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Old 09-17-2010, 06:17 PM   #16
MiteyF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LegoRobot
Actually, this is true of most types of batteries (lead acid, nickel metal hydride, basically any chemistry reliant on toxic heavy metals) but not lithium based batteries.

Lithium is produced from lithium carbonate, a mineral salt harvested from surface flats, not mined, and it's nontoxic (you may have heard of people taking small amounts of lithium for medicinal purposes). The manufacturing process does not require dirty smelting (as with NiMH or Lead Acid) because Lithium is a soft, sticky metal that can be extruded instead.

Lastly, lithium batteries for EVs will be recycled. The amount of lithium they contain makes them too valuable to simply throw away.




Priuses do not use lithium batteries. They use NiMH batteries, which I agree are dirty for the reasons mentioned above. However hybrids are still much cleaner than humvees. You may have heard conservative radio hosts assert otherwise, but I offer you an MIT study of the wheel to well efficiency of electric vehicles (and hybrids) versus gasoline vehicles. Hybrids fare pretty well even with NiMH batteries, although of course lithium batteries would be cleaner.

Oh, and one more thing; the lead acid battery in your car is among the dirtiest types possible, mainly due to the lead plates and sulfuric acid electrolyte it contains. I don't know where you got the idea that it's less polluting to create, operate or recycle than a lithium battery, but I'm willing to bet it's from a source with a partisan political motive.
No no, the ORIGINAL Humvee. The DIESEL Humvee. A lot of it is because they will last 300k+ miles, but still. Seeing as it was designed in the late 70's, that's still damn amazing.

And it's not JUST the disposal of the batteries... the ore is mined in Canada, shipped to China for refining, then to Japan for some assembly, and then to America, Europe etc to be put into cars. I believe there's another step in there somewhere, but can't be sure. When you take into account all of the jet fuel, diesel and heavy machinery required just to MAKE the batteries, it adds up fast. Flying around the world isn't all that easy on fuel.

I don't know if you've ever heard of the X Prize competition, but our team up at WWU just placed 8th overall this year... we know a few things about hybrids and fuel efficiency. Not only that, we were knocked out by a driving error in the cone course
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:59 PM   #17
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Whatever.

You don't like and/or 'get' scooters.

}yawn{

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Old 09-18-2010, 12:54 AM   #18
LegoRobot OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiteyF
No no, the ORIGINAL Humvee. The DIESEL Humvee. A lot of it is because they will last 300k+ miles, but still. Seeing as it was designed in the late 70's, that's still damn amazing.
If you reference the study I provided you will see that diesel vehicles still rank below hybrids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiteyF
And it's not JUST the disposal of the batteries... the ore is mined in Canada, shipped to China for refining, then to Japan for some assembly, and then to America, Europe etc to be put into cars.
As I said earlier, lithium carbonate is harvested from salt flats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiteyF
I believe there's another step in there somewhere, but can't be sure. When you take into account all of the jet fuel, diesel and heavy machinery required just to MAKE the batteries, it adds up fast. Flying around the world isn't all that easy on fuel.
If you reference the study I provided, you'll see all of that was taken into consideration, and EVs still edged out even diesel vehicles because gasoline does not magically appear at gas stations either. Oil must be drilled, refined, stored, then shipped across the ocean in tankers, and then trucked to gas stations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiteyF
I don't know if you've ever heard of the X Prize competition,
I have indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiteyF
but our team up at WWU just placed 8th overall this year... we know a few things about hybrids and fuel efficiency. Not only that, we were knocked out by a driving error in the cone course
I admire your participation in the X-prize competition, but I don't believe it makes your views inarguably correct. Mainly because you've said a number of things about lithium batteries (my area of expertise) that I know to be incorrect. I think if you were to read the MIT study provided earlier it would clear up any further misunderstandings.

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Old 09-18-2010, 08:13 AM   #19
Lesharoturbo
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Not to make a scene (verbally) but i agree with MiteyF op to a point. But instead of a "study" done by some group with a political association, I will relay my experience.

I have 2 2003 Toyota ECHO's one with 350,000 mile and the other with 265,000 miles. What makes these vehicles relevant to the discussion is that they have the same gas engine as the Prius but tuned differently (103hp in the ECHO vs 85 in the Prius). My real world mileage for these vehicles has been between a low of 36mpg and a high of 48mpg with the average being 40mpg. Tis is in a combination of city, highway and long freeway trips (MI to FL several times). What I can't understand is why we need the hybrid. My ECHO costs less to acquire ($11,000 otd each), get similar real world mileage, weighs less, uses less natural resources and seats the same number of humans. The facts are that most Prius owners go from a larger less efficient car to the Prius. The Prius would not replace my ECHO because it pollutes more in its lifetime that the ECHO would because they are so similar. The Prius has it's place (replace much older much less fuel efficient cars) and the ECHO has its place (cheap to acquire and still pollutes less than a used alternative).

The scooter as an electric vehicle is probably the best application to date. Scooters are already more efficient than cars. Having one as an electric would potentially allow longer ranges than cars because you are moving less weight (vehicle and passenger). The only issue I can see to overcome for a scooter would be its relatively less aerodynamic shape.

Bernie

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Old 09-18-2010, 01:23 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Lesharoturbo
But instead of a "study" done by some group with a political association, I will relay my experience.
You're suggesting MIT, a world renown engineering college, has a political association? And that this discredits any research they do, because you disagree with their perceived political association?

This is exactly the problem I was talking about. People who politicize science, and allow their own political prejudice to sour them to any promising technology that, in their mind, has some sort of association with a political group they don't care for. Those people hold back progress.

I've heard conservatives correctly identify this trend in liberals (for instance when they irrationally oppose nuclear power) but they cannot seem to recognize when they do it themselves (dismissing information about the comparative energy efficiency of different vehicle types because they think it's somehow a 'liberal study'.)

The number one obstacle in the way of nuclear power is the Liberal NIMBY, and the number one obstacle in the way of electric vehicles is the Conservative science denier. Which is a shame, because we need both of those technologies working together; each is only part of a larger solution.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:16 PM   #21
approachbears
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lesharoturbo
What I can't understand is why we need the hybrid. My ECHO costs less to acquire ($11,000 otd each), get similar real world mileage, weighs less, uses less natural resources and seats the same number of humans...
The Echo was a budget level, sub compact car, which explains the size and cost difference to a great extent. Someone could certainly build a budget box hybrid, but few people in the developed world actually want an econobox with no frills. The Prius doesn't compete with bottom of the line Kia Rio's, it competes with mid to upper level Malibu's, Camry's and Fusion's.

The Echo was a sales flop in the US in many ways. People didn't want another stripped down version of the Tercel. They wanted something with standard power seats, power windows, a decent stereo and room to actually fit 5 people. The Echo couldn't keep up with the Hyundai's because the Koreans offered standard options on small cars what was once only available on big cars. Toyota has always been crap about standard options.

Finally, what evidence do you have for "uses less natural resources"? Oil production and transportation is very resource use heavy. Combustion engines are very inefficient--losing gobs of energy to heat loss, complicated transmissions and the like.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:26 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by approachbears
The Echo was a budget level, sub compact car, which explains the size and cost difference to a great extent. Someone could certainly build a budget box hybrid, but few people in the developed world actually want an econobox with no frills. The Prius doesn't compete with bottom of the line Kia Rio's, it competes with mid to upper level Malibu's, Camry's and Fusion's.
Excellent point. Hadn't even considered that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by approachbears
Finally, what evidence do you have for "uses less natural resources"? Oil production and transportation is very resource use heavy. Combustion engines are very inefficient--losing gobs of energy to heat loss, complicated transmissions and the like.
I was actually a hydrogen guy for a long time before I was an electric guy. What changed my mind was research into the current state of fuel cells and their rate of progress. Many don't know that they are only 50% energy efficient, that all currently sold hydrogen fuel is refined from natural gas rather than produced via hydrolysis, and that fuel cells wear out even faster than lithium battery packs (a 6 year lifespan assuming you drive two hours per day). The FCX Clarity will hit the market in 2015, offering a 300 mile range. The Tesla Model S offers that range, and will hit the market sometime next year. While the option for the 300 mile battery puts it over the cost of the clarity (the version of the model S that price-matches the Clarity has a 160 mile real world range) it also has a four year head start, and everyone has dumped money into accelerating battery technology lately. Having followed western battery suppliers like Enerdel for years I was shocked to see the price of their lithium ion batteries drop from $1,000 per kwh in 2008 to $375 in 2010. Due in large part to stimulus funding and the resulting expansion of manufacturing operations but pretty much every analyst in the loop is anticipating a technological 'arms race' to improve batteries, the way computer components have rapidly improved between the 1980s and the present. I think it realistic to expect that by the time that there are several hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for sale and fuel is widely available, batteries will be so much better that the fuel cell will be functionally obsolete, at least for automotive applications.

Liquid fuel is alluring. So convenient it's difficult to ditch the concept. It permits very fast refueling, high energy density and we can use existing infrastructure. But with Lithium Titanate batteries finally being sold in electric SUVs (like those from Phoenix motors) capable of fast charging in ten minutes (with a lifespan of more than ten years) and companies like Better Place building battery-swap stations that use a standardized pack, I think it's gonna become a non-issue pretty fast. (The idea is you don't own the battery. You pay about 8 cents per mile, which covers the gradual degradation the battery suffers as you drive plus the cost of expanding and maintaining battery swap infrastructure)

I know not everyone's crazy about it, trust me. Ever since I started driving this thing I get pulled aside on a bi-weekly basis by guys who are simultaneously interested in electrics but also convinced they are no cleaner than gas vehicles, that the batteries are dirty, and man is that exasperating. I just tell 'em where I bought it and what the specs are because I know they don't want to be lectured but shit, there's so much misinformation floating around about EVs.

Where did it come from? Who is spreading it and why? Just buying an EV shouldn't mean you wind up having to justify it to people who have bought into all sorts of claims against them. Whew.

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Old 09-20-2010, 08:12 AM   #23
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I am not trying to start an argument. I am not a political person and do not associate with any political party. I was not impuning MIT's credibility, I was talking about the "studies" that people discuss in general, you know, the ones "they" do. I was trying to convert the conversation to real world experience, not a study that none of us have full access to.

My point with the ECHO is not that it competes with the Prius on a segment scale, just that it was manufactured by the same company using the same engine and, I am sure, many other components. I am not a fan of hybrids in general because I believe that car manufacturers can build the same vehicle without the added cost of batteries and their controllers and get the same mileage. I am not sure why everyone thinks that hybrids are better in general, or better for the environment specifically. Again, they have their place, such as replacing a 1985 13mpg Mercury Grand Marquis. But there are also other alternatives that do not have the complexity.

Why not diesel hybrids? Back in the late 80's, most of your car mags were reporting on Detroit's 80mpg hybrid cars that used diesle electric power and even large flywheels for brake regeneration. Where are these? I beleive it was just a fad or a flight of fancy. Today, however, we have clean diesel technology that can either replace hybrids or push hybrid mileage and efficiency into the 100mpg range. Why aren't the car manufacturers building these? I do not think they are too hip on the hybrid strategy either. Maybe they do not see the hybrid as a mainstream car, but as a way to "show" the governement they are "trying".

I am aware of the Korean cars and their pricing stategy and I am not sure what that has to do with this conversation. These same cars that have all the bells and whistles get comparatively worse gas mileage. My 1999 Hyundai Elantra got worse mileage than my 1994 Mitsubishi Galant 2.4.

I too like electric vehicles. These are great for running around town and even back and forth to work. These can, and do , use less material than a hybrid. In some cases, they can use less natural resources than a gasoline vehicle. After all, most people travel less than 60 miles daily and these will benefit form the electric vehicle. I hope to see a vehicle that gets 300 -400 miles per charge for those who live a little farther away from the city like myself. With a solar charging station, these would be the best answer we have so far. What manufacturers need to do is develop an electric car, not copy an IC car or a hybrid. Develop the electric car from the ground up with it's lifespan in mind. Most cars are sold in less than 5 years, many are decommissioned in less than 10 years. Do we need an electric car with a battery pack that will last for 20 years? Or one that is replaceable? Probably not in most cases.

By natural resources, I am referring to the amount of material it takes to manufacture and operate a vehicle. Hybrids have more material (with the batteries and such) than a comparable gas powered car.

I am sorry if I have offended anyone's sensibilities, that was not my intent. I thought this was a friendly discussion.
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