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Thread: Alternate powered cars

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Alternate powered cars

    By now many of you know energy is one of my hot buttons.

    I have had a few people email me about two wonderful events of recent.

    A car powered by compressed air and the hydrogen Honda now available (limited ) in Calif.


    Does anybody wonder where the energy to compress the air comes from??

    Does anybody wonder where the hydrogen comes from???


    I could show many ways to power an auto from rubber bands to nuclear power but NONE of them are as practical as good old gasoline. Even at $5 - $15 per gallon.

    One of the problems with high priced gasoline is that it is still a GREAT deal. To bad most of us ( me included ) cannot afford it.

  2. #2
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    Good points, Pete. If we could bottle up all the hot air that gets expelled during election season, maybe we'd have plenty of energy to power our vehicles.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Good points, Pete. If we could bottle up all the hot air that gets expelled during election season, maybe we'd have plenty of energy to power our vehicles.
    Where would you find a container to hold all of it?
    Ken
    ------



  4. #4
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    I'm really a fan of the "plug in hybrids". According to the literature, the cost to charge the battery - good for about 40 miles - is about $1.50 (battery is 16kWh but it's never a full charge - usually only 8kWh for a charge). Note that this is at market rates - the generation and distribution of electricity is not subsidized.

    Additionally, the charging can be done at night when the demand is usually low so it will take a lot of plug in hybrids to overload the existing electrical grid.

    This doesn't do away with emissions but it does provide much more efficient transportation (miles per dollar).

    One thing that has me wondering has to do with the tax on fuels (gasoline and diesel) that pays for the roads. If someone lives close enough to work that they can drive to and back on a charge, they'll never pay any fuel tax which could affect the upkeep of the highways. They'll have to be some alternative way to tax plug in hybrids that's fair to all.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-18-2008 at 04:50 AM.
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
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    Batteries, Fuel Cells, Hybrids, Vegetable Oil, Ethanol, other forms of BioDiesel, Compressed Air, Hydrogen.......

    What they ALL seem to misunderstand is no matter WHAT the far-out sounding technology, so far, the single MOST efficient way we have to move energy from one place to another, is refined petroleum. Gasoline/Diesel. More (Often WAY more) energy per pound/volume than any other system.

    And when it comes to fueling a vehicle, that's all you're really doing - moving energy from one place to another.

    If we really wanna "throw money" at a problem - throw it at Fusion. In the meantime, build conventional Fission plants like there's no tomorrow - and keep right on burnin' that oil. There's plenty. Really. The whole "Running out" thing is just boogyman scare tactics.

    -Kevin in Indy
    "Heroic? He fell off his bloody Aeroplane!"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Vernon View Post
    Batteries, Fuel Cells, Hybrids, Vegetable Oil, Ethanol, other forms of BioDiesel, Compressed Air, Hydrogen.......

    What they ALL seem to misunderstand is no matter WHAT the far-out sounding technology, so far, the single MOST efficient way we have to move energy from one place to another, is refined petroleum. Gasoline/Diesel. More (Often WAY more) energy per pound/volume than any other system.-Kevin in Indy
    It's true that gasoline and diesel have a lot of energy per pound - but an internal combustion engine is very inefficient - it only extracts about 20% of the energy potential in the fuel - the rest is lost as heat.

    A battery is not as energy dense but it's a lot more efficient. A Li-Ion battery is about 99% efficient in storage (energy in to energy out) and an electric motor can easily be 90% efficient (electrical energy in to mechanical energy out).

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
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    We went to the dealership to sell the minivan and look at a prius last night. As expected, we'll get about 1/3 less for the sienna than we would have just several month ago. You should see the car lot... row on row on row of big SUVs just sitting there, and anything fuel efficient has "fleet only, not for sale" on it. They use those for test drives.

    Doorlink and I both drove the prius. I was impressed how roomy and nice it was inside. But the real shock was getting into the minivan to drive again. I felt the way you do when you walk into one of those american/"italian" restaurants with the huge portions. Decadent, selfish, wasteful... none of those words describe it, really... it's more like its hard to enjoy the way something tastes when you know people in the same city are hungry. Every time I stepped on the gas I felt it, and every time I had to brake it was worse.

    We haven't decided what to do. We may just sell the van and not get a prius. But we were sitting sipping margaritas while James ate some promised ice cream, and Doorlink handed me a piece of paper and a pencil. She said "figure out what we'd actually save". When I showed her we could go a thousand miles on twenty gallons she just let out one of those low whistles...

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 06-18-2008 at 12:53 PM.

  8. #8
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    Bill, do a search for one of the Prius discussion forums. You will get tons of information from those. You might end up 'talking' with my son. He has a Prius and is an avid devotee of the concept and car. His is about five years old now and long paid for. So he is practically driving for free these days.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    ...A Li-Ion battery is about 99% efficient in storage (energy in to energy out) and an electric motor can easily be 90% efficient (electrical energy in to mechanical energy out).

    Mike
    Yeah, but the majority of the electricity used to charge those batteries will be sourced from oil or coal fired generating plants, so there's still significant petroleum being used - just in a form that's not so readily apparent.

    The real oil-use reduction with 'electric' cars will only come when the electricity used comes from non fossil fueled generation - like from nuclear power plants which the 'greenies' hate, even though they've historically been one of the safest, most efficient sources of energy.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Yeah, but the majority of the electricity used to charge those batteries will be sourced from oil or coal fired generating plants, so there's still significant petroleum being used - just in a form that's not so readily apparent.

    The real oil-use reduction with 'electric' cars will only come when the electricity used comes from non fossil fueled generation - like from nuclear power plants which the 'greenies' hate, even though they've historically been one of the safest, most efficient sources of energy.
    I absolutely agree with you, Jim. On the positive side of fossil fuel electricity generation, a power plant is a lot more efficient in converting the energy in the fuel to electricity than an internal combustion engine. Also, since it's a single source, and big, there are things that can be done to mitigate the pollution and green house effects, things that can't be done on a road vehicle. For example, you can consider carbon sequestering at a power plant but it would be essentially impossible on an automobile.

    While I agree we should focus more on nuclear generation and green energy sources, until we get there the "electric" cars will help. And after we get there the electric cars are necessary to maintain the non-emitting advantages of the generators.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

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