SiliconChip. Again...

Open for any sort of non-technical discussion regarding EVs
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jpcw
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Post by jpcw »

Has anyone seen the Jan SiliconChip issue yet? Here is an extract from the Publishers Letter.
Why do I link the two together? First, let’s look at electric vehicles. In the last three years, just one EV has come to market, the Tesla sports car, but the company’s future, like all auto manufacturing in the USA, is under a very dark financial cloud. Less than 100 Tesla EVs have been delivered at the time of writing (early December) and no other EVs are on the immediate horizon from other manufacturers. Sure, there is lot of internet comment about EVs from China but until we see some production examples, it will be just talk.

On the other hand, as I wrote last month, hybrid EVs are likely to become much more commonplace. If you have a look at the projected fuel economy figures, such as 2.5l/100km from the planned VW diesel hybrid, these also raise doubts about the future viability of pure EVs. And the latest diesel engine developments further cloud the future. Consider the astonishing new Mercedes OMC651 diesel in the new C-class 250 CDI sedan. At just over 2 litres, it manages to produce 150kW and 500Nm for an overall 5l/100km economy. This is in a 1650kg sedan, much the same weight as typical big Aussie six sedans but with more than twice the fuel economy. Just imagine what will happen to hybrid fuel economy when they incorporate this technology.

The point about future hybrid EV fuel economy is that it makes the whole economics of EVs powered from the national grid a doubtful proposition. First, the fuel efficiency of hybrids will challenge the overall efficiency of our existing power stations and distribution system. There will be less justification for having large centralised power stations to provide the energy for personal vehicles.

Second, if a majority of vehicles were to be changed over to EVs and be powered from the grid, Australia would need to at least double its present generating capacity. But Australia is already heading for severe power shortages and that is without even thinking about EVs. The only way to massively increase our power generating capacity in the near future is by adopting nuclear power quite soon. That just isn’t going to happen, unless there is a dramatic change by our politicians.

Finally, there is another reason why we are unlikely to see large numbers of EVs on our roads in the next 10-15 years. If it were to happen, both state and federal governments would have to find a substitute for all the fuel excises they load onto petrol and diesel. I think they are too happy with the status quo, in spite of all their posturing about climate change, carbon emissions and so on. They are not likely to encourage the sale of EVs in this country, for that reason alone. But in any case, there are not any viable EVs foreseeable at the moment.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” Alan Kay 1971
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Post by acmotor »

The writer has a negative impression of the future and has demonstrated it to be also a rather uninformed opinion (check the back issues), still citing outdated arguments, in particular regarding power from the grid.Image

I for one know that the hybrids are a solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist for the vast majority of people i.e. range.
This range issue is the oil company's last hope to hold onto the automotive market. read - sinking feeling.

Keep an eye on Mitsubishi. They have stated (before the crash) that they will not be building hybrids and will move directly to BEV. This will put them years ahead of other auto manufacturers.Image

Whilst we are stating opinions, IMHO the only worthwhile statement in the SC article is the last one about revenue. But then we all understand how the system works, so there is nothing new there.

From my personally biased EV point of view, I would hope for Australia that we can find someone with more vision for our leading electronics magazine. Image     
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Post by sparau »

I agree acmotor - plus he isnt including the economic and envoronmental costs of upkeep on a complex hybrid car. IMO hybrids are a waste of time and resources.

IMO if you wanted for the short term make a cleaner car that does 2.5l/100k then make a simple lightweight (~600kg) one with a top speed of 90kmh. You would save 60% of the smelting and manufacturing costs plus halve the impact of maintenance.
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Post by jpcw »

acmotor wrote:
From my personally biased EV point of view, I would hope for Australia that we can find someone with more vision for our leading electronics magazine. Image     

That brings up a side point. A monthly EV mag would be cool. Containing a step by step conversion, one section per month, Circuit diagrams etc.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” Alan Kay 1971
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Post by Johny »

600Kg cars! Note the proliferation of "Tonka toys" on city roads. Many people are scared (rightly so in some cases) of driving smaller cars in amongst the 'trucks' being driven by unqualified 4WD Rec. vehicles. I have hit this a few times during discussions (with non-EVers) over EV perception.
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Post by juk »

"The only way to massively increase our power generating capacity in the near future is by adopting nuclear power quite soon. "

Nuclear just aint going to happen, anyone wanna pay $0.30 per kWh?

See: http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/u ... s-2009.pdf

An extract of the conclusions and recommendations below:


CONCLUSIONS
This Paper has identified the following significant Nuclear Business Risks:
1. Costs to Build the Nuclear Plant May Significantly Exceed Estimates
Capital costs to build all power plants have been rising much faster than inflation. A power
plant with a long lead time (e.g. nuclear or coal) is exposed to much greater risks of cost
overruns, than generation units with short lead times (e.g. natural gas, wind, or solar). Total
“all-in” costs to build new nuclear are likely to equal approx. $8,900- $10,500/KW. Paying
for this capital cost alone would cost approximately 17- 22 cents/kWh.
2. Nuclear Construction Schedules May Be Delayed
The nuclear industry has a history of major construction delays causing billions in cost
overruns. New generation nuclear has gotten off to a bad start, with delays occurring on
facilities now under construction worldwide. The industry still faces substantial organized
opposition. If costs exceed funds lined up to fund the project, a project may be abandoned
after billions have already been spent, as has occurred with past nuclear plants.
3. The Utility’s and/or Customers’ Credit Ratings May be Downgraded
The very high capital costs and long lead times to construct a nuclear facility are expected to
result in a “risk premium”affecting the cost of capital for nuclear utilities. Attempting to “fix”
the utility’s cash problems by assessing billions on ratepayers years before any kWh’s are
delivered simply shifts the cash flow and credit rating problems to the utility’s ratepayers.
The cost of capital never goes away – money always has its cost.
4. New Nuclear Will Require Very High Electric Rates
Costs at the power plant (not including distribution & G&A costs) of new nuclear power
are likely to be 25-30 cents/kWh in the first year of full operation of the facility: 17-22
cents/kWh for capital costs; 1 cent/kWh O&M; 2 cents/kWh property taxes; 2 cents/kWh to
fund plant decommissioning & nuclear waste; and 3 cents/kWh for nuclear fuel.
5. Higher Rates May Cut Customer Demands But Not Utility’s Costs
Energy efficiency and distributed power sources offer new ways for customers to buy fewer
kWh’s. High rates needed to fund a nuclear plant may drive customers to cut use. As almost
all nuclear costs are fixed, the utility has to pay these costs even if demand falls. If the utility
cannot sell enough kWh’s at a high enough rate to pay these costs , it may face insolvency.
6. Local Economy Could Be Rendered Less Competitive
High electric rates may make the local economy less competitive with other areas of the U.S.,
whose utilities are developing low-cost electricity sources (e.g. wind power).

RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Pursue a Least Cost Approach to Meet Needs
A “Least Cost” approach allows the utility to employ non-conventional methods to meet the
needs of its customers, and save money for all ratepayers in the process.
For instance, 25 compact florescent light bulbs which save 40 watts each compared to a 60 watt
light bulb, can eliminate 1,000 watts (one KW) for a total cost of approximately $50. The same
KW in new power plant capacity could cost over $10,000 if it was nuclear.
Utilities employing the Least Cost approach ask themselves – which of these options has the
Least Cost? Utilities nationwide employing this approach are now paying customers to
implement measures which are known to decrease demand for new power plants – rebates
for more efficient a/c units, insulation, solar panels, Energy Star appliances, etc.
The “Least Cost” approach also allows a utility to consider new technologies, or new
combinations of technologies, as ways to meet needs, because they are more cost effective .
2. Switch to Shorter Lead Time Technologies
The very long lead time to pursue a nuclear project forces utilities to make major
commitments now , to meet projected customer needs at least a decade from now.
This very long lead time exposes the utility to uncertainties about the accuracy of the demand
forecast. As new energy technologies are now aggressively entering the marketplace, if there
was ever a time to avoid being forced to act on a 10 year forecast, it would certainly be this
next 10 years.
The long construction time also exposes the project to a severe risk of cost overruns, as
utilities have been experiencing double-digit inflation in costs to build new power plants. A
technology with a short construction time (e.g. wind, solar, natural gas) is far less exposed
to cost increases than projects with long construction times (e.g. coal, nuclear).
3. Use the Strengths of a Diverse Portfolio of Technologies
A combination of technologies, rather than reliance on one technology to do everything, may
prove the best choice to meet future KW capacity and kWh generation needs.
For instance, it may soon become common to refer to a system of Combined Cycle Gas and
Wind Turbines (CCGWT) which would employ wind turbines at zero fuel cost, supplemented
by natural gas turbines as needed. Such a system, taken as a whole, would minimize fossil fuel
consumption and total fuel costs. The total costs to construct would be moderate, and would
be “modular”, i.e. able to be deployed more closely in alignment with needs curves. This
system may often have the lowest overall costs per kWh delivered.
Page 34
The systems approach addresses the fact that with increasing fuel costs and environmental
concerns, each technology has its strengths and weaknesses, and a combination may be
necessary to achieve system reliability, lowest overall cost, and greenhouse gas reductions.
4. Share Resources Across the Country
America has abundant solar, wind, and geothermal energy resources. However, the most
abundant renewable energy resources are typically located in areas of low population, far
from the load centers where the electricity is most needed.
An efficient national transmission grid is clearly needed, to carry electricity from areas with
abundant zero-fuel-cost resources and deliver it to high-usage areas.
Even without this improvement, however, utilities can already take advantage of the existing
natural gas distribution network. If a Midwest utility installs thousands of MW of wind
farms, it will use less natural gas than it might have otherwise. If a Nevada utility installs
solar farms, that Nevada utility will also use less natural gas to meet its needs. As these
utilities in renewable resource-rich areas cut their natural gas usage, the natural gas “freed up”
will be more available to be used by utilities elsewhere, helping to alleviate concerns about
natural gas supplies and pricing.
5. Get the Job Done, With the Least Business Risks
As noted earlier in this paper, an electric utility is in a unique position, with the critical
responsibility to “keep the lights on” at the most reasonable cost, for everyone in its service
territory.
Utilities must legally and ethically put a priority on prudence, and should therefore “get
the job done” choosing the options and systems which pose the least business risks.
The goal should be a reliable and cost effective utility network. This is the goal – not a
particular type of power plant or a particular set of plans to defend.
Utility management shouldn’t be too exciting. If an idea starts to look like it could have
excessive business risks and costs, it is best to re-assess and find less risky ways to meet
the goals. The last generation of utility managers nationwide reached this conclusion about
nuclear power. This Paper has shown reasons why these executives were right, even
though they had to cancel nuclear plans they themselves, plus a powerful nuclear lobby and
a pro-nuclear government, had at one point advanced.
If current-day utility executives and utility regulators will now consider these facts, the
nation can proceed to address the energy challenges we face, with far less rancor and
risks, and lower costs overall, than if a futile attempt is made at great cost to revive a
nuclear industry that has never kept its promises to provide a competitive and viable generation
source.
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Post by jpcw »

One thing that gets overlooked a lot. I think ir was Rod who said he has his charger on a timer. Charging an EV during off peak times not only cuts down the powe cost but has only a marginal effect on the base load. At least until we get a hell of a lot more cars on the road.
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Post by tassie_tiger »

Unfortunately the writer is correct in some aspects. Consumers are used to and expect range from their cars,
- filling up at a servo takes seconds
- ICE has further range per fill
- ICE is cheaper (especially now oil has dropped again)
- hybrids can extend range

Remember, your arguments make sense, but consumers do not want to give up what they are used to.
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Post by sparau »

Johny wrote: 600Kg cars! Note the proliferation of "Tonka toys" on city roads. Many people are scared (rightly so in some cases) of driving smaller cars in amongst the 'trucks' being driven by unqualified 4WD Rec. vehicles. I have hit this a few times during discussions (with non-EVers) over EV perception.


True, but light doesnt necessarily monocoque made of alfoil. Its as much about design as anything else eg: rollcage/intrusion bars ~20kg, so perhaps the old skool maserati birdcage chassis with fibre body.

i would have to imagine you could make a lotus elise type of chassis somewhat cheaper minus the performance and hand built aspect too.

keep in mind when i make these suggestions it is because i dont believe in the 5 year life cycle of vehicles, so cost is less paramount - IMO the best environmental thing to do is to make everything last 50 years, not sell a car for $12k that is crap but still took 20 ton of greenhouse emissions and energy to make.
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Post by acmotor »

'EV Australia' monthly electric vehicle enthusiasts magazine.

There is enourmous potential.

This month's issue...

Conversions... start yours now, part 1 ... step by step guide.
Conversion on a budget... $5,000 on the road ... by Goombi

Build your own DC controller part 1... full construction details
Build your own AC controller part 1... full construction details

EV safety centre... what is good practice ?

The path through department of transport approval.

World news on EVs... who is making what and who is just dreaming

Developments in motor and battery technology... what is the best ? and what is the best value ?

EV dynamics... the size debate 600kg vs 2000kg ?
Aerodynamics... what can you do with a converted vehicle ?

Parts suppliers... EV classifieds   

Favourite internet links

EVs and insurance companies.... a comparison of what is out there


....And excuse me, we are stuck with Silicon Chip !!!!

I shudder at nixie tube clocks !

I hope Leo reads this. The future is knocking on the door (and has been for some time)
But all is not lost. The AEVA's own newsletter is growing (the editors have thought of all the above and more !). Check out the next issue and you are always welcome to submit atricles or pics.
I'll be looking for jpcw's article this month !
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Post by evric »

How often does the AEVA Newsletter come out?
I am only a new member (August last year) but haven't seen one yet!
Looking forward to seeing one.
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Post by Striker »

evric wrote:How often does the AEVA Newsletter come out?
I am only a new member (August last year) but haven't seen one yet!
Looking forward to seeing one.


Every two months.

I am sent a list of email addresses for financial members from the National newsletter editor, who receives it from the National Membership Secretary (George Symons).

If you're not receiving your copy, contact George, and check to see that you are on the list of financial members, and that your email address is correct.

--Striker.
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Post by antiscab »

gday evric,
PM me (or andrew or ian or tuarn or striker) your email address and we'll make sure you get added to the send out list.
you should have recieved issue 190.
issue 191 isnt far away.

Matt
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Post by Taffy »

In terms of magazines it might be an idea to try and hook in with another one such as a kit car mag. Have an EV DIY section every month.
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Post by lachlanmac »

I borrow Popular Mechanics from the local library. I read it years ago, it still has the same flavour (still advertises tobacco) but there are lots of articles on electric cars, hydrogen fuels cells, PVs, wind gens etc as well as big V8s, large guns and how make your own nuclear power plant .... I dont think they are biased in any direction they just publish everything and I found useful links on non formaldahyde bamboo ply and recycled glass and concrete conglomerate bench tops.

Find a copy. You will get a laugh.

lach
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