Skip to main content

View Diary: From Floods to Drought and Back: Global Weirding (78 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  No, we need electric vehicles nt (3+ / 0-)
    •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Nothing against them.
      I would love to have them, but...

      Why do we need them, as opposed, say, to highly efficient diesels that can run on bio-fuels?
      Or compressed-air flywheels?
      Or some as-yet-to-be-named new technology?

      What we really need is to stop pulling carbon from the ground and putting it back into the air faster than the planet can pull it back out from the air.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:05:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wind/solar recharge batteries easily (3+ / 0-)

        Yes, wind/solar can run an air compressor, but I don't think those will ever compete with batteries on weight.  Bio fuels are okay, but they keep getting called crimes against humanity for taking food crop land.  Also, the efficiency of a diesel is nothing compared to the 90-95% efficiency of an electric.

        Another plus for electric cars, consumer electronics.  How nautural is it for you now to plug in and charge your phone, laptop, iPad, etc?  Is it hard to plug in a car after coming home?  

        The batteries of millions of electric cars plugged into a grid will go a long way to stabilizing it and being able to use the peaky nature of wind/solar energy production.  A solar array charged electric car is about as carbon neutral as one can get.

        •  The problems with electric cars remain the same (0+ / 0-)

          as always:

          1. Range
          2. Weight
          3. Recharge time
          4. Cost

          The Tesla S is a great example.
          Beautiful car.
          Lots of range (for an electric).
          Fast recharge capability.
          All of which comes at a price of more than $100,000.

          And that range is still 100 miles short of what my humble Hyundai can do while the fast recharge can deliver that shorter range 5-6 times more slowly than re-fueling our little flea.

          It's true that growing bio-mass takes land, but so do wind and solar installations  -- not to mention power lines to get that power where it needs to be, and storage facilities to flatten out fluctuations in sun and wind.

          Besides, electric isn't likely to take over all kinds of transportation.  I would be amazed, for example, to see battery powered airliners.  Jet and diesel fuel are kissing cousins so an infrastructure to support one supports the other.

          Which doesn't mean there isn't plenty of room for electric cars even if the next big thing in battery technology never happens.  Electric cars -- if they can get the weight and cost down -- are great commuter choices.  No waste while sitting at stop lights, optimal efficiency in stop and go driving.  A lot of drivers would be well-served by an electric car, especially those in two or more car families.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:32:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tesla S = 1980s computer (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jilikins, Odysseus

            The electric car still has a lot of room to improve.  There are ultra capacitors and better battery techlogies remaining.  Nothing has been maxed out.

            Compare today's iPhone to a mid 80's computer like the Apple IIe.  Most of the problems you list will fade over time.

            Then, one must look at the application.  Yes my gasoline car can go 300 miles on one charge.  But in the 14 years I've owned it, only for a very few trips did I ever as that of it.  I live 4 miles from work, and like me, for most people a 100 mile range would fit 99% of their driving.  I would like to own one pure electric and one hybrid for interstate cruising.

            I agree with you for biofuel for airlines and industrial diesel.  Autos can be either pure electric or a diesel electric hybrid.

            •  It really isn't (0+ / 0-)

              While I agree there is more room for battery and related technologies like ultra-capacitors to grow, batteries represent a far more mature technology than did computers in the 1980s.  1980 was a bit more than 30 years removed from the first all-electronic Von Neumann computer, and the first laboratory tests of a standalone transistor. It was just over twenty years after the first laboratory integrated circuit,   and about ten years after the first 4-bit micro-processor was created.

              By contrast, the first four-wheel electric car was built 125 years ago, and two-wheel electric cycles go back 20 years before that.

              Add in the fact that many different kinds of batteries have been used in many different applications over that period and you can see that the comparison is not apt.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:34:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm holding out hope for graphene batteries (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                They might give an order of magnitude improvement, which would scale the Chevy Volt 40 mile pack to 400 miles.  Don't give up hope.  When people stop trying or think there's no point, that's what keeps us stuck with 19th century energy sources.

                But again, pure electric might not be needed.  My next car probably will be a Chevy Volt.  I won't use a drop of gasoline for 95% of my driving, but when I go to see my parents 180 miles away, then the gas engine is there.  And at $4 a gallon, break even time is 3-4 years.  Not bad.

                But since the goal is C02 reduction, going hybrid-electric will cut my C02 95%.  If every car in America was like the Volt and got the first 40 miles/day C02 free, we probably wouldn't have a C02 problem.

                •  Don't give up hope by an means. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The beauty of unexpected breakthroughs is that they are unexpected.

                  It's easy to forget, however, just how much energy is required to propel a car, and what that means in terms of batteries.

                  You're right about the volt, though.
                  And -- in europe, they've got some diesel cars that hit 80mpg.

                  Imagine an inline diesel hybrid -- junior size version of a diesel locomotive.

                  Cutting those numbers is a good thing, even if the way we do it isn't quite what we had pictured.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 01:42:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  reliance on range is overstated. (0+ / 0-)

            The vast majority of trips are short range.  There is nothing whatsoever wrong with owning a 40-50 mile range electric vehicle for 90% of your driving, and renting a gasoline vehicle for long trips.

            The key is that manufacturers cannot charge a premium for such a short range vehicle.

            It's also likely that fleet services like iGo or Car2Go or ZipCar are a better place to introduce those kinds of vehicles than individual ownership.

            -7.75 -4.67

            "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

            There are no Christians in foxholes.

            by Odysseus on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 02:19:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  yes, and we need to do it now (0+ / 0-)

        which is the advantange electric cars have over all those others:  you can go to a dealer and buy one today.  And it'll fit in our existing infrastructure

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:30:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good luck buying an electric out here... (0+ / 0-)

          Electric cars are available pretty much only on the coasts and in metro areas. The Chevy dealer 20 miles away had a demo Volt, but only because GM had a hard time selling them and sent a few unsold ones to rural dealers. The closest dealer to me, 5 miles away, doesn't carry the Volt. The nearest Nissan dealer is 70 miles away, and I don't think they carry their electric car. None of the Ford dealers around here carry the electric Focus, and with the contractor that does the electric conversion gone bankrupt, there's no Focus electrics available anyway.

          And a lot of us out here need a truck or at least a van or something that can pull a trailer, and there's no electrics that can do those jobs.

    •  Electric vehicles won't work "out here"... (0+ / 0-)

      They simply don't have the range for the hundred mile and more trips we often have to make, even if we could afford them. And electric tractors and trucks? The duty cycle is just too strenious- a farm tractor or big trucks engine works hard, and would run down the battery in an hour or two at best. We need vehicles we can fuel up and run all day and night.

      •  actually (0+ / 0-)

        electric motors do the heavy lifting better than the other kind.

        Still, there are a few niche areas where fossil fuels could be needed, but those are small compared to the overall economy.

        Those who can use electrics need to do so.

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:33:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Electrics aren't necessarily any cleaner... (0+ / 0-)

          In most of the U.S. most of the electricity they use is generated with fossil fuels, primarily coal. So all an electric does is move the GHG emissions from a lot of little tailpipes to a few big ones.

          •  No (0+ / 0-)

            But they can be.  (Well even with natural gas behind them they are). Gasoline can't be. Obviously we need to retire that fuel mix too

            Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

            by Mindful Nature on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 06:40:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  At what cost? (0+ / 0-)

              The only viable options we have for clean electricity out here are wind (got plenty of that) and increased use of hydro. Even those options won't be cheap, as the "low hanging fruit" in clean energy has pretty much already been picked.

              Assuming we can overcome those problems and convert to 100% renewable electricity, the limitations of power density in batteries and their short useful life doom electric vehicles and farm equipment to niche applications. And given that electric vehicles are as mature a technology as internal combustion fueled ones, major improvements in power density are unlikely. Then there's the problem of upscaling Volt technology to trucks and tractors- a car only needs 10 horsepower or so to go 60 MPH, a big truck needs 200 horsepower to do that and needs to be able to do it all day and night. Tractor applications are even worse- even a midsize tractor needs 200 or so horsepower, and given the narrow windows that weather allows us to do field work, needs to be able to put our those 200+ horsepower for sometimes days on end.

              So clearly electrics aren't the solution to GHG for rural folks, and we'll have to reduce GHG by increased efficiency, less tillage, rural transit, etc..

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site