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Will Green Cars Be Exciting To Drive And Enjoyable To Own?

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I have been keeping an eye on this car since it was first announced.

    If that puppy comes with an A/C and seats 4, and is priced less than $25K, I might jump feet first into that little dude.
  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Posts: 838
    I had heard how much of a energy hog Al Gore's home was... I just looked at my usage for 2008, electricity was 31,133 kwh, Memphis instead of Nashville. 3700 sq ft instead of 10,000 or so IIRC. So, for roughly 3 times the sq ft he has about 7 times the usage. I do remember that he does pay a little more for green energy projects so he feels as if he is being green :-( Sad...

    He does pay an extra $432 a month to purchase green energy... Details:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/gorehome.asp
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    yet and I haven't seen anything on A/C yet, either. We'd need to have A/C in Arizona, not an option to go without it, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    You got that one right brudder !!! :)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    Scientists unveil chocolate-fueled race car
    05/05/2009 12:25:30 PM
    By MEERA SELVA Associated Press Writer

    "Scientists unveiled on Tuesday what they hope will be one of the world's fastest biofuel vehicles, powered by waste from chocolate factories and made partly from plant fibers. Its makers hope the racer will go 145 mph and give manufacturers ideas about how to build more ecologically friendly vehicles.

    The car runs on vegetable oils and chocolate waste that has been turned into biofuel. The steering wheel is made out of plant-based fibers derived from carrots and other root vegetables, and the seat is built of flax fibre and soybean oil foam. The body is also made of plant fibers.

    Scientists at the University of Warwick say their car is the fastest to run on biofuels and also be made from biodegradable materials. It has been built to Formula 3 specifications about the car's size, weight, and performance.

    Their claims cannot be independently verified.

    They hope it can reach speeds of over 145 mph when it is tested on a racetrack in a few weeks time. They have driven it at around 60 mph and are now making final adjustments to the engine before driving it at top speed.

    Warwick's project manager James Meredith said their model shows that it is possible to build a fast, efficient, environmentally friendly car.

    The car, named the 'WorldFirst Formula 3 racing car,' will go on display at several races including the European Grand Prix and Britain's Goodwood Festival of Speed."
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,021
    You guys ain't gonna wimp out on me over AC are you. Hey roll down the window and enjoy the 120 degrees blowing through your hair. Of course you need to wet it to cool yourself a bit. I did see a guy in a Prius driving between El Centro and Yuma with his window open, in at least 100 degree weather. I thought he was just a real eco nut.

    I too like the little car. I think I could survive here without AC. Though I do prefer to keep the cab at 75 degrees.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    A/C? I will not buy a 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV without air conditioning! :D

    That will make it easy to choose between cars, having or not having A/C. Or are you one of those people that says "but it's a dry heat."

    Right. ;)

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,021
    That is why I sold my home in Lake Havasu. I was always in an air conditioned home, Car or bar. Not enough months of outside comfortable weather for me.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Should get to 60 mph in under 10 seconds I would think, which is acceptable to me. But will it be exciting to drive? I think not, as I think handling will be like that of many of the current crop of high-roofed mini-wagons, which is to say middling at best.

    This thing would make a fabulous commute car if they can get under $25K, the price mentioned above, but for "excitement" I am still hoping we will soon begin to see much more sporty electric cars, along the lines of the Tesla but at 1/4 the price. ;-)

    I do believe that won't be TOO far off, but it might still be ten years away. :-(

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    .....but closer to $30K than $50K! :-)

    Tesla rolls out Model S hatchback, plans late 2011 start

    The Model S five-door hatchback will go into production in late 2011 at a rate of 20,000 per year. Prices will start at $49,900 for the base model, a price that assumes the $7,500 current Federal tax credit available.

    .....The lithium-ion battery packs will come in three sizes. The pack in the base model will offer a range of 160 miles, but you can order larger packs that will go 230 or 300 miles. With the charger built into the car, the S can accept 110-, 220- or as much as 440-volt recharges. At maximum voltage the car can recharge in 45 minutes. At 220 volts, which most typical suburban households have, recharge time is four hours. It's overnight at 110 volts.

    .......For performance, Model S designer Franz von Holzhausen said, "You'd need a spatula to flip this over." Top speed is listed at 130 mph and 0 to 60 mph will take 4.8 seconds for the Sport model, the quickest of the three offered. The standard model gets to 60 in 5.6 seconds and the base in 5.7 seconds "or so." With production so far off, these figures could conceivably change.


    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20090327/CARNEWS/903279971

    Oh yeah, and it seats five, seven if you want to put two kids in the "way back". The print article in the actual magazine is slightly different, and it also includes the following quote:
    With the cost of gas, our car is really $35,000, said Musk. About the cost of a Ford Taurus

    (Elon Musk being the founder and CEO of Tesla). He has a very good point there, although people are not used to financing the cost of five years' gas into their car purchases. OTOH, no Ford Taurus is going to get to 60 mph or go through the slalom in the kinds of times this thing will.

    Interestingly, they are thinking of renting out battery packs, for which swap-out time is "five minutes". So you could carry extra "juice" if you needed to go on a long trip, for instance.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    I don't want to pre-judge, but, at a minimum, we'll have to redefine our idea of "sporty," because the driving dynamics, sounds and feel that satisfy us with gasoline powered cars will be very different with electrics. The sensations will be very different.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Sure the roar of the engine will be gone, but if the GHG emissions are too, I think many will like that. And this thing will still have the moves - the acceleration and handling - of a true luxury sport sedan.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,021
    the acceleration and handling - of a true luxury sport sedan.

    I believe the acceleration will be good. I don't see the handling being so great with a ton or more of batteries. Will the acceleration be good when you buy the long range battery? I think at this point it is a lot of speculation.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    How much does it weigh?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    At this point it's still subject to change, but read their commentary in the article. They are very serious about keeping weight in check and making this thing handle with the best of them, and with the best German sport sedans coming in at two tons or more of curb weight nowadays, I don't think Tesla will find it too challenging to keep their weight under that of the German competition.

    No way will the batteries be a ton, BTW. Way WAY off.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,021
    The weight on the batteries was a colloquialism. With 3 different range batteries it would be hard to pinpoint the weight exactly. I am not sure how much the 6831 AA size cells in the Tesla weigh. If they weigh as much as an Energizer AA cell, the battery would be around 425 lbs. I believe the NiMH batteries in the RAV4 EV were about 900 Lbs.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    is kind of high, but it is a nice looking 4-door sedan. Doesn't look like a hatch to me. I'd get the battery that goes 230 miles.

    Handling remains a mystery but they'll get it eventually.

    The 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV may handle like a Chevy Aveo, but I'm still interested in it. It needs a longer range. The 2010 Pininfarina-Bollore BlueCar and the 2011 BYD e6 both beat the i-MiEV in range, but I regard Mitsu's engineering group higher than the other two put together at this point.

    This whole exercise is gonna be a gas, or should I keep it to ghastly, and call it good.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Well you figure at 425 pounds, the weight of the battery pack is approaching parity with that of adding an AWD system, which plenty of serious sport sedans do. My hope is that the improvement in battery technology will be continuous, so that the battery pack won't even weigh THAT much when the Model S appears.

    And if they use lots of other weight-saving techniques in its design, the battery pack could entirely cease to be a handicap to its sporting credentials.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,021
    The battery is and will be the biggest handicap for EV and PHEVs, until they develop a better battery than one made from Lithium. At this time the largest source is controlled by a country that is less than loving toward the USA. They are still stinging from being ripped off by Enron during the Clinton administration.

    We recently heard that Bolivia has over one half the world’s known lithium reserves, and that mining those salts is very important to the future electric car industry. It is also known that politics and lack of development are stumbling blocks to a successful mining industry there.

    A new report from Reuters indicates that Korea-based LG Chem, who has been chosen as the supplier of the Chevy Volts lithium-ion battery cells, has been seeking talks with the Bolivian government.

    Evo Morales head the country and has been unfriendly towards the US and has nationalized the gas and petroleum industries there.

    According to the report, Bolivia state mining director Freddy Beltran said “LG has expressed a willingness to start talks, to make a proposal. For what we know they have an agreement to produce lithium batteries for General Motors.”

    Their goal is to be able to tap into Bolivia’s vast Uyuni salt lake, with rivals Mitsubishi of Japan, and Bollore of France already in the race for the reserves.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Ford is retooling a plant in Detroit to build the Focus, and they are preparing it to also build an electric version! They are partnering with Magna for the powertrain, timeframe is two years from now.

    The Focus in question is the new Focus, which Ford insists it really really really will (this time, unlike the much-promised bringing-over-intact that never happened last time) bring over intact from Europe.

    I am imagining a Focus RS with an electric powertrain and a 200-mile range - could be quite the fun! :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm with Gary on this one - handling won't match today's sports cars.

    A lot more weight on narrow low-rolling resistance tires aired up to approximatly 752.5 psi.

    It may handle well compared to, say, a Taurus, but it will not even come close to the Elise it shares a platform with.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Does the Model S share a platform with the Elise? I don't think so, that's the Tesla Roadster you are thinking of.

    They don't plan on LRRs for this one either.

    Or were you speaking of something other than Tesla's Model S concept?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I thought we were talking about the Tesla, but yeah, that's what I was referring to.

    I think that will apply in general, though - the electric version of a normal car will not handle as well. Compare a Civic Si with a Civic Hybrid, for instance.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    IMO you are making the classic mistake that so many are making now: thinking of one existing example of technology deployment and generalizing ALL of that example's characteristics to the technology itself, which is unfounded. Many of those characteristics were chosen specifically by THAT manufacturer to meet THEIR particular goals for THAT model. As is the case with Civic SI and hybrid.

    Tesla's creator of the S hatchback has specifically stated his goals with regard to handling, and I'm sure there will be no LRRs or skinny tires involved.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Those are some examples of the characteristics of cars that prioritize mileage.

    Even in the case of the Telsa I'm sure the batteries will weigh more than a tank of gas would have.

    What does a gallon of gasoline weigh, about 7-8 lbs?

    There's no battery technology today that can store as much energy with that same amount of weight.

    Either you sacrifice range or weight. Likely both.

    I don't see a way around that - at least not yet.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    Well, you have luxury carmakers that make a sport sedan with all the features and performance of the competition, but weigh several hundred pounds less through the use of lightweight materials, and the sticker price of this new tesla will certainly give them room to play with that. And as you mentioned, you have a 150-lb margin before you even have to start weight reduction, because the Tesla will never carry gas.

    Anyway, I sound like a spokesperson for Tesla, and I didn't mean to. But all it would require is for battery technology to advance and we would have lighter and lighter battery packs, perhaps before the next decade is out. And Tesla's concept, if nothing else, shows the performance potential of an all-electric powertrain.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    I certainly hope you're right, but I'm less optimistic than you are about the weight issue.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    I'll qualify my response, above, by saying that a significant breakthrough in battery technology will be required to address the weight issue. Since technological breakthroughs are unpredictable, I'm more of a doubter than an optimist for the next few years.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's about where my opinion stands, too.

    NiMH batteries are heavy.

    Li-ion are lighter but require complex cooling systems which themselves add weight and cost.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,021
    That is a good point. How much does the cooling add to the weight of a given battery? And the major source of Lithium is in an area of So America that has no real love for the USA. Probably why GM contracted with a Korean company for the Volt batteries.
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