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Is Everyone So Anti-EV?

6755 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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not entirely convinced that EVs are so limited anymore. I mean, the EV1 could do 130 miles per charge. There is an electric Insight conversion that will run 280 miles on it's pack of Lithium-Ion batteries. For me, there are rarely days when I drive more then 280 miles. If I did, I would just take my gas car...EVs have their place, and for most of the population who drives 20 miles a day to work, it would more then suffice. Even backyard EV conversions can do 70 miles or so on regular lead-acid batteries.

But that's not really the point. While we all know the Insight cannot run on battery only, it's sort of annoying that the public is not being warmed up to plugging in their car. I recently spoke with someone who said "you plug in a hair dryer, not your car". This blew me away, especially when this person could not offer any justification against plugging in. I can only assume that they have been brainwashed.

As for the EV pullution issues, all those who believe that EVs simply "shift" the pollution should read this report:

http://www.princeton.edu/~bcjones/trans ... myths.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
james said:
Just skimmed through it, but notice the table about halfway down, where they compare an EV1 against an Acura 3.2 TL, and get 69 mpg-equivalant vs 24 mpg? But stick the Insight in there instead, and you get 69 vs 73 (about what I get), not to mention that I think they left out transmission system losses. So the Insight is better now (and I think could readily be improved by a third or so), and offers much greater range, acceleration, handling, etc. Of course for a completely fair comparison, you would have to find two vehicles with very nearly the same body style & performance.
True. That is the only basic problem with that report. But the way I see people drive, I cannot help to think that they must be getting WAY lower mileage then the manufacturer would claim. I know this to be true with my RX-7, but maybe that's a special case. At any rate, the short trip, stop and go can make even the cleanest gas car (ie. Insight) very dirty compared to an EV, where your electricity can come from any green source. Buy it from the grid, make it yourself, it's all electrons. :)

But it's nice to heard the EV supporters coming through. I would be curious to find if any of them are members of the EVDL? I've been a lurker since 1998, but can't really post due to lack of time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I do believe that EVs are more effective at exporting their pollution than they are at reducing it.
This is what everyone says to me, and but they cannot prove it. Electricity is as clean as the source that makes it. Even the dirtiest coal fired plant is much cleaner then the equivelant amount of gas cars running around.

as it recently did in NY and adjoining states
Don't forget Ontario. No power here for 28 hours. :)

The essential problem with electric vehicles is that the least expensive battery technology is also the most efficient battery technology in all areas except for portability. Lead acid batteries are more energy efficient than any other battery type, but they are heavy, and for portable applications that require as much kenetic energy as shoving a car around, lead acid batteries do not work well.
Since when are lead acid the most efficient battery type? I would also beg to differ about not working very well. Thousands of EVs are driven every day with good-old lead acid technology, and seem to be doing fine. Not that I am a fan of lead-acid of course. There are much better batteries out there. Lighter, that pack more AH then Pb cells.

More exotic battery chemistry is expensive, especially at the capacity levels required to drive a car hundreds of miles. Even with exotic batteries, the compromise is between capacity and weight.
The Li-Ion Insight I mentioned is only 200 LBs over stock. Just make a lighter car. Conversions suck. Sorry to say this, but taking a heavy gasser and throwing in an EV drivetrain is the wrong way to go. A car must be designed from the ground up to be a good EV. Much like, in my opinion anyway, the difference betwen the Insight (engineered) and the Prius (slapped together).

You are taking the strong points of both gas and electric technology and coordinating them in a way that complements the whole vehicle.
This is exactly the opposite of my opinion. :) The current hybrids represent the worst of both technologies. Small electric motors, small battery packs, small gas engines that still need maintenance, tuneups, have to pass emissions, etc. Only the Prius can drive electric-only, and that's after the combustion engine has warmed up. And short distances as well. Driving the Insight electric-only is a joke. 2KM of range, and you're still spinning over the ICE. What we need are hybrids with larger battery packs, larger motors, and smaller engines. Make something that will go 20 miles before starting the gas engine (easy to do) and we'll find that very few people are spinning over those pistons...

It doesn't make any sense to plug in a hybrid because the actual energy held in those batteries is not enough to move the car very far.
It makes perfect sense in a true hybrid, not the mild hybrids that we all drive.

Engineers have been trying to get EVs to work well for decades. They've been working on hybrids for a small chunk of one decade. If EVs were that much better than hybrids, it seems like they'd have better results by now.
EVs do work, and work well. EVs in use: golfcards, forklifts, lift trucks, milk floats, subway trains, trollys, scooters, etc. The EV1 was an amazing piece of machinery. It worked and worked well. Unfortunately, GM does not work so well...But that's another story. We have the technology now to build affordable 300 mile EVs. But no one will produce.

Meanwhile, the problem with fuel cells is that though in theory hydrogen is everywhere, in practice, getting that hydrogen in useful form requires a lot of energy, and the whole point here is to conserve energy. The fuel cell promoters seem to forget that.
I love fuel cells. We can make hydrogen as green as we want, just like electricity. It's only the auto-makers and oil companies that suggest we reform oil to get it.

They're actually destroying all the EV1's? That's a damn shame. I don't see how they could really get an accurate picture of the demand for the vehicle, since as I understand it, they were very difficult to get ahold of. A good many people who may have wanted one would just go the easy route and buy a dino burner out of convenience. And we're supposed to believe the current administration's energy policies, and ties to Detroit, have nothing to do with this.....
It's a very long story, but essentially GM built 1300 or so EV1s, then refused to sell them, only lease. And it was not easy to get a lease either. They then come out with press releases saying "EVs don't sell". Well duh, if you only lease them. As soon as CARB let up on GM, all EV1s were recalled and they are being crushed, disassembled, or rendered "inactive" and donated to museams/schools. GM had a waiting list 10,000 long, and they say there's no demand...

The basic problem is that batteries just don't offer anywhere the same energy density as gasoline or other fuels.
Very true. But most people only need that energy once and a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
No. The article you linked quoted a 96% reduction in HC's, 99% in CO, and 67% in NOx. It also quoted a 203% increase in SO2 (that's 3x as much) and a 122% increase in particulates (over 2x as much).
Ah, I admit that I wrote the original statement with figures that I only vaguely remembered hearing several years ago. But the point remains that electricity can be as green as you want it, or as dirty as you want it. We do not have the same choice with gasoline.

All of which are short range, low speed, usually operated within a very short distance of a charge point. And notice that many of them, like forklifts, are applications where battery weight is not a drawback - gas-powered forklifts often have hundreds of pounds of cast-iron weights bolted on
True. I was hoping nobody would notice. ;) However, look at the factory EVs. All have at least 80 miles of range, and are improving everytime the automakers are mandated into improving the technology. Ground-up designed EVs (unlike conversions) can be very efficient and long range. Of course, we have a chicken-egg problem. New batteries will offer long ranges (200M), but are fantastically expensive. The price will go down with mass production, but the auto makers won't mass produce because they don't want/think it's too expensive/think there's no demand/etc. Argh!

Hudrogen fuel cells suffer from the same kind of drawback that electric vehicles do: with current technology, there's no way to store the amount of energy needed without adding a lot of parasitic weight.
Quite true. But like anything else, throw a little R&D and some money at it, and we can solve these problems. The auto makers, however, are just not interested. That's what burns me.

Then there's the cost issue. The Insight battery pack costs a couple thousand, right? How many packs would be needed to drive a full-electric Insight for even 20 miles - 5, 10, 20, even more?[/quite]

Why would we be using Insight battery packs? Li-Ion is probably the best choice right now. Not sure the cost, but definitly cheaper then buying 5 Insight packs from Honda.

[quote:fwsp5sx1]
Good discussion; some good thoughts, Aaron Cake, but I must agree with and acknowledge the excellent arguments of Will M. You see, I look at things from the standpoint of one who loves the FREEDOM of taking VERY long trips, and having a near 1000 mile range, then refueling at some gas station in the middle of Nebraska at 2:30 a.m.!!
So do I. Grid-rechargable hybrids, however, compliment this. You have an EV around town, then a gas car for long trips. Or, keep a pure EV for short range, then take the hybrid on long trips. Lots of people have more then 1 car. In fact, many people around here have more then 2.

I have long thought about this idea: I believe that you could actually get better highway mpg with the Insight by completely getting rid of the whole IMA system (saving about 95 lbs) and having the gas engine only.
I sometimes wonder why Honda did not build a small engine, then turbocharge it.

I, for one, am GLAD you don't plug these things in, and I think burning a little petrol is far better than adding to your electric power bill.....
[/quote:fwsp5sx1]

Please look at an actual refuelling cost analasys before you make judgements like that. :) Last time I looked at the numbers, it cost about 2 cents on average to completely charge an "average" EV. Let's say that gets you 80 miles, and my Insight goes 800 miles between charges. I pay exactly $33 to fill it up from complete dead (drove into the gas station on IMA). EV seems quite a bit cheaper. This of course ignores maintenance such as oil changes, tuneups, battery replacement, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
But liquid-fueled cars don't have to run on gasoline. Conversion to e.g. ethanol/methanol is dead simple.
Now we have the same problem of gasoline. I'm not up on all my alternative fuels, but isn't "grain alcohol" (ethanol?) horribly inefficient? ie. Takes more energy to tend and harvest then it can produce.

I have a really cool idea.
Why dosen't a very large car manufacturer, say GM, build a family sized EV & lease it to people instead of selling!!!!!!!!!!!
This will never happen. GM built perhaps the best example of a factory EV that the world has seen, and is now crushing them all. It's a very long story. A Google search for "EV1" should turn most of it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
There are many good EV cost comparisons around. 17HP is way too much to be moving a car around....You probably want to calculate for around 5HP or so. Roughly 300W/Hr per mile is a good guess.

If we really want to get crazy, we look at all the other associated costs (batteries, tune ups for an ICE, oil cost, etc.) and find that currently, EVs are on par with ICEs for cost (on average). However, electricity can come from any (free) source, a choice that we don't have with other sources of fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Re: Wow, great posts...

boogetyboogety said:
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.
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. :)
 
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