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Beginning of the end of electric cars as we know them?

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Swedishchef, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Hey guys

    A thread a little while back diverted from the original topic and got onto the conversation about electric cars.

    My opinion still stands: I don't overly like them yet... I think a great solution will be a fuel cell vehicle with an electric motor or something of the sort.

    The following article confirms what I thought...car companies seem to be thinking the same as me. Fuel cells are where they want to invest their money now.

    http://business.financialpost.com/2...x-as-electric-dreams-shatter/?__lsa=b3eb-a6ae

    Andrew

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  2. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Depends where you get the hydrogen from for the fuel cell. If you make it from electrolysis of water the hydrogen is basically just an alternative to a battery for storing the electricity. And its a very expensive alternative ( and not necessarily very green if the electric comes from coal say)

    The cheap way to get H2 is to crack natural gas. Might as well just burn the gas directly in that case...
    Adios Pantalones, Jags and woodgeek like this.
  3. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    I agree about where you're getting the hydrogen from. Obviously they have something in mind if they are focusing on fuel cells...

    Can we make the same statement about pure electric cars if a province (or state's) electricity supply is mainly from coal?

    Andrew
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Once you have a good electric car developed, switching to a better technology can be trivial. We are in transition and it's good to develop alternatives.
    gyrfalcon, Jags and Swedishchef like this.
  5. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    It's one hell of a lot easier technically and practically to build the necessary infrastructure to support electric cars (this, in fact, is being done now, big time) than to support vehicles that need pressurized Hydrogen. Rick
    gyrfalcon and Swedishchef like this.
  6. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I doubt it is the end per se.

    I doubt we'll see large quantities of cheap hydrogen fuel any time sooner than better batteries.

    I think changes to our driving habits are going to change sooner than both.
    No one's going to like that either.
  7. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Young people are already driving a lot less....living in more urban locations with public transport etc. Heck, my generation (X) does not share the car obsession of the boomers.
    Adios Pantalones and Jags like this.
  8. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Saving the planet will be a combination of multiple things. I do believe electric cars have their place but simply not everywhere and in every situation. LArge cities, warm climates, etc.

    In Britain they have a fleet of buses running on Fuel cells and they work great. Then again, Europe is lightyears ahead of NA when it comes to technological advancements in the car industry.

    And I agree, people are driving less and less than before.
  9. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    I think that what we will see in the future is fuel diversity. I don't think there is one solution for everyone. Those that live in urban areas may enjoy an electric car for the small amount of driving they do. Those in rural areas will need something different either Diesel or gas hybrids or something not invented yet. Dismissing one form of alternate transportation because it doesn't work for you is kind of short sighted. Not trying to make light of your opinion just making an observation.
    jharkin and Swedishchef like this.
  10. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Agreed 100%
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Consume/breed less.

    That's my mantra now. If I post something and don't say that- well, it's implied.

    That and- "if Terry O'Reilly was 2 dogs, I'd inter-species gay polygamous marry him". It's just implied.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Agree that we will need many options.
    I'mnot ruling out fuel cells completely. Hydrogen does potentially adress osme battery concerns like weight and recharge time. But with its own set of new issues (cost, infrastructure, safety).

    I never understood this worship of all things "European" as better than us. Its an especially popular pastime in Northeast US Cities. Yet I still see more Audis, BMWs, and Range Rovers broke down on the side of the road than American or Japanese cars.
    woodgeek likes this.
  13. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    The trouble with plug-in hybrids (and electric cars, too) is that electricity isn't always cleaner than gasoline. More than 45 percent of electricity in the U.S. is generated by coal-powered plants [source:http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/epm_sum.html]. According to another Argonne National Laboratory report, if a plug-in hybrid charges from coal-generated electricity, it could be responsible for emitting up to 10 percent more greenhouse gasses than a conventional vehicle and up to 60 percent more than a standard hybrid http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/pdfs/argonne_phev_evaluation_report.pdf
    briansol likes this.
  14. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    WOa....
  15. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Jharkin, I normally see eye to eye with you on numerous accounts. Too bad not this one :(

    I do not like NA whatsoever (don't like the designs). I enjoy their pickups but not their cars. A person's opinion normally has to do with their experiences. My experiences with NA vehicles is not good. At work I have the chance to drive numerous NA vehicles and I find we are always taking them in for major repairs. We had a 2006 full size Chev Suburban: $10 000 repairs in 2 years (freon lines to the back A/C, tranny went, manifold bolts broke off, etc etc). A 2010 malibu and the discs/pads don't last 40000 KM. A window stoppped going up and the power locking mechanism on the back passenger door broke.

    But like I said, it could simply be my bad luck.

    The fact is European technology when it comes to gas consumption is ahead of us. I believe it was driven by the fact that their gas prices have been much higher than ours for a long time now.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  16. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    I believe that one of the constraints in the US auto market holding back fuel economy has a lot to do with our culture. If you look at what most Americans want to drive it has 300 horsepower and goes from 0-60 in less than 5 seconds. In reality most of us would be able to get around just fine with a small car with a smaller engine. Every US manufacture now has a V-6 that puts out 300hp and gets right at 30 mpg. The technology is here now for the US to surpass the Europeans in fuel economy but we will need a culture shift before we see it adopted on a larger scale.

    On a side not I saw a Tesla sedan over the weekend and I thought it was a pretty sweet looking ride. Not sure what it cost but I liked the design.
  17. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Don't worry. Actually I am not a huge fan of American cars either (but I don't hate them)... I've mostly owned Japanese. Actually, I should qualify that - from a design and performance perspective i really like a lot of European cars - I'd take a 3 series or an A4/A6 as a daily driver any day of the week, except that everyone I know whose owned them spends more time driving dealer loaners than their own car. And the ratings in consumer reports, JD Power tend to mirror that showing the Japanese in the top spot for long term reliability, American brands in the middle and European makes at the bottom (there are exceptions of course - Porsche is near the top in quality and Chrysler is probably pretty far down still, but anyway)

    Thinking about it some more, I guess you could say that European reliability suffers from trying to be too bleeding edge (certainly the Germans go overboard on finiky gadgets).


    This is another good point - many of the US automakers build small efficient cars for the European market - look at Ford in the UK - they just don't sell them here.

    And I think there might be some small efficient cars over in Japan too ;)
  18. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I want...
    [​IMG]
  19. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    I like that one too. This is what I was checking out in the parking lot

    [​IMG]
  20. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Ahhh..now I agree with you!! lol. I knew you would come to your sense.

    European try to be too cutting edge and that takes time to perfect. Look at VOlvo: my father only drives his precious VOlvos. However their quality is no longer the same. He had a 2004 XC70 and he replaced allllll the wheel bearings, coil nspring for the front passenger side suspension, etc etc. Yet he had an old 740 in the 1980s that had NO repairs put on it for 250 000 KMs.

    Personally I am a Japanese driver but would love to own an Audi. Subarus are my passion. Can not compare to any other car in the winter time. I tested VWs 4motion and even AUdi Quattros and I don't find the AWD is the same as a Subaru in terms of quality (or perhaps it is what I want...)

    Andrew
  21. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I pretty much drive whatever does the job, don't really care about the brand.
  22. kalevi

    kalevi Member

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  23. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    It would be interesting to compare these numbers to a fuel efficient car like a corolla or others to see over the lifespan which vehicle is actually "greener".
  24. kalevi

    kalevi Member

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    I compared the fuel efficiency of my 2009 corolla compared to the prius and the price difference. I forgot exactly how many hundreds of thousands of kilometers I would have to drive before I broke even on the increased fuel efficiency with increased price but it was not worth it.
  25. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    I understand that but I was thinking more along the lines of the numbers regarding polution during production, operation, etc. To see which cars are really the most green.

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