted above, regenerative breaking would boost this “drained dry range” by various amounts. I guess to at least to 250 miles in city driving or 180 miles with little risk of being stranded, “out of charge.”)

    Initially, Q = 1000C but now it is 500C and the charge removed for the motor, q = 500C also. The motor current, on average, has been 500C/7200 amperes, so the average power supplied was (500C/72)W or {(500C/72)/745.7} = 0.0093126C horse power. LETS AGAIN BE GENEROUS {First generosity was to assume (Vm/v) of only 10.} and assume the average horse power required is only 9.3126hp or that C = 1000 Farads (One hell of a big capacitor. - I once saw a one Farad unit - Capacitors are most commonly only a few hundred microFarads.) I will let someone else look up the cost (and weight) of 1000f capacitor bank rated for 1000V. Even if new exotic capacitors are used, I bet the weight is about 1000lbs and the cost is approximately that of a year-old used car, but I am just guessing.

    *This proof applies to ALL possible designs. – I considered only the energy change in the capacitor as the voltage varies and the work done by a constant voltage motor with the current varied to adjust the power it was producing. I.e. I assumed there were NO losses anywhere in the system, except those associated with removing charge from a capacitor charged to a higher voltage that the load using that charge.

    To see quickly an example of how energy is “lost” in capacitor discharge consider two identical capacitors, C. One initially charged to 2V and the other fully discharged and then connect them with a perfect wire (no resistance, no inductance) so both have voltage V. The energy stored in a capacitor is 0.5C V^2, vut I will work in “half Joule” units to drop the 0.5 factor. Initially the total energy is C(2V)^2 = 4CV^2. After the connection is made each capacitor has energy CV^2, but there are two so total final energy stored is only half what it was initially.

    PS – this does NOT violate “conservation of energy” but before I explain why, I will allow time for someone else to do so.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2008
  11. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Summary of posts 285,286 & 287 (and a few comments):

    Do NOT invest in companies making "super capacitor" TO BE SOLE source of energy stored for an all electric car. Fuel cells are feasible, but not reversible, so small capacitors to briefly store energy recovered by regenerative breaking is probably attractive if the motor(s) are electric.

    The best all electric car is probably very similar to those of 100 years ago - i.e. battery storage. Think of batteries as "fuel once" ("never refill") reversible fuel cells. The old lead-acid battery is heavy compared to one based on Lithium. Perhaps it could be made lighter via a Pb film on aluminium plates etc., but this is so obvious that it probably has some serious probelms too.

    For more than a decade (probably more than two) the US will be generating most of its electric power from increasingly expensive fossil fuels with zero surplus for "green recharge" of a fleet of electric cars. The near term solution for the US is the one Brazil adopted 30 years ago. Tropical alcohol.

    Celulosic alcohol, produced in the US in significant volume, is at least a decade away and may never be economically competive with liquids from coal. Certainly it will never be competive with Tropical alcohol (which may some day be both celulosic and sugar cane based.)

    A field of sugar cane growing in the tropics if the stocks are also used for celulosic alcohol is by far the cheapest and most efficient way to collect and store solar energy. The US should accept this fact, rather than impoverish Joe American with higher taxes, higher food cost and higher driving expenses. Sending petro-dollars to those who use part to fund the terrorists is not very smart either. Fortunately, GWB's days are now few, so perhaps US can soon change policies and stop being Saudi Arabia's slave.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2008
  12. Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack Registered Senior Member

    Once we are able to tap into the energy source that powers Billy T's posts, we'll have the energy crisis solved.

    Keep up the good work brother.
  13. Buffalo Roam Registered Senior Member

    The economy.
  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    The electric car killed itself, the range just wasn't there for the price. I'm waiting for my plug in hybrid.
  15. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Head of Research and Development at GM answers questions about the future of electric drive:


    DN: The Chevy Volt is on schedule to be "complete" by 2010. What does that mean? With 650 engineers and designers on the project, would it be fair to characterize the Volt as GM's Manhattan Project? Compare the development time of the Volt versus traditional timelines for new models. Isn't the Volt the biggest project in GM history?

    Burns: By complete, we mean selling Chevrolet Volt to real customers in 2010. Volt is obviously very high-profile because of the response it has received from our customers and stakeholders, but we also have other important initiatives that, like Volt, are focused on reducing petroleum dependence through energy efficiency and diversity. These include our hybrid vehicle programs, our focus on biofuels like E85 and other electrically driven vehicles including fuel cell-electrics. We also have important projects in other areas focused on vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous driving technologies, which we demonstrated with our "Boss" vehicle at the DARPA Urban Challenge. Beyond technology, we have key initiatives like growth in emerging markets.

    Our development time for Volt is very aggressive, but what makes it even more aggressive is developing the battery in parallel with the car. Traditionally, we would have done the battery work first, then initiated the product program. We've chosen to do it this way to be first to market and because we believe we can pull it off.

    DN: Much has been written about the 375-lb lithium-ion battery as the Volt's critical component. Has a final version been chosen yet? We know GM was testing versions based on a nano-phosphate cathode and manganese spinel chemistry. What have you learned since the battery was moved to the Milford Proving Grounds in January? Is the battery on track?

    Burns: No, the final version hasn't been chosen. We continue to work on the battery with our two development partnerships, one involving LG Chem and Compact Power and the other involving A123 Systems and Continental.

    We have confirmed the capability of our selected cell chemistry in terms of safety, range, recharge time, power density and energy density. We also have a clear understanding of how we integrate the cell in the modules and the modules in complete battery packs. We also know how to optimally integrate the packs into the vehicle in terms of packaging, safety and vehicle performance.

    Overall, the battery development is on track. But one of the important challenges remaining is proving ten-year, 150,000-mile life when we're developing the battery over a three-year timeframe. Obviously, we'll protect the customer in this regard with our warranty, but we still need to prove out the required durability.

    DN: What are the manufacturing issues around the Volt? How are they different from vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE)?

    Burns: The key manufacturing issue for the Volt is the battery. The battery packs will each have 200-300 cells, which need to work all the time, so the manufacturing process needs to deliver extremely high quality from a statistical perspective. Beyond that, we believe we have pretty deep knowledge of how to manufacture the car from our experience building the EV1, our hybrid vehicles and our Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell demonstration fleet.

    DN: Can the Volt's technology be leveraged across larger vehicles such as SUVs and full-size light trucks? Do you envision this happening?

    Burns: One of the reasons we're focused on fuel cell and plug-in electric technology is to be able to offer electric drive across our entire product line - from commuter vehicles to family-size vehicles. Our Equinox Fuel Cell development vehicle is a crossover SUV. And the concept behind it, the Chevrolet Sequel, is also an SUV. These vehicles demonstrate the promise of fuel cell-electric propulsion in this class size, but we will need to see improvements in battery energy density beyond what we have today to envision plug-in vehicles significantly larger than Volt.

    DN: When do you think FCVs will be produced for sale? Is that program going fast enough in your view? What comes first - the refueling infrastructure or the FCVs? What manufacturing issues still stand in the way of making FCVs? How important are hybrids relative to the Volt and FCVs?

    Burns: We will likely see a true commercial fuel cell vehicle market, at relatively low volume, in the 2012-2014 timeframe. While GM and other OEMs have made dramatic progress on fuel cell vehicles over the last 10 years, the vehicle alone won't allow us to realize the full benefits of this technology. We also need the infrastructure to move faster. As I stated in a speech in April before the National Hydrogen Association, we have now reached a point where the energy industry and governments must pick up their pace so we can continue to advance in a timely manner.

    There are no manufacturing ‘show stoppers.' The most important challenge, beyond developing the infrastructure, is to realize manufacturing and market cycles of learning for first-, second- and third-generation vehicles. This will be key to reducing cost and realizing the mature, high-volume potential of fuel cell vehicles. We're getting prepared for our first commercial cycle of learning with Project Driveway. This is the largest-ever fuel cell market test and it is putting 100 Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles into the hands of mainstream customers to see how the technology works in the real world. The next step is to transition from market test to first commercial generation, which will take the number of vehicles from the hundreds to the thousands.

    The industry is transitioning from the old automotive DNA of stand-alone vehicles that are powered by internal combustion engines, energized by petroleum and largely controlled mechanically. We're moving to a new DNA that encompasses electrically driven vehicles energized by electricity or hydrogen, controlled electronically and ‘connected' to other vehicles and the infrastructure.

    As we work toward this new DNA, hybrids have an important role to play. Not only do they offer additional efficiencies beyond what is available with advanced gasoline and diesel engine technologies, but they also give us engineering, manufacturing and market experience with electric motors, power electronics and advanced batteries - which are all critically important components in our future electrically driven vehicles.

    DN: Long term, do you see one renewable fuel or battery technology winning out over the other? Also long term, what's your prognosis for the internal combustion engine? Can you forecast a crossover point for ICE and emerging technologies such as those in the Volt and Chevy Equinox FCV?

    Burns: Long term, we see energy diversity winning out. As a full-line manufacturer marketing products around the world, we see a combination of propulsion technologies in play - biofuels to allow continued use of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, hybrids to make ICE vehicles more efficient and, ultimately, electrically driven vehicles, both battery- and fuel cell-electrics.

    Since there are about 900 million automobiles in the world today and the industry is building about 70 million new units each year, the ICE is going to be around for awhile. Even in the longer term, some segments will continue to be best served by gasoline and diesel engines so GM is working very hard to develop technologies that will enable the ICE to reach its upper-bound limits for efficiency and cleanliness. But the real key to addressing the energy challenge is to reduce the automobile's current 96-percent dependence on petroleum through energy diversity made possible by alternative forms of propulsion.

    Focusing on the market crossover point, or the ‘tipping point,' is the right way to think about these new technologies rather than trying to forecast the market penetration of different technologies 40 years out. At GM, we define the tipping point as the point at which markets can sustain the growth of a new technology from both an energy cost and a vehicle cost perspective. We believe the tipping point for biofuels based on non-food sources of biomass is 3-5 years away. For Volt and fuel cell vehicles, if you factor in three commercial cycles of learning 3-5 years long each, you end up with the tipping point occurring in 10-15 years. Some may say this is a long time, but when you consider a tipping point implies people are willing to buy a technology because it is what they truly aspire to own and it provides the best value for its price, it's still a very compelling opportunity.

    DN: With your background in public policy, should the government be doing more to promote alternative propulsion technologies like fuel cells and the Volt technology? What could or should they be doing?

    Burns: Government is an equal partner with the auto industry and the energy industry in realizing the transformation to advanced propulsion vehicles. Government needs to proactively support development of advanced technology and play an important role in funding demonstration programs early on, when the technology is not fully matured but we need to gain real market learnings.

    We're also going to need government help in the way of incentives. It should provide appropriate consumer incentives and be a major early customer by purchasing large numbers of vehicles for government fleets. Government also needs to take appropriate actions to ensure the energy infrastructure develops in concert with the vehicle technology and the necessary codes, standards and permitting requirements are in place to bring the technology to market.

    DN: You've been outspoken in getting Big Oil to speed up their development of a hydrogen production and fueling infrastructure. How do you convince them? It seems like Shell and Chevron of companies their size are the only two oil giants actively working on a hydrogen infrastructure (of course, the industrial gases are, too). What has to happen to make FCVs a reality from an infrastructure perspective?

    Burns: The best way to realize a hydrogen infrastructure is to have the auto and energy industries and governments aligned with a proactive and collective will to accelerate progress. The auto and energy industries need to see this as a business growth opportunity and governments need to see it as a way to address energy security and environmental goals. One of the reasons we've been working closely with Shell is its view of the hydrogen economy is similar to ours in the sense that we both see it as a huge business growth opportunity.

    Additionally, the auto and energy industries need to come to a common understanding of energy pathways from a ‘well-to-wheels' perspective. And energy companies need to understand we have customers who are very excited by the potential of electrically driven vehicles.

    DN: I heard you speak at MIT a few years ago where you described a 6- or 12-inch-thick chassis with all mechanicals built and an electric motor on each wheel. How close are we to that?

    Burns: Our Sequel concept, which was the first fuel cell vehicle to drive 300 miles without refueling, is the embodiment of this concept. Sequel's 11-inch chassis incorporates all of its propulsion and chassis system components including the fuel cell system, hydrogen storage tanks, wheel motors and by-wire steering and braking. This vehicle confirms the emergence of the new automotive DNA, and its promise to be sustainable and better in all aspects than the internal combustion engine, petroleum and mechanical control genetics that have characterized automobiles for the past century.

    DN: What is the hardest thing about your job? What is the best thing?

    Burns: The best thing is being able to work with people who have deep knowledge on a wide range of technologies. It's also very exciting to be in a position to influence transformational change in automobiles and their energy sources with the goal of making the world a better place, while extending the ‘freedom' benefits of the automobile to more people.

    The hardest thing is bringing about this transformation in an industry that has had the same automotive DNA for 100 years. It can be very difficult to get all the people who have an interest in solving the problems of the automobile aligned on solutions - not just within the company but also other stakeholders outside GM. Achieving a critical mass around a solution and maintaining constancy of purpose can be huge challenges. But, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, never, never, never, never give up!

    DN: Please add anything you like about the future of automotive technology.

    Burns: I think the future of the automobile is extraordinarily exciting. The industry has tremendous growth potential since only about 13 percent of the people in the world today are vehicle owners. Wherever we go, we find people aspiring to the freedom that comes from owning an automobile, and I am confident the technology exists to enable sustainable growth. To be where I am in the auto industry when all of this is happening is really energizing.
  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Most interesting parts to me are here condensed in:
  17. ProperMan Registered Member

    This is professionally made IMHO conspiracy theory movie by Sony entertainment whats the benefit for them of doing it?! they target auditory is rather small probably wont make much money, then why they do it?
  18. Nasor Valued Senior Member

    They know that people want to buy electric cars, so they want to sell them. Electric cars will only get better and cheaper over time. They want to get in on the ground floor.
  19. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I went to your link. GM is stating the release was an accident. Reminds me of Bloomberg's accidental recent release of Apple's Steve Job's obituary*. At least one of them is nearly dead, but I am not sure which; however, I bet it is the GM one when the price and replacement cost / lifetime of the batteries comes out.
    *Bloomberg is frequently up dating it now and someone hit the "post" instead of "file" button.
  21. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    GM is adamant about including the battery replacement under the ten year warranty. Lutz has stated this publicly.

    Still, it is a forty thousand dollar car...not cheap.
  22. Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack Registered Senior Member

    I hope they can justify the shape with something like a kickass CD or drivetrain layout/weight distribution. It looks like a tit.
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    At the rate GM is lossing money, buying because of a three year guarantee is and act of faith. Do you think much of Crysler's 10 year guarantees now?

    Both Ford and GM are currently jointly lobbing Congress for a 50 billion dollar "loan" now. Just read that at Forbes today. Please don't call it a "bail-out"

    Hope they get it as then I will apply for a mere $100,000. You see I have this great investment plan. I go to Las Vegas and ... woops the got to answer the phone.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2008
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