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Old 03-02-2012, 09:59 AM   #221
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I was thinking about something that ERD said... about looking at the Hybrids vs Volt instead of an ICE vs Volt....

That does seem to be a good analysis I had not thought about.... is the Volt worth the extra $10K to $15K if there were no incentives And I am only talking about the gas savings, pollution benefits.... not the emotional aspects... Off the top of my head I would think not...

So, again I can see the demise of the Volt once the subsidy is gone... it just can not compete with the Prius or many of the other Hybrids out there...
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:03 AM   #222
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That does seem to be a good analysis I had not thought about.... is the Volt worth the extra $10K to $15K if there were no incentives And I am only talking about the gas savings, pollution benefits.... not the emotional aspects... Off the top of my head I would think not...

So, again I can see the demise of the Volt once the subsidy is gone... it just can not compete with the Prius or many of the other Hybrids out there...
There is always going to be a fraction of the public that wants something regardless of the cost-benefit analysis. And God bless them, I say, because without them there would be some good ideas which never would have gone mainstream and affordable to the general public because of gradual widespread acceptance. We can argue all we want about the politics of subsidy, but even if that wasn't in play this remains generally true. Some people want them, support the concept and want to "vote with their wallet" regardless of whether it's the optimal economic decision.

If all consumers refused to pay the "early adopter tax" I dare say not many of the technologies we enjoy today would have ever become cost-effective.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:11 AM   #223
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Unlike gas-powered vehicles, though, it does not *have* to be the case that these (even if indirectly) use polluting fossil fuels. These cars are as clean or as dirty as the mix of energy sources on the power grid.
True, but the reality is we are largely using coal, and that does not seem likely to change much very soon. We have to deal with the realities.

It is great that EVs are 'source neutral', they don't care where the kW came from, they are flexible. But that is pretty much a theoretical advantage, unless we get some breakthrough in green electrical energy.

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Unfortunately I've found that many of the people who are most critical of EVs because the grid is often using coal are the same people who are the most critical of efforts to "green up" the grid. Not pointing at anyone in particular here, but it seems to be a common theme.
I'm not sure what you are talking about. Again, there are realities associated with the green tech we have now. Wind is intermittent, solar is avail during the day when EVs charge at night. Facing the realities is different than 'being against it'. Some of the best places for off-shore wind are being fought by some people who should be in favor of the green energy, but don't want their ocean view affected.

I'd say it is the 'greenies' themselves that are most responsible for the amount of coal we burn. They fought nukes tooth and nail. But France seems to be doing pretty well with something like 80% nuke electrical power, and only ~ 4% coal.

Here's what seems odd to me. France should be a great place for EVs, cleaner grid, generally smaller cars, shorter drives, and higher petrol prices - a great match. Yet, no big adoption rates there. It sure seems to me that since much pollution is a world-wide problem, that EVs should be filling Europe before we have many here. Just seems like a much better bang for the buck, yet, it hasn't happened yet. That speaks volumes to me.


edit/add: Here's a radical thought. I'd actually be more in favor of providing a US subsidy to EV buyers in France. Those who favor subsidies say they will speed the manufacturing cost curve (I don't agree) . But it makes no difference if the manufacturers learn to reduce costs by selling a car n France or the US. Might as well get more environmental benefit from that French power for our $. And it should tale less of subsidy, as I mentioned, they already have a better profile for EV usage anyhow. But don;t get me wrong, I still don't favor subsidies (I actually think they are counter-productive to EV adoption).

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Old 03-02-2012, 10:18 AM   #224
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I'd say it is the 'greenies' themselves that are most responsible for the amount of coal we burn. They fought nukes tooth and nail. But France seems to be doing pretty well with something like 80% nuke electrical power, and only ~ 4% coal.

Here's what seems odd to me. France should be a great place for EVs, cleaner grid, generally smaller cars, shorter drives, and higher petrol prices - a great match. Yet, no big adoption rates there. It sure seems to me that since much pollution is a world-wide problem, that EVs should be filling Europe before we have many here. Just seems like a much better bang for the buck, yet, it hasn't happened yet. That speaks volumes to me.
Pollution of the world is a "tragedy of the commons" situation. France could adopt EVs on a wide scale given their own greener grid, but unless the rest of the world follows, it's not like polluted air and water will stop at their border.

We don't even have to go all in with "green" power. We have enough natural gas to last a century, maybe more, with just supplies from the US and Canada. Given that it probably pollutes 10% as much as conventional coal, if that... seems like "low hanging fruit" for a transition to greener renewables as the technology makes them more feasible and cost-effective.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:22 AM   #225
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True, but the reality is we are largely using coal, and that does not seem likely to change much very soon. We have to deal with the realities.
Why can't I find a source that supports "largely using coal" that your POV hinges on? In addition to the one I posted yesterday from wiki, here's EIA, EPA, etc., and there are many more (Google). I am not omitting sources that show otherwise, I can't find any! Also note that almost all the power plant construction in the past 20 years has been natural gas, not coal.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:43 AM   #226
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Here's what seems odd to me. France should be a great place for EVs, cleaner grid, generally smaller cars, shorter drives, and higher petrol prices - a great match. Yet, no big adoption rates there.
No big adoption rate, but leading the world? Electric Car Sales: France Leads Way, Even Without Individual Buyers | PluginCars.com
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:14 AM   #227
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Why can't I find a source that supports "largely using coal" that your POV hinges on? In addition to the one I posted yesterday from wiki, here's EIA, EPA, etc., and there are many more (Google). I am not omitting sources that show otherwise, I can't find any! Also note that almost all the power plant construction in the past 20 years has been natural gas, not coal.

Interesting graphs.... thanks for posting....

But I think you proved ERD's point... 49% of electricity is from coal per the charts... true, not as many new plants being built are coal, but it does not change the fact that we are largely getting electricity from coal...
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:17 AM   #228
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Heck, this also proves his point... from the article...

"Worse, the most optimistic estimate is that fewer than 500 cars have been bought by individuals. There's no official data, but it's clear that most EVs have been sold to fleet-buyers."


If only 500 cars are purchased by individuals from a total of over 2 million, it is not a big adoption rate....
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:22 AM   #229
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"Worse, the most optimistic estimate is that fewer than 500 cars have been bought by individuals. There's no official data, but it's clear that most EVs have been sold to fleet-buyers."
And I would be shocked if these "fleet buyers" weren't mostly government agencies.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:29 PM   #230
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Interesting graphs.... thanks for posting....

But I think you proved ERD's point... 49% of electricity is from coal per the charts... true, not as many new plants being built are coal, but it does not change the fact that we are largely getting electricity from coal...
Suit yourself.

Emissions from EV's and plug-in hybrids in coal power regions are slightly less than ICE cars. Emissions from EV's & plug-ins in all other fuel type power regions, more than half the country, are dramatically lower than ICE cars. Net benefit of EV's vs ICE is already positive and supposedly will increase (coal is already slightly less than half of US power gen, and projections are coal share will continue to decline).

Hybrids emit less than EV's & plugins in coal regions, but EV's & plugins emit less than hybrids in all other fuel regions. So maybe a push overall, but also improving.

And ICE cars are still overwhelmingly the baseline, so hybrids, plugins and EV's are all an improvement even if the entire country was coal powered, instead of less than half...
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:38 PM   #231
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Suit yourself.

Emissions from EV's and plug-in hybrids in coal power regions are slightly less than ICE cars. Emissions from EV's & plug-ins in all other fuel type power regions, more than half the country, are dramatically lower than ICE cars. Net benefit of EV's vs ICE is already positive and supposedly will increase (coal is already slightly less than half of US power gen, and projections are coal share will continue to decline).

Hybrids emit less than EV's & plugins in coal regions, but EV's & plugins emit less than hybrids in all other fuel regions. So maybe a push overall, but also improving.

And ICE cars are still overwhelmingly the baseline, so hybrids, plugins and EV's are all an improvement even if the entire country was coal powered, instead of less than half...

I was not making a comment on the emission aspect of his post, just the source of the electricity... I do not know enough to say one way or the other which is better... and reading the different articles is similar to the statin post... do you take them or do you not... both sides seem to have valid arguments and statistics to 'prove' their side...
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:43 PM   #232
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Pollution of the world is a "tragedy of the commons" situation. France could adopt EVs on a wide scale given their own greener grid, but unless the rest of the world follows, it's not like polluted air and water will stop at their border.
Yes, my real point is that anything 'green' ought to be implemented where it will do the most good. Anything less is a lost opportunity. And it seems that an EV in France would do the world more good than an EV in some high % coal-fired power area of the US.

For example, solar panels should be installed in areas of electrical demand with the most available sunshine, maybe taking into account the 'dirtiness' of the power they would offset. It takes energy to make a solar panel, put it to best use.

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We don't even have to go all in with "green" power. We have enough natural gas to last a century, maybe more, with just supplies from the US and Canada. Given that it probably pollutes 10% as much as conventional coal, if that... seems like "low hanging fruit" for a transition to greener renewables as the technology makes them more feasible and cost-effective.
One of these days I need to study the NG supply issues closer. It is far cleaner than coal, and probably less environmental impact to produce, but I'm wondering why my heating bills aren't coming down (I'm on a NG furnace) if we have so much supply. Ten or 15 years ago, my gas company was looking for people to try out a fuel cell in their home to make electricity from NG and heat the water, and I got on the list (though the payback seemed iffy, I was curious). They pulled that offer when NG prices went up, and I have not seen a return of that approach.


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Interesting graphs.... thanks for posting....

But I think you proved ERD's point... 49% of electricity is from coal per the charts... true, not as many new plants being built are coal, but it does not change the fact that we are largely getting electricity from coal...
Yes, all I meant was in general, we get 'a lot' of our electricity from coal, more than from any other single source. I wasn't going for precision, just speaking in generalities.

And getting back to NG - I think we should base any environmental claims for EVs/plug-ins on where we are today. If it is different tomorrow, we can re-evaluate. I don't see any sense in pushing a technology ahead of its time. There isn't any huge learning curve for car cos to produce EVs, battery performance is the big red flag. Everything else is relatively minor (not that there won't be kinks to work out, but those can be dealt with later, some of them might even go away with newer battery technology.

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Old 03-02-2012, 02:48 PM   #233
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Just saw this video on electric cars...

Why the Electric Car Is Doomed to Fail | Daily Ticker - Yahoo! Finance

He says the cars are doomed to fail because of resale value and the current grid... an interesting take on their future.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:14 PM   #234
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The Wall Street Journal:
News Hub: GM pulls plug on Volt, stocks pull back and more.

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Chevy Volt. There is a central European language in which the word volt=was. I do think of this thing in the past tense.

I think that car is phenomenal boondoggle foisted off on the unsuspecting AND uninformed environmental idealists.

It was developed at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars, or using the old bait and switch routine will make the Chevy Spark instead, which likely will be made in Korea assuming Government Motors is forced to build more and more by the benevolent dictatorship of USA

Now contrast that electric disaster with the 2012 Skyactiv Mazda 3, with a 2 litre, 40+ MPG engine of direct fuel injection into the cylinder, with 12:1 compression. Plus a whole bunch more innovations, somewhat too technical to elaborate here. Price range 16K for basic to 25K or so for the GT model.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:57 PM   #235
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News Hub: GM pulls plug on Volt, stocks pull back and more.
Whoa, even though it's temporary for inventory essentially, that doesn't bode well! "Halo car" indeed...
GM stops building slow-selling Chevy Volts for 5 weeks
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:57 PM   #236
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Whoa, even though it's temporary for inventory essentially, that doesn't bode well! "Halo car" indeed...
GM stops building slow-selling Chevy Volts for 5 weeks
Sad to see 1300 workers furloughed for 5 weeks.

But they were so optimistic about 18 months ago (bold mine)...

Letters to the Editor: Electric Cars Make Sense Now, Their Future Is Bright - WSJ.com

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October 25, 2010

The early enthusiastic consumer responseómore than 120,000 potential Volt customers have already signaled interest in the car, and orders have flowed since the summerógive us confidence that the Volt will succeed on its merits. Electric vehicles will be an important part of the future, here and around the globe, and we are proud to help lead the way.

Mark Reuss

President, North America

General Motors Co.
Signaled interest? Orders have flowed? Heck, that seems a lot worse than my admittedly loose wording of 'largely' coal based! What value is a 'signaled interest', and how do you measure that? Ummm, how many orders does it take for them to 'flow'?

120,000 potential customers! Geez, they sold ~ 7,500 last year, and won't commit to their 10,000 number this year. Maybe they were counting on 6 year old kids looking forward to a new car in 10 years?

And sorry to beat this drum again, but for the Volt to succeed 'on its own merits', they need to drop the subsidy, or we would never know.

I wonder if he's learned to avoid words like 'potential' and 'current' when commenting on the 'Volt', it makes for bad puns. Perhaps he now speaks in more 'metered' tones (pun intended, hah, hah, hah).

I actually really like the idea of EVs. I would love having all that low-end torque, low 'fill up' costs, almost silent acceleration, and the elimination of a bunch of complex subsystems in an ICE powered car (that might be an illusion, considering the cooling systems and everything needed for those battery packs). But they just don't seem ready for prime time at this point. Maybe someday.

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Old 03-03-2012, 01:20 PM   #237
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You mean they are not ready for prime time pricewise, right? If a Volt were $14K you'd buy it, yes?
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Old 03-03-2012, 02:50 PM   #238
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I'd pay 5K for a used one with low miles.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:24 PM   #239
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You mean they are not ready for prime time pricewise, right?
Sure, price is all a part of the package.

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If a Volt were $14K you'd buy it, yes?
At $14K I'd sure take a look. I'm not sure that is the size vehicle I'd be in the market for, so that's a factor. But other than that, it seems like a nice vehicle.

Battery replacement could be an issue for me, since I keep my cars > 10 years. My Volvo S40 is 12 YO, < 70K miles, and running fine, I won't be surprised if I keep it another 4 years.

Looking back at my post, I see my 'prime time' comment was geared more towards EVs than a plug-in hybrid (Extended Range EV as GM names it) like the Volt. The Volt solves the 'range anxiety' issue with the ICE backup. For a pure EV, that would be a major issue for me. Though the vast majority of my trips would be no problem, it absolutely would be a problem every month or so (and at unexpected times, one I think I mentioned earlier, when DD had to take my car to school for a month). That really lowers the value of that vehicle for me.

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Old 03-03-2012, 03:55 PM   #240
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Price is only one part of the equation.

For me, since I live in a condo, I wouldn't have access to charge the Volt up which automatically rules it out.

But for those who have a garage to charge it up, and who seldomly travel more than EV mode only, the Volt can be a great fit.
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