What good are electric cars when we're burning fossil fuels to generate that electric

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. earllogjam

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    if people think electric cars are the panecea to our energy problems....wake up!
     
  2. omgiswatdeysay

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    Because once they're made, they don't burn any fossil fuel, and since they don't burn any fossil fuel, they give off no pollutants. Thus the reason for building them.
     
  3. Mem

    Mem
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    edit: Ooops, I thought you were talking about hybrids.

    About Hybrids :The problem is that people are realizing that they are not saving money by buying hybrids. The extra cost of the hybrid is more than they would spend on extra gas for the life of the car. The batteries in them may only last 10 years and are expensive to replace. Last I heard the electric motor only runs in speeds of less than 25 miles per hour. I never drive that slow, unless I have to stop for a turn or a red light.

    As far as Electric cars go they are only good for a limited amount of miles, and then need to be recharged. Too inconvenient.

    Did anyone see "Who killed the Electric Car?" it's a good movie.
     
    #3 Mem, Jun 18, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  4. lucky8

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    Exactly
     
  5. D_Geffarde Phartsmeller

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    An undocumented problem with electric cars is disposal of the batteries when the car is dead. Small batteries aren't easily recycled, let-alone a big ass one used to power a car for a few years. I disagree with the original statement in part because fossil fuels don't have to be burned to generate the electricity used to charge the cars. Solar, hydro and wind power could be used. The fundemental problem with those sources of electricity, however, is that they're not as efficient or practical as nuclear, oil and coal. In time, they could easily replace fossil fuel but that's not going to happen in the near future. Too many improvements need to be made.

    But in general I agree. All-electric cars aren't the way to go right now.
     
  6. Domisoldo

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    The hope is that the car batteries will be charged at night or during low-grid-usage periods.

    Using the right pricing incentives, this could well be the case.

     
  7. earllogjam

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    arg. the pollution is just transfered - instead of coming out a tailpipe it'll come out of some smokestack of a powerplant. transfering electical power over lengthy powerlines and storing that energy in battery form is terribly inefficient compared to storing gas in the tank even with all the additional energy required to transport and refine the oil into gasoline.
     
  8. Mem

    Mem
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    There are clean ways to produce electricity. When gasoline is produced energy is wasted, and pollution occurs, and then again when the gas is burned.

    They need to find a way to charge a cars battery in the same time it takes to fill a tank of gas and then have all service stations sell the electricity for it to work.
     
  9. HazelGod

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    The hope is actually that our electricity generation will also continue to move away from fossil fuels.

    Wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, geothermal, oceanic...these are all viable alternatives to the burning of coal.

    There is also no prerequisite for power generation to have shifted off fossil fuel in order to bring a non-polluting propulsion drive to market.

    I prefer you do more than just "wake up"...I challenge you to act. If you haven't investigated your local options for switching your home's power to a pollution-free source, now is the time.
     
  10. earllogjam

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    the problem is how new development is shaped in america. we live by building zoning and land use planning that favors spawl and car dependent communities. we need to rethink the true cost of suburban sprawl where 80% of americans live and big box strip malls not only in terms of sustainability but health and quality of life. most land zoning in america today hasn't changed since the 50's.
     
  11. D_Marazion Analdouche

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    You can connect this the "make marijuana legal" thread. With everyone smoking blunts, people will be too lazy to work nevermind commute......gas crisis solved.
     
  12. D_Geffarde Phartsmeller

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    Cities are generally dirty, obviously crowded, have more crime. Suburban sprawl will continue as long as there are people that don't like the city atmosphere. And in time, present suburbs will become part of nearby cities. The endgame to all of this is a planet that looks like a city, with every inch covered in buildings. Population continues to grow exponentially so it's unavoidable. Personally, I love big cities like Tokyo and New York. I prefer mass transportation, too. My driving has been called rage-induced from time-to-time, but that's neither here nor there.
     
  13. HazelGod

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    You're behind the times. Gentrification is alive and thriving in most American cities now, driven by the ridiculous inflation in the housing market. All across the nation, inner-city denizens of decades past are being forced out by rising property values as young suburbanites seek to return to the city centers.
     
  14. canuck_pa

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    Electric Cars may not be a panecea but are certainly better than cars that require the burning of fossil fuels.
    Hydro electric power is renewable and doesn't pollute the air. However I do understand that dams cause environmental damage.

    We all need our governments to invest in alternative sources of power that are environmentally friendly and renewable.
     
  15. guyface

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    Burning Fossil fuels is not required to produce energy. The city where I live runs off of hydroelectric power - almost entirely. In an environment where the city's grid is powered by a renewable energy source, charging electric car batteries would have little impact on the environment and petroleum use.
    It's my opinion that the op has no idea how electric cars run (which almost no one does), and/or doesn't know about the various forms of renewable resources. Electric cars could be useful in certain environments, where charging their car would have little environmental impact. Usually cities that run off of renewable energy sources have lower energy costs (price per kilowatt/hour). Electric cars could be effective for people who commute medium/low distances my themselves. There are definitely some benefits that shouldn't be overlooked.

    However, due to the fact that batteries (which electric cars run off of -_o ), are only a fraction as effective in below freezing temperatures, (which my states winters consists of, not to mention sub-zero temps), electric cars would be inefficient. Probably in more ways that just being ineffective in cold temperatures. That are smaller on average than more cars and have probably don't handle icy roads well compared to heavier vehicles with four wheel drive (which ec's probably would not have). I'm thinking that ec's would get crushed in the many winter accidents where I live.
    They wouldn't really work here. Probably not at a lot of places.
     
  16. TurkeyWithaSunburn

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    Burn coal from Kentucky or Wyoming, or burn oil from Saudi Arabia? Uhm hard choice isn't it?

    If ANYONE thinks any ONE thing is the answer they need to wake up!

    The thing about electric and hybrids is all about the battery technology. It has improved significantly in the past 10yrs.

    PURE electric cars are good particularly for people who really don't drive a lot, and just drive around on side streets, city boulevards. Or you want that $100k all electric sports car cuz you have more money than brains. The EV1, I believe was made by GM, was ahead of it's time mostly because the battery capacity wasn't good enough. The Prius (please stop eyerolling :smile:) has NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries. In the 10? years that the Prius has been available in Japan they have yet to replace a FULL battery pack. Individual cells yes, but not the full battery pack. The engineering keeps the battery pack between something like 20%-80% full. It doesn't do the hard core and damanging full cycle 0-100% charge, which is why it lasts so long.

    In Europe there is a funky little button that said EV on it, but the US version of the car didn't. They discovered that it could go for a short burst just on battery power. I think it was like 3 miles. With some tinkering the guys at California Cars Initiative for Plug-In Hybrids put in a Lithium-Ion battery (just like the ones in cellphones and laptops) and have achieved amazing results. The widely touted 100+MPG Hybrid. The Toyota and Ford hybrids (Ford is licensing the technology from Toyota) are "full" hybrids. The car can go on battery power alone, not far but it can. I think the Prius can go 34 or 42MPH on pure battery power. The Honda hybrids can't run on pure battery power and are "mild" hybrids. Only the full hybrids can be converted to the eye popping mileage. At a current cost of 10-15k :eek: It is estimated that it could be added at the factory for 5k more due to the mass production factor. Toyota is intrigued with the idea and WILL begin producing/licensing Plug-In Hybrids for fleets later this year or next year. In 2009/2010 the highly anticipated Chevy Volt will come onto the market. Chevy would achieve as much marketing appeal as the Toyota Prius if they can say "we are the first to bring a plug-in hybrid to the market."

    The goal of plug in hybrids it is to get 40+miles at highway speed on battery power alone. MOST people do not drive more than 40miles a day. Your particular situation probably will vary. Would you plug in a car that you'd be able to say truely I'm NOT spending one DIME on foreign oil?

    Most of the baseload electricity produced in the USA is from Coal (over 50%), Nuclear (20%), or Hydro (I think around 10%). Regulations require power companies to have X percentage constantly available even if nobody uses it. Spinning reserve is a term that comes to mind. It's not efficient or very profitable for the companies to do that. The key to the plug-in concept is to charge your lil electric vehicle using offpeak power. It's there for the taking. Or possibly even sell your electricity, stored in the battery, back to the electric company at prime rates...

    It's much easier to control ONE source of pollution instead of ONE MILLION tailpipes. The first few minutes when you run an engine is the dirtiest. The catalytic converter hasn't warmed up enough to absorb/breakdown those particles. If you have one powerplant running at the most efficient speed it's easier to control. We'll use more electricity but if done RIGHT (har har har) it has the potential to substantially change the amount of gasoline/diesel used. It is probably much more inefficient to refine gasoline and transport it by tanker to your corner store than just shoot power thru the lines to your garage.

    {How we get the electricity is a whole other subject. There are currently about 300 coal fired plants on the drawing board and at least 1 NEW nuclear reactors put forth for licensing, possibly as many as 40 in the near future}

    I saw that Kathmandu, Nepal, has one of the largest percentages of electric vehicles in the world. I think I saw it on Yahoo Video News courtesy of CNN or the BBC. It's cheaper there to go electric than go for gasoline. Something like 7 vs 9cents per mile.

    Hypermiling can contribute significantly to the mileage. With a regular gasoline powered car some people have DOUBLED their gas mileage. Uhm I'll pass on PUSHING my car to get a rolling start, but some of it just makes sense. Stop speeding to a stoplight, just coast some. This is also what helps in an electric or hybrid. You use energy going UP a hill and then coast DOWN a hill and recapture 2/3rds of that energy.

    I'm waiting for the Plug-In Electric FlexFuel vehicle to be available. E85 has problems in itself but you'd only be using 15% gasoline, when using the engine itself.

    (darn turned into a rant... didn't mean it to be :frown1: )
     
    #16 TurkeyWithaSunburn, Jun 18, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  17. guyface

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    Nice info z704.


    I recommend to anyone who is interested, "Who Killed the Electric Car", a good documentary about why we don't see electric cars today, and why we probably should.
     
  18. kalipygian

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    The biggest difference in mileage between a hybrid and a regular car is in stop and go driving. With a regular car you put energy into getting the car rolling, then throw it away by friction braking when you get to the next light. A hybrid uses regenerative braking: the polarity in the electric motors is reversed, and they recharge the battery while stopping the car. You don't notice it is doing this. Theoretically the friction brakes are just needed for a panic stop.

    If you start out gradually it runs on electric only up to around 20 mph then engine starts. Above that it is a constantly changing combination, either or both, putting power back into the battery and taking it out.

    NiMH and LI batteries are recyclable, with more efficiency for larger ones. They are not as toxic if they are thrown out as lead acid or NiCad.

    The Prius could go up to 12 miles at 40mph electric only, but the ones sold in the US don't have an electric only option. It can be done aftermarket.
     
  19. Deno

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    People should stop knocking Hybrids for the saving issue there is much more at stake. The advantages are over the life of the vehicle and include other factors such as using less fossil fuels, less pollution, And if gas keeps rising in cost you don't have valid stats to come to the conclusion. It also depends if you keep the vehicle for its lifetime or how long you keep it. How much you drive and where you drive. These vehicle actually use less gas in city driving then they do on highway, so where pollution is greatest it will be producing less pollutants. People don't buy Hybrids just to save money they do it for concerns over pollution. If the price of gas goes to 6 dollars a gallon then your theory is blown to hell. Plus the less gas we use as a nation or even globally, the longer the resource will last, isn't that worth the investment of a few thousand dollars.
     
  20. Qua

    Qua
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    If you look merely at the effeciencies of one massive combustion generator (a power plant) vs. millions of small combustion chambers (cars) you would guess that the large one is more effecient no? The internal combustion/heat drive mechanism is terribly ineffecient because so much of the potential is lost to the surround. A big powerplant is going to lose less than a ton of small engines. Think about it. Now if it's enough to offset all the loss from conversions and transmissions I don't know, but I'm thinking it is. Particularly because they're aiming to maximize effeciency in that regard, where cars are kind of doomed to 10-15% effeciency.

    That would make fossil fuel power plants a better option than millions of fossil fuel cars, in both effeciency and emission categories.
    However, there's still the noxious production process of those batteries to think about. I find it TERRIBLY ironic that the power source of hybrids and electric cars is deemed too disgusting to produce in the U.S.
     
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