Who killed the Electric Car?

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

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  1. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. In my opinion, replacing gas cars with electric ones may contribute as a solution rather than a drawback.
     
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  3. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    The change will likely be gradual, with people acquiring a 'third' car that is electric (they already typically have a first and second), which would be used for most purposes, and the gas car for long trips. As this progression continues, the price will come down, batteries will improve, and the gas car will be relegated to the 'third' category, with the two primary cars being electric. Wait and see!
     
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  5. DaleSpam TANSTAAFL Registered Senior Member

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    It would certainly help with some problems associated with cars, but not all. The environmental impact would definitely be better since you can put much better emissions controls on e.g. a coal burning power plant than you can on a gasoline burning vehicle (and some domestic electricity is already "green"). It would also help on the national security front since the US is self-sufficient in coal but not in petroeum.

    In the US it wouldn't really help with overall energy consumption (in other countries it might) because it is pretty much the same overall efficiency if you go coal > thermal > kinetic > electrical > chemical > electrical > kinetic or if you go gasoline > thermal > kinetic. It would not help with car-crash injuries and fatalities. It would also not help with urban sprawl, commuting, traffic congestion, or other quality of life concerns. It would also not change the development, maintainence, and repair of roads or the widespread pavement and consequent water flow and environmental impact of modern automobile infrastructure.

    I think an electric car is a fine step as soon as someone can produce an economically viable one. Personally, I have thought about getting a plug-in hybrid for commuting when they become available at reasonable prices. But the electric car is not escaping the "car paradigm", it is just an incremental improvement.

    -Dale
     
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  7. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

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    Actually, side by side testing shows that electrical conserves fuel in spite of the longer chain between the primary source and the energy use. This is because fuel-based engines are far more efficient at an optimum constant RPM and electric motors waste no energy at stoplights. I suspect that in-town these days it's more like half of your gas is wasted just waiting at stoplights, which are much longer these days and spaced closer together.

    The other good thing about electric is that it is possible to roll your own.

    The only way to escape the "car paradigm" is to live close to work. No matter what, most people are still going to have to drive places. Lower population density and better mass transit would help too.

    Eventually we are just going to have to have better power sources.
     
  8. DaleSpam TANSTAAFL Registered Senior Member

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    I think Personal Rapid Transit is a much better paradigm. And it would not require everyone to live near work.

    -Dale
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2006
  9. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    Except that we can't use the PRT system to BUILD the PRT system.
     
  10. DaleSpam TANSTAAFL Registered Senior Member

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    Huh?

    -Dale
     
  11. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Heres another interesting entry to the field. This converted Mini Cooper is different in that its one of the first cars to have in-wheel electric motors, plus a unique system whereby the small gas engine only regenerates the battery, without assisting directly to the wheels.

    http://www.gizmag.com/go/6104/

    It really only needs to go 50 miles on a charge, with a max range of 500 miles in hybrid mode, and with a top speed of 100mph.

    Massive overkill in a small package!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2006
  12. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

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    Hybrids in general use the fuel-based engine to regenerate the battery and that engine is not mechanically connected to the wheels.

    All of the fancy stuff sounds really great until you realize that the it's very expensive and complex for the gas mileage. Conversion kits can take an old clunker and deliver about the same gas mileage for a few thousand dollars and your local mechanic can still understand what's under the hood, plus there are no dangerous high voltages under the hood that require a licensed electrician to handle. It may be true that in spite of Edison's experiments in the humane killing of humans that AC is just as deadly as DC, but there isn't any good reason in my book why a person should find his hand frozen to a terminal with smoke pouring out of his ears because he needed to tighten a loose nut somewhere. These voltages tend to leak through old insulators. The car will have to be either overhauled or recycled just to prevent it from becoming a grave danger to its users and mechanics in a rather short time.

    It's a lot like the space station. There was no reason on or off of Earth for them to wire the solar panels in series outside the station, which made the station tend to charge itself to potentially lethal voltages that could discharge between an astronaut and the space surrounding the station, producing a sort of lightning that could kill the astronaut.

    Anyway, the only thing worse than a cheap disposable car is an expensive disposable car. It would be progress if people could own safe fuel-efficient hybrids that cost a modest amount of money, as retrofits to older gasoline vehicles, having them repainted and worn parts replaced as needed, and anyone with a moderate amount of technical knowledge could replace the batteries without dying. And those batteries would cost less than a hundred US dollars each and last five years or more.

    Don't get me wrong. High technology has its well-deserved places in the marketplace, although the high voltages under the hood should be banned. They will kill more people than dogs do each year when they are popular. Lithium battery technology needs the funding and people who can afford the higher-powered fancier electrics deserve to be able to buy them, but we still need the workhorse cars. We also still need to be able to repair our cars.
     
  13. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    I believe you're wrong about this. In most hybrids the gasoline engine is mechanically connected to the wheels. The electric motor powers the car at low speeds or at times when little power is required, but the engine kicks in to power the wheels directly if you need to accelerate quickly or go up a hill. In most hybrids if you go much above 40 mph you'll be powering the car completely from the gasoline engine.
     
  14. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    All of them do really. This is the first I've heard where the gas engine is only used for recharging. This means that the ICE can be very tiny and run at an optimal speed.
     
  15. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

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    Show me one example of this. There is no advantage to such a setup and I know of no cars that are like that.
     
  16. apeweek Registered Member

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    You are correct that there is no advantage to the parallel hybrid versus the serial hybrid. Nonetheless that is exactly what we are being sold.

    The reason probably has a lot to do with the NIMH battery licensing. Hybrids need NIMH batteries (because lead-acids aren't up to the task, and Li-Ions haven't been ready for this until very recently.)

    The NIMH battery patents were controlled by GM, and those batteries were used in both the EV1 and Toyota's RAV4 EV. After those cars were crushed, the patents were sold to Chevron/Texaco, who proceeded to sue Panasonic and Toyota to get the Toyota EV off the road.

    Details of the resulting settlement have never been made public, but it is widely acknowledged that the licensing agreements for the NIMH battery technology prohibit their use in EVs, and any other car that derives less than 50% of its power from gasoline. This has been the stumbling block for plug-in hybrids, EVs, and serial hybrids (since all of these variations are basically EVs.)

    The NIMH patent story:

    http://www.evworld.com/blogs/index.cfm?page=blogentry&authorid=51&blogid=104
     
  17. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Last edited: Sep 4, 2006
  18. DaleSpam TANSTAAFL Registered Senior Member

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    According to my understanding the Prius has a single mechanical coupling for the wheels, motor, generator, and engine. I'm not sure how it works.

    -Dale
     
  19. apeweek Registered Member

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    Yes, and Cobasys is very agressive protecting those patents.
     
  20. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

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    OK, Apeweek, your link talks about the pluggable hybrid, not some kind of parallel hybrid. The pluggable hybrid would give the user significant range on a fully charged set of batteries. Why a company exists that forbids the production of NiMH batteries for use for propulsion is probably explained by something that has to do with rituals for bringing demons from Hell to the surface of the Earth to serve as CEOs of large corporations because this just isn't right. Same bastards would dictate to me all sorts of things that I could do with my own property. They are totally evil.
     
  21. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Oh boy, $25,000 for a frikking pram?

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    Or, for a mere £3,995+VAT you could have one of these;

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    I'd rather have the latter, running on methanol or biodiesel if I was forced to be environmentally friendly.
     
  22. apeweek Registered Member

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    Interesting development in this story: A company named Electro Energy has been promoting a forthcoming propulsion NIMH battery - and the speculation is that they will be sued out of existence as soon as they put it on the market - but there's something interesting about their product.

    The patent-based prohibitions on propulsion batteries, as I understand it, focus on the amp-hour ratings of the batteries. The Toyota RAV4 EV, for instance, used 95ah batteries which have now disappeared from the market, replaced by batteries less than 10ah in size. Normally, for an EV, you would connect a number of high-AH batteries in series to get the high voltage you need for propulsion. But that's not the only way to do it.

    Electro Automotive has developed a unique method of creating high-voltage batteries. So to propel your vehicle, you would take a number of low-AH batteries which are already at a high voltage, and instead of connecting them in series, you would connect them in parallel to get the AH rating you need.

    This is pure speculation on my part, but perhaps this is a way to get around the licensing restrictions on NIMH batteries.

    Here's a link: http://www.electroenergyinc.com/products.html#Bipolar Li
     
  23. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    I think it would be cool if we could go back to these:

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    I would look sooooo cool in chaps and a duster.
     
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