Welcome to the Energy Blog


  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.

    Jim


  • SUBSCRIBE TO THE ENERGY BLOG BY EMAIL

After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum

Statistics

Blog powered by Typepad

« Khosla Ventures, BIOeCON Form KiOR for Catalytic Production of Biooil | Main | IBM Silicon Wafer Reclamation Process Saves Energy, Provides Solar Industry with New Supply »

November 03, 2007

Comments

PDXAtty

I spent many years in the tech industry watching Microsoft stifle innovation by touting vapor-ware. I became frustrated when the functionality I needed as a professional was not delivered by the market. I have little faith that GM/Chevy will successfully make the technical shift from mechanical to electrical in a way that satisfies me as a consumer.

Don B.

In today's Technology market, there is NO reason that GM can't find a suitable chemical-energy storage system for the Volt prototype. GM's restructuring program is on the upswing...whereas Chrysler and Ford are still probing the depths of their economic malaise. GM cannot afford to cancel this project and return to "business-as-usual" in their product offerings; as I feel that this would lead to a "vote of no-confidence" in the World's opinion of GM and their ability to "lead" in the Automotive Industry.
Integration of technology; whether it be electric, multi-fuel, totally redesigned IC engines, hydrogen-on-demand, or alternate fuels...are what the "market" has been waiting for (and expects). As we have seen with the Toyota Prius and some high mpg diesels, those who lead are rewarded for their efforts (and get to "plant their flag" as having "discovered" that segment)!
GM will procede with it's fruition...they can't afford not to.

Don B.

jcwinnie

I want to be able to vote "no confidence" next November.

Ross

Don, that's a good point. GM can't afford to continue failing, and I believe that the dramatic failures of recent years may lead to a "sea-change" of attitude within corporate management.

Companies exist to make money, and are psychopathically focussed on that goal. What GM is doing with the Volt is a strategy that can turn GM around and put them in the technical leadership position. That's one possible road to profitability, and everyone on GM's management staff is aware of it.

JD

Speaking of what GM can and can't afford: GM can't afford to spend 3 years developing a new hybrid and end up with a vehicle that costs more than a Prius *and* needs to charge overnight before it gets good mileage. I agree with the first poster who smells vaporware--if it was so easy to make an *affordable* full-size vehicle with 40mi of battery capacity, every manufacturer would have Volt-like plans for ~2010.

My guess is it will either meet all claims but cost >$35k, or it will cost $20-25k but will have the same mileage as a Prius.

Alex De Maida

One point is, what's exactly a typical "fuel economy" of a hybrid/Volt vehicle, for example measured in kWh from the grid per km or mile travelled? It's a very important point, because with a such high value hybrids are less efficient than petrol based vehicles regarding the primary energy consumption. For example, 15 kWh per 100 km with 7% in electricity transmission looses and 41% thermal efficiency in electricity generation grossly corresponds to 23 km per liter (or about 55/60 mpg, IIRC) of gasoline or diesel fuel, i.e. still lower than today European standard

bigTom

Alex: we shouldn't compare the consumption of gasoline the same as comsumption of fossil fuel in a power plant. To make gasoline we take oil, plus energy. The caloric value yield of the gasoline is clearly considerably less than the caloric value of the oil input. Now if we ran our hybrid, and power plant on natural gas, the a close comparison could be made.

The main advantage in the non plugin hybrid is that part of the time/milage the gasoline motor is NOT running, saving considerable internal frictional loses.

Of course your, and JDs points are important. I have been assuming that in pure hybrid (non plug-in)usage milage would be comparable to competing hybrids -if this turns out not to be the case it will likely impact the size of the market for the vehicle.

mds

I disagree with most of you here.
Well-to-wheels efficiency is less important than the ability to accomplish transport without gasoline or deisel. Why? It's because the real point is to use less fossil fuels.

A Series-PHEV, like the Volt, can run all-electric EVEN AT FREEWAY SPEEDS, which is something even modified PHEV Prius cannot do because it is a series-parallel hybrid.

The ability to run all-electric is important for the following reasons:
1. We need to reduce dependency on oil.
2. It allows our transport to be run using "clean", or non-CO2 emitting, sources of power: nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, waves, and clean coal (if the last is truly possible)
3. Series-PHEVs are an evolutionary step toward the better batteries and electric charging stations that will make EVs (BEVs) wide spread. This is the evolutionary path that is happening:
old-ICE -> Improved-ICE -> HEV -> PHEV -> Series-PHEV -> EV (BEV)

Over 75% of USA drivers travel less than 40 miles per day. This means the Volt is effectively an EV (or BEV) for these drivers unless they want to take a rare longer drive. GM is talking about 50 mpg for the Volt’s hybrid mode (i.e. after the all-electric range is used up). Even if the next generation (third generation) Prius gets 70 mpg, the Volt will use less gasoline on all but the longest trips.
If I drive 80 miles then the Volt still gets effectively 100 mpg, 40 miles all-electric and 40 miles at 50 mpg in hybrid mode after the all-electric range. 100 mpg is still better than a hypothetical 70 mpg for the next Prius AND there is no reason GM cannot continue to improve the hybrid mode of the Volt. Toyota will have to produce a PHEV and ultimately a Series-PHEV to compete. They know this and are working on it.

Toyota would be using Li Ion batteries in a Series-PHEV vehicle except for two things:
1. They made a bad bet on being able to make cobalt work in Li Ion batteries. They must have had some idea how to solve the exploding cobalt Li Ion problem and the development effort must have dead-ended for them. They are backing off of Li Ion, while others move forward. (Is Li Ion a problem? The Altairnano battery says “hell no”, Li Ion technology will give us PHEVs and EVs. Now the battery companies are tackling the cost-of-production verses performance-life issue. There are a number of Li Ion chemistries and at least one PD Acid that might get us there.)
2. Toyota already has the HEV market cornered. Why take a risk and push the curve too hard when you already own most of the market? You can be more conservative and make more money.
This is a double opportunity for GM and they see it.

By-the-way, the better batteries and larger electric motors required for a Series-PHEV, like the Volt, will also pave the way for improved efficiency in regenerative braking AND, in parallel with this, light/stronger cars are being developed using composites that will also improve vehicle efficiencies. You’re going to get your increased electrical efficiency and be able to eat a lot less oil at the same time.

If you’re serious about using less oil or reducing CO2 then get serious about that evolutionary path. Figure it out!

Alex De Maida

big Tom, thanx for your response.

You said: " to make gasoline we take oil, plus energy ".
OK, but if I remeber correctly gasoline and other fuels production is about 80 or 90% efficient from crude petroleum, it's not that tragedy...

Second, what about exactly the Volt's "mileage". If I understand correctly only 80% of the battery is charged and is discharged not above 30%, at last it needs only 8 kWh to travel for these 40 miles.More precisely, the question is, how many kWh have I spend in my electric bill to charge the battery that 8 kWh, doesn't matter electricity transmission efficiency (about 92 or 94%). I hope to be clear...

Alex De Maida

Mds:
" The ability to run all-electric is important for the following reasons:
1. We need to reduce dependency on oil.
2. It allows our transport to be run using "clean", or non-CO2 emitting, sources of power: nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, waves, and clean coal (if the last is truly possible)
3. Series-PHEVs are an evolutionary step toward the better batteries and electric charging stations that will make EVs (BEVs) wide spread. This is the evolutionary path that is happening:
old-ICE -> Improved-ICE -> HEV -> PHEV -> Series-PHEV -> EV (BEV)"

Anyway, besides primary energy overall efficiency, I perfectly agree with all these statements

Kit P

“If you’re serious about using less oil or reducing CO2 then get serious about that evolutionary path. Figure it out!”

Then there is driving less or car pooling. You have people driving in a city polluted by the evil ICE demanding that GM change the human nature so they can live a consumptive life style and blaming everyone else.

When I say that BEV are MIA and PHEV are DOA it is based on listening to the clueless advocates.

Mike

"When I say that BEV are MIA and PHEV are DOA it is based on listening to the clueless advocates."

Exactly why do you think they will be DOA?

I am an advocate, for all the reasons Tom listed above. Maybe you can give me a clue as to why I'm wrong.

Jules

Kit, you are perfectly free to not buy a PHEV if the concept displeases you. Other people might feel differently. If you want to drive your supercharged 1970's El Camino that's been converted to run on wood gas, then good for you. Whatever floats your boat. Drive a Doble steam engine car if it pleases you. Point is, whether you like it or not, PHEV's and EV's will be mass produced and driven in the near future. Get used to it.

Kit P

Mike, it is the difference between science and science fiction. The cold reality is that we are increasing imports of LNG to make electricity which I do not like at all.

Since I work in the electricity generating industry, I have always liked the idea of BEV and PHEV. I am also the perfect candidate because of my short commute. Since I am an energy and environmental expert, I do not use much energy. Therefore, the amount of energy I can save by adopting new technology like PHEV or CFL is limited.

On the other hand, I observe the choices others make. It always amazes me that people driving big living in huge houses complaining about greedy energy companies. Not many of these folks are going to buy BEV and PHEV.

Finally Mike, the ICE works very well. Clean and efficient. Gone are the days of changing plugs and point every 15,000 miles and overhauling an engine at 100K. I expect my wife's Carola to last 30 years and 300 miles based on my cheap two 20 year old cheap Fords with 250k miles.

The benefit of electric cars is marginal. It goes back to making electricity with LNG. If California want to import LNG, put it directly into the cars and lose the weight of the batteries.

George

Kit, what do you think the efficiency of the ICE is? Is it as good as the technology used at the power plant? What about the myriad other sources of electricity? What about regenerative braking in a BEV?

An EV is way more efficient than an ICE.

jimb

@Kit P: one of the opportunity-benefits of series-phev's is that the ICE becomes just a generator. It is mechanically completely separated from the rest of the car. This makes it much simpler. Gears? A clutch? Variable valve timing? ditch 'em. There are many things that can be done to an ICE to make it much more efficient if you can not care about anything but a 500rpm wide power curve.

A byproduct of that is that it becomes extremely easy to vary what the ICE runs on. Gasoline, Biodiesel, E85/flex, LNG, Butanol. It may not be hot-swappable for anyone but a hobbyist, but auto manufacturers could easily vary it by demand. There's no sense in arguing which alternative to gasoline we should all commit to when we can just leave the option open and go with whatever works out or even many-of-the-above. Heck it even puts the full car/body/drivetrain design in place for a someday-maybe fuel cell instead of the battery pack.

Basically, if you believe A123, Altairnano, and EnderDel are even 80% true with their claims, this is a done deal.

Clee

Tesla Motors claims that the well-to-wheels efficiency of the Tesla Roadster running on electricity from natural gas, is over 3x as much as the well-to-wheels efficiency of a Honda CNG running on natural gas. Sounds impressive, though since there is no production Roadster yet, it's hard to know how much to believe them. It would be interesting if they did the comparison using a GM EV-1.

Page 3 of
https://www.teslamotors.com/display_data/twentyfirstcenturycar.pdf

Will

Kit, you claim that the benefits of EV or PHEV vehicles are limited because the power stations that drive them are mainly burning imported Natural Gas (or coal).

One of the benefits muted by the EV lobby is that we can make better use of night-time electricity which, they claim, tends to be wasted. The idea is: power stations can't turn off overnight, but much of the demand dissappears overnight. Given that there is no storage of electricity, it goes to waste. If we had PHEVs, we would be making use of currently wasted electricity, and the threshold beyond which we would need increased supply is massive.

As someone who works in the electricity industry, what are your thoughts on that argument?

Thanks

Will.

Kit P

Will, you stated a common misconception. Electricity is not wasted at night. Inefficient capacity goes unused. Find a site for your area that provides hourly prices for wholesale power like https://www.pjm.com/index.jsp or look for the offpeak listings. When electricity is less than $60MW-hr, then your electricity is coming from an efficient baseload plants burning less coal or natural gas.

The simple answer is that increasing demand only increases the amount of time single cycle gas turbines are running increasing the demand for imported LNG. Not good for AGW or energy security.

If we hugely increase our capacity to build solar, wind, and nukes; then maybe sometime after 2025 BEV and PHEV will be a better choice.

However, by 2025; AGW and peak oil panic will be over.

Kit P

Sorry, change 'less than $60MW-hr' to 'greater than $60MW-hr' in my above statement.

Mike

Kit

I agree that running inefficient peaking plants to power PHEVs is not the best situation, but with PHEV's and an intelligent grid, much more of the generating capacity can become baseload. I can understand your concern about importing LNG, but is importing oil any better? PHEVs give us the ability to use any fuel we want.

donb

mds said:
A Series-PHEV, like the Volt, can run all-electric EVEN AT FREEWAY SPEEDS, which is something even modified PHEV Prius cannot do because it is a series-parallel hybrid.

The series-parallel design of the Prius is just as capable (in theory) of running all-electric at freeway speeds as the Volt's series hybrid design.

The limitation of a modified PHEV Prius (as I understand it) is that the motor which drives the ring gear of the planetary gear assembly, and thus drives the wheels in all-electric mode, is not sized for continuous operation at the power needed at freeway speeds.

Greg Woulf

There's more baseload in most areas than there is demand at night.

The two main advantages that I see of PHEV's over BEV's is that:
1. they use less than half the battery material allowing for twice as many cars to be built, and half the impact on material prices.
2. People will buy them because they're more convenient than regular ICE.

Whether you drive a little or a lot you're going to go to the gas station less with a PHEV than an ICE by a large margin.

This is the first step we need to get anywhere.

Harvey D

Why is increased vehicle efficiency not important to so many?

Why drive ICE vehicles with overall 15% to 20% efficiency while we could drive PHEVs with 40% to 50% efficiency and BEVs with up to 80%.

Why not increase efficiency, for all vehicles, by other means? Michelin is already making tires to increase vehicle efficiency (all) by 3% to 6% with 9% coming soon. Weight and drag reduction could do even more.

We dont really have to stop driving but we could drive more efficiently. There would be a five to one reduction in enegy consumption by switching for 15% inefficient ICE vehicles to 75% electrified units.

Electricity is one of the best energy carrier. The transport loses are minimum at very high voltage and the basic distribution networks are already there in most places.

Producing huge quantities of clean electricity is a well known technology and can be done locally. No imports required.

Dave Narby

Battery technology is only going to get better.

As long as someone offers battery/charger upgrades when they become available (helooooo aftermarket suppliers!), this car is gonna RAWK.

Kit P

'...but is importing oil any better?'

Not much difference Mike but how does this translate to a reason to buy a BEV and PHEV? Which brings us back to Harvey who wrote, 'Why is increased vehicle efficiency not important to so many?'

Since I do not buy very much gasoline, increase efficiency would not due very much. Contrary to the numbers that Harvey presents, adding the weight of batteries is not a good way to achieve fuel efficiency. Producing 'huge' quantities of clean electricity has merits but does not have anything to do with BEV and PHEV until such a time as we stop using huge quantities of fossil fuel to make electricity.

Mike

"Not much difference Mike but how does this translate to a reason to buy a BEV and PHEV?"

Well, because they won't use very much gasoline, reducing oil imports. If you drive less than 40 miles per day, then you won't use any.

"adding the weight of batteries is not a good way to achieve fuel efficiency."

You're right, but the idea is to increase the all electric range, not to increase efficiency.

It will take many years for PHEVs to have a significant impact on oil imports, but once we have the technology being mass produced then we become much less dependent on oil. That is why I want one, I know they won't save me much money, if any. I'm going to buy one because I'm concerned about our energy security. I'm expecting the Volt will be pretty fun to drive though.

I'm not that concerned about the whole CO2 thing, although I think that PHEVs are one of the best ways to lower this as well, as we can get the electricity from wind/solar/hydro/geothermal/wave/nuclear.

Really the only downside I see to PHEVs is the higher cost, but I think it will be worth it.

mds

donb,

"The limitation of a modified PHEV Prius (as I understand it) is that the motor which drives the ring gear of the planetary gear assembly, and thus drives the wheels in all-electric mode, is not sized for continuous operation at the power needed at freeway speeds."

The battery power output (power density as apposed to energy density) and electric motor are not large enough to accelerate the Prius onto the freeway and keep it going at freeway speeds. If you use a different battery and more powerful electric motor, then the gasoline engine becomes superfluous except for providing extended range charging of the battery. At this point a smaller turbine generator makes more sense and is more energy efficient. You now have a Series Hybrid. Add plugin capability and you have a Series PHEV. So I don't agree that the Prius series-parallel design can do the same as the Volt Series-PHEV design. The later is fundamentally better.

Toyota is evolving the Prius slowly in the Series-PHEV direction. Generation three will have a larger motor and better battery. It's not a big step though. GM is leap-frogging to the full Series-PHEV concept.

The Prius is great. (I own one.) It started the electric car evolution going on a larger market scale. It will not stay dominant for long though. An HEV, or even series-parallel PHEV, will ultimately loose out to a Series PHEV design. Toyota better not become too complacent with their current success. We're seeing the beginnings of a disruptive change in transportation.

mds

Here's two other possibilities for PDXAtty and any others who think GM is still being too conservative ...or who just want a lower cost, even more efficient, vehicle:


https://www.ohgizmo.com/2007/09/28/aptera-electrichybrid-car-on-pre-order-for-500/

Sept 2007
“Aptera Electric/Hybrid Car On Pre-Order for $500” “seats 2.5”
“can supposedly hit 60 mph in about 10 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 95 mph” “including airbags, a rear view cammera, GPS navigation, and CD/MP3/DVD player with XM. It also includes a RFID key fob to start the car, and a solar assisted climate control system”
“All Electric” “approximately 120 miles” “standard 110 volt outlet and in just a few hours” “26,900”
“Plug-in Series Hybrid” “assisted by a fuel efficient gasoline powered generator which stretches your range significantly” “In typical driving you may achieve over 300 miles per gallon and you will have range far beyond any passenger vehicle available today.” “$29,900”

https://www.news.com/Are-VentureOnes-three-wheels-better-than-four/2100-11389_3-6215875.html?tag=newsmap

“Venture Vehicles, another entry in the alternative car market, says that in 2009 it will start selling a three-wheeled electric car that tilts into turns like motorcycles.” - October 2007
“cost $20,000 for a hybrid version or $25,000 for a full electric version, hold two passengers, and come with optional luggage containers that strap onto the roof.”
“40 inches wide and is shorter than the average car, making it easy to park”
“120 miles per gallon for the hybrid. The electric version will go 120 miles before needing a charge”
“Both will also go from zero to 60 in five seconds” “Venture is also working with battery maker A123 Systems, which will also supply batteries to GM for the Volt”

mds

Did I mention this might be a "disruptive" change?

プロペシア通販の価格比較

プロペシア通販
プロペシア効果

プロペシア通販
プロペシア通販
プロペシア通販
プロペシア通販

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .




Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles