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Born electric

Posted by Jose Pinto 
October 31, 2011 12:07PM
[www.bmw-i.com]

They are full of ideas for the future.
Is the hybrid/electric the way to go?

In the present our "way of life" is changing rapidly, the cheap mobility that we were used to is gone apparently forever.
50 years ago, one would buy a car, fill it up and drive careless for several hundred km.
Today, everybody has two cars, but has to think twice about filling them and drive...
October 31, 2011 02:08PM
Electric would be the way to go if we could produce sufficient amount of electricity in a clean and efficient way. So far, we have not been able to do that. In the same way, hydrogen is not the way to go, yet.

Hybrids are fancy and could prevent emissions locally, but in the end you're running a heavier car and polluting somewhere else.
October 31, 2011 05:24PM
Quote
Michiel 318iS
Electric would be the way to go if we could produce sufficient amount of electricity in a clean and efficient way. So far, we have not been able to do that. In the same way, hydrogen is not the way to go, yet.

Hybrids are fancy and could prevent emissions locally, but in the end you're running a heavier car and polluting somewhere else.

While electric does currently only shifts the polution from one location to another, it allows for more options in producing the electricity to begin with. We may have a hydrogen plant, or a giant solar panel array at some point in the future, and when that happens the best and only way to transport it is via electricity. So having cars that run on it (like most of your home appliances) wouldn't be a bad thing in the long run. Or perhaps in the short run, until we get clean energy "engines" into a small vehicle sized form factor.

The major thing holding Electric cars back is the ability to store the energy, and the ability to "refill" quickly. Both of those technologies have made leaps and bounds in recent years, but the Tesla Roadster still need 992lbs (450kg) of battery to make it 243 miles, and recharging takes hours or days.

But Energy will come (before or after WWIII is yet to be determined), our planet is seeping with energy, and the sun is spitting out more than we can possibly use. The trick is the harness that energy. But the transportation of energy has pretty much got to be via electricity for a long time to come, if only because that is the best distribution method available in most countries.

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

October 31, 2011 09:35PM
Quote
Jose Pinto
[www.bmw-i.com]

They are full of ideas for the future.
Is the hybrid/electric the way to go?

In the present our "way of life" is changing rapidly, the cheap mobility that we were used to is gone apparently forever.
50 years ago, one would buy a car, fill it up and drive careless for several hundred km.
Today, everybody has two cars, but has to think twice about filling them and drive...

What I find incredible is that most of that video was filmed in Vancouver and surrounding environs!

As for the technology; I'm glad that BMW is being forward thinking enough to be preparing for the days when the oil companies choke themselves to death.

We have not even begun to explore the electric potential and it's sources.
I hope that I will see, in my life time, the complete disappearance of dependency on fossil fuels for transportation.
October 31, 2011 09:37PM
Quote
Michiel 318iS
Electric would be the way to go if we could produce sufficient amount of electricity in a clean and efficient way. So far, we have not been able to do that. In the same way, hydrogen is not the way to go, yet.

Hybrids are fancy and could prevent emissions locally, but in the end you're running a heavier car and polluting somewhere else.

Hybrids a re a good step forward but even the auto makers know it is only a temporary/stop gap measure. Ultimately, electricity or some as yet unknown non-polluting energy source will replace our filthy fossil fuel powered vehicles.
October 31, 2011 09:43PM
Quote
Earendil
Quote
Michiel 318iS
Electric would be the way to go if we could produce sufficient amount of electricity in a clean and efficient way. So far, we have not been able to do that. In the same way, hydrogen is not the way to go, yet.

Hybrids are fancy and could prevent emissions locally, but in the end you're running a heavier car and polluting somewhere else.

While electric does currently only shifts the polution from one location to another, it allows for more options in producing the electricity to begin with. We may have a hydrogen plant, or a giant solar panel array at some point in the future, and when that happens the best and only way to transport it is via electricity. So having cars that run on it (like most of your home appliances) wouldn't be a bad thing in the long run. Or perhaps in the short run, until we get clean energy "engines" into a small vehicle sized form factor.

The major thing holding Electric cars back is the ability to store the energy, and the ability to "refill" quickly. Both of those technologies have made leaps and bounds in recent years, but the Tesla Roadster still need 992lbs (450kg) of battery to make it 243 miles, and recharging takes hours or days.

You are right on top of this one smiling smiley
Even though our current sources of electricity leave a lot to be desired; they do offer one huge plus...they are and can be localized so that any pollution they produce is much easier to contain. With fossil fueled vehicles; the pollution is spread out all over the planet. With anelectric source; any pollution can be kept to confined areas and dealt with much more efficiently.

I wonder if we will ever see cold fusion?

But Energy will come (before or after WWIII is yet to be determined), our planet is seeping with energy, and the sun is spitting out more than we can possibly use. The trick is the harness that energy. But the transportation of energy has pretty much got to be via electricity for a long time to come, if only because that is the best distribution method available in most countries.
October 31, 2011 11:55PM
I guess we just need a bank of those super capacitors the F1 cars use for their KIR System. They charge quickly. Not sure how the power density compares to batteries. The problem with batteries is that they can be damaged by charging too fast. They can also catch fire spontaneously.

The super caps are like lightning in a bottle. The F1 Cars do occasionally have problems with them.

One of the most effective energy recovery systems is a hydraulic accumulator. It is more efficient than a battery and will hold the pressure for extended periods. Its disadvantage is that it is heavy. Works best on trucks that have stop and go duty like garbage trucks.

Overall though, it is difficult to store as much energy as gasoline for the weight. Hydrogen beats it but there are a lot of issues with its volume. We should be generating as much energy as we can with nuclear power so the oil and gas can be used for higher and better uses. Fukushima proved that nuclear is safe. Absolutely no one died from the power plants being destroyed by the Tsunami.

Bob in Everett
November 01, 2011 04:03PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
... Fukushima proved that nuclear is safe. Absolutely no one died from the power plants being destroyed by the Tsunami.

Interesting you say that. For me, Fukushima proved nuclear is absolutely NOT safe. Even the strictly careful Japanese, with all the cutting edge technology, were surprised by an earthquake and Tsunami that torn the nuclear plant, endangering the population and environment of that area. Those "heroes" that stayed behind to liquidate the plant have been exposed to radiation and may suffer from that, see Chernobyl some time ago in the former USSR.
In Spain they have several nuclear plants, one is near our border. If an earthquake destroys the central, like Fukushima, the radiation may leak and pollute the Tejo river, one of our biggest, and force the displacement of millions and turn a vast farming area useless for decades. I can't imagine a crew of Spanish guys stay behind and be heroes, risking their own lives to save millions.
And then there are the radioactive waste, to be disposed of...
Until nuclear fusion is developed, better leave the uranium and plutonium rest.
There is plenty of electricity sources apart from those.

As for electric cars, is a temporary solution, like they were 100 years ago. The problem then, as now, is the limited range due to the batteries. But then again, there is much people driving less than 30km per day, who could use electric.
Electric-gasoline hybrids can deliver best of two worlds with today technology, at expense of more complex mechanics and heavier cars.
Smaller and more economic cars wouldn't hurt fuel economy, the BMW Isetta was very fuel effective 60 years ago, but not really a car... But then again, do we really need to carry around over 1 ton of junk everywhere we go?
All this to say there will be several solutions to each particular case, and the automobile as we know will be less used than it used to be over the last half century.
November 01, 2011 11:25PM
The Japanese reactor design did take into account that earthquakes were likely and Tsunami were going to happen. The analyzed data from tsunami occurrences and put in a safety factor for the height of the dike around the reactors. They missed by half a meter. The earthquake did not damage the reactor even though it was larger than the design level. It was only the flooding of the backup power source for the cooling of the reactor that caused a loss of control of the reactor.

Even though there is leaking radioactivity, it has not resulted in any direct deaths. There are government studies that exposure to some fairly high levels of radiation actually prolong life. The survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki exposures had average life spans longer than typical in Japan. About 80,000 people were monitored for the past 66 years for all their health issues.

The news media gave us a lot of false info about the danger and tried to scare us here on the US West coast for several days and when nothing was happening, the story died out and we have not heard about it since.

[thenewamerican.com]

Bob in Everett
November 02, 2011 08:02AM
From waht you wrote, i think we may agree that "if something may go wrong, it will go wrong".

Over here we have regions rich in Uranium, and people living there is naturally exposed to higher radiation levels.
It is said some health problems are more common there than average in the rest of the territory, so there is something on.
There is plenty of data available from Chernobyl, it was a long time ago.

I deeply respect the Japanes and the care they took to stop the plant from leaking radiation into the ocean, in the hands of a lesser "civilized" croud it go very wrong.
I wish all the best for the survivors.
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