Iain Hall's SANDPIT

Home » Cars » Electric cars (Page 2)

Category Archives: Electric cars

Dead batteries a fatal flaw with electric cars

As we have discussed here previously I have serious reservations about electric cars as a solution to our future transport needs, quite simply they just can not have the range to be a practical machine for the average driver. This report from the Telegraph in the UK make the point that they won’t have the range in terms of machine longevity either

A few days ago Glass’s served formal notice on consumers that the electric cars they’re considering purchasing could depreciate by around 90 per cent in just five years. Or to put that another way, a Nissan Leaf with a list price of almost £30,000 new might be worth less than £3,000 on the second hand market just 60 months later when the car and its batteries are no longer under warranty.

“There’s an urgent need to tackle electric vehicle (EV) battery ownership issues,” warns an increasingly concerned Glass’s. “The new breed of EVs soon to be launched in the UK will have residual values well below those of rival petrol and diesel models unless manufacturers properly address customer concerns regarding battery life and performance.”

If batteries are owned (rather than leased) and out of warranty after, say, 60 months, a typical EV fitted with such tired batteries will be worth only a fraction of its original value, Glass’s predicts: “At this point the car will have a trade value little more than 10 per cent of the list price. And this is an alarming rate of depreciation.”

No guarantees, but the used car gurus at Glass’s predict that EV batteries might have a useful life of “up to eight years.”

And the cost of those replacement batteries at, or around, this time? Nissan bluntly refuses to say, despite repeated pleas from the Telegraph for the Japanese company to provide its potential EV customers with this crucially important pricing information.

Glass’s is being more up-front and brutally honest: “Typically, batteries for electric vehicles will cost some £8,000 to replace.”

Or to put that another way, motorists may be forced to spend more buying humble replacement batteries for their new-tech electric cars than they’d spend replacing the petrol or diesel engines in their old-tech vehicles.

I ask you: is this progress?

This will of course also apply to hybrids who rely upon the same sort of batteries to give them their energy storage. those batteries will have the same sort of life spans as the ones in the plug in electrics and I bet you that now that a few of the earliest Prius models are getting to the time where their batteries are nearly dead taht their value will likewise fall dramatically…

The future of motoring is not going to be found in  electric cars . That future lies in making our cars lighter and more aerodynamic so that they can do more with less .

Cheers Comrades

There are times when you just need a very long extention cord…

This little vid shows very well the problem with any plug in electric car, namely their terrible range…

It is also rather funny because it shows just how embarrassing these ersatz cars can be.

Cheers Comrades

Gaia, the lady is not for turning


There are some Warministas who I just laugh at because they are entirely off with the fairies when it comes to the sort of solutions that they advocate for the problem of “global warming” (Tim Flanery and Al Gore fall into this category) and then there are people like Bjorn Lomborg who you can respect because they have a good handle on the real politics of the world when it comes to this issue.

As if these reasons were not enough to explain the Chinese government’s opposition to an expensive global carbon deal, economic-impact models show that for at least the rest of this century, China will actually benefit from global warming. Warmer temperatures will boost agricultural production and improve health. While heat-related deaths in summer will increase, this will be more than offset by a significant reduction in cold-related deaths in winter.

In short, China is aggressively protecting the economic growth that is transforming the lives of its citizens, instead of spending a fortune battling a problem that is unlikely to affect it negatively until next century.

Little wonder, then, that Ed Miliband, Britain’s Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, found “impossible resistance” from China to a global carbon mitigation deal.

Trying to force China into line would be impractical and foolhardy. The inescapable but inconvenient truth is that the response to global warming we have pursued for nearly 20 years – ever since the leaders of rich countries first vowed to cut carbon – is simply not going to work.

It is time to recognise the impracticality of trying to force developing countries to agree to make fossil fuel ever more expensive. Instead, we need to make a greater effort to produce cheaper, more widely used green energy. To do this, we must dramatically increase the amount we spend on research and development.

Bjorn Lomborg

The thing that struck me about this piece was the way that it entirely negates the wishful thinking from so many followers of the Green religion. You know the fantasy that China and India (along with the rest of the so called “developing countries”) can be “encouraged’ to get with the liturgical fundamentals of the Warminista faith. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen even my own regulars assure me that China is moving towards “the truth”. Often this faith position is backed up with talk about the number of solar panels or wind generators that the peoples republic is making… Oh how the faithful see what they want to see.

Its all about adaptation folks! When it comes down to it you can not hope to re-engineer the climate no matter how much you think that you know the mind of Gaia you have to recognise that the lady is not for turning and that the only way to avoid lots of futile effort is to go with the flow and appreciate that change brings opportunity.
Cheers Comrades

I still love this car

OK I realise that liking this car completely blows my image as an “anti Greenie” but I can’t help but admire its sleek design, the use of modern light weight materials and the fact that it is versatile enough to have a IC engine as well as an electric variant.

Futuristic: The Aptera 2e electric vehicle is seen at an assembly line at the companys new facilities in Vista, California

Futuristic: The Aptera 2e electric vehicle is seen at an assembly line at the company's new facilities in Vista, California (click to enlarge)

Crowd-pleaser: People stop to look at the Aptera parked outside a Starbucks outlet in Carlsbad, California (click to enlarge)

High hopes: Aptera co-founders Steve Fambro (left) and Chris Anthony pose with their baby (click to enlarge)

High hopes: Aptera co-founders Steve Fambro (left) and Chris Anthony pose with their baby (click to enlarge)

Forward thinking: The interior of the Aptera. It is an egg-shaped two-seater often likened to a space-age car from the futuristic 1960s cartoon The Jetsons

Forward thinking: The interior of the Aptera. It is an egg-shaped two-seater often likened to a space-age car from the futuristic 1960s cartoon The Jetsons (click to enlarge)

Oh and I can’t help thinking that a set of fairings like the ones on the front wheels would be damn nice on a Seven like mine and that they would really help its aerodynamics as well.
Cheers Comrades

Article here

It’s all about range vs performance

Not a week goes by without there being another story about some new electric car coming onto the market and they are all without exception grossly deficient in one very significant way.
None of them can continuously travel anywhere near the sort of distances that we can expect from any liquid fuelled machine and none of them can be made ready for reuse in a reasonable time frame once their batteries have been discharged.

Mitsubishi i MiEV.
Mitsubishi i MiEV. Click for article
The Ultimate Aero EV will prove that electric-powered vehicles will not only match but outperform internal combustion cars, the makers claim
Impressive: The Ultimate Aero EV will prove that electric-powered vehicles will not only match but outperform internal combustion cars, the makers claim (Click to see details about this car)

Maybe we will see the development of viable (and affordable) fuel cell cars in my life time which will redeem electric propulsion for transport but until that happens I think only a religious zealot or a total idiot would spend money on a battery car that will not get you to the shops and back .

Cheers Comrades

Telsa unplugged

It is no secret that I have a fairly low opinion of alternative motoring efforts and Jeremy Clarkson’s thoughts on the all electric Tesla Roadster certainly should give those starry eyed Greens a pause for thought.
The fact that driven hard this car could only manage 55 miles range shows just how impracticable this technology is and the 16 hour recharge time is utterly ludicrous.

The problem is, though, that really and honestly, the US-made Tesla works only at dinner parties. Tell someone you have one and in minutes you will be having sex. But as a device for moving you and your things around, it is about as much use as a bag of muddy spinach.

Yes, it is extremely fast. It’s all out of ideas at 125mph, but the speed it gets there is quite literally electrifying. For instance, 0 to 60 takes 3.9sec. This is because a characteristic of the electric motor, apart from the fact it’s the size of a grapefruit and has only one moving part, is massive torque.

And quietness. At speed, there’s a deal of tyre roar and plenty of wind noise from the ill-fitting soft top, but at a town-centre crawl it’s silent. Eerily so. Especially as you are behind a rev counter showing numbers that have no right to be there — 15,000, for example.

Through the corners things are less rosy. To minimise rolling resistance and therefore increase range, the wheels have no toe-in or camber. This affects the handling. So too does the sheer weight of the 6,831 laptop batteries, all of which have to be constantly cooled.

But slightly wonky handling is nothing compared with this car’s big problems. First of all, it costs £90,000. This means it is three times more than the Lotus Elise, on which it is loosely based, and 90,000 times more than it is actually worth.

Yes, that cost will come down when the Hollywood elite have all bought one and the factory can get into its stride. But paying £90,000 for such a thing now indicates that you believe in goblins and fairy stories about the end of the world.

Of course, it will not be expensive to run. Filling a normal Elise with petrol costs £40. Filling a Tesla with cheap-rate electricity costs just £3.50. And that’s enough to take you — let’s be fair — somewhere between 55 and 200 miles, depending on how you drive.

But if it’s running costs you are worried about, consider this. The £60,000 or so you save by buying an Elise would buy 15,000 gallons of fuel. Enough to take you round the world 20 times.

And there’s more. Filling an Elise takes two minutes. Filling a Tesla from a normal 13-amp plug takes about 16 hours. Fit a beefier three-phase supply to your house and you could complete the process in four (Tesla now says 3½). But do not, whatever you do, imagine that you could charge your car from a domestic wind turbine. That would take about 25 days.

Jeremy Clarkson

Now that petrol has dropped below 90 cents* per litre here I don’t intend to retire the Falcon any time soon
Cheers Comrades

* with my loyalty card discount of 4c a litre

No commitment to road safety, only to the revenue

I have always been perplexed by the government hypocrisy about motorists warning their fellows that a radar trap is near by flashing their head lights.

Sixty-two percent admitted to regularly flashing their headlights as a warning.

They were followed by drivers from central Queensland (61 per cent), Sunshine Coast (59 per cent), Gold Coast (56 per cent) and Toowoomba/Darling Downs (54 per cent).

Only 48 per cent of Brisbane motorists admitted to headlight flashing. Three per cent of Queensland motorists also admitted they used radar detectors, which are illegal in all states except Western Australia.

Queensland road rules prohibit use of a vehicle’s high beam within 200m of other vehicles.

Police Minister Judy Spence said people who flashed their lights to warn of speed cameras were condoning speeding by trying to prevent offending drivers being caught.

She said police could fine motorists for incorrect use of a vehicle’s headlights or prosecute for hindering police.

“Many people are surprised when they are pulled over that they are committing an offence. It is no excuse and won’t be accepted as one by police,” she said.

Not that I would publicly condone anyone breaking the law, but it stands to reason, that every motorist who is made aware of the existence of one of the governments mobile taxing devices is going to pay attention to the speed they are travelling and ensure that they are staying well within the speed limit which is supposed to be the reason for all speed detection devices, we the motoring public know that speed cameras are really all about raising money for governments.
What do you think  Comrades?


Hybrid Camry, the bishop gives a $35million blessing

The announcement yesterday by Brother Number one that his government would be giving Toyota 35 million towards it’s hybrid Camry project, will without doubt be greeted as very good news indeed by all of those followers of the Green Faith out there in the Latte belts of our cities.

Toyota has been explicit about its wish to produce a hybrid version of the Camry in Australia since the model went on sale in Japan two years ago.

At yesterday’s announcement, Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe refused to say if his company would have opted to build the hybrid in Melbourne without the taxpayer assistance, under which the Government will offer $1for research and development for every $3 spent by the company. But Mr Watanabe confirmed Toyota “only recently” heard it would receive a $35million subsidy from the Australian Government’s $500million green car fund “so we are not sure how we will use it”.

The hybrid Camry will go down the same assembly line as the petrol version already built at Altona, with all the engine components imported complete from Japan ready to drop into the car.

Toyota produces the successful Prius hybrid small car and will apply the existing technology to the Camry, producing a vehicle that would consume a third less fuel than the existing model.

Owners would save about $1000 a year in fuel costs and the company expects to produce 10,000 vehicles a year from 2010 until the next-generation model is introduced in 2012.

The Australian

Of course when it comes to the long term viability of these cars there are a couple of things that bother me. Firstly the Camry is by no means a light car at 3680 lbs which will mean that with the hybrid drive train that it’s performance once you get outside the city will be rather dull and I expect that the expected fuel savings will disappear if you have significant mountains in your path, or if you are driving the car fully laden all of the time and don’t even think about using the air-conditioning if you want to save fuel. The car could have been made significantly lighter by replacing doors gaurds and bonets with components made of either alloy or composites, however it will be just the same as a conventional Camry except for the drive train.

Then there is the issue of the longevity of the battery pack if they last ten years I will be very surprised . So when the battery pack fails the car will be essentially written off because you can bet that Toyota will be selling the battery pack at a premium price that will make replacement uneconomic.

The future for motoring is clearly in more fuel efficient machines and I am unconvinced that the current crop of hybrids are any sort of long term answer and until they are made significantly lighter they are really only going to be attractive to those who are willing to buy the spin being offered to us by the bishops of the green faith like Brother Number One.

Cheers and happy motoring Comrades


%d bloggers like this: