a friend and I started talking about electric cars and their performance. There was a lot of talk about them a few years ago but then all went silent. When I looked around the net, I found that there are no longer any real electric cars manufactured except prototypes and a few small enthusiast vehicles. What did they expect with a 50 or 100 mile range? Then I had a look at batteries and was suprised to find that they have improved dramatically. The best batteries that will enter the marketplace this year are about five times better than those available when the electric cars like the EV1 were designed. Although that ups the range to 250-500 miles it's still way too expensive for civilian use, a situation which is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
Here's the kicker: If you calculate how much electricity you would need to charge this type of car, it becomes evident that electricians and utilities would get a lot of work to do. An electricity guzzling SUV needs at least 400 Wh/mi, probably closer to 500 Wh/mi. 250 mi times 400 Wh equals 100 kWh! Try fast charging that battery. Even if you settle for charging only 60% of the battery and let it take one hour it will need 60 kW of power.
For home charging two or three hours are acceptable, but that's still 20-30 kW.
Question: Do you see any practical problems with installing such an outlet in a home?
There was a study performed in CA a year or so ago regarding hybrid cars. Many factors were considered including cost of battery replacement. I seem to recall that the study concluded that if gasoline rose to $5.41 per gallon, the hybrids would be a "break even" proposition. Rowdy
Active 1.....keep dreaming....Fully electric cars are best served for golf carts...hybrid cars are here to stay. Honda and Toyota already have these cars on the market and many, many more are to come from GM and Ford. Also, look for hydrogen powered cars as an alternative. Honda already has one available, and no doubt others will follow soon.
Our utility (SoCaEdison) has been using electrically powered vehicles for some meter readers for quite a while now. The range isn't an issue, as they do their routes and go back to the barn...and SCE can afford the electricity. Another point [threadjack] I keep hearing about "pollution free" hydrogen cars, but the hydrogen is produced with the use of electricity...which is not produced "pollution free" [/threadjack]...S
you are absolutely correct. When you would have use 2 kWh if you drove the car directly with electricity, you'll need at least twice that if you want to use hydrogen. And that is provided "they" manage to improve the efficiency of fuel cells! Unless the fuel cell is significantly cheaper than a battery, it will fail.
[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 01-09-2004).]
Your description is not quite correct, but really is something for everyone who likes the idea of electric cars or hydrogen cars to think about.
Most hydrogen is _not_ produced using electricity. Rather it is made _chemically_ using fossil fuel feedstock. For example, you can react natural gas and water in appropriate conditions to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
This, of course, means that hydrogen simply moves the pollution to your hydrogen production factory, rather than eliminating pollution.
In theory, in the future, the hydrogen could be produced electrolytically using renewable electricity sources. This is an important possibility because often the sun is shining or the wind is blowing at a time when you don't need the electricity, so having something to do in order to store that energy (say by making hydrogen) is a great way to use this electricity. But right now hydrogen as a fuel offer no big benefit to the environment.
(Note that there are small benefits, eg. building the hydrogen infrastructure now would enable the 'ideal' use of hydrogen later, and having all of your pollution produced in a central location means that you can do more to capture/treat it, etc...)
Regarding C-H's comparison between batteries and fuel cells, despite _all_ of the hype, they are essentially the same. They are both electrochemical cells, meaning that by letting certain internal reactions run, you can extract electrical power, and by pumping electrical power into the cell, you can cause those reactions to run in reverse.
Fuel cells are simply batteries in which the chemical reagents are separated and in separate storage from the reacting surfaces, whereas in a battery everything is combined into your electrodes. Any advances in fuel cell science will help improve batteries and vice-versa. 'Charging efficiency' of a fuel cell (kWh to produce the H2 to produce 1 kWh should be comparable to the charging efficiency of a battery.
IMHO it is _really_ hard to beat the energy density and convenience of a take full of dead organic matter. This is why the hybrid electric cars are going to win out for a long time yet to come.
".......Meanwhile, GM will be phasing in the hybrid gas-electric system, a fuel-saving powertrain option. In the spring of 2006, the Saturn VUE, and in 2007, the Chevrolet Malibu will get GM's Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) hybrid system coupled to a CVT, which will get an estimated fuel-economy improvement of 12-15 percent. Mid-year in 2007 and soon after in comparably sized pickup trucks, GM's full-size SUVs will be offered with the Advanced Hybrid System II mated to a Vortec 5300 V-8 with Displacement on Demand. This combination will achieve a 25-35 percent fuel-economy improvement. These changes are just the beginning of what will be a revolution in powertrain development. Various estimates suggest that by 2020, the conventional gasoline engine will be well on its way to being phased out, replaced ultimately by hydrogen-driven fuel cell systems. "
Also...if you want to know more about Hydrogen powered cars, Honda has one on the market. This link gives much info on Hydrogen powered cars in general and how these things work. http://hondacorporate.com/?onload=fcx
[This message has been edited by Sandro (edited 01-09-2004).]