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Unread 02-14-2013, 11:10 AM   #1
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Default Calling all CF members: Thoughts on new tech. in the car marketplace?

I am interested in hearing any thoughts and concerns about the new technology that's been put on the table for commuter cars. This is not about the performance side of the market.

All three have electric motors as a primary means of propulsion.
  1. All electric vehicle
  2. Electric primary motor with a fuel powered generator
  3. Hydrogen fuel cell (Electric motor for power)

What do you think about those listed, and why?
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Unread 02-14-2013, 01:43 PM   #2
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1) All electric vehicle - battery technology isn't there yet. It's a good idea but until they can get 250 miles of range and recharge them in under a half hour, it's simply not a replacement for the gasoline engine. For me, there's no electric car on the market that can even drive me home right now, let alone replace my Blazer (which can only go ~280 miles on a tank..).

2) This is what will hold us over right now. It's the only option right now. Not only is it a more efficient use of gasoline when the internal combustion engine is running, but for those that don't drive long distances, you may not burn gas at all. Jay Leno has a Volt, hasn't filled up the tank yet. I don't think this will be the way to go long term, but for the short term it's the only way to do it.

3) Hydrogen, in my opinion, will be the prevailing technology. It has a long way to go, but there are working prototypes. The biggest problem is what form of hydrogen is best to use, and finding a way to compress it sufficiently. The Equinox hydrogen cars Chevrolet deployed for testing were getting 200 miles to a tank actually. They can also be refueled quickly, and produce zero harmful byproducts. Initially the price will be set high, but advancing technology, and no scarce resources required, means the price will actually go down as adoption increases. Existing internal combustion engines can also be fitted to run on hydrogen.

I'm not familiar with using a hydrogen fuel cell with an electric motor, however.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 09:44 AM   #3
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Mike, I agree completely with all three points.

Hydrogen fuel cells are used to convert the hydrogen in the tank into electricity for the drive motor. There are fuel cells that convert natural gas to electricity using a similar concept.

Did you know that hydrogen is by far the single most common element in the universe? And it's in nearly everything, even in the air. The hydrocarbon emissions that cars pump out are various combinations of hydrogen and carbon too.

In regards to the EV's, the sweet little Tesla model S has a 265 mile range and speed charges in about half an hour. The model S meets the range and charging needs of most people head on, though being too expensive for the masses has left the car in it's own luxury performance niche.

I personally consider the all electric vehicle as an in between step in going from gas to hydrogen. I would be willing to bet that diesel and hydrogen will be the fuels we rely on most for getting around, with diesel being used for large transport and work truck needs and hydrogen being used for the commuter cars.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 11:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed_Demon View Post
Mike, I agree completely with all three points.

Hydrogen fuel cells are used to convert the hydrogen in the tank into electricity for the drive motor. There are fuel cells that convert natural gas to electricity using a similar concept.

Did you know that hydrogen is by far the single most common element in the universe? And it's in nearly everything, even in the air. The hydrocarbon emissions that cars pump out are various combinations of hydrogen and carbon too.

In regards to the EV's, the sweet little Tesla model S has a 265 mile range and speed charges in about half an hour. The model S meets the range and charging needs of most people head on, though being too expensive for the masses has left the car in it's own luxury performance niche.

I personally consider the all electric vehicle as an in between step in going from gas to hydrogen. I would be willing to bet that diesel and hydrogen will be the fuels we rely on most for getting around, with diesel being used for large transport and work truck needs and hydrogen being used for the commuter cars.
I didn't know the Model S has that much of a range. Can it charge at home though (surely not from a standard socket...)? I know Tesla has set up a network of charging stations but I don't know how many there are. I'm goingout on a limb to say there ain't many in my neck of the woods! And as you said, the Model S is not a cheap car to start with. Base model at $65 grand is no way to become mainstream. IMO they should be focusing on making a lower priced vehicle instead of the Model X, an SUV Model S.

I agree with your last point, I've thought that for some time now.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 01:45 PM   #5
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A friends father actually has been going around in the city and installing high voltage lines for tesla charging stations in peoples homes. I think hes typically running 480 at the charging station.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 04:14 PM   #6
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Wow! Wonder how much that even runs for the infrastructure in your house. Does Tesla build that into the cost of the car? I know the Volt comes with a 120, and you can install a 240V setup to charge faster. I wonder what the charging stations call for if they charge in a half hour...
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Unread 02-15-2013, 05:39 PM   #7
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A friend of mine has a Volt. He took me for a ride, it's an OK car. I didn't like the interior that much though.

He's owned it for 3 months and finally put some gas in it. Pretty high tech, the dash monitors everything and it shows real time battery usage. You hit the "gas" and the battery monitor recalculates how far you can go, you coast down a hill and the distance is recalculated.

It's got some guts too, not a slug.

Might be a time when I would consider one. By that time fuel cells may be affordable and then I'll hot rod one of those.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 05:49 PM   #8
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The perks of electric motors is every pound foot of torque is right there at 1 rpm. There's no power/torque curves, it's flat. But yeah they do get along better than one would expect. I've driven a Volt as well, pretty good. You're definitely paying for the technology..
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Unread 02-16-2013, 02:58 PM   #9
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I disagree with Mike on #1.

1. The battery technology IS there but the cost is way too high to make it affordable for the domestic market. It's almost like an SSD (when it first came out), the prices are dropping through mass adoption rate but the general mass won't be able to afford cars like that. Concept is great for urban areas IF there are refueling stations on every parking lot to make it worth it. Tesla is trying to implement it but they still have a long way to go. Still, doesn't make sense as you know where the majority of electricity comes from.

2. Great concept for adoption right away (realistic option would be in the next 5 years).
I've driven the Fisker Karma for a few days and it's a fantastic car. I don't think it's as fast as either of my 12 cylinder cars though.

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Unread 02-16-2013, 06:19 PM   #10
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Exactly, the technology is out of reach for the automotive market.
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