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Well, I was pretty sure that fuel cells weren't that close. We lack the infrastructure for that anyway. Heck, I think 10 years is pretty close.
 

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Good news, I think, unless they also develop a fuel cell that runs off liquid fuel. Looking at what's involved in producing, storing & distributing large quantities of hydrogen, it seems pretty obvious to me that the losses in infrastructure far outweigh anything you gain in vehicle efficiency.

But there is good news in that article, buried near the bottom: "...also developing the CR-Z hybrid sports car and will add a hybrid option to the Fit..." Of course by then I may be able to buy an Aptera :)
 

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james said:
Good news, I think, unless they also develop a fuel cell that runs off liquid fuel. Looking at what's involved in producing, storing & distributing large quantities of hydrogen, it seems pretty obvious to me that the losses in infrastructure far outweigh anything you gain in vehicle efficiency.

But there is good news in that article, buried near the bottom: "...also developing the CR-Z hybrid sports car and will add a hybrid option to the Fit..." Of course by then I may be able to buy an Aptera :)
I don't think you can buy an Aptera outside of California until at least 2010, maybe longer. The thing about Honda's fuel cell vehicle, they have a home fueling station available. I wonder if the Government is not allowing them to sell it, or if there is some other problem with it? Maybe they think the car and the home fueling station would be to expensive at this point in time. I really wanted my next car to be an Aptera or a fuel cell. Wonder if my Insight can make it to 500,000 miles? Almost half way there now.
 

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Yeah, that's why I said "may be able" - though I do work in the Bay Area (mostly telecommuting, but I have to go there sometimes), so I suppose I could fake a residence. The big problem, though, is my deep-seated objection to buying new cars. But I'm planning to be one of the first in line for used Aperas :)

On the home hydrogen generator for fuel cell vehicles, I suggest you look into the efficiency & economics of the whole cycle. Hydrogen power just doesn't make sense, at least without major technical breakthroughs of the practical fusion power sort. It was just used as a distraction by certain politicians, so people wouldn't think about the fact that someday, sooner or later, they'd have to change their sacred gas-guzzling lifestyle. Well, if you read about changes in car sales, it seems as though someday is just about here, so maybe now we can dump the hydrogen hype.
 

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james said:
Good news, I think, unless they also develop a fuel cell that runs off liquid fuel. Looking at what's involved in producing, storing & distributing large quantities of hydrogen, it seems pretty obvious to me that the losses in infrastructure far outweigh anything you gain in vehicle efficiency.
Bring back the EV1!!! The infrastructure is already there (power lines) as is the technology (NiMH or Lithium batteries) to achieve acceptable range (200-250 miles) to get a person to work. And there is a growth path to eliminate coal and use solar energy captured off rooftops, thereby making it a clean renewable fuel.

I don't have any great love for EVs, but they make a hell of a lot more sense than cracking water, trucking the hazardous hydrogen across the U.S. (ticking timebombs), and then reversing the process to get water again. EVs are simply more efficient.
 

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ElectricTroy said:
I don't have any great love for EVs, but they make a hell of a lot more sense than cracking water, trucking the hazardous hydrogen across the U.S. (ticking timebombs), and then reversing the process to get water again. EVs are simply more efficient.
This is definitely true, at least with the technology we have now anyway.
 

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I don't think pure EVs make sense either, with current technology. So you have say a 200 mile range: what if you want to travel 250 miles? You have to stop somewhere and spend several hours recharging. Then you have issues with for instance cabin heat in the winter. Electric heat in a Minnesota winter might turn that 200 mile range into 20. Then you have all the parasitic weight of batteries...

What does make sense is the series hybrid. Primary electric drive with a 40 mile or so range, so the batteries aren't too heavy. A small auxilary power unit that comes on line either to extend range or provide heat, which only needs to be large enough to provide cruising power (10-15 hp, maybe), so would be small & light, and could be a much more efficient gas turbine or Stirling engine.
 

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james said:
I don't think pure EVs make sense either, with current technology. So you have say a 200 mile range: what if you want to travel 250 miles?
Attach a generator that burns gasoline & creates electricity. That's how Toyota drove their RAV4 EV across the entire continent.
Then you have issues with for instance cabin heat in the winter.
The electric motor produces waste heat to keep the cabin warm, and any additional heater (as might be need in Minnesota) is trivially small compared to how much energy is burned pushing a 3000-pound car through resistive air at 60 miles an hour.

Since most Americans live within 25 miles of their job, the 250-mile range is actually overkill.
 

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james said:
What does make sense is the series hybrid. Primary electric drive with a 40 mile or so range, so the batteries aren't too heavy. A small auxilary power unit that comes on line either to extend range or provide heat, which only needs to be large enough to provide cruising power (10-15 hp, maybe), so would be small & light, and could be a much more efficient gas turbine or Stirling engine.
Been thinking about that. The disadvantage of a series compared to the current hybrid is that ALL the energy (at least for the extended range) comes from burning gas, converting it to electricity, storing it in the battery, releasing the energy from the battery as electricity, and using that to provide propulsion. There are losses at every step.

In this longer-range scenario the current hybrid converts gas to propulsion = one step.

It might turn out that EV's will be used for short range and parallel hybrids (or perhaps very small-engined non-hybrids) will be more efficient overall for longer trips.
 

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The electric motor produces waste heat to keep the cabin warm...
Electric motors don't produce all that much in the way of waste heat.

Since most Americans live within 25 miles of their job, the 250-mile range is actually overkill.
Only if you think the only use you will ever have for the car is to drive it to work. (And if you're that close, why not bike, or telecommute?) But that's actually why the hybrid works better. You can do that 25 mile commute on electricity (unless you need heat) from the grid, then when you need to do a 300 mile trip, or you forgot to plug it in when you came home late, you just check that there's fuel in the tank, and go...

Furthermore, you wind up using less energy overall. The batteries needed for a 25 mile range weigh less than a tenth as much as those needed for a 250 mile range. (Less because they need to have more energy stored to haul around the weight of the batteries.) So say you can get double the energy density of the Insight's NiMH packs, so for a rough guess (feel free to offer better info) you'd need somewhere 150 lbs of batteries for a 25 mile range, but over 1500 lbs for 250 miles. Add in a bit of supporting structure, and you've just doubled the weight of an Insight.

On the other hand, you can probably find a 5 or 10 KW motor-generator that weighs well under 100 lbs. So you have a 3500+ lb electric-only car that is severely range-limited, or a ~2000 lb hybrid car with nearly unlimited range. Which would you choose?
 

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The disadvantage of a series compared to the current hybrid is that ALL the energy (at least for the extended range) comes from burning gas, converting it to electricity, storing it in the battery, releasing the energy from the battery as electricity, and using that to provide propulsion.
No. Think about it some more :) With smart controllers (or an involved operator) none of the energy generated by the engine would ever have to be stored in the battery.

Say your car requires 10 KW (about 13.7 HP) to travel at highway speed on level ground, and you have a 10 KW engine/generator in it. So you start out on a long trip, then as you're driving along on the flat, all the electricity the engine produces is going straight to the electric motors powering the wheels. (And the generator to motor is pretty efficient: see diesel/electric locomotives for an example.) You come to a hill where more power is needed, the engine still produces the same 10 KW, with some being added from the battery (which you charged off the grid last night). On the downhill, you recoup most of that by regeneration, just as with the Insight. Maybe the engine shuts down if the grade is steep enough. In any case, you only burn fuel when it's needed, and you use the energy efficiently.
 

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james said:
Say your car requires 10 KW (about 13.7 HP) to travel at highway speed on level ground, and you have a 10 KW engine/generator in it. So you start out on a long trip, then as you're driving along on the flat, all the electricity the engine produces is going straight to the electric motors powering the wheels.
Still an unnecessary conversion from gas to electric to propulsion.

james said:
You come to a hill where more power is needed, the engine still produces the same 10 KW, with some being added from the battery (which you charged off the grid last night). On the downhill, you recoup most of that by regeneration, just as with the Insight.
You don't, due to the aforementioned losses. Definitely true on my Insight that the bars I lose on the uphill are not replaced at the bottom of an equivalent downhill on the other side. The charge must be replaced by running the motor-generator, which burns gas (or diesel), with all of the conversion losses. A different strategy would be to use the battery until it runs out and then run the motor-generator.

An EV-only also means the weight of the motor-generator need not be lugged around for local trips.

The efficiency of the MT Insight comes from lean burn, not from its IMA.

Diesel-electric locomotives work because a lot of torque is needed, so the diesel aspect can be downsized thanks to the torque of the electric motor. AFAIK they don't have massive batteries in the things.
 

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james said:
ElectricTroy said:
Since most Americans live within 25 miles of their job, the 250-mile range is actually overkill.
Only if you think the only use you will ever have for the car is to drive it to work. (And if you're that close, why not bike, or telecommute?)
Bike 50 miles a day??? I don't think so.

Also, did you not read what I wrote? Let me repeat it for you: "Attach a generator that burns gasoline & creates electricity. That's how Toyota drove their RAV4 EV across the entire continent." In those RARE cases where you need to go more than the 250-mile range, you just convert your EV into a series hybrid using a small generator on a trailer. As Toyota demonstrated with their cross-country RAV4 excursion.

Simple.
Furthermore, you wind up using less energy overall. The batteries needed for a 25 mile range weigh less than a tenth as much as those needed for a 250 mile range.
Instead you're carrying around a 1000-pound hybrid engine that is hardly used. That wastes even MORE energy than if you left the engine at home, and only used it as needed (i.e. summer vacations).
With smart controllers (or an involved operator) none of the energy generated by the engine would ever have to be stored in the battery.
Then how am I going to use the clean solar energy off my roof? Or the nearby windmills?

EVs are cleaner than your gasoline-->electric-->wheels car.
 

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You're overlooking a few things. For instance, a reasonable-sized motor/generator is going to weigh maybe 100 lbs, not 1000 - you can buy them down at Home Depot, you know :) Of course you could put it in a trailer, but then you'd have a couple of extra tires and other structure, you wouldn't (easily) be able to use it for winter heat, and you wouldn't have the option of starting the engine if you ran out of juice a couple miles from home.

But the extra batteries to have a 250 mile range instead of 25 will weigh 1000 lbs or more, so you'll need more structure to support the weight, and more battery power to accelerate & climb hills.

As for using solar off your roof to charge, why couldn't you? You (or the controller) are smart enough to figure out that you want the battery nearly empty when you pull in the driveway. You plug it in, charge the 25-mile battery, and set out on your 25 mile commute the next day. Net effect is that you never burn gas unless you need to.

If you look at the whole system, I think it's debatable whether a pure EV is cleaner. Say you have some solar panels on your roof, which produce enough energy to run your house & power your car on its daily commute. How do you use that energy most efficiently? I think you tie into the grid, so if you have your lighter 25-mile PHEV rather than the heavy 250-mile EV, you are using less of the solar energy you generate for your transportation. That energy you don't use can be used by others, displacing some fossil-fuel generation. Net effect is the PHEV is cleaner.
 

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james said:
But the extra batteries to have a 250 mile range instead of 25 will weigh 1000 lbs or more, so you'll need more structure to support the weight, and more battery power to accelerate & climb hills.
Then you're still using gasoline on a daily basis, which doesn't solve the problem of pollution or scarcity.

Better to make a car that can go at least 100 miles as a pure electric vehicle, thus making the use of gasoline a RARE occurence instead of a daily occurence.

If you look at the whole system, I think it's debatable whether a pure EV is cleaner.
Perhaps, but when the oil runs to $1000 a barrel due to scarcity, electric may be our only practical replacement.
 

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Then you're still using gasoline on a daily basis, which doesn't solve the problem of pollution or scarcity.
Solve, no. Reduces it considerably, though, if a large fraction of commuter vehicles are getting an effective 100 mpg instead of 20 mpg

Better to make a car that can go at least 100 miles as a pure electric vehicle, thus making the use of gasoline a RARE occurence instead of a daily occurence.
Sure, if you can just wave your magic wand and say "make it so". In the real world there are always tradeoffs. Batteries cost money & have weight, and the factories can only crank out so many. So if the batteries needed for a 100 mile range cost $10K and weigh 1000 lbs, and factory capacity is 1 million sets per year (just pulling some numbers out of the air - substitute your own if you like), what's the best way to use them to reduce overall fleet consumption. You can either make 1 million vehicles that have the 100 mile range, or you can make 4 million that cost $7500 less and weigh 750 lbs less. I'll argue that the second option will cut total gasoline consumption 2-3 times as much as the first, the exact number of course depending on trip length statistics.

...but when the oil runs to $1000 a barrel due to scarcity, electric may be our only practical replacement.
By increasing mileage dramatically we reduce demand, and alternatives such as ethanol & biodiesel become practical. Besides, it's not so much the cost per barrel, but the cost of filling your tank - the reason $4 gas doesn't affect me. It costs me $40 to fill up instead of $20, where the SUV driver went from $100 to $200: which puts a bigger dent in the paycheck?
 

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:idea: I'm going to say this only once because this is the solution to the lack of infrastructure problem keeping the Hydrogen cars back. :idea:

Honda dealerships are typically about 20 miles from each other. If someone has a Honda, they most likely live near one.

With that said, If every Honda dealership is required to have at least 1 hydrogen station, not only will people have a place to fill up, but it will continue to drive traffic and media attention to Honda and the dealerships.

End of story, period, the end.
 
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