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GasBuddy News Article

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Electric car future: lighter vehicles, more range

WHLT 22 -- SEATTLE (AP) If you believe Bob Lutz, one of the auto industry's best-known executives, come midcentury we'll all be driving around in lightweight electric cars that can go hundreds of miles between charges.

Electric-car technology is improving rapidly, he said, while internal-combustion engines are as good as they're ever going to get.

Lutz, developer of the Chevy Volt, was in town for a conference at Seattle Center on Friday called "Beyond Oil" an event that showcases green and high-tech transportation advances. Sponsored by local think-tank Cascadia Center, the city of Seattle, VIA Motors and others, the conference drew transportation execs, state officials and electric-car enthusiasts.

They showed off or peered inside an assortment of energy-efficient vehicles on display every


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Submitted Sep 09, 2012 By: aservant
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: Electric car future: lighter vehicles, more range Back to Topics
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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Sep 11, 2012 2:16:22 PM

it's possible to get 100 mpg from and ICE, but not when driving down the road at 80 mph...
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crep1291
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Sep 10, 2012 3:25:15 PM

"It is well known that internal combustion engines have been invented allowing around 100 mpg."

Engines are not designed for 100mpg, nor any other fuel efficiency. Fuel efficiency depends on many factors external to the engine. The exact same engine placed in two different vehicles will give you very different fuel efficiency. When lutz refers to engine efficiency, he's talking about the ratio of energy being converted into movement. That's typically 20% for an internal combustion engine and it's difficult to improve this. Turbochargers and superchargers can, but they raise the cost of the vehicle and make the vehicle heavier. So will any system that generates electricity from the exhaust heat.
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URKiddinMee
Champion Author South Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 10, 2012 2:38:56 PM

I'm waiting to see Obozo keep his promise to drive one of these firebombs when he's out of office. I hope he's afforded the opportunity next January!
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Radar1992
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Sep 10, 2012 8:23:38 AM

This article as usual misses the point on the electric/hybrid vehicles...it is not the weight of the car....it is the capacity and weight of the batteries!!!!

The reason why we do not have many technological improvements have always been the lack of materials, whether it is structural or battery material.

Until the material/manufacturing engineers/scientists develop the elusive "Unobtainium" and we see improvements in battery technology then the designers only hope is to reduce the overall weight of the cars which could compromise safety and repairability after an accident...

You do not do a whole lot of carbon fiber repair...you replace it if it gets damaged.
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Grizdad
Champion Author Montana

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Message Posted: Sep 10, 2012 12:30:18 AM

Expected from a Seattle news outlet.
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alterman156
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 10, 2012 12:26:51 AM

Electric vehicles might become the norm someday.
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bginsj
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Sep 10, 2012 12:06:48 AM

we will wait and see
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pgerassi
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:45:02 PM

BEVs are more expensive because their batteries are balanced at the top or end of their charges. Thus they have to be individually monitored and bypassed when they reach full charge before the others are. Thus they are first charged by a fast and cheap bulk charger for all hundred or so of cell groups each connected in parallel in series to get the high voltages typically used (240-360V nominal) and then due to these groups each having a slightly different capacity have to be individually charged until all are charged or discharged while the others keep charging until all are charged. The latter is quite a bit cheaper than the former, but requires the bulk charger to slow down greatly and produces a lot of heat leading to fires when components fail. And either method is quite complex and has to be done on virtually every charge.

But there is a different way which many DIYers do. They give up a little capacity on a complete charge by balancing at the bottom or beginning of the charge and just bulk charge until one cell group reaches full charge or simply to a set overall voltage below that of full charge. Sure they give up 1-10% of a full charge, but since rarely is a battery fully discharged, they only have to do a bulk charge. Thus they only need the onboard charger to be a cheap and fast bulk one leaving the slow expensive bottom balance charge to be done in the repair shop once every year or so. If the DIYer wants, they can add a cheap battery monitor that checks cell group voltages individually which puts the loss of usable capacity at the lower end of that range (1-2%) and can tell when the bottom balance is needed whenever the battery reaches the fully discharged state. But, most either simply live with the slightly less capacity or for cheaper than many battery monitors, add some additional capacity to make up the loss. This is a far cheaper and keeps with the KISS philosophy while being far more reliable.

[Edited by: pgerassi at 9/10/2012 12:50:56 AM EST]
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Bezalel
Champion Author Oklahoma City

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:19:24 PM

It is well known that internal combustion engines have been invented allowing around 100 mpg. I heard one was sold to Ford. There have been several. They were all buried, possibly by Big Oil.
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kgbellman
Champion Author Ann Arbor

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:16:59 PM

Let's hope they follow through
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jrschl
Champion Author Louisville

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:13:58 PM

If they say so. I mean it is going to improve, or else it will be shelved like anything else swallowed up by tech and competition.
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farn1958
All-Star Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:04:55 PM

and more old news
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rahcat
Champion Author Grand Rapids

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:04:50 PM

Must have a big trunk for the 100 mile cord.
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sprocketsplines
Champion Author Washington

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:04:41 PM

Need to have a pragmatic comparison of the electric car versus the natural gas car. North American drivers have become too accustomed to the gasoline powered car's range between fill-ups and the natural gas car is the one that can most likely match it.
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Dragnet
Champion Author Arizona

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:02:44 PM

This continues to be nothing but a major joke.
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Toppers
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:02:40 PM

Lookin' forward to future designs
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richnc
All-Star Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 11:00:14 PM

put steel plate on the roads (no more potholes) and a mesh overhead and get the off season carnival bumper cars and away we go.
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gaspumpin
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:59:14 PM

Yeah, but you can fill your car with gas a lot quicker than you can recharge your batteries.
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mrbee
Champion Author Little Rock

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:58:46 PM

Won't hold my breath.
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defiancegasman
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:54:00 PM

The real advances need to come in batteries, reserve capibilty and quick charge ability.

With the VOLT back up generator, the batteries are not as necessary as in a pure electric car.

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rozellep2
Sophomore Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:52:40 PM

Ok
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:52:00 PM

Just for the record, @jrsva, charging an EV from a coal fired powerplant puts out less pollution per car than a current-generation hybrid vehicle.

Now, consider that coal is the dirtiest form of electricity generation and it's STILL cleaner than using a regular internal combustion engine.

EVs will be a huge game-changer and sooner than almost everyone thinks. 20 years ago, people were using cellphones the size of bricks that cost them $2/min to call. We've come a long way since then.
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DarthDadJr
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:51:44 PM

I don't know if I will live that long...
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kosciak
Champion Author Hartford

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:49:56 PM

Ok
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gumbyrex
Champion Author Fresno

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:49:47 PM

Just the natural evolution of the electric vehicle. I believe we ain't seen nothing yet.
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:48:25 PM

Actually, @sickhp, we don't need to build additional powerplants to charge all of these new EVs since much of the power grid lays dormant overnight. That's because most offices and factories power down for the night. We could replace 40% of the cars on the road with EVs before we would need to build one new powerplant.

Plus, the utilities would prefer people to use more electricity during off-peak hours since it allows their generators to run at a more constant setting, instead of having to mostly idle after dark.
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Rednix
Champion Author Miami

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:47:37 PM

Something to think about.
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Revup77
Sophomore Author Nebraska

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:47:01 PM

We need more of this.
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HA4CNN
Champion Author Toronto

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:45:02 PM

They're bound to get better with each passing year.
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:44:14 PM

Careful, @starfighter08, basic physics isn't so basic. More specifically, I mean the field of thermodynamics where a large heat source is inherently more efficient than a group of smaller heat sources. An internal combustion engine is inherently a method of converting a fuel into heat which expands a gas that drives a piston. 80% of the energy needed to propel a vehicle that uses an internal combustion engine is lost as heat.

On the other hand, electric vehicles are far more efficient since an electric motor pretty much has only one moving part. Plus, a very large powerplant can much more efficiently retain the heat needed to produce the steam that drives a generator turbine. Also, the pollution from a large powerplant is far easier to control than millions of tailpipes.

It's not basic physics. It's thermodynamics.
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carinthuist
Champion Author San Francisco

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:43:31 PM

yes more range electric cars
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libertyut
Champion Author Utah

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:43:09 PM

Bigger cars and better gas prices.
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sickhp
Champion Author San Antonio

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:42:33 PM

We need more power plants to make EVs a real option and Obama with the EPA are in the way.
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fenster66
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:41:57 PM

hope to see major improvements over the next decade....
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:41:03 PM

EVs are not yet ready for prime time. More development is needed, including better batteries and a battery-exchange program instead of slow recharging stations. Battery exchange could be done in the time it takes to pump gas. And they make no sense unless the electricity comes from solar or other renewable source. What’s the point of burning coal to drive your car?
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joeschmo12
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:38:25 PM

I want to b hovering on the highway
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abcdMA
Champion Author Worcester

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:38:13 PM

lighter, as in plastic
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suicyco16
All-Star Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:36:51 PM

light or lite?
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blazerbob91
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:35:29 PM

If they make them to light they will blow off the road in a stong breeze.
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randallhsmith
Rookie Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:35:17 PM

not a chance...the hidden pollution will eventually get the attention of the public. That will be the end of the electric car fad.
The hidden pollution
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:34:07 PM

A Hummer's in just as much trouble if a truck hits it at 60 mph, @gsayeg1.

Small cars are not the death traps that you might think they are. The differences are in better design and more airbags. Plus, smaller cars are more maneuverable and do a better job of avoiding accidents, to begin with.
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egd
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:32:47 PM

good luck
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:30:58 PM

A prime candidate for a plug-in hybrid vehicles are UPS and FedEx. Their delivery trucks only run during the day and sit at their distribution centers all night. They mostly drive at slow speed in traffic and make frequent stops.

That driving routine is practically tailor-made for an electric vehicle.
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5Golfer8
Champion Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:29:43 PM

No jobs no new vehicles.
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gsayeg1
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:29:01 PM

cars are a driving disaster if they get hit by a truck going 60
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andy1024
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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:28:20 PM

The future is nearer.
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Cableman66
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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:21:23 PM

Good lck.
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clermont40miles
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:21:13 PM

Expensive roller skates.
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oldiesman
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:20:57 PM

Never for me.
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drobbbb
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Message Posted: Sep 9, 2012 10:18:33 PM

let's hope so
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