# Who killed the Electric Car?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by moementum7, Aug 10, 2006.

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1. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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Could be, but I like the idea tested in Sweden a decade or so ago (never heard the final POV) of no over head wires. Instead a "light post" with contacts at each (or most) regular stops. The urban bus has small modern high energy density flywheel that is soaking up energy while the passengers get on and off. Bus keeps a fixed schedule with any extra charging time needed at end of the line, or transfer points where several buses met and wait for each other etc. also used for energy storage.

I do not remember details, but am nearly sure the Swedish bus had a simple heavy iron flywheel, not a modern one of high-strength radial fibers spinning in a vacuum at very high speed. A modern bus-sized flywheel can store at least 10 times more energy per pound, even when the vacuum housing weight is considered than an old iron one. Perhaps recharge only at the ends of the line while driver gets his "coffee break"? (A modern flywheel can "run rings around"

the energy density stored in a chemical battery.)

I do not know why there is so little consideration of them for urban public transport. Seems like just the type of high tech approach that should appeal in the US. Here in Brazil we still, in small cities, extensively use the very efficient, grass-powered system, you call in English "horse and buggy"

3. ### CarcanoValued Senior Member

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Might have something to do with the gyro effect during pitch changes.

I wonder about the energy density though.
How many miles could you get out of the best flywheel the size of a car engine?

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I'm not going to bother reading through this whole, long thread so pardon me if this has already been said. The answer to the question isn't a "who", it's a "what." And the answer is quite simple - battery technology was not good enough but is starting to come colse now.

7. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Read-only, you sound ignorant on the subject. Battery technology was pretty decent, it was the autoindustry that killed the electric car....

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Not at all. In fact, I spent quite a bit of time working with various types of storage batteries. The primary problem is one of energy density (available energy per pound of battery) and that's what's on the current edge of being solved.

Perhaps a bit more of basic research on your part would be in order?

9. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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Electric cars were able to run 100 miles with one charge even back in 1995, so that was plenty for commuters. They still haven't caught on.

Watch the movie if you want to know why....

10. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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First of all, the statement "hundreds of kilowatts in under ten minutes" does not make any sense. They're talking about kilowatts as if they were a unit of energy, rather than a unit of power.

Second, I wish people would stop posting every wild press release that some no-name company spits out. Companies will say virtually anything in a press release, especially if they're trying to dig up new investors. Let me know when these companies are actually selling a product, not just yelling to the media about how they plan to potentially introduce a revolutionary new product/technology that's almost ready.

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It was a car that only had two seats, only had a 100 mile range, took eight hours to charge, and cost $38,000. You don't need to resort to conspiracy theories to explain why it didn't catch on. Last edited: Apr 27, 2007 12. ### Free_Matt_417The CIA took my baby awayRegistered Senior Member Messages: 337 I would like to bring to the table, Flubber. Thats the reason the electric car never made it back then, bad mid-90's family movies featuring robin williams, green goo, and sexual flying robots. 13. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member Messages: 23,198 I think the urban bus in a city with insignificant hills is the best mobile application for supper flywheel. Then simple "rubber gymbal pads" would work, I think. Regenerative breaking should of course be used. I.e. the flywheel energy generates electric energy for wheel motors that can become generators when braking to reverse the energy flow back into the flywheel. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel_energy_storage ( 500J/g energy density with 90% recovery of the charging energy. - both much better than any battery. ) For cars, I suggest an alcohol fuel in IC engine, but we need to move most people inside the city in public transport. The original energy of public transport should be electrical from nuclear or hydro, if available. Economics often makes them run at full capacity, so are most economical if fully loaded all the time as "based load" suppliers, but they certainly can adjust their output to met demand, much better than solar of wind. Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2007 14. ### ZephyrHumans are ONERegistered Senior Member Messages: 3,371 Wikipedia says it was Switzerland, not Sweden: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel_energy_storage I wondered about the gyroscope effect myself, but the article says you can cancel it out by using two flywheels (with opposite angular momentum vectors?) if the axle is strong enough to withstand the forces. 15. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member Messages: 12,671 Or not. I was at a carshow in Frankfurt circa 1994 and there was a I think Mercedes. Looked like a normal car but it had a plug in instead of a fillup opening... 16. ### NasorValued Senior Member Messages: 6,230 We were talking about the EV-1. 17. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member Messages: 12,671 Apparently, GM killed the electric cars, literally CRUSHING them: Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! "A large part of the film accounts for GM's efforts to demonstrate to California that there was no demand for their product, and then to take back every EV1 and dispose of them. A few were disabled and given to museums and universities, but almost all were found to have been crushed; GM never responded to the EV drivers' offer to pay the residual lease value ($1.9 million was offered for the remaining 79 cars in Burbank before they were crushed). Several activists are shown being arrested in the protest that attempted to block the GM car carriers taking the remaining EV1s off to be crushed."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Killed_the_Electric_Car?

18. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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GM claimed that they couldn't sell the cars because they didn't meet NHTSB standards, so they couldn't legally be sold. The small number that they put on the road had to be classified as "experimental vehicles," which meant that they could only be leased rather than sold. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's certainly believable for such a lightweight, tiny car.

19. ### SyzygysAs a mother, I am telling youValued Senior Member

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For sure in the mid-90s the consumer wasn't ready at least not in the USA for the electric car. I assume in Europe where distances are shorter and gas is more expensive, it was more feasable to tinker with it.

"During the 1994 American Tour de Sol from New York City to Philadelphia, a 1994 Solectria Geo Metro cruised over 200 miles on a single charge using Ovonic nickel metal hydride batteries."

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That is correct. I read an article about it in Car & Driver magazine back then but can't locate it online. There were a few very important things left out of the article you linked to. One is the fact that metal hydride batteries are VERY expensive and estimates at the time put that Geo Metro at about \$60,000. Also, it contained no heater or air conditioner. So, all in all, it's little wonder it never went into commercial production - no one would have bought it.

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22. ### weed_eater_guyIt ain't broke, don't fix it!Registered Senior Member

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I've worked with NiMHs and Li-polies alot in my group that makes competition radio-controlled aircraft. We have a 6 pound plane with 3 pounds of NiMHs, and we suck those things BONE DRY within four minutes of half-throttle usage. Gas planes of equivalent performance and engine/plane weight ratios I havn't worked with, but apparently are able to do much, much better flight times than this, and make even more power.

Gas is cheaper and much more functional than batteries as a portable fuel source for vehicles, at least this is what I learned from my experience.