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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MACDRIVE, Jun 10, 2006.
Rather interesting. But the classic issues surface again-- aren't photovoltaic solar panels prohibitively expensive? What about the weight and expense of batteries?
Bush & gang have for the most part let the Oil Big wigs write this nations energy policy in secret with Cheney. At the moment the US govt is owned by the corporations. There is a lot we could do only Govt isnt interested. Out of touch with the people, but they will have lots of hearings appearing to be interested for the camera's.
Li-Ion batteries are powerful enough to get around town with, so if you're not doing some major travel you can use electric only. The technology exists now, but not for rediculously long distances. For that, I would still use gasoline.
I did a project for school, and while I was researching it, I found that MIT is working on new batteries called super-capacitors (IIRC) that can charge instantaniously, work under more extreme conditions, are lighter, and last longer than a traditional acid based battery.
Work is also being done to solar cells so that they can gain 2x the amount of power from the sun than traditional solar cells.
Basically, I don't think we're at a point where we can use the all electric car-yet. But within a few years, I think it will (or at least should be) a very real posibility to go to your local car dealership and buy a car that doesn't use any gas.
If the oil co.'s really wanted to keep reeping profits, they can push for a standardized battery size and connection, and transform gas stations into a place where we can swap batteries when we're low on charge. At least, those are my ideas.
I don't see this issue as a Dem or Rep issue, this is a major shift in thinking. Hydrogen, and elec will be the saving grace of Automotive tech, infrastructure will be a bitch but do-able.
I have a car from 1989 that gets over 45mpg and on reg unleaded, 17 yrs later hasn't given us much.
Oil companies have a lot to lose, while BP has made some adjustments, I am not familiar to any adapting by the other big Oil companies. With gas at nearly $3gal in the US, people are still driving 80mph so I don't see a big enough outcry for change (yes there is one, I don't see it big enough yet). There are many groups (me included) that want to see $100+/barrel for oil. Only then will there be an impetus for change.
From what I am aware of the weakest link in elec cars is the length of travel between recharges, and the time it takes to recharge. Of course changing gas stations to elec/hyd stations present a challenge, as well as the present eco unfriendly nature of batteries and their manufacture.
it's too bad diesel has such a bad rep in the US, it really is a great technology:
1. great mileage
2. modern diesel engines run very clean
3. manufacturing process is much easier on the environment than gasoline process
4. distribution channels already in place
5. good performance, lots of torque
6. engines can run on kerosene or vegetable oil in a pinch
my 1998 VW diesel gets 40 / 55-60 mpg, and i've got a lead foot. the VW diesel Lupo (not available here) gets close to 80 mpg.
i'm all in favor of some future great technology, but we should use in the present the best that's available, and imo that's diesel.
7. diesel can be made from plant material
I just heard a brief story on NPR about new legislation to crack down on the trucking industry and diesel emissions.
Big business dreads being forced to run clean emissions, so it's sure to be quite a battle.
yeah, this is part of the ignorance problem. rather than embrace newer diesel technologies, legislatures prefer to discourage its use.
Big business hates regulation that costs it money.
Unfortunately, I don't have a link, but it was reported that many trucking companies and independant owners are now trying to buy old tech trucks
rather than being forced to comply with the new regulations 2 years from now.
In some ways, I can't blame them.
I'd much rather have a brand new 1967 car to work on, than the over teched P.O.S's being sold today.
My company vehicle recently needed a new alternator.
After 3 days of downtime, the fleet mechanics couldn't figure out why the
charge light was still coming on.
It turned out that the new part needed to be programmed into the truck's computer system just as if you were adding a new piece of hardware to your CPU.
As long as there is crude oil, oil companies will make profits. People chauvinistically focus on transportation fuels, but those are only half of the equation. People in general apparently are unaware of the multitudes of consumer products made from the other half of a barrel of crude.
Cell phones and computers, among other things...
Well, according to the DOE a 42 gallon barrel of oil produces the following:
In other words, less than 20% is used to make products and 80% is used for fuel.
Yeah, as long as it's what's called "light, sweet crude". The heavy crude, particularly that with a lot of sulfur, won't make that much gasoline or diesel from a barrel.
Various fields have different grades. Brent North Sea is different from West Texas Intermediate is different from the Saudi stuff. I've seen discussions about which fields are what, but it's been a few years. Maybe the American Petroleum Institute--I guess they have a website--has that breakdown. Anyhow, there's a price differential for the various types of crude...