The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: What is holding back electric car technology?  (Read 143966 times)

Offline teragram

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #225 on: 14/02/2011 18:39:32 »
Fortunately many ev fans also tend to have engineering backgrounds. You are absolutely right that we have to address power generation (and also storage I think). That does not mean that we have to wait until those problems are sorted until we start pushing forward the alternatives. (I know, I’ve left an opening for a pun there)

Regarding the pollution caused by mining and processing of lithium, does this even approach the effects of Torre Canyon, Exxon Valdez, Gulf of Mexico etc., (all accidents) and e.g. Canadian tar sands operations (deliberate).

Does the fact that it is now economically viable to pursue the latter to satisfy the need for oil suggest that we really are approaching “peak oil”.
 
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #226 on: 14/02/2011 19:03:18 »
Fortunately many ev fans also tend to have engineering backgrounds. You are absolutely right that we have to address power generation (and also storage I think). That does not mean that we have to wait until those problems are sorted until we start pushing forward the alternatives. (I know, I’ve left an opening for a pun there)

Regarding the pollution caused by mining and processing of lithium, does this even approach the effects of Torre Canyon, Exxon Valdez, Gulf of Mexico etc., (all accidents) and e.g. Canadian tar sands operations (deliberate).

Does the fact that it is now economically viable to pursue the latter to satisfy the need for oil suggest that we really are approaching “peak oil”.
 

Ah, but you're equating EVs with a reduction the consumption of fossil fuel. That does not follow. Not only that, but if we have lots of power that comes from non-fossil sources, we can synthesis fuel from CO2 and use it to power vehicles with IC engines.
 

Offline teragram

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #227 on: 15/02/2011 17:40:50 »
Ah, but you're equating EVs with a reduction the consumption of fossil fuel. That does not follow. Not only that, but if we have lots of power that comes from non-fossil sources, we can synthesis fuel from CO2 and use it to power vehicles with IC engines.

I was in this case referring to the devastation caused by the production of oil (especially from tar sands) and accidents in the oil industry, which will have increasingly bad effects as oil is extracted in ever more difficult circumstances. The CO2 argument I think will be won by the battery powered vehicle without argument when power generation becomes greener, and it is slowly improving. My home electricity is (I’m told sourced 50% from fossil and 50% from wind approximately).
You make me really depressed by saying we can continue to use I.C. engines into the distant future!!!!!
 

Offline kornbredrsqar

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 22
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #228 on: 15/02/2011 21:11:25 »
How about solar panels on the roof and deck lids ,breaking systems, and shock absorbers that charge one set of batteries while another set powers the car. But what is holding the hole thing up is loss of revenue, when the powers that be figure out how to collect the same dollers per mile driven in an electric as the combustion engine cars then they will be everywhere!!!!!!!
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #229 on: 16/02/2011 01:16:41 »
Ah, but you're equating EVs with a reduction the consumption of fossil fuel. That does not follow. Not only that, but if we have lots of power that comes from non-fossil sources, we can synthesis fuel from CO2 and use it to power vehicles with IC engines.

I was in this case referring to the devastation caused by the production of oil (especially from tar sands) and accidents in the oil industry, which will have increasingly bad effects as oil is extracted in ever more difficult circumstances. The CO2 argument I think will be won by the battery powered vehicle without argument when power generation becomes greener, and it is slowly improving. My home electricity is (I’m told sourced 50% from fossil and 50% from wind approximately).
You make me really depressed by saying we can continue to use I.C. engines into the distant future!!!!!


Be not depressed. I think you may be missing the point. Just because we all run about in EVs it does not mean we are not using fossil oil and (just as bad), coal to run our vehicles. If the electricity was produced by burning fossil oil or coal, we have not solved any global problem, although we might have solved a local pollution problem by exporting our pollution to somewhere else.

Likewise, just because we run cars with IC engines, it does not mean we have to be running them on oil that came out of the ground. If the energy source that produced the fuel was non-fossil (solar, wind, nuclear etc.) we are solving a global problem.

Despite all the hype, EVs do not equate to reduced CO2 production and reduced fossil oil consumption. They could, but you can get the same result with IC engines.
 

Offline Pumblechook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 569
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #230 on: 17/02/2011 00:47:31 »
Do you know how long the car would need to be in sunlight to charge a large battery?

I have just looked at the Nissan Leaf and it is a whopping £29,000.  A charger will cost a few hundred quid. 
 

Offline teragram

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #231 on: 23/02/2011 16:45:09 »
From Geezer:-
“we can synthesis fuel from CO2 and use it to power vehicles with IC engines.”
“Despite all the hype, EVs do not equate to reduced CO2 production and reduced fossil oil consumption. They could, but you can get the same result with IC engines.” (???)

The fuel efficiency of I.C. powered cars is said to be around 22% to 27%, and I have seen worse figures than these stated.

The possibility of converting CO2 back into fuel on an industrial scale is in the distant future I think. Anyway the process would not begin to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, and we need to do that now. Yes, that means addressing the problem of power generation, as well as that of transport.

 

Offline wolfekeeper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1092
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #232 on: 23/02/2011 17:09:36 »
The US department of energy estimates that EVs cost between twice and three times per mile (or km) as petrol vehicles.

These fanciful mpg figures take only the cost of the elec (and off peak elec at that) into account.  Range is exagerated.  The vehicles tend to be expensive due to expensive batteries which have to be replaced every few years. 
So far as I know, in the UK this is wrong.

If a battery costs £4000, at current prices this is less than 4000 litres of petrol.

4000 litres of petrol is less than 900 gallons. At 30 mpg that's about 25000 miles; that's about 3 years of normal travel. But EV battery lifes are 5-10 years.

In comparison, actually charging the battery costs practically nothing, about a pound or two per charge (gets you about 60-100 miles or so).

The equation may be somewhat different in America, petrol is a lot cheaper over there, but the cost of petrol is increasing there too; the cost of electricity is going up more slowly because there are more sources for it.
« Last Edit: 23/02/2011 17:17:07 by wolfekeeper »
 

Offline wolfekeeper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1092
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #233 on: 23/02/2011 17:15:58 »
It is a bit tricky as my car is no longer available in electric form.  It is a Citroen Berlingo (petrol) and cost less than £8000.  I doubt you could get an EV for that.  I think the Bee One is £12,000 for a limited range, small, slow car.  Straight away it is costing you £4000 more than a spacious almost van like car with a 400 mile range per tank full.  £4000 buys a lot of petrol even at UK prices.  Given that the battery version would have cost you a lot in new batteries after 3 - 5 years the battery model is a complete waste of time. 
The thing is that EV cars are expensive because they aren't made very much, not because they're inherently expensive to build. The batteries are the only moderately exotic technology but they aren't expensive enough to push the cost of the vehicle up to overwhelm the lower running costs (and actually maintenance is a *small* fraction of that of normal cars, and electric cars last very well.)
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #234 on: 23/02/2011 21:10:24 »
The possibility of converting CO2 back into fuel on an industrial scale is in the distant future I think. Anyway the process would not begin to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, and we need to do that now. Yes, that means addressing the problem of power generation, as well as that of transport.



Correct, it would not reduce CO2, but it would not increase it either, and that's the really important point.

Synthesising gasoline may not be here today, but neither, despite everyone closing their eyes and wishing very hard that it is true, are batteries that will make EVs really practical. And, speaking of efficiency, have you any idea how much these things actually weigh?

I suppose the next thing we'll hear is that the US government has a secret facility in Nevada that has developed a battery with ten times the energy capacity of current technology.
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #235 on: 23/02/2011 21:19:06 »
The batteries are the only moderately exotic technology but they aren't expensive enough to push the cost of the vehicle up to overwhelm the lower running costs (and actually maintenance is a *small* fraction of that of normal cars, and electric cars last very well.)

Oh yes? Just wait until you have to replace your first battery! It's an enormous part of the cost of the car. And, it will last about as long as the one in your laptop. I don't know about you, but my expericence with laptop batteries is that they are pretty much useless after four years.

BTW - where are you getting your information from?
 

Offline kornbredrsqar

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 22
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #236 on: 24/02/2011 18:44:45 »
hello, it's me again Margret, har har, well I believe allot of people are missing the point by looking at this as a competition between all these ideas instead of looking at the big picture and combining forces for the greater good. if we stop dismissing technologies because they alone will not solve our problem and start implementing the most efficient ideas at every stage, then we could sea huge change in energy consumption. for instance if electric cars had more efficient motors and better batteries coupled with a on board recharging system that is carbon neutral there would not be much left to complain about.
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #237 on: 24/02/2011 19:20:54 »
hello, it's me again Margret, har har, well I believe allot of people are missing the point by looking at this as a competition between all these ideas instead of looking at the big picture and combining forces for the greater good. if we stop dismissing technologies because they alone will not solve our problem and start implementing the most efficient ideas at every stage, then we could sea huge change in energy consumption. for instance if electric cars had more efficient motors and better batteries coupled with a on board recharging system that is carbon neutral there would not be much left to complain about.

er, the motors are already very efficient. BTW, do you think the automobile manufacturers don't know all this stuff already? They do. The problem is that, no matter how creative the engineers get, they still have to deal with the practical realities of the technologies they have to work with.

There's not a lot of point in designing a vehicle based on technologies that don't actually exist.

Contrary to popular misconception, there is no big conspiracy to hold back electric vehicles. Actually, they've been around for a very long time already, and the only reason they have never really taken off is because they don't yet do a very good job of meeting the requirements.
 

Offline horizon

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 286
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #238 on: 25/02/2011 14:37:12 »
Appologies if you've already talked about this but this is a new japanese water powered car (my friend emailed me this, so i dont think its a hoax!)


what do make of it?
obviously there are issues with the amount of co2's used in the process of actually getting and supplying the water itself... but its all good progress.

(technically they could use sea water so not to drain drinking/household water supplies..
also its perfect for boats too i'd imagine)
« Last Edit: 25/02/2011 14:44:29 by horizon »
 

Offline imatfaal

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2787
  • rouge moderator
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #239 on: 25/02/2011 16:40:34 »
Sounds like absolute rubbish to me - was this broadcast just over 11 months ago on 1st April 2010.  To separate hydrogen from water requires energy - it does not release energy 
 

Offline imatfaal

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2787
  • rouge moderator
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #240 on: 25/02/2011 16:43:26 »
And with a little googling

Quote
Genepax Water Energy System
In June 2008, Japanese company Genepax unveiled a car which it claims runs on only water and air,[24] and many news outlets dubbed the vehicle a "water-fuel car".[25] The company says it "cannot [reveal] the core part of this invention,” yet,[26] but it has disclosed that the system uses an onboard energy generator (a "membrane electrode assembly") to extract the hydrogen using a "mechanism which is similar to the method in which hydrogen is produced by a reaction of metal hydride and water".[27] The hydrogen is then used to generate energy to run the car. This has led to speculation that the metal hydride is consumed in the process and is the ultimate source of the car's energy, making the car a hydride-fuelled "hydrogen on demand" vehicle, rather than water-fuelled as claimed.[28][29][30] On the company's website the energy source is explained only with the words "Chemical reaction".[31] The science and technology magazine Popular Mechanics has described Genepax's claims as "Rubbish."[32] The vehicle that Genepax demonstrated to the press in 2008 was a REVAi electric car, manufactured in India and sold in the UK as the G-Wiz.
In early 2009, Genepax announced they were closing their website, citing large development costs[33].


in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics.   Oooh Donuts, I like Donuts
 

Offline horizon

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 286
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #241 on: 25/02/2011 18:07:09 »
oh well... i guess we're doomed after all... i'll go and hang my head in shame...
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #242 on: 25/02/2011 19:36:46 »
oh well... i guess we're doomed after all... i'll go and hang my head in shame...

No need for that, but it's always good to remember that if it looks too good to be true, more than likely it is too good to be true.
 

Offline teragram

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #243 on: 26/02/2011 18:30:37 »
Qoutes from Geezer:-
"Correct, it would not reduce CO2, but it would not increase it either, and that's the really important point.

Synthesising gasoline may not be here today, but neither, despite everyone closing their eyes and wishing very hard that it is true, are batteries that will make EVs really practical. And, speaking of efficiency, have you any idea how much these things actually weigh?

Despite all the hype, EVs do not equate to reduced CO2 production and reduced fossil oil consumption. They could, but you can get the same result with IC engines."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It is more important to reduce CO2 than to stabilise it.

If fuel is to be synthesised, from whatever source, it should be fuel for fuel cells, (moderately good efficiency) not to be squandered in wasteful I.C. engines.

Weight of batteries?:-
Lithium ion - 50kWh, approx 315kg. However the Tesla 53kWh battery system (container, ventilation, control) is 450kg.
Lithium ion sulphide, 50kWh approx 170kg.
Incidentally the Tesla even with that battery weight, still manages a specific power consumption of around 220Watthour/mile (Wiki., quoting the U.S. Environmental protection Agency)

When you build a battery powered car, you don’t just add a battery to an existing car, you get rid of  the clutch, gearbox, radiator, exhaust system. What might these weigh in an average car?

« Last Edit: 26/02/2011 18:35:10 by teragram »
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #244 on: 27/02/2011 08:05:01 »
Teragram,

EVs are very interesting machines, and if we can get sufficient energy density into the batteries, they will become more widely adopted. However, EVs are no more likely to reverse any effects that CO2 has on the climate than rearranging the deck chairs would have on the Titanic.

The real problem is the source of the energy that we use. Suppliers of EVs can smugly say that they are not the problem, knowing full well that all they have done is to move the problem somewhere else.
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #245 on: 28/02/2011 08:10:37 »
I hope this does not turn out to be nonsense.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110227/ap_on_bi_ge/us_growing_fuel
 

Offline teragram

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #246 on: 04/03/2011 18:00:16 »
If battery powered cars are far fetched, what about this?


http://blog.cafefoundation.org/?p=1422
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #247 on: 04/03/2011 18:49:06 »
If battery powered cars are far fetched, what about this?


http://blog.cafefoundation.org/?p=1422


Looks like they still have a bit of work to do. I await the first test flight in anticipation  ;D.

Seriously, if we can get batteries with better energy density, an electric aircraft is quite practical. Likewise with cars.
 

Offline Pumblechook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 569
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #248 on: 05/03/2011 10:07:30 »
A much higher energy density battery would be step one.  There is still the question of where all the extra electricity is coming from and the slow charge will always be a problem.
 

Offline LmarcusH

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #249 on: 25/03/2011 07:59:45 »
Nicholi Tesla  made it work a long time ago. read up on tesla, youll see
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

What is holding back electric car technology?
« Reply #249 on: 25/03/2011 07:59:45 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums