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Is Everyone So Anti-EV?

6760 Views 49 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  boogetyboogety
I just downloaded those excellant 1 page Insight brochures from the "comments" thread, and was greatly impressed. However, one thing hit me like a hammer: the bold text proudly proclaiming "The car never needs to be plugged in". Am I the only one that sees this as a major disadvantage? We should not be hyping the fact that it cannot be plugged in, we should be maligning it. Evertime I give the "standard speech", and they ask if you have to plug it in, I always say "Unfortunately, I can't.". Which then leads to the discussion about why not being able to plug in is a major disadvantage, and how auto manufacturers should be striving for both pure electric vehicles, and true hybrids which CAN be plugged in...

Just a thought.
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Excellent post, Will M

When we have to choose between energy for air conditioning or for growing and distributing food, likely we will abandon air conditioning.
...but I and my Big D buddies will give up our a/c when they pry our hot, dead fingers off the thermostat... :lol:

...but point(s) well-taken. So many folks I meet have the same misconceptions about electric vehicles ("pollution-free!") and are now expecting hydrogen fuel cells to be right around the corner... siiiigh...

I've said before, we're not running out of energy... we ARE running out of CHEAP energy. There will always be some sort of fuel to power our vehicles, our homes, our offices. The free market will see to that. But instead of $25-a-barrel oil, it may be $90-a-barrel oil. Or some synthetic fuel we can't even imagine now (some guy in Podunk figures out how to get 98-octane fuel out of crabgrass combined with melted Lucite or some such madness)...

We can't do it all, but we can do a little bit each... our Insights are proof of that. It's like the old story of two buddies walking along the beach at low tide, surrounded by thousands of starfish dying on the sand. Once in a while, one guy would pick up a starfish and toss it back into the ocean, saving its life. Finally the other could stand it no longer, and said "why are you doing that? There are millions of starfish here. What difference do you think you're making?"

His friend replied, "well, it makes a difference to that starfish I just threw back in..." :wink:
 

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Excellent point, Armin...

Unfortunately, for years the point has been driven home that "next to your home, your auto is your biggest investment!" If you have the means, you buy the vehicle(s) you need. Most people feel they must have jack-of-all-trades vehicles, therefore they overspend on their transportation budget. I know a ton of people who own a car in Washington, DC, even though they could easily live without one: the Metro is faster, cheaper, and more useful, and if they need a vacation vehicle, they can rent one of their choosing... while saving $1,000s of dollars a year.

I shouldn't talk: we have several vehicles. I do not drive my 7-passenger Big *** Van when I have no clients or friends or other passengers to cart around. Once/twice a year when My Beloved and I get into the "road trip!" mode, and want to have room for luggage, smaller antiques, etc., this is what we normally drive. Other than that, it sits in my driveway.

I rent a pickup from Budget when I have to move something big from A to B. Don't need a pick-em-up 24/7.

I drive the Insight for my regular commute to-and-fro every chance I get. We have taken a long road trip or two in it, but it does limit our ability to bring stuff home (which is kind of the point for us).

Pretty weekends and parades, we put the top down on the New Beetle Convertible. Gotta have a toy, you know.

But I digress... why limit the Insight to ICE and/or IMA? Why not also add a body-shape solar panel on the roof? Minimal weight gain, no aerodynamic penalty to speak of, lots of free sunshine most of the time in most parts of the country... Honda could reduce the size of the IMA battery pack to make up for the slight extra weight... even allowing them to piggyback a smaller, redundant battery pack for the solar panel. Now you have a triple source of energy: ICE for a vast portion of a trip, battery power for the IMA from the batteries, AND the solar panel makes sure you don't run out of battery juice on long climbs, heavy acceleration, etc. ... ...

OK, I'll shut up now :wink:
 

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Right, Aaron...

The solar panel would charge a redundant battery pack (I thought I made that clear but maybe I didn't)... so the IMA could draw power from either pack... I also thought of using a big old mainspring, like on an old-timey Westclox clock, but the winding key sticking out of the top of the car would interfere with the aerodynamics :lol: ...
 

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Wow, great posts...

A lot of thought has gone into these replies, I shouldn't be surprised (the small universe of Insighters is obviously populated by more thoughtful, intelligent people... the kind of intelligence that gets better-paying, more technically-demanding jobs, and that leads one to consider and purchase a niche vehicle like an Insight). But I'm impressed nonetheless.

As the petro infrastructure is in place, and as any new fuel technology would compete with this infrastructure, market pressures and our never-ending demand for convenience would dictate that, for the near term, the gas station will trump any other form of fuel-delivery system. Yes, there are other alternatives on the horizon, but none can be rolled out nationwide in a small time frame. So. Making use of the gasoline engine, and improving its performance, is the way its going to be for a while.

Where does that leave EVs? el_vacho's dislike for any vehicle (not a slam, just an observation--I can almost see his point) leaves us with what... a bike? A Segway? Not a conceivable option for a family that needs transportation from point A to B to C to D on the same day. Life is complicated for most people, and an enclosed, weatherproof, intrusion-resistant transportation pod makes sense. This family scenario (a large percentage of the population) could only use an EV if the replenishment of its power source was as rapid and efficient as a fill-up at your friendly Shell.

I remember reading of a suggestion of replaceable battery packs being swapped out on the road, where you drive your EV 250 miles or so, pull into (say, again) a Shell, and your depleted pack is swapped out for a recharged one for a fee ~the price of a tank of gas. Five minutes tops. Again, the storage, inventory, transportation and upkeep of these battery packs would present a not insurmountable but not exactly an easy solution to the range problem.

I still think a battery pack (recharged as on the Insight by braking) along with a supplemental charging device (solar cells on the roof) providing power to an IMA to supplement the ICE would be a great idea. Why not the same for an EV? Slap ~30 sq. ft. (~5' X ~6') of solar panels on top of a sedan's roof, and use that "free" power to keep the batteries charged for a longer driving spell.

I truly don't think people "hate" EVs as much as they don't understand them (along with nukes). EVs are not the answer for me (or most people) at this point in history. I would be an early adopter if the inherent existing problems could be made to go away (my "three Rs: range, replenishment, reliability). There have been EVs since there have been automobiles, and there's a number of reasons they're not as common as Chevys at the start of the 21st century... many of which have been discussed in this and other fora. The solution is elusive, and until marketplace demands are satisfied, EVs will remain a very small fringe in the transportation universe. :cry:
 

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boogetyboogety wrote:
I still think a battery pack (recharged as on the Insight by braking) along with a supplemental charging device (solar cells on the roof) providing power to an IMA to supplement the ICE would be a great idea. Why not the same for an EV? Slap ~30 sq. ft. (~5' X ~6') of solar panels on top of a sedan's roof, and use that "free" power to keep the batteries charged for a longer driving spell.

Aaron Cake replied:
Because after spending several thousand dollars on solar cells, and sitting in the blazing sun for 8 hours, you would have enough power to move the car about 500 feet.
True, but... I don't want to move the vehicle on solar power alone. I understand the limitations... but our Insights don't run on battery power alone either, as you know: The batteries (the IMA) are there to enhance the performance of the ICE. Under heavy load (climbing a hill, for instance), eventually, our IMA batteries become exhausted and require recharging, leaving the ICE without the added power so thoughtfully provided by the IMA. In this situation, the solar panels would SUPPLEMENT the IMA batteries, providing fresh power to the IMA while the IMA batteries regenerated their charge, thus extending range. See the difference?

I don't think such events would be frequent enough to warrant the type of heavy-duty solar cells that would cost thousands of dollars. I think Honda could have them built into the roof of the car for a lot less than that, since they would be used only to recharge the supplemental battery pack I imagined.

A friend of mine had a lovely wife who would invariably run her car out of gas within a mile of the nearest service station twice or three times a year. He once seriously considered putting in a small riding lawnmower engine in the trunk of the car, and somehow hooking it up to the rear wheels (front-drive car) and plumbing the exhaust out of the storage area so when she ran out of gas, she would have a way of (a) getting the car off the road, (b) driving to a service station (albeit at <20-25 mph, with the flashers on), and (c) taking care of the problem without bothering him. He weighed the pros and cons, the cost, the complexity, and the alternatives (filling his wife's tank once in a while as a courtesy, for instance, as I humbly suggested), and abandoned the idea. But his life revolves around the belief that it's better to have a wild idea and tame it down to reality, than to have no ideas at all. It is my privilege and pleasure to have a beer with this man from time to time, my life is richer for it... :wink:
 
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