What our future possibly holds....... - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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What our future possibly holds.......

I came across this today and thought most of you would find it very interesting. We have had promises of switch to different fuel sources, but this may be "The One". ( A little Matrix sounding don't you think?) Let's have the engineering guru's weigh in on this.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...09-04-09-19-38
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 10:42 PM
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Well that would be great, both for the environment and the wallet especially with current gas prices.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 11:42 PM
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Sounds great if it can be made to work - the only caveat I have is that electric cars do not necessarily reduce environmental polution and greenhouse gas emissions as the power required for the car still needs to be generated somewhere. Electric cars transfer the polution generation (along with transmission losses of ~8-10&#37 to a powerstation that may or may not be more efficient than an ordinary internal combustion vehicle.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 12:15 AM
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Remember, too, that the petrol side has more inefficiencies than merely the powerplant in the vehicle. Petrol has the energy cost of capturing the crude, transporting the crude, refining the crude into petrol, and transporting the petrol (basically)... and then you've got the 35% efficiency of the petrol engine.

Going in reverse, electric starts out at 90%+ efficient at the motor, goes back to transmission losses in the power lines, and then it's anyone's guess. It could be fairly green (solar, wind, water), or not so green (natural gas, coal, etc), or you be the judge (nuclear.) There are certainly a bunch of options.

Even then, neither technology is that cut and dried. In electric's case you've got the impact of the storage system... be that traditional chemical batteries, fuel cells, or what have you.

I do think electric is the future. Surely I will lament the day when the good old burble of a pushrod V8 disappears... As an enthusiast the visceral nature of IC engines is ingrained in me, but the majority of driver's could care less. If it works, is reliable, convenient, available, and affordable, it will happen.

Electric has the potential to be more superior in its efficiency (that IC engine is rarely at its max efficiency of 35%), in its compact packaging, in its fuel source, in its reliability, its longevity, and in its performance.

Frankly, I'm excited to see what new designs come of it. Today's car has really been developed around the people and engine. Throw engine out of the equation and lets see what happens.

Given the current efficiencies of electric systems, I'd be surprised if any electric vehicle was less green than IC. But that's a pure guess...

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 02:03 AM
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i love my petrol. I'd never buy a car i couldn't hear. and global warming is the biggest scam the left wing media could have ever invented.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 04:14 AM
 
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Increasingly extreme weather and geologic events are a reality, but I too find it hard to believe man caused it - and even more that man can stop it.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 04:31 AM
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 05:13 AM
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Ever see the movie "Mission To Mars" (2000)?


Quote:
Originally Posted by "Mission To Mars
EXT. SAME VIEW. NIGHT (HOURS LATER)

All the parked cars and vans are gone now, except for two:
McConnell's Jeep and Woody's classic 'Vette. Willis, one of
the last to go, is just departing on his motorcycle...........

EXT. LUKE'S STREET. LATER THAT NIGHT

McConnell and Luke watch as Woody starts up his Corvette.
McConnell has regained his composure.

LUKE
Hey, Woodrow, isn't it about time
you donated this thing to a museum?

Woody revs the engine, which ROARS lustily. He grins.

WOODY
Internal combustion, boys. Accept no
substitutes.


Luke laughs. Woody looks at McConnell.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 02:30 PM
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it's difficult to match the power density of oil based fuels,
of course, newer batteries will be developed, etc. but if you compute the horsepower-hours (or watt-hours) to the respective weights of the fuels and their engine/motors, i think you will have a great respect for the old petro fuels.
electric motors, etc. are not flyweight either.
they ARE making strides in the, tho.
i had a road-going electric motorcycle and then later added a engine driven generator (alternator) which made it a hybrid. i called it my "LOWBRID" for fun. the battery was 210 'D' size NIMH cells in a series-parallel arrangement.
the whole thing would have gone better if i had used just the 5 hp gas engine itself.
a wonderful learning experience!

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-30-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Overlander23 View Post
Remember, too, that the petrol side has more inefficiencies than merely the powerplant in the vehicle. Petrol has the energy cost of capturing the crude, transporting the crude, refining the crude into petrol, and transporting the petrol (basically)... and then you've got the 35% efficiency of the petrol engine.
I recently read where somebody calculated the energy it takes to drill, pump, refine and distribute a gallon of gasoline, on average, would be enough to drive an electric car 40 miles -- without even getting into the energy content of the gasoline itself.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-30-2007, 04:52 PM
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i suspect we're being "sold" on various fuels depending on the profit motive of the "seller".
we DO use a lot of energy simply because it's cheap.
there's a lot of good fuel in the waste oils we throw away, including 'french fry oil'.
it runs nicely in diesels.
now i see there's a glut of ethanol because the infrastructure is not ready to deliver and use it.
let the marketplace decide the final answer.
it seldom fails to elicit the truth.
everything the government touches turns to ****.
sam, often wrong, never in doubt.

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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 09:01 AM
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I agree that electric cars simply displace the pollution - from the tailpipe to the generation facility. I also agree that the electric "soundtrack" isn't that great relative to a sonerous conventional engine. Environmentally speaking, I think electricity (generated cleanly - like nuclear) is a good (meaning economically viable) power source for cars. I don't have the answers regarding the spent nuke fuel, but it's still among the best ideas we've got right now.

A few more points to add to the discussion:

There are loads of people making loads of dough off of the current setup, and they're not going to want this to change. Expect the ethanol/hydrogen "solutions" (and their conventional production/distribution setups) to be part of the picture for some time. Given the current technologies, ethanol/hydrogen are both pipe dreams.

I realize that it isn't politically correct, but global warming is being used for ends other than "saving the planet". Any environmental benefits to current legislative proposals are debatable at best - even if they could be implemented. I predict lots of power-grabbing/money-making attempts to be made "in the name of our environmental future". Here's a radical thought: the planet may simply be going through a change - with or without our collective influence - and we might not be able to do a damned thing about it.

In addition to the internal-combustion inefficiencies noted thusfar, heat loss is one of the major problems with internal combustion efficiency. I don't know the numbers, but capturing the heat produced by an engine would be capturing lost power. Companies like Kyocera have been trying to "insulate" conventional engines for years in an effort to increase the energy captured from a given amount of fuel. Neat stuff...

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 06:25 AM
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People should think of hydrogen as a form of battery, not a form of power. It's a more portable form of some other kind of power. Like electric cars, hydrogen cars have very low pollution - they have moved it elsewhere. That elsewhere may be more easily controlled, but it did not go away.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 09:17 AM
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The issue with hydrogen is the amount of energy needed to strip the hydrogen from other elements. The process of "creating" the hydrogen needed for a fuel cell requires more energy than that which is produced. Not a very good bargain. If a clean, abundant and efficient power source can be found to produce hydrogen, that's great. At this stage, hydrogen is a non-starter. Of course, if this magic power source for producing hydrogen is found, then many of our energy concerns are probably moot.

Hydrogen, like ethanol, conforms to the current business model for production and distribution - two elements that spell profit for those with big megaphones.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aedo View Post
Sounds great if it can be made to work - the only caveat I have is that electric cars do not necessarily reduce environmental polution and greenhouse gas emissions as the power required for the car still needs to be generated somewhere. Electric cars transfer the polution generation (along with transmission losses of ~8-10&#37 to a powerstation that may or may not be more efficient than an ordinary internal combustion vehicle.
I recall reading somewhere that there is ultimately a 10:1 difference in pollution between electric cars and gasoline cars, all steps in the supply chain considered. This may or may not be true.
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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 09:23 AM
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We should still be using horses. Less air pollution, more street pollution.

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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 09:25 AM
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I realize that it isn't politically correct, but global warming is being used for ends other than "saving the planet". Any environmental benefits to current legislative proposals are debatable at best - even if they could be implemented. I predict lots of power-grabbing/money-making attempts to be made "in the name of our environmental future". Here's a radical thought: the planet may simply be going through a change - with or without our collective influence - and we might not be able to do a damned thing about it.
The current structure of the US government is not conducive to serious environmental initiatives, regardless of what people collectively "want".
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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 09:25 AM
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We should still be using horses. Less air pollution, more street pollution.
I think we should just have less people - by about a factor of ten.
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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 11:32 AM
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Regarding population, I recall "A Modest Proposal"... wickedly funny.

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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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Probably in the minority here: Let's say we spend the trillions of dollars trying to reduce global warming and the earth's ability to sustain life is increased by a whopping 50 years? WTF is the point?

As someone astutely pointed out here, the problem is the earths population. A few wars and pestilents will go much further to help the global warming problem. Probably be way cheaper too.
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