Posted by: grokscience | December 28, 2011

Electric Cars

The electric car has seen some false starts, but new technical advances and changes to the global environment are propelling the adoption of these vehicles. On this program, Jim Motavalli discussed the new developments in the electric car.

Find more electrons… đŸ˜‰




  1. Plug ins and others may work fine in rich areas with garages, but for billions who live in apartments (Most of Asia, Europe, Africa, generally cities), having a house with garage to plug in the car _and_ living in the city is only for the very rich. Trying to sell it to someone who live in 500 sqft apt with impossible to find parking within a mile is not going to work. Compounding the problem is many poorer countries in middle east, asia, africa have regular blackouts and rationed electricity. Looking globally, electric cars makes no sense for much of the world.

    Typical electric car is the size of compact which are typically bought by people living in 500 sqft apt, so market for electric that cost double will be very small. GM saw this when they killed the electric car, EV1. Heck, I’m not an economist, and I only travel the world in internet, and I see the obvious: why make electric car for 0.001% of the market when I can spend much less money (money=effort) to make car for 15% of the market? Both numbers are pulled out of my a**, but you get the point.

    Another is electric supply. If everyone had plug in, grid will be overloaded. Even before then, electric cost will go up (supply and demand). But if price control is made (save the poor!), there will be shortages and blackouts, making it far worse for everyone. Unless there is a way to charge from home without electricity from the grid, mass adoption is a bad idea.

    What is the answer? I don’t know, but small plug in electric cars that rely on power from the grid is not going to work. How about a mid size car that runs on gas with Atkinson cycle internal combustion engine and coolant storage for thermal efficiency, but also has electric motor and generator and doesn’t rely on the grid? What’s that? They already have it? Prius? Oh yeah, I drive one of those.

  2. To MiK
    Well-meaning as you clearly are (and I agree 100% with your analysis of the pathetic market for EVs), your Prius (in most drivers’ hands) does worse mileage than I achieve in my 2.2 Diesel Civic. The difference is that I drive smoothly and efficiently, anticipating the need to slow down and so on.
    By changing the behaviour of drivers (who are almost all aggressive and wasteful here in the UK) we could reduce our collective personal transport fuel burn by at least 25%. And that is without any further changes to the technology whatever.
    Another item worthy of note here in the UK is that every EV and Hybrid sold here is subsidised by £5000 of taxpayers’ money. A profligacy we can ill afford and which does nothing to help the environment.

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