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I just watched Who Killed the Electric Car? the other day, which was mainly about the electric car developed by GM, the EV1 mentioned in the article. A few people had these cars and loved them, but GM wouldn't allow them to extend their leases. They took the cars away and destroyed them. According to the documentary the main culprits in killing the electric car were car manufacturers and oil companies. Surprise, surprise.
I'm a little confused now by this new development. Why are they suddenly so keen on developing this technology when they already had it in their hands ten years ago? I guess it all comes down to money.
 

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I doubt that GM gives a rat's ass about the green market - it's not worth having a totally separate factory and platform, that is the kind of thinking that has put GM and Ford where they are now.

IIRC auto manufacturers in certain jurisdictions have to meet an overall emission standard (they discuss this in 'Who Killed...') selling SOME zero emission automobiles allows the manufacturer to sell MORE lower efficiency vehicles (SUV's, Sports Cars, Trucks) in said jurisdiction.

The electric car is less great than people make it out to be, simply because generating electricity, by and large, is done with fossil fuel or nuclear fuel - neither one really helps the environment so EV drivers may think they're helping but you would probably do more by buying 'green' power if that is available where you live or setting up a wind or solar farm.

I realize that the 'Volt' has an onboard engine, but how is that powered? The article did not specify.
 

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Originally Posted by Sketchy View Post

The electric car is less great than people make it out to be, simply because generating electricity, by and large, is done with fossil fuel or nuclear fuel - neither one really helps the environment so EV drivers may think they're helping but you would probably do more by buying 'green' power if that is available where you live or setting up a wind or solar farm.
We watched "Who killed the electric car" the other night too and I wondered about this...Would there not be some savings anyway?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sketchy View Post

The electric car is less great than people make it out to be, simply because generating electricity, by and large, is done with fossil fuel or nuclear fuel - neither one really helps the environment so EV drivers may think they're helping but you would probably do more by buying 'green' power if that is available where you live or setting up a wind or solar farm.
My father works for GM (as an assembly worker--no one official) and he said something like this. He said that GM wouldn't start making hybrids until the technology was perfected and actually useful. They didn't want to make a substandard product just because it was a fad.

Of course, that doesn't say much considering some of the substandard products they do sell.
 

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I heard something about GM & other car companies already having hybrids (or electric cars? I dont' remember. whatever.) overseas, so it IS possible. It just takes too much money to change the factories over or something like that. Oh, bill o'reilly's the one who always talks about it.
 

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Originally Posted by Sketchy View Post

I realize that the 'Volt' has an onboard engine, but how is that powered? The article did not specify.
The article does not expressly say, but I think it implies that the engine would run on "fuel," which presumably would mean gasoline or diesel. If it can only go 40 miles on a charge, it would have to have some means of refueling the engine for people who wanted to make trips longer than 40 miles. True, they were *also* going to have it plug in to recharge. So it sounds like there would be two ways to recharge the battery, but the engine seemed to be primary.

It sounds kind of interesting, but also sounds like something that is still on the drawing board.

Whether or how much it is helpful in the overall energy situation depends on how much "fuel" would translate into how many miles one could drive.

While the article does not expressly say, it is possible that these vehicles could make a substantial impact on cutting pollution, especially in local areas like L.A.
 

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I read the Scientific American article on this the other day and was slightly annoyed. They did have what some people considered to be an efficient electric car acceptable for everyday use (the EV1) and they confiscated/destroyed them despite the people who were leasing them offering to buy them off of GM (at least that is how it was portrayed in Who Killed the Electric Car). If I recall correctly, the EV1 could run 150 miles on a charge and it would take 8 hours to recharge (basically overnight). (Apparently it is more efficient to run a car on electricity than gasoline, despite how it is produced.. and you could always opt to buy green energy to power your electric vehicle
) According to the documentary, there were more efficient batteries available but they chose not to use them.

So this new car has a battery that will run only 40 miles (as opposed to the EV1's 150) - why go to a less efficient battery? And the battery is recharged with gasoline, and if I recall correctly it can go 640 miles on 12 gallons which is about 53 miles per gallon. Yes, that's good fuel efficiency, but it kind of defeats the purpose of an 'electric' car. It seems the automobile companies are addicted to all those parts that need to be replaced in gasoline engines.

It is rather suspicious that the technology around vehicles has basically been at a standstill for a century, whereas most other technologies are advancing at an incredible rate. Electric vehicles were invented a long time ago, so these recent 'advances' with electric vehicles aren't all that recent when you consider how long the technology has been around.
 

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I read the Scientific American article on this the other day and was slightly annoyed. They did have what some people considered to be an efficient electric car acceptable for everyday use (the EV1) and they confiscated/destroyed them despite the people who were leasing them offering to buy them off of GM (at least that is how it was portrayed in Who Killed the Electric Car). If I recall correctly, the EV1 could run 150 miles on a charge and it would take 8 hours to recharge (basically overnight). (Apparently it is more efficient to run a car on electricity than gasoline, despite how it is produced.. and you could always opt to buy green energy to power your electric vehicle
) According to the documentary, there were more efficient batteries available but they chose not to use them.

So this new car has a battery that will run only 40 miles (as opposed to the EV1's 150) - why go to a less efficient battery? And the battery is recharged with gasoline, and if I recall correctly it can go 640 miles on 12 gallons which is about 53 miles per gallon. Yes, that's good fuel efficiency, but it kind of defeats the purpose of an 'electric' car. It seems the automobile companies are addicted to all those parts that need to be replaced in gasoline engines.

It is rather suspicious that the technology around vehicles has basically been at a standstill for over a century, whereas most other technologies are advancing at an incredible rate. Electric vehicles were invented a long time ago, so these recent 'advances' with electric vehicles aren't all that recent when you consider how long the technology has been around.
 

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fyvel "Apparently it is more efficient to run a car on electricity than gasoline, despite how it is produced."

I find that hard to believe.

Let's compare a diesal care that burns diesal fuel with an electric car that uses electricty produced by a power plant that burns diesal fuel. While a huge power plant could burn diesal fuel just slightly more efficiently than the small diesal engine in a car, there are just too many losses involved. There is the heat loss by friction of the bearing of the electric generator, and due to the impossiblility to arrange the coils of wire in a way that causes no loss of electricity and allows all of it to go into the output wires. Then there is a rather large loss of electricity as it travels down the high-tension wires to distribution transformers, then more loss in each distribution transformer, then in the wires from there to residential neighborhoods, and then in the local transformers in the neigborhoods (those big cans on top of utility poles), and finally, in the wire from there to your house, in simply turning your electric meter, and from there to your outlets.

That's right, just measuring your electricity use requires some electricity.

Then their is the further inefficiency of the battery charger used to charge your car battery, that loses some electricity as heat instead of charging the batteries, and in the operation of the electric motor of the car, which not only produces forward motion, but loses energy to heat too.

With all these losses, it seems like they must be greater than the slight efficiency savings that a large diesal has over a car-size diesal.
 

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Soilman, I haven't done the math, but just restating what I've heard. I believe they discussed the topic very briefly in Who Killed the Electric Car. Apparently gasoline engines are just extremely inefficient compared to the ways that electricity is produced. Yes, diesel engines are more efficient than regular gasoline engines, but most people don't drive diesels.

Besides, wind power is becoming more and more common and this would be the ideal way to power and electric car.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by soilman View Post

Let's compare a diesal car that burns diesal fuel with an electric car that uses electricty produced by a power plant that burns diesal fuel.
Are there any real world studies regarding if the increased use of fuels for increased energy plant output is going to be more or less than the reduced use for direct consumption of fossil fuels by the general public and subsequent reduced use of fuels for fuel production if they started driving electric cars?

There is a lot to consider. I mean it also takes a lot of fossil fuels just to get fuel to consumers at gas stations. From the drilling and excavation, shipping to refineries, the refinery process itself and the actual shipping of the fuel to the pump for gas stations.

It also probably depends on what kind of power plant is producing the energy too.

I'm really curious about this issue, but it seems like currently there is only a lot speculation.
 

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Actually, the engineers who design diesal engines and electric generators can give us very accurate figures regarding the efficiency of their devices. Even a good high school physics student should be able to make the calculations based on the specifications that engine manufacturers provide in owners manuals and service manuals. Also, the losses that occur in electric generators, and in transformers, and power lines, are easily measured and calculations are just a matter of adding up all the ineffeciencies. It is not really complicated at all. Transformer designers can tell you how much electricity is lost when the voltage is stepped down. Electrical engineers know exactly how much energy is lost per foot of wire, depending upon the kind of metal alloy the wire is made of, and its diameter, and whether it is stranded or one solid piece, and if stranded, how many strands. It is just a matter of doing some real simple calculations. With electronic spreadsheets, you don't even have to do the calculations. You just enter the numbers and read the answers.
 

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I did some research, and this is what I came up with:

http://www.tritrack.net/efficiency.html

And this:

http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~w...ytishlong.html

Quote:
At present, for the vast majority of the country, neither electric vehicles or comparable gasoline-powered vehicles holds a solid advantage over the other in cleanliness. This balance will probably not change any time in the near future as the problem with electric vehicles is not inherent to them, but rather to the means by which we generate our electricity. Although electric vehicles offer some compelling advantages over internal combustion engine vehicles in terms of pollution management, the real advantage of electric vehicles lies in the future when more electricity is produced from cleaner sources. For those living in California, or in other regions with a high percentage of energy production coming from clean sources, the future is already here.
Previous discussion in the article is referring to coal as a source of electricity, which if used can cause electric cars to be even more polluting than gasoline engines. But if the electricity source is cleaner, electric cars have a clear advantage. I'll stick with my viewpoint that electric cars are best coupled with a clean energy source (such as wind)
 

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They also made the point in Who Killed... that electric cars reduce the waste that comes with maintaining a gas-powered engine, such as changing the oil and replacing parts.

Didn't they also have a prototype of an electric car that was solar-powered? Now that would be awesome.
 

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Originally Posted by fyvel View Post

But if the electricity source is cleaner, electric cars have a clear advantage.
That's a big IF...

Energy Consumption by Fuel - Quadrillion BTU

Liquids\t40.44118

Natural Gas 22.64005

Coal 22.8742

Nuclear 8.133222

Hydropower 2.714661

Renewable excluding Hydro 3.269461

Source: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/forecasting.html

We seem to be making headway in using renewables (from 2.585276 QBTU in 1980) but our overall demand has gone up as well (78.208839 QBTU in 1980 to 100.654878 QBTU in 2006)

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Originally Posted by fyvel View Post

I'll stick with my viewpoint that electric cars are best coupled with a clean energy source (such as wind)
Perhaps electric cars are best coupled with a revewable source of energy, but that energy is not always available, and it still does not address the root problem in NA, that we expect to live an unsustainable lifestyle with sprawling cities, personal vehicles, and electric gadgets for everything.

My view is that justifying an electric car (or hybrid) because it CAN be LESS harmful to the environment is like being vegan but eating (just a little) bacon because the pig is already dead.
 

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Regarding sources of energy: the source of energy greatly varies depending on where you live, it seems. Where I used to live, there was a big push for an increased use of wind turbines and you could actually buy wind power at a slightly increased cost on your electric bill. Some people even had their own personal wind turbines: they were still connected to the grid and would rely on it when the wind was low and would 'sell' excess electricity produced back to the electric company in tthe form of a credit. From the people I talked to in this area, it seemed to equal out for them. A lot of people also had solar panels that they would use to heat their hot water, for example.

What a lot of it comes down to is the individual deciding what form of electricty they want to use, given that they have the choice. I think the type of person who would own an electric vehicle would also be the same type who would be more likely to use more clean/renewable sources.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sketchy View Post

Perhaps electric cars are best coupled with a revewable source of energy, but that energy is not always available, and it still does not address the root problem in NA, that we expect to live an unsustainable lifestyle with sprawling cities, personal vehicles, and electric gadgets for everything.

My view is that justifying an electric car (or hybrid) because it CAN be LESS harmful to the environment is like being vegan but eating (just a little) bacon because the pig is already dead.
I think you're missing the point. I would never encourage an electric vehicle if it were going to end up creating more pollution than the alternative, just as I would never eat bacon just because the pig is already dead. The point I'm trying to make is that if you can get a clean and renewable source of energy and can run an electric vehicle that creates less pollution than a standard gasoline vehicle, then that is a good direction to go.
 
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