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Old 07-28-2010, 08:46 PM   #61
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In the beginning, Toyota lost money on every Prius they sold, now they are the company that everyone thinks of when one says hybrid. I'm sure Chevy is trying to get the foot in the water with the Volt.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:48 PM   #62
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OK, but how much 'good' do we get for our $7,500 per vehicle? I've got to believe there are better opportunities for higher returns for those dollars.

-ERD50
You have to buy into the idea that alternatives forms of energy is a good idea. Much like the CFLs. What? So much for a lightbulb? or to hang on to the Edision bulb foreever?
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:40 PM   #63
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You have to buy into the idea that alternatives forms of energy is a good idea.
I can buy into that idea, no problem. If for no other reason than to diversify our energy sources.

But I still think the questions stand - what do we get for $7,500 per vehicle? Is that the best way to invest $7,500 times X cars sold?

Let me turn it around to a positive statement, so you don't think I'm anti-alternatives - lets assume:

1) I want alternate energy, and I want the Govt to promote it.

2) We obviously have limited resources, and other projects competing for that money, so we agree that some fixed $X million or billion amount should be tagged for this effort.

3) Based on #1, we want the most alternative energy for our limited $s , right?

That is why I just can't see $7,500 per vehicle - I just don't see what it gets us. You know the first X,XXX units will be sold to people who would buy them w/o the rebate, just because they would (think Hollywood and hobbyists and greenies that can't quite swing that Tesla). If that is even just 1,000 people (low, IMO), that is $7.5 Million of the taxpayers money right out the window. And I read that the rebate is limited to the first 200,000 cars sold - so that rebate will not be available for those that would have been swayed by it at the tail end. We lost twice

It's just bad economics. We could do better, but first we ought to define the goal.


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Much like the CFLs. What? So much for a lightbulb? or to hang on to the Edision bulb foreever?
I buy CFLs when they make economic and ergonomic sense. I'm sitting by one now, and I use them in my outdoor lights and a few other places. There are places I won't use them because it makes more sense to use the Edison light bulb. I use the right product for the right job. And when the govt provides subsidies, all it does is make that decision an artificial one. Just like these EVS, if someone wouldn't buy one with their own money, why should I give them the money to buy it? It doesn't change the equation.

If your answer is "to save energy", then I suggest that you define that goal, and look for solutions. I believe there are far better, more effective, faster acting, and more efficient ways to save energy, than artificially pricing some specific technologies.

BTW, our CFLs are using about twice as much energy as most people think. Look at the label and calculate the Volt-Amps. It will be about 2x the watts (Power Factor of 0.5). Our power meters charge by the Watt, because it was the only practical way to measure per household. But electrical plants (think coal) really have to generate Volt-Amps, the watt rating means nothing relative to the coal burned. If you are a big commercial place, they will check your power factor, and charge accordingly. Just can't do that home-by-home, but the end result is the same, CFLs are not even half as 'green' as claimed. Couple that with the fact they take more materials and more processing (which would be expected to take more energy), and the delta shrinks. Might even be negative for all I know. I wouldn't be surprised, looking at the box of dead ones and their fancy plastic packaging that I have for recycling.

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Old 07-29-2010, 01:57 AM   #64
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(snip) the Prius hybrid costs about $5000 more than the standard Prius.

We are also concerned about the environment and at this stage are not decided which way we will go. You also lose a lot of comfort and performance going to a small vehicle like the Prius. I'm 6'3", 225# and feel cramped in the Prius. Which way to go
say what?
the Prius hybrid is the standard Prius. I've been driving one for just under four years now, and I've never seen or heard of a non-hybrid Prius.

I'm not trying to convince you to buy one if you prefer some other car, but are you sure it was a Prius you test drove? My younger brother is around the same size as you are, and he likes his Prius just fine.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:43 AM   #65
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ERD, I agree the $7500 tax credit is not the best way for the money to be spent.
However our representatives don't have the stomach to raise the gas taxes
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:33 AM   #66
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say what?
the Prius hybrid is the standard Prius. I've been driving one for just under four years now, and I've never seen or heard of a non-hybrid Prius.

I'm not trying to convince you to buy one if you prefer some other car, but are you sure it was a Prius you test drove? My younger brother is around the same size as you are, and he likes his Prius just fine.
My error! What I should have said was that I read in an automotive mag is that IF the Prius was made with a standard ICE if would cost $5000 less and the article went on to show fuel saving calculations. Based on that article I personally can't justify the expense. However, we might still buy one as it would be DW's car.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:15 AM   #67
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My error! What I should have said was that I read in an automotive mag is that IF the Prius was made with a standard ICE if would cost $5000 less and the article went on to show fuel saving calculations. Based on that article I personally can't justify the expense. However, we might still buy one as it would be DW's car.
Looks like you've found a way to justify...
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:34 AM   #68
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...I read in an automotive mag is that IF the Prius was made with a standard ICE if would cost $5000 less and the article went on to show fuel saving calculations. Based on that article I personally can't justify the expense. However, we might still buy one as it would be DW's car.
If it would make you feel better, do a little of your own research. Find another car with the cargo space, fuel economy, and other benefits of the Prius and compare prices. Personally, I found the 'smart key' system amazing. I will never buy another car without it unless it as an EV.
Wile there may be a premium, I doubt it will be 5k.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:35 AM   #69
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ERD, I agree the $7500 tax credit is not the best way for the money to be spent.
However our representatives don't have the stomach to raise the gas taxes
True, but I think there are an array of options between the two. I'd describe your phrase 'not the best way' as a gross understatement. How many BTUs in a paper dollar bill? It wouldn't surprise me if just burning the money in a wood furnace did more to conserve oil than this ploy.

But again, before entertaining 'solutions' we would need to define the goal. What are we trying to achieve?

Not only do our representatives not have the stomach to raise gas taxes, I don't think they have the stomach to define goals either. Well, not publicly, as their real goal is to get re-elected. They must be figuring $7,500 rebates are good towards that goal?

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Old 07-29-2010, 09:14 AM   #70
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And if the Volt is a little too low-brow for you, the Germans are to the rescue:

Hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder gets green light

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The Porsche supervisory board has green lighted the production of the 918 Spyder hybrid, complete with a 500-horsepower V8 and 109-horsepower electric motor. The new Porsche will allegedly net 78 miles per gallon...
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:37 AM   #71
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I know it is not the topic of the Volt.... but I am like ERD... NONE of my CFLs has lasted anywhere near the claimed life... and almost all my Edison lights have... as an example...

I just sold a house this year... I bought it 25 years ago... there were 4 lights in the downstairs half bath that were there when I bought it... they were still there when I sold... nice clear decrative ones... it was the most used bathroom in the house... a lot of on/off cycles, but I would bet not a lot of total time.. (hmm, let me do a swag on that... ok... if 5 minutes a day about 760 hours... if 20... more likely... then over 3,000 hours, but probably 30,000 on/off cycles)...

Now... I have not had a single CFL last me a year... none.. zip, nada.. I do have one in the light in the living room that is approaching one year... but it is starting to fade (get yellow.. not as bright)...

so I am not sure that the cost/benefits are there... so far for me, I would say I have paid more to have them... but at least they have gone down in costs
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:59 AM   #72
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With CFLs, my experience has been hit or miss. I used one brand in the vanity lights for my bathroom and they only lasted about 4 months. I'm using another brand now and it's been about two years without a bulb going out.

I just picked up an LED bulb at Home Depot for $20 to play around with. It's a 40 watt equivalent. I haven't had the chance to use it yet, but am gonna try it out as my computer task light. Seems the direction is moving towards LEDs as the bulbs of the future and not CFLs.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:23 AM   #73
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Interesting...
We have only had to replace one CFL out of dozens in the last 3 1/2 years. No LEDs replaced in about 2 1/2 years.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:48 AM   #74
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Interesting...
We have only had to replace one CFL out of dozens in the last 3 1/2 years. No LEDs replaced in about 2 1/2 years.
Hit and miss for me. I have some outdoor ones, on 4-8 hrs a day, and some must be 20 years old (the old heavy ones), and some of the newer ones are a few YO at least. The one by my desk matched the rated life, give or take. But I have a box of ones that died at less than a year, but I don't have records of what % this represents, and I never saved my old ILBs. But that box seems like a lot, since so many of our fixtures are on dimmers (using old ILBs), or just are not right for CFLs.

And don't forget, the old 'tube style' fluorescent light (from the late 30's) is even more efficient than the CFL.

I'd love to find a reliable source for real world life, energy delta to manufacture/ship/package/recycle these things, versus the actual energy (not watts) saved. Then map that against energy consumed in the US - if it isn't negative overall, I bet it isn't even a drop in the bucket. Heh, heh, then offset that against all the hype - probably more energy used in TV/radio transmission time talking about CFLs than what they saved! Heck, some people are putting these in their attic or little used closet - you don't get savings unless you are replacing something that actually gets used.

I do hope the LEDs pan out in the near future. Still too $$ now, but at least we get away from the vacuum tube technology, high voltages, mercury, etc.

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Old 07-29-2010, 12:40 PM   #75
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OHHH... and why does it take so long to get going at times

Since someone mentioned outdoor ones... it reminded me that I put two floods outside for my wife.... When you turn them on.... you can take a look at them and only a part of them are lit... the top half to 2/3rds is not producing any light... now, go out a few minutes later.... all is good..

maybe I am buying the wrong brand... I buy mine at sams.... what are you using that is good?
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:00 PM   #76
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Since someone mentioned outdoor ones... it reminded me that I put two floods outside for my wife.... When you turn them on.... you can take a look at them and only a part of them are lit... the top half to 2/3rds is not producing any light... now, go out a few minutes later.... all is good..
If your outside flood lights are motion activated, make sure you have a light fixture that is CFL compatible. I didn't and I ended up burning out the circuitry using CFLs in a non-CFL compatible fixture. After burning out the circuitry, it would work intermittently, stay on for a few seconds, then maybe not work for a while.

I know home depot has cfl-compatible basic motion activated flood light fixtures for $20 or so, when the similar basic fixtures that are non-cfl compatible are just a few bucks cheaper.

The outside CFL's do take a few minutes to get to full brightness. However if the goal is illuminating the area where you are walking and shining a light on any car burglars that may want to smash your windows in, they perform acceptably, even with relatively low wattage bulbs (I think I'm running 1 90 watt equivalent).
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:32 PM   #77
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I'm having a hard time believing the GM numbers. 1 kilowatt is the same as 1.34 horsepower, so 8 kWh is equivalent to 10.72 horsepower for 1 hour.

Now the 8 kWh that goes into the battery isn't going to come back out at 100% efficiency, and the motor and drivetrain won't be 100% efficient either. But forgetting that for a moment, what GM is saying is that 10.72 horsepower is enough to propel the Volt at 40 mph, so after 1 hour it will have gone the rated 40 miles.

I suppose that's just about possible, although 10.72 horsepower seems awfully low to push such a big car through the air.

But how realistic is this scenario? I have to believe that in real life the gas engine is going to come on long before the 40 mile mark.
Thanks... I posted something similar and a couple of people said they thought I was too pessimistic.

I do not see people buying a vehicle with a range of only 40 miles. 100 or 150, maybe, provided that there's a fast-charge option - say, you drive into a "gas" station and they swap out your battery pack for a new one. But that introduces a whole new set of issues: storing those batteries, recharging them, ways to stop unscrupulous operators giving you half-charged batteries, etc.

My was to run cars "on electricity" would be to have them either burn hydrogen in Wankel engines, or use hydrogen fuel cells to run electric motors. The hydrogen would be produced by electrolysing water. Ideally that would be done by solar power, at the gas station itself - easier in San Diego than Vancouver, probably.

In my opinion, hydrogen offers a better chance of "getting there from here". Adding H2 - however it's produced or delivered to the gas station - will not require a change in the business model of 100,000+ gas stations, nor in the model of how we refuel our cars. On the other hand, batteries are a complete game changer - do you want to own such a massive consumable? (I saw one idea whereby you would own the car but lease the batteries for 3 or 4 years - then, having lost some of their storage capacity, they would get a second life in electrical storage heaters. I think the idea came from Renault, which would make sense as electricity in France is fairly cheap and low-carbon, being 70% nuclear-generated.)
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:41 PM   #78
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How does running the heater on the Volt affect the range? We live in the upper midwest. I can imagine going outside to scrape the ice off the car with the temperature at 15 F. I suppose you could get "instant" heat from electrical resistance heating, but I'm not sure how long it would take to defrost everything with what sounds like the equivalent of a hair dryer.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:41 PM   #79
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I buy CFLs when they make economic and ergonomic sense. I'm sitting by one now, and I use them in my outdoor lights and a few other places. There are places I won't use them because it makes more sense to use the Edison light bulb. I use the right product for the right job. And when the govt provides subsidies, all it does is make that decision an artificial one. Just like these EVS, if someone wouldn't buy one with their own money, why should I give them the money to buy it? It doesn't change the equation.

If your answer is "to save energy", then I suggest that you define that goal, and look for solutions. I believe there are far better, more effective, faster acting, and more efficient ways to save energy, than artificially pricing some specific technologies.

BTW, our CFLs are using about twice as much energy as most people think. Look at the label and calculate the Volt-Amps. It will be about 2x the watts (Power Factor of 0.5). Our power meters charge by the Watt, because it was the only practical way to measure per household. But electrical plants (think coal) really have to generate Volt-Amps, the watt rating means nothing relative to the coal burned. If you are a big commercial place, they will check your power factor, and charge accordingly. Just can't do that home-by-home, but the end result is the same, CFLs are not even half as 'green' as claimed. Couple that with the fact they take more materials and more processing (which would be expected to take more energy), and the delta shrinks. Might even be negative for all I know. I wouldn't be surprised, looking at the box of dead ones and their fancy plastic packaging that I have for recycling.

-ERD50
Another disappointed CFL user. I replaced the bulb in the most heavily used places with CFL a few years ago, and for the other places as the old bulbs burned out. In my office it is entirely possible that lights are on 8 hrs x 300+ days year = 2,500 hrs/year so for a 10,000 hour life I shouldn't replace them more than every 4 years in fact they burn out in less than year.

Meanwhile my 2nd most used location bedroom probably has an hour a day of usage and the bulbs have never been replaced since I've lived here going on 5 years.

Now you tell me they don't save as much energy as the advertise.

Bloody hell, ERD next your going to tell me I can stop the sea levels from rising by unplugging my cell phone charger
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:11 PM   #80
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Off the top of my head, I'm counting around 30 CFL bulbs in my house. I may have missed a few. I don't know how often I buy bulbs, but I don't think it is more than a 4 or 6 pack a year. So maybe an average lifespan of 6-7 years per bulb?

I think I'm getting a lot more life out of them versus incandescent bulbs.

I'm lazy and don't like changing light bulbs, so having to change them every few years versus say once a year is nice.

From a cost savings perspective, I figure a 60 watt equivalent is using 13 watts, or "saving" 47 watts. What is the 47 watts in savings worth? For me, 8 cents for a kilowatt hour for the electricity, plus maybe roughly another 4 cents per kilowatt hour because I have to cool down the house most of the year to offset heat production due to this hypothetical incandescent bulb. That means I'm saving around 0.56 cents per hour due to using one CFL. I get six packs of CFL's from walmart for somewhere around $6-8 versus a buck or two for a six pack of incandescents. Let's say a $1 marginal cost per bulb.

It takes around 177 hours of use to pay the roughly $1 marginal cost to buy a CFL instead of an incandescent. Virtually all of the CFL's I have bought in the last few years have lasted much longer than 177 hours. 177 hours = 1/2 hour a day for a year, or 1 hour a day for 6 months, 3 hours a day for 2 months, or 8 hours a day for 3 weeks. As you can see, in heavily used areas, CFLs can pay you back within weeks.

Of course I'm ignoring the externalities involved with producing CFLs and disposing of them properly. I'm not talking about saving the earth, I'm talking about saving money.
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