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Comment Re:Smart (Score 5, Insightful) 276 276

The top range Tesla now is 270 miles per charge. How often do you drive more than 270 miles in a day? Be honest now. . . Because most of us rarely do that.

Recharging time. . . It takes 20 seconds to plug in your car in the evening. In the morning you have a full charge. That's way more convenient than going to the gas station.

If you're on the highway, taking that epic road trip, then yeah. . . You're screwed. It's gonna kill your soul when you have to stop for a 20 or 30 minute quick charge a couple of times during the long day's driving. And you totally weren't going to stop like that in your gas car, because you are a superhuman who never needs to rest, eat or use the bathroom.

I have no idea what "shitty little cars with no cargo" you are referring to. I thought the topic was Tesla? The Model S is a full-sized car with enormous cargo space, front and back. You can haul your drum kit in it.

Comment Re:The future of electric could be much brighter i (Score 1) 276 276

Battery swapping seems to me like an elaborate and costly solution to a non-problem. Most electric cars are simply going to be charged at home anyhow, most of the time, because that's most convenient. In the marketplace -- especially in the USA -- convenience usually wins out.

Comment Re:Snark on Detroit? (Score 1) 276 276

I wonder why people keep talking about how awful cars were in the 1970s? I'm old enough to remember those cars, but maybe I was too young to appreciate what was wrong with them.

To me the true automotive dark age was the 1980s, when most cars looked like a box stacked on top of a larger box with woefully underpowered motors, squeaked like a sack full of mice, and periodically left you stranded on the side of the road.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 5, Interesting) 276 276

CARB was convinced that Tesla demonstrated the ability to swap batteries, and CARB sets the rules for ZEV credits. Tesla have done exactly what they needed to do in order to meet CARB's bizarre diktats.

Now, can anybody explain to me why battery swapping is worth additional credits in the first place? CARB's mandate is supposed to be cleaner air. Swapping batteries doesn't make the air cleaner. They give three times the ZEV credits for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as they do for battery electric vehicles -- even though both produce the same amount of pollutant emissions: none. Where's the logic?

Oh yeah. . . The logic is that Toyota -- by some measures the largest car company in the world (effectively tied with VW, last I heard) -- unloaded a truckload of cash to lobby CARB board members.

Comment Future Shock (Score 1) 484 484

We did wait about a century for battery technology to get better. Then NiMH batteries came along, and then the entire Li-Ion family of chemistries came along, and battery technology got a whole lot better.

I wonder if this is a case of future shock? Sometimes technology leaves ingrained, conventional wisdom in the dust, and some people are very slow to acknowledge it. Example. . . I still encounter those who say solar power will never be anywhere near cost competitive with fossil fuels. For about fifty years solar was wildly expensive, then solar panel prices fell off a cliff. Some folks still haven't got the memo.

It'll probably be the same with fusion power. We sometimes forget in these discussions that fission plants are merely a stopgap technology until fusion is up and running. We've repeated the joke -- "Fusion power is 40 years in the future -- and always will be!" -- so often that we've all begun to believe it's more than a joke. We've got to the point where the only thing Joe Sixpack knows about fusion is that it's never really going to happen. Joe is going to get a big surprise someday.

Comment How much electricity do refineries use?? (Score 1) 188 188

I have to wonder if this study took into account the vast amounts of electrical power used to refine gasoline? Those refineries are some of the biggest users of grid power in the country. I've even heard it suggested (though I haven't seen a by-the-numbers breakdown) that it takes, on average, as much electrical power to refine a gallon of gasoline as it would take to power a BEV the same distance driven. If that's true -- or even in the ballpark -- then it could turn the conclusions of this study upside-down.

Comment Re:So many reasons (Score 1) 688 688

quote: ". . .you're talking about stopping every 200 to 300 miles to charge for six hours"

If you're gonna make this argument, at least try to get the numbers right. A Tesla Model S at the "Supercharger" station can go from zero to 100% charged in 75 minutes, not six hours. And that's the absolute worst case, because the charge rate does slow considerably as it nears full. Tesla recommend charging to 80%, which only takes 40 minutes. If your goal is to get to the next station, then adding 170 miles of range in about 30 minutes will usually do it.

I don't know about you, but I need to take a break from driving after two or three hours. You don't have to stand next to your car while it charges; you can go have a snack or find a bathroom during that time. I don't see why this would a deal breaker unless you're doing a cannonball run or fleeing from the laws.

Personally, I try not to ever plan a trip that'll have me driving more than about 500 miles in a day's time. Even that, I can't remember how many years it's been since I've done it, or since I've gone more than the full range of the Model S in one day. I understand that my driving habits aren't everyone's driving habits, and there are some people who take long road trips, and that's OK. I'm just saying. . . There are significant numbers of people for whom this would never ever be an issue.

Now on the other hand, if you're talking about a Nissan Leaf with 70 miles range. . . HAHAHA! No. Just no. That wouldn't get me to the next town and back. But I think short-range cars like that will be a historical footnote very soon.

Comment Re:One Assumption (Score 3, Interesting) 609 609

Quote: "The Tea Party and similar ultra conservative factions are forcing Republicans to keep fighting culture wars. . ."

The Tea Party has no position on cultural issues. The Tea Party has no position on gay marriage, or abortion, or immigration, or drug legalization. It's a one-issue group, just like the NRA is a one-issue group. The NRA's issue is guns. The Tea Party's issue is the national debt.

I know, there are many in this world who will try to tell you different. Most of those are either liberals trying to tar the Tea Party, or social conservatives trying to hijack it. Neither group are tea partiers. (And IMHO, Ted Cruz is no Tea Partier either. He walked away from us to do his own thing shortly after getting elected.)

Comment Re:not a new topic (Score 1) 365 365

Yes, I wondered if I should have alluded to that. However. . . Global thermonuclear war ain't what it used to be. Although the likelihood of some kind of nuclear exchange hasn't gone away at all, not many of us still envision "blowing up the world" the way we used to with 10,000+ H-bombs going off all at once.

Comment not a new topic (Score 4, Interesting) 365 365

As an old-timer (or at least a mid-timer), I can remember this very issue being raised and discussed as far back as the late 1970s by people in the SF community, such as Jerry Pournelle, for one example. Of course, then we had the prospects of global thermonuclear war hanging over our heads as well, so the idea of the world having to rebuild everything didn't seem far-fetched at all.

The other issue was whether we could even keep modern technological-industrial civilization running. There was a very serious fear that "resource depletion" would cause everything to collapse without any need to invoke armageddon. Those fears have, thus far, proven mostly unfounded for reasons alluded in TFA: because we have developed high-tech machinery that can recover even low-grade deposits of ores and fossil fuels. That still doesn't mean the question won't crop up again at some time in the future, though, and we still have periodic scares over commodities such as: copper, gold, rare earths, and of course, "Peak Oil". The solution that Pournelle advocated back in the 1970s, exploiting the resources of outer space, is still out on the fringe somewhere.

Comment Re:Jesus! (Score 4, Insightful) 85 85

Why does this lie keep getting repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated. . . It's been going on for YEARS now. It gets frustrating after a while, especially since anybody could spend a couple of minutes with Google and find out the facts.

I think most normal people without an axe to grind understand that there are other sources of electrical power besides coal, and that we do have nuclear plants, and we do have hydro plants, and we do have natural gas, and we do have wind farms, and we even have a small (but rapidly growing) amount of solar. Some of them may even known that the percentage of power from coal in the US has been dropping for years and is well under half now. So, when you talk about a highly polluting coal-powered electric car, you're only making yourself look dumb in front of everyone.

Comment Range Anxiety Anxiety (Score 5, Funny) 286 286

First of all, "Range Anxiety" is a registered trademark of General Motors. I hope Elon doesn't get in trouble for using it without GM's permission!

Most people who actually own electric cars experience very little range anxiety. Far more common is "range anxiety anxiety": the fear that if you got an electric car, you might experience range anxiety.

Also prevalent among car makers is "range anxiety anxiety anxiety": the fear that, if you made an electric car, range anxiety anxiety might prevent people from buying it.

Remember folks, we have nothing to fear but. . . fear itself!

"History is a tool used by politicians to justify their intentions." -- Ted Koppel

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