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flunkysama said:
That's ignoring half the picture, eveyone seems to be forgetting that gas used = MPG * miles driven. Drive less and you will use less gas. We also need to get people to drive less.

Everyone here loves to brag about what great gas milage they are getting, but who here is bragging abouit how few miles they drive and how little gas they are actually using evey year.

Everyone ignores this because it's not something that can be fixed with tech. It requires a change in lifestyle and infrastructure. Our lifestyle is increasingly pushing us to drive more and more. Infrastructure is being built that requires us to drive further and more often. Almost everyone's dreamhouse located miles in the country, miles away from everything, miles from your job, schools, stores, etc. Which means you'll be driving all those extra miles for everything, wasting gas and polluting the air. (How dare I say that your dream is bad!)
Excellent point. I'm a firm believer that all cars are bad. Even ones utilizing some zero pollution based drive system. Cars are very dangerous, and the infrastructure they require is a detriment to social interaction. It used to be, before automobiles were so prevalent, that people would walk many places they needed to go. There were many bustling city markets where people would interact. This would lead to better understanding of one another, other people's perspectives and lifestyles. Now that we're all in cars, everyone else is out to get you. Everyone on the road is an idiot. You have to avoid them to be safe.

My other vehicle was a Trek 6000 mountain bike. Until it got stolen. :x
 

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As far as driving less, it will be harder to do in America because the general store is a thing of the past.

It used to be there were a lot of mom-and-pop stores very close to you, maybe within walking distance. Warehouse-sized stores like Walmart have put an end to many of these with their economies of scale. I read an article that Europe still has a lot of small store within walking distance. It's ironic that the concept of the warehouse-size store was first tried in France.
 

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"...something like 6 or 7 hp to maintain 55mph in stock form..."

Well, that's 55 mph. If I find a hill that I can coast down at a steady 55, I'll redo the calculations and see what the Insight does at that speed :)

"...and just like engineers weren't quite able to make the nuclear power thing work out as clean, safe and limitless as they thought..."

Actually, you know, they did. Unfortunately they came up against the immovable obstacles of public ignorance and hysteria: "Ohmigawd, it's nuclear! We're all gonna die!"

"...burn more coal in cleaner technologies..."

No, no, no! Do not burn coal. Even if you burn it in the cleanest imaginable technology, you are still releasing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is ultimately not real good for much of anything except certain thermophilic bacteria :)

The same argument, of course, applies as well to petroleum, which is why you need to move as much as possible into some sort of closed carbon cycle. Ethanol seems the most obvious way to do that. Now of course you can't simply grow all of it you need, but you can make a start. Then you can add things like for instance engineered bacteria or yeasts living off the waste heat of nuclear reactors, and producing ethanol as a by-product.

That's the long term, though. In the immediate future, I'd just like to see the world in a position where it doesn't have to kiss Arab butts lest they cut off the oil supply.

"Infrastructure is being built that requires us to drive further and more often. Almost everyone's dreamhouse located miles in the country, miles away from everything, miles from your job, schools, stores, etc."

Not true for me. I live in the country, I can do all the shopping and so on with one trip a week - less if I forego fresh fruits & such - and could do the bulk of my work by telecommuting. Doing all that wouldn't affect my total driving much, because most of is in fact done to get even further out, to the lakes, mountains, & desert where my real life takes place.
 

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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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In Japan they have legislation to protect the mom and pop stores from supermarkets. Supermarkets are rare but their is a mom and pop type store within a block. Another interesting note is the abundance of drink machines. They are everywhere even along country highways. Because the Refrigerator is so small many people buy their drinks for each meal from one of these vending machines. Also the cities are packed tighter and many people drive less than 4000 miles a year. Have fun, Rick
 
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Mass transit and lots of it. Light electric rail systems everywere. That's what we need. And electric commuter bus systems. I would not really have a problem with cars if they were non-polluting and nowhere near as prevalent as they currently are. Most of what makes them unsafe is the huge numbers of them, all trying to share the same space.

It would be fantastic if many of the interstates were replaced with long distance electric rail lines.

And in the city, public transportation should be the norm, not the exception. Cars were designed for the open road, not clogged city blocks.
 

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About three years ago, I saw an article of interest. Urban cars would get on a light rail track and basically on on auto-pilot. It's basically a compromise with mass transit. American cities outside the East Coast might go for this since their populations density is less.

To expand on the idea, make it a hybrid-only road or track. You drive onto the road, a toll-tag authorizes and charges you, the car is driving only on the electric motor.
 

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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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"It would be fantastic if many of the interstates were replaced with long distance electric rail lines."

Supplemented, yes. Replaced, no. What you don't consider is that the interstate also efficiently serves lots of points between A and B. A rail line would have to stop often to serve all these places, thus delaying all the passengers who don't want to get off at that particular point.

If you have enough people who want to go from A to B on a regular schedule, the rail makes sense for them. However, you still need something for all the other people who want/need to go random places at unscheduled times.
 

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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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