The electric-fuel-trade acid test (The Economist)

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reikiman
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The electric-fuel-trade acid test (The Economist)

"The electric-fuel-trade acid test" is a very comprehensive article on current movements in electric passenger vehicles. It's focusing on cars for consumers and not noticing all the other electrification going on in trucks and motorcycles. In any case there's a lot of good information in the article.

  • Renault-Nissan alliance, thinks 10% of new cars bought in 2020 will be pure-battery vehicles.
  • IDTechEx, a research consultancy based in Cambridge, England, reckons a third of the cars made in 2025 will be electrically powered in one way or another.
  • A core theme is three models to accommodate the tradeoffs of speed & range:
  1. Accept the limited range and design city cars for city use
  2. Serial hybrid design using an onboard genset
  3. Battery exchange stations (The article does not at all discuss recharging infrastructure, and instead focuses on battery exchange infrastructure, I think this is a key flaw in the article)
  • City car examples: Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV ... Other electric city cars are expected from firms such as Fiat and Toyota. Daimler (which also owns 6% of Tesla) plans to start producing a Li-ion-powered version of its Smart Fortwo. 115km range
  • Series hybrids: Discusses only the Volt (a.k.a. Ampera in Europe)
  • Daimler has a design known as "BlueZero" cars where the customer would have a choice of drive train: A battery-only model will have a range of 200km. Another will offer 100km of battery-powered range, but will also have a petrol generator to extend it. A third will use a hydrogen-powered fuel cell to generate electricity.
  • Michelen is developing a hub motor design it calls Active Wheel. This is a car wheel that contains an electric motor that includes an active suspension damping system. It's an interesting strategy maybe for Michelen to expand their role from just providing wheels and tires to providing drive train components.
  • marcopolo
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    Re: The electric-fuel-trade acid test (The Economist)

    An interesting article, but the posts from readers of the Economist, were even more interesting. Mostly negative and some surprisingly aggressively strident in expression! Who would have thought it from such a genteel forum? (curiously, even the most abusive were very well spelt, maybe edited!)

    See John, we're not so bad after all!

    I was surprised to see that the best reception from the Economist readership, was given to the Better Place concept. In contrast almost no mention was made of the manufacturers like the Ford Motor Co sponsored Smith range of EV's. Sadly, this is often the way, both sides of the debate ignore, or actively disparage, humble, practical examples of EV development in favour of the exotic.

    The environmentalist camp was well represented in the posts, it adherents bellowing the usual tiresome complaint that EV's harm the environment because electricity comes from coal-fired power stations, therefore we should all eschew EV's and stick to knitting our own yogurt. I find this simplistic drivel tiresome, because apart from being only partly valid, such claims ignore all the other motivations to develop EV's, rendering the coal-fired argument, irrelevant in any Ev debate.

    I believe EV development has developed past the the era of IF, and now is only WHEN and WHICH of the models will prove the successful mainstream pattern. Encouragement must be provided to the major manufacturers to expedite EV production and innovation. Competition and support will increase fro m the Energy Utilities as the start to see the economic advantages in grabbing the existing revenues from the Oil retailers.

    marcopolo

    jdh2550_1
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    Re: The electric-fuel-trade acid test (The Economist)

    See John, we're not so bad after all!

    You lost me on that one!

    Sadly, this is often the way, both sides of the debate ignore, or actively disparage, humble, practical examples of EV development in favour of the exotic.

    Sigh, tell me about it.

    The environmentalist camp was well represented in the posts, it adherents bellowing the usual tiresome complaint that EV's harm the environment because electricity comes from coal-fired power stations,

    I like to point out the trends. Buy a gasoline powered vehicle today and it starts out poor and gets worse (because a used motor won't perform as well as a new one and will thus pollute more). Buy an EV today and it starts out OK and gets better (because the trend is for cleaner forms of electricity generation). Mind you yogurt knitting sounds fun (if a little messy).

    I believe EV development has developed past the the era of IF, and now is only WHEN and WHICH of the models will prove the successful mainstream pattern.

    Yep, I agree. It seems the major manufacturers agree too - I was at an SAE presentation on battery tech and GM, Ford and Toyota all talked about the gradual increase in the electrification of their fleets. HEV -> PHEV -> BEV. Of course it's not as fast as we'd like it to be. But it seems to be happening. Of course, it could all be a phase to be pushed back into the closet as soon as they can manage it.

    Encouragement must be provided to the major manufacturers to expedite EV production and innovation. Competition and support will increase fro m the Energy Utilities as the start to see the economic advantages in grabbing the existing revenues from the Oil retailers.

    Nah, personally I think the big corporations have enough of our tax dollars as it is. I think a better motivator (at least in the US) is a floor on oil prices. i.e. keep the price artificially at $100 per barrel. Put all the money generated into a fund and use it as a tax rebate to be paid out to all folks who file a 1040 tax return (a bit like the Alaskan Super Fund). That way it's not seen as a "tax" and it also has a positive reinforcement incentive - the less oil we use the more the price will go down which means we'll all get a bigger check. Plus, a politician might even stay in office introducing this scheme - whereas a tax that goes to goodness knows where is about as likely to succeed as the proverbial frozen ball of ice in Hades.

    A fixed price would also allow for more long term investment in alt. energy. These aren't my ideas - it was by a guy who wrote a book called "Carbonomics" - http://zfacts.com/p/carbonomics-book.html

    John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
    Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

    marcopolo
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    Re: The electric-fuel-trade acid test (The Economist)

    You lost me on that one!

    I was referring to your thread calling for more civility and moderate language!

    Yep, I agree. It seems the major manufacturers agree too - I was at an SAE presentation on battery tech and GM, Ford and Toyota all talked about the gradual increase in the electrification of their fleets. HEV -> PHEV -> BEV. Of course it's not as fast as we'd like it to be. But it seems to be happening. Of course, it could all be a phase to be pushed back into the closet as soon as they can manage it.

    I don't think major manufacturers really care which power train they make, as long as the vehicle can gain market share and returns a profit. In fact, manufacturers like Ford would prefer EV manufacture for a host of reasons, but performance limitations and lack of public acceptance have always deterred makers. Until now the technology just hasn't existed,nor has market acceptance.

    Nah, personally I think the big corporations have enough of our tax dollars as it is. I think a better motivator (at least in the US) is a floor on oil prices. i.e. keep the price artificially at $100 per barrel. Put all the money generated into a fund and use it as a tax rebate to be paid out to all folks who file a 1040 tax return (a bit like the Alaskan Super Fund). That way it's not seen as a "tax" and it also has a positive reinforcement incentive - the less oil we use the more the price will go down which means we'll all get a bigger check. Plus, a politician might even stay in office introducing this scheme - whereas a tax that goes to goodness knows where is about as likely to succeed as the proverbial frozen ball of ice in Hades.

    Maybe so, but government incentives can go a long way to spurring activity. In Australia, the ludicrously troglodyte Minister for Industry and Innovation, was forced by his cabinet colleagues to offer Toyota a tiny subsidy of only $Aus33 million to manufacture a hybrid version of the wide bodied Camry in Australia. Now I now you despise Hybrids, but such major projects train and develop engineers, and infrastructure for further EV development. Also Hybrid manufacture acclimatise the general motorist to view EV's as conventional trustworthy vehicles. I realise that Australia does not have the very cold climate of Nothern Europe and US/Canada that limits the effectiveness of Hybrids, but these technical bugs aside, the reason Ford did not decide to produce the Ford hybrid in Australia rather than Thailand, was a lack of government support. The Government is commited to LPG powered manufacture, rather than the previous government's policy's of Hybrid (Toyota and Volt) development.

    marcopolo

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