It is important for all of you to see this movie and listen to the
The common notion has always been that electric cars polute thru the
smoke stacks of the power plants.
It is difficult to throttle down a power plant at night ,being either
coal or nuclear.
At night when the electric cars are being charged there is an excess of
power that normally is being wasted in cooling lakes etc.
Charging the electric cars at night will even out the power demand.
Not quite correct my friend there is never an excess of power being wasted,
only of capacity. During times of lower demand the 'third' generating stage
units, like those gas turbine generators that use NG, are taken off line.
Second stage like oil fired plants can be cut back as well, yet supply the
same steam pressure for a slower running generator. Not the 'first' stage
plants like a nuke plant and those that burn waist fuels, like culm burners.
Nukes always run at full tilt since they are the most efficient and
cleanest. Coal plant are not cut as soon because coal is so much cheaper
than oil or NG ;)
DING!! Give this man a ceegar for getting it right. Throw significant
wind power into the mix and you have some interesting loading problems.
Charging electric cars at night still requires more of something.
This is an interesting issue for me. Obviously, electric cars utiilize
electricity and current battery technology is limiting. The company I
work for is making prototype parts for a well funded startup company
here in the Seattle area, Neah Power Systems. They are attempting to
develop alternatives to Alkaline, Lithium Ion and other more common
stored energy batteries. If interested, read up on them at
I've talked with some of their Engineers and they believe such
batteries may be real options for powering vehicles of all types.
Might be worth a stock investment, eh!
1964 Avanti R-1 #5367
1990 Avanti 4-door #78
With the current trend in gas prices, some form of electric vehicle will
become viable (for most) within the next five to six years and the core
of such will be new battery technology.
That is if the whole world does not turn to crap in a handbasket in the
There's really only two problems with electric cars.
1) currently available energy storage devices (i.e. batteries) take up
far more space and weigh far more than an equivalent amount of gasoline
or Diesel fuel for the same amount of work delivered to the wheels
(even factoring in inefficiencies of an internal combustion engine.)
What this means is greater weight and at the same time shorter range
than an equivalent fossil-fueled vehicle.
2) if *everyone* started driving electric cars today, there'd be far
more demand on electric power plants than there is now; we probably do
not currently have enough capacity to run them all. Certainly not in
the areas that are already experiencing power issues already!
I ASSume that there are some very smart people working on problem 1)
and if they ever get it licked there'll certainly be pressure to
resolve problem 2). Aside from the lack of the familiar noises that we
all know and love, electric cars do have a lot to like about them -
perfectly flat torque across a wide range of RPMs for instance, meaning
a 1- or 2-speed transmission would be perfectly adequate, and
acceleration might actually improve. Also no idling at stop lights
means greater efficiency, and also regenerative braking can be used in
hilly areas or stop and go traffic.
wifes boss has a Prius...ther Toyota, however you spell it.. gets
about 53+ mpg..
they have a name for them in a parking lot.. widow makers? people
do NOT hear it coming and step off the curb in front of them..
electric cars do have a lot to like about them -
see the Toyota- flip a lever on a long downhill and thats what it
some bright folks in CA so He heard, were yanking the battery
packs, and replacing with different type, and wired in a house
current to battery voltage battery charger.. thereby gettting in
the 250MPG range due to the MUCH higher capacity of the
cost like a quarter or so to charge the car each night..
I wish I still had my truck, it did what I wanted it to do, 40mile
range, top speed of 80 mph about .80 to charge it ...when a Kwh was
.055........technology is coming out with super capacitors, lighter and
last virtually forever, the down fall of flooded lead acid batteries. I
think the Russians were experimenting with super caps for passenger
Nobody "killed" the electric car. They've been there from the very earliest days
automobile. Remember the first motorized Studebaker was electric.
I haven't seen the movie, but I've read enough about it to get the idea that it
some sort of conspiracy theory about the GM EV-1. There was no conspiracy; GM was
straighforward in telling its LESSEES that their leases were for a limited term,
that term had expired, they WOULD return the cars to GM, no ifs, ands, or buts.
purpose of the exercise was to see how a (then) new-technology electric car
in real-world use. They did their exercise, got their data, and recalled the
cars, as per
the program. Sure, some of the users whined about it, but they had no
Those cars were practically hand-built, and much too expensive to mass-produce
When it comes to electric cars, you have a choice. Buy or build a low-tech model
limted range, but with an affordable price. There are a few "boutique"
there are also vendors who will sell you motors, controllers, batteries, and
you can convert an existing car or build one outright.
Or you can buy a high-tech job using expensive Li-ion batteries, and it may have
performance in the sports-car class (e.g. the Tesla), but at an exotic-car price.
IMHO, if you want to see electric cars make a real inroad into the marketplace,
to do is to lobby your politicians for several incentives:
1. get electric cars with less than 100 miles range and less than 60 mph top
exempted from NHTSA bumper and crash standards, and have the manufacturers
harmless from any lawsuits resulting from the lack of said safety features. The
this would be to make it a lot easier for a small-cap startup company to get
electric car business.
2. lobby your city/county politicians to enact a property tax holiday for all
and commercial parking spaces dedicated to the exclusive use of electric cars,
equipped with charging facilities; to apply to both new construction and to
see the need for some mechanism to verify that such spaces actually DO get used
I figure #1 would act to increase the supply of electric cars in the
marketplace, and #2
would act to create a demand, and neither one would cost the government a great
money until electric cars became commonplace, at which point the incentives
Right now, the major player in the industry seem to be stuck in the mindset that
electric car has to be able to substitute 1 for 1 with a gasoline car. Unless
improve by an order of magnitude, that can't happen. Why not settle for a niche
car for a
niche market? Could still be a pretty profitable niche. If you could sell an
to 10% of the two+ car families out there, how many could you sell?
The problem with your theory, is that yes, they cost too much to make. How
did destroying them save them any money?
The real reason the car companies don't like electric cars is that they
need much less maintenance and repairs. Most dealerships would go broke if
not for the money they make on repairs.
Has anyone every heard of someone doing a homebrew electric conversion
to a Studebaker? Or are they too heavy? How about a Crosley?.. getting
a hold of one of those light weight classic suckers would give you the
excuse to build yourself a home-built short range tin-can electric car
like the $3000 ones we hear about being sold in India maybe? Yeah you
could do a VW Rabbit but wouldn't a Crosley or a Studebaker be at least
a dozen times cooler?
I am really curious to hear about any projects you guys have done or
As for the GM EV1, I followed the news about it keenly when they were
put on the road, and even got to see one at Epcot on display. I seem to
recall that the real problem was something anyone who has used deep
cycle lead acid batteries over a period of time can relate to- the
batteries slowly lose their capacity. It would be easier if they would
simply crap out, but instead they just slowly wear and have less and
less life in them. When do you decide that your electric car's range
has gotten too low?- after the first time you don't make it all the way
home from work or should you wait until this has happened a couple of
Let's say your car has a bank of 20 deep cycle lead acid batteries
(better improve that Crosely suspension I guess :) ).. at at least $50
each, that's a $1000 expense. I wonder how long a regular commute would
take to wear out a battery pack like that to where it gets down to 75%
of it's original range?.. to half? Do you make shorter and shorter
runs with longer charge times and more and more days long desulfate
cycles to try to squeeze out the remaining value or do you opt to trash
your batteries regularly and put in new ones (I hope your back is in
better shape than mine if you are doing this yourself)... Depends on
your personality and income I guess, but this all seems like a recipe
for anxiety to me.
Actually, I'm not trying to sink the idea, because anything is a better
alternative to waiting until peak oil trashes our economy and society,
but I am curious if anyone has figured out a strategy to deal with
these kinds of problems. Also, I still have a Studebaker in need of a
powerplant, if it's at all practical I might think about putting in
some kind of electric fun if anyone has some personal experience to
tell me that it's not an insane idea. Alternatively I still have that
GM 250 lined up. I know if I get that in it will be the envy of the
Studebaker community. :)
Sorry Bob but I disagree, that movie is more about politics than it is
about the electric car.
When the market and the technology is ready the cars will come along,
but neither are there yet.
The Tesla guys are on the right track, and I wish them luck... if I had
the money (and would fit) I might even buy one of the things.
It saved them the cost of having to provide spare parts, and it saved them from
legal liabilites if those EV-1 started having safety issues or frequent
breakdowns as the
miles piled up.
And most dealerships are NOT owned by the manufacturers, who simply regard
dealers as a
necessary evil. If electric cars need fewer parts and less frequent service, the
manufacturers would save a bundle on the cost of maintaining parts inventories.
Not to mention that periodic need for replacement batteries would ensure a
I will grant you that the manufacturers have a problem, but it's not that they
in some nefarious conspiracy; it's that they appear blind to the apparent
existence of a
niche market that WOULD buy short-range, moderate-speed electric commuter cars
were sold and supported by established names in the industry.
Instead, the big makers keep hanging their collective hat on the so-far
of building an electric car which has comparable range and performance to a
which will never happen barring a truly remarkable improvement in battery
They've set themselves a practically unreachable goal, and given up trying to
I really think there is a place for electric cars in our transportation mix;
that's why I
advocated the measures in my previous post. I really do believe they'd help
market. If my work/living situation called for a short-range urban commute, I'd
thinking about doing an electric conversion to some little econobox for the
and keep the Studes and the Suburban for weekends and road trips. Where I live
two towns are within reasonable battery range for me, and I don't WORK there.
simply no prospect of me saving money by investing $$$ and weeks into an
for the occasional 6 mile round trip to the grocery store and post office.
Several things wrong here.
The safety issues would be no more than with any other car. They don't
recall and destroy other cars.
There is profit, not loss from making and selling spare parts.
The electric cars need less spare part than other cars.
I'd ask a HAZMAT crew about the effects of all the spilled battery acid
should one get involved in a serious accident. I know it is taken
real seriously on a jobsite where any electric forklift, or
scissor-lift, etc., falls over and spills its contents on the ground.
So imagine on a public roadway.
Point is, they weren't a finished consumer product. They didn't have a
for them or for most of the parts. They were deliberately leased out for a short
when that term was up they were recalled and crushed. Nothing wrong has been
were told up-front that's the way it was to be. Nobody put a gun to their head
them sign on the lease under those terms. If they signed on the lease under
in the hopes that they could later change the terms, then they were fools,
The profit in spare parts comes from the fact that you have many thousands of
cars in the
hands of buyers, and statistically speaking, X number of parts must go wrong and
replacement. With many of the cars presently sold sharing platforms and body
it's possible to have acceptable parts coverage without stocking a huge
the EV-1 being quite different from any other GM product, it would be necessary
to stock a
complete range of special parts to fit it alone, despite there being only a few
examples in existence. (Basically the same reason Avantis now sit on a Ford or GM
platform, depending on which year you have. Avanti can outsource the mechanical
issue to the majors.)
If GM had allowed EV-1s to be sold off, I could just see some activist like
buying one used, and then suing GM for a huge sum because of some perceived
because he couldn't get a new flux capacitor within 3 business days. GM would
literally making a big fat target of themselves, had they allowed the EV-1s to
the hands of the public. Unfortunate, but true.
But if you want an EV-1, you ought to be able to build yourself a reasonable
You might even get a better car, because technology has advanced since then.
How about a fiberglass C/K body on an aluminum frame, with an electric motor and
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