Future Cars: Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

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talindsay
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Re: Future cars

Postby talindsay » June 21st, 2013, 5:35 pm

Gas cars are powered by gasoline and diesel cars are powered by diesel, a by-product of gasoline production. Electric cars *can* be powered by anything, which eventually will be a win, but for the moment means coal. If a large portion of the population switch to electric cars in the short term, it will mean dramatically more environmental destruction: more destruction of mountains in West Virginia, more air pollution, more of the poisons that coal produces in greater amounts than gasoline.

Since electric cars are still single-passenger vehicles they have the same inherent inefficiencies as gas cars; the environmental harm of coal-powered light rail vehicles is still better than gasoline cars because of the great efficiencies of moving so many people at once. Electric cars don't share this characteristic.

Electric cars will be a better solution than gas cars at some point in the future when we produce electricity from sustainable sources, if that day ever comes. Regardless, no energy source is without drawbacks (including wind, water, nuclear and probably solar, though I don't know enough about it to know its drawbacks) and so reduction in overall energy consumption is a better path than switching out the sources. The fact that electricity can be generated from many different sources is a potential benefit, of course.

mulad
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Re: Future cars

Postby mulad » June 21st, 2013, 5:46 pm

I tend not to think that way because I pay Xcel a few extra dollars per month for Windsource.

cowboyjones
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Re: Future cars

Postby cowboyjones » June 21st, 2013, 7:07 pm

mulad wrote:To some extent, we have to return to living within our own neighborhoods. The layouts of our transportation networks (curvy suburban streets that only connect to arterials, etc.) also have to change to reflect the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.
I've seen a few plans for sustainable housing developments, for example using multi-unit or row housing, and pathways that make walking or biking trips shorter (for example to a light-commercial area or a bus stop), but don't allow cars to use those same pathways to encourage walking. Also I've been thinking of a way to maybe have a few short cul-de-sacs in a neighborhood all leading to a bus stop, so that the only way by car to leave the development is by passing a bus stop, also to encourage bus use.
Gas cars are powered by gasoline and diesel cars are powered by diesel, a by-product of gasoline production. Electric cars *can* be powered by anything, which eventually will be a win, but for the moment means coal. If a large portion of the population switch to electric cars in the short term, it will mean dramatically more environmental destruction: more destruction of mountains in West Virginia, more air pollution, more of the poisons that coal produces in greater amounts than gasoline.
I came across an article recently which said that the average per unit carbon footprint of electricity produced in the US is the lowest it has been for many years, all thanks to the natural gas/ fracking boom out west. http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/ ... atural-gas

On a side note, the Chinese are currently starting to implement a cap-and-trade plan.

David Greene
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Re: Future cars

Postby David Greene » June 21st, 2013, 8:28 pm

talindsay wrote:Electric cars will be a better solution than gas cars at some point in the future when we produce electricity from sustainable sources, if that day ever comes.
That day is here if you plan a little. My car is ten years old and my wife's car isn't far behind. We've already decided to get an electric. We're also going to get PV and possibly solar thermal installed at the house in a few years. We've got a crumbling garage and when we rebuild that we'll put PV on top to charge the electric car.

We've already worked out that we can generate enough electricity to cover our current usage. Not sure about the car but I'm hoping we'll at least come close.

UptownSport
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Re: Future cars

Postby UptownSport » June 21st, 2013, 9:24 pm

Electrics are radically more efficient in every way relative an ICE- except efficient storage an weight.

If you did go electrics overnight, you'd have a much healthier planet.

Remember, its not just what comes out of ICE's tailpipe, but heat from radiator, etc.,

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Andrew_F
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Re: Future cars

Postby Andrew_F » June 24th, 2013, 8:08 am

mulad wrote: Of course, the geographic reach that cars provide often make people go much farther to get to work, buy food, etc., than they really need to. How many grocery stores and corner markets do you drive past to get to the place that sells your favorite brand for 25 cents less than the other guy? To some extent, we have to return to living within our own neighborhoods. The layouts of our transportation networks (curvy suburban streets that only connect to arterials, etc.) also have to change to reflect the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.
Thank you for putting this much more straightforward than I ever could have.

UptownSport
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Re: Future cars

Postby UptownSport » June 26th, 2013, 9:53 am

So the urbanMSP discussion on future auto's goes to living in our own neighborhoods?

Thread stay on topic?

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Future cars

Postby FISHMANPET » June 26th, 2013, 9:57 am

I think we could do with some mod intervention:
Rip a lot of these posts and a lot of the posts form the 35W BRT thread about dying suburbs into their own thread. Also the posts about why people do or don't ride the bus from the Red Line thread to their own thread.

UptownSport
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Re: Future cars

Postby UptownSport » July 1st, 2013, 9:09 am


TWA
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Re: Future cars

Postby TWA » July 3rd, 2013, 6:23 am

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1681942/we-m ... y-far-away

"We May All Be Driving Electric Cars In The Future, But That Future Is Really Far Away"

UptownSport
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Re: Future cars

Postby UptownSport » July 3rd, 2013, 8:26 am

For a segment of people electrics are perfect.

If you're towing a horse trailer all over the country, perhaps not. But then again you couldn't use a Dart or a LeSabre for that, either.

We use an electric truck daily, I noticed Discount Steel uses several, too. They are perfect for that (our) application and are ancient.

Electric should be an option as well as truly flexible fuel vehicles, if it's combustible and you can pour it in ...
How good would it be if you could choose the fuel that is most economical for you?
Ethanol when field corn comes in and price is low
Methanol near sawmills
electric if you're taking short trips to lumber yard, grocery store.

This would go a long way toward independence

talindsay
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Re: Future cars

Postby talindsay » July 3rd, 2013, 9:34 am

Corn ethanol is energy-negative so it does nothing to help us toward independence; it's only cheaper than gasoline because we subsidize it so heavily. There are energy-positive ethanols, but not from corn.

I drive a Fiat 500, and if the 500e were available in Minnesota I'd seriously consider trading in my 500 for one - my short commute aligns perfectly with the 500e's profile and obviously I like the styling and size. When my wife had her Mazda, I would have had trouble giving up my 500's range - getting 45 mpg on the freeway, I would have hated giving that up for an electric when her Mazda only got 27 mpg on the freeway. But since her VW gets 50 mpg (diesel) on the freeway, I don't need to ever drive my 500 on the freeway. Once freeway use is eliminated, an electric car is practical for all other uses.

mattaudio
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Re: Future cars

Postby mattaudio » July 3rd, 2013, 10:03 am

None of these things are the silver bullet, and after reading Kuntsler's The Long Emergency I'm even more convinced that our current land use patterns will be financially unproductive and overly expensive within a few decades (and technology will only solve a small share of the total problem).

Biodiesel is also one of those technologies. Much better than ethanol. It burns cleaner in diesel engines, it's cheap and easy to produce (some people even make it at home), and it's not competing for our food crops.

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Mdcastle
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Re: Future cars

Postby Mdcastle » July 3rd, 2013, 11:41 am

I don't see ethanol being energy negative as a big negative. It's energy negative to transport electricity from the generating plant to our houses to. We can make ethanol with wind, solar, coal, nuclear whatever the US has, and use it in our cars. An ethanol car is going to be every bit as usable as a gasoline car, without relying on middle east oil.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Future cars

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 3rd, 2013, 11:48 am

Why does everyone get so hung up on energy independence, to the point that we're willing to subsidize entire industries to do so? Ethanol being energy negative is bad because we're wasting energy to create a different form of potential energy for a single use. We're also doing so in competition with foodstuffs. No one has a problem that we're not "TV independent," "cheap cameras independent," etc. The middle east has oil. They can produce it easier and cheaper than we can, which means we're willing to trade with them, and they will (hopefully) consume things that we can produce better/cheaper (like, corn). This is good (in general) if we want people across the world to improve their lot in life the same way we have. As long as they're not violating human rights in doing so, this is a good thing. If not depending on the whims of oil cartels is our collective decided path, then let's not sibsidize unproductive energy sectors (like drawing oil out of tar sands, subsidizing corn for ethanol to make it a viable economic alternative to oil produced in the middle east, etc). Let's reduce our need for the energy. OR, charge market prices for the negative effects of given energy sources (carbon tax, etc) that allows renewables, biodiesels, etc to become economically viable thanks to their lack of future environmental harm.

Rich
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Re: Future cars

Postby Rich » July 3rd, 2013, 1:31 pm

The U.S. economy can be brought to it's knees by political troubles in oil-producing nations, or by the whims of OPEC's production plans. And there's not nearly enough oil under us to drill our way out this mess. I think electric cars powered by locally installed wind and solar would definitely add to our political and economic stability.

Isn't the corn-based ethanol craze mostly a result of politicians sucking up to rural states (Iowa in particular)? Hopefully we'll move past that. There are better crops with which to make fuel.

Matt
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Re: Future cars

Postby Matt » July 3rd, 2013, 5:57 pm

I'm not a supporter of corn based ethanol but recent production methods to appear to be energy positive, or at least some tests are finding that it isn't obviously energy negative like it maybe once was. Source: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/ethano ... asics.html

Quote from the source listed above:
"Some studies suggest that corn-based ethanol has a negative energy balance, meaning it takes more energy to produce the fuel than the amount of energy the fuel provides. However, recent studies using updated data about corn production methods demonstrate a positive energy balance for corn ethanol.

Cellulosic ethanol, which is produced from non-food based feedstocks, is expected to improve the energy balance of ethanol, because non-food-based feedstocks are anticipated to require less fossil fuel energy to produce ethanol. Biomass used to power the process of converting non-food-based feedstocks into cellulosic ethanol is also expected to reduce the amount of fossil fuel energy used in production. Another potential benefit of cellulosic ethanol is that it produces lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions. "

UptownSport
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Re: Future cars

Postby UptownSport » July 3rd, 2013, 11:00 pm

Ethanol can be made from about anything-

Inmates would make alcohol even in tightly controlled segregation cells- And it was powerful enough to get them 'lit!'

Field corn isn't a food- It's used for animal feed, home heating, liquor and corn syrup (give me a little license on the last one, Mountain Dew can sustain you, technically)
It's funny you don't hear people up in arms that we're using grains (which certainly are human food) for beer and liquor!

The leftover from the 'beer' after alcohol is distilled out is still used for animal feed, so it's still feed!
Rich wrote:The U.S. economy can be brought to it's knees by political troubles in oil-producing nations, or by the whims of OPEC's production plans. And there's not nearly enough oil under us to drill our way out this mess. I think electric cars powered by locally installed wind and solar would definitely add to our political and economic stability.
Exactly- All OPEC would have to do is announce, just announce- a 20% cut in production and we'd be on our knees.
Rich wrote:Isn't the corn-based ethanol craze mostly a result of politicians sucking up to rural states (Iowa in particular)? Hopefully we'll move past that. There are better crops with which to make fuel.
Ethanol 'craze' began before there was gasoline readily available. Model T ran on Ethanol as there weren't filling stations- farmers simply distilled it!
It's a great fuel, and is capable of more energy output than diesel (EPA Study if anyone's interested)
You can use a very small engine and get high to near extreme outputs, this means your typical Caravan could use a fuel efficient 1.4 liter.

There's also Methanol.

Both these fuels are cheap and are used in radical output racing engines.

UptownSport
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Re: Future cars

Postby UptownSport » July 10th, 2013, 8:06 pm


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Le Sueur
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Re: Future cars

Postby Le Sueur » July 10th, 2013, 9:14 pm

From the promo Video wrote:Standard power windows and door lock...
:lol:


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