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[P]
Electric Vehicles, the Cutting Edge Then and Now

By joelado in Technology
Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 11:30:40 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

Several years ago I wrote a research paper on alternative fueled vehicles for my master`s degree in business administration. It was titled. "The Future Automobile: A Research Survey of Technology in Zero and Low Emissions Transportation, Its History, Its Recent Technological Origins, the Current State of Technology and Its Feasible Future." In the report I reviewed the beginnings of independent, non-animal driven autonomous person carrying vehicles (automobiles).

What I discovered in my research was that gasoline won because of various factors, none of which was because ICE was superior technology.


On the contrary, electric vehicles were far more reliable and capable. The problem with electrics then was that the solutions to make the vehicles competitive with ICE at the time were held by different people and companies, all of whom failed to understand that without coming together to produce a competitive product their days were numbered. Many of the solution holders had monopoly on the brain. Others were not thinking of a time when vehicles would travel much faster than horses or for longer periods of time, and others never imagined people owning their own transportation. Only rural people and the rich owned their own horses, most people relied on a livery stable. A livery stable was a place where you could keep your horses for a fee. They were feed and taken care of until you needed them, or you hired what was available as you needed it. The livery stable concept was recreated into the central charging station concept by a huge concern called EVC (The Electric Vehicle Company), that hoped to monopolize the automobile industry and never sell a single vehicle (a modern example of this was lease that GM imposed on the EV1 electric vehicle produced in the mid 1990s). This concept was poorly carried out with bad products, bad service and poor visionless management. EVC resorted to extortion using the Selden patent to leverage over the up and coming manufacturers that allowed for personal ownership. The EVC and the livery stable concept were swept away by personal ownership and a challenge by Henry Ford of the Selden patent. The EVC collapsed destroying the investment money of thousands who had hoped that electric vehicles would be the future. The activities of EVC worked to associate electric vehicles with poor products, poorer management, monopolists and extortionist. The Electric Car and the Burden of History: Studies in Automotive Systems Rivalry in America, 1890-1996, David A. Kirsch

The technologies of the day were:
1898, Ferdinand Porsche, at age 23, built his first car, the Lohner Electric Chaise with hub motors to reduce mechanical resistance.
1900, BGS Company, holds the distance record for an electric vehicle when it drives 180 miles on single charge with its proprietary batteries.
1903, Krieger, first production electric-gasoline hybrid car
1906, Stanley Steamer`s "The Flying Teapot" records 127 6 mph Ormond Beach, FL
1907, Battery swapping stations concept explored by EVC, to little to late
1910, Commercial of Philadelphia, builds a hybrid truck with a gas engine to power a generator that charges batteries or powers the electric motor.

In many ways we are at the same point in history again. Even many of the innovations of the 1900s are the same. The technology exists to make pollution free or very low pollution vehicles practical and available to all who want them, but again, as in the beginning of the 1900s the technology is in the hands of various persons and companies.

The main focus for technology in the last decade and a half has been to overcome the short comings of batteries. To do this efficiency in all other systems had to be made. The number two most intractable problems with the batteries were long charge times and relatively short range, (the distance that can be traveled on a single charge). Since these two problems seemed to be too difficult to overcome, the other factors affecting range needed to be improved. In the last decade major strides have been achieved in overcoming these other problems.

Aerodynamics - Which is a fancy way to say overcoming wind resistance. Wind resistance is the amount of energy lost while trying to pass an object through air. IN THE MARKET SOLUTIONS - New aerodynamic shapes designed in wind tunnels have reduced wind resistance to minimal effect. The best example was the EV1 by GM that had the similar wind resistance to an F-15 fighter jet. plugitin.co.uk


Coopertire`s C120 Boasts Low Rolling Resistance for Light Trucks

Rolling Resistance - Energy-robbing friction between the tire and road. IN THE MARKET SOLUTIONS - Thanks to high gasoline prices and hybrids almost every manufacturer is producing a low rolling resistant tire. Advances in rubber and silicate chemistry and engineering have helped reduce rolling resistance. Some examples are Goodyear Invectra and E-metric LRR tires.


TM4`s In-Wheel Motor

Mechanical Resistance - Energy lost through gears due to friction. IN THE MARKET SOLUTIONS - With electric propulsion it is possible to move the motors into the wheel hubs thereby eliminating most mechanical resistance. Mitsubishi MIEV (Motor In-wheel Electric Vehicle) uses this approach and TM4 has an in-wheel motor.


The Phileas is a 60-foot articulated vehicle composed of light-weight composite materials.

Inertia and Weight - Heavy objects require more energy to get moving. IN THE MARKET SOLUTIONS - Composite materials and greater use of Aluminum in vehicle structure and a move away from lead in batteries have reduced weight and therefore reduced the amount of energy required to overcome inertia. (Making a vehicle move after it has been stopped)


NGM Makes Electric Motors for Solar Challenge Races and more.

Motor Efficiency - Internal combustion engines only use about the 30% of the energy of gasoline and then go on to loose most of that energy in rolling, mechanical and wind resistance. Electric motors are much more efficient users of energy then ICEs, however, not efficient enough to overcome the shortcomings of batteries. IN THE MARKET SOLUTIONS - With new technology coming from companies like New Generation Motors energy efficiency of motors is pushed upward of 95% to 98% or more.


A screen in the center of the 2004 Prius dashboard shows it charging the batteries during regenerative braking.

Friction Brakes Friction brakes are the functional equivalent of taking a piece of wood and rubbing it against the moving wheel until it stops. It converts the momentum energy of the wheel into heat energy. All the energy put in by the motor to move the car is then turned to heat and vented into the air. IN THE MARKET SOLUTIONS - Regenerative breaking - This ingenious trick of capturing the energy needed to stop a vehicle and then using it to overcome inertia is brilliant and a very efficient way of using energy. Regenerative braking should in the near future be advanced enough to eliminate the need for wasteful friction braking.


Toshiba Markets a Fast Charge Battery

Long charging times What causes batteries to take a long time to charge is the time it takes for the chemical solution to return to its fully charged chemical set. One of the chief factors in charging taking a long time has been the internal resistance of the chemicals themselves. IN THE MARKET SOLUTIONS - Nanomaterials and low internal resistance - A One minute charge time for advanced Lithium-ion batteries has been achieved. These batteries are already in the process of being produced for products in cell phones and computers. For EVs this eliminates the last technological hurdle that electric vehicles needed to overcome to be a practical alternative to the regular gasoline powered automobile.

The very last hurdles are not technological ones but economic ones. They are for production to go up and for the prices to come down. With the advent and popularity of hybrid electric vehicles all of the components needed to produce an all electric vehicle are incidentally now being mass produced. We are experiencing a demand spike and a price spike for these components, however, in time more and more suppliers will enter the market and prices will drop. All of the above advancements are leading us to an all electric vehicle as a popular and standard form of transportation. All we need to do now is to take the various innovations and companies and have them work together to produce a market viable vehicle.

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Related Links
o Selden patent
o The Electric Car and the Burden of History: Studies in Automotive Systems Rivalry in America, 1890-1996, David A. Kirsch
o Aerodynamics
o plugitin.c o.uk
o Coopertire`s C120 Boasts Low Rolling Resistance for Light Trucks
o TM4`s In-Wheel Motor
o The Phileas is a 60-foot articulated vehicle composed of light-weight composite materials.
o NGM Makes Electric Motors for Solar Challenge Races and more.
o A screen in the center of the 2004 Prius dashboard shows it charging the batteries during regenerative braking.
o Toshiba Markets a Fast Charge Battery
o Also by joelado


Display: Sort:
Electric Vehicles, the Cutting Edge Then and Now | 114 comments (72 topical, 42 editorial, 0 hidden)
Good article (2.50 / 2) (#3)
by eavier on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 12:12:40 PM EST

The sooner we leave the widespread usage of petroleum behind the better.

This is a another more informative link for Mitsubishi's MIEV project.

+1FP from me

Whatever you do, don't take it into your house. It's probably full of Greeks. - Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi

Ufology Doktor in da house

petroleum (1.30 / 13) (#6)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 12:37:07 PM EST

fuels islamic fundamentalism, causes global warming

the sooner we can get off this addiction, the better

even fucking moron boy gw bush knows it

so go to dweebs: build a better mousetrap, convince the world that there is a better way without petroleum

whoever reaches that tipping point first, will be forever enshrined in history, like edison or einstein


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Eh. (2.25 / 4) (#10)
by Znork on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:22:18 PM EST

"whoever reaches that tipping point first, will be forever enshrined in history, like edison or einstein"

Wasnt it more or less that that's the problem?

Everyone with the 'solution's been looking to be the next patentgrubber like edison, monopoly dollars in their eyes, and the interlocking dependencies making certain that it's impossible for anyone to actually get the job done because greedy primadonnas want fame and/or money?

Build a better mousetrap and try to sell it, and you'll get sued so many ways you wont see the outside of a courtroom in the rest of your life.

Feh. To the extent we need to stimulate innovation, we may want some form of extra incentive to inventors, but the monopoly nature of patents has got to go.

[ Parent ]

oh shut the fuck up (1.20 / 15) (#14)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 03:16:31 PM EST

the point is to get off petroleum

don't hijack the conversation to whine about monopolies

different subject asshole

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

That's the closest (3.00 / 7) (#41)
by killmepleez on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 11:54:09 AM EST

I've ever known cts to come to admitting someone else could be right.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
try far away you fuck (1.62 / 8) (#46)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 02:02:53 PM EST

the idea is to solve problems in the world

not convolute problems until we are overcome with helplessness

monopolies are evil

petroleum dependence is evil

BUT IF YOU ARE GOING TO DEFEAT THESE EVILS YOU DIPSHIT, YOU FIGHT THEM SEPARATELY

fucking ignorant congenital losers


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

but what if... (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by DrToast on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 10:20:34 AM EST

energy is controlled by a monopoly or an oligopoly? Wouldn't you have to compete with them if you are going to offer a alternative energy source? Isn't it going to be hard to do that is the patent system is broken?

Hmmm... yeah, our energy is controlled by an oligopoly and the patent system is broken.

[ Parent ]

It seems more likely (3.00 / 5) (#83)
by itsbruce on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 07:19:53 PM EST

That you are incapable of coherently debating more than one point at a time and that this is your problem.

Not that you often manage to be coherent about single issues.


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]

thank you (2.50 / 6) (#13)
by Aurochs on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:56:38 PM EST

for repeating the same line ive heard for the past three years

seriously

its fun to be annoyed by cts

*snicker*
--
you can skullfuck yourself to death for FREE
--cDiss
[ Parent ]

EV links (2.66 / 3) (#12)
by krkrbt on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:51:26 PM EST

Interview with a researcher at Firefly Energy, soon to be offering a new kind of high capacity lead-acid battery, comparable to NiMH but 1/10th the cost.  Another advantage to lead-based batteries is that there's already a recycling infrastructure in place.

This guy owned an EV1 and loved it.  Then GM took it away.

Green Car Congress

There's a new capacitor that uses carbon nanotubes to increase the surface area exponentially...  So those might be an energy-storage option soon.

and I gotta mention AC Propulsion, 'cause their system is the best if you've got $25k (+ batteries) budgeted for a conversion.

problem with capacitors (none / 0) (#99)
by iggymanz on Thu Mar 30, 2006 at 04:52:38 PM EST

is that the voltage drops much faster than a battery as it is being discharged. Thus a dc to dc converter is needed, which tend to be inefficient.

[ Parent ]
Issues (2.00 / 4) (#23)
by Verbophobe on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 07:23:44 PM EST

With new technology coming from companies like New Generation Motors energy efficiency of motors is pushed upward of 95% to 98% or more.

I would highly doubt that such a motor existed or were even possible given current technology. In fact, I'd be surprised if there were any machines that converted electricity to any other form of energy with 95% efficiency.

Furthermore, one must always remember that the electricity charging these batteries has to come from somewhere. Most of the US uses coal fired power plants for its electricity, which is probably as bad as than gasoline, if not worse. One alternative, solar power, provided by photovoltaic cells, even though it looks promisingly clean, inevitably occupies a lot of open area while only converting solar energy to electrical energy at a rate of anywhere from 10% for mass production cells and 30% for highly specialized cells. While poor efficiency might not be a problem, there remains the issue of actually mass producing these cells, which is not an environmentally friendly proposal any way you slice it.

Nuclear power could also be considered, but there's still the issue of dealing with the waste, which no one seems to have resolved yet.

All in all, electric cars don't seem to solve as many problems as they create.

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration

Motor efficiency (none / 1) (#65)
by syncrotic on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 01:46:36 AM EST

Actually electric motors commonly see efficiencies in the 90-95% range. Google 'motor efficiency' and click the first link. It's not unreasonable to expect that, with a large amount of effort, that could be raised to 98%.

[ Parent ]
No one has resolved the waste? (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by vectro on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:31:11 PM EST

Not true. Breeder reactors can elimitate most of the bad stuff, but even if you opt for 100% storage, the Yucca Mountain site is a perfectly good option.

It seems quite odd to me that only nuclear power is required to fully account for all of its waste, and build it into the price -- if we did the same for coal or oil, electricity would cost 40 c/kwh retail.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Why electric cars are no good (2.27 / 11) (#31)
by driptray on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 05:42:09 AM EST

  • They still require fossil fuels or nuclear power to run.

  • Just like ICE cars, they require massive amounts of land for roads and parking - land which could be better used for housing, agriculture, or producing stuff.

  • Just like ICE cars, they encourage suburban living, and therefore obesity, Walmart, stupid people, sterile neighbourhoods, and social alienation.

  • Just like ICE cars, they are extremely dangerous to other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

So tell me - what's the point of electric cars?
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating

What's the point of your post? (3.00 / 6) (#36)
by rpresser on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 10:40:48 AM EST

  • If you wish to travel, you will use energy.  Fossil fuels and nuclear power are at present the most efficient ways of concentrating energy for use.

  • Unless you wish to eliminate personal vehicles, any car solution fails this point.

  • Not a problem that any transportation solution is going to get rid of.

  • Horses are dangerous too. See second point.

The point of electric cars:

  • Quieter and less smelly than ICE cars.

  • Maybe take some political power away from the oil companies? I always like to see people lose power.

  • Centralized power generation offers an opportunity for reduced pollution and greenhouse gas generation. It's easier to crack down on a few thousand power generation stations than on tens of millions of cars.


------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
This is my point (3.00 / 3) (#57)
by driptray on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:58:36 AM EST

  • I'm no expert, but I would have thought that the combination of ordinary food, my body, and my bicycle are more efficient than fossil fuel or nuclear power.

  • I don't wish to completely eliminate personal vehicles, just reduce them to a small minority of the total transport "solution".

  • Bicycles? Trains? Ever lived in a city where those were the main forms of transport? You'll find there isn't much suburban living, and what does pass for suburbs is still dense enough to preclude walmart life.

  • I'm not suggesting using horses. We have trains, bicycles, walking, and even the occasional car for those too frail for the alternatives.

I agree that electric cars make sense where you have to have a car, but my point is that the "electricalness" only solves a very small amount of the problem caused by cars.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

How efficient is your bike... (none / 1) (#62)
by gordonjcp on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 01:19:33 PM EST

... at moving 36U radio racks?

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
$50 one-day truck rental, please move along (none / 1) (#63)
by glor on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 01:21:44 AM EST


--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

That would cost a fortune. (none / 1) (#66)
by gordonjcp on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:23:26 AM EST

I've paid less than that (well, the equivalent in UK pounds) for a car. Why would I hire a truck every day?

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Every day is a business expense, so buying a truck (none / 0) (#73)
by glor on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 02:26:24 PM EST

makes sense.  Most people don't move equipment in their daily commute.

As to the $50, I was assuming you'd need a light truck; cars proper cost half that to rent for a day.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

I have a large car... (none / 0) (#100)
by gordonjcp on Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 05:19:28 PM EST

... which swallows fairly big equipment racks, and has self-levelling suspension so it doesn't go around with the back scraping the ground. I use pretty much all of it, nearly every day.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Slight oversight. (none / 0) (#72)
by student on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 12:39:34 PM EST

I'd rather be killed by a horse.


Simon's Rock College of Bard, a college for younger scholars.
[ Parent ]
Fossil fuels not efficient. (none / 0) (#78)
by vectro on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:59:38 PM EST

Just cheap. And that's only if you don't include the externialities of consuming them, which are substantial. If you include all the losses from gathering, refining, transporting, and converting the fossil fuels, you get an efficiency of somewhere around 5%.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, is generally required to price-in its externalities, and is still price-competitive.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

GAYEST USE OF ACRONYMIZATION EVAR (1.50 / 2) (#37)
by nvb on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 11:36:35 AM EST


--
I'm smarter than the average bear.
[ Parent ]

You lack imagination (none / 1) (#42)
by killmepleez on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 11:59:36 AM EST

because the truth is far, far worse than the grandparent.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
First point (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by Fon2d2 on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 12:01:35 PM EST

I think nuclear power has gotten a bad name, and there's more than enough energy to power all our energy needs for, essentially, ever.

See here.

I agree with all your other points however. Those require much better city and urban planning, the state of which is atrocious in the US.

[ Parent ]

what the hell does frozen water have to do with it (2.50 / 2) (#44)
by creativedissonance on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 12:10:26 PM EST

NO MOTHERFUCKING TEXT


ay yo i run linux and word on the street
is that this is where i need to be to get my butt stuffed like a turkey - br14n
[ Parent ]
Internal Combustion Engine (3.00 / 2) (#49)
by wiredog on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 02:29:18 PM EST



Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
A typical environmentalist... (2.75 / 4) (#64)
by syncrotic on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 01:41:44 AM EST

...and I use that term in the most derogatory manner possible.

To people like you, a perfectly valid technical solution to an environmental problem is simply not good enough, because nothing has to be sacrificed. Electric cars fed by plentiful nuclear power would mean we get to keep living rich fat lives the way we want to, rather than the way you think we should. That's just unacceptable to you, because you know better. You know we'd all be happier if we would abandon personal transport - no, more than that - modern society entirely.

How nice that you can save me from myself.

[ Parent ]

environmentalist... (none / 0) (#91)
by jmv on Tue Mar 28, 2006 at 07:36:38 AM EST

While I don't quite agree with the first post, I think you're also foolish to think our current way of life is sustainable and that technology will solve the problem. It might help a bit, but we *will* have to make sacrifices and the more we wait, the harder it will be.

[ Parent ]
You might want to take a step back (none / 1) (#103)
by Fred_A on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 06:08:16 PM EST

Electric cars fed by plentiful nuclear power would mean we get to keep living rich fat lives the way we want to

Electric cars require :


  • plastics

  • electronics

  • rubbers

  • lubrifiants

All of which require vast amounts of petrol to make.

Nuclear power requires finding, extracting, transporting and refining the nuclear fuel (typically uranium). All this requires power and infrastructure. That's more petrol.

And the current state of world reserves in nuclear fuel isn't looking too good either.

The problem with your solution is that it isn't valid because you're just looking at a very very small piece of the puzzle.

Electric cars could be a solution if there actually was some very large scale work put in alternative sources of energy and we had a replacement for all the petrol based materials we currently can't do without.

That's not even going into the impact on food (no fertilizers or pesicides without petrol, no powered farming tools either), medicine (drugs, materials, power for all the high end toys), etc.

So yes, there's a fair chance your life is about to get quite a bit more lean. Unless you're lucky enough to be old enough to die before the worst of it (or people work together at adressing the problem which would be a first in the history of the species).

Fred in Paris
[ Parent ]

Nah. (none / 0) (#106)
by vectro on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 12:36:36 PM EST

There's plenty of oil products left for non-energy uses. Obviously if we use up all our oil for energy, then that becomes a problem, but at present only a tiny fraction of our oil goes into plastics, chemicals, etc. Also, if we do run out of petroleum products, we can always raid the landfills for recyclables that aren't economic at today's prices.

Nuclear power does require obtaining the fuel, but there's no reason that this process can't be fueled with energy from uranium. It's more a question of setting up an electric (or fuel-cell) distribution system than anything else.

You do have a point about the availability of nuclear fuels, in that current known reserves of uranium will only last us some 50 years. But consider: current known reserves of petrol will only last us 40. And here's no reason to expect that we've already discovered all the uranium in the world (or all the oil, for that matter). Finally, our processes can become hugely more efficient. Combine better reactor designs with fast breeder reactors and better fuel recycling, and we can get an order of magnitude more energy out of a gram of uranium.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Please address winter (3.00 / 7) (#33)
by Adam Rightmann on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 09:37:53 AM EST

Most batteries lose efficiency in colder temperatures, just when you need even more energy to run the defrosters and heaters, there is a good reason the EV1 was only marketed in southern California.

The heat that IC engines produce is very useful in colder climes.

What I'd like to see (2.75 / 4) (#35)
by dimaq on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 10:11:58 AM EST

is a configurable vehicle instead of a passanger car or light truck. Say I'd have a 2m long electric-powered cab for city driving and add a rented trailer with gasoline or natural gas power generator and luggage space for those times twice a year when I need to drive further.

like a range extending trailer? (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 05:36:14 PM EST

link


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
not quite (none / 1) (#58)
by dimaq on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 05:49:44 AM EST

that thing (as in their electric sports car) costs 5 or 10 times too much. I'd like to see electric-only car that can compete with gasoline cars, simple mechanics and all that.

[ Parent ]
Is this all it takes to get an MBA? (2.37 / 8) (#48)
by RelliK on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 02:16:02 PM EST

So, to get an MBA, all I have to do is write a book report? Sign me up!
---
Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism it's just the opposite.
Stanley Steamer (2.80 / 5) (#50)
by wiredog on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 02:30:41 PM EST

When I was growing up, here in NoVa, there was a guy who had a 1903 Stanley Steamer. Painted fire engine red. He used to drive it around in the summer. I wonder what ever happened to that car?

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

Weight (3.00 / 4) (#56)
by Gruntathon on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 08:12:30 PM EST

Composite materials and greater use of Aluminum in vehicle structure and a move away from lead in batteries have reduced weight and therefore reduced the amount of energy required to overcome inertia.

A common misconception. Cars have actually been getting heavier and heavier over the years from all the extra crap that we put in them, despite being made of lighter materials.

Go figure.
__________
If they hadn't been such quality beasts (despite being so young) it would have been a nightmare - good self-starting, capable hands are your finest friend. -- Anonymous CEO
really? (none / 0) (#110)
by emmons on Tue Apr 18, 2006 at 02:12:06 AM EST

I've never heard that.. do you have a source?

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
I want to go back and fix things. (none / 1) (#70)
by joelado on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 10:49:30 AM EST

I want to go back and fix the things you guys talked about but I don't know how. How do you edit a story that has been posted?

Email 'help@kuro5hin.org.' /nt (none / 0) (#74)
by Ignore Amos on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 02:50:32 PM EST


And that explains why airplanes carry cargo on small boats floating in their cargo aquarium. - jmzero
[ Parent ]

Thank You (none / 0) (#75)
by joelado on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 03:26:51 PM EST

10Q

[ Parent ]
You can't. (none / 1) (#77)
by vectro on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:51:32 PM EST

Sorry, you can't change the past, the hegemony of the Internal Combustion Engine will not be easily overturned.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Please identify the source ... (none / 0) (#80)
by Ignore Amos on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 10:25:46 PM EST

... of your assertion about motor efficiency.

And that explains why airplanes carry cargo on small boats floating in their cargo aquarium. - jmzero

Please identify the source (none / 0) (#84)
by joelado on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 11:50:34 PM EST

http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Highest_20Efficiency_20Electric_20Motor

[ Parent ]
Do you know (none / 1) (#86)
by Maurkov on Mon Mar 27, 2006 at 12:19:16 PM EST

what the half bakery is?  Do you know Vernon's reputation?

Did you even read the article you linked to, or was it just the first google hit?


[ Parent ]

motor efficiency? (none / 0) (#109)
by dougmc on Tue Apr 18, 2006 at 01:26:11 AM EST

Are you referring to his claim of motors that are 95 to 98% efficient?

I imagine that's true for some motors under ideal conditions. This article says that `Brushless motors are typically 85-90% efficient whereas DC motors with brushgear are typically 10% less efficient', and those are probably some good real-world values.

But it doesn't matter. Even if your motor is a `mere' 75% efficient, that only gives you room for a 33% improvement if you made it 100% efficient (which is of course impossible.)

(Granted, you could apply that 33% improvement over and over if you used regenerative braking over and over, but that's not where most of the energy used by a car typically goes anyways.)

More efficient motors, even 100% efficient motors, will not make electric cars practical. What we need are batteries that can hold (much) more, or fuel cells that can convert liquid fuel (with their extremely high energy densities) into electricity efficiently.

[ Parent ]

Forget about electricity, what about steam? (none / 0) (#82)
by itsbruce on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 07:14:29 PM EST

In the UK at least, steam-powered vehicles had a lot going for them in the first half of c20. Steam-powered vans, for instance, were faster and could pull heavier loads than their petrol-powered equivalents. The legislation that effectively banned them was at least in part influenced by the petroleum lobby.

I'd like to see renewed interest in steam-powered vehicles. I know they have problems but I'm sure those could be addressed given a fraction of the investment that the internal combustion engine has had.

The biggest advantage that steam offers over petroleum-powered engines is that steam engines are not tied to any one fuel. The standard petroleum-powered engine design has been heavily optimised to match the nature of its fuel and changing the nature of the fuel tends to make it run less efficiently (effectivly negating the potential environmental benefits). That and the vested interests of the petroleum industry have combined to form massive resistance to genuine change. A steam engine, on the other hand, does not care how the heat is generated, as long as the heat is delivered to the right place. This mans that a steam-engine based technology could adapt to new power sources with much less disruption.

Of course, there's the little problem of water itself becoming a scarce resource in many areas...


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.

Railroads (none / 0) (#87)
by doconnor on Mon Mar 27, 2006 at 01:37:00 PM EST

The railroads and ships used steam for a long time, but they moved away from it, without industry pressure as far as I know.

Railroads have been using desiel-electric hybrids for decades.

[ Parent ]

Green Goat (none / 0) (#88)
by SnowBlind on Mon Mar 27, 2006 at 05:14:52 PM EST

http://www.railindustry.com/coverage/2002/2002g02a.html

They are now doing diesel/eletric hybrids.


There is but One Kernel, and root is His Prophet.
[ Parent ]

Hybrids (none / 1) (#93)
by doconnor on Tue Mar 28, 2006 at 02:35:05 PM EST

Almost all locamotives are diesel/eletric hybrids, with a diesel engine generating electricity that powers electric motors. I believe they do it this way to provide high torque at low speed and to avoid having a gearbox.

The Green Goat is the first one that uses regenerative breaking. For most locamotives regenerative breaking isn't very useful because they don't do a lot of starting and stopping. The Green Goat is a switcher, which just moves cars around the yard, which involves a lot of starting and stopping.

[ Parent ]

Ships and Trains (none / 1) (#112)
by Kadin2048 on Tue May 09, 2006 at 06:01:02 PM EST

The reason railroads and ships moved away from steam are complicated, but I think in most cases they had to do with power to weight ratio or power to volume ratio.

Steam locomotives had a number of disadvantages versus diesels (although looks were not one of them, god they were beautiful): their torque curve is uneven from a standing start compared to electric motors, and they require more fuelling infrastructure. Coal is larger by volume than diesel, and water is also required. Although those problems had been worked out, to the point where an engine could be re-watered at 50 or 60 MPH (google "track pans"), diesels were still simpler. Also, they burned cleaner, which was a plus at the time. However, I tend to wonder if the particulate smoke of coal combustion is really much worse than diesel, once you figure that most of the soot settles to the ground ... but I am not a chemist.

In ships I think it was fuel volume that finially made oil-burning ships more desirable than coal. Although it's worth pointing out that ships went from coal to oil in most cases before they went from steam to direct-impingement turbines: oil-fired boilers were used into the 1950s. I think the key here was also fueling infrastructure: loading oil onto a ship is easier than loading coal, and takes up less space. (Probably lighter as well.) Turbine engines I'm told were adopted for the power-to-weight ratio savings over boilers and steam turbines, plus they produce peak power with much less time. When you step on the gas, its there; you don't have to wait for a bigger head of steam to be built up. There are probably still ships out there that use boilers and steam turbines (obviously nuclear ones do), I'd be interested in hearing what the economics and engineering are that decide that.

Anyway, I think in either case you have to separate out the choice of engine design from the choice of fuel. Locomotives went from coal-burning steam to internal-combustion reciprocating-engine diesels (some of the first diesels used really gigantic 2-cycle diesel engines, they had around 8" dia pistons x 12 or 16 cylinders), to diesel turbines. In ships you had coal boilers giving way to oil boilers to oil or diesel turbines.

I think generally it was the fuel that drove the first decision (away from coal) and then efficicency and power/volume-to-weight that drove subsequent engine upgrades.

[ Parent ]

Since no one ever answered you... (none / 0) (#111)
by Eccles on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 09:53:48 PM EST

Steam-powered cars took 20 minutes to start, before they built up enough steam; that's why they died out. Having to stop frequently for water was also a hassle, but largely solved by having condensors. Since power plants aren't so troubled by start up time, lots of them (including nuke plants) are steam turbines, using heat to produce steam to turn a generator.

[ Parent ]
I am new to this place (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by joelado on Mon Mar 27, 2006 at 12:39:25 AM EST

This is a very interesting place. I am new to it. I had trouble understanding what I was supposed to do. I couldn't find the edit button for the first few days so I was unable to edit my pieces. I also post just before I go to work and you guys are busy. There is so much to read and do. Today I came home and not only was my story posted but it was voted down before I could do anything. The discussion about Ethanol in my piece Brazil the Saudi Arabia of Biofuels, though voted down, got lots and lots of great discussion and debate. Lots of good thinking and great new perspectives. If you don't mind I am going to keep posting here, I can't get to my pieces some times with in 24 hours, but I like what you all say. Your editing suggestions are spot on. Thank you. I just feel helpless because I can only post when I am off and I can't come back sometimes for a day or two. Thank you guys for the lively discussion. You are all princes to me.

Be serious (1.25 / 4) (#89)
by trhurler on Mon Mar 27, 2006 at 10:53:16 PM EST

Each of the "components" you're talking about are infeasible test prototypes or pipe dreams.

180 miles on a charge - yes, but it was more like a cart with motors than a car. Make a real car out of it, and now it weighs ten times as much. Oops. And at that, the 180 miles was at what, maybe five or ten miles an hour?! Batteries are commercially available today that offer many times the energy density of the best from back then. BUT, cars actually have to be CARS.

Hub motors are great - all modern electric designs use them. It doesn't matter. They still aren't efficient enough.

The Stanley Steamer burned fuel, dumbass.

Battery swapping stations? Who cares? First of all, the batteries needed weigh a few hundred pounds, so that's ridiculous. But second, look at the number of cars on the road. How will you get all that juice? Oh, that's right. COAL PLANTS! Which are WORSE than burning gas! Dumbass.

And the hybrids of the 190x days were less efficient than pure gasoline solutions, in case your extensive research failed to note that.

Now on to your present day "solutions."

Yes, you can make a car extremely aerodynamic - but it will have minimal usable volume for passengers and cargo. Ergo, it won't sell. End of statement. We already have cars with low enough cD that the drag is dominated by frontal area, and you CANNOT reduce frontal area without impacting transport volume unacceptably.

Low rolling resistance tires are great, but they only work on fairly lightweight vehicles. Again, if you have a family to transport and/or need to move around any amount of stuff, not practical.

In wheel motors: again, for practical cars, power density is still too low, period. People will not stop every 150 miles, let alone the 100 that even the impractically tiny electric cars get today.

Weight: assuming you want to keep a usable size for passenger cars, you will NEVER, even with an entirely carbon everything (which isn't safe for long term use, btw - race cars with composite chassis are raced for limited times and then junked,) manage to get the weight down as low as the not-good-enough electrics of today. What makes you think adding weight is going to help with the lack of drivability and range?!

Your comment about efficiency shows your lack of understanding. The problem is not efficiency. The problem is RANGE, which means POWER DENSITY. Yes, you greenies would love high efficiency - and for cost reasons, so would everyone else - but the fact is, if the power density isn't there, it could be 100% efficient and STILL nobody sane would want it.

Regenerative braking: adds about 3-5mpg on the Prius and similar cars. Also adds massive complexity to the brake system and makes it something ordinary mechanics can't work on. Total cost of ownership goes through the roof. Congratulations.

Finally, you're talking about batteries. Yes, the best batteries can be charged in a minute - for cell phones. However, those "in the process" batteries are still years from store shelves, and the current technology DOES NOT SCALE to large sizes for things like cars. Further, lithium ion does not offer NEARLY the power density needed for a practical automobile. You claim this is an advanced tech article, and you don't even know about the batteries being specifically developed FOR CARS?! No, they aren't good enough, but they're better than any fucking lithium ion crap. Ignoramus.

Power density. Say it. POWER DENSITY. Until we have it, electric cars are USELESS.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

You are so full of shit. (2.60 / 5) (#90)
by joelado on Tue Mar 28, 2006 at 01:40:45 AM EST

"180 miles on a charge - yes, but it was more like a cart with motors than a car. Make a real car out of it, and now it weighs ten times as much."

Try the tZero for size. Three hundred mile range at 70 miles an hour. Zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds. http://www.acpropulsion.com/

"Hub motors are great - all modern electric designs use them. It doesn't matter. They still aren't efficient enough."

Mitsubishi Motors Lancer Evolution MIEV high-performance electric delivers not only superior environmental performance but also output performance and maneuverability equal to or better than gasoline-fueled vehicles.
http://www.megawattmotorworks.com/display.asp?dismode=article&artid=172

"How will you get all that juice? Oh, that's right. COAL PLANTS! Which are WORSE than burning gas!"

Electric vehicles remain cleaner than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles even when the Electricity they use derives from polluting fuels like coal. The reasons are their high-efficiency
electric powertrains and the fact that modern coal-burning generating plants produce electricity more efficiently and with fewer emissions
than they did in the past. Dumbass.

"We already have cars with low enough cD that the drag is dominated by frontal area, and you CANNOT reduce frontal area without impacting transport volume unacceptably."

Wrong. The Toyota Previa, and the Nissan Murrano have both benefited from having reduced drag. It's  in the shape. Dumbass.

"Low rolling resistance tires are great, but they only work on fairly lightweight vehicles."

Fuel cost mostly affect long distance trucking. Tire makers are marketing an entire new line of products aimed at the heavy truck market, and have the data to show that fuel savings.

"Weight:"

If you clicked on the links you would have seen the 60 foot articulated bus. Composits are being used in space craft and commercial air craft. Commercial air craft have to have a fallure rate of zero. Composites can be engineered to be durable and are.  

Regenerative braking: adds about 3-5mpg on the Prius and similar cars.

The Prius is comprable to a Toyota Carolla. All the electric energy that the Prius gets is from its regenerative brakes. The Prius gets 50% better gas mileage than the Carolla. Do the math, dumb shit. If you have to use your fingers.

"... you don't even know about the batteries being specifically developed FOR CARS?! No, they aren't good enough, but they're better than any fucking lithium ion crap."

Altair Nano http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=article&storyid=999
A123 Systems
http://www.a123systems.com/html/home.html
And many more. You ignorant piece of scum.

"Power density. Say it. POWER DENSITY. Until we have it, electric cars are USELESS."

Try Electrovaya for size. Shit for brains.

Your comment shows you don't know shit. All of the factors I talked about affect range. The barriers are clear and the sollutions are clear. Put them all together in a single vehicle and you have a car that can drive a family of 6 300 miles or better at highway speeds and then recharge in about 6 minutes.

[ Parent ]

BWAHAHAHA (1.00 / 2) (#96)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 09:25:20 PM EST

Try the tZero for size. Three hundred mile range at 70 miles an hour. Zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds. http://www.acpropulsion.com/
Did you LOOK at that car before you opened your mouth? It is about ten feet long, four feet wide, and has NO ROOF! It would not pass mass production safety regs in ANY STATE of the US due to bumper height, crash tests, and so on. It has NO cargo space, seats TWO SMALL PEOPLE in moderate discomfort, and you brag about its RANGE? FUCKING MORON: WHEN YOU TRIPLE THE WEIGHT AND THE FRONTAL AREA TO MAKE IT USABLE, THE RANGE AND SPEED WILL DROP A LOT!
Mitsubishi Motors Lancer Evolution MIEV high-performance electric delivers not only superior environmental performance but also output performance and maneuverability equal to or better than gasoline-fueled vehicles. http://www.megawattmotorworks.com/display.asp?dismode=article&artid=172
Too bad the range is only a bit longer than that needed for rally stages. USELESS!
Electric vehicles remain cleaner than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles even when the Electricity they use derives from polluting fuels like coal.
Sorry, but no. You're not counting power loss in the transmission lines, you're not counting the fact that most of the world's coal plants aren't half as clean as those in the US, you aren't counting the fact that even if they were 90% efficient(no real car ever will be no matter its power source,) coal power is MUCH dirtier (not just CO2, but also sulfur, particulates, and so on,) and in general, you're talking out your small end.
Wrong. The Toyota Previa, and the Nissan Murrano have both benefited from having reduced drag. It's in the shape. Dumbass.
"Benefited?" Yes, lots of cars "benefit" from low cD. Nevertheless, the Previa and the Murano are big vehicles with large frontal area. NO SHAPE can overcome frontal area. This is one of those rules of physics that cannot be broken. Learn the math behind the subject and THEN call other people dumbass, dumbass. There is a REASON there is no electric Murano running around.
Fuel cost mostly affect long distance trucking. Tire makers are marketing an entire new line of products aimed at the heavy truck market, and have the data to show that fuel savings.
A few percent, yes. Not enough to extend the range of an electric vehicle by a noticable amount. Even then, those tires still have FAR more rolling resistance than ordinary car tires. "Low" is relative.
If you clicked on the links you would have seen the 60 foot articulated bus. Composits are being used in space craft and commercial air craft.
So what?
Commercial air craft have to have a fallure rate of zero. Composites can be engineered to be durable and are.
Nothing has a failure rate of zero. Grow up, moron. Join the real world. Get an education before you blather on like some anime fanboy. The expected lifetime of repeated stress cycled carbon fiber is usually measured in thousands or tens of thousands of operational hours. That's when it is done to aircraft standards; remember that airplanes made of this stuff generally command seven figure price tags. Can YOU pay seven figures for a car? Oh, no you can't. Oops.
The Prius is comprable to a Toyota Carolla.
No it isn't. It makes less power, weighs less, is more aerodynamic, has less cargo volume, less passenger volume, and has a bunch of expensive extra engineering done to minimize drivetrain losses. All of this makes it MUCH more efficient than a Corolla(lern to speel, moran,) regardless of the power source.
All the electric energy that the Prius gets is from its regenerative brakes.
No, it isn't. It has this thing called an "alternator." Look it up, fucktard.
The Prius gets 50% better gas mileage than the Carolla. Do the math, dumb shit. If you have to use your fingers.
50% better on the EPA test cycle, yes. In the real world it is more like 25% better than the economy engined Corolla. And this, as I said, is NOT for a comparable car - the Prius has MANY other advantages in this contest that compromise its usefulness to people who have other goals than being as green as possible. (And seriously, go do a few more Google searches on hybrid fuel economy - you'll find out REAL fast that these cars do not get anywhere near the advertised economy.)
Try Electrovaya for size. Shit for brains.
POWER DENSITY, moron. Electrovaya is still NOWHERE CLOSE to gasoline! Not to mention the price of their batteries per unit poewr is so high that it would make a Chevy Aveo price competitive with a fucking Rolls Royce.
Your comment shows you don't know shit. All of the factors I talked about affect range.
Yes, obviously it is ME who doesn't know shit. I mean, except for the fact that no battery even comes CLOSE to the energy density of gasoline, or that the Prius has an alternator and does not compare to a Corolla overall in any way except rough overall size, or the fact that carbon fiber in stress cycle applications has a fairly limited lifespan, or, or, or, or, or... you're an ignorant fuck, and your lame insults cannot cover for the facts.
Put them all together in a single vehicle and you have a car that can drive a family of 6 300 miles or better at highway speeds and then recharge in about 6 minutes.
If this were true, Toyota, which has enough money to buy all these little rinky dink technology companies out of the petty cash drawer, would have done so by now and would be selling that car. The reality is, you cannot just "combine" all of that. It isn't like a puzzle where you just throw it all together in the right way and you're done. All those vehicles and all those technologies involve engineering tradeoffs - if you ever learn anything about real world engineering, you'll find out that "tradeoff" is the most common word in the engineering vocabulary. As it happens, many of these tradeoffs in electric car technology work against each other. Add better batteries? Yes, but although they're smaller, they weigh more. Spend more money on drivetrain efficiency? Great, but now your car is more expensive than the competitors, helping to wipe out fuel cost savings. Make the car big enough for six people and their luggage? Now the frontal area goes way up and your drag at highway speeds goes up linearly with it, which means your power consumption ALSO goes up linearly with it(actually superlinearly since no machine is 100% efficient.) Oh, and weight goes up a couple thousand pounds too. And so on and so forth.

The fact is, you went into this "research" looking to support a preconceived notion that the technology is all there and the evil stupid corporations just won't do what they ought to, and that's not true. You ignore any and all evidence that what you're saying makes no sense and just brag on barely developed technology as though it is just waiting to roll onto a showroom floor if only all the stupid plebes who didn't spend an hour with Google doing "research" would wake up.

In the real world, it is a bit harder than that, you blithering fuckknuckle. But thanks for reminding all of us reasonable adults what happens when kids set out to "change the world." BWAHAHAHA. Loser.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You must think that being loud is a substitute for (none / 0) (#101)
by joelado on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 11:20:19 PM EST

actually knowing something. I am getting board with you and your ignorance. So all I am going to say is this... The Prius Doesn't Have an Alternator. Its electric motor acts as a its starter, alternator, its engine assist and its primary power. I would insult you but its not really worth it.

[ Parent ]
wtf is this "rule of physics" bullshit? (none / 1) (#105)
by gai goa tse on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 07:13:03 AM EST

NO SHAPE can overcome frontal area. This is one of those rules of physics that cannot be broken.

Fundamental rule of physics? More like "vague empirical rule of thumb". Do you even know what causes drag?

I live in a world of cold steel! And dungeons! And mighty foes!
[ Parent ]

motor efficiency (none / 0) (#108)
by dougmc on Tue Apr 18, 2006 at 01:14:52 AM EST

"Hub motors are great - all modern electric designs use them. It doesn't matter. They still aren't efficient enough."
Of course, this isn't even an issue anymore -- good quality electrical motors and generators are already 90+% efficient nowadays when run within the regimes they're designed for, and have been for years. And even assuming that your motor is only 80% efficient, that only gives you a 25% boost in range if you could magically boost that efficiency to 100%.

He may not have used the right term (as I already mentioned, it's energy density, not power density) -- but that's the problem with electric cars right now. Not the efficiency of the motors, though of course a huge improvement in the efficiency (going from 90% to 95% efficient, for example) will result in a small improvement in range.

What could make electric cars practical now? Efficient, cost effective fuel cells that run on gasoline. THAT is where we should be putting our research dollars if we want practical electric cars, though improving battery technology wouldn't be a bad thing either.

If you could replace a 20% efficient internal combustion engine with a 80% efficient fuel cell and a 90% efficient motor, and throw in some regenerative braking (which would require a small battery pack -- perhaps some ultracapacitors?) -- that could give you about 4x the fuel efficiency without even changing anything else in the car (like the aerodynamics or size or weight.)

[ Parent ]

Man, get a clue (3.00 / 3) (#92)
by C0vardeAn0nim0 on Tue Mar 28, 2006 at 09:15:25 AM EST

i usually don't resort to personal atacks here on K5, digg or /., but in your case, mr. troll i'll make an exception: you're an asshole.

all i need to prove the above statement is this:

"Weight: assuming you want to keep a usable size for passenger cars, you will NEVER, even with an entirely carbon everything (which isn't safe for long term use, btw - race cars with composite chassis are raced for limited times and then junked,) manage to get the weight down as low as the not-good-enough electrics of today. What makes you think adding weight is going to help with the lack of drivability and range?!"

race cars like F1 cars are hardly junked now adays (unless they crash hard, like in that unfortunate accident that killed paul dana last weekend. RIP, paul). there's several ferrari, mclaren and williams F1 cars in the hands of collectors, many of them meet ocasionally to put their cars on the track, and they still perform just like when they were being driven by the likes of michael schumacher or alain prost. race car teams sell or junk their cars not because the car's composite structure is compromised or damaged, they get rid of the cars because after a few races they're OBSOLETE!!! specially in F1, where the car's technology plays a much bigger role. if you have any doubts that composites are good for street cars, ask a sports car dealer what an F50 is made of... or a mclaren F1 GT... or a lamborghini...

and in another demostration of ignorance, you said:

"Yes, you can make a car extremely aerodynamic - but it will have minimal usable volume for passengers and cargo. Ergo, it won't sell. End of statement. We already have cars with low enough cD that the drag is dominated by frontal area, and you CANNOT reduce frontal area without impacting transport volume unacceptably."

check out this page: http://www.lexam.net/peter/carnut/oddball.html

not everyone buys cars because they're as big as a boat like people does in US. some people buy cars because they're PRACTICAL. cases in point: citroen 2cv, mini cooper, vw beetle, messerschmitt, romi isetta, and others. europe has a long tradition in making such cars. the beetle sold more that 20 million units, the 2cv almost got to the 20 million mark, mini is still sold all around the world, AND IT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A TRUNK. you have to flip the back seats down to get a trunk, and don't even ask about the 2 seat smart car made by daimlerchrysler...

IMHO the ideal design for todays crowded cities would be something like the messerschmitt, anarow, low profile, 2 seats in tandem car with a small, high eficiency engine. it would have a great aerodinamic, with low weight. would be better than  the wide, short aproach of the smart car and romi isetta.

http://www.comofazer.net
[ Parent ]

You fail hard! (none / 0) (#97)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 09:33:55 PM EST

race cars like F1 cars are hardly junked now adays
check out this page: http://www.lexam.net/peter/carnut/oddball.html
That's great for people who live in or near urban cores with no family to transport and no need to move around any significant amount of stuff. Now, what about the other 90% of the population?
not everyone buys cars because they're as big as a boat like people does in US.
You seem to be misinformed. The most popular cars in America are compact sedans and hatchbacks.
cases in point: citroen 2cv, mini cooper, vw beetle, messerschmitt, romi isetta, and others.
None of which are any use at all if, say, you have kids. Europeans can get away with that because they hardly use cars anyway, but the US isn't like that. There's more space with less stuff in it here, and you can't just take public transit everywhere. With half the populace living in small towns often dozens of miles apart, you can't operate a mass transit system here that's flexible enough to replace cars for most people outside of big urban cores. That means people need cars that can haul both families AND stuff. You lose.
IMHO the ideal design for todays crowded cities would be something like the messerschmitt, anarow, low profile, 2 seats in tandem car with a small, high eficiency engine. it would have a great aerodinamic, with low weight. would be better than the wide, short aproach of the smart car and romi isetta.
Other than the top five cities, which have only a fraction of the populace, the US is not made of "crowded cities." Most of us still need real cars, chump.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Dammit (none / 0) (#98)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 09:35:30 PM EST

Stupid cut and paste. Anyway, I had a reply to your F1 thing quoted above: F1 cars are driven a few dozen hours tops and then sold to people who drive them maybe a few hours a year. And they're built MUCH tougher than you can build a car that has to have open space in it for several passengers and so on and still sell for a sane price. The carbon is layered and triangulated in ways you can't do if you're working on, say, a minivan.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
corrections (none / 1) (#94)
by DDS3 on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 10:01:39 AM EST

While your tone was crap, you did make a few good points.  Having said that,  I have to correct one of your assertions.

Weight: assuming you want to keep a usable size for passenger cars, you will NEVER, even with an entirely carbon everything (which isn't safe for long term use, btw - race cars with composite chassis are raced for limited times and then junked,) manage to get the weight down as low as the not-good-enough electrics of today. What makes you think adding weight is going to help with the lack of drivability and range?!

Carbon fiber is becoming more and more popular.  We now have plastics which are as strong as steel and much lighter too.  In fact, it's now possible to make a car body completely out of plastic, molded, in the correct color, which is as strong as steel and about 1/4 heavier than carbon fiber.

Having said that, carbon fiber actually has an unlimited life.  More and more planes are being made from carbon fiber or other epoxied-type materials.  And don't forget, weigt in planes is critical as it affects pretty every aspect of the plane.  Vibrations in planes are much worse than they tend to be in cars because they have props.  Props are constantly trying to figure out how to get out of balance...and they slowly and steadily do over time.  We're not talk a lot out of balance....but the created vibrations take their toll over time.  Just the same, many planes built today are expected to be in service 40, 50, 60...many even 100 years from now.

Let's not forget the stresses impossed by a bad landing. You would have to be riding hard, while off roading, to get close to the forces planes experience during a hard, bad landing.  Let's also not forget that we have had many exotic sports card made of carbon for what...two decades now...that are easily still on the road.

Long of the short, you have no idea what you're talking about when you made the above statement.

[ Parent ]

Well, no... (none / 1) (#95)
by trhurler on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 08:58:15 PM EST

Carbon fiber is becoming more and more popular.
But, contrary to your below mythology, does not have an "unlimited life." Carbon fiber parts which are placed under repetitive stress cycles will eventually delaminate. Period. (This is actually true of all layered composites.)
We now have plastics which are as strong as steel and much lighter too.
And what would it cost (not just the material, which is very expensive, but the manufacturing processes,) to make a car out of this? Oh, right. A small fortune. Nevermind:)
In fact, it's now possible to make a car body completely out of plastic, molded, in the correct color, which is as strong as steel and about 1/4 heavier than carbon fiber.
You realize that strength is not the principle concern with car bodies anymore, right? (Hint: crash properties matter far more.)
Having said that, carbon fiber actually has an unlimited life.
No, it doesn't.
More and more planes are being made from carbon fiber or other epoxied-type materials.
And those chassis have specific flight hour allotments after which they MUST be scrapped, genius.
Just the same, many planes built today are expected to be in service 40, 50, 60...many even 100 years from now.
Which is reasonable since they spend MANY fewer hours in operation per year than a typical automobile and are built to standards that allow for six and seven figure price tags. Cars do not fit that profile.
Let's not forget the stresses impossed by a bad landing. You would have to be riding hard, while off roading, to get close to the forces planes experience during a hard, bad landing.
Single large shocks aren't the point. However, for an idea of what happens when a single large shock happens, look at the idiot who crashed an Enzo recently in California. The entire car DISINTEGRATED, chump. The engine was left laying in the middle of the road. The driver survived because this was a million dollar sports car with some REALLY serious passenger protection - F1 style breakaway crash pod, fancy seat(not very comfortable, but good for crashing in,) fancy harness, etc. Had that been a car built to a price point you or I could afford, the driver would be dead as dead can be.
Let's also not forget that we have had many exotic sports card made of carbon for what...two decades now...that are easily still on the road.
Nope. The first use of carbon in a production road car was in the late 90s. Even today, for other than cosmetic purposes no production road car uses carbon that is not an exotic, and again, exotics hardly see the duty cycles that real cars see. Sure, when you put 1000 miles a year on the thing, it'll last. Big deal.
Long of the short, you have no idea what you're talking about when you made the above statement.
Says a guy whose supposed argument was just completely debunked.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I would hate to be you. (3.00 / 3) (#102)
by joelado on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 11:23:08 PM EST

You are a little, little person.

[ Parent ]
lol codemonkey (none / 0) (#104)
by gai goa tse on Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 06:59:34 AM EST

Carbon fiber parts which are placed under repetitive stress cycles will eventually delaminate. Period. (This is actually true of all layered composites.)

Actually, this is true of all materials. Metals don't delaminate, but they do crack. What a ridiculous and stupid point to make.

And those chassis have specific flight hour allotments after which they MUST be scrapped, genius.

LOL once again, we have entered the magic trhurler world where metals don't fatigue.

I live in a world of cold steel! And dungeons! And mighty foes!
[ Parent ]

Oh well...some never learn... (none / 0) (#114)
by DDS3 on Thu Jun 01, 2006 at 08:45:06 PM EST

But, contrary to your below mythology, does not have an "unlimited life."

You are correct, life is not unlimited; it is, however, more than likely beyond your life span.  So from a practical point of view it is.  Besides, it's not the carbon fiber which fails or delaminates its the epoxies which are used.  These days, exposies are incrediable and most have unrated lifespans because it's unknown how many decades or even centuries they'll last.  Long story short, it's unlimited until proven otherwise.  As those decards and/or centuries have not passed yet, it's not "proven otherwise."

And what would it cost (not just the material, which is very expensive, but the manufacturing processes,) to make a car out of this? Oh, right. A small fortune. Nevermind:)

You should of stuck with nevermind before you posted....but oh well.  Actually, the cost is less than using steel and aluminum.  The auto makers have already started working with the materials to determine thinks like life cycle, fade, repair, and the associated economics, retooling, re-education, etc.  Like most large changes which effect vast aspects of a working economy, it takes time...none the less, it's very viable and cheaper than steel...especially given the cost of processing metals these days (given the high energy costs).

You realize that strength is not the principle concern with car bodies anymore, right?

Can you say Duh!?  This is pretty stupid that you even offered this.  Crumple zones can easily be provided with plastic.  Duh.  This is NOT rocket science!  It's simple physics which can easily be modeled on computer...gasp...just as they currently do.  Doh!

No, it doesn't.

Addressed above.  Literally...no, pragmatically...yes.  

And those chassis have specific flight hour allotments after which they MUST be scrapped, genius.

I'm a private pilot!  I know!  They do not!  Genius!  How stupid are you!?

Which is reasonable since they spend MANY fewer hours in operation per year than a typical automobile and are built to standards that allow for six and seven figure price tags. Cars do not fit that profile.

You're a moron.  First of all, many, many planes see far, far, far more abusive hours than most cars ever will.  Most cars spend the vast majority of their life at idle...or near with little to no vibration and little to no stress.  Planes on the other hand spend most of their measures flight hours at WOT...many rough landings, bad weather, wind sheer, etc...etc...etc...  It is not uncommon to find planes with 4000-7000 hours on them still flying.  And those hours don't include the decade(s) sitting in hot summers and cold winters.  The difference between a car and a plane is the amount of TLC it receives over the years...and the fact that constant inspections are required...and the fact that engines are periodically rebuilt..etc...

Secondly, most planes are actually built inferior or equal to cars in every respect.  In fact, many, many planes actually use auto parts; especially if we're talking about older planes.  Hell, for piston planes, fuel injection still has LOTS of cool factor.  Heck...an engine which automatically adjusts the air/fuel mixture is bleeding edge; and very costly to boot (look up FADEC).

Had that been a car built to a price point you or I could afford, the driver would be dead as dead can be.

Moron.  You really are clueless.

Says a guy whose supposed argument was just completely debunked.

What a moron.  Says a guy whose supposed argument was just completely debunked.  When you grow a brain try to come back.  Until then, stick this crap you make up back up your ass...we all know that's where you pulled it from.

[ Parent ]

ENERGY DENSITY, not POWER DENSITY! (none / 0) (#107)
by dougmc on Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:41:18 PM EST

Power density. Say it. POWER DENSITY. Until we have it, electric cars are USELESS.
While I do agree with some of what you're saying (and little of how you say it), it's not actually power density that matters so much -- it's energy density.

Put simply, power density (watts/lb) is what makes your car `fast' -- and we have no trouble making a very fast electric car. The problem is the energy density (watt-hours/lb) stored per pound of battery -- we want a car that can go hundreds of miles between recharges -- that's the problem.

Ultracapacitors can deliver tremendous amounts of power for their weight -- for about 10 seconds. They have very high power density, but their energy density is lower than even NiCd cells.

LiPos have good power density (but not as good as ultracapacitors) and very good energy density -- but the energy density is still nothing compared to a tank full of gasoline.

(LiPos are also very expensive compared to NiMH and Pb cells, which is why they're usually only used in things like cell phones, laptops, PDAs and higher-end electric R/C planes -- most electric cars and similar things use NiMH or lead-acid batteries.)

[ Parent ]

Fantastic article (none / 1) (#113)
by Unski on Sat May 27, 2006 at 06:00:18 AM EST

Plenty here will be able to refute the usefulness of electric cars, however it is important that this option is continually reviewed, that we at least continue to consider alternative to the conventional (and also technologically-ancient) internal combustion engine. Thankyou very much for this, I will probably read it several times.

Electric Vehicles, the Cutting Edge Then and Now | 114 comments (72 topical, 42 editorial, 0 hidden)
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