The latest e-car buzz is that Audi is set to demo a battery-powered version of its R8 supercar at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Audi_R8_TDi_Concept Audi's R8: battery-powered version on its way? Unfortunately, the rumour – which cropped up in the German magazine Auto Motor and Sport and the French title L'Automobile — …
Not with my money...
I'll have the V8 thanks.
Im still struggling to grasp why people see electric cars as the future. Unless somethings changed, hasnt the problem always been that you just shift the use of resources further upstream, in this case, electricity production? So more electric cars means a greater demand for electricity and so more power stations. Unless renewable energy is used, which it wont be, where is the benefit?
White elephant indeed?
Surely Jason it's simple economies of scale, generate the electric in one massive source and it's easier to trap the emissions than having every hairdresser and his TT puffing its exhaust fumes round the streets of London.
Leccy car greenness
The benefit is that it's easier to capture carbon from one power station than it is from thousands of fossil fuel powered cars.
Coal-powered stations, for example, generate more energy per unit of fuel than petrol burning cars, so in that sense they're inherently greener.
Arguably, delivering fossil fuel to power stations is, overall, less energy intensive than, delivering fuel to petrol stations.
Leccy cars have their own production issues, but, in aggregate, they're greener than ICE cars. Manufacturing and transporting them has much the same green cost.
And they're going to look a lot more attractive as government incentives kick in and - crucially - crude goes past $200 a barrel, which is not as far off as you may think.
They have hairdressers in London now?
I for one would welcome this development, as long as it is powered by a very cheap DC motor from a washing machine, and has pedals for when the cheap and heavy lead-acid battery runs flat.
OK four motors for the full '80s "Quattro" effect.
Local generation vs national grid
Dai, you're forgetting about the inefficiencies of power transmisson. Much of the power generated is lost heating up the wires on pylons and substations. Local generation is often more efficent.
I'll take mine with a flux capacitor fitted,
re: White Elephant
we have at least 2/3 carbon free ways of mass electy genration but no ways of portable energy enrgation that matches the power of petrol
White elephant? Maybe...
But at least those hairdressers aren't hauling a tonne or so of rather environmentally unfriendly batteries (with such eco friendly metals as Cadmium in them...mmm...lovely).
Also, batteries (and even some drive systems) are using more exotic metals - a further drain on resources.
Now, if they went down the hydrogen route, that'd be something to see. Generating hydrogen from water uses electricity (so we can use Dai's economies of scale argument), while vehicle weight and emissions are reduced - oh, and no big battery array either.
Plus the combination of power stations and an electric engine is far more efficient than the measly amount of energy a petrol or diesel engine can get from it's fuel.
RE: White elephant indeed?
Using hybrid electric vehicles is just pissing the oil away a little more slowly and making cars needlessly heavy and complicated -- electric vehicles are a little better but the energy still has to be provided for them through lossy transmission lines and charging circuitry and held in inefficient batteries.
Still, it's easier for governments to let us live in a state of blissful ignorance thinking that something is being done rather than make the tough decision of whether to go nuclear, start population control measures, or just let civilisation die naturally.
Turn the grid nuclear/renewable and use oil for what it should be used for -- rubber, plastics and vehicle fuel.
An electric car concept that won't look like a tissue box :D
Having it generated at a small number of large facilities means that you can clean up all of the transport emissions with a few large installations as opposed to about 32 million far smaller, cheaper ones (that'll only be mandated on new vehicles anyway- meaning there's 32M out there without the cleaning tech).
Also, even including the losses due to inefficiencies pure-electric cars are far more energy efficient than combustion or fuel-cell based cars. And if they're not, just wait for the next gen of incredibly-high-voltage distribution systems and they will be.
London sales look good
I think it would sell in London where their are charge points and free parking at the road side.
I would have thought the Westminster Conservative Counillors would wont one for the free parking, oh no waite a minuet I just rememberd they have free parking permits that allow them to park in visiror and residends bays for free already.
No I just rememberd its only as long as its for council business and we know how honest hour puplic reprsentatives are ?
One other question on electric cars
Won't this mean, in a lot of urban environments, a big massive tangle of expensive power cords since you can never find a parking spot in front of your own place? Would you need to buy cords that are blocks long? And what about vandals? Or are my experiences in Chicago, Denver, DC, and Indianapolis different than those of everyone else in the world?
You would then be able to generate your own leccy, for the car and the house, even the neighbours.
I'd agree with Jason, the fortunates were/are wasting petrol they'll waste leccy.
Re: White Elephant indeed?
And it isn't just Carbon Monoxide / Dioxide you're shifting to a central generation source either - it's all those nasty sulphurous & Nitrogenous compounds too, which are arguably worse for the environment that just the CO&CO2.
There are a number of very promising methods for trapping and even using the waste gases produced. e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnOSnJJSP5c
It would be way easier to install something like this a a handful of power stations than to hundreds of thousands of cars.
Plus if this new Anaconda thing takes off, we could see a sizeable portion of our electricity being supplied from wave energy in the fairly near future.
When did the diesel become a design concept? A year or more ago TopGear magazine went to go and have a play with one. Admitedly they weren't allowed to drive it because the gearbox wasn't strong enough for the torque the diesel could produce, but it was strongly hinted it was only a few months away...
When was the last time that Audi built a supercar? Probably back in the days when they were just plain Auto Union.
@Jason, @dai, @Jason McQueen
The turbines in power stations are around 40% efficient, the internal combustion engine 18% efficient. So if you just burned petrol (not renerables or nuclear) in the power station and lost half your energy in power transmission, charging/discharging the battery etc (a reasonable assumption) you'd still be doing better than an internal combustion engine. In addition, you'd have an engine that provided maximum torque over a far greater range of revs (so fewer gears) and of course it would be clean and quiet.
And don't forget
fossil fuels have their own distribution costs. Tankers (the big ones that ply the oceans or the slightly smaller ones that ply the roads) don't exactly run on sunlight.
I, for one...
...remain puzzled as to why so many of these new-fangled battery-operated motor cars are of a sporting mien. What is the point of an electric "sports" car if it lacks sufficient voles even to get it to a track day?
@ Mr Larrington
Voles? I'd never considered getting a car to track pulled by hundreds of small rodents, but its not a wholly unappealing idea!
Focus is still on the car
The public transport system is a joke so here we go, propping up the existing system (problem). We have the technology and the communications infrastructure to create an end to end true public transport system that would meet most needs, but of course we won't do it. What we define as a car, whatever it runs on, is the real problem - a resource hungry underutilized machine that turns us into muffin-topped lazy asocial blobs. My Polish friend groks that public transport its an enabler for society and business, not a profit center, and thinks the UK is crazy. I agree.
- No emissions. None. Nada. H2O is acceptable for fuel cell vehicles.
- Renew the rail infrastructure for passengers and cargo capacity. Bring it out of the18th century.
- Get the lorries off the road and use shorter range electric delivery vehicles to transport stuff from the railway to wherever.
- Use our communication infrastructure to co-ordinate all public transport in a decentralized way - no 'big system' crash scenario. Downtime, accidents and the unexpected just cause a re-route, WiFi SMS etc. used to keep people up to date about ETA etc.
- Contingency plans for infrastructure or comms failure, that would be nice.
- Public transport to be a 24/7/365 operation.
- No fixed bus routes. You are at the bus stop and get an ETA for your next stop and final destination. The bus GPS routes to pick up passengers so they meet their journey requirements. The bus knows who is getting on and who should get off (no more missed stops), the system adjusts if you are delayed or want to loiter for a bit or go somewhere else while in transit - tells you your options for connections, times etc. Historic data used to refine the system for rush hour etc. If no one is at a bus stop then you get no buses there (ok, maybe an opportunistic route based on historic data) - video and oyster card like tech, late hours priority for females, disabled etc. Using this system the size of the bus dispatched can be determined so you don't get an underutilized huge bus for one person, maybe even down to people carrier sized things.
- Near Door to Door experience, no long hikes unless you want to.
- Space for cycles on the public transport system, people may not want to hire at the src/dest although it would be factored into the travel costs and integrated into the system (possibly drop off hire bikes into the nearest bus stop for collection or at home?).
- More carrot than stick. Its how people work. I am not advocating removing cars or taxing them to hell. Move public transport back into a low cost utility, make the car an unattractive proposition for your daily commute or long trip (bring back sleeper cars!).
- Real cycle paths, pedestrians and cyclists don't really mix well (I do 27mph on the flat, no headwind) and lighted (solar storage, PIR detectors?) , covered pedestrians and cycle ways (like an extend bus stop). Bike racks, disabled carriage storage etc.