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Comment: Why fuel cells? (Score 1) 216

by patniemeyer (#47325341) Attached to: Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

I don't understand why Toyota would pursue this technology when we have batteries that are competitive with it currently and they get better every day... and battery technology is just manifestly better in that we already have electricity distributed to every location on earth... Why build a completely new, energy inefficient, liquid transportation industry just to add a middle-man to electricity distribution and make life less convenient for the the drivers?

It just seems to me like an attempt to keep hydrocarbon fuels relevant... or perhaps to see hydrogen deployed so that Toyota can keep their ICE engines relevant... It just doesn't make sense otherwise.

Yes, I'm sure there are special applications one could point to where hydrogen may make sense in some niche under some circumstances... but... for general automobile usage? I just don't get it...

Comment: Re:Nice to see. (Score 1) 216

by patniemeyer (#47325263) Attached to: Toyota's Fuel Cell Car To Launch In Japan Next March

Tesla has demonstrated that they can swap the battery on the Model S in 90 seconds... It weighs 1000 lbs. But they have also said that they will eventually get the charging time on their superchargers down from (currently about 20 min for half charge) to 5-10 minutes... If they can do that then not sure why anyone would care about swapping batteries...

There is a misconception among people who have not used electric vehicles that you need to go somewhere to charge your vehicle, like one would with a gas station. Imagine that you had a gas station at your house and somebody topped off the car for you every morning - how often would you stop for gas? probably never...

Comment: Re:Dead on arrival (not) (Score 1) 345

by patniemeyer (#47278965) Attached to: Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

Your thinking about the engine noise will totally change after you drive an electric bike that is faster and better performing than any gas bike could ever be... You'll pull up next to someone with an old fashioned gas bike roaring and making noise and fumes and you'll just effortlessly smoke them while they are roaring and straining to keep up with you.... and you'll start to think of the noise not as power but as "poser"... like a fake strong man groaning to lift a tiny weight or a rock guitar player making that strained face as if it it takes physical effort to play. It will happen to you...

Comment: Re:Progenitors? (Score 1) 686

by patniemeyer (#47269437) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

Exactly - and not only are we directing less power into space but our leakage is heavily compressed and frequency shared / hopped to the point where our communications look more and more like background noise... And this evolution in communication from "blast to space" to super low power, compressed, and know where to find it terrestrial sources has happened in the span of one or two generations... What do you think communications will look like in another 100 years? How much energy will be wasted to space and how much signal will stand out over the compression to even be noticed?

This - the power and compression factors - is what gives me hope that there is no paradox... We just need another way to look for life other than to expect it to blast us with radio waves.

Comment: re: "Helicopter parenting" (Score 1) 207

by patniemeyer (#47260923) Attached to: Century-Old Drug Reverses Signs of Autism In Mice

I had always misinterpreted the term "helicopter parenting" to mean the exact opposite of what it means: To me the thing that characterizes a helicopter is the fact that it can land and take off at arbitrary places... So I assumed that this mean a parent who drops in on their child (out of the blue) and then disappears... i.e. intermittent parenting. But apparently people think that helicopters can hover in one place for long periods of time and use it to mean the opposite - a parent who hangs around / hovers around their child too much. I have never gotten used to the term... It just strikes me as the wrong way to think about helicopters :)

Comment: Electric cars will always perform better... (Score 1) 659

by patniemeyer (#47012785) Attached to: Future of Cars: Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Or Electric?

Energy density doesn't matter... Once people experience what an electric car can be like they just won't want anything else. Instant torque, faster and better handling than anything else on the road, roomier, safer, basically maintenance free, always has a "full tank" when you leave the house, costs almost nothing to drive, single-foot driving with regen braking...

They'll get cheaper soon and they will be everywhere.

Comment: Fire fighting procedures and battery... (Score 1) 232

Actually the letter from Tesla said that, while the firefighters did follow their own standard procedure and ultimately got it under control, it would have been better in this case if they had not punctured the battery pack to inject water. The letter says these holes allowed the flames to enter the trunk area. The implication is that perhaps the fire would have remained confined to one section of the the (individually fire-walled) battery compartment or directed away from the car had it not been holes punched in the top.

Also, it's really interesting to read some of the patents that Tesla has on the battery technology. They include coating the individual battery cells in an "intumescent" material that expands and insulates the cells if they exceed a certain temperature. So the cells are effectively individually firewalled to try to limit the spread of heat through the compartments and redirect dangerous levels of heat to the metal casing.

Tesla put a lot of thought into this and from everything we know the car behaved exactly as it was designed.
 

Comment: Re:Five Star (Score 1) 627

by patniemeyer (#44623717) Attached to: NHTSA Gives the Model S Best Safety Rating of Any Car In History

Ok,

A) I never said it was reasonably priced. I said that for some people the gas savings would make it "more reasonably priced"... i.e. when compared another car that could conceivably be considered in the same class such as a mid-range BMW or Audi. Some people have long commutes and burn hundreds of dollars worth of gas a month... For those people the car is not *that* much of a premium over another other luxury car.

B) The car should have almost no maintenance... No trips to the gas station, no oil changes, no transmission fluid. Brakes pads may not need changing since you hardly ever hit the brakes (regen braking is a better way to drive). How much is that worth?

C) It's by a wide margin the safest car in the world right now... How much is that worth?

D) It's car that can hold seven passengers plus luggage and do 0-60 in 5.x seconds... How much is that worth?

E) It gets over the air software updates that make it better several times a year...

F) It's pretty and fun and a from a little bit in the future...

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