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Old 05-29-2013, 05:43 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
... Chevy Volt.... I guess the design is to get you to and from a destination of more than the Volt's electric range (70 miles?). You would think that GM has the ability to have a battery with higher range. Wonder what their thinking is? For one, I'm sure, they want to keep the cost in the reasonable range.
Chevy Volt electric range is ~ 40 miles. Yes, it's all about cost. I think it's interesting to compare the design philosophy of the Volt and the Tesla (which is an entirely different class).

For the Tesla, I imagine the thinking went like this:
Marketing guy says people would like an EV with 200~250 mile range.

Engineer #1 estimates that would take XX kWh of battery power, and the batteries alone would cost as much as an entire decently equipped ICE vehicle with no range issues. Not competitive at all.

Engineer #2 (who races on weekends) says yeah, but an XX kWh battery pack could provide a huge short-term burst of power! Couple that with the low-end torque of an electric motor, and it could have world class acceleration, and still have ~ 200 mile range (if you don't punch it too much)! It would be expensive, but we could put one together for around $100,000, and it would perform like a $200,000 sports car!

Marketing guy gets excited. It outperforms cars that cost more? We can get govt assistance to build it? Buyers can get a tax rebate? People will love us for being 'green'? When can we start shipping??!! You guys have a lot of work to do!

The Chevy Volt takes a different approach. They want to keep the cost down, so they chose batteries with a higher burst power, but lower total power, so lower range. But that's OK, because they have the ICE to provide range.

So they use as small a battery pack as they can to save $$, and still provide decent (not sports-car) acceleration in all-electric mode. And it turns out that will take you about 40 miles on a full charge. So marketing talks about how XX% of our round-trips are less than 40 miles. I really doubt that 40 mile range was a goal, it was a result of the battery size required for decent performance, and they 'sold' the range they got.

I'm impressed with both of them from an engineering standpoint. But I wouldn't buy either of them. But the Tesla would be a lot more fun to drive!


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BTW, some pretty notorious LYBM types are getting a Tesla. Howard Clark who has a Money show, kinda of like Suze Orman, on CNN, bought why.

Here is how he justified it.
Heh-heh. JMO, but I think he would have been better off just saying 'I bought one because I wanted one. When you are careful with your money, you can splurge once in a while.'

If you want to contribute to less oil being imported, I think you first have to make the case as to why it is better to use up our own finite domestic resources. It's complicated, I'm not sure there is an answer. But if that is your goal, I'd bet there are better ways than buying a Tesla. How about taking the delta between the Tesla and the used car he says he normally buys, and use the money to install better insulation for a bunch of old houses that heat with fuel oil, or upgrade their furnaces, etc, or some other path? It would be interesting to compare, but my gut tells me there are more dollar-efficient ways to achieve that goal.

But then you wouldn't have a luxury car in your garage .

-ERD50
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:48 PM   #142
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A little thread hijack...For Elon Musk fans, here's a link to his full interview at D11. I haven't watched it yet, so no comments regarding the quality.

http://allthingsd.com/20130530/tesla...terview-video/
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:09 AM   #143
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Tesla just announced a major expansion to their supercharging network.

They will be tripling the number of superchargers by July, and the big news is by the end of the year you can drive from Boston to San Diego using the supercharging network the whole way. They also will be increased the charging rate for a 1/2 charge from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. So now you'll be able to drive for 2.5 to 3 hours and then fill up for about 20 minutes.

Still not as fast as gas station, but getting much more competitive.
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:02 AM   #144
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Interesting interview with Elon Musk here:

Full Video of Tesla and SpaceX Head Elon Musk at D11 - Liz Gannes - D11 - AllThingsD

Among other things he reveals that Tesla is making the power train for the new Mercedes electric vehicle.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:02 PM   #145
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A little thread hijack...For Elon Musk fans, here's a link to his full interview at D11. I haven't watched it yet, so no comments regarding the quality.

Full Video of Tesla and SpaceX Head Elon Musk at D11 - Liz Gannes - D11 - AllThingsD
Thanks, that was interesting. I've already heard most of what he said regarding Tesla, not much new there for me. But I was interested in some other comments.

But he does touch on the efficiency of electricity generation versus ICE efficiency, and I think it's a bit of a twisted way to look at it, one that pro-EV people often use. He mentions that electricity can be generated at ~ 50% eff in a co-generation plant, versus the ~20% eff of an auto ICE (or whatever number he used). But the reality is, there are very few of these co-gen plants today. If/when these plants are common, then it makes sense to measure EVs against them. It's fine to show what is possible, but it's a future-looking thing, it has nothing to do with justifying an EV today. It's a bit like telling someone in the 80's that they should buy this big expensive brick cell-phone with 30 minute talk time, because in the future, they will be small, light, and cheap with hours of talk time.

The very interesting part for me was the references to the hyper-loop. Some kind of transit system between LA and SF that could get you there in 30 minutes and at less than 1/10 of the infrastructure cost as the planned 'high speed rail' (which he says will be the slowest high speed rail ever built!). It is all very vague, and I'd be likely to dismiss it if it were not for Musk's track record of actually getting the Tesla Roadster and S to market, and other accomplishments. I'm anxious to hear more about this. I think it could very well have more positive environmental benefits than all the EVs combined. Sounds like they will be small cabins/cars in a tube, he said something about not having to wait once you get to the station. That's one of the problems with a lot of mass transit, you have to time things to a train/plane schedule, allow plenty of time to get there so you don't miss it and have to wait an hour or more, then you have to time your return. I prefer taking the train downtown, but all those waits can effectively add hours to the trip.

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Tesla just announced a major expansion to their supercharging network. ...

Still not as fast as gas station, but getting much more competitive.
Yes, but the bottom line for me is still - is all this really 'worth it'?


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....
I do get the PV panels are a form of pollution as well.
Everything we create is a form of pollution in one way or another. And the panels from China are incredibly poor in that regard.

If we are going that deep into the energy generation, the only thing I would ask you to consider is the production of the oil drilling, transport, refining, transport as well.
I keep hearing this from pro-EV people, and I agree that it does make sense to include these components. However, I never hear them say the same for the electrical generation. Don't we have to consider the mining of the coal, transport, 'refining' (which is less intensive than oil, but still requires something), plus the environmental impact of coal mining versus oil drilling? Then do that for the other power sources, hydro, nukes, etc to round it out.

It gets complicated. Even more so...

An ICE/hybrid car itself takes roughly the same amount of 'stuff' to build as does an ICE/hybrid, but the ICE/hybrid does not rely on an external power plant. So maybe we need to amortize the construction of those plants against the EV (and the refinery against the ICE/hybrid).

That gets complicated, and is part of the reason we see so many different numbers flying around (some are obviously just trying to justify one side or the other). I'll just say it isn't clear that EVs are that great of an advantage over alternatives, and further advances in ICE/hybrids will keep moving the goal-posts. IMO, we are likely to get more 'bang for the buck' with other angles - conservation, mass transit, etc. But since I've been wanting to own an EV for 30 years, I'm suspicious that 30 years from now they still won't make sense for me (well, maybe an electric wheelchair )

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Old 06-02-2013, 02:17 PM   #146
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Thanks, that was interesting. I've already heard most of what he said regarding Tesla, not much new there for me. But I was interested in some other comments.

But he does touch on the efficiency of electricity generation versus ICE efficiency, and I think it's a bit of a twisted way to look at it, one that pro-EV people often use. He mentions that electricity can be generated at ~ 50% eff in a co-generation plant, versus the ~20% eff of an auto ICE (or whatever number he used). But the reality is, there are very few of these co-gen plants today. If/when these plants are common, then it makes sense to measure EVs against them. It's fine to show what is possible, but it's a future-looking thing, it has nothing to do with justifying an EV today. It's a bit like telling someone in the 80's that they should buy this big expensive brick cell-phone with 30 minute talk time, because in the future, they will be small, light, and cheap with hours of talk time.
I tend to think of this as a chicken/egg problem. If there are a lot of cars that are EV, then the benefit to converting at the sources increases and may spur more conversions.

I really enjoyed reading about the supercharging stations. I think it's a great idea and while not nearly as quick as filling up using gas, the cost is zero and you can get half a charge in 20 minutes, down from 30. I can only image that this will get better with time. If I were a richer man, it sure would be nice to have a Tesla, but if they can bring the price down to 30k for similar quality, I might be very interested. Especially since most of our drives are around town, well under 200 miles a day.

Quote:
The very interesting part for me was the references to the hyper-loop. Some kind of transit system between LA and SF that could get you there in 30 minutes and at less than 1/10 of the infrastructure cost as the planned 'high speed rail' (which he says will be the slowest high speed rail ever built!). It is all very vague, and I'd be likely to dismiss it if it were not for Musk's track record of actually getting the Tesla Roadster and S to market, and other accomplishments. I'm anxious to hear more about this. I think it could very well have more positive environmental benefits than all the EVs combined. Sounds like they will be small cabins/cars in a tube, he said something about not having to wait once you get to the station. That's one of the problems with a lot of mass transit, you have to time things to a train/plane schedule, allow plenty of time to get there so you don't miss it and have to wait an hour or more, then you have to time your return. I prefer taking the train downtown, but all those waits can effectively add hours to the trip.
I also enjoyed this part. I agree that if this wasn't coming from Musk, I'd be skeptical, but I really hope he spends more effort on this idea. It would be great to have a system of tubes - or whatever it is - shooting us around the country.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:04 PM   #147
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The very interesting part for me was the references to the hyper-loop. Some kind of transit system between LA and SF that could get you there in 30 minutes and at less than 1/10 of the infrastructure cost as the planned 'high speed rail' (which he says will be the slowest high speed rail ever built!). It is all very vague, and I'd be likely to dismiss it if it were not for Musk's track record of actually getting the Tesla Roadster and S to market, and other accomplishments. I'm anxious to hear more about this. I think it could very well have more positive environmental benefits than all the EVs combined. Sounds like they will be small cabins/cars in a tube, he said something about not having to wait once you get to the station. That's one of the problems with a lot of mass transit, you have to time things to a train/plane schedule, allow plenty of time to get there so you don't miss it and have to wait an hour or more, then you have to time your return. I prefer taking the train downtown, but all those waits can effectively add hours to the trip.
It's a Lofstrom loop, an active structure cabled maglev transport loop, configured for surface transport rather than as a launcher. The loop runs at roughly 50 miles altitude, lifted by an internal rotor and vehicles traveling along it at speeds slightly above a free-fall orbital velocity, such that centripetal acceleration pulls the cable outward from Earth. Anchor cables run from the loop to the ground to hold it in place. No wait, because there will have to be a constant stream of 'cars' moving along the loop to keep it aloft and tensioned. The cars are electrically accelerated at one end of the loop, powered to maintain speed (and incidentally provide life support for the passengers), and electrically decelerated at the other end, recovering much of the initial energy.

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

So, you still want to go for a ride? :-)
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:12 PM   #148
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RE: Power stations converting to more efficient tech, like co-gen -

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I tend to think of this as a chicken/egg problem. If there are a lot of cars that are EV, then the benefit to converting at the sources increases and may spur more conversions.
I don't see this. Power companies already make lots and lots of electricity. They already have motivation to go to more efficient plants. I can only assume that it isn't cost justified, or maybe you need to have a use for the lower grade power (some of these are used in Norway to provide heat to buildings). So adding some small % of EVs isn't going to change that significantly. Especially if EVs mostly charge at night, when there is enough capacity already (which should factor into my previous questions about adding the cost of a power plant to the equation on total power costs).


Quote:
I really enjoyed reading about the supercharging stations. I think it's a great idea and while not nearly as quick as filling up using gas, the cost is zero and you can get half a charge in 20 minutes, down from 30. I can only image that this will get better with time. If I were a richer man, it sure would be nice to have a Tesla, but if they can bring the price down to 30k for similar quality, I might be very interested. Especially since most of our drives are around town, well under 200 miles a day.
Super-charge does help for some specific range anxiety issues. But not if I'm driving a route around the Chicago suburbs for example, going from one town to the next with heat or A/C going, in stop/go traffic, and need to cover 200 miles in a day. I need to get to a highway to charge (actually, Rockford, or Normal - which would take more charge to get to than I would gain!). But again, is all this added infrastructure really worth it for the marginal improvement that a small % of EVs might provide?

And the 'cost' is not zero TANSTAAFL The out of pocket cost for the people now paying big bucks for a Tesla is zero (they pre-paid for this in effect), but that won't be the case for lower priced EVs.

And even if EVs get price competitive with other cars, I'm still looking at the range anxiety issues, and wondering - do I buy a conventional car that I know I can drive anywhere, anytime because gas stations are everywhere, or do I buy the EV and realize I maybe can't make this trip or that, and will have to count on my other car, or a rental? I like flexibility.

RE- The 'hyper-loop' mass transit concepts:

Quote:
I also enjoyed this part. I agree that if this wasn't coming from Musk, I'd be skeptical, but I really hope he spends more effort on this idea. It would be great to have a system of tubes - or whatever it is - shooting us around the country.
We agree on that one. I'm anxious to hear more. I recall some proposals to use a 'tube' a few hundred feet below the ocean surface for trans-Atlantic transport. It would be below the wave motion, the cars would shoot through the tube, no collision possible, no energy wasted to get to altitude like a jet, very aerodynamic, very fast.

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Old 06-02-2013, 08:38 PM   #149
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It's a Lofstrom loop, an active structure cabled maglev transport loop, configured for surface transport rather than as a launcher.
Launch loop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, you still want to go for a ride? :-)
Whooopie!!!! Sounds like fun !!!!

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Old 06-03-2013, 09:02 AM   #150
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I find myself agreeing that electric car fuel is not free. One way or another somebody is paying for it. Near me stores have put in chargers (which are being used at times) and it is some type of subscribe or pay more system. The biggest problem is non electrics parking in the slots, the usual scofflaw, selfish people. Assuming Telsa makes it as a profitable on going business they will start charging for the charging. I don't see advertising or other methods paying the bill.

One thing that will continue is higher use taxes on electric cars. Since they don't pay for their road use via gasoline taxes, states will hit them with higher fees to compensate. This is only fair, IMHO.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:14 AM   #151
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I have to agree with ERD50 on hybrids. Having driven a state of the art model for a while I am very impressed at how well the system works. Now that the weather has warmed a bit I am finding anything less that 40 mpg on a tank does not happen. This on a medium body sized car with good power and comfort. Owners of smaller, lighter hybrids are getting 50+ mpg. Toyota is supposed to be working on a hybrid that will get 70+ mpg.

I see e-cars for the masses as city vehicles, not cross country travel vehicles.
Still the e-cars are in their infancy and who know what breakthroughs are ahead?
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:54 AM   #152
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Chuckanut, I looked back through the posts and haven't been able to identify the type of vehicle you drive. You say "state of the art" hybrid but I'd like to know more. We recently leased a 2013 Toyota Prius V and so far really like the car. I'm getting 43 mpg average and that is in-town driving for the most part. Some highway but 75% in town. That's not what the computer is saying either, that's actual calculation when I fill up. The computer will indicate 44+ but the actual calculation is 43. I think the system in the Prius V is state of the art as hybrids go and wonder if there is anything out there that is considered better. I looked at the Ford prior to getting the Prius and decided to go with the history and ratings of the Prius.

You mention the loss of roadways taxes on the electrics. I heard a discussion recently about how the country as a whole is losing out on road maintenance because of the improved fuel economy overall. I see higher taxes coming.

Zathras, have you seen the article in Consumers Report on the Tesla S? Great writeup.
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:06 AM   #153
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I have a 2012 Toyota Hybrid. As far as I can tell the 2013 are not much different. So, I figure I have a state of the art hybrid as far as I am concerned. There may be more advanced designs being planned, but I can't buy one yet at the same price. Perhaps I should have said a 'very modern' hybrid system. The plug-in hybrids are probably today's state of the art.

Like you I have found the car's mileage display to be slightly optimistic. I usually knock off 2 mpg when using it. My mileage claims are based upon the old fashioned calculation of dividing miles driven by gallons used.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:14 PM   #154
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Two thoughts I had while mowing the lawn today:

1) Back to this talk about an EV owner also having Solar PV panels to 'fuel' the EV. Seems to me the best way to optimize this is to use EVs in areas with the cleanest grid, and to have the solar panels in an area with dirtiest grid (factoring in available sun power). You can't have both in one place, so EV/PV owners are missing out on the opportunity that could be gained by separating these functions. So maybe EV owners in clean grid areas should contract with PV installations in dirty grid areas?

2) To mow my 1 acre, I use ~ a gallon of gas. Mowers produce far more pollution per gallon burned than a modern car. So I was thinking back to the battery swap idea, and how handy it would be if I could pull a battery 'unit' from an EV or hybrid and use it to power my mower once a week in season.

But if a gallon of gas takes a Chevy Volt (very) roughly 40 miles, and the batteries take it ~ 40 miles, then it seems like I'd need the entire battery power of a Chevy Volt just to mow my grass. OK, considering that the Chevy Volt engine is probably far more efficient than my Briggs & Stratton, and the electric motors would probably be close, so maybe I could get by on less than the full battery pack. But a Chevy Volt battery weighs 435 pounds, so even half that would be some work to swap out.

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Old 06-04-2013, 09:39 AM   #155
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This article is about Tesla's plans for its future cars. It looks like they are aiming for a smaller, cheaper family sedan as well as a smaller SUV.

Tesla Motors Announces Fourth Car for Future Electric Vehicle Lineup | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:29 AM   #156
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A pic of the next model, same as in the link above.

I really wish Tesla & Elon Musk all the best. Even though it doesn't make economic sense for the masses, Tesla seems to be taking an approach (establish a marque [and some cash flow] with premium cars first vs trying to enter the market against entry level value vehicles) that may eventually allow Tesla to establish a very viable even sizeable niche (shorter range second car, or urbanite commuter) as they make their models affordable to a larger segment of the population. They may never have the #1 selling car, but they don't have to, to be profitable/viable...
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:54 PM   #157
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This article is about Tesla's plans for its future cars. It looks like they are aiming for a smaller, cheaper family sedan as well as a smaller SUV.

Tesla Motors Announces Fourth Car for Future Electric Vehicle Lineup | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
From that article:
Quote:
“In about three to four years, that’s when we aspire to bring into production a sedan that’s about half the price of the Model S, and then shortly thereafter a small SUV as well,” says Musk. “These should be quite affordable. The price would be on the order of $35,000.”
While $35,000 isn't quite mainstream (a google of top 10 selling cars tend to run in the $17-$30K range, if you exclude the 2 or 3 trucks in there), if you factor in fuel cost savings over 7 years if you drive 12,000 miles/year, it could be competitive. But the range anxiety issues will likely remain. Let's meet back in four years to update the calculations

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Old 06-06-2013, 12:52 AM   #158
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Let's meet back in four years to update the calculations
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What you don't want to hear about how I smoked the Porsche next to me, and at the next light I asked the driver if he was trying and he said hell yes. Or how about when I was doing 110 and the cop lets me off with warning, after I let him drive it. (allegedly true stories from the Tesla forum). Or always being able to find a park spot because of the special EV charging stations. Or best of all the gas lines I didn't have to wait in.

I always make a point of dropping references to the going beach during winter, cause part of the fun of living in Hawaii is the gloating. So I am going to do the same with the Tesla for my EV skeptic friend ERD
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:38 AM   #159
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Elon is one of the folks I follow on twitter.
I loved this tweet.

"No near term plans to IPO @SpaceX. Only possible in very long term when Mars Colonial Transporter is flying regularly."

Now next time somebody complains that all US corporations are just focused on hitting next quarters numbers. I'm going to point to SpaceX
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:16 AM   #160
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Elon is one of the folks I follow on twitter.
I loved this tweet.

"No near term plans to IPO @SpaceX. Only possible in very long term when Mars Colonial Transporter is flying regularly."

Now next time somebody complains that all US corporations are just focused on hitting next quarters numbers. I'm going to point to SpaceX
Based on the interviews I have seen with him, he does have a refreshing POV (seriously).
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