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Who Killed the Electric Car?

Old 07-31-07, 10:54 AM
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mmonce
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Who Killed the Electric Car?

If you are environmentally conscious, you should see the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

Half-way through the film, I realized that the oil industry (not technology) must be dictating our low fuel mileage.

Join my oil industry boycott by commuting strictly by bicycle.
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Old 07-31-07, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mmonce View Post
If you are environmentally conscious, you should see the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

Half-way through the film, I realized that the oil industry (not technology) must be dictating our low fuel mileage.

Join my oil industry boycott by commuting strictly by bicycle.
I already commute almost exclusively by bicycle. I do so because it's good exercise, because I enjoy it, and because I'd rather be flying past the cagers on my bike than sitting in one waiting for traffic to clear in front of me, not to use less oil...that's just a bonus.

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Old 07-31-07, 11:08 AM
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If your environmentally conscious, shouldn't you have already known the reason for low MPG?
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Old 07-31-07, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mmonce View Post
Half-way through the film, I realized that the oil industry (not technology) must be dictating our low fuel mileage.
The oil industry, and their biggest cheer leader, the Big 3 in Detroit.

Whenever Congress gets it's collective thumb from it's rectum long enough to write a meaningful piece of fuel economy legislation, the Big 3 immediately circle the lawyers and lobbyists. The Japanese circle their engineers.

The latest "threat" by the Big 3 over increasing fuel economy standars is Chrysler b!+c#ing that they won't be able to find a buyer to take them off of Daimler's hands if the Fed actually had the balls to pass CAFE standars they were considering (35 fleet mpg average by 2020, talk about weak).

Here's a good blog by a member to Tesla Motors talking about the energy policy debate in Washington over the last few months.
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Old 07-31-07, 11:24 AM
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I'm on the EV list. I saw the premier in my location and have been to many screening and Electric vehicle events and I think that is the first time I have read that reaction after just seeing the film.

Of course my wife made fun of me for weeks about it because well lets jsut say it was really really sad for me.
I went to college to build electric vehicles and have owned one for as long as I could drive. The EV1 was like the great white hope of er I mean the great electric hope

What I saw was an entire society/culture that was driving the EV1 into the ground. It isn't just the oil cartels. It is what the public wants a status symbol or all around do everything vehicle with no limitations which the marketers push and the car companies build and the oil companies happily provide the energy for. How the car dealers and car makers didnt' want to sell them because there was so little maintenance and car buyers didn't want them because of the limitations. It wasn't just the oil industries. I think that there was alot of lying going on which was uneccessary. I think the 5000 person waiting list was really anti-marketed to to get them to cave in and agree they'd not want the EV1 it if they were called at all. GM had no need to do that. Heck 5000 people wanted it? That isn't enough for GM anyways. Oh I could go on forever about this but I really dont' think it is oil companies completely.
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Old 07-31-07, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mmonce View Post
Join my oil industry boycott by commuting strictly by bicycle.
I'm pretty environmentally conscious, but it's the parking fees at my employer, enjoyment of exercise and solitude, lack of willingness to pay for gas, and several other factors that have me commuting strictly by bicycle, and have had me doing so for most of the last 7 years. I haven't sold my truck yet, but will soon.

... and aren't you somewhat preaching to the choir here?

(Oh yeah, and PM me if you live in the Bay Area and want to buy a Tacoma )
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Old 07-31-07, 12:10 PM
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If we don't use the oil someone else will(china). We want to keep them down as much as possible. Who cares about the environment when there is China to worry about right?

(These arn't really my thoughts)

Electric cars are kinda counter-intuitive(environmentally) when we get much of our electricity from coal dontchathink? I don't care what that movie said but an electric car is really just a coal/natural gas/oil car until we get more alternate energy online.
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Old 07-31-07, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by evblazer View Post
.... and car buyers didn't want them because of the limitations. It wasn't just the oil industries. ....
The problem with electric vehicles is the same as it's always been: poor range.

"Environmentalists" can make fun of penis sizes of people who drive Hummers and Escalades all they want, but the cold hard truth is that EV's have failed in the US commercial fleet market just as they have failed in the US private sale market. Furthermore, they have failed in most other countries around the world as well. Shockingly enough, nobody wants to pay more for a vehicle with less capabilities. Worldwide, the ONLY common electric vehicles you will find are trains, that use electric lines spread along their entire routes and that don't require batteries at all.

The only "conspiracy" involved in preventing electric cars in the US is the one that involves customers spending their money as they please.
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Old 07-31-07, 12:33 PM
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We, the American consumer killed it. We didn't like it, want it. It doesn't provide the performance and the infrastructure to support it isn't there. Why should I shell out the bucks for somthing that's at this point the modern day equivalent of the Edsel?

Big Oil & the auto industry just enjoy the fruits of our labor. They're not going to upset the apple cart.

Quit looking for conspiracies behind every door.
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Old 07-31-07, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dobber View Post
We, the American consumer killed it. We didn't like it, want it.
Check out the movie.
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Old 07-31-07, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dobber View Post
It doesn't provide the performance and the infrastructure to support it isn't there.
Chicken, meet egg...
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Old 07-31-07, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Industrial View Post
Electric cars are kinda counter-intuitive(environmentally) when we get much of our electricity from coal dontchathink? I don't care what that movie said but an electric car is really just a coal/natural gas/oil car until we get more alternate energy online.
So we can't use straight electric for anything because we've allowed our energy suppliers to build (and continue to build) polluting power sources? No one is stopping you from putting up solar panels or wind turbines to charge the car...

This seems to be everyone's answer to environmental questions now... the "I can't make a difference" defense. While that might ease the conscience of the general public, it's simply not true.
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Old 07-31-07, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Industrial View Post
Electric cars are kinda counter-intuitive(environmentally) when we get much of our electricity from coal dontchathink? I don't care what that movie said but an electric car is really just a coal/natural gas/oil car until we get more alternate energy online.
But even if we used nothing but fossil fuels to make the electricity, an EV is still nearly 3 times as energy efficient because it's vastly more efficient to make electricity with fossil fuels than to use them to mechanically power an automobile.

The average car only uses ~25% of the potential energy in a gallon of gas to actually propel the car forward. The rest is wasted as heat. We actually USE energy to waste the heat by running cooling fans and coolant pumps.

An efficient NG power plant uses the NG combustion to mechanically turn a generator, then uses the waste heat to make steam to turn another generator. Modern NG power plants are just over 60% efficient.

And an EV at least has the potential to be a wind, solar, hydroelectic, geothermal, tidal, nuclear powered car. The gasoline/diesel car will never be anything more than a gasoline or diesel car.

I'm not pro-car. And I use my bike for every trip I possibly can. But the truth is that Americans aren't going to give up there cars. EVs are the only realistic alternative to gasoline and diesel. So we may as well encourage them from a legislative standpoint.
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Old 07-31-07, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
So we can't use straight electric for anything because we've allowed our energy suppliers to build (and continue to build) polluting power sources? No one is stopping you from putting up solar panels or wind turbines to charge the car...

This seems to be everyone's answer to environmental questions now... the "I can't make a difference" defense. While that might ease the conscience of the general public, it's simply not true.
Wha? Solar panels on my apartment? Wind turbines = $$$??? I'm not made of money ya know. They tried to put up a small wind farm in various places in NH and MA and they've gotten shot down by environmentalists and conservationists(amongst other lobby groups I'm sure)! "It ruins the view" "It kills ----- species of birds"

I do what I can for the environment. I drive my car about 3000 miles a year, recycle everything I can, try to buy as many local products as I can and I generally use very little electricity. I vote with environmental issues as one of my higher prioritys. Don't corn hole me into the "I can't make a difference" so I do nothing catagory.
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Old 07-31-07, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mmonce View Post

Join my oil industry boycott by commuting strictly by bicycle.
While its commendable that you're riding your bike (and making the world a little better doing so), how exactly are you boycotting the oil industry while riding machine which was created with fossil fuel energy and contains petroleum products and then using a computer (again made of petro) to ask people to boycott it? We like to vilify these industries as the cause of all problems on this planet, but in reality, we're the ones to blame.
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Old 07-31-07, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
The problem with electric vehicles is the same as it's always been: poor range.
~
Range.. Yes that used to be the problem with the way current traffic works. The dang problem is just how energy dense gasoline is. I mean you make a car that gets 5 miles per a gallon and you can still get decent range from it.
I am currently without an EV for range issues. When I lived in Connecticut I ended up selling it because heck I could ride my bike further and my wife had a car so why use the EV. When I moved to Texas I had to drive for a while but finally found a route and I sold my next EV because it won't make the round trip to my next work and my bike will.
However the biggest problem besides the density of gasoline is mostly they are gasoline cars with an electric motor. If you start from scratch even with old old technology you'll end up with something decent. I'll shortly be receiving an EV that goes 100+ miles per a charge at 55mph with a top speed of 80mph.
It obviously isn't going to meet range requirements because people need to go 200 miles sometimes. It is only 2 passenger so that won't work for others, even those that already have 2 or 2+2 seaters. It won't work for more because they need to haul a boat once a year and etc etc. If it were up to me we'd see that really nice ultralight overhead indivual pod like rail system. It will never work people are free to do what they want and they want to be able to do whatever they want whenever they want.
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Old 07-31-07, 03:04 PM
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"America is addicted to oil...

and I am the pusher man."
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Old 07-31-07, 03:22 PM
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Yep, we're all poor hapless victims of the Man.
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Old 07-31-07, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Riv-Lantis View Post
But even if we used nothing but fossil fuels to make the electricity, an EV is still nearly 3 times as energy efficient because it's vastly more efficient to make electricity with fossil fuels than to use them to mechanically power an automobile.

The average car only uses ~25% of the potential energy in a gallon of gas to actually propel the car forward. The rest is wasted as heat. We actually USE energy to waste the heat by running cooling fans and coolant pumps.

An efficient NG power plant uses the NG combustion to mechanically turn a generator, then uses the waste heat to make steam to turn another generator. Modern NG power plants are just over 60% efficient.

And an EV at least has the potential to be a wind, solar, hydroelectic, geothermal, tidal, nuclear powered car. The gasoline/diesel car will never be anything more than a gasoline or diesel car.

I'm not pro-car. And I use my bike for every trip I possibly can. But the truth is that Americans aren't going to give up there cars. EVs are the only realistic alternative to gasoline and diesel. So we may as well encourage them from a legislative standpoint.
You pretty much nailed it. I was going to say the same thing but you beat me to it. I am under the opinion that cars in the future will be powered from the electric grid for the reasons you mention above. Current battery technology is not able to store enough power in a small enough space to realize this now but fuel cell batteries might. A fuel cell battery would work by regenerating hydrogen from energy from the power grid. If this works it would be much more efficient than producing and distributing hydrogen gas. The real advantage to gasoline is that it allows easy transportation and storage of energy.

Another advantage not mentioned is that it is much easier and more cost efficient to install pollution control equipment at centralized fossil fuel power plants than in millions of cars. This would greatly reduce air pollution too.

The biggest obstacle of course is that gasoline is way too cheap. There are actually quite a few choices for fuel efficient cars but people don't choose them. Just look at the popularity of the gas guzzling SUV. I think gas needs to go above $4 per gallon maybe even $5 before we see progress and people change their behavior.

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Old 07-31-07, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuter View Post
Yep, we're all poor hapless victims of the Man.
The more I think about it, the more it rings true...
Afterall, GW is a failed oilman, so he's really more like the street level dealer (the pusher man) doing the bidding of Herr Cheney and Co.
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Old 07-31-07, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Riv-Lantis View Post
But even if we used nothing but fossil fuels to make the electricity, an EV is still nearly 3 times as energy efficient because it's vastly more efficient to make electricity with fossil fuels than to use them to mechanically power an automobile.

The average car only uses ~25% of the potential energy in a gallon of gas to actually propel the car forward. The rest is wasted as heat. We actually USE energy to waste the heat by running cooling fans and coolant pumps.

An efficient NG power plant uses the NG combustion to mechanically turn a generator, then uses the waste heat to make steam to turn another generator. Modern NG power plants are just over 60% efficient.

And an EV at least has the potential to be a wind, solar, hydroelectic, geothermal, tidal, nuclear powered car. The gasoline/diesel car will never be anything more than a gasoline or diesel car.

I'm not pro-car. And I use my bike for every trip I possibly can. But the truth is that Americans aren't going to give up there cars. EVs are the only realistic alternative to gasoline and diesel. So we may as well encourage them from a legislative standpoint.
Very true stuff. We still rely on coal as our largest source of electricity but I agree with everything you say. I kinda joked about it earlier but what about China and the rest of the up and coming world? I'm really far from being a neo-con but they do have a point no? IDK where I'm going with this and it's kinda depressing if I think too much about it. If we lower our consumption of oil, won't they just take our place and don't we live on the same planet?
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Old 07-31-07, 04:20 PM
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EVs are the only realistic alternative to gasoline and diesel.
In my opinion the other realistic alternative is biodiesel. But with biodiesel you lose lots of energy at the engine, whereas with electric you don't. If cars and trucks all ran off of the power grid (via wires, just like some of seattle's buses) they'd be quite efficient. That might also limit the number of roads they would be used for, which is good if you like nice car-free side streets.
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Old 07-31-07, 04:23 PM
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Very true stuff. We still rely on coal as our largest source of electricity but I agree with everything you say. I kinda joked about it earlier but what about China and the rest of the up and coming world? I'm really far from being a neo-con but they do have a point no? IDK where I'm going with this and it's kinda depressing if I think too much about it. If we lower our consumption of oil, won't they just take our place and don't we live on the same planet?
Absolutely, the only way to keep oil in the ground is to make deals with just about every country to use less and keep more in the ground. In the near future, a deal of that sort won't appeal to the USA, china, or india. Probably also won't appeal to most of the other countries that are using a large portion of the world's oil or will be soon.
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Old 07-31-07, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
The problem with electric vehicles is the same as it's always been: poor range.

"Environmentalists" can make fun of penis sizes of people who drive Hummers and Escalades all they want, but the cold hard truth is that EV's have failed in the US commercial fleet market just as they have failed in the US private sale market. Furthermore, they have failed in most other countries around the world as well. Shockingly enough, nobody wants to pay more for a vehicle with less capabilities. Worldwide, the ONLY common electric vehicles you will find are trains, that use electric lines spread along their entire routes and that don't require batteries at all.

The only "conspiracy" involved in preventing electric cars in the US is the one that involves customers spending their money as they please.
~
I make a living working on electric vehicles, and you are absolutely correct. The one thing that keeps them from replacing combustion powered cars is the lack of a reliable, inexpensive, and high capacity energy storage device. The motors are far more simple and reliable than an IC engine and they have plenty of power, but there is still no good way to store electrical energy with anything near the same density and low cost as gasoline or diesel.
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Old 07-31-07, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by GGDub View Post
While its commendable that you're riding your bike (and making the world a little better doing so), how exactly are you boycotting the oil industry while riding machine which was created with fossil fuel energy and contains petroleum products and then using a computer (again made of petro) to ask people to boycott it? We like to vilify these industries as the cause of all problems on this planet, but in reality, we're the ones to blame.
Hmmm... Let's look at the amount of oil necessary to manufacture and run a bicycle over a ten year lifespan versus the amount of oil needed to manufacture and run a car over the same time period. What do you think the ratio is? 1/10,000? 1/100,000? 1/1,000,000? Okay so the bicycle requires SOME petroleum, but if it requires 0.001% of the petroleum that a car requires, well... that's close enough to a boycott in my book. Besides, the less oil we dump into our cars, the more oil we have to build bicycles, computers, and infrastructure tools required by a society which will live on renewable energy sources in the long run.

BTW: Some interesting facts and figures about the benefits of an EV, even considering a coal-heavy grid, can be found on the PHEV entry in Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_hybrid

And I know that "real" cyclists love to throw their noses up at electric bikes, but they embody many of the best characteristics of both electric vehicles and bicycles. I'll toot my own horn with this link:

https://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1111

Yours,

FBB

Last edited by fbagatelleblack; 07-31-07 at 05:51 PM.
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