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Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

Posted June 28, 2010 7:31 AM

Cheaper gasoline/electric hybrid automotive powertrain architectures using fewer electric motor/generators are hitting the marketplace this year. Do you think this will cut enough into the "hybrid price premium" new car buyers face so that sales of these low mileage vehicles will increase significantly?

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#1

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/28/2010 11:46 AM

I still don't see the benefit to Hybrid for the environment. The copper in the electrical motors and generators still takes tons of fossil fuels to produce and tends to come from an open pit strip mine like this:

Then you have the mine for the nickel in the batteries:

The wastes from these mines causes pollution in ground water that could take thousands of years to clean up and has been known to cause cancer and birth defects as well as crop failures in the surrounding areas.

Proponents of hybrids are just trading one evil for another.

You wanna save the environment? Walk

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/28/2010 7:00 PM

I fully agree that we need to do more walking. But many societies today are not centralized enough to permit walking as the primary form of transportation. To answer the unspoken rebuttal, I also support mass transit where applicable.

But as far as the complaint that hybrids are just the trading of one evil for another, well isn't that a standard decision of all engineering choices choosing one evil for another. This should also be a consumer's choice, heck it is their money that they're using to choose a vehicle. Yes most people do not fully understand all of the implications of the choice before they buy. But I'd be happy if I could claim I fully understood the implications of 10% of my purchases.

I do not believe that hybrids are the single answer to our energy/environmental problems. I do think that they are a part of the answer and that they need further refinement that will only come with time and redesign. So knock it off showing disrespect for a new technology. The automobiles of 1860 were far less practical than the horses used then and much more expensive too.

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/29/2010 2:07 AM

The copper mine looks like Butt, Montana. Where is the nickel mine--Sudbury, Ontario, by chance?

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/29/2010 10:16 AM

No Sudbury is not an open pit mine

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/29/2010 10:25 AM

Proponents of hybrids are just trading one evil for another.

So are proponents of internal combustion engines. We could use coal-fired steam to move our vehicles. Centralizing the production and emission of waste makes it easier in some ways for us to retain, reclaim and re-use it.

You wanna save the environment? Walk

Everyplace is walking distance if you have the time. - Stephen Wright

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#3

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/29/2010 2:02 AM

the hybrid concept is equal to the old "bait'n switch"...

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#7

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/29/2010 10:27 AM

Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Australia

Kennecott Copper Mine No. 22,
Bingham Valley, Utah 1983

Granted a lot of mines are in barren areas but water flows down hill and the best farmland is at the bottom.

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#8

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/29/2010 12:31 PM

The idea of a steady speed generator is fine and will be good - once the manufacturers get up to speed and competing for the market.

Right now they are just competing for early adopter greens for which they can keep the price unrealistic.

Hope they get to 'steady state' competition soon!

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#9

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/30/2010 8:28 AM

There are many who have a vested interest in not producing a totally electric vehicle.The electric vehicle is very simple to manufacture,compared to a combustion engine.

Imagine a vehicle with a pancake type motor on 2 or more drive wheels,with a controller and battery pack. Very durable,trouble free, and cheap to make.Perhaps you would only trade in the body for a newer model, if all manufacturers would agree on a standard frame configuration.The present infrastructure would have to change dramtically.Detroit would have to totally retool.Many jobs would be lost.Therefor, there will be a little progress, but a slow one towards totally electric vehicles.The hybrid is a stop-gap measure to ease the public into the new concept.

The shape of the vehicles will change drastically.Why do you need a long, bulky hood if there is no engine to cover?But drastic style changes are often rejected by the public, so the changes must be spoon fed to them a little at the time.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/30/2010 9:02 AM

Is the electric car even ready for prime time? No

Is the battery & related system ready for prime time - Only barely

Is the electric grid ready to replace all the service stations around? No and not by a long way

The hybrid looks like a good intermediate step that will be around the next 2- to 30 years.

This lightweight car you mention will pass all safety standards? Eventually probably but today many are little more than expensive toys.

If Detroit needs to retool they will - the market will push it on them - no big deal.

I always laugh when on some green site some clown brings up 'Who killed the electric car?' No one - the prototypes were not yet ready to take a place on the market. Even today the batteries are marginal.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/30/2010 10:11 AM

Good Answer but I do disagree with your final comment. The EV1 proved that for the most common use of the automobile today, a local commuter vehicle, the technology of the all electric automobile is obtainable today. These vehicles whetted a significant portion of the public appetite for an electric commuter vehicle about a dozen years ago. Yes, today's electric grid infra-structure cannot handle the increase in off hour loading that would happen if any significant fraction of the populace switched to an electric vehicle. Yes, the known chemical resources for batteries may not permit immediate large scale production. But this would not happen overnight, so I believe these points are moot. Yes, any long distance driving will likely remain the realm of the internal combustion engine due to the very high usable energy density of organic fuels and the ease and speed of refueling.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/30/2010 10:21 AM

EV1 was an important step but the idea of a great conspiracy killing it I disagree with.

The auto is too complex of a technology (a mix of many components from different disciplines) to make the changes required for EV1 overnight.

EV1 led to where we are today and marked the path.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

06/30/2010 10:40 AM

Oh, I agree that it wasn't a conspiracy that killed the EV1. I think that it was just simple GM management stupidity that killed the EV1. They developed a product that filled a market that nobody knew previously existed. Instead of filling this niche with a reasonably good product, they pissed off the public by just forcibly yanking the EV1 from those that loved it. Now GM required a bailout to survive, the Volt is still a pipe dream and Toyota and Honda are running away with the hybrid market. If so many honest workers wouldn't be hurt by GM disappearing, I'd be happy if they just died.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/01/2010 12:17 PM

GM Quality went to hell when they discovered they could make more money financing the cars than by selling them.Their focus shifted to GMAC, which was the cash cow for GM.Then GMAC ventured into more than just cars, and became involved in mortgage, etc.This, in my opinion, was the beginning of the end for GM.

They rested on their laurels, which was built with years of quality craftmanship, but when the crap hit the streets, the crap hit the fans.You cannot give me a new GM vehicle of any kind.I have had 2 new vehicles from them, and they are crap.Nevermore!quothe the Raven.When the rear windshield blows out, driving down the highway at 60 mph, that is real quality.When the outside rear view mirror falls out of the frame due to a cold booger holding it to the frame, that's quality.When the clear coat dies after 2 years, that's great stuff.When the outside windshield molding curls up and pulls loose form the windshield, thats excellent.When the air bag cover pulls loose form the dash and folds up like a Taco, that is making a real statement of quality in action.These are personal experiences with GM products that I have had, not heresay from other people.

I am sure I am not alone with these problems.The mechanics at the dealership are a total waste of time, they bypassed an EGR valve to cure a skipping problem I had, instead of replacing it as they should have.I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

NO MORE GM PRODUCTS FOR ME! and then the president of GM lies to the public saying GM has repaid their loan when in fact they simply transferred more tax money to cover the debt.That proves that figures don't lie.

BUT LIARS CAN FIGURE!

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/01/2010 12:38 PM

Must be a little hard on your cars!

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#22
In reply to #15

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 11:24 AM

Looks like guest had some genuine quality problems to me.Glass blowing out?Mirrors falling off? Clear coat dying? Improper dealer servicing?

When he changed brands, did the problems follow him, or not. Give us some feedback, guest,please.

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 12:14 PM

He won't - this is just one of the off the wall rants someone dreams up.

The quality problems are a sore point with everyone so it is popular to carry on about it on the net - no proof necessary.

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#28
In reply to #24

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/03/2010 6:38 AM

I am the guest that posted the so called "rant" about GM quality.I have since purchased Honda's.No problems, just routine maintenance.4 Hondas, over 300,000 mile each,still running great when I sold them and bought new ones.No fading paint or clear coat, no popped up vinyl dash, no mirrors falling off, no windows blowing out.

These Hondas were made in the USA by American workers, so what is the problem?

MANAGEMENT and quality control. After WWII we taught the Japanese how to build quality cars, and they rememebred their lessons well.Somewhere along the way, corporate greed and myopic planning, we forgot what we once knew so well.

"Bye,Bye, American Pie" .....

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/03/2010 4:24 PM

So, why wont you register? Too chicken to present yourself?

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/03/2010 4:30 PM

It is more fun for him to just chatter - probably already registered but posting anonymously so as to deflect comments.

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#16

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/01/2010 12:49 PM

Not ready for prime time? Look at the Tesla.Check out the nano-phosphate lithium ion batteries, and the newest improvement in lithium batteries for density.Conspiracy, hardly a conspiracy.Just a lack of motivation.It will take a manufacturer out of the mainstream to really wake up the big 4,perhaps TATA Motors?

Electric vehicles are cheaper to make and maintain, but major changes will have to be made in our infrastucture to accommodate the charging stations.On the other hand, with millions of cars sitting fully charged, connected to the grid, there is a tremendous volume of stored energy to help furnish peak loads by backfeeding the grid, since all vehicles are not on the road at the same time.With world wide interfacing of grids, the demand could rotate with the planet, following the sunrise, sundown cycle., with solar and wind helping to light and power the dark side of the planet.When they sleep in China, we work over here. A good balance.

Every intersection could have a magnetic coil imbedded to charge cars at the stop lights, when needed.The on-board computer would debit your account for the amount used,as well a milage for a highway tax.Coils could also be imbedded in the Interstates to charge while in motion, never interrupting your trip.Actual driving will not be nescessary, just relax,take a nap, eat, whatever, and leave the driving to the computer.

Larger vehicles like trucks could also use this method to keep up their charge status.Going downhill the power would go back into the car or the grid, depending on the need at the moment.Your juice going down the hill might help the other guy coming up the hill.Electrodynamic braking would mean no more runaway trucks in the mountains, instead their momentum would level out the usage of their uphill climb.

Cars would be soft-skinned, not rigid, and move like sheep, keeping a very close computer controlled distance, even touching sometimes, but no harm done.Bodies by Rubbernmaid.

I know this is a little forward looking, but this, and much more it is what I see over the horizon, too bad I might not be around to see it.

Exciting times ahead.!!!!

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 3:05 AM

'Beam me up Scotty'? Your charging suggestions border on science fiction - or make that fantasy fiction.

Not looking forward but reading too many green sites.

TATA? Come on!

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#21
In reply to #18

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 11:18 AM

Put this in your hard copy files and open it up in 20 years, and see what was fantasy,fiction, or prediction.Of course, it all depends on whether we blow ourselves back to the stone ages in the meantime.

I am not afraid of criticism of my vision, better than to have none at all.Anytime an idea challenges the current powers that be, it is ridiculed.

The magnetic coupling concept has been used by GM to charge their EV's without hard-wire connection.This is just implementing it on a larger scale.

Herding behavior is the most efficient way to move large numbers as a group.Look at harvester ants, moving 10 million citizens,and their valuables to another location in a 24 hour period.They maintain close ranks by non-damaging contact.This can be accomplished via radar/sonar without contact, using contact only to adjust for accumulative errors.

Anyone remember the first Honda to be sold in the USA, and how people laughed?

Or the first VW?

Where are the hecklers now? Wishing they had bought the first dealership.

Maybe not TATA, per se, but a similar upstart (perhaps BAA! BAA!) (pardon the pun) will give the people what they want, not what others think they want.

IMHO

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#26
In reply to #21

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 4:43 PM

While the magnetic coupling idea does solve many logistic problems, it is completely impractical in reality. The contact-less magnetic coupling of the EV1 charger had about a 1mm plastic separation between primary and secondary cores. Now I don't remember the math right now off the top of my head, but I believe that the magnetic field strength reduces with the square of the distance. So to provide the same magnetic field strength, a vehicle with a 33mm ground clearance would require nearly 1089 more magnetic energy for the same charge rate. Not gonna happen. You'll have more success using photovoltaic cells and charging off of the daylight. Now unlike the link that requires purely solar power, this will not completely power most electric vehicles. I'm just saying that a solar charge will be more effective than a road bed based magnetic coupled charge.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 6:02 PM

I know about the inverse square law, but I had considered a drop-down carrier, supported by a pressurized air column,(like a hover craft) to get the coils in close proximity to each other. At an intersection, with vehicle stopped, the air cushion could be eliminated for faster transfer of power, and retracted as the lights changed.Alternatively,the primary could have a pop-up mechanism at intersections.

Not all coils on the freeway would have a load applied,only when signalled by a vehicle needing a charge would they come into play.The flyback voltage from these coils could be stored or used to enerrgize other coils.

Perhaps this technology could be implemented in an urban environment first, to relieve smog in big cites.The car would not have to have a long range, since it would have an opportunity to charge at every stop.Many of these coils would be required to service the many cars stopped at any given time.

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#17

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/01/2010 12:57 PM

Greenbushes Lithium Mine Site

Yet another trade of one evil for another!

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#19
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Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 3:06 AM

The alternative?

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 10:45 AM

At this point the lesser of the evils should be analysed. From a Farmers point of view...Mines have been responsible for crop failures all over the world. Every time wheat was that crop, farmers felt the crunch as demand grew. Sure the increase in the price for the unaffected was great, but you try holding the feed bucket when standing in the lion cage.

The press seems to cover the mines less because a flood of cyanide and arsenic laced water out into the forrest doesn't affect the eco-system as immediately drastically and as visibly as an oil spill in the ocean. Sometimes the mines do it on purpose without getting caught.

It was not untill real recently that underground aquifers have been extensively studied and found to cover even larger areas than oil fields. Once better understanding is achieved, better control procedures should be able to be put in place.

I am not saying which is more evil, I am saying that we should try to understand that our growth and lust for new technology may be needing to back up for a bit and take another look at the end result.

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#23
In reply to #20

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 12:11 PM

I understand what you are saying but things ain't gonna change. Many people around the world all want a better life style - they are not very interested in regressing.

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#25
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Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/02/2010 12:39 PM

I just took the opportunity to rant. Thanks for listening.

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#31

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/08/2010 8:23 AM

Hybrids score by being able to reclaim a reasonable proportion of braking energy and return it when accelerating. To do this, they must carry a significant weight of batteries. This is why some small, lightweight diesel cars achieve better fuel economy than a hybrid - the hybrid is just too heavy. As far as damage to the environment is concerned from mining, look at the area actually damaged by a mine and compare it to the totality of the surrounding countryside. The damaged and polluted area is normally only a small fraction, but looks bad when you concentrate on just the mine (pit) area. Some rehabilitated mines are actually better than the original landscape - Mary Kathleen uranium mine, many ex sand mines to name only a couple. (One sand mine on the Gold Coast of Queensland did such a good job of reclamation that the greens were using pictures of the site as an example of "before mining" in contrast to a site being mined!) Sorry about the formatting, I'm using "Chrome" and it seems to lose the formatting I put in when it publishes the result. It also won't let me spell check.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/08/2010 10:08 AM

You obviously haven't looked into how wide spread the damage from ground water contamination can be.

There is mercury showing up in irrigation water in Eastern Oregon that has been traced to mining operations in Nevada.

Thats 400 miles away. Now these farmers cannot grow food crops.

As the worlds population grows, the earth cannot afford to lose any food production.

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/08/2010 10:23 AM

Further proof that for this planet to survive we must remove all of humanity. Or am I misunderstanding your point.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/08/2010 10:27 AM

You suggesting mass suicide...

Mass murder...

Or just remove all safety and OSHA regulations and watch the dumb ones drop like flies?

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#35
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Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/08/2010 10:48 AM

Actually I'm trying to suggest that with the exception of a few truly deranged individuals we are all trying to improve human life on this planet. Occasionally the best of intentions do go awry. When mishaps happen, you don't destroy all of the good that an attempt did because an unexpected impact happened.

Hybrid vehicles and the mining required to produce the raw materials for the latest battery technology are the latest approach at maximizing the energy usage society needs today. Instead of debating the pros and cons of hybrid technology, you've turned this thread into your own personal condemnation of mining in general.

We all impact others in unexpected ways. Here, you've stifled any meaningful dialog.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Penny for Your (Hybrid) Thoughts?

07/09/2010 5:40 PM

Got no answer, I see no point in continuing this arguement.

Gonna try to not push my political views on this site in the future.

Thats not what this site is for anyway.

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