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  • #31
    Last week the local tech college hosted its annual electric car races and I got to wave the green flag to start the races. Our local electric utilities sponsor the races for college and high school industrial tech classes and provide the same motor and controller for everyone. They were really just like electric three wheeled go carts with two lead acid 12 volt batteries for power. There is no gross weight limit, but the driver has to be 180 lbs or more. No gear changes are allowed during the race--most had chain sprocket drive. They race in a big circle around the outside of the parking lot in heats, based on whether they are first year contestants or experienced racers. They can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour and in an hour's time the fastest cars did about 70 laps on the course (about a half mile). Even in an hour the fast cars didn't seem to lose speed. There were two crashes--one axle broke and one steering arm bent. Only their pride was hurt, and their car's bottom side got a little road rash. Lots of fun to watch. thanks--Mike.

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    • #32
      3phase:
      Last time I checked, first one across the finish won....weight or no weight.

      The probable best vehicle for electric conversion is an S10 or similar small truck. Light, but able to carry battery weight easily.

      If you can put in an engine/generator combo, you can take out some batteries and swap their weight for engine weight. Problem with home-built hybrid conversions is that the motors you can get are not as nice as the ones for the hybrids. Straight electric you can get nice Dc traction motors for. Maybe 3phase motors if you are a VF drive engineer.

      Evn the hybrids vary. The bigger Honda is a "fake" hybrid. I don't know about the little "eco car", I mean teh sedan. The engine never stops, it just gets a boost from the tiny 10 HP electric motor.

      The Prius is a "real" hybrid....about equal power in engine and motor, 40 or 50hp each. At a stop, the engine stops. You accelerate with the motor, and then the engine starts if you excedd speed/time parameters.
      CNC machines only go through the motions.

      Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
      Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
      Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
      I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
      Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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      • #33
        Something I didn't see mentioned in the overall environmental efficiency rating was the generation of the electricity required to charge the pure electrics. While it's kind of silly, image a coal power plant providing the power for all the, uhm, "clean" electrics. The power comes from somewhere, and it seems to be a (probably valid) assumption that the electrical plants are going to be overall more efficient than the IC cars that someday electrics might replace.

        Overall cost - how much does it take to bully the world into letting us obtain enough petroleum? How much does it cost to distribute electricity vs. liquid fuel? What is the impact of being manipulated and controlled by "big oil"? (BTW, what ever happened to alcohol power that was supposedly a cheap byproduct and burned cleanly? Too utopian for big oil to let us have?)

        While an electric high performance car is a facinating niche, I don't think that's the point of electric vehicle power. Lately I've been disgusted with those esuvee monsters that keep getting bigger and heavier, and now have the 1" rubber band around the 30" rims - obviously the extra weight/fuel deficiency from the heavy off-road suspension/ruggedness is completely wasted. So disgusting, sometimes I think we should draft gas guzzlers for our next conquer-the-oilfields colonization war.
        Until we can produce more than we consume, petroleum consumption has got to decrease.

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        • #34

          I think Ryobiguy's got the right idea. Electric and hydrogen powered cars are no cleaner than the energy source used to get the "fuel" to begin with. What *might* make it cheaper to run an electric car is simply the economy of scale in making the power. Your local electric company can generate power for a lot less per kilowatt-hour than you can. (Go ahead - get yourself a generator and try it.)
          With the possible exception of nuclear (sorry Mr Bush - Nookyoolur) energy, all energy sources on the planet can be traced directly back to the sun. Storing, extracting, transmitting, etc are done in a zillion different ways. Electricity is a lousy and lossy way to move energy. Petroleum is a great way to store and move energy, but making it from all that dead organic stuff is *way* too expensive and takes far too long, so we just find what's already around. IC engines give up (waste) something like 80% of the fuel energy as *heat*, but that's been improving over the years. Sure, alcohol is a great fuel, but beer doesn't burn so well, so ya gotta distill it. And where's the energy for the still coming from?
          We're making progress in some areas with efficiency, losing ground in others. My '97 Ford had a 2.5L V6 that produced nearly as much horsepower as the 5.0L V8 in my parent's '68 Chevy wagon, and it did it more cleanly, with less fuel, and much less weight. But now everyone wants to drive a pavement-pounding 8000 lb SUV that gets about 3 gallons to the mile. We all get what we "pay for". Sure, technology moves us forward, but I really doubt we're going to find a "magic bullet" for our energy needs. The "magic" of cold fusion, for example, eventually boiled down to either downright fraud, or a couple of guys who couldn't measure the results of their experiments correctly, depending on who you choose to believe.
          You can safely bet that there will *always* be money in energy, and the riches go to the person/company/entity that can find/produce/steal it the cheapest. Those who use the least will have less trouble paying for it. (Ok, well if you *steal* it, that's an exception, unless you're caught)

          As for me, I'm working on a car that will burn "billet" (sorry Forrest - "bull****") I've got to hurry up and get it out there before Big Oil finds out, steals it, discredits me, ruins my life, and hides it away forever.

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          • #35
            Two dollar gas is still too cheap to make any difference in the way people drive. My guess is that it would take somewhere between $1 and $2 of extra gas tax to boost the retail gas price into the $3 to $4 a gallon range to really make a difference in consumption. Be careful what you wish for. You might not like it after you get it. How much is gasoline in the UK, EU or Australia?

            [This message has been edited by mikem (edited 04-24-2005).]

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            • #36
              <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">quote:
              --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Originally posted by Evan:
              Do you mind explaining how being faster is actually being slower?
              --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              I just did, but I'll elaborate.

              It's called the power to weight ratio.

              If you want to claim one engine has more power output than another, then you can mesaure that power output of each engine on a dynamometer. The dynamometer doesn't care how heavy batteries are, or how much fuel weighs.

              If you want to claim one engine is "faster" then another engine, then you need to run both engines in the same chassis and compare how each engine performs based on moving the chasis's weight along with the power plants own weight (Batteries + speed controller + transmission + engine(s)) vs (fuel + transmission + IC engine).

              -Adrian</font>
              The Elise does exactly that. The electric is faster.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #37
                <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Evan:
                The Elise does exactly that. The electric is faster.</font>
                Since the base Elise has something like 146 HP vs 200 HP for the electric version, that information is hardly astounding.

                Jim H.

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                • #38
                  I hate to bring up details but there is more to a practical electric car than light weight, better motors, and better batteries. Most cars are used by families; wives, mothers in law, little old ladies from you know where, etc. etc. Until you can make one with all the extras like air conditioning, they just aren't going to sell.

                  Perhaps what we need is a new approach to accomplishing everything that a modern car does.

                  Paul A.
                  Paul A.
                  SE Texas

                  And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                  You will find that it has discrete steps.

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                  • #39
                    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Your Old Dog:

                    BTW Evan, two things. When you get to the end of the web, will you tell me what's there? And, how did you cough up that website? I'm an inquireing mindless and would like to know

                    Ray.......


                    Ray try here http://home.att.net/~cecw/lastpage.htm


                    [This message has been edited by Your Old Dog (edited 04-24-2005).]
                    </font>

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                    • #40
                      The deal about electric being generated so what about pollution....

                      Its a matter of where, and how much. First, the electric plant is FAR more efficient than any automobile.

                      Second, the pollution from the auto is right there in your face, damaging you daily. The pollution from electric plants is less per power unit produced, although different in character, and it isn't blowing in your face direct from the next jerk's tailpipe. Big difference.
                      CNC machines only go through the motions.

                      Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                      Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                      Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                      I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                      Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        The single biggest problem with an all electric vehicle isn't air conditioning, it is heating. There is no way that an electric vehicle will be able to provide cabin comfort at -40 no matter how good the batteries are. For that single reason electric and even fuel cells have no future in cold climates.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                        • #42

                          Back in grad school, I built a hydraulic/gas
                          hybrid... the mechanical stuff worked well,
                          but the computer controls needed more work.

                          Today (20+ years later) we enjoy our new Prius
                          hybrid, which gets actual 45 mpg all the
                          time (city, 75 mph on the freeway, etc).


                          With projections indicating $300+/bbl oil
                          prices in 10 years, thinking about fuel
                          efficiency is back in vogue.

                          Since I live only a few miles from work,
                          I think an electric motorcycle is in my
                          future. Should be a fun project, and
                          be just right for zipping around town.

                          - Bart
                          Bart Smaalders
                          http://smaalders.net/barts

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                          • #43
                            <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Evan:
                            The single biggest problem with an all electric vehicle isn't air conditioning, it is heating. There is no way that an electric vehicle will be able to provide cabin comfort at -40 no matter how good the batteries are. For that single reason electric and even fuel cells have no future in cold climates.</font>
                            Fuel cells at least have the ability to gnereate heating power. Once you get them to operating temps.

                            The very inefficiency of the gas motor helps in that special case. if it weren't so inefficient, it wouldn't have spare thrown-away heat to use for "non-essentials" like heating the cabin....

                            I only lived in a -34 climate, not -40, but it was still plenty cold enough.

                            I think you will be forced to burn extra fuel to get cabin heat to taste in the 8 months of heating season. Still may be well ahead of regular IC systems.

                            The same separate heating can be done with electric, of course, and the heating requires relatively little fuel. Exhaust heat from the cabin can warm the batteries and get extra mileage out of them.

                            There is some excess heat from fuel cell systems....usable to warm the cabin.

                            And, of course, the amount of extra fuel used in a separate heater depends entirely on the users.....unlike the IC system where you are only diverting energy that would be lost in any case.




                            [This message has been edited by J Tiers (edited 04-25-2005).]
                            CNC machines only go through the motions.

                            Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                            Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                            Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                            I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                            Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              A pure electric or even fuel cell vehicle will definitely need an auxillary heater unit just like aircraft use in very cold climates. It could be fueled with alcohol or biodiesel which would be much more efficient than trying to capture waste heat since there isn't much to capture from electric systems. The amount of heating required at -30 or -40 is in the multi kilowatts. It isn't really optional except on very short drives, something we don't have a lot in rural Canada. My mailbox is a 4 km round trip from my house.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                              • #45
                                To answer the power/weight issue. Here is a new startup with an advanced motor. Of course it doesn't include battery weight, but that is changing too. The electric motor as tesla designed it has served us well for the last century, but these new complicated hi-tech motors will blow your doors off. (And not waste a bunch of power as noise) Get the rest of the story from evworld.

                                Raser Technologies' Symetron(TM) is just such an electric motor. While it uses virtually the same materials found in the common DC or AC motor, how those components are arranged and controlled results in a motor that is dramatically more efficient and has a higher power density. The Symetron motor in the Formula Lightning race car the company modified develops an amazing 420 foot-pounds of torque.

                                To give you a clearer sense of what that means. The new A35 V-8 engine in an Infiniti Pro-series Indy Car, which is about the same size as the Formula Lightning -- generates 385 foot-pounds a 8,000 rpm. That engine weighs 325 pounds. The Symetron weighs just 147 pounds (66.6 kg) and measures a mere 11 inches in diameter and is just 8.5 inches thick.

                                What's the magic? I asked Higginson.

                                "The eleven herbs and spices, if you will, are a combination of how the rotor and stator and windings are [arranged], as well as a control strategy that's different than standard control strategies that are out there today," he replied cryptically, adding that the companies they are licensing the technology to want to keep the technology a secret for obvious competitive reasons.

                                The company is publicly traded over-the-counter under the symbol of RSTG and has a current market cap of nearly $1.4 billion dollars.

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