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Old 10-23-2010, 02:42 PM   #41
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You know, there is a lot of high quality engineering expertise on this board. Maybe some of you guys should get busy on global warming, or resource depletion, or nuclear plant safety or somesuch.

It is even possible I suppose that some of your good ideas might be some consideration.

Ha
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:14 PM   #42
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Other alternative energy sources (hydrogen fuel cells, natural gas, etc) are much better for storing energy, lower cost, and replace cost.
Fuel cells are in general more expensive than batteries. Batteries are used when the other cheaper options don't make sense.
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:22 PM   #43
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From a design standpoint, I think the GM VOLT is doing just about everything right.
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One of the guys cited in your original post is of the opinion that the Volt doesn't make sense because the energy savings do not justify the additional battery cost vis-a-vis the Prius and similar vehicles. (This was a couple of years ago. I don't know if it has changed since then.)
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:50 PM   #44
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GM probably didn't want to add even more to the cost, technical risk, and need to educate while marketing, but a small diesel or turbo-diesel would have been an even better IC choice for the Volt than a gasoline engine. The steady-state duty cycle in this application is perfect for a diesel, fuel consumption would have been lower and expected longevity would have been better. Maybe it will be an option for Volt 2.0, if taxpayers keep the subsidy tap flowing.
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:41 PM   #45
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I love this board! Long, detailed essays about something of essentially zero importance.
Actually, I have this thread electrifying and charged with emotion.
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:44 PM   #46
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RE: From a design standpoint, I think the GM VOLT is doing just about everything right.
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One of the guys cited in your original post is of the opinion that the Volt doesn't make sense because the energy savings do not justify the additional battery cost vis-a-vis the Prius and similar vehicles.
Let me clarify - when I said they were doing almost everything right design-wise, I meant from a standpoint of technically putting the pieces together to produce an EV per stated goals. The IC provides the range to eliminate the "range anxiety" issue, and (as samclem is mentioning) a steady state IC can be optimized.

I fully agree that the design goals do not meet any real market profile. It is too expensive because of all those batteries (the point I was making in the OP), and since the Prius style hybrid relies more on the IC than the batteries - the Prius probably does make better economic sense.

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GM probably didn't want to add even more to the cost, technical risk, and need to educate while marketing, but a small diesel or turbo-diesel would have been an even better IC choice for the Volt than a gasoline engine. The steady-state duty cycle in this application is perfect for a diesel, fuel consumption would have been lower and expected longevity would have been better. Maybe it will be an option for Volt 2.0, if taxpayers keep the subsidy tap flowing.
I wondered why no diesel also. It does seem a better match for this application. You may be right that throwing the diesel curve in there might have been perceived by marketing as just too many new ideas to 'sell' at once.

I do recall that the Volt people kept referring to the IC as a modular unit, and that they can pretty easily substitute other power sources. I don't think that will make enough of a difference to overcome the battery cost issue, but it would be interesting to see extended range mode mpg figures for diesel.

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Old 10-24-2010, 12:39 AM   #47
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I love this board! Long, detailed essays about something of essentially zero importance.
Or way over your head to understand.
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:47 AM   #48
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Fuel cells are in general more expensive than batteries. Batteries are used when the other cheaper options don't make sense.
Batteries are NOT alternative energy sources. Even so, I would like to see a life-cycle economic analysis for any energy source that uses batteries.

I can't even justify using batteries charged with house current as a back-up power supply in case of a power outage at my cottage. A generator is way cheaper, and I bet a fuel cell using propane gas would be cheaper too...
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Old 10-24-2010, 02:06 AM   #49
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Batteries are NOT alternative energy sources. Even so, I would like to see a life-cycle economic analysis for any energy source that uses batteries.

I can't even justify using batteries charged with house current as a back-up power supply in case of a power outage at my cottage. A generator is way cheaper, and I bet a fuel cell using propane gas would be cheaper too...
Yes, I understand that a battery is an energy storage device.

That a generator is cheaper for your cottage is a given.

Fuel cells on the other hand are a different story. The primary cost is not in the fuel but in the capital cost to build and install them. PEM fuel cells have a platinum catalyst, an expensive Nafion membrane and need a reformer in front of the fuel cell to convert hydrocarbons fuels such as propane to hydrogen gas because they cannot operate directly on hydrocarbons. There is of course R/D to "fix" these problem. High temperature fuel cells, such as solid oxide fuel cells, can operate directly on hydrocarbons fuels but have their own set of problems. I grant you that by most comparisons batteries are expensive devices but so are fuel cells.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:56 AM   #50
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I love this board! Long, detailed essays about something of essentially zero importance.
So true... Guilty as charged.

What else are budding FIREes to do except sharpen their opinionated, half truth, poorly thought-out, knee-jerk reactionary debating skills.

Hey... "Your more wrong than I am"!

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Old 10-24-2010, 06:59 AM   #51
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ERD50 and samclem,

You guys are right, the Volt is a nice product for its intended purpose: Short, everyday commutes. I was hasty in condemning it because its purpose does not fit my need. 40-50 miles per charge is simply way too short for me.

That said, I'm not at all impressed with its technology. There is no new technology added when compared to the current Prius. And at 35mpg (very low compared to the Prius') after the initial 40-50 miles, I think it's downright pathetic. I can buy a $2,000, 20 years old Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla that would achieve that same kind of gas mileage.
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:43 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
You know, there is a lot of high quality engineering expertise on this board. Maybe some of you guys should get busy on global warming, or resource depletion, or nuclear plant safety or somesuch.

It is even possible I suppose that some of your good ideas might be some consideration.

Ha
Heck, some of us were paid to do those sorts of things. Some/most of us are retired now. This is just for the "fun of it".

But more seriously, this does touch on global warming (or at least CO2 emissions), resource depletion, and maybe nuclear plants (since they are a way to generate the electricity for EVs). If these posts influence anyone at all that "zero emissions" and EVs are silly talk, at least some good has come from it. But it's mostly mental exercise.


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That said, I'm not at all impressed with its technology. There is no new technology added when compared to the current Prius. And at 35mpg (very low compared to the Prius') after the initial 40-50 miles, I think it's downright pathetic. I can buy a $2,000, 20 years old Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla that would achieve that same kind of gas mileage.
No the technology is not new at all. There were serial and parallel hybrids and EVs in the first decades of the 1900's.

Hybrid electric vehicle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



But I'm still impressed with how the GM engineers and marketers have packaged it, and I'm rarely impressed by such things. But I totally agree that is isn't any sort of present solution to any present day problem. That was the point of my OP. Heck, even the Prius doesn't make economic sense for most people, and it uses less of that expensive battery capacity than the Volt.

If this sort of technology was viable, we'd see it in Europe (high gas prices, generally shorter drives) and in stop and go fleets here in the US. Stop and go is where hybrids (of all stripes) excel, yet my mail truck and UPS and Fed Ex and taxis and buses in Chicago have not used them in significant numbers. Their miles and utilization rates would provide paybacks far in excess of the average residential driver. Yet, the govt wants me to chip in $7,500 to pay for batteries that will sit unused 23 hours a day. Silly.

BTW, I read half of the article on the Volt/Leaf in Motor Trend in a waiting room today - our library doesn't have its copy yet, so I will check later.

-ERD50
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:25 AM   #53
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I doubt a purely EV will ever be practical here in the Frozen North. I'll let you engineers figure out how much battery power is required to make the interior warm enough to sit in, much less keep the windows clear, at -40C (or -40F if you don't understand metric). What would the warm range be?
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:31 AM   #54
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I doubt a purely EV will ever be practical here in the Frozen North. I'll let you engineers figure out how much battery power is required to make the interior warm enough to sit in, much less keep the windows clear, at -40C (or -40F if you don't understand metric). What would the warm range be?
I can guarantee you no (sober) engineer ever came up with the idea of a purely battery powered EV. These ideas come out of the minds of tree-hunging, green environmentalists. The idea gets popular because other untrained, non-scientific type people thinks it makes sense.

Someday someone may come up with a power source (which performs the same function of a battery) that uses a chemical reaction to produce vast more quantities of energy than the batteries available today. However, it is unlikely that a conventional battery, using chemical reaction will ever be found. More likely an alternative fuel source, such as flow through lithium ions or something more exotic, may power a device that generates electricity (similar to a fuel cell).

Our last great hope was cold fusion which turned out to be a hoax. As of today, finding a stand alone device that can produce enough energy to power of an EV is a twinkle in the eye of some dreamer's imagination.

Not to loose all hope, however. There are many types of hybrid vehicles using various power sources and fuels that could be found in the future. Our technology will evolve over time. It may even become less expensive than using a petroleum based energy source. But don't hold your breath
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:18 AM   #55
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My admittedly unscientific evaluation:

Chevy Volt = Edsel
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:57 AM   #56
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I can guarantee you no (sober) engineer ever came up with the idea of a purely battery powered EV. These ideas come out of the minds of tree-hunging, green environmentalists. The idea gets popular because other untrained, non-scientific type people thinks it makes sense.

Someday someone may come up with a power source (which performs the same function of a battery) that uses a chemical reaction to produce vast more quantities of energy than the batteries available today. However, it is unlikely that a conventional battery, using chemical reaction will ever be found. More likely an alternative fuel source, such as flow through lithium ions or something more exotic, may power a device that generates electricity (similar to a fuel cell).

Our last great hope was cold fusion which turned out to be a hoax. As of today, finding a stand alone device that can produce enough energy to power of an EV is a twinkle in the eye of some dreamer's imagination.

Not to loose all hope, however. There are many types of hybrid vehicles using various power sources and fuels that could be found in the future. Our technology will evolve over time. It may even become less expensive than using a petroleum based energy source. But don't hold your breath
Well, I'm opposed to lawyer science, as I call it, but let's consider...

IF, and that's a big IF, we have an EV that costs quite a bit less than $40k, and IF we are talking about an urban area with lots of congestion and pollution, and IF we can generate electricity relatively cleanly utitlizing non-peak baseload power, then we could reduce localized pollution, use less foreign oil, improve our trade deficit, and maybe even create some "green" jobs.

Though, frankly, if we could just convince more people to drive Civics and Corollas...
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:18 AM   #57
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Well, I'm opposed to lawyer science, as I call it, but let's consider...

IF, and that's a big IF, we have an EV that costs quite a bit less than $40k, and IF we are talking about an urban area with lots of congestion and pollution, and IF we can generate electricity relatively cleanly utitlizing non-peak baseload power, then we could reduce localized pollution, use less foreign oil, improve our trade deficit, and maybe even create some "green" jobs.

Though, frankly, if we could just convince more people to drive Civics and Corollas...
EV or Civics or Corollas, most people do not care as long as their neighbors buy one. That would leave more gas for their own muscle cars.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:20 AM   #58
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When considering the Chevy Volt, it's important to go beyond the "physical" engineering. Chevy obviously went deeper than the usual pool of engineers to bring in their budget folks, marketing staff, political consultants, etc for a more "holistic" engineering approach. The Volt is going to successfully achieve it's goal (portray GM/Chevy as a caring, green company to the public at large and to it's major stockholder, and help it's major stockholder claim a green victory). The team has successfully surveyed the political environment (appearing green is good, even if the truth is different) and the fiscal environment ("the numbers don't need to add up--add $7500 to everything. Even if the whole thing fails miserably, we now know where we can get more money. And, no matter how bad it gets, we won't cancel it. That's where we went wrong with the EV1. When the "incentive money" stops, we'll "reluctantly" kill the program and the EV fans will blame the government.)
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:24 AM   #59
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I can guarantee you no (sober) engineer ever came up with the idea of a purely battery powered EV. These ideas come out of the minds of tree-hunging, green environmentalists. The idea gets popular because other untrained, non-scientific type people thinks it makes sense.
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Well, I'm opposed to lawyer science, as I call it, but let's consider...

IF, and that's a big IF, we have an EV that costs quite a bit less than $40k, and IF we are talking about an urban area with lots of congestion and pollution, and IF we can generate electricity relatively cleanly utitlizing non-peak baseload power, then we could reduce localized pollution, use less foreign oil, improve our trade deficit, and maybe even create some "green" jobs.

Though, frankly, if we could just convince more people to drive Civics and Corollas...
Yes, and when some combination of those IFs can be assembled into a reasonably cost competitive vehicle/system, engineers would have already been anticipating it and have designs ready.

But in the mean time, we spend more money to get less, and the pollution reductions are modest, maybe even non-existent (I don't really know if or how much extra pollution is created to make those batteries, relative to any gains). That just sucks up money, it doesn't produce real jobs any more that paying someone to move a pile of dirt back and forth each day would create a job.

And yes, I agree that we could gain far more right now with conservation measures - though I sure would not limit that to the "mpg" rating on a vehicle. We need to look much bigger picture - reduce person-miles driven through an array of measures. Many people discovered lots of ways to conserve without any govt help at all when we had $4.00 gasoline. If a "painful" price was a long term certainty, people could also adopt long term solutions. I can guarantee that would be more effective than a few specific selections made by a few people in DC.

I think what is happening is that conservation is not 'sexy-green', but a EV falsely labeled "zero pollution" is seen and promoted as 'sexy-green'.

-ERD50
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:40 AM   #60
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EVs are more suited for reducing localized pollution, such as here in DFW, where level orange is the standard...

Total pollution, maybe not so much.
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