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Hybrid Cars Were Actually Out There In '98
1898, that is. Detroit's had a hell of a long time to sit around not innovating.

Posted by aalkon at July 19, 2007 9:37 AM

Comments

A Honda Civic has a dust-to-dust energy cost of $2.42/mile, compared to the Honda Civic Hybrid which has a dust-to-dust energy cost of $3.238/mile. This means that although the hybrid version has better fuel efficiency, over the entire life of the car, the Honda Civic will be using less energy than the Honda Civic Hybrid. Here's a breakdown of where the energy is being spent for the two cases:

http://www.thewatt.com/article1070.html

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 9:59 AM

Ah, but what is the life of the car, question one? Doesn't say on the site. And here's a comment from that site about that "research":

This report is impossible to validate or verify in any way whatsoever because the marketing company that produced it did not include any of their source data or formulas used to calculate the claimed lifetime energy costs. This is not a scientific study, this is a marketing company's spin-doctored report masquerading as scientific study. There is no objectivity here, and no peer review, and it should be ignored as an unsupported claim by a biased organization.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 19, 2007 10:23 AM

Innovation never happens until there's a reason to do so. People don't sit around thinking of ways to make a lot of changes just for the hell of it. No animal does.

Posted by: Crid at July 19, 2007 10:27 AM

Amy,
The report also failed to cover the energy losses associated with the production of the electricity that is used when the car is charged at home. The production of electricity and its transmission very inefficient compared to burning the fuel directly in the car.
Surly you can consider this common sense point.
Face it, they only make you feel like you are doing something for the environment. In reality, you are creating more pollution.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 10:28 AM

Yeah, that SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) transmission is just hell on people's lungs.

Find an unbiased report with sound methodology behind it, and we'll pay attention to it.

In the meantime, 'll give you a choice: At a stoplight, stand behind my car (it shuts off when I stop) or stand behind somebody's mammoth SUV.

What's it gonna be?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 19, 2007 10:38 AM

Amy,
The report also failed to cover the energy losses associated with the production of the electricity that is used when the car is charged at home. The production of electricity and its transmission very inefficient compared to burning the fuel directly in the car.
Surly you can consider this common sense point.
Face it, they only make you feel like you are doing something for the environment. In reality, you are creating more pollution.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 10:42 AM

you are just putting your pollution in someone else’s back yard. Is that what you stand for as an environmentalist? Sorry about the double post.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 10:44 AM

If it is your tail pipe that you are worried about, drive a natural gas conversion.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 10:50 AM

rusty wilson said "The report also failed to cover the energy losses associated with the production of the electricity that is used when the car is charged at home. The production of electricity and its transmission very inefficient compared to burning the fuel directly in the car."

Actually, modern electric generation plants have around 40% efficiency converting heat energy to motion, which is then converted to electricity at around 90% efficiency. I haven't read about transmission losses, but I doubt that it's very high. An auto engine converts the chemical energy to motion at around 30% at its most efficient RPM (and it gets considerably worse at other RPMs, which is why some have suggested that the efficiency of a hybrid is due mostly to disconnecting the engine from the wheels, allowing it to always run at the best RPM) , not including transmission losses. I doubt you get better efficiency overall from the auto engine. Additionally, if the electricity came from a nuke, it wouldn't be dumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

Posted by: William at July 19, 2007 11:02 AM

William,
Was that coal, gas, fuel, oil or nuclear?
Any Idea how much is from Coal? Any idea of the pollution coal puts out? Any idea of the parasitic load that scrubbers consume?
Any idea about how many of our eclectic power plants are of this ultra modern type? How about our very old transmission systems?
My good friend Mike Collins owns Texas Syngas. He has a lifetime of power plant experience. You wouldn’t believe the waste.
Also, another buddy, Charlotte Sullivan, is busy sequestering CO2 at a pilot synthetic fuel plant, not Mike’s technology but a very old process. By the time you run the numbers for Co2 recovery, compressors, gathering, drilling a well, injection, folks driving back and forth to the injection site, etcetera, she is trading CO2. Basically, more green feel good stuff, but not helping. Just wasting tax dollars.
Anyway, the point is I have talked about this issue with very knowledgeable folks. I understand the motive and the desire, I am just saying that ya’ll are kidding your self’s. This stuff accomplishes nothing. We need to learn how do photosynthesis. We need to learn how to create the sun in a safe environment. These things will solve are pollution problems.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 11:44 AM

So what your saying rusty is that even though we are just barely starting out with green energy we shouldnt bther to try and refine it or make it better because at the moment it does practically nothing.

Well, practically nothing is better than nothing at all and working on it over a few more decades will allow us to make it better
And who the fuck care if it costs a little more?

Would you rather pay a little more now or lets your children and grandchildren pay a hell of a lot more later, not only in cash but in their health and stanndars of living as well?

Posted by: lujlp at July 19, 2007 12:04 PM

The report also failed to cover the energy losses associated with the production of the electricity that is used when the car is charged at home.

Are Insights charged at home? I don't think many hybrids get plugged in at all.

Posted by: justin case at July 19, 2007 12:16 PM

Lujlp,
What I am saying is that buying a car that runs on electricity dose not reduce emissions. It increases emissions. It is just that those emissions occur someplace other than where you are driving.
Other than that, what are you saying? Lets do it anyway even though it pollutes more so that we can act like we are doing something about emissions?
This is just like the fuel from corn issue. You only get a 30% energy gain. The other 70% goes in to growing, collecting, transporting and then making the fuel. If one is going to make biofuel then one should go the biodiesel route. Soybeans give around a 75% energy gain.
That is the problem with these issues. Overly emotional folks like you never consider the whole picture.
As far as this statement goes;
Would you rather pay a little more now or lets your children and grandchildren pay a hell of a lot more later, not only in cash but in their health and standards of living as well?
Policies that don’t allow us to drill off the entire east coast, the west coast or Alaska insure that our children will pay a awful lot later not only in cash but in their health and standards of living.
You have no idea how much your life is getting ready to change in the next ten years. Yet, we do nothing to bridge the gap.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 12:22 PM

good question justin

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 12:23 PM


Vermont - Circa 1860 Where are the Trees?

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2683#more

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 12:49 PM

CO2 Capture and Storage: The Energy Costs
http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/2733#more

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 12:52 PM

rusty why do you suppose the government insists on using corn for alt fuel production instead of soy or sugar?

So that people like you will point out the obvious flaws, say it will never work and give them the excuse they need to keep sucking on big oils' co. . , err, tit

How bout itstead of complaining the alt fuel will never work you start complaining about the government duplicitous insistance on useing meathods that the know will never produce as well as other approches.

Posted by: lujlp at July 19, 2007 1:58 PM

why do you suppose the government insists on using corn for alt fuel production instead of soy or sugar?

Because of the massive lobbying efforts on behalf of the already massively-subsidized corn industry? Just maybe?

Posted by: justin case at July 19, 2007 2:00 PM

Lujlp,
People like me? You never point stuff out? Do you mean people like us?
By the way, discloser time. I am a Geophysicist that owns a very small oil company. I started it four years ago.
Do you have a reading problem? You obvious like to swear, maybe that is your problem. I advocated diesel from soy beans. Also, I plugged Syn gas. Actually, between the two, I’d choose Syn gas. Both release CO2 when burned so there is not an environmental advantage.
Syn Gas can be made out of any waste product that has a BTU value...even bio products. So there is a lot of Pet coke to be had for about ten dollars a ton. Grind it up, float it in chlorinated hydrocarbon slurry and inject it. Out comes Hydrogen and CO, Syn Gas. The chlorinated hydrocarbons are presently burned in incinerators. Pet coke is buried or shipped to Europe.
How about tires? Plastic? All have a BTU value.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 2:24 PM

Rusty, you should comment here more often.

Posted by: Crid at July 19, 2007 2:35 PM

Would you rather pay a little more now or lets your children and grandchildren pay a hell of a lot more later,

He's talking about energy costs, not your pocket. He's saying you are polluting more now. It's not a monetary issue.

Posted by: kishke at July 19, 2007 3:01 PM

so am I Kishke, so am I.
“Our civilization might very well collapse because it’s so dependent on oil,” Goodstein said at the presentation.

He makes a pretty good argument that not only is there not much oil left in easy-to-extract form, but the popular alternatives aren’t going to last forever, either. Natural gas can power a car cleanly, but its supplies will run out not long after the oil dries up. Hydrogen is terribly inefficient to produce.

“There are only two commercially viable ways of making hydrogen,” Goodstein writes. “One is to make it out of methane, which is a fossil fuel. The other is to use fossil fuel to generate the electricity that you need to electrolyze water and get hydrogen. The economics of doing that are such that you end up using the equivalent of six gallons of gasoline to make enough hydrogen to replace one gallon of gasoline.”

Nuclear fusion, as opposed to fission, “has been 25 years out for the last 50 years,” Goodstein writes.

Of the many points MacReady made, the one that hit me hardest was this: The current human population of the earth is 6.5 billion and is expected to go up to 9 billion by 2050.

“Our planet can sustain maybe 2 billion,” MacReady said.

If we magically made every car on earth a Prius and had every household in the industrialized and soon-to-be-industrialized world install tankless water heaters and solar roofs and grow tomatoes in the backyard, we’d still have 4.5 billion too many guys and climbing.
So we have 4.5 billion too many guys walking around right now, and we’re making more of them every day. And every single one of them is going to want a BMW and a stucco house.
It’s not the fault of the automobile or even our automotive lust. It’s not your SCCA T2 Camaro or the Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite you keep in the garage and drive only on Sundays. People need and, in our cases, love cars. The current world economic model depends on internal combustion to work, and that in turn depends on plentiful gas. Nobody lives on the farm anymore.

http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070718/FREE/70717002/1025/FREE


Posted by: rusty wilson at July 19, 2007 3:20 PM

so am I Kishke, so am I.

Rusty, you misunderstood. I was explaining your point to lujp, not his point to you.

Our planet can sustain maybe 2 billion

What's that supposed to mean? Isn't it currently sustaining three-and-a-half times that amount?

Posted by: kishke at July 19, 2007 4:42 PM

> Our planet can sustain
> maybe 2 billion

Maybe not. The fun of numbers like that is that they're so laughably imaginary.


Tomorrow I'm going to go to work. For this single session of enterprise, I deserve to be compensated with a 1961 Ferrari 250 GTO.

Who could argue?

Posted by: Crid at July 20, 2007 2:07 AM

On-topic Washington Post article about a Hummer being piously vandalized in a Prius-lovin' neighborhood! (Nicked from Ann Althouse).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/17/AR2007071701808.html

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 20, 2007 7:09 AM

Kishke,
My bad.
Our planet can sustain maybe 2 billion...That means with out oil, there is a problem with fertilizer, transportation, electricity and every other modern convenience. But the real issue is fertilizer. We simply can not feed the plant with out oil.
Ha, look at this;
Prime Culprit: Don’t worry about that SUV you drive. Worry about that steak. Beef has now been identified as a prime cause of Global Warming according to a New Scientist report. “2.2lb of beef is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions which have the same effect as the carbon dioxide released by an ordinary car travelling at 50 miles per hour for 155 miles, a journey lasting three hours. The amount of energy consumed would light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days. Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals’ digestive systems, New Scientist magazine reported.”

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 20, 2007 7:10 AM

But the real issue is fertilizer. We simply can not feed the plant with out oil.

Can't fertilizer be produced using coal? There's plenty of that.

Posted by: kishke at July 20, 2007 7:20 AM

It never was before. Good question. I do not know. I do know that we don't have the coal reserves that teachers told us about for years. Also, those reserves will very quickly attempt to supply the missing power production caused by declining oil production.
"One huge implication of the oil peak is that industrial societies will never again enjoy the 2 to 7 percent annual economic growth that has been considered healthy for over 100 years. This amounts to the industrialized nations of the world finding themselves in a permanent depression...The future is therefore telling us very loudly that we will have to change the way we live in this country. The implications are clear: We will have to downscale and rescale virtually everything we do...All indications are that American life will have to be reconstituted along the lines of traditional towns, villages, and cities much reduced in their current scale. These will be the most successful places once we are gripped by the profound challenge of a permanent reduced energy supply."

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 20, 2007 8:01 AM

Just when you thought the global energy outlook couldn’t get any worse …
Worldwide demand for crude oil will continue to outstrip supply for at least the next five years, meaning the high prices and tight supplies of today will remain a reality for the foreseeable future.
All bets are off if a big hurricane hits the Gulf of Mexico. Gasoline would soar to $4 a gallon or even higher, and stay there for weeks in the event of storm damage to fuel refineries in the South and oil pumping facilities in the gulf. The nation's petroleum reserve wouldn't be much help if refinery facilities were out of commission. And, gasoline imports wouldn't be able to fill the gap, since virtually all foreign gasoline makers are operating at capacity now.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 20, 2007 8:03 AM

Finally, there is coal. We are told that there is enough coal in the ground for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years, at the present rate of use. The fact that these estimates range over a factor of ten tells you immediately that nobody has the foggiest notion of how much coal is actually available. But even those projections might be considered reliable, compared to the second part of that optimistic sentence: “at the present rate of use”! We’ll get to that in a moment.

The largest coal deposits are in the United States, and China and Russia have very large reserves as well. Coal can be liquefied and made into a substitute for oil. That was done in Nazi Germany during World War II, and in South Africa under apartheid. That alone should tell you that you have to be fairly desperate to do it, but it can be done.

But, coal is a dirty, dirty fuel. It often comes with nasty impurities, including mercury, arsenic, and sulfur. The mercury that accumulates in the bodies of tuna or swordfish—and which has led to FDA warnings to limit our consumption of these fish—originates in coal-fired power plants in the United States. We use now about twice as much energy from oil as we do from coal, so if you wanted to mine enough coal to replace the missing oil, you’d have to mine it at a much higher rate, not only to replace the oil, but also because the conversion process to oil is extremely inefficient. You’d have to mine it at levels at least five times beyond those we mine now—a coal-mining industry on an absolutely unimaginable scale.

And even that doesn’t take into account the world’s increasing population, or the fact that nations like China and India want to have a higher standard of living, which means burning more energy. Finally, it doesn’t take into account the Hubbert’s Peak effect, which is just as valid for coal as it is for oil. Long before we have mined the last ton, we will have started to deplete our ability to get the stuff out of the ground. So, it’s a very good bet that the governing “rate of use” number I mentioned earlier is not hundreds or thousands of years, and that no more than one-tenth of that timeframe represents a realistic estimate.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 20, 2007 8:11 AM

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 20, 2007 12:37 PM

I was wathing something on the discovery channel.

This guy was planing on building basically a giant smoke stake surrounded by acres of glass pannels. The theory was the sunlight magnifies heat thru the glass which is slopped slightly upwards twords the stack. The heated air expands pushing itself thur wind turbines at the base of the stack and up along the stack, meanwhile colder air is naturally sucked in from the preimiter to be heated under the glass and contiue the process. Looked intersting, dont know how viable it is though, but it looked really interesting

Posted by: lujlp at July 20, 2007 1:55 PM

lujilp; Without knowing more about it I can't say for sure but I don't think it would work. And if it did, I don't think it could generate power effectively. I do have a degree in mechanical engineering so I'm not just spouting off.

Everyone is in such a rush to blame the Detroit automakers. But the rest of the world had this tech for 100 years. Why is no one blaming them?

There are good reasons why the internal combustion piston engine has become our locomotion of choice. It is a relatively stable, available fuel that has a high energy density. Yes, hybrids could have been implemented earlier but only as serial hybrids (gasoline engine turns generator runs electric motors, now common in locomotives). The Prius is successful because it is a complex hybrid that uses a unique planetary CVT that allows the car to be powered individually by either power source or jointly. But because of this, it has an incredibly complex control system that controls power delivery.

Also, battery tech didn't keep up with the improvements in the internal combustion engine. As cars got bigger and heavier because of safety, comfort, and reliability electric power simply couldn't meet the performance and range people were demanding.

The CNW report has been widely quoted and widely vilified but it does raise a good point that no one has conclusively proven either way: what is the effect of producing the electric motors, batteries, and other equipment unique to hybrids?

Posted by: Scott at July 23, 2007 12:01 PM

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