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White House Wants 1M Electric Cars By 2015

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the way-too-many-and-yet-way-too-few dept.

Government 603

coondoggie writes "The White House has outlined a wide-ranging plan for putting one million of what it calls 'advanced technology vehicles' on the road by 2015. Most observers would say that is a good start, but is it reasonably doable? The next White House budget will include a number of investments and enticements to make the goal achievable in theory. Of course, not all of the provisions are likely to make the cut."

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Sure It's Doable, Just Shift Subsidies (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35034906)

Most observers would say that is a good start, but is it reasonably doable?

First of all I realize you just copy/pasted the first paragraph from the article but "most observers" sounds a bit like weasel words and I didn't see where in the article anyone was calling this a "good start" nor can I think of anyone who would say that. This (like a lot of them) is a pretty polarizing issue and I'd bet "most people" are going to end up claiming it to be a waste of taxpayer money or too little too late. Not a whole lot of moderation out there these days in political views.

Secondly, sure it is achievable and you don't even have to raise taxes. Shift some of the oil subsidies [nytimes.com] toward this initiative. If you're afraid of losing jobs in the oil industry, include stipulations of domestic job creation and opportunities on these investments. I think Obama already promised to shrink oil subsidies down so that over the next decade $20 billion is saved by the taxpayer -- why not use that for this? Whether or not it's going to actually achieve a desired effect, now that's the real debate. Not whether or not it's 'doable.'

Re:Sure It's Doable, Just Shift Subsidies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035168)

It slows down the dependence on foreign oil, but it increases pollution. The mining for the batteries, shipping those around the world to build the batteries, making of the cars, producing energy for those cars.

If fuel taxes were raised, it would greatly encourage people to drive less and it provides economic subsidy for other forms of transportation instead of cheap oil. But that would make us exactly like Europe and our states would be declaring bankruptcy.

Same thing with national healthcare. I've worked in countries with it and it kicks ass. It would lower costs for people and businesses and we'd be able to compete on the world market. But, the powers that run the show know each other and they personally don't have a problem. Otherwise, GM, Apple, Microsoft, Ford etc would lobby for healthcare because that's costs they no longer have to cover.

It took 30 years of dictatorship for Egypt to get off their ass. How long for the US?

Re:Sure It's Doable, Just Shift Subsidies (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035492)

"If fuel taxes were raised, it would greatly encourage people to drive less and it provides economic subsidy for other forms of transportation instead of cheap oil. But that would make us exactly like Europe and our states would be declaring bankruptcy."

Trouble is...raise those fuel taxes..and virtually everything we have would go up on price on a huge scale. I'm talking basic necessities like FOOD, clothing and housing. How do you think all that stuff gets transported around. People bitch about taxation hitting the poor, well this one alone would target them more than any other tax raise.

And they way the infrastructure is in the US as it exists today...in most of the cities in the US, you can NOT function properly without a car. You need to drive for basic needs...to get to/from work. To shop for food and anything else you and/or your family needs. There is no such thing as public transport for the most part that the whole populace can easily use. How the fuck am I going to get my weekly groceries home? I'm single and I usually buy for the week and have to make multiple trips from the car to inside my house to get all the food and stuff in. I mean, a couple weeks ago, a whole 22lb ham was on sale for $0.99/lb...I sure don't see myself schlepping that on a bus that doesn't go from door to door...especially on a rainy day?

And please, don't start spouting that shit about moving closer to work...etc. That would take decades and the upheaval would be unbearable for the country and the economy. Not to mention..many places you were are NOT places you want to live (schools, crime, etc) even if there were enough proper housing for people. Oh...you're supposed to fucking MOVE every time you change jobs? I mean, this is common...the one job for life is a thing of the past, to move up in position and salary, you have to change jobs every few years (2-4). Sell your house and move every time? What if you're married and you spouse keeps her job but you change yours...she has to move too and quit her job and try to find a new one closer to the new home?

People like to think that raising fuel taxes would solve SO much...but the repercussions are far reaching.

Nationalized healthcare? Well, that's a whole new rant, but I'll leave it at this. The other day, I had to go to the DMV to get my license renewed. New address, so not available to do online. Seriously, if I had to deal with my healthcare with a govt. run option that runs as...*ahem* efficiently as the DMV, well, we'd see more dead people all over the place.

"Sorry sir...yes I can see you are hemorrhaging blood, but you don't seem to have the proper forms...and they aren't notarized either. "

Re:Sure It's Doable, Just Shift Subsidies (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035618)

It slows down the dependence on foreign oil, but it increases pollution. The mining for the batteries, shipping those around the world to build the batteries, making of the cars, producing energy for those cars.

With current technology batteries are generally messy ecologically, but are they any more messy than vehicle exhaust? Switching to all electric vehicles will increase the use of electricity which currently is mostly supplied by dirty methods.

Two big caveats:
1. we can provide electricity using other methods. You can't provide gasoline using other methods - though bio/algae diesel has potential I don't know that it can scale to replace worldwide gas/diesel usage.

So first you get your infrastructure running on a universal power source (electricity) then you 'clean' your production of that power source. It's much easier to clean a single power plant than all the cars in its service area.

2. not all 'batteries' need the caustic chemicals of today's battery tech. Flywheels, compressed air, hydrogen fuel cells (again scale may be an issue) all work just about completely clean.

Re:Sure It's Doable, Just Shift Subsidies (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035242)

Yep, shifting the money would produce probably over 10 million electrics by then. However, unless there's a groundswell of demand from the bottom, I wouldn't expect the government to jeopardize its cozy relationships with the industry.

Re:Sure It's Doable, Just Shift Subsidies (4, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035288)

Trouble is...even shifting money around is not what we need to be doing right now. We need to CUT spending...and drastically!! Cut things and use that to pay down the debt.

I just heard on the news in the break room, that while the US still just barely has the top credit rating...they tell us that if we don't get the deficit under control pronto, they're gonna drop our credit rating.

Man, you think things are bad now...wait till THAT shoe drops.

1 step closer... (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35034916)

to the flying cars we were promised 10 years ago. We are supposed to be in the future now, but no flying cars is kinda weak sauce

Re:1 step closer... (4, Informative)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035018)

Ive seen the way people drive when they are constrained by gravity. I would hate to see the way people drive when they could drive anywhere they chose. Cars over your house, cars in the woods, cars over lakes. Nuhh huh, you can keep your flying cars.

Re:1 step closer... (4, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035380)

Cars in your house, in the woods and in the lakes is what you mean, I guess.

Re:1 step closer... (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035472)

Why is it when talk of flying cars comes up, people always assume that the idiots on the ground would instantly qualify to become idiots in the air? There is an existing system of air traffic rules and regulations. Even if they became much more accessible, only a fraction of the people who currently drive would qualify to operate a flying car. Which basically means, by in large, the people who safely operate vehicles today would be the ones safely operating flying cars tomorrow. And as a benefit, traffic on the ground would be reduced accordingly. It would literally be a win-win for everyone.

And as for the desire for idiots in the air, that's why so much research is underway for pilotless navigation. Which is to say, it takes the idiots out of the equation.

My best guess is that perhaps 20%-30% of the current drivers would be able to transition to flying cars which do not have pilotless navigation systems. Likely, expense would only allow for another 10% to be added unless we're talking about public transportation, such as flying buses and whatnot.

Why? (3, Funny)

aclarke (307017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35034932)

Why does the White House need (sticks pinky to mouth) ONE MILLION electric cars?

Re:Why? (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035004)

Why does the White House need (sticks pinky to mouth) ONE MILLION electric cars?

I bet they haven't even figured out where they are going to park them, either.

More Importantly... (2)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035164)

Where are they going to _park_ 1 million cars in, at, or near the white house?

Why don't they sell garages covered in solar cells (4, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35034968)

to match?

Provide me w/ a chance to fold the solar cell garage into a home improvement loan and it becomes a lot more affordable, and having the solar cells eases the strain which charging so many electric vehicles would add to the electric grid.

William

Strain on the Grid (4, Informative)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035126)

If it’s done right there would not be any strain.

You can have the car charge during off peak hours. i.e. at night. This would add little strain to the infrastructure. Electricity also tends to be cheaper then. [Once again, off peak hours]. You just need to make it easy for the consumer so the plug it in when they come home put it does not start charging until 2 a.m.

I think that Siemens even research using car batteries as a distributive back up power source. Now that would require some upgrades to our gird.

Re:Strain on the Grid (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035318)

There's people designing power plugs that provide and receive power, so you can make your car into a power plant and provide electricity to your house.

I know at least a couple of guys at the University of Delaware [inhabitat.com] working on it.

Re:Strain on the Grid (5, Insightful)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035406)

Except that many parts of the grid heat up during peak hours, and the engineers who designed it did so with a dependency on low power consumption at night, which would allow them to cool down. If you have a bunch of cars in an area charging at night, there won't be enough time for the transformers (etc.) to cool off before companies open shop in the morning and start heating those components up even more. Then one day, BOOM!

It's not just peak performance of the grid that matters, it's the minimum, peak, mean, and average.

Re:Why don't they sell garages covered in solar ce (0)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035244)

Because that would also require an installation that may not fit your place? Let's say the front of your house aims north and you live in Seattle. Your house would cover the sun most of the time.

It's a great idea but requires a lot more of planning than just a guy installing an electric plug at your place.

Which makes me wonder why many apartment complexes haven't installed solar panels on top of the carports they rent. At least some of those receiving the most sunlight during a year.

Re:Why don't they sell garages covered in solar ce (1)

txghia58 (951109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035586)

You all ready can. If you can prove that installing solar will save you more over the lifetime of the loan than what it adds to the loan you can get additional money at the loan time (either re-finance or purchase) to cover the installation cost. And with all the rebates\tax incentives for installing solar you can bring a $20K solar install down to about 12-14K. So it doesn't add much to the monthly payments of a 30 year load any way so its easy to say that the $300 that you will save on an electric bill will be covered by the solar. Now you would be better off doing this regardless of the electric car.

Just declare (2)

Ranger (1783) | more than 3 years ago | (#35034976)

electric golf carts advanced and road safe. Mission accomplished.

Well, I think it is doable. How many hybrid vehicles are there on the road now? I'd imagine quite a few.

huh (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35034986)

Are there even 1 million people working in the White House who will drive them?

Re:huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035010)

Perhaps Jay Leno is planning to run for President?

Re:huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035252)

Yes, and they currently earn 100k a year. What else do you think the trillion dollar bailout was for? ... o wait.

As if we could afford them (3, Funny)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035028)

There won't be a million people left in the country who can afford them in 2015!

I'm referring to the Mayan Apocalypse of course, the economic recover is totally working.

Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehicles (4, Insightful)

syntap (242090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035030)

That will get demand to outstrip capacity, and automakers will adjust production to compensate. Leave diesel off the tax for now so the trucking industry won't be destroyed in the process. Presto, lots of new electric cars on the roads. If that doesn't happen, the highway trust fund will be flush enough with cash to take care of just about any road infrastructure need.

If we're serious about Middle East dependencies and carbon footprint, then we need to act serious.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035100)

I suspect that would result in a million new bicycle commuters a lot quicker than a million electric cars. I am all for it.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035140)

This will result in a million diesel cars a lot faster than a million electric cars.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035494)

That's fine. Current diesel cars are cleaner than petrol cars. They also get about 25 to 50% more MPG, meaning they are cheaper to own. Also, the diesel engine is simpler and therefore inherently more reliable than the petrol engine.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (2)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035212)

Maybe not $5 per gallon but I agree with your point. Way too many huge SUV's / large trucks in my area. Nowadays people get them as a defensive measure because "everyone else" has a huge vehicle. It's trending larger and larger every year; I'm not going to be surprised when dump trucks become the norm... unless you make it prohibitively expensive to do that.

Right now it's "in season" here and the parking lot is full of huge SUV's from out-of-state... and most of those people are single or retired so it's not even a "need to pack the 5 kids in the truck" thing (which is a whole 'nother issue). And before someone says "they need a big truck to haul stuff", I've never seen a Porsche Cayenne used for hauling lumber nor do these little old ladies with Escalades likely need to haul large items either.

There's a big difference in those that need a commercial truck for work to haul big things and everybody else. Just like there are HOV lanes for encouraging carpooling, and handicapped tags for those which need it, maybe a work exemption to the tax for those who really need the big trucks would make sense. There's got to be a way to make it not affect those in need while giving a disincentive to those who want to drive tanks.

Or maybe that's all too complicated and ripe for abuse so just up the gas tax and let the people sort it out.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035388)

It's trending larger and larger every year

Citation? If you bother looking into it, you'll see that SUV and light truck sales are way off from years past.

There's got to be a way to make it not affect those in need while giving a disincentive to those who want to drive tanks.

Yes, it's called "tax loopholes," and it requires a huge new IRS bureaucracy, puts a giant paperwork burden on the very people (usually, small businesses like landscapers, dog groomers, carpenters) that you want to "protect," and of course - by way of supporting that giant new layer of administrative recordkeeping, fraud prevention, etc., means more people working for the government who don't actually produce anything, but for whom taxpayers get to pay, right on through their retirement. Yes, please, I want more of that.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035392)

I find my (small) truck to be extremely useful. I find cause to move stuff at least once a month. I was originally planning on getting a Hi-Jet mini-truck, but its not allowed to be imported with the full 4-5 gears and can not be licensed in some states and in others it isn't allowed on the highway. Settled for the smallest Dakota instead.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035584)

You need to move stuff once or twice a month? Rent a truck from Home Depot for $30 for an hour and a half.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035444)

this is basically wrong. people get SUV's because it's an alternative to getting a van for a family.

that's not about security or defensiveness, it's that a SUV can house about the same number of people more comfortably and is preferred over a minivan - more storage notably.

So sure, SUV guzzles gas blah blah blah, but when you add 4 people into a SUV plus all the crap you can carry in it versus 4 people in an economy car with the far less crap you can carry in it, those things make a difference.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035450)

My dad said we should add 10c per gallon to the gas tax every year, in 1991 after the first Gulf War. If we had done that we would have gas prices comparable to Europe and thus have the more efficient vehicle fleet they have. Putting a huge tax on gas will get you voted out of office in the next election, put a slow but steady tax in and it will just change buying habits over time.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035682)

Trouble is...when exactly did taxes evolve to become a method for the government to influence citizen behavior??

Rather than keep progressing down this road, lets take away all incentive via tax.

Taxes should be for nothing more than funding the common govt functionality, and most of it should reside a the state level, since the state is closer to its citizens and can more efficiently fill their needs in a more targeted way.

But lets take ALL tax breaks away that try to iinfluence behavior. Stop child credits. Stop house deductions...get rid of all deductiions really...lets get to more a a fair or flat type (type, I'm game for some mods, not the strict definition) of tax where everyone just pays their fair share. We'd have more tax income coming in, and everyone would likely end up paying less in total taxes.

Lets to to where we use taxation ONLY to fund the govt, and lets get the govt out of the business of trying to tell me how to live and run my life!

not serious here, ME dependency/carbon footprint (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035240)

Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehicles

Or we could not do that and keep our economy going. My view is that there's a very good chance that oil prices will go up in the not so distant future. That will be the time to switch from oil-based fuel to one of the alternatives we have already cultivated. I see no reason to rush things.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035418)

Upping gasoline prices to stimulate the purchase of new vehicles sounds like something that the marketing droids at Ford or GM would come up with. Here is where that logic falls flat: it incorrectly assumes that motivation to purchase a new car is the ONLY thing stopping people from buying them. For the vast majority of Americans, this is not the case. I personally - and virtually all of my friends and relatives - are not in a position to purchase a new car. In addition to not having enough credit to justify a $80,000 car loan for a Tesla Roadster, as a mobile DJ, I need a car like my Volvo station wagon to haul my gear around. I don't need a box truck or a trailer yet, but my five cylinder wagon accurately fits my needs. How many parents would be capable of squeezing their three kids into a Chevy Volt to the point where they could ditch their Honda Odyssey?

All that plan would do would slip us right back into a recession as my spending money at Applebees/AMC Theaters/Steam that recently started getting spent are baked back into my already high gas bill, as is the plan for everyone else. The thing is, even if the government were to cut the cost of a Tesla in half via gas subsidies, it still wouldn't fit my DJ gear. While I wouldn't have to pay $150 a week in gasoline anymore (I pay between $65 and $90 now), I'd be paying at least that in the high-interest auto loan, so all I see is my expenses going up with my ability to actually buy one of these cars going down. Bonus points: my local power plant burns oil, so the amount of pollution happening will largely shift.

I would, however, be all for the government giving me whatever money is in my Social Security fund at present as a down payment for one of these vehicles, allowing me to opt out of Social Security, and be perfectly fine with never receiving any social security benefits, because I already know I'm too young to ever see it anyway. This way I get to at least use the few grand that's in there in a way that will benefit everyone now.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035440)

Build me a pure electric vehicle that is 100% equivalent to my Toyota Tacoma (which I expect to last me 15-20 years) and you have a deal.

This includes the ability to double the vehicle's range by carrying just the weight and size of 2 jerry cans.

Otherwise, kindly EABOD and DIAF.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (0)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035480)

That will get demand to outstrip capacity, and automakers will adjust production to compensate. Leave diesel off the tax for now so the trucking industry won't be destroyed in the process. Presto, lots of new electric cars on the roads. If that doesn't happen, the highway trust fund will be flush enough with cash to take care of just about any road infrastructure need.

If we're serious about Middle East dependencies and carbon footprint, then we need to act serious.

While I agree with your point in principle, the downside to higher gas taxes is that it 'fuels' (pardon the pun) the tea-party and drill-baby-drill political movements. And having those folks in power sort of negates all of the benefits of having electric cars in the first place.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035666)

That would also boom the diesel car and pickup truck market.

Re:Up the gas tax five dollars for passenger vehic (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035674)

Leave diesel off the tax for now so the trucking industry won't be destroyed in the process.

Here's the thing - if we're serious about cutting carbon emissions and oil dependency, a lot of the trucking industry needs to be on the long-term chopping block. If you want to transport goods in a way that minimizes the use of fuel, you'd do something like:
1. Put everything in standard shipping containers so you can easily shift it between different transport methods.
2. If it's coming from a foreign country or island territory, ship it to a convenient port.
3. Take it from the port via rail to the rail yard nearest its destination, unless its destination is near enough to the port that that's closer than any rail yard.
4. Truck it from the rail yard or port to its destination.

There's absolutely no good reason for trucks to have to transport things long distances. The reason it's common now has a lot to do with the highway system externalizing the cost of building and maintaining long-distance trucking's transport network. To fix that, you'd need to go for higher diesel taxes.

Can you say fiscal responsibility? (-1, Flamebait)

duhgeek (32810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035048)

The Obama administration is to fiscal responsibility what Michael Vic is to dog care. (Adapted quote from MosesJones)

Yea, he should be borrowing money! (3, Interesting)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035276)

Everybody knows that the Republican Borrow and Spend technique is the only fiscally responsible choice. Paying down debt is un-American. Only a deadbeat pays principle. And how dare he tax rich people on parity with the poor! The poor exist to make the lives of the rich better! Damn him for creating more jobs in two years than Bush the Lesser created in four, maybe eight. And meeting 84% of his election promises in two years? That's a some sort of Kenyan Konspiracy!

Re:Yea, he should be borrowing money! (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035546)

Kenyan Konspiracy

"Ahh, the Kenyan Konspiracy. Obama is also a Kook! Therefore, Obama is head of the Kenyan Kook Konspiracy! Oh, my gosh! That has the same acronym as the KKK! PROOF that Obama went back in time to the South during Reconstruction and founded the KKK!" - Glenn Beck

Plug In Cars (1, Informative)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035060)

A gallon of gas is equivalent to ~34kWh of electricity. At the relatively cheap rate of 10 cents per kWh, that means $3.40 in electricity costs to replace a gallon of gas. Plugging in seems to have no price advantage over filling up, and has the extra problems of range and charge time. That seems like a hard sell for the average driver. I'm certain in the future this will change, but pushing for volume before the tech and market conditions are ready may not be a good idea.

Re:Plug In Cars (3, Insightful)

duhgeek (32810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035158)

Add to this the ecological footprint of most electric car battery manufacturing and it's an even harder sell.

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

Jethro (14165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035196)

What if I set up a couple of nice solar panels to charge my car? Or a wind turbine? That's all pretty doable. Might not be here yet but I do think it COULD happen.

Re:Plug In Cars (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035362)

You have no idea how much solar that is. Even covering my roof, I would be lucky to generate 7kWh during peak summer times. That would give me 2 to 3 gallons of power per day.

Cost to do so? About the same as a 2 new Prius cars.

Not very economical.

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

Jethro (14165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035438)

Not right now and with current technology. I'd assume THAT would advance, too, along with greater adoption.

Don't get me started on how impractical it is to get my house solar/wind powered. I'd LOVE to get that done, but it's just insanely too expensive at this point.

And so are electric cars. SOMEone needs to start early-adopting these things to make them viable for the masses.

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035404)

What if I set up a couple of nice solar panels to charge my car? Or a wind turbine?

A large (stands on its own mast, 3m-4m rotor disc) "domestic" wind turbine produces around 5kW, when it's going well. So, after seven hours of strong winds, you'll have charged your battery to the equivalent of a gallon of fuel.

Now, the Peugeot ePartner MPV has a 27kWh battery that takes nine hours to charge off normal 240V single-phase mains and has a range of 60 miles. A diesel Peugeot Partner would do that kind of distance on a gallon and a half...

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

Jethro (14165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035640)

And you think wind turbine and battery technology have reached their absolute peak and will not ever advance anymore?

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035560)

Sounds great, except if you live in ND, SD, IA, MN, WI, IL where there is winter that has a mean temperate of ~18F and generally a week in january of 0 - -10 and wind chills in -15 - -20

Where sunlight is diminished and cloud cover is generally increased (except when it's really cold).

I'm all for electric cars. They are perfect for commuting short distances, just not 12 months of the year in the midwest. We'd be better off with Diesel electric till we can get batteries that don't suck and transmission lines that can handle the load. Or here is a thought, both and let companies make and people decided.

HydroCarbons are really a good way to store energy, which is why we're having these issues.

Re:Plug In Cars (2)

Jethro (14165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035684)

I live in MN. We get more sunlight than Florida. And like I said, I'm worried about the cold killing these things, too.

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035596)

Then we should invest in basic R&D to make the future happen - not is subsidizing current purchases of marginal technology.

BTW - wind turbines are just at the cusp of being truely economicly feasible - they are getting that good that they can compete without any major subsidies.

Re:Plug In Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035246)

Also that in most urban areas, the electrical generation and distribution infrastructure is inadequate to support large numbers of electric vehicles.

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035272)

Part of the problem here is the most electric utilities charge a lower rate for the first KW hours and a much higher rate for the last. The idea is to charge consumers for not conserving energy. As part of the program to promote electric cars the government should mandate that all power utilities would have to charge consumers the lowest rate for all KW hours used to charge electric cars, and that those KW hours do NOT count toward the consumers 'cap' before the higher rate kicks in. This might mean having to have a separate power meter for the car charger, and the government should subsidize the cost of that.

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035536)

A lot of companies also includes exceptions and different rates for households with electric vehicles.

Re:Plug In Cars (2)

keeruq (171502) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035282)

But this is only a problem because gas is so cheap in the US. If gas was taxed properly to support infrastructure, public transportation and research on alternatives instead of subsidising it. Gas in Sweden is roughly twice as expensive compared to California.

Re:Plug In Cars (5, Insightful)

dara (119068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035320)

The energy equivalence between gas and electricity (gal to kWh) is not very interesting although I know the EPA is trying to make such an equivalence to say what the MPG equivalent value for the Leaf is. The reason that it is pointless is that efficiencies at the production end and the consumption end are different between the two energy delivery systems. So why not use a metric that roughly tracks efficiency (not counting subsidies) - cost:

If the Nissan Leaf gets 3.4 miles per kWh (http://gas2.org/2010/11/22/epa-gives-nissan-leaf-99-mpg-rating/) then those 3.4 miles costs 10 cents or 34 miles/dollar (2.9 cents/mi) assuming your 10c/kWh number.

My 2005 Prius averages around 45 mpg and gas is around $3.40 where I live, so 45/3.40 = 13.2 miles/dollar (7.5 cents/mi).

So the Leaf is 2.5 times better than the Prius on cost per mile basis. Now the cost of the Leaf's batteries must be taken into account of course, but it is at least possible that future battery technologies and gas and electric costs will result in a trade where it is cheaper to run electric cars over their life than it is to run gas cars. I sure hope so - I hate gas cars for their noise and their pollution which is never as good integrated over their lifetime as an electric car.

Re:Plug In Cars (3)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035340)

Your electric car is not going to waste 70% of that fuel though.

Re:Plug In Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035366)

You're ignoring the costs of burning gas, which is relatively unpleasant in comparison to some of the choices to making electricity.

Is that worth the price differential?

Some would say yes.

Re:Plug In Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035382)

Don't forget that there are distribution charges and taxes that raise that price for electricity.

Also, most of the electricity comes from burning coal. If you want to obtain energy from domestic sources, that's fine.

So not the point... (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035386)

Emissions reduction, and conversion of the fleet to non-petrol is the point. It isn't about saving you money in the short term. Since we have arguably passed peak oil, and since we will need that oil for plastics and medicine, it is _vital_ that we stop burning it for transportation.

My Prius, for example, is tuned for emissions. That means that the gas mileage is "very good" by default, but there are times when the total system could be better for mileage but instead of laboring the engine it revs the enginge and "saves the extra". That conversion from mechanical to electrical to chemical potential, and its eventual reconverstion from chemical potential to electrical and then to kinetic energy is lossy. Very lossy. But it is "better than" belching up partially burned hydrocarbons from a laboring engine.

Efficiency isn't about your wallet. Neither is greater good. Its about your lungs, and your ability to get medicine and clean water in for the rest of your life.

Besides...

My gas costs more than 3.40 a gallon today.

Re:Plug In Cars (4, Insightful)

wolfemi1 (765089) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035436)

Sorry, but the math is a bit off. Yes, that's the energy conversion, but keep in mind that the electric motor is about 3x as efficient as a gasoline engine, so the actual cost in terms of actually moving the car around is maybe a third of that.

Re:Plug In Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035518)

..can you point me to any definitive stats on this? - (just curious, cant be bothered wading through Google, tbh. - TIA :)

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

cheetah (9485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035468)

You have to remember that an internal combustion engine is not very efficient at turning that 34kWh gas into forward motion. Numbers I have seen put them at about 15-25% efficient in the best case. An electric motors on the other hand in the 50-100hp range have efficiencies of ~85-90%.

So from a fuel vs electricity cost stand point EV's win hands down. It's the massive extra costs that keep EV's off of the road today. You can buy a lot of gas for the $10,000-15,000 extra that your paying for your small electric car. Add limited range to that equation and it's no wonder that they aren't widely deployed.

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035508)

Yes, but only a very small amount of the energy in gasoline is extracted by the engine. Internal combustion engines have a theoretical limit of about 35%, and in vehicles they tend to average somewhat lower than 20% (due to non-peak efficiency RPM most of the time, warmup, etc).

Meanwhile, the average old coal power plant is about 40% efficient, and about 8% of that is lost in getting it to you. Considering that large electric motors (such as those used in cars) are close to 99.99% efficient (!), you even have a ways to go before you match the gasoline car. And don't forget that without a huge multi-hundred pound chunk of steel called the engine, and an only slightly-less heavy transmission, you'll end up several hundred pounds lighter so less energy is required

Add to that the fact that it's easy (comparatively) to swap out supply. Put in a new combined-cycle natural gas plant, and run in excess of 55% efficient. Nuclear plants operate on a positive ratio (of mass to energy, anyways), and renewables are, well, renewable.

So at 10c/kWh, it's more like 68c to fully charge.

And, in the future, utilities will almost certainly give vehicles a much cheaper rate. Why? Well, hundreds of kWh distributed around the area make a fantastic peaker plant. Imagine how much they'd save in the middle of summer if they could siphon some capacity (how much is up to you, obviously) off your car?

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035524)

Yes, but electric cars are more energy efficient. For example, the Chevy Volt gets 93 MPGe in all-electric mode. That's quite a bit more efficient than a similar-sized gasoline car and tons more than the SUV the average American is driving now.

Re:Plug In Cars (1)

simula (1032230) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035528)

Re:Plug In Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035576)

I think you've confused yourself. So the energy in a gallon of gas has a $3.40 price. That doesn't mean your going to be paying the same amount driving the vehicles. Consider ice at 20% efficiency and electric at 90% (number made up). It matters what you do with the energy you've paid for not how much it costs to get the same amount.

Great IDea! (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035066)

So how are they going to do it when the current "legal" electric cars cost so much that only the rich can afford them (Yes $40,000 = rich mans car)??

Are they going to subsidize them so that $20,000 credit goes to everyone that buys one? so that means we all pay for them while we make rich fat cats richer on the public teat?

Are they going to force manufacturers to sell them for reasonable prices?

OR will they repeal a lot of the STUPID automotive safety regulations that are in place to keep foreign cars out of the USA market and increase the prices of the ones that are here by adding a ton of un-necessary crap?

How the hell is the white house going to accomplish this without making significant changes to current automotive and import laws?

Economy of scale? (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035426)

By getting the rich to buy enough to bring the price down. Thats how.

At one point the Ammana Radar Range cost thousands of dollars, now a microwave oven can be had for $150. Same for DVD players and Gawd knows how many other things.

The rest of your post is equally poor in reasoning and understanding.

What kind of economy is this? (1, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035072)

And who does Obama think he is, a czar from old pre-Soviet Russia? Electric cars will succeed or fail based on their utility to actual customers, not because of some cockamamie subsidy scheme.

Re:What kind of economy is this? (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035258)

Big Oil has discouraged disruptive innovation for decades now. Electric Cars face the Linux problem of barriers to mindshare until .gov decides to ditch the favorable deals Big Oil worked out in the 70's and 80's.

Re:What kind of economy is this? (1)

dragonsomnolent (978815) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035270)

Yeah because that's [google.com] never happened before

How about Obama setting an example... (2, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035074)

If he has to fly anywhere, he takes a 747 (Airforce one) and an accompanying cargo plane for all of his gear and support infrastructure.

He takes Marine One (a helicopter) from the WhiteHouse to the airforce base where Airforce One resides.

How about he sets an example and tries to reduce his "carbon footprint."

Re:How about Obama setting an example... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035332)

He takes at least one VC-25 and a backup, sometimes the other VC-25 or the C-32 and at least one C-17 for support wherever he goes somewhere. If he goes transcontinental there will be USAF or USAF Reserve tanker support to refuel all of those aircraft.

When he flies on Marine One, they use two, one as a decoy.

Re:How about Obama setting an example... (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035580)

I agree, but the logistics become very difficult. Would he hop on his bike? Or perhaps a rickshaw is more presidential.

I'm sure there are improvements to be made, but he is the President and does legitimately require a good bit of support infrastructure.

They've forgotten their job... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035118)

WTF is the government doing telling us what cars it wants us to buy? No wonder they suck at their real job... they're too busy wasting time with crap like this.

WTF is the White House telling us... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035128)

They have to foist impossible numbers yet again via bogus public relation stunts like this legislation? Does anyone remember the past 38+ years since the oil/gas shortages of OPEC when they had less than 30% importation to the US of our daily use, and now we are 56% foreign oil dependent? Americans must suffer ADHD at a low and high level, personal and governmental. The current administration is saying what? That they are going to fund research for alternative fuel systems/consumption models and products? With what? Americans want convenience, and nothing about alternative fuel is convenient to the consumer.

Jobs? (-1, Offtopic)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035134)

I thought the administration was going to focus on jobs. Did they forget about jobs already? (Again?)

Jobs (net, positive jobs) are created when someone actually wants or needs a product and buys it. Net jobs are lost when someone wants a product and he's forced by government to accept an inferior substitute at a higher price to meet someone's political or religious agenda.

Sign me up... maybe. (5, Interesting)

Jethro (14165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035172)

I'd love an all-electric vehicle.

Except for a couple of things (I think).

I drive a hybrid car now, and in the LOVELY Minnesota winter, the batteries just DIE. I'm not kidding, they've had to be replaced. Even when they work my mileage almost halves in the winter. This makes me a it worried about an all-electric vehicle. A surprise "Hey your vehicle's range just dropped form 100 miles to 50 miles with no notice!!!!" is NOT a good thing.

Second, I want to be able to plug the thing into a regular ol' outlet.

Re:Sign me up... maybe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035456)

Your second item can be addressed. There are chargers that will plug into regular house current, but they take a lot longer to charge the batteries. Still, if you're planning to leave it plugged in all night anyway, it's no hardship.

Protecting batteries from cold is a different issue. I'm in New England and have the same concern. Even if you have a heated garage, you still have to park in the cold when you go out somewhere.

Some people who have done electric conversions include battery warmers (that run off the batteries, of course...).

Re:Sign me up... maybe. (1)

Jethro (14165) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035620)

One of the things that annoys me with my car is that if you buy the same car in Canada (all of a couple hundred miles north of me) you get a whole lot of cold weather gear standard. But not in Minnesota cause it doesn't get cold here apparently.

Re:Sign me up... maybe. (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035606)

Why can't you? You should probably be using a dedicated 240v circuit (like for your dryer or range) because it'll charge in half the time, but the models I've seen will work off 120v

I need choice... (2)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035202)

Companies need to make a compelling (yet affordable) electric car for me. That probably means the government needs to provide subsidies/incentives of some sort, because until there are buyers, there won't be models available, but until there are models available, there won't be buyers.

The Leaf could be the best car in the world, but it's fuuuuuugly and too small. The Volt is nice looking, yet is priced like a BMW 3 series, but probably assembled like, well, a GM product.

Hello, Honda, Toyota, Ford.......are you listening? Build me a 4 door hatchback (like a Mazda 3, or Ford Focus) electric vehicle with a decent power and range for under $30k and I'll sign the purchase agreement right now.

I want an electric car. I don't want a Leaf or a Volt (for the reasons above). I'll buy one once there are more compelling models to chose from.

More Trouble Than They Are Worth (3, Insightful)

fwarren (579763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035234)

Really. Roads are paid for by taxed gas. The more gas you use, the more you pay for road improvements. It would be logical if you had metered power for charing cars that was taxed for road repairs. However I hold the much lower view of what they will want to do is to place GPS units on the cars so they can tax them by actual mileage. This then opens the door for insurance companys to track you, to be billed and ticked for speeding and general government oversite into your life. Such as "that is 4 trips to McDoanlds this week, keep it up and we will charge more for health care." Then with the foot in the door, they will go after adding GPS to regular cars and trucks.

Beyond that the "greeness" of the cars are up for debate. Considering what it takes to make a battery, what to do with them when they go bad, and how much of a toxic trouble they are in an accident. Then we can talk cost. An electric car starts at $40,000 and will need $5,000 or more in new batteries every 5 or 6 years. Add in the fact that the "power" the car uses comes from a power plant that burns coal or crude. All you have done is moved where the carbon footprint takes place at.

I find it hard to get excited by something that seems to cost more, lowers my standard of living, is no better for the environment, and takes away freedoms that I currently enjoy. All in the name of trying to NOT change the temperature of the plant when there the one thing we know is the temperature is going to go up and down like a yo-yo over time no matter what.

Re:More Trouble Than They Are Worth (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035410)

Lithium cells are non-toxic and can be recycled. The batteries last a lot longer than you are talking about. Also coal plants are cleaner than the average ICE car and no one burns crude for electricity. Please educate yourself on this topic before shooting off at the mouth.

Re:More Trouble Than They Are Worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035464)

Or, they could check your odometer mileage at every tab renewal and be pretty close on miles driven for the *vast* majority of vehicle owners. Few people drive in a different state every day, let alone every weekend. Be less paranoid :)

Re:More Trouble Than They Are Worth (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035496)

Roads are paid for by taxed gas. The more gas you use, the more you pay for road improvements...

Then just shift the billing over to vehicle registration fees. Keep it simple. Pay by the weight.

Batteries can be recycled.

No reduction is living standards or personal freedoms are necessary. There's plenty for everybody.

Beware of politicians speaking of "investing" (1)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035278)

50 years of political "investing" have left us with a record deficit added on, every year, to our already staggering debt.

Isn't an "investment" supposed to, you know, pay off?

More seriously, this is the problem with government "investing," as economists have understood for centuries. Politicians are "investing" *other people's money.* They don't have the same incentive to pick and choose their investments as you do. And the government lacks the price-signaling information that the free market does. This is why money is far better left in the hands of the people. Private-sector investments are far more likely to actually create wealth, leading to economic growth, creating jobs, etc. etc.

    - aj

Re:Beware of politicians speaking of "investing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035446)

Private-sector investments...like the mortgage securities we heard so much about in 2008?

Not the most compelling argument...

Re:Beware of politicians speaking of "investing" (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035578)

You realize, don't you, that the Internet--and all the gains in the private sector that have come along with it--was originally a government investment? I'd say it's paid off handsomely.

In Obamerica, car drives you... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035328)

This is irresponsible government at it's most dangerous. Improvements in infrastructure and and economy must be driven by the market; forcing a "solution" into the hands of the populace merely pulls resources away from actually solving the problem. Yes, we have an energy problem; however, I'm still not convinced that electric cars are really any better for the environment or even energy consumption. Yes, they use less energy at the plug, but that's not what matters. The total energy consumption over the lifetime of the vehicle is the factor of interest here. Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to make a fucking battery from bare minerals? I certainly don't, but I can tell you that it's reflected in the cost of a battery. In case you didn't know, batteries are much, much more expensive than gasoline per unit of energy.

Re:In Obamerica, car drives you... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035630)

Strawman argument. Nobody is forcing anything to happen. They are setting a goal, defining the agenda and even incentivising the outcome. And they're doing it based on research by educated people whom they believe know what they are doing. So you're not convinced; what are your credentials? Why should I care? Does your lack of conviction on the matter balance out against someone else's who is extremely supportive of the proposition?

And I want a pony (2)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035376)

And I want a Pony

Difference is I cant take your money to pay for my pony.

Artificial market (1)

Pro923 (1447307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035486)

Here we go creating artificial markets again - have we learned nothing about what works in government and what doesn't?? Instead, tax the oil - and watch the alternatively fueled vehicles market grow organically.

Of course it is doable! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35035506)

Just pass a law for every family to buy an electric car. Like was done with health insurance in the Affordable Care Act. And think of the green jobs that will be created installing charging stations in every home. And all the replaced, polluting gasoline cars that will be off the road. Win-win!

What are we doing with the old cars? (2)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035628)

I understand why Obama wants this:

1) Bolster national production, create jobs, increase personal spending, more taxes coming in -- all good things.

2) Decrease the amount of pollution being polluted by drivers. -- Also, good.

I don't understand what we're doing with all these cars that people stop using. I know my GF gave up her Ford Explorer to get a Mazda in the Cash for Clunkers deal... but where did it go? Are the metals being recycled so that we can produce this new generation of eco-friendly vehicles in the most green way possible? Or maybe to cut costs?

Or is it crushed somewhere... rusting? Maybe it was shipped over-seas to be scrapped and its parts to be melted down and recycled under horrible working conditions.

I think that part... the origins of the resources for building these newer electric cars and the after-story of our throw-away cars is more important than getting more than getting X miles per Y tons of carbon per year.

Who will buy them? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35035634)

The problem is, with the cost of electric cars, who would be able to afford one? The only way for Obama to guarantee that any number of electric cars are in use around the US is to give them away.

Someone in another thread brought out the statement that if the government gave everyone a new electric car to use and all the gasoline cars were then off the road, the entire electric use of the country would go down. The reasoning behind this was that refining gasoline uses an incredible amount of power. As I have not done the study however, I cannot say if this is accurate.

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