Tesla Model 3
Posted 03 April 2016 - 07:59 AM
The story of electric car development is full of politics. When Toyota started looking seriously at developing an electric car, they looked to use the best proven battery technology available at the time, Nickel Metal Hydride. Sadly the patents covering these cells had been bought by the oil companies and US motor industry, who refused to licence the manufacture of large cells, and would only issue licences for small cells, like torch batteries. This killed the electric RAV 4 project (and resulted in the film "Who killed the electric car?") and meant that even the Prius was forced to use lots of small torch battery sized cells in it's NiMH battery pack. The only large cells available were wet Nickel Cadmium, as used by Citroen in their very good electric Berlingo van, but they needed regular topping up with distilled water, and had a far poorer energy density than NiMH cells.
It's interesting that Tesla also use tiny cells to make their battery packs, but for financial, rather than patent-blocking, reasons. Big lithium cells are expensive, but the 18650 size laptop cells that Tesla use (and which Makita and DeWalt use in their battery packs) are very cheap, primarily because the market for laptop cells was huge. When laptops started getting thinner, and could no longer use 18650 cells, then there was, effectively, a surplus of manufacturing capability for this size of wound cylindrical cell, so their price has stayed low, as has the price of the equipment to wind them (lithium cells are something you can pretty much make in a garage, if you have the right coating and winding tools).
Edited by jsharris, 03 April 2016 - 08:00 AM.
Posted 03 April 2016 - 09:00 AM
This happened to me when a great slice of central Birmingham was closed off for a marathon road race. I had to keep heading away from what looked like the most tempting alternatives until the satnav gave up telling me to do a u-turn and I could find a circular route (navigating by the sun - literally) that would take me beyond where I'd made my original diversion. Luckily, I did end up back on the satnav's intended route, just a mile further along. Pre-satnav, I would have had the A-Z in the car.
I do actually have a road atlas in the car, but it's not one for cities.
Of course every Smartphone essentially has a Satnav now in Google Maps etc.
I can see that coming in as part of Road Charging supervision. There are technologies around such as the Plate Recognition and Video technology which routinely track everyone already.
I can see, for example, low level drones being used.
Posted 03 April 2016 - 09:12 AM
Posted 03 April 2016 - 11:24 AM
I think that hydrogen seems to offer the better bet, as the infrastructure could be built around local hydrogen generation, rather than transporting hydrogen around. I think it's a long way off, yet, though, as the investment needed in infrastructure would be high, and vehicle fuelling stations are seen (quite rightly) as very low profit margin businesses (most only survive on the profits from the shops to keep them viable).
Posted 05 April 2016 - 08:45 PM
Posted 05 April 2016 - 09:25 PM
The artificial leaf stuff looks almost believable as a method for generation http://spectrum.ieee...n-from-sunlight
Storage in strange forms and structures rather than raw H2 is also wide spread, http://newscenter.lb...d-nanocrystals/ for instance.
This may all come to nothing in the long term, but personally I wouldn't bet against it happening.
Edited by Alphonsox, 05 April 2016 - 09:26 PM.
Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:25 PM
Currently the amount of CO2 produced to make hydrogen means that they have roughly equivalent emissions to gasoline powered cars. The car makes no emissions but that is irrelevant.
Hydrogen could be produced using renewables and water but then why not just use the electricity to charge batteries. I believe current production techniques also require clean water which is in short supply in many places.
Then there is the requirement to build new infrastructure versus just using the current electricity grid.
A fuel cell with an equivalent power output to a battery is currently extremely expensive. Actually if nothing else I think many of the current crop of fuel cell cars have no chance as they are a lot slower than battery powered cars on sale at the moment. Tesla is really on to something. Their cars are selling because an electric car is simply a better car to drive in many circumstances. Many people are more concerned with that than with CO2.
Hydrogen does offer faster refuelling, but this will no doubt improve over time for batteries. As volumes of battery electric powered cars pick up it will be hard to overcome the research money going in to them.
Of course new novel technologies as mentioned may come along, but novel technologies are talked about all the time which simply don't work at the scale required in the real world.
Posted 08 April 2016 - 08:18 PM
Even a modest grid capacity increase of 20% is going to be about £30bn extra (estimated that the grid needs £110bn spent on it).
If that is phased in over the next 20 years, that is not too bad, about an extra £40/year.
The generation capacity is another issue.
Posted 08 April 2016 - 08:47 PM
Daytime charging of EVs at the workplace, particular with PV investment, removes a substantial burden from the grid, and also circumvents some of the restrictions on building employee parking spaces.
Posted 08 April 2016 - 08:52 PM
The days of 1000 workers going to a large factory are well and truly over I think.
Posted 08 April 2016 - 08:54 PM
Musk makes a good case as to why hydrogen is a dead end - I would make the same case if I had invested $5biilion dollars in a production facility - He is not an unbiased by-stander* in this debate. In my view it is currently too soon to say what the long term result will be.
*To be honest neither am I - The company I work for supplies electronics to all the manufacturers listed above. This kind of limits what I can say on open forums.
Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:02 PM
Edited by SteamyTea, 09 April 2016 - 06:19 AM.
Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:05 PM
The days of 1000 workers going to a large factory are well and truly over I think.
My last place of work had 1400 staff when I left (it's now bigger than that) and there were 900 car parking spaces in the new car parks.
Abbey Wood, Bristol, the other big defence place, has around 2,000 car parking spaces.
Honda, just up the road from me at Swindon, have an absolutely massive car park, and their own lanes on the main roads around Swindon for their workers to use.
Around Salisbury, many of the legal and finance sector firms have relocated to the edge of the city in new buildings with large car parks, plus there are two large park and ride areas for city commuters.
I think that car park PV could well work in all these types of environment.
Posted 09 April 2016 - 07:42 AM
If we took Penzance Council office, they have very little onsite parking. Most if it is street parking.
Cities and towns tend to have multistory parking, as do airports and railway stations.
I think the better way would be to incorporate gas CHP for vehicle charging, but then that does have a problem with getting rid of excess heat in urban environments when local buildings cannot accept it.
And why bother with PV, wind turbines would be more cost effective. People would just have to accept that there is a 300m high tower where they park.
It would bring the message home that there is a cost to generation.
Posted 09 April 2016 - 10:08 AM
I used to work at Abbey Wood, and the large car park there had long and wide walkways covered with tensioned membrane. These could have just as easily had PV panels as the covering. The same goes for our local hospital, that also seems to have long covered walkways, and at least two supermarket car parks. I can't see that it would need much, if any, additional investment at the construction phase to cover all these walkways with PV, placing generation capacity near to areas where there are lots of parked cars during daylight hours.
Posted 09 April 2016 - 10:45 AM
Coming back to the sheltered (it's in a bit of a dip) station car park the other day and the my car (not a Tesla btw ) dash temperature sensor was reading 19deg C and that's at the end of March. The heat coming up off the asphalt was quite something. Must be a case for placing car parks lower than adjacent buildings, laying pipes under the asphalt and benefiting from natural thermal syphoning to heat / provide HW. Maybe assisted by solar panels for the pump.
Sad that we could do so much in this country to conserve energy on a wider scale as so often demonstrated by the builds on here!
Edited by Onoff, 09 April 2016 - 10:52 AM.