The Lowdown on Electric Cars

Discussion in 'Environment' started by PoliticalChic, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Concomitant to the many threads about global warming, is the possible requirements for amelioration of the ‘problem.’ One suggestion is the use of electric cars (EV’s). The following is from a fairly thorough review in ConsumerReports magazine, October 2010.

    1. The first of the new EV’s are the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf. The EV’s will allow driving moderate distances using no gasoline and producing no tailpipe emissions. These cars require basic changes in driving habits and often hefty household electrical work.
    a. EV’s will be released regionally and it could be years before they are available nationwide.

    2. The types of EV’s include:
    a. Dedicated EV’s: The Nissan Leaf is a pure battery electric car that runs solely on an electric motor and has no gasoline engine. On a full charge, expect up to 100 miles. Since dedicated EV’s need large batteries, it can take 8 hours or more to recharge, even with a heavy-duty 220 volt outlet, and much longer with regular household 110-volt outlet.
    b. Extended-range EV’s, as GM describes the Volt, the car runs only on its electric motor up to 40 miles. Then a small gasoline engine kicks in to provide enough additional electrical power to continue driving. This extends the Volt’s range to more than 300 miles. Having a smaller battery than a dedicated EV’s, Chevrolet estimates that the Volt can be charged in about 4 hours on a 220-volt outlet or about 10 hours on a standard 110.
    c. Plug-in hybrids are essentially conventional gas/electric power cars with a larger battery that allows them to operate on electric power more of the time, although they can’t go gas-free for long. We had our ’08 Toyota Prius converted to a plug-in, and found that the added battery power helped boost the mileage by more than 50%- but only for the first 35 miles. Then it reverted to hybrid, and fuel economy dropped below a standard Prius due to the extra battery weight. The cost of the conversion was over $11,000, outweighing any gas saving.

    3. How far will you drive? If you commute 20-30 miles each way, a dedicated EV would fit your needs; longer trips require careful planning. An extended EV is fine if you don’t mind using gasoline.
    a. A car’s electric range can vary significantly depending on how much load is put on the batteries: heating or cooling the cabin, running lights and wipers, listening to the stereo can consume half of the battery’s power, severely shortening driving range. This should be a major consideration for anyone who faces rush hour traffic.

    4. Will EV’s save you money? Depends on electric rates. Electricity costs an average of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour in the US. At about 3 miles per kWh, that’s about 4 cents a mile. If gas costs $2.80 a gallon, a car such as the Toyota Corolla, @30 mpg, would cost about 9 cents a mile. But electric rates vary widely.
    a. High rates can offset any savings. In Connecticut, @ 19 cents per kWh, the Volt may be no cheaper than the Corolla.
    b. While there are plans which reduce prices during off peak hours, California buyers need to be especially careful because the state’s Public Utility Commission has set caps on usage for the lowest rates, so an electric car may boost you to a higher rate.
    c. Special rates for electric cars require the installation of Smart meters.
    d. Utility companies will need to inspect electric lines and transformers in your area to make needed upgrades.
    e. Chevrolet Volt owners can download electric utility rates to the car, but require GM’s OnStar System.

    5. The Leaf starts as $33,600 and the Volt at $41,000, while the Toyota Prius hybrids range from $22,000 to $28,000.
    a. The federal government is offering a $7,500 tax credit. And California an additional $5000.
    b. An EV’s price reflects its expensive battery pack. “EV’s can do a reasonable range, but they can’t do it at a reasonable cost given today’s batteries,” says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car journal. The Volt’s batteries cost $8,000 or more and the Leaf’s about $18,000.
    c. No one knows how long those batteries will last: there is no track record by which to gauge them.

    6. Charging the EV’s. A standard 110-volt outlet might work for the Volt- but probably won’t work overnight for a dedicated EV.
    a. A heavy-duty 220-volt, 30- or 40-amp circuit, more practical, could cost up to $2000.
    b. You’ll need a charger: Both Leaf and Volt have an onboard 110-volt Level I charger. A Level II 220-volt for the Leaf is between $700-$1200, and a dealer will have to have an electrician inspect your home to give an estimate for installation.

    7. In California, the law demands that the largest manufacturers sell at least 12,500 plug-ins by 2014, and President Obama wants 1 million such cars on the road by 2015. [This would be 80 times that number.]

    Better get crackin’.
     
  2. johnrocks
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    johnrocks Silver Member

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    I think they could work for some, I'm a big guy that lives in a rural environment that needs a truck for comfort as well as hauling things besides my big ass,lol, so they just won't work for me but for those who ;like you stated; commute 20-30 miles or less and need it just for transportation, they seem like a decent alternative.
     
  3. edthecynic
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    edthecynic Censored for Cynicism

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    EVs can also be charged from home solar panels and wind generators. Thin film solar panels have brought the price down and Obama offers a 30% tax rebate for installing solar panels. Of course, if the CON$ take over Congress that will probably be one of the first things they will kill.
    Technology is dynamic, constantly changing, but CON$ervatism is static, stuck in the past.
     
  4. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    The issue is previous technological improvements resulted in less work being done for a given task. Cars replaced horses, replacing feed, stabling, excrement cleanup and veterinary care, which was more expensive than gas, and maintenance. Rerigerators replaced ice boxes, replacing the need to have ice delivered, as well as increasing storage size.

    The problem with current evironmental technological upgrades is they appear to create MORE work than the original item they are replacing. The benefit is not apparent, but some amorphous concept such as "saving the planet."

    It isnt the politics, its the fact you are asking people to do more, with increased technology and cost, than what they had before.
     
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  5. edthecynic
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    edthecynic Censored for Cynicism

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    Solar panels pay for themselves in a few years depending on the price of electricity in the area, and afterward provide a positive cash flow.
    Try again.
     
  6. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    FedTheSpinach has also been fed the other green stuff, i.e. green jobs, green solutions...

    And he bought it like it was on sale!

    1. Solar panels are used almost entirely to heat swimming pools,...

    2. Wind and solar solutions are minimal and intermittent at best, and come with their own problems, very much like FedTheSpinach.

    3. I wrote the OP, in part, so one can calculate the costs and problems associated with EV's, and to indicate the reasons why a) folks will not accept the concepts, and b) this administration is done for; also similar to the lifestory of FedTheSpinach!

    Based on US Department of Energy, sources of energy used in the US:
    39.2% petroleum, 23.3% natural gas, 22.4% coal, 8.3% nuclear, 3.6% biomass, 2.4% hydroelectric, 0.35% geothermal, 0.31% wind, 0.08% solar.

    Green math: solar panels to save 50% on your electric bills? Well, if the average electric bill is about $100/mos, the savings is $600/ year! But solar costs 30-40 K, so it takes about 58 years to start saving money. But…solar panels are projected to last 20-30 years. So, savings? Not so much.

    How about hybrid cars? About 15 yrs to payback. (19 yrs for the Volt.)


    And, the joke in the original article, is that the electricity needed for the EV's is generated by coal-fired plants. Save the environment???

    FedTheSpinach= comedy gold!
     
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  7. edthecynic
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    edthecynic Censored for Cynicism

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    PoliticalCheek=disinformatrion gold!

    This example is for the more expensive pre-thin film solar panels.

    New Jersey solar power and solar energy rebates, tax credits, and incentives. Cost breakdown for photovoltaic panels and solar water heaters

    EXAMPLE RESIDENTIAL SOLAR INSTALLATION
    So let’s give an example of an average 5kW (5000 watt DC) system, which takes care of 89% of your electricity needs of a $100/month bill. Also, let’s assume you’re a good green person and you do the energy audit as you should. As of this writing, you’re going to pay around $7/watt installed cost. What does that mean for this example?
    Cost Before Incentives: $35,000 (5000watts x $7/watt) (Don’t panic!)
    State Rebate: subtract $8,750
    SREC value: subtract $3400/year for 2009 (probably less as years go by)
    30% Federal tax credit: subtract $7875 (calculated after State rebate)
    Years to Payback: 8-9 years, depending on SREC value.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  8. PLYMCO_PILGRIM
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    PLYMCO_PILGRIM Gold Member

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  9. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    Edthepartisanhack speaks again.

    How long would it take to charge an EV like the Volt using a small rooftop solar panel, or a wind turbine? Simply stating something is possible does not make it practical.
     
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  10. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    When do the taxpayers get paid back for their investment, which is the only thing that allows your projected 10 year payback estimate to work?
     
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