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Old 03-10-2012, 09:04 AM   #1
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Battery/EV tech advances

The latest Car and Driver made fun of long-past electric car programs, passing the electric car off as a joke and a fantasy again. I can understand why it doesn't seem feasible right now with power supplies being as they are. Hopefully we'll continue to develop this technology for the future and not forgo it because oil cheapens up. Speaking of oil, I seriously doubt we'll ever see oil prices drop even if we were to drill everywhere in the US that has oil. Why? Big oil conspiracy? No. It's simply supply and demand in the global market. In 2011, the US exported more oil than it imported. Most of it went to South America. These emerging economies are willing to pay top dollar for our refined products, and there's no laws (nor should there be) to demand that oil companies sell us products at a lower price while selling it for more overseas. Subsidizing oil drilling and tax breaks will only increase their profits without any benefit to the people in the US. You'll never hear or read that, but if you know enough to explore you'll see I'm not touting a theory.

That being said, there have been some technological advancements in alternative energy and batteries that are worth noting. Here's an article: 25 E-power Breakthroughs in 2011

What I don't remember seeing was the organic electrode I read about which will allow high amp fast charging of EV batteries making the tech more feasible for common transportation. I think the laminated method of battery production developed by by MIT was mentioned. Hopefully this tech won't end up being bought by some US company and produced in China so they steal our tech as they have with other battery formats.

No, currently I don't see electric- either plug-in, hybrid or EV being cost effective over a 100k miles (initial cost + fuel@100k/ 100k) as compared to a cheaper gas vehicle at current fuel costs. Hopefully soon new tech will reduce the price of batteries to the point where it will equal or better fuel costs.


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Old 03-19-2012, 02:43 PM   #2
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Saw this thread a few days ago but didn't have the time to drop in and give my $0.02 worth.

I've actually been driving the all-electric Nissan LEAF as my primary car for the last 15 months. I was originally trying to wait for the Focus Electric, but Ford was being so stupid about their commitment over bringing it to market...never publicly releasing any firm information as to its future availability (and just this week I heard that it's pushed back again to September of this year), I just gave up and went with the Nissan instead.

For me it was more than simple economics...I had wanted an EV since the mid-1990s and GM's EV1, but the leases on all the limited availability vehicles of the time were pretty expensive for me as a young lad. Plus in recent years I've wanted to be insulated from energy inflation; wanted to stop sending money to the middle-east; didn't want our boys and girls fighting to secure oil; and wanted to do at least something on a personal level to help counter climate change (which I truly believe in).

So I had sort of promised myself (waiting for the Focus notwithstanding) that the next affordable electric vehicle from a major manufacturer; that I could buy, not lease (after what happened with the crushing of the EV1s); and that met my daily commuting needs (61 miles) without the need for refueling away from home, would be the vehicle I would purchase. The LEAF met all those criteria.

Ownership has been a pretty marvelous experience. The car is whisper quiet inside, and it's actually quite unnerving having to occasionally go back to the noise of an internal combustion engine, and it meets my commuting needs perfectly - I can do my 61 mile commute at full highway speeds and get home at the end of the day with anywhere from 25-30% charge remaining, giving me the flexibility to do a little bit of running around at lunchtime or on the way home. Then I plug in at night, much as I've been doing for years with my cell phone and laptop, and the car is ready to go again the next morning.

To further insulate myself from increased energy costs, and to counter argument from the anti-environmental "but you run your car on electricity from dirty coal" crowd, I installed a 6.2kW solar system on the house. This gives me enough "banked" electricity production to meet both household and car refueling needs.

Now, admittedly, all this was quite expensive, and I really could have gotten by just fine with the existing household Focus fleet, especially since prospects at work have been pretty dismal the past year (currently furloughed without pay 2 days a week). But the tax credits and incentives on both purchases made the idea more tolerable, even given the circumstances, and gas prices on the increase again this year means that it makes more financial sense than it did when I took delivery last January. All-in-all I have no regrets. I still do fancy that Focus though.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:03 PM   #3
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Eh, I'd wait. You already bit the financial bullet for it. Neither solar nor battery supplies are at the level of tech where they should be. We've had some big developments, and more are to come- provided our greedy manufacturers don't get set to make the new tech in China then go bankrupt due to excessive executive salaries and low initial cash flow.

That being said, financially, it's still not a viable option. Compare the cost of gasoline for a vehicle over 100k miles with a mileage respectable for a small economy car- say 28 mpg. Now add that to the initial cost of ownership. Compare that to a Leaf or Focus E. There's your problem. It's still more expensive over 100k miles to own the electric vehicle even if you don't take into account repairs for either vehicle- although you could add oil changes and estimate kwh. Still, I don't think it would be more economical.

Once it's at least equal, then we'll see people purchasing electric vehicles like mad. Right now, those incentives are just enough to encourage people with heartfelt interest in going for it.

BTW, Honeywell makes solar cells for the govt that have a 30% + conversion factor. Most solar cells are 13-17%. Where's that tech for the masses?
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:29 AM   #4
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But remember...I had reasons other than financial.

As for "tech for the masses", but speaking again to cost...my first cell phone cost $1600. My first PC was $2000 for a bare-bones configuration of the slowest available at the time. My first "portable" computer (if you can call a computer weighing 30lbs portable) was $4200. All three of those in 1980s dollars.

Tech becomes cheaper with increased adoption rates leading to economies of scale. It'll happen, and some day you'll be able to get an EV at a price comparable to it's ICE equivalent.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:09 PM   #5
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I noticed that-
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Right now those incentives are just enough to encourage people with heartfelt interest in going for it.
Believe me, when I build a home, I hope to do solar and geothermic. If I ever hot-rod a car, it will probably be electric. There are just too many neat things about an electric sports car- once the battery life and cost gets down. There's a guy in Cape Girardeau, MO who is currently building E-rods for people. Cheap lithium ion batteries from China make it nearly equal to ICE- at least the cost of fuel. Unfortunately, those batteries are only good for like 1500 cycles or so which means you'll be purchasing new batteries in 4 years. By that time, hopefully, better batteries would be on the market.
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:25 PM   #6
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my FFE and 110% solar home pay for them self right now. I installed a 4 Kw GRID Solar system in 2001 before incentives and it took 8 1/2 years to pay off, the next 50 years are free. I made the home more efficent and only use LED lights (CREE) USA made, have USA made solar panels and a USA made car.

I lease the FFE because they keep getting better and lower cost. I also bought Tesla stock while I wait for the 3rd gen TESLA C in 2015/16 200 mile range, free super charge for life nationwide. The stock already returned 4 times what I earn in a year in 1 year.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:19 AM   #7
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Saw this thread a few days ago but didn't have the time to drop in and give my $0.02 worth.

I've actually been driving the all-electric Nissan LEAF as my primary car for the last 15 months. I was originally trying to wait for the Focus Electric, but Ford was being so stupid about their commitment over bringing it to market...never publicly releasing any firm information as to its future availability (and just this week I heard that it's pushed back again to September of this year), I just gave up and went with the Nissan instead.

For me it was more than simple economics...I had wanted an EV since the mid-1990s and GM's EV1, but the leases on all the limited availability vehicles of the time were pretty expensive for me as a young lad. Plus in recent years I've wanted to be insulated from energy inflation; wanted to stop sending money to the middle-east; didn't want our boys and girls fighting to secure oil; and wanted to do at least something on a personal level to help counter climate change (which I truly believe in).

So I had sort of promised myself (waiting for the Focus notwithstanding) that the next affordable electric vehicle from a major manufacturer; that I could buy, not lease (after what happened with the crushing of the EV1s); and that met my daily commuting needs (61 miles) without the need for refueling away from home, would be the vehicle I would purchase. The LEAF met all those criteria.

Ownership has been a pretty marvelous experience. The car is whisper quiet inside, and it's actually quite unnerving having to occasionally go back to the noise of an internal combustion engine, and it meets my commuting needs perfectly - I can do my 61 mile commute at full highway speeds and get home at the end of the day with anywhere from 25-30% charge remaining, giving me the flexibility to do a little bit of running around at lunchtime or on the way home. Then I plug in at night, much as I've been doing for years with my cell phone and laptop, and the car is ready to go again the next morning.

To further insulate myself from increased energy costs, and to counter argument from the anti-environmental "but you run your car on electricity from dirty coal" crowd, I installed a 6.2kW solar panels on the house. This gives me enough "banked" electricity production to meet both household and car refueling needs.

Now, admittedly, all this was quite expensive, and I really could have gotten by just fine with the existing household Focus fleet, especially since prospects at work have been pretty dismal the past year (currently furloughed without pay 2 days a week). But the tax credits and incentives on both purchases made the idea more tolerable, even given the circumstances, and gas prices on the increase again this year means that it makes more financial sense than it did when I took delivery last January. All-in-all I have no regrets. I still do fancy that Focus though.
hello thanks for sharing your experience.. Can you tell about the cost of installation for 6.2KW solar system? I do have similar requirements so please help me..

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Old 10-26-2013, 09:19 AM   #8
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PV-EVs

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hello thanks for sharing your experience.. Can you tell about the cost of installation for 6.2KW solar system? I do have similar requirements so please help me..
In todays market you can lease a solar system for zero down and less than the power company a month! If you do like me and make your home more efficient you save even more. Many lest you buy the system after a few years for less that $1,000. So solar in a sunny location is a no brainer.

The same for electrics. You can lease one for less than gas costs. If you have extra state incentives like California and Georgia and many others have it's a super deal. No gas, no oil, no transmission or other junk.

Driving electric with solar pays off 3 -4 times faster, Even without solar Off Peak rates make it super low cost. Even normal electric rates it's about $1 in electric vs a gallon of gas at $3-4 or more. With a USA make electric like the LEAF, FOCUS or Tesla your also giving jobs to the USA!

If you don't go far like me an ELD from OrganicTransit.com is a blast to drive on it's own solar electric in the roof, only cost $4K and gets 1800 MPGe with zero gas. I love mine.
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:28 AM   #9
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The ELF? That's great if you don't mind only going 20 mph. I need highway speeds for my drive, even though its only 20 miles away. I'll take a used Leaf instead some day.
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