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You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

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  • You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

    The horse(s) win.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/c...tagecoach.html

    In its obsessive desire to promote the virtues of electric cars, the BBC proudly showed us last week how its reporter Brian Milligan was able to drive an electric Mini from London to Edinburgh in a mere four days – with nine stops of up to 10 hours to recharge the batteries (with electricity from fossil fuels).

    What the BBC omitted to tell us was that in the 1830s, a stagecoach was able to make the same journey in half the time, with two days and nights of continuous driving. This did require 50 stops to change horses, but each of these took only two minutes, giving a total stopping time of just over an hour and a half.

    Considering that horse power was carbon-free, emitting only organic fertiliser along the way, isn’t it time the eco-conscious BBC became more technologically savvy?

  • #2
    Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

    Originally posted by c1ue View Post
    The electric car pays if you know how to invest.
    http://www1.eere.energy.gov/commerci...?news_id=16633
    January 7, 2011
    "The licensing agreement with LG Chem concretely illustrates the key role that DOE national laboratories like Argonne play in the manufacturing supply chain in the United States," said Eric Isaacs, Argonne director and president of UChicago Argonne, LLC, a wholly owned laboratory management subsidiary of the University of Chicago. "The development of this cathode material is the result of research performed by a multidisciplinary team of world-class scientists based at Argonne." "It is especially gratifying to know that the commercialization of this Argonne-cathode is helping the development of an emerging U.S. battery manufacturing industry, as well as the creation of new American jobs," said Jeff Chamberlain, who heads Argonne's Energy Storage Initiative. LG Chem Michigan, Inc. (LGCMI), a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Chem, will manufacture Li-ion polymer battery cells for the Chevy Volt at a Recovery Act-funded $303 million production facility under construction in Holland, Mich.

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    • #3
      Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

      January 15, 2011

      Renault Fires 2 Men Accused of Selling Corporate Secrets About Electric Vehicles

      By DAVID JOLLY

      PARIS — Renault has formally fired two of the men it has accused of espionage, their lawyers said Saturday.

      The two men — Michel Balthazard, formerly a member of the Renault management committee and a top official of the company’s electric car program, and his subordinate Bertrand Rochette — both received termination notices Saturday, the lawyers said.

      Mr. Balthazard’s lawyer, Xavier Thouvenin, said, “The letter basically says: ‘You received a substantial sum of money from a foreign source, leading us to the conviction that you have given what is probably strategic information in exchange.’ ”

      “The word ‘conviction’ is very important to me,” Mr. Thouvenin said. “They’re saying: ‘We found out you have money, therefore you must have sold information. But that’s a long way from saying they have proof that he did something wrong.”

      Caroline de Gezelle, a spokeswoman for Renault, said the company had no comment.
      A third man, Matthieu Tenenbaum, a former deputy director of Renault’s electric vehicle program, has not received a letter, his lawyer, Thibault de Montbrial, said. All three men have strongly proclaimed their innocence, and both Mr. Thouvenin and Mr. de Montbrial said their clients were planning to sue Renault for wrongful dismissal.

      The three men were suspended Jan. 3, after an internal investigation that Renault said revealed espionage aimed at the secrets of its electric vehicle program. The company filed a criminal complaint Thursday with Paris prosecutors alleging that it was the victim of “organized industrial espionage, corruption, breach of trust, theft and concealment.” The complaint does not name the three men and asserts the involvement of a foreign company, which it does not identify.

      Mr. Balthazard’s termination letter also “clearly specifies” that the investigation, which started in August, was begun on the basis of an anonymous letter, Mr. Thouvenin said.

      Mr. Rochette’s lawyer, Christian Charrière-Bournazel, confirmed that his client had received a letter but did not discuss it further. While French officials have confirmed on background that investigators are following a lead related to China, they have publicly been at pains to say they are not accusing any particular country. The Chinese government has flatly denied any connection to the matter.

      Renault and its Japanese affiliate Nissan are spending four billion euros to develop a full range of electric vehicles in a quest to establish industry leadership in the burgeoning technology. Patrick Pélata, Renault’s chief operating officer, said last week that some information on vehicle architecture, pricing and the business plan might have been leaked, but that no crucial technology had been passed outside the company.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/bu...20theft&st=cse

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      • #4
        Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

        Where in the world is electric-power cheap? That is the question because that is what the plug-in electric car really is about: cheap and abundant electric-power delivered on a grid.

        Yes, France has atomic energy, but what does electric power now cost in France, and where in France? Everywhere?

        Do China or India have cheap on-the-grid electricity?

        And what do these new electric vehicles cost? Even more important: How reliable are they? What is their depreciation (re-sale value) after ten years or fifteen years of driving? Parts costs? Repair costs?

        Yes, Saudi-Arabia has oil. Yes, the Middle-East has oil. So, we are back to square-one.

        Yes, one can purchase a hybrid, but they aren't cheap to buy. And then they burn some fossil-fuel, too. Also, what are the reliability and re-sale costs of hybrids? Repair costs? Parts costs?

        Back to square-one, again...........

        Electric cars would have been a great option if we had done our homework---- after 1969, that is to say, after Woodstock.
        If we would have constructed atomic-power plants everywhere, and if we would have built hydro-electric dams everywhere, then electric plug-in vehicles would have been a great option. But the pot-heads took-over. And so, here we are now........

        But we will dig-out of this mess, one way or the other.

        We have abundant natural-gas. Let's begin there. That nat-gas buys us time.........a bit of time. Nat-gas is the transition fuel to atomic energy, on-the-grid, everywhere. Then electric cars become a viable option. Then we go electric.
        Last edited by Starving Steve; 01-16-11, 02:10 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

          Our family rarely buys new......we bought a 2nd hand Prius for my wife 3 years ago and it's still going strong....other than petrol, oil changes, and one set of tires it's only needed a horn cable we were able to purchase 2nd hand(rather than the $900 from the dealer) cable.

          I'm a fan of the Prius......2nd hand.

          We're looking for another 2nd hand one now.

          But I reckon the future is in far lighter cars(carbon fibre maybe?) using small fuel efficient diesels...or diesel hybrids.

          When's the carbon fibre tech going to trickle down from the likes of F1?

          Can't a car be made that weights 1500 pounds empty that can carry a family of 4/5 at 100mpg to a reasonable safety standard.....bar getting T-boned by a Ford Excursion?

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          • #6
            Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

            Hybrids are the only cars that make long range sense. Electric cars owners are enjoying a brief sliver of state-sponsored cheap recharging, as SS suggests.

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            • #7
              Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

              The BBC has aired some real electric car bashing stuff. Top Gear, a popular show in the UK, aired an electric car episode with the Tesla Roadster and the Honda Clarity. The Roadster is battery powered; one segment of the episode showed them pushing a car to demonstrate what might happen if the batteries died (not that the batteries died). The Clarity is hydrogen powered and the segment was shot in California; it got a rave review despite the fact that there are few places on the planet to fill up the thing.

              The Mini-E used in the poorly planned BBC stunt is a prototype. A Roadster left London two days after the Mini-E and 18 hours later beat it to Edinburgh. http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/...o-the-distance

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              • #8
                Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

                I'm not saying an electric car can never work - I merely point out that at present the technology sucks.

                In fact the entire paradigm at present is wrong.

                1) Electric use in the United States is a progressive charge. Those using more than 'normal' get charged 3x or more than the 'base usage'.

                Clearly this is an issue for conversion to all electric vehicles

                2) Recharging: lithium ion batteries hold lots of juice, but the downside for ongoing use is slow recharge. Sure, theoretically you could have gas stations switch out entire battery packs, but then the gas station is the one taking the battery 'memory' risk as well as battery model inventory risk, electricity demand risk, etc etc.

                3) Transportation in general is going to be skewed forever by relative weight. In a combustion engine, there are real limits to how low the weight of the vehicle can go due to the engine.

                However, electric vehicles have a much lower relative theoretical weight. The problem is that so long as both combustion and electric vehicles coexist - the electric vehicles are going to be deathtraps.

                If an SUV in a collision with a normal car yields 10 to 1 fatality/injury ratios (or higher), it only gets worse if you have an electric vehicle which is 1/2 the weight of a normal car.

                As for the Roadster - I think any vehicle which costs $100,000 isn't a good comparison. For that money you might as well build a solar plane.

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                • #9
                  Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

                  Originally posted by Starving Steve View Post
                  Where in the world is electric-power cheap?
                  Well, it's not bad down here in North Texas, at 10 cents per kwh.

                  However I will allow as how I can't quite see my neighbors trading in their Ford F150 pickups for a Renault electric anytime soon.
                  Most folks are good; a few aren't.

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                  • #10
                    Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

                    ASU's MAIL Battery might change the game significantly:

                    The Future of Electric Vehicles and Arizona State University’s MAIL Battery

                    By oareand
                    Created 08/11/2010 - 3:26pm
                    Submitted by Andy Oare [1] on August 11, 2010 - 3:26pm

                    Electric Vehicles are becoming a reality. Last month, the President got behind the wheel [2] of a Chevy Volt in Michigan, and traveled to Smith Electric’s [3] new electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Kansas City. And a few weeks ago, the Department of Energy hosted an Electric Vehicle Cities Workshop [4] – putting the minds of government officials, automotive industry representatives, and electric vehicle technology innovators all together in the same room.

                    One of those potentially revolutionary innovations is the Metal Air Ionic Liquid (MAIL) Battery [5] – an ARPA-E [5] funded project out of Arizona State.

                    Electric Vehicles (or EVs) are very different than cars as we know them. Rather than having a car with an engine, a gas tank, and a small battery to start the engine, an EV is a singular unit with electric motors driving the wheels full time, entirely replacing the engine and gas tank. In between the EV and regular cars is the increasingly ubiquitous hybrid (such as the Toyota Prius [6]), which is essentially two cars in one – a normal gasoline-powered car engine supplemented by a short-range electric battery and electric motors to help move the car forward (about 2 miles). The primary benefit of the hybrid’s electric battery is that the electric battery is able to recapture forward motion while braking.

                    EVs on the market today, such as the Volt and the Nissan Leaf [7], have ranges of 40 miles and 100 miles respectively before recharging is necessary (recharging usually takes about 8 hours). In contrast, your average gasoline-powered car averages about 300 miles before it is time to fill up the tank. This huge disparity is the key weakness for today’s EVs, and in fact the Volt in particular has a gasoline powered generator to recharge the motor to allow for distances greater than 40 miles. The goal is to build a cost-effective EV with at least a comparable range to gasoline-powered vehicles – or better.

                    Enter Dr. Cody Friesen, his team at Arizona State University, and a $5 million Recovery Act grant. Their MAIL battery project seeks to create an ultra high-energy density and ultra low-cost battery technology that uses only earth-abundant materials. In other words, Dr. Friesen’s team is working to create the best ionic liquid (which stores the energy in the battery) with the ability to recharge at least 1000 times and a low cost due to its composition of only domestically-sourced, earth abundant materials. Using domestically-sourced materials becomes especially important with the key component of current electric batteries being lithium – which is only found in three places in the world in any significant amounts (China, Bolivia, and recently in Afghanistan [8]). A transition from gasoline to electric batteries is hardly beneficial if the U.S. is merely trading one foreign dependency for another.

                    If Dr. Friesen’s team is successful, you could be driving an EV with a range approaching 1000 miles and with the cost of recharging only about 1/10th of the cost of filling up a tank of gas. You could recharge your EV at night or visit a recharging station, where you could replace the ionic liquid in the EV battery. It would be a radical shift in transportation as we know it.

                    Andy Oare is a New Media Specialist with the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Energy.
                    In the meantime, my 150cc il Bello scooter can reach 65 mph (although I don't go that fast) and gets 84 mpg.

                    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

                      Originally posted by c1ue View Post
                      I'm not saying an electric car can never work - I merely point out that at present the technology sucks.

                      Electric cars will never work without fossil fuels. Life has evolved over billions of years to efficiently use solar energy. Any solar technology (or solar technology derivative like wind and hydro) will never be as efficient. Solar tech is basically a big energy wasting Rube Goldberg machine. Horses are as good as it gets.

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                      • #12
                        Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

                        Originally posted by c1ue View Post
                        I'm not saying an electric car can never work - I merely point out that at present the technology sucks.
                        Heh...yeah, it's early on. Too expensive, too early to know how long batteries really last. At least there is some tangible progress.

                        ...
                        1) Electric use in the United States is a progressive charge. Those using more than 'normal' get charged 3x or more than the 'base usage'.
                        Think this depends on where you are. Ultimately it depends on how it compares to gasoline prices.

                        2) Recharging: lithium ion batteries hold lots of juice, but the downside for ongoing use is slow recharge. Sure, theoretically you could have gas stations switch out entire battery packs, but then the gas station is the one taking the battery 'memory' risk as well as battery model inventory risk, electricity demand risk, etc etc.
                        Whoa...slow down there. If the driver of an all electric going on a trip the will require a charge, planning would help, which apparently the BBC couldn't be bothered with. Today doing an EV battery swap isn't practical.

                        I for one don't have any problem with the idea of plugging in my car every night.

                        3) Transportation in general is going to be skewed forever by relative weight. In a combustion engine, there are real limits to how low the weight of the vehicle can go due to the engine.

                        However, electric vehicles have a much lower relative theoretical weight. The problem is that so long as both combustion and electric vehicles coexist - the electric vehicles are going to be deathtraps.
                        I'm afraid you're quite confused here. Electric vehicles are much heavier than gasoline powered ones. Batteries are extremely heavy; about 1/3 of the weight of a Roadster is its Energy Storage System. (One Roadster owner gave up his 4WD Audi because the Roadster does better in snow.)

                        Deathtraps? How well does gasoline burn?

                        As for the Roadster - I think any vehicle which costs $100,000 isn't a good comparison. For that money you might as well build a solar plane.
                        Comparing a prototype with a production car is an equally bad idea.

                        The Roadster is a really expensive car. However the Roadster needs to pay for itself - the Volt, Leaf and Mini-E do not. And does anyone think those cars would exist if the Roadster didn't exist?

                        Doubt a solar plane could be built for $100k. Maybe someone at http://www.solarimpulse.com knows...but for I think they'd be reluctant to say anything.

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                        • #13
                          Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

                          Originally posted by don View Post
                          Hybrids are the only cars that make long range sense...
                          You have got to be joking.

                          Use a hybrid for an extended long range trip at highway speeds and all the work comes from the increasingly larger gasoline engines they put in those things. The gasoline engine in the current Prius is larger than the last generation Prius, and also bigger than the first VW car I bought as a student [and that car didn't benefit from fuel injection, variable valve timing and all manner of other improvements that pump the output of modern engines].

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                          • #14
                            Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

                            Originally posted by c1ue View Post
                            My only question is whether the driver ditches his fellow Imperial College student in the right seat when he wants to pick up chicks??? They ran this thing the length of North America starting in Alaska.

                            Imperial’s electric super car adventure is made into a documentary

                            Fourteen countries in 140 days, 26,000 kilometres on the road and hundreds of hours of footage – a documentary about the journey made by the Racing Green Endurance team reveals an epic adventure of how an Imperial engineered all-electric car travelled the Pan-American Highway.

                            22 December 2010

                            As Imperial alumni and students of the Racing Green Endurance team sped the length of the Pan-American Highway, a film maker followed their every move. Claudio von Planta was originally approached to carry out some filming of the journey by Alex Schey, the team’s project manager and Mechanical Engineering undergraduate. Alex had evaluated the skills of various documentary makers before settling on Claudio...

                            More about the team and the car here: http://www.racinggreenendurance.com/technology.php

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                            • #15
                              Re: You've come a long way, baby: the electric car vs. the horse

                              Originally posted by GRG55 View Post
                              You have got to be joking.

                              Use a hybrid for an extended long range trip at highway speeds and all the work comes from the increasingly larger gasoline engines they put in those things. The gasoline engine in the current Prius is larger than the last generation Prius, and also bigger than the first VW car I bought as a student [and that car didn't benefit from fuel injection, variable valve timing and all manner of other improvements that pump the output of modern engines].
                              Agreed......our Prius gets better fuel economy for it's main use....local urban/suburban driving, than it does on the hiway for long distance trips....while I understand WHY, I still find it quite strange.

                              I just ran across another funny vintage advertisement in a 1979 National Geographic issue.

                              VW Rabbit diesel 5 door hatch that gets 50mpg highway(claimed).

                              30+ years later, cars weigh probably 50 or so % more on average, and only get maybe half the fuel economy.

                              If we had learned our lessons the last time....or is it 2 or 3 lessons ago now?.....we could be driving in 1500 pound VW diesel cars getting 75-100mpg...maybe.

                              Unfortunately, the most fuel efficient mass produced cars manufactured, vehicles like the Civic CRX HF, Chevy Sprint, and the aforementioned Rabbit diesel got over 50mpg(claimed), would probably result in claims of child abuse today putting your kids in the back when on the road with Ford Excursions.

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