Who Needs An Electric Car?

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Who Needs an Electric Car?

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    By Robert Farago
    March 26, 2009

    OK, yes. All you folks who believe that we must free the country from its dependence on foreign oil and stop the planet from over-heating need an electric vehicle (EV). Well, you want one. I mean, it’s not like you’re walking at the moment is it? And if you are, chances are you can’t afford or don’t want a car, whether it sucks oil from the desert or burns coal through a cord. The problem—for me—is the link between “we” and “need.” Whenever people start telling me what I need, I get the sneaking suspicion that I’m about to lose something I’d like to keep. I reckon most people who drive gas-powered cars are just as skeptical of EVs as I am of demagoguery. Question: does that matter?

    The chattering classes couldn’t care less. Never mind the environmental effects of amping-up power plants to cater to plug-in nation. EV boosters talk of gas-powered cars and “oil addiction” as if driving a “normal” car makes their drivers sociopaths. At best, they consider Americans who view EVs as glorified golf carts—which, in the main, at the moment, they are—as morally blind. But really, anyone who resists the call of the plug is lazy, selfish and greedy.

    Of course, it’s not their fault. They’re hapless victims of a vast conspiracy between the oil companies and Detroit. Big Oil and Big Wheel lured them into gas-guzzling cars and OMG SUVs to satisfy the mega-corporations’ selfish, planet killing greed. (Yup, there’s them words again.) Well guess what? We’re from the federal government and we’re here to help you trade in that gas guzzler for a cheap, clean-running electric vehicle. Whether you like it or not.

    Yes you—and by “you” I mean the government—can force drivers to switch from gas to electric propulsion. All the feds have to do: make it financially onerous (i.e., painful) for motorists to drive a “normal” car.

    At one end of the spectrum, Uncle Sam could simply outlaw gas-powered automobiles. Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations already dictate the type of vehicles that automakers must/can build. Tweak the rules here and there, allow for a “transition” period, and we can kiss that pesky gas pump goodbye.

    Alternatively, the feds could simply tax the living NSFW out of gas-powered cars. Gas tax hikes, registration fee increases, carbon penalties, road pricing, etc. could create the exodus that simple political correctness will not. Given the U.K.’s experience with cigarette tax (nearly seven bucks a pack), any such “incentive” to leave gas behind would have to be a truly ridiculous tariff. But it would work.

    In fact, it is working. Slowly. Which is the only way it can work, politically. If politicians tried to jump from point A to point e in one go, the public would hand them their hats. Instead, we get CAFE’s point B. What’s the bet that EVs and plug-in electric vehicles are given sky-high CAFE-complying mpg ratings? Raise the CAFE standards high enough, and EVs are a dead cert. Lest we forget who created the electric car [hint: the California legislature].

    The “cash for clunkers” legislation is point B: XXXL vouchers for plug-in or fully electric hybrid vehicles. If enacted, the bill’s incentives would represent the “pull” side of pulled pork. Anyone remember the Department of Energy’s $25b re-tooling “loans” for American automakers gearing-up fuel efficient vehicles? Same sandwich.

    Point Q: the California Clean Air Resource Board’s flirtation with the idea of outlawing black paint, to reduce the energy needed to keep them cool. Still, it’s a question of slope angle, not slipperiness.

    OK, so I’m wearing a tin foil hat and yes, I’m anti-EV. Sorry. It’s not because I have a Scott Burgess-like love of a rumbling V8 in the morning. Although God knows I do. Nor is it insensitivity to the planet’s plight. Although I think about the planet in terms of millions of years rather than last week. And I’m not a Bedard-like reactionary who sees changing a toilet paper roll as an affront to common sense. It’s simply this: EVs are a cynical attempt to avoid reality.

    EVs defenders tout plug-in automobiles as a bridge to an oil-free future. (To wit: Chevy’s tagline from gas-efficient to gas free.) I call bullshit. EVs are the rolling equivalent of Chrysler and GM’s “viability plan.” It’s a bridge to a place that I don’t believe exists. In the EVs case, we’re talking about a world where America trades-in over 100 years of gasoline-fired prosperity for what? Nuclear power powered vehicles?

    Hang on; that works for me. Tell you what. Once the feds build a bunch of nuclear power plants, once they prove that switching to battery power can reduce pollution and oil imports, then I’ll buy an EV. Only how come I don’t feel like I won’t get a say in this?
     
  2. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    :werd:
     
  3. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

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    Something for the tuners to consider:

    The battery pack in the new Chevy Volt is rated at 16 kWh, or 16,000 Watt-hours. Do a little math, and that works out to the same energy as 644 horsepower for one minute on a full charge.

    :eek3:
     
  4. PanzerAce

    PanzerAce Active Member

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    Lol. Or you could turbo a LSx, tune it properly, and get more than that HP whenever you want, and still get ~30mpg highway.
     
  5. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

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    Lol. Or you could think about what tuners will be doing with new technology. Its inevitable.
     
  6. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    Yeah... until all our cars are linked to satellites and shut down when we do something to them that we're not allowed to do. :(
     
  7. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    That article is such a load of crap. Yes, the Feds can't just outlaw gas-powered cars and require people to buy EVs or hybrids, because there aren't enough materials to make that many cars at once and because they want to get re-elected and because nobody thinks it's ethically-acceptable to do something like that anyway.

    But the guy's conspiracy theory is complete horseshit. The point of CAFE and the gas tax and the hybrid incentives is to break the inertia of the gas-powered-car industry and start it moving in the direction it will eventually need to move in, but before we actually completely run out of oil and everything comes to a grinding halt. Sure, we could let that happen, but the consequences would be catastrophic. Considering it takes about 10 years to wear out a car, would it really be so great to just pick a date (or have a date picked for us by Mother Nature) by which we have to shut off all the engines and plug in our new EVs? Hell no; we might as well get use out of the cars we still have and are good at making, while doing everything we can to make sure EVs and hybrids are viable options for people who want them. Then those early adopters can (as they already have been, for the past 10 years) help to test and refine the equipment so it's that much better when the next wave of market expansion hits.

    As for the argument about pollution, it's been known for decades that economies of scale apply to power plants the same way they apply to everything else -- even an unfiltered coal plant produces more watts per gram of carbon than the cleanest gas engine. To say otherwise is to appeal to the ignorant faithful's willingness to believe what they want to hear regardless of fact.

    How about if we act like the superior beings we like to pretend we are, and actually plan ahead a little bit instead of saying "there's enough oil today, why should I care?" Or...wait, let me guess...we don't need to worry about the future, God will provide for us.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  8. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    You are a godfucked idiot. Even if they do connect to satellites someday, all you'd have to do is cut and splice wires to get around it. Go drown in a kiddie pool.

    The ultimate purpose of the EV exercise -- and of all human progress -- is not to constrain what people can do, but to come up with a way to let everyone can do what they want without significant consequences. Just think, if all of our power was nuclear, and the plants were maintained by radiation-proof robots, and all of our cars were electric, you could leave your car powered-on 24/7 just so it would be warm/cool inside when you want to drive it.
     
  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    No Confidence

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    By Edward Niedermeyer
    March 31, 2009

    Chevy’s Volt “will likely be too expensive to be commercially successful in the short-term,” reveals the PTFOA in what amounted to stunning news for Volt boosters and no one else. Wasn’t the Volt supposed to justify the whole bailout in the first place? The DetN’s Scott Burgess takes the “yeah, but” tack, spinning expensive impracticality into farsighted vision. With a little help from his friends, of course. “In hybrid technology, it’s hard to argue that we’re not behind,” GM’s Rob Peterson tells Burgess. “But we believe we have a better solution.” And what of that $40K price tag that the government says will require “substantial reductions in manufacturing cost in order to become commercially viable?” “It’s a transformational technology,” says Peterson. “That’s part of the reason the cost is so expensive. But we believe if you start in the right direction, as the supply base matures, the volumes of the vehicle increases and the costs will go down.” If. As. Will. As in “we hope.” Meanwhile, someone has to pick up the bill and worry about the viability of a firm that is staking everything on an unprofitable-at-$40K moon shot. Needless to say that someone ain’t Bob Lutz . . . .

    Having witnessed the horrors of the Wagoner shit-canning and the PTFOA Volt diss, gm-volt.com’s Lyle Dennis had to turn somewhere for an encouraging word. And who gives a better knee-deep-in-guts, battlefield pep talk than Maximum Bob Lutz? “Thanks for your concern,” writes Lutz. “Volt will survive and prosper. We know the numbers better than the Government…we furnished them! First-generation technology is expensive, but you can’t have a second generation without a first generation. Common sense and intelligence will prevail, here!”

    As if to disprove Lutz’s point, a gm-volt.com post from a few days ago reveals that GM doesn’t know what the Volt’s MSRP will be yet. But the crazy part is the explanation why. They ‘re saying that fuel prices in 2011 will be the determining factor in setting the Volt’s price. “We’re not wishing for higher petroleum costs, but the economic viability of what we’re doing only gets greater with higher fuel prices,” GM’s Bob Kruse tells gm-volt.com, “$1.50 [a] gallon gas is not helping our business case.” The upshot though, is that GM will charge as much as it possibly can for the first generation of Volts because it won’t make money at any price point. And it seems that only the government is worried about the effect that this “charge what we can” scheme might have on GM’s competitivity.
     
  10. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    This whole electric car thing is turning into EV1 part deux.

    Not viable for real companies or for real consumer use.
     
  11. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    The EV1's were much more reliable than any other car ever built. The motor never needed service, the transmission occasionally needed a gear oil change, and the standard scheduled maintenance consisted of filling the wiper fluid, changing the wipers, and rotating the tires.

    The biggest thing that's affecting the current generation of EVs is that people have gotten used to being able to buy an econobox with 200hp, which is, what, 50% more than the average in 1990? Not to mention there's all the extra electrically-powered equipment that cars have now. So yeah, when you throw all that in there, the advances in battery technology over the past 20 years are pretty much canceled out. That's why it's necessary to artificially increase the market share for the battery manufacturers, so they can make enough money to really invest in R&D and start gaining ground against the horsepower race.

    A real EV2, built to meet the expectations of 1990's consumers but with modern technology, would be fantastic by comparison. If they could just get past the battery weight issue, I would say the Miata would probably be the best choice for a donor platform, because people still expect that car to be stripped-down -- hell, the newest model weighs all of 50kg more than the original.
     
  12. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The point is these aren't really viable replacements for what we have and enjoy now nor are they profitable for anyone to come up with or cheap for anyone to buy.

    That pretty much cooks this whole turkey.
     
  13. jim1234664

    jim1234664 New Member

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    curb weight of 1990 miata - 2100 lb
    curb weight of of 2008 miata - 2446 lb

    im not even going to waste my time disproving your other comments in this post and others
     
  14. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    EVs are only potentially maybe beneficial once there are charging stations.
     
  15. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Yeah, and charging stations are only beneficial once there are EVs that need them. Do you see the problem here? The market, if left to its own devices, will continue to use oil to power cars until there is no more oil, and then it will panic, because as much as we pimp the market, the market is very stupid and shortsighted. That's why it's sometimes necessary to push the market in directions it needs to go whether it likes it or not.

    That's also why it's so easy for shady elites to make the market stampede off a cliff like so many lemmings, like what happened with everyone buying houses at $100k-200k above what everyone knew they were really worth. On the one hand, you should be scared that the market is that stupid, but on the other hand, you should be glad that at least some of the people pushing the market are relatively honest and transparent about their motives.
     
  16. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Touche, it wasn't exactly 50kg. Show me another car that's only gained a couple hundred pounds in twenty years, and I'll consider your point valid.

    Btw, I'm curious, how does it feel to know that, while you might despise my point of view, it is going to win eventually anyway? Does it burn a little?
     
  17. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    I see the problem at hand, but the egg here needs to precede the chicken
     
  18. GammaRadiation

    GammaRadiation Active Member

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    Unless in the future you'll own your car like you own your copy of windows....
     
  19. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Automobiles aren't intellectual property, they're physical property. Physical property laws have been cut-and-dried for a couple thousand years now.

    That being said, I suppose it's always possible that the software in the engine computer could end up falling under the jurisdiction of intellectual property laws, and be controlled via a subscription instead of by outright ownership, but you know what will happen then? People will write open-source engine software, and that will be the end of that.
     
  20. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    The egg already precedes the chicken. There are power outlets everywhere. As for what to do if the batteries in your REHV car die in a shopping mall parking lot, that's a valid concern, but it's no more of a concern than what to do if the battery in your gas-powered car dies -- you call triple-A and get a jumpstart, and carry on your merry way.
     
  21. PanzerAce

    PanzerAce Active Member

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    Except that with an electric, there isn't any equivalent to a jump. With a gas engine, once the engine has been jumped, you're good to go (assuming you have gas), with an electric, unless you want to "jump" the car for a few hours, you aren't going anywhere.
     
  22. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    That's why I stipulated an REHV car, not a pure electric. Pure electrics will take quite a while to become practical, I do agree with that. In all likelihood we'll just end up using fuel cells anyway. Granted, fuel-cell cars are pure electrics, except that instead of charging the battery you replace the reactive chemicals, which is much more expedient than waiting hours for the batteries to recharge.

    In any event, the components of the technology that now exist (high-power brushless motors, regenerative braking, etc) need to be spread far and wide ASAP so they can be refined and be that much more practical when the remaining components (safe hydrogen storage, cheap fuel cells, etc) become available.
     
  23. GammaRadiation

    GammaRadiation Active Member

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    Right, and you lose your warranty when you flash your car's computer unit and/or it is illegal to operate a vehicle on the road with engine control software that isn't first approved by some government "go green" bullshit agency. Because as we all know, the government's approval is what makes things work well.

    I'm not saying it's going to happen. I'm saying with the haphazardly way this country is ran it COULD happen.
     
  24. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Then I guess we just need to lobby to make sure it doesn't happen.
     
  25. you know me

    you know me OT where the douchbags play

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    i stopped reading here. This will not happen. Ever
     

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