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Comment Re:Hundreds? (Score 1) 212

swapping an electric car battery isn't possible in reality? Thanks for enlightening the world with your clearly superior intellectual abilities.

If only these people were as smart as you...

I guess you hadn't heard - Better Place is basically done. It may have limited success for fleet applications (like taxis) where a 2 minute battery swap is critical, but for the mass market where no two cars are alike and neither are the battery packs, storing enough packs and the additional complexity of building and running a battery swap stations kill any chance of cost effectiveness.

For the price of one battery swap station, you could install a hundred quick charge stations.

Comment Re:Hundreds? (Score 1) 212

Or if you buy a Nissan Versa, the exact same car but with a gas engine...

The Versa and LEAF are nothing alike in terms of quality. While the LEAF is based on a highly modified version of the same chassis as the Versa, that's about it.

Basically the leaf will actually be worth owning after you have owned it for 13 years and have had ZERO maintenance costs.

You know, there are other reasons besides purely financial ones to buy an electric car...

Comment Re:Great Opportunity (Score 1) 212

How about co-locating car charging stations at solar power farms, and skipping the DC-AC conversion equipment. It is a win-win.

It's not that simple. Tesla will be installing their own DC quick charge stations with solar PV carports, but the solar will be grid tied and completely independent from the Superchargers (what Tesla is calling their DC quick charger).

Solar PV inverters are around 95% efficient at converting DC to AC - a well designed AC to DC converter is about the same which means you do lose about 10% in the conversion process. But then it means that any time the PV system is generating more than is being used to charge cars, the energy goes straight to the grid without having to worry about regulating energy flow from the array and to the grid as necessary.

Comment Re:Incorporates previous designs (Score 1) 212

The grandparent is right. These J1772 DC plugs will not be useful on a car which only implements J1772 AC charging. This new big bulky plug is only good for high speed DC quick charging. The standard J1772 plug is good for 120-240VAC and up to 80A charging.

The primarily reason for this abomination of a plug is the reduced foot print so that 2 completely separate sockets (see Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi iMiEV) are required.

Comment Re:Wealthy people (Score 3, Insightful) 461

I want tax cuts because it means I can keep more I my own money and re-invest it into my business.

BS and one of the most widely told lies by conservatives.

Taxes encourage you to immediately spend more of your money on your business. If you put all your profit back into the business by hiring employees and building stuff - you turn your profits into a bigger business without paying much in taxes.

For example: Let's say your current small business makes $1M / year in profit. Normally everything above $388k or so would be taxed at 35%. Let's simplify and say it's a flat tax and you pay $350k in taxes. Now let's say you hire 20 employees instead at $50k / year which eliminates your profit. Now you've got 20 more employees to grow your business and you're not paying any income taxes. Problem solved. w00t!

Comment Re:Captain Obvious (Score 1) 341

And then there's the fact that the people who can afford a new electric vehicle are already driving newer, well-maintained, low-pollution vehicles anyway. The old, unmaintained, clunkers, driven by people who can't just run to the dealership and buy a new car on a whim, will continue to be driven and continue to pollute for a long time to come.

You're contradicting yourself here. By having the wealthy go out and buy clean very-low pollution vehicles, they end up selling their well-maintained low- pollution vehicle to the less wealthy person. In the end - a dirty clunker will end up off the road (or at least driven less).

Add in the severe range limitations of electric vehicles, and the lack of progress on addressing that issue, and I think 10 years is FAR too short of a time frame to bet on electric vehicles becoming mainstream. Plug-in hybrids? Maybe. Pure electric? Zero chance.

I own an EV and I agree that EVs will continue to remain a small part of the market for the next 10 years, but I guess one has to know what your definition of "mainstream" is. PHEVs will definitely sell in higher numbers for the time-being - people simply aren't used to limited range and quick-charge infrastructure is still very limited. I do think that once the mainstream EVs get up over 100 mi real-world freeway range it will eliminate a lot of the range anxiety for the vast majority of daily driving and sales will increase significantly.

As for the the lack of progress on addressing range? I'd argue that there is definite progress being made. The Tesla Model S is being delivered today with a real-world range of well over 200 miles - comparable to many gas cars (yes, many gas cars can also go 400-500 mi/tank).

Another example of progress? The PHEV Volt has improved EV range from 35-38 miles since it's introduction - a small increase perhaps, but 8% is definitely evidence of progress.

If you want a practical, low-pollution alternative, the best bet would be a plug-in hybrid that burns propane in the internal combustion engine. Much cleaner than gasoline/diesel, and I can swap an empty 20# propane tank for a full one in any populated area nationwide.

Not a bad idea, but still 20 lbs of propane is the energy equivalent of about 3.4 gallons of gasoline. I guess if you could build a propane ICE as efficient as a Prius (50 mpg) that would be sufficient, that'd be OK if your goal is longer range transportation.

Certainly as a range extender for a mainstream EV it'd be sufficient for the vast majority of use. For longer trips just go rent a hybrid.

Comment Re:I have the solution.... (Score 1) 341

While your post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, a recent California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Owner Survey showed that almost 40% of plug-in vehicle owners have solar panels installed on their home.

1 kW of PV will generate around 1,200-1,700 kWh / month in California. The EPA rates the LEAF at about 3 mi/kWh (34 kWh / 100 mi). So 1 kW of PV is good for 3,600-5,100 mi/year. A 5 kW system would be good for 18,000-25,500 mi/year or far more than your typical driver.

Personally, I am averaging about 3.6 mi/kWh (as measured by dedicated utility meter and odometer) in my LEAF after a year and in my area 1 kW of PV generates about 1,500 kWh/year, so assuming I drive 12,000 mi/year, I would need a bit more than 2 kW of PV to offset my driving. But I actually have a bit more than 3 kW of PV and am driving my LEAF about 9,000 mi/year, so the balance goes towards offsetting the rest of my household electricity usage.

Comment Re:Captain Obvious (Score 1) 341

The Chevy Volt is completely electric under 60 mph. Even when the battery runs out, it's still 'electric' via the gas generator. It runs on electricity. How it gets that electricity is up to you.

Technically, as long as the battery has sufficient charge and is not extremely cold, it is 100% electric from a stop all the way to it's top speed. The engine never turns on.

When the engine does fire up (because the battery runs low or when it's extremely cold) it does have the capability to direct some of the power from the engine directly to the wheels through the transmission - somewhat similar to what a Prius does nearly all the time.

Comment Re:So wrong (Score 1) 1651

Maybe I should have pointed the finger more at the existance (or lack thereof) of the "decent bike shop" you describe.

Sounds like you're going to the wrong bike shops. For sure there are high-end shops which cater exactly to the clientele you describe. But at least around here (California) the majority of the bike shops I've frequented (everything from your small 2-3 employee shop up to your big chain store) have a range of bikes starting with your kiddie bikes, beach cruisers, BMX bikes, inexpensive mountain/hybrid bikes all the way up to your $5,000 road/mountain racing bikes. And the employees are more than happy to sell you whatever you want or need.

If you don't have shops like that in your area - sounds like there's a business opportunity ripe for the picking.

Comment Re:So wrong (Score 1) 1651

These box stores sell what customers want. The problem with cycling for most of us is that RACERS KILLED IT:

I'm not sure what you're talking about. Walk into any half-way decent local bike shop, tell them what you want, and they will sell you exactly that.

If you tell them you want a bike that meets your criteria ($500, sturdy wheels, regular pedals and a comfy seat) and they should have at least a 3-5 different models to sell you.

They should immediately point you to a hybrid - a bike with low rolling resistance tires (about twice as wide as a "racing" bike but same diameter) with an upright seating position similar to a mountain bike that is easy to ride, fairly light and maneuverable.

Alternatively, one can also simply fit a mountain bike with narrower, slicker street style tires instead of knobby tires. Makes a huge difference in how fast you can ride with the same effort.

Comment Do the Math (Score 1) 345

Tom Murphy, a physics professor at UC San Diego has a great blog called Do the Math that covers this specific topic (viability of wind power on a massive scale along with other sustainable energy sources) using reasonable estimates on each resource potential.

tl;dr;

While wind is a significant resource, it's not useful everywhere - solar energy has a lot more potential to be used everywhere. Which makes sense since in the end - wind power is derived from solar power. But wind has other advantages (primarily cost right now) which means that we should deploy it wherever it makes sense.

Comment Re:Meanwhile the Volt isn't selling... (Score 1) 1184

The Volt is selling just fine. There's a real reason why the Hammtrack plant is closing for a month and it has nothing to do with the Volt.

Chevrolet Volt Assembly Plant In Hamtramck Idled A Month. But Not Why You Are Thinking

Most people are projecting the Volt to have it's best sales month ever for August. It's doing quite well for a 1st gen plug-in. I expect the 2nd generation to address a lot of the shortcomings of the current Volt (primarily a bit tight on space in the rear seats and fuel economy could be better when the gas engine does run).

Comment Re:it's an arms race (Score 1) 1184

I put my wife and baby in an SUV because, if I have to play those odds, I want them stacked in MY family's favor. Call me selfish. I don't care. That's survival instinct. Put your family in a Smart Fortwo if you wish. Not me.

What's great is that you put your family in a vehicle that you perceive as more safe when you could have just as easily put them in a Fusion instead of an Escape and gotten a vehicle with better safety ratings, better fuel economy, similar interior room and a vehicle which presents much less of a risk to other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists on the road.

But hey - at least it looks tough.

Comment Re:Hawii (Score 1) 252

I don't know about 15%, but I can certainly understand wanting to be cautious - their electricity might be mostly oil, but that doesn't mean those generators can scale up/down on a dime - more than x% might cause problems with the grid.

The biggest issues with integrating PV onto the grid come from large PV plants (MW size) where a single large cloud can cut output of the plant in half in minutes. The other issue can come from how quickly PV plants ramp up and down on clear days - though at the very least this is easily predictable so is more easliy worked around.

The former issue has a couple of solutions - one - don't build huge PV plants - install smaller systems on rooftops where being geographically diverse prevents single clouds from significantly affecting total output. The other is to integrate some amount of grid storage that can reduce the maximum potential ramp-rate to something that the grid can handle.

Hawaii has already done a good amount of R&D into these issues. Some of the results can be found at the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.

The Lanai battery project is a good example.

Comment Re:Hawii (Score 2) 252

I just ran across an article discussing this very issue. It turns out that the price of solar in Hawaii is already financially viable without any extra incentives, and with incentives many areas are hitting the current maximum of 15% solar per interconnection.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2012/08/hawaii-drives-past-solar-power-cost-barrier-surprised-by-additional-roadblocks

That post and the associated report covers the issues of increasing solar in Hawaii better than I can.

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