Dreaming Of An Electric Car

I drove my 1998 SUV from Baltimore to Fort Collins in less than 36 hours door to door. The vehicle cost me $2,000 on Craigslist three years ago, and I spent about $200 on gas travelling cross country..

If I had a $30,000-$60,000 electric car, the trip would have taken between a week and a month, I would have spent thousands of dollars on motels, and I would have saved a few bucks in fuel costs.

The government tells us that electric cars are a great idea.

About stevengoddard

Just having fun
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41 Responses to Dreaming Of An Electric Car

  1. omanuel says:

    I don’t understand your arithmetic but I agree that electric cars are not the answer.

    • Drive between 40 and 250 miles, recharge overnight.

      • darrylb says:

        It depends on the source of energy for the electric cars.
        Before I retired we were studying the idea of using the energy from braking to
        charge electric motors
        The concept of the fact that every time brakes are used on a car, unless that energy is used, the driver is wasting energy that has already been delivered to the engine from the combustion of octane and other liquids.
        Much money can be saved from accelerating and braking less.
        The hybrid I drive does not have electrical storage units (batteries) which store electrical energy from the 120 volt/ 60 cps we normally use.
        But two electrical batteries and two electrical engines engage whenever there is not need from the combustion engine.
        So, when we begin in the morning, only the electric engines engage, which makes for a quiet start.
        Also, because energy from braking is received more in city driving, we actually get better mileage (using the internal combustion engine) when driving in the city. Over 45 MPG over all, and over 50mpg in the city. I really was not ready to accept that fact until I experienced it.
        I still did not believe it at first. but observations should be accepted over hypothesis. (Of course this is not true with respect to anthropogenic climate change)

        Charging batteries over night is a completely different matter. Also, they are still generally the same old lead-acid batteries which in and of themselves are very heavy.

        I would be very surprised if everyone who writes here in any manner doesn’t fully believe in being as efficient as possible.

        • Michael 2 says:

          Hybrid and electric vehicles use Lithium batteries which are dramatically lighter in weight and store more “amp hours” per volume. Lithium is very expensive and is mined in only one very unpleasant place on Earth in South America. It also cannot be exposed to air, water or anything else with oxygen in it.

          I drove a Ford hybrid sedan in Minnesota; 600 miles on 15 gallons of gasoline. It was no slouch on performance; entering a freeway uses both the gasoline engine and the electric motors together for amazing acceleration.

      • Stewart Pid says:

        Michael2 … most Toyota hybrids use a Nimh battery. The plus in Prius is the only lithium battery version if I remember correctly and I just read that they stopped making the plug in Prius’s but I don’t trust the source and actually don’t believe that but they aren’t selling … $2 gasoline and plug in electrics have no buyers … who’d a thunk it.

  2. Steve Case says:

    I’d love a small electric with about a fifty mile range for local trips. But I wouldn’t try a cross country in one.

    They want too much from electrics which is driving up the cost.

    • darrylb says:

      Steve, now you can get a car-motorcycle hybrid which gets great mileage.
      I thought about getting a three wheeler, but with the driver enclosed.

      So what, if I would look the fool.

  3. Climatism says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Evil coal or Fukushima stuff powers the electric car anyway ….

  4. Okie says:

    I have no argument with electric cars per se, but I oppose government subsidies of any kind, since they interfere with the market forces which will ultimately produce the better product.

  5. rah says:

    What I totally disagree with is providing preferential treatment for those who drive them. For example at the Gettysburg Visitor Center and Museum there is a row in parking lot 1 for electric and hybrids. The only row closer is for handicapped.
    I noticed that on I-24 the HOV lanes are reserved for multiple passenger motorcars, Motorcycles, and “Certain Hybrid Vehicles”. http://tennessee.gov/revenue/forms/titlereg/f1320401Fill-in.pdf

    Now THAT is total bull shit!

    • rah says:

      I-24 in TN that is.

    • Doug says:

      My city implemented the hybrid parking thing. So for about $10 on eBay, I converted my Hemi powered Dodge Ram into a hybrid.

    • darrylb says:

      rah, as I mentioned above, I have a hybrid (not one that needs charging from an outside source)
      I completely agree with you having a hybrid should in no way deserve beneficial treatment.
      But I must disagree with you in one respect. It is not totally bullshit, it is more like complete politically grounded in ignorance bull shit! The kind that has the most distinctive odor!

  6. Douglas Hoyt says:

    Solo: Life with an Electric Car by Noel Perrin is worth reading.
    See http://www.amazon.com/Solo-Life-Electric-Noel-Perrin/dp/0393335194/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432390983&sr=1-2&keywords=life+with+an+electric+car

    The book was published in the early 1990s. What I remember best about the book is that he bought in California and was going to drive it to Vermont. The problem was that his car could not make it over Donner Pass. It had to be towed over and it was brand new at the time.

  7. dmacleo says:

    have yet to see any electric post range figures after being in -20 deg f weather and having to defrost windows/remove snow like here in maine.

  8. SMS says:

    And the latest on the Prius hybrid is that thieves are targeting it’s batteries. Replacement costs are ranging as high as $7000. This too is going to play hell on the economics when Prius owners get their insurance premiums jacked up.

  9. Gotta love paradoxes!

    I know “government” loves them, especially when it means more taxes for it (or them).

  10. Chris Barron says:

    Way back at the turn of the last century, electric cars outsold all other cars for a number of years. They were capable of ranges of between 20-50 miles before recharging was required.

    In the US a large network of battery change stations was set up and people who were lucky enough were able to drive huge distances with only a short break for a change…..considering the road speeds were low by today’s standards and the ride was terrible the breaks were welcome.

    The idea of battery changing was reignited by Shai Agassi who dreamed to open a network of electric battery change stations in Israel

    Project Better Place, as it was called, finally crashed recently due to cashflow issues.

    I don’t have anything against electric cars, i feel the issue is not that they’re powered by electricity (and the accompanying fun factor benefits of no gear changes and huge torque from 0mph) the problem seems to be that the battery evolution is slow.

    Having said that there is a lot of hope for exotic cells like the lithium air battery. In a gasoline car the air is taken from the environment….but in a battery the oxygen has to be stored in with everything else. Air batteries are the next evolutionary step, because they can use the environmental air as the oxygen source, which makes them smaller and more energy dense than anything which has gone before, the hope is that a pack of the size of an average gas tank will provide a range of 600 miles per charge, and fast charging is possible.

    Flow cell technologies are evolving more quickly than they used to but you have to carry tanks full of liquids around with you….

    Here’s the current comparisons

    More on lithium-air
    http://insideevs.com/lithium-air-is-coming-but-when/

    The market for a ‘magic’ battery technology is absolutely huge, there are just so many cars that anyone doing it well will win, hands down

    GM already built electric cars which were good for many people, in the 1990’s they built the EV1, but then they recalled them all and crushed them. They also bought the battery patents for the best version of it’s Nickel Metal Hydride battery and sold them to Chevron, via Cobasys. If battery tech is useless then why did an oil company buy the patent ? All of that meant that Toyota couldn’t sell it’s RAV4-EV because it used the same technology

    Many RAV4 EV-s did over 100,000 miles on the original batteries

    An EV1 driver made this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtmphaIOXgE
    Tom Hanks loved his too.

  11. oz4caster says:

    Our ancestors will have to find other economical energy choices hundreds of years from now. But until then, properly handled fossil fuels are the way to go (minimizing real pollutants, not CO2). It’s hard to imagine what might emerge in a few hundred years. If you look back a couple hundred years, things were so much different. With acceleration in technology, who knows what will be found by then. We will probably need lots of energy to deal with the next glacial period, which should likely start sometime within the next few thousand years and maybe sooner. It will be a major challenge for many nations, including the US, Canada, and northern Europe.

  12. slimething says:

    @Chris Barron
    You’re an idiot. The EV1 was a rolling toxic waste dump, the batteries cost $35k to produce, the car barely went 40 miles assuming you didn’t have to stop the car much, and the only reason GM made them was they were forced to by California law. Consumers leased them for $350/mo, meaning GM ate the rest and lost a lot money along with the taxpayers. Finally even the tree hugger Kalifornia politicians saw the light and changed the rules. Wisely, GM quit making them, recalled the cars and destroyed them. Why would they want to be forced to provide replacement parts for 10+ years and lose their ass on that too?

    Up until several years ago, GM was using the EV1 at the GM proving grounds to truck workers around. That’s about all they were good for.

    • Chris Barron says:

      I’m an idiot ? you’re the one shooting from the hip. What exotic materials have you imagined they’re made of ? The batteries were NiMH batteries in the final version, the early version used standard lead acid

      They were more a proof of concept, but the point is that many people think electric cars are new. They’ve been around for a while, and it’s horses for courses.

      What shit car do you drive ? I can find fault in every car and then i call you an idiot too for making that particular choice and driving it….where will that get us do you think ?

      You just don’t like people having free choice, to choose whatever the hell they want to driver, yet you’re probably one of those ‘freedom for everybody’ types.

      Come on what junk do you drive ? What piece of toxic crap did you choose ?

    • Chris Barron says:

      “a rolling toxic waste dump”

      only when you’re in it 😉

    • Chris Barron says:

      Why would they want to be forced to provide replacement parts for 10+ years and lose their ass on that too?

      Because a supply chain was already in place and parts were on the shelves….the question is why would they not want to supply profitable parts for 10 years.

      GM have acknowledged that they could have given the cars away instead of crushing them, and have customers sign spares and support demand waivers.

      Austin/Rover stopped making spares for the Mini years ago….they didn’t recall them all to crush them.

      • rah says:

        The simple fact is that if electric cars could economically replace vehicles with reciprocating engines for general uses they would be be flying off the lots. They aren’t! End of story until the time they can.

        The Hybrids are not doing badly at all in the market simply because they suit the purposes of many but I have noticed that there are a growing number of strictly gas powered “Smart Cars” on the road. I suspect that is because they can be bought for about 1/2 of what a Prius costs.

        And there is no doubt that when push comes to shove and real power is needed it’s the reciprocating engine that gets the job done practically and economically.

      • AndyG55 says:

        “they didn’t recall them all to crush them.”

        so, GM considered the EV1 worth even less than a Mini..

        Makes sense, probably sell better as scrap anyway.

        “could have given the cars away instead of crushing them, and have customers sign spares and support demand waivers.”

        roflmao.. and still no-one would have wanted them.. can’t think why..

        Where’s your EV1, Chrissy-boi.??

      • Chris Barron says:

        It’s great isn’t it how an expression of freedom of choice causes some people to get pissed off.

        Just because you don’t want an electric powered vehicle suddenly nobody should be allowed to have one.

        And again, i bet “people should be free to do what they want” is a phrase which you speak many times. But, when it comes to it you ain’t got the balls to live by what you say is your ideology.

        • rah says:

          Gee that’s kinda of the way it works with firearms in your part of the globe isn’t it?

        • AndyG55 says:

          “freedom of choice ”

          Yep GM made their choice. the logical one.

          And where did anyone say your shouldn’t buy one.?

          A small cube of crushed junk could be very handy.

        • AndyG55 says:

          “But, when it comes to it you ain’t got the balls to live by what you say is your ideology.”

          Pictures of your wind turbine in your backyard?

          Pictures of your EV?

          What is your ideology, and do you live by it?

          I’d say you were self-projecting when you typed that sentence.

        • Chris Barron says:

          Andy i’ve got an EV, and as for wind on the grid, I’m not against it. I don’t need to build a turbine in my secluded back yard when the utilities are building them in the windy places…I’m not complaining

          I’m not criticising anyone for the vehicle they drive, be it a steam traction engine, or a Bugatti Veyron with a range of 48 miles when driven flat out. Each to their own.

  13. Marsh says:

    There is a correlation between Electric Cars and Wind Generation. Both have been over rated in their capability in replacing / avoiding fossil fuels. Neither is flexible or reliable to meet the general demand ; they do have a place,,, but not as a universal replacement.

  14. rah says:

    Years ago the husband of a cousin of mine restored antique cars. He was known for his work on Stanley Steamers and other steam cars. While at his ranch in the California Desert not far from the old Borax mines I rode in a 1901 Marlboro Steamer.

    The crank for the steam motor was the rear axle with the exposed connecting rod attached to it. It putted along just fine. But later I took a ride in a later model Stanley Steamer. That car would go!

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