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Tesla Roadster Breaks Distance Record For Electric Car

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the eternal-sunshine-and-a-spotless-road dept.

Transportation 392

An anonymous reader writes "The CEO of an Australian ISP has driven his Tesla Roadster into the record books, completing 501km on a single electric charge in the 2009 Global Green Challenge — beating the Roadster's official specifications, which rate the all-electric sports car as being capable of a maximum of 390km per charge. The previous record was held by another Roadster in the 387km Rallye Monte Carlo d'Energies Alternatives in April this year. In a race specifically designed for alternative energy vehicles (such as hydrogen and electricity), the Roadster was the only vehicle to complete the entire course. Though to be fair, that race course was a mixture of twists, turns and hills."

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Frist Prost!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896169)

Frist Prost !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And Internode rox as an ISP.. !!!!! :)

When you drive an electric car... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896199)

When you drive an electric car, you're riding with Hitler.

Re:When you drive an electric car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897205)

When i drive an electric car, i love to get electric blow jobs.

To be fair? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896201)

To be fair, these cars were expected to turn, and go up and down hills. Something no mere mortal car would dare perform...

Re:To be fair? (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896309)

To be fair, these cars were expected to turn, and go up and down hills. Something no mere mortal car would dare perform...

I think what they mean was that it requires less electricity to remain straight on a flat plane going at a fixed speed. When you slow down to complete an S-curve or start going up a hill, your fuel consumption is drastically affected. The driver of the Tesla Roadster kept the speed as close to 55 kmph as he could to achieve the best efficiency event though that's a modest pace and not really a racing speed. This wasn't a course making long straight lines through the salt flats and that's probably important to note. I don't think "race" is a good description for the course. It's more like a realistic challenge with completion time hardly a factor.

Re:To be fair? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896385)

That's true. Real-world driving and efficiency driving are hugely different. My Honda Insight Hybrid has been successfully driven over 1500 miles (twice specification), but in the real world the best I've ever done is 1000, and the national average from Insight drivers is only ~500 miles.

I think EVs need to be more strictly regulated in their mileage claims. Let them go on the same treadmill as they gasoline/diesel cars must ride.

Re:To be fair? (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896695)

I think what they mean was that it requires less electricity to remain straight on a flat plane going at a fixed speed.When you slow down to complete an S-curve or start going up a hill, your fuel consumption is drastically affected.

Yet, we shouldn't forget that this is still far from real life performance. The closest thing might be highway use in low traffic. No chance of driving 500 km, not even 390 km, in an urban environment, or in every day mixed high traffic city+highway use.

Re:To be fair? (2, Insightful)

Algan (20532) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896921)

Actually, I wouldn't be so sure. Urban driving means low speeds, which means lower air drag. Also, stop and go gives regenerative braking a chance to do its job. I wouldn't be surprised if an electric car would go further in city driving than on the highway...

Re:To be fair? (2, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897083)

The laws of thermodynamics state that regenerative breaking can only capture *some* of the energy lost in slowing down. One will never get as much range in city driving than in highway driving. Mainly because in this house, Lisa, we obey the laws of thermodynamics.

Re:To be fair? (2, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897243)

The regenerative braking doesn't involve a heat engine, so in principle you could get arbitrarily close to 100% energy recovery given sufficiently advanced technology. IIRC, hybrids do get better range in urban driving.

Re:To be fair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897337)

They do better than conventional cars in urban driving yes, but their performance doesn't magically increase when you are stop-and-go.

Re:To be fair? (2, Informative)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897497)

Wrong. Just because thermodynamics has "thermo" in it doesn't mean the laws only apply to heat.

Re:To be fair? (2, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897317)

One will never get as much range in city driving than in highway driving.

Definitely not true with hybrids. Reason is that at highway speeds the gasoline engine is always on, whereas if I keep it under 60km/h, the electric kick in which is more efficient.

Re:To be fair? (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897529)

That's not due to the laws of thermodynamics, that's due to the operation of hybrids being totally different under those driving conditions. Apples to apples please.

Re:To be fair? (1)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897047)

Yet, we shouldn't forget that this is still far from real life performance

Yeah, like driving to the mailbox.

Re:To be fair? (2, Funny)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896791)

The driver of the Tesla Roadster kept the speed as close to 55 kmph as he could
Yup, that must have been that guy in the left lane this morning.

Re:To be fair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896993)

And has anyone investigated the environmental impact of these lithium or lead-acid buggies when they're stacking up in junk yards 20 years from now?

Re:To be fair? (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897359)

And has anyone investigated the environmental impact of these lithium or lead-acid buggies when they're stacking up in junk yards 20 years from now?

How about the environmental impact of current combustion based cars with lead acid batteries, toxic coolant fluids, toxic oil, and toxic gasoline dripping all over the roads?

Tesla Motors ftw? (1)

Kirin Fenrir (1001780) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896209)

I only wish I could afford one.

Re:Tesla Motors ftw? (3, Informative)

prodevel (1206992) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896565)

Well, the $109,000 car costs Colorado residents a mere $65,000 with their substantial tax break for hybrid and electric vehicles. [gas2.org] That's downright affordable! Makes me wonder how much the rebate is for a Prius, both there and in my home state...

So what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896223)

Though to be fair, that race course was a mixture of twists, turns and hills

So what? You say that like they SHOULDN'T be required to handle it. Who wants a car that can't handle turns or climb hills?

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

Duhfus (960817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896587)

Though to be fair, that race course was a mixture of twists, turns and hills
So what? You say that like they SHOULDN'T be required to handle it. Who wants a car that can't handle turns or climb hills?

TFS is comparing the performance of Roadsters in different races. While this Roadster set a new record, the course that it set the record is sufficiently different from the course where the previous record was set. Hence the "to be fair" comment: the earlier course "was a mixture of twists, turns and hills", so you can't really compare the two records as an apple-to-apple comparison.

That's nice... (3, Informative)

Blazarov (894987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896245)

What the summary fails to mention is also that the average speed was at about 55 km/h, which is pretty decent...

Re:That's nice... (4, Funny)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896297)

... and downhill, both directions ;^)

In MY day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897335)

That must be the same route I used to walk to school.

Only in reverse.

Re:That's nice... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896307)

And the long straightaways. I would guess the official spec anticipates a little more stopping and starting than these guys did.

Re:That's nice... (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896325)

average speed was at about 55 km/h, which is pretty decent...

Only if by "pretty decent" you mean half the speed of a gasoline-powered car.

Re:That's nice... (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896375)

Nobody will ever need more than 35 mph.

Re:That's nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897301)

Hmmmm maybe if you are going to link to that bad review you should link to this as well.
http://green.autoblog.com/2008/12/16/tesla-clarifies-some-of-top-gears-mischaracterizations/

Re:That's nice... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896725)

Not for any long distance. I do some travelling throughout the year - not extreme, but maybe 4 trips per year. Usually at least once per year I'll go from Charleston, SC to Miami, FL. At 80mph(~130km/h) on the interstate that drive is a bit long, but perfectly doable. At 35mph (~ the 55km/h speed here) it simply wouldn't be doable without stopping and spending the night. That's an extra day off from work, and extra night in a hotel, and extra hassle.

Don't get me wrong I'm all for electric, but only so long as I can maintain a decent speed (70+ mph for long trips, or 55mph for local driving), and that when I'm out of power I can stop and have full power again (either through rapid charging or a battery swap) within 15 minutes or less. I'm also personally not switching until such charging/switching stations were at least remotely common beside a road.

Re:That's nice... (5, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897413)

and that when I'm out of power I can stop and have full power again (either through rapid charging or a battery swap) within 15 minutes or less

Personally, I'm looking forward to the time when I go to my electric car after work that has been parked in the parking lot all day, and the battery is fully charged for free from the solar panels. THAT is what the oil companies are really afraid of.

Re:That's nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897537)

(70+ mph for long trips, or 55mph for local driving)

So you're the retarded jerk doing 55mph in my residential areas.

Hey dipwad Local driving = 35mph or LESS

This is the part i LOVE about the economy, the cops are actually getting off their asses and pulling over the idiots that fly at 40+mph in the residential and school zones.

Re:That's nice... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897583)

So you're the retarded jerk doing 55mph in my residential areas.

Hey dipwad Local driving = 35mph or LESS

This is the part i LOVE about the economy, the cops are actually getting off their asses and pulling over the idiots that fly at 40+mph in the residential and school zones.

Hey "retarded jerk" - not all of us live in the middle of a suburb. My local commute is mostly through open roads national forest, where the speed limit for 90% of the stretch is - guess what - 55mph.

Re:That's nice... (0, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897531)

What? 55 kph is decent? That's only 33 mph (the 501 km is 300 miles). Who takes a long trip at 30 mph? I want to see how far it will go at 65 mph (100 kph).

When I first saw the summary it looked good, as sometimes I drive to St Louis, 100 miles from here (166 km). A 300 mile distance would work -- but NOT at 30 mph. In the first place, it's illegal to drive slower than 45 mph on the interstate, and in the second place it would take three hours to get there. Might as well ride a horse.

You're only going to do 30 in the city, where you're not going to drive 300 miles in a day and recharging isn't a problem. In short, this "milestone" is completely meaningless for any real-world use.

Cool! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896279)

I'm sure at least *one* of the four people still holding a job might be able to afford one.

Re:Cool! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896539)

There's nothing "off topic" abut this, dumbshit.

That bad, eh? (2, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896283)

313 miles is almost exactly the range of my '99 Subaru Outback Legacy (15-gallon tank), which is worth about $2500 now. Except I can easily refuel that and keep going. The trip to my folks' house is 365 miles.

I had assumed that with all the talk of new technology Tesla was going to be comparable with the hybrids. This article helps re-adjust my expectations, but it also gives me hope that by time they're generally affordable the range will be there too.

Re:That bad, eh? (2, Funny)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896373)

Yeah imagine the first time you run out of charge 10 miles from the nearest town. Walking into that convenience store hoping they have a HUGE sale on extension cords because carrying 15 gallons of electricity 10 miles is a dangerous task.

Re:That bad, eh? (3, Interesting)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896737)

This is why I think Tesla should market to Europe more - smaller countries, smaller distances driven, and far more green-friendly governments and policies.

Also you would hope that the GPS would be linked to capacity and tell you if you can make it, and where recharge stations are en-route.

However I'm a fan of having an on-board small-capacity traditional engine that is used solely as a generator rather than being tied into the complexities of the car propulsion system. If that would generate enough charge to let me limp those ten miles it might be okay.

And in ten years, when the technology is affordable, hopefully the technology will have matured to a point where none of this is an issue. Even to the point of solar roofing options for trickle charging during the day (and simultaneously keeping the car cool inside). Not that this option would help me in Britain...

Re:That bad, eh? (2, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897251)

They do market to Europe, and the Tesla Roadster is actually cheaper there due to currency valuation differences (euro & the pound > dollar).

Re:That bad, eh? (5, Insightful)

Tim4444 (1122173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896667)

Does every car have to be general purpose? People don't complain that the Mini Cooper can't hold a family of 6 or haul their 5th wheel. They know it has a purpose and a niche and get over it. Anyone who can afford a Tesla probably has multiple vehicles as does the average middle class family. Now, brace yourself. It's possible to own an electric car and a gas car. wow. Don't give me this soviet russia 'one car for everyone and every purpose' bs. I want choices. A lot of families own at least one car that they never drive more than 300 miles in a single day. Some people will choose a car that never needs to go to the gas station, never needs oil changes, and works great for all their local commuting.

I had assumed that with all the talk of new technology

Next time try reading up on it instead. Some people assumed with all the talk of new technology that by the year 2000 we'd all be driving flying cars and we'd have colonies on the moon...

Re:That bad, eh? (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896977)

Some people assumed with all the talk of new technology that by the year 2000 we'd all be driving flying cars and we'd have colonies on the moon...

Instead we got a date bug.

I was emotionally devastated, believe you me.

Re:That bad, eh? (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897295)

Now, brace yourself. It's possible to own an electric car and a gas car. wow. Don't give me this soviet russia 'one car for everyone and every purpose' bs. I want choices. A lot of families own at least one car that they never drive more than 300 miles in a single day. Some people will choose a car that never needs to go to the gas station, never needs oil changes, and works great for all their local commuting.

Why not just rent a specialized vehicle when you need one?

Hauling stuff to the dump / stuff from Home Depot / stuff from a big box store? Rent a van for $20.
Traveling a few states to visit family? Taking a long road trip? Rent an appropriate car.

The little extra utility most people get on rare occasion from having a Canyonero (or even a smaller SUV/minivan) is ridiculous... far better fiscally to drive a commuter car and rent a special purpose car when one is needed. Especially once you factor in wear-and-tear from those "special need" trips.

Re:That bad, eh? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897605)

Does every car have to be general purpose?

No, but it's probably fair to say that every $100,000 car ought to be general purpose.

Re:That bad, eh? (1)

Algan (20532) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897059)

Tesla Roadster is more like a proof of concept/exotic car. Electric cars don't (yet) make sense as long haul vehicles, simply because the infrastructure for recharging them is not there yet. Not to mention charge times measured in hours vs minutes. I don't see people hanging around at highway recharge stations for hours. But they do make perfect sense as commuter cars, and, for that, a range of 300 miles is good enough for even the most extreme commuters.

Re:That bad, eh? (5, Interesting)

shway (1614667) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897369)

I have just passed the 15,000 mile mark in my 5 month old Tesla Roadster. My commute in it is almost 100 miles a day. People who claim that the Roadster is not a viable car due to range concerns have never tried to use one. I drive more than anyone else I know, and will likely put 35,000 miles on it this year. The Roadster is a blast to drive, and is definitely up to the task. The convenience of always having a full tank when I get in it in the morning is far better than doing the same commute in my previous car where each day I had to check to see if I had to stop by a gas station. It is true that I cannot easily take it for cross country roadtrips - but any 2 seater roadster doesn't lend itself for long family vacations. I have a second car for that. Just like I plan to take an alternate vehicle to Hawaii, I am content to take another vehicle on the occasional long trip. "Oh noes! Why would anyone buy that Toyota - you can't drive it across the Pacific!"

Re:That bad, eh? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897505)

Someone who drives 2,000+ miles a month in spurts of 50 miles a piece doesn't really have to kowtow to range concerns (especially if they don't have a problem affording a car that costs $50,000+).

Re:That bad, eh? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897591)

Exactly! even "green/renewable" companies and buildings are HOSTILE to electric cars. I work at the GVSU renewable energy building in west michigan. Is there a place for me to plug in my electric car? nope. They have solar, a microturbine and a natural gas fuel cell that can power a small town... they wont let me plug in and charge my electric. it's against "building policy"

It will require forcing building owners to stop being jerks as well.

Re:That bad, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897597)

Planning on going from a $2,500 car to a $100,000 one are you?

Now THAT is an electric car. (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896319)

501km = 311 miles, about the range most gasoline vehicles get on a tank of gas. If it was affordable, this would definitely make a viable replacement for a petroleum fueled vehicle. Now, if we could just do something about the cost of the batteries so that average people could buy one...

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896469)

If it was affordable, this would definitely make a viable replacement for a petroleum fueled vehicle.

I don't know about you but when I travel long distances on the highway I expect a 500 km trip to take about 4.5 hours, not 9 hours.

I love the Tesla but battery technology needs to improve its capacity/weight ratio by about 20 before electric vehicles will be equilivant to gasoline powered vehicles for long distance highway travel.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896531)

Not everyone does long-distance highway travel more than once or twice a year -- I don't, anyhow, and when I do, I rent a car rather than putting the miles on mine anyhow.

Range may legitimately keep electric cars out of some markets, but certainly not all of them.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (4, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896605)

I rent a car rather than putting the miles on mine anyhow.

That makes a lot more sense than trying to make an electric car into something that it can't be.

Until we get that 20 times improvement in battery technology it makes more sense to optimise electric vehicles for commuting, not long distance.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (4, Interesting)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896899)

one option would be to put induction cables into the road, so that the car can be charged while driving.

hell, add a data channel so that the car knows what road its on, and what direction, and it could practically drive itself with the right navigation system installed.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897021)

one option would be to put induction cables into the road, so that the car can be charged while driving.

I think you'd find the effect on steel car chassis to be very "exciting" (sorry for electric motor field winding pun this early in the morning). That would apply to any "mostly iron" chassis, no matter if IC or electric powered, or even semi and RV trailers...

Seriously though, although turning the road into a giant linear induction motor sounds very amusing under normal circumstances, it would be a bit wasteful in stop and go conditions and very dangerous in low traction situations.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897265)

one option would be to put induction cables into the road, so that the car can be charged while driving.

Taxi stands could have built-in charging cables for electric taxis.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897411)

Taxi stands could have built-in charging cables for electric taxis.

Replace taxi with bus [technologyreview.com] and we're already living in the Future.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897297)

The prospect of retrofitting inductive chargers into every major highway makes the idea of a high-power fast-charge "gas" station look easy in comparison. High capacity batteries already tolerate a fairly rapid charge rate with the correct smarts in the charger (required anyway, really). Today, you only have to sacrifice a little bit of cost / capacity / weight to get 5-minute charge capability. There are improvements coming (LiFePO4, for instance) that should improve on that. Even the 1MW (Tesla Roadster, 100% charge, 3 minutes) charger electronics and cabling doesn't look that bad in comparison. Sure, you need smarts in the connectors to make it safe, and a thick cable -- but we already have things like smart connectors and thick cables for fueling gas cars.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (5, Funny)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897389)

How about putting the cars on tracks, and run the electricity trough that. Also make the cars larger, and let multiple people ride the same one.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

SwimmerBoy (1612523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897461)

That way we could also remove the accelerator and break pedals and just have nifty little trigger devices to control the speed! http://www.scalextric.com/ [scalextric.com]

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897471)

Maybe we can replace roads with really long travelators like in airports, so people don't even need cars they can just step on and off them!

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897609)

I wouldn't. local driving is far harder on a car than a long distance drive.

I'd buy a car with 200,000miles of nothing but highway miles before a 45,000mile car that was all city driving.

The engine and car in general will be in far better shape on the highway miles car.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (4, Informative)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897501)

I don't know about you but when I travel long distances on the highway I expect a 500 km trip to take about 4.5 hours, not 9 hours.

Where did speed come into this? The Tesla has a max speed of 200km/h - more than enough for any sane road trip.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897177)

The Tesla isn't exactly expensive for its class. Compare it to a high end BMW and you will see that it slightly outperforms the BMW at its price class in several areas (though range isn't one of those areas).

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897197)

Oops, forget my comment. I thought they were talking about the luxury sedan, not the sports car. Brain hurt.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897635)

Or buy a lotus elise and have the same car with more performance and can be refueled at any gas station for 1/2 the money.

Re:Now THAT is an electric car. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897653)

THIS! Plus, you get a nice tax credit =)

That's nice (1)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896399)

Though to be fair, that race course was a mixture of twists, turns and hills.

To be fair, normal roads are a mixture of twists, turns and hills.

Re:That's nice (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897561)

> To be fair, normal roads are a mixture of twists, turns and hills.

Depends where you live. In Iowa, normal roads are straight and flat and go on and on and on like that, and then they go on and on and on some more, until they asymptotically approach invisibility due to sheer distance (and the fact that the atmosphere is not, in fact, *completely* transparent).

Simon is the managing director (1)

bennyboy64 (1437419) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896401)

Not the CEO.

Lindsey if your reading this get back to work! (1, Funny)

capitalj (461890) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896425)

Lindsey D. if your reading this I need you to get back to work on those TPS reports.

Re:Lindsey if your reading this get back to work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896507)

Wait, ...don't tell me. ...You forgot the cover sheet!

What happens if a battery catches fire? (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896433)

The tesla has hundreds of laptop batteries in it, each with the energy of a hand grenade. What if something goes wrong...?

Re:What happens if a battery catches fire? (4, Insightful)

ratbag (65209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896655)

How does the energy of hundreds of laptop batteries compare with the energy of 60 litres of petrol?

Re:What happens if a battery catches fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896705)

A gasoline vehicle has tens of gallons of fuel in it, with the power of a 155mm artillery round. What if something goes wrong...?

Re:What happens if a battery catches fire? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29897065)

A normal car has tens of liters of gasoline in it, each with the energy of about a dozen hand grenades. What if something goes wrong?

To elaborate the point, TNT has 6.92 MJ/liter, or 4.6 MJ/kg energy density. Lithium-ion batteries have 0.46-0.72 MJ/kg, or 0.83-0.9 MJ/liter. Gasoline has 46.4 MJ/kg, or 34.2 MJ/liter; this doesn't include the amount of oxidizer needed, though. A quick estimate would suggest that adding oxygen to the calculation (as a stoichiometric mixture of gasoline and oxygen) would about quarter that. Water has a specific heat capacity of 4186 J/(kg*K), which means a thermos containing almost boiling water contains (relative to 20 degrees Celsius) 0.33 MJ/kg, a bit lower than a lithium battery by mass.

A more simple point is this: to move a certain car body (with occupants and luggage) a certain distance, you need a certain amount of energy, no matter how you store it. Therefore, two identically-sized cars that have the same range need to carry the same amount energy on them, irrespective of how that energy is stored. However, electrical cars are lighter, more efficient (storage-to-kinetic) and have lower range, therefore the energy-per-car density is much lower than a gasoline car.

Third point: grenades are useful (for their purpose) because they release their energy _really_ quickly. They are expensive because it's quite hard to make things release their energy _really_ quickly.

Re:What happens if a battery catches fire? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897275)

You sound like one of the people watching a movie saying "GET OUT OF THE CAR BEFORE THE GAS TANK EXPLODES."

I'm sorry... (-1, Troll)

cvtan (752695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896435)

but something with 7000 batteries that cost $100k and can only hold two people is just not viable transportation. Nice toy-not a real vehicle.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

ratbag (65209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896723)

Is a single-seater motorbike not a viable form of transportation, then? How about a $100k truck? Your "viable" is not the same as everyone else's.

Electric cars are not better for the enviornment (0, Troll)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896467)

Yes, there are zero emissions from the tailpipe, but the electricity has to come from somewhere. Hydro, solar, wind are all very small percentages of the total electricity generating solutions. The majority of electricity comes from 'dirty' sources, such as coal, oil and nuclear. All thats happening is the carbon output of transportation is being shifted from the consumer to the manufacturer.

And even if we DO get a much larger percentage of clean energy sources, we still have to consider the massive costs that will be needed to upgrade the aging energy grid to be able to support the huge draw that electric cars will demand. Even a few million electric cars in the US will put a huge strain on the grid.

Finally, how good are the batteries for the enviornment? Can they be recycled cleanly? And how often do they need to be replaced? After a few months of steady use?

Re:Electric cars are not better for the enviornmen (2, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896515)

So what's your solution? Extinction [vhemt.org] ?

Re:Electric cars are not better for the enviornmen (5, Informative)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896609)

Yes they are. Even the most inefficient plants are still vastly more efficient than a car's engine, with transmission losses accounted for.

Finally, how good are the batteries for the enviornment? Can they be recycled cleanly? And how often do they need to be replaced? After a few months of steady use?

Batteries are very recyclable, and are designed to last the life of the car.

Re:Electric cars are not better for the enviornmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896859)

Batteries are very recyclable, and are designed to last the life of the car.

So, the car is only expected to last 7 years or 100,000 miles?

Re:Electric cars are not better for the enviornmen (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896625)

Even if there was 0% coming from clean power, the efficiency rate of electric cars is such that fewer emissions are put out per mile from a coal power plant fueled electric car than a gas burning regular car. The sad fact is that gasoline combustion engines are not very efficient with their fuel, whereas electric are much more so.

Also, do you just think that suddenly in 1 year everyone will just be driving electrics with no chance for the grid to adapt? It is these "lets take todays infrastructure and apply some hypothetical load to it" guesses that just drive me nuts. As people switch to electric, obviously the grid will be expanded to handle the new load.

Re:Electric cars are not better for the enviornmen (2, Informative)

UltimApe (991552) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896657)

The statistic was that even after manufacturing costs and other hidden energy consumption... the electric car is still less of an enviromental impact. the dirty energy you speak of is still cleaner than even the most finely tuned fossil fuel engine. The net effect over the life of the car is a decrease in pollution.

Re:Electric cars are not better for the enviornmen (2, Insightful)

berashith (222128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897027)

You are right ... screw improvements until we can find perfection!

Re:Electric cars are not better for the enviornmen (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897071)

'dirty' sources, such as coal, oil and nuclear.

These sources aren't dirty (especially nuclear), they just aren't quickly renewable.

Re:Electric cars are not better for the enviornmen (2, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897255)

"Yes, there are zero emissions from the tailpipe, but the electricity has to come from somewhere."

True.

But even if the volts are coming from coal, it's coal burning happening in one place where it would/should be easier to capture. Instead of burning gas all over the place where it might be hard to capture.

i wish we weren't so afraid of the n word. Not *that* n word, the other.

i've been saying for a long time that there won't be a silver bullet for energy. i'd like to see more efficient cars, more hybrids, some fuel cell cars, some pneumatic, more nuclear power, more geo, more this more that. Use as many sources as possible as efficiently as possible. And build worthwhile public transport.

Forget About Batteries in Cars (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29896475)

They need high performance super capacitors to be practical. Sure you may be able to go 313 miles on a charge, but it's a 12 hour layover while your car batteries recharge.

Caps recharge in a matter of minutes... almost like a traditional gas n' go.

And they last a lot longer with less environmental headaches for disposal.

Re:Forget About Batteries in Cars (2, Informative)

berashith (222128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897117)

What is really cool is that I am home almost 12 hours every night, and I drive well under 300 miles a day. Now, this wouldn't work for my vacation trips, but as an every day commuter this would suit me perfectly ( if I could afford it).

Re:Forget About Batteries in Cars (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897699)

What is really cool is that I am home almost 12 hours every night, and I drive well under 300 miles a day. Now, this wouldn't work for my vacation trips, but as an every day commuter this would suit me perfectly ( if I could afford it).

So, basically, you're saying that this wouldn't suit you at all?

Re:Forget About Batteries in Cars (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897267)

Caps recharge in a matter of minutes... almost like a traditional gas n' go.

A gas pump nozzle sprays gas at about the thermal equivalent of a megawatt-class electrical plug, more or less.

I won't bore you with the chemical engineering thermodynamics and electrical engineering details, but just think about it, if you can burn a huge tank of gas in a generator for hours on end to continuously generate lots of kilowatts, then filling the empty tank in seconds would seem to imply megawatts of power transfer...

Megawatt-level quick disconnect plugs are not a common mass produced device. Your average retard won't last long while trying to use one, either.

And they last a lot longer with less environmental headaches for disposal.

PCBs make nice capacitor dielectrics, not so super environmental contaminants. Seems a little preliminary to declare not only will something be invented, but when it's invented it'll also be super environmental, just because that would be nice if it were true.

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

Re:Forget About Batteries in Cars (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897333)

There are some batteries that can charge quickly too, the problem is supplying a few thousand amps of current (for ~ 1 MW) - and that's going to be just as hard for capacitors.

Batteries also have a much higher energy density and can be (and almost always are) recycled.

Re:Forget About Batteries in Cars (4, Insightful)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897451)

Good luck putting 53kWh of energy into a battery in "a matter of minutes".

Technically, Lithium batteries can be charged to 80% capacity in only a half hour. The main reason for the Roadster's slow charging is that household plugs can't output more than 1800 Watts for a standard socket, at that rate it would take 30 hours to charge the Roadster.

If you wanted to charge it within 1 hour, you would need a 53000W power source, that's about 240Amps@220Volt, 480Amps@110Volts. Considering that the main circuit breaker to my house is rated 200Amps, I could never charge the Tesla at my house in 1 hour, even if it had super capacitors or whatever else you wanted.

If you want to charge it in "a matter of minutes", say 10 minutes, you would need a 318000Watt power source. If you wanted to charge your car in 3 minutes, you would need a megawatt power supply... for that you'd need a dedicated power station to supply this kind of power otherwise the whole city would have a brownout every time some prick decides to recharge his Tesla. I don't know about where you live, but there aren't dedicated electric stations that can supply a megawatt of power anywhere near my house.

So: batteries? supercapacitors? ultracapacitors? it doesn't matter the least bit if you don't have the power infrastructure to charge it.

390km per charge? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896819)

The metric system is the tool of the devil! My EV gets 40 rods to the... damn, I don't know enough about how energy is measured to finish the joke.

Re:390km per charge? (3, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897159)

sack of sugar

Re:390km per charge? (2, Informative)

mikeee (137160) | more than 4 years ago | (#29897703)

horsepower fortnight

a mixture of twists, turns and hills (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29896981)

All downhill?
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