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 What *IS* This Nonsense? (Electric Cars)
Imagesbytjm 3 posts, incept 2010-10-16

There has been way too much push for the battery powered electric car while we ignore a better solution. A compress air powered car. They already have units on the road in India. Using compressed air solves the "recharge" issue. Stations could have large compressed air tanks to refill the cars in minutes. Recharging at home would involve having a compressor powered off the grid. Uses electricity to power the cars but eliminates the batteries and recharge issue. Also, no lithum to import, no hazardous waste to deal with and much lighter cars since no batteries to lug around. Compressed air is a very powerful tool and we need more research into building compressed air engines.
Eighty6thebs 4k posts, incept 2007-06-26

I'll state my idea again.

1) Run power lines over the interstate the same way they do for other mass transit systems.
2) Have the car tap into this with a hook like you see on a city bus.
3) The car uses the power for long distance while on the interstate and charges the battery for the shorter hops "off grid".

This takes a shit pot of new power in the grid, but it eliminates the need for huge batteries and long cycle times. Using this approach, I could drive the 18 miles from my home on battery, the 400 on the interstate on the powerline, and the 20 back over to karl's house in Florida all on my small battery car. Slap a meter on the car and bill me for the power.

Now all we need is 200 new nuke reactors to put the juice in the grid and bye bye diaper heads.

"Sounds to me like you guys a couple of bookies" - Billy Ray Valentine"No I am not scared, and neither should you be!" - Iraqi Information Minister Economists are like lookouts at the house of ill-re
Tickerguy 195k posts, incept 2007-06-26

A "tracked" system for long-haul that has the sort of power draw capability you're talking about is potentially viable. It runs into maintenance and related issues (e.g. a short would shut off a large area) but it's potentially workable. The question is whether it's economically reasonable. I suspect the answer is no.

The difference between "kill" and "murder" is that murder, as a subset of kill, is undeserved by the deceased.
Myopia 83 posts, incept 2010-09-16

There was an interesting piece on credit writedowns - The case for Human Ingenuity
Mpilar 7k posts, incept 2009-01-05

Imagesbytjm, I read a few years ago that TaTa was working on this for passenger cars, I know they have buses that are air powered. Getting rear-ended by a semi in something like that might make the Pinto look good again though...who's responsible for the crater repair in the road?

If man asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.
Will Durant
Flaps10 7k posts, incept 2008-10-17

Some of the r/c planes I fly are electric. They have come a LONG ways since the first guy tried electric flight. They used to be a joke and now they are just too easy NOT to use.

Besides the max charge rate, they are best allowed to cool down before use for a time that works out to be about as long as charging. For any given plane I have three packs. One flying, one charging and one cooling down.

Buying a car "dry" and owning a share in a battery co-op would be the only way. And the charging stations would have to be able to test capacity (the charger I use for my r/c planes gives me a VERY good idea of the health of the battery pack) and stand by the pack they forklift into your car.
Tickerguy 195k posts, incept 2007-06-26

A compressed-air tank rupture is a VERY un-funny thing. Google up scuba tank explosions and have a look at some of the pictures. And that's a SMALL (typically 80cf) tank. You'd need a lot bigger one to operate a car for any distance (or much higher pressure.)

The difference between "kill" and "murder" is that murder, as a subset of kill, is undeserved by the deceased.
Phantomace 6k posts, incept 2009-03-16

Tesla "claims" their Model S (Sedan) will quick charge in 45 minutes and be available with 160, 230 or 300 mile range options. (Different pack sizes?)
If that's true, then they may have a winning set up.
Anyone know how they accomplish this given the math of the current draw?

I would normally write it off as "hype", as the Sedan is still in beta testing, but they already produce the Roadster, and it goes over 200 miles on a charge as delivered. So, what gives?

"That was a little trick I call math. Oops, now I'm not emotionally invested..." - Dilbert
The only good thing I have to say about Barney Frank is at least he's not breeding...
Flaps10 7k posts, incept 2008-10-17

A "tracked" system for long-haul that has the sort of power draw capability you're talking about is potentially viable. It runs into maintenance and related issues (e.g. a short would shut off a large area) but it's potentially workable.

What a riot during a black out though, eh? I'll smile and wave from my vegetable oil fired F-250.

And how about that 35,000 volt third rail to make things interesting?
Tickerguy 195k posts, incept 2007-06-26

100 amps (maximum reasonable deliverable power from a household connection without special considerations, assuming you want to do anything else at the same time) @ 240v = 24kw.

45 minutes = 18/kWh delivered over that amount of time.

200 miles on 18kWh? Bullshit.

Gasoline contains ~13kw/kg, and is approximately 6lbs/gal, or 2.73kg/gal. So a gallon of gasoline contains ~35kw of energy.

A gasoline engine is approximately 25% efficient, so of that 35kw about 9kw actually makes it to the wheels. Let's presume a nice, light car with decent (but not exemplary) aerodynamics and that this 9kw of energy can take us 35 miles.

Ok, so I can (assuming no losses) get 70 miles out of that "quick charge." Except there are losses. Charging a battery is (in bulk phase) about 80% efficient end-to-end (including the charger's losses.) The motor is probably roughly 80% efficient too. These stack, so now I get a net 45 miles out of that 45 minute "quick charge", or approximately one mile for every minute of charge time.


The difference between "kill" and "murder" is that murder, as a subset of kill, is undeserved by the deceased.
Winstonsmith2009 1k posts, incept 2009-08-05

This will not solve the quick-charge current supply bottleneck, but it's interesting tech anyway:
Duc888 8k posts, incept 2008-11-06

Diesel electric. Use my Dodge PU as an example. Take the Cummins out (1200# long block), put in a little Kubota 3 cylinder that sips diesel like a mouse. Add 1 60 HP DC electric engine (equals the 600 FT Pounds torque 0-1800 rpm)....add truck batteries as needed, it can easily carry 2500# of batteries.

I'd bet you'd get 100+ miles to the gallon of diesel easy.

Notice the Army is going all D/E now in EVERY form of ground transportation.

Mortgageguymn 2k posts, incept 2009-03-09

What about the hydrogen fuel cells that GW Bush had advocated ~ 5 years ago? Would that be a more feasible way to deliver energy from nuclear power to cars?
Otiswild 5k posts, incept 2009-03-09

Lithium borohydride with recycling (perhaps replaceable canisters at fuel stations that dump out the used fuel, which goes to an industrial recycler) could be a way to go.. Sodium borohydride would likely be cheaper though.

Or, synthesize fuels from atmospheric CO2 + water + nucular power..
Banditfist 852 posts, incept 2007-09-20

I have always laughed at this whole Volt concept. Infrastructure and costs just don't make it feasible. The costs of subsidies would be huge. The proof of concept has to be there. Seems that the politicians (Obamarama) ignore this.

Gen, what is the effect of temperature on charging? If it is below freezing would there be ramifications on the recharge? I guess that you could get around this by a heating system.

"Are you sure you can't remember?"
"I'm sure I can't remember" ~ Ben Bernake 25 Jun 2009

Mannfm11 8k posts, incept 2009-02-28

Sounds to me like you would be better off buying a golf cart.

I wonder if the world is smoking dope when they come up with these ideas? What kind of power grid would have to be built if even a fraction of US autos went to electric? If they came up with smart meters, which would bill at non-peak hours, they would make sense to charge at those times on timers, until a really cold spell hit, then the grid would go down in the middle of the night. A smaller battery with a combustion motor on board makes a lot more sense. There are clearly efficiencies with such a setup or the rail roads wouldn't do it.

To this point, it appears they are pissing in the wind with this stuff. The true source of broad based energy efficiency is to design an entirely new city. Put the service streets underground, the population in the middle at a density of about 80,000 people per square mile and the industry around the perimeter. you couldn't drive into the place. Such density would put most consumer necessities only a few blocks away. The big box retailers would hate it. 500,000 to 800,000 people would probably be max size, but we are talking population in 6 to 10 square mile areas. There is an amazing amount of stuff you could put on a 2 mile perimeter of such a layout. Want to go somewhere? Go to the edge and rent a car. I believe a prototype city of this sort, with cooperation from enough multinationals to provide employment, could be done at a fraction of the cost of buying electric cars for the next 20 years for 800,000 people. In my opinion, urban design will be a lot more important in the realm of energy than electric cars.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.---John Kenneth Galbraith
Susanjbear 781 posts, incept 2010-06-10

I once saw a photo of the environment surrounding a mine from which minerals were extracted to manufacture electric car batteries. This was maybe in Canada?!? The area looked like what you would expect after extensive mining operations had been going on - depleted and devastated.

That was when I knew electric cars were an environmental scam. They may truly be viable alternative forms of transportation, but in terms of environmental impact I realized they didn't necessarily fare better. It seems we Americans find oil drilling beneath us, it is degrading to have to drill for oil in plain ugly view. So what do we do, we push the dirty work of mining for resources far enough away into foreign countries where we can't see the dirty work being done, then convince ourselves it's environmentally better. Kinda like recycling that aluminum.

There may be some benefits to a pure electric car in terms of maintenance - you don't have to dispose of that engine oil, and maintaining the car overall is probably less of a grease-fest. Fewer oil-based consumables that are quickly depleted and must be replaced - as shown in Who Killed the Electric Car? But a very big consumable (battery) that is consumed and must be replaced.

Flaps10 7k posts, incept 2008-10-17

What kind of power grid would have to be built if even a fraction of US autos went to electric?

Not only that, name me one green bubble geek that embraces coal, nuclear or hydro required to support. There are even plenty of people freaking out about wind farms.

Diesel electric. Use my Dodge PU as an example. Take the Cummins out (1200# long block), put in a little Kubota 3 cylinder that sips diesel like a mouse. Add 1 60 HP DC electric engine (equals the 600 FT Pounds torque 0-1800 rpm)....add truck batteries as needed, it can easily carry 2500# of batteries.

I'd bet you'd get 100+ miles to the gallon of diesel easy.

Not sure the math works on that Duc, as much as I'd like it to. I have a kubota built into a genset on our boat. It's about 18hp and delivers 5kw. (41 amps at 120V, 100 amps at 48V or however you want to slice up the wattage). In short, 18 hp cannot create 60 hp or there would be no energy problem.

The use of the batteries gets you right back to the hole concept of the hybrid. It level loads by dipping into the battery bank for acceleration, hills etc and give it back while loafing or going down hill. Dip into that battery bank for too long and you're either down to 18hp (with losses) or you'll have to sit on the side of the road for a while to recharge.

Never the less, I see the type of conversion you list in a near mad max $20/gallon scenario. I'd rather sit for a piece then depend on charging stations.
Abn0rmal 9k posts, incept 2009-01-10

If lithium-air cells turn out to work as well in practice as they do in the lab it will mostly resolve the energy density issue but it will be a while before we know.
Bertdilbert 2k posts, incept 2008-12-22

Here is the number 1 reason it will not work. Gas and diesel fuel is heavily taxed. If we go electric, the state and fed will lose the tax revenue. They will replace the tax over to electric rates to recoup the funds. If you are not factoring in future taxes to replace the fuel taxes you would have paid, you deserve a lump on your noggin.

Reason for fail number 2

All I can see is we are going a hell of a lot of copper for both power generation, transmission, transformers, motors etc. This will totally jack the price of copper to the moon. Again, the price of everything now changes.

Copper is going to be a much bigger problem than lithium. Keep in mind that these governments may change the royalties on the lithium mined at any time to cash in as well...

Small scale, little impact. To move a nation our size and everything changes and we have to deal with new math.

As to compressed air, you are driving around with a potential bomb in the event of an accident and the structure of the bottle becomes compromised. Assuming it passes safety muster, it is still going to take energy to compress the air and nothing is free. Again a tax on the air would have to be added to replace the lost revenue on the petrol products. This option would still have a higher copper use.

I just do not see compressed air doing the job. A standard large air bottle is about 260 cubic feet. A lot of air tools run on 20 cfm and above... You would be able to run a 20 cfm hand power tool for exactly... 13 minutes. Someone is blowing smoke up your rear with compressed air powered vehicles. End of discussion.

Dear Euroland: Relax, Germany has a plan for your money!Political Capital Defined: We are out of money but will tax our citizens for whatever it takes to "SAVE" the Euro.
Imagesbytjm 3 posts, incept 2010-10-16

I think the rupture of a compressed air tank is something that can be dealt with. There are ways to protect the tank within the frame structure of the car. Besides, we currently drive around with a tank full of explosive material at least equal to that of compressed air not to mention the cars and trucks using LPG.
Phantomace 6k posts, incept 2009-03-16

Besides, we currently drive around with a tank full of explosive material...

Not an accurate comparison though. A rupture of a tank of gas still has the potential to be an issue, but the rupture itself does not create an explosion. After all, the gas would require a rupture AND a spark to light it up. Even then, odds are a fire only, and not an explosion.
With compressed air, however, the rupture alone is sufficient to create an explosion.

Apples and Oranges if you aske me.

"That was a little trick I call math. Oops, now I'm not emotionally invested..." - Dilbert
The only good thing I have to say about Barney Frank is at least he's not breeding...
2b|!2b:? 102 posts, incept 2009-05-22

Ok, I feel I need to chime in on a couple of things.

First, make up your minds regarding home vs. "charging station". The hand-wringing about typical house wiring not being able to cope with a QUICK charge, are nonsense. Nobody is going to NEED a QUICK charge at home. The QUICK charge is needed when you're on the road, and need to pull into a SPECIALIZED station, recharge, and continue on your way. At HOME, you're going to trickle-charge (probably overnight). Moreover, your employer eventually might have trickle-charging stations in your parking lot, so your car could get topped off while you spend those 8-9 hours a day at the office.

Next, energy density. Yes, gasoline has much higher density, but as Genesis recently pointed out, internal combustion engines have horribly low efficiencies compared to electric motors. Using 12.3 KWh/kg for gasoline (per Wikipedia), at 25% efficiency it's 3 KWh/kg. For the electric equivalent, let's ignore charging losses (since they don't impact the car itself -- only the overall cost of "fuel" per quantity of miles driven), and assume 10% discharge loss (heat), and 80% efficient motor. That's 72% overall efficiency for the engine, nearly 3x the maximum for a state of the art gasoline engine. To achieve parity with gasoline, the battery would need an energy density of ~3/.72 = 4.2 KWh/kg. Which is roughly 3x the current state of the art...

However let's not forget that the IC engines are huge and heavy in themselves (not just the engine block, but also all the cooling and exhaust management systems surrounding it.) The transmission system for an electric car can be much simpler and lighter as well, since most electric motors can naturally provide reasonably consistent torque over a wide range of RPM: to the point that there are even proposals to put a small electric motor directly into each of a car's wheels. Overall, an electric power train is much more compact and much lighter, making the overall car more compact and lighter, which means you need a lot less energy to move it compared to an IC car. AND, having an electric motor on the axle allows you to naturally use it as a generator when coasting downhill or braking, which lets you recover power that would be wasted by an IC car (this is what all the hybrids do already.) All of which means you can get away with hauling a heavier/larger battery pack holding less overall energy and still achieve overall form-factor and performance similar to the gasoline-powered car.

So in fact you don't need full energy density parity in the first place. And if you're willing to compromise on the range (e.g. go down to 200 miles vs. 400 miles between "fill-ups"), altogether the concept makes sense -- even with TODAY's technology. It'll only get better as technology continues to improve.

"I have great confidence in the judgment and the common sense of the American people and their leaders. They invariably do the right thing after they have examined every other alternative." - Winston
Digalert 217 posts, incept 2009-09-19

Battery cars are not the answer, yet. Having worked for years with remote site telephone plant batteries, I've seen it. Rechargeable batts. are rated in amp hours (Ah). Based on draw, you can determine how long they can deliver power, not miles driven.

The Ah rating is based on brand new condition, which degrades over time, even with limited usage. The batteries are temperamental, ideally 77 degrees. Higher temps are battery killers. Living in Arizona you might be looking at annual or bi-annual battery replacement.

All these batteries WILL quit over time, in my experience. Many without warning at the most inopportune time. You can have a "test good" fully charged battery fail when under load. The best test is a load test, which is literally a 'controlled' short across the battery terminals. Warning! Never, ever try to short one of these batts. you may die. Use a load tester. This type of test will also sap the battery life.

I never see the global warming, save the earth, green crowd mention the electric power required to charge these rechargeable batteries, it's huge. A rectifier which converts AC to DC is used for charging. Rated in amps, a dead batt. will initially suck your power up to the amp rating. Want to see your electric meter spin like a frisbee on steroids? These batteries will do it.

In summation I'd say green cars are good for quick trips about town. The green crowd needs to understand that electricity does not magically appear at the power outlet. The batteries draw lots of electricity$$ The Batteries are expensive$$ The batteries are not dependable, especially if we get Chinese crap. Haven't seen it yet, but I believe we'll be seeing many, less than well off, people absolutely devastated when they need to drop several thousand $$ for a new set of batteries after a couple of years.

Whewt 2k posts, incept 2008-03-17

Here is a demonstration of the battery switching technology. With the Better Place approach, drivers do not own the batteries. The batteries are supplied as a service.

The battery switch is only necessary for long trips. For single charge range, the batteries are recharged at charging stations in the owners garage over night.

Based on this technology, Israel claims they are going to end oil dependence by 2020.

Except for the math, it's all going to work out.
You don't think about the Ban Hammer...You just swing it!!!

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