February 5, 2013

"Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars..."

"We need something entirely new." Said Toyota’s vice chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada.

81 comments:

jacksonjay said...

SUCKERS!

AJ Lynch said...

What is he telling us for? We already knew that. He needs to explain this ASAP to dumbasses like Sec. Chu, Obama, Al Gore, the NYT etc

President-Mom-Jeans said...

No fucking shit.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Before they give up too soon, have they considered a purely electric car with an on-board generator?

F said...

How about LNG-powered cars? Clean and efficient, and the price of LNG should begin to fall as we unlock more gas reserves. The electric car thing was always a pipe dream pushed by people who wanted more control over your life.

Chef Mojo said...

Face-palmingly obvious.

wyo sis said...

A tiny nuclear reactor?
That's what I was always told would replace internal combustion (at least until China Syndrome came out).

Larry J said...

ell the Bat said...
Before they give up too soon, have they considered a purely electric car with an on-board generator?


You mean like the Chevy Volt? Your description is close to the Volt's operating concept. Pure electric cars are always going to be limited by the battery technology. Fuel cells may be a better long term solution but they're currently too expensive.

CEO-MMP said...

M the Bat, you mean like a locomotive?

Big diesel generator?

Cars would probably have to get bigger.

Shanna said...

Obviously. Once you have to put limits on how far someone can drive, you know that's going to be a problem.

Original Mike said...

Duuuuh.

CEO-MMP said...

Dilithium crystals?

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57523867-1/star-trek-fusion-impulse-engine-in-the-works/

Original Mike said...

Well, except for driving range, cost, and recharge time, it's a really great car.

Bryan C said...

Can't we just pass a mandate that makes electric cars appear in people's driveways without any cost to anyone? It works for contraception.

garage mahal said...

Well, except for driving range, cost, and recharge time, it's a really great car.

What car?

Shouting Thomas said...

How about gasoline?

God bless gasoline!

Scott M said...

Before they give up too soon, have they considered a purely electric car with an on-board generator?

Winning.

Original Mike said...

The electric car. Generic. They're all great. Case in point.

Marshal said...

CEO-MMP said...
M the Bat, you mean like a locomotive?

Big diesel generator?


I detect sarcasm. Couldn't you describe a Camry as an electrical vehicle with a generator attached?

We do know that Democrats won't support this though. There aren't enough subsidies for Democratic cronies.

Bryan C said...

"Before they give up too soon, have they considered a purely electric car with an on-board generator?"

They have. But then you have to factor in the weight and size of the generator itself plus the fuel that powers the generator.

Or, you can add up all the losses incurred at each stage of the design, skip the batteries and electric motors, and power the wheels directly with an internal combustion engine.

Alex said...

What about lack of charging infrastructure? Nobody has the appropriate plug in their garage, much less in all the parking garages or the gas stations.

Jay said...

Yeah, no shit.

SteveR said...

Its not hard to believe it but Obama is mising the chance to save the U.S. economy for the present and future. Everything is in place except a decision.

joe said...

After the welcome Toyota received from the Obama regime in matters of the fly by wire gas pedal, they will move away from their previous ally. Totally embarrassing Toyota executives in phony hearings leaves them with nothing to do but pal up with the Russians.

And it begins with dogs.


"Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Mexico on June 18 that Japan intends to present him with an Akita Inu puppy".

"Russians love animals, including dogs and cats," said noted Russian political specialist Kenro Nagoshi, a professor at Akita International University. "The present given to President Putin, who understands Japanese culture, on his re-assumption of the presidency will lead to improved relations between the two countries."

Russia has increased its oil supply to Japan, and this leads to Japan eventually leaving the orbit of the USA and its troubled Middle East oil supply/policies.

Now, imagine the faker Obama trying to cut deals by offering a dog in exchange for trade!

rehajm said...

“Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars,”

I've tested this one and it's a very nice car. It does have two of the three, shortcomings, agreed. All vehicles have tradeoffs. Performance, handling, cost, passenger capacity, cargo capacity- pick any two, but only two. Why should it be different with an electric vehicle?

Original Mike said...

In Wisconsin, this time of year, you have a choice. Drive, or turn on the heater.

garage mahal said...

The electric car. Generic

Bad news: Toyota is going pursue fuel-cell cars that convert hydrogen to electricity instead.

Weird, the Washington Times article doesn't link to the Reuters article it's sourcing from.

Tim said...

The problem isn't the car, the problem is the electric cord manufacturers refuse to make cords long enough for electric cars to travel while attached to one's outlet.

It's a conspiracy.

I hear Roger Moore is making a movie about this.

It'll blow the lid off the unAmerican electric cord manufacturing industry.

Smilin' Jack said...

"Before they give up too soon, have they considered a purely electric car with an on-board generator?"

They have. But then you have to factor in the weight and size of the generator itself plus the fuel that powers the generator.


If there were fuel, it wouldn't be purely electric. The generator is powered by a perpetual motion machine.

Actually, since my driving consists almost entirely of short commutes, an electric car would be perfect for me. Only my commitment to preventing the next Ice Age keeps me driving my SUV.

Someday you'll all thank me.

FleetUSA said...

My Prius is perfect conservative answer to the issue. 48 mpg

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rocketeer said...

My Prius is perfect conservative answer to the issue. 48 mpg

Pshaw. I had a 1986 Ford Tempo Diesel with a manual tranny that got 68 mpg.

Original Mike said...

"Toyota is going (sic) pursue fuel-cell cars that convert hydrogen to electricity instead."

Operative phrase, "going to".

I'm writing a book chapter right now, and I'm running out of ways to "potential", "promising", "under investigation", ...

Original Mike said...

"I hear Roger Moore is making a movie about this."

Is there anything James Bond can't do?

Smilin' Jack said...

The electric car. Generic

Bad news: Toyota is going pursue fuel-cell cars that convert hydrogen to electricity instead.


The hydrogen-powered car won't be generic. It's going to be called the Hindenburg.

garage mahal said...

Operative phrase, "going to".

Hopefully it will fail! /s

Rumpletweezer said...

Have we completely given up on perpetual motion machines?

gerry said...

Well, except for driving range, cost, and recharge time, it's a really great car.

...and the Volt's tendency to burn to the axles.

Joe Schmoe said...

So Toyota, who has more expertise and knowledge about manufacturing cars than just about anyone in the world, has chosen to pursue a automotive technology espoused by none other than--that's right, folks--the Devil himself, Mr. George W. Bush.

CEO-MMP said...

Did someone actually say 'if there's a generator it's not an electric car'?

Where do you suppose the electricity for anything comes from?

Bryan C said...

"Pshaw. I had a 1986 Ford Tempo Diesel with a manual tranny that got 68 mpg."

My father's early 80's VW Rabbit Diesel routinely managed 50 mpg. Modern diesels are great.

But diesel engines are a widely established, mature technology. As such, they don't provide sufficient opportunity for graft or social engineering.

Joe Schmoe said...

Bad news: Toyota is going pursue fuel-cell cars that convert hydrogen to electricity instead.

Yeah, that's devastating stuff right there. Toyota should've consulted with you first.

n.n said...

Well, that's refreshing. Finally, someone with integrity, free from emotional distortions. Is he an engineer?

edutcher said...

In that case, Choom owes us a ton of money.

EMD said...

with a manual tranny

Transvestite, transexual, or Transylvanian?

Chef Mojo said...

Transvestite, transexual, or Transylvanian?

Well, according to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, they're all one and the same.

Levi Starks said...

I regret that I did not have time to dedicate to the Althouse blog today, I am a conservative who also is very interested in electric technology.
Please do another post topic dealing with the broader subject of renewable/ solar energy tomorrow..
Thanks.

Emil Blatz said...

I saw my first Tesla on i-95 north of Miami the other day. I did a double take as I passed it. It was wider and lower than most vehicles and from a distance the shape made me think Aston Martin. You see a lot of exotic cars in S. FL regularly. As I went past it I sensed the the driver was receiving psychic benefit from driving a pure electric car. To each their own.

gbarto said...

Did someone actually say 'if there's a generator it's not an electric car'?

Where do you suppose the electricity for anything comes from?


The electric car is the perfect vehicle for the environmental movement. Instead of burning gasoline in their neighborhoods, you burn coal in poor people's neighborhoods. How can you not love that?

Original Mike said...

"As I went past it I sensed the the driver was receiving psychic benefit from driving a pure electric car."

Let's get back to him and see how he feels when it bricks.

bpm4532 said...

Really odd that people have to keep relearning old lessons. There seems to be some threshold past which scientific developments don't seem to matter to many people. The electric car is one of these. Those of us who have engineering backgrounds knew this would end up this way, but you can't inform Democrats and other utopian Green society dreamers. They have to try on their own. Unfortunately, it's not with their own money by which they fail.

Tim said...

Original Mike said...

""I hear Roger Moore is making a movie about this."

Is there anything James Bond can't do?"


I just heard from a friend who has a friend who has a cousin who cuts the hair of the personal assistant to the producer who green-lighted the project, and the name of the movie will be "Michael and Me."

Ironic, huh?

Anyway, you heard it here first.

Amartel said...

The Fart Car.
Jet propelled.

AReasonableMan said...

I drive a small hybrid SUV. In my experience this is a perfect engineering compromise. It makes use of electric power to minimize fuel costs to the extent that this is practical given the current limitations with battery technology. To continue to research and develop electric vehicles seems a reasonable strategy to me, if only to improve the technology in hybrids.

The antagonism towards this technology seems misplaced. Gasoline is a finite resource and personally I would prefer to waste it on my boat than puttering around the local neighborhood.

sinz52 said...

Alex: "Nobody has the appropriate plug in their garage"

Some of us don't even have garages.

Much of my life, I've either rented apartments or owned condos for which I parked my car in the parking lot--or on the street. How am I supposed to recharge an electric car--with a 500 foot long extension cord?

I also traveled on business quite a bit. Again, most of the motor hotels I stayed in had parking lots instead of garages.

All those proponents of electric cars seem to assume that every American motorist owns a house with a garage, and never travels anywhere where there are no garages.

traditionalguy said...

The oldest Electric cars were used as around town, low speed "women's cars."

That is Obama's vision: an 1890's technology that traps serfs in town and makes them use an electric train between towns.

A serf is a laborer who cannot go anywhere else.

Meanwhile our Dem Overlords like Pelosi and Panetta take private flights on Government Gulfstreams or 727s home to California every weekend from their part time "Jobs" in DC.

Darrell said...

Wind/solar combos.
The Left doesn't want you to go anywhere anyway.

sinz52 said...

F: "How about LNG-powered cars?"

It all depends if you're a purist about global warming.

An activist like Bill McKibben is against natural gas too, because it also produces CO2 when burned. Heck, all combustion produces CO2.

Their vision was of electric cars being charged by electricity from wind and solar power. Now that vision is in tatters for several reasons.

Darrell said...

I'll stick with my anti-gluon technology.
The energy contained in a single molecule of water is sufficient to power any city on Earth.

Btw, can I borrow a cup of anti-gluons from anyone here? I'm running a bit low.

Kirk Parker said...

"We need something entirely new."

Whoa--the Vice Chairman veers of the road, and crashes in the ditch.

NO, we do NOT need "something entirely new". Incremental improvements, including possible shifts to similar fuels such as LNG, is the way to proceed.

Original Mike said...

"The antagonism towards this technology seems misplaced."

Hybrids are smart. All-electric, not so much.

Lance said...

Good thing we handed out all those $7500 checks to help foster this important industry of the future.

Darrell said...

I have an electromagnet on the front of my car too which I can use to attach to a semi. My interstate gas mileage is UNBELIEVABLE!

Original Mike said...

Do you reverse the current when it's time to stop, Darrell?

Bruce Hayden said...

The antagonism towards this technology seems misplaced. Gasoline is a finite resource and personally I would prefer to waste it on my boat than puttering around the local neighborhood.

Maybe finite, but unlikely to run out in the lifetimes of anyone here if we can keep the environmental wackos from banning fracking and other modern drilling and production techniques (sounds a bit like the gun debate, and the left's desire to ban any gun technology newer than 50 years).

The basic problem with fully electric vehicles is that electrical transfer and storage have a much lower energy density than hydrocarbon fuels have. This shows up in two different places. One is in the batteries, and the second in refueling times.

Just as with photelectrics, there are theoretical maximum battery power densities, and that means that no matter how efficient we make batteries, it is unlikely that they will ever come anywhere close to hyrocarbons for energy/weight. And, that means that right now, a lot of EVs are at the point where small increases in driving distance come at a massively increased cost in terms of battery weight, and a significant amount of the vehicle is spent in fuel storage (compare the percentage weight of a battery to a car versus gasoline or diesel - the gas in the tank of my Tahoe will take it almost 400 miles with highway driving, and that much fuel is not significant in comparison to the weight of the vehicle).

The other part of this is that you can only move electricity so fast with modern technology, and if you try to increase the energy flow, you get heat. You can increase the diameter of the connector, but that quickly becomes unweidly, or you can use a better conductor, say gold instead of copper. But, that too has its own problems, including, in the case of gold, both cost and theft. (Ignoring, for a moment that copper itself is expensive enough right now that theft there is a real problem, and would be a much bigger one with much bigger cables). Maybe, we can ultimately use some sort of semiconductor, but right now, they take a lot of supercooling, which would make distribution prohibitively expensive. Right now, it is hard to see how we could make refueling an electric vehicle any faster than hours, compared to minutes with hydrocarbon fuels, which provide several times the driving distances.

Oh, and another nifty feature about electric vehicles mentioned above - modern batteries rapidly lose effectiveness when cold, which makes keeping batteries warm a priority in electric cars, which in turn is another drain on the batteries. Along with, of course, keeping the passengers warm, the windows defrosted, etc.

kentuckyliz said...

IT featuring Flexi-Grips

Michael Haz said...

Car makers are moving away form batteries and toward compressed natural gas (CNG). So are the oil companies.

CNG cars are readily available. Honda sells a cool Civic that is CNG powered. It gets 28 mpg, and gallon of CNG in Milwaukee costs form $1.59 to $1.79, depending on where it is purchased. The only drawback is the lack of a filling station on every corner; but since the gas lines are already under the street, the infrastructure costs are manageable.

CNG burns clean. In addition to low tailpipe emissions, it puts fewer pollutants into the car's crankcase. Oil changes can be stretched to 10,000 miles and more. And cars run as well on CNG as they do on gasoline.

The major move to CNG will begin in heavy truck engines. The major engine manufacturers already have diesel engines that run on CNG. You can see them now powering garbage trucks, and so forth. They'll be in over-the-road tractors in the next two years.

Original Mike said...

"Gasoline is a finite resource and personally I would prefer to waste it on my boat than puttering around the local neighborhood."

Thing is, most of us can't afford separate cars for puttering around the neighborhood and for driving to the next city. So we choose a car that can do both.

Darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darrell said...

Do you reverse the current when it's time to stop, Darrell?

If you're thinking magnetic repulsion of polar likes, that is too much trouble. Deploy your electromagnet on a double-A-frame connected to your frame and you won't have any problems. Perfect for hybrids, too, with recuperative energy recovery.

Big Mike said...

Hydrogen has one small problem to overcome

jr565 said...

Yes, electric cars are not ready for prime time. As critics have been saying for the longest.
Oh also, solar power, wind power and all the other alt engeries are similarly not ready for prime time.

You can spend all the billions you want to have an expert come back and tell you what you already should know. But why not save your money and simply accept common sense.

Original Mike said...

"Yes, electric cars are not ready for prime time."

Uchiyamada's point is that they will never be ready for prime time.

"You can spend all the billions you want to have an expert come back and tell you what you already should know. But why not save your money and simply accept common sense."

Nah, nah, nah, can't hear you. Nah, nah, nah, can't hear you.

McTriumph said...

This is no big deal, the light worker is capable of working around the laws of thermodynamics the same way he works around the laws of economics and the Constitution.

Kirk Parker said...

Bruce,

"The other part of this is that you can only move electricity so fast with modern technology"

Right, but then the stuff you go on to describe are not so much limitations of technology per se, but inherent in the underlying physics. There are not going to be any inexpensive breakthroughs here...

Michael,

Interesting point on CNG. What does it take, or maybe even how feasible is it, to get a reasonable range in a passenger-car-sized CNG vehicle?

McTriumph,

You mean by cheating? Doesn't work so well on Mother Nature, you know.

Levi Starks said...

It is unfortunate that the electric car/renewable energy discussion must always come down along political lines
The left wing tree huggers market their wares to other liberals who at the end of the day only want to spend other peoples money to "fix the environment"
I know 2 people who own Prius' . Guess what? they're both conservatives. They bought the cars because the cars meet their needs, and make good economic sense. For them.

You want to make photovoltaic solar work?
Market it as a way to gain independence from the system. As a way to control your own destiny. Of course tree hugger never think in these terms.

The cost of solar photovoltaic cells have dropped remarkably in just the last year. In fact the cost of the solar panels is now the lowest portion of a "grid tie" system. You will spend more on the installation and associated equipment than the actual solar panels.


http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/significant-breakthrough-made-in-the-development-of-energy-storage/

Bruce Hayden said...

Right, but then the stuff you go on to describe are not so much limitations of technology per se, but inherent in the underlying physics. There are not going to be any inexpensive breakthroughs here...

I think that is most likely true with battery technology. While batteries are not as efficient as they theoretically could be, they are enough of the way there that I think that we can see that even getting pretty close to the theoretical limits to the technology isn't going to change the dynamics all that much, with the energy/weight ratio remaining stubbornly low, with the resulting problem that battery requirements continue to go up much faster than range does.

I do think that there may be a higher chance that some exotic semiconductor may ultimately be discovered that could help the energy transfer problem. BUT, as you point out, would it be an economic solution? To work economically, it would have to work at room temperature, and not near absolute zero, which is where most of the technology in this area is right now. Maintaining that much cold up to the equivalent of the gas tank would be, at the present, at a minimum, physically and economically infeasible.

But, I do agree that it is the physics that is the problem here, and amazingly, was totally ignored by the physicist who headed the department that gave away billions to supposedly solve these problems.

Rusty said...


""Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars...""

Well. Duh!

When they can come up with a hybrid or an electric that can do what an F150 can do at the same price, they won't be able to keep them at the dealership.
Until then quit wasting money on sparky cars that nobody wants.

Larry J said...

sinz52 said...
F: "How about LNG-powered cars?"

It all depends if you're a purist about global warming.

An activist like Bill McKibben is against natural gas too, because it also produces CO2 when burned. Heck, all combustion produces CO2.


Not all combustion, just combustion of carbon based materials. Burning hydrogen produces no CO2. But then, where do you get the hydrogen. The most economical source involves splitting hydrogen from natural gas and that produces CO2. The other technique - electrolysis - involves a lot of electricity. Unless your electric source is a nuclear power plant, hydroelectric or the very remote "renewable" solar or wind turbine, CO2 is produced to make the electricity.

Peter said...

'F' said, "How about LNG-powered cars? Clean and efficient, and the price of LNG should begin to fall as we unlock more gas reserves."

CNG seems far more likely than LNG, due to the energy required to liquify the gas and the need to keep it liquified. CNG is a known, low-risk technology.

It's hard to see how it makes more sense to burn the natural gas to generate electricity to send over transmission lines to a charger to charge the batteries of an electric car- instead of just burning the natural gas in the car's engine.

And then there's Boing's travails with Li-ion batteries. Perhaps a car-sized Li-ion battery getting charged overnight isn't something you want to think about as you're drifting off to sleep?

Rusty said...

If hydrogen was an efficient fuel we'd already be using it. A major part of every oil refinery is a hydrogen plant.
Natural gas doesn't have the same heat energy as gasoline. You have to burn more natural gas to get the same efficiency as gasoline.
The best alternative I can think of right now would be a fuel cell, but there would have to be an order of magnitude reduction in cost.