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Who killed the electric car?

  1. Oct 6, 2008 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2008 #2

    OmCheeto

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    My brother made me watch that movie.

    I believe it was within weeks of the documentary being released that the Tesla company announced it's existence.

    So I thought the whole premise of the movie was passe. It was for me a "duh, hello, are you stupid?" moment. E-cars are coming!

    Yet last month I discovered that the maker of one of the best DC EV motor controllers was going out of business.

    hmmm..... time for part two? "Who's trying to abort the Electric Car?"
     
  4. Oct 7, 2008 #3
    EV DC motors and controllers are going the way of the vacuum tube when transistors hit the market.

    Granted a DC system is a simpler and cheaper system to put in, however these are its only advantages when compared to a modern AC system. Even the Tesla Roadster is an AC system.

    So no one is trying to abort the EV, it is just shedding an inefficient system style.
     
  5. Oct 7, 2008 #4

    Math Is Hard

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    Thanks for posting that, Cyrus. I watched it last night.

    I want an electric car. I tihnk it's cool that they are so quiet - but I did hear something about how they might have be made noiser so blind people would know they are coming.
     
  6. Oct 25, 2008 #5

    OmCheeto

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    One of the members of my electric vehicle association sent out the following link:

    I found the bit on the Volt quite hilarious.
    GM had a perfectly adequate EV 10 years ago.
    Now they have one that can't even make it to it's own photo-op.
     
  7. Oct 25, 2008 #6
  8. Oct 25, 2008 #7

    mgb_phys

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    It's just profit.
    The markup on an SUV is huge - you take a very cheap pickup truck chassis/drive train, add a cheap body and a few toys (cup holders/DVD/Satnav) and charge luxury car prices.
    The markup on a european subcompact is tiny. Thats why the only ones sold in the US are premium versions like the BMW mini or SmartCar.

    An electric car is the worst of all worlds - it has expensive components and tooling but is subcompact size and so unless you can sell it for twce the price based on novelty (Prius) or suddenly nobody is buying SUVs it doesn't make sense to sell them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2008
  9. Oct 25, 2008 #8

    OmCheeto

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    You should make sure that the way you both define "inefficient" is the same.

    Only if you consider decent range to be hundreds of miles.
    Most people commute less than 50 miles per day.
    Hence, EV's don't have to weigh tons.
    I have 12 vehicles: 4 cars, 5 boats, 2 bicycles, and one set of legs.
    If I want to drive from Oregon to Florida and back, I'm not using my electric car.
    If I want to drive back and forth the 24 miles to work, I'm not driving my 25 mpg gas car, I'm driving my 200+ mpg electric.
    Cars should be looked at as tools.
    Use the right one for the right job.

    Though true, it's a bit misleading. Those numbers are for lead acid batteries taken to near full discharge on every trip. By discharging the batteries only by half, you up the number to ~1000 charge cycles. True, you need twice as many batteries for a given range, but you replace them 1/3 as often. I actually advocate hybrid electrics to avoid this problem. A small 5hp diesel electric generator can kick on as soon as the batteries drop below 75% of full charge. This extends the life of the batteries to about 10 years.
    The gas engine would only be required while we are waiting for the McCain battery to be developed.

    The EV dude who sent out the link I listed earlier is driving a GM S-10 Electric, which was built in ~1999. He has not replaced his battery pack(NiMH).
     
  10. Oct 28, 2008 #9

    mheslep

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    I don't think much of anything was adequate about the old GM EV. Range, battery life, cost, all insufficient. Wiki shows the cost was $80k to GM. Next to useless other than what GM learned from the project.

    Nice trick for those that can afford 4 cars. Don't expect manufacturers to produce cars with such a narrow market.
    Thats two years of use. Not good enough.
    5hp won't extend your range much. You need 25-30HP just to cruise down the road. And as soon as you add the diesel, you also need a fuel system, pollution controls, etc, adding additional weight that adds to the tractive load requirement. Anyway that's changing the game; this was about GM's EV, not hybrids.
     
  11. Oct 28, 2008 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    In a word: Bull. Either he is lying, or he hardly uses the car, or his batteries only have a small fraction of the original charge capacity. There are no magic batteries.
     
  12. Oct 28, 2008 #11

    OmCheeto

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    I'll ask him next Thursday.
     
  13. Oct 28, 2008 #12

    OmCheeto

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    I'm a redneck. All of those vehicles combined cost me less than $10k.
    And I didn't say how many of those vehicles ran did I.
    I spent Saturday analyzing my automotive efficiency.
    I came up with around 5% for my daily ICE commute.

    I suppose it all depends on the individual.

    As I said before, cars should be viewed as tools, not penile extensions.
     
  14. Oct 28, 2008 #13
  15. Oct 28, 2008 #14

    mheslep

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  16. Oct 28, 2008 #15

    OmCheeto

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    odd.

    that youtube video self-destructed after about 30 seconds........

    hmmmm........
     
  17. Oct 29, 2008 #16

    OmCheeto

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    I got tired of waiting for Thursday and found from his website that we are both correct:

    So yes, Mickey nursed the batteries.

    Ah ha! He just responded to my email:

     
  18. Nov 7, 2008 #17
    Someone sent me this today:

     
  19. Nov 7, 2008 #18
    One of the things to consider is winter driving. In your colder climates of the US a strictly electric car would not work. You will kill your batteries very quickly trying to stay warm long enough to get to work. A hybrid is really the only answer. But they use less fuel but not enough less to really get towards our goal of energy independence. We need a "killer-app" for transportation that keeps you warm.
     
  20. Nov 7, 2008 #19

    mgb_phys

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    You could have a wood burning stove to heat the inside!
     
  21. Nov 7, 2008 #20
    Enter the fuel cell!

    "Who killed the electric car?"

    I did, with the butcher knife in the atheneum.
     
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