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Old 01-23-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
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Are electric cars practical enough yet?

Ok, I read an article that got me thinking. Let's not get political here please. Let's look at this from a technological and practical point of view. Good or bad, electric cars exist. That said, here's some things I just happen to randomly be thinking about tonight.

1. How long will the average electric car batteries last and how expensive are they to replace?
2. How long will it take for the batteries to go bad by sitting too long? Will they corrode easily and damage everything around them?
3. What are the long term maintenance costs for the average electric vehicle?
4. Will manufacturers be able to make these cars last as long as gasoline powered cars with the same or less amount of maintenance costs?
5. Will there have to be special landfills to accommodate upwards of 1,000 lbs of batteries per car? If so, how will the acid/chemicals be contained? Aren't regular car batteries now just sitting in junkyards? I know they are here in Delaware. Now multiply the total pounds of batteries by 20 per car.
6. How will the environment be impacted by millions of pounds of battery acid seeping into the ground and into the atmosphere?
7. How the hell would we be able to charge our cars with the current grid set up if even 20% of our country's vehicles were electric?

Maybe I'm over-thinking this. Maybe some of these questions have been answered. Maybe they will cost less. Who knows. But I'm not convinced yet that we have the technology and capacity to cheaply and effectively produce/power electric cars that will last. And I'm not convinced that we are prepared to deal with the batteries if and when they don't.

Any thoughts?


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Old 01-23-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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I can answer some.
Batteries are recyclable. Lead acid batteries are easy 100% recyclable.
I think there are many challenges still but we aren't going to make those breakthroughs if we don't build electric car in the meantime.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenorm View Post
I can answer some.
Batteries are recyclable. Lead acid batteries are easy 100% recyclable.
I think there are many challenges still but we aren't going to make those breakthroughs if we don't build electric car in the meantime.
A lot of batteries are Lithium Polymer and other compounds. The weight is much lighter than lead batteries. I guess GM had three Volts catch fire weeks and months after the accident.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onlyford4me View Post
1. How long will the average electric car batteries last and how expensive are they to replace?
2. How long will it take for the batteries to go bad by sitting too long? Will they corrode easily and damage everything around them?
3. What are the long term maintenance costs for the average electric vehicle?
4. Will manufacturers be able to make these cars last as long as gasoline powered cars with the same or less amount of maintenance costs?
5. Will there have to be special landfills to accommodate upwards of 1,000 lbs of batteries per car? If so, how will the acid/chemicals be contained? Aren't regular car batteries now just sitting in junkyards? I know they are here in Delaware. Now multiply the total pounds of batteries by 20 per car.
6. How will the environment be impacted by millions of pounds of battery acid seeping into the ground and into the atmosphere?
7. How the hell would we be able to charge our cars with the current grid set up if even 20% of our country's vehicles were electric?

Any thoughts?
Not a pure electric, but tests on the Prius have shown the life of the batteries to be very good. Replacement cost is a little over $2000.00 according to this article.
http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?se...ips&id=7887752

I personally think electrics are for environmentalists right now, but applaud their development for future options. The market is for people whose driving range is exceedingly predictable and limited.

I have a co-worker with a Volt. He charges his car at work with an extension cord back by the loading dock so he doesn't have to use any gas during the week. A little too much hassle for me considering the initial cost of the Volt is 40,000.00 - 7,500.00 (gov't subsidy) = 32,500. At that price difference, you're not going to save money compared to a 20,000.00 focus that gets a combined 31mpg.


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A lot of batteries are Lithium Polymer and other compounds. The weight is much lighter than lead batteries. I guess GM had three Volts catch fire weeks and months after the accident.
From what I heard, the fires were caused by an electrical short created by leaking battery coolant. The main complaint against GM, other then the car catching fire, is that GM wasn't sharing the critical information about how to disconnect the battery properly after an accident. I haven't researched this stuff, just what I heard from media sound bites.

Moral of the story...disconnect the batteries after an accident.
.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
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no and no you can only go so far before recharge and if warranty runs out to replace batteries would cost more than cars worth
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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I'm not worried about battery fires in an accident but I don't believe that an electric car is winter worthy. So I'd have to have a 2nd vehicle for winter. Not ideal. But I'm waiting (could be a LONG wait) to be proven wrong.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:46 PM   #7
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Let us not forget electric cars ruled until the advent of the self-starter. So what we are trying to do is bring 1900's technology up to date for disposal, cost, etc. The batteries need to be easy to disconnect after an accident; there should be an industry standard for this so the emergency response workers need only learn one system. I think the electric drive, with a small gasoline or diesel powered generator to extend the range is the most practical approach. A potential downside is the capacity of the local electric grid; if everyone gets home at 6 pm, plugs in the car, turns on the stove/oven for dinner and throws a load of laundry in the washer, some systems can't handle that. The chargers need to be clock controlled to start at 11 pm or midnight and capable of being done in 6 hours or so.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pasta View Post
no and no you can only go so far before recharge and if warranty runs out to replace batteries would cost more than cars worth
That is based on what? If one is generalizing, you could pretty much say the same thing about a gasoline engine replacement cost vs vehicle value too. Like most new technology (plasma screens, ipods, cell phones etc) costs should continue to go down as more are sold. At this point the E-Focus is right at the top of our list as soon as our Fusion is paid off.
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