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Bob Lutz, Dick

Bob Lutz explains how GM's new electric car works.




 

Comments

I think this guy just convinced the global warming conspiracy theorists and the dirty hippies with unclean women to go buy themselves a Toyota.

Great marketing strategy, insult your customers.

I think anyone that buys one of these cars to help the environment is a fool. Part of the profits will be spent by this idiot to stop any global warming legislation from passing. All the good you do will be undone 100X over.

Honda poo-poos this effort, as it seems not to be conserving anything -- and focuses on hybrid tech:

http://www.financialpost.com/most_popular/story.html?id=792460

If you're thinking of buying an electric car to save the planet, I think you deserve to be insulted. If you're planning to buy an electric car to save money on fuel, by all means, do it!

Think about it Red, are you really preventing any greenhouse gases from being produced by plugging your car into an outlet that is supplied with electricity produced mostly by burning fossil fuels? Then look at the inefficiencies of electrical production and distribution, the heat lost to converting that 110V or 220V AC to 12V DC, the inefficiency of batteries, and finally the extra drag produced by carrying around a 400lb gasoline engine, DC generator, and 600lbs of batteries.

Don't get me wrong, I think electric cars are cool, but do you remember how 'green' people thought ethanol was? Then, after congress started mandating ethanol fuels, people finally started asking questions like 'how much greenhouse gas is produced to make that ethanol?' and 'what's this going to do to the price of food?'

Also, how long before the states and feds start complaining about the lost fuel tax revenue because people are charging their cars at home? You can't legally fill your diesel pickup with tractor fuel even though it's the same thing (less dye) because no fuel tax has been collected.

Syngas,

THis was discussed on a previous string, so I will just summarize.

Driving an electric car does actually reduce CO2 because a big power plant is more efficient then thousands of little individual fossil fuel burners. and to the extent that 10-15% of electricity can come from wind in solar in many states there is additional co2 savings there.

Also the availability of solar panel roves like on this car add additional reductions.

But like I said, a shitty company can undo all that good pretty easily.

Honda poo-poos this effort, as it seems not to be conserving anything -- and focuses on hybrid tech:

The prototype may have been electric, but as he explains in the interview the Volt in production is indeed a hybrid. The difference being that is seems to have a smaller gas engine that cannot power the car indefinitely.

The very best efficiency you can expect from a power plant is 40% (most are less). The best gasoline engines are 30%, so you are right about that, but by the time it gets to your house, you've already lost 7% of that power to heat. Converting 110V AC to 12V DC, you lose about 15%, and the very best batteries lose at least 3% to heat if you use them right away. Wait a day, and you can add another 5% to that.

Never mind the inefficiency of dragging around a huge battery and a just-in-case engine.

Throwing a 50W solar cell on the roof will be lucky to keep up with the self-discharge of the batteries.

Never mind the inefficiency of dragging around a huge battery and a just-in-case engine.

Can't be heavier then a full gas engine, transmition, exhaust system, radiator, and a full tank of gas.

But I get your point. the real savings is in driving a smaller car, electric only has GW advantages if the electricity is produced in a green manner.

So what good has been undone?

Syngas - I was interested in your points about energy efficiency and loss in the system with EVs vs. ICEs. Not knowing much about this, I searched google for "electric car efficiency" and quickly found this informative page:

http://www.electroauto.com/info/pollmyth.shtml

About halfway down there is a comparison chart that show vehicle efficiency at 15%. I guess this must be the efficiency system as a whole (engine, transmission, wheels etc.).

The page above comes to a different conclusion than you and I would be interested to see your response to their findings.

As best I can tell peanut, they were comparing a GM EV1 (a two seat, no trunk subcompact) to an Acura TL (a midsize luxury), and calling them equivalent because they had the same acceleration. I wonder if they were being impartial.

So what good has been undone?

The good of driving a smaller more fuel efficient car and of using some green energy for driving, levels depending on your area's energy sources. Also, the advantages of having breaking and solar generate some % of your fuel.

The other good getting undone is if the car companies lobby congress against passing reasonable fuel efficiency standards... a decent timetable, in other words. My limited understanding of this, is that this kind of "undoing" has been going on forever -- the general argument being that Americans won't go for wimpy-wampy-wambly little cars, and another having to do with re-tooling, increased R&D costs, gubbnint mucking around where they shouldn't be (messing with the private sector too much)... the kind of thing that appeals to Joe six-pack, etc.

Clearly though, individual action (making better buying decisions, insulating your homes, driving less, biking more) pales in comparison to what is possible when collective action is taken... and that means all kinds of standards, timetables, regulations on emissions... greener corporate buildings... not moving operations to places where you can pollute more easily... basically, all kinds of government interference in the private sector. Commie stuff we don't seem to think is such a good idea, in principle. Eventually, most civil societies seem to come around without the sky falling, but it may be some time for us yet.

My limited understanding of this, is that this kind of "undoing" has been going on forever -- the general argument being that Americans won't go for wimpy-wampy-wambly little cars,

No, the real problem is that they can't find a profit model for a functional Electic car. Most companies make their money on service and a car that has a battery an electric motor and not much else gives them nothing more to sell you. A functional electric car would need new batteries every four years and no much else. they could last decades longer then IC vehicles.

So little to no research is done on batteries (they are using batteries developed to power you laptop and Ipod), magnetic transmissions and other electric features that will make the Electric cars superior vehicles.

ANd they spend all their research on how to sell you 600hp for 25K with the same fuel pump, water pump, belts and radiators that will need to be replaced in the life of a car.

But of course, RedSeven.

There will, of course, be multiple reasons and facets for everything, but the ease of maintenance is prime.

To tie the economic crisis and retooling-fuel-economy issues together... the CEOs are a bit pissed at their recent $25 billion dollar request being labelled a "bailout", contending that they thought this low-cost loan was part and parcel of previous legislation.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/159536

...nevermind the long history of foot-dragging, golden parachutes, outsourcing, etc. Now they're whining like babies that they're facing unfunded mandates... as if they couldn't see any of this coming for decades. (and while hummers rot in the lots, fuel through the roof, and we face the very real possibility of a global depression)

Syngas said:

If you're thinking of buying an electric car to save the planet, I think you deserve to be insulted. If you're planning to buy an electric car to save money on fuel, by all means, do it!

If you save money on fuel, you are both saving money and saving the planet. So where's the controversy? Let me see if I understand what you're saying Syngas. If someone has in mind saving the planet, they're an idiot, but if they're only thinking of themselves, that's cool?

How does this square with your beliefs re abortion? Is it better to think only of oneself? It's not that simple, is it?

So Syngas, if I understand what you're saying, you're saying that saving the planet is just stupid, but saving a zygote or an embryo is a worthy cause? You believe that it is immenent that any sperm or zygote embryo that is growning a woman's stomach must grow into a child and you insist that that child be born. But once that the child is born, none of us here in the U.S. should ever have to worry about that child once that that child is born? Is this what you propose?

Ohmigosh - that guy was hilarious. His poor PR person must have started writing retractions and apologies before his segment was over. On the other hand, I liked the fact that he was out there ready to try - although he didn't seem to have a clue why the old ways weren't working anymore (I think being with Stephen lulled him into a sense of being with his peeps, though.)

This was amusing in an old-style executive for GM (who, at this point might want to finish up his retirement villa - fast) - not at all funny in a Presidential candidate

Oh, I get it now Syngas. Life is important. Every embryo, sperm and zygote is so important that every embryo, sperm or zygote must develop into a child. Once that that child is born and is here on earth attempting to survive, no matter who their parents are, they're on their own, right? Is that what ýou're saying Syngas?

"Let me see if I understand what you're saying Syngas. If someone has in mind saving the planet, they're an idiot, but if they're only thinking of themselves, that's cool?"

Nice try JoAnn,

As I demonstrated earlier, by the time all the inefficiencies are factored in, this car likely produces much more CO2 than a comparable sized car powered only by gasoline.

The reasons you would save money on fuel is because coal is so much cheaper than gasoline, and there are no fuel taxes levied on electric cars.

Jesus (I now pronounce that "Hey Sous"), syngas. Is this your ethos? “Screw the planet, we can't actually see the end of the world as we know it, so keep wasting energy as fast as you can.” I thought the whole idea of conservatism was to error on the side of caution. I have been reading you here for a long time now and all you have done is mock anyone who mentions conservation, the perils of global warming, and anything to do with environmental issues. Are these the values you teach your children? I have said this once and I will say it again: Turn off Rush Limbaugh, dude. He is just poison. And don't tell me that you don't tune in because it is obvious in just about everything you post that you are a huge fan of fat boy. Find some better sources of news.

As I demonstrated earlier, by the time all the inefficiencies are factored in, this car likely produces much more CO2 than a comparable sized car powered only by gasoline.

You didn't "demonstrate" a damn thing. This is your opinion based upon articles which you have read which you hope are right. If you're wrong about all of the various aspects of man-made global warming, oh well... But you're very concerned about zygotes and embryos, right? You want to be a good citizen and err on the side of life as concerns sperm/zygotes/embryos, but if you're wrong about any efforts to save the very planet that we live on, no big deal? You're willing to get into some back and forth about electric cars and argue about the merits of whether electric cars will reduce our consumption of oil/fuel/gasoline?

You know I'm right JoAnn. Why else would you resort to Red Herring and Straw Man?

Leaving aside the question of what JoAnn is or isn't using. Your False Dilemma is a good one. Why else indeed, the alternative isn't necessarily that she knows you are right, there are any number of other possibilities But your framing it as an either or question exposes you to the same kind of criticism you are laying at her door.

Excellent point Norm. I look forward to hearing her argument that lies somewhere in between.

Oh wait, you're discussing the production of CO2.. So you're not only an expert as to when life begins (do you masturbate?), but you're also an expert as concerns electric cars and the consumption of C02. We could exchange links until the cows come home, and I could argue that you are using the arguments of a minority of ignoramuses, (such as those so-called scientists who claimed that the recent super-collider experiment might end up producing the end of life via a black hole). I could argue that there sas a girl in India who committed suicide because she fell prey to the dooms-day scenario as concerns the super collider, and the same kind of so-called "scientists" who have no respect.... Ah, shit, here I go constructing the thoughts, in an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of unreasonable thought.... when I realize that I'm simply wasting my time..

You know I'm right JoAnn. Why else would you resort to Red Herring and Straw Man?

I don't give a fuck who is right. I look at the facts.

Explain what it is that you mean by"red herring" and "straw man". Don't be coy. It's always easy to be vague.

"I don't give a fuck who is right."

I've never doubted that ;)

Injecting abortion in a discussion about electric cars is a Red Herring.

Proclaiming I think everyone who has a mind for saving the planet is an idiot is a straw man.

It is a straw man to proclaim that I said that you think that everyone who has a mind for saving the planet is an idiot is a straw man.

Read more carefully. If you are are unwilling to be intellectually honest, then don't bother.

Proclaiming I think everyone who has a mind for saving the planet is an idiot is a straw man.

You said:

If you're thinking of buying an electric car to save the planet, I think you deserve to be insulted

You think that you understand this issue so well that you can proclaim that using an electric car is so stupid that anyone who does use an electric car to "save the planent" derserves to be insulted. In the same vein, you feel that you understand this issue as well as you understand the issue of when life begins.

I know it's difficult and making the connection is not obvious, but there is, in fact, a connection, whether or not you understand what the connection might be.

You care about zygotes, even if you don't really understand the complexities concerning when "life begins". I ask myself why it is that you care more about zygotes than you do about the planet that all of us inhabite... That is, you give a lot of leeway as to what might "save our planet", but you are certain that sperms and eggs are precious.

Better to laugh at this nonsense than to be frustrated!

Syngas I think public perception about the market and overall "green culture" matters as well. Even if so-called "green" cars were equivalent in efficiency as non-green ones, promoting a green culture, even if it's not so green at the start, is a win-win situation given our current environmental and energy troubles.

Well, unless you are denying global warming of course, or are an antiquated non-innovative oil/coal company.

Syngas, you're cherry picking. It's obvious. You only mentioned the post-production inefficiencies of the electricity distribution. You never so much as glanced at the waste that occurs in transporting all that fossil fuel to the myriad stations where it will be distributed. And that's just for starters. There's also means of production (i.e. solar, wind, hydro, nuclear) to consider.

This is complicated stuff. Unless you have collected all the data and processed it yourself, your opinion means squat.

And for the record, I don't care who is right either. I care what is right, which is what JoAnn clearly meant.

Well, clear to a non-cherrypicker.

But also, for the record, I do care who is wrong - particularly when he refuses to accept correction. I take careful note of that.

So, Syngas, were you wrong?

And for the record, I don't care who is right either. I care what is right, which is what JoAnn clearly meant.

Thank you Perspico, and Syngas clearly knew that this is what I meant. He's just messing with me.

that no was supposed to be in response to perspicio's question. I don't know why it keeps skipping to JoAnn's comment.

Well you're clearly deeply biased and unwilling to admit your mistakes. Maybe you should start positioning yourself to try and resurrect the Republican party with a presidential run in 2012.

Your sloppy, unsourced numbers yield a 29% efficiency for the electric car after accounting for the losses you arbitrarily opted to provide percentages for (while incorrectly assuming all power plants are coal-fired).

Compare this to a 30% efficiency for gas engines, which ignores all the losses associated with that distribution system.

Your argument doesn't even need additional facts to be refuted. It refuted itself.

There's a clear winner here, and it's not you.

Oh yeah, Syngas, and the carbon emitted when burning ethanol is carbon that would have been in the atmosphere anyway. Ever heard of photosynthesis? If you release the same amount of carbon by burning ethanol as you do by burning coal, you still introduce much less to the atmosphere.

You have to balance all the equations. Where did the carbon come from? Where did it end up?

Use your damned head, since it's clear that you have one.

Boy, ya got me there perspicio,

You keep buring that carbon neutral corn juice and patting yourself on the back.

Hey, jackass, I didn't say I supported corn-based ethanol. Don't let your lack of knowledge and insight serve as an excuse to put words in my mouth.

Instead of adopting an intractably regressive stance, why don't you learn what's happening in the industry and form a reality-based opinion about what direction ethanol-production is likely to take in upcoming years?

Wow, this discussion went downhill pretty quick.

Sygnas, pepsico is right, you didn't prove anything.

Electric cars only have a moderate increase in efficiency if the electricity comes from burning fossil fuels. But if the electricity is produced in clean ways then that effect increases.

JoAnn, I believe your only point is that sygnas is kind of an ass. Which seems to be true but is sort of superfluous to this argument.

Sygnas your last point on biofuels is both irrelevant and more irrelvant.

First it has no direct bearing on the efficiency of an electric car and second you seem to intend to imply that we can't trust the bad judgement of enviros offering silly solutions.

Well, biofuels were the solution promoted by Agra-business, not environmentalists. Similarly Electric cars are seen as part of the solution as they build an infrastructure that can reduce co2 output as new electric production technology is developed.

As someone who often reads comments here and rarely contributes, I have to say I've enjoyed reading this discussion, but yeah, it did go downhill pretty fast.

I wonder what your opinions are for what the best electric cars would be to buy.

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