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Old 11-20-2005, 01:16 PM   #1
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A few thoughts on electric cars

I was about to convert the new n600 to electric again, until I had a few thoughts.

one gallon of gasoline (6 pounds) has about the same stored energy as 700 pounds of lead-acid batteries. They both contain enough energy to move a car between 30 and 50 miles. The downside of the batteries, however, is that all else being equal the same car will weigh 700 pounds more than it's gasoline equivilant. This kills efficiency even more.

While I would love ot be part of the solution and not part of the problem, I am not certain that the technology is really there right now. Well, that isn't true. The technology is there, but just not to retrofit a n600. Perhaps I will retrofit a 89-91 Civic hatchback instead, which can definately take the extra weight.

For the time being, however, I can see why people are reluctant to switch to eletric. The battery technology just sucks.

The one upside of switching to EV however is that once the car is all set up, you can easily switch to better batteries as the technology improves. it is much easier to switch to better, longer lasting (and lighter, I'm sure) batteries than it is to swap a motor, service a transmission, or even rotate tires.

If you are thinking of the long run, I think an electric car is the way to go. For the short run, however, I'm going to wait.
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Old 11-20-2005, 01:57 PM   #2
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You can get NiMH batteries

You can get NiMH batteries from Japan! Woot woot. Also, you burn 1/8th as much crap to take power from a socket as opposed to from gasoline, so think about that. Plus socket power is much cheaper, even if the car will weigh more.
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Old 11-20-2005, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: You can get NiMH batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVOboy
You can get NiMH batteries from Japan! Woot woot. Also, you burn 1/8th as much crap to take power from a socket as opposed to from gasoline, so think about that. Plus socket power is much cheaper, even if the car will weigh more.
Another factor is that most power plants also burn fossil fuels to give you electricity. If your goal is to reduce reliance on foreign fuels electric cars are not the way to do it until the infrastructure exists for renewable energy.
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Old 11-21-2005, 05:30 AM   #4
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Re: You can get NiMH batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Timion
Another factor is that most power plants also burn fossil fuels to give you electricity. If your goal is to reduce reliance on foreign fuels electric cars are not the way to do it until the infrastructure exists for renewable energy.
This is probably the main reason why I won't get an electric car - it doesn't really lower enviro-impact THAT much.
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Old 11-21-2005, 06:17 AM   #5
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Re: You can get NiMH batteries

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Originally Posted by DaX
This is probably the main reason why I won't get an electric car - it doesn't really lower enviro-impact THAT much.
If I had a large amount of money AND a huge property I would install a solar grid and wind turbines on my property.

But since I have neither of those I will not be doing so any time soon.
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Old 11-21-2005, 09:11 AM   #6
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What I meant about burning

What I meant about burning 1/8th of gas is that if you switch to electric you'll be burning 12.5% of what were were on gasoline, mehbe it's just me, but 87.5% less burning and emitting is good for me.
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Old 03-26-2006, 04:32 PM   #7
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Quote:Another factor is that

Quote:
Another factor is that most power plants also burn fossil fuels to give you electricity. If your goal is to reduce reliance on foreign fuels electric cars are not the way to do it until the infrastructure exists for renewable energy.
The largest portion of our electricity in the states comes from coal, mined right here in the US of A. Then we have nuclear and natural gas, also obtained right here in the U.S. In fact, only 2% of our electricity is from oil.

And even if an electric car recieves its juice from a coal plant, it is likely to be cleaner than the majority of gas cars on the road(depends on the coal plant, but with most coal plants, pollution is reduced with a few exceptions.)
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Old 03-26-2006, 04:36 PM   #8
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Re: Quote:Another factor is that

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Toecutter
Quote:
Another factor is that most power plants also burn fossil fuels to give you electricity. If your goal is to reduce reliance on foreign fuels electric cars are not the way to do it until the infrastructure exists for renewable energy.
The largest portion of our electricity in the states comes from coal, mined right here in the US of A. Then we have nuclear and natural gas, also obtained right here in the U.S. In fact, only 2% of our electricity is from oil.

And even if an electric car recieves its juice from a coal plant, it is likely to be cleaner than the majority of gas cars on the road(depends on the coal plant, but with most coal plants, pollution is reduced with a few exceptions.)
Excellent point. SInce I made this post I've learned exactly what you just said. We have enough coal in this country for at LEAST another 200 years of energy production, which will give more than enough time for renewables to take over.

I think I also posted an article a while back about a plan to put algae on the inside of the coal burning smoke stacks. THis algae (or whatever it was) Will absorb a lot of the pollutants and will be able to be squeezed and biodiesel can be produced from it.
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Old 03-27-2006, 06:31 AM   #9
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Electric cars

For years, I thought electric cars would never be practical mostly due to lousy battery technology. But I'm becoming a believer because technology has improved so much recently:

1) Newer batteries like lithium and NiMH have about 3 times the energy density of lead-acid.
2) AC motors in conjunction with inverters or electronically commutated motors have much higher (~95%) efficiency than older convetional DC motors (~70%).
3) The AC/electronically commutated DC motors also regenerate power when braking and coasting downhill, recharging the batteries.

Throw a couple of solar panels on the roof, and we can kiss the oil barons goodby.

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Old 03-27-2006, 06:49 AM   #10
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Re: Electric cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sludgy
For years, I thought electric cars would never be practical mostly due to lousy battery technology. But I'm becoming a believer because technology has improved so much recently:

1) Newer batteries like lithium and NiMH have about 3 times the energy density of lead-acid.
2) AC motors in conjunction with inverters or electronically commutated motors have much higher (~95%) efficiency than older convetional DC motors (~70%).
3) The AC/electronically commutated DC motors also regenerate power when braking and coasting downhill, recharging the batteries.

Throw a couple of solar panels on the roof, and we can kiss the oil barons goodby.

I believe the important thing to note about these cars is that the average commute is 20 miles. Most EVs have at least a 50 mile range. This leaves PLENTY of time to recharge at night time.

Used solely as a commuter vehicle, EVs would be perfect. Keep that gas hog in the garage for road trips.
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