You are not logged in. Access is limited. Login or see membership information. • EVcast

EVcast.com is the home of the EVcast.  The EVcast is a podcast dedicated to bringing consumers the latest information on electric vehicles in a non-technical, non-political, and entertaining way.  Don't forget, you can also subscribe to this podcast via iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

NEW! Stream the latest episode of the EVcast from your website by including this one simple line of javascript:

<script src="http://www.igroops.com/evcast.js" type="text/javascript"></script>


Watch this Blog Notify me by e-mail any time a new post is made to this blog.

Subscribe to this Podcast
via iTunes!

The EVcast is a podcast dedicated to bringing consumers the latest information on electric vehicles in a non-technical, non-political, and entertaining way.

Become Our Platinum Sponsor
Product ID: 00000003
Currently In Stock: 0

For the main sponsor, you get the big prize! A 622px wide x 100px tall banner that will appear on just about every page within EVcast.com, including blog posts. On the homepage, in place of the banner you will have a custom ... More »

Price: $2500.00

September 2009 Posts

Archives


  The EVcast
Blog Entry

EVcast #275: Underwater Hockey

posted by Bo Bennett, Group AdministratorTuesday, September 29th 2009 @ 3:57 PM (2 ratings)    post viewed 20960 times

click to download this audio file

Join Bo, Ryan, Jason Guise, and Joyce, for a mind-bending show.  We interview the CEO of SolarCity and get the real answer on what "Aptera" means, directly from Aptera.  We cover every major EV story from the last week including Fisker's new wealth, Zenn's new direction, and Myers Motor's new car.  Keep listening for another EV song at the end.... this time it is from someone that can actually sing.

Share

Don't just listen to the EVcast -- experience and be a part of it!  Join us at 1:00pm Eastern, M-F, in our live video broadcast and chat along with us!

Comments

Matthijs Van der Bogt
Free Access
Matthijs1980 said on Tuesday, September 29th 2009 @ 5:50 PM:

wow thanks you guys for getting Aptera on the phone about the meaning of the word Aptera! The poll is still open: http://apteraforum.com/showthread.php?t=3252

A lot of people are on the right track!

I am really bummed I missed it! Wasn't it extremely hard to restrain yourself not to ask more questions? Smile Now with the new rendering out in the open. Thanks again you guys great show!!

See the above thread for more discussion of the word Aptera.

 

quote comment add new comment


Clifton
guest
a guest said on Wednesday, September 30th 2009 @ 1:28 AM:

Your comments on Jay Leno show overlooked the fact that when show was announced, the star in an EV was modeled after BBCs Top Gear segment Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.

quote comment add new comment


JonAltschuler
Free Access
JonAltschuler said on Wednesday, September 30th 2009 @ 5:35 PM:

one of your callers mentioned hydrogen as unworkable b/c fuel cells were too expensive.  I would remind you all that there's more ways to take advantage of hydrogen than in fuel cells.  You can always burn it!  Take a look at this technology that could be better/cheaper alternative:   http://www.switch2hydrogen.com/h2.htm

 

quote comment add new comment


Rick Covert
Free Access
RickCovert said on Wednesday, September 30th 2009 @ 8:51 PM:

Jon,

The cost of the fuel cell is just one of the costs that make a hydrogen powered car prohibitively expensive for all to drive but Will Ferrell and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Let's go with the point that instead of using hydrogen in a fuel cell you would just burn it in an internal combustion engine. The cost of the hydrogen fuel at the gasoline energy content of 1 gallon, in 1 kilogram measure, costs 50 dollars per kilogram according to LA Times auto correspondent Dan Neil. After you've paid for your 3 or 4 kilograms at $150 to $200 you have to contain it something and there is no known material to man that contains enough hydrogen to provide the car an appreciable range to that of a gasoline powered car. Then there is the terrible leakage rate of hydrogen because it is the lightest and smallest element in the periodical table of the elements. You would loose an appreciable amount of hydrogen from the storage tanks which would be pressurized to 5,000 to 10,000 psi through leaks while the car is parked and the engine is off.

In fact the source of 98% of the hydrogen we use here in the United States, like for NASA's shuttle orbiter, source the hydrogen from natural gas. Because of energy conservation laws there is a loss during the conversion. The conversion of natural gas to hydrogen results in a 20% loss in energy content. So if you want to power your vehicle from a gas you're better off just using natural gas because it is a known quantity. It was very popular at the oil refineries because it was so plentiful and so damn cheap. Natural gas is one of the feed stocks of the oil industry and natural gas is abundantly available at the refinery. If all you do is drive around the refinery grounds or as far as 50 miles offsite you're still good to go.

That's my take on it.

Rick, from the oil capitol of the world, Houston, TX. Smile

quote comment add new comment


JonAltschuler
Free Access
JonAltschuler said on Thursday, October 1st 2009 @ 11:23 AM:

Rick,
sorry but i have to disagree with you on some of your main points. 

First, please follow the link i provided and read the page.

Cost:  Hydrogen is NOT expensive.  It can be made in the privacy of your own home (in fact United Nuclear will provide you with a hydrogen generator for this purpose.  And if you say, "Hey, its using electricity!" Then get a solar panel.)

Storage:  Again, read the page.  They've developed a system for storing hydrogen that is not highly pressurized and won't leak or explode.  The range they've claimed is 350 miles for a conversion they did on a Corvette.

Natural Gas: sorry this is NOT a renewable resource.  While it may be a good stepping stone to getting off gasoline, its not a permanent solution.

While i am all for EV's, I think we have to consider all our options and hydrogen should be one of them.

J

quote comment add new comment


JohnM
guest
a guest said on Thursday, October 1st 2009 @ 12:20 PM:

Hi to all,

Just a comment on that hydrogen fuel system from http://www.switch2hydrogen.com/h2.htm. The guy running
that show has a questionable reputation. He has a lot of unfounded claims and has violated state laws regarding explosive materials.

Just for info.

quote comment add new comment


Dave Smith
Free Access
oobflyer said on Thursday, October 1st 2009 @ 12:24 PM:

Thanks Jason for bringing up the efficiency of the Vectrix!  Bo keeps saying how the Vectrix can't compete because it's so extremely expensive (so does every other reporter when talking about the Vectrix), but how many gasoline vehicles can say they literally pay for themselves!

First of all - I only paid a little over $7,000 for my Vectrix (after rebate), Secondly I added it up one day and found that after 5 years I will break even, compared to a equivalent gasoline motorcycle, simply because of the gasoline and tune-up/oil change costs that I don't have to pay!  After that - it's money going back into my pocket! It's not expensive - it's an investment that returns dividends! Glad to hear that Vectrix is still alive! Bo, you did read my mind during the show when you were talking with Aptera - the one burning question I had was about this new picture that surfaced on Autoblog Green - of the supposed final production version.  I have a deposit on the Aptera - and I really like this rendering - is it for real??

quote comment add new comment


Paul Cummings
Free Access
PaulCummings said on Friday, October 2nd 2009 @ 1:09 AM:

Underwater Hockey!  What a hoot!  And in the winter, you could have a hockey game on BOTH sides of the ice!

 

Name for a new button for the Evcast- the Do-over button!

 

I must agree with Bo on ZENN- if Eestor can deliver, this is a good business move to focus on an EESU-powered drive-train.  Admittedly, they have put all their eggs in one basket- but Eestor just may be the Goose that lays the Golden Egg for them;-)

 

Speaking of Delaware- Eestor is also incorporated out of there.

 

A123’s IPO?  Well- frankly, it depends on Eestor, and/or/if Eestor can produce a working EESU.  If they can’t, Li-Ion manufacturers will be a good bet, at least for the next decade as nothing else is really in sight as a viable, alternate energy-storage device.  BUT, if Eestor does show off an EESU, say, by the end of the year- even allowing that it may take an additional two years to really bring it to bear on the market- Li-Ion stock is going to suffer.  A lot.  Especially if the EESU is as scalable as initial claims have made it..

 

Oh- and good show fellas!

quote comment add new comment


Rick Covert
Free Access
RickCovert said on Friday, October 2nd 2009 @ 1:59 AM:

Jon,

If using hydrogen by storing it in metal hydrides was so simple, believe me, the oil industry would use it because oil refiners use hydrogen in the refining process frequently since it is a byproduct and an additive in their refining processes. They could easily siphon off some of that to power their plant vehicle fleet. They don't and it's for a very simple reason. Its costly anyway you cut it.

Part of the problem in understanding hydrogen for powering a car is that people mistake hydrogen for a fuel source when it is in fact an energy carrier. When you understand this you begin to see that hydrogen in any form for use to power a car is a bad deal. The best method of storing hydrogen is in hydrocarbon chains which is why we have been hooked on fossil fuels for so long.

Using metal hydrides to store hydrogen is still not a mature technology. Research is ongoing. Further the stored hydrogen must be released through heating to temperatures between 250º F to 390º F. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_storage How you do that without using up the hydrogen you're consuming to power the car and not reduce your range is beyond anyone's understanding and violates the conservation of energy law.

Further, hydrolyzing water to get enough hydrogen on board your vehicle to provide the same range you drive your gasoline powered car will not register cheaply on your watt hour meter. You will only be able to convert 20 to 25% of the electricity sourced into hydrogen. (See Ulf Bossel: Does a Hydrogen Economy Make Sense? 1st paragraph http://www.efcf.com/reports/E21.pdf). Even a plain old dumb lead acid battery is 75% efficient and a much better storage medium than hydrogen. If you want to do this with solar panels you will need 4 times as many solar panels to produce the same energy content of hydrogen as with storing it in a battery. Even with solar panels at $1 a watt this is a very pricey way to store electrical power. Be prepared to buy 4 times the number of solar panels to hydrolyze the hydrogen from water in as you normally would than if you just stored the equivalent energy content of that hydrogen as electricity in lead acid batteries. This is why steam reformed natural gas is the preferred method of producing hydrogen. The process is 80% efficient. (You're right that natural gas is not a renewable energy resource which only goes to further point out the problems with hydrogen as a carrier of energy for cars)

The hydrolyser also has to provide a high level of purity in the hydrogen that contains no more than 10 ppm contaminants of oxygen and very small amounts of water for the metal hydride storage medium.

The future of electric vehicles in the near term will be in the form of plug-in hybrids simply because the technology is already off the shelf. Hydrogen powered cars are at least 20 years out at the earliest if they get built at all and probably will never be built.

That's my take on it.

Rick, from the oil capitol of the world, Houston, TX. Smile

quote comment add new comment


Guest
a guest said on Monday, October 5th 2009 @ 12:08 PM:

hey guys,

great show! i just wanted to comment on a couple things. Bo, i think you mentioned in this show that you "love electric vehicles" and think they are "the best thing" and "incredible" but you also said, "i don't think [they are] going to drastically make a change in the environment, that's my personal opinion." in 2007, emissions from petroleum use accounted for over 40% of the total carbon emissions in the US (2.6 BILLION metric tons), so the replacement of gas cars with EVs alone CAN have a dramatic impact. i do agree that it's not the only thing we need to focus on but the adoption of the EV would be a HUGE, huge step. please don't downplay that point.

the other thing i wanted to say was i think having someone on your show say "i like Rush [Limbaugh]" undermines your credibility somewhat... but that's just my opinion!

all the best and thanks so much for putting your time, energy and resources into this podcast.

~Frank

quote comment add new comment


Marcus
guest
a guest said on Tuesday, October 6th 2009 @ 1:51 AM:

“Let's go with the point that instead of using hydrogen in a fuel cell you would just burn it in an internal combustion engine. The cost of the hydrogen fuel at the gasoline energy content of 1 gallon, in 1 kilogram measure, costs 50 dollars per kilogram according to LA Times auto correspondent Dan Neil.”


Mr. Neil may be using old numbers and/or accounting the entire process for petroleum refinement to hydrogen. According to Robert Rose, Breakthrough Technologies Institute, regarding fuel cells, the cost of hydrogen currently is $3.51/kg; in the future, $2.33/kg (optimistic). The U.S. Department of Energy says bulk hydrogen made and consumed on site costs about $0.71/kg. DOE also states the delivered price of industrial liquid hydrogen is about $2.2--3.1/kg. If it could be delivered into the tank of a car for the same price, it would be roughly equivalent per mile to $1-a-gallon gasoline. While all of this is based on purity, hydrogen for combustible use does not have to have fuel cell purity.


“After you've paid for your 3 or 4 kilograms at $150 to $200 you have to contain it something and there is no known material to man that contains enough hydrogen to provide the car an appreciable range to that of a gasoline powered car.”


The way this is worded, it is difficult to ascertain which 'containment' you are referring to: a container, as in a tank, or a medium of form, as in water.


“Then there is the terrible leakage rate of hydrogen because it is the lightest and smallest element in the periodical table of the elements. You would loose an appreciable amount of hydrogen from the storage tanks which would be pressurized to 5,000 to 10,000 psi through leaks while the car is parked and the engine is off.”


New materials for containment as in tanks, pipes, etc. reduced this number below your 'appreciable amount'. As an example, in Germany in the mid-1990s, the natural gas system leaked 0.7%, but the hydrogen system leaked only 0.1%. The hydrogen industry avoids leak-prone compression and threaded fittings commonly used for natural gas.


“In fact the source of 98% of the hydrogen we use here in the United States, like for NASA's shuttle orbiter, source the hydrogen from natural gas. Because of energy conservation laws there is a loss during the conversion. The conversion of natural gas to hydrogen results in a 20% loss in energy content. So if you want to power your vehicle from a gas you're better off just using natural gas because it is a known quantity. It was very popular at the oil refineries because it was so plentiful and so damn cheap. Natural gas is one of the feed stocks of the oil industry and natural gas is abundantly available at the refinery. If all you do is drive around the refinery grounds or as far as 50 miles offsite you're still good to go.”


“In fact...”??? I think you missed your point there. However, this argument appears to be the same argument petroleum and nuclear proponents use against alternatives, such as EV's. ;-) The enemy of my enemy is my friend. [big grin] Last I checked, electricity is sourced from coal for the most part.

For the record, 'natural gas' is any combustible mixture that comes out of the well from petrocarbon deposits; it may contain varying amounts of methane, ethane, propane, butane, casing-head gasoline, hydrogen, and non-fuel constituents such as water vapor, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and helium. Some areas have high amounts of hydrogen with respect to the other gases in their 'natural gas' and vice versa in other areas.

What EVCast should do is interview experts in the fields of hydrogen, alcohol, etc. to quash these myths and errancies. Solar, wind, alcohol, hydrogen, etc. are all in the same boat. The petroleum and nuclear industries need not worry about fighting them, for the former will do it for the latter. In the alternative energy community, the following applies, “With friends like you, who needs enemies?”


Peace
marcus

quote comment add new comment


kidmarc / Marcus
guest
a guest said on Tuesday, October 6th 2009 @ 2:54 AM:

“If using hydrogen by storing it in metal hydrides was so simple, believe me, the oil industry would use it because oil refiners use hydrogen in the refining process frequently since it is a byproduct and an additive in their refining processes. They could easily siphon off some of that to power their plant vehicle fleet. They don't and it's for a very simple reason. Its costly anyway you cut it.”


I won't profess to know why the oil industry is not doing so [hydrogen], but I am willing to lay odds that the reason isn't that simple; the reason is more likely to be complex and/or multiple in case.


“Part of the problem in understanding hydrogen for powering a car is that people mistake hydrogen for a fuel source when it is in fact an energy carrier. When you understand this you begin to see that hydrogen in any form for use to power a car is a bad deal. The best method of storing hydrogen is in hydrocarbon chains which is why we have been hooked on fossil fuels for so long.”


Wow! Well then... that would make fossil fuels an energy carrier. Not only that... that would... OH NO!!!!


“Using metal hydrides to store hydrogen is still not a mature technology. Research is ongoing. Further the stored hydrogen must be released through heating to temperatures between 250º F to 390º F. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_storage How you do that without using up the hydrogen you're consuming to power the car and not reduce your range is beyond anyone's understanding and violates the conservation of energy law.”


Just a note on the so-called 'Laws of Thermodynamics' -- they are principles used by the scientific community referred to as "laws". This by no means invokes the definition of law. Also, the terms should be stated in their entirety, which is “... in a closed system.”


“Further, hydrolyzing water to get enough hydrogen on board your vehicle to provide the same range you drive your gasoline powered car will not register cheaply on your watt hour meter. You will only be able to convert 20 to 25% of the electricity sourced into hydrogen. (See Ulf Bossel: Does a Hydrogen Economy Make Sense? 1st paragraph http://www.efcf.com/reports/E21.pdf). Even a plain old dumb lead acid battery is 75% efficient and a much better storage medium than hydrogen. If you want to do this with solar panels you will need 4 times as many solar panels to produce the same energy content of hydrogen as with storing it in a battery. Even with solar panels at $1 a watt this is a very pricey way to store electrical power. Be prepared to buy 4 times the number of solar panels to hydrolyze the hydrogen from water in as you normally would than if you just stored the equivalent energy content of that hydrogen as electricity in lead acid batteries. This is why steam reformed natural gas is the preferred method of producing hydrogen. The process is 80% efficient. (You're right that natural gas is not a renewable energy resource which only goes to further point out the problems with hydrogen as a carrier of energy for cars).”


I am unaware of what information Prof. Bossel is using. One can only guess that he is using brute force electrolysis, which dates back to the 1800's, but even that is 70%. At 20-25%, someone is greatly fudging the books. Current methods of electrolysis (Notice I did not say brute force.) are in the 70% to 95% efficiency range.


“Hydrogen powered cars are at least 20 years out at the earliest if they get built at all and probably will never be built.”


Technically, that is incorrect as hydrogen powered cars have been in existence for quite some time. In the form of fuel cells, hydrogen cars have been in research mode, but that wasn't the subject Jon was discussing.


Peace
marcus

quote comment add new comment


Devil's advocate
guest
a guest said on Tuesday, October 6th 2009 @ 5:28 AM:

Hi there: I found this an interesting and well argued rant from an EV pessimist:

Assault of the batteries
The Australian 03 Oct 2009

SINCE this is an article about future cars, let's get The Jetsons thing out of the way at the beginning. Flying cars are never going happen. So why do we cling to the equally utopian belief that there's a world of happy, environmentally sound motoring just around the corner? Why did the Vision for the Automotive Industry, released this week, claim we're on the brink of a paradigm shift driven by ``increased public awareness of emissions and efficiency''?

Will our roads really be buzzing with eco-friendly techno-bubbles in 2020? No, is the answer. Zero-emission cars -- electric cars -- will be a tiny proportion of the vehicles on our roads in 2020, which still will be dominated by conventional petrol and diesel power-trains. But it suits the car industry and the government to suggest otherwise.



The carmakers' embrace of electric vehicles has been fast and furious, with the shock therapy of fuel prices and emissions regulations cementing a courtship that a few years ago was frigid.

Grand declarations in favour of petrol alternatives are nothing new from the industry, which is a fan of everything from ethanol and liquefied petroleum gas to hydrogen, depending on when you ask. This time, however, the width and depth of the commitment is impressive, with virtually every manufacturer involved.

The industry knows it can be seen to be doing something quickly with electric cars because they are relatively simple to engineer and can be brought to market quickly. There's also the considerable political advantage of moving the emissions issue along the energy chain to the power stations. Belching smoke stacks are somebody else's problem.

Among all the feverish activity, the Renault-Nissan Alliance stands out as the maker most committed to the idea. At the recent Frankfurt motor show, Renault trumped rivals with four electric cars all destined for mass production in the next few years, starting in 2011, and has committed E4 billion ($6.8bn) to the project. It wants to be market leader and expects 10per cent of total industry volume to be electric by 2020. ``We're making a major industrial bet,'' company chief Carlos Ghosn says.

Australia has been picked out as a target market, with Better Place, the infrastructure group that has partnered with Renault-Nissan, committed to install thousands of recharging stations in our cities. These will include battery-swap stations, where a depleted unit can be switched with a fully charged one in the time it takes to refill a petrol tank.

Limited range is one of several drawbacks to battery cars that are being glossed over by their proponents. Most electric vehicles will need plugging back into the mains after about 200km, usually less. The Better Place swap system has been successfully demonstrated but will be hamstrung by the lack of an industry-wide standard. If you're not driving a Renault or Nissan, you may be left stranded. If you are driving one, you risk being stuck with the auto equivalent of a Betamax.

One answer to the range problem involves installing another power source, usually a small petrol engine, into the car to top up the battery on the move.

The Chevrolet Volt, which will be sold here with a Holden badge from 2012, takes this approach. However, series hybrids, as they are known, are almost as complex as parallel hybrids such as the Toyota Prius. It costs more, and takes more resources, to produce a car with two power sources rather than one. And the car must lug around a lot of extra weight: the petrol engine, which is redundant most of the time.

Electrical vehicles need extra weight like they need a short circuit; batteries on their own are incredibly heavy. Lithium ion units -- such as the ones in mobile phones -- are the preferred solution and the battery packs in electric cars consist of hundreds of these functioning together. Even a small pack weighs a couple of hundred kilos. They're bulky, too, and the bigger the car, the bigger the batteries need to be.

They also need careful management because they get hot and are only as good as the weakest unit in the pack. The crucial drawback, however, is price. The batteries needed to power a hatchback cost as much as a small vehicle on its own: at least $10,000 and up to double that.

Making a mainstream electric vehicle, even one no larger than a hatchback, means tackling these problems head-on. That's why few of the electric cars due to arrive in the next decade will be candidates to replace the car in your garage. Instead, they will fall into two categories: city runabouts and sports cars.

Focusing on these segments means most of the difficulties can be ignored. Limited range and cargo capacity are not problems if you're confined to a city, where a fleet of runabouts can be run from one central location with recharging facilities.

Sports cars are an indulgence and no one expects them to be especially practical or cheap, so the cost and bulk of batteries is less of an issue. Suitably powerful electric motors can deliver lightning performance, too, as long as the weight of the batteries can be offset by using exotic materials elsewhere. The electric sports car unveiled by Audi at Frankfurt, the E-tron, has a power pack weighing nearly a half-tonne but compensates with bodywork in light, but expensive, carbon fibre.

These two segments clearly have limited appeal. Electric sports cars will be extremely expensive rarities while city runabouts will be bought by a small group of buyers who can afford to run them as a second car, are attracted by the novelty and prepared to pay the price. The Mitsubishi iMiev, a small city car that is likely to be the first electric vehicle available in Australia some time in the next 12 months, costs the equivalent of $58,000 in Japan, where it's already on sale.

Electric runabouts and sports cars are not going to change the face of our roads. Many potential buyers will lack the necessary infrastructure to park a car overnight and plug it into the mains. But, more fundamentally, buyers will still demand larger and more practical vehicles. A small car is still a small car, regardless of how it's powered.

And however green we may think we are, at showrooms the hip pocket has the casting vote. When fuel prices are high, there's an incentive to downsize or go alternative. When they're not, we return to larger cars, as buyers have done in the US in the past few months.

One answer to the price conundrum is to lease the cars, or the batteries, or both. This is the Renault-Nissan approach and it believes the result can compete with the cost of running a conventional car. However, even Ghosn admits that its business case runs into trouble with oil prices below $US70 a barrel.

As an electric car buyer, you will be exposed to the oil price even though you are not participating in the market. An electric vehicle may make sense when the price of petrol is high, but will it add up when you want to sell it? Electric cars are untested on the second-hand market and the cost of replacing a battery will be a disincentive to potential buyers.

Of course, it's possible there will be a breakthrough in battery technology that changes the game, but it will need to happen quickly if it's going to change the face of motoring by 2020.

With battery cars, as with hybrids, the hype is running well ahead of reality. The take-up of hybrids is a useful reality check. Since they became available here in 2001, just 20,000 have been bought. If electric vehicles are going to be embraced more quickly, they will need a push from politicians.

``Government support is very critical to support electrical vehicles,'' says industry analyst Vijay Rao, of Frost & Sullivan.

Worldwide, governments have become converts to the cause and are busy adjusting the economic parameters through industry subsidies, buyer incentives and other measures todistort the picture in favour of battery cars. Their aim is to spur research and development on batteries and give carmakers enough critical mass so they can turn a profit on thevehicles.

Where the US, China and Germany -- among others -- are leading, Australia looks certain to follow with $6.2bn in the kitty to fund the Automotive Vision and little sign of wavering political support. The vision document was warmly welcomed by Industry Minister Kim Carr this week.

Even with incentives spanning the globe, though, few carmakers are as optimistic as Renault-Nissan.

Volkswagen will have at least one small electric vehicle by 2013 and expects to overtake Toyota to become the world's No.1 carmaker by 2015. It expects battery cars to be a very small part of the picture, just 1.5per cent to 2per cent of total volume by 2020.

``Years will pass before affordable electric cars that meet customers' mobility expectations hit the market; and this is true of all manufacturers,'' says Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi, part of the Volkswagen group.

In Australia, it will take three to four years for battery vehicles to arrive in serious numbers, perhaps longer.

Frost & Sullivan estimates that together with hybrids they are unlikely to exceed 5 per cent of the market by 2020, with sales at 5000 to 10,000 a year from 2015.

Most of the vehicles on our roads in 2020 will look like the ones we're driving now. The Australian market takes such a long time to turn over -- the average vehicle age will be about nine years in 2020 -- that the cars we buy in the next two or three years will still be around in substantial numbers. The roadscape will look very familiar.

And the oil-powered vehicles we do buy will get a lot more efficient, eroding the running cost and emissions advantage of electric cars. Strategies such as stop-start-at-idle can be implemented quickly and cheaply, and mean an immediate 5 per cent fuel saving. Some makers already offer these systems; by 2020 they will be ubiquitous. The line between hybrid and non-hybrid cars will become fuzzy as a broad spectrum of hybrid-like strategies combines with increasingly efficient internal combustion engines.

The case for electric vehicles is less clear-cut when oil-powered cars can run on a sniff of unleaded. Awkward questions about the resources it takes to make batteries and how to dispose of them are likely to loom larger.

Being a carmaker or politician at the moment means espousing electric vehicles because it would be commercial and political suicide to do anything else.

It's being painted as a green escape road but the vision being summoned is every bit as unrealistic as The Jetsons.

FUTURE ON THE ROADS: NOT FOR EVERYONE

Electric cars due to arrive during the next decade will fall into two main categories: city runabouts and sports cars

Year ... Total vehicles ... Average age of vehicle ... Vehicles per 1000 people ... Hybrids and electrics

2008 ... 15.3m ................. 9.9 years .......................... 719 .................................. Up to 0.2%

2020 ... 20.0m ................. 9.1 years .......................... 770 .................................. Up to 4.0%

Source: ABS, Weekend Australian estimates

quote comment add new comment


Guest
a guest said on Tuesday, October 6th 2009 @ 4:10 PM:

Regarding that Austrialian skeptic piece . . . . yeah, EVs are struggling a bit to get rolling. But the issue is this . . . what will gas(petrol) cost in 2020? If it costs $10 per gallon, I think he is gonna change his tune quite a bit. And what if various Southeast Asian island neighbors start becoming destroyed due to storm surges that go way inland due higher ocean levels?

THAT is the whole point . . . continuing to rely on gasoline is just not sustainable in the long run. If there were an infinite supply of gasoline, I'd agree with him. But there isn't. Oil is becoming harder and harder to find. And they places where we find it now are often very difficult to extract it from. And add to that the fact that demand pretty much goes up every year (yeah, it has gone done lately due to the global recession, but that will end.). Increased demand + decreased production + difficult to extract oil = much higher prices.

quote comment add new comment


Ray Steve Ellis
Free Access
RaySteveEllis said on Friday, January 15th 2010 @ 2:58 AM:

This is a nice post coz you've covered the highlights of evcast for the past weeks. I hope an Audi Car Wallpaper would also be featured on your show.

quote comment add new comment