My friend wanted to buy an electric car like Chevy Volt but after he was told the price for the car he decided to search instead for used cars for sale in Pittsburgh PA. The Chevy car is really great and it offers a lot of interesting innovations but the price is too high and only a few people can afford to buy it.
Please note that the ability to keep "what we have" may decline with fuel prices climing. Now electric cars look economically questionable, but bycicling in winter is not a bright prospect either. The key is "what we have" is not forever
DrQuine: The stop-start technology would be a major advance for our auto industry, and the estimated cost per vehicle is fairly low (hundreds) and it could be applied to almost every vehicle produced.
But (there's always a "but") today's lead-acid battery can't cut it. Refer y'all again to John Petersen at AltEnergyStocks.com for the rather technically/financially interesting problem of getting a battery that can meet the specs; he says:
"The conventional vehicle cycle is simply a 1-second starter load of 300 Amps (blue spike) before the alternator kicks in to recharge the battery. The stop-start vehicle cycle, in comparison, has a 60-second accessory load of 50 Amps (pink block) with a one-second starter load of 250 Amps (red spike) at the end. While we naturally tend to think of engine restart as the main issue, the truly serious problem for stop-start systems is the accessory loads that account for a whopping 92% of total energy demand."
And "The Department of Energy believes the most promising short-term alternatives are third-generation devices that combine carbon nanotechnology and lead-acid chemistry in a monoblock battery."
As a Honda Civic Hybrid driver for 88,000 miles at an actual 50 mpg, saving energy and improving efficiency interest me. I'd like to think that the lessons learned in these advanced technology vehicles would be utilized in other (even conventional) vehicles. By capturing energy as my car slows down, not only do I have energy to accelerate later, but I also reduce wear on my brakes which are lasting three times longer than they did on previous cars. This summer I rented an Audi diesel in Portugal; it got nearly 50 mpg and the engine shut off each time it stopped to save energy (as my car does). Applying these techniques could help reduce the environmental impact of all vehicles in congested areas.
I would love to drive one of these just for the experience of the technology. If I could afford to buy one, I think I would. Although, as with any new model, I'd wait until year two to make sure more of the bugs are worked out.
I'm not of the mindset that hybrids, plug-in hybrids, extended-range hybrids, range extended electrics, or whatever you call them, are a long-term solution. The problem is that they use two powerplants to do the job of one. Ultimately, the inefficiencies added by the second powerplant will limit the possible environmental and economic gain to that of an increment which is not enough to solve our fuel and emissions problems.
I do see them plug-in versions as a good stop-gap and a good interm solution. And I think the technology will have a much greater impact when it is widely applied to large vehicles.
If I take a 35mpg econo-box and increase its fuel mileage by 10mpg, I can save about 1,200 gallons over a 200,000. On the other hand, if I can take a 12mpg truck and increase it's average economy to 15mpg, I can save 3,300 gallons over the same 200,000 miles.
I don't think purely electrical cars will be practical until charging or replacing a battery can be done as easily and as fast as filling up a tank of gas. Plugging your car into an outlet overnight will not work: you can't stop and charge your battery like you can fill up a tank at a gas station.
My wife drives a Civic hybrid, at routine service, dealer said it needed a new battery pack just before the warranty expired.
I have worked in power management, I trust electronics, and would really like to have an EV, but I do NOT trust chemicals (batteries).
I am seriously considering LEASING the volt, that way I turn it back in before the batteries go, I get the satisfaction of a cool toy and the quoted lease rate of $350/mo is within my threshold of pain.
I drive an '05 Prius, and I can tell that the battery pack isn't what it was initially (I'm at 105k). I have experience with batteries from the UPS business, and this outcome isn't surprising. The pack may not need to be replaced, but I'd really like to have a super-cap in parallel with each cell.
My opinion is that the Volt is DOA; it's a Chevy priced like a luxury division vehicle. And John Petersen over at AltEnergyStocks.com is all over the EV issues (like *true* cost per mile: http://www.altenergystocks.com/archives/2010/12/alice_in_evland_part_ii_the_hall_of_mirrors.html)
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