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Required Energy for Electric Car

03/20/2010 11:03 PM

i was following BBC news and saw the presentation from a small Indian electric car i tought Ravo

Can anbody explain me what these cars will consume for a trip from 100 km?

It,s nice to work on CO2 reduction bud if we move the problem in consuming more electricity than petrol,diesel or LPG cargas then we just become in some years more polution from power producers maby we just moved the polution from the city to a industrial powerplant?

Then electric cars are not the solution!!!

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#1

Re: Howe mutch energy and electric car need ?

03/21/2010 12:51 AM

The Reva consumes about 100 wh per km or 10 kWh for 100 km.

Whether the car ends up creating more pollution or less (and consumes more resources or less) depends upon how the electricity is generated. The worst case generation is by coal-fired plants, which are generally 33% efficient (and maybe 30% from coal to charging outlet). Charging is about 90% efficient with advanced batteries, and the motor/controller is about 85% efficient, so the overall efficiency from fuel to the motor output is about 25%.

The electric motor does not idle, and is not strongly effected by load, whereas a petrol engine spends time idling, and gets very low efficiency at low load (but approximately 30% efficiency at high load). So while the overall efficiency of the electric car is about 20-25% from fuel to road, the typical petrol engine car is more like 15%-20% (and lower than that in city traffic). So in the worst case scenario, an electric car is more efficient in using its fuel (coal) than a petrol car is in using its.

For other generation schemes, the electric car looks significantly to dramatically better, with the best schemes being to generate the electricity with solar cells or wind.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Howe mutch energy and electric car need ?

03/21/2010 4:51 AM

Thanks for your comment,this was the answer i needed,I bean installing co-generation powerplants with gas turbines bud was only wondering the consumtion because solving a problem in polution on one side and just created a bigger problem on the other shut be terrible!

I know that a lot off powerplants still need some modification to run on low Nox and hope that heaven more inviormental energy sourches will be used in powerproduction,1 off these is tidal turbines and 2 wave generation

anyway thanks for your tip

Jan

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#3

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/22/2010 1:12 AM

G'day Janid,

Since you're interested in electric cars you may wish to have a look at my CR4 blog on the future of energy. This link will take you to the Table of Contents page where you will find links to a whole host of threads that look at potential energy sources. There is also a whole section dedicated to looking at all sorts of transport including electric, hybrid, hydrogen, etcetera powered vehicles.

Also one thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is the use of regenerative braking. In a petrol or combustion engine vehicle you stop by converting the kinetic energy of the vehicles motion into heat in the brakes which is then vented to the atmosphere and wasted.

However, on an electric vehicle it is possible to turn the driving motor into a generator that decelerates the car and recaptures up to 80% of the kinetic energy that would have otherwise been wasted. Now this is where the really big gains can be made especially in city like traffic where you start and stop on a frequent basis. With a petrol vehicle every time you stop all that energy is wasted while with the electric vehicle you get a fairly hefty chunk of it back. The more congested the traffic the more starting and stopping there is and the more efficient electric vehicles become when compared to petrol vehicles.

Regards, masu

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#4

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/22/2010 1:57 AM

Reva is made here in Bangalore. It is a small car. Looks like a ant cut in half. A lot them are on the Bangalore roads. My neighbour drives one.

http://www.revaglobal.com/

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#5

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/22/2010 4:20 AM

Though if the vehicle's energy were derived from a solar-, hydro-, wave- or wind-based power plant, the situation would be completely different.

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#6

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/22/2010 12:23 PM

Efficiency is a badly mis-used word. You are correct that it is less efficient to drive a generator, transmit the power over land, transform it to direct current and charge a battery and then discharge the battery into motors than it is to simply drive the wheels directly. However, as many posts here on CR4 on this topic in the past have shown, it is not efficiency which is the issue. It is the sudden realization that within a few decades, there won't be any gasoline to buy because we will have run out of oil, and nobody will let us burn it if we had it because they don't all want to die from the results of global warming.

I think we need electric cars because the smoke will be produced somewhere else than in the cities where all the cars are. But I also think we really need to get rid of the whole idea of "automobiles". We didn't have them a hundred years ago, and we wouldn't need them now if we had decent public transportation. (Oh go on....busses are SO last century, I'm talking moving sidewalks, monorails and programmed taxi's here!) Electric cars cannot ever be more than a band aid solution.

The water has been muddied by people with agenda. They conveniently forget the environmental and financial cost of manufacturing batteries, the cost of finding and mining scarce materials to make the batteries, the cost of disposing of batteries in an environmental fashion when they no longer hold a charge, the difficulty of finding mechanics competent to maintain these automobiles, and the taxation component applied to energy, which will rise dramatically as they start to tax electricity at the same rate as gasoline. (here in Canada, that rate is about 300 to 400% according to the price breakdown listed on my neighbourhood gas pumps) Also often forgotten is that the infrastructure required to charge a few million automobiles every night...when already we are experiencing brown outs and transformer failures from overuse particularly during the summer months; clearly the electrical system in place now cannot handle all those automobile batteries on charge every night. This infrastructure is very expensive and WILL require upgrading.

Then there is the environmental cost...new coal burning plants will come on line, which will be subject to serious new environmental regulations regarding Carbon Dioxide emissions... which I suspect may be ignored for many political reasons. (This was Janid's point, and it is a very good one!)

Then there is the poor efficiency involved in building cars of any kind, only to have them rust away and become useless within a half a decade. Good for the auto industry, bad for the planet. A massive source of inefficiency! So many areas for improvement right there alone!

So many things to consider, and there is a simple, obvious and WRONG solution to all of them. If I were to put my money into development of new technology, I would not put it into electric cars...the personal transportation model is increasingly becoming untenable...electric only delays the inevitable day when we will have to go to an alternative. And why not? Only a hundred years ago, the streets of Ottawa were unpaved, horses were common everywhere, and sidewalks were made from wood. I'm not suggesting going back to horses, they are a two hundred year old solution. The automobile is a hundred year old solution. It is time that we started looking at modern solutions to personal transportation instead of putting new wine into old bottles.

Lest I sound discouraging, I assure you that I am not! I am merely pointing out that there is a train bearing down on us called "peak oil and global warming", and that perhaps we should get off this crossing! Arguing about whether we should walk, run, bicycle or take a car are fun, but the one thing we won't be able to do is to ride that train any more! I have pointed out many feasable areas we can be looking at in the past, so I will sit back this time, and allow my good friends here on CR4 to come up with some alternatives. Mayhap someone will start a new thread or several new threads , and with luck somebody will read them, and maybe come up with a way to stop that train.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/22/2010 1:53 PM

However, as many posts here on CR4 on this topic in the past have shown, it is not efficiency which is the issue.

Although efficiency is a big part of the issue. Fuel-burning power plants range from about 30% efficient to 60%. It is better from a resource consumption and pollution standpoint to generate electricity more efficiently.

There is also a related type of efficiency which we could call vehicular efficiency: the energy used to move one person one mile. This relates to the size, streamlining, and weight of the vehicle, the sort of efficiency mentioned above, and the efficiencies of each component. In this sense, the Reva is about twice as efficient as a Tesla roadster. Then there is manufacturing efficiency, where the Reva is also about twice as efficient as the Tesla. In this sense, buses range from quite efficient to hideously inefficient, depending upon passenger load.

Electric cars cannot ever be more than a band aid solution.

I think that over the course of the next 100 years, electric cars (and other electric vehicles) could become the norm for personal transportation. For air travel, I doubt that electric motors will make sense (although electric RC planes are impressive) but for trains and subways electric propulsion makes sense (and is the norm in subways). Trucks could be powered electrically, much of the time, via rails embedded in major highways. This could be about 20% more efficient than the current situation, because the waste heat (at a power plant) could be used, rather than throwing it off into the environment as a truck does (and would enable regenerative braking, etc.)

Getting people to make significant changes (to buy a smaller car, let alone to ride public transportation) is very difficult, but eventually, the alternatives to electric cars will be too expensive to operate, and perhaps electron guzzlers (like the Tesla) will also be too expensive, at which time small highly-efficient electric vehicles will become the norm. The situation in India is not unlike it could become in the US. There, fuel cost is a real issue for people, and so the Reva sells well. Here, if gas gets up $6.00 - $8.00, (in today's dollars) then small electric cars will look attractive.

I went out to lunch with my dad (age 90) recently, and as we looked around at the wretched excess (in a typical suburban commercial mall area), pondered the thought that if people started to buy just what they need, the whole market would collapse. (This is the major cause of the current recession, but the reduction in what people buy vs what they need has been very small. Imagine if all the people who are convinced they need $60,000 cars suddenly decide they can do just fine with $15,000 cars, and $150,000 houses instead of $1,000,000 houses.)

In the US, we make these changes in fits and spurts, with brief reactive belt tightening, and then resumption of old spending and consuming patterns. Eventually, as energy costs become consistently higher (and probably not until then) we will be driven to higher efficiency in moving people.

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/23/2010 4:15 PM

I look at efficiency as being a red herring....I would rather work with cost analysis. How can you compare the crude burning of coal versus the highly refined difficult to distribute gasoline? Efficiency figures can be so misleading, how do you calculate the injuries and deaths from privately operated motor vehicles versus the usefulness of not having to call a cab after your party? What price efficiency?

I think you have the correct idea; A look at the parking lot of a shopping centre is telling....all those people have to find a place to park, a "paved" place to park. All those cars have to be strip mined out of the ground, smelted down into steel. All those tires have to be refined out of the oil. And eventually, we will have to dispose of these cars. Now lets suppose (just pretend....) a municipality decided that any car that went downtown would pay a fifty dollar surcharge per day to go there. A toll. And that taxi's would pay nothing, and in fact, the municipality would pay the taxi fare.

The result? A lot smaller parking lot in front of walmart, for one thing. For another thing, a lot of people would not bother buying cars, and would take taxi's instead. For a third thing, a lot fewer people would die or become injured on the roads simply because there will be a lot fewer cars. Parking spaces will become a lot easier to find for those who simply MUST take their car into the downtown. (It will never happen of course, General Motors would scream blue murder! Until, of course, they got the contract to make nine passenger mini-van taxi's.)

I use this example only to illlustrate that it is possible even now with NO technological changes to reduce the congestion and inefficiency of the motor car without giving up any thing. Without giving up driving if you can afford it! I like the idea of a cost which would be born by the individual instead of the public as a whole. The steps here are simple, and have proven to be very effective. London, England instituted a congestion charge. It works.

No, its not popular. It just works.

But here is no fancy tech solution, just a reasonable answer to a problem we can all see if we open our eyes. Electric cars won't solve the problem of the thousands lying in hospital beds missing limbs, electric cars won't solve the problem of gridlock and traffic congestion. Electric cars won't solve the problem of too many cars and too few parking spaces.

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#8

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/22/2010 8:02 PM

It is not "nice" to reduce recycling of carbon to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Returning it increases plant growth rate and makes plants more resistant to drought. The idea that increases of CO2 in the atmosphere will cause dangerous global warming is just a myth propogated by greenies who want us to return to a pre-industrial style of life.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/23/2010 1:06 AM

Or conversely, it is the conclusion of more than 90% of the scientists who actually know what they are talking about and have studied the issue in depth.

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/23/2010 9:00 PM

In reply to Blink ("Or conversely ...'); try googling 31000 scientists petition and visit the site.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/24/2010 1:10 AM

There are no "scientists" without PhD's. I think of myself as "scientific", but do not have a PhD, and am therefore not a "scientist". 9000 PhDs out of 5,000,000 in the US signed, so .18% of the PhDs in the US deny that climate change is cause by man's influence.

If this is a popularity contest, I'll stick with the 99.82% who are not deniers.

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#17
In reply to #12

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

06/03/2010 12:11 AM

Blink, no, it's not a popularity contest, and it's illogical to assume that people who did not sign the petition were against it. Scientific matters are a matter of evidence. So why not check out

http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/climate-change/mcclintock-proofnotco2-2009.pdf

You can either check the evidence and make up your own mind, or just go with the flow and stick with the crowd. That's what sheep do.

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#13

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/26/2010 9:36 AM

Janid,

Sad to say, but you are generally correct that all-electric cars are not the best solution. I know that saying this is NOT politically correct but, sorry, it is the truth!Coal generates over half of the electricity in the US while natural gas is only about 21%. Wind and solar photovoltaic only make up a miniscule 2% or so, taken together. Add transmission losses to this and the efficiency numbers go south pretty fast. But it's not just efficiency; the social costs of coal are exhorbitant in terms of pollution and public health. There is no indication the fuel mix would change much with increased demand for power due to cars. Let's face it; wind is NOT really economic at all. The only reason wind is being built is because there are so many subsidies for it that they are hard to keep track of. We pay for wind at the electric meter and in our income taxes. If wind ever became 50% of the mix (don't worry, it won't), we would all be broke! Nuclear is a possible promising source, but our policies in the US date back to the 50s and we have been left behindcountries like France in this technology for decades. Hybrid cars are much more eficient than plug-ins. If we want to advance in this area, we should make hybrids that run on natural gas and make natgas available at the pumps. Rayzer

I continue to think that hybrids are better.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/27/2010 7:01 AM

"If we want to advance in this area, we should make hybrids that run on natural gas and make natgas available at the pumps."

Except your so called environmental lobby in California stymied the construction of an off shore LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) transfer facility that would have supplied the USA with enough LNG to reduce your coal consumption by about 50%.

The main complaint about the construction of the facility was that it would spoil the view. However, the transfer and docking facility was planned to be far enough out to sea that it would have been over the horizon so it wouldn't have been visible from the land.

"I continue to think that hybrids are better."

The problem with hybrids is precisely that they are a hybrid or mix of technologies and as a result there are a whole stack of compromises that screw things up with the big ones being:

  • Multiple Propulsion Systems: Hybrids have two motors, an electric motor that drives the wheels and an internal combustion motor that drives a generator. That's three very large chunks of material (electric motor, generator, internal combustion) that you have to lug around everywhere you go.
  • Complexity: You have to get all those very massive chunks of technology working together and that dramatically increases the complexity of the system and makes the whole thing extremely complex and prone to fault.

In general internal combustion engines are not well suited for use in motor vehicles. The problems all stem back to the torque profile of the engines which with petrol engines is maximum when the motor is running at about 75% of maximum. The only hassle with this is that in a car the time you need maximum torque isn't when you are travelling at 75% of your maximum speed but rather when you start from dead stop.

On the other hand electric motors produce maximum torque when they are not rotating which fits the usual profile of cars very well.

A well designed all electric vehicle can be an extremely efficient and work much better than any petrol powered vehicle. If you don't believe me have a look at this video.

PS: The vehicle in the video is based on the Ariel Atom, it's just had the petrol motor and drive train replaced with an electric drive system. You should have seen it against the NASCAR, poor old petrol NASCAR, didn't have a snow balls chance in hell catching it.

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#15
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Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/27/2010 1:43 PM
  • Multiple Propulsion Systems: Hybrids have two motors, an electric motor that drives the wheels and an internal combustion motor that drives a generator. That's three very large chunks of material (electric motor, generator, internal combustion) that you have to lug around everywhere you go.
  • Complexity: You have to get all those very massive chunks of technology working together and that dramatically increases the complexity of the system and makes the whole thing extremely complex and prone to fault.

In general internal combustion engines are not well suited for use in motor vehicles. The problems all stem back to the torque profile of the engines which with petrol engines is maximum when the motor is running at about 75% of maximum. The only hassle with this is that in a car the time you need maximum torque isn't when you are travelling at 75% of your maximum speed but rather when you start from dead stop.

Taken together, all this describes the motive for plug-in series hybrids, and more generally, series hybrids. My prototype is a plug-in series hybrid, and is very simple both conceptually, and in construction.

I think I may know what you are getting at with your last paragraph. But in practice, this is not an issue for performance: even very small. cheap cars can spin the wheels at a stoplight. It would be nice, at times, to have better acceleration at high speeds - and this is where electric cars fall short, in practice (with the Tesla and the Wright both petering out at a far lower speeds than their ICE equivalents).

The issue, environmentally (in terms of resource consumption) is that IC engines are more inefficient the further they get from their peak efficiency point, which is generally at full load, and perhaps 50%, or less, of maximum rpm. So in city traffic, fuel economy is poor, and even at highway cruise, it is sub-optimal, because highway cruise requires a small fraction of available HP, putting the engine far from its peak efficiency point (because of too-low loading).*

A well designed all electric vehicle can be an extremely efficient and work much better than any petrol powered vehicle.

I love to drive my hybrid with the engine turned off. Starting the engine reminds me of starting a sailboat auxiliary engine -- from pleasant silence to irritating noise. My prototype, however, has no attention to NVH (noise, harshness, vibration) issues. The Chevy Volt, on the other hand, will handle this stuff well, so the the engine will be unobtrusive. But each time my engine starts up, I would otherwise have to call a tow truck. (What sailor curses his iron sail when he's 5 miles from shore in a hot flat calm?) Even in my crude prototype, I'd rather put up with the noise than the towing bills and lost time.

Plug-in series hybrids: All the advantages of an electric car around town, without the crippling disadvantage of limited range.

There are some stunning mountain roads about an hour from where I live, where motorcyclists and Lotus drivers go to have fun. A Tesla (or a Wrightspeed) is useless for such things, because half way through the day, the batteries are dead. (Whereas their gasoline equivalents, the Lotus Elite and Ariel Atom are thrilling and practical.) Cadillac will bring out a sporty version of the Volt, at half the price of a Tesla, and its driver will be able to have fun without the headaches. In the spirited driving that Tesla and Wright have promoted, both vehicles plummet in range, with the Tesla getting 50 miles on a race track, rather than the almost 200 it can get on the road when driven by a grandmother.

But for around town, around a campus, etc., electric cars make sense, particularly if a family has the wealth and garage space for several cars for different purposes. For those less fortunate, a Chevy Volt makes sense, because it can serve as a family car, and won't leave you stranded if you make an unplanned trip during your work day, or on your way home.

* Contrary to popular opinion, electric motors are not immune to varying efficiencies at varying loads. This fact is what gives the Tesla Roadster it stunningly poor efficiency. It requires 310 Wh per mile whereas the old GM EV1 required just 190 Wh. (In just a decade, a 50% increase in consumption by the most visible, sporty electric car of each era!). The peak efficiencies of the motors are about the same at 90%, but the Tesla's motor is so large that it does not operate at peak efficiency very often.

In general internal combustion engines are not well suited for use in motor vehicles.

This is. of course, completely wrong. I'm not sure what you intended here, but even as an electric car promoter, I could not say this with a straight face. The ICE has provided reliable transportation for over 100 years, and the fact that it runs on an incredibly energy-dense fuel makes very light vehicles possible: the Tesla is 50% heavier than its gas engine equivalent, but cannot come close to matching it for practicality: You get home from work, and your wife is going into labor. Which car will you take, with the hospital 10 miles away: the electric with (maybe?) 10 miles left in its pack, or the ICE car with 200 miles of range left?

ICE's are wonderfully well-suited for use in motor vehicles. That's why we see so many of them in cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, motorcycles, motor scooters, etc. If they were poorly suited, they would have been replaced with something better generations ago. Several of my best memories have been powered by ICEs: seeking shelter from a storm, dealing with a tough anchorage, flying aerobatics, mountain drives, racing motorcycles, etc.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Required Energy for Electric Car

03/29/2010 10:35 AM

Masu,

You are preaching to the choir here about the LNG plant in CA. It was very short-sighted of CA to veto the plant, but typical of a state that did not allow any power plants to be built within its borders for nearly 10 years, until they had their infamous power blackout about a decade back. So, we agree on something. However, you need to sharpen your pencil- ONE LNG plant was going to displace HALF the coal used in the US? Come on now; think about how much coal is used in US.

Hybrid technology and high torque requirements in a motor vehicle were addressed in the most efficient manner decades ago- diesel electric locomotives are pretty much universal now. As you note, hybrids are more complex than a standard engine but despite the complexity nearly every auto manufacturer sells one that transports 5 adults comfortably at a competitive price. How much does your 2-seat Atom cost?

And your NASCAR meaure of "efficiency" has nothing to do with anything. A top fuel dragster would leave an Atom in the dust at the starting line, but it proves nothing about the efficiency of either one. Instead of sending natgas to be used directly by the car engine, you would have it go to a distant power plant engine, which has its own efficiency losses, then it would travel through transmission lines, incuring significant losses, through step-down transformers and distribution lines, more losses, and then into a battery which is not perfectly efficient either.

And the bottom line in US is that half of the power going into your electric car is produced by mercury-spewing, coal power plants. So, let's not kid ourselves that pure electric cars are "zero" emission or highly efficient.

Rayzer

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