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View Full Version : The Future of the Car is... ELECTRIC!


MOBIUS
14-01-2009, 01:23:00
Forget the hydrogen fuel cell, forget biofuels, forget hybrids (they are only a 'bridge'), ELECTRIC is the future for automotive transport!!!

It is the only logical conclusion (to me at any rate!), given that hydrogen is still on a very far off drawing board and hybrid is merely the bridging of old tech (fossil fuels) to new (electric).

Don't get me wrong, hybrid is going to be here a while as the world as a whole gets to grips with letting go of the internal combustion engine and embracing the concept of simply plugging your car into the wall and you're good to go!

This is not some far off future doohicky, or the cute but lightweight G-Wiz - this is 0-60 in 4 seconds and a top speed of 125mph (limited) in the form of the appropriately named 'Tesla': http://www.teslamotors.com/

If that's too fast, then check out Smith's electric vans and trucks. The Edison, Ampere etc, Ohm my God, they'll be running out of suitably cheesy names before long! ;) : http://www.smithelectricvehicles.com/index.asp

Actually, on the latter company, Ford have recently announced their partnership with the parent company, Tanfield, whose share prices are currently at a historically low level - EPIC:TAN Buy, buy, buy!

Asher
14-01-2009, 01:33:16
No shit...

RedFred
14-01-2009, 05:17:40
Try Exlax

Funko
14-01-2009, 08:49:00
What are we going to make all the batteries out of?

Aredhran
14-01-2009, 09:10:34
And more importantly, how will all this electricity be produced ?

Coal ?
Natural Gas ?
Nuclear ?

Think the problem all the way through...

Provost Harrison
14-01-2009, 09:14:39
The batteries will be made of all ecological goodness and the electricity will be generated through the friction generated from treehugging. All is good :cute:

protein
14-01-2009, 10:51:54
much to my annoyance, i think that nuclear energy might be the answer to our atmospheric problems. even though i grew up with chernobyl.

add to that lots of renewable energy wherever possible and a less wasteful way of living.

and execute people like jeremy clarkson.

Funko
14-01-2009, 11:02:17
Modern reactors are much safer than that, but they are very expensive and the reactors only have a modest lifespan at the end of which you end up with a horrendous amount of nuclear waste to dispose of.

We just need to invent cold fusion, then we'll be fine.

protein
14-01-2009, 11:09:38
gillette cold fusion. for men.

Provost Harrison
14-01-2009, 14:35:24
Originally posted by protein
much to my annoyance, i think that nuclear energy might be the answer to our atmospheric problems. even though i grew up with chernobyl.

I grew up with my parents. You have my condolences...

MoSe
14-01-2009, 14:38:20
we all lost our nuclear virginity and grew up, when "Cherry" popped...

:nervous:

Oerdin
14-01-2009, 15:05:15
Funko, the amount of waste is actually fairly small plus most of it can be recycled in a breeder reactor like the French do. I believe the Japanese are also building a breeder reactor to reprocess spent fuel rods.

Funko
14-01-2009, 15:09:28
I'm talking about when you decommission the reactor. Yeah, you can recycle the rods, you can't recycle the reactor.

eg. old news story

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4140636.stm

Venom
14-01-2009, 15:59:06
What happens to the electric grid when 10 million electric cars are plugged in at 6pm?

Funko
14-01-2009, 16:08:17
What happens if you need to drive a long distance, but don't have time for a lengthy recharging period half way.

MoSe
14-01-2009, 16:09:53
the electric company starts huge arrays of backup diesel generators to put up for the extra demand spike

protein
14-01-2009, 16:12:28
what would happen in hollywood when electric cars get shot up by attack helicopters? no satisfying explosion, that's what.

Oerdin
14-01-2009, 16:15:17
Originally posted by Funko
I'm talking about when you decommission the reactor. Yeah, you can recycle the rods, you can't recycle the reactor.

eg. old news story

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4140636.stm

Ahh, ok. I thought of rods when you said nuclear waste.

Funko
14-01-2009, 16:15:53
Petrol cars don't really explode like that either and that never stopped them.

Oerdin
14-01-2009, 16:15:57
Originally posted by Venom
What happens to the electric grid when 10 million electric cars are plugged in at 6pm?

Hippies start to cry.

Oerdin
14-01-2009, 16:20:24
Originally posted by Funko
What happens if you need to drive a long distance, but don't have time for a lengthy recharging period half way.

At least with the Chevy Volt (out in 2010) there is a small petrol engine which is used to generate power. Unlike the Toyota Prius the Volt's petrol engine is not connected directly to the wheels though so all forward motion always comes from the electric motor.

Also GM is saying you can fully recharge the batteries in just 3 hours but even if you don't have 3 hours you can still get power from the tiny petrol motor. The Prius is a real hybrid with two engines providing forward motion while the Volt is basically an all electric car with a small power generator built in.

Funko
14-01-2009, 16:23:35
I've got to say if the future of cars is electric cars that have a backup petrol engine, I'm not sold.

MoSe
14-01-2009, 16:33:23
what about a backup pedal engine?

Venom
14-01-2009, 16:48:37
Originally posted by Oerdin
At least with the Chevy Volt (out in 2010) there is a small petrol engine which is used to generate power. Unlike the Toyota Prius the Volt's petrol engine is not connected directly to the wheels though so all forward motion always comes from the electric motor.

Also GM is saying you can fully recharge the batteries in just 3 hours but even if you don't have 3 hours you can still get power from the tiny petrol motor. The Prius is a real hybrid with two engines providing forward motion while the Volt is basically an all electric car with a small power generator built in.

The problem is that small generator can only charge the battery enough to meet with a certain demand. I believe Chevy said 70mph was max speed one could expect and still be able to charge the battery.

Funko
14-01-2009, 16:51:59
Well that's the speed limit so fine.

Venom
14-01-2009, 16:53:18
For losers. Real drivers go at least 5 mph above.

protein
14-01-2009, 17:11:56
Originally posted by Funko
Petrol cars don't really explode like that either and that never stopped them.

you're twisting my mind man.

on a related note, have you seen the film The Core? now that's hollywood at it's most, well, hollywood.

protein
14-01-2009, 17:13:54
as soon as they can transfer the energy in less than five minutes it's a winner with consumers i reckon.

Funko
14-01-2009, 17:15:46
Yeah, I agree.

Venom
14-01-2009, 17:59:49
You would just always want a back up. No one wants to be stuck in an emergency at home and have the car stuck with an empty battery.

MDA
14-01-2009, 18:03:22
Watt and Ampere, Volt and Ohm, don't forget to charge the Mobile Home?

MOBIUS
14-01-2009, 19:36:28
Originally posted by Funko
What happens if you need to drive a long distance, but don't have time for a lengthy recharging period half way.

If the batteries of today can give you a range of at least 250 miles, you can bet your bottom dollar that these capacities and charging rates will improve in the exponential manner that they have with mobile phones.

Also, in the near future, the car's outer body could be a gigantic solar 'panel', again complementing and recharging the car's battery. Swansea University is already at least a year into developing a solar powered paint with Corus here in Wales.

Failing that, the car makers could make universal batteries that you could exchange and therefore 'fill up' at the petrol stations as they make the transfer to servicing the EV market.

Indeed, they could make it that the actual battery itself is not owned by the driver and that they rent it from the manufacturer? Obviously energy from these 'filling stations' would be at a premium to mitigate the logistical problem of storing so many batteries and encouraging people to recharge at home.

Lazarus and the Gimp
14-01-2009, 20:04:01
Originally posted by MOBIUS
If the batteries of today can give you a range of at least 250 miles


....assuming you don't use lights, heater, air-con, stereo, and never attempt to drive uphill or carry passengers.

Oerdin
15-01-2009, 06:07:36
Originally posted by Funko
I've got to say if the future of cars is electric cars that have a backup petrol engine, I'm not sold.

That is a valid issue. Even so though you have to admit that having a small two cylinder generator on board running at a constant speed uses less gas then a 4 cylinder or large engine. You still end up using a lot less gas.

Honda has an electric powered fuel cell car coming out (as well as their Insight which is a hybrid duel power drive car like the Prius) while Tesla is currently selling their all electric (not even a back up generator) powered roadster and Dodge is showing an all electric sports car at the current Detroit auto show. I'm not sure these are ready for the big leagues but electric cars are at least on the market which is a good way to see if they work in the real world and if people actually want to buy them.

Oerdin
15-01-2009, 06:16:24
Originally posted by MOBIUS
If the batteries of today can give you a range of at least 250 miles, you can bet your bottom dollar that these capacities and charging rates will improve in the exponential manner that they have with mobile phones.

Also, in the near future, the car's outer body could be a gigantic solar 'panel', again complementing and recharging the car's battery. Swansea University is already at least a year into developing a solar powered paint with Corus here in Wales.

Failing that, the car makers could make universal batteries that you could exchange and therefore 'fill up' at the petrol stations as they make the transfer to servicing the EV market.

Indeed, they could make it that the actual battery itself is not owned by the driver and that they rent it from the manufacturer? Obviously energy from these 'filling stations' would be at a premium to mitigate the logistical problem of storing so many batteries and encouraging people to recharge at home.

I don't see people regularly swapping out $15,000 worth of batteries especially since the battery you get in return might not be as new as the one you leave. Solar panels on the roof and regenerative breaks would be good but those would still be just incremental improvements. I don't think electric is ready for full time yet but hybrids just might be.

Funko
15-01-2009, 09:09:09
Originally posted by MOBIUS
capacities and charging rates will improve in the exponential manner that they have with mobile phones.

Has it really been that amazing? I know my current phone is much more advanced than my first phone, but battery life is about the same, charge time is 1/4 of what it was.

Ok not my first phone but my second (cant' remember the model of my first) was a Nokia 3310, released 8 years ago.

Battery 900 mAh Li-Ion, recommended charge time from empty 4 hours

My current sony ericcson uses a battery with

930 mAh (Li-Polymer), recommended charge time from empty 1 hour

That's about a 3% increase in capacity on an average phone battery in 8 years, and charging has gone up from 225mAh to 930mAh, which is 4.13 times faster. The

Standby and talk time are roughly the same so they've obviously improved efficiency as it does a lot more. Question is, can they keep improving things that fast (definitely not exponential...) or will improvements slow down or ultra fast charging batteries become too expensive.

MOBIUS
15-01-2009, 09:31:04
OK, exponential was obviously the wrong word to use. However the difference between my first phone 13 years ago to now is quite marked.

IIRC standby was only about 12hrs, with a talk time of about 1.5hrs, compared to however many days/weeks of standby and over 3hrs talk time now with a model that is already about 2 years old (Samsung D900).

Also, it won't just be the battery that's improving, but all the other components as well, many of which may reduce battery consumption or enhance battery life.

So you already have a car that at the start of its sales to the general public is already capable of tackling the overwhelming majority of daily use requirements, and whose performance can only get much better.

As for hybrids, I think they will end up being a footnote in automotive industry...

Funko
15-01-2009, 10:02:02
Yeah... that is all probably true but it doesn't answer where the materials for a billion cars worth of batteries is going to come from.

MOBIUS
15-01-2009, 10:27:02
The ground?

Funko
15-01-2009, 10:35:39
Lithium (used in the batteries of the Tesla) is normally extracted from water.

There are widespread hopes of using lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles, but one study concluded that "realistically achievable lithium carbonate production will be sufficient for only a small fraction of future PHEV and EV global market requirements", that "demand from the portable electronics sector will absorb much of the planned production increases in the next decade", and that "mass production of lithium carbonate is not environmentally sound, it will cause irreparable ecological damage to ecosystems that should be protected and that LiIon propulsion is incompatible with the notion of the 'Green Car'".

Linkys and more info here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium

So we can't make the car batteries out of Lithium, and these are the best ones we have. So we need to invent a new battery technology using common minerals.

MattHiggs
15-01-2009, 11:03:59
The last episode of Top Gear dealt with this issue and everyone agreed that there was limited/no future in electric cars and Hydrogen was the way to go. They did a test drive with the Tesla too.

MoSe
15-01-2009, 11:25:46
the neurological effect of the lithium ion Li+ makes some lithium salts useful as a class of mood stabilizing drugs

so, if we'll use it all up for batteries, we'll get more loonies around as a trade-off?

Funko
15-01-2009, 11:32:01
Yeah, but they didn't cover the problems with Hydrogen fuel cells really. The major one being they use platinum as catalysts, in much smaller amounts than you'd need lithium for batteries but it's incredibly rare. Plus transport and storage of hydrogen is difficult and expensive because it's so volatile. Much worse than Petrol.

They are working to reduce the amount of platinum you need, but at the moment it's a problem

MOBIUS
15-01-2009, 11:46:30
Hydrogen is a non starter IMO because of all the problems involved.

I wasn't aware of Li rarity issues, but I guess in a world of diminishing resources full of peak this and peak that, I'm not surprised...

Funko
15-01-2009, 12:00:32
I don't see why hydrogen is any more problematic than battery power.

protein
15-01-2009, 12:09:04
i think you could say that mobile battery power has improved hugely. the charge time and talk time has improved a little in the last ten years but at the same time the batteries are about a 20th of the size that they were. if you made a new style battery the size of the ones in early mobile phones, it would last for months!

protein
15-01-2009, 12:12:42
actually, it's more than a 20th. those phone batteries were like bricks and now they are the size of ten playing cards stacked together.

MOBIUS
15-01-2009, 12:19:29
Aha, so maybe my 'exponential' comment wasn't so far of the mark after all, at least in terms of materials used...

MOBIUS
15-01-2009, 12:23:51
Originally posted by Funko
I don't see why hydrogen is any more problematic than battery power.

Obviously storage. Both within the vehicles themselves to stop them going Kaboom (Hollywood I am sure would love H cars on the road!) and the transport infrastructure required to fuel the vehicles.

For electric, the only major detrimental argument so far highlighted is a possible squeeze on raw materials for producing batteries.

Funko
15-01-2009, 13:08:17
Originally posted by protein
i think you could say that mobile battery power has improved hugely. the charge time and talk time has improved a little in the last ten years but at the same time the batteries are about a 20th of the size that they were. if you made a new style battery the size of the ones in early mobile phones, it would last for months!

Yeah, that's a fair point.

Funko
15-01-2009, 13:10:48
Originally posted by MOBIUS
Obviously storage. Both within the vehicles themselves to stop them going Kaboom (Hollywood I am sure would love H cars on the road!) and the transport infrastructure required to fuel the vehicles.

For electric, the only major detrimental argument so far highlighted is a possible squeeze on raw materials for producing batteries.

"There isn't enough!" is a bit of a show stopper though.

+ the environmental impact of extracting, processing those materials.
+ how do we generate the extra electricity?

MoSe
15-01-2009, 14:00:43
from human cocoons, like in Matrix

Funko
15-01-2009, 14:35:51
I'm still surprised we make more energy than we use.

MOBIUS
15-01-2009, 15:05:40
It is a bit of a concern. I read through that report, and it seems to have been written by someone with an axe to grind with EVs - so I would take it with a pinch of salt...;)

I loved how they basically swept aside all mention of recycling as if it was going to have no effect on overall Li resources, not to mention the arbitrary way that they decide whether and how much of a particular resource is available or not.

As for environmental impact, this is the same as any mining operation, however the report seems to contradict itself because it claims there isn't much of a viable resource in the first place.

We can generate more electricity through any number of means, as we are doing now already, so that isn't a problem at all.

Funko
15-01-2009, 15:07:56
I didn't actually read through that report.

We can generate more electricity through any number of means, as we are doing now already, so that isn't a problem at all.

It seems to be a problem now. People don't like nuclear, others don't like wind farms, fossil fuel stations are bad...

protein
15-01-2009, 15:14:08
natural gas cars have hugely strong tanks of thick metal. they are supposed to be less of a fire risk than petrol tanks. you can put one of the tanks in a fire for quite a while before you get your explosion.

i assume that hydrogen tanks would be the same strength if not stronger.

Funko
15-01-2009, 15:14:57
Originally posted by protein
you can put one of the tanks in a fire for quite a while before you get your explosion.

Sounds like a fun experiment

MOBIUS
15-01-2009, 15:23:56
Originally posted by Funko
I didn't actually read through that report.

I only skimmed all the conclusion bits myself...

It seems to be a problem now. People don't like nuclear, others don't like wind farms, fossil fuel stations are bad...

Only because we have an incompetent government in charge who don't have a fucking clue about sorting out our energy policies and isn't providing any decent leadership.

You can't satisfy all of the people all of the time - people are always going to complain no matter what you do...

What needs to be addressed is the total energy budget of the country, starting with a proper national energy efficiency programme, improved public transport and renewable energy.

The renewables don't even have to be big fuck off wind turbines - even things like solar heated water would save huge amounts of energy across the country if every house had one.

The UK has the best tidal resources in Europe and we have basically done NOTHING to tap them even though there are a number of viable techs. The most controversial is the Severn Barrage which alone would generate 5% of the UK's electricity needs, however there are techs that could take advantage of currents underwater without affecting the fragile sensibilities of the NIMBY brigade. The list goes on...

But our government is shit.:rolleyes:

Funko
15-01-2009, 15:28:20
The real answer is that most people shouldn't have cars, but that's not a popular policy.

MOBIUS
15-01-2009, 15:32:27
Just a decent public transport network/policy would sort that out.

protein
15-01-2009, 15:33:06
i love wind farms. i like how europe and california have loads of them.

we don't because we have moody tories who think they suck. presumably because they are in league with the devil and want the apocalypse to come.

Funko
15-01-2009, 15:39:45
Not just tories. Lots of right on hippy lefties hate them too because they kill birds and make places of natural beauty look ugly and are noisy.

(I like them)

protein
15-01-2009, 15:52:12
i can't imagine any hippy thinking that wind power isn't a beautiful, wonderfully novel and completely natural thing. they even look like big robotic hallucinations swirling in the sky!

Funko
15-01-2009, 15:53:02
I think they'd like them if they were made out of wood.

Funko
15-01-2009, 15:53:57
And not dislike windfarms exactly, just dislike windfarms on this beautiful bit of moorland we walk on.

Venom
15-01-2009, 16:03:45
Natural gas is already driven by the same forces that drive up oil prices. I don't think you're going to get affordable energy prices there. Especially when you have millions of people using it for transportation fuel.

Plus that will drive up the cost of heating my house in the winter. I don't need that.

Provost Harrison
15-01-2009, 16:51:06
Perhaps rather than having electric cars and more nuclear power stations we should have cars with small nuclear reactors in them. What could go wrong? :cute: It also solves Protein's exploding car problem quite spectacularly :D

Or for the more environmentally conscious, what about a car with a wind turbine on the roof...what did Newton know after all? ;)

Funko
15-01-2009, 16:53:28
I think that's called a sail.

protein
15-01-2009, 17:02:27
Originally posted by Provost Harrison
Perhaps rather than having electric cars and more nuclear power stations we should have cars with small nuclear reactors in them. What could go wrong? :cute: It also solves Protein's exploding car problem quite spectacularly :D


if it's good enough for marty mcfly it's good enough for me.

Funko
15-01-2009, 17:04:57
Hoverboards all round. Problem solved.

Funko
16-01-2009, 09:05:49
Oooh, good reason to swing towards EV rather than Hydrogen.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8d/Battery_EV_vs._Hydrogen_EV.png/800px-Battery_EV_vs._Hydrogen_EV.png

Funko
16-01-2009, 09:08:22
Although further research suggests that might be one of those cases where they've used the best case for EV and the worst for fuel cells. But EV should still be more efficient.

MoSe
16-01-2009, 09:42:18
So, EV should have a better EV?

Oerdin
16-01-2009, 15:55:01
Originally posted by MattHiggs
The last episode of Top Gear dealt with this issue and everyone agreed that there was limited/no future in electric cars and Hydrogen was the way to go. They did a test drive with the Tesla too.

I'll have to watch that episode. It sounds interesting.

Funko
16-01-2009, 15:57:35
They point out some of the problems but I wouldn't take it's conclusions very seriously.

They fake a scene where the Tesla runs out of batteries and a producer later came out and admitted there was never a time they didn't have a working Tesla to film unlike what they claim on the show.

Another day of research later and I think Hydrogen is less and less likely to be the future.

Oerdin
16-01-2009, 16:00:37
Originally posted by protein
i love wind farms. i like how europe and california have loads of them.

we don't because we have moody tories who think they suck. presumably because they are in league with the devil and want the apocalypse to come.

Believe it or not Texas actually passed California as the state producing the most wind energy. Environmentalists have taken to harassment law suits against wind power stations claiming they kill to many birds.

Drekkus
16-01-2009, 16:06:18
And windmills reduce the flow of air in the world, upsetting the climate!!!

Venom
16-01-2009, 16:13:37
I've often wondered about that. It that's true.

If we started covering stuff with solar panels that absorbed the energy, would the world get colder because of less reflected energy off surfaces.

Lurker the Second
16-01-2009, 16:19:52
Originally posted by Venom
I've often wondered about that.


I find that very difficult to believe.

Funko
16-01-2009, 16:21:26
Originally posted by Venom
I've often wondered about that. It that's true.

If we started covering stuff with solar panels that absorbed the energy, would the world get colder because of less reflected energy off surfaces.

no because the energy would be converted to electricity and eventually as it was used converted back to heat.

Oerdin
16-01-2009, 16:24:31
The future is compressed natural gas. We can just keep feeding Venom beans and he'll solve the global energy crisis one fart at a time.

Aredhran
16-01-2009, 16:30:55
:lol: :gasmaske:

Funko
16-01-2009, 16:35:04
And people said Hydrogen was dangerous.

Aredhran
16-01-2009, 16:37:12
I don't know if hydrogen is more dangerous, but surely it smells better :gasmaske:

Lazarus and the Gimp
16-01-2009, 17:38:21
Originally posted by Funko
[B
They fake a scene where the Tesla runs out of batteries and a producer later came out and admitted there was never a time they didn't have a working Tesla to film unlike what they claim on the show.

[/B]


However Tesla have not disputed the figures that, when driven around the test track, the Tesla's range came down to under 60 miles.

MoSe
16-01-2009, 17:43:06
well, what the addition of some sulphur can do to hydrogen!

otoh, we now have the proof that Venom is verrrrry old.

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

Hydrogen sulfide (or hydrogen sulphide) is the chemical compound with the formula H2S. This colorless, toxic and flammable gas is partially responsible for the foul odor of rotten eggs and flatulence

Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic and flammable gas. Being heavier than air, it tends to accumulate at the bottom of poorly ventilated spaces. Although very pungent at first, it quickly deadens the sense of smell, so potential victims may be unaware of its presence until it is too late.


Hydrogen sulfide has been implicated in some of the several mass extinctions that have occurred in the Earth's past. The Permian mass extinction (sometimes known as the "Great Dying") may have been caused by hydrogen sulfide.
The formation of H2S may have been initiated by massive volcanic eruptions




There!

Oerdin
16-01-2009, 22:25:50
So Venom's ass is actually a massive volcanic eruption. Good to know.

Funko
19-01-2009, 09:03:31
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
However Tesla have not disputed the figures that, when driven around the test track, the Tesla's range came down to under 60 miles.

Yeah, and although the car wasn't out of batteries it was down to about 20% power so they couldn't get good shots.

Drive any of the sports cars they have on the show fast around the track and their mileage sucks. A car company quoting best possible mileage figures is nothing new.

Anyway, I think the point is that all these technologies are a long way off being useful to the masses.

mr_B
19-01-2009, 09:18:20
cars are sooooo 2005

JM^3
19-01-2009, 09:42:13
For driving in the city something that was like the tesla but a lot cheaper would be pretty cool. The only time I would need more then 60 miles is when I go up to DC area.

But if there was just a great metro-type system (/etc/etc) then I could do that instead.

JM

JM^3
19-01-2009, 09:43:10
Thinking about this sort of stuff makes me want to play SimCity

JM

Provost Harrison
19-01-2009, 13:21:40
I'd definitely be more interested with shorter charge times and larger energy capacity. And perhaps a spare battery would be a handy thing too, depending on their size of course :D