XM-4000li, my experience going fully electric

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by LegoRobot, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

    Sep 20, 2006
    Nuevo Mexico
    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.
  2. LegoRobot

    LegoRobot EV fan

    Sep 14, 2010
    Excellent point. Hadn't even considered that.

    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.
  3. Lesharoturbo

    Lesharoturbo Nerdly Adventurer

    Mar 23, 2009
    Austin TX
    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.:eek1