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chevy volt. drive an electric car, pay way more for monthly bills.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by steven-c, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. steven-c

    steven-c Well-Known Member

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    Just reading a wikipedia article on the Chevrolet Volt, a concept car that chevy hopes to actually produce in 2010.

    in case you dont know what this is, the car is nearly 100% electric, with a small 1 litre engine to refuel to increase range.

    Thing is, you plug this into your wall socket and charge it in a 6.5 hour period.

    The electric engine only goes 40 miles on a charge. on the highway it can go as far as 680 miles with the gas engine charging the batteries.

    But as american talk show host glen beck likes to say:

    now im not an engineer, but i am a thinker:

    buy electric car for $60,000 (orignal price was $30k btw, now double that original) and hardly ever buy gas.
    Instead, plug it in each night and charge it from a 120V outlet.
    But wait.
    Dont we get that electricy from somewhere? And where does that come from? Well in america, most of that comes from coal.
    Coal is dirty. The giant hippocrite Harry Ried from Nevada said that "coal kills" as a matter of fact.
    There is no way in america to reliably use wind yet without billions of dollars of spending to build wind farms, and only places like vegas where i am and in the SW are solar options really year round available.

    So burn more coal. Another FINITE resourse.

    Seems like going in circles to me.
    The article on that vehicle is here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt
     
  2. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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  3. steven-c

    steven-c Well-Known Member

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    just something i was thinking of.
    another thing to consider about hydrogen... (yes, i know my OP was about electric car).

    would a city like vegas or phoenix filled with a few hundred thousand HYDROGEN emitting cars manage to put out enough water vapor to change the dry climates in these cities?

    and to that end, are hydrogen powered cars just giant bombs as soon as the hydrogen leaks in an accident and touches an open spark?

    just sort of putting this out there if anyone wants to comment. the fitness crowd is often full of rather smart people i find.
     
  4. Agon

    Agon Active Member

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    The whole issue about the electric energy in the US being generated from coal is true. We do generate a considerable amount of energy from coal, but a new trend has started to move towards renewable energy, wind, solar, geothermal, etc. Additionally, it's going to be much simpler to wean ourselves onto alternative energies via the power companies/cooperatives than it is to shift hundreds of thousands of vehicles to a different fuel source. On top of that, coal power plants are more efficient at producing energy than a gas engine is. Even with drop-off from transmission lines it's been shown that electric is more efficient at producing energy, and electric motors are more efficient at converting stored electrical energy to mechanical as well.

    In the case of Hydrogen, that's just the gas companies looking to sell us more crap. If we all go to electric cars the oil companies will be out of business. They want to go to hydrogen because it's a renewable resource, and they can sell it to us just like they sell gas. On top of this the only currently viable generation of hydrogen for cars is via an electrolytic conversion which takes, you guessed it, electricity. So either way you're using power plants and shifting demand. It's just the number of middle men you're cutting out.

    One idea that I had for electric cars was to have battery pack change out stations. Since gas stations would be less necessary if we all have electric vehicles, why not make batteries in cars conform to some kind of open standard and have stations that take your packs out of your car and put charged ones in. Similar to propane exchange. Then you have essentially unlimited range, the same as any gas powered vehicle now.
     
    #4 Agon, Jul 8, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  5. Robert2006

    Robert2006 Active Member

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    Electric cars sound okay for Vegas but I wonder how the batteries would hold up in cold weather :confused:

    Electric cars would lead to a combo electrical system.

    Baseload power would be Nukes. They are hard to start/stop so would run at 100% all the time.

    Then a combination of wind and solar. Remember most of North America is 2 or 3 grids. With power wandering all around the place.

    Then flexible top up power from things like natural gas. Gas plants can be turned on/off quickly.

    Along with the wind/solar would be co-generation.


    The gas plants would get turned on when the market price was high.

    But I've got a bigger question. Can the grid provide the power? Think about rush hour. Everybody gets home and plugs in? I guess it would the off set factories and offices shutting down for the evening. But I wonder.
     
  6. kmfisher

    kmfisher Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the grid can provide power. The DOE estimated the grid can currently handle 30 million electric cars simultaneously charging in it's current state. The cars use a trickle charge, so the use a light bulb worth of energy to charge.

    The Volt is hugely important for the future of cars. It's a pure electric system that is recharged by anything. The gas engine can be subbed out for hydrogen, solar, diesel, etc. It doesn't matter.

    The initial goal of the Volt was to come out at $40,000. If it gets traction it could transform car making and bring GM back into the spotlight.
     
  7. Agon

    Agon Active Member

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    As far as cold weather systems go. They do have battery heater systems for them already. It would be similar to what people, like myself, in cold weather areas already do. Plug in your car at night, once it has been started the batteries would heat themselves. Or possibly new batteries could be designed specifically for cold weather. Similar to what some people do for snow tires and such.

    For the charging concerns. Obviously, with more demand for power the infrastructure would have to be shored up a bit. They have a system in Japan I've heard of where people have certian off-peak hours allotted to charging times. I think the hours were 11pm - 6am. In the case of that the local power company/cooperative could send out notices for when people are to have thier charging station running and stagger charging if it becomes that large of an issue. We have timers that will turn on appliances and lights at a given time, we could do the exact same with a charging station. If you need to charge before your set time slot, you could go to a battery exchange station or perhaps they'll sell you electric at a slightly increased rate. I'm not sure exactly how it would work, but when the demand is there the money will follow, and money is what gets things done.
     
  8. OrangeTiger

    OrangeTiger Active Member

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    Don't forget/Dismiss Nuclear Power.


    It's come a long way since the last of the plants were built (in the 1970's).

    I believe (and in point of fact, I know) that you will begin seeing more Nuclear plants popping up as the cost of energy continues to rise. As a matter of fact, very soon from now Duke Energy, a Southeastern regional energy provider, is set to break ground on a new Nuclear Plant (in Gaffney, SC) within the year. They already have everything permitted and lined up, and are only lacking pushing some non-critical paperwork through.

    The only thing with the Volt, is I wonder if the extra power provided by the charging it at your house is less than the cost of gasoline? I have no clue, but would like to know.
     
  9. Gordo

    Gordo Well-Known Member

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    The current crop of hybrid-electrics do fine in Canadian Winters. Most taxi fleets around my parts are Prius's now, a fully electric vehicle s/b a non-issue (in terms of battery) from what I understand.

    Canadian Hydro Corporations are salivating at the chance to sell their hydro-electric power down south.
     
    #9 Gordo, Jul 8, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  10. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    That's what I thought the thread was going to be about, based on the title.

    But that's still considering just financial cost, not environmental cost.

    To improve the situation, I'd like to see more communal transportation systems. We don't need as many cars as we've currently produced, just to have them sitting in driveways, parking lots, etc. Why not use cars in shifts? Car sharing will become more popular. Also much more cost effective when your fuel usage is being shared with others in the vehicle with you, like with buses and trains. And how often could you use manually powered transportation, like walking biking, skateboarding, and others, instead of driving?

    I want one of these babies.:) :dreamy:
    [​IMG]
    Uno: Zero emissions one-wheeled motorcycle
     
  11. Gordo

    Gordo Well-Known Member

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    personally I'm waiting for "Mr. Fusion" (tm) myself.
     
  12. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    But if it takes fossil fuels to produce the electricity, then is this really better for the environment?

    Well, if you are driving just as much as you always do, then won't sharing cars produce just as much pollution? Plus, it would suck having to coordinate car schedules with a ton of people. I know, that sounds trivial, but these sorts of pragmatic difficulties is what prevents people from doing this sort of thing.
     
  13. MannishBoy

    MannishBoy Senior Member

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    That's probably green in more ways than one. Emissions is the publicized one, but population control is probably a close second :tucool:
     
  14. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    Yes, where you are going, you don't need "roads". :cool:
     
  15. Gordo

    Gordo Well-Known Member

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    :lol:

    :tu:
     
  16. Robert2006

    Robert2006 Active Member

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    There is a group that organizes car sharing. You pay a membership fee and then get access to a car. Sort of like short term rentals. They hit Toronto last year and are in other parts of North America. The advantage is you only pay for use.

    OTOH if they really wanted to encourage people to not drive they'd build subdivisions not requiring every member of the family to have their own car. How often today do you see kids having to be driven to the park :doh: Or other basic things just because everything is so spread out.
     
  17. TheRyanator

    TheRyanator Well-Known Member

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  18. Hort

    Hort Well-Known Member

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    How about WEAV?

    Man Builds Flying Saucer with Plasma Propulsion System
    Professor Subrata Roy from the University of Florida wants to patent his saucer craft. The craft has no moving parts and can hover and take off vertically. Roy dubbed the saucer WEAV, or wingless electromagnetic air vehicle.

    Using his plasma research experience, Roy developed a craft with no moving parts such as engines or propellers. Electrodes lining the surface of the craft ionize the air, creating plasma. Electric currents are sent through the plasma to give it lift.

    Roy said, “If successful, we will have an aircraft, a saucer and a helicopter all in one embodiment.” Roy envisions the craft not only being used on Earth but also on other worlds, such as Saturn’s moon, Titan.



    -I heard on the radio this morning it has one downside- can't work in a vacuum... no "to the moon!" :tu:
     
  19. Hort

    Hort Well-Known Member

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    The best thing about this thread is that it shows that people are interested in and talking about the alternatives more than ever before- it's about time.
     
  20. Chadster

    Chadster Well-Known Member

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    Each technology has its own plus and minus. I live in coal country, and the emissions from coal-fired plants are centrally-controlled which is great but the scrubber technology produces TONS of byproduct that is either mixed into gypsum (drywall) board or buried in dumps. It's a filthy mess at the plant but the air is cleaner.

    Nuclear technology is great but what do you do with the waste? It sits in concrete tunnels until the end of time.

    Solar is great but the photovoltaic technology is still relatively weak, therefore the array size is currently huge. Some day it may be great.

    I was always a hydrogen fan and have written some papers on it in college, but as it was mentioned it is still inefficient to produce and transport. UPS, Chrysler, GM, Penn State and the army have all conducted successful trials but in very limited geographic areas. Some city buses run successfully on hydrogen but the monetary cost is not enticing.

    With electric cars you don't have hundreds of thousands of gas/diesel engines in various levels of disrepair. My favorite car.... The Tesla Roadster.
     

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