Electric cars are a pipe dream

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Syzygys, May 20, 2010.

  1. Believe Happy medium Valued Senior Member

    So star trek wins because...... oh wow this thread is long now that I got lost and thought it was ST vs SW lol
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  3. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    LOL, Yeah I stopped caring when I relies I was arguing the same points over and over again to the same people who refused to listen, I would provide evidence and everything but it's like I'm talking to the wall of an elevator.
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  5. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member


    That's funny, we have several makers putting out EVs and the government funded a heck of a lot of R&D and is putting in 5,000 EV charging stations (initial roll out in just 5 states) and is providing a $7,500 tax credit for EVs (there are a number of States offering incentives as well).

    As far as cars being produced:

    Besides the well known GM Volt and several Tesla models there is:


    I'm sure there's probably more....

    and I just checked the IEA figures and if you add up the Renewable energy produced by Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK (gives slightly higher population than US) they produce about 25% less Renewable Energy than that US does (2008 figures).

    US = 429,000 gigawatt hours to their 339,000 gigawatt hours.


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  7. X-Man2 We're under no illusions. Registered Senior Member

    Nothing impressive here the Volt is barely an EV,a measly 40 mile range.The Tesla is out of reach for the majority of the population given the price.The US has chosen to spend it's money mostly on oil wars rather than sinking the trillions into EV's,research and more renewables.Sure we have some EV start up's but they need customers to do business.

    "China attracted a record $54.4 billion in clean energy investments in 2010–a 39 percent increase over 2009 and equal to total global investment in 2004. Germany saw private investments double to $41.2 billion and was second in the G-20, up from third last year. The United States, which had maintained the top spot until 2008, fell another rung in 2010 to third with $34 billion in private clean energy investments.”

    The DOE loan guarantee program is at risk of being cut or reduced by Congress which is why 34 Cleantech CEOs have launched a rearguard effort to save the DOE Loan Guarantee.Budget cuts are the biggest reason.

    Each year the US will fall another 1 or 2 steps down the ladder vs other Countries unless something major turns it around.It's hard to imagine any good news coming to this arena especially with the likelihood of a coming recession or depression in the US.
  8. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Pretty funny, as the support for your claim that the US isn't going to do anything with Renewables anytime soon you post:

    So by your own admission clearly we have been doing a lot, but yes there is a global recession going on right now which has cut private investment (Mainly because actual DEMAND for electricity has dropped, making investing in any new generation drop as well), so yes our annual PRIVATE investment has temporarily dropped us to Second place in 2009 and now Third, but still $34 Billion annual private investment is not NOTHING and that ignores the fact that this is on top of years of the US making the largest investments per year or that there are also significant Federal and State investments and tax credits for Renewables.

    In the recent "Stimulus bill" for instance there was an additional $50 billion in direct spending and $20 billion in tax credits related to energy over the EXISTING energy budget and EVs and Renewables were a big part of that spending and almost all of the credits (if it wasn't renewables it was spending on efficiency/conservation).

    $11 billion for improvements to the electrical grid, much of that is to support Renewables.
    $2 billion for advanced battery technology
    $300 million funds state and municipal purchases of electric and hybrid cars. $300 million funds for Federal purchase of electric and hybrid cars
    A 10% tax credit for EV purchases
    A 50% credit to gas stations that install pumps for alternative fuels.
    $8.8 billion for energy research including $800 million for clean coal, $1.5 billion for Carbon Capture, $800 million for biomass, and $400 million for geothermal energy.

    On the tax side, it included $1.6 billion more in clean energy bonds ($2.4 Billion total)
    Renewable energy manufacturers get a 30% investment tax credit for new facilities not to mention the 30% tax credits to anyone who installs PV solar, thermal or Wind systems.

    So your characterization that we "aren't going to do ANYTHING" in the Renewable area is patently FALSE.

    As to the Volt being "barely an EV" because of its 40 mile range, that's preposterous. For a lot of motorists that covers most of their daily needs quite well and thus is an excellent transition vehicle design until the number of recharging stations are found in enough common destinations to make pure EVs practical. Even if a typical Volt user never recharges except at home they would still get 60% of their miles from the Grid, but over the next 10 years a lot more charging locations are going to be built, such that a reasonable estimate is that even the first year Volt buyers will probably get 80% or so of their miles from the grid over the life of the car. So NO, the Volt is clearly not "barely an EV". Indeed any Volt commuter who can recharge while at work will almost never need gas, except for cross country drives, something that will be something that pure EVs won't do well as long as the range remains short and recharging takes more than an hour back to full.


    You must have missed the new Tesla model which comes in at half the price of the original Sportster, and so at $50,000 it's in the price range of a lot more buyers particularly when you consider the savings of Electricity over gasoline.


    And the Ford and Chrysler models aren't "Start Ups".

    So to characterize the US as "not doing anything in EVs" is also patently false.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  9. X-Man2 We're under no illusions. Registered Senior Member

    Nothing impressive about the numbers you give,hell that's pocket change for the US compared to her other spendings.If the US was doing anything close to impressive they would be far ahead of the rest not falling behind year after year.

    No matter we cant expect much from the US when she is broke and heavily in debt.Of course even if she wasnt broke I'm not sure she would invest it wisely anyway.
  10. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Yes, 84 Billion dollars of funding IS impressive
    And no, it doesn't matter about the size of other spendings, that's a pointless red herring. We weren't number 1 in the world until 2008 because we weren't putting a HUGE amount of money into Renewables and it is simply ignorant to think that our current $84,000,000,000 dollars of funding is friggin pocket change.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  11. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, you are right on that, Arthur. It is what we need to do.
  12. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Latest U.S. sales totals for the Volt and the Leaf since launching late last year:
    •Volt: 1,536 (608 in March)
    •Leaf: 471 (298 in March)
  13. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

    So would seem to be growing in momentum. If there is a demand. To be defeatist and claim it is a pipe dream is a bit naive considering the ingenuity being ploughed into the technology.
  14. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Before we get too excited, lets put things into some perspective.
    Lets say that is 100 days of sales or 15.36 cars / day, but in March ~21 cars/day.
    First quarter had 88 days.

    182,870 / 88 = 2078.07 cars / day. Or even considering only the Volt's March sales, Chery is selling 100 times more per day than Volt.

    Summary: Volt sales are insignificant compared to even minor car company Chery.


    The real question is how many Volts /day does GM need to sell to cease losing money on the Volt? {Anyone know the answer?} Are there that many NEW buyers coming to the dealers each day who, being very green motivated, will pay about twice what they would pay for a comparable IC engine car for mainly in city use? (For long trips, the Volt is a heavy, expensive, IC engine car.)

    Volt has a little bit of a "catch 22" problem: If annual driven range is such that it is mainly an economical-to-use electric car, driven say 40 miles x350days = 14,000miles /year (or probably even less), then the IC engine car going only 14,000 miles, will at $4/gallon gas and 40mpg efficiency costs $1,400 for gas or have a operational cost of about $100 per month greater than the Volt. ($200 cost of annual electric power assumed.)

    If both Volt and the IC alternative are driven less, say 10,000 miles per year, of course the extra gas cost of the small in-town use IC car is less than $100 /month and the Volt is less attractive compared to it. (The extreme case - both only sit in the garage makes this very clear as the Volt's cost more to just sit there. Assuming annual for both of 14,000 miles (and "ONLY all electric" use for Volt) increases Volt's chance of making economic sense.)

    Let's assume the Volt cost $24,000 more than the small, mainly in town use, IC engine car. Let's say the dealer gives only a 5%/year loan, then on $24000 that is: $1200 each year or $100 /month in interest cost while loan is being repiad. Wipes out the monthly saving. Thus the saving of $0 per month NEVER repays the loan - the extra cost of the Volt. (The Volt owner will pay off the loan from his pocket, not from the $0/ month savings.)

    Until the loan is paid off, say in three years, at about $800/ month including the interest, the Volt owner has less to spend on other things. Then after the three year of less to spend each month, the Volt owner does start to get the $100/ month savings. So in something like 12 to 18 years from purchase he is back even as far as cash in his pocket is concerned, compared to the small IC car buyer, who during these three loan-pay-back years, was investing $800/ month from his pocket instead instead of paying off a loan. His three years of investing $800 per month ($28,800 total) will at least double before the $100/ month saving equals them in 12 to 18 years.)

    Summary for the used in city 40 miles per day case: There is no net saving for the Volt, unless gas prices go above $4/gallon.

    Summary for the used 80 miles per day, on average, case:Now for half the miles the Volt is an IC engine car, so for the extra 40 miles/day there is also no savings. Probably a slightly greater loss per day as in the IC mode, the Volt is hauling around a lot of battery weight, and a heavier, more complex drive system than the light weight small "city car," which like the Volt can be used for long trips too.

    FINAL SUMMARYChoosing a Volt gives owner a "warm fuzzy feeling" of doing the right thing, but lacks much economic justification unless gas prices increase significantly more than $4/gallon; but in that case, a natural gas powered IC engine car is the economic choice for cars in the US for several decades. There are many times more natural gas re-fill station than recharge stations and that will be true for decades as natural gas powered cars become more attractive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2011
  15. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Both of these cars are only being offered in limited markets and quantities to start with. Most dealers don't even have demos of the cars yet because neither car maker wants that many of these totally new cars on the road until they can be staffed to fix/maintain them. There is a LOT going on behind the scenes in the roll out of these totally new vehicles and so just like Toyota kept Prius sales down to start with you can't judge demand by these early sales volumes.

    Don't know how many they have to sell in total and per year to make this profitable for GM, but that's not an immediate problem (GE said they would be buying 12,000 of them by the way) but your assertion about it being a heavy expensive IC engine car is not accurate, in GAS mode it gets a very respectable 37 mpg combined city/highway.

    Indeed, the EPA driving cycle suggests that if you drive it 60 miles per day (which is fairly typical) and only charge at night, then you will get the equiv of 89 MPG, which is very good.

    Except Billy the market for the car isn't for people who only drive 40 miles per day.

    Except you presume that Volt owners won't be able to charge on the go, and they will. Indeed over the 6 to 10 years someone owns a Volt a LOT more charging stations will become available, and here's the thing Billy, the Volt will be much more attractive to people who know that they CAN recharge their Volt at their work place or during their normal use.


    Big OOPS in your logic there.

    There is only one Natural gas car being sold in the US Billy and that's a small Honda GX that goes for $27,000 and there are far more electric recharge stations being planned for the next few years than there are NG stations, so no, NG at this time is really not a very practical choice in the US.

    http://www.cngprices.com/ (lots of these stations aren't open to public, many aren't operational)


  16. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

    When internal combustion engine powered cars started up the sales were unconvincing as well (maybe for differing reasons, but regardless they grew). The fact there is a differing technology already in existence will not prevent development. With governmental and big-business support electric car tech can only flourish (would be a lot further along if it wasn't for the greed (forced stunting of the electric car industry) and ease of oil).

    This technology is still very much in development. Do you suggest humans should simply give up on electric car tech? The insights that developing electrical technology will deliver could be a fundamental player in a future fusion of more globally aware energy uses. Can we afford to simply wait when developing technology is the only way to move forward? Do you think a spreading a pessimistic stance helps or hinders the discovery/invention of more advanced tech?

    Too excited? Too DEFEATIST.
  17. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I did not read because I know most of night time power is base load power - often nuclear with zero CO2 pollution and certainly none is "wasted." What do you imagine? That they have big banks of electrical resistors to waste energy in? How is it "wasted"? Actually even the distribution system becomes more efficient. For example when supplying only half the power (half the current as Voltage is not changed) the RI^2 loss drop by 75%.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2011
  19. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I assumed that so the Volt, running only on recharged batteries, would have the best chance of economically competing with the small in-town use IC engine car. I was not saying that the Volt could only go 40 miles
    No; My logic includes the natural gas car alternative. You logic ignores that, so is probably false logic.

    I doubt there will ever be as many open road recharge station as there are natural gas refill stations. (More soon on your ignoring the NG alternative). NG is used to fill trailer/ camper cook stove tanks, etc as well as car tanks.

    For efficient electric power trips between cities, you will need the spacing between recharge points to be 60 miles or less and who wants to stop for many hours every 60 miles of so? - Answer: No one. So it is just an IC engine car on these trips. This being true, why would there ever be a grid of recharge station built every 60 miles or so? BTW, that time to charge problem is why simple minded people have suggested the totally impractical (again due to capital cost and need for only one type/ geometry of battery) battery swap system.

    In my opinion the Volt's economic advantage is ONLY valid for use in the city, and at present only for either total trip of less than 40 miles or with 7 hour recharge at your work place as you suggest for <80 miles of daily use.
    "Planned" and "Built" are two different things. True, the commercially sold NG car is also in the start up phase but also true that many gasoline cars have been or can be cheaply converted to NG. A lab technician in my old APL group drove more than 100 miles just for work 5 days /week. - He installed an NG conversion kit, ~50 years ago. He had NG heating in his home and made his own filling station with small pump. Total cost of everything < $500.

    The capital cost of US switching (by conversion of existing cars,which is- impossible for switching to the EV car system) is at least 10 times less than switching to EV cars. Also NG cars are a very proven mass use system, just not yet much used in the US. At least 25% of all "gas stations" in Sao Paulo offer NG.

    I am sure the US could afford to switch to NG cars, (less than $500 /per switched car) in five years, but think it cannot switch to EV cars - too much capital required. The US is too broke to afford $40,000 per switched car even if the switch is completed in 20 years.

    SUMMARY: It is not logical to ignore, the much cheaper and well proven by decades of use, NG car, especially now that NG is falling in price and dramatically growing in proven supply (100 years or so). Switching car types is a cost conscious new task the US must do. EVs are not going to be the winner - too capital intensive a switch and zero long term history.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2011
  20. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    What Natural gas car alternative?
    There is only one CNG car available for sale in the US and then only to residents of California, NY, OK and Utah (only states where GX is available, Honda says they are going to expand the market this fall) and over the 12 years they have been selling them they have only sold 12,000, mostly to FLEET owners, so no they aren't making a big splash in the US market.

    But the Volt dosen't need an open road recharge station, and battery powered cars will likely never be used for intercity transportaion. So no one really expects there to be a lot of open road recharge stations. What we will have though is recharging outlets where people normally park for several hours at a time. Work, Malls, Recreation areas, Govt Buildings etc.

    While most driving is almost always done locally, the advantage of the Volt is you can drive it intercity if you need to with no need to worry about recharging. Initial buyers of the Volt will likely be a high percent of people who do have the ability to recharge at their normal commute locations though (just logical), and of course over the next few years that number will only increase as more and more recharging stations are built.

    Conversions are not likely to ever be a big percent of our market, you void your warranty by doing so.

    We'll see, but right now I'm not seeing any move towards this in the US at least.

  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Probably true now that warranty would be voided (unless one of the conversion kit companies does the job and assumes it.)

    I see no reason why Ford, etc. can not offer a conversion with continued warranty. -Not much demand for that yet, but there will be when driving on NG is less than half the cost per mile driven.

    You are good at getting facts. How much energy can you buy for $10 of NG vs. $10 Gasoline? When the answer to that is more than twice a much, AND WELL KNOWN, many will be demanding Ford, et. al. make warranted conversion. The US government can FULLY pay for 15 (or more) conversions instead of one $7,500 electric car subsidy and reduce imported oil balance of payments problems 15 times more for the same cost!

    It will happen when the government and people wake up to fact NG cars are in wide use outside of the US as they are cheaper (far much so if compared to an EV) and less polluting than gasoline with much less CO2 release per mile driven. Switching the US to NG car's well proven technology in five years is both feasible and would go a long way towards ending the balance of payments deficits. Battery cars cannot do that in 10 years and would require more than ten times the capital investment!

    There is a limit on even government stupidity, I think, in what it subsidies.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2011
  22. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    The problem is pretty simple:

    Here's the CNG version of the Civic that costs $25,000 and gets ~28 MPGe


    Here's the Gas version of the Civic and it costs $15,000 and gets ~28 MPG


    Here's the Hybrid version of the Civic and it costs $24,000 and gets 41 MPG

    So, even at half the price of NG vs Gas (per mile) after paying the $10,000 premium for NG you would have to drive 150,000 miles in the normal Civic before you start saving money with the NG version. That's a LOT of miles.

    The CNG version is a bit better deal than the Hybrid, but probably not enough to make up for the problem most buyers would have with finding CNG.

    So currently this is why CNG isn't overly attractive to car buyers.

  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Any car produced in small volume (i.e. the NG Civic version) will cost a lot more. - your point not valid, if based only on the higher cost of the NG version.

    More importantly, and still ignored by you, is that for cost of one $7,500 EV subsidy at least 15 EXISTING CARS could be converted at zero cost to their owners to run on much cheaper per mile driven, domestic NG with 15 or more times the reduction in the balance of payments losses.

    I don't expect either the NG Honda Civic or the GM Volt can replace a significant part of US oil imports even in 10 years, but if the government were serious about getting COMPLETELY off the Arab's oil tit, it could be done in five years by converting most existing US cars to use NG.

    It is a diversionary "red herring" to bring up the small sales volume or the high cost of the NG Civic, when that has NOTHING to do with what I am suggesting - convert all existing IC cars to use NG in five years.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2011

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