Re: Electric cars head toward another dead end



Nothing like stating the blindingly obvious and then representing it as if it's some sort of revelation.
Tom
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wrote:

Nothing like stating the blindingly obvious and then representing it as if it's some sort of revelation. ================================================= The Q is: are fuel cells a (develop-able) answer? Dunno.
Keep in mind, the new Prius "c" (sposedly for "city") gets 68 mpg (according to lightfooted drivers). Which means Moi would proly get 80 mpg.... helium-foot. lol The "c" is the smallest in the prius line.
That's VERY significant, for high-mileage drivers. Low price, as well -- $18K, for the base, not that much more various trim levels. Don't know how battery cost/lifetime factors in, tho.
Electrics have indeed been disappointing, tho -- not much better than the Ranger EV's, from way back, which had 30-40 electric-only mile ranges, using lead-acid banks. Part of the "failure", I think, is the refusal to limit hp, and the incomprehensible *weight* to these effing cars. Whazzup wit dat? . VW beetles did fine with between 36 and 54 hp, under 2,000 lbs -- 54 being the hot-rod bug -- in 1974!!! Also their minivan/bus.
Also, part of the "failure" is of our own making, ie urban sprawl, where commutes are 30-100 miles, one way. The Leaf, et al, could reliably handle 50 mile commutes (one way), but you'd need charging stations at the yob.
The Tesla, tho, seems to have surmounted much of these limitations -- if it's not all hype. And then, who can afford them?
Urban planners, in general, condemn urban sprawl. PBS had an inneresting documentary on this, focusing on PA, and featuring Bri'ish "solutions to space". Manhattan, and the 5 boroughs, has a large-scale solution ito public trans, but now you gotta be a multi-millionaire to partake -- unless, of course, you are a drug dealer, living with his mom on Sectoin 8.. No good (city planning) deed goes unpunished, eh?
As an inneresting tangent to this, energy-wise, altho subways have "regenerative brakes", that regenerated electricity is NOT fet back to the grid, but goes up the proverbial chimbley, through resistor banks. If that energy was grid-bound, the NYC subways could power a city of approx 200,000 homes, as the energy from a braking train is fairly incredible.
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EA



Tom



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I for one don't give a rat's ass about "the environment." I still use incandescent light bulbs and drive a vehicle that gets about 14 mpg on a good day. And loving it.
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On Fri, 8 Feb 2013 17:18:02 -0500, "Existential Angst"

Especially considering that it's NOT a flyweight gutless econobox. It's a really nice car and it's a pleasure to drive. But 60 is nothing for a Volt. Check out the site below to see people getting 5000 or better.
It's a shame that more of the people who can afford it, don't step up and support the tech.

It's about 40. Unless it's in "mountain mode", where it can be increasing battery state of charge while driving on ICE power. That's inefficient but I've used it a couple times on extended trips to ensure that the battery is sufficiently charged at the destination to allow friends to drive the car on battery alone.
http://www.voltstats.net/ At that website you can view mileage stats from hundreds of Volt owners. Click on the top of the columns to resort by category. A Volt shopper can estimate his projected EV percentage, sort by percentage, and then see the stats of current owners with a similar EV percentage.
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I guess I don't understand why there's the big push to use batteries instead of fuel cells. As I understand it, the fuel cell uses nitrogen (non-flammable gas) as fuel, produces electricity and water vapor as a by products. Building a tank to hold relatively high pressure non-flammable gas into a car body shouldn't be a problem as it shouldn't explode in an accident. The whole drive system should not weigh any more that the combined gas engine, batteries and electric motor and, I would think, be easier to package within the confines of the body. Range would not be any more of a problem than with current gasoline engines. Replacement of the platinum screen shouldn't cost as much as replacing the batteries though I don't know if it would last as long. What am I missing in this discussion that drives the makers to only consider batteries? R. Wink
On Sat, 09 Feb 2013 07:06:01 -0800, whoyakidding's ghost

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Because nobody has a fuel cell that will work on road gasoline yet without being poisoned.

No, the fuel cell requires a flammable fuel. It oxidizes the fuel using oxygen from air, and develops current directly from that oxidation.
The fuel cell can be designed to work on a variety of fuels. If you want to create water as your only byproduct, you have to use hydrogen which is a flammable gas (and a pain to work with even by flammable gas standards).
You can build a fuel cell that will run off methanol or ethanol, or off of propane. Since these fuels have carbon in them, your exhaust is now full of carbon compounds (hopefully carbon dioxide if you did it right). In general these designs also have a limited lifespan because they become clogged up with combustion by-products.
The holy grail right now is to build a fuel cell that can operate off of gasoline without becoming hopelessly clogged up after a short running time. The fuel cell gives you more efficient use of the fuel than an internal combustion engine, especially when you are not requiring peak output.
You can't run a fuel cell on nitrogen.... nitrogen combines with itself and it doesn't like to let go or combine with other things. If you ever see a compound that contains nitrogen, like nitromethane or nitrocellulose or trinotrotoluene, it's a compound that took a lot of energy to make and is apt to want to release that energy fast.

This is true, and it would seem that retrofitting a commercial fuel cell into a current hybrid vehicle would not be a huge job. The hard part would mostly be software.

In spite of the fact that fuel cells have been with us since NASA developed them for the Gemini program, we still don't have any that will run off a convenient fuel that we can already distribute. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Two things about your comments: 1) I get the impression that ethanol could/can be used as a fuel. It attracts water and requires a non-rusting tank to hold it but there are metals that can be used without a great deal of additional cost. We're doing it now for the E85 fuel. 2) Ethanol can/is being distrubed now though combined with gasoline. A different pecentage mixture, say 50/50 or something else, could be transported and distributed very much like diesel fuel...separate tank and pump. The existing tanks and trucks could be coated with a plastic material to prevent rusting. It could allow use of the same infrastructure. Again, what am I missing? R. Wink
On 9 Feb 2013 11:46:17 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

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Nitrogen as a fuel for a fuel cell would be quite the trick. Liquid nitrogen as an energy stoage medium for a thewrmal expasion engine is a totally different system

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Try the BMW Active E. I got to drive one briefly a while ago and it was a very, very fun car by any standard.
Range is too limited for folks out here in the sticks, and charging is still a problem, but that's what you get with a new technology competing with one that already has an extensive and active infrastructure.

I agree, but then I'm still driving a carbureted car to work every day, because it still keeps running fine and remains fun to drive. That's a little part of the adoption problem right there: people don't replace their cars as often as they used to. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Do you really want to provoke the EPA into making generators meet car emission standards?
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On Sat, 9 Feb 2013 14:16:17 -0500, "Jim Wilkins"

The difference between a generator and a car is the generator runs at steady speed and relatively steady load, while a car does a lot of accelerating and decellerating and climbing hills etc - and needs to have almost instantaneous response.
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On Sat, 9 Feb 2013 11:45:26 -0800 (PST), jon_banquer

The F-150 isn't economically viable for the majority of Americans. They sell a lot of F-150's. The Volt isn't an "electric car." It's a plug-in hybrid.
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On Sat, 9 Feb 2013 14:03:12 -0800 (PST), jon_banquer

You're nuts. If they're economically viable, then why don't the majority of Americans own them? Because they want no part of a pick-up truck. The majority of Americans aren't '"cargo haulers." And pick-ups aren't that "popular" either. Very small part of vehicle sales, though they sell well because businesses, farmers and tradesmen find them useful or essential. I've had pick-ups and full size vans. Hauled stuff with them too. But whenever I moved I rented a 20' box truck. Made the pick-up look like a tinker toy. I've had a lot of stuff hauled since I had pick-ups and vans. Free delivery or a 10-50 buck charge. Most of that can be avoided by loading into the back seat of mid-size sedan or tying it on the roof. Doesn't add up to a hill of beans compared to +$30k for a decent new pick-up. But if you want a pick-up, go for it.
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Around here the majority of suburban homeowners DO have pickup trucks parked out front and use them to haul the construction, lawn and garden supplies that would mess up the wife's SUV. Do you live in a neighborhood where no one dirties their hands with their own maintenance?
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On Sat, 9 Feb 2013 17:55:46 -0500, "Jim Wilkins"

Actually, most do use lawn services, and I'm an exception. Hardly any pick-ups around this suburb, except tradesmen. Plenty of SUV's. But I have no problem putting 500 lbs of topsoil in my car trunk. Done it more than once. Same with pavers, concrete blocks, etc. Also tied plenty of stuff to the roof, including 4x8's. Never hurt the car, or dirtied it that a vacuum wouldn't fix. But that's all pretty infrequent. Every time I've had appliances or furniture delivered it was free. I paid HD to deliver a pallet of pavers once, and paid them to deliver a couple 24' 2x10's once. A half ton pick-up wouldn't have handled the pallet, and no pick-up the 24's any better than my car. Think the HD delivery charge was 50 bucks each time. Just don't need a pick-up. Doesn't make financial sense. Other may see it differently.
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On Sat, 09 Feb 2013 17:19:32 -0600, Vic Smith

Or others may not live in your little suburban bit of "heaven"
The town I work in...even the PD has pickups and at least 50% of the road traffic is pickup trucks. Non commercial.
Gunner
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Your choice of gutter language does not support your claim to be a professional anything.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
And I'm a Professional Engineer. Bikes are fun to ride and to mess with in the garage.
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Around here the majority of folks have huge full-size pickup trucks which they use to drive to work with an empty bed, because having pickup trucks is cool and fashionable and a statement. Most of these people would be horrified at the thought of actually hauling something in them and possibly scratching the finish. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On 9 Feb 2013 20:04:35 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

I bought my ranger - 16 years old and 307,000km on the clock, and it had NEVER carried a load more than a few bags of salt or topsoil. First week I had it I hauled 200 sq feet of half rotted cedar 2X6 to the dump.
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On Sat, 09 Feb 2013 16:33:39 -0600, Vic Smith

MOST pickup trucks are personal vehicles that virtually never carry a load - just like MOST 4X4 "off road" or "trail rated" vehicles never go off-road.
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