Category Archives: Electric Car
In an era of rising gas prices, the American public has seen a renewed surge of interest in the kinds of fuel economy that they get in their vehicles. People are trading out and selling the gas-guzzling trucks or SUVs of yester-year, and increasingly choosing cars based on gas mileage. This trend includes a definite increase in the number of hybrid and electric cars that are being bought and sold, as people begin to embrace new alternative energy possibilities. But what is an electric car, and how does it work?
A completely electric car is powered by either batteries that must be recharged at charging stations, or fuel cells. Fuel cells take in hydrogen gas and convert it into electricity. Often, electric cars can also run on (or at least be supplemented by) solar energy in the form of panels on their roofs or bodies.
This electricity source, whatever it might be, is used to power an electric motor. The motor is a coil of wire that can spin freely inside a casing of magnets. When electricity is fed into the wire, it makes a magnetic field that turns the coil very quickly. By fastening the spinning coil to an axle, the wheels are driven along. A modern electric car can get 250 miles or more on a single charge, more than sufficient for most day to day commuting purposes.
You can find out more information about Hybrid Cars at www.prohybrid.com along with video news, reviewsArticle Submission, and tools such as price quotes and an automotive loan calculator.
Electric cars are promoted as saviors of the energy crisis. Unfortunately, they are expensive, will not reduce foreign oil imports, and will contribute to continuing, global overheating. The US needs a new, science based energy policy. Taxpayers must demand development of thermally more efficient combustion engines. Production of renewable, affordable, and storable liquid fuels must be pursued by an independent government agency.
Al Gore, Rick Wagoner, Tom Friedman, our President Elect, Barack Obama, and many more celebrities are all heavily favoring and supporting a wholesale changeover from fossil fuel driven cars to electrically powered automobiles.
Their faith is based on the Lithium Ion battery. These batteries are very expensive, are heavy, must be replaced after several years, and require hours for recharging. Lithium is not widely available in the US and must be imported.
Electric cars perform admirably. They do not emit greenhouse gases directly, can be designed to accelerate well, and are very quiet. Electric cars are considered by many as the secret weapon that will reduce our dependence on imported petroleum and will lessen our payments to oil producing countries.
In a good year, US citizens will buy roughly 15 million cars to replenish and grow the US inventory of nearly 250 million used cars. It may take anywhere from twelve to fifteen years to replace most of this inventory with new models. The Volt, the first electric car produced by General Motors, will likely be leased in small numbers initially to stay on top of performance and warranty issues. Optimistically, we can assume that GM and other car companies will sell more than 2.5 million electric cars during the next ten years. Replacing 250 million cars will take a few decades longer.
At the same time the US is looking at a population growth of another 100 million residents during the next fifty years. Under the most optimistic assumptions we can expect to eventually see 150 million electric cars and 150 million liquid fuel powered cars in use by 2050.
Passenger cars are responsible for only 45% of present liquid fuel consumption. Under the most favorable conditions and assumptions, electric cars may be able to save 25% of petroleum imports eventually. Liquid fuel consumption for other uses will certainly increase during this time. Optimistically, we may expect that electric cars can cut liquid fuel consumption by 20% in 2050.
This figure does not bode well for curing the oil import dependency of the US. It certainly will not reduce dollar exports. It is certain that petroleum prices will rise substantially in future years. Additionally, we will have to pay for imported raw materials for batteries from abroad.
All these figures lead to one overpowering conclusion; electric cars will never be able to free us from the yoke of petroleum imports or reduce our balance of payments significantly!
There a few technical complications, too. Electric cars must be recharged regularly with electric energy. Electric energy is produced presently with fossil and nuclear fuels. Solar power is not suited too well because most electric cars must be recharged during the night hours when the Sun is not shining. For the next ten to fifteen years only a limited number of nuclear plants can be installed. Wind power is an intermittent energy, which cannot yet be stored in quantities. Fossil fuel burning has to provide virtually all of the electric energy for recharging the new fleet of electric cars for years to come. Combining efficiencies of coal fired power plants, of electricity transmission, and of battery chargers results in an overall energy efficiency that is not better than the energy efficiency of modern combustion engine inventory. Therefore, electric cars will not lower greenhouse gas emissions! Only very efficient combustion engines can accomplish this feat!
If electric cars cannot save us from a coming energy crisis, what other choices do we have? The answer is sobering. Without the coming of a Deus ex Machina, there seems to be only one and only one rational solution. We must learn how to make renewable fuels from large-scale production of renewable biomass.
The Earth cannot support the use of large amounts of fossil fuels any longer. We will not be able to stop the use of petroleum in the near future. We must outlaw the use of fossil fuels soon to save the Earth from overheating.
Only two other energy sources exist, which can provide the large amounts of energy that modern economies depend on. Sunlight is inexhaustible and available in quantities we will never be able to consume. Several conversion technologies are available for converting sunlight into the two energy forms that our economies depend on; electricity and liquid transportation fuels.
The other large energy source is nuclear fuel. It is likely that nuclear fuels will last for more than one century. Other energy sources such as hydro power, marine power, and geothermal power are not available everywhere and are limited in capacity.
We are left with one conclusion. For the next century or two, we will have to depend heavily on converting sunshine into electricity and into liquid transportation fuels. Energy in the form of sunshine is not very concentrated. Fortunately, biomass has the unusual ability to use sunlight and create energy rich carbohydrates and a few hydrocarbons. More amazingly yet; biomass energy can be stored.
There are a few technical problems we must solve before biomass can become the savior technology. We must grow very large amounts of biomass, we must learn to convert carbohydrates into hydrocarbons, and we must agree to reserve arable lands for food production only. All remaining obstacles can be overcome with existing technologies. It will take about one long decade to develop workable and economically attractive solutions. To be successful we must support exploratory research on a large scale and we must organize and fund an independent Energy Supply Development Agency.
The dismal interference of US Congress in energy matters must be changed. Instead of demanding the ineffective manufacturing of electric cars and regulating fuel consumption of passenger cars, US Congress must change to a new, practicablePsychology Articles, and effective energy policy. US Congress and the new administration must demand increased thermal efficiencies from all newly manufactured internal combustion engines and must initiate the fast track development of liquid fuels production from renewable biomass.
2009 Renault Twizy Z.E. concept[/caption]Electric cars consume less expensive energy. Driving costs are lower. However, electric cars are responsible for emitting more carbon dioxide and more pollutants when electricity is generated from coal. They have shorter driving ranges and need long times for recharging. They are also more expensive. A car driving 25 miles on a gallon of gasoline must pay $16 at the pump versus an electric car, which pays only $5.28 to the utility.
The media are full of news about electric cars. The $100,000 Tesla electric sports car is going to be sold soon, automakers are falling over each other to announce new electric vehicles, and entrepreneurs across the world are jockeying for venture capital.
Petroleum prices have jumped during the last year and everybody is feeling the pain at the pump. Not a single soul is concerned about filling up the batteries of his next electric car with electricity. After all, you just plug the car into the next receptacle and there seem to be no appreciable costs.
Joe owns a Corvette, a high performance car manufactured by General Motors, which according to the car manufacturer drives 25 miles per gallon.
Joe’s monthly commute is 1000 miles, he drives very carefully, and actually achieves 25 MPG on his daily trip going to work and running errands. At $4.00 per gallon at the pump he is paying $160 for gasoline every month.
Joe is thinking about buying the Tesla, an electric sports car. He tried to find the cost of electricity for driving this car. He could not find any data anywhere. Joe knows that he must explain to his wife why he needs to save energy and money before buying the Tesla, a new, very fast electric sports car.
The Tesla will accelerate faster than his Corvette. There is no doubt that an electric vehicle can have a faster acceleration than a gasoline car. Electric motors and liquid fuel engines are just two different devices converting electric energy or petroleum fuel energy into mechanical energy. Electric motors can generate much higher torque at the wheels at much lower turning speeds.
In comparison, electric motors will have several shortcomings, too. They certainly will emit more pollutants and more carbon dioxide as long as coal is used for producing electric power. Overall energy efficiency of the electric car, from power plant to the road, is still worse than that of a modern automobile propelled by an advanced combustion engine.
The biggest drawback of electric cars is the small number of miles they can drive after a complete recharge. Additionally, the charging of an empty electric battery will take forever, high performance batteries are expensive, and will only have a limited life expectancy.
What about energy costs for driving an electric car compared to a gasoline powered car? Both vehicles will have to store energy. The electric car stores electric energy in its battery, the combustion engine powered car stores energy in the form of gasoline or diesel fuel in its fuel tank.
Now let us take a comparative look at the cost of storing and paying for enough electric energy or liquid fuel energy to drive 100 miles. Let us assume that both cars will have the same power requirements to drive 100 miles. In this respect the match-up between Tesla and Corvette is perfect. But how do we compare prices at the gas station with utility costs at the receptacle?
Energy contained in gasoline can be converted into mechanical energy only at the limited energy conversion efficiency of a typical heat engine. The Corvette engine will have an energy conversion efficiency of about 35%. (Fuel fired engines may eventually reach 50% peak energy conversion efficiency after decades of future advancements). Conversion efficiency of electric power from the receptacle into stored energy first and into mechanical energy later is much higher at about 85%.
The energy content of gasoline is 131 MJ/gallon (megajoule per gallon). For driving 100 miles the Corvette will burn four gallons of gasoline or 524 MJ/100 miles. Only 35% of the energy in gasoline or 183 MJ will be used to propel the Corvette. This is the mechanical energy transmitted to the rear wheels of the Corvette. Virtually the same amount of energy must be transferred to the wheels of the electric car, the Tesla. Both cars are very similar in size and driving characteristics.
However, the Tesla has to take a little more energy from the receptacle because the charging, storing, and discharging of electricity in the battery experiences energy losses. These losses are about 15% of the electric energy taken from the receptacle and will not be available at the wheels. The Tesla owner will, therefore, pay 1.15 times as much to get the same energy to the wheels as the Corvette or 211 MJ per 100 miles. Electric energy is priced in the form of dollar per kilowatt hour or $/kWh. The average price of electricity in the US is $0.09/kWh. The factor for converting energy measured in MJ to energy measured in kWh is 0.2778 kWh/MJ.
To drive 100 miles, the Tesla will consume 58.6 kWh of electricity at a cost of $5.28. The Corvette will consume 4 gallons of gasoline at a cost of $16. Now we know that the Tesla will save about $10 per 100 miles or $10,000 over 100,000 miles.
- 3 cups trimmed halved Brussels sprouts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup chopped Prosciutto (about 1 1/2 ounces)
- Cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cook Brussels sprouts in boiling water for three minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
Blondies — if you haven’t heard of them — are wonderfully soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie bars. Imagine if a brownie was made out of chocolate chip cookie dough, but had the same delicately crackly, caramelized crust on top. Well, that’s a Blondie you’re imagining and they’re absolutely delicious.
My darling husband, bless his heart, said to me, “It looks like a pizookie,” which is essentially a pizza made out of cookie dough. To make one, cookie dough is pressed into a pizza pan and baked until it’s a giant, warm, amazing cookie. Then it’s typically covered with layers of ice cream, fudge, caramel, nuts, etc. It’s a giant cookie pizza with and ice cream sundae as a topping. Who wouldn’t want that for their birthday?? My heart sang because pizookies are beyond awesome. And slightly retro, which makes them even more cool.