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December 2008 Posts

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  The EVcast
Blog Entry

EVcast #146: GM, GM, GM

Friday, December 19th 2008 @ 11:18 AM (not yet rated)    post viewed 15751 times

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  • Bailout Update
  • GM Damage Control
  • Volt Caddy?
  • GM Volt Still Full Speed Ahead
  • $1 Gas
  • Listener Feedback

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Comments

Darell Dickey
Free Access
Darelldd said on Friday, December 19th 2008 @ 3:06 PM:

Hey! No fair giving live listener incentives before moving the podcast times!

Oh, and Merry Christmas. :-)

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Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Saturday, December 20th 2008 @ 11:48 AM:

The EVCast shirt is very nice- and not found in stores anywhere!  When I wear mine, all my friends are jealous, and ask me all the time, "Where can I get one?"  And I have to tell them- only a few lucky listeners to the EVCast get these one-one-of-a-kind, top-of-the-line symbols of sartorial excellence.  (and since it is Christmas, maybe you should consider sending one to Darell as your West-coast representative;-)

Merry Christmas all!  And remember, root for the 'Horns in the Fiesta Bowl;-)

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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Monday, December 22nd 2008 @ 1:07 PM:

The article below looks at the "break-even" point for batteries versus gasoline.  While the author is an advocate for advanced lead-acid batteries, his logic seems to be undeniable.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/111835-alternative-energy-storage-needs-to-take-baby-steps-before-it-can-run

   First consider a 10 KWH battery pack that might carry a vehicle 40 miles.  If a lead-acid battery is used, and the cost of the battery, interest, and electricity for 10 years is considered, then gasoline would need to be at US$0.93/gallon to reach the same cost.    If Li-Ion is used, gasoline would need to be US$4.07/gallon to reach the same cost.  In the future, the price of Li-Ion might be cut in half, but lead-zcid is not likely to change.

    So the high initial price of a battery pack is a big challenge for EVs.  More expensive battery technology (no matter how much improved) makes the EV even less competitive with the ICE engine.

     Second, consider a 25 KWH battery pack that might carry a vehicle 100 miles.  This sound good, right, but the economics are terrible.  For the lead-acid battery, gasoline would need to be at US$1.76/gallon and for Li-Ion gasoline would need to be at US$9.62/gallon to achieve the same cost.

     So larger battery packs are great for longer range but are terrible economically.  You are paying all the cost for the large battery pack, but for most trips, there is no benefit.

     This discussion looks pretty bad for the EV, but I can think of a few bright spots.

1) the E-REV (a.k.a Chevy Volt) is probably the right model.  Only pay for a small battery pack (16 KWH) to reduce the cost of the pack.

2) the Aptera with its very high efficiency can get a long range (120 miles I think) with a small battery pack (10 KWH).  So they can avoid the expense of the large battery pack with high efficiency.

3) the Tesla Roadster works because the high price-tag in the sports-car market segment is less of an issue.  I don't think this is a matter of cost-benefit analysis, it is a matter of buying something that you want and enjoy.

 

Later

John C. Briggs

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Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Tuesday, December 23rd 2008 @ 3:17 PM:

Good article John!  And I mostly agree with John Petersen, the author of the article- I really do think car companies are missing the boat by considering Li-Ion as their only option.  I am repeating myself here on this (I know, big surprise;-), but there are at least three options for advanced Lead-Acid that I think would make for some excellent options until Li-Ion comes down in price- Axion Power (which Mr Petersen is associated with), Firefly, and CSIRO (which has partnered with an American battery manufacturer for North American distribution)

Only Firefly is in production (I think) however, and only to the trucking industry- but according to what I have read, all three of these technologies could ramp up very quickly with very little cost increase over current Lead Acid batteries- they just need a market or manaufacturer to step up and use one of them.

I have not included the 'nano-carbon-enchanced' battery championed by ST (of Electric City Motors in Colorado), as I am not sure of the viability of this- but if true, it is just one more option.

The only thing I do disagree with Mr. Petersen, is that we do need to invest in Li-Ion research, as, given its lower weight, higher power density, and longevity, is a better choice in the long run- but we need to do the research now to get there, and hopefully with a US Company, not an Asian battery maker.

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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Wednesday, December 24th 2008 @ 10:55 AM:

Paul,
     John Peterson basically acknowleges the fact that short battery life for traditional lead-acid batteries make them a "non-starter".  If you are calculating the 10-year payback of a battery pack, well, then, the battery pack had better last 10 years and not 3-5 years.

     So the battery pack needs low-cost and 10-year life.  Whether the battery is li-Ion or Lead-Acid is perhaps less important.

      Actually cost and life are both really issues of cost.  If you have a battery pack that only cost $1000, but only lasts 1-year then it will cost $10,000 over 10-years.  In a way, this is equivalent to a battery pack that costs $10,000 and last 10-years.

   Related to this is an interesting article about the Chevy Volt.

   http://gm-volt.com/2008/12/24/future-volt-generations-will-offer-cheaper-smaller-batteries-not-longer-ranges/    

   GM basically see the future of E-REV to be cheaper (and possibly lower KWH) batteries rather higher KWH and longer range.  Cost is king and the EV idealists will not get their wish of a pure EV.  The economics are not in favor of pure EV for a mass-market product.

Later
John C. Briggs

 

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Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Wednesday, December 24th 2008 @ 6:29 PM:

Yeah- at least in the short run, it will be very hard to get a mass-produced, pure EV- however, it is doable- but the cost of batteries will have to come down significantly.  However, I do not think the adoption of fast-charge stations is going to be a problem, especially with some of the Li-Ion phosphate batteries showing the ability to be fast-charged- of course, what remains to be seen on that front is how much fast-charging will shorten the battery life, though presumably, you would not have to do it very often.  And once you have fast-charge stations, you do away with the need for a gas range-extender.

As far as lead-acid batteries not lasting very long, I think one of potential benefits of the newer-generation lead-acid batteries is a much longer life than what we currently see.  CSIRO, for example, ran a Honda with their battery pack on a track for a 100,000 miles with very little degradation of the battery pack- there has got to be an EV market for that!  At least, I hope so;-)

Maybe someday then, I will get my biggest Christmas wish with a Venture One Persu in the driveway!  Well, and an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!  Of Course;-)

Y'all have a very, Merry Christmas!

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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Saturday, December 27th 2008 @ 8:30 PM:

According to this forbes video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9PGO8Ocdx0

or

http://video.forbes.com/fvn/economy/km_auto1200908

Aptera will start filling orders in Late 2009.  I think this is a slip of about 1 year.

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Bo Bennett
Tuesday Host
Group Administrator
Bo said on Sunday, December 28th 2008 @ 8:23 AM:

Aptera will start filling orders in Late 2009.  I think this is a slip of about 1 year.

Forbes is the only source that I have heard report this... they are reliable, but on the Apter forums, Aptera site, Autobloggreen, and other places there is no indication of that significant of a delay.  We do not have any contacts at Aptera -- they are like EEstor when it comes to the media.  But I will see what I can dig up -- or see if I can find out where Forbes got this info.

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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Sunday, December 28th 2008 @ 3:28 PM:

Bo,
   It would be good to hear it from the "horse's mouth" on this issue with Aptera.  I was a bit taken-back by the claim that Aptera shipments late 2009 because last I knew they were talking about December 2008 (although these seems increasingly unlikely).

    It seems like Aptera has a large staff at this point and will burn a lot of cash in 2009 if they don't ship anything in 2009.

    In the EV world, everything but Tesla and Vectrix seems to be vaporware.

Later
John C. Briggs

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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Sunday, December 28th 2008 @ 5:44 PM:

Here is another article claiming end for 2009 for Aptera shipments.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/autocorner/chi-rides-mateja-autoqa-1228dec28,0,557885.story

The following article gives one possible reason for the delay.

http://www.gizmag.com/aptera-ev-opts-for-front-wheel-drive/10633/

Aptera Motors has changed from rear-wheel to front-wheel drive.  This seems to be a last minute change and will surely delay shipping.  I wonder if they will go with in-hub motors.

  This does not sound like a product very close to release.

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Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Monday, December 29th 2008 @ 11:05 AM:

Interesting articles, John!  Wow- big change from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive.  The rear wheel drive that they originally had was at least simple, and, I would think, much easier to repair- but perhaps more prone to issues being a belt-driven system.  I guess front-wheel drive systems are very well-known at this point, but I wonder how much more expensive it will be.  It would really be interesing if they do go with in-wheel electric motors, but, even though progress is being made rapidly in this area, it just does not seem like this option is ready for the real world yet- but hope I am wrong;-)  Unfortunatly, it does look like at least another year before we start to see some EV's other than Tesla and Vectrix on the road.

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Bo Bennett
Tuesday Host
Group Administrator
Bo said on Monday, December 29th 2008 @ 11:26 AM:

Paul - don't forget that Vectrix is using an in wheel motor -- I can personally attest to the system working wonderfully.  Aptera should be able to do it if Vectrix can.

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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Monday, December 29th 2008 @ 1:00 PM:

The rear-wheel to front-wheel drive change is a big deal.  With professional management (hopefully Aptera has some), you don't make this change without there being a serious problem with the current plan.  There must have been something terribly wrong with the rear-wheel drive to force a change this late in the game.

   Perhaps there was not enough weight in the back of the vehicle to drive it up a wet steep hill without slipping.  Alternatively, it might have been too difficult to control with the vehicle tending toward "fishtailing".

    I just hope they don't wreck the profitibility of the company by trying to make the "best" product rather than "good enough."  They really need to start shipping something.

Later

John C. Briggs

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Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Monday, December 29th 2008 @ 5:27 PM:

:-0- well drop my jaw and smack myself in the head- I had not realized that the Vectrix motor was in the wheel- I need to brush up on my EV knowledge apparently!  Still, everything I have seen over the last year or two had suggested problems with in-wheel motors, at least in cars- perhaps there are more issues when this is implemented in pairs.  Still, it would be interesting to see if the other EV motorcycles are also using an in-wheel design.

And for the change with Aptera- you may have hit on some of the issues John, once they started more real-world testing.  And I wonder if a belt-driven system would stand up to the torque- it may be fine for some applications, but the instant, constant torque of an electric motor may have proved too much for it, as well as some of the other issues you mentioned.  Besides- given the current Economic turmoil we are in, perhaps making changes now, and hopefully launching the Aptera next year to higher gas prices and a recovering economy, may not be such a bad move- if, of course, they have the funding to last that long- maybe Google can pony up a bit more cash for Aptera;-)

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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Tuesday, December 30th 2008 @ 9:26 AM:

TopGear created a video about Tesla.  It is not particularly favorable, but still interesting.

http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/12/tesla-outraged-after-bbc-reviewer-fakes-battery-collapse

and here is some information from UCLA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzB93yk3yRE

 

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John Briggs
Free Access
JohnBriggs said on Sunday, January 4th 2009 @ 8:06 PM:

Interesting interview with Chris Paine about "Revenge of the Electric Car"

 

http://commongroundmag.com/2009/01/conversations0901.html

 

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Guest
a guest said on Monday, January 5th 2009 @ 4:48 AM:

Bill Berggren

After reflecting on the idea "Are the GM bailouts good for the electric car." I would have to say no. Presently 99.9% of GM, big three, cars sold are gas or diesel. Yes, GM could create a quality car. But, they could have made a quality electric car for the past 50 years. With gas prices dropping the electric cars future is even more uncertain. The oil companies can't increase prices as long as Obama is in office. If they do he will want to tax them. You mentioned Chrysler has delayed EV plans.

I got a email from BEAuto saying their NEV is ready. Which reminds me I need to write them back saying I need a regular eV without a big red triangle on the back. I bet the NEV sales will be poor. However, with GM out of the picture. Their sales would have to increase. These bailouts are completely unfair to anyone that wants to get into the EV building business - including Zenn, Sunmotor, Tesla, ... .

While away I have been reading a lot about conspiracies. Although I know most are not true. They keep talking about the global elite running everything - Alex Jones. It does almost seem the elite want everybody to have cars that break every 5 years and run on gasoline they control.

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Fredderick Miller
EVcast Individual Supporter
RodMiller said on Tuesday, January 13th 2009 @ 2:28 AM:

John:

Thanks for the Aptera heads up.  Agreed changing design means the first one must not have been good.  Ouch!  I have made many bad designs.  My wine cellar gets up to 75 degrees.  I did not anticipate that the garage floor would heat up enough to ruin the ground effect.   It is dug underneath the garage floor.   I have a thermal solar panel I designed.  I pump heat into my living room so I don't have to run my wood stove on sunny days.  This reduces air pollution.  The panel works except for the toxic paint smell from the black rustoelum that I painted the interior with.  Ha Ha!  It kind a makes you light headed.

Can't wait for the Aptera interview today. 

Everyone is following GM's lead... Even the porn industry wants a bail out.  They say if they don't get it then they will have to cut budgets...the actors won't get to finish.

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BrandonPaul said on Wednesday, September 23rd 2009 @ 4:02 AM:

GM is already bankrupted and I don't really think they can still regain their status in the automotive industry..They need to modify their car parts in order for them to have cheaper cars.

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