Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ghosn on Project Better Place, Not for The US

Ghosn says exactly what I've been saying about BP:

"You could not imagine something like this in a country like Austrailia, Russia, or the US."

Why does the head of the one large automaker who's actually working with BP make this claim?  Because he says the swap stations are too expensive.  Couple expensive swap stations with a small country such as Israel which can be entirely covered with a single recharge and it's pretty obvious BP isn't even necessary in Israel.  I'd love to see some statistics as to how often the swap feature is even used in Israel when this actually goes into operation.  As I've been saying for a long time, BP and swapping is completely unnecessary and likely to fail.
BP Fail
More Fail

Sunday, June 19, 2011

One Billion Electric Vehicles

X 1,000,000,000

One of the arguments that the anti-EV crowd tries to use against EV's is that there simply is not enough material to build all the batteries needed for a significant number of EV's.  I've never seen any credible numbers to back up that assertion, all estimates show plenty of lithium in the world, and I've never seen any projected restrictions on the various other materials used in battery construction.  A new study has come out that shows we have enough raw material to build one billion 40kWh EV packs.  That means we could replace every car on the road in the world today with an EV, almost twice over.

On the order of 1 billion 40 kWh Li-based EV batteries could be built with the currently estimated reserve base of lithium, according to a recent study by researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley. Lifetime system cost, and other factors, will likely limit scale up more than resource constraints, they found.
Worth noting that the LEAF pack is 24kWh so you could actually produce even more EV's like the LEAF, but I think one billion EV's should carry us for a while.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Volt Is Not An EV

 He's not driving an EV

It seems like such an obvious statement yet there remains a lot of confusion about this issue.  Let me first state that I have nothing against the Volt, I think a plug in hybrid is a reasonable option for some people.  I do have a problem with GM marketing trying to push a plug in hybrid as an electric vehicle, while at the same time taking shots at the perceived weakness of electric vehicles.  It sends mixed messages and confuses the issue, even backfiring and hurting GM itself.  I've seen a number of comments criticizing the Volt as an over priced EV that can only go 40 miles.  Obviously they missed the point that it's actually a plug in hybrid that can go further when the gas motor turns on.  GM has been trying to sell the Volt as a Range Extended Electric Vehicle, REEV, or an Extended Range Electric Vehicle, EREV, both terms that they made up.  The Volt is simply a Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, PHEV.  This is to differentiate it from something like the Prius, a Hybrid Electric Vehicle, HEV, or simply hybrid.  Hybrid and plug in hybrid simply and directly denote the differences between the two types.  To dig further the Volt is a parallel/series hybrid, probably the most complex setup possible.  A parallel hybrid means that both the electric motor and ICE can power the wheels directly, think Prius.  A series hybrid has no connection between the ICE and the wheels, it's strictly an on board generator.  The Volt uses clutches to allow various connections between the electric motor, ICE, and wheels, depending on conditions, hence the parallel/series designation.
This complexity is one of the reasons it's so important not to call the Volt an EV, since an EV has none of these complexities.  An EV also does not have a gas tank, exhaust system, or an internal combustion engine.  An EV will never need an oil change, or spark plugs, drive belts, O2 sensor, fuel pump, fuel filter, air filter, catalytic converter, muffler, fuel lines, etc.
Some Volt owners argue that they never use the gas motor and only drive on electricity, which is great, but doesn't make it an EV, and also doesn't make much sense.  Why are you paying extra to haul around a gas tank and ICE that you don't need and that your goal is not to use?  That's like driving around in a pickup truck every day and never using the bed, or driving an off road capable vehicle and never driving where you actually need four wheel drive.
From all accounts the Volt seems like well designed, innovative vehicle, and for potential EV drivers who still need training wheels or actually need to use the gas motor part of the time, it's a good choice.  However, it is not and never will be an EV, it's a PHEV.

New data showing that the Volt is not an EV:
Electric vehicle means a vehicle that is powered by an electric motor drawing current from rechargeable storage batteries or other portable electrical energy storage devices, provided that:
      (1) Recharge energy must be drawn from a source off the vehicle, such as residential electric service; and
      (2) The vehicle must comply with all provisions of the Zero Emission Vehicle definition found in 40 CFR 88.104-94(g).