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  1. #1
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    Affordable electrics just around the corner

    Perhaps not "car free," but affordable electrics just around the corner...

    An electric car for the common man
    One company is hoping to bring a $30,000, 80-mph battery-powered sedan to the market by 2009.
    By Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com staff writer
    August 13 2007: 4:43 PM EDT

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If all goes according to plan, by 2009 you could be sticking it to Big Oil by driving an all electric, Chinese-made sedan for little more than the cost of a Camry.

    Electric cars are nothing new. But until now they've either been very expensive to produce or, if not that, then small and relatively slow - little more than glorified golf carts.

    Miles Rubin, with his $30,000 Miles XS 500, is hoping to change all that.

    According to Rubin, Founder of Miles Automotive Group, the XS 500 has a top speed of 80 miles per hour and a range of 120 miles at 60 miles per hour.That's about as fast as GM's late-90s era electric car, the EV 1. And the XS 500 will be a lot cheaper to produce, the company says.

    Both the low cost and the high range can be attributed to China, where low labor costs keep the price down and state-sponsored research into battery technologyyielded what Rubin said was an advanced lithium ion power pack produced by Lishen Battery.

    Plug the car into a normal wall socket and, according to company literature, six hours later you've got a full charge.

    While this sounds like the perfect vehicle, serious challenges remain.

    The first, of course, will be bringing the car to market. Rubin said he'll have 6 prototypes of the XS 500 by the fall, but they still need tinkering to get safety approval from U.S. regulators, plus do additional battery testing.

    Then there's the competition. Phoenix Motors has a four-door utility truck with similar performance capabilities that it's planning on selling to the public around the same time. And Tesla Motors, makers of the $100,000 all-electric Tesla Roadster which is expected to enter limited production by the end of the year, has plans to enter the sedan market next. (An e-mail to the company seeking comment was not returned. For more on Tesla's sedan plans, as well the recent departure of that company's CEO read the Green Wombat blog.)

    The big automakers are also getting in on the electric game with their plug-in hybrids - vehicles that use an electric motor all the time but can recharge with both a plug and a conventional gasoline engine, giving them far greater range.

    General Motors, the only big automaker to announce anything like a target date, said Thursday mass production of its Volt plug-in should begin by 2010.

    Selling the car is another obvious challenge. Ford, GM, Toyota and Honda all had electric vehicles back in the late 1990s. They were sold in California at a time when state regulations basically required car makers to do so. All of them halted production after those regulations were changed.

    "But the world has changed," said Rubin. "We need to get off our reliance on oil and we need to alter our carbon footprint."

    Rubin has previously worked as a corporate lawyer and, later, headed several companies, including a company that sold metal forms to Detroit automakers. He most recently headed Polo/Ralph Lauren Jeans.

    Even if U.S. consumers flock to electric cars out of environmental concern, Rubin may still have to convince them to put their bodies inside a Chinese vehicle, especially in light of all the news lately of recalled Chinese goods.

    To ensure quality, he says there are inspectors in both Chinese factories that will produce the car. He also touts the car's safety features including as reinforced doors and both front and side airbags.

    "The cars will speak for themselves. You can PR it to death, but if it doesn't perform well, it's dead on arrival," he said.

    Rubin will also have to answer skeptics who wonder how an electric vehicle is actually better for the environment, given that the electricity to run the car is produced largely from coal and the nation's electric grid is strained as is.

    Rubin retorts that the electric grid is plenty capable of handling demand from electric vehicles, provided people recharge them at night.

    On the environmental question, he says just because electricity now is mostly made from coal and natural gas, renewables like solar or wind or carbon-free nuclear power could play a larger part of meeting the nation's electricity demand.

    Environmentalists also support the development of electric cars, noting that it's much more efficient to create electricity than it is to power a vehicle with a combustion engine. Top of page

  2. #2
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    And speaking of electrics...

    August 5, 2007

    Back to the Future in a 98-Year-Old Electric Car
    By DEXTER FORD



    THE new hybrid Ford Escape taxis scuttling around New York City give their occupants an aura of environmental superiority. But as far as clean electric-powered cars are concerned, these high-mileage hybrids are actually a bit behind the times.

    About 100 years behind.

    Starting in 1914, the Detroit Taxicab and Transfer Company built and operated a fleet of nearly 100 electric cabs. Customers would often wait for a smoother, cleaner, more tasteful electric cab, even when a gas-powered cab was already on station.

    At the turn of the 20th century, quiet, smooth, pollution-free electric cars were a common sight on the streets of major American cities. Women especially favored them over steam- and gasoline-powered cars.

    In an era in which gasoline-powered automobiles were noisy, smelly, greasy and problematic to start, electric cars, like Jay Leno’s restored 1909 Baker Electric Coupe, represented a form of women’s liberation. Well-dressed society women could simply drive to lunch, to shop, or to visit friends without fear of soiling their gloves, mussing their hair or setting their highly combustible crinoline dresses on fire.

    “These were women’s shopping cars,” said Mr. Leno, who is a serious hands-on collector of autos and motorcycles dating from the 1800s to the present. “There was no gas or oil, no fire, no explosions — you just sort of got in and you went. There were thousands of these in New York, from about 1905 to 1915. There were charging stations all over town, so ladies could recharge their cars while they were in the stores.”

    Baker Electrics, Detroit Electrics, Rausch & Langs and other similar electric cars were comparatively reliable and easy to drive. Even the wives of legendary car company owners drove electrics.

    Clara Ford, Henry’s wife, drove a 1914 Detroit Electric Brougham until the 1930s, using it to visit friends and make her rounds on the family’s Michigan estate. Helen Joy, wife of Henry Joy, president of the Packard Motor Car Company, drove a 1915 Detroit Electric.

    Mr. Leno’s Baker stands — and stands is the correct word — more than 7 feet tall. “It looks like a giant phone booth,” he said. Twelve 6-volt batteries are under the front and rear covers, six under each, to power the car’s 72-volt motor.

    This particular Baker was originally equipped with Edison alkaline batteries. Baker customers had the option of these or more common lead-acid batteries.

    The Edison batteries were the result of a research program the inventor conducted at the turn of the century to create lighter, more powerful batteries that would extend the range and speed of electric cars, just as inventors are trying to do today.

    Instead of the lead plates and sulfuric acid used in batteries from the mid-19th century on, the Edison batteries used iron and nickelic oxide electrodes, and an alkaline electrolyte of potassium hydroxide. Early tests were promising, but the first production batteries were prone to leaking and electrode failure. Edison closed the factory in 1905 and reworked the batteries, finally resuming production four years later. The effort was obviously effective.

    “I have modern lead-acid batteries in the car now, but I can still run the original Edison batteries,” Mr. Leno said. “You can just rinse them out, replace the electrolyte, and they’re ready to go. They still work fine, after almost a hundred years.”

    The car’s electric motor, about the size of a watermelon, is visible under the car, driving the rear wheels via an enclosed-chain reduction system and a now-conventional driveshaft and differential.

    “Since we restored it, I haven’t had to do much of anything to maintain it,” Mr. Leno said. “We just keep it charged up, grease it now and then, and drive it.

    “I drive it from the garage up into the Hollywood Hills every year to see the Christmas lights,” he said. “The deer come right up to it and look inside. Because there’s no noise, no vibration, no gasoline smell, they’re completely unafraid.

    “It’ll go for about four or five hours on a single charge, at about 20 to 25 miles an hour. Its range is about 110 miles, just about what most electric cars made these days will do. So we really haven’t come very far in a hundred years.

    “It’s pretty fun to drive, actually — if you’re not in a hurry, that is,” he said. “Women love it.”

    One does not so much enter the Baker as climb it. Once inside, it’s apparent that the designers were less intent on building a vehicle than they were in creating an ornate mobile parlor. Every surface is covered in expensive fabric or carpet, and the doors have braided cords, tassels and embroidered straps. Plump button-tucked bench seats, front and rear, face each other, as they would in the booth of a Victorian tea room. The driver sits on the left of the rear bench. If there are passengers in the front seat, the driver has to look around them to steer.

    Which is not as much of a problem as one might expect, given the Baker’s lofty driving position and modest top speed of 25 miles an hour.

    There is no steering wheel. At first glance there are few indications that the Baker was meant to be driven at all. A long steering tiller folds down from the left once the driver is seated; the driver pushes forward to steer left and pulls back to go right.

    Speed is controlled by a lever just forward of the driver’s left elbow, and there are two brake pedals protruding from the carpet, one for each rear wheel.

    On the road, the tall cabin tilts on its springs in corners, giving the sensation of driving a rubber-mounted lifeguard tower. “As you can see, we’ve come a long way in aerodynamics since 1909,” Mr. Leno said. “All the windows — the sides, the rear and the windshield — can be opened up, so you can get a nice breeze running through.”

    Driving a car this rare — and this tall — makes its limited speed less of a problem in modern city traffic. Drivers of other vehicles inevitably slow to check out the Baker anyway.

    Restoring an early electric requires some ingenuity. Electric motors haven’t changed much in the nearly 200 years since they were invented, so a shop that can rebuild an antique ceiling fan should be able to rewind the armature of an electric motor. Modern deep-cycle batteries, like those used in golf carts, electric boats and neighborhood electric vehicles, can be readily substituted for the originals.

    Relatively few electric cars have survived, and their appeal is more that of an oddity or museum piece than that of a better-known classic automobile. So their prices have remained reasonable. According to the Web site of the Gold Book, which is published by Manheim Auctions and tracks prices paid at collector-car auctions, a well-maintained 1915 Baker, a very similar Rauch & Lang, or a Detroit Electric should sell for $9,000 to $20,000, depending on its condition.

    Collectors are often attracted to the cars owned by their fathers. With one of these electrics, they can drive a machine that might have been driven by their great-grandmothers.

  3. #3
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    Um......$30,000? That's not a cheap car The problem still remains that the electricity has to come from somewhere and if that somewhere is a coal, oil, or gas fired power station I don't see how we're going to be any further ahead.
    My other objection is that it's going to be made in China where wages are low and the air quality in the industrial cities is just plain dreadful. Not a solution, - still a part of the problem I'm afraid.

    Love the Baker electric A battery design that's still rebuildable after 100 years of use sounds good to me. 25 miles an hour is plenty fast enough too; - I haven't noticed that whizz-flash high speed vehicles have helped much to improve traffic congestion.
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sianelle View Post
    Um......$30,000? That's not a cheap car
    It's not out of line with what people pay for gasoline-powered vehicles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sianelle View Post
    The problem still remains that the electricity has to come from somewhere and if that somewhere is a coal, oil, or gas fired power station I don't see how we're going to be any further ahead.
    I'm no expert, but supposedly electrics pollute less overall even when you factor coal-fired electricity generation into the equation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sianelle View Post
    My other objection is that it's going to be made in China where wages are low and the air quality in the industrial cities is just plain dreadful. Not a solution, - still a part of the problem I'm afraid.
    Unless that air pollution is generated by the production of this vehicle, it's irrelevant. Wages are low compared to U.S. wages, perhaps, but I doubt they're low compared to Chinese wages. You'd have to measure wages against the Chinese cost of living, not against the cost of living where you live. Still, I agree that China is able to produce at a lower cost because Chinese companies don't have to comply with environmental and labor regulations that western companies are subject to.

  5. #5
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Still, I agree that China is able to produce at a lower cost because Chinese companies don't have to comply with environmental and labor regulations that western companies are subject to.
    So the plant that builds the things pollutes even more than an American plant would. Obviously, when you're figuring outthe pollution footprint of a product, you MUST consider the pollution that attends the production of the vehicle.

    You should also figure in the pollution that goes with disposal of the car when it's useful life is over. I wonder if the batteries pose an added toxic risk when they're discarded?

    Electric cars might be better than gas cars, but so far they're not good enough. Thumbs down to electric cars at this point.

    Now electric buses, maybe another story.... especially if made in the USA!


    Disclosure: I'm a member of the UAW.


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    So the plant that builds the things pollutes even more than an American plant would.
    Maybe, maybe not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Obviously, when you're figuring outthe pollution footprint of a product, you MUST consider the pollution that attends the production of the vehicle.
    I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    You should also figure in the pollution that goes with disposal of the car when it's useful life is over. I wonder if the batteries pose an added toxic risk when they're discarded?
    All good questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post

    Disclosure: I'm a member of the UAW.
    Disclosure: I am opposed to "race to the bottom" globalization. If it's coming here, it shouldn't be manufactured under less stringent laws than our own. And our own laws should be beefed up...

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    Roody-- have you ever read "Not in Our Backyard"? There's an interesting chapter in there about the labor/environmental alliance that was almost formed between the UAW's Walter Reuther and David Brower of Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth fame. It didn't happen because Reuther was killed in an air crash-- the same flight Brower was supposed to be on. One almost senses that Brower was highly suspicious of the circumstances...
    Last edited by Blue Order; 08-13-07 at 11:52 PM.

  8. #8
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    The charging problem was also solved before the teens. In the 1909 motor manual I have, the electric trucks have the batteries mounted in a pack that was to be quickly swapped out for a charged pack. That allowed the trucks to be set with a fully charged set of batteries in about the time it took to refuel with gasoline.

    I was thinking about that on a long bicycle trip in China. There are a lot of scooters used in town. The idea was a electric scooter refilling station. A person would pull in, remove the battery (that they never really own) and insert a charged one, paying for the level of discharge on the one they just returned to the station. Some method would need to be worked out to deal with battery degradation; but it would go a long way toward dealing with the range problem.

    The way I can see this taking off would be for several of the major filling station franchises to agree on a standard battery package and telling the manufacturers what they are prepared to support; then, installing the charging stations.

  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Roody-- have you ever read "Not in Our Backyard"? There's an interesting chapter in there about the labor/environmental alliance that was almost formed between the UAW's Walter Reuther and David Brower of Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth fame. It didn't happen because Reuther was killed in an air crash-- the same flight Brower was supposed to be on. One almost senses that Brower was highly suspicious of the circumstances...
    Reuther was a visionary. (He also proposed single-payer health insurance because he foresaw that health costs would run the auto companies into the ground.) The UAW puts out lots of environmental propoganda in their magazine for members, but I'm not convinced that their heart is really in it.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    just skimming through the responses, i'm surprised nobody mentioned the electric bike yet. My e-bike has allowed me to be car lite (my wife drives to work with our one car, i ride the e-bike, and we try not to drive too much on weekends).

    I believe peak oil is going to have a huge impact on the way we live. By huge, i mean not just expensive gasoline but no gasoline or unreliable gasoline. I'm not sure there will be time to make all the electric cars that everyone is going to need. I believe we're going to have to reorganize the way we live around bicycles and public transportation. In order to make this work, people are going to have to be able to do most of their daily activities while using the e-bike about 6 miles one way. This means 3 miles to the bus or train station from home plus about another 3 miles from the station to work or school or what have you.

    In my experience, i'm surprised to find that the e-bike (with a 25mph top speed) is not that much slower than a car on surface streets for trips up to 5 or 6 miles. The difference in time is 5 ~ 10 minutes. Cars are still better than bikes for carrying things or other people and of course they're better that shielding you from the elements but considering the cost of the car-- not to mention the energy costs, ebikes wins hands down.

    Personally, I'd love to see the electric car become reality. It is obviously the future but I have some doubt that it will get here in time for everyone. having a real electric car by 2009 will be nice. by 2009 we'll need a few million of them.

  11. #11
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    Electric cars are potentially even worse for the environment than regular cars, especially from a global warming perspective. How do you think the electricity for a whole bunch of electric cars is going to be produced? And let's not even talk about the batteries...
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I had forgotten about the old style alkaline batteries...talk about renewable! IF and that is a mighty big if the electricity is generated from alternate sources it may not be producing GHG. I agree that the $30,000 IS NOT affordable IMHO. That is an upper end car, not an entry level. Also it still keeps with the Jiminy Cricket theory that we can keep driving the way we do, just substitute another fuel. The sooner people realize that the only viable solution is curtailment of GHG and better utilization of scarce resources the better off they will be in the future. Maybe somebody should invent a car that runs off of body fat....

    From personal experience with some electric vehicles (mainly golf carts) batteries require regular maintenance and they cannot be discharged below a certain point without drastically shortening the life of them. Americans are notorious for NOT properly maintaining vehicles. Then when it comes time to replace them it gets expensive! If you drive an electrical vehicle like most people drive a gas one, you would be replacing the batteries about every 3 years. I just swapped out a set of batteries in my FIL's golf cart and the total cost was over $400, those batteries are about 6 years old and have been properly maintained. And this is a light use, low speed vehicle.

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  13. #13
    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jondoh View Post
    just skimming through the responses, i'm surprised nobody mentioned the electric bike yet. My e-bike has allowed me to be car lite (my wife drives to work with our one car, i ride the e-bike, and we try not to drive too much on weekends).

    In my experience, i'm surprised to find that the e-bike (with a 25mph top speed) is not that much slower than a car on surface streets for trips up to 5 or 6 miles. The difference in time is 5 ~ 10 minutes. Cars are still better than bikes for carrying things or other people and of course they're better that shielding you from the elements but considering the cost of the car-- not to mention the energy costs, ebikes wins hands down.
    I ride a tricycle that I converted from a Hercules ladies heavyweight roadster bicycle. Today I took it out for a roadtest after spending the past few days replacing the LHS rear wheel with an electric hub motor wheel. An electric assisted tricycle is totally practical as a car replacement for local trips and I can make that claim that after a year spent using an old gents Raleigh that was a wee bit of a 'lash up' conversion to an electric tricycle. The Raleigh had a few faults in its construction and when it finally broke down one time too many for me to be patient about it I set about constructing the Hercules tricycle as its much improved replacement.
    For all its faults the Raleigh based machine more than proved itself as a utility machine and during its year of hard service it was used to haul all manner of things over a pretty rough mix of country roads. Its finest hour came when I hauled a large hardwood workbench I'd been given home; - but I will add that I took the journey at a slow and careful pace because I was worried about breaking the subframe that held the rear axle on.
    In terms of cost the Raleigh cost me @ $300.00 for the electric motor kit, @ $199.00 for the trike axle and the base bicycle itself was free as I found it in the local rubbish tip. Almost everything else I used to get it on the road was recycled material except for the tyres which I purchased new. The Hercules is a little more upmarket because I purchased the Indian made roadster bicycle 2nd hand in near new condition for $200.00. The Raleigh was single speed, the Hercules has a Sachs two speed kickback hub which works really nicely. I hope to get my camera out over the next couple of days and when I do I'll take some pictures.
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Fredmertz51's Avatar
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    Don't electric vehicles recharge from coal and nuke powered sources? Or is that ok now? Coal has a carbon footprint, and nuclear power has the radioactive waste problem. I must have missed something.
    Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.

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    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Just what we need to start buzzing around in communist made electric cars. Here where I live it would be charged by a coal fired elctricity plant. No thanks to a coal fired car. I'll stick to my bike.
    Last edited by maddyfish; 08-14-07 at 10:14 AM.
    Not too much to say here

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Maybe somebody should invent a car that runs off of body fat....

    Aaron
    Somebody already did. And we all own one!

    (or more than one... many more in your case )


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Maybe somebody should invent a car that runs off of body fat....

    Aaron
    Bringing America from the brink of oil starvation back to the forefront as a world energy superpower!!!!!!
    2006 VFRfive less than 5000k for sale. 2011 MB FantomCross 105
    Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser: Obesity epidemic, Global warming. If only there were a common solution. B'ah that's crazy talk.

  18. #18
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    Electric cars are potentially even worse for the environment than regular cars, especially from a global warming perspective. How do you think the electricity for a whole bunch of electric cars is going to be produced? And let's not even talk about the batteries...
    Yes, potentially worse, and potentially much better. If we really cared about pollution we would force the electric industry to clean up their act.

    Electric cars are, unfortunately, not about pollution, they're about dwindling oil supply. Yea, they'll market them as "clean", but widespread adoption will only happen as a result of oil shortage - or more specifically drastically increased oil cost. They'll be sold to upper middle-class and above people who will drive them infrequently and replace them every couple of years. Hardly an environmentally sound "solution".

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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    Electric cars are potentially even worse for the environment than regular cars, especially from a global warming perspective. How do you think the electricity for a whole bunch of electric cars is going to be produced? And let's not even talk about the batteries...
    Quote Originally Posted by Fredmertz51 View Post
    Don't electric vehicles recharge from coal and nuke powered sources? Or is that ok now? Coal has a carbon footprint, and nuclear power has the radioactive waste problem. I must have missed something.
    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    Just what we need to start buzzing around in communist made electric cars. Here where I live it would be charged by a coal fired elctricity plant. No thanks to a coal fired car. I'll stick to my bike.
    As I've already said, I'm no expert on electrics, but if you've ever watched "Who Killed the Electric Car," that point was raised and refuted. Even taking carbon-fueled electriciy generation into account, electric cars pollute less than gasoline-fueled cars. And there's no reason that our society can't-- or shouldn't-- transition to clean energy production.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Yes, potentially worse, and potentially much better. If we really cared about pollution we would force the electric industry to clean up their act.
    Exactly. Removing the gasoline-powered automobile from the roads is a huge step, but it's not the only step we need to take. Even if everybody rode bikes and nobody drove gasoline or electric powered automobiles, we still have to transition to clean energy.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Electric cars are, unfortunately, not about pollution, they're about dwindling oil supply. Yea, they'll market them as "clean", but widespread adoption will only happen as a result of oil shortage - or more specifically drastically increased oil cost. They'll be sold to upper middle-class and above people who will drive them infrequently and replace them every couple of years. Hardly an environmentally sound "solution".
    I think a societal transition to a bike and [clean] public transit centric transportation model, with electric and other clean cars filling in the gaps, will be the direction we must ultimately travel in.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    No matter what (if anything) replaces coal for electricity generation, it's going to take some time to switch to that new source. If, at the same time, we also start powering cars with electricity, the conversion to clean power might take even longer.

    Clean power might cost more than coal power, at least initially. So plug-in cars might provide a stronger economic incentive to keep using coal, since people just love cheap transportation.

    I'd really rather see electricity used for buses (and/or streetcars) and light rail, as these are inherently more efficient than private cars of any type.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  21. #21
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredmertz51 View Post
    Don't electric vehicles recharge from coal and nuke powered sources? Or is that ok now? Coal has a carbon footprint, and nuclear power has the radioactive waste problem. I must have missed something.
    Not necessarily, we have wind power, solar power and hydro power. I have an acquaintance that has a chunk of property that happens to contain an old mill site. He has converted the dam and mill race to power a small hydro plant. He is producing electricity for 3 or 4 homes at the moment. His house is far enough off the main road that it made it cost effective for him to do it. I have a branch (creek) that runs thru one end of my property, we have discussed damming it up for an aquaculture pond, I need to check but it may have enough head to provide some electricity too. I know I can get solar to work around here. According to the tables I have checked we are second or third in available solar radiation in the nation, which makes them a viable alternative.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  22. #22
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Not necessarily, we have wind power, solar power and hydro power. I have an acquaintance that has a chunk of property that happens to contain an old mill site. He has converted the dam and mill race to power a small hydro plant. He is producing electricity for 3 or 4 homes at the moment. His house is far enough off the main road that it made it cost effective for him to do it. I have a branch (creek) that runs thru one end of my property, we have discussed damming it up for an aquaculture pond, I need to check but it may have enough head to provide some electricity too. I know I can get solar to work around here. According to the tables I have checked we are second or third in available solar radiation in the nation, which makes them a viable alternative.

    Aaron
    For those of us who don't have a hydro dam in the back yard, what would it take to juice a plug-in with homemade electricity? Is this even feasible at this time?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Sister Annie Sianelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    For those of us who don't have a hydro dam in the back yard, what would it take to juice a plug-in with homemade electricity? Is this even feasible at this time?
    I've considered setting up a wind generator to charge my electric tricycle and provide emergency lighting for my home.
    OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

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    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    Electric cars are potentially even worse for the environment than regular cars, especially from a global warming perspective. How do you think the electricity for a whole bunch of electric cars is going to be produced? And let's not even talk about the batteries...
    I'd say that an electric car creates as much in the way of GHGs as the average cyclist does. If you look at the efficiency of various transportation methods, you may noticed that a bicycle is roughly twice as efficient w/o taking into account the upstream fossil fuel use. The problem w/ bicycles stems from the problems we have with food regarding fossil fuel emissions. The average cyclist only gets ~100mpg fossil fuel equivalent because it takes, on average, about 5Cal of fossil fuel to get 1Cal of food energy. The electric car also suffers a hit because electricity generation/transmission is only ~40% efficient, so it's at ~100mpg fossil fuel equivalent as well. Batteries are already covered in just about any state that has legislators w/ more than say, three, brain cells. If you like you can throw them in the trash, but large format lead acid, li-whatever, NiMH, and probably even the more exotic chemistries have significant core charges assocaited with their value in terms of raw materials. The largest source of battery pollution is the smaller alkaline batteries. Probably because there is no core charge associated w/ their proper disposal/recycling, even though they can be safely recycled for free. A electric car carrying more than one person is far more energy efficient, faster, and more comfortable per mile than a bicycle. Otoh, an electric bicycle is superior to an electric car w/ two or fewer people, and an electric velomobile is for all intents and purposes the greenest form of transportation out there. If we grow or buy your own food w/ fewer or no fossil fuels, we can adjust our relative emissions accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    For those of us who don't have a hydro dam in the back yard, what would it take to juice a plug-in with homemade electricity? Is this even feasible at this time?
    A used car alternator, set of paddles, and the appropriate gearing. Imo, this is actually a better bet for cheap electricity than homebrew wind, since we have way more control over the flow and speed of our setup, which is very useful when using a j-yard alternator.

  25. #25
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    For those of us who don't have a hydro dam in the back yard, what would it take to juice a plug-in with homemade electricity? Is this even feasible at this time?
    Either wind power or solar. But I had to break it to you Roody...Lansing is not known as a solar powerhouse...not sure about the wind part. Biggest problem is that solar is EXPENSIVE per kw. You could mount a solar panel on top of the car to keep the batteries topped up, but would still need to hit the grid every now and again. If they can ever get the next generation of solar panels on line it will make a huge difference in cost per kw and efficiency. Another interesting item that has been hovering around for a while is super conductors. According to my electrical/ceramics engineer brother, they would revolutionize the whole electric generation/distribution in ways that people can only dream of. From his description they could shut down 50% of the current power generation plants, and the others would still be producing more power than we could use. Apparently the biggest sticking point right now is getting them to work at room temperature. They have finally gotten them to work in the -100F range...better than the near absolute zero (-200F) they were working at

    Also as a side note to hydro power...a lot of older projects are being dismantled for a variety of environmental reasons, from blocking fish migration to diversion of water from watersheds. I think hydro is very viable in smaller installations, but think of the Hoover/Boulder Dam and the impact it has had on the environment and what would happen if it ever let go

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

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