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Treehugger Propaganda or Big Oil Strikes Again


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#1 Canuck

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 21:22

Who killed the electric car?

I get movie schedule updates from a local theatre that generally has 'alternative' content, or at the very least movies that the big outfits won't play. Today's email had the above link. Any familiar with the GM EV1 care to comment?

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#2 McGuire

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 21:47

The movie is just stupid and laughably uninformed.

What killed the GM electric car: they cost over $300,000 each to make and the demand was not big enough to ever bring down the unit cost to allow a real-market price. Essentially, there are seven movie stars in southern California who want electric cars and nobody else gives a rat's ass.

So it's a conspiracy! :D

#3 blkirk

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 21:47

One word killed the EV1. Range. It could theoretically go 110-120 miles on one charge. In actual practice, 70-80 miles was more likely how far you could go. Then you had to plug it in for many hours to recharge the batteries. And you couldn't plug it in just anywhere. You had to use the special recharger that came with the car. So now you're limited to going places within ~35-40 miles of home. I don't know of too many people that can afford a car they can only use for some of their transportation needs.

#4 imaginesix

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 21:59

Originally posted by McGuire
With an extension cord, the illusion of freedom is lost.

Did you come up with that or are you quoting somebody? It's brilliant.

#5 blkirk

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 22:42

Originally posted by McGuire


Actually, the electric car's range is more than adequate for the daily needs of many if not most drivers in the USA. 80 miles per day is more than enough. If you work five days a week and drive 80 miles each working day, that's 19,200 miles per year, considerably more than the per capita average.

However, all this stuff is not what sells cars. Note: people buy a lot more cars than they need, and a lot more often than they need them. The concept of personal freedom is what sells cars. With an extension cord, the illusion of freedom is lost.


True. Most people don't commute more than 40 miles each way. However, as you say, being limited to 80 miles per day does not give the illusion of freedom. There goes the Labor Day trip to the beach, it's 50 miles each way. Want to take a weekend getaway to the country? In places like LA, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Boston 40 miles won't even get you outside the suburbs. Want to meet your buddies for a drink after work? Better pick the bar carefully. You wouldn't want to be stranded 2 miles from home at 3 a.m.

It is extremely limiting to have a vehicle with a pathetic range and no ability to extend it. Even if a family has two vehicles and one of them is only for the daily commute, I think most people can remember a day in the past year where they were stuck with that commuter car and they needed to go more than 80 miles. And when they realize that the EV1 would have left them high and dry that one day, they start looking at other options.

The EV1 could probably meet 99.7% of many people's needs. The trouble is what do you do on that one day that it just can't get the job done.

#6 Bob Riebe

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 22:43

Originally posted by McGuire
[B]

Actually, the electric car's range is more than adequate for the daily needs of many if not most drivers in the USA.

Hmmm, even with the horribly mild winters we have had; if you got one stuck in the snow or had simply spun your tires a lot due to slippery conditions, how long before you are walking home with your electricmobile on a tow hook?
Or, when we did have winters, the horrible Chrysler K-cars would get so cold on some sub-zero nights, they would have to be towed in, and placed inside a warm building, to warm up the inside of the engine enough to vaporize fuel (I witnessed this).
How long would they run then?
Many people do not have the ability to plug in their cars, when used at night.
Bob

#7 Greg Locock

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 22:50

The on-going lack of interest in EVs really puzzles me. Given the (ahem) less than profitable state of most car companies you'd have thought that if there was a market there someone would exploit it.

blkirk, there are more registered cars than drivers in the USA. Therefore some /households/ can afford to buy special purpose vehicles. You've only got to sell a quarter of a million a year to establish a nice little niche. Just because they don't suit you doesn't mean they don't suit anyone. This insistence that EVs must match the performance/capabilities of gasoline cars is frankly odd.

Meanwhile I just bank that nice big weekly check from Big Oil in return for which I promise not to develop alternative engines, electric cars, or bicycles.

#8 blkirk

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 00:33

Yes, there are households that have more vehicles than drivers. I know some of them myself. I was one for a while. Years ago, when I was still single, I owned two cars. One of my friends owned 4 or 5. Or maybe it was 6. I lost count. But that doesn't mean that an EV will be able to replace any of the vehicles that a household feels it needs to own.

Yes, the requirement that an EV has to match the capabilities of gasoline cars is odd. But consumers are irrational. And if they can point to the limited range as a reason to not buy the car, you can bet that they will. It's not a good reason for the number of people who want the vehicle to be limited, but it is why it happened. New Coke tested better than Classic Coke. It still failed in the market because consumers were irrationally attached to the idea of the old flavor. The laughing stock of automotive design, the Pontiac Aztek, tested well in focus groups. But when consumers voted with their wallets, nobody wanted one.

I'm not saying that EVs don't suit anyone. A fair number of the people that actually got to lease an EV1 loved it and would get another one if given the option. What I'm saying is that the limited range gives enough people enough of a reason to talk themselves out of wanting one that the market is too small to make it worthwhile.

Then there's the production side of the equation. As a point of reference, in 2003, 250,000 vehicles per year would put you in the company of the Ford Ranger, Ford Focus, Pontiac GrandAm/Olds Alero, Toyota Corolla, and Chevy Impala. There were only 12 platforms that sold in greater volumes. 50,000-100,000 vehicles per year would be a very profitable niche. I don't know how well it sold in Europe, but the wildly popular Mini Cooper only sold 25,000 copies in the US in 2003 and was considered very successful.

Of course, the reason these niche vehicles can exist is because they share tooling with a higher volume sibling. The EV1 didn't get to share any drivetrain parts with other models to help pay for the tooling. That is why it was so expensive. GM had the money in those days to put them out there and test the market. Today, only Toyota has the money to do something like that. And Toyota is way too tight with their checkbook to go that far out on a limb.

I suspect that the first successful EV will evolve out of the current crop of hybrids. There is already an active DIY market for people who want to recharge their hybrid over-night and add a few batteries so that they can get half-way to work in the morning before the ICE has to fire up. A vehicle with 50 or so miles of electric-only range and a 20-hp or so ICE to keep the batteries charged when you're away from home might find a spot in the market in the near future.

This turned out to be alot longer than I thought it was going to be. So, for everyone who fell asleep along the way:

The EV1 (the subject of the movie) had a limited range.
Consumers are irrational.
The limited range gave irrational consumers something to point at and say "I don't like that."
Low volume cars are expensive because you have to pay for the tooling with fewer cars.
The Corvette can exist in low volumes because it shares drivetrain components with other cars.
The EV1 couldn't exist in low volumes because it had no siblings.
Hybrids currently exist because they have siblings to share parts with.
Some hybrid owners modify their cars to be rechargable.
A hybrid could evolve from today's mostly ICE powered examples into a mostly electric variety.
A mostly electric hybrid would be able to share parts with an all electric car.
An all electric car would then be economically feasible in low volumes.

#9 Supercar

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 01:19

Someone killed her electric car too:

http://www.cnn.com/2...tary/index.html

#10 desmo

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 01:32

Originally posted by McGuire
The rational decision for consumers is to rent a vehicle for the one or two (or three or four) weekends per year they need a car with more range (or a back seat, or more cargo capacity, or towing capability, etc). But they don't do that. They make their purchasing decisions based on the one or two weekends, because that is what people live their lives looking forward to, not for Monday to Friday.

Cars are often purchased for getaways that never in fact take place. But that doesn't mean the car did not fulfill the consumer's desire hmm, which is the fulfillment of the idea.

Car buying is not a rational process. It is a type of fantasy. But that is probably a good thing: the automobile industry as we know it could never survive serving rational consumers.


Damn, you get marketing.

#11 cosworth bdg

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 02:05

Originally posted by Supercar
Someone killed her electric car too:

http://www.cnn.com/2...tary/index.html

The consumer was the excutioner for the electric vehicle............

#12 Supercar

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 02:23

Originally posted by McGuire
GM spent a hundred million dollars in marketing and promotion on the EV1. They also spent nearly a billion dollars developing these 800 cars, which they leased to consumers for around $350 per month. Do the math.

I hope Audi is planning to offer their clean, quiet and fuel efficient direct injected diesel R10's to the general public. I would lease one if it was under $400/mo. :p For those weekend getaways, of course.

#13 Fat Boy

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 05:20

You notice how they all blame 'Big Oil'. Everyone mentions that in 1900 electric vehicles outnumbered gas powered. Regardless of when oil was discovered in Texas, 'Big Oil' wasn't 'Big Oil' until they sold a bunch. Were's talking at least the '20's.

The fact is, electric vehicles of the day fought the same issues that they are fighting right now. Limited power output, limited range, and economics. As a couple people have said, the power and range issue is both a sales tactic and a consumer red-herring. If the economics of the deal worked out, they would be for sale and many of us would own them. As it is, the numbers don't work and so they aren't in our garages.

'Big Oil' has many battles to fight. Why would they bother fighting a battle that takes care of itself?

Let's be honest here. When people say 'Big Oil' killed the electric car, they are, at least, implying that President Bush is part of the conspiracy. This movie is cut from the same cloth as Gore's Global Warming movie or Farenheit 9-11. They're trying to blame more stuff on a guy that is already hated. I am certainly no Bush apologist, let's get that straight. I have no problem coming up with enough stuff that comes out of his own mouth that I can not like him over, though, I don't have to go around making up vague conspiracies.

#14 Canuck

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 05:33

Ah, but what would America be without vague conspiracy theories? Thanks for all the input from everyone - I was fairly sure there were other issues that had nothing to do with BO that killed the EV1 but the discussion is entertaining.

#15 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 05:38

Originally posted by McGuire


Car buying is not a rational process. It is a type of fantasy. But that is probably a good thing: the automobile industry as we know it could never survive serving rational consumers.



I've been car free since 2003. Haven't even driven one. I love public transport in a way a man should only love a woman. Im the only person in Britain who likes the rail services (and the NHS, and the BBC, I may have a disease).

The Euros always struck me as being a little more sensible about their cars and left the fantasy for shows like TopGear. My office is near an area where there's lots of nice status cars. I look at them and wonder what's the point. If I won the lotto and splashed out on an Alfa Romeo Brera, I'd worry I was showing off. It really is money for nothing.

#16 Bob Riebe

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 06:45

[i]

'Big Oil' has many battles to fight. Why would they bother fighting a battle that takes care of itself?

[/B]

You blind cynics, don't you know that they keep the 1000 hour battery plans locked in the same room as the 50 mpg carburetor and pill that turns water into gasoline.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Bob

#17 Greg Locock

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 08:49

http://www.humancar.com

#18 soubriquet

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 09:23

"Meanwhile I just bank that nice big weekly check from Big Oil in return for which I promise not to develop alternative engines, electric cars, or bicycles."

Greg. This is only a partial confession. You have failed to disclose the payments to suppress the car which runs on water.

#19 naiboz

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:15

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld



I've been car free since 2003. Haven't even driven one. I love public transport in a way a man should only love a woman. Im the only person in Britain who likes the rail services (and the NHS, and the BBC, I may have a disease).

The Euros always struck me as being a little more sensible about their cars and left the fantasy for shows like TopGear. My office is near an area where there's lots of nice status cars. I look at them and wonder what's the point. If I won the lotto and splashed out on an Alfa Romeo Brera, I'd worry I was showing off. It really is money for nothing.


I actually agree with you to an extent, I think the NHS does a good job and is getting better, I also prefer the BBC to any other global news gathering service...

but...

public transport in britain is at best adequate and at worst god ****ing scary crazy awfull

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#20 soubriquet

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:23

The last time I took public transport was to travel from Reading to, ahem, BP research at Sunbury. Much as I enjoyed reading the paper on the train, it took twice the time (3 vs 1.5 hours) and cost twice as much money to travel to a corporate job that I loathed. Life is better now. Twenty minutes, and I'm skiing.

#21 mmmcurry

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:34

Originally posted by naiboz

public transport in britain is at best adequate and at worst god ****ing scary crazy awfull


I'm lucky, I can ride to and from work in less time than it would take a car 'cos of the traffic.

The thing about electric cars I've never understood, is how green are they? How many fossil fuels are being use to charge the things in the first place?

Steve.

#22 baddog

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:43

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld

Im the only person in Britain who likes the rail services (and the NHS, and the BBC, I may have a disease).


For the record, I think the public transport system, certainly london and the main rail lines, has improved beyond all measure in recent years. I found trains cheap and easy, and the tube as always is great. Sure there are problems, but londoners have no idea how well off they are.

#23 zac510

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:55

Originally posted by baddog
For the record, I think the public transport system, certainly london and the main rail lines, has improved beyond all measure in recent years. I found trains cheap and easy, and the tube as always is great. Sure there are problems, but londoners have no idea how well off they are.


Compared to some other countries I think London transport is brilliant. The only thing better in inner London is a bike!

Actually on topic, there's a person around the corner from me that charges their electric car at night in the street. A big extension cord hangs out the window, loops over a street sign and down into the car. Where there's a will...

#24 imaginesix

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 12:33

Originally posted by naiboz
...public transport in britain is at best adequate and at worst god ****ing scary crazy awfull

If it's only adequate, what do you consider good or great? You are certainly not comparing UK public transport to any standard that I am familiar with (North America).

#25 phantom II

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 13:25

Pray tell. What are you doing here? You make love to trains and don't know the point of an Enzo or a Z06.
Are you sure you are on the right BB? You're putting us on, right?
The tube is a fascinating way to get around London. Unfortunately, the open deck double decker London busses are no more, but that was the coolest way to see the place but you need to be in a Lotus 7 in the country.
So let me get this straight. You have given up women for trains and you have given up cars for the BBC and Euro- beurocrats?
Have you been compromising your principles lately? You might have become a liberal which is a disease. Nothing I can say to liberals except take drugs and have more sex. What else can you say?

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld



I've been car free since 2003. Haven't even driven one. I love public transport in a way a man should only love a woman. Im the only person in Britain who likes the rail services (and the NHS, and the BBC, I may have a disease).

The Euros always struck me as being a little more sensible about their cars and left the fantasy for shows like TopGear. My office is near an area where there's lots of nice status cars. I look at them and wonder what's the point. If I won the lotto and splashed out on an Alfa Romeo Brera, I'd worry I was showing off. It really is money for nothing.



#26 Stian1979

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 13:31

What killed the electic car?

Listen to the sound off it.

I would not have a car with a sound like that even if I was payed to drive it + There is imposible to produce enough electrisety for everybody if all car's was going electric

#27 Buttoneer

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 14:42

Surely the thing that's really killed off the EV is the fact that the promises are just a handful of magic beans?

The cars have limited range, huge weight, enormous manufacturing cost and even the most up-to-date hydrogen fuel cell can only convert something like 60% of the energy that is pumped into it back out as usable energy. It is hugely inefficient and just moves the strain on the worlds energy system away from petrol and onto natural gas or whichever alternative fossil fuel is being used to generate electricity.

The only real answer is to get people out of their cars completely, but that's way too scary for many people to accept right now.

#28 crono33

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 14:42

how do score hybrid cars like the prius against latest generation small turbodiesel engines?

are they really better than conventional cars or are just another fancy toy?


gm


Originally posted by blkirk
Yes, there are households that have more vehicles than drivers. I know some of them myself. I was one for a while. Years ago, when I was still single, I owned two cars. One of my friends owned 4 or 5. Or maybe it was 6. I lost count. But that doesn't mean that an EV will be able to replace any of the vehicles that a household feels it needs to own.

snip.



#29 naiboz

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 15:26

Originally posted by imaginesix

If it's only adequate, what do you consider good or great? You are certainly not comparing UK public transport to any standard that I am familiar with (North America).


Never been to North America so I cant compare with yourselfs..

but by adequate I mean getting to your destination sometime roughly within oh an hour or so of when u were supposed to get there, in one peice, clothes in the same condition leaving the vehicle as when u entered and not feeling like you've been through a mangle in the process.

Anyone who has been on a Glasgow bus would think the above description is a slice of heaven :)

#30 Fat Boy

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 16:04

There are places in the US where public transportation works....kinda.

In New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and maybe a couple other place it actually isn't too bad if you live in just the right place and work in another right place. When I lived in a smaller town, I rode a bike a lot (to work, stores, etc.). People acted like I was a real weirdo (well, OK, they were right). It was 2 miles to Blockbuster, and carrying a video isn't really all that tough. The time difference between riding and driving was nill. Of course, since my car was parked outside my building for many days at a time it got broken into and torn up.

Most US cities don't have enough public transportation to really work well. I live in the LA area and I've thought about taking the train at times. When I checked on it the price was twice as much as driving and it would take twice as long. That's not really the convenience I was looking for.

#31 imaginesix

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 16:06

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
I've been car free since 2003....

Some of us have respect for such an accomplishment. Some of us also find your post rather humourous.

I guess once anything tickles your fancy then you'd have to be 'diseased' to even contemplate the possibility of there being a downside to the pursuit of that pleasure, but I call it being responsible.

#32 rhm

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 20:31

I have to register some cynical chuckles at London being held up as a shining example of a place where public transport works. The best you could say about it is that it's viable to get around by it on a daily basis. It's still inconvenient, unreliable, full of every kind of anti-social element and very expensive. Did someone earlier describe the tube as "brilliant"? You wanted to try using it a month ago when the surface temperatures were 35 degress and it was more like 50 in the trains. Public transport is a good option in London only because the councils and government have contrived to make driving a non-viable option in most places. Long before the congestion charge they have massively limited parking as a way of making driving a less attractive option. Businesses that have parking spaces on their premises pay a surcharge on their business rates. Council parking spaces are limited to only a few hours stopping with rules against "feeding the meter" so you can't use them for commuting even if you could afford it. Similarly, privately run car-parks, where the councils have allowed them, are taxed so heavily that most people could not use them on a regular basis.

I was considering a while ago that trains were an amazingly inefficient way to move people around. I mean, the anti-car mob look at cars with single occupants as a massive waste, but a road that's full of cars is still a better use of space than a train track which has a train passing over it only once every few minutes at most. And most of those trains are empty most of the time, but because people still need to get about at other times they still have to run them outside rush-hour. Somebody produced figures a couple of years ago (that I couldn't vouch for their integrity, but I haven't heard any counter-evidence either) that even when a train is fully occupied, it still uses more energy to move the same number of people that a fleet of cars would. Imagine that, then add in all those busses that weigh 7 or 8 tons that drive around constantly stopping and starting with nobody on them most of the day.

How could people promote public transport as some egalitarian ideal to strive for, if only it were clean and reliable, if only it were cheaper, if only we could tempt people out of their selfish evil cars.... how could people promote that vision when no only the reality of public transport is hellish, but the end goal isn't actually any better for the environment. How could they? Then it occured to me: Public transport advocates are not driven by any concern for the environment, they are socialists. They see the car as anti-social (and not just because of the smoke coming out of the back) and trains and busses as social. Public transport is all about socialism. The next time you hear someone in the news banging on about how to promote public transport and get people out of their cars, have my suggestion in mind and see what you think. They say it's all about saving the planet, but that's just a cover, the way to save the planet is to make better cars, the promotion of public transport is all about a different vision for society from people who spend too much time watching black and white movies.

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 21:55

Originally posted by rhm
.....Somebody produced figures a couple of years ago (that I couldn't vouch for their integrity, but I haven't heard any counter-evidence either) that even when a train is fully occupied, it still uses more energy to move the same number of people that a fleet of cars would. Imagine that, then add in all those busses that weigh 7 or 8 tons that drive around constantly stopping and starting with nobody on them most of the day.

How could people promote public transport as some egalitarian ideal to strive for, if only it were clean and reliable, if only it were cheaper, if only we could tempt people out of their selfish evil cars.... how could people promote that vision when no only the reality of public transport is hellish, but the end goal isn't actually any better for the environment. How could they? Then it occured to me: Public transport advocates are not driven by any concern for the environment, they are socialists. They see the car as anti-social (and not just because of the smoke coming out of the back) and trains and busses as social. Public transport is all about socialism. The next time you hear someone in the news banging on about how to promote public transport and get people out of their cars, have my suggestion in mind and see what you think. They say it's all about saving the planet, but that's just a cover, the way to save the planet is to make better cars, the promotion of public transport is all about a different vision for society from people who spend too much time watching black and white movies.


Spot on!

In Brisbane you will often see a six-carriage train carrying maybe a hundred people. Each carriage would surely weigh 25 tons, they stop and start at every station for just a couple to get on or get off.

And those people getting on have typically driven to the station, or been driven in a car that's (even worse) been driven back whence they came. Another bunch of cars has meanwhile arrived to pick up most of those who've alighted.

Or they get on one of the buses. Inconvenience predominates.

For the commuter, the most effective part of city rail usage, the train locks them into a schedule. To beat the schedule, that car that drops them at the station each day will likely be put into use on the trip instead, to give flexibility that's necessarily a part of our lives.

Sydney's trains run eight carriages, undoubtedly heavier again (a lot of them double decked), with just a few more passengers in the off-peak times.

In a discussion the other day about this, I cited the example of someone who lives at Cranebrook and works at Narellan. That's maybe 40kms by road, an easy drive on country roads, using the car quite efficiently most of the way.

To go by public transport would involve a bus to the station at Kingswood or Penrith, then train to Granville or Lidcombe (40 mins?), change trains to Campbelltown (another 45 mins?) then bus to Narellan (20 mins?). Cost would be enormous.

However, for someone living near the railway at Burwood and working in the city, great.

#34 jo-briggs

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 22:44

Recent EU tests have shown that the small Citroen is both more fuel efficient and cleaner than a Toyota Prius.

As long as 15kgs of petrol will take a car further than 1000kgs of battery, electric cars won't make it.

#35 Greg Locock

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 22:47

About Prius vs turbo diesel - there's no doubt that a well designed turbo-diesel is more efficient. The Audi A2 would be a shining example, if I'd ever seen one!

But... Prius is primarily a PR exercise. It has boosted Toyota's image worldwide. I am told it does make them money, by one source, and that it costs them a fortune, by another. It has undoubtedly given them an early exposure to EV technology for mass production.

For that matter I'm not sure that the A2 is much other than PR - they certainly don't seem very keen on selling the things.

#36 imaginesix

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 00:07

Originally posted by rhm
...Then it occured to me: Public transport advocates are not driven by any concern for the environment, they are socialists. They see the car as anti-social (and not just because of the smoke coming out of the back) and trains and busses as social. Public transport is all about socialism....

Sounds like a busload of wishful thinking mixed in with a trainful of political acrimony. Doesn't mean you're wrong, but it does mean you're not right.

Public transit in urban areas is an economic necessity as car ownership is simply not an option for the lower classes that live in the same topographic nightmare of higways and parking lots that was designed for the affluent. So if you take public transit as a given, then it makes ecological sense to use that existing form of transportation instead of adding another privately-owned vehicle to the roads.

Public transit is really the perfect avenue for government subsidy of transportation as it results in a system that is open to the entire population to use, but it is undesireable to those who can afford private ownership and aren't much concerned about the environment. That's my take on it, and I may not be right but if you think I'm wrong you'll have to show me how.

#37 baddog

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 00:44

Originally posted by rhm
You wanted to try using it a month ago when the surface temperatures were 35 degress and it was more like 50 in the trains.


Public transport advocates are not driven by any concern for the environment, they are socialists.


1: I was, as I live with in the tube network at the moment. like I said it has problems, being gradually addressed.. but it IS a remarkably comprehensive service.

2: Onyl if you take the todd/redneck view of things, and think doing anything for the collective good is near-communism. Public transport activists are driven by the gross unsuitability of cars as the primarty transport method in cities. I love my car, I really do, and in Aucklan my normal home a car is essential even to go to work, but if the public transport was there I would use it every day. And Im far from a socialist.

#38 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 04:12

I look at it this way. The bus gets you there as quickly as a car. Perhaps even faster if you get lucky with a bus lane, but yes you lose time waiting at the stop. But how much time do you save not having to park?

Im going to stick my neck out and say that manual transmissions arent linked to masculinity.

#39 Canuck

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 05:17

I used to take public transit to work - walk to and wait for bus - 10min, bus to LRT - 20 min, wait for LRT - 10min, LRT to destination station - 15 minutes, walk to work - 5 minutes. Repeat at night. All told, 2 hours of commuting and less than $5. The same route both ways in the car under 1 hour. PT didn't work in my situation. Besides, when putting in a 10 or 12 hour day, that extra 1+ hour makes a big difference.

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#40 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 05:18

Oh I agree with that. It becomes exponentially more inefficient when you link journeys.

#41 crono33

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 07:30

i think a scooter or motorbike will beat both cars and public transport, in urban environment.

at least where weather makes its use possible.

i live in switzwerland, where public transport is some of the best in the world. albeit not cheap.

if i have to take more than 2 trains, and sometime even 1, cars is quicker. a small car is also cheaper.


the problem is that here in europe at least in some countries those idiots of the environmentalists even oppose the constructions of new, faster railroads.



Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Oh I agree with that. It becomes exponentially more inefficient when you link journeys.



#42 Canuck

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 07:52

Originally posted by crono33
i think a scooter or motorbike will beat both cars and public transport, in urban environment.

Perhaps elsewhere but not here. There is no special preference given to motorcycles or scooters either legally or by other drivers. Folks in cars expect you to sit in the sweltering heat, sucking their exhaust fumes in a dead-stop traffic jam 'cause hey, they can't move so neither can you. I miss the wild-west driving experienced in the Middle East.

#43 crono33

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 08:10

here scooters can use bicycle lanes, and sneaking between cars is tolerated. most of all, the big advantage is that parking is never an issue.



Originally posted by Canuck

Perhaps elsewhere but not here. There is no special preference given to motorcycles or scooters either legally or by other drivers. Folks in cars expect you to sit in the sweltering heat, sucking their exhaust fumes in a dead-stop traffic jam 'cause hey, they can't move so neither can you. I miss the wild-west driving experienced in the Middle East.



#44 Canuck

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 08:46

I'm here to tell you as an avid motorcyclist, parking is an issue (here). Park two (or three) bikes in a stall, all but one get a ticket. Park anywhere a car doesn't park, get a ticket. This is not a motorcycle-friendly city. When I was in Dubai, it was the opposite - park on the sidewalks, split lanes running down the freeway, ride to the front of the line at the lights (between cars of course) - never a problem. Point of fact, lane-splitting at intersections is, if not legal, unenforced. We often had the local constabulary riding up beside us at lights. It's also the only place I've been where, at 80km/hr over the posted limit on my bike, the policemen in the BMW just nodded and went their own way.

Of course traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death in Dubai too...

#45 baddog

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 08:54

A scooter in london is effectively suicide

#46 crono33

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 08:55

then i guess canada is not seeing me any time soon :-)


Originally posted by Canuck
I'm here to tell you as an avid motorcyclist, parking is an issue (here). Park two (or three) bikes in a stall, all but one get a ticket. Park anywhere a car doesn't park, get a ticket. This is not a motorcycle-friendly city. When I was in Dubai, it was the opposite - park on the sidewalks, split lanes running down the freeway, ride to the front of the line at the lights (between cars of course) - never a problem. Point of fact, lane-splitting at intersections is, if not legal, unenforced. We often had the local constabulary riding up beside us at lights. It's also the only place I've been where, at 80km/hr over the posted limit on my bike, the policemen in the BMW just nodded and went their own way.

Of course traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death in Dubai too...



#47 rhm

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 11:07

Originally posted by imaginesix

Sounds like a busload of wishful thinking mixed in with a trainful of political acrimony. Doesn't mean you're wrong, but it does mean you're not right.

Public transit in urban areas is an economic necessity as car ownership is simply not an option for the lower classes that live in the same topographic nightmare of higways and parking lots that was designed for the affluent. So if you take public transit as a given, then it makes ecological sense to use that existing form of transportation instead of adding another privately-owned vehicle to the roads.

Public transit is really the perfect avenue for government subsidy of transportation as it results in a system that is open to the entire population to use, but it is undesireable to those who can afford private ownership and aren't much concerned about the environment. That's my take on it, and I may not be right but if you think I'm wrong you'll have to show me how.


That's the most self-contradictory posting I've seen yet. You tell me I'm wrong about public transport being driven by socialism and then list several socialist reasons for why you think public transport is essential. Well done.

#48 Terry Walker

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 12:01

Diverting briefly back to the thread -

Steam and electric cars were defeated by the much greater convenience of the internal combustion engine car.

Just about anybody these days who owns a car expects them to (a) start immediately and (b) take them anywhere they want to go without fuss. Steam was defeated by (a) not to mention a certain amount of (b); while no electric car can do (b).

Not a lot of drivers confine their driving to maybe one short hop a day. Most have a complex mix of driving patterns. In many big cities, (eg London, a city I'm very familiar with but don't live in) you have to garage in the street, and no, I would not run an extension cord from my house outlet across the yard, across the public footpath and (if the car is parked on the opposite side of the street) the street as well.

So far, electrics have very limited range and limited cruising performance, and are effectively tethered to the owner's house by a power cord, because they take a long while to recharge. You can of course have on-board recharging, maybe a small Honda generator set, which takes us to hybrids and brings back the IC engine.

I quite like electric cars, but the only one I would consider owning would be an antique for fun. Not for everyday use. I rather covet the Granma Duck model Detroit Electric. There's one here in Perth which on its 8 12-volt batteries is good for about 40 miles at no more than 25 mph. But at about 4 amp hours charge rate, those 8 batteries take a loooooong time to charge.

#49 imaginesix

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 13:06

Originally posted by rhm
That's the most self-contradictory posting I've seen yet. You tell me I'm wrong about public transport being driven by socialism and then list several socialist reasons for why you think public transport is essential. Well done.

It's telling that you find my arguments are of a socialist bent.

Is economic necessity purely a socialist concern? In that case I'd hate to think how many other necessities are ignored by other political ideologies.

Is my argument a socialist one merely because it enables the poor? That would mean any time a policy benefits the lower classes it is automotically ruled unsuitable by non-socialists!

Maybe it is socialist because it takes into account a concern for the environment. Or is it simply that ANY government spending is socialist by definition? Or perhaps it is socialist because the money is spent in an egalitarian manner?

I'd like to hear how you get 'socialism' out of my explanation that the policy happens to serve the poor in order to benefit everybody.

#50 Stian1979

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 14:38

Originally posted by baddog
A scooter in london is effectively suicide


You have no idea.

You should try it in Taipei.

I'm lucky to stil be alive. Gues that old dude in the sky like me after all.