Author Topic: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf  (Read 59485 times)

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Offline free_electron

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #125 on: September 30, 2013, 06:57:08 pm »
It looks ridiculous.

If there even was a demographic to whom vehicles like that would appeal,

absurd-looking little cars

:clap:

You noticed that too ? I always wondered why the first attempts at creating hybrids (like the Honda insight and original prius) are butt-ugly. The prius has gotten better over the years. The Volt is a decent looking car.

"Oh it's for aerodynamics". Well, here's news: the Tesla has the drag coefficient  of 0.24 ... in fact it beats ALL production supercars .. only the EV1 and a Volkswagen XL1 does better. the EV1 is dead and XL1 is not in production yet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile_drag_coefficient

The Tesla looks like an Aston Martin and the Insight looks like a bad knockoff of an old Citroen DS...

like a small car for people with a handicap.
You mean the little cars 'for people without a drivers licence' like Ligier and Aixam ...

Yes, and this is for our non-european readers, there is actually a CAR (there are multiple brands. Ligier and Aixam are the best known) for people that don't have a drivers licence.  Hooray for european regulations  :palm:
Now that is -REALLY- scary ....
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 07:00:10 pm by free_electron »
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Offline JoeyP

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #126 on: September 30, 2013, 07:09:38 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.

I think many people who buy these types of cars wear their ugliness as a "badge of honor". I noticed that about the hideously ugly Prius very early on. It lets people give the impression of making the sacrifice of driving an ugly car to demonstrate that they are proud "saviors of the planet". I'll bet Toyota does it on purpose, purely for marking purposes.
 

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #127 on: September 30, 2013, 07:19:45 pm »
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.

Wait, you do not seriously believe the weight is because of the petrol engine?
It is because of the interior, and has nothing to do whatsoever with traction.

Just look at the old / first generation models of the Fiat Panda or Fiat 500, for example, or the famous 2CV.

For christ's sake... :palm:
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #128 on: September 30, 2013, 07:25:09 pm »
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.

Heavy weight is a side effect of conventional car design with a proper roof, windows, crash structure and creature comforts - the weight of the power train is secondary.

The engine in my motorbike produces about 130 bhp, and the whole bike weighs about 220kg... it's not as though having a petrol engine inherently makes a vehicle heavy. The superior energy density of petrol compared to batteries makes it the exact opposite for a vehicle with reasonable range.

Just look at the old / first generation models of the Fiat Panda or Fiat 500, for example, or the famous 2CV.

Ugh... I fully agree with your point, but they're far from shining examples of the future of vehicle design! My first car was an original Panda... a horrible, awful machine, though admittedly preferable to catching public transport.

Maybe I'd have cited the Caterham 7 or Lotus Elise instead...

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #129 on: September 30, 2013, 07:37:56 pm »
Ugh... I fully agree with your point, but they're far from shining examples of the future of vehicle design! My first car was an original Panda... a horrible, awful machine, though admittedly preferable to catching public transport.

Maybe I'd have cited the Caterham 7 or Lotus Elise instead...

No, not in the context of city cars. Two of the cars i mentioned (500 and 2CV) are design icons, and commonly known, even if you are not a car enthusiast. Fiat Panda i mentioned, because it (together with the Seat Marbella, which was a badge-engineered Panda) was very common across (Western) Europe as cheap secondary car.

EDIT: The reason i mentioned them was to a) highlight that increase in weight came with the creature comforts (as you said), and b) that the statement "small cars are still large and heavy" is total bollocks...

But i totally agree otherwise. Caterham 7 CSR is actually my favorite car.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 07:49:11 pm by elgonzo »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #130 on: September 30, 2013, 07:49:18 pm »
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.
Wait, you do not seriously believe the weight is because of the petrol engine?
No. The weight is because cars got bigger and bigger and bigger and have all the luxuries for long distance travel. I'm saying that 'we' need to somehow step away from that without ending up in cars for people with a handicap  :-DD

@free_electron: actually you need a 'light' drivers license to drive a microcar or small motorcycle nowadays.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 07:50:58 pm by nctnico »
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Offline cimmo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #131 on: September 30, 2013, 07:52:45 pm »
Gas Turbines - there has been some mention in this interesting thread about the use of gas turbines in hybrid vehicles. FWIW, I think a gas turbine hybrid would be a good compromise vehicle.
But it needs to be understood that gas turbines do not scale down well, efficiency is lost (compared to large aviation/marine/industrial appications) because it becomes very difficult to make small air cooled (hollow) turbine blades, so combustion temperatures need to be limited to avoid melting them (maybe ceramic technology might help here?). Also the gaps between the fixed and rotating parts of the engine become a greater percentage and therefore more air 'leaks' around the compressors/turbines rather than go through them. If the gaps are made smaller then differential thermal expansion results in the parts rubbing (not good). This affects more advanced designs like multi-stage axial compressors more than simple centrifugal compressors.

Having said that, the basic technology is not new, have a look at the 1960's designed Chrysler Turbine car. This used a very simple gas generator configuration (single stage centrifugal compressor and turbine - just like a turbocharger, plus a single power turbine) but the clever thing was the regenerator (AKA recuperator),  a heat exchanger in the exhaust transferring waste heat back into the turbine inlet.

The other fundamental limitation of gas turbines is that the efficiency drops off significantly away from the design point of the engine (usually maximum or near maximum power). They aren't very good at part throttle or idle situations (which is why they are no longer used in locomotives). But in a hybrid, where the turbine would only need to start and run at a fixed/optimal speed to charge the batteries this would not be a limitation. Also they don't need a cooling system, will burn any combustible liquid and the power to weight ratio is better than your equivalent reciprocating engine.
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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #132 on: September 30, 2013, 07:59:49 pm »
My mum had a 500, it was a terrible car. I had a mate with a 2CV too, and it's possibly the only car I've ever been in that was even worse.

If we're looking for examples that show off the advantages of small size and light weight, look no further than the Honda CBF125. I bought one a few years ago, it cost me £2000 and did over 130 miles per gallon. No lengthy charging, no batteries to replace halfway through its useful life, no dependency on non-existent infrastructure, and all for less than the price of a year's railway season ticket.

I honestly have no idea why there aren't full page ads in the papers to this effect.

Offline free_electron

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #133 on: September 30, 2013, 08:02:00 pm »
@free_electron: actually you need a 'light' drivers license to drive a microcar or small motorcycle nowadays.
Not in Belgium...
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Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #134 on: September 30, 2013, 08:04:26 pm »
No. The weight is because cars got bigger and bigger and bigger and have all the luxuries for long distance travel. I'm saying that 'we' need to somehow step away from that without ending up in cars for people with a handicap  :-DD

Yes, absolutely. But that would be a different field of expertise than e-car or whatever.
The small cars became what they are today because that's what the people wanted.

Car makers generally are very happy when someone comes up with a cost-effective way of how to "lighten up" the interior while retaining all the comfort and safety. After all, less weight means better performance, less fuel consumption/higher range, or both. Which are valid and substantial selling points... whereas sacrificing comfort for performance would only make a particular group of people happy (like me ;) )
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 08:06:24 pm by elgonzo »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #135 on: September 30, 2013, 08:41:20 pm »
My mum had a 500, it was a terrible car. I had a mate with a 2CV too, and it's possibly the only car I've ever been in that was even worse.
My parents where at least sensible enough not to buy a new car but a 'decent' used one like a Lada 2105.
Quote
If we're looking for examples that show off the advantages of small size and light weight, look no further than the Honda CBF125. I bought one a few years ago, it cost me £2000 and did over 130 miles per gallon. No lengthy charging, no batteries to replace halfway through its useful life, no dependency on non-existent infrastructure, and all for less than the price of a year's railway season ticket.
When I was still commuting I thought about getting a motorcycle often. The problem is that I would probably do stupid things on a motorcycle. A four wheel vehicle is way more forgiving in that respect. Besides that there is a bit of comfort like heating in the winter and shelter from rain. Although there are motorcycles with a roof like the BMW C1.
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Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #136 on: September 30, 2013, 08:56:08 pm »

You noticed that too ? I always wondered why the first attempts at creating hybrids (like the Honda insight and original prius) are butt-ugly. The prius has gotten better over the years. The Volt is a decent looking car.

The Prius was originally sold only within Japan. And the Japanese do quite some strange/funky car designs for their domestic market. (Sometimes it happens that these designs become somewhat popular outside of Japan. Nissan Cube or the Figaro are popular examples...)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 08:59:12 pm by elgonzo »
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #137 on: September 30, 2013, 09:07:54 pm »
I was interested to note that this year's outright winner of the Pikes Peak hill climb (for motorcycles) was an electric bike, 21 seconds ahead of the nearest petrol powered competitor.

I know short sprint races tend to allow electric vehicles to play to their strengths, but it's undeniable that the technology to compete with internal combustion is getting there. Take a look at the steady improvements that have taken place in the Isle of Man TT Zero results since the event began a few years ago, there's some fantastic engineering going on there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TT_Zero

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #138 on: September 30, 2013, 09:11:58 pm »
My parents where at least sensible enough not to buy a new car but a 'decent' used one like a Lada 2105.
My uncle's family had a Lada 1300 in the early 80s, i believe. Who-hoo, 4 headlights :)

Quote
Although there are motorcycles with a roof like the BMW C1.
It's sad that BMW marketing screwed up so badly with the C1.
It is a fine machine (if you like the concept). If they would have tailored the price for young buyers and/or couriers, it might perhaps have been more successful. But then again a BMW must be "premium"...
 

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #139 on: September 30, 2013, 09:26:45 pm »
I was interested to note that this year's outright winner of the Pikes Peak hill climb (for motorcycles) was an electric bike, 21 seconds ahead of the nearest petrol powered competitor.

I know short sprint races tend to allow electric vehicles to play to their strengths, but it's undeniable that the technology to compete with internal combustion is getting there. Take a look at the steady improvements that have taken place in the Isle of Man TT Zero results since the event began a few years ago, there's some fantastic engineering going on there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TT_Zero

Polyphase double or triple squirrel cage AAC motors can deliver high torque over the full speed range.
You will always lose against such motors if power supply is not an issue.  :-+  (Shame on you, shitty batteries, shame on you :rant:)

 

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #140 on: September 30, 2013, 09:34:52 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.


Drive one of those around LA and you will be squashed by massive SUVs within seconds of going on the freeway. And if you stay off the freeway, good luck getting anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, and you'll still be squashed by assholes in SUVs.

Ditto for every other major American city I've lived in. Only one where it might make sense is New Orleans. They'd still need a dedicated lane on the bridges though.
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Online IanB

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #141 on: September 30, 2013, 10:06:16 pm »
Drive one of those around LA and you will be squashed by massive SUVs within seconds of going on the freeway. And if you stay off the freeway, good luck getting anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, and you'll still be squashed by assholes in SUVs.

Ditto for every other major American city I've lived in. Only one where it might make sense is New Orleans. They'd still need a dedicated lane on the bridges though.

People do in fact drive electric golf carts around town in various smaller cities. I've seen it here in California and also in Colorado.
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Offline Rick Law

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #142 on: September 30, 2013, 10:44:57 pm »
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:

I did not say EV is a worst source of polluter.  I suspect they are but I did not say that.    I have such suspicion because battery (lithium, nickel) is so harmful to the environment so much so that you can not dispose normally.

What I did say was: since EV is made like other vehicles, all the pollution factors are the same except for how they store energy.  How energy is stored is a small fraction of the pollution as compare to other pollution done during manufacturing of the car, during disposal of the car, and the maintenance of the car, so forth.  Thus, you are working on improving just the rounding error.

I fail to see how a modified drive-energy storage would make manufacturing of the windshield more "e-friendly", and would make the manufacturing of the leather seat e-friendly...  Those other things consume far more energy than merely moving the car during it's expected life.

As I said in my analogy, if you keep the guts of the $5 DT830B DMM, and get a new $60 probe.  Yeah, that helps - it got more accurate.  But most of the other factors remain.

EDIT - corrected two spelling errors.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 10:56:03 pm by Rick Law »
 

Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #143 on: September 30, 2013, 10:45:57 pm »
Drive one of those around LA and you will be squashed by massive SUVs within seconds of going on the freeway. And if you stay off the freeway, good luck getting anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, and you'll still be squashed by assholes in SUVs.

Ditto for every other major American city I've lived in. Only one where it might make sense is New Orleans. They'd still need a dedicated lane on the bridges though.

People do in fact drive electric golf carts around town in various smaller cities. I've seen it here in California and also in Colorado.

Golf cart: the poor man's Sport Utility Vehicle   :-DD
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 10:50:41 pm by elgonzo »
 

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #144 on: September 30, 2013, 11:04:30 pm »
Drive one of those around LA and you will be squashed by massive SUVs within seconds of going on the freeway. And if you stay off the freeway, good luck getting anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, and you'll still be squashed by assholes in SUVs.

Ditto for every other major American city I've lived in. Only one where it might make sense is New Orleans. They'd still need a dedicated lane on the bridges though.

People do in fact drive electric golf carts around town in various smaller cities. I've seen it here in California and also in Colorado.

Of course. And people drive motorcycles in Taipei, and bikes in Mumbai. What I was hinting at is that the infrastructure of large US cities is not amenable to using small, slow-moving vehicles for mass transportation. LA, DC, Chicago, are all laid out and designed around mass transport via car on freeway. Getting consumers in these megalopolises to switch to a small electrical vehicle cannot happen without major changes to the infrastructure.
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Offline elgonzo

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #145 on: September 30, 2013, 11:15:49 pm »
Of course. And people drive motorcycles in Taipei, and bikes in Mumbai. What I was hinting at is that the infrastructure of large US cities is not amenable to using small, slow-moving vehicles for mass transportation. LA, DC, Chicago, are all laid out and designed around mass transport via car on freeway. Getting consumers in these megalopolises to switch to a small electrical vehicle cannot happen without major changes to the infrastructure.

That's what the Tesla S is for. The American city car  >:D
 

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #146 on: September 30, 2013, 11:47:20 pm »
Yup! It's the only EV I'd consider buying at the moment, if I had the cash. Maybe after my upcoming move I could afford to lease one... Though I think I'd rather spend the extra money elsewhere.
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Offline JoeyP

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #147 on: October 01, 2013, 12:14:05 am »
In case you haven't seen this:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/unclean-at-any-speed

Quote from article:

"The National Academies’ assessment didn’t ignore those difficult-to-measure realities. It drew together the effects of vehicle construction, fuel extraction, refining, emissions, and other factors. In a gut punch to electric-car advocates, it concluded that the vehicles’ lifetime health and environmental damages (excluding long-term climatic effects) are actually greater than those of gasoline-powered cars. Indeed, the study found that an electric car is likely worse than a car fueled exclusively by gasoline derived from Canadian tar sands!"
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #148 on: October 01, 2013, 03:27:06 am »
I'd buy an EV, and even though i fall into the 85% category (75km round trip to work), the cars are all pretty horrible for rough or dirt roads, which is a lot of what my driving is done on :(
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: [Rant] Electric cars, in particular Nissan Leaf
« Reply #149 on: October 01, 2013, 05:53:16 am »
In case you haven't seen this:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/unclean-at-any-speed

Quote from article:

"The National Academies’ assessment didn’t ignore those difficult-to-measure realities. It drew together the effects of vehicle construction, fuel extraction, refining, emissions, and other factors. In a gut punch to electric-car advocates, it concluded that the vehicles’ lifetime health and environmental damages (excluding long-term climatic effects) are actually greater than those of gasoline-powered cars. Indeed, the study found that an electric car is likely worse than a car fueled exclusively by gasoline derived from Canadian tar sands!"

There you go..

This IEEE article made the exact point with Solar Panel as I was making about e-car.  Their number "Solar cells contain heavy metals, and their manufacturing releases greenhouse gases such as sulfur hexafluoride, which has 23 000 times as much global warming potential as CO2 23 000 times as much global warming potential as CO2..."

Instead, all the discussion focus on just the part we touch - operation of the car or solar panel while ignore what the manufacturing of that panel/car costs the environment.  Exactly as my analogy: upgrading the $5 DMM's probe with a $60 fluke probe so as to increase accuracy.  Not exactly the best way to improve.

Yeah, it helps, no argument there.  But why just work on merely at the scale of the rounding error but at huge cost?

I think such push to merely deal with the visible part hurts the environment more since it wasted the resource that can be use to attack the real problem.

My rule of thumb is: buy the cheapest whenever possible.  The less resource went in, the less energy went in.  The less energy consumed, the less pollution.
 


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