Dispatches from District 48
Via Maggies Farm
Related: the total BS that is the Volt's 230 mpg rating.
If the power station was nuclear then would you be happy?
Apropos this subject, I did a little piece in Odd Citizen on "miles per ton of coal" a while ago.
I drove a General Motors EV-1 electric a few years ago. It had so much torque that it was very difficult to steer if you really punched it. But the new hybrids drive quite well, indeed. But nothing is for free, as the cartoon so vividly illustrates.
From the older linked piece:
> The EPA has released â€œa new methodology for determining a draft fuel economy standard for extended-range EVs like the Volt,â€
So, I take it Phil Jones and the CRU people were put in charge of calculating the fuel economy for electric cars?
> If the power station was nuclear then would you be happy?
It would be both an absolute miracle and a vast improvement. Ask when that happens.
In a related note to this, I discuss solar power issues in a set of back-of-the-envelope calculations that show that the minimum required surface area to replace the US power grid is not going to be less than 4/5ths of the land area of the State of Delaware. Even a 25% goal would require 1/5th the land area of an entire State.
Solar Power: Flat-Out Wrong For All Time
That's being very generous, not including weather effects, and so on. It's assuming a 50% conversion efficiency (very high -- engineering experience suggests 60% is close to the absolute optimum for the best techs in ANY field, and 50% is well beyond the capability for any specific solar tech usable in large quantity).
In short, it's going to be MORE than that area.
Go ahead, tell any Green about a plan to cover a fifth of a state with concrete and steel. Stand back, cranial explosions can get pretty messy.
What makes me quizzical about electric cars is that they could have a good impact of performance and efficiency in drivetrains. Of course, there are several assumptions that have to be fulfilled beforehand:
a) statisfying battery technology
b) charging process hast to be easy and fast and universally available (infrastructure!!!)
c) range of vehicle has to be at least equal to conventional ICE machines
If these can be satisified, I think the advantages of e-drives are pretty obvious. Silent and highly efficient with a performance to dream of. They also can make cars more sleek and weighing less (if modern Li-Ti technology proves to be useful). So, I am not naturally averse to driving e-cars, but I don't see them on the road in the next 20 years without punitive taxes on gasoil. And for this I don't care much about environmental impact, because that is often hard to measure, because there are so many factors (second usage of cars, recycling at life-cycle end, W2W (Well - To - Wheel) Performance).