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One Gallon the Achilles' Heel of Electric Cars
Muny Dews Blog ^ | 2-20-12 | Muny Dews

Posted on 02/20/2012 10:28:53 AM PST by Brookhaven

The Chevy Volt's batteries hold the same amount of energy as one gallon of gasoline—one single gallon.

Would you buy a car that held only one gallon of gasoline? Neither would I. Yet, we've invested billions of dollars developing and promoting a car with an “electric gas tank” (the batteries) that only holds one gallon's worth of energy.

I've heard that new super batteries are just around the corner. All we have to do is invest enough money and they'll appear. Just like computers (in the 1950's they were the size of rooms, today they can be held in the palm of your hand), battery development is whizzing along at a blurring pace. Unfortunately, that isn't true. The development pace of batteries is nothing like that of computers.

A better analogy for battery development is radio. In the 1950's most people listened to music on AM radio. In the 1970's, FM radio became the standard for listening to music. Digital radio was introduced in the 2000's. Each of these was a step up in quality, but they weren't such a huge step that they made the old standards obsolete.

Alkaline batteries were commonly used in the 1950's, and they still are today. Plug a C, D, or AA battery into any device; odds are it's the same alkaline battery technology they were using back in the 1950's. Nickel batteries appeared in the 1970's. Lithium batteries appeared in the 1990's, and have three times the capacity of 1950's alkaline batteries. Truth is, the change in battery technology is slow, slow, slow.

The Chevy Volt battery pack weighs 435 pounds. That's what's required to store the energy found in one gallon of gasoline. If you wanted to create a Volt that had a “five gallon” energy tank, it would require at least 2,175 pounds of batteries—literally over a ton. Even if batteries suddenly became dirt cheap, the weight alone makes creating a car that holds more than a couple of gallons of energy unfeasible.

When Consumer Reports tested the Volt, they managed to get 28 miles on a full battery charge; which sounds about right for one gasoline gallon's worth of energy. The desingers at GM knew that also. That's why then ended up putting an internal combustion engine in the car to burn gasoline to produce electricity to power the electric motors. The Volt was meant to be an all electric car, it was sold to the public and the government as an all electric car, so why did they include an internal combustion engine? Because, the best battery pack they could come up could only hold the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline.

When Poplular Mechanics tested the Volt, they found that even with the battery assist the Volt only got 32 mpg in the city, and 39 mpg on the highway. This is not an improvement over conventional cars (in fact, it's less than some conventional cars get). The truth is, when it comes to miles per gallon, the Volt is not as "green" as many conventional vehicles. And, the reason is the Volt has to carry 435 pounds of weight (the battery pack)--a battery pack that becomes dead weight after it expends its one gallon's worth of energy. The battery pack made the car less green.

The Nissan Leaf did a little better. Consumer Reports got 68 miles out of a full charge (about two gallons worth of energy). Nissan didn't use more advanced technology than the Volt. The Leaf has a larger battery than the Volt (660 lbs. Vs 435 lbs.) and the non-battery part of the car weighs less (2,694 lbs. Vs 3,346 lbs.). Nissan just put more batteries in the car, and made the rest of the car lighter.

This might still be workable, if you could refill the “electric gas tank” in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, it takes at least 8 hours to fully recharge the batteries in the all electric Leaf. A drive from Atlanta to Birmingham (about 150 miles) takes about three hours (I drive slow and like to make a couple of stops along the way). If I tried to make that trip in the Nissan Leaf, it would take at least 20 hours, because I would have to make two 8-hour stops to recharge the battery.

So, why isn't just adding more batteries and making the car lighter a solution? Look at the Tesla Roadster. It gets 211 miles on a full battery charge (that's what Tesla claimed in a lawsuit against the show Top Gear—who said they only got 55 miles per charge—so we'll go with that over the 250 plus miles Tesla claims in their advertising). 211 miles is still a great range, but how did they achieve it? They increased the battery pack to 992 pounds (557 pounds more than the Volt) and decreased the non-battery weight to 1,731 pounds (2,053 pounds less than the Volt). The Tesla Roadster is a small, small car. I'm sure it's fun as a sports car, but if ask it to do any of the mundane tasks in life (carry a family, or bring home a load groceries) it's not anywhere near to being up to the task.

The Chevy Volt was sold as an electric vehicle. The early advertising for the car (including while GM was asking for money in the bailout) was all about the Volt being an electric car. GM put every engineering brain cell it had behind the Volt. There is no doubt the Chevy Volt is state of the art, best in class as far as electric vehicles go--and it has a gasoline engine as a crutch. It must have that crutch, because the batteries in the Volt only hold the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline—one single gallon.

Would we be calling a regular car with a gas tank that only held one gallon of gasoline “the car America had to build?” Would we have spent billions of dollars developing that car? Would we be offering $7,500 tax credits to encourage consumers to purchase that car?

Yet, that is what we've done with the Chevy Volt. We've put all our money and efforts behind a car with an “electric gas tank” that holds the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. The Chevy Volt, or any other electric car, will not be the answer to our energy problems until we can equip a car with a battery pack that can hold the same energy equivalent as the gas tanks in current cars. Given the history of battery development (tripling capacity every 40 years), that will be somewhere between 120 and 160 years from now.

Buying an electric car today is the same as buying a regular car that only holds one gallon of gasoline. Building one is, well...I'll let you answer that one yourself.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government
KEYWORDS: volt
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This is a slightly different version than the one posted yesterday.
1 posted on 02/20/2012 10:29:04 AM PST by Brookhaven
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To: Brookhaven

What does it cost to replace a Volt battery and the cost to set up a 220v charging station.


2 posted on 02/20/2012 10:34:31 AM PST by duckman (Go Newt...)
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To: Brookhaven

The only way electric cars will ever be practical when you can get power from the road.

Production of these cars is nothing more then graft.


3 posted on 02/20/2012 10:42:11 AM PST by The Free Engineer
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To: Brookhaven

The best evidence that hybrids are all hype is that they use gasoline instead of diesel. Serious diesel electric vehecles, to wit locomotives and submarines, use diesel engines. The reason consumer hybrids avoid diesels is because that would shatter the myth that they are somehow “clean”.


4 posted on 02/20/2012 10:42:23 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Ceterum autem censeo, Obama delenda est.)
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To: Brookhaven
Eight hours on the charger! Where do people think the electricity comes from? A current bush?

Most people completely disregard the fact that the majority of our electricity comes from burning coal. And it is not cheap -- an 8 hour charge on 220v is like running your dryer all day nonstop. Every day. I'd love to see that bill each month.

How can people (and governments and corporations) be so stupid?

5 posted on 02/20/2012 10:45:54 AM PST by Semper911 (When you want to rob Peter to pay Paul, you'll always have the support of Paul.)
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To: Brookhaven

It’s also worth noting that there has been a huge market-based incentive to improve battery technology throughout its history.

Everybody who uses battery-powered devices — which is to say virtually everybody — wants longer battery life. There are few potential products that would have comparable instantaneous demand if they could only be invented and commercialized.

It is foolishness to think that, if government would only spend more money on research, it would accomplish a technological breakthrough in battery technology.


6 posted on 02/20/2012 10:47:15 AM PST by Skepolitic
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To: Skepolitic

Could try capacitors, though. They can hold large amounts of power and they charge up very quickly.

The problem is, though, that they are made to discharge all at once. If there was a way to regulate the discharge to a set amount over time... it might be more feasible that trying to figure out a better battery.


7 posted on 02/20/2012 10:53:58 AM PST by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: Semper911

Because the government is subsidizing with large tax breaks..


8 posted on 02/20/2012 10:57:34 AM PST by Michael Barnes (Obamaa+ Downgrade)
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To: Semper911

>> “How can people (and governments and corporations) be so stupid?” <<

.
Simple: - The sole purpose of electric cars is to destroy the mobility of the common man. (cue-up Jimmah Cahta’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”)
.


9 posted on 02/20/2012 10:59:00 AM PST by editor-surveyor (No Federal Sales Tax - No Way!)
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To: Brookhaven

Liberals...play at building cars...play at building housing..play at having families...play at being mortgage brokers...play at being traders ...and play at being doctors...and play while presidentin’!!!

they don’t REALLY DO a DA*% THING useful...except to provide a contrast to reality!!!


10 posted on 02/20/2012 11:00:27 AM PST by mo
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11 posted on 02/20/2012 11:02:58 AM PST by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: Brookhaven

It’s a perfect analogy to help people understand the concept of energy density, which has always been the holy grail of all battery designers. Go back to the days before we had alkaline cells, and your typical flashlight might last a few hours. Lithium technology has brought a new level of performance, and batteries will continue to improve and new technologies such as miniature PEM fuel cells will come into widespread use. I’ve seen models of fuel cells that can be recharged in a few seconds and will run a laptop, for example:
http://www.gizmag.com/at-last-an-affordable-portable-pocket-size-fuel-cell/15425/

Why it’s become fashionable on FR to bash new technologies, I don’t quite know. We’re not typing on Underwood portables, you know? So rather than belittle these developments, we should focus our frustration on GUMMINT involvement, and let the free market and private investment determine which are winners and which are losers. It will be some time before other energy sources come close to the energy density of a gallon of gas - but the market will be the first to tell us when it does.

Government over-reach is the real outrage when it comes to energy.


12 posted on 02/20/2012 11:05:49 AM PST by bigbob
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To: Brookhaven

Well, that battery may only hold one gallon of gas, but the Volt pays a lot of UAW wages and thus Democrats. Instead of measuring by gallons of gas, it should be measured in dollars of Democrat campaign donations. There’s the real metric.


13 posted on 02/20/2012 11:11:59 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: gogogodzilla

“The problem is, though, that they are made to discharge all at once. If there was a way to regulate the discharge to a set amount over time... it might be more feasible that trying to figure out a better battery.


Ah a little correction is needed here. Capacitors are not DESIGNED to discharge all at once. They can if desired or can be discharged over time if desired.

It is known as an RC time constant T=RC where T=Time in seconds, R= Resistance in ohms, and C= Capacitance in Farads. While in the olden days a one Farad capacitor would have been huge that is no longer the case but you still need many, many Farads to power an electric vehicle. A one Farad capacitor, connected to a resistor of 100 ohms to discharge to approx 60% of its full charge in 100 seconds. See the problem? The resistance in an electric vehicle will be very low to get enough current into the motor therefor you will need copious Farads of capacitors for any appreciable drive time.

As far as batteries, if people are really interested spend a few hours researching the Edison Battery used in the first electric cars. Lighter than Lead Acid, they are an Alkyine battery and the fluid does NOT destroy the electrodes so the life expectancy can be up to 100 years and no that is not a misprint. Jay Leno has a Baker electric car with the original Edison Battery and it still works.

The Edison battery can be fully discharged without damage (try that with some batteries) and can be over charged and the only thing which needs to be done is topping off the lost water with distilled water. It is also much less toxic than Lead Acid batteries.

These batteries do lose about 1% of their charge per month if not trickle charged but for an electric vehicle that is not much of an issue.

Why are we not using them? Well for one Exide purchased the rights for the current methods of manufacturing in the mid 70s and proceeded to halt production. On the surface it would seem they did not want a 100 year battery on the market.

They are being used as backup supplies for solar or windmill system and of course mainly manufactured in China.

One of the posters on this thread did touch on a real issue even if there is a PERFECT battery it has to be charged from some source.

Can you imagine millions of cars all plugged into the grid everyday while at the same time we have a POS of a president who is doing his best to reduce our ability to produce energy.


14 posted on 02/20/2012 11:27:12 AM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: Wurlitzer

ZI’m sure the Exide people deliberately suppress the 100 year battery for short-term profit;such behavior is typical business. Buy out the competition and then shut down the product has happened many times.

It is why a real patent reform that would void any patent simply held or hoarded and patenents and copyrights would expire after the limited time of as originmally set up,that is, within a decade or two of the grant.


15 posted on 02/20/2012 11:48:25 AM PST by hoosierham (Freedom isn't free)
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To: Wurlitzer

ZI’m sure the Exide people deliberately suppress the 100 year battery for short-term profit;such behavior is typical business. Buy out the competition and then shut down the product has happened many times.

It is why a real patent reform that would void any patent simply held or hoarded and patenents and copyrights would expire after the limited time of as originmally set up,that is, within a decade or two of the grant.


16 posted on 02/20/2012 11:48:39 AM PST by hoosierham (Freedom isn't free)
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To: Semper911

I ran the math one time on the cost to charge vs. gasoline, based on numbers from a Motor Trend article and my own electric bill. It did look like you’d save a fair amount to use electricity, everything being equal. I don’t remember exactly but it seemed like electricity was about 75-80% cheaper than $3 gas. But if I recall, those numbers assumed better performance of the Volt than I’ve heard about lately. And it didn’t account for battery replacements. Also, it doesn’t count the in-elasticity of supply of electricity. If electric cars were widely adopted and electrical demand shot up in a short period, not only would the cost have to increase, but we’d see blackouts and probably some kind of rationing like they do with AC in the summer. Government should have learned from the CA 1990 ZEV law that just because you pass it doesn’t mean the technology exists to get you there.


17 posted on 02/20/2012 11:57:07 AM PST by JTHomes (Free markets now!)
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To: Brookhaven

There is no doubt the Chevy Volt is state of the art, best in class as far as electric vehicles go--and it has a gasoline engine as a crutch. It must have that crutch, because the batteries in the Volt only hold the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline—one single gallon.

Ironic that GM put their "green" car in front of a wind farm. Not only does the Volt need a crutch so does every other source of "alternative" energy (except tidal and hydroelectric). Because of the quixotic nature of the wind every single watt of wind generated power has to be backed up with conventionally generated power (coal, oil, NG, or nuclear). The same is true for photovoltaic (solar cells). Hydroelectric makes sense as it is dependable, renewable, nonpolluting, safe as churches, and of course the "tree huggers" are demanding that we remove our dams to return the rivers to their "free and natural state".

This country has too many people making too much money out of lousy engineering.

GtG

18 posted on 02/20/2012 12:12:16 PM PST by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: duckman
What does it cost to replace a Volt battery and the cost to set up a 220v charging station.

That's an interesting question. Since the car causes the fire which burns down the garage, would the auto policy cover both, so you only have to pay the deductible on your auto policy, or would you have to pay the deductible on your home policy as well?

19 posted on 02/20/2012 12:16:39 PM PST by Darth Reardon (No offense to drunken sailors)
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To: hoosierham

I cannot argue one iota on your opinion regarding patents. A patent was not intended to deprive the world a product or invention but to give an inventor a chance to profit from the invention before it could be produced by anyone else.

Given the pluses of the Edison Battery I would think it would be a great jumping off point for electric vehicles until something better came down the pike. It is proven, less toxic, much longer lasting, less susceptible to damage via over/under charging, less weight than lead acid.

Exide could only have bought a patent on a method of manufacturing as I do not believe a battery from 1900 could be still protected by a patent. If I put on a tin foil hat I could imagine battery manufactures conspiring to NOT manufacture a 100 year battery.


20 posted on 02/20/2012 12:17:25 PM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: Brookhaven

I wonder the drain on the battery yield if you need to run the heater or the AC while you operate the vehicle...


21 posted on 02/20/2012 12:18:28 PM PST by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
The best evidence that hybrids are all hype is that they use gasoline instead of diesel.

I think the hybrid idea is one of the better strategies to come along in the last 70 or so years. However, you are absolutely right about using Diesel power to drive the generator. I don't agree that it has much to do with "clean" as it is certainly possible to design clean Diesel cycle engines. Perhaps the love affair with gasoline is driven by the price of Diesel fuel which spiked about $1.00/gal when they started removing sulfur, which put it well above the price of E-15 gasoline.

Regards,
GtG

22 posted on 02/20/2012 12:49:25 PM PST by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: Wurlitzer

You completely missed my point.

The main flaw in batteries is not the number of charges the batteries can take... it’s how long it takes to charge the battery in the first place (not saying that the number of charges isn’t another problem, but it’s less of a problem than the 8-16 hour charge time).

Capacitors have charge times less than the standard time it takes to fill up a tank of gasoline. Thus the main problem of electric cars and their batteries are eliminated.

There are problems with capacitors, like I said, but considering how long batteries have been around... and their slow rate of progress, we might want to consider just how far we could go with capacitors instead.


23 posted on 02/20/2012 12:54:27 PM PST by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: Brookhaven

The analogy to AM and FM radio, and such is invalid in ways which harm and support your argument..
AM persists not despite its inferiority to FM, but because it is superior to FM for certain purposes. And since radios didn’t have to choose between AM or FM, and therefore both could co-exist, it remained.
Better options emerged, but they were specialized replacement technologies: cell phones, HAM radios, CB, etc.

Battery technology will improve quickly because it is close to becoming the same general type of technology as transistors: capacitators. Capacitators will replace, not augment existing battery technology, but should be able to be retrofitted into existing cars, so only the batter will be obselete, not the entire electric car.

To me, the Volt represents bleeding-edge technology, and represents a poor investment except for certain edge-case applications. The Tesla is a much more sustainable business model, at that. But electric cars will eventually succeed, so we need tailor conservative criticism of the Volt carefully, or else discredit our ideology when the right technology emerges.


24 posted on 02/20/2012 1:24:37 PM PST by dangus
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To: JTHomes

Don’t forget the increased registration fees for automobiles which don’t pay gasoline taxes at the pump.


25 posted on 02/20/2012 2:15:25 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Romney just makes me tired all over.)
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To: Wurlitzer

A friend of mine has some original Edison batteries in working condition, so I can attest to their longevity. However, the problem of energy density remains. They are still far too large, too heavy and too expensive to be a practical alternative to gasoline in cars. Those batteries still require time to recharge.

BTW, have you even heard a large capacitor blow up? A car capacitor explosion would be most impressive. I’ll pass on those.


26 posted on 02/20/2012 2:41:06 PM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: TexasRepublic

TexasRepublic, I agree they don’t have the desired energy density of modern alternatives but I strongly dispute they are more expensive. That is strictly a function of low production volume as their basic construction does not require expensive materials. They are so simple in design they can be built in the home albeit not as efficient as a manufactured Edison Battery.

In energy density two things must be considered. Density as it relates to physical size and density as it relates to weight. The Edison has the lead acid battery beat on both fronts. It lags behind Lithium Ion and some more exotic batteries HOWEVER their basic design is so simple, sound, long lived, there might just be a trade off to allow for more space consumed by an Edison battery.

There is a very good reason Exide went through the expense of buying the manufacturing rights and then completely shut down production. You don’t do that unless you do not want that product on the market shelf. There had been significant improvements in the design of the anode construction and I believe that is what Exide wanted to withhold. That improvement would have increased energy density and as it was simply a modified configuration of existing materials such a modification would have a subsequent reduction in cost per watt.

Given the configuration of the Chevy Volt, Edison Batteries would have fit and been a better choice for initial cost and cost per mile and less toxic. After all it is nothing more than a highly rechargeable alkaline battery with relatively inexpensive components. Oh, by the way, China has also bought up significant mining rights for the metals involved in this battery.

Regarding caps blowing up, YUP big time. I use some large caps in a 3 phase converter for my pipe organ and twice they decided to let out the magic smoke all at one time. BANG!

Regarding such an experience in a car, certainly in ANY electric vehicle, emergency crews need to be trained in the hazards of such a power plant.


27 posted on 02/20/2012 3:33:18 PM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: gogogodzilla

“You completely missed my point.”


No my FR friend I did not. The Edison battery can be charged faster and without damage than other batteries on the market. Not as fast as a capacitor but faster than batteries.

Yes it would be a real challenge to charge any currently known battery technologies as fast as you can charge a capacitor but we again fight the old T=RC problem during drive time.

For example lets say a magic electric car only requires 1 HP or 796 watts and lets say it is a 240 volt motor. So if the motor is 100% efficient it will require 3.31 amps therefore the effective resistance (I won’t get into inductance) the capacitor sees will be ~72 ohms.

Now lets back into what we will need for a 30 mile range at 60 MPH to make the numbers easy (1 gallon of gas equilv.)

To have 60% energy left in the capacitor after that 30 mile minute trip we will need the following for our T=RC equation... T=1800 seconds, Resistance is 72 ohms therefore we will need a 25 Farad capacitor with at bare minimum 240 volt capacity. Check out how much that puppy will cost. AND AGAIN this is for a 1 HP car good luck getting a 1 HP car up to 60 MPH.


28 posted on 02/20/2012 3:50:39 PM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: Wurlitzer

“I strongly dispute they are more expensive”

As I recall, Edison batteries were made from nickel and iron. Nickel is currently $9.80 per pound. I don’t know what the manufacturing today would cost. Did you ever read how they were made? Thin layers of nickel and copper were alternately electroplated onto a substrate and then the copper was dissolved, leaving nickel flakes so fine they would float in the air. Those were then crammed into porous metal tubes under high pressure. Edison refined the manufacture so far (after 10 years of development) that I am not sure how much improvement along those lines could be made. Sooner or later, you reach the theoretical limits of materials. In other words, you cannot violate physics.


29 posted on 02/20/2012 4:18:44 PM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: Brookhaven

This could be a little misleading. We’re used to a gallon not doing much for us in a car, because car engines are SO DAMNED INEFFICIENT. There is a hell of a lot of energy in a gallon of gas - that’s what’s so wonderful about gasoline. It has always pained me that the internal combustion engine wasted so much of that energy. Anyway, an electric motor is much more effiecient at putting that energy to the wheels where it is useful, rather then blowing it out the radiator as heat. If we had car engines as efficent as electric motors, our gas tanks would only need to hold maybe 5 gallons instead of 20. The Volt is a waste though. We need compressed natural gas cars instead of electric cars.


30 posted on 02/20/2012 8:04:55 PM PST by H.Akston (It is racist to believe that affirmative action is necessary.)
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To: Wurlitzer

I don’t know how much it’d cost... but as you’ve just proven, it is currently possible. Which isn’t the case with batteries.

And with cost the only issue left to solve, well... as everything else that has once been expensive but now is not as an example, we can lick that problem easier and quicker than developing new battery technologies.


31 posted on 02/20/2012 8:48:50 PM PST by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: The Free Engineer

or alternatively, what they do in Israel — namely that you rent a battery. When you deplete it, you drop it off at a “power station” and get a fully charged one as replacement (after forking out the cash for the charge).


32 posted on 02/20/2012 11:43:08 PM PST by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: H.Akston

BS. About 90% of the electricity to run the electric motor started in a heat driven turbine marginally more efficient than a car engine, and the majority of that heat spewed out the exhaust as waste. The electricity then generated waste heat in the power lines and transformers coming to the charging station representing about 6.5% of the total energy. The electricity with then generate waste heat charging and discharging the batteries to the tune of about 15-20% loss. Then the electric motors themselves that work at about 86%-90% efficiency for most driving conditions. Add it all together and the power plant has to produce 37% to 50% more energy output per unit input to keep up with the gas or diesel engined car. The second law of Thermodynamics demands there be no free lunches.

I’m not completely negative on hybrid electric car though. The regenerative braking allows the reclaiming of a lot of energy in city driving. The problem is keeping added complexity and weight from becoming a net cost liability- and as close as we’ve come in recent years I don’t think we’ve actually solved that problem. The recent popularity of hybrid cars is more about politics and fashion than it is about actual cost effectiveness. As it stands I will take a Toyota Yaris getting 30city/38HW maxing out under $18000 over a Toyota Prius getting 51cty/48HW with a base, stripped down price of nearly $24000.


33 posted on 02/21/2012 12:28:43 AM PST by Flying Circus
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To: H.Akston

It’s not misleading.

The one gallon comparison in this case, is that the batteries will propel the car the same distance as one gallon of gasoline.

As someone else pointed out, the batteries actually hold no where near the energy of a gallon of gasoline.

Volt battery pack ~17 kwhz.
1 gallon of gas ~ 36 kwhz.

If anything, the author is being kind to the battery pack here.


34 posted on 02/21/2012 5:21:35 AM PST by Brookhaven (Mitt Romney will right-size the economy--just like he did your job when he bought your company)
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To: gogogodzilla

Well I tried my best but seems the numbers did not get through.

Unless people can grasp the amount of electrical energy required to come close to the energy in a single gallon of gasoline these discussions become nothing more than mental masturbation.

If your criteria is to equal the functionality of gasoline and the ease of use, well you are going to be disappointed for many years as long as we allow companies to purchase patents so that they can sit on them. Even the Edison Battery with all its positive attributes would not completely satisfy most people who have been spoiled by the range and ease of use of gasoline. It will be a major compromise.

Getting back to the capacitor issue, I gave you an example of a very poor performing car with only one HP and you think that proves this is possible? NOT EVEN CLOSE.

For most of my life, capacitors were considered large if they were 100, or 200 MicroFarads at 100 volts and my awful example showed a requirement for 25 FARADS not Micro (1/1,000,000) Farads at 240 volts. Not only will that be expensive but large, very large. Modern capacitor technology has made leaps and bounds but we will need maybe 10,000 Farads at 400+ volts to get close to the range of a small gas tank and performance of gasoline.

My reason for pointing out the Edison Battery was that we had some technology which had possibilities and one company decided to purchase and withhold that technology from the public. Not the first time or the last time this was done.

After all this back and forth, and please trust me as an electronic engineer I would love to see electric vehicles HOWVER, we still have to charge these things be they batteries, capacitors, or Skittle Pooping Unicorns and that electricity has to come from somewhere. WHERE?

When we continue to elect technology retards simply because they are lawyers adept at cheating the law and all of us, we will never have an energy policy which can support the additional load on our electrical grid imposed by millions of cars. It is not going to happen unless we bring online Gigawatts of power and revamp the ENTIRE distribution grid to handle this huge additional load.

If you want an alternative power source which you could start TODAY to phase in, look to Natural Gas. We have it in abundance. There are already conversion kits available for DUAL FUEL Natural Gas/Gasoline systems.

As we have the technology and the ability for DUAL FUEL with the simple flip of a switch in the car, we could simultaneously start installing Natural Gas fueling systems in existing gasoline stations. No matter where you were in the USA you could find either gasoline or Natural Gas and flip the switch to what you were able to obtain on any given day.

However, even with Natural Gas our enemy is not the technology but the enemies we elect. In Western New York there is only one station where an average citizen can fuel up with Natural Gas. There are many other stations but the average citizen is FORBIDDEN from using them because they are for the NYS DOT and we peons are not allowed.

To be energy independent we MUST go back to TAR because without TAR and Feathers these pencil neck lawyer scum will keep gaming the system against us.


35 posted on 02/21/2012 7:04:04 AM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: TexasRepublic

You have a good working knowledge of this long lost battery TR.

The technology for reducing the amount of nickel oxide and iron oxide ( a useful form of rust so familiar to those of us in the Northeast) had made an additional step forward increasing the effective surface area without increasing the amount of metals used and that I believe is exactly what Exide wanted to sit on and withhold from the public. The battery still had a good potential of a 100 year battery and what bean counter would allow that to be produced.

Even if they did not want this battery for use in cars it still has great potential for residential backup systems fed by solar, wind or off the grid and surprise, surprise the Chinese are doing exactly that albeit with the older design than what Exide has withheld.

The nickel and iron are still cheaper than the metals used in our more modern batteries and the electrolyte (Potassium hydroxide or similar) is much less toxic akin to diluted chlorine which is not to be ignored but certainly way less than the toxic lead and acid batteries.

Yes the laws of physics still apply to EVERYTHING unless the great “lying lawyer in chief” thinks he can repeal those laws. Even capacitors are subject to these inconvenient laws and are now are no longer simply 2 conductors separated by an insulator. They also are using chemical electrolytes and methods to increase the effective surface area of the conductive plates so they are becoming more like batteries or chemical storage devices and in doing so are also taking on some of the negative aspects like charge time. While still much faster than batteries to recharge you cannot just slam on the charge like you could with conventional capacitors.

In 2012, the energy density of an electro/chemical storage device is still superior to the Super Caps albeit the gap has closed since they have played with the chemistry of the electrolyte. Right now there is no clear science which can point to the ultimate superior technology. Both methods can be improved upon by using the latest and greatest technology to increase effective surface area for a given amount of material.

In any event, again no clear science points to achieving the energy density of good old gasoline via battery or super cap storage.

Like I said in a previous post, if you want to start moving away from imported oil TODAY, right now, immediately, we have the resources in Natural Gas and the technology in EXISTING conversion kits to allow dual fuel vehicles that with a simple flip of the switch can use either NG or Gasoline and little by little start bringing NG fueling to a gas station near you.

The only obstacle to energy independence using NG are the self serving scum in Washington and most state capitols and the enviro-nazis who hate every form of energy production even wind or solar if it happens to be in their back yard.


36 posted on 02/21/2012 7:37:44 AM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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37 posted on 02/21/2012 7:56:54 AM PST by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: Brookhaven
We're looking at it in entirely the wrong way if we accept the basic assumption that battery-electric hybrids are a viable technology.

If we consider that the objective of hybrid technology is kinetic energy recovery (regenerative braking in the electric scenario), and reject the lemming like rush to an electric solution, then the question becomes "what is the most cost effective, reliable and safest way to recover kinetic energy". As part of that, we must also consider how much kinetic energy needs to be stored. Now think about this: in every vehicle trip, we do exactly as much accelerating as decelerating (assuming we don't jump into or out of moving vehicles). Typically we would see repeated 0-40-0, and 0-60-0 cycles and a bunch of partial excursions.

IMHO, it makes sense to store only the kinetic energy available form the last deceleration cycle, certainly no more than it takes to accelerate to highway speed one time.

Batteries may only store one gallon equivalent energy, but it's way too much, and it's stored in the wrong form. Look at what Ricardo and Audi are doing with true kinetic energy recover devices for racing, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

38 posted on 02/21/2012 8:03:00 AM PST by Jack of all Trades (Hold your face to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.)
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To: Wurlitzer

That was a very interesting read, thanks. I was unaware the Chinese manufacture the Edison type battery. Do you know if they are being imported to this country, and if so, who sells them? I do have an interest in small scale solar installations for off-the-grid cabin lighting and such, but lead acid batteries don’t last very long compared to the Edisons.


39 posted on 02/21/2012 9:12:47 AM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: TexasRepublic

Sure TR:

I believe there is only one firm actually manufacturing in the USA also but their prices are considerably higher.

US distributor of China Mfg: http://ironedison.com/
US distributor of China Mfg: http://www.beutilityfree.com/Electric/Ni-Fe

SURPRISE here is the US Mfg in Montana: http://www.zappworks.com/

Canadian supplier of Chinese made: http://www.microsec.net/

Here is the direct link to the Chinese mfg: http://www.changhongbatteries.com/

And if you can read Russian: http://akbkursk.ru/

There is a ton on info on this page but strange the link to the list of current mfgrs is broken.
http://www.noonco.com/edison/


40 posted on 02/21/2012 9:47:01 AM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: Wurlitzer

Thanks!


41 posted on 02/21/2012 11:45:44 AM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: Flying Circus

What did I say that was “BS”? Be specific now. I want to hear it. Did you even read what I said?


42 posted on 02/21/2012 4:00:21 PM PST by H.Akston (It is racist to believe that affirmative action is necessary.)
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To: H.Akston
This: "Anyway, an electric motor is much more effiecient at putting that energy to the wheels where it is useful, rather then blowing it out the radiator as heat. If we had car engines as efficent as electric motors, our gas tanks would only need to hold maybe 5 gallons instead of 20. "

I believe what I posted quite thoroughly refutes that.
43 posted on 02/21/2012 4:16:00 PM PST by Flying Circus
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To: Brookhaven

The 17 kwhz number being half of the 36 would explain why consumer reports only got 28 miles instead of 56 on a full charge. Since the electric motor is much more efficient at converting stored [electrical] energy to mechanical energy, it would be expected to go much further on a 36 KWh charge than a ICE car could go on a gallon of gas.

The “little” misleading part of this article, as I said, is that it’s implying that a gallon of gas in an average car should have the equal mileage potential as the same amount of electrically stored energy in an electric car’s battery. You don’t need as much stored electrical energy to go the distance that the same amount of stored chemical energy in gasoline can propel you.


44 posted on 02/21/2012 4:51:30 PM PST by H.Akston (It is racist to believe that affirmative action is necessary.)
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To: Flying Circus

What you posted was superfluous and out of the context of the article, and smugly assumed that I did not already know that.


45 posted on 02/21/2012 4:58:44 PM PST by H.Akston (It is racist to believe that affirmative action is necessary.)
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To: Flying Circus

What you posted was superfluous and out of the context of the article, and smugly assumed that I did not already know that.


46 posted on 02/21/2012 4:59:00 PM PST by H.Akston (It is racist to believe that affirmative action is necessary.)
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To: H.Akston

Did you actually read what I posted? I didn’t “smugly assume” anything, I responded to what you said that was flatly wrong and refuted it. What I do not assume is that people state something knowing the opposite to be true (AKA lying).


47 posted on 02/21/2012 5:20:38 PM PST by Flying Circus
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To: H.Akston

I think I begin to understand where the fault in your thinking is. Talking about the mechanical efficiency of the electric motor is like talking about the efficiency of the drive shaft coming out of the transmission. To extol the efficiency of electric motor while complaining about the waste heat from the radiator of the ICE ignores where the electricity for the motor started from.


48 posted on 02/21/2012 5:41:56 PM PST by Flying Circus
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To: Flying Circus

You’re getting warmer, but an electric motor is not quite as efficient as a drive shaft. The “BS” was inappropriate.


49 posted on 02/22/2012 4:04:20 AM PST by H.Akston (It is racist to believe that affirmative action is necessary.)
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To: Flying Circus

In the context of this article, we CAN ignore where the electricity came from to charge the battery. I was only addressing the article’s somewhat misleading implication that the electric car’s “tank” contains only a gallon of gas and that you could only expect 28 miles out of it.

We’re in total agreement about the overall efficiency of electric vs. gasoline car from a bigger picture.


50 posted on 02/22/2012 4:20:28 AM PST by H.Akston (It is racist to believe that affirmative action is necessary.)
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