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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:40 pm 
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I found this article very revealing.

While I'm a fan of the upcoming plug-in hybrids and completely electric vehicles, I'm also a fan of the truth. This article bothers me, as it is exceedingly misleading.

Worse yet, the origin of the methods for the false information is none other than the EPA. It just goes to show that when the government steps in, they can turn bad to worse.

GM says Chevy Volt electric car gets 230 miles per gallon in city

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:17 pm 
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Cars like this are really going to stress the use of mpg as a proxy for distance-related operating costs. While it's clear that the 241mpg figure exaggerates the efficiency of the vehicle, any way I run the numbers, it looks like a significant step-up in efficiency versus existing hybrids, even at New England's electricity rates (in the article--5 cents per kwh--ha! I wish). One thing they're going to have to convince me of, though, is that progressive loss of battery efficiency won't be an issue.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:08 pm 
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mhosea wrote:

One thing they're going to have to convince me of, though, is that progressive loss of battery efficiency won't be an issue.

True. The greatest weakness - and field of most intensive research - for hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles is the battery technology.

I've been surveying Prius owners I run across. Two weeks ago I ran into some folks vacationing from New Orleans. Their Prius had 140,000 on the original (lead acid) battery pack. So far so good there. And many of these vehicles have a 10 year/100K mile battery warranty which I assume means it operates at the same relative efficiency.

Lithium ion technology is the next generation, and the recipient of massive federal grants from the Obama administration. Three companies have already been awarded hundreds of millions to the billion dollar range in grants to start lithium ion battery production plants in the U.S.

The good thing about the lithium batteries is that they are much, much lighter. Thus you can get more battery in a vehicle, which means you get greater range.

The plug-in hybrid - like the hybrid itself - is a bit of a bridge technology. Eventually gasoline will go away, and we'll have to use either H2, electricity, or biofuel to operate our vehicles. Hybrids came about because batteries were bulky and heavy. But when they get lighter and hold more electrons, then the gasoline engine will eventually disappear.

Start: Gasoline to hybrid
Next: Hybrid to plug-in hybrid
Final: Plug-in hybrid to fully electric

Other than the need for lighter batteries - which are on the way - the bridge technologies will be needed until our country can develop the refilling methods and infrastructures. They exist (in the lab) today either as massively quick charges or automated battery exchanges at the service station. But getting this set up in "production" all the way around the U.S. will take time.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:05 pm 
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http://www.slate.com/id/2279941/pagenum/2

Here's an article lauding the Nissan Leaf. It does sound cool, but I'm a little annoyed with the attack on the Prius. First, they complain the Prius is a lousy, unpeppy ride. Then, they explain a virtue of the Leaf is how all the displays convince you to drive like a grandma. Well, the Prius naturally has those same displays. I modify my behavior based on them, and generally it's not that different from how I would drive knowing how habits conserve gas. So that's a wash. I don't stamp on the accelerator in the Prius so maybe the Leaf wins there, but the Prius does just fine going up very steep canyon drives here in San Diego.

Maybe i'tll be my next car, or the uncle of my next car. My current Prius is only a year old and true eco people know that the production energy costs of a vehicle make it such that carbon footprint is almost always lower driving a car into oblivion. Based on the performance of a first generation Prius with many miles on it that CR tested and the Toyota record, I'll be using this one for a while.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:55 pm 
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IJ wrote:
My current Prius is only a year old and true eco people know that the production energy costs of a vehicle make it such that carbon footprint is almost always lower driving a car into oblivion.


As long as *someone* is driving it into oblivion you'll still be minimizing your carbon footprint. That is to say, you could sell me your prius cheap and buy a fancy new electric car, comfortable in the knowledge that I will be sure to drive the prius until it's old and grey. This is a good idea.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:05 am 
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I guess, but if we start thinking like that I have to ensure your car just died and can't be saved, right? Serious mpg standards would be a bigger driver of change overall. I still can't believe Hummer really existed for a while. Overpriced. Extremely inefficient. Not particularly comfortable. Not particularly reliable. Just nothing going for it except the statement: I am being obnoxious because I can.

I've been talking about distorted health care markets recently, and if people paid the true price of gas, they wouldn't have bought many Hummers. If roads were paid out of gas taxes, and people had to shell out for the associated environmental concerns, they'd care about efficiency.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:43 am 
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For your car???

I saw an article on a car that runs on compressed air. Two long, thin tanks under the car, propelled it for over a hundred miles. Recharging the tanks cost about $2.00 using standard electrical outlet, or at gas stations.

Other than that article, I haven't heard any other news regarding this car of the future. . .

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:04 pm 
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IJ wrote:

Serious mpg standards would be a bigger driver of change overall.

It's a non-starter because all people see is the very visible and filthy hand of government.

Better to get rid of the petroleum subsidy. People respond to the price of gasoline in rational ways.
IJ wrote:

I still can't believe Hummer really existed for a while. Overpriced. Extremely inefficient. Not particularly comfortable. Not particularly reliable. Just nothing going for it except the statement: I am being obnoxious because I can.

And said Hummer drivers can't believe you drive a Prius and still have a set. You either get it or you don't. Ask your friend Arnold; he'll explain it to you.

On the practical side of things, it's one vehicle that will go anywhere and is virtually impossible to flip over. There's a time about once every 7 years or so where I could really use a vehicle like that. But of course the other 2000+ days I don't.

It's like speed. I don't NEED to accelerate like a bat out of hell, and I don't NEED to be able to go 200 mph. But I want to. Or I'd at least like to be able to.

I don't NEED to squat 500 or bench 400. But it could come in handy.

Bigger is better you know...
IJ wrote:

I've been talking about distorted health care markets recently, and if people paid the true price of gas, they wouldn't have bought many Hummers.

And so here we agree.

And if there wasn't the hidden price advantage for SUVs for all those years (because of the idiotic government CAFE rules), then SUVs wouldn't have become Suburban Assault Vehicles. Once again, government is really good at taking a rational market and F-ing it up.

Who knows... maybe by now Bubbah would have a shotgun rack in the back window of his Prius.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:09 pm 
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gmattson wrote:

I saw an article on a car that runs on compressed air. Two long, thin tanks under the car, propelled it for over a hundred miles.

I want to be in a vehicle like that when it gets rear-ended. I could get to work - in flight - in less than a minute! :twisted:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:02 pm 
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Setting a rule about how many cars can be sold at what mpg is one thing... that does sound like government silliness. Implementing standards could be done through increasing the gas taxes, which makes sense in some ways because it pays for the roads proportionate to the use of gas, but will be regressive. Adjusting car taxes at sale or yearly to the mpg figure would be another way to incentivize people to make rational decisions about their vehicles. And if I hear one more person tell me how they had to have an SUV because they drive to home depot once every two years where they rent better vehicles for such tasks anyway.... I might lose it. Or support a meritocracy.

American carmakers whine about standards, but necessity is the mother of invention, and no one told them to produce bad cars. Also, they contributed to the dismantling of public transport, so it's partly their fauly the poor can't switch to buses and trolleys when gas prices go up.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:10 pm 
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IJ wrote:
I guess, but if we start thinking like that I have to ensure your car just died and can't be saved, right?


The dirty secret of my deception is that I don't actually own a car. Between us, my wife and I own one (1998 Camry). So you'd actually be doing the world a disservice by basically introducing a whole extra car's worth of damage. Although I expect that in 5-6 years I'll have to suffer the indignity of being an individual car owner again.

And I'm not sure why you can't believe there's a car that's all about being obnoxious because you can. From where I sit it looks like flaunting their ability to be wasteful is the very quintessence of middle-class aspiration. Conspicuous consumption is the American way. Bill might call it a case of healthy competition and motivation which keeps the wheels of commerce turning. Call me a cynic but I think being an obnoxious braggart is the secret (or not so secret) joy of almost all humankind. In this case it happens to be colored by ridiculous and outdated gender norms as well. Anyhow, so long as the money is out there, there will be a place for overcompensation-mobiles. And yes, they're doing it specifically to annoy people like you.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:35 pm 
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Oh but I wish you could be a fly on the wall of conversations I have with number 1 son, Justin.

I argue passionately with you because there's a bit of me in you. I lived with very little for many years, and they were the happiest years of my life. Speaking of cars... George can tell you how I drove him to the airport (in Charlottesville) in my Plymouth Champ (which got 45 mpg, by the way). I was in graduate school living off of almost nothing, and teaching martial arts classes in the University pro bono. The driver's seat broke and I couldn't afford to have it fixed. So I took the shotgun seat and installed it on the driver's side. That left George in the back sitting with so much leg room that he said it rivaled the ride of his Bentley.

To the airport, James!

Number 1 son has the curse of growing up in the conspicuously consuming West End of Richmond. The best and the worst thing I did for him is to send him for 10 years to a private school - one with a centuries-old reputation. The Judeo-Christian influence on his character? Not so conspicuous. Yet...

Number 2 son went for a while to a parochial school. Somehow he gets it.

I went to several private schools. The second (Philips Exeter) was by MY choice. By definition I was a preppie when I arrived at UVa. Meanwhile... At UVa, a "preppie" was someone who wore Lacoste shirts, Khaki pants, Topsiders, went out with girls with names like Buffy, and had mommies and daddies who were somebodies. In other words, they were sheep in wolves' clothing. Me? I wore a T-shirt and bluejeans, and let my freak flag fly high. I never let on where I was from. Did it matter?

Understanding what matters in life, being the best you can be, enjoying what you have, and loving those around you are lessons best taught by example. When the student is ready, the teacher will be there.

As to why conspicuous consumers are the way they are... Being judgmental may put you in danger of not getting it. Be careful... they're judging you as well. Neither activity is flattering - IMHO.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:33 am 
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"As to why conspicuous consumers are the way they are... Being judgmental may put you in danger of not getting it. Be careful... they're judging you as well. Neither activity is flattering - IMHO"

Making judgments is what we do all day. You do it when you criticize the bailouts and Obamacare; you do it when you propose denying marriage to same sex couples. I fail to see why Hummer driving gets an exemption. Because I may not "get" the value of conspicuous consumption? Hmm. Based on a survey of Hummer drivers, I don't have to wonder; most felt they were making a moral statement about America's right to consume resources and not apologize for excess.

I just don't foresee a world where our grandchildren say to themselves, "Gosh, I really wish people in Ian's generation had driven more maximally inefficient vehicles to work, like the Hummer. How did that carmaker ever fold?"

Lots of choices affect others--including personal decisions like drinking, overeating, smoking, using drugs, and yes, what cars we drive. Should we pretend these are all neutral style choices, we fail to see the bigger picture.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:27 pm 
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Valkenar wrote:
The dirty secret of my deception is that I don't actually own a car. Between us, my wife and I own one (1998 Camry). So you'd actually be doing the world a disservice by basically introducing a whole extra car's worth of damage.


Hate to admit it here, but we're a one-small-car family that was really picky about where it chose to live: really close to a bike path which goes in one direction to where I work and in the other direction to where my wife works.

What an idea!!!!

Now, if only the big brains out there could figure out a way to shift winter a little further away.........

I'm glad the technology is improving, but I think it'll be awhile before they figure out a reliable way to make batteries last in sub-zero temperatures. :?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:29 pm 
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Chris McKaskell wrote:

I'm glad the technology is improving, but I think it'll be awhile before they figure out a reliable way to make batteries last in sub-zero temperatures. :?

And diesel fuel.... And fruits and vegetables... Face it, you live where only Scandinavians and witch titties find a home.

I don't see a single solution to our energy issues, just as there isn't a single solution to health care. Both are very much regional phenomena - like the color of one's skin.

- Bill


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