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Who Killed The Electric Car

Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Found this relevant to the discussion.

http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1039761_2011-chevy-volt-investment-how-does-this-differ-from-the-ev1


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Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8895
    
    8

Not quite relevant, but I got a chuckle out of it:


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paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20572
    ∞

Joe Ess wrote:Not quite relevant, but I got a chuckle out of it:


That would be funnier if it showed the pollution from gasoline as you use it and the pollution from gasoline as all of the components are pumped/mined, processed, distributed and acquired.

Granted, there are lots of parts of electric cars that have problems, but gasoline has all of the same problems plus more.

People try to say that riding a bicycle is clean, and then the comic comes out showing all of the pollution that was involved to build a bicycle. Or to fuel the food stream so the person has the energy to propel the bicycle. All true and not a valid comparison.

Electric cars are a big step in the right direction.

And there are people with electric cars that get their power purely from at-home solar or micro-hydro. So there is, at least, a growth path for something cleaner. And cheaper!




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Greg Charles
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2850
    
  11

Drafting actually can greatly improve your gas mileage, especially if you're behind a truck. However, the effect is negligible at any safe following distance. My reference on this is Mythbusters, who ... usually, kind of, sort of ... get things basically right.

Automatic roads have potential. The idea is that certain highways would take control of your car and drive for you, allowing closer following distances and also smoothing traffic flow by reducing the omg!!!-an-accident-I'll-slam-on-my-brakes-to-get-good-look-at-the-carnage syndrome. However, I remember reading that, in a simulation, over a quarter of drivers crashed immediately on exiting the highway and having to resume control of their cars. We can't win for losing!
Chris Baron
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Joined: Mar 21, 2003
Posts: 1049
An unpleasant update:
Production of Chevy Volt/Opel Ampera paused

As i said: everybody finds the Electric Car great. But only if other people buy it. Because "we" should do something for the environment Hopefully this doesn't hit GM and the employees too hard. Opel, GM's German subsidiary, is nearby where i live.

What's the reason for the weak acceptance of the car in your eyes?
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Here's a shot in the dark that people might not be considering.

1. I live in a city where mass transit is readily available so I take the train/cab/subway. I have no real need for a commute vehicle so why would I buy one?

2. I drive and my commute is more than an electric car can really travel, so why would I buy one?

3. I could get an electric car for my daily commute, but why would I buy yet another vehicle for that? I still need to be able to travel greater distances on occasion.

I fit in with mostly #3. I work from home so really don't even have a commute. But on occasion I have to travel 200+ miles to visit family or vacation or whatever. So why would I buy an electric short range vehicle?
Chris Baron
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Joined: Mar 21, 2003
Posts: 1049
The range of more than 300 miles in hybrid mode is actually quite good but there are no power sockets in the streets where i have to park beeing a towner.

The price is 10000 - 15000 € higher than a comparable gasoline powered car because of the battery. But that can't be the only reason for the reluctance to buy it. I mean there are plenty of people who use their Porsche Cayennes and other expensive cars for commuting and shopping.



Joe Ess
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Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8895
    
    8

Chris Baron wrote:The price is 10000 - 15000 € higher than a comparable gasoline powered car because of the battery. But that can't be the only reason for the reluctance to buy it. I mean there are plenty of people who use their Porsche Cayennes and other expensive cars for commuting and shopping.


Those expensive cars give the user value for the money in performance, style and luxury. The Volt has none of those things. I am not surprised it did not sell.

"The price premium on the Volt just doesn't make economic sense for the average consumer when there are so many fuel-efficient gasoline-powered cars available, typically for thousands of dollars less."

From the article Chris posted.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4655
    
    5

Joe Ess wrote:Those expensive cars give the user value for the money in performance, style and luxury. The Volt has none of those things. I am not surprised it did not sell.


Have you driven one? While its labeled a Chevy instead of Buick or Cadillac, it is a very nice car. I'll grant no style. It has decent performance and great gas mileage, and is quiet, rides well and has tons of luxury features.

It is expensive, and I'm sure that didn't help sales.

edited to fix quotation block
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Joe Ess wrote:
Chris Baron wrote:The price is 10000 - 15000 € higher than a comparable gasoline powered car because of the battery. But that can't be the only reason for the reluctance to buy it. I mean there are plenty of people who use their Porsche Cayennes and other expensive cars for commuting and shopping.


Those expensive cars give the user value for the money in performance, style and luxury. The Volt has none of those things. I am not surprised it did not sell.

From the article Chris posted.
Not to mention sexual access to cute but shallow women. But if we could make the electric car a marker for wealth and status, there's no reason electric car owners couldn't get the same benefit.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4655
    
    5

Frank Silbermann wrote:Not to mention sexual access to cute but shallow women. But if we could make the electric car a marker for wealth and status, there's no reason electric car owners couldn't get the same benefit.


The Fisker aimed to provide that. But it looks like Fisker, the man was more con-man than businessman. and Fisker the company is not long for this world unless it gets another billion dollar Federal bailout.
Paul Clapham
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Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18564
    
    8

Gregg Bolinger wrote:I work from home so really don't even have a commute. But on occasion I have to travel 200+ miles to visit family or vacation or whatever. So why would I buy an electric short range vehicle?


Indeed. In fact why would you buy a vehicle at all? Why not just rent one when you need one?
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4655
    
    5

paul wheaton wrote:That would be funnier if it showed the pollution from gasoline as you use it and the pollution from gasoline as all of the components are pumped/mined, processed, distributed and acquired.


Only if you show the damage that coal powered plants cause. From mountain-top removal to toxic water seeping out of the mines, to the tons of evil gases and poisons that coal fired power plant belch, its hard to make a serious claim that electric cars are as pure as the fanboys say.

Perhaps if the electricity was generated by wind or wave power, it would suck less.
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Pat Farrell wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:That would be funnier if it showed the pollution from gasoline as you use it and the pollution from gasoline as all of the components are pumped/mined, processed, distributed and acquired.


Only if you show the damage that coal powered plants cause. From mountain-top removal to toxic water seeping out of the mines, to the tons of evil gases and poisons that coal fired power plant belch, its hard to make a serious claim that electric cars are as pure as the fanboys say.

Perhaps if the electricity was generated by wind or wave power, it would suck less.
I don't think I've ever seen a comprehensive comparison of the ecological costs involved, between mining and burning coal, versus drilling, transporting, refining, re-transporting and finally burning gasoline. It's not clear to me which would be worse.

I _suspect_ that coal would be worse; on the other hand, most renewable sources are electricity based, and a move towards electric cars might complement the development of those sources.
For example, wind and solar electric power are unreliable; but if the price of electricity varied during the day depending upon the wind, people who had flexibility as to when to charge their cars could have computers monitor the weather to favor moments when there is a lot of wind.
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38756
    
  23
What they “forget” is that a large proportion of the pollution caused by cars consists of
  • 1: Ground covered with tarmac for roads
  • 2: Ground covered with tarmac for parking
  • 3: Traffic and traffic noise in towns
  • 4: Traffic and traffic noise in the open country
  • There are also other harmful side-effects of motorised mobility, eg isolation of travellers from one another, handicapping those who cannot drive for any reason, accidents. Obviously this applied when the fastest form of transport was a horse and carriage, but maybe to a lesser extent.
    Pat Farrell
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        5

    Frank Silbermann wrote:For example, wind and solar electric power are unreliable

    Variable is a better word. While solar is a silly idea in parts of the country, such as Washington state and Oregon, and all of the North East, it makes plenty of sense in the South West where there are 300 sunny days a year. The problem is matching the generating times with the usage times. This means lots of storage for the power generated when there is low demand.

    The electrical grid and appliances beg to be smart and networked. Let the price of power rise and fall with the cost of generating it. Let the appliances know the power price: your dishwasher could wait, loaded and ready to go until the price of power to drive it drops. The idea has been around a decade or more.
    Frank Silbermann
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    Joined: Jun 06, 2002
    Posts: 1387
    Campbell Ritchie wrote:What they “forget” is that a large proportion of the pollution caused by cars consists of
  • 1: Ground covered with tarmac for roads
  • 2: Ground covered with tarmac for parking
  • 3: Traffic and traffic noise in towns
  • 4: Traffic and traffic noise in the open country
  • There are also other harmful side-effects of motorised mobility, eg isolation of travellers from one another, handicapping those who cannot drive for any reason, accidents. Obviously this applied when the fastest form of transport was a horse and carriage, but maybe to a lesser extent.
    I suspect that elimination of all the automobile-generated pollution save for paving the roads and parking lots, it would be a significant improvement. Going to electric cars would greatly reduce the noise. Accidents will be reduced with smart cars that drive themselves (as will be the handicaps of those who cannot drive for any reason. Degradation of moral standards is already reducing teenagers' reliance on automobiles as a place for sex (extrapolating trends of the past 50 years, soon parents will allow junior high school students to invite opposite-sex friends -- or same-sex friends of gay children -- for sleep-overs).
     
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