A Modest Proposal (Automotive) - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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A Modest Proposal (Automotive)

I have a simple request. Really easy, frankly, and it will save you money.

Please stop polluting our air by removing your catalytic converters.

There is very little horsepower (2-5) to be gained, according to research.

Polluting for better sound is even more frigging dumb.

You will never notice 4 hp. And, if you’re not racing in a competitive series, it will never help you in the least.

We already generate more pollution than people not interested in cars, because we go out for drives just because we like driving.

I imagine changing oil more frequently than is strictly required doesn’t help either.

Of course, some enthusiast cars get low gas mileage as well. But, most Lotus cars aren’t too bad in this respect.

--

If you have even a cursory knowledge of the news, you know that we are falling further behind schedule for reducing pollution to the levels recommended by the vast majority of scientists. Including US government scientists.

You also see that the damage is accelerating in multiple areas.

We can see that every little bit can help. We can and should do our part.

Currently the government is making all this worse, but that will change soon.

We must act soon. While I have no children, I know some of you do. I’d guess that you’d like your family to thrive and be healthy.

Most of us want the best for following generations. You know, for the human race. Actually, every living thing.

So, how about we act like we care?


-----

Note: This is not a forum for debating if climate change is real. If you don’t think it is, you are beyond my meager help.
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post #2 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 05:15 PM
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While Lotus owners are probably contributing a negligible percentage to the overall problem compared to all those F350 and Suburban daily grocery getters, I generally agree with your statement.
Fighting with check engine lights when pulling the cat while increasing pollution and adding pretty much very little benefit never made any sense to me.
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post #3 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks.

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post #4 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 07:39 AM
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Isn't it ironic that the gasses that are believed to be causing the heating of the earth are the ones that we have always considered clean? So cat or no cat, there's really no difference.
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post #5 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 08:46 AM
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One of the fun things about having a track dedicated car is that it made sense to do all sorts of things that are pretty stupid for a car that is street driven. Removing environmental measures is reasonable in that application. And after all, the car is rarely driven compared to most of our street cars.

I did feel badly about the tow vehicle using so much gas, but sure had no thought of messing with its environmental systems.

I like to buy my street cars set up nice and leave them alone. In a few minutes I will drive off in my “luxury car”, the Honda Civic Si bone stock. No worries and peace of mind.

All this will fade away though as the next few years bring us really fast and even “sexy” electrics.
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post #6 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by XHILR8N! View Post
All this will fade away though as the next few years bring us really fast and even “sexy” electrics.
Ha! One of the things I like to tease our local glut of Tesla drivers (there are at least four model 3s and an X in the parking garage at work) with is asking them if their Tesla is coal or nuclear powered today.

Point being, particularly with current politics, (they're actually rolling back the allowable emissions standards for coal power plants) if you're living east of about Wisconsin and charging your EV during the day, 1/2 to 2/3 of the KWh that went into the battery were made by burning a particularly dirty (heavy metals including radionuclides, sulfur, etc.) extremely not carbon neutral fossil fuel: coal.

Charging late at night, you're more likely to be getting power from either nuclear or hydro most places, because that's where a lot of baseline generation comes from.

If you live someplace sunny, then something like a bank of Trojans or a Tesla Powerwall plus 15KW of solar in combination with an EV makes a lot of sense from an environmental point of view.

Back on topic - catalytic converters are sized to the power output (proxied as exhaust gas flow) of the engine. If you're losing significant power from a cat, it's just undersized, and you can buy a bigger one, keep the low emissions and the power output. If youre engine isn't heavily modified, there is plenty of dyno evidence from people like Phil and Shinoo that the cat doesn't cost any power worth speaking of on a recent Lotus. Leave the cat.

In my own case, I'm going to be putting a header on the '92 Celica (mostly for weight reduction) and when I do, the #1 muffler under the passenger seat will be replaced with a generic cat sized for about 200 hp (it's a 150 HP engine). No reason at all to gas folks for another couple HP.
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Last edited by steelypip; 02-16-2019 at 10:04 AM.
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post #7 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 10:45 AM
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Nice discussion, but my point is that it will be harder to find ways to irresponsibly mod electric cars. I’m sure someone will figure it out though.

Anyone can make something complicated. It takes genius to make it simple. Einstein.
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post #8 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 11:10 AM
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Leave to a redneck lol
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post #9 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 11:23 AM
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I broadly agree for other reasons.

Someone close to me grew up as a car enthusiast but had some respiratory issues (which have improved but not totally gone away). It was pretty difficult to go some car events because of the de/un-catted cars.

As a result, I've always suggested that people just leave the emissions equipment on (or at least go for high-flow versions) for road-driven cars. It really has little to do with pollution, and more to do with being considerate of people who may have challenges in their lives that they don't have full control over.

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post #10 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by steelypip View Post
Ha! One of the things I like to tease our local glut of Tesla drivers (there are at least four model 3s and an X in the parking garage at work) with is asking them if their Tesla is coal or nuclear powered today.
Using data from the Department of Energy (here), VA largely gets electricity from Natural Gas (49% nat gas, 34% nuclear, 12% coal). As I understand it (and as implied in your post), nat gas turbines are primarily used for sporadic loads so night-time baseload charging is probably as you noted.

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post #11 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 12:49 PM
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I just installed PPE headers and Silent Touch and in my research I saw the header shootout on BoE's site and for SC cars with tune that were tracked it looked to me as there was potential problems with the cat so I went catless. There's no HP gain and cost wasn't the issue but potential for problems is what steered me in that direction.
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post #12 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 03:38 PM
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Ha! One of the things I like to tease our local glut of Tesla drivers (there are at least four model 3s and an X in the parking garage at work) with is asking them if their Tesla is coal or nuclear powered today.
They are neither coal nor nuclear powered.
They use an eco friendly giant Diesel generator
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post #13 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 06:26 PM
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I'm no scientist, and I'm even less of an expert on climate change, so please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but if a diesel generator is used to charge the battery in a car, isn't it more efficient to just drive a diesel-powered car? I'm not trying to be funny or sarcastic. I'm honestly asking because I want to know if it makes sense to use a diesel generator for this purpose.
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post #14 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 07:04 PM
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We can just hope that future generations never know about this.

Anyone can make something complicated. It takes genius to make it simple. Einstein.
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post #15 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 07:58 PM
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I'm no scientist, and I'm even less of an expert on climate change, so please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but if a diesel generator is used to charge the battery in a car, isn't it more efficient to just drive a diesel-powered car? I'm not trying to be funny or sarcastic. I'm honestly asking because I want to know if it makes sense to use a diesel generator for this purpose.
To my understanding, there are several factors at play here that pretty much ends in an answer of "it depends" .

If we assume the transmissions have equal losses (this is generally not a good assumption because electric and hybrid cars typically use more efficient transmissions, like the single-speed ones in Teslas and the HSD in Toyotas).

On the diesel-driven car side, the salient measure is the efficiency of the diesel engine at converting the chemical energy in the fuel to movement.

One the electrical car side, there are more possible steps where losses can accrue:

1. Efficency of the generation process : how much of the total energy in the diesel is used to generate the required electricity
2. Efficency of charge/discharge: how much energy is lost in the charging and discharging of the battery
3. Efficency of the motor at converting electricity to movement

Now this sounds like a lot more potential for energy loss, but the net isn't quite so clear because diesel engines are still generally less efficient than the equivalent generators due to the need for the car engine to rev up and down (compared to steady-state for the generator), which means they operate outside of their maximum efficiency range. The ability for a generator to run at steady-state is why there has been some exploration of using turbine and rotary engines in this application.

I think a good example of "it depends" is how the Chevy Volt drivetrain is designed. It is (sort of) designed as a series hybrid, where the engine primarily serves as a generator for the battery, which in turn drives the wheels with an electric motor. However, there are situations where a clutch engages in the transmission, mechanically coupling the engine to the rest of the drivetrain because it is the most efficient drive option. I'm not familiar enough with the Volt to tell you what those situations are.

I think a big argument for electric cars (and I really hate the smugness with which many of my fellow Tesla owners do it) is that centralized generation of electrical power is generally going to be more efficient than distributed generation (which is effectively what we're doing with car engines), even taking into account transmission and battery losses. In addition, upgrades to large-scale generation are broadly more economically feasible when fitted at scale than a distributed solution. For example, it's financially easier to justify a retrofit of a super-high-efficiency particle filter on a coal plant than to retrofit similar filters on millions of diesel cars. As a result, upgrades to power generation facilities automatically trickle down to the electric cars that use that power.

I know it's kind of a lot of text, kind of complicated, and my knowledge is kind of surface-level, but I hope it helps.

Edit: you can find a more in-depth analysis of energy efficiency in this research report from Argonne National Laboratories though it is focused on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (like the Volt):

https://afdc.energy.gov/files/pdfs/a...ion_report.pdf
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post #16 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 08:58 PM
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Although the catalytic converter has helped reduce toxic emissions from car engines, it also has detrimental environmental effects. In the conversion of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide is produced. Carbon dioxide is one of the most common greenhouse gases and contributes significantly to global warming. Along with carbon dioxide, the converters sometimes rearrange the nitrogen-oxygen compounds to form nitrous oxide. This is the same compound used in laughing gas and as a speed enhancer in cars. As a greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide is a 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and contributes proportionally to global warming.

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post #17 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 09:30 PM
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Although the catalytic converter has helped reduce toxic emissions from car engines, it also has detrimental environmental effects. In the conversion of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide is produced. Carbon dioxide is one of the most common greenhouse gases and contributes significantly to global warming. Along with carbon dioxide, the converters sometimes rearrange the nitrogen-oxygen compounds to form nitrous oxide. This is the same compound used in laughing gas and as a speed enhancer in cars. As a greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide is a 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and contributes proportionally to global warming.
This information came directly from the following text book:

https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshel...tic_Converters
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post #18 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 02:55 AM
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In the two weeks after September 11, 2001, the air quality in the United States was the cleanest it has been since the 1950s!!!! @glb , read that again…and again! When, in fact, more people were driving, because ATC-0 had been invoked (no planes could fly). @glb , you are on the wrong soapbox! It is all the coal burning power plants, factories and air planes. You need to attack the main cause of the problem not us insignificant bunch. Once you’ve gotten that solved and still have not succeeded in getting control of all the greenhouse gasses, then come address us with our cars. The cars are such a minuscule portion of the problem that even if everybody in the world stopped driving all of the cars, you would still have the same poor air quality/pollution problems you see today.
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post #19 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 03:36 AM
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Good lord people, go look up some facts

Ten seconds and you will find out that vehicles account for as much as 75 percent of the pollution, that recently they passed power generation in CO2 production

Massachusetts uses zero coal, and virtually zero oil for electricity


The reason hybrid cars are more efficient is that the engine only has to produce the average power the car uses, not the max. In a serial hybrid they allow the engine to run at its perfect efficiency point. This isn't a question or a theory, ask a Prius owner, or a hybrid SUV owner what their mileage is.

Catalytic converters don't 'produce' CO2, they finish burning the fuel that the internal combustion engine did not burn. So yes, perfect combustion produces more CO2, that doesn't make catalytic converters bad, that is the silliest excuse that there is.

BOE proved on the dyno that removing the cat was good for zero horsepower.

The reason track cars burn up their cats is, apparently, bad aftermarket cats and wildly overloaded stock cats.
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post #20 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 03:46 AM
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single data point, but interesting nonetheless

https://reneweconomy.com.au/tesla-ev...nal-car-61942/
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