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Electric Vehicle Pros & Cons



  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "And I think you are wishful in your thinking on the PHEV Prius from Toyota. That could still be a decade off for the consumer. It depends on the trials with fleet owners. "

    I did not put a time table on it. I just meant to point out that WHEN they do it, it will be done the RIGHT way.

    Thus the current delay - they are getting it RIGHT, just like the got the Prius RIGHT before they introduced it.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,134
    I have to think that was tongue in cheek. :P

    Toyota was not even close to having even the 2nd model Prius offered here "right". There were hundreds of them stranded with the death triangle. They would stall cruising down the highway at freeway speeds. Even a few caused accidents. The first couple years the buyers were guinea pigs that bought the Prius. I would think they are a bit gun shy now with all the runaway acceleration cases coming to light.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    You are basing your belief on a few hundred problems.

    Are you ignoring the tens of thousands of owners who had no problems?

    They got it right.

    A lot of cars have a glitch now and then causing a recall.

    The point is, no automaker wants the bad publicity that a failed electric car would give them.

    No one will put one out there until it's RIGHT. Nissan, GM, Toyota, Mitsubishi, none of them.

    But remember: No car in pre-release testing can be 100% fault-free. The real-world test of thousands of actual owners cannot be replicated in pre-release testing. A glitch here and there is inevitable.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,134
    Your naivete' is showing. There have been many cases over the years of calculated risk by auto makers on known safety issues. Did Toyota know about the software glitches in the Prius before release? I doubt we will ever find out. The Japanese are much better at keeping secrets than we are.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary, that doesn't make any sense.

    Chief Engineer: "We know we have an issue that will STRAND DRIVERS AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS. I say "release the hounds !!!"

    That's total and complete ridiculosity to think that anyone would willingly do that.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,134
    If you think that Toyota is any less greedy than Ford you are dreaming.

    Here are the highlights of the memo on the altar worshipping the Almighty Buck:

    1. With expected unit sales of 11 million Pintos, and a total cost per unit to modify the fuel tank of $11, a recall would have cost Ford $121 million.

    2. But, using mathematical formulations of a probable 2,100 accidents that might result in 180 burn deaths, 180 seriously burned victims, and 2,100 burned-out vehicles, the "unit cost" per accident, assuming an out-of-court settlement, came to a probable $200,000 per death, $67,000 per serious injury, and $700 per burned-out vehicle, leaving a grand total of $49.53 million.

    3. Allowing the accidents to occur represented a net savings of nearly $70 million.

    4. Therefore, a human life was mathematically proven to be worth less than an $11 part. html

    Chrysler did it with the Mini Van doors popping open. My guess is Toyota is doing it right now with the runaway acceleration in 3.8 million vehicles they have sold. Including all the Prius from 2004 -09. I agree that nothing is perfect. Where I get upset is when the manufacturer knows they have a problem and try to cover it up. And Toyota did just that until there were too many cases of the Prius Stalling at high speed. And they did it until this high profile case of the Lexus runaway that killed 4 people including a cop. Cop killers are usually targeted heavily by other cops.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Actually they only decided that a life was worth less than 18,182 of those $11 parts.
    Or that preventing 180 deaths (and osme other stuff) was not worth spending $121 million, which is $672,222 per death, or 61,111 of the $11 parts.
    Or they decided that a judge and jury would value the average life at $200,000.

    Not saying that Ford was right or wrong to do this, but the statement that "a human life was mathematically proven to be worth less than an $11 part" is simply incorrect hyperbole.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,134
    It was Mother Jones making the analysis. So you have to take that into account. The premise was automakers take calculated risks all the time. I was responding to a poster that would like to believe that automakers would never do what in fact Ford did.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,833
    Even though this article has nothing to do directly with battery tech, it's seems like the kind of thing that could lead to something interesting

    Discovery of Thinnest Material Ever Nabs Nobel Physics Prize

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    for some reason, the MiEV forum in Electric Cars is "READ ONLY" which seems kinda odd. So I post this here.

    MiEV averages 60.2 miles per charge in 3.5 months of testing

    The perky and friendly Mitsubishi PR professional came to the office on Wednesday and drove off in my beloved i-MiEV after three and a half months of electric driving. It was a sad, sad day.

    This is not to say I don't appreciate the Toyota Plug-In Prius that I have now and about which I will blog for six weeks. It's just that I will miss the magnificent efficiency of the goofy little transport pod from Japan.

    The i-MiEV was extremely efficient. It could carry four adults with lots of headroom, shoulder room and no whining, there was room for luggage and groceries in the back, and it could go an average of 60.2 miles on a charge.

    Yes, the average figure for projected range after more than three months of living with and driving this blop of a commuter dream was 60.2 miles. That's right on the Mitsubishi claim of 50 to 70 miles. My figure was derived using data from the 23 recharges I measured with a separate Kill-A-Watt meter that gave me what I assume was a more precise figure than what the dashboard state-of-charge gauge provided. The Kill-A-Watt meter measured kilowatt-hours to the hundredth of a kilowatt-hour. After each charge I would reset it and measure the next electric refill. Thus I could take the miles I traveled on the kilowatt-hours used and, knowing that the battery held 16 kilowatt-hours, I could calculate how far the i-MiEV would have gone at that rate of discharge.

    The little state-of-charge gauge on the dash was far less precise. It looked like a conventional gasoline gauge, with 16 bars, one for each kilowatt-hour of juice in the 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack. I found this gauge to be overly optimistic in its upper half. The first few bars on the gauge would take as much as 20 miles to blip out. Since I usually recharged after using only four or five indicated bars, after 22 or 23 miles to or from work, the little gauge couldn't be trusted to extrapolate a total range for the battery pack. Using the 45 recharges measured with this dash-mounted gauge, I got an average of extrapolated range--the distance the car could go at the rate of discharge indicated--of 71.64 miles.

    The differences between the dash gauge and the bar graph never agreed and were often way apart, by as much as 50 percent. So my official range calculation for the i-MiEV will be 60.2 miles.

    I never ran the thing to empty, and even if I had you couldn't say that however far I got was its range, since range varied. Running the air conditioning and the audio didn't make too big a difference in range. I would say less than 10 percent on average with the A/C and the audio on. Even running with the heater, the headlights and the audio on only decreased range by about 20 percent to 25 percent, though given that I never performed precise measurements under controlled scientific conditions, those are just my best estimates. I never ran a full recharge with just the heater on or just the A/C or anything like that. I was always using one or the other part of the time.

    So what did I learn from driving a full electric vehicle for three months? The biggest thing I learned was that these things really work. If you have a commute that is within the range of your EV, you can drive an EV and save money while polluting less. If you have to drive 71 miles and your range is 60, don't try it. Or at least figure out where you can recharge on the way.

    Another thing that impressed me was that this car recharged almost the entire time on a regular 120-volt, three-pronged wall plug overnight. I used a 240-volt outlet a couple times and once, when I visited Aerovironment in Monrovia, Calif., I got a jolt of 480-volt Level III charging that took less than 15 minutes to get the car up to 80 percent charge. In general, I had no range anxiety once I learned to do the math before heading out.

    Nor did I have any trouble merging onto freeways or keeping up with the flow of traffic.

    In all I used 441 kilowatt-hours of electricity in 1,853 miles of driving. Electricity costs 13 cents per kilowatt-hours at my house and, if I assume it's the same cost at my office (they were never able to tell me how much it cost them), that's 4.2 kilowatt-hours per mile. Three months of daily commuting and weekend driving cost me $57.33. It costs me about that much to fill up our 15-mpg Volkswagen Eurovan with gasoline.

    Now there surely will be those who say that all you're doing with an EV is transferring the emissions from the tailpipe to a remote, coal-fired powerplant. But as I've said before here, according to the EPA, the electricity provided by Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is only 11.9 percent coal-fired. Of the rest, 42.3 percent comes from natural gas, 1.2 percent from oil, 16.5 percent from nuclear, 17.7 percent from hydro and 9.4 percent from nonhydro renewables.

    Your numbers will vary. In Detroit, it's 66.9 percent coal. In Chicago, it's 72.8 percent coal. Consolidated Edison in New York lists 0.0 percent coal, Seattle is 34.4 percent and the Potomac Edison Company of West Virginia gets 72.8 percent of its electricity from coal.

    But even recharging an EV from coal-fired plants in the United States is still cleaner than burning gasoline in a car.

    An electric car is not for everybody, but I have to believe that for more than 90 percent of my fellow Angelenos, an EV would meet their needs more than 90 percent of the time.

    Would I buy one? Yes. If it comes in priced at less than $30,000, as Mitsubishi has said. Given the $7,500 federal credit and the $5,000 from the state, the final cost would be $17,500. If there's some South Coast Air Quality Management District money out there I'm not aware of, it would be even lower.

    For a typical family of four, the perfect setup would be to have one of these for commuting and shorter trips and a minivan for anything longer or carrying more than four people. (And a race car, a motorcycle, an airplane and a boat.)

    There was no ceremony when the i-MiEV left. Since it was only 35 miles from my office in Los Angeles to Mitsubishi's headquarters in Cypress, the PR professional from Mitsubishi got a ride up here and simply drove the i-MiEV down La Cienega, onto the freeway and out of sight.

    Good-bye, Mitsubishi. My electric car is gone but the future is going to be full of them.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I test drove a Nissan Leaf on Sunday 12-5-10 in Tempe AZ at the Nissan Leaf Drive Electric Tour.

    It was a VERY SHORT drive, only city streets, no highway testing allowed, unfortunately.

    But my impression and the impressions of my impressionable kids:

    Three Thumbs Up. Way up.


    1. Drives like a normal small sedan. Seats 5, with the back seat a LITTLE it cramped for 3 fast-food-addicted adults, but just fine for two people of virtually any normal size.

    2. Quiet. Oh, Yes. Nothing other than a silent hum and the barely perceptible road buzz.

    3. Comfy driver seat. Seats made of recycled plastic bottles, so the feel is a little odd, but nothing you can't get used to very quickly, I'd guess.

    4. Plenty of ZIP. The immediately-available torque is 210 foot pounds, which is more than most family sedans. It will get up and scoot.

    5. Lots of room in the "hatch boot" area. And rear seats fold down.


    1. I can't buy one yet.

    2. You need a Home Charging Station. Charging from a standard 110V outlet takes 18 hours for a full charge.

    3. Range limited to 75-130 miles.

    More later..........
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    This is a business model I knew would take off along with EVs. A way for "stranded" EV drivers to get recharged on the road for a fee.

    This guy is going to charge $60 plus $3.50 per mile.

    On the cutting edge of EV support needs

    As electric cars gain momentum with consumers, two Phoenix entrepreneurs have developed a business plan focused on assisting stranded motorists who find themselves with dead batteries and want to avoid a time-consuming tow.

    The newly formed company plans to use mobile chargers to replenish spent batteries, which will allow drivers to get their vehicles home or to another charging station.
  • apeweekapeweek Posts: 133
    The article says "it's a lot easier to run out of electricity than it is to run out of gas."

    I don't agree. Running out of gas is a very abrupt experience, while running out of electricity is not. Your EV may slow down, it may go into "turtle mode", but abruptly stop? Not really. There's plenty of time to strategize before a tow truck is needed.

    As a hobbyist EV driver, I have a couple of strategies for running low on juice. I have been in situations like this when forced to take unexpected detours, for example.

    The first trick is to stop somewhere for lunch or coffee and ask the restaurant manager if I could please plug in for an hour.

    The second strategy, if I'm close to my destination, is just to pull off the road and wait for a few minutes. When you use a lot of current from a battery quickly (which EVs do), the ions (in the electrolyte) nearest the battery electrodes get depleted first - when you run down a battery fast, the battery is likely not really dead. Wait a bit, and ions in the electrolyte further away will migrate toward the electrodes - and you can drive again. You may find that as much as 20% of the battery's capacity is still available by doing this.

    This is one of the reasons that "mileage remaining" gauges in EVs can present confusing readings. If you stop for a while, or drive slowly, your 'remaining miles' can actually increase.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Coolness. r-without-plugging-in/6814/

    Refueling an electric car may someday be as simple as finding a parking spot.

    Siemens, in cooperation with BMW, has developed a technology that allows electric cars to be recharged wirelessly. The system, presented at the 2011 Hannover Messe tech show, will undergo testing in Berlin as part of a project funded by the German Environment Ministry.

    Similar to a technology being tested by Google, the experimental charging stations supply power to the battery through a process known as inductive charging in which energy is transferred from a ground-based electromagnetic coil to one attached to the bottom of the car. Simply pulling in to park the vehicle brings the two parts close enough to induce charging.

    Siemens says on its web site that the charging stations can be “easily incorporated into practically any setting, making them nearly invisible and effectively protecting them against vandalism and wear and tear.” The cars can also be recharged at 90 percent the efficiency of plug-in stations.

    This means that existing parking lots can be retrofitted with the technology so that car owners have the convenience of being able to leave their cars unattended while it gets juiced up. And if the system is widely adopted, drivers wouldn’t need to constantly recharge at designated refueling stations.

    Testing will begin a May with a 3.6 kilowatt prototype, with more trials slated for June to determine which improvements are needed to allow the system to work in real-life settings.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    First drive of the RAV4 EV being built with Tesla:

    By MARK VAUGHN on 4/14/2011
    For the most part, we're still looking off into the future when it comes to EVs. Right now, the only mass-produced electric car you can actually buy from a major manufacturer is the Nissan Leaf. But next year, the market will be crawling with them. Toyota will have three if you count the plug-in: the Scion iQ, the plug-in Toyota Prius and the Toyota RAV4 EV.

    We had a long-term plug-in Prius prototype a few months ago. We haven't driven the iQ yet, and this week, we got to drive a five-mile suburban loop in a RAV4 EV prototype. We found it just about ready for market right now.

    But we're easier to please than Toyota, apparently. The production version of the RAV4 EV won't arrive for another year, but the prototype was so close to production standards that other car companies could learn a lot from Toyota.

    Both Tesla and Toyota are hoping to learn from each other in this partnership. Tesla, which makes the powertrain for this battery-electric car in a partnership with Toyota, is hoping to learn about manufacturing. Toyota, for its part, is hoping to learn about electric cars and also about how to make a corporate decision in less than two years and with fewer than 16 layers of management, each layer of which is desperately trying to preserve its job and not rock the boat.

    It could be a marriage made in heaven, or at least in Fremont, the northern California town where these things will be made.

    The drivetrain shares a lot of componentry with the Tesla Roadster, including the power control module that sits topmost in the "engine" bay and the lithium-ion battery packs that ride slung beneath the front and rear seats. Specific parts of the powertrain will be different from those in the Tesla Roadster, but we will get details on those closer to production.

    The prototype RAV4 EV weighs about 3,860 pounds, which is 220 pounds more than the gasoline-powered RAV4. The extra weight comes from the lithium-ion batteries carried in two modules beneath the front and rear seats. Toyota says there are 37 kilowatt-hours of "useable" power in those batteries, no doubt referring to the top 80 percent of capacity, below which engineers prefer not dipping in order to preserve battery life. So we could probably round up battery capacity in this rig to 40 kilowatt-hours, which is substantial.

    That battery is about 50 percent bigger than the one in the Leaf, and Toyota says to expect 100 miles-plus of "real-world range" despite the RAV4's heavier curb weight.

    There was a fairly high amount of regenerative braking dialed into the RAV, which really slowed the car as soon as we lifted off the accelerator. But the production version will likely have far less regen. When we suggested a thumb wheel to adjust regen on the fly, so that you could coast or decel depending on what was most efficient, we didn't get any takers among the Toyota techs present. So don't look for that feature come 2012.

    There was no output listed for the motor on the prototype. The Tesla Roadster's motor is 185 kilowatts, but a production SUV would almost certainly have a lower peak output than that. We'll find out soon enough.

    Despite the extra weight of the electric version, Toyota claims a 0-to-60-mph time of 9.3 seconds for the RAV4 EV, which is only a tenth slower than the smaller, lighter Nissan Leaf we just tested. Though we brought our test gear to the drive, there was nowhere on the route flat enough and straight enough to try a 0-to-60 run of our own. But it felt about that quick, maybe quicker.

    The RAV4 EV felt perfectly fine accelerating away from stoplights and in pseudo-passing maneuvers. Toyota lists top speed at a more-than-adequate 100 mph.

    Packaging the batteries under the floor left the luggage space unencumbered in back, one of the advantages to this relatively large vehicle. And seating for five was perfectly up to the standards of the class.

    So here we sit, at least a year ahead of the coming wave of electric cars and plug-in hybrids from manufacturers all across the board. For those car buyers eager to recharge instead of refuel, that's a long way off. But the early indicators are all pointing to nicely finished, entirely useable, real-world "cars."
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I bet it will be a very short list of models that you can actually buy outright and not be forced to lease.(with no ability to buy it at the end)
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Coolness: efuel-than-gasoli/

    According to Northeast Group (NG), an energy sector research and consulting firm based in Washington D.C., it's "always cheaper to recharge an electric vehicle than to fuel a conventional gas-powered vehicle." In fact, NG claims that in some scenarios, charging a plug-in costs one-tenth as much as fueling a conventional vehicle. Here's NG's exact wording:
    In all scenarios we studied, the costs to recharge an electric vehicle were cheaper than fueling a gasoline-powered car. In the most likely electric vehicle charging scenarios, costs were approximately one-tenth to half the costs of fueling a conventional vehicle with gasoline.
    NG briefly justifies its claim, stating:
    Electric utilities in the U.S. are encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles by rolling out electric vehicle-specific tariffs to their customers. These tariffs take different forms, ranging from time-of-use (TOU) tariffs to flat rate tariffs. With the TOU tariffs, customers receive cheaper rates when they charge during off-peak times. With the flat rate tariffs – i.e. $40 per month – all charging is typically covered.
    The study, titled "United States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs," (pdf order form) includes a breakdown of the electric vehicle tariffs from ten utilities in six different U.S. states (California, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Texas) and proves (again) that plug-ins are remarkably cheap to charge.

    [Source: Northeast Group | Images: Copyright 2011 Jeff Glucker / AOL]
  • EVs face significant battery-related challenges:

    Driving range. Most EVs can only go 150 miles (or less) before recharging—gasoline vehicles can go over 300 miles before refueling.

    Recharge time. Fully recharging the battery pack can take 4 to 8 hours.

    Battery cost: The large battery packs are expensive and usually must be replaced one or more times.

    Bulk & weight: Battery packs are heavy and take up considerable vehicle space.

    Researchers are working on improved battery technologies to increase driving range and decrease recharging time, replacement frequency, weight, and cost. These factors will ultimately determine the future of EVs.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    USA drivers are spoiled and selfish is one problem. :shades:

    Well, a huge part of it is that people need to understand that RIGHT NOW, an EV is unlikely to function in most families as a PRIMARY CAR.

    It can serve a HUGE number of families, as is right now, as a second car, a "commuter" car.

    The fact remains that the average round-trip commute is 46 minutes.

    Almost everyone who falls under that category, and who drives to an office with less than 4 people, could use a Volt or a Leaf for that commute, right now.

    The high cost is a problem, as is the charging requirement.

    Many commuters (especially in big urban areas) live in apartments, condos, or in a living situation which does not give them the option for overnight charging.

    Virtually anyone in the USA who:

    1. Owns a home (or has access to a garage or a carport), and
    2. Can afford a $350-$400 car payment, and
    3. Has a commute of less than 100 miles round-trip, and
    4. Travels to work with 4 or fewer people (including the driver), and
    5. Does not need to haul or pull something

    could use a Leaf or a Volt right now for their commute.

    That's a BIG number.

    The EV marketers need to do a better job of getting the word out.

    Battery technology needs to improve also.
  • Well, here it is 5 years after the discussion started. And EV's are taking hold! The i-MiEV that was referred to above as starting in 2009, DID. Mitsubishi created them for the Japanese market. It's now late 2012 and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is available for sale in other markets including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and US. It's amusing that when a car is rumored to have a sticker price of $45,000 people said that was too high. But if it was around $30,000 they would be in line to buy one. Now that the reality is a sticker price around $30,000 people (not sure if it's the same ones or not) are saying if it cost $20,000 they would get one. Well, I thought the sticker price was reasonable and I bought one. It does help that there is a $7500 federal tax credit and a $3000 IL state rebate. (So maybe I fall in with the $20,000 crowd after all.)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,833
    See the story about the 16 Fisker Karmas that burned up in NJ after being flooded in salt water because of Hurricane Sandy? At $100K a pop, that's serious money!

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  • motorboltmotorbolt Posts: 2
    edited October 2013
    i've seen reports today that have been part of a project to improve electric cars. It looks promising their using the car's body panels as a battery! that will save space and provide more power
    .. just what i like to hear..

    Anyone else think it's a great idea?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,833

    @motorbolt said:
    i've seen reports today that have been part of a project to improve electric cars. It looks promising their using the car's body panels as a battery! that will save space and provide more power
    .. just what i like to hear..

    Anyone else think it's a great idea?

    While it might be an interesting idea in terms of using space, I can see two issues. One, given current battery technology, I'm not sure how much power thin batteries that double as body panels are going to get you.

    And two, the obvious, wouldn't that expose the batteries to damage from impacts with all sorts of stuff?

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