Who Killed the Electric Car?

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by Eric B, Jun 23, 2006.

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  1. Eric B

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    Sony Pictures Classics Presents : Who Killed the Electric Car?
    I just ran across a review of this movie in a paper today.
    It claims that electric cars were deliberately made to fail, to favor gas/oil of course. This seems like it figures to me. But the article I saw pointed out that the electric car was killed by its own inefficiency, like needing to be recharged after 55-100 miles, in which case it just stopes dead where it is, and taking 4-8 hours to recharge.

    But to me, that begs the question of whether this inefficiency could have been improved, and whether that was where the deliberate plot to make it fail lied. For over 25 years; I've been wondering why they could never improve it. Of course, the big alternative is hybrid, which combines electric motors with combustion engines. They just had to keep that gas/oil in there; and this us what has started to take off. That always looked to me like a deliberate compromise. If they could do hybrid, why couldn't they perfect an all electric drive? Or maybe a modular battery pack where you switch batteries at the refill station instead of gas.

    I heard you could have an engine that runs on compressed air. (http://auto.howstuffworks.com/air-car.htm) Perhaps if they combined that with the hybrid electric drive technology in place of gas.
    And then the hydrogen fuel cell. But you are hard pressed to hear how safe that reallu is. The most I could find is that it is not as bad as gasoline, because when it explodes, it just goes "poof", and is gone, where the gas spills and burns continuously. But this considering that the hydrogen tank is right under the seats!:eek:

    So what does everyone else think on this?
     
  2. Jim1999

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    I think the electric car just ran out of extension cord.........:laugh:

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. JamieinNH

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    I saw the same movie review and I can't wait until it comes out. It seems that GM was forced to make their electric cars and when they got a chance, with money and Lobbying<sp> they had the laws changed back in their favor.


    There is a new company being started that will produce new electric cars.

    http://teslamotors.com


    Jamie
     
  4. NiteShift

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  5. ASLANSPAL

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    Eric B. great and fascinating topic....we see repeats of how the power brokers who control an economy or keep many people employed have
    played big rolls in killing innovation...you will see this play out again with big oil against global warming and different kind of transportation innovations.

    A good example is how long big tobacco was able to spin and use lots of money to hold off those who knew the truth about the evil of tobacco and the little extras they put into it....history seems to rerun itself.


    Anyhow great topic.:thumbs:
     
  6. Hope of Glory

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    What killed the electric car was the fact that it was something that was mandated by the government and not wanted by the people. Since there was no demand, there was not a lot of interest in developing the technology, beyond what the government required.

    Now that there is a consumer demand, companies are developing alternative energy sources for vehicles, and they are reliable and reasonable.

    A free market economy will create products that shine, while oppressive governmental intervention will create nothing worthwhile.

    It's amazing which straws conspiracy theorists will grab in paranoia.
     
  7. Magnetic Poles

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    I don't know who killed the electric car, but I have heard that video killed the radio star.
     
  8. KenH

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    An excellent point. When an alternative method of transportation is developed that that cruise down the highway at 70 mph using the equivalent or less amount of energy at an equal or lower cost(including the cost of the vehicle), then there will be a true competitor for the internal combustion engine powered by gasoline.
     
  9. Eric B

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    True, but one question is, are the alternative fuels being made to not match the speed, energy and cost, to justify keeping gasoline?
    Sorry if this sounds too conspiratorial, but who knows, the way these people do some things, and it's all about money. I wouldn't put it past them.
     
  10. KenH

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    I doubt one can convince the vast majority of the American public to end up paying for less horsepower, less cruising range, and less cruising speed.

    If someone has something that can match the horsepower, cruising range, and cruising speed of gasoline at a lot less cost(including the cost of the vehicle) or significantly exceed it at the same cost, then let's see it. I would be all for it.

    By the way, a major oil company - BP - is putting lots of money into alternative fuels research:

    www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=7018719

    For their long term interests, oil & gas companies had best see themselves as energy companies, not merely oil & gas companies.
     
  11. Hope of Glory

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    They would not inhibit such to keep an interest in gas, since creating an alternative form that is affordable, powerful, etc., would make them bigger and richer than the competition.
     
  12. billwald

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    In the 50's I saw very old electric newspaper delivery trucks working in New York City.

    Compressed air?????? Anyone out there know of a quiet compressed air motor? It is very inefficient. A compressed air bottle large enough to power a car would rocket right through a building if the valve was knocked off in an accident.
     
  13. Phillip

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    I think this is a combination of more than one problem. I believe there has truly been deceit from companies or groups who have an interest in the oil industry. I know of cases where patents have been purchased by certain oil companies or car companies only to hve them "sit on it" without continuing to develop the technology.

    But, in all reality, there IS another side and that is technology. The technology is truly difficult to get rid of the almighty internal combustion engine.

    Electrical cars DO have difficulties. Batteries are just now getting to the point where they can carry the energy and recharge enough times to make the car cost effective. Another fascinating thing used in hybrid cars that has been used in trains is called dynamic braking. The engines on the wheels actually turn into electric generators and recharge the batteries when you hit the brakes. There is NO friction so the brake drums don't wear out (yes, they have regular brakes too.) As the battery recharge while the brake is pressed, the energy of the car moving (kinetic) is saved as electricity to be used again when the electric motor is generating propulsion.

    Many of these technologies and wht is reuired to do ll of this is just now becoming available.

    So, before we jump all over the oil companies, let's also realize that many of these companies realize tht they are going to have to change and they are working very hard in order to build replacements.

    Of course, California mandating so many hybrid cars by a certain year didn't hurt the development.

    For more information on alternative fuels go to the Department of Energy's website and look at the tons of scientific research reports on alternative fuels such as methanol, hydrogen, electricity and all sorts of other alterntives. I think you will find it at www.doe.gov. You may have to dig, but there is gold in them thar' hills.

    I think the fault lies in many places, in the oil companies, in the car companies (who would rather not spend on R&D), and even on us consumers because until we're certain that hybrid cars are going to work well, we certainly will buy a regular internal-combustion car before we buy a hybrid.

    Just my thoughts on the matter. If anybody wants to dicuss specific alternative methods of energy, that would be fun. It is quite an interesting subject.
     
  14. Hope of Glory

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    Believe it or not, this supercar is truly a 4WD hybrid:

    Toyota Volta
     
  15. Eric B

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    And let's not forget how the oil companies bought out streetcar (trolley) systems across the country, to run them out of business and replace them with diesel buses. That's what makes it easy to believe they would deliberately fix things to favor combustion fuel.
    Still, I am aware of the limitations of batteries, but still wonder they have done all they can to improve them.
     
  16. Pete

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    The Stonecutters!
     
  17. Phillip

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    This is fascinating. I did not know this, but it doesn't surprise me. Thanks for the post and information.

    A tidbit of trivia here. How many of you knew that the first diesel engine burned finely powered coal injected into the engine and ignited by the air compression? Also, Mr. Diesel was almost killed by this particular engine when it blew up on him.

    Later engines he build ran on vegatable oils.
     
  18. KenH

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    Interesting. I would be interested in reading your evidence that led you to that conclusion. I have heard of such conspiracy stories for years but have never seen anyone provide any proof.
     
  19. KenH

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    Interesting. I have never heard of that among the conspiracy theories. I would be interested in reading your evidence that led you to that conclusion.
     
  20. billwald

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    Internal combustion engines can't excede their theoretical efficiency which depends in part upon the compression (ACTUALLY EXPANSION) ratio of the engine.

    Each time energy is converted from one form to another there is a conversion loss thus converting gasoline to mechanical to electrical and back to mechanical must introduce inefficiencies. The hybrid seems to be more efficient because the engine doesn't run and stop at every stop light and because of the regenerative braking. Drive your hybrid across Montana or South Dakota at 75 MPH in the summer and see what your mpg is.
     
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