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Treehugger Propaganda or Big Oil Strikes Again


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#51 crono33

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 16:01

actually, if you can survive italy on a scooter, you can definitely survive london.

i survive 4 years of motorbiking in dublin. which is much worse than london. at least in london people have a driving license...

i have been to london many times. i think a scooter would be fine. there are scooters which are quite fast and powerful. so you are not necessarily limited to 30mph



Originally posted by baddog
A scooter in london is effectively suicide



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#52 rhm

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 20:51

Originally posted by imaginesix

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.


When you say that there is a need for public transport for the poor to use, that is socialism. I'm sorry if you take that personally because you think labelling something as socialism is an insult, that's not my intention, I just think when people advocate things they should be clear about why they are advocating them and too often you hear people in the media promoting public transport and talking about the supposed environmental benefits and yet it is clear to me when they talk about "getting people out of their cars", they are actually pursuing a socialist agenda. I believe they should make that clear, that is what I was pointing out earlier because the media never calls people on it.

As for it not being socialist because, in your opinion, it would benefit everyone: The fact that a policy has a secondary benefit to the greater population doesn't stop it being socialist. For example, it's widely thought that the policy of paying dole money to those who are unemployed, whether unavoidably or just because they're lazy, has a benefit to everyone by reducing the number of people who would outherwise resort to crime to get by. That doesn't stop it being a socialist policy.

So yes, much of the promotion of public transport is socialist because there is assumption that people who don't need it (those who own cars and live outside London) should use it in order that it be available for those that do need it. Moreover, because it is so grossly inefficient, governments are expected to subsidise it as well. In order to make this fact more palatable, they never mention it. Instead it's all about how public transport will save the environment, but it won't. The way to stop polution from cars is to make better cars, not to dream that people will chose a 19th century means of transport instead. And when I say better cars, I don't just mean lower emissions and alternative fuels. I mean more recyclables, I mean better integration of the car into the transport system - so a road isn't just a strip of tarmac, but something that does everything possible to convey a vehicle as efficiently as possible. If that were pursued, cars (or some future vehicle that came to replace what we now know as the car) could be practical even in London. But politicians don't have the power visualise a better future any more, all they can do is talk about how people should get on trains and busses. It's all very disappointing.

#53 desmo

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 01:17

Construction of public roads and transportation infrastructure to accomodate car travel is every bit as socialist as public transportation is it not? Not to demean that. The rolling stock is a minor component of the whole system. Either can be monies well spent where appropriate.

#54 cosworth bdg

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 01:23

Originally posted by baddog
A scooter in london is effectively suicide

It is suicide in any large city..... :up: :up:

#55 desmo

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 01:36

People seem to more or less manage in Rome.

#56 imaginesix

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 14:29

Originally posted by rhm
When you say that there is a need for public transport for the poor to use, that is socialism.
...

I see then how you would think my explanation for the existence of public transit relied on socialist thinking, but suffice it to say that your criteria for assessing what is socialist is rather broad and I do not share it.

My post on the development of public transit was based on the premise of pragmatism being at play, not socialism. As such, any policy which benefits the society as a whole is a worthwhile policy regardless of whether it benefits one segment of the population more than another. For example the right tax loopholes encourage investment and enterprise, and the fact that only the rich can exploit these loopholes is incidental to the goal of improving wealth across the board.

I hope from this perspective you can see that my post was not contradictory in the least but that it presented a rational alternative to your claim that the promotion of public transit is simply an outgrowth of some rampant 'socialist' agenda. All this, just to make the point that public transit is arguably the more environmentally sensible transportation option.

That is as much as I need to say on the topic publicly. You have mail.

#57 Canuck

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 20:05

Originally posted by imaginesix
That is as much as I need to say on the topic publicly. You have mail.

Damnit! I was just making popcorn and pulling up my chair.

I do feel compelled to add - the Golden Rule will always, always be in effect regardless the political bent of any ruling government system. Rules always favour the rule makers - socialist or otherwise.

Back to topic - how about the TeslaMotors EV? Claimed range of 200+ miles on a charge.


#58 Terry Walker

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 15:01

Looking at the Tesla speccy sheet, there's an awful lot of electrical gizmos from aircon to heated seats which must surely help drain the battery and reduce range.

#59 J. Edlund

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 23:21

One thing most people forget when they talk about electric cars, is that an electric car can only be as green as the electricity it runs off. An electric car can't be as green as a bicycle and a bicycle can't be as green as walking, since there are pollution involved in the manufacturing of the bicycle. If the electricity comes from a plant using fossil fuels, we will still have pollution, even solar power, biofuels and water power cayse some pollution (often more than what people think) or have other disadvantages. But the electric car will sure seem a lot greener, since we have moved the pollution to an area where most people can't see it.

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#60 scheivlak

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 00:14

Originally posted by J. Edlund
One thing most people forget when they talk about electric cars, is that an electric car can only be as green as the electricity it runs off. An electric car can't be as green as a bicycle and a bicycle can't be as green as walking, since there are pollution involved in the manufacturing of the bicycle. If the electricity comes from a plant using fossil fuels, we will still have pollution, even solar power, biofuels and water power cayse some pollution (often more than what people think) or have other disadvantages. But the electric car will sure seem a lot greener, since we have moved the pollution to an area where most people can't see it.

Completely true, but don't use this as an excuse but as an invitation to measure the real pollution specific for every means of transport.

#61 bluetentacle

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 20:29

Originally posted by J. Edlund
One thing most people forget when they talk about electric cars, is that an electric car can only be as green as the electricity it runs off.


I think you've missed the boat on the whole debate. Advocates of electric cars are very mindful of the accusation made by detractors that these are just "Elsewhere Emission Vehicles". The question here is not whether there is pollution, but how much, as well as a view toward the future. Electric cars produce less pollution even when you take in the entire energy chain because:

  • Power plants consumption of electricity can be significantly more efficient than that of the internal combustion engine (ICE), up to 33% for natural gas plants vs. 15% for petro-driven cars.
  • Power plants have access to many more varieties of fuel than ICE, some of which are much less polluting (natural gas), while others produce no emissions at all (nuclear, solar, wind, hydro).
  • It is much cheaper and more realistic to retrofic existing power plants with emission-control devices, than on the all of the gazillion cars on the road.
  • Looking toward the future, when mankind discovers a new source of fuel that is both clean and efficient, it will be much easier to upgrade a few power plants than billions of automobiles and the refuelling infrastructure.
  • Electric cars are far more efficient in stop-and-go traffic, a fact of life in urban areas, since they don't need to be kept running when idle like ICE does.

http://www.electroau.../pollmyth.shtml

#62 phantom II

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 22:52

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z_machine

[QUOTE]Originally posted by bluetentacle
[B]
[*]Looking toward the future, when mankind discovers a new source of fuel that is both clean and efficient

#63 imaginesix

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 23:02

Originally posted by bluetentacle
...
Electric cars produce less pollution even when you take in the entire energy chain because:

Wow, I never knew we could use bullets in the forum. I can't imagine how I lived without 'em!

...
  • Power plants consumption of electricity can be significantly more efficient than that of the internal combustion engine (ICE), up to 33% for natural gas plants vs. 15% for petro-driven cars.
    Energy efficiency does not relate directly to emissions output, even when comparing the same fuel source. Also, the 15% figure for ICVs is at the wheels while the 33% figure for NG plants does not take into consideration losses from the transmission lines and from vehicles themselves.

  • Power plants have access to many more varieties of fuel than ICE, some of which are much less polluting (natural gas), while others produce no emissions at all (nuclear, solar, wind, hydro).
    The potential for cleaner energy generation, and the reality of existing and future energy generation methods, are two entirely different things. And changing over is not as easy as you suggest below.

  • It is much cheaper and more realistic to retrofit existing power plants with emission-control devices, than on the all of the gazillion cars on the road.
    All the gazillions of cars on the road have already been 'retrofit' with very stringent emissions control systems. The fact that the energy corps have a much more powerful lobby than all of us individual car owners is probably the reason why government put the onus on us to pay for and maintain these systems.

  • Looking toward the future, when mankind discovers a new source of fuel that is both clean and efficient, it will be much easier to upgrade a few power plants than billions of automobiles and the refuelling infrastructure.
    For the same reason as above, and the fact that cars have a lifespan of 7-10 years while power stations have a lifespan of 50 years+, it will always be easier and cheaper to upgrade automobile technology than powerplant technology by simply implementing the changes during the next product life cycle.

  • Electric cars are far more efficient in stop-and-go traffic, a fact of life in urban areas, since they don't need to be kept running when idle like ICE does.
    ICEs do not need to idle, except if the battery cannot supply the power required by the accessories for long enough. EVs do benefit from regenerative braking in stop-and-go traffic, but that is only a small part of the big picture.
I was wondering what assumptions were being made to calculate emissions of EVs over ICVs. If the list you provided is anything to judge by, then the assumptions are very flawed.

#64 bluetentacle

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 01:15

First, take a look at my link: http://www.electroau.../pollmyth.shtml

  • Energy efficiency does not relate directly to emissions output, even when comparing the same fuel source. Also, the 15% figure for ICVs is at the wheels while the 33% figure for NG plants does not take into consideration losses from the transmission lines and from vehicles themselves.

    Actually, they do take that into account. The overall efficiency of fossil fuel power plants vs ICE vehicle is 28% vs 14%, according to Table 4 of the linked article. (my apologies for giving the slightly wrong number.)

  • will always be easier and cheaper to upgrade automobile technology than powerplant technology by simply implementing the changes during the next product life cycle.

    Ah, so we are both for upgrading automobile technology, aren't we? :)

    With certain technologies like hydrogen fuel cell, the obstacle to upgrade is not only the cars themselves, but also the refuelling infrastructure to support the new fuel--in addition to the immaturity of the technology itself, that is. With electric vehicles, not only is the technology reasonably mature, there is already a refuelling infrastructure--the outlet in your house. While leaving the car plugged in is unrealistic for people who don't own homes, a customer base among homeowners will help establish a critical mass to incentivize the building of public infrastruture, such as parking lot charging stations.

    Pluggable hybrids have the same benefits.

  • ICEs do not need to idle, except if the battery cannot supply the power required by the accessories for long enough.

    Well, practically, isn't that exactly why ICE vehicles NEED to idle?

  • EVs do benefit from regenerative braking in stop-and-go traffic, but that is only a small part of the big picture.

    Every little bit helps. The fact is that pure ICE vehicles cannot take advantage of this technology because they lack electric motors.


#65 imaginesix

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 04:01

First of all, let's agree on what we're discussing here;

Originally posted by bluetentacle
...
Electric cars produce less pollution even when you take in the entire energy chain because:
...

On the website you provided a link to, any data that indicates a reduction in emissions has no reference, and the context of the comparison is not made clear to begin with.

As for improved efficiency; that is irrelevant. If someday we figure out how to power our cars from the energy of the air we exhale then that would be the power source of choice, even if we only extract 1% of the energy from all our hot air. Pun intended.

As for enabling hydrogen power, it just proves my point that the change will have to be in the design of the cars, not in the power stations. The fact that hydrogen generation/distribution centres would have to be built is just another hurdle to the significant technical challenge it already presents.

Finally, ICEs do NOT need to idle. They are not designed to operate reliably without engine power simply because people don't use them that way (myself included). Of course this will still count against ICV emissions, as will the lack of regenerative braking, but they are still only small pieces of a big puzzle. Besides, hybrids resolve both of these issues.

The big puzzle for me is that coal is known to be a greater polluter than gasoline, and emissions controls are far more stringent for cars than power stations. In some circumstances ICEs will exhaust cleaner air than they breathe in. This can certainly not be said of coal powerplants. Even assuming that 50% of electric power comes from 'clean' sources it's hard to see how it could come out ahead of ICEs.

Without any documented and supported studies to enlighten me, I will continue to give EVs a thumbs down based on my present understanding of the issue.

#66 naiboz

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 16:42

go figure

#67 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 17:07

and then they went on strike...

#68 J. Edlund

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 15:48

Originally posted by bluetentacle
Power plants consumption of electricity can be significantly more efficient than that of the internal combustion engine (ICE), up to 33% for natural gas plants vs. 15% for petro-driven cars.


The efficiency of a otto engine is about 15% at part load. Running at full load the efficiency is higher, 30-35% for a gasoline engine and about 40-45% for a diesel engine. On the other hand the efficiency of 33% for a natural gas power plant is low, a modern power plant should reach an efficiency of 50-60%. There are on the other hand several losses on the way to the car, first the power plant must convert the shaft output to electricity in a generator, this must be put on the grid where there are more losses. The grid then charges the battery, once again there are more losses, and finally the motor in the car has an efficiency of 85-90%.

Originally posted by bluetentacle
Power plants have access to many more varieties of fuel than ICE, some of which are much less polluting (natural gas), while others produce no emissions at all (nuclear, solar, wind, hydro)..


Sure, some energy sources are less polluting while others create more pollution. Still there is no fuel that doesn't create some sort of pollution. Nuclear, solar, wind and hydro all produce some sort of pollution, some may also have other impacts on nature, say hydro powers affect on fish. Others, for example, solar-to-electricity usually have difficult to produce enough energy during their lifetime to substancially overcome their own energy investment (the energy required to make the solar power plant).

Natural gas produce CO2 emissions that are similar to that of gasoline and diesel. Natural gas is also very costly to distribute, if there aren't natural gas pipes availible for transport, the simplest solution is usually to convert it into diesel fuel (today it's sometimes burned at no use at all). If there are natural gas pipes availible, most of the natural gas is already at use.

If we run the power plants on coal, there would most likely be an increase in CO2 emissions.

However, remember that we also can produce fuels similar to gasoline and diesel from sources such as natural gas, coal and biomass. Nuclear, solar, wind and hydro is also possible to use in the production of a liquid fuel suitable for burning. Perhaps not as efficient as using electricity from a powerplant in a car, but unlike that solution, we can use this in the current vehicle fleet, at the rate that we want. We would also not suffer of the limited range or long refueling time of the electric vehicle. Such fuel is already in use today to some extent, and it's likely to increase given the rising oil prices and the fact that western coutries and their militaries doesn't want to be limited to oil supplied by coutries such as Saudi Arabia.

Originally posted by bluetentacle
It is much cheaper and more realistic to retrofic existing power plants with emission-control devices, than on the all of the gazillion cars on the road.


To first change all the cars into electric cars, retrofit all the existing power plants with emission control equipment and finally build a large number of new power plants to compensate for the increase in electricity consumption is not going to be cheap.

The cheapest method to reduce emissions would most likely be to increase the efficiency of the current refineries and also to produce a cleaner fuel by removal of undesired products, or by making a desirable fuel from natural or biogas or other synthetis gases. This requires only small changes to the current system, changes that can be made during a very long period of time.

Originally posted by bluetentacle
Looking toward the future, when mankind discovers a new source of fuel that is both clean and efficient, it will be much easier to upgrade a few power plants than billions of automobiles and the refuelling infrastructure.


Even if we had discovered the theory behind such an energy source today, it would take over the lifetime of the current vehicle park to put it into practice so there are no hurry. Also, if technology was to be found, it can be used to produce hydrogen or hydrocarbons that can be used in the current vehicle fleet.

Originally posted by bluetentacle
Electric cars are far more efficient in stop-and-go traffic, a fact of life in urban areas, since they don't need to be kept running when idle like ICE does.


There are internal combustion engines that can shut down and restart as needed. That isn't a new technology, its use is limited though. On piston engines the solution can be quite simple; the alternator and starter motor is replaced with a generator/starter unit, perhaps placed in the engine flywheel. A further developement of this system is to make that generator a bit more powerful, and use it to charge a lithium ion battery, similar to that in a electric vehicle, but with a much smaller capacity/weight. Then this electricity can be used to power an electric motor which drives the wheel. Some vehicles, like prototypes from GM also has a feature that allows the battery to be recharged from the grid, so it can run as an electric car in the city, but it won't be so limited in range. As a bonus, during hard accelerations both the motor, powered from the battery, and the engine can be used.

For short storage of energy there are also other options to batteries that can be made more efficient and/or lighter.

#69 blkirk

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 22:37

I hesitate to throw any more fuel on this fire, but I just came across a very interesting document courtesy of Toyota. The bottom of page 21 has a chart showing Toyota's calculated values for well-to-tank, tank-to-wheel, and overall well-to-wheel efficiency for different drivetrain technologies. They do not include any numbers for an electric-only vehicle, though.

#70 Greg Locock

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 22:50

Pity they didn't do a VW Jetta diesel!

Actually that graph is fraudulent. The purpose is not to to expend a given calorific value of oil most efficiently. The actual purpose is to transport a given number of people in a certain amount of comfort at a desired speed (etc) for the least overall fuel usage (or CO2 emitted maybe). Overweight solutions like the Prius are a dead end.

Well, really that isn't the Prius' purpose at all. It applies a green sheen to all Toyota's products.

#71 imaginesix

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 00:00

All this discussion of CVTs and EVs vs. ICEs has made me big believer in the Prius. It could probably perform even better with a smaller, throttle-less engine and a larger electric motor and batteries, so it seems far from a dead end but more like a price-limited step towards the optimal solution.

I don't see how it's weight is very relevant as long as the performance (in this case efficiency) is there. In case you don't already know, I value your input so I would like it if you could explain what is wrong with the solution offered by the Prius.

#72 canon1753

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 04:56

The "problem" with the Prius is that it is not a factory plug-in electric vehicle (use the power grid to charge it over night, use the gas engine only after batts are drained). The other problem (at least in the US) is that the car cannot be driven on electric only above 30 mph.

I am curious how hydraulic hybrids will do. UPS is testing some right now, and nitrogen is cheaper as hydraulic fluid.

The irony is this is going on at a motor racing board, where, other than the diesel rules in LMP, racing tends to be all about the improvement of the "old technology" ICE. Oh well.

#73 Greg Locock

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 06:19

Well, there's two sides to the weight argument. The technical reason why you are sort of right is that the energy usage of vehicles that have regen braking is less affected by weight than for a car that burns the energy off. BUT that does not apply at highway cruise conditions, and it is not that they are insenstive to mass, just less sensitive (about half as much according to Argonne).

The problem is that if the fleet gravitates towards heavy vehicles, then people who try to introduce lightweight cars (Loremo etc) have a major problem with crash performance.

if you perform an offset head on collision between a light well engineered car, and a heavy one, you get this:



This is not a case of the SMART engineers being silly, this is just plain old conservaton of momentum. The lighter car will decelerate more quickly.

Havings said all that, we haven't seen a good heavy hybrid yet, Prius is a good start in all sorts of geeky ways, but it doesn't really save much oil, compared with an Audi A2 or a diesel Jetta for example.

#74 imaginesix

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 13:24

Originally posted by canon1753
The "problem" with the Prius is that it is not a factory plug-in electric vehicle (use the power grid to charge it over night, use the gas engine only after batts are drained). The other problem (at least in the US) is that the car cannot be driven on electric only above 30 mph.

There hasn't been any consensus in this thread, but we have put forward some arguments for and against EVs powered off the grid.

Personally I find it hard to imagine just how electricity that is sourced for the most part from relatively polluting, under-regulated coal-fired powerplants, which is then partly lost through high-voltage wire transport over long distances and storage, and then converted back to motion is going to be any more efficient (in terms of pollution output) than just driving straight off a modern ICE/hybrid.

#75 LS 1

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 19:21

Originally posted by desmo
Construction of public roads and transportation infrastructure to accomodate car travel is every bit as socialist as public transportation is it not?


Not really. Even in a strict capitalist system, one still is confronted with "natural monopolies," which can arise when the product involved does not permit duplication (or, at least, sensible duplication).

Real World Example: I recently read an historical article on my city that featured photos from around 1900. At that time numerous private electric power companies were vying with each other, and each was laying out its own power lines. Picture power poles twice normal height, each with 8 to 12 horizontal cross bars, each carrying the power lines for an individual company. No sense in it, especially when the scale goes from city-wide to region-wide, so instead we have single, regulated utilities and one power grid.

Now how would we handle multiple road systems? Stack them on top of each other?? No, so we have one system--a natural monopoly.

Plus, with roads, they generally require use of the government power of eminent domain to acquire the land on which the roads are constructed. Of course, once the land is acquired the roads don't have to be BUILT by a government authority (the US railroads were not). That they are has more to do with historical accidents and politics than anything else.

Anyway, once the roads are built there is no "natural monopoly" in their use. Thus, one can validly brand public transportation as "socialist."

#76 LS 1

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 19:35

Originally posted by Greg Locock
Havings said all that, we haven't seen a good heavy hybrid yet, Prius is a good start in all sorts of geeky ways, but it doesn't really save much oil, compared with an Audi A2 or a diesel Jetta for example.


In my town (heavily stocked with "fashionable," non technical greenies) the local politicos decided to score enviro-points with the voters by buying hybrid diesel/electric buses instead of standard diesels. After two years of use it leaked out that the hybrids use MORE fuel and emit MORE pollution than the cheaper diesels they replaced.

Why? Nobody is saying. But only a bit of thought leads one to wonder just how effective a diesel/electric hybrid would be. Gas hybrids benefit from the complementary power curves of the respective motors, with the electric motor providing substantial torque at low rpm's. Low rpm's, however, are just where diesels already are efficient. So not much to be gained there. As for regeneration, well, that is going to be offset by carrying around the extra weight of the hybrid system the rest of the time. My guess is that the fuel and emissions cost of carrying the extra weight is not offset by regeneration/recapture and the result is a net loss.

BUT there is the huge condsideration that our buses carry shiny "hybrid" badges and thus "make a statement." Given the choice between symbolism and real-world impact, my local gov will chose symbolism ever time. :rolleyes:

#77 Catalina Park

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 08:48

In Sydney they are talking about trialing a Toyota Prius as a Taxi. The taxis in Sydney are all running on LP gas so the Prius would probably be less efficient.

#78 imaginesix

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 23:29

Originally posted by LS 1
Not really. Even in a strict capitalist system, one still is confronted with "natural monopolies," which can arise when the product involved does not permit duplication (or, at least, sensible duplication).
...
Anyway, once the roads are built there is no "natural monopoly" in their use. Thus, one can validly brand public transportation as "socialist."

I don't see how you can draw a line between the centrally organised building of roads for the sake of economic efficiency and the centrally organised distribution of transit for the sake of economic efficiency.

Granted, building a mass of roads in a competitive system is ridiculous, but it is not impossible. Forcing everybody to arrange their own transportation is less ridiculous, but it is still quite silly when you have a mass of people travelling the same routes at the same times. Ergo public transit.

Just because an initiative is undertaken for reasons of common sense does not mean it is by definition a capitalist initiative. No political ideology has an exclusive lock on rationality, so if a society has more to gain by initiating a cooperative or a competitive venture to serve their goals then they should be glad to do so without being burdened with the weight of 'capitalist' or 'socialist' labels and their respective stigmas.

#79 Melbourne Park

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 23:55

Originally posted by canon1753
The "problem" with the Prius is that it is not a factory plug-in electric vehicle (use the power grid to charge it over night, use the gas engine only after batts are drained). The other problem (at least in the US) is that the car cannot be driven on electric only above 30 mph.

That's not the Prius's fault, it's the batteries the Prius uses. In the UK a company replaced the batteries with 10,000 pounds worth (that's money pounds not weight) of phone batteries, and the car had a range of almost 200 km. Such batteries can be charged from a household plug, in the UK review the cost of running the car from the household plug was a fraction of using petrol (gasoline).

In the USA, there are companies who change the Prius's and other hybrids' batteries over, for a lot less the UK phone battery solution. Such Lithium Ion Polymer etc. batteries also save weight because the Toyota's hybrid batteries are nicads and are heavy. Evidently Toyota did not have today's battery technologies available when they designed the Prius. Also Toyota felt that consumers want to be able to keep the batteeries in the car for a mimimum of 10 years without changing them, something that not many suitable batteries can achieve.

Better batteries including the US ones available with lower cost and tech batteries but they still allow the Prius to be home charged and to run for around 50km without using the engine at all, and charging overnight from a standard wall power outlet, preferrably using cheap off peak power. Increasing engine range in a hybrid also saves time and fuel because you don't have to go to the "gas" station as often.

I've also read about Prius's being hotted up: the first thing to do was to change the tyres to sportier ones, and the second thing was to tapped into the computer system so that you can look at the car's electronic workings on a notebook computer (that's optional but it sounded fun and looked very cool) and thirdly change the chip and fourthly bolt in a turbocharger. The revised Prius used much less fuel, and it could handle hills much better, and it accellerated much better. So a turbo engined Prius with better battery tech sounds like a better vehicle.

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#80 Melbourne Park

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 00:42

Originally posted by Catalina Park
In Sydney they are talking about trialing a Toyota Prius as a Taxi. The taxis in Sydney are all running on LP gas so the Prius would probably be less efficient.

The Prius would still be more efficient. And it could run on LPG anyway, its very big in the back despite its looks, there's room for an LPG tank and I presume the valve train would be OK for LPG.

#81 Catalina Park

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 10:37

Originally posted by Melbourne Park
The Prius would still be more efficient. And it could run on LPG anyway, its very big in the back despite its looks, there's room for an LPG tank and I presume the valve train would be OK for LPG.

Will it still be more efficient when you take the battery life into account? They do not last very long in normal use let alone taxi use. :
Will the boot take a gas tank and a baby capsule? :cool: (Sydney cabs are supposed to carry a baby seat but rarely do)

#82 ehagar

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 12:30

Originally posted by naiboz


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


It's funny how locals view things in a different light than a tourist. I was amazed by the public transit systems in Europe. A substancial number of North Americans have vehicles because they actually need them. I have very rarely lived in an area that has actually had public transit.

#83 naiboz

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 15:09

what was it about them that amazed you?

:)

#84 LS 1

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 01:34

Originally posted by imaginesix
Forcing everybody to arrange their own transportation is less ridiculous, but it is still quite silly when you have a mass of people travelling the same routes at the same times. Ergo public transit.


No. Ergo MASS transit. There is no reason why MASS transit has to be publicly financed. You're mixing up two entirely different concepts.

#85 LS 1

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 01:39

Originally posted by ehagar


It's funny how locals view things in a different light than a tourist. I was amazed by the public transit systems in Europe. A substancial number of North Americans have vehicles because they actually need them. I have very rarely lived in an area that has actually had public transit.


My experience is admittedly anecotal rather formally statistical, but most of it seems to have to do with population density. Why would you have mass transit in, say, Denver, when there are thousands of cheap acres waiting for the taking and therefore little reason to live in 10-story flats? North Americans want their 3 bed, 2 bath homes with a yard. This means low population density and cars rather than buses, subways, or trains

#86 imaginesix

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 22:00

Originally posted by LS 1
No. Ergo MASS transit. There is no reason why MASS transit has to be publicly financed. You're mixing up two entirely different concepts.

Ergo mass transit, you're right.

The problem I am having is that I can't imagine a sustainable privately funded mass transit system, and at the same time I can't conceive how any major population centre could be better off without mass transit. So somewhere inside that lack of imagination of mine is the conclusion that mass transit has to be publicly funded.
:confused:

#87 canon1753

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 17:37

Originally posted by Melbourne Park

That's not the Prius's fault, it's the batteries the Prius uses. In the UK a company replaced the batteries with 10,000 pounds worth (that's money pounds not weight) of phone batteries, and the car had a range of almost 200 km. Such batteries can be charged from a household plug, in the UK review the cost of running the car from the household plug was a fraction of using petrol (gasoline).

In the USA, there are companies who change the Prius's and other hybrids' batteries over, for a lot less the UK phone battery solution. Such Lithium Ion Polymer etc. batteries also save weight because the Toyota's hybrid batteries are nicads and are heavy. Evidently Toyota did not have today's battery technologies available when they designed the Prius. Also Toyota felt that consumers want to be able to keep the batteeries in the car for a mimimum of 10 years without changing them, something that not many suitable batteries can achieve.

Better batteries including the US ones available with lower cost and tech batteries but they still allow the Prius to be home charged and to run for around 50km without using the engine at all, and charging overnight from a standard wall power outlet, preferrably using cheap off peak power. Increasing engine range in a hybrid also saves time and fuel because you don't have to go to the "gas" station as often.

I've also read about Prius's being hotted up: the first thing to do was to change the tyres to sportier ones, and the second thing was to tapped into the computer system so that you can look at the car's electronic workings on a notebook computer (that's optional but it sounded fun and looked very cool) and thirdly change the chip and fourthly bolt in a turbocharger. The revised Prius used much less fuel, and it could handle hills much better, and it accellerated much better. So a turbo engined Prius with better battery tech sounds like a better vehicle.


That's interesting... "You're drivin' me to drinkin' in your hot rod Prius..." :D

I am curious if hybrids or full electrics or fuel cell cars (or a pod-like velomoble) will ever be practical.
I also second the idea that in the States most people actually need a car. I could not do anything without a car. There is not much in a way of public transportation in my area.

#88 Greg Locock

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 23:40

Bear in mind we face a range of problems, and I suspect that the answer will be a range of solutions. One way the nay-sayers shoot down these alternatives is by saying that the solution must be as flexible as a current gasoline powered car. Optimal solutions don't work that way.

Hybrids are sort of viable now. I'd rather we used turbo diesels as the engines, and then a Honda style light hybrid, than the Prius semi-heavy approach. This would get us around 45-50 mpg in real life. To get better than that means making the vehicle smaller, or finding this mysterious new battery technology.

Electric cars are viable now, in small quantities. Here's an idea we've been discussing on eng-tips.:

"One of the alternatives is electrical power from batteries.

One disadvantage of this is that the batteries typically take a while to recharge.

Why not have removable battery packs?

If you need a quick top up and don’t have time to leave the car over night you just pull into a ‘battery station’ and switch packs.

Obviously there’d need to be a standard for the packs so they are all inter changeable, there’d need to be a system for swapping the packs that didn’t require heavy lifting, and it would have an impact on vehicle design etc but it’s an idea right?

As for the re loading, I’m thinking maybe you just Pull your car over a pit which has a robot that reloads from underneath. Sure there are alignment issues but if garbage trucks can do it with garbage cans it can be over come."


"There aren't any obvious flaws with a plug-in battery pack. I'd make the battery packs smart, with on-board logging of current demand. You'd pay for the net electricity used, plus some allowance for wear and tear based on total current flow (not necessarily linear), plus a leasing cost, plus any penalties for abuse. If your next battery is duff, you tag it when you turn it in. Note that if you recharge it at home from a wind generator this WILL reduce your cost of running the car, but the battery owner still makes money.

Note that your car will be cheaper to run if you do not abuse the battery, so the manufacturer will fit some sort of max current limit, and might include some supercaps to provide higher power levels intermittently.

However, now your service station has got a stack of dead batteries. These either need to be recharged on site - big copper, or transported via truck to a central recharging facility. Let's just hope that the latter alternative does not use as much fuel as the electric car has saved. Quick sum, 40 tonnes of 60 Wh/kg batteries is 2.4 e6 Wh, that's the equivalent of 200 kg of fuel. Ow. That's the problem. "


Fuel cells are a bust. I'd almost put them in the class of stockmarket scams. Check out the recent article in Popular Mechanics on the hydrogen economy for a surprisingly good discussion of why hydrogen ain't gonna happen on a big scale, which by necessity means we'd be running fuel cells on oil, so the greenhouse advantages are small. http://www.popularme...381.html?page=1

#89 bigbrickz

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:27

With the usual caveats about the reliability of newsgroups posts as a source, I found this interesting. Quoted in full:


"Some facts about the EV1, the research and development of which
was produced by _my_ division of GM, Hughes Electronics:

General Motors lost two billion dollars on the project, and lost
money on every single EV1 produced. The leases didn't even cover
the costs of servicing them.

The range of 130 miles is bogus. None of them ever achieved that
under normal driving conditions. Running the air conditioning or
heater could halve that range. Even running the headlights
reduced it by 10%.

Minimum recharge time was two hours using special charging
stations that except for fleet use didn't exist. The effective
recharge time, using the equipment that could be installed in a
lessee's garage, was eight hours. Home electrical systems simply
couldn't handle the necessary current draw for "fast" charging.

NiMH batteries that had lasted up to three years in testing were
failing after six months in service. There was no way to keep
them from overheating without doubling the size of the battery
pack. Lead-acid batteries were superior to NiMH in actual daily
use.

Battery replacement was a task performed by skilled technicians
taking the sorts of precautions that electricians do when working
on live circuits, because that's what they were doing -- working
on live circuits. You cannot turn batteries "off." This is the
reason the vehicles were leased, rather than sold. As long as
the terms of the lease prohibited maintenance by other than a
Hughes technician, GM's liability in the event of a screw-up was
much reduced. Technicians can encounter high voltages in hybrid
vehicles. In the EV1, there were _really_ high voltages present.

Lessees were complaining that their electric bills had increased
to the point that they'd rather be using gasoline.

One of the guys I worked with transferred to the EV1 program
after what was by then a division of Raytheon lost the C-130 ATS
contract. He's now back working for us. He has some interesting
stories, none of them good, though he did like the
company-subsidized apartment in Malibu. He said the car was a
dream to drive, if you didn't mind being stranded between
Bakersfield and Barstow on a hot July afternoon when a battery
blew up from the combined heat of the day and the current draw."

#90 McGuire

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:54

Originally posted by Greg Locock



Fuel cells are a bust. I'd almost put them in the class of stockmarket scams. Check out the recent article in Popular Mechanics on the hydrogen economy for a surprisingly good discussion of why hydrogen ain't gonna happen on a big scale, which by necessity means we'd be running fuel cells on oil, so the greenhouse advantages are small. http://www.popularme...381.html?page=1



I can't say if the "hydrogen economy" is viable or not. The problem is rather akin to standing up and proclaiming a microcomputer economy in 1960, or a cellphone economy. The vision requires the implementation of technologies that do not yet exist.

Here I selected two technologies the futurists did not do a very good job of predicting. These advances came out of nowhere, really. Truly, no one knows what the future holds. But we are at that stage of civilization when it is necessary to plan for it.

#91 McGuire

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:55

Originally posted by Greg Locock
Bear in mind we face a range of problems, and I suspect that the answer will be a range of solutions. One way the nay-sayers shoot down these alternatives is by saying that the solution must be as flexible as a current gasoline powered car. Optimal solutions don't work that way.


Wise words. :up:

#92 McGuire

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 11:12

Originally posted by LS 1



Plus, with roads, they generally require use of the government power of eminent domain to acquire the land on which the roads are constructed. Of course, once the land is acquired the roads don't have to be BUILT by a government authority (the US railroads were not). That they are has more to do with historical accidents and politics than anything else.


The building of the US rail system was entirely financed by government through land concessions to the railroads. Essentially, the Federal governement bribed the railroads to extend westward by giving them many times more land than was required for their right-of-ways. It was in every sense a "socialist" endeavor, except here the government largess extended to only a handful of men who quickly became the wealthiest people on earth: the rail barons of America's "gilded age." From that time ever since the US rail system has been a subsidized industry, with not much to do with free-market enterprise.

#93 desmo

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 17:48

It's not just cars. Everything is inexorably contunually growing in the US, houses, stores, government, debt, portion sizes, work weeks, even Americans themselves. Everything.

A couple I'm friends with with no kids was looking at the neighbor's house to buy and dismissed it out of hand because it was "only" 1,200 sq ft even though it has a beautiful big yard and a nice two car garage too. A couple of decades back, this same house would've been considered plenty adequate for a family with two or three kids, easy. The qualitative aspects of life have been largely ignored in favor of sheer mindless quantity.

#94 Greg Locock

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 23:00

Feature creep:

When I started here in 1990 the base Falcon weighed the same as a Lotus Esprit, 1450 kg, was a true 6 seater, and had a 139 kW engine (I think). It got around 20-25 mpg in real life. fuel was around 65 c /litre. It cost $24501

15 years later the Falcon weighs 1690 kg, has a 185 kW engine, is a 5 seater, it gets around 20-25 mpg in real life, and fuel is 115c / litre. It costs about $32888

First thing is that that represents an average price increase per year of 2%. Ow. For that you get 250 kg of extra stuff, most of which is expensive. It actually costs money to pull weight out of the car (it costs money to put it in as well), which is one reason why it's got heavier. It's also a lot stiffer, has an auto, air conditioning and a stereo, which were all extra cost options in 1990. And of course it has a heap of safety related junk that you couldn't have had in 1990. Oh and it runs 17 inch alloys instead of 14 inch steel wheels.

We didn't put all that lot in for fun, we did it so we could sell cars.

#95 Canuck

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 03:07

Originally posted by desmo The qualitative aspects of life have been largely ignored in favor of sheer mindless quantity.


:up: It seems to be part of the WalMart mentality - more, bigger and cheaper (relatively).

#96 McGuire

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 10:45

Originally posted by desmo
It's not just cars. Everything is inexorably contunually growing in the US, houses, stores, government, debt, portion sizes, work weeks, even Americans themselves. Everything.

A couple I'm friends with with no kids was looking at the neighbor's house to buy and dismissed it out of hand because it was "only" 1,200 sq ft even though it has a beautiful big yard and a nice two car garage too. A couple of decades back, this same house would've been considered plenty adequate for a family with two or three kids, easy. The qualitative aspects of life have been largely ignored in favor of sheer mindless quantity.


Yep. Belly up to the trough folks, it's the all-you-can-eat society.

#97 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 00:29

Here couples don't buy three bedroom houses after the kids leave home any more...

"Of course we have to have four bedrooms," they say, explaining that "there's better resale prospects for four bedroom homes."

Are they buying it to live in or to sell?

#98 Rexx Havoc

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 03:27

americans are thier own worst enemy

you should see the look I get from customers that ask my advise when looking to purchase a new or new "used" car and i hit them with ...

the best car you could buy is one that suits you "daily" needs ...not the long weekend you think your going to take or that vehicle for the vacation that you'll never take because you are drowning in credit card debt
buy the one your going to use 340 days a year and rent the one you like for your 2 week vacation

but no they are going to buy the QUAD Door pickup with the towing package and 4 wheel drive and ... and...

but noooo I'm the one thats crazy

I can't wait till the Presidents name is Hung Chin and they euthenize me because I'm no longer productive along with the rest of my compatriots

#99 cosworth bdg

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 03:50

Originally posted by Rexx Havoc
americans are thier own worst enemy

you should see the look I get from customers that ask my advise when looking to purchase a new or new "used" car and i hit them with ...

the best car you could buy is one that suits you "daily" needs ...not the long weekend you think your going to take or that vehicle for the vacation that you'll never take because you are drowning in credit card debt
buy the one your going to use 340 days a year and rent the one you like for your 2 week vacation

but no they are going to buy the QUAD Door pickup with the towing package and 4 wheel drive and ... and...

but noooo I'm the one thats crazy

I can't wait till the Presidents name is Hung Chin and they euthenize me because I'm no longer productive along with the rest of my compatriots

You need not worry , Australians are the same........

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#100 Rexx Havoc

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 04:24

Originally posted by cosworth bdg
You need not worry , Australians are the same........


I'm sorry... I thought we were the only ones.

come to think about it ... I thought you guys had Balls ... as expensive as petrol was in 1994 (when I attended the Finale in Adelaide) Everybody I chilled with was the same
"Ahhiee Mate, gotta have a V-8"

From the guy that let me crash his pad in Sydney who DEFINATELY was not a car guy! was going to get a Holden V-8

The young guys that took the day off work to take us to a drive thru liquor store outside Adelaide and convinced us that it was legal to drive around drinking in the car as long as the driver doesn't were in a V-8

The Anesthesiologist's wife and what she paid to drive that 735IL

I just remember thinking driving these cars with the prices take Balls

My Hat is off to you! :clap:

You guys could be worst when it comes to burning fuel per capita