Author Topic: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf  (Read 59509 times)

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Offline free_electron

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #100 on: September 30, 2013, 02:33:54 am »
They would never say upfront that the cars only suitable for X and you need a 2nd car for the long trips.
It goes against everything taught in sales/marketing school. eg
- Never voluntarily mention the negatives of the product
- Always provide solutions if the customer asks about the negatives

Don't get me wrong I find this annoying too.

I don't see that as a negative. There is nothing wrong with stating the truth !
The car is suitable for short commute driving and a perfect fit for that kind of usage. If you do longer trips you will need a second car.

If he had been upfront about it that it is designed for that purpose i would have had no problem at all. If they would state clearly that this is a car designed for that i wouldn't even have bothered him.That's not what i'm looking for, i would have gone to the next brand. But they hide the numbers until last... so you have to inquire. When you react disappointed upon hearing the numbers all of a sudden its your fault , you just should get a second car or rent one.... that simply doesn't fly with me. It's not my fault i am disappointed in your product. You make it come off as a great product and then the balloon pops.

I don't do marketing bullshit. Show me the numbers. Don't hide things. There is a reason they hide that number. They want to 'massage' you first so the number becomes less of a blow. If they were upfront half of the people would just walk by and look at brands with larger range ... they'd shoot themselves in the foot.
Imagine they change their marketing campaign and put this in big bold letters at the top :

The perfect electric car for your daily commute . Up to 100 miles range and charges overnight.

If i were in the market for that kind of solution i'd be immediately wowed. If that is not what i'm looking for i move on. But, i hate having to poke and prod to get all the details so i can decide if it fits my purpose. if i tell them ithat does not fit my purpose they try to convince me otherwise. Why not ? because i like to take a drive to the ocean. Well how many times do you do that a year ? . does it matter ? why are YOU even questioning MY behavior ? Your car doesn't fit me. Thank you . no hard feelings. And then they just
tell you well get a second car.
Sorry. that doesn't fly with me.

It's like telling me: (T=they , M=Me)

T - Here is a great allround scope.
M- How fast does it sample ?
T- Well it actually works only on repetitive signals as we undersample ...
M- Oh. Ok thank you , i start walking away and am called back :
T- Wait wait, why don't you like it. it's really great for repetitive signals !
M-  That may very well be , but it is undersampling and thus aliasing. I look at non repetitive signals 50 times a year.
T- Well just buy a second scope then. Or you could rent one. Maybe a nice analog one that doesn't suffer from aliasing?
M:  -verbal explosion-

i didn't call him out on purpose. i can't help it if other people behind me are listening in on the conversation.

I just hate marketing crap. i want to compare between products and its like a game of hide the information so you can't really compare. After talking to 5 vendors you are still wondering : is there anything else they didn't tell me ...
Marketing people should learn that, if the customer tells them : your product doesn't fit my criteria that that's it. Don't go on prodding and tell the customer he is wrong and should change his criteria or behavior. rule 1 in marketing is : customer is always right.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 02:43:26 am by free_electron »
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Offline Corporate666

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #101 on: September 30, 2013, 04:17:48 am »
It started out very civilized , up till the point he told me to just buy a second gas powered car , or rent one. That is where i lost it.

Why do i need two cars ? I can only drive one at a time! I dont have room for two cars. And i'm single.
Why do i need to spend 38000$ on a leaf and spend another 38000 on a gas powered car to cover for the deficiencies of the leaf ?

I think your frustration was probably more with the marketing guy sticking to the corporate line then, wasn't it?  I can't blame him.. it's not really his job to do anything but that.


Quote
I drive longer trips almost every weekend, i like going to carmel or SF . You expect me to own a second car just for the weekends ? You expect me to go rent a car every weekend. 52 weeks a year, 10 years in a row. Do you have any idea what that would cost ? It would be cheaper to buy a gas fueled car and drive it all day. It would cover the car and the fuel... So there goes your eco friendly , cheap in power consumption car. Poof. Gone. Vaporised.

But you're not in that 85% group then, because most people would be fine with a 100 mile range car and it would save then money (on operating costs).  A once-per-week usage need requiring an alternate vehicle is too much to swallow, but for most people they don't venture outside the cars' capabilities that often.

Quote
Anyway that point is irellevant. I dont want a second car. I want 1 car that does what my current car does (a chrysler sebring convertible). As i am looking at a new car i took a look at electrics.
And they don't compare to an average car. They don't have the range. It's as simple as that.

An electric is not what you want then - going back to my earlier point - anymore than a Corvette is what a construction guy wants.  I think you're getting hung up on the range being a standard non-issue for other vehicles that any that has range compromises is therefore not usable.  But that is only the case for those who fall into a usage pattern where an EV range would be burdensome, which isn't most drivers. 

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Offline Corporate666

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #102 on: September 30, 2013, 04:19:59 am »
Whether you are digging a hole for the metal (steel), or rubber (tire), or melting glass, all takes energy.  Looking at just the SMALL difference of how it stores the energy is completely missing the point.  That is rounding error comparing to the total energy consumed in creating that car.

The amount of cost to create the car is in tens of thousands (USD).  The cost of fuel is in thousands over the life of the car.  That alone should tell you that the cost of creation of the car consumes an order of magnitude more resources.  Just maintenance cost alone exceeds the fuel cost over the life of the car.  Energy is the currency of nature.  You can't avoid it.  The tens of thousands spend goes into creating yet more pollution.  The car salesman use his commission to take his kids to dinner, that is yet more energy consumed...  The car maker use his income to fly to Disney, that is yet more energy consumed.

Want to be less an energy hog?  Buy the cheapest of anything.  The less it cost, the less resource was consumed in creating it.

That is completely untrue - all of it, I'm afraid.  Costs and energy used to create are not related in the manner you suggest.   And you forgot to cite the source for EV's being much worse polluters  :blah:
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Offline Corporate666

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #103 on: September 30, 2013, 04:27:32 am »
As usual you have no numbers to back your claim and you are twisting my words. I already posted the mathematical proof an efficient car with a combustion engine produces just as much CO2 as the average EV on fossil fuel electricity. The gas and coal needed to feed a power plant need to be mined, processed, transported as well. So that goes into your EV 'well to wheel' efficiency as well. Not to mention the extra amount of energy needed to produce an EV. So if you want to make an EV really more efficient then you'll need to source electricity which has a very low CO2 footprint.

You posted something in the other thread, as I recall, which was easily debunked with available data - and I believe your response was to cite a few cases where the EV polluted more, which were only true in very specific cases and certainly nowhere near true as a blanket statement as you suggested.  I remember citing all the government websites which proved my statement true - and it is.

Quote
Other things you claim aren't true either. For starters an EV needs a complicated cooling/heating system to keep the batteries ar their most effective operating temperature. Also the electronics need fluid based cooling and electronics must stay a lot cooler than an combustion engine. To cool the EV's electronics a heat pump (air conditioning) is required. Inside the combustion engine the temperatures are so high that keeping the coolant at 85 deg. Celsius is enough to cool the engine by just pumping the coolant through the engine and a radiator. If you just compare the motor of an EV a combustion engine then the combustion engine looks massively complicated. If you look at the big picture an EV is just as complicated as a car with a combustion engine. Each have their own unique problems to solve.

Yes, each type of car has their own unique problems to solve.  EV's have MANY less such problems to solve.  That is a fact.  Massively less moving parts, "free" braking (as an ICE gives you free heating), etc, etc.  It is poppycock to say an EV is just as complicated.  Nonsense.

Quote
Also EVs are not new. Not by a long shot. Over 100 years ago when cars got invented the ratio between EV and combustion engine powered cars was 1 to 1. Later on the combustion engine 'won' because of the range and ease of re-fuelling. Car manufacturers around the world have been experimenting with EVs since then. If you use Google you can find most of them have a web page showing their early attempts. All unsuccesful because of the range and excessive cost. The only reason EVs are affordable today is because governments hand out money to people who buy them.

EV's are "not new" just as rockets are "not new" because the Chinese were using them centuries ago.  We both know that's a silly analogy.  EV's benefit from improved battery and power management which was not available before.  That tips the scale into the "feasible" category.  The idea that there is some worldwide collusion to push EV's by throwing money at buyers is silly.  Just like religion, with EV's there are people who already have their mind made up and will cherry pick data points to support their crusade. 

For-profit companies are throwing billions into EV's because they see that EV's make economic sense and are the future of the automobile. 
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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #104 on: September 30, 2013, 07:09:01 am »
It's quite interesting to see that the discussion has gone on for this long without anybody really mentioning taxation, and how it has (and will no doubt continue to) influence the vehicle market.

The massive difference between the fuel costs for oil vs electric vehicles certainly isn't due to their different energy needs, it's down to the fact that fuel "for road use" is subject to much higher taxes than the energy which we draw from our power sockets.

There's no technological difference there, it's purely political - and a weird anomaly, IMHO. Personally I've never understood why the fuels (gas and electricity) that I use to heat my home and cook my meals should be widely regarded as essential and subject to one (low) tax rate, but the fuel I need to get to work, to travel to buy food and clothing, and (gasp!) visit family and friends should be regarded as 'bad', and taxed at a punitive rate.

Whatever the political motivation, as EVs become more popular, politicians will no doubt start to twig that they're not longer getting quite so much in tax revenue from the petrol pumps, yet people are now using electricity "for road use".

Does that mean the electricity used by EVs will start to be regarded as 'bad' in the same way petrol and diesel are now?

How long before we end up with two electricity meters? One for domestic use, and a separate one for the charging point in the garage - the garage one being much, much more expensive because (historically) road fuel has always been much more heavily taxed than fuel used for any other purpose.

If you're considering an EV right now, would it influence your decision if "road" electricity were taxed at the same level that other road fuels are today?

For how long do you believe it won't be?

Offline IanB

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #105 on: September 30, 2013, 07:42:58 am »
High taxation of petrol is a particularly UK (or European) perspective. Here in the US gasoline is not taxed to anything like the same punitive extent.

As to why petrol and other road fuels are taxed so highly, it is nothing to do with "bad" or "good". (That's just a sugar coating on the pill to help taxpayers swallow it.)

The truth is that the government has to raise more and more taxes every year and it will tax anything that moves if it can get away with it.

But it's a very valid point that the 400% tax rate on petrol is completely at odds with free public charging points for electric cars. If there was a widespread take-up of electric cars then they would no longer remain cheaper to run than petrol cars (in Europe at least).
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Offline ElectroIrradiator

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #106 on: September 30, 2013, 07:53:49 am »
Why can't the other car makers do that (engineer it from the ground up)?

They can and already have. GM have had at least two 'flat bottom' concept cars around 2005. Yep, two thousand and five. One was the 'skateboard', the other was called Sequel. There was a fuel cell version plus a battery powered EV edition, I forget which is which.

In both cases the fundamental idea was identical to the Tesla S: You have a flat frame, with a very low center of gravity, containing the energy package (batteries or fuel cells), and an electric 'motive power package' in each corner. One of the GM concept cars even had complete 'fly by wire' technology, meaning no mechanical steering linkage. This allows complete flexibility as to what the 'car' put on the flat chassis should look like. One of the GM concept cars showed just one choice of top, a futuristic luxury sedan very much like the Tesla S. However it was stressed at the time, that the configuration could be anything you liked. For instance an adaptive, low floor, high ceiling vehicle for a wheelchair user, a single seat flatbed truck or whatever.

Ford made a very similar concept car around the same time frame, and so did at least one of the large European manufacturers. I forget which one exactly.

Why didn't they bring this idea to market? My guess is simply what you almost say yourself: Supply chain issues. A very large fraction of the individual parts of a (standard) car are, well, standardized. This allows the car manufacturers to play all their suppliers out against each other, thus always getting rock bottom prices on their pattern parts. By your words Telsa is making about 90% of the parts for the S themselves, including the electric motors and (the engineering for) the battery packs. Which must mean there are practically no COTS parts, which can do the job required to Tesla's specs.

Maybe the big manufacturers are kind of hoping, that an EV build on a frame for a IC powered car is 'good enough'. If it is, then they and their suppliers wouldn't have to rebuild practically all of their supply chain.

Unfortunately for them Mr. Musk decided to throw some serious brain power at the project, and showed the world how an EV is supposed to be built... >:D
 

Offline Psi

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #107 on: September 30, 2013, 08:03:31 am »
One of the GM concept cars even had complete 'fly by wire' technology, meaning no mechanical steering linkage.

Hehe, so i can hack the car to use a gamepad for control :P
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Online nctnico

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #108 on: September 30, 2013, 11:13:10 am »
As usual you have no numbers to back your claim and you are twisting my words. I already posted the mathematical proof an efficient car with a combustion engine produces just as much CO2 as the average EV on fossil fuel electricity. The gas and coal needed to feed a power plant need to be mined, processed, transported as well. So that goes into your EV 'well to wheel' efficiency as well. Not to mention the extra amount of energy needed to produce an EV. So if you want to make an EV really more efficient then you'll need to source electricity which has a very low CO2 footprint.

You posted something in the other thread, as I recall, which was easily debunked with available data - and I believe your response was to cite a few cases where the EV polluted more, which were only true in very specific cases and certainly nowhere near true as a blanket statement as you suggested.  I remember citing all the government websites which proved my statement true - and it is.
You recall wrong. If I look at my electricity bill I see 1kWh produces 475grams of CO2 so an average EV (Volt, Leaf, Tesla S) produces about 105 grams of CO2 per km (based on EPA tests). If you live in Germany that number grows to 127grams per km and if you live in Australia where each kWh produces about 900 grams of CO2 per km that number is 198 grams of CO2 per km.  As a comparion: my 14 year old car produces 142 grams of CO2 per km and I could . Modern cars with a combustion enginge are already getting below the 100grams of CO2 per km mark in realistic driving conditions. So tell me how an EV is more efficient by default? Like I said before: an EV only helps to reduce the CO2 production (and fossile fuel consumption) IF the electricity comes from a truly renewable source. Then again a combustion engine can also run on renewable bio-fuel. So what does the extra cost of an EV buy you?

Quote
Also EVs are not new. Not by a long shot. Over 100 years ago when cars got invented the ratio between EV and combustion engine powered cars was 1 to 1. Later on the combustion engine 'won' because of the range and ease of re-fuelling. Car manufacturers around the world have been experimenting with EVs since then. If you use Google you can find most of them have a web page showing their early attempts. All unsuccesful because of the range and excessive cost. The only reason EVs are affordable today is because governments hand out money to people who buy them.

EV's are "not new" just as rockets are "not new" because the Chinese were using them centuries ago.  We both know that's a silly analogy.
[/quote]
Well fortunately you are making the silly analogy. Mercedes for example has made several electric (concept) cars in the past 40 years:
http://www.daimler.com/dccom/0-5-1391922-1-1401035-1-0-0-1402053-0-0-135-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0.html
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #109 on: September 30, 2013, 12:45:50 pm »
It's a bit late now but to the OP: Cars like the Leaf are not intended to be your own car. To paraphrase you would INSANE to only own a Leaf. Most people these days live in households with more than one car though, so if you commute less than about 40 miles/day to work you could have a Leaf for that and use your partner's petrol car when you want to go further.

That's the same for us. My POS vectra is on it's last legs, and I can't picture myself getting another petrol car to replace it. Given that virtually every trip I do is within range of an electric, and I can easily charge it at home with my solar.
If I do need to get several hundred km, then I take the wife's car.

Quote
On the other hand I'd be completely happy having a Tesla as my only car.

The Tesla S is nothing short of awesome, but I don't even want to know what it will costs here.
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #110 on: September 30, 2013, 01:10:49 pm »
Normal cars with an ICU have one huge advantage that EV's currently don't have. If the manufacturers would step back for a while and get over their "we are oh so special" attitude, EV's could have an equal advantage. Which is: there is a huge and dense net of gas stations. You simply drive up the gas station, and in a few minutes the tank is full again and you are ready to go.

And get this: it doesn't matter what brand of car you have, you can use any gas station, the hose will fit!

But with EV's, everyone is making his own battery, often hard to remove, and often requiring a long time to charge. Heck, if you are on the road, i guess that even 15 minutes can be too long a recharge time. Not to mention that such quick recharging may put a lot of stress on the battery, shortening it's lifespan.

I think the EV manufacturers should get together and come up with modular, quickly reeplaceable battery packs. Maybe two or three different types, and depending on the car you swap one, two, three, whatever many battery modules. You would drive up to a station, get the batteries swapped, and are good to go in a matter of minutes. The batteries could then be recharged and serviced in a better controlled environment. If that would happen, the current restriction on the milage you can get out of a typical EV wouldn't matter that much anymore, if at all.

Imagine if every equipment/appliance manufacturer would create his own battery type, each with a different size and voltage, and none are compatible to some other appliance. Instead we have a range of standard cells, thus we can quickly change the batteries. Why can't EV manufacturers do the same?

There shouldn't be much of a logistics problem either. Gas stations already have storage for the different type of fuels, which are constantly refilled by gas trucks. So the basic principle is already in place for a long time now. Have the station recharge batteries and exchange worn out ones with new ones. Having only a small range of battery packs means that a lot of things can be standardized, which in turn would reduce manufacturing cost. It would also make recycling/servicing easier.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #111 on: September 30, 2013, 01:45:17 pm »
It's a bit late now but to the OP: Cars like the Leaf are not intended to be your own car. To paraphrase you would INSANE to only own a Leaf. Most people these days live in households with more than one car though, so if you commute less than about 40 miles/day to work you could have a Leaf for that and use your partner's petrol car when you want to go further.

On the other hand I'd be completely happy having a Tesla as my only car.
And that is exactly what the leaf owners i talked to told me off the bat. Talk to the factory and it's all moonlight and roses.... Not a peep about 'second car'... U til you prod around.
Go to the website. Read the first three pages. They are long and full of the usual feel-good stuff associated with electric. Not a peep about range ... Even on the dedicated rang page you need to scroll all the way down before you can find a morsel of information. It is buried ...

@mamalala. And this is where tesla flipped the world upside down too. They sprung the battery swap card on the u suspecting world a couple of momths ago. They kept this secret. Nobody knew it was designed to be able to do this from the start.

There exists a fully automated drive-up battery swap station. 1 minute and 30 seconds from driving on to driving out. All the model S cars that have already been made can do it. The station here in Gilroy is being converted to have it. You drive up, A panel opens in the ground, a robot arm with camera locates the bolts, removes em, lowers the pack and slides it i to an underground charger shelf. Grabs a freshly charged one , bolts it in and off you go.



Superchargers are free, this will cost money. The equivalent of fueling a regular car.
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Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #112 on: September 30, 2013, 02:02:34 pm »
You recall wrong. If I look at my electricity bill I see 1kWh produces 475grams of CO2 so an average EV (Volt, Leaf, Tesla S) produces about 105 grams of CO2 per km (based on EPA tests). If you live in Germany that number grows to 127grams per km and if you live in Australia where each kWh produces about 900 grams of CO2 per km that number is 198 grams of CO2 per km.  As a comparion: my 14 year old car produces 142 grams of CO2 per km and I could . Modern cars with a combustion enginge are already getting below the 100grams of CO2 per km mark in realistic driving conditions. So tell me how an EV is more efficient by default? Like I said before: an EV only helps to reduce the CO2 production (and fossile fuel consumption) IF the electricity comes from a truly renewable source. Then again a combustion engine can also run on renewable bio-fuel. So what does the extra cost of an EV buy you?

Your numbers are dubious, but even if they were correct it would really depend on the individual. The average might be about the same as an ICE car but if your house has solar or most of your energy comes from nuclear then it will be a lot lower.

I think nctnico was just a bit bad with his wording/example.

Nowadays, a significant amount of electricity is created by coal power stations. Coal is a significantly worse carbon emitter than oil. Also, such stations can be and are operated in places/countries with inferior environmental standards.

According to Wikipedia (i know, i know, that is just a second-hand-source) approx. 1/3 of the global electricity production in the year 2008 came from coal. And that was before everyone started to be worried about nuclear power because Fukushima...

Assuming the numbers from his electricity supplier are just based on continent-wide or global statistical averages, they really don't look that dubious. Whether they are actually true, i can't tell.

EDIT: Just to make clear, coal power stations are not only the ones burning the black coal. The term also includes stations burning lignite. Germany's biggest coal power stations for example are lignite burners. It is a dirty business...
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 02:16:59 pm by elgonzo »
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #113 on: September 30, 2013, 02:04:55 pm »
@mamalala. And this is where tesla flipped the world upside down too. They sprung the battery swap card on the u suspecting world a couple of momths ago. They kept this secret. Nobody knew it was designed to be able to do this from the start.

There exists a fully automated drive-up battery swap station. 1 minute and 30 seconds from driving on to driving out. All the model S cars that have already been made can do it. The station here in Gilroy is being converted to have it. You drive up, A panel opens in the ground, a robot arm with camera locates the bolts, removes em, lowers the pack and slides it i to an underground charger shelf. Grabs a freshly charged one , bolts it in and off you go.

That's nice, didn't know about that. Now, if only all the other EV manufacturers would do the same, _and_ (this is important, i think) agree on a few standardized form factors, so that every EV can go up at every station and have the batteries swapped without the station needing to have a gazillion different battery packs in stock, that would be perfect.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Online nctnico

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #114 on: September 30, 2013, 02:48:20 pm »
You recall wrong. If I look at my electricity bill I see 1kWh produces 475grams of CO2 so an average EV (Volt, Leaf, Tesla S) produces about 105 grams of CO2 per km (based on EPA tests). If you live in Germany that number grows to 127grams per km and if you live in Australia where each kWh produces about 900 grams of CO2 per km that number is 198 grams of CO2 per km.  As a comparion: my 14 year old car produces 142 grams of CO2 per km and I could . Modern cars with a combustion enginge are already getting below the 100grams of CO2 per km mark in realistic driving conditions. So tell me how an EV is more efficient by default? Like I said before: an EV only helps to reduce the CO2 production (and fossile fuel consumption) IF the electricity comes from a truly renewable source. Then again a combustion engine can also run on renewable bio-fuel. So what does the extra cost of an EV buy you?

Your numbers are dubious, but even if they were correct it would really depend on the individual. The average might be about the same as an ICE car but if your house has solar or most of your energy comes from nuclear then it will be a lot lower.
How can my electricity bill and the test results from the EPA be dubious? You say my electricity supplier is lying and EPA can't test the milage of cars properly? I already stated the CO2 savings depend on where your electricity is coming from; you can't just assume an EV is more efficient.

@elgonzo: the CO2 emissions from my electricity supplier is the amount of CO2 emitted per kWh I pull from the sockets in my home. Its not some kind of average or random number. The amount of energy tax is based on it so it has to be undisputably correct to avoid endless lawsuits. If you use Google you can find the CO2 emissions for almost every electricity supplier.

Quote
You also have to consider that there is a vast difference between an ICE spewing out CO2 directly into the atmosphere and pollution right outside your door, and generating electricity on a large scale where emissions can be captured. Even just the physical distance between the power station and people's homes makes a huge difference to human health.
Transporting electricity over large distances is not economic; most of the power plants are close to your back yard. Don't rule out the wind either. It will spread all kinds of dirt for (ten) thousands of kilometers. A few times per year my car is covered with sand from the Sahara dessert which is about 3000km to the south of me. To make things worse: the emission standards for power plants are not as strict as they are for newer cars. Power plants can run for 30 to 40 years and if they are old their polution control systems are not up to the latest standard. Over here the emission limits on power plants depend on the age of the power plant. And don't even think that they filter everything from the exhaust of a power plant! Economics kick in and electricity companies run their power plants on (not at, ON) the edge of the emission limits. OTOH a car gets replaced much sooner (on average every 8 years) so stricter emission limits have a positive effect within a few years.

Regarding battery changing: Tesla is not the first to use that method. An Israeli company already provided such a service but went belly-up a couple of months ago. Then again Tesla seems to be the Apple of car makers and keep doing things their own way with a big stack of cash to back them up.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 02:51:55 pm by nctnico »
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Offline free_electron

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #115 on: September 30, 2013, 02:51:08 pm »
Standardization is going to be key. But that too is problematic. There is a standard for chargeplugs for electric J1772 or somethinglike that. Tesla deliberately chose not to use it. Why ? Because it took 10 years to craft the standard and by the time it became available , there wasa. Competing standard (the japanese... So now there are two and they are incompatible....) and it was outpowered.

Tesla has an adapter that you plug on a j1772 and then charge the car. But the specs of the 'standard' charger are mediocre' its no better than what you do at home.

Again a classic case of where the 'established industry' turns out too be too slow to create something and by thetimeit is available it is outdated.
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Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #116 on: September 30, 2013, 03:16:07 pm »
Normal cars with an ICU have one huge advantage that EV's currently don't have. If the manufacturers would step back for a while and get over their "we are oh so special" attitude, EV's could have an equal advantage. Which is: there is a huge and dense net of gas stations. You simply drive up the gas station, and in a few minutes the tank is full again and you are ready to go.

And get this: it doesn't matter what brand of car you have, you can use any gas station, the hose will fit!

But with EV's, everyone is making his own battery, often hard to remove, and often requiring a long time to charge. Heck, if you are on the road, i guess that even 15 minutes can be too long a recharge time. Not to mention that such quick recharging may put a lot of stress on the battery, shortening it's lifespan.

I think the EV manufacturers should get together and come up with modular, quickly reeplaceable battery packs. Maybe two or three different types, and depending on the car you swap one, two, three, whatever many battery modules. You would drive up to a station, get the batteries swapped, and are good to go in a matter of minutes. The batteries could then be recharged and serviced in a better controlled environment. If that would happen, the current restriction on the milage you can get out of a typical EV wouldn't matter that much anymore, if at all.

Imagine if every equipment/appliance manufacturer would create his own battery type, each with a different size and voltage, and none are compatible to some other appliance. Instead we have a range of standard cells, thus we can quickly change the batteries. Why can't EV manufacturers do the same?

There shouldn't be much of a logistics problem either. Gas stations already have storage for the different type of fuels, which are constantly refilled by gas trucks. So the basic principle is already in place for a long time now. Have the station recharge batteries and exchange worn out ones with new ones. Having only a small range of battery packs means that a lot of things can be standardized, which in turn would reduce manufacturing cost. It would also make recycling/servicing easier.

That is exactly what needs to happen if battery or charging tech cannot be advanced significantly. For that case, battery swap would be the only feasible option if you think about essentially replacing the petrol-car with an e-car on a large scale and not just thinking about cities. (Or you come up with a revolutionary vehicle concept to reduce the motive energy required -- but that is a bit utopian, i guess...)

But if you just look at city operation, situation and solution can be different: Assume having current-gen electric city cars (that's what curren-gen e-cars essentially are) handle a day of a-bit-above-normal use in the city just fine without running out of juice. In that case you just need to charge them overnight (i think Dave or someone else mentioned it already).

And that is the good thing (from technological point of view) regarding cities: You can equip basically every parking lot/house/bunker with charge points. Getting electricity and charge terminal to these places shouldn't be a problem.
The problem here will be how to do the billing. Because nothing will really start moving on a large scale unless all involved parties have agreed upon billing... :)

Having only dedicated "hot spots", like gas stations, equipped with recharge terminals is not a good idea to grow e-car user base in urban concentrations (i don't think anyone will go down this route anyhow). Let me explain...

On a gas station you spend 3-5 minutes refuelling and paying (might vary from country to country due to how much petrol/minute goes through the nozzle).

If recharging an e-car (to whatever amount to keep the e-car usable) takes substantially more time, you will see cars piling up at the ramp to the "gas/recharge station" waiting to be recharged. Think about a petrol gas station with petrol cars piling up at rush-hour and multiply this according to the required average recharge time. Uh... not good...  |O

Now, at a gas station you cannot simple increase the number of charge points to accommodate for this, because you would need real estate on which the recharging cars can stay -- which is a bit tricky in cities, i would say.

In my opionion, it's the parking lots/houses/bunkers that would need to be equipped primarily if you want to go large scale. Because real estate is a non-issue there.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 03:21:59 pm by elgonzo »
 

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #117 on: September 30, 2013, 03:42:45 pm »
Transporting electricity over large distances is not economic; most of the power plants are close to your back yard.

I think you don't mean "economical", but rather "incur electrical losses".
It might or might not be economical to transport electricity over large distances. That depends entirely on the overall cost figures (building/operating power plants, regulation, subsidies, demand&supply).

How do you define "back yard"?
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 03:45:41 pm by elgonzo »
 

Offline mamalala

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #118 on: September 30, 2013, 04:24:18 pm »
But if you just look at city operation, situation and solution can be different: Assume having current-gen electric city cars (that's what curren-gen e-cars essentially are) handle a day of a-bit-above-normal use in the city just fine without running out of juice. In that case you just need to charge them overnight (i think Dave or someone else mentioned it already).

And that is the good thing (from technological point of view) regarding cities: You can equip basically every parking lot/house/bunker with charge points. Getting electricity and charge terminal to these places shouldn't be a problem.
The problem here will be how to do the billing. Because nothing will really start moving on a large scale unless all involved parties have agreed upon billing... :)

We could also have every parking lot and garage equipped with a fuel pump and reservoir, but we didn't do that either. It's a waste of resources, in my opinion. Why install a massive amount of charging stations that are probably not used for most of the time anyways? Plus, just the stations alone isn't enough, the whole issue of power distribution is very important here. After all, EV's dont't just use a hand full of AA cells that need to be recharged. We are talking about kW's of power for just a single car. It _may_ work in some suburban area with a low population density, but just imagine inner city, big houses with, lets say, 40 people wanting to recharge their cars. And the same for the next house, and the next, etc.

I think it is a much better use of resources to equip the gas stations with beefy power lines and have the charging done there.

Having only dedicated "hot spots", like gas stations, equipped with recharge terminals is not a good idea to grow e-car user base in urban concentrations (i don't think anyone will go down this route anyhow). Let me explain...

As said above, we didn't put fuel pumps all over the place either, but use a dense network of gas stations. And hey, it works!
On a gas station you spend 3-5 minutes refuelling and paying (might vary from country to country due to how much petrol/minute goes through the nozzle).

If recharging an e-car (to whatever amount to keep the e-car usable) takes substantially more time, you will see cars piling up at the ramp to the "gas/recharge station" waiting to be recharged. Think about a petrol gas station with petrol cars piling up at rush-hour and multiply this according to the required average recharge time. Uh... not good...  |O

Yes, and that is why i think that using a gas-station like network where you simply pop in a new battery is far better. True, sometimes you will get a pile up, as is the case with petrol cars. But that situation already exists, so having the same for EV's to get a fresh battery is neither worse nor better. Plus, again, i strongly suspect that the battery lifetime will be longer if they are recharged properly under controlled conditions (and maybe properly discharged first if there is any charge left in them, if needed). Also, it would be much easier to spot faulty batteries, or units that are close to the end of their life, and have them replaced in bulk, instead of having the average Joe figuring out what's going on.

Keep in mind that we are talking about EV's being a suitable replacement for petrol cars, and hope to get a really widespread use of them. For only a "few", your proposal might be OK, but i just can't see that working on a more massive scale.

Also, there are many cases where a local charging station is pretty much not feasible at all. People don't always have fixed usage times for their cars. What about cars that are shared amongst family members? Then you are left with very little time for plugging it into the charger. So you end up with a half empty battery that is, at best, topped up only slightly (and thus still not fully charged) before it is used the next time. And what about stuff like public transport, taxis, police cars, firefighter trucks, etc? They all depend on being able to be refueled very quickly, since they are in use for very long times at once.

Oh, and another benefit of a gas-station like battery-swap system: since those stations would use a lot of electricity, they are in a position to get much better prices for the electricity. Of course it is doubtful that the end consumer will benefit from that price-wise, but instead be used to just increase the profit of the station owner. But then, this might be a good incentive for them to establish such a system.

Greetings,

Chris

Edit: Of course that is not to say that EV's should have no means of being recharged and only allow swapping the battery. That should still be possible, of course, for people who want that. It would be very useful for folks who produce their own electricity. And even then, having a standardized battery pack format can be very beneficial: instead of having a charger specific to one brand/type of EV, it would be a generic one. If you get a new EV, you can re-use the existing charger and battery pack, etc.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 04:32:19 pm by mamalala »
 

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #119 on: September 30, 2013, 05:10:21 pm »
@Chris:

What i tried to say is that in cities, you can probably "get away" with just establishing a network of charge points.
That is a lesser logistic effort than building a network of battery swap points from ground up.
Also, you can start implementing a recharging infrastructure right away without waiting for the industry/politics to agree on a battery swap standard...

Just compare the efforts to install and operate a pack of recharge points in a park house with the efforts required to operate one single battery swap station...

Battery swap becomes essential with longer required ranges, though. (Or, we plaster all roads with inductive charger... and then we wonder why the birds suddenly migrate to Arctica instead southwards  >:D )

EDIT: If you speaking about a place just to replace dead batteries (akin to a service point) then it would indeed make sense to do that at gas stations, because many already have a service corner/garage for simple/quick car maintenance anyhow. I am not sure about any battery handling and safety requirements, though, so there might be some more aspects to consider i am currently not aware of.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 05:16:48 pm by elgonzo »
 

Online nctnico

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #120 on: September 30, 2013, 05:51:57 pm »
But if you just look at city operation, situation and solution can be different: Assume having current-gen electric city cars (that's what curren-gen e-cars essentially are) handle a day of a-bit-above-normal use in the city just fine without running out of juice. In that case you just need to charge them overnight (i think Dave or someone else mentioned it already).
IMHO pure city operation requires a whole new way of thinking about transportation. If you look at big cities like Paris, Rome, Jakarta, etc then you see that the streets cannot handle the traffic volume. Small electric vehicles like the Renault Twizzy
(cute chick not included) are far more suitable for driving around within a city. Because they are much lighter they can be charged within a reasonable time at home and they usually are tax free. These and electric motorcycles are already viable and affordable means of fully electric transportation.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 05:53:46 pm by nctnico »
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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #121 on: September 30, 2013, 06:12:18 pm »
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it only takes a picture of a machine like the Twizy to see one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the adoption of electric vehicles.

It looks ridiculous.

In fact I really feel sorry for the engineers who designed it, because I don't doubt for a moment that they're passionate about their work and have solved all manner of technically difficult problems to make such a product viable and affordable - but all that work has then been wasted by a marketing and branding department who have decreed that an electric vehicle needs to look "cute", or "futuristic", or in some other way different to the cars people have been buying for years.

If there even was a demographic to whom vehicles like that would appeal, then there's nothing stopping manufacturers from producing them with petrol engines. Something that size could no doubt be built with, say, a motorcycle engine under the seat, and with its small size and low weight it could be as efficient as any other petrol-powered vehicle on the road. 'Eco' boxes get ticked either way. But there's no market for tiny, absurd-looking little cars, and sticking in an electric motor instead of a conventional engine isn't going to change that.

The Tesla looks conventional, and cool, like something Lotus might have made. Then again, Tesla Motors doesn't have years' worth of investment in internal combustion engines that they want to protect from obsolescence.

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #122 on: September 30, 2013, 06:14:12 pm »
IMHO pure city operation requires a whole new way of thinking about transportation. If you look at big cities like Paris, Rome, Jakarta, etc then you see that the streets cannot handle the traffic volume. Small electric vehicles like the Renault Twizzy
(cute chick not included) are far more suitable for driving around within a city. Because they are much lighter they can be charged within a reasonable time at home and they usually are tax free. These and electric motorcycles are already viable and affordable means of fully electric transportation.

I would like to point that there is no new way of thinking as you suggest.
Firstly, the city car is not a new thing, there are plenty of small(est) petrol cars on the market for exactly that purpose. Secondly, these are current-gen e-cars...

What did you try to say? :o
 

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #123 on: September 30, 2013, 06:18:09 pm »
It looks ridiculous.

No, she doesn't look ridiculous, not at all.  :-*
Oh, wait...
 

Online nctnico

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #124 on: September 30, 2013, 06:42:27 pm »
IMHO pure city operation requires a whole new way of thinking about transportation. If you look at big cities like Paris, Rome, Jakarta, etc then you see that the streets cannot handle the traffic volume. Small electric vehicles like the Renault Twizzy
(cute chick not included) are far more suitable for driving around within a city. Because they are much lighter they can be charged within a reasonable time at home and they usually are tax free. These and electric motorcycles are already viable and affordable means of fully electric transportation.

I would like to point that there is no new way of thinking as you suggest.
Firstly, the city car is not a new thing, there are plenty of small(est) petrol cars on the market for exactly that purpose. Secondly, these are current-gen e-cars...
What did you try to say? :o
The thing is that even small petrol cars are still large and easely have a weight of over 1000kg. Inner city traffic is a niche which could be filled by electric crossovers between a car and a motorcycle. These need much less energy so they both help to conserve energy and reduce traffic jams. IMHO the idea behind the Twizy isn't bad and the next generation of these vehicles may make it as a product. The current Twizy version has no windows which quickly turned out to be a showstopper for many people so Renault is now selling it with a make-do solution.

@AndyC_772: Yes it looks very hideous and yet I've seen quite a few of them driving around in Paris. French people like French design  ;) One of the design challenges was probably not to make it look like a small car for people with a handicap. Maybe they made it so ugly so the next version will be acceptable for more people. Its probably still ugly but people got used to it. And ofcourse you could fit it with a small 4 stroke engine which is just as efficient. However the gimmick is that you can actually charge a Twizy like vehicle at home within a reasonable time frame and never have to go to a fuel station again.

Edit: Just some pondering. Maybe the car makers are going about it the wrong way. With the current EVs people will need a second car for long trips. Even though 99% of the trips are short enough for an EV people buy a car which can do the 1% special trips like going on a holiday or hauling a trailer. So instead of trying to replace regular cars they could concentrate on small second cars. These cars don't have to go fast. They don't have to go far. They just need to get the driver from A to B comfortably.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 07:17:39 pm by nctnico »
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