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Electric Car numbers--why they are cleaner  RSS feed

 
Suzy Bean
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Location: Stevensville, MT
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Just read a Mother Earth News article called "Why Electric Cars are Cleaner" (Feb/March 2011). It responds to questions about how much it costs "per gallon" to charge them up, (3 cents), and how much cleaner they are if the electricity source to power them comes from coal, for example. In a blanket analysis, "electric cars today emit about half as much CO2 as conventional cars."
 
Mac Nova
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If you recharge them using wind generated, Solar or Hydro sources they will be but if you just plug them into the wall then its no cleaner as Mother Earth suggests.

And how about the Ethanol mother natures gasoline, Made from plants that use 10 calories to make 1 calorie of plant matter and then process it to make fuel. Out of plants that compete with the food supply... How does that work?
 
                                                                    
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Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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We hope the price will come down soon so we can all afford them.

I expect in about 5 years the Chinese will be selling them here for under $20k.

I also expect the cost of electricity to rise as more people adopt this technology.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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you also have to look at the baseline vehicle. If compare to an ULEV, the difference is small. You lose a percentage of power in every conversion, so charger efficiency matters a LOT to your cost. And if you add in cost and emmisions of battery disposal it becomes even more muddy.

 
Peter Hartman
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Location: springfield, MO
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I have a spread sheet that breaks down cost over ownership if any one is interested. It is pretty fun to play with. Gas needs to hit $5.00 a gallon before I can justify ditching the honda.

I can email it if any one is interested.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3358
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I did something similar--Gas had to hit $10 to justify a new car and $15 to justify a hybrid.

And that was compared to an existing vehicle that got 20 mpg. If you have a more efficient vehicle to begin with, it is even harder to beat "already paid for"

 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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electric cars can be built for less than 20k by DIYers way less if you have a donor car already It would be way cheaper and way lighter if the EV-1 batteries could be used and weren't protected by a patent.
 
Peter Hartman
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Location: springfield, MO
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My price is a DIY ev. I figured about 12k for a project. I figured that would build a decent car with a 50 mile range. LiPo batteries have really come down in price. They may be within reach.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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I have an electric car conversion unit. It is a 1986 Ponti Fiero with a 5 speed tran. It runs on 144 volt system with a separate 12 volt battery to run the lights, turn signals, horn etc. About 6 hr to recharge from 110 volt house current with an on board charger. It will go 75 mph and the range is between 15 to 20 miles depending on the hills here next to the Mountains. Here is a link to a picture. It runs well, its fun to drive, I live 5 miles from town so the range works for me. Its a Great little car and it works well.
 
Mike Dayton
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Location: sw pa zone 5
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Even if I use the electric from one of the 3 worst coal fired power plants in the country which are here in western Pa I make 1/3 the CO2 emissions driving the electric Fiero compared to your Internal combusion engine. Gas cars are about 15% efficent, Electric motors are about 80% efficent, Electric does have a future, but we may have to change the way we think. The new Tesla sdn will do about 99% of your normal car driving needs. So maybe you have to RENT a gas car to drive to the visit Grandma in Washington State once a year. Is that really so bad compared to reducing your emmissions the rest of the year. There is a new company starting up that wants to rent you miles in your electric car like you buy min on your cell phone. You would buy the electric car with out the batteries [ That cuts the cost of the car in 1/2 ] then you would buy a monthly plan with so many miles per month depending on your driving. Unlimited plans would be avalable. They provide the Batteries and when they get low you pull into their service station, have a cup of coffee and robots take out your old depleated battery and install new charged up Batteries. The process takes about 10 min, not too much longer than filling your car with gas out in the wind, rain and snow. They are not in this county yet. They are starting in small countrys, like Isrial, Denmark, etc. By cutting the up front cost of the electric car in 1/2 you make them affordable to most everyone.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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this is what we should be doing for electric vehicles: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/07/trolleytrucks-trolleybuses-cargotrams.html

it greatly reduces the amount of batteries required, and extends the range indefinitely.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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I agree 100% that electric trains, and electric trolleys make a world of sense. Extending the electric corridor west from Harrisburg Pa could improve the efficency of rail travel as well as cargo cost per mile. The electric trains that run from Boston to Washington DC are well used, cost effective, fast, and on time. It takes less time down town to down town to take the train from Philly to DC or Philly to New York than it does to fly. [ The air ports are all a distance from the down town area and the trains go there directly ] One problem I see with extending electric rail travel is that the Rail Roads are all privately owned and the cost to extend the electric lines is very high. Government could spend the money to do this, but that would be directly subsidizing private companys. We do this with the locks and dams on our rivers I suppost, as well as our interstate hiways that you could argure directly help the trucking industry, but the electric lines would be on property directly owned by the Rail Roads. That seems to be a Huge difference some how. Nationalizing the Rail Road beds and rights of way could be done I suppose, but it seems too much like what Russia or china would do. We as a Nation need to talk about our options and decide what is best for the Nation, as well as what is Fair to the Private companys that own and operate the Rail Roads.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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lots of streetcar systems use roads with overhead lines for electricity delivery. So, why can't an infrastructure be developed like that for personal vehicles?

I could see that as a solution to the shipping issue. Just develop overhead lines on the interstates, outfit big rigs with diesel/electric hybrids, and there you go.

Even if we went the route of electric trains, instead, it wouldn't be the first time the govt has funded a private industry. Have you seen how much we've spent to maintain the oil infrastructure?
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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Using the over head wire system in Citys to run Buses is being used now where you have regular routes with regular stops. When you talk trucking goods to business locations the issues of the lines gets much more complicated. That issue is compounded by trying to get me to my house and up my driveway and into my garage. Using Electric Trains to move containers to distribution centers in large citys and then moving the good by trucks, electric or gas powered to the individual businesses makes sense to me and would cut pollution alot from the long haul use of diesel trucks for that purpose. Unfortunately there is no free lunch here. When people complain about the trucking industry a friend of mine, who used to own a trucking company, used to say ' That Guy does not know where his tooth picks come from " . His point was that EVERYTHING that you buy, EVERYTHING that you use was brought to you , or brought to the store by Truck. The Rail Roads, even as they stand today are much more fuel efficent that long haul trucking. Barge travel is even more efficent per ton mile than the Rail Road. We have options, but there has to be a push from the top to make the country more efficent and make us all use less Fuel. By the way, it WILL be painful for us as a Nation to Change.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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well, the issue is quickly resolved with diesel hybrids. Once off the line, they switch to diesel.

 
Robert Harsell
Posts: 19
Location: Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia
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Mike Dayton wrote:We have options, but there has to be a push from the top to make the country more efficent and make us all use less Fuel. By the way, it WILL be painful for us as a Nation to Change.


I'm a trucker. I used to haul produce out of the central valley before California outdated my rig. (CARB)

I play mental games to entertain myself while rolling. On one trip I mentally calculated how much fuel for each cantaloupe in my reefer. An eight ounce glass of diesel came with every cantaloupe. That really put things into perspective for me.

I could rant for hours on the subject, and I'm a trucker, but simply stated, why haul things across country that can be grown, baked, built, or caught, locally?
 
Robert Harsell
Posts: 19
Location: Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia
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Long ago (I almost forgot about it), I figured out a more efficient vehicle. It was electric.

It had a small battery to carry it at low speed. It would arrive at a main artery which had an overhead rail. The car would hook onto the overhead rail and from then on would be carried by power in the rail, which was supplied by solar panels mounted over the rail. The car's battery would charge on the rail.

The car had a computer which could be programmed to dispatch it back onto it's wheels at a predetermined location. The destination could be programmed before departing and once on the rail passengers could sleep, read, or otherwise occupy themselves.

I asked myself the question: Would people really buy something like this? In the interest of not trying to kid myself, I try to be honest with myself, so I answered myself honestly.

nah

So I forgot about it... almost.



Electric cars are definitely cleaner for big cities with smog problems. Los Angeles, Mexico, and Kathmandu would be well served by electric cars.

I don't have much faith in our technological future. I think all of the peripheral factors of building and using electric cars will prove them to be a bad move. I see it as a mental mistake as much as anything else. I don't believe we need to be thinking about cleaner cars. I think we need to be thinking of thinking... hard thinking... like learning to stay put. That'd save a lot of electricity.

 
Max Kennedy
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Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Robert, I can see your point of view but can't agree with it. Mobility, personal mobility that is, has come to be equated highly with freedom so I can't see it being given up. Your vision of the electric infrastructure is coming true though in slightly altered versions. Inductive charging will mean that a power rail won't be necessary, it'll be built into the roadbed and self driving cars, such as Google's in Nevada, will negate the need for a rail like setup. For these reasons I see a reduction in personal mobility as being far less likely than the implementation of the necessary infrastructure.
 
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