On my Toyota you can't even follow the plug wires because there aren't any.
Still, I know where they lurk and it's no big deal, just an easily removed
shroud and there they are in a neat little line.
I'm a little strange when I'm buying a car. I pop the hood and scout out the
oil filter, drain plugs, spark plugs, air filters, and other things I may
visit in the future. For that reason, I'm big on straight engines whether
they are 4, 6, or 8 cylinders. I will admit the straight 8 in the Chrysler
New Yorker I had was a bit of a beast. Easy to work on, but there was a lot
I don't think it has anything to do with BO. With oil shade production
techniques improving, the US has been moving towards being oil-indept.
All that drilling slowed down when OPEC dropped it's price of oil.
Refineries here on the west coast have started canceling contracts and
put capital projects on hold until prices come back up. Plus in Calif,
winter fuel is cheaper to make than summer, adding to the price drop.
Dunno what the life of the Prius' battery is - or what it's replacement
cost is.... but BatterLifeInMiles/ReplacementCost is certainly going to
be a few more cents....
e.g. Pulling numbers out of the air:
80 mile range, 1,000 cycles = 80,000 mile life.
$5,000 replacement cost... 5000/80000 = six more cents per mile.
Maybe somebody can chime in with the real numbers....
My understanding is that a lingering problem with electric cars is that
they use lithium ion battery packs, and those battery packs are really
nothing more than 300 or so laptop li-ion batteries. So, you pay
$40,000 to buy the car new, but the li-ion batteries don't last any
longer than they would in a laptop computer. So, a few years down the
road you're looking at buying a new battery pack for the car, or 300
battery packs at $50 per battery pack, or $15,000.
It's that problem with the battery packs for the cars only lasting a few
years that still needs to be solved. I, for one, wouldn't want to drive
an electric car if I had to pay two or three times as much more for
batteries than I would have to pay for gasoline in a conventional car.
Does anyone know if this is correct or am I misinformed?
The problem I see with that is the possibility of trading your brand new
battery pack for a 4 year old one that has started to degrade. It's not
quite like the Blue Rhino model where a bottle either holds propane or it
doesn't. The battery swap might also follow the Blue Rhino plan in that what
you get at some stations isn't fully charged.
The problems aren't insurmountable but I would see an initial reluctance.
It's obvious to me that using Li-Ion battery packs for electric vehicles
will first require that we find a way to recycle the chemicals (like
lithium) in Li-Ion battery packs. Otherwise the vast amounts of lithium
that are going to be dumped in our landfill sites is going to cause
other pollution issues. So, people that say electric cars are
environmentally friendlier than gas guzzlers may not be considering the
impact of dumping hundreds of pounds of lithium in the landfill site for
every car on the road every 6 or 7 years.
Does anyone know whether we can recycle the lithium in Li-Ion battery
packs now? What happens to dead Li-Ion battery packs from laptop
computers? Do they just get dumped in a landfill site or do we recycle
them? If they're not recycled, then that problem needs to be solved
before we start producing Li-Ion battery packs each containing hundreds
of pounds of lithium with no plan as to what to do with dead Li-Ion
Worst case, you run out of juice 20 miles from the next town. Around here,
that usually means you can take your smart phone and play Angry Birds or
something until someone comes along because there isn't going to be a
convenient cell tower.
They might make it heavily populated urban areas or for commuting short
The Ford (Navistar) 6.4 diesel and really all of the new generation of
emissions controlled diesels have higher maintenance requirements than
the old generations.
There was a real sea change in diesel technology that accompanied the
emissions controls, mechanical injection pumps were replaced with high
pressure common rail electronic injection, basic turbos were replaced
with two stage turbos with servo controlled variable stator vanes, etc.
All this change give significantly higher performance than the old
generations, but needs more care.
I'm particularly anal about maintenance on my $60k truck ($15k engine
alone) and I'm pretty happy with the results. I do oil analysis at every
oil change and my reports are some of the best seen for a 6.4 per the
various diesel forums. I'm not going to skimp on maintenance to save
perhaps $200/yr in oil and risk a $15k engine as a result.
The packs last more like 5+ years, but it's still an issue.
A greater issue is the time to charge vs. the time to fuel a liquid
fueled vehicle. Fueling a liquid fueled vehicle for ~500 miles range
takes about 10 min maximum, vs. 8 hours for 15 miles in an EV. There is
no way EVs will go beyond niche and ego driven users without resolving
Fortunately that issue was solved long ago in electric warehouse
forklifts where rather than have the forklift down for 6+ hours to
recharge, they just swap battery packs with a freshly charged one and
the forklift is off and running on the next shift while the previous
battery pack recharges.
This is ultimately where EVs need to go and it will require standardized
battery packs and robotic automation to change them at the "gas
station". This way when your EV is low on charge you can pull into the
station, park at the "pump" and a robotic system changes out your
battery packs from underneath the vehicle and you're on your way with a
full charge in a comparable time to a conventional gas station.
Beyond the standardization of battery packs and under vehicle access to
them, this also requires you to own a battery pack in a common pool,
something similar to the cylinder exchanges that are common for propane
and industrial gasses. This also amortizes the cost of pack replacement
and refurbishing into the pool the same as hydro testing and occasional
cylinder replacement are absorbed into the pool for gas cylinders.
Those "fixes" will make EVs useable to a substantially larger percentage
of the population. Combine that with some new nuke plants, tidal
generation and other green electricity sources to provide "free"
charging power at residences so you can top up overnight for the next
days travel and we it can have a huge impact on overall emissions and
oil use. As the batteries improve and longer ranges on a charge are
available still more people will be able to utilize EVs.
Those changes are the only way an EV would be useful to me, much of my
driving is short local trips where it makes little difference if I drove
an EV or my diesel F350, it's still a negligible expense per trip. My
longer trips are ~120 miles RT so without a quick pack replacement "gas
station" and EV would be useless to me.
That's my theory, oil is cheap. When I was driving, the company I worked for
did a lot of oil analysis as the fleet was modernized to Detroit 60 engines.
Their oil change schedule went from 12000 to 20000 miles. According to the
shop foreman they weren't seeing any significant degradation at 20000 but in
his words, "well, you've got to change oil sometime..."
When you're talking 10 gallons of Rotella and 2 filters per change, it adds
up. The other side of the story is many of those Detroits made a million
Our fleet for regular passenger cars and light trucks zeroed in on
7500 for oil changes using non-synthetic. I've seen E350 vans run up
to 250,000 miles on that schedule and still running like new when
That risk is absorbed into the pool. They can easily have an embedded
chip in the packs to track usage and run times so that weak packs are
taken out of service and reconditioned / replaced. So you should
virtually never have a case where you "fuel up" and the pack only gets
you 5 miles before you need to swap again.
I own two argon cylinders that I swap in the Airgas pool. I never have
to deal with hydro testing or the potential of the cylinder not passing
hydro. I paid for the cylinder once and then just pay for the gas at
each swap and factored into that gas cost is the costs of pool hydro
testing and the expected amount of failed cylinders in the pool. No
reason EV battery packs would be any different.
On the ebike I have been fooling around with each winter, it seems like
Li degradation is sort of a straight-line phenomon. i.e. the amount of
energy that can be put into a pack diminishes slowly but steadily over
If that is the case with automobile batteries, I would think that the
pool battery would be unpredictable. i.e. there would have to be a
cutoff point where the battery is retired and/or rebuilt and that cutoff
point would be something much less than 100% full life.... so the
battery I get at the next change might take me the full 80 miles.... or
only take me 50 or 60 miles... and I might find out the hard way if my
round trip to work is 65 miles.
Seems like hydrogen has dropped out of the news cycle lately. Wouldn't
that be the optimal "battery"? or has some deal-breaker emerged?
Worst case it means you make an unplanned 10 min stop at another "gas
station". Hardly the end of the world, and there can easily be an
automated rebate if the battery ran less then the guaranteed minimum.
It's certainly not an issue that would undermine such a system.
Hydrogen isn't very efficient to separate from say water, though some
gains have been made. Once separated it then has to be compressed to
very high pressures to get enough in a vehicle to give a practical
range, another big efficiency loss. In the end unless you are feeding
the system from a very low cost per unit energy source, say nuclear,
hydroelectric or perhaps tidal generation, the efficiency is so bad as
to make it worthless. Don't be fooled by the hydrogen that is produced
from natural gas or the like, that's still a "fossil" fuel, not a true
use of hydrogen as a "battery".
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