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newdefault
Posted on 2003.03.12 at 10:46
Mood: annoyedannoyed
today's news is that the two of the big-three US automakers who had electric cars, or plans for them, have cancelled.

great, cuz it's not like we're already too dependent.
no, we shouldn't be looking for alternatives.
yes, i *love* that it costs me $30 to fill my 14-gallon tank.

war doesn't always stimulate innovation... sometimes it's a substitute. but, yanno, i'm sure that whole electric-car thing is REALLY HARD. not the kind of thing your average jerry could do at home...

Comments:


Justin
eoe at 2003-03-12 10:53 (UTC) (Link)

I'm sure they all had very good 'business' reasons to cancel their plans. I'm sure there was no lobbying or underhanded political-mushroom-slapping. I'm also sure my skepticism and sarcasm was out of bounds.

- justin
Chris
spaceninja at 2003-03-12 11:35 (UTC) (Link)
That sucks. Let's keep making fat, gas guzzling SUVs so we can further our dependence on oil and have to start wars to get more of it. Then maybe when we can't breathe because of the smog, they'll start production again.
betternewthings at 2003-03-12 16:12 (UTC) (Link)

Sorry, you lose, but thanks for playing.

Fuel consumption and smog production have a very low correlation.

A 415HP Porsche 993 Turbo S actually cleans the air when driven through LA.

A 2 hp two-cycle leaf-blower produces both more noise and pollution per hour as the average 3 liter, 200hp family car motor.
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2003-03-12 16:20 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sorry, you lose, but thanks for playing.

A 415HP Porsche 993 Turbo S actually cleans the air when driven through LA.

HMMMMmmm.... ya think i could snag subsidies from the EPA if i got a fleet of 993s and drivers to patrol the LA metro area at all times? now accepting applications :P
betternewthings at 2003-03-12 18:19 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sorry, you lose, but thanks for playing.

I think that I will have to join you for that.

Just THINK of the CHILDREN!

(in other thoughts - the vehicle tax in most states rewards pollution. your registration costs on a brand new civic are going to be a hundred times the registration costs on my hoopty red truck)
betternewthings at 2003-03-12 16:25 (UTC) (Link)
I'm not too big on electric cars - the energy has to be generated somewhere, somehow, and the only things we have to generate large-scale electricity are coal and nukes. You do win osme effiency using constant-cycle generation by not having to run your plant at rapidly shifting power outputs at millisecond precision like cars do, but it's only a few percent, a few tens at very, very best, when it comes to fossil fuels.

So, to move a payload 100 miles, you have to generate the electricity, move the electricity a hundred miles or so to the charging point (20% loss), and lug around a thousand pounds of batteries - (50%) fuel efficiency loss. You lose more than you gain.

Chemical transportation of energy (like gasoline) seems significantly more efficient than batteries, as the power/lb held in them is much higher.

My bet? Hydrogen or methanol-powered cars, closed-loop. Hydrogen's a bitch to transport, but methanol can be organically generated, transports easy, and has a HUGE energy/lb ratio. High-volatility fuels weren't chosen 100 years ago because the bottom-of-the-barrel transport facilties were notoriously unsafe. I see a future of pluggable, sealed, safe fuel tanks. Isntead of pumping up your car, you pop the empty tank out of your trunk, and snap a new one in at the gas station.

That's the in side of the pipe tho, and BSFC for pretty much every hydrocarbon fuel has stayed at .45 ever since the Eisenhower administration. For the out-side of the pipe, the H2O generated stores easily, and the CO2 can be compressed (after reclaiming most the energy through two switchable asymetrically-sized turbos, it ought to be plenty low-energy already) - compression energy can probably be reclaimed as heat.

So, we show up at the gas station, give the gas-man (or machine) money, a full box of water and CO2, and an empty box of gas. He gives us an empty H2O/CO2 box, a full gas box, and sends us on our way.
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2003-03-12 17:12 (UTC) (Link)
the only things we have to generate large-scale electricity are coal and nukes.

are you excluding hydroelectric for a reason?

also, the cost of transporting gas from A (refinery) to B (station) shouldn't be ignored either- seems to me our infrastructure for delivering electricity is still more advanced, if it's gonna come down to current-loss vs cost-of-trucking-around-semis-full-of-liquid.

a thousand pounds of batteries

while i've certainly seen EV's with this much battery weight, i think a 144volt 12-battery array *could* be made to weigh significantly less. 300 pounds is more on the order of two passengers (and what's more, i'm thinking at least 300lbs of ancillaries required to run the gas engine would be coming out of an EV conversion- start with the gas tank and fuel pump and work your way forward).

idunno, something gives me the feeling that EV hasn't really been explored enough to see whether or not it's a viable solution for at least *some* of the country/world's metropolitan population.

interesting stuff on methanol- i'd swear i remember reading/hearing about a couple of import dragsters running low mixtures of it. the info i've googled seems to indicate that it also usually comes from non-renewable resources, though... what do you mean by "organically generated"?
betternewthings at 2003-03-12 20:32 (UTC) (Link)
are you excluding hydroelectric for a reason?

I don't think there's enough hydroelectric power available in the localities we want that would provide enough energy for a hundred million cars in America without significant negative environmental impacts. Solar might be good, but it's hard to buffer the flow and you won't get even three nines of energy flow.

also, the cost of transporting gas from A (refinery) to B (station) shouldn't be ignored either- seems to me our infrastructure for delivering electricity is still more advanced, if it's gonna come down to current-loss vs cost-of-trucking-around-semis-full-of-liquid.

True - I wonder what the ratios are. Let's consider X the ammount of energy it costs to move a car 100 miles. You lose about .25X if you move it electrically. I wonder what percentage it takes to move it chemically - my guess is much less, because the tanks for a fuel truck look like a couple hundred gallons like the usual big-rig, and the payload is in the many thousands of gallons. A good point tho.

while i've certainly seen EV's with this much battery weight, i think a 144volt 12-battery array *could* be made to weigh significantly less. 300 pounds is more on the order of two passengers (and what's more, i'm thinking at least 300lbs of ancillaries required to run the gas engine would be coming out of an EV conversion- start with the gas tank and fuel pump and work your way forward).

Figure a small car carries 10 gallons (70lbs) of gas, so we call the fuel system 100lbs with tanks, pumps, hoses, regulators, guages. Might as well go full-system and add the weight of the powerplant and transmission - on the order of 2-300lbs. Call it 400lbs, worst case.

If we can get a motor, regeneration system, and battery that'll do 300 miles in 400lbs and last 100k miles, I'll be impressed - right now we're at 100 miles for 1000lbs, in much smaller cars. 10lbs of powerplant for a mile of range simply won't cut it.

interesting stuff on methanol- i'd swear i remember reading/hearing about a couple of import dragsters running low mixtures of it. the info i've googled seems to indicate that it also usually comes from non-renewable resources, though... what do you mean by "organically generated"?

You can make it from corn - we already make most of our ethanol from corn (both of the drinking and industrial variety) - yes, it's possible to make gasoline from vegetables too, but that requires feeding the vegetables to dinosaurs and burying them in the ground for hundreds of millions of years :-)

Sun -> corn -> energy in an easily transported, clean-burning liquid form (alcohol) -> car.

That solves the "what goes into the motor" problem. The "what comes out" might be harder, but I think is possible to create a literally zero-emission vehicle by capping off the other end into a storage system.

idunno, something gives me the feeling that EV hasn't really been explored enough to see whether or not it's a viable solution for at least *some* of the country/world's metropolitan population.

interesting stuff on methanol- i'd swear i remember reading/hearing about a couple of import dragsters running low mixtures of it. the info i've googled seems to indicate that it also usually comes from non-renewable resources, though... what do you mean by "organically generated"?
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