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Old 07-03-2006, 06:54 AM   #11
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To answer your question, follow the money.

The democrats are as guilty as the republicans. Oil, internal combustion engine maintenance and repairs, gasoline, cars that need to be replaced every 150,000 miles all make companies lots of money.

An electric car? Even factoring in batteries, costs much less to run. Electric motors last 1 million miles and EVs would theoretically last 30+ years with no major repairs except replacing the battery periodically.

Fuel cells are a cop out. The systems involve use of platinum. Would fuel cells be mass produced today, cost would be around $300 per peak horsepower, just for the fuel cell stack alone. Doesn't include membrane, inverter, electric motors, supplementary battery pack(s), ect. This makes fuel cell cars expensive to make. They would also be expensive to operate, given the relatively short life of the fuel-cell related components. Fuel cell membrane wears out after 10,000 miles? Buy another one for $15k.(Albeit, a viable fuel cell cars would have found a way to get the life extended to around 150,000 miles, for that cost. Batteries for a pure EV would be much cheaper in contrast, and already are today.)

Toyota hopes to be able to mass produce a fuel cell car for around $50,000 by 2020. Their estimate is considered optimistic.

But by and large, democrats and republicans support fuel cells. The auto and oil industry lobbyists that fund their political campaigns tell them what to support.

The oil industry knows that it won't be able to sell gasoline in this volume forever. So their goal? To keep consumption high so that when there's a crisis, prices and thus profits are maximized. And if we ever do get this hydrogen thing to work, they can have the infrastructure and sell you the hydrogen. It would be nigh impossible for them to attain such a monopoly control on freely distributed electricity.

40% of America's oil consumption today is for its passenger cars, and natually, the oil industry has waged a campaign to fight the EV as it threatens this source of revenue.

The auto industry? Aftermarket parts and services was 50% of their profit margins, at least when they were still profitable. An electric car eliminates that, and in the long term, if people drove cars that lasted 30+ years, where do you think car sales would go? Nowhere but down. The consumer would save a ****load of money by eliminating the $.03-.08/mile cost of maintenance, but that money the consumer saved would otherwise be lining some executive's profit margins.

Finally, we have the issue of gas/oil taxes. The G8 nations make more revenue from oil taxes than does OPEC from its oil sales.


The solution that makes sense? That's also the solution that saves people money, and that solution means that the world's governments and the auto and oil companies will receive much less of that money.

We have a government that wants to maximize consumer spending and maximize economic growth. So are you at all surprised at all that they would widely embrace hydrogen instead of battery electric vehicles?
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:14 PM   #12
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The auto industry? Aftermarket parts and services was 50% of their profit margins, at least when they were still profitable. An electric car eliminates that, and in the long term, if people drove cars that lasted 30+ years, where do you think car sales would go? Nowhere but down. The consumer would save a ****load of money by eliminating the $.03-.08/mile cost of maintenance, but that money the consumer saved would otherwise be lining some executive's profit margins.
I've seen this happen before, in other industries. A relative once worked at a plant where they were manufacturing some sort of shotgun shell loading equipment. I say worked... because their equipment was so well designed that once everyone who was in the market for one bought one, they didn't need another, and they didn't need spares.

The perfect business is to sell something that everyone needs regularly, will need in the future, is consumed once they buy it and not competing with your future business. Additionally, the cheaper it costs you and the more it costs the consumer, the better the business is.

Such businesses that naturally fall into this category are:
-food
-clothing
-energy
-funerals
-medicine/medical profession
-law
-ammunition
-education
-cosmetics

And then there are other businesses. And that's the problem with "equipment" type businesses. If you make the perfect product, you do yourself out of business. Another example is computers. In the history of data processing, computers have been better than before, but still inadequate. Same with operating systems.

Now that they are converging on something that may not be maximum potential, but is "good enough" for most people, that income stream has to come from somewhere. Hence look to things like CPUs eventually having planned failure rather than planned obsolescense built into them. And OS' going to leasing rather than buying the license once.

And so, the "imperfect businesses" must be tweaked until it begins to look like the perfect business.
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The perfect business is to sell something that everyone needs regularly, will need in the future, is consumed once they buy it and not competing with your future business. Additionally, the cheaper it costs you and the more it costs the consumer, the better the business is.
The more money there is (i.e. the more a consumer is willing to pay for something), the more shrewdly and deviously all possibilities for jury rigging a business to look like the perfect business are exhausted. It all comes from maximizing the net profit variable, and line by line, looking at all the things that increase income, minimize expenses, and brainstorming and then implementing ways to do it.

Considering the money that flows into the automobile industry, it should really come as no surprise to realize this. And no matter how many books Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand or PJ O'Rourke have churned out, this fact will not be negated.
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:23 PM   #13
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The solution that makes sense? That's also the solution that saves people money, and that solution means that the world's governments and the auto and oil companies will receive much less of that money.
I also suspect that is part of the reason why we don't see many commercial cars with sub-0.3 drag coefficients... because if they did that, you are giving people the nucleus of an effective EV. After a few years, the cost of the vehicle will drop to the point where it only will cost a few thousand bucks to turn that vehicle into an EV.

Consider an EV with range of 150 miles and Cd of 0.35.

Drop the Cd to 0.15... what does the range become? 350 miles.

Suddenly, you now have a real contender for a battery powered car. A bonafide, genuine, proof of concept vehicle. And that's dangerous. People might start asking their dealers for one. And maybe a rogue dealer might put two and two together and realize that he can make a lot of money for a short time by manufacturing an EV until market demand is sated, and then he goes bust, along with all the ICEV manufacturers.
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:57 PM   #14
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What's upsetting, by designing products to be disposed of prematurely and by designing them to be intentionally resource-intensive, the poor in this world are being robbed of the resources they need to survive. There is only so much to go around.

If we are to have our first world living standard, it needs to be far less resource intensive, far less consumable. Otherwise, it is entirely unsustainable, and future generations may as well be living in mudhuts and shacks either making bricks or toting AK47s, like many third worlders are today. Conservation and recycling is needed more than ever to avoid such a future.

But our economic system and our power elite simply won't allow it.

Cars are perhaps one of the largest sources of consumption of the world's resources. Hydrogen fools cells merely means we will be consuming other more rare resources and keep consuming an unfair proportion of the world's energy due to all the inherent inefficiencies, exactly where the corporations and governments hell bent on maximizing growth want things to be. and if that doesn't pan out, they'd like to keep us locked into the wasteful internal combustion engine for the time being.

Throw in peak oil, oil wars, fascism, forced reliance on cars in the U.S. with the killing of widescale mass transit by government and industry, and it doesn't take a genius to see where this will lead. The oilies, car companies, and government? They don't care who will be hurt in the process, as long as they make their money. It is ripping this nation apart.

The personal automobile accounts for 40% of America's oil consumption. Electrifying that would eliminate so many of the problems associated with it, and it can be done today.
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:05 PM   #15
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What's upsetting, by designing products to be disposed of prematurely and by designing them to be intentionally resource-intensive, the poor in this world are being robbed of the resources they need to survive. There is only so much to go around.
That's true. I suppose the silver lining is that the resources go further than we think, provided that efficiency is maximized. Once everyone is living at peak efficiency and resources run out, that's it.
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If we are to have our first world living standard, it needs to be far less resource intensive, far less consumable. Otherwise, it is entirely unsustainable, and future generations may as well be living in mudhuts and shacks either making bricks or toting AK47s, like many third worlders are today. Conservation and recycling is needed more than ever to avoid such a future.
Fortunately, now we have the tools and info available to start down that road ourselves, and the longer it goes on, the more economic sense it makes to do so. (Also shows the utility of the AK47, but that is another story.)

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Cars are perhaps one of the largest sources of consumption of the world's resources. Hydrogen fools cells merely means we will be consuming other more rare resources and keep consuming an unfair proportion of the world's energy due to all the inherent inefficiencies, exactly where the corporations and governments hell bent on maximizing growth want things to be. and if that doesn't pan out, they'd like to keep us locked into the wasteful internal combustion engine for the time being.
Yes. Fortunately though, there is a limit to how far they can push before it unlocks a change that is irreversible. Just as digital cameras put the kibosh on the business of kodak and fuji, and every recording company and artist is screaming about the mp3, electric cars have the power to revolutionize the auto industry.

Digital cameras versus kodak are quite similar in a way. Digital had some problems, notably resolution, ease of printing, battery power, technological know-how, and over time the economic advantage won out once the problems were eliminated.

When something can be produced that will pay back itself within a year or two, consumers will switch.

A properly designed electric vehicle will have problems compared to an ICEV. It will have to have excellent Cr and CdA, which means that it will not handle quite as well as an ICEV, but for most applications, who cares. It is about as heavy as an ICEV, hence as safe in a collision. It cannot be run in a straight line for 800 miles without a recharge, but most ICEVs never see that sort of use anyway, that's something only crazy college kids do usually. And most auto companies do not want to make them.

I suspect that what will win out is dedicated EV companies, as the established ICEV companies do everything in their power to turn back the clock or fight the change. There may be some that do both, kind of like Fuji did with cameras. But not many.

The winners of the camera wars were those companies with no film stake, such as olympus, canon, etc. The winner of the mp3 war is apple, something with no prior recording industry stake. It wasn't sony, despite technical know-how.

Once the tide turns, it's over.
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Old 07-04-2006, 07:57 AM   #16
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I suspect that what will win out is dedicated EV companies, as the established ICEV companies do everything in their power to turn back the clock or fight the change.
Mira, I think there is actually something to what you say here. New, smaller companies offering EV only vehicles have a way better chance of owning the EV market than the existing auto giants ever do.

Though I could see the Asian market completely dominating the EV field the American big 3 choking to death on their own vomit.
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:21 AM   #17
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I've always thought the pharmaceutical industry has a self-interest in creating treatments rather than cures. Which will make more profit? A vaccine that's used once, or pills that have to be taken every day for the rest of your life?

Seems pretty obvious that the direction that makes the most money for a corporation is lifelong treatments. Hardly seems ethical with medicine, but what about cars?
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Old 07-04-2006, 04:41 PM   #18
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Considering car use is not optional for most people within the U.S. due to the destruction of its mass transit system in the 40s, considering the environmental, personal, and property damage caused by manufacturing and using cars, and considering that critical life-sustaining industries(ie. agriculture) rely on many of the same raw materials cars require sometimes end up being cut short due to demand of these materials for cars(perhaps not in America, but certainly in the 3rd world), it's hardly ethical in my opinion.
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