Day by Day

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Electric Fail

From Popular Mechanics, via Insty:

Fully charged on a brisk March morning, the all-electric Mitsubishi i’s range meter estimated that the battery pack had enough energy to travel 56 miles. That’s plenty, I thought, for the several-stop route I planned to a neighboring town and back. But as I pulled out into traffic, I flicked on the heat and watched the range meter recalibrate, dropping the estimated range down to 37. I did a quick mental calibration: A few miles to the first stop, 12 miles on the highway, 12 to return, another five to the next location, and so on. I then had a choice to make: Either shiver in the car or risk getting stranded. I chose the former.

Fifty six miles?  Dude, I get that on one gallon of gas in my motorcycle, so on a summer day we're even.  But no heat?

No heat?  Seriously?  Really?

FAIL.  FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL.  Just who the fuck do you think is going to drive this car, anyways?  People along the equator?  There is no way in hell that this vehicle would last above the Mason-Dixon line.  It wouldn't last one day in Wisconsin after say...  September.


Anonymous said...

Sounds a lot like a grossly overpriced damn golf cart. All the electrics specs are like grossly overpriced damn golf carts.

Gerry N.

Rivrdog said...

Resistance electric heating is a damn poor way to convert potential energy to thermal energy. The only poorer way is refrigeration, so air conditioning is out, too.

For heat, Northern users, no, shitcan that, Northern users are going to suffer cold-temp inefficiencies with the battery itself that will water their eyes, just before their eyes freeze over.

Basically, if it's electric and can't carry half its weight in batteries, you don't want it.

If I were building an electric car, it would carry, in lieu of some battery capacity, an onboard diesel generator set. From the diesel, you'd get air conditioning and heating, and much extended range on your batteries. The engineers had this shit right 30-40 years ago when they built the first hybrids which were designed for short (15/25-mile) electric-only service, and had fuel engines for the long haul. Using them helped out the airshed issues in the city centers, but no one got stranded in them, either.

Mercedes-Benz actually built a prototype with two fuel engines, battery AND electric. Essentially, one fuel engine was a generator set and one was a main power engine. On paper, it could meet all the projected emissions rules envisioned for Europe. The body was a kammback, (aka the VW 411), and the genset was a pancake design vertical in the side rear panel, and the main gas engine was also a boxer under the rear cargo area. Outwardly, it looked like the MB wagen of its day. Batteries were under the bonnet for weight, were of the lead-AGM type (advanced for their day). Car was AWD, with split propulsion, electric front and gas rear. Dono if they could be combined for 4X4 traction.

My favorite electric prototype was the simple early-70's AMC Concord. It had 96 volts of batteries, ran 40 miles on a charge, had a single 10-hp electric motor as a direct replacement for the engine and transmission, rear differential drive and you towed a trailer with a diesel generator if you wanted to hit the highway. Utter simplicity, and it could be built today by anyone with basic DIY wiring and welding skills.

Anonymous said...

One of the fringe benefits of central planning. The Nobel Prize winners who figure this stuff out obviously don't live in an area where your commute requires headlights between September and March, and heat between June and June! Not sure where your area of Wisconsin is located, but up here in God's Country (UP of Michigan), it's cold and dark a lot, and batteries are NOT the answer!

Ragin' Dave said...

Cold temp inefficiencies.... Yep. There are times when it's so damn cold out that you can barely get your car to turn over in the morning. How the hell can you expect batteries to operate in that? They can't. Hell, you have to have a block heater on most of your diesel rigs up here because in January, when it's -40, your oil turns into gel and refuses to move.

Ain't no electric car that'll work up in the northern Mid-West.

mostly cajun said...

Try going in the other direction down here on the Gulf Coast from May to November, when the sun beats down, the humidity and the temperature are BOTH in the 90's. Since cars no longer come with wing windows, A/C is a MUST.