Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:Volkswagen Factory Worker Killed By a Manager (Score 1) 303 303

And (wink wink nudge nudge) we're losing a lot of money with this machine out of commission, you wouldn't want us to lose a bunch of money would you?

Unlikely in Germany. As has been noted elsewhere, they tend to be obsessive rule followers.

That being said, disregard of such could be part of what's helping it to national and world news. Because it's so unusual.

Comment: Re:Price is a second order function (Score 1) 284 284

Load up a bunch on a truck and then use smaller vehicles to transport them out to the various sites. If they were built at different sizes, perhaps for a size for an EV freight-hauling vehicle, then those would likely be larger generators and maybe could handle powering a small store, a nursing home, etc... That might be a good bonus.

If you're 'loading them up on a trailer' to take to an emergency site, you're better off just taking cage-style generators. The stores, nursing homes, and such should already have them. It's one of the reasons I'm against anti-gouging laws. If a store spends the money to have generation systems so it can stay in business even with the power outage, it should be able to raise it's prices to cover the generators*, overtime/hazard pay for employees, etc...

I expect it to be expensive (even if artificially and no I do not suspect the market to correct it with any great speed) and something that is not included on lower-end models.

It's about a $3k option. So no, it's not going to be on the cheapest trailers, but it's not 'that' expensive. Especially if U-haul figures out that it saves them money.

Then you get systems like the ford auto-backup. Which IS a vehicle mounted option.

Also, these are people traveling. They are not just people moving. Comparing them to a rental such as U-Haul is intellectually deceiving if not intellectually dishonest.

I'm not comparing people traveling to U-Haul. I'm saying that I see the most common trailer case to be that the trailer is rented, the car is owned, because the people are using the trailer for 1-2% of their driving needs, and don't need the trailer around taking up space and still requiring maintenance when they don't need it.

If they're such an edge case like you, that they'd more or less constantly have the trailer on their vehicle, it's time to ditch the trailer and just buy a hybrid in the first place. Do not mistake me for a 'single solution' type of person, though I will get into the 'weeds' when concentrating on a single topic. Once you remove the people who never go that far(I used to drive from ND to NE to visit my parents. Now that the trip would be from AK to FL, I fly), those that do it relaxed enough that supercharger stations would keep up with them(my parents), those that do it constantly enough that they just buy a hybrid in the first place, etc... There's not a lot of trailers left.

This does not discount the idea of a trailer, it is simply another line of thinking that I have been mulling over since first pondering the trailer idea.

I pondered it myself, but kept hitting a wall at the steering issue. Except for backing, a trailer changing steering less than hanging the weight off the vehicle. Plus, I got 600 pounds by looking up the weight of a 22kW generator. Add in fuel, wiring, etc...

So you're looking at needing a way to lift said attachment to place onto the vehicle - which would not be easy, and moving it around without wheels is a pain. I can move my much larger trailer by hand if necessary when it's unloaded, 600 pounds on wheels is relatively easy.

Some early hybrid designs were to feature a removable motor/secondary battery/storage area, but you run into weight/storage issues there - do you want a motor taking up your trunk space when you're going on a long trip?

As for an example trailer consider this article about one in development. 22kW - right on the money! Barely visible out the rear-view mirror, but yes, wider than I expected.

*which, even discounting purchase costs, fuel costs for the electricity to run the store are going to be substantially higher during the outage.

Comment: Re:E-book prices (Score 1) 97 97

What's really amazing is that books are so insensitive to this trend.

That's the thing; they aren't so insensitive to it. You have the hardback, then the paperback, then they hit the discount racks, used bookstores, etc...

What's amazing is that it's the e-books that are so insensitive to this.

And going by what Baen's released for their policies, it's the distributors such as Apple and Amazon that are pushing not only this, but DRM and such.

Comment: Re:E-book prices (Score 1) 97 97

Digital content has to be cheap because it's worth much, much less than physical content due to lack of resales.

True, but given that I wait for said massive sales actually means that I end up paying LESS for my games(on average), than the difference between buying a game new and then selling it to a store like gamestop, and as a bonus I get to keep my game!

So I'd argue that it's not worth that much less, and I still remember reading an article where the author argued that the resale market for games, especially server-dependent online ones, actually drives the price for games UP, and that the continuing profit TO the studio from steam-style sales provides incentive to keep improving the game. His arguments were quite well reasoned, even if I didn't agree with all of them.

Of course, this is getting away from e-book sale prices a bit. You don't normally expect to see revisions to a published book, even though such would be possible with a e-book, and such may not be welcome. "Han shot first!" type stuff.

Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 1) 138 138

It's the compromises made to make the B share the same frame as the other planes that cases the problems.

Relatively speaking, the A version is 'great' compared to the B, but note that I didn't say that the F-35 is a suitable replacement, merely that we need new planes.

Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 1) 138 138

It's not the F-35a that's problematic, it's the F-35b STOVL variant that's costing a lot of the money.

Also, as retired USAF, I can tell you that there's reasons WHY we really need new planes. Seriously, we're still flying planes that the pilot's grandfather flew when HE was in.

That's not to say that the current system for acquiring new planes isn't messed up beyond belief. Just the process for new refuelers has been horrifying beyond imagination.

Comment: Re:Price is a second order function (Score 1) 284 284

I would not be surprised to find a better constructed idiot (though I do not expect most people to know) attempting to drive with a trailer.

How to put it? While I'd expect accidents because of the trailer, I'd expect accidents no matter what - after all, most accidents in the country, much less the world, don't involve trailers at all.

Basically, the number of accidents would be at 'acceptable' levels such that U-haul and such would be willing to rent them out. You're always going to have 'better idiots', but that can't be used as an excuse to not deploy a technology unless the results are too catastrophic - and a 'few' accidents here and there are acceptable.

I think it should be something you can disconnect from the vehicle, when you get to your destination, and used as a generator as well as a then-static EV charging platform.

Shouldn't be a problem to provide. A Model S uses 37kwh to go 100 miles. At 60 mph, that would be 22.2 kWh/h or 22.2 kW. Please note that this is a 'napkin back' calculation and is more for estimation. There are many real world considerations, including but not limited to: actual driving speed, any grade, additional drag from the trailer, the range of the EV assuming you're starting with the battery full and are willing to end driving with it near empty, any breaks taken, that you're skipping the 'battery' part which removes a 10% loss step, etc... Honestly, I think 22 kW would be 'oversized' in most situations.

And if a ~22kW generator isn't enough for your camp site...

Adaptive steering is going to help on vehicles that are equipped with it.

It's actually on the trailer. But I'm of the opinion that technological solutions are often superior to education, because education can be ignored, and often ends up being less effective and more expensive(time's expensive).

In the end, consider this: Most of the accidents you've described were to a person's own property. My scale of 'caring': Other people's lives. The operator's life. Other people's property, the operator's property. If they only damage their own stuff, who cares? If the trailers are costing people their lives, the it matters a great deal.

In the end, I think you're picturing a larger trailer than I am. Seriously, what's I'm figuring on would be tiny. How tiny? Not visible from the rear view mirror tiny.

You're also figuring on a 'vast increase'. I'm not, and even if there is, most of it would be on the highway where it's the safest, not on the roads in the cities.

As for added danger - how do you balance this against cars that will do things like apply the brakes themselves to keep you from hitting something? Backing cams?

It may be possible, safer, to simply engineer a method that allows carrying this generator behind the vehicle without it actually being towed.

As you say, such capacity would have to be engineered into the vehicle. You're looking at about 600 pounds for the generator and fuel alone. Well within range for a class 1 hitch that most EVs can take, but they're normally only rated to 70 pounds or so for tongue weight. Hell, it'd exceed the capability for the class 3 on my light truck if you wanted to just suspend it there. I can't put much more than a bike rack or grill on my hitch if it's going to just be suspended there.

Plus, you might not be thinking about this, but it'd affect the balance of the whole car, and not in a good way. So no, it's not a 'trivial matter'.

Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 1) 284 284

People on this site keep saying that, but I have yet to see any proof.

This is a forum site; have you gone looking for 'proof'?

There is no reason why over the course of 20--30 years we couldn't invest in more energy storage

I'm going to have to rephrase my statements a bit. Tense problems, mostly. We couldn't, and currently can't, produce enough green energy to replace coal&oil economically, IE without making major sacrifices in quality of life elsewhere.

Somehow I dropped the battery part of my post as an additional option. Where the cheaper and more efficient the storage technology is, the more likely you are to store power rather than just build out your renewable energy infrastructure and just 'throw away' power during 'good' power production days.

Still, we appear to be on the cusp of radical changes. 30 years ago solar technology produced less power even at 100 times the cost. Lithium-Ion technology was a gleam in somebody's eye, much less possibly poised to take the market as the cheapest battery technology.
Lead Acid: $.194/wh.
LiIon: $.236/wh.

If ONE of the recent battery technologies that I've read about succeeds, or Musk's factory to cut the cost of his batteries in half, that means that LiIon will actually be cheaper than Lead-Acid. This would be huge.

Meanwhile they keep working to cut the cost of solar panels even as they increase their efficiency.

Comment: E-book prices (Score 4, Interesting) 97 97

I'm still irked by the pricing. Now, I don't expect to be able to buy an ebook for the price of a used book, but by golly, I refuse to pay more for the book than I do for a dead-tree version, and given that I'm a halfway 'smart' shopper, 30% under 'list' is the average for me, I can often reach 50% or more, for a book that's not quite a new release. As such, I'm pretty much stuck buying from Baen for now.

They need to hold more sales like Steam. But no, the publishers don't want that. Apple & Amazon don't want that.

Comment: Re:Bolt will be cheaper than the average car (Score 1) 247 247

Of course household outlets won't do that, but a properly wired supercharger can probably do that.

If the battery is cheap enough, you could have one of those tesla home batteries which would trickle charge through the day, then 'dump' the accumulated charge into your EV battery.

So when you get home, given enough time to shower, change clothes, apply makeup and have a snack, you have a vehicle back up to 80% charge.

So many 'fun' things would be possible if we could have a battery that stores 1kWh for $1. ;)

Comment: Re:Nice but his arguments make not much sense (Score 1) 284 284

In other words, all thinkable problems regarding modern power production can and should first be tackled via SmartGrids, then comes long nothing, and then potentially come storages.

Except that EVs are storage devices and smart grids normally involve storage to help make managing them 'smart'.

Comment: Re:Nice but his arguments make not much sense (Score 1) 284 284

Preview is your friend, my friend.

there is no nation in the world that right now has so much surplus that there is a "storage problem".

That's the problem, you keep arguing that it's not needed now, which I've never actually disputed. You keep arguing against it though when I mention that it would be handy in the future WHEN renewables are the biggest slice of the power production pie.

So: when does such a situation arise? Obviously it can't arise when the total non dispatch able input is only 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% or 50% or even 75% of peak!

Nope, 50% would be enough. Minimum power draw is generally around 40% of max.

You're the one using 'desperate', not me. I use things like 'economical'. And yes, it can be 'economical' to be able to spin down some of your plants more or less permanently, while keeping others spinning at their optimal load, while storing power during low demand and releasing it during high. The cheaper and more efficient the storage method, the more practical and economical this is.

This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.