Electric Pegasus

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Pegasus was a horse with wings who was supposed to be able to both run and fly. Of course, he could do neither – because to be a horse means not being able to fly. A horse is too heavy too fly. He’s built for running.pegasus lead

Which brings up Tesla… again (god help me).

As with any electric car, the Tesla’s range is dramatically (and negatively) affected by use of electrically powered accessories such as the heater (and AC), lights… as well as how you drive it. But the Tesla is especially vulnerable because – weirdly – it is also a high-performance car.

Or touted as such – to make it more appealing. This is perfectly understandable and usually works. People tend to like fast (and good-looking) cars and the Tesla is both.

Well, briefly.

You will have read about its tire-frying, instant-on torque; about its almost-Corvette 0-60 quickness. All true. For a moment or two.

Let me let you in on a little secret that – for reasons having to do with either laziness or dishonestly or general ignorance of things functional – the press kit media hasn’t (or simply can’t) tell you about: A high-performance electric car is a contradiction in terms. A functional oxymoron. An electric car can be made quick. But it cannot (so far) be made quick and long-lasting. The truth is that even the ones not posing as performance cars are severely gimped in terms of their radius of action. Most have trouble making it 100 miles before things begin to go dark. That’s 50 miles out – and 50 back. Maybe.

Best case.

A hybrid, at least, totes around its own generator. Of course, this involves (horror) burning gasoline, but at least you’ll get where you’re going … eventually.

But the Tesla tries to serve two masters with irreconcilable goals: To be quick – and to go far. This is like trying to make warm snow. At least, given the state of battery technology, including recharging technology.-

The blowjob press has never, for example, run a Tesla up to 75-80 with the AC running … held it there for say an hour… and reported how long the battery lasted… or told you what will happen if you were to do a few guns-blazing (amps pumping?) 0-60 runs. Instead they’ll tell you, rapturously, how sexy it looks and how speedy it is. Not telling you that the Tesla is like a BMW M5 with a one gallon gas tank which can only be refilled using a syringe.

Run it hard (which, I assume, would be what you wanted to do if you bought one… otherwise why would you buy a performance car, regardless of its power source?) and the battery will deplete just like a BMW M5’s gas tank, except you can refill a BMW M5’s tank in less than 5 minutes while the Tesla’s battery pack will take at least 45 minutes to an hour build up enough charge to go maybe another 100 miles or so (if you drive it like you would – and should – a performance car ) before you’ve got to stop again. For another hour.

Or, you can gimp it along like you would an economy car and – maybe – get 200 miles or so out of it. This is the published “best case” range.

In which case, why pay $70k (base price) for such a car? An $18k Corolla is much more economical – even if it does burn gas. And – trust me – you can rack a Corolla up to 90 and keep it there and not run low on gas for hours.

Meanwhile, true story (and inside baseball, which I will probably get grief for publicizing but fuck it; it’s war): VW has an electric Golf in my regional press fleet (HQ in the DC area). The wretched thing has only been delivered to journalists within 30 miles of the garage where the press fleet is kept (which excludes me) because that’s proved to be its maximum real-world range limit. They tried to take it out farther; it croaked and had to be flatbedded.

Which is what will happen to you, too, if you drive a Tesla hard.Tesla flatbedded

Or, you can drive a BMW M5 hard – and get where you’re going today.

Am I the only one out there hitting my forehead with a shoe?

Am I missing something?

It strikes me as strange and demented to buy a performance car – a very expensive performance car – that has to be babied if you want to get anywhere without having to take a long pause along the way to rejuvenate the thing. It reminds me of an old muscle car I owned once that would refuse to start up again if you were foolish enough to turn the engine off after running hard for awhile. High-compression and a cast iron block that acted like a heat sink made it very hard for a starter motor that was barely adequate for turning the engine over when it was cold to deal with that job when the engine was hot and expansion made everything tighter. It was an early lesson in the limits of batteries and electric motors.

But at least once running, the old muscle car would keep on running – even if you ran it as it was meant to be run.

This is something the Tesla cannot do, because it’s an engineering Catch-22. It can go fast, or it can go (somewhat) far. It can’t do both at the same time.

At least, not until the endlessly promised but so far unrealized “breakthrough” in battery design is achieved. Which – like “peak oil” – seems to be always just around the corner… for the past 50 years.

In the meanwhile, the Tesla is a rolling testament to That Which Makes No Sense… done at your (and my) expense.

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  1. dang it my post took it on its self to post.oh well worthiness is worthiness,the Govt isnt a logical beast(thats why my last post wasnt finished.You are right about merit,unlike the alcohol fiasco,the EV seems to have some merit,one day perhaps the infernal stinkers will have to be used occasionally for pleasure-Kevin

  2. Said vehicles have thier place,my friend took Her LEAF leaf to town the other day(50 mile round trip with the gently curvey ups and downs,when she got back the car said she had used 20 Miles worth of current,so it works for Her(I wouldnt miss buying exhaust systems replacing,engine oil.gear oil,starters and all that good stuff,tuneup parts fuel filters,fuel pumps,air filters ad nausuem(only worse on a diesel-buy a set of injectors for a duramax)I know there is stuff you cant do with an electric,because of range(like Me2 said) and I am sick of the endless hype and benefits of electric(buy it for its own merits if you can afford it) but there is a place for these vehicles,lets hope they get better.I did like the race between the Hellcat and the tesla(get a better driver for the Hellcat please,sheesh)
    But sort of in a similar vein,I had an AirForce Friend(deceased now) who was relating about a cross country race between an F-80 and a P-51,I forget who won,but it seems regardless of what you think it was close-despite the higher top speed of the new tech jet,I forget all the details,but He told it took longer to get to takeoff speed on the jet(the Mustang was flying long before the Jet left the ground etc) He even related a few other interesting things about to difficulty of intercepting a Vulcan bomber that had a good head start with a modern (then )Jet fighter(He flew a F-101) anyway I digress,I guess what I’m trying to say is,sometimes its hard to compare apples and oranges,lets only hope the tech catches up with the hype(remember how long Fusion power has been 20 yrs in the future)anyway if something happens that gas becomes scarce in the future it would be nice to have a car you could sit in the Sun all day then run 100 miles the next day(now if we could only get airless tyres) Sorry if I rambled-Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,

      These have no “place” if they can’t be built and sold without massive subsidies – without forcing those who do not buy them to “help” others to buy them.

      If they had their place, they would not need “help” – and that’s the point I was trying to make!

      • Eric,does GM have a place?We were forced to pay for them without being asked.
        Anyway,I agree with you on that,just like the ethanol fiasco and numerous other things,our bloated,bullying military and police forces,the economy is not that great and of course the kids join up-very little else to do(if they didnt,conscription would surely follow(with the protections of nepotism and cronyism of course) our Guys spin in circles and get killed while back at the ranch. Isis is busy with the butcher knife.So Virginia there is a

        • Hi Kevin,

          Internal combustion cars have a place; the GM bailout is another matter (it does not have a “place”). The problem with EVs is the cars themselves suck. They cost too much, they all have serious functional limitations. There isn’t one I’m aware of that can get you from A to B less expensively than an IC powered car. None of them have ranges comparable to IC cars. All of them take absurdly long (compared with IC cars) to refuel.

          Even with massive subsidies at the corporate and individual level, they still are sales loses. What does that tell you?

          • It tells me I will probaly never have one, if the battery pack would last it would probaly save you enough in 20 yrs to break even,make no mistake about it,there is a great cost to own and maintain any vehicle(My 8 yr old Dakota.is pretty good about getting its pound of flesh on a regular basis on the other hand the Hondas might as well have been electric for all the trouble they have caused Me(practically none) My Wifes Element-cheap done good,My brothers HHR a cheap machine that reeks cheap,would the manus do better if they didnt have to? No,there are to many Brand Clovers around(if Henry made it it has to be good-right)oh by the way Henry did make a darn good battery,reliable,rugged-but expensive(my dream home will have a bank of those)-Kevin

            • Yup!

              The least expensive electric cars currently on sale cost over $30k. That is the bar for “entry luxury” in car-industry terms. By definition, if you can afford to spend $30k-plus on a car, economy is a secondary consideration at best. This is inarguable.

              If economy were the primary consideration, a $14k ICE economy sedan such as a new Ford Fiesta makes vastly more sense. Better yet, a slightly used economy sedan, bought for around $10k – saving at least $20,000 in up front/total ownership costs relative to the least expensive new electric car.

  3. Frankly, most owners of $90,000+ Mercedes/BMW/etc. aren’t exactly flogging them either.

    They’re status symbols, the Tesla is as well.

    If you want the fastest car off the line there’s an old Japanese car out there whose owner has converted to an EV and loaded it up with batteries – nothing beats it at the drag strip.

    As for subsidies, the feds subsidize a lot of things, especially crude oil (e.g. cost of military intervention in the Middle East plus very favorable tax treatment for oil producers & investors).

    • Hi Bill,

      Yeah, but let’s define “flogging.”

      Did you consider running a steady 75-80 on the highway to be “flogging” it?

      Do that in a Tesla and see what happens to the range.

      Now do it on a hot summer day with the AC cranked up.

      Also: The $70k Tesla (the “cheap” model) is slow. Or rather, not particularly quick. Mid-high fives, 0-60. About the same as a new “EcoBoost” turbo four Mustang. Which literally costs half as much. The quick Tesla is a six figure car. And it’s no quicker than several cars that cost tens of thousands less.

      Also, it’s a fallacy that Middle Eastern oil is subsidized. First, it’s the opposite. The pressure applied by “our troops” is to prevent any of the producers from producing too much oil and “flooding” the market, depressing prices. The object is to keep prices high – and under control.

      Second, the U.S. gets most of its imported oil from non-Middle Eastern countries. Mexico and Venezuela, for example.

      • Ok, so the Tesla competes against $120,000 BMW/Mercedes/etc. – still a status symbol – owners don’t drive those “like they stole ’em”

        And crude oil is fungible on the world market, so there’s no way ultimately to control from where our fuel comes.

        Current low oil prices will shut down oil sands (there goes Canada) & oil shale (U.S.) production, so here in the U.S. we will be back to importing more and more crude from lower cost producers like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, & Venezuela, so we’ll be dependent on countries that are best unstable or actually hostile to us for years to come.

        Not a bad idea to hedge one’s bet by choosing a vehicle that runs partially or wholly on electricity.

        • Hi Bill,

          No – but I suspect most people who put down six figures for a car would like to be able to drive at sustained speeds of 75-80 with the AC on… without worrying about running out of juice before they get 100 miles (or less) down the road… and having to plug in for at least a few hours to finish their trip.

          The bottom line here, however, is not the functional merits/demerits of the electric car. I have no issue with Tesla building its cars. I merely take issue with the rent-seeking without which it could not build such cars.

          At least, not for very long!

          All the criticism I’ve received over my lambasting of Tesla falls flat on its face when one simple question is presented:

          If the Tesla is such a brilliant car, why can’t it stand on its own? The company has been sucking the taxpayer teat for a decade now, at least. When will it end?

  4. If you understand the limitations, electric cars are a fine choice. Yes, you can’t take them on long road trips, you can’t tow with them, and their range drops as the square of the speed you’re driving. On the positive side – they’re mechanically dead simple. There’s no transmission or clutch, just a reduction drive. There’s no oil to replace, no filters to clean, the only liquid is the battery coolant in cars that have it (not all do), and that lasts a very long time. As long as you have a source of electricity, you can also charge them, and you can get that from the grid, solar, diesel generator, whatever.

    We’re in the early days of the electric car, they’ll only get better. The early adopters are paying a lot and driving the tech forward, which will eventually trickle down to the average person.

    Honestly, I don’t understand the bile against the electric car. It’s a good, developing technology. It can’t be your only car, but makes absolute sense for a two car household, or you can rent a gasoline powered car when you need something the electric car can’t do.

    The Tesla P85D is an efficient, large electric car for driving around town which you can occasionally have some fun with on an on-ramp. I think most performance cars end up being driven like that. If you’re going to be pushing it hard all the time, then this is the wrong car for you. I love it. I work in tech in the SF bay area and a number of my friends already have these. It’s totally silent, very peppy, and practical for a rich person. I hope the next version is affordable for me. It’ll replace a 15 year old Nissan with a V6.

    • Hi OP,

      Well, but you have to factor in the expense… right?

      And if the electric car costs “x” more than an otherwise conventionally powered car, ought it not to be better, in terms of function? Yet EVs all have serious functional limitations – in addition to being much more expensive to buy. So much more expensive, in fact, that it is hard if not impossible to make an economic case for buying one. So why buy one?

      My bile is not, however, directed at electric cars per se. It is directed at the extorted subsidies and rent seeking involved. If Tesla or any other company wishes to invest its own dollars in EV development and offer the result for sale – at whatever price it decides is right – I have no argument.

      But what I despise about Tesla is that the entire company is a lurid example of rent-seeking – made even more obnoxious by dint of the fact that its products are exclusively toys for the affluent. Bad enough to be forced to “help” by Obamaphones. But this is a touch too much.

      PS: “early days” of the electric car? Not at all. Electric cars have been around for more than 100 years. And they have very much the same liabilities now as they did 100 years ago.

      • I agree, rent-seeking is disgusting, and as a tax payer in CA, or more like a stone being squeezed for more blood, I really disapprove of that part of their revenue. The state of CA set up this environment for car companies to encourage things like Tesla, so I can’t put all the blame on Tesla, though. It’s like a libertarian making an argument against social security while still cashing the checks. From what I can tell, Tesla didn’t create these laws, as they pre-date the company. They also took a massive DoE loan to get them through a rough patch. I’m not sure how to feel about a company taking advantage of incentives the state makes available, even though I disapprove of the incentives themselves.

        Teslas are extremely expensive, but so are S-class Mercedes and Bentleys. Are these cars five times better than your average car? Of course not. The rich pay for luxuries or extras, and in the case of the Tesla, that’s the early adoption of a practical electric car. I think it’s an ugly car, inside and out, but it’s damn fun when you press the throttle. Just as DVD players started out costing thousands of dollars, or cell phones and GPS devices were toys of the rich, I think high end electric cars will drive the creation of cheaper electric cars for the rest of US. Tesla has developed really good motors and inverters and opened up their patent portfolio for anyone to use!

        I realize the first cars were electric, but they died out very fast and outside of hobbyists, the electric car had no real presence until the crappy EV-1 that GM produced, then a shorter hiatus until Tesla. Here in CA, there were always some kind of electric cars (Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V conversions) due to the state’s asinine electric car mandate, but these were built at the point of a gun, so they don’t count.

        • And Tesla cars are not built at the point of a gun – after you bring up the DoE loan, tax break for rich folks?
          Musk can make any car he wants – as long as he is not sucking at the taxpayers teat to keep his business viable. Saying that he is merely taking advantage of Govt policies that pre-date Tesla is no excuse. You can bet he spends a lot of moolah lobbying to keep and expand the incentives.

          • Do you know how weak your statement is? Let me explain…

            unknown car builder:
            I need some money not out of my pocket.

            don corleone aka gloverment aka the offer you can’t refuse:
            I have the money.
            but the money isn’t mine. I stole it.

            unknown car builder:
            Great! Who cares where you got it!!!!

            Need i say more?

            Of course if you have problems parsing the argument…

            The government has no moola, none, nada, zip except what it steals.
            so any moola anyone gets from the government is stolen goods.

            Now some may argue that Tesla doesn’t directly receive stolen goods but when a person is granted exemption from government duress in the form of purchasing any thug approve acquisition it amounts to largess from the thug. So the incentive to buy a piece of shit, yes i said that, that the government approves of is a form of thievery. So yes Tesla cars are built at the point of a gun.

            I really hope you don’t take offense to my explanation, as it is the only open and honest evaluation of situation.

            David Ward
            Memphis, Tennessee

          • Exactly!

            What would any of us think about a man who – stumbling onto the scene of a mugging – helped himself to the victim’s shoes, since they were “there” and “available”?

            But Tesla’s worse than that – as you’ve noted. Musk actively seeks government “help,” without which his enterprise would have folded up its tent a long time ago.

            Some will argue that the “help” is warranted on the macro level because electric cars are potentially fabulous and won’t it be great when we can all buy a low-cost/”zero emissions” EV…

            But the actuality is they suck. They’re grossly expensive and functionally palsied. Which is precisely whey they need “help” … endless “help.”

            Failures are like that.

            If something’s good, it will succeed on its own merits.

            When something doesn’t succeed – especially when it’s been “helped” for literally decades – it’s a clue there’s a serious problem with the idea itself.

            • eric, I’ll just address one part of this equation. Look at the amounts of money from every company or entity that spends lobby money and it’s easy to see why. Those bastards in congress(almost used a capital C)are the mostly cheaply bought good per dollar on earth. $100K will get you as much as billions. What’s not to like with a few connects, some good partying(illegal for the most part)and some moola to the right people(not all of them but the more the better), voila, instant financial success. It’s virtually exponential.

              • Yup!

                Congress is like a house of whores, but you get more for your money than you do at the Bunny Ranch. They sell other people’s asses in DC.

            • Excuse my eternal daftness, but so far, I have not yet understood the “zero emissions” part. This seems to be the entire argument in favor of electric cars–“Look at fabulous me, I am not polluting, I am saving the Earth from ‘global warming'”, blah blah blah. Just what “pollution” is not being made, may I ask? The electric car gets plugged in in order recharge. So the electricity comes from the power plant. And so the power plant that generates the electricity also generates the “emissions”. No, the “emissions” don’t come out the rear of the car, but they DO come out of the power plant, right? The air is the air is the air, no matter whether it surrounds the automobile exhaust pipe or it surrounds the electricity power plant. I imagine some of the power plants create even MORE pollution than any internal combustion engine, probably most of them, as I think coal-burning is the major method of making electricity, which I imagine is a “dirtier” process.

              Maybe somebody who knows more than I do can prove that the generation of electricity used to power electric cars creates less air pollution than the equivalent power generation coming out of an internal combustion engines. Until that proof can shown, I wish people would shut up about the so-called “benefits” of electric vehicles and how “clean” they are. So far, it is all pretty ignorant-sounding, to me. But I am willing to be enlightened, if there are genuine facts to support such enlightenment.

              • You’re exactly right, Thomas.

                Moreover, the “emissions” thing is itself a bogey, when it comes to IC cars. Because emissions – the ones associated with smog formation and air quality – have already been cut to almost nothing.

                Most (upwards of 95 percent) of what comes out of the tailpipe of any car built since the late 1990s is water vapor and carbon dioxide. Both are emissions, certainly. But they are not the ones people think are associated with air quality problems.

                Like the Office of Special Investigations – which exists to hunt down Nazi war criminals – the EPA’s vehicle emissions regime is all about diminishing returns at this point. But rather than concede there’s not much more to do, they manufacture justifications for more “work” – chiefly, by mathematical legerdemain. You’ve probably heard that “x” new mandate will “reduce tailpipe emissions by 20 percent”? Well, yes. But it’s not 20 percent of 100 percent. It is 20 percent of .5 percent. Or something along those lines.

    • The bile, as you put it, isn’t against the tech (But that is a convenient way to deflect the conversation away from the theft that allows these gloriously wasteful enterprises to hatch), it’s the way that we are forced to fund their grand ideas. Federal grants for charging stations, battery research, car companies, etc… If you build it, and it works, people will buy, but you need to fund it without stealing from me, or forcing me to buy it later, aka rent seeking. GM, should have been bankrupted. The cars would still be built today if that happened, just under another name, another owner who would have bought the company, or parts of it and re launched without all the baggage GM obviously couldn’t afford and run a viable enterprise. I managed to start my company without a federal grant. Most companies were started the same way. Why are these not so few lavished with free money from us?

  5. Radical goals for sustainable development

    The ongoing negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals reflect that relatively little radical progress on environment and development is possible in a multilateral framework, says Barbara Unmuessig, president of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

    -I guess no-one’s told Barbara if you pay the asking price of Producers to produce clean oceans for you, they’ll take your money and get it done.

    They also have a finite price for cleaning the air and land, you say how clean, they’ll meet your specifications if you pay their asking price. Any level of CO2 is attainable, if you’ve got the money.

    Why not publicly promise to print out a few hundred billion green backs and then have an auction to see who will do the most cleaning, for the least amount of promised rag paper? Not exactly rocket science.

    • No – but if money’s no object, anything is possible. Just about.

      But, I’ll say this: A 900 hp/217 MPH street car is as useless as a eunuch at the Bunny Ranch.

      How about a $15k (not subsidized) non-IC car that is more economical than a comparable IC car – both to buy and to operate – and which at least matches the performance/capability of the IC car, without ridiculous functional debilities such as best case ranges half that of the IC car and recharge times under 10 minutes?

      When that happens, I’ll clap.

      Not before.

    • I did some probing around earlier and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s bunk.

      Simply put it’s not ‘salt water’ from the sea it’s a water with a chemical salt. The type of battery has been around a good long time and not exactly known for its power output. This company claims to have some new twist on it and the details are sketchy. One article mentions this isn’t the first fanciful car by the guy behind it. so well… it’s one of those things I’ll believe when C&D or top gear get ahold of one.

  6. Oh don’t worry, Musk and GM are going to have a car that goes 400 miles per charge, and charges in 20 minutes…Promise. Right around the corner now. Yup.

    They can always fool the public schoolers with thermodynamics fraud. Always.

    A professor of mine said “There are two types of people in the world…Scientists and Chimpanzees”. He is right.

  7. What Toyota uses is the best so far(far outlasting the naysayers,gloom and doom)you can even repurpose the battery packs if they are not quite up to auto standards anymore and yes there are recyclers paying for these now,my personal experience with Li-ion hasnt been that positive,Ni-mh on the other hand has been quite satisfactory.
    Anyway Revolution I agree wholeheartedly with what you postulate,I finally figured I couldnt mingle with “betters” despite what the “Bill of Rights said” These self important pompous asses are a pain in the arse.
    This is the best site I’ve found so far,not being a rat or a “good German” I’m inclined .to live and let live,in most circumstances.Having been on the wrong side of the” Poe-lease” I feel we are over protected,when the Wife has the Oscars or any of that Pablum on,I just retire to another room for reading or research,I cannot Deify athletes or their ilk.Survival is quite enough for me-Kevin

  8. Battery tech so far isn’t particularly useful unless the power draw is small. In an IC car, they only act as a buffer between the alternator and the electrical outputs.

    They require replacing every 4-7 years and are cheap, because there’s only one.

    What most don’t get is that EV battery packs not only have little useful range when they’re new, but that’ll worsen over the years, until the pack’s dead, then the big bikkies start. Go shopping for plain Pb/H2SO4 forklift packs and you’ll realise the full cost of current EV’s.

    Not only is the pack life single-digit in years, but thousands of dollars. Then try that with Lithium. Ouch.

    The only reason EV’s are subsidised is because they can’t make it in the current market. The fact that our hard-earned is extracted at gunpoint to allow those affluent enough already to buy what can be best described as a very expensive toy is intellectual and social cancer, parasitically forced upon us all by the lies of the Green Blob.

    The sense of self-importance and entitlement in these arse-hats is staggering and yet, somehow celebrated.

    It reminds me of the Oscars or Golden Globe awards. Rich wankers who’ve never seen a day of hard work patting each other on the back for a job well done, spouting rubbish at every turn and inviting only the press to witness these events, to show the rest of us how great they are. But they must be, because the wide-eyed wonder of the intellectually disabled that fawn over their stink is inescapable.

    Lessons must be learned from Iceland – the only country so far that acted to remove parasites from office.

  9. I’ve got an idea. . .

    I remember this same battery/usage time problem coming up when smartphones were first becoming popular. Regular cell phones of the day would last 4-5 days or more on a single charge and the new smartphones would barely make it half a day, even if you used them gently.

    The solution? External battery packs. I particularly like the ones that also form a protective case around your iPhone. Why don’t they make a giant Tesla-shaped battery to wrap around the outside of the car. It can charge the battery up while you drive and even serve as an extra “safety” feature. Plus, they’d make a styling statement something like this:


    • Haha.. Sojourner, although the pic’s funny (and I bet your message is sarc), I wouldn’t want anyone crashing into me while I was using a lithium battery pack as armour. The results would be explosive.

  10. Only a moron would consider buying an over priced, useless vehicle like this. Harley-Davidson made a interesting electric motorcycle that I saw at a recent motorcycle show in Phoenix, Az. It has about a 50 mile range before it runs out of power. I have a garage full of motorcycles that will run all day long using gas. The discussion is over. Electric vehicles aren’t feasible.

  11. Lets see,pretty impressive-97% of lead batteries are recycled-but the other types of rechargeable batteries are being recycled also,some places even buy them with the exception of Li-ion(costs 5 times more to recycle then,extraction from virgin ore) they use very little Lithium carbonate anyway.So thats a non issue,you can use Plante’ cells for electric vehicles also(with reduced range).
    Anyways on the cosmic scale of things there should be a lot more lithium then heavier metals,the real drawback is the strategic location of the major Lithium deposits.
    Believe or not the most CNG vehicles I used to come across in this area were owned by the USN-Kevin

  12. I don’t always want electric cars, but when I do- I prefer a body like a countach; instead of air scoops by the rear wheels- there are 2 large brushed electric motors behind some clear acrylic, so everyone knows when I am going full power as the blue sparks will fly on the brushes, and the rotor can be seen spinning. I want a small centrifugal multi-fuel turbine powering the generator that charges the batteries and runs the motors when they are empty- that auto starts charging whenever needed, even if the car is off. A solar panel roof is needed to keep everything topped off when it sits. Big copper power busses and glass insulators should be under the rear hood to feed power from a large lithium polymer battery bank. In the driver’s seat, there should be analog gauges, toggle switches for aux equipment like the a/c, voltage meters, as well as amp meters. THAT would be an electric car I would be into.

    • That would look nice Anchar, but most electric motors are brushless now, reducing drag on the armature and avoiding overheating of graphite/copper brushes. Far more efficient too.

      • Yes, I know- but brushed motors make more starting torque, and you could just replace brushes every so often. Brushless are better in general though for the reasons you listed. I just think an electric car should be proud of it’s power and show some sparks somewhere! An outrunner brushless would be cool too- you can watch it spin

  13. I guess manufacturing,ICE engines or catalytic convertors ,consumes no exotic or rare metals,and the light ignition battery to start the the infernal engines cause no pollution either with the lead and such,.
    I dont get it Guys,electric cars are not all bad,they have a place ,I could imagine what my Ryobi drill would weigh if I had a mini 2 cycle engine on it,as I said before you can make anything look bad if you have a bias to start with,take a standard diesel or gas powered car and run them around a track in a standard auditorium for awhile and then air it out then run an electric vehicle for the same length of time and see if you need to change the air,however I am aware that propane or NG vehicles would probaly pass muster in these conditions.I like the ICE too,but how come our govt keeps shooting us in the foot,we have enough coal in the US to produce a very acceptable diesel fuel for hundreds of years(at less then a dollar a gallon)sometimes I dont get it.By the why has anyone checked the price of Jet A lately?(it makes me shudder to think that AG flits around the world spouting eco nonsense while burning thousands of gallons of 5$ dollar plus a gallon fuel.
    I wandered a little,but I started losing it when I was trying to somewhat defend the greenies,then realized,they are indefensible-Hybrids are here to stay,electric has its place-but Joe average is better off with a good 4cyl,gas or diesel for the time being.
    Love you Guys ,you are a spark of intellect in an increasingly Clover World,I’m sorry but I would not make a good German-Kevin

    • What grinds my gears about electrics is that they are an idea so good we have to be forced to pay for it. That’s it. I just learned today that the dear outgoing governor of Illinois has decided that I and everyone else in this state should be taxed to build and operate charging stations along route 66 so people with expensive tax subsidized electric cars can take pleasure drives trying to recreate a 1950s experience.

      As to materials and energy people who go out and buy new electric and hybrid cars would do more for conservation by restoring some old car and saving it from the crusher. And BTW lead acid batteries are fully recyclable. The scrap metal place I know of pays $10 for a car battery. It will become a new car battery over and over and over again. Once Li-Ion is done, it’s done.

  14. No Mith,it will probaly work for Her,this couple is dedicated to living off the grid(but I think when He gets the array setup its probaly going to be grid tied)little electric use spring water,garden, wood cookstove its not as far fetched as it sounds fot them any way.,
    Now one interesting rumor was tossed my way,heard tell there was this group that uses forklift batteries and a tracking array and you get hooked up with these guys,you will never pay over 50$ a month electric bill and if there is a power outage,you have backup for 2-3 days,want to hear some more about that sounds interesting-Kevin

  15. The only way I would even consider an electric vehicle is if I were so rich that I could wipe my ass with $100 bills and not care.

    I’ve sat in a Tesla and I was amazed at how well put together it was. The digital dash is miles ahead of anything else currently being. For puttering you can’t beat the instant torque or silent operation yet as a primary vehicle it is useless for anything longer than a 50+ mile commute.

      • I have not yet driven the new S-Class only the previous generation. I remember seeing that they switched to a digital dash with the redesign. How responsive is it? What about the screen resolution?

        I was referring to the center instrument cluster on the Tesla. It amazed me how lag-free and responsive it was compared to everything else I tried previously. (Audi, BMW, Chevy, Porsche, Ford, Mclaren and Ferrari)

        • The new S is pretty startlingly Future Car – down to the Terminator-esque night vision piped through the main LCD screen that makes it feasible to drive the car without even looking at the road. Not that you would, of course!

          And the V-8 is a beauty. Even if the someday figure out the battery/range issues, driving an electric car is like having sex with a corpse. Silent, lifeless, soul-less.


      • I’m not one for a digital dash either. I prefer a HUD for only essential info and knobs I can recognize by feel as I drive. And ideally as many as possible within fingers reach of the wheel.

        That said such panels are handy while parked for things like route planning or, at extreme need, entertainment for the passenger.

        That’s why all my road-trip playlists are in excess of 40 hours long. There and back again!

    • Funny you mention that. Purely anecdotal, but Aspen Colorado is the one place that I’ve seen lots of electric cars. Of course that’s only in the summer. In the winter it’s all SUVs.

  16. Electric cars were very popular 100 years ago when range was irrelevant because no one routinely ventured far from home. Henry Ford and Standard Oil changed that.

    Batteries, solar and windmills; none are reliable or efficient compared to the energy packed in crude oil. Every vehicle would be powered by several D cells, a wind turbine and photovoltaic panels it was true.

  17. Nowhere, I mean nowhere, in this whole mishegaas (that’s a Yiddish word that means craziness, but this also sounds like a lot of narishkeit, or foolishness) is anyone even thinking about the two technologies that would actually work to make cleaner, greener, more economical driving: compressed natural gas (CNG) and high-efficiency clean diesel engines.

    CNG cars burn a clean, plentiful fuel that we have zillions of cubic feet of right here under our feet in the US of A, produce little or no toxic pollution, can go as far or further between fill-ups than conventional gasoline or diesel engines (and fill-ups take minutes, not hours), don’t involve batteries that contain toxic substances that leak or catch on fire, and don’t require many extensive changes to today’s proven powertrain designs or our energy infrastructure. In fact, we can make natural gas from fermenting waste materials like garbage or sewage.

    As for clean diesel, the EU has had this technology for years. VW and other EU manufacturers had the soot and smog problem figured out without the use of horse and cow pee before Uncle put the screws to diesel pollution standards. And then there’s biodiesel. If clean, efficient diesels are good enough for the EU, they ought to be good enough for Uncle Sam.

    Both of these types of engines provide basically the same capability and performance of conventional gasoline and diesel engines, while being lots cleaner and more efficient. Neither significantly loses performance, range or overall capability when it’s really cold or hot out, when you’re driving for hours at highway speeds with your AC and the radio on, or when you’re driving with a trunk full of luggage and four, five, or six 200-lb passengers. In other words, your fuel mileage may take a noticeable hit in these cases, but you won’t conk out a few blocks from home.

    So, why aren’t we embracing these technologies? Several reasons come to mind:

    First, they lack “sex appeal.” Electric cars like the Leaf and Tesla are sold as “the latest leap forward” in automotive technology. But contrary to popular belief, electric cars are not new: Plenty were produced in the 1900s and 1910s. They were touted as cleaner, easier to use (no crank to start or gears to shift), and safer (didn’t scare horses or cows and you weren’t sitting next to a tankful of gasoline and the little explosions inside the engine!) But even in 1900, it was clear that electric cars didn’t have the capability of gasoline- or diesel-powered cars. That’s why electric cars all but disappeared by 1920.

    Second, people tend to focus on what’s directly in front of them, as opposed to the big picture. To make a long story short, people only see the pollution that comes from gasoline and diesel-powered cars…not the pollution that comes from the coal-fired power plants, or the waste from nuclear power plants, that make the electricity.

    And most importantly of all, the real goal of TPTB in pushing electric cars isn’t to reduce pollution, decrease our dependence on foreign energy, or use energy more efficiently…it’s to restrict our freedom of movement. After all, electric cars make perfect sense if in your utopia, people live in, as you so eloquently put it, “stack-a prole urban hives” and take transit to work and shop. In suburban and rural areas, not so much. None of which applies, incidentally, to all of the government apparatchicks, from cops in their twin-turbo Tauruses and Explorers, Corvette-engined Impalas, Tahoes and Caprices, and Hemi Chargers to mayors, governors and Presidents in their armored limos.

    That’s my 2 cents (or more like $20) about electric cars.

    • Here down under we use liquified propane gas. Half the cost of petrol and highly efficient. Currently running 60 cents a liter.

      My first new car was a Dodge Colt 83 vintage with a 1.3 and 4 speed. Several times I ran the speedo past the 85mph mark and could do so for hours and get 41 mpg. Best I got at 55 was 52mpg. Nice little car with no accessories, certainly not A/C.

    • Bryce, I do see more CNG vehicles every day here in the patch, owned by companies involved directly in the oil field. It would take a company to own one with some sort of tax break to justify the hickey on the window sticker last I checked their prices.

      • CNG vehicles have been the choice for utility and energy companies for quite some time in my area. Any company that is a big user, seller, or producer of natural gas seems to like them. Probably because the fuel to them is damn near free. At that rate plus depreciation the added capital cost probably pays back very quickly even if the CNG tax benefits no longer exist.

      • Well. It’s Top Gear. Great show but the ‘reality’ of a lot of what they claim is questionable.

        Also, Clarkson could likely get a diesel eco-box mileage into single digits the way he drives. Not saying it’s wrong, just not particularly real world. The man tends to use more tire that fuel per mile.

        Either way, any greenish vehicle that needs 5-7 years worth of fuel added to the purchase price compared to a similar gas car, is kind of silly. The cost of the technology ($ and enviro) makes them a strange way of saving anything to me.

        • I’ve driven the Volt and a number of other electric cars and – I swear on a stack of 455 HO blocks – unless you drive them slowly (getting going and once you’re actually going) their range is pitiful. The Volt went back to IC (and about 36 MPG) after about 30 miles of driving at 70-75. I’m sure it does much better put-putting from city block to city block in DC or NY, never exceeding 45 MPH and frequently not moving at all. In which case, great. If, that is, you think it’s a good idea to drop $35k on such a car when – instead – you could buy any of several very appealing cars that aren’t functionally compromised, as the Volt and all electric cars most definitely are.

          • Me2 and many others here sound awfully evangelical about the Tesla and the holy environmental gospel. The got damn thing made it 55 miles in total.

            You should either be in the business of making vehicles. Or in the business of mitigating the negative externalities of technology. You can’t serve two masters. You have to pay the manufacturer of course. The ancillary environmental impact market, that’s quite a bit more problematic.

            Please do tell Eric, what is the worst you could do to an IC car, if you were to drive it in order to get the worst gas mileage possible.

            Is there any way on earth you’ll only get 55 miles out of a tank of gas. Or twice or three times that.

            Also, does it not in point of fact take 2 or 3 minutes to put 15 gallons into a car and drive off, paying at the pumps that are to be found every few miles everywhere and not needing a PhD in battery rechargology and charging station location divination to get refueled and back on the road.

            • Tor – “Me2 and many others here sound awfully evangelical about the Tesla and the holy environmental gospel. ”

              Eh? No Tesla fan here.

              I am kinda fond of the environment though. Often less so of the people who claim to speak for it though.

              • Hey Me2,
                I have some kind of social IQ deficit IRL, which usually doesn’t affect me on the internet so much. But it appears it has bitten me in the arse this time.

                I may be sarcasm/facetiousness blind.

                I often take things literally and at face value, things that any normal person would know weren’t meant that way.

                I’m glad that’s what happened.

                I swear to Crom, if you start testifying about the glory of the peak oil prophecy for real, and the glory of generating power using Crom’s 4 winds, I’m loading up the car and moving to Mexico right now, instead of sticking to my carefully planned Exodus.

                • Hi Tor,

                  For you, I will clarify.

                  I like electric cars. As LA or Vancouver city runabouts, excellent. I would have a Tesla, expense and range being no object.

                  I do not believe the electric car is anywhere near capable of replacing the IC vehicle in anything but niche markets for the foreseeable future. Today I can load six people and a camper on the truck, pulling a trailer through -12c (kind of warm) and 8″ snow from here to Vancouver (350km) over a mountain pass, without a fuel stop and when it do it is a 10 minute affair. Until this is doable in an electric, they are of no practical use to me.

                  My somewhat badly worded and contextually ambiguous units comment above about Clarkson and mileage was regarding how he will almost certainly be getting the absolute worst possible range in any vehicle as he drives everything like he stole it. Real, but not real-world indicative of capabilities any more than the ridiculous high figures quoted for range by Tesla. Possible, but highly unlikely in any real situation.

                  As for Peak Oil. The easy stuff has been scooped up. The energy cost per barrel produced is going up. Unless oil is coming from a place we don’t know about, there is less oil today than yesterday. Less again tomorrow. Any shrinking resource will inevitably become more expensive. I don’t buy into it whole or as dogma but the general overall premise seems sound to me.

                  Windmills. Meh. Some applications make sense but overall the material , environmental and financial costs seem to make their benefits dubious. I’ll probably install a home-brew one here eventually but more as a hobby/experiment than as main power. Solar, while expensive, is the route I am going. Near zero maintenance and no moving parts. Should see me out before any major issues arise other than the 7-15 year battery replacement window.

            • Hi Tor,

              Short of punching a hole in the tank, it’s pretty much impossible to get less than 200 miles out of any IC car I’m aware of – including cars like the M5 and my ancient Trans-Am (each of which will deliver about 10 MPG if you’re flogging it to deliberately burn the most gas you possibly can. Full throttle starts; keeping the revs high by keeping the transmission in lower gear… running WOT at every opportunity).

              And when it does run empty? Refill it in 5 minutes – and you’re good to go.

              • eric, ever been on empty in that TA and put a few gallons in and stick it to the floor for 2 minutes, turn around and not hit it quite as hard going back? I ask because I recall a couple Chevelle’s one night both being out of gas, scrounging around and coming up with enough for a few gallons in each($.22-.25/gallon…and that was ethyl), running a couple miles(after about a mile set-up) all out and not particularly easy going back and both coasting to the house. I remember mine running out turning the corner through the truckstop parking lot and hearing his also cough a few times and go silent on the same turn since he was right behind me although neither one of us would claim being a winner or loser since they ran neck and neck. Besides, we’d already deposited our passengers before the race.

  18. Dont know Eric,have a friend who has A Nissan Leaf who has a short commute(costs Her about a dollar a week for electricity in Her commute) and she runs it back and forth Staunton many times since she acquired it(with juice left over)Round trip70- 80 miles or so.Her eventual goal is to charge this car off the solar array Her significent other is constructing,be pretty neat to able to commute almost a 100 miles on sunshine.Electric has its place,just not for long range yet-but imagine this an inductive road loop that would charge your car as it goes and its possible,but of course you would have a user fee worse then the Cheaspeake Tunnels,but just imagine its coming-Kevin

    • kevin mccune,

      It (inductive road loop) may arive someday, but it is not here yet.

      What is the cost for the solar array that is being built by her significant other?
      If it is designed to replace most, if not all, of her yearly electric use, then I would expect it to cost at least 35-40 thousand FRN (Federal Reserve Notes).

      A car similar to a 2015 Nissan Versa 36/27 Hwy/Cty could be most cost effective in the near term.
      For 15,000 miles/year and averaging 32mpg
      Ten year cost (Just fuel & cost of car) will use 4687.5 gallons of fuel (@$2.50/gallon) is $11,800 + $15,000 for car
      is about $27,000.*

      At some point Solar Arrays may be cost effective. Today sans rebates & government incentives they are not.

      * Of course this cost can change if #miles driven and/or cost of fuel changes.

    • Hi Kevin,

      For short trips (40 miles, one way – as per your post) and assuming you have stuff to do while you wait for the thing to recharge … that aspect of it might work. But the Leaf’s base price is about $30,000. How does this make any sense, from an economic standpoint? Even if it costs nothing to “fuel,” the Leaf itself costs at least twice what a current economy compact costs. How long to “drive off” the additional $15,000 you spent on the Leaf?


      And what’s the range when it’s 17 degrees out? I’d be willing to put real money down that it’s more like 50 miles.

      Meanwhile, a new $15k Mazda2 can go – what? – 400 miles on a tank? With the heat (or AC) on… running 75 all day….

      • eric, two friends, both with school teacher wives, both bought a Prius a couple years ago. One lives one mile from school and the other lives 3 miles away. They say they virtually never fuel these vehicles. I guess it’s a great way to seldomly use gas although they each never bother to count the meter on the wall. They both take fairly long trips maybe once a year and one uses his to make 100 M one way trips fairly often. The both claim high mileage, one claims his gets 49 highway mpg.

        All that’s just fine but both had good vehicles paid for when they assumed the new mortgages. What’s the savings(FRN or ecologically)? I’m all for people using a Prius if that’s what they want but both of these guys bought them to be able to pat each other on the back for being “ecologically PC…..in a couple ways they think, don’t understand the entire NE is a polluted landscape and the water pollution goes everywhere just like the air pollution. They neither one will discuss the pollution from the sites worldwide where metals that make these battery packs are produced.

        I said it made sense to not buy cars when you have good one and several people agreed. I don’t browbeat them and surely haven’t taken them to task as I could have but it’s only because we’re friends. One of them makes money poisoning the land with Roundup and the other with oil company stock. I’d be prouder of them and for them if they’d just been honest. It’s their money to do what they want with, just don’t run a scam by me and show me to be the big polluter with a diesel pickup. There’s been generations of pickups built and destroyed while that old pickup has endured. Wonder what a new pickup or car costs everything including pollution? I don’t know of anyone who’s done all that math.


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