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Americans Refusing To Wait For Mainstream EVs

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the voltage-too-low dept.

Transportation 779

hazehead writes "The growing trend of folks refusing to wait for big-car manufacturers to deliver mainstream electric vehicles is starting to get some press. From DIY tinkerers in Atlanta trying to keep money from going overseas (or simply from leaving their wallets) to a guy in Oregon building an open source Civic conversion kit, Americans are taking energy policy in their own grease-stained hands."

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Still doesnt solve jack (0, Troll)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 6 years ago | (#24602341)

As long as that electricity is coming from coal and fuel powered sources and not solar, wind, water, or nuclear sources, all it does is shift the problem, not solve it.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (3, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | about 6 years ago | (#24602361)

Exactly. It's like getting a hydrogen powered car. Totally crazy.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 years ago | (#24602809)

Actually, cars are hydrogen powered already - liquid hydrocarbons.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602395)

It's easier to change the infrastructure once cars are electric.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

2.7182 (819680) | about 6 years ago | (#24602637)

Good point for electric powered cars. Hyrdrogen though probably doesn't make sense though.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

hr.wien (986516) | about 6 years ago | (#24602703)

You can make Hydrogen using any source of electricity. Same difference.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

2.7182 (819680) | about 6 years ago | (#24602725)

I am not sure of this, but it's probably more efficient to use electricity directly, rather than use it to make hydrogen.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

hr.wien (986516) | about 6 years ago | (#24602893)

You lose a lot of power in the hydrogen generation, that's true, but batteries and power lines aren't especially efficient either. I'm not sure which one would best/most practical though.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (5, Insightful)

k_187 (61692) | about 6 years ago | (#24602405)

I'd imagine that getting the power from sources that are many times more efficient is still better than waiting on a magic bullet that will solve things completely.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (5, Insightful)

Lostlander (1219708) | about 6 years ago | (#24602713)

I think this is a great point waiting on the perfect solution means waiting forever. Increase the population of electric cars then increase the amount of renewable resource power generators. If the price of electricity skyrockets due to high demand the cost comparison of renewable vs nonrenewable resources begins to tip heavily in favor of renewable power sources. In addition the idea of a self fueling partially solar powered vehicle becomes much more desirable.

Why stop and recharge as often if you can just put solar panels on the car and increase your miles per watt. Once the general public sees the value in not wasting the constant barrage of energy (from the sun) we receive everyday we might just start the trend we are looking for.

yes it does (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24602417)

If we move our transport systems over to electricity, then change the way we generate that electricity, it does a great deal.

Also, its a hell of a lot easier to control emissions from power stations then it is to control millions of cars pouring exhaust fumes into the air in cities.

Its going to take a while to get the somewhat large number of nuclear power stations and solar power farms the US now wants up and running, but it is going to happen, and when it does, things will get a lot better.

Re:yes it does (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#24602535)

Its going to take a while to get the somewhat large number of nuclear power stations and solar power farms the US now wants up and running.

It's going to take a lot of money too. Isn't one of the challenges to nuclear that it takes years or decades to break even from generated power after the expensive construction of the plant?

Re:yes it does (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about 6 years ago | (#24602769)

Isn't one of the challenges to nuclear that it takes years or decades to break even from generated power after the expensive construction of the plant?

Compared to the years it takes to amortize the Crazy Dictators and Wackadoos financial baggage that comes with buying a great portion of your energy from places trying their hardest to be run by medieval-minded mysoginistic violent theocrats like the people running Iran, or blowhard Marxist buffoons like Hugo Chavez? Nukes have indirect and long terms costs, but so does having to buy oil from crazy people.

Re:yes it does (2, Insightful)

tha_mink (518151) | about 6 years ago | (#24602731)

If we move our transport systems over to electricity, then change the way we generate that electricity, it does a great deal.

Yeah, and who really drives more than 40 miles a day anyways right? Oh wait...

Re:yes it does (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 years ago | (#24602871)

It's 40 miles per journey, since you are can charge at both ends, and if you are commuting an 80 mile a day round trip then you should seriously consider moving house or job, since it means you're likely to be spending at least two hours driving a day, which is a waste of energy and a waste of your time.

Re:yes it does (1)

my_left_nut (1161359) | about 6 years ago | (#24602825)

Unfortunately here in Pennsylvania, they're ready to remove the price caps on electricity. So, at least here it solves a little, if you already have a clean way of generating your own electricity. For example, if you live next to a fast stream, there are microgenerators that you can buy which will charge up a battery bank. Same goes for PV cells. It'd be nice if a PV system designed to recharge a car for a few trips back and forth to work was available for the price of a hefty workstation, and the cost to replace the batteries wasn't in the multi-thousand dollar range. You could charge up a separate battery bank during the day, then plug into it when you got home at night. Totally off-grid and aside from the amount used to transport the equipment to your house, it doesn't marry your commute to the oil companies.

Re:yes it does (2, Interesting)

Dasher42 (514179) | about 6 years ago | (#24602887)

I agree with you. Not only that, but I bet that with microgrids with many small generators, like solar panels or windmills or perhaps MIT's new solar heat dish (discussed earlier on this site) as needed, could do it. Improve public transportation and agriculture similarly, and my god, we'd have solved some problems.

At this point, the advantages are so compelling that it's only corrupt political fatcats in the way. Maybe when more of us Americans notice that Europe's superior energy efficiency is a big economic advantage with high energy prices, we'll make the switch whether Big Oil's paid lobbyists like it or not.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602425)

And so we should do what? Nothing? That's how we got here. 100 years of doing nothing.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (5, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 6 years ago | (#24602429)

shifting the source of power from an inefficient source to a more efficient one is an improvement. most cars average around 20% efficiency while even coal plants get around 35%. That and the fact that not all of our power comes from coal, that is nuclear, hydro, natural gas etc.

Power stations can reach nearly 90% efficiency. (2, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 6 years ago | (#24602553)

It's the concept of "waste" heat you see.

 

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (2, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | about 6 years ago | (#24602755)

Also consider that most electric cars will recharge overnight, and during other "non-peak" hours. This also helps improve the efficiency of the power generation station.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (5, Insightful)

eht (8912) | about 6 years ago | (#24602441)

Actually it does help a little. Pollution can be better controlled at a single point than at many thousands of points. Economies of scale can also be implemented.

There are a myriad of other problems that arise, 10 years down the line you'll need a new set of batteries and what do you do with the old ones?

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (4, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 6 years ago | (#24602645)

Actually it does help a little. Pollution can be better controlled at a single point than at many thousands of points. Economies of scale can also be implemented.

And just as importantly, that single point doesn't have to move, and thus doesn't pay an efficiency cost due to having to move the extra mass of any emissions controls.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602717)

That's one problem, not "a myriad" of them.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602901)

There are a myriad of other problems that arise, 10 years down the line you'll need a new set of batteries and what do you do with the old ones?

Recycle them [wikipedia.org] . Lead acid battery recycling is one of the most successful recycling programs in the US - 97% according to the Wiki article. Further, I have seen statements (no reference, sorry) that recycled lead is cheaper/cleaner than mined lead.

I can't comment on other battery technologies, but I don't see why similar results couldn't be achieved.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602467)

As long as that electricity is coming from coal and fuel powered sources and not solar, wind, water, or nuclear sources, all it does is shift the problem, not solve it.

And what exactly is the solution, you cock smoking tea bagger?

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602483)

Not really. Centralizing the power source is a lot more efficient. Consider that you waste 60+ % of fuel just to heat the air in your car right now. If you can get reasonably efficient power transmission, charging, and drive train (most electric motors are ~95+% efficient), you're making steps in the right direction. Instead of having to update every car's power plant, you can use any power source, and a single larger upgrade to a power plant helps all the cars.

So, shifts the problem, yes. Solves it, no, but it's a step in the right direction so that it actually *can* be solved.

If the demand for electricity increases (1)

raymansean (1115689) | about 6 years ago | (#24602501)

then more electricity will be generated (assuming capitalism is still alive in the US). It does help to solve the US' dependency on foreign oil. Although is the US people would stop demanding everything be made out of plastic and return to metals and natural fibers then our dependency on foreign oil would drop even more. It is a good start, at solving some of the problems, but it does not solve all the problems and EV's do have one large problem, how do you dispose of the energy storage devices?

Re:If the demand for electricity increases (4, Informative)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | about 6 years ago | (#24602801)

Batteries can be recycled. Today, you pay more for your new lead acid car battery unless you turn in your old one. You get a pretty considerable discount when turning in an old one, which gets recycled into more car batteries. I think there's something like a 90% recycling rate for car batteries as a result.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead-acid_battery#Environmental_concerns [wikipedia.org]

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602507)

... all it does is shift the problem, not solve it.

Depends on what problem you're trying to solve. According to the article, Horsley's motivation isn't "green":

"If I can keep a dollar from going overseas, I'll spend two dollars, ..."

Coal is better. (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24602513)

I would posit that electrical power from coal to drive electric cars would ultimately be cheaper for consumers, better for the environment, and would place on a better path to national energy independence.

It is far more efficient to have a single big plant burning electricity and sending electrons to people rather than having everyone around with their own little tiny power plants. A single giant coal plant has a generator that runs at a fixed rate, maximizing power output for fuel burned, whereas an internal combustion engine car operates over a wide range of RPMs, offering more of a compromise than a fuel solution.

The single giant plant is only one physical distribution point for many cars. Instead of having fleets of tanker trucks with hundreds of people hauling fuel around to dozens of gas stations, you instead have a single train run by one or two people hauling up to a month's supply of coal for a big coal unit and in one single trip.

If we did switch to electric cars, even if they did come from coal plants, you would also eliminate the environment problem of gasoline spills. There's nothing to "spill" in an electric car that is really bad. Yes, you will wind up with either lead acid batteries that are environment nightmare, or, lithium polymer batteries that periodically explode and kill everyone in the car, but ultimately, the birds will sing and trees will wave their branches in joy, if that's the sort of stuff you like.

Re:Coal is better. (1)

tha_mink (518151) | about 6 years ago | (#24602789)

Well that's great but what do you do with all the spent batteries? Then there's the range problem. What are they getting now...40 miles to a charge? Is that really enough? Even if they triple it?

The Solectria Sunrise was getting 370 miles (3, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 6 years ago | (#24603047)

On Ni-MH batteries in 1996.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solectria_Sunrise [wikipedia.org]

That's close to twice the range of my petrol car.
 

Re:Coal is better. (1)

Lostlander (1219708) | about 6 years ago | (#24602993)

lithium polymer batteries that periodically explode and kill everyone in the car

As opposed to flammable fuel based engines that basically explode on purpose. An electric car with a firewall just like combustion vehicles should do the trick.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602521)

Decoupling transportation from energy generation through use of electrical storage ... yeah separating systems couldn't possibly have any benefits.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

barzok (26681) | about 6 years ago | (#24602525)

Guess where Oregon gets a large portion of its power (I can't imagine the Civic-EV guy is going to ship a lot out of his area).

It's not coal or fuel. It's the OR/WA border.

Less energy required per mile + DIY Electricity. (1)

FatSean (18753) | about 6 years ago | (#24602539)

Those central sources are far cleaner than an ICE. They are also cheaper per watt.

It's a start, and I like the idea of an electrical vehicle because I can't build a gasoline refinery in my yard...but some solar cells and/or wind power...those can help.

Right now I'm just driving for no good reason so I can drive up the price of gas :D

Nah, just kidding.

Re:Less energy required per mile + DIY Electricity (1, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#24602845)

I can't build a gasoline refinery in my yard.

I've been told that many people, especially in the deep south, operate devices called "stills" which can produce an ethanol based fuel.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (3, Interesting)

petermgreen (876956) | about 6 years ago | (#24602541)

It does get arround the immediate problem of rising gasoline prices. Fact is coal is much cheaper per unit energy than oil and afaict the US mines most of it's own coal supply whereas they are having to import ever increasing ammounts of oil. It also moves polloution out of cities and iirc big power plants have much tighter emmisions controls than motor vehircles and those controls are much easier to enforce.

It won't help with global warming though :(

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602547)

Don't be silly. Coal is domesticly mined in the US, unlike.

Besides, if the majority of vehicles were electric, all it would take to shift away from high-pollution energy would be the construction of a sizeable network of nuclear power plants.

It's a good step toward clean energy.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602915)

Don't be silly. Coal is domesticly mined in the US, unlike.

Stupid comment system. First line should be:
Don't be silly. Majority of coal used in the US is mined domestically, unlike oil.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (0)

Robert1 (513674) | about 6 years ago | (#24602551)

Actually in many ways it makes it worse.

Rather than have a car's engine convert at say 30% efficiency, by burning gasoline, you get power from the grid instead. The grid gets power at ~20% efficiency from the distributor, which gets it at 20% efficiency from the power plant, which gets 20-30% efficiency from burning goal and oil. The amount of coal or oil you have to burn to get the same amount of energy as gasoline is therefore tremendously greater than if the car ran directly on either of those. By using electric vehicles greenhouse gas emission actually increase by several fold, not decrease. Of course people feel good cause they don't have any exhaust coming out of their pipe so it must be cleaner and better for the environment than their old cars! Right?

And lets not forget that all electric vehicles need some serious heavy-duty batteries. Batteries are essentially tanks of liquid toxics which have historically been very very poorly disposed off and have a massive environmental impact through seepage.

Electric cars can only be viable if the energy grid is fed off clean renewable sources. Even then you have to institute federal guidelines for battery disposal and recycling as well as a dedicated department and depots that deal with it. As it is now, electric cars are several orders of magnitude worse for the environment than plain old gas powered cars.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | about 6 years ago | (#24602923)

I'd like to see some references for your numbers. What I've found is that the grid is much more efficient (over 90%) and even coal generation can be over 60% efficient using newer technology. That means that you're getting 54% efficiency at the wall plug from a brand new highly efficient coal plant. Much better than a gasoline powered car.

http://www.energetics.com/gridworks/grid.html [energetics.com]

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 6 years ago | (#24602571)

From the "green" point of view, you're correct. However, the first guy quoted says he does it for political reasons: no money going to oil producing countries that most certainly support terrorism.

Not that I buy his explanation ;-) It's most likely a Republican that never would use the "Green" argument. ;-)))

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 years ago | (#24602583)

But not all power generated in the US is from coal and fossil fuels. My power is generated via Hydroelectric. There are Windmills popping up left and right. Except for trying to say no to all fossil fuels the trick is to reduce the need for it. fossil fuels are easy to transport and offer a lot of energy. Nuclear has to many left wing hippies who think of it as a bomb waiting to happen stopping it from popping up next door (Aka a field 10 miles away from you) Solar isn't ready neither are others. But even a dirty coal power plant is probably more efficient then a gas power car.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (2, Insightful)

Watershawl (1344787) | about 6 years ago | (#24602605)

The development of the powertrain and the source of the fuel is two separate issues. Whether the electricity comes from coal, sun, or wind, at least it fuels a platform of choice-an electric vehicle.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | about 6 years ago | (#24602607)

No, it improves the situation greatly. Your view is far too simplistic.

A big power station is a lot more efficient than a small car engine. A typical gasoline engine is perhaps 15% efficient. The combined cycle gas power station they recently built here makes use of about 80% of the thermal energy of the gas. The gas turbines are the first stage, then waste heat from the gas turbines drive a steam turbine, then any heat that is still left is used to heat the NSC sports centre swimming pool and the sports centre itself. Those efficiencies are simply impossible for a small internal combustion engine on a car.

An electric car is a lot more efficient than a gasoline one - for a start, it doesn't idle, and you can have regenerative braking.

If you change the power generation (say, from coal to nuclear) you don't have to also change the fleet of vehicles. Automatically, overnight, they are suddenly nuclear powered.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (3, Interesting)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 6 years ago | (#24602657)

Read the article.

A lot of people want to eliminate petroleum imports, and consider environmental protection a lesser priority or no priority at all.

I know plenty of conservatives that scoff at the idea of environmental protection and global warming but who still have a strong interest in electric cars, alternative fuel vehicles, and hybrids as a means of cutting the trade deficit and reducing the leverage that OPEC has over our foreign policy.

Re:Still doesnt solve jack (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 6 years ago | (#24602779)

It solves the dependency on foreign oil problem as well as lowering (not eliminating but it's something) the overall CO2 emissions. Right now if we run afoul of a foreign supplier (say like, Venezuela [cnn.com] ) they can cut us off and drive the cost through the roof if not causing a supply problem entirely. The oil bust of the 80's should have taught us the value of diversity.

Not News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602357)

Don't know about the US but I see articles on this subject in the newspaper at least a few times a year here in Canada. (No, the cold isn't a problem with batteries.)

My grandfather has even been on the evening news a few times to talk about the subject.

Heh. (0, Offtopic)

w0lfuego (1341301) | about 6 years ago | (#24602407)

If they really want to do something they're better off protesting. Oh, and also, I would like to point out there is no such thing as "clean coal" if you get where that's from, I give you one rupee.

Re:Heh. (5, Insightful)

dontPanik (1296779) | about 6 years ago | (#24602913)

If they really want to do something they're better off protesting.

Personally I have much more respect for the man that takes matters into his own hands, than the one who just yells and whines.

2010 is just too long to wait (3, Insightful)

Watershawl (1344787) | about 6 years ago | (#24602439)

Most manufacturers are going to have a version of an electric car (EV) by 2010, but since car manufacturers have such long development times, by the time we actually need it, its too late. I'm glad these heroes are doing something about it.

Re:2010 is just too long to wait (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 6 years ago | (#24602651)

This is exactly why I don't want government pushing mandatory regulations on corporations, which will result in cost increases on the short term and corruption (or at least widespread allegations) in the long term. Let the people show the corporations what they want. These idealists can produce novel prototypes and the car manufacturers may benefit from their research and development. Or at least see there is a demand.

Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft benefit from this all the time when they buy something rather than develop it in house, or when they develop something as a reaction to current trends. Granted, developing web technology is less costly and arguably easier, but the idea is the same.

Re:2010 is just too long to wait (3, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#24602877)

Or, it'll just be like that guy who designed the intermittent windshield wiper, and the car company will steal their ideas out from under them.

DYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602469)

Really?

Cost Effective? (1, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 6 years ago | (#24602477)

I'm all for using less gas and improving the environment, but the guy spent $12,000 to turn his Chevy into an electric car. He now estimates that he's saved $700 in gas. It doesn't mention exactly when his conversion was done, but mentions January as the time he began the conversion. If the conversion took two months, then he's saved $700 in 5 months, or $140 per month. This works out to $1,680 per year. In other words, he would need to drive the car for over 7 years to make up the price of the conversion. (Yes, there are additional savings since he doesn't need to change the oil or filters, but there might be other maintenance costs that might be higher given that it is a DIY project.) Based on this, I'm not about to tear the gas engine out of my car anytime soon.

Re:Cost Effective? (5, Informative)

Thornburg (264444) | about 6 years ago | (#24602533)

Read more carefully, the $12,000 included the truck itself.

Re:Cost Effective? (2, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 years ago | (#24602631)

Also, there is the question of whether the $700 represents a real savings, or simply a transfer of costs from gas to electric. Unless he's stealing power from his neighbors, of course...

A choice can cost you in ways other than $$. (2, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | about 6 years ago | (#24602641)

Like when you shop at WalMart. You get cheaper goods, but you also encourage CEOs to shift more and more jobs to cheaper over-seas nations. Less job opportunities, less wealth in the nation to pay for specialized services, etc.

You gotta look past your wallet to see how your choices can cost you. Giving money to a 'find the missing baby' charity is not cost effective.

Re:Cost Effective? (1)

pluther (647209) | about 6 years ago | (#24602647)

So it's not worth doing because it takes 7 years to pay for itself? (Assuming, of course, that the price of gasoline never goes up again, and not counting the DMV fees saved (no DEQ testing required for registration anymore), the time saved by now being able to use the HOV lanes in most cities and not having to ever stop at a gas station again, etc.)

This is also, of course, assuming that saving money is the only reason someone would have to do something like this...

Re:Cost Effective? (5, Interesting)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 6 years ago | (#24602805)

you assume that gas prices stay the same for the next 7 years.

Now that home-grown solutions are growing,,, (2, Insightful)

subl33t (739983) | about 6 years ago | (#24602487)

... and getting some press, car companies will step-up the EV production. They don't want any competition eating into their future market.

Re:Now that home-grown solutions are growing,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602663)

No. They'll just outlaw it.

Re:Now that home-grown solutions are growing,,, (1)

^_^x (178540) | about 6 years ago | (#24602925)

Oh god, you're right...
I can just see some unlucky Brit nailed for doing an EV conversion because it skims around the fuel tax... (Hey, it's happened with cooking oil/biodiesel cars)

Re:Now that home-grown solutions are growing,,, (1)

HonoredMule (1031236) | about 6 years ago | (#24602671)

That's hardly a concern when the converted cars are still starting out as gasoline-burning vehicles purchased from your local dealership.

Re:Now that home-grown solutions are growing,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24603041)

competition? These home grown solutions are NOT competition. They are not able to scale their manufacturing to meet market demand. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

They will ignore this as long as it is more profitable to do so, it has nothing to do with competition. Capitalism has NOTHING to do with competition. It has everything to do with profit. That competition in the past has encouraged growth is incidental.

Highly Irregular (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#24602505)

> Americans are taking energy policy in their own grease-stained hands.

Don't worry. The regulators will put a stop to it. Can't have people going around doing things without permission.

Cooking Oil in CA. That's California (3, Interesting)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#24602735)

Not necessarily the regulators. There are folks out in California (where else!) trying to get biofuel off the ground. They collect old frying oil and refine it and burn it in diesel engines. Unfortunately, the local businesses that collect said oil (for a fee) from those restaurants are petitioning the CA legislature to make it crime unless your licensed because it's a ''public health hazard'' if anyone but them collect this horrible and dangerous cooking oil!

Please, you Californians, if you see any of that horseshit on the ballot, please oh please vote it down!

Re:Cooking Oil in CA. That's California (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#24602919)

Not necessarily the regulators. There are folks out in California (where else!) trying to get biofuel off the ground. They collect old frying oil and refine it and burn it in diesel engines. Unfortunately, the local businesses that collect said oil (for a fee) from those restaurants are petitioning the CA legislature to make it crime...

Looks like regulators to me. They will of course, use the excuse that "The industry requested it". The real reason is taxes. Eventually all biofuels (including old frying oil) will be subject to fuel taxes and they want to be sure that it all flows through "legitimate businesses" that they can compell to collect the taxes for them.

Conversion Kits (4, Informative)

janeuner (815461) | about 6 years ago | (#24602509)

Re:Conversion Kits (2, Informative)

Bombula (670389) | about 6 years ago | (#24602851)

Lots of good info on converting the American Prius to a PHEV (plug-in hybrid EV) here [eaa-phev.org] , along with lots of other related DIY projects and conversion kits if you click around the site.

$12k?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602557)

Playing Devil's advocate, but to keep money from going overseas you're spending $12K to put foreign electronics in your vehicle.

At $4/gal, that's 3,000 gallons of gas worth of modifications. Figure 25MPG as a safe value and that's 75,000 miles worth of fuel. Add onto the costs of your expanded electric bill, and you're looking at over 100,000 miles of driving to break even. Now, they can only drive 40 miles a day, which is 2500 days of driving. At 260 work days in a year, that's 9.6 years of driving... just to break even. Even if you drive it all year long, every day, it's still 7 years. When you install it into a 14 year old truck, the rest of the truck will rust apart and you'll still be trying to break into the black.

I understand their principles, but money really shouldn't play into this as a justification.

Re:$12k?! (5, Informative)

clonan (64380) | about 6 years ago | (#24602715)

Umm...RTFA!

The $12,000 INCLUDED the truck. The truck probably ran around $7,000. So $5000 saved $700 in 6 months. At $1400 a year we are looking at 3.6 years. in addition EV's typcially cost 50% to run outside of the cost of fuel. Since he would probably spend around $1000 a year for repairs on the truck, the actual savings are $1900 a year for about 2.5 years.

Electic Vehicles are about break-even for city driving/daily commutes. In the next 2 years the power storage will increase and become cheaper pushing EV's into the financial smart move category.

Re:$12k?! (2, Informative)

eldepeche (854916) | about 6 years ago | (#24602875)

1. $12k includes the price of the truck.
2. According to this, [fueleconomy.gov] his truck would get 16 mpg, not 25.

Depends on the area (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602587)

There are quite a few folks in the Seattle area tooling around in home-brew electrics, including a co-worker of mine who's done a nice job with a Miata. There are two local factors that encourage this. One is that, being in Boeing's backyard, it's fairly easy to obtain a surplus jet-engine starter motor. The other is that most of our electricity comes from falling water, and therefore is relatively cheap.

Not true (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602603)

EVs are way more frugal with their power compared to gasoline engines. So much so, that even taking into account loss in transmission lines and energy lost in charging batteries, you still come out ahead. I'll take an extra $100 on my electric bill than at the gas station any day... plus I don't have to make a special trip to 'fill up' the car.

Gas engines are at best about 30% efficient... as in only 30% of the energy consumed actually goes to making momentum for moving the car.

This is just more BS perpetuated by those who stand to lose their income streams from oil, including car mfgs who stand to lose the income stream of spare parts, since EVs are waaaaay more reliable than gas or diesel engines.

I can't wait until somebody finally gets around to making a full EV car that seats two with ABS and Airbags, PS, Heat and AC, even if it only goes 100 miles. If they can do it under $25k I'm there with cash in hand.

And that's how things are supposed to be! (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 6 years ago | (#24602609)

Americans are taking energy policy in their own grease-stained hands.

Perfect... Let the government worry about courts, police, and military. The rest we'll do ourselves, thanks.

Re:And that's how things are supposed to be! (2, Insightful)

dontPanik (1296779) | about 6 years ago | (#24603003)

Perfect... Let the government worry about courts, police, and military. The rest we'll do ourselves, thanks.

Perfect? Two people have made EVs in their spare time. That's not perfect in my book. I hate a big government as much as the next slashdotter, but we're not really taking care of this problem like we need to...

Tesla Roadster (1)

bondjamesbond (99019) | about 6 years ago | (#24602619)

I would buy one of those Tesla Roadsters, but there's the whole $100,000 thing that I can't get past.

Re:Tesla Roadster (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 6 years ago | (#24602799)

Would you buy it for $35000? That's the price of a regular roadster, but one that wouldn't match the performance of a Tesla ever.

The Tesla competes in the supercar sector... That's the whole problem. We'll just have to wait that the technology trickles down that us mere mortals can afford it too.

Very wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602677)

Common argument, but so very wrong, because producing electricity in large power plants, even from really disastrous ones as coal or oil, is very much more efficient than producing it in millions of small engines.
Subsequently adding cleaning solutions is also very much simpler/cheaper than doing the same to millions of small engines.
And later changing the production from one system (say coal or oil) to another (say nuclear, wind or solar) is very much simpler than to replace millions of cars.

Re:Very wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24603029)

So sorry, parent landed in the wrong place, my bad.

It actually was a reply to the "Still doesnt solve jack" claiming that EVs just shift pollution from one place (cars) to another (plants).

Electric... fuel? (5, Funny)

sabre86 (730704) | about 6 years ago | (#24602751)

From the CNN article:

Other components such as a fuel injector were replaced with their electric counterparts

What's the electric counterpart to a fuel injector? A... wire?

--sabre86

when you fill your SUV (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#24602753)

your cash goes to:

1. Chavez in Venezuela to support anti-American jingoism
2. Putin in Russia to support Russian Neoimperialism such as in Georgia
3. Bin Laden via Saudi Wahhabism, the ultra-fundamentalist form of Saudi Islam that gives rise to treating women like cattle, nonSunnis like subhumans, and Islamic terrorism in its myriad forms wherever such groups are supported by conservative Arabic funds

the American government doesn't seem to think getting off foreign oil is as much a priority as the American people think it is. The priorities of the American government conflates dependency on foreign oil with other foreign problems that, if they examined many problems around the world more carefully, they would see that it is the American people and their SUVs that fund those problems in the first place. this complacency is partly our own fault, for not hammering our leaders on this issue hard enough. likewise, you can complain to GM about building SUVs instead of electric cars, but we as Americans buy SUVs instead (until quite recently)

we need electric cars supported by a new wave of modern nuclear power plants. of course there are better sources of electricity than nuclear, but most of these are boutique and cannot scale like nuclear can. this includes wind and solar. but i don't really care to champion nuclear that much as i care about the need to get off foreign oil, any way possible. so please, invest in solar and wind as well, let us find new ways for nonnuclear tech to scale

modern nuclear via pebble bed reactors just does not go chernobyl, and via breeder reactors waste in lifespan and quantity is dramatically reduced (1/10th quantity of waste, a few centuries instead of 10,000 years of radioactivity, and lower radiation levels of safer forms of radiation). breeder reactors also dramatically increasing energy yeild, and allow us to use thorium as well as uranium. security concerns are real with nuclear technology, but if we spent 1/1000th of the amount of money and lives we spend securing our petroleum in iraq on securing breeder reactors instead (they make plutonium, that's the danger with breeder reactors), we would still be many orders of magnitude safer than our current status quo of funding terrorism and russian imperialism and anti-american jingoism like we do now. of course even thorium will run out in a century or two, but if we haven't mastered fusion technology by then, we are doomed anyways, or would have found a way to scale wind and solar by then

zero reliance on foreign petroleum by 2025. whoever enunciates that idea the loudest amongst a range of candidates in any contest before you, elect them to Senator/ President/ Congressman/ Dogcatcher

if petrodollars were to dry up on the international stage, many of the intransigent problems that all peoples of the world face today, not just Americans face, would dry up as well

thems the facts. get with it America

no more foreign petrodollars. stop feeding your damn SUVs

Re:when you fill your SUV (1)

QX-Mat (460729) | about 6 years ago | (#24602857)

I love the way you've summed up everything I've been saying to anyone who will listen for the last 5 years. We think alike, and nodoubt so does the rest of slashdot.

If only my prime minister wouldn't sell our nuclear program to a french company only interested in profits. It's not socialist to cover the cost of development of something so massive: it's development.

Matt

So true. (4, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | about 6 years ago | (#24602931)

Whenever I saw those damn "If you smoke pot, you're supporting terrorist" all I could think about was the distasteful regimes we buy our oil from.

Well said.

You forgot 1: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24603049)

4. Canada to help pay for training for our hockey team to beat yours.

All hype and nothing new. (1, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#24602791)

People have been doing this since the 70s. Popular Mechanics even had some projects back in the 70s and 80s.
Let me know when anybody is doing more than a thousand conversions a year. Until then it just the same as it ever was. A few will spend a lot of money on EVs and then the price of oil will drop. And yes oil does drop. Around 2000 gas was cheaper per gallon after inflation than it was in 60s!
Look up the oil glut of the 80s for another example.
It might not this time but if you asked anybody in 77 if the price of oil was going to drop they would have also said "Never"!
This is not a comment about EVs as much as this is just an over hyped news story that really means next to nothing.
Now the number of people that are signing up to by the Volt is a lot more interesting.

Can-do spirit (3, Insightful)

szquirrel (140575) | about 6 years ago | (#24602821)

Not only is this a great example of the American can-do tradition, hopefully it will also go a long way toward dispelling the myth that cars are too complicated for "regular people" to deal with.

Think about it. When my parents were graduating from high school (1969) it was a given that people would know the basics of how to service a car. For guys especially, it was just something that guys "should" know. These days the attitude is more like, "meh, it's too complicated, leave it to the experts".

Let's hear it for can-do, rather than pay-someone-else-to-do.

Re:Can-do spirit (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 6 years ago | (#24603023)

Well, I know of another technology that went from "if you want to use it, you need to be able to service it and know how to work on it", to "let's leave it to the experts". That technology is called "computers".

I won't dare to say that in 1969, cars weren't mainstream, but each family had perhaps one and had to save quite a bit to get it. It wasn't just as "mainstream" as today.... For computers, it was exactly the same: in the 80ies, you'd better know how your computer worked, or you couldn't do much with it.

how does this work again? (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 years ago | (#24602827)

didnt we just have a slashdot article yesterday that implicated most americans dont know anything about science?

"hand me the bible, and a copy of USA Today honey, im going to build my way out of this energy crisis."

SUE! (3, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 6 years ago | (#24602891)

Americans are taking energy policy in their own grease-stained hands."

How dare they??? I want government oversight of this dangerous endeavor immediately! I want it taxed, and regulated and I want government subsidies.

How dare people do things without asking for government permission!

They need to make sure that these vehicles can pass all the safety regulations. You know, to protect the children. Do it for the Children! Won't anyone think of the children????

OMG This is crazy. These people are Terrorists! They are out to destroy America! How dare they!

And don't forget Illegal Aliens. I know they are involved somewhere.

Sending money overseas...not quite (1)

Kirgin (983046) | about 6 years ago | (#24602927)

I hear that term a lot "sending our money overseas" or "giving all our money to the middle east"...Thats not quite how it works. US has contracts(not a well kept secret) with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait...etc, that state they will pay X dollar per barrel of oil. In the case of Kuwait I bet its pretty damn low (they would no longer be a country without western intervention). So how it goes, from my understanding, is this: US companies buy oil at contract for 40/barrel, then sell it to US citizens at 110 barrel...Oil companies see all the profit. Big oil = republican = current government = high oil prices. US didn't invade Iraq to steal the oil, they invaded Iraq to prevent Saddam from giving it away(oil for food lol) to EU and driving the prices down BELOW contract values..In that case the money does go the middle east. On topic: I think high oil prices are the greatest thing ever...you can't give away SUVs now. EV hackers get my support, they'll be the auto barons of the future.

abdul (1)

referal (1338415) | about 6 years ago | (#24602939)

Yep ""Americans are taking energy policy in their own grease-stained hands"" You are exactly right... i do agree with your answer.. Regards, Elechub-SEO [elechub.com]

Potential capitalism at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24602945)

This is how capitalism is supposed to work in the US.
Someone should be able to build up the next "toyota" (or whatever) in his garage using his own resources.

Not this government soviet style mandated 5 or 10 year plans.

I don't just want politician "selective funding" of these efforts (which usually end up in politician's buddys' pockets) but reduction of tax and legislative burden which blocks these "tinkerers" from possibly going big on their own.

What's the point? (1)

Butisol (994224) | about 6 years ago | (#24602959)

Whatever fuel we conserve will just end up in stupid redneck toys like ATVs, dirt bikes, skidoos, recreational fishing boats, and those modded pickup trucks with giant wheels.

I want one of THESE to go with my Tesla... (4, Interesting)

nsayer (86181) | about 6 years ago | (#24602997)

I would love an electric car. But a few times a year, I drive from the Bay Area to San Diego. This [mrsharkey.com] is the perfect solution to the problem.

Petrolium use in America - Where do we target 1st? (5, Informative)

Banekartr (1058752) | about 6 years ago | (#24603043)

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (in 2003)... Oil Demand by Sector: Transportation 68% Industrial 23% Residential 4% Electricity Generation 3% Commercial 2% The US does not depend on oil for electricity. The US creates 49% of its electricity from coal, 19.4% nuclear, 20% natural gas, and 7% hydroelectric. The left over is made in other ways, but only 1.6% of the power generated in the US is actually produced from OIL. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/figes1.html [doe.gov] Priority 1 here should be energy independence with transportation, based on the numbers. Our ability to create electricity has almost nothing to do with oil.
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