Jump to content

Anybody interested in electrically powered transportation


Recommended Posts

I am curious if any of our members own, or are interested in electric vehicles. I am generally talking about battery electric vehicles, not hybrids. Personally I own a Tesla model S that I really enjoy driving.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've haven't owned a car for about a decade now. But when the day comes again that one would greatly add value to my life, I would like to buy a Tesla. I like everything that Musk stands for, and I like his vision of the future. I'd like to support it in a way that I can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does an electric gokart count?
Not quite what I had in mind, but it could qualify given the way I worded the question.



For those looking for more information, try the following links:

Disclaimer: other than owning a Tesla model S, I have no association with any of these websites.

official Tesla website

a forum site about Tesla products and misc

news blog about Tesla & SpaceX

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ONLY if you can charge the batteries on the Tesla using solar energy. Here's the problem I have with electric cars. How is the majority of electricity generated in the U.S.? Coal or natural gas. So, we combust the the chemical energy tied up in the coal or natural gas to heat water to steam (chemical energy to heat energy). The steam it turn, turns a turbine (heat energy to mechanical energy). The turbine turns a generator (mechanical energy to electrical energy). Now the electricity has to be transferred along power lines that lose power, so "extra" electricity has to be added, if you will, to the power lines. The electricity now must be stored in batteries (which aren't that wonderful). The electricity from the batteries then goes to power electric motors to make mechanical energy once again. I think there were about five energy transformations. There is energy loss at every transformation. There is an extreme energy loss in electrical transfer (power lines) as well as not extremely efficient energy storage in the batteries of electric cars. The other thing is, a term has been coined called "environmental discrimination". Where are power plants? I'll give you a hint. NOT in Beverly HIlls. If everyone drove an electric car, power plants would be going even more than they are now (and we get notices from PG&E to cut back on our use on hot days already).


In my mind it is actually more efficient to use gas or diesel-powered vehicles as the chemical energy (fuel) is directly converted to mechanical energy (piston movement). Are there emissions at the point of use? Yes. But with electric cars even though there are note emissions at the point of use, there are emissions at generating plants which, if we all had electric cars, would be far greater than what we experience today.


My $0.02.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



You raise points commonly heard, except there are a couple of holes in those arguments.


First, battery electric vehicles CAN be recharged from solar power. Tesla has several solar powered superchargers in your state already. I think if the Tesla & Solar City merger happens installations of solar with battery storage (Tesla Powerwall) will become common. Also there are already large solar and wind farms providing a significant amount of electricity. Near where I live there is a massive wind farm (partially visible from my house) that combined with 2 other wind farms in my state generate well over 20% of the power consumed in my state.


Second, while fossil fueled vehicles are currently easier to re-energize, you are ignoring both the cost savings of electricity over fossil fuels for vehicles and the pollution the fuel burning vehicles produce that is contributing to rapidly accelerating climate change.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Duly noted. I did qualify my response to address solar power. I think that would be great. I didn't know Tesla and Solar City were thinking merger. Not sure I like that, but oh well.


For me, the jury is still out on wind power. There are troubles with the speed of the rotors and so forth. I saw a European design that was much different and VERY good. Also birds seem to be getting, uh, caught in some wind turbines.


Well if 20% of the power in your state comes from wind or solar, where is the other 80% coming from? Likely fossil fuels. So let's project to everyone having electric cars. Could enough electricity be generated using solar panels and/or wind? I'd say, unfortunately not. But I haven't done the math.


I'm sticking to my bicycle. (smiley face)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I agree there are a few issues with the horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) commonly seen. One being maintenance, and another being bird strikes. Personally, I favor VAWTs (vertical axis wind turbines). One type I think has a lot of potential is by Rooftop Wind Power, LLC.


The hoped for synergies from the Tesla & Solar City merger is in part that Tesla's energy division will be producing battery packs for residential use that make solar a more reasonable investment.


While I do not have evidence to verify this, I have heard that some coal fired power plants are basically shut down due to their not being needed.


If residential solar and wind installations become more common (like in Germany) almost all of the electricity used could be generated from renewable non-polluting sources.


I agree that where feasible, your bicycle is the best transportation option.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where I live AND the orientation of our house, it would be IDEAL for solar panels. The house is oriented east-west, so the south facing roof (which is a single plane, therefore even more IDEAL for solar panels). The thing is, I can't afford them right now. Plus when I told an engineering prof who teaches a class in which there is a "solar panel lab" that I wanted to get solar panels for my house. He paused and said: "You might wait awhile."


I don't disagree that technology is getting better, but batteries are still full of icky stuff (you like my sophisticated lingo?). Seriously though, I worry about the toxic materials in batteries. Can the materials be recycled? If not, how is it disposed? Like the guy who does my machine work says: "It's one thing if there are 20,000 electric cars in California, but what if there are 200,000 electric cars in California. Can we put enough solar panels on houses to recharge cars? Again, I have no data.


I recently spoke with a mechanic who said the future of electric cars is not batteries, but capacitors. Because capacitors can take up charge, and discharge, it may be the way to go.


I'm still into internal combustion. Sorry man. I especially LOVE two-stroke engines which are the WORST polluters. But when we look at the contribution of motorcycles to air pollution, they represent less than 2%, so frankly riding a two-stroke motorcycle (or not) isn't going to make a difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You raise extremely relevant points about the cost of currently available solar panels and their efficiency at converting photons to electricity. Some solar installers will finance the costs of a solar system and some banks might provide a home improvement loan for solar. So there are options in some circumstances.


While I too am not a battery expert, I do know most battery types can be recycled. Unfortunately many batteries are not recycled which does create an environmental hazard. I have heard that Tesla's battery Gigafactory in Nevada when completed will be able to recycle as well as produce lithium ion batteries.


As to recharging large numbers of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) from renewable sources, that is a simple matter of scale. If solar and wind power were more commonly installed along with battery storage, it should be possible to power a very large fleet of BEVs.


While residential solar is great, I think residential wind power will also be needed. In many parts of the country the sun is not always shining and also the wind is not always blowing - but usually one of those sources is available. So I think combining solar, and wind generation with battery storage can create a situation where fossil fueled and nuclear generation is no longer needed.


As to super capacitors for electricity storage, there is potential there but the technology has a long way to go before they are reliable enough for large deployment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RE: Norway. WOW!!


One thing that might happen from that is people will buy up fuel-powered cars and hold them. The other outfall might be that folks will go out of the country to get fuel-powered cars. Of course, if there are fewer and fewer gas (or diesel) stations it will be difficult to fuel the vehicle.


Standard Oil (Chevron) would NEVER let that happen in the U.S. Yeah, I'm pretty jaded when it comes to who actually dictates policy here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm adding to my "internal combustion" comment. When riding a motorcycle, there is just something invigorating about the exhaust note of a motorcycle. It's truly almost like fur. It's hypnotic, sexy and distinctive the list goes on and on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
I think I'll get a 72 Ford pick up or a 65 Ford Falcon or a 55 Chevy. No hacking there!

At least no "remote" hacking.

However in the truest sense of the word hacking, they are still modifiable by anyone who has access to the vehicle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I own a KIA Soul EV. Here in Norway electrical vehicles (EVs) are all the rage now. Practically no road tax, you can drive in the bus lane and there´s no vehicle tax when you buy them, so you get a brand new car for the fraction of the price of a fossil fuel car. There are major economic incentives for buying EVs as well as the environmental argument. The main drawback is the distance you get out of EVs. (Teslas don´t quite count as a normal EV)


They are rapidly expanding the charge station network at the moment, so hopefully distance won´t be an issue in the near future. We can´t rely solely on our KIA, though, so we have an ordinary station wagon for longer family trips with the kid and the dog

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I wonder what you mean by "Teslas don´t quite count as a normal EV" If you are talking about price, yes the Tesla models S & X are rather expensive. When the Tesla model 3 enters the market in late 2017, that will change and there should at that time be several EV models available at relatively reasonable prices.


If you are referring to range on a charge, than yea, the Teslas with a 90 - 100 KWh battery pack do provide a much longer range of approximately 300 miles (482km) compared to the KIA Soul at about 93 miles (150km).


Availability of charging stations for EVs, as you mentioned, is currently the main limitation slowing the adaption of EVs. Here in the US it is slowly improving, but it will be some time before EV charging locations will be as common as petrol stations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, AKcoyote. I was mainly referring to range, which come at a price. It would perhaps be better to say that Teslas play in a league of their own, while Souls, Leafs, e-golfs, Zoes etc. play in a league beneath. If I drive carefully, I can squeeze about 110 miles out of my Soul, which is plenty for everyday use, especially now that there's a charging station at my job which is about 25 miles away from my home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i have no problem with EV cars and trucks how ever..

I would need it to drive of range of 400miles plus handle a high powered ham radio as well

via with a solar panel as well.

all I know is that the batteries that are in half electric/half gas are super uber expensive to replace right now

at this current time..

I suppose there would have to be a power converter to handle 70amps to 100amps at 12volts

with an alternator or something


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I like the idea of electric cars but I am also concerned that all they are really doing is concentrating pollution and fuel waste to the areas where electric generation plants and car factories are located. Plus, as Furless said, it's very inefficient. According to the figures that I remember from reading, only ten percent of the energy actually makes it to driving the wheels that push the car. The other ninety percent is wasted.


I think electric cars are good but, if you think for a second, all the people who live near factories and power plants will have to live with even more pollution because, instead of being distributed evenly at the point of use, (individual cars) it will be transferred back to the power plants that generate electricity and the factories that build the cars.


Electric cars don't necessarily mean that there will be less pollution. They only move the pollution around so that the more privileged people who can afford them won't see it but at the expense of the less privileged people who are forced to live near the industrial areas.


Don't get me wrong. I like electric cars. I just don't think that they are the solution to our energy and pollution problems that some people claim that they are. They can be PART of the solution but not the whole solution. Electric cars help us answer the question of pollution at the point of use but they don't address the question of pollution on the supply side of the equation.


How are we going to generate the energy we need without causing so much pollution?


As far as I am concerned, wind, solar and ocean power aren't going to do it. The money and efforts that governments are expending toward research and development of soar and wind power are largely wasted.


No matter how you slice it, solar power won't solve our energy problems because the sun doesn't shine at night. Neither does the wind blow all of the time.

We can't depend on solar or wind energy to supply our needs. Maybe they can be part to our energy solution but, in my opinion, no greater than 25% to 30%.


Where are we going to get the other 70% of our energy unless we burn fossil fuels? Zero-Point Energy? That is, at best, pseudoscience. Science fiction.


There is only one source of energy that I know of that can supply the amounts of power that we need. Atomic energy.


Ever since the days of The Manhattan Project during WW-II, we have done only two things with atomic energy: Make steam and blow things up.


If we use an atomic reaction to create heat and boil water to make steam which powers electric turbines, we put ourselves back in our original position where 90% of the energy is wasted. I also don't see how an atomic explosion can generate useful energy!


If, after WW-II, our government had continued an atomic energy program on the scale of the Manhattan Project but, instead of trying to blow things up with atomic bombs, they concentrated on developing a way to produce safe and useful energy, we would not be in the predicament we are in, today.


Imagine if, instead of having electric power plants, there could be some kind of device, about the size of a refrigerator, in the basement of every home which could supply all of the heat and electricity that a family needs. Maybe factories could have generators the size of a railroad locomotive. Taken to its conclusion, maybe there could even be some device, the size of a suitcase, that could power our cars?


I don't know if these things could be true but neither does anybody else.

We don't know because, the only thing we have ever done with atomic energy is blow up Japan. STUPID!!!


If we had taken all that money we wasted and spent it on research to develop a safe and useful source of atomic energy, the world would be a different place!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.... I would need it to drive of range of 400miles plus handle a high powered ham radio as well ...
You have a good point. Range anxiety is an issue for those who need a vehicle that can go over 350 miles between "re-fueling" stops. However there are a large number of people whose daily driving requirements are met with a vehicle that has a range of 150 miles or less before requiring recharging.


I am also concerned that all they are really doing is concentrating pollution and fuel waste to the areas where electric generation plants and car factories are located.
A valid concern, but electric vehicles can be recharged from a home solar or wind setup. Where I live wind power generation on a large scale is becoming quite common. While I cannot currently cite any proof, I have heard that several midwest coal fired power plants are almost totally idle due to the large amount of power generated by wind farms.


I am not sure where you got the info that electric vehicles are inefficient, but that is totally contrary to what I have seen. Yes there is some loss in recharging (about 5-8% I believe), but my operating cost with charging from the grid is running at approximately $0.066 per mile.


There is only one source of energy that I know of that can supply the amounts of power that we need. Atomic energy.
I will take exception to that claim. Atomic energy is, as you stated, inefficient at producing electricity, AND creates massive amounts of highly radioactive waste that we have NO plans for recycling or proper disposal. Atomic energy in its current form is INSANE and creating massive hazards for the future.


Renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, etc) can generate all the energy we need. The only factor that has not been properly addressed is energy storage to even out the spikes and dips between generation and load. There are currently areas of Germany where solar power (mostly residential) is providing ALL the energy they need.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...