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Old 02-23-2012, 12:48 PM   #161
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I would really like to have a plug-in hybrid with about 30 miles of battery capacity, at a relatively reasonable price.

My gasoline consumption would drop dramatically with that level of all-electric range.
I rarely drive out of town, and it's a small town, so if I could get a decent small electric that can go 20-30 miles on a charge and go at least 25-30 MPH, I could get anywhere in town with a pure EV and use the gas-burner for trips out of town. But at the price of these EVs today, this doesn't make sense, at least the ones that are fully street legal. I think there might be some options that can be used on streets posted for no more than 35 MPH, and I could actually go anywhere in town on that if I use side streets. But it would cost me several years of filling up the gas tank just to buy one of those, so it doesn't make sense just yet.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:51 PM   #162
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I rarely drive out of town, and it's a small town, so if I could get a decent small electric that can go 20-30 miles on a charge and go at least 25-30 MPH, I could get anywhere in town with a pure EV and use the gas-burner for trips out of town. But at the price of these EVs today, this doesn't make sense, at least the ones that are fully street legal. I think there might be some options that can be used on streets posted for no more than 35 MPH, and I could actually go anywhere in town on that if I use side streets. But it would cost me several years of filling up the gas tank just to buy one of those, so it doesn't make sense just yet.
Sounds like the retired folks in Florida that use golf carts go get around. Just did a long weekend at Duck Key, dang carts all around the place
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:02 PM   #163
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I think you would need pretty crazy assumptions to get to higher emissions from EV's than gas vehicles. All of the studies that I have seen have shown a sizable advantage in emissions for EV vehicles.
I had provided this link in previous threads, I didn't have time to dig it up, but here it is now.

The Dirty Truth about Plug-in Hybrids, Made Interactive: Scientific American

and more discussion:

Should I treat myself to a Chevy Volt?

So don't argue with me, argue with a pretty respected publication.



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Coal may be dirty, but producing electricity in a power plant is a lot more efficient than an internal combustion engine.
But after factoring in transmission, charge losses, and carrying the weight of those batteries, the delta is apparently not great enough to overcome the dirtiness of coal.

Quote:
Our newer oil supplies are coming more and more from shale oil, which is energy intensive to extract. Converting oil into gasoline is a pretty energy intensive process as well.
Look at the environmental damage from coal TODAY, versus how we get oil. It's ugly, and would make the news like an oil spill except it happens every day of every year, so it's not 'news'.

Quote:
Note also that the US grid as a whole is now less than half coal powered and dropping. With natural gas prices where they are at, I would expect new coal plants to be extremely rare . Most of our coal plants are baseline power. Any incremental increase in electricity use caused by EV's is less likely to be coal-powered.
Not sure of your assumptions on base line power, but, if EVs make sense in the future, then that is when I will be fan. Why buy one today (for environmental reasons), until there is actually an advantage?

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Why do you stereotype and insult a large group of people based on incomplete information?
Sorry if you read it that way. I wasn't meaning to insult anyone, just playing off the earlier comment, and calling a spade a spade. It's pretty silly to really think of a Tesla purchase as doing anything significant for the environment.


Quote:
First, not everyone who buys a Tesla is doing so for environmental reasons. Some love the performance, many love the technology.
I can understand that. The performance is awesome, the technology is fascinating.


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Some like reducing our dependance on oil. Many want to encourage continued research and advances in the EV market.
I question if moving that dependence towards coal is a good thing. We've been through the discussion of pushing advances in EVs before. It's all about the batteries. A few early adopters of EVs won't make a drop in the bucket to the overall advances in battery technology. There is already plenty of push for that from other high volume products.

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Second, you use a national average and then apply it to Roadster owners? Are they distributed evenly throughout the US? As I recall, there are about a third outside of the USA, why apply an average of the US electrical grid to overseas owners?

I suspect the highest concentration of Roadster owners are in CA, which has a much cleaner grid.
Yes, I was speaking in generalities. If I didn't, I'd be accused of cherry-picking the data! Yes, the SciAm article does give a positive score to CA, they have a higher % of hydro and NG.

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For those Tesla owners for which the environment IS a high priority, I suspect many have solar or wind power to offset (at a minimum) the power requirements of their ride.
I debunked that in the other thread I linked. Solar or wind could offset the grid or an EV - it's a wash.

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Third, the study is using a Prius level of mpg. Those that didn't buy a Tesla for environmental reasons most likely didn't replace a Prius with the Roadster. More likely they bought it instead of some other 0-60 in 3.9s performance vehicle. I would be willing to bet those tend to get 15-20 mpg (or less) rather than the 50mpg of the Prius.
I think the article was trying to be a 'real world' look into the future. The Tesla Roadster is a high performance niche (and very cool) product. It would never make up enough of the market to affect environmental issues. The study was trying to look at some hypothetical point when 'regular' people would have a competitive choice between a high mpg hybrid, and an EV.

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Please note, I am not saying there isn't ANYONE who is a, in your terms, faux-greenster that bought one to show off (I am sure there are one or two). But your wide brush is insulting
Again, didn't mean to insult. I do think it is silly to claim the Tesla makes a 'green' statement. If a hobbyist wants to buy one for the performance and the technology, more power (KWHrs?) to him/her. Just don't lay no 'green' talk on me, I'm not buying it.


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Old 02-23-2012, 01:25 PM   #164
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...I think the article was trying to be a 'real world' look into the future. The Tesla Roadster is a high performance niche (and very cool) product. It would never make up enough of the market to affect environmental issues. The study was trying to look at some hypothetical point when 'regular' people would have a competitive choice between a high mpg hybrid, and an EV...
But the context of the discussion was not 'are EVs a solution' it was 'what deragetory names should we lable all current Roadster owners with'.

The article is inapropriate to support the suggestion that current roadster owners are getting the national average CO2 production from the grid. THAT is the point I am addressing.
As you said, the other discussions have different threads. If you wish to go off topic, I would be happy to continue one of those in another thread.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:34 PM   #165
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But the context of the discussion was not 'are EVs a solution' it was 'what deragetory names should we lable all current Roadster owners with'.
That's not the context I saw. But geez, it was just a somewhat flip comment to two previous posts. No need to be so sensitive. Really.

Quote:
The article is inapropriate to support the suggestion that current roadster owners are getting the national average CO2 production from the grid. THAT is the point I am addressing.
As you said, the other discussions have different threads. If you wish to go off topic, I would be happy to continue one of those in another thread.
I'm pretty sure all the points were made in that thread I linked. If you want to review and make another comment, feel free. I'm pretty sure it was all said the first time around, I don't know if there is anything new to add (other than calculating the environmental impact of replacing some 'bricked' Tesla battery packs).


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Old 02-23-2012, 02:29 PM   #166
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Typically, hydro, nuclear, and coal plants are build for baseline power and are run all the time because they are the cheapest to run (assuming the building costs are sunk). Nuclear and coal plants are slow to start and stop as well.

Load following power plant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coal power in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the most part, plugging in a bunch of EV's is not likely to result in additional coal being burned. It is going to result in the utility firing up an idle natural gas plant, or if it increases peak load, the building of a new natural gas plant.

A massive switch to EV's that causes an increase in required base load plants is also not likely to increase our dependence on coal. They really aren't building any new coal plants anymore, and I doubt that EV's are going to change that. We are likely to see a whole lot more natural gas plants (and wind turbines) in our future.


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*snip*

Not sure of your assumptions on base line power, but, if EVs make sense in the future, then that is when I will be fan. Why buy one today (for environmental reasons), until there is actually an advantage?

*snip*

I question if moving that dependence towards coal is a good thing.

*snip*


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Old 02-23-2012, 02:35 PM   #167
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Watch for $26,280.00/gallon gas by next year.
But seriously, the news people have to be stupid to think that that change means anything more than they happened to be there when some model told the computer to change the price.
I bet the news people are smart enough to slip the attendant $50 to make the computer change the price...

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Or people who REALLY like insane performance. I got a chance to try one on a track day. Insane bottom end torque, like a dragster, with great handling and performance right up to the top. All without a clutch or shift in sight. It's an electric dragster dressed as a Lotus.
It's nice when those electric motors put out their full rated torque at about 1 RPM, no?

I mis-judged a merge with my Prius the other day and managed to peel rubber. It was nice not having to worry about shifting or transmission wear, either.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:02 PM   #168
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Seriously, though - I camp in a provincial park in Ontario every summer. For the past 10 years, it has been next to impossible to reserve a lot - the park has been full to capacity. You have to reserve 5 months in advance to guarantee a spot. I heard a lot of people complaining about the cost of gas last year. I guess it came to roost: this year - the park is empty. In one of the more popular areas, only 6 out of 65 campsites have been reserved! It's very strange.
I guess it's true that every dark cloud has a silver lining. My version (borrowed from Al Sleet): Inside every silver lining - there's a dark cloud. YMMV
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:27 PM   #169
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...some city power grids may not be able to handle a new fleet of plug-in cars. When/if EV's become common, coming home late afternoon and plugging in to charge the EV will exacerbate the (summer) air conditioning peak load issues. Manageable, home chargers may need timers to start charging at 11pm each night, or something similar - a known issue.
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Depending on the home, driver, and electric vehicle in question, the amount of energy consumed can be even greater. "One vehicle's demand can be anywhere up from three quarters of a house up to three houses [quick charging?]," says Jay Tankersley of Project Get Ready, an initiative of the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute.

Many experts agree that, on a national level, the United States is ready for a vast expansion in electric cars. According to a 2008 Energy Department study, the effect of a vast expansion in electric vehicles could be minimal. Electric vehicles are expected to account for around one quarter of the market by 2030. If those vehicles are all charged after 10 p.m., when electricity demand is low, the nation would require no additional power generation. Then again, if all owners charged their cars at 5 p.m., up to 160 new large power plants would be necessary.

The nation as a whole might have the capacity, but on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, the problem is more pronounced. "In most residential areas, an EV can easily be accepted into the charging infrastructure. [But] as soon as you start getting clustering of vehicles, they can't have too many of those in one area without some kind of a strategy for adapting to it," says Allan Schurr, vice president of strategy and development for energy and utilities at IBM.

Bringing home a new electric vehicle may not make the neighborhood go dark just yet, in other words, but that could change in coming decades.

"At the scale that we're at now it's not an issue but it will be if it's not managed in some way," says Schurr.
City Grids May Not Be Ready for Electric Cars - US News and World Report
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:45 PM   #170
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This is interesting to me:

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If those vehicles are all charged after 10 p.m., when electricity demand is low, the nation would require no additional power generation. Then again, if all owners charged their cars at 5 p.m., up to 160 new large power plants would be necessary.
In theory, demand-based pricing would incent those electric car owners to use overnight power.
It would also encourage the rest of us to not use things like electric clothes dryers during peak load periods.

But, the meters to do that have to cost money, and I don't have a source that says how much.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:25 PM   #171
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Personally, I will be continuing to drive my new pickup with abandon this summer regardless of gas prices. I will be towing the camper wherever I damn well plase as well.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:49 PM   #172
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Personally, I will be continuing to drive my new pickup with abandon this summer regardless of gas prices. I will be towing the camper wherever I damn well plase as well.
You tell 'em, Bubba!
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:22 PM   #173
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I don't think those "smart meters" cost that much. A couple of $100?

We have been on a demand-rate meter for a few years now. The local utility offered a deal back then that we could not pass up. No installation charge, and if the demand rate did not save us money, they would bill us the old rate and switch us back.

Then, they continue to show us how much money we save each month since. And we have been saving money each month, around 10% if my memory serves.

The only things I did were the following:
  1. Set the pool pump timer so that it runs during off-peak hours.
  2. Install a timer for the water heater. My solar water heater broke and I have not fixed it, so this became more important. We have to watch when we take a shower (preferably not during on-peak, and certainly not one after another!), but it is not that big a deal.
  3. My wife watches when she does laundry and runs the dryer.

The above are insignificant life-style changes to reduce the peak demand and save us some money. Even so, our electric bill runs as high as $500/month in the summer, due to the A/C. I cannot compromise that, other than leaving town.

PS. Last year, they switched out all the meters in the neighborhood to wireless ones that they could "read" simply by driving slowly down the streets. Just another reason technology can cause higher unemployment! Hah!

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In theory, demand-based pricing would incent those electric car owners to use overnight power.

It would also encourage the rest of us to not use things like electric clothes dryers during peak load periods.

But, the meters to do that have to cost money, and I don't have a source that says how much.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:51 PM   #174
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Since my next home will have a prefix of 'nursing' or 'funeral', I'm not too worried about the neighborhood...
... with a mobility scooter!
... and a suitable RV!

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Old 02-24-2012, 08:56 PM   #175
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Typically, hydro, nuclear, and coal plants are build for baseline power and are run all the time because they are the cheapest to run (assuming the building costs are sunk). Nuclear and coal plants are slow to start and stop as well.

Load following power plant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coal power in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the most part, plugging in a bunch of EV's is not likely to result in additional coal being burned. It is going to result in the utility firing up an idle natural gas plant, or if it increases peak load, the building of a new natural gas plant.

A massive switch to EV's that causes an increase in required base load plants is also not likely to increase our dependence on coal. They really aren't building any new coal plants anymore, and I doubt that EV's are going to change that. We are likely to see a whole lot more natural gas plants (and wind turbines) in our future.
I don't think your explanation holds water.

On the plus side for EVs, most of them would be charged overnight which is not a peak time. So the impact on the infrastructure is minimal, you don't need more/thicker wires to each neighborhood, those are already sized for daytime/AC peaks. So at night, they are not using 'peaker' plants at all - they rely on the baseline (coal, nukes and some hydro - mostly coal). But they would need to feed more coal to those plants to provide a higher average power at night.

It doesn't take more coal plants, it just takes feeding the existing plants more coal at night. If I were the owner/manager of a power plant, there is nothing I would like more than increasing consumption during non-peak hours. That's where the money is. Just some incremental fuel costs on all that expensive infrastructure. I can smell the money!

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Old 02-24-2012, 10:12 PM   #176
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Base load plants aren't typically run at less than full capacity. They are generally running at full power if they aren't down for maintenance or repairs.

It doesn't pay to build more base load power than needed. Most of the time all of the available coal plants will be running full speed and they will have an intermediate load plant running to cover variability in the demand. Here is an example from Wisconsin (look at Fig 1 on page 3)--

http://psc.wi.gov/thelibrary/publica...electric04.pdf

There is almost always some power being produced beyond the base load. In the winter it is just the intermediate load plants, and then in the summer they add peakers as well.

Note this quote--

"Base load plants operate almost continuously (approximately 70 to 80 percent of the time), except when down for scheduled maintenance, repairs, or unplanned outages. They take a long time to ramp back up to full capacity and have limited to noability to vary their output of electricity."

They don't just feed more coal into a plant when demand picks up. They are always trying to feed the coal in at full speed.

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I don't think your explanation holds water.

On the plus side for EVs, most of them would be charged overnight which is not a peak time. So the impact on the infrastructure is minimal, you don't need more/thicker wires to each neighborhood, those are already sized for daytime/AC peaks. So at night, they are not using 'peaker' plants at all - they rely on the baseline (coal, nukes and some hydro - mostly coal). But they would need to feed more coal to those plants to provide a higher average power at night.

It doesn't take more coal plants, it just takes feeding the existing plants more coal at night. If I were the owner/manager of a power plant, there is nothing I would like more than increasing consumption during non-peak hours. That's where the money is. Just some incremental fuel costs on all that expensive infrastructure. I can smell the money!

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Old 02-25-2012, 07:34 AM   #177
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On the plus side for EVs, most of them would be charged overnight which is not a peak time. So the impact on the infrastructure is minimal, you don't need more/thicker wires to each neighborhood, those are already sized for daytime/AC peaks.
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Agreed this would be ideal to avoid (peak) power generation issues. But why do we read article after article stating one of the big barriers to broader acceptance of EV's is the lack of charging stations (other than at EV owners homes)? Puzzling...
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:41 AM   #178
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But why do we read article after article stating one of the big barriers to broader acceptance of EV's is the lack of charging stations (other than at EV owners homes)? Puzzling...
I think it is because of their limited range. When I was working I had a 25 mile commute each way. As I understand the capabilities of most non-hybrid EV's today, I'd need a charging station at work unless I planned on sleeping in the office - or somewhere along the side of the road.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:53 AM   #179
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I think it is because of their limited range. When I was working I had a 25 mile commute each way. As I understand the capabilities of most non-hybrid EV's today, I'd need a charging station at work unless I planned on sleeping in the office - or somewhere along the side of the road.
That would be my interpretation too, but we're going in circles?

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Originally Posted by US News and World Report
If those vehicles are all charged after 10 p.m., when electricity demand is low, the nation would require no additional power generation. Then again, if all owners charged their cars at 5 p.m., up to 160 new large power plants would be necessary.
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On the plus side for EVs, most of them would be charged overnight which is not a peak time. So the impact on the infrastructure is minimal, you don't need more/thicker wires to each neighborhood, those are already sized for daytime/AC peaks.
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It doesn't pay to build more base load power than needed.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:59 AM   #180
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That would be my interpretation too, but we're going in circles?
Isn't a commute a circular route?

What we really need is an affordable EV with decent range. Obviously much easier said than done.
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