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Old 12-17-2011, 07:47 PM   #1
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Default Electric vehicles

I saw a commercial for mitsubishi's new electric car a few minutes ago. They talk of a city that has numerous charging stations, designed to make owning a full electric more feasible.

While I was watching this, it dawned on me what I think it would take, to get people to drive these cars in large enough numbers to make them worthwhile....

How about instead of plugging in and charging your car for hours when on empty, you simply pull into a "battery station" and within the time it takes for a normal gasoline fill-up, an attendant swaps your dead battery for a fully charged replacement and your back on the road? The shop would then recharge your old one and eventually it would find it's way into another car.

The way I see it, all electric vehicles should adopt a universal battery with a quick disconnect, and instead of having an increase in your home electric bill, you simply pay a similar fee when the batteries are exchanged at a station.

Obviously there's more to it then that, but I think that the reason gasoline rules is because of the ease and accessibility of the product. Gas and go versus plug in for 12 hrs then go.

Am I crazy or wouldn't this be a better idea?
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:50 PM   #2
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They need much more devolpment of. The batteries.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:53 PM   #3
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What you are suggesting has been a considered concept for quite some time. But there are still a few "no-deal" problems left: The batteries wear with usage, so how far you would get on a fully loaded battery would be a gamble. And the battery packs are very heavy. They would have to be loaded and unloaded in and out of the car with, for example a small crane or similar. Since they are so heavy, the manufacturers want them low and centered in the cars, making the a bit of a project or remove and install.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:54 PM   #4
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I like that idea waaay better.

For the do it yourself people they should allow you to purchase an extra battery and recharging station. Then you would never have to go to a charging station/gas station at all. We went to the freaking moon, this should be easy stuff.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:04 PM   #5
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I have never worked on a full electric but I've replaced two gen1 prius battery packs and they weigh in at about 100-125lbs I would guess. It took two of us to get it out, but I think that's more do to the location than the weight.

There would have to be some sort of charge life mandate in place to assure your getting a known good battery in return for yours, and there would have to be enough of a profit to make it worth while for the stations to operate, but I think it's totally possible.

Even if it costs roughly the same as gasoline it would go a long way in reducing the US's oil consumption.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flounder View Post
How about instead of plugging in and charging your car for hours when on empty, you simply pull into a "battery station" and within the time it takes for a normal gasoline fill-up, an attendant swaps your dead battery for a fully charged replacement and your back on the road?
I remember reading about this in Omni Magazine in the early 1980s. They had a nice artist's rendition of a shiny silver car pulling up to an automated swap station, where a machine extracted a battery about the size of a case of beer out of the side of the car and then slid a new one into its place.

We were supposed to have that about 11 years ago, if I recall correctly.

Of course, given preset-day battery technology, something the size of a case of beer might get me to work in the morning (about six miles) and back. I'd have to stop several times in order to get to the airport.

And, of course, how are you going to get every automaker to standardize on a battery form-factor? As Torkel said, batteries are big and heavy, so they tend to be distributed amongst the chassis itself where they can be mounted low and centered.


I honestly think GM is on the right track with the Volt, and I predict that range-extended EVs will be a dominant technology in the coming years while we await magical advances in battery technology and charging infrastructure. Put in a large enough battery to satisfy my normal daily commute, and include a gasoline generator to deal with those times when I need to drive to the airport / the Federal courthouse / Phoenix, AZ / etc.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:26 PM   #7
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The volt is cool, but I'm just waiting for hydrogen cars.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:40 PM   #8
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The volt is cool, but I'm just waiting for hydrogen cars.
This I do not understand.

Specifically, where do you get the hydrogen?
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:19 PM   #9
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I still want my electric motorcycle I tested.

I know my GF's work (major hospital) allows you to charge your EV for free, not sure about my work.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:56 PM   #10
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The volt is cool, but I'm just waiting for hydrogen cars.
^^^ this. So much better an option. Although one day I still wanna build my electric motorcycle.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:00 PM   #11
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:22 PM   #12
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(top gear clip)
Yes, I know.

But where does the hydrogen itself come from?

You know- coal comes out of mines, oil and natural gas come out of deep holes drilled into the earth, sunlight comes from the sun, electricity comes from some combination of nuclear fission, windmills, solar cells, falling water and burning coal.

Where does hydrogen come from?
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:26 PM   #13
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Where does hydrogen come from?
Most are getting it from water. But since there is no definite process, I don't know. That sounds like a task for google.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flounder View Post
The way I see it, all electric vehicles should adopt a universal battery with a quick disconnect, and instead of having an increase in your home electric bill, you simply pay a similar fee when the batteries are exchanged at a station.
This is how many forklifts and power pump trucks work already, a central charging station with extra batteries that roll on and off the vehicle. Faster refuel than liquid refilling and if an exchange program was put in place (like propane cylinders) the cost of a new battery is spread across every fill up. Also, what's wrong with 600+V charging stations to improve charge times when you're away from home?

I also agree with the range extender idea but it shouldn't be something that is needed on a regular basis. On the Volt this would've more successful had it been a turbine engine like originally planned (or even a small diesel) rather than a gas engine.

For that matter big rigs should be series hybrids with a diesel motor that out puts ~25% more power than is required to maintain highway speeds when loaded and use batteries to assist with acceleration which are filled by regen braking and any excess capacity of the diesel during cruise.

But I dream....
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:46 AM   #15
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Also, what's wrong with 600+V charging stations to improve charge times when you're away from home?
The faster you charge a battery, the quicker you frag it IIRC
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:32 AM   #16
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The faster you charge a battery, the quicker you frag it IIRC
Doesn't mean you have to do so every time but the option may need to be there.

I've read about a Texas company developing a 300lb scuba tank sized capacitor that charges in ~5 min (very high voltage) and has the charge capacity to operate a small EV for ~400km.
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:42 AM   #17
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The faster you charge a battery, the quicker you frag it IIRC
Doesn't this differ with different types of batteries? I thought the new ones could take a beating compared to the old kind.
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Old 12-18-2011, 02:03 AM   #18
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I don't know.
And there's the rub.

I don't mean this as a personal attack, but I find this to be pretty much universal amongst proponents of hydrogen-powered cars. Everybody says "look, it burns cleanly and the only thing coming out of the tailpipe is pure water" and yet nobody seems to understand the supply side of the hydrogen economy.

There are two principle methods for obtaining hydrogen on a commercial scale.

One, as you noted, is electrolytic separation, in which an electric current is passed through water, splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen. Unfortunately, this process is massively inefficient, which is why this method is rarely used outside of high-school chemistry classrooms these days. In electrolytic separation, the amount of energy required to separate the water is considerably more than the total potential energy of the resultant hydrogen. The total efficiency of the process is typically 50-70%, meaning that if you expend 100 kWh of electricity, the maximum amount of energy that you can extract from the hydrogen that comes out is only 50-70 kWh. And, of course, that's before you factor in the energy required to transport a bulky cryogenic liquid AND the excruciatingly low efficiency of a spark-ignition engine (typically 20-25%).

In other words, it would be several times more efficient to use the electricity to charge a battery to drive an electric motor than to use it to generate hydrogen which you then burn in an internal-combustion engine. And since most of our electricity comes from fossil fuels in the first place, hydrogen collected in this manner is less eco-friendly (and less economical) than a 1965 Cadillac de Ville.

And that brings us to method #2.

The reality of the situation is that more than 90% of all commercially produced hydrogen is derived from fossil fuels, mainly petroleum and natural gas. Steam reformation separates hydrogen (the "hydro" part of "hydrocarbon") from the fuel, producing significant quantities of carbon dioxide (one of the "biggie" greenhouse gasses) in the process. This method is not nearly as environmentally hostile as electrolysis but of course it doesn't in any way address the problem that the primary input into the system is the fossil fuel that we're trying to eliminate in the process.



I hate to say it, but hydrogen-powered cars are nothing more than a political buzzword. Even if we could snap our fingers and magically replace every gasoline-powered car with a hydrogen-powered car tomorrow (along with all of the supporting infrastructure) we'd be no better off than we are now.
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:51 AM   #19
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What about getting hydrogen from somewhere other then water?
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:08 AM   #20
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Hydrogen is mega bullshit.

Do the math and look at the volume of pure hydrogen you would need to equal 10-15 gallons of gasoline. Youll see exactly why Hydrogen hasnt been implemented and why all the Hydrogen vehicles demonstrated drving any real distance are usually rather large vehicles that you never see in the back of...
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