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kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:46 pm    Post subject: Electric cars. Reply with quote

It is my opinion that until recently, electric cars simply were not viable. The energy density of lead acid batteries simply was not great enough to allow for a vehicle that could travel for an appreciable distance at highway/freeway speeds. Sure, there are the low speed electric vehicles, and neighborhood electric vehicles, but for the majority of people, traveling 45 km/h to work is not an option.

I was arguing with a guy at work about this. He kept insisting that energy density did not matter, that it was instead a conspiracy that kept electric cars off the road. He sent me examples like the following to try to prove his point.

http://www.diyelectriccar.com/garage/cars/33

I figure, a full ton of batteries, and you could not even drive that car for an hour on the freeway in any major city. I say that is impractical, what is your opinion? Would this car get you to work? Remember, there is not one cubic centimeter of cargo space; all taken up with batteries. Don't know how much running the heater or A/C would reduce your range either.
Craig
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Instead of consuming oil from Iran it can consume electricity generated by nuclear, hydro, or coal. I sure hope it pans out...

http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/

Quote:
When it comes to plugging in, the Volt will be designed to use a common 110–volt household plug. For someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions.


My commute is less than 40 miles per day and we have outlets in the parking spaces at work.
kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lithium ion batteries are what make the electric car actually feasible, you could cruise at 110 Km/h, for an hour or more. The Chevy Volt, Think City, they are all lithium ion or some battery technology other than lead acid.
FF_Canuck





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
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votes: 17
Location: Southern Alberta

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a look at the web site, and I like that they recognize the need for 'extended range' capabilities. While my total daily commute is now less than 40 miles, I still make semi-weekly trips around 300 miles one way. If it's as good as they say, it would cut my fuel consumption by somewhere between 50 - 70%. Presumably, the E-Flex system would allow the vehicle to run on 100% conventional fuels if required...
Cool Blue





Joined: 21 Sep 2006
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Instead of consuming oil from Iran it can consume electricity generated by nuclear, hydro, or coal. I sure hope it pans out...


The Chevy Volt is cool but the buzz surrounding it has caused a lot of competitors to step up with their own version.

For example, Nissan plans to have an EV out by 2010 and their model supposedly has a higher top speed and greater range than the Volt, however it doesn't have a "range extender" backup power source like the Volt. On the otherhand it's supposed to be cheaper to purchase.

Smart is also coming out with an electric version of their Fourtwo car. They've been tested out in London, UK and are supposed to come out in a couple of years. BMW has also announced an electric version on the Mini.[/list]
Craig
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF_Canuck wrote:
I had a look at the web site, and I like that they recognize the need for 'extended range' capabilities. While my total daily commute is now less than 40 miles, I still make semi-weekly trips around 300 miles one way. If it's as good as they say, it would cut my fuel consumption by somewhere between 50 - 70%. Presumably, the E-Flex system would allow the vehicle to run on 100% conventional fuels if required...


The nice thing about an electric car is that an outlet can be easily placed at roadsides. You might have to wait an hour for enough of a charge but it sure beats running out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you could just build your own trailer, and bolt a generator to it? When you stop for lunch, let it run for an hour. That would only make sense if your vehicle did not have its own on board generator. With a setup like that, you could drive the Alaska highway, or any of those other roads with signs like "no services for 300 miles".

The thing about gas vs. electric is the charging time. You can gas up in 10 minutes and be on your way, 100% fully capable. To do that with electric, you would have to have a charged battery pack waiting for you at regular intervals along your route.

Also, accessories would eat into your range. When it is above 30, you need A/C, it is that simple. Likewise, when it hits freezing, you need heat, no way to get around that. On the other hand, the heat would be instantaneous, your car could be warm right when you get in.
Cool Blue





Joined: 21 Sep 2006
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a good website for fans of the Volt. It also has good coverage of other EVs by competitors:


http://gm-volt.com/
plantguy





Joined: 27 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.teslamotors.com/

I could really get into an electric car like this!
FF_Canuck





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
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Location: Southern Alberta

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kwlafayette wrote:
Also, accessories would eat into your range. When it is above 30, you need A/C, it is that simple. Likewise, when it hits freezing, you need heat, no way to get around that. On the other hand, the heat would be instantaneous, your car could be warm right when you get in.


Not to mention that extreme cold can reduce battery life significantly - I imagine this would be the same with these cars, which could be why the site mentioned that the mileage was dependant on 'conditions' (among other things).

Craig wrote:
The nice thing about an electric car is that an outlet can be easily placed at roadsides. You might have to wait an hour for enough of a charge but it sure beats running out of gas in the middle of nowhere.


Even now, it might be easier to find an outlet than an open gas station, especially some of the places I travel. Still, with the considerable down time involved in charging, I'd prefer a gas only option / backup.

But who knows? Maybe by the time these things hit production, they'll have back-up battery packs that can be changed by a lay person.
kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF_Canuck wrote:
Not to mention that extreme cold can reduce battery life significantly - I imagine this would be the same with these cars, which could be why the site mentioned that the mileage was dependant on 'conditions' (among other things).

That is another shortcoming of the lead acid battery. Heat is also a killer for lead acid. Lithium ion is less affected by temperature, another reason that EVs are now becoming feasible. The sodium based batteries that are one of the options for the Think city, are completely unaffected by cold I believe.
Mac





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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The September issue of Popular Mechanics has a great article on alternative fuels as well as talking about electric/hybrid and other alternatives. Electric is a great alternative but battery and recharge time are the big restrictions but as research into extending battery capacities goes further, perhaps a purely electric vehicle will become viable. Time will tell.

-Mac
Craig
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kwlafayette wrote:
Maybe you could just build your own trailer, and bolt a generator to it?


Generators use gas - doesn't that defeat the purpose. I'm fairly drunk right now so I'll assume you were being sarcastic.

Quote:
The thing about gas vs. electric is the charging time. You can gas up in 10 minutes and be on your way, 100% fully capable. To do that with electric, you would have to have a charged battery pack waiting for you at regular intervals along your route.


I don't think anyone is suggesting that an electric vehicle would be good for a cross country trek - that's what the Hummer is for. As a daily commute however it would rock. Charge it up over night and away you go.

Quote:
When it is above 30, you need A/C, it is that simple. Likewise, when it hits freezing, you need heat, no way to get around that.


That's what your other favorite technology, the PV, is for. It powers the AC.
WBD





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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can electric cars be viable in any large numbers? Depends on where you live.

In Alberta, an electric powered car is mostly a COAL powered car. The enviro's seem to forget this little detail.

This week on Aug. 19 the Alberta power grid almost overloaded on the hottest day of the year with no cars plugged in. For now, we don't have the grid to support lots of electric cars. Power grids all over the continent will have to be upgraded fast if these cars get popular.

Bill in Calgary
fkarcha





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Location: Winnipeg, MB

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WBD wrote:
Can electric cars be viable in any large numbers? Depends on where you live.

In Alberta, an electric powered car is mostly a COAL powered car. The enviro's seem to forget this little detail.


On the flip side, a point source is much simpler to control emissions and reduce pollution versus the petro car, which is a non-point source.

I recall reading of capacitors powering electric buses that would charge in minutes, and power the bus for hours. I have heard nothing about this technology recently. In my opinion the electric car will only be a viable alternative in two situations: 1) Commutes within city limits that do not exceed speeds and endurance of the vehicle, and 2) where the electric vehicle is capable of 8 hours of highway driving before needing a recharge that is a fraction of the driving time (say half an hour).
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