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Gas Powered Fuel Cell Could Help EV Range Anxiety

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the so-can-prozac dept.

Transportation 162

thecarchik writes "While electric-car advocates may avoid the issue, some buyers simply won't choose a plug-in car that can't travel unlimited distances. That's where the Chevy Volt-style range extender comes in, though the Volt adds unlimited range by burning gasoline in a conventional engine to generate electric power. Now, a new type of fuel cell offers the potential for a different kind of range extender, one that removes the enormous practical problem facing hydrogen fuel cells: the lack of a distribution infrastructure to fuel vehicles that require pure hydrogen to feed their fuel cells. Researchers at the University of Maryland have managed to shrink the size and lower the operating temperature of a solid-oxide fuel cell by a factor of 10, meaning it could conceivably produce as much power as a car engine but occupy less space. The advances come from new materials for the solid electrolyte, as well as design changes, and the researchers feel they have further avenues for improvement left to explore."

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Yo Knee Grows (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286076)

Many people would have you believe that there is nothing whatsoever the Black people can do about racism, that it is something the White people are going to do no matter what, that it is not something the Black people have any control over. They would tell the Black man that he is powerless in this case, a helpless victim who can do nothing to help his plight. It is especially disturbing when this message comes from those who are otherwise a friend of the Black man. Like Liberalism, it is a childish conception of the world that, while well-meaning, renders its believers powerless over their own life experience due to its own short-sightedness.

So what can Black people do to effectively end racism? First, they can stop assuming that White people are inherently racist. To assume that a person is full of hatred or judgment towards others merely because of his or her light skin color is to engage in the very racism they claim to be against. Racism of that sort won't end racism, no more than gasoline will put out a fire. So we can abandon this failed idea and look to the things White people see that make them think less of the Black man. These are some steps that Black people can unite and take together if they really want to end racism:
  • Stop committing a disproportionate number of violent crimes. When White people go to other countries that also have diverse populations, and notice that the violent crimes committed by Black people is higher than any other single racial/ethnic group when adjusted for their percentage of the population, what are they supposed to think? If you don't want to be regarded as a savage people who were brought out of the tribal jungle too soon and haven't yet learned to cope with the whole civilized society thing, please stop acting the part.
  • Stop having a disproportionate number of bastard children. This one can't be emphasized enough as it is surely related to all the other points. Black men, if you don't even care about your own children enough to let them know who you are, if you think so little of them, how is the White man going to argue with you? Parenting is easily the most important responsibility any adult is likely to ever have, and you abandon it willingly. What are White people supposed to think when you do this far more than any other single racial/ethnic group? Do you think it makes you respectable? When even their own fathers shunned them, oes it surprise anyone that such bastard children are far more likely to be incarcerated, far less likely to go to college?
  • Stop glorifying the "thug" image. When you act like your highest and most noble goal in life is to be a career criminal, and talk happily about abusing women, abusing drugs, stealing, murdering, etc., it doesn't make White people think you're a good human being. It doesn't make White people respect you. It makes them think you're a menace, and when the media helps you spread this message and it influences impressionable White youth, it makes them think you're a contagious menace, like any other disease or infestation. Anyone who wants to hate you for your skin color will feel justified by all of this.
  • Stop blaming all of your problems on racism. Many groups, from the Native Americans to the Irish Catholics to the Chinese to the Japanese to the Jews and many, many others have unfortunately suffered some kind of racial or ethnic discrimination. Yet they don't top the charts on violent crime statistics. They don't have tons of bastard children. They don't glorify being a thug. The Asians in particular have had a great deal of success because they highly value education. The Jews have amassed financial empires that are the envy of many Capitalists. They all have something in common. When they fail, they blame their own bad decision-making. When they succeed, they attribute it to their hard work. They take personal responsibility for their situation, and if it sucks, they work to improve it.

    Some White people may hate your guts. They may think you're less than a human being. But no thought in a White person's head forces you to commit violent crimes. No thought in a White person's head forces you to abandon your own children and leave them fatherless. If you won't recognize and deal with your own shortcomings in order to become a stronger people, who is going to do that for you? You may have a scapegoat but it's costing you dearly.
  • Establish one stable, successful, peaceful, prosperous Black nation. Just one will do. This is a quote from Hesketh Prichard. It's pretty bad, but it illustrates what White people are thinking when they see failed Black nation after failed Black nation. If you want to shut them up, prove them wrong:

    "The present condition of Haiti gives the best possible answer to the question, and, considering the experiment has lasted for a century, perhaps also a conclusive one. For a century the answer has been working itself out there in flesh and blood. The Negro has had his chance, a fair field, and no favor. He has had the most beautiful and fertile of the Caribees for his own; he has had the advantage of excellent French laws; he inherited a made country, with Cap Haitien [A once beautiful town on the north coast of Haiti] for its Paris. . . . Here was a wide land sown with prosperity, a land of wood, water, towns and plantations, and in the midst of it the Black man was turned loose to work out his own salvation. What has he made of the chances that were given to him? . . .

    At the end of a hundred years of trial how does the Black man govern himself? What progress has he made? Absolutely none."

If you address all of those things and still continue to experience racism, you will then have a valid case against White people. As things are now, White people are merely being objective when they see these things and wonder what's wrong with you. The only difference is that some will have compassion for you, while others will think negatively of you. Don't like that? Work on yourselves.

Re:Yo Knee Grows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286112)

Silly boy ....

Re:Yo Knee Grows (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286164)

Severely offtopic but much less racist than usual. Our trolls are getting a tiny bit classier.

Re:Yo Knee Grows (-1, Flamebait)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286340)

B*tch, you classy...

Tex Richman won't allow it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286154)

Hehehe. It's tech like this that sounds promising and hopefully will allow us to remove the oil yoke from our necks?

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (2, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286186)

You presumably failed to notice the part where the fuel cell is likely to be powered by gasoline?

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (4, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286794)

You presumably failed to notice the part where the fuel cell is likely to be powered by gasoline?

And apparently you failed to notice that the gasoline cell is only an emergency backup.

I've rented a Volt twice now when traveling, and never had a problem finding a charging station. They're in mall lots, gas stations, next to Walgreens, and in lots of places you would never expect. For someone who lives in an urban or suburban setting, you could go for the life of the car without having to use a drop of gasoline. Plus, they are really nice cars. You get in and you realize how far Chevy has come. I can remember driving a piece of shit Citation back in the 90s and my dad had a Lumina, and they weren't nearly as nice as similarly priced Japanese cars. The Volt is awfully nice in a way that American cars have seldom been.

I'm not ready to buy a Volt because they're still way too expensive. Sort of like the first nice tablets or the first generations of SSD drives or a certain big-name desktop computer with dual Xeon processors. But now you can build dual-Xeon box with a pair of good size SSD drives for less than half the price of those first aluminum-boxed shiny "Pro" desktop computers. And there are capacitive-touch tablets coming out of China with the HD video out and SD slots and Ice Cream Sandwich and all that stuff for about 1/4 the price of those first fancy-pants tablets without SD slots.

It's just a matter of time. The end of fossil fuel dominance is coming, whether or not you like it and whether or not the guy who talks on AM radio says it will never happen. Those oil fields are not refilling themselves and there are more and more smart people thinking in terms of technologies for transportation that do not involve the 200 year-old internal combustion engine. Your squeezing your butt cheeks together is not going to stop progress.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287034)

I just want to point out that you put these two sentences end-to-end: "The Volt is awfully nice in a way that American cars have seldom been. I'm not ready to buy a Volt because they're still way too expensive."

Funny that.

That's not to say that I'm anti-Volt or anything. I think it's exactly the right next step in the evolution of the automobile.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288076)

Funny that.

Why is it funny? In the same way I could say, the iPad 2 is nice in ways that a lot of tablets from American companies have not been. I'm not ready to buy one yet because they're still way too expensive."

There is no discrepancy between something being "nice" and "still too expensive" especially when talking about technology. 18 months ago, SSD drives were nice but way too expensive for me. Today, they are not.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288202)

You presumably failed to notice the part where the fuel cell is likely to be powered by gasoline?

And apparently you failed to notice that the gasoline cell is only an emergency backup.

I've rented a Volt twice now when traveling, and never had a problem finding a charging station.

Where do you live? Because, I have traveled extensively around the country, and I have never even seen a single charging station.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (3, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286202)

The problem is that the energy and even automotive manufacturing industry don't want the yoke taken off until the last minute. Why do you think there was such a push for ethanol and hyrdrogen fuel cells? Both of those still need you to fill up at a pump. Electric cars would be able to use a wide variety of energy sources as long as the end result was electric potential. This breaks your dependency on the industry for fuel, which they don't want.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (0)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286234)

The problem is that the energy and even automotive manufacturing industry don't want the yoke taken off until the last minute. Why do you think there was such a push for ethanol and hyrdrogen fuel cells? Both of those still need you to fill up at a pump. Electric cars would be able to use a wide variety of energy sources as long as the end result was electric potential. This breaks your dependency on the industry for fuel, which they don't want.

I call patenting a system that lets you attach a generator to a bike, so you can ride the bike to charge a battery, and then plug the battery into your car to charge your car from the batter.

All the cyclists will love it. Drive up to your spot, bike around for an hour or two, then slap the battery into your car's charge hole.
SUPER GREEN.

Added benefit: Cyclists will now drive somewhere else to bike, bike, and drive bike. Infinitely better than them clogging up the streets and ignoring traffic laws because they insist on biking to and from the place they're going to bike at. Or worse, when they decide to make the streets the place they bike at.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286320)

Its just a pity humans burn carbon containing molecules, producing the anti-green CO2 so your generator on the bike is effectively powered by the creation of greenhouse gasses. I don't think humans are very efficient either, producing copious amounts of heat

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288152)

Except you'll produce just as much CO2 without cycling since you'll be dragging some 60 pounds of extra blubber around with you when doing your preferred exercise instead (such as walking from your front door to the car, breathing, or stuffing pork chops in your orifices).

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286326)

I call patenting a system that lets you attach a generator to a bike, so you can ride the bike to charge a battery, and then plug the battery into your car to charge your car from the batter.

Tens of kilowatts of energy is hard to generate on a bicycle especially when most of the energy from pedaling has to propel the bike. Even on a stationary bike this would be tough. And have you seen the size/weight of the battery packs electric cars require?! Carrying that on the bike will be FUN.

Added benefit: Cyclists will now drive somewhere else to bike, bike, and drive bike. Infinitely better than them clogging up the streets and ignoring traffic laws because they insist on biking to and from the place they're going to bike at. Or worse, when they decide to make the streets the place they bike at.

While you're at it, maybe you can tell the cyclists a few essential things they don't seem to understand.

1) No man looks good in spandex. Maybe gay men think so, but I'm not a gay man and I really don't want to see this shit. If the cyclist is not a gay man, perhaps they don't want this kind of attention.

2) Riding well below the speed of traffic on highly congested roads during rush-hour is a Darwin Award waiting to happen, and as a motorist I don't want the hazard of swerving around these idiots and towards opposing traffic just to preserve the life of someone who obviously doesn't care if he dies that day, you fucking inconsiderate self-important assholes. What is it about lots of high-speed traffic that makes you want to bike there? Is it so gay men can see your spandex-covered ass hanging up in the air? Did you guys know about these cool things called secondary roads? They avoid most of these problems and are much safer for you. Of course, that might require putting a tiny bit of thought into things and well, if you see how most people are you know why that's too much to ask.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286648)

While I agree entirely on your point #1, as a cyclist, I find myself taking some offense to your point #2. It is not the high speed traffic that is desirable, it is the efficiency of the road itself. Side roads, in general, do not typically go for more than a few blocks, and in my own experience are usually unsuitable for commuter use even for bicycles for all but near the departure and destination points.

FWIW, I usually cycle quite close to the curb, so I am easily and safely passed by other vehicles. I only move fully into the lane if I am intending to turn left.

Oh... and I *never* wear spandex.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286730)

to extract enough energy, the cyclist would be super buff, and thus roid crazy. i don't want even crazier cyclists on the road.

a simpler solution would be to require anybody who uses public roads to have a limited license (limited in the sense that it covers tested knowledge of road rules but not operation of a motor vehicle).

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1, Informative)

causality (777677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287004)

to extract enough energy, the cyclist would be super buff, and thus roid crazy. i don't want even crazier cyclists on the road.

a simpler solution would be to require anybody who uses public roads to have a limited license (limited in the sense that it covers tested knowledge of road rules but not operation of a motor vehicle).

Sounds like a regular driver's license in the States to me.

Knowledge of signs and traffic laws is just about all they test for. That's why so many idiots brake uphill, on banked curves, don't understand that you steer better when you're not also braking, don't know what "end speed limit" does and doesn't mean, tailgate, can't stay off the median in their SUVs, never heard of engine braking, think four-wheel-drive means they'll never oversteer on ice/snow, and don't understand what the left lane is for... just to name a few off the top of my head.

If they actually required you to know how to effectively handle the vehicle and (maybe using a simulator) to keep calm during emergency maneuvers, to correct without overcorrecting, to read traffic patterns and use foresight... maybe 30% of the people driving today would retain their license. The rest would have a lot of learning to do before being issued one.

They talk a great game about safety but it's a secondary priority. The primary priority is ticket revenue. Getting shitty drivers off the road means fewer people racking up fines. They have no real incentive to do it no matter how many injuries and deaths it would prevent.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288060)

The sad thing is, if you have ever spent any significant time in many parts of the world (basically anywhere outside of The US/Canada and Northern/Western Europe), you would realize that American drivers are EASILY (and sadly) among the upper echelons of the world's drivers when it comes to knowledge and safety.

Try driving for a day among the "licensed" drivers of any country in South America, for example, and you will see what I mean.

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286822)

No, they'll just be cruising through stop signs and red lights, or going down the lane against traffic further from home.
You have an interesting idea, assuming it can generate enough juice to drive a car even a few miles, but it doesn't deal with the moronically suicidal asshats that make up far too large of a percentage of the bicyclists. (Hope you have a lower percentage than we do, I'd say ours is about 80%.)

Re:Tex Richman won't allow it. (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288286)

No, they'll just be cruising through stop signs and red lights,

Many street lights still use road sensors, which fail to detect smaller vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles. As such, many municipalities (like my own) have adopted "dead on red" laws, which allow said vehicles to pass through red lights when it is safe to do so.

Stop signs are a different story, of course, but I see cars running those at least as often as I see cyclists do it.

...moronically suicidal asshats that make up far too large of a percentage of the bicyclists.

I'll admit my bias, but my experience has been quite the opposite. More often than not, it is the cars who do not know how to be courteous on the road which end up nearly hitting me, largely because they are not paying attention. Occasionally, I have come across someone intentionally trying to run me off the road (generally in trucks and SUVs).

Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286182)

They say the most Harley owners 'detune' their new bikes just to get the right sound out of the muffler. With the way that things might be going, I wonder if some won't miss their cars making engine sounds, not to mention blind people.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (4, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286240)

They say the most Harley owners 'detune' their new bikes just to get the right sound out of the muffler. With the way that things might be going, I wonder if some won't miss their cars making engine sounds, not to mention blind people.

Most noise from a car comes not from the engine, but from the tires (unless you have specifically modified your vehicle to be loud, which is often illegal).
Road noise is the main contributor to the overall loudness of a vehicle.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (3, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286330)

Most noise from a car comes not from the engine, but from the tires

Someone hasnt been around electric vehicles much. Theyre everywhere in shanghai, and they are substantially quieter than non-electrics (nearly silent).

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (5, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286334)

This is (generally) true - at highway speeds, the vast majority of the sound is either aerodynamic or from the tires impacting the road. Even at 25mph/50kmph, you'll get more than enough sound from that to warn pedestrians.

The problem is at parking lot speeds. You don't get much noise at all just moving at 5mph/10kmph. Even with a gas engine, it's mostly the acceleration that provides the noise, the engine revving up, not the engine just running.

Since the main time pedestrians and cars are maneuvering near each other and have significant risk of collision is in precisely those situations, I think the "electric engines don't make enough noise" problem could actually be a legitimate problem. By no means a showstopper or a product-killer - after all, a car is usually a pretty large object, and I for one tend to notice large objects in motion. The solution could be just a simple "noise generator used when moving below X speed" - that would handle the pedestrian problem, without increasing noise in areas where noise is an issue and pedestrians are not.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286838)

Maybe a noise-maker of some sort is required, or something more sophisticated, like onboard sensors and scanners that detect pedestrians and then warn both the driver and the pedestrian.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286898)

Or just use the horn to generate a slight buzz sound when driving below 25mph and save millions in engineering and thousands off the cost of a vehicle vs sensors.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287200)

I see what you did there....it's subtle enough that I think a few will miss it. (think eyes, ears and above all, brain of the vehicle operator, combined with the visual and auditory signalling equipment that all cars must have)

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (2)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286910)

To a certain extent I agree with you, but you forget a few relevant points. They are working to make internal combustion cars much quieter, mostly for the comfort of the users. I have encountered a few cars (non-electric gas suckers) that when at those "parking lot speeds", the tires make more noise than the engine, and that's not even on gravel. Of course, the background noise of the city is primarily what is masking it. Of course, if you damp down the city noise by silencing so many motors, how much easier would it be to hear the tires?

By the way, in this city, the crosswalks have noise makers for blind or visually impaired people, and you aren't allowed to cross against the light, even if you can't see it. So I guess the biggest threat from a totally silent car would be if they didn't watch where they were going when a blind person tried to cross the street illegally against the light.

Honestly, I'm not saying it isn't something to be considered, but it is in no way a reason to cease developing quieter cars or slap giant noise pollution generators on them.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286954)

By the way, in this city, the crosswalks have noise makers for blind or visually impaired people, and you aren't allowed to cross against the light, even if you can't see it. So I guess the biggest threat from a totally silent car would be if they didn't watch where they were going when a blind person tried to cross the street illegally against the light.

First time I've heard of a place where you can't make right turns on a green light.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287008)

You know, I think the big problem with cars is people not looking out when they're going to cross the street. I say we let darwin be darwin, and if someone is getting eaten by a car. It's doing the gene pool a favor.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286346)

Unless you buy a european sports car. They hire engineers to specifically tune the exhaust to make the noise they want.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286834)

It depends... a low rolling resistance tire produces very little noise compared to say a M/T (mud terrain) tire or even an on/off road commercial tire like the goodyear duratracs i have on our xterra.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287658)

Huh, wuzzat? I couldn't hear you over the sound of all the assholes driving Harleys and jacked-up monster pick-up trucks.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286304)

They say the most Harley owners 'detune' their new bikes just to get the right sound out of the muffler.

Listening to "they" is often hazardous to one's intelligence.

With the way that things might be going, I wonder if some won't miss their cars making engine sounds, not to mention blind people.

For some, possibly. For most, unlikely as long as the entertainment system is working.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (2)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286316)

Actually its likely that for safety reasons the car manufacturers will all start adding sound effects to the vehicles.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286418)

Are they going to eliminate mufflers as well?

Because last time I checked, on most new cars you can't really hear a gasoline engine either unless it is actively being revved up.

The sound of tires on the road is *FAR* louder than the engine, in general... unless the car's muffler is bad, or unless the car is simply very old.

Should people on electric wheelchairs also install noisemakers to alert blind people of their approach? (some of them are capable of quite a clip, and can do serious damage to someone when it is moving at full speed).

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (2)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286832)

This [worldcarfans.com] is not the first time it has been proposed either.

The sound of tires on the road is *FAR* louder than the engine, in general... unless the car's muffler is bad, or unless the car is simply very old.

WTF type of giant knobby off-road truck tires do you put on your effing honda civic anyway? This statement is hyperbolic to say the least.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286952)

I wasn't suggesting it is the first time it's been proposed... I just think that the whole proposal is idiotic.

Good mufflers make the engine on most modern cars are silent enough that a pedestrian is not generally liable to hear the engine on a moving car at all unless the driver is revving the engine.

In my experience, the loudest sound on a moving automobile is the sound of the tires on the road, and as a pedestrian, that's almost always what I hear first, unless the car is an older one or else the muffler is bad.

And hey... even at best, installing noisemakers in electric cars just wastes electricity that can be better used to get a person to their destination.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (2)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287454)

And hey... even at best, installing noisemakers in electric cars just wastes electricity that can be better used to get a person to their destination.

Well, it depends. As long as it uses less power than what's needed to accelerate back to speed after bouncing Grandpa off the hood, it's a net gain, right?

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286940)

There are several people around here in fast electric wheelchairs on some of the roads, including an elderly couple that go everywhere together. I haven't actually clocked them, but I'm pretty sure they get up to about 30mph. They've got red pennant flags on antenna poles to make sure the cars can see them.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287256)

The electric wheelchairs and scooters I am familiar with make more than enough sound for a person with normal hearing to have ample opportunity to get out of the way. Electric motors are notsilent, even a bare motor, not hooked up to anything, will have a bit of bearing noise and possibly electric hum if supplied with AC. The motors on those scooters and wheelchairs are DC (obviously) but they seem to have really shitty gearboxes when it comes to noise. It doesn't help that the drivetrains are usually not fully enclosed, when they are, it's a thin molded ABS shell, just enough to keep the rain off.

  You can hear the whine of the drive train from *around the corner* at my local mall during all but the busiest of crowds. (during which time the people driving those things aren't exactly doing top speed anyway.)

As for the hard of hearing, speaking as one, we have hearing aids to bring us up to normal hearing ability. The profoundly deaf are taught to have a better situational awareness than most people. (I have worked in a deaf school, and honestly, who other than the deaf take formal situational awareness classes with an eye to surviving daily life in public?)

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287788)

Of course... but people seem to want to bitch about how silent electric cars are... My point is that there are other things that are just as silent that we don't feel any compunction to add noisemakers to, why should we do so for cars, particularly when you actually *CAN* hear one anyways?

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (2)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286482)

Already done (I think it's US Federal Law). Our Leaf thankfully has a switch to turn off the "chime...chime...chime" that I'm sure our neighbors would otherwise never tire of hearing every time we back out of the garage. There's also supposed to be a noise (switchable as well) emitted moving forward below 19mph, though I can't hear it from inside the car.

I switch off the noisy merry-making when I think about it, and I haven't mowed down any pedestrians yet. I can't tell if it makes any difference in ped behavior because in Seattle they step off the sidewalk without looking whether I'm in the Leaf or an ICE-powered car.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (3, Funny)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286956)

If they're like the University students around here, they'll step out into moving traffic without looking even if you were driving an F-111 with afterburners on full blast.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287698)

If they are in the cross walk you have to stop.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (2)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288340)

You never really stop and realize how terrible most drivers are at yielding to others until you almost get hit/run over by one that should have done so for you. Cross-walk signs and lights may as well be invisible in most places for about as often as drivers will stop for them.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286508)

they are already looking into it

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303365804576432253649731740.html

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (3, Funny)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286514)

Woo, ringtones for your car, that'll be awesome...

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286860)

Woo, ringtones for your car, that'll be awesome...

Where can I download the sound of Sebulba's pod racer?

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286558)

They say the most Harley owners 'detune' their new bikes just to get the right sound out of the muffler.

Harley engines get the "right" sound out of the muffler because of their unique firing pattern.
The cyclinders do not fire every 180 degrees, instead they fire every 315 and 405 degrees of crankshaft turn.

It's funny how we have electric cars today, but all the technology that'll make them a true replacement for ICE is 5~20 years away.
And internal combustion hasn't really been pushed to its maximum efficiency yet, so who knows how long it'll actually take.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (3, Interesting)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287016)

ICE can't be pushed anymore without using higher quality fuels. Tell me how much it'll cost to fill your car with methanol. You will be able in increase the compression ratio and add a turbo charger as well to increase the efficiency of your ICE. Its just not practical to use methanol in cars.

My car was designed to use 100 octane petrol that's available in Japan, but in NZ we don't have that. The ECU compensates for this by retarding the timing so it doesn't knock, lowering the efficiency of the engine.

You could switch to diesel and use stupidly high compression ratios and boost pressures. However the higher the boost pressure the larger the turbo, the more the lag. Its always a trade off between efficiency and practicality.

Re:Vroomm, Vroomm a thing of the past? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286868)

They say the most Harley owners 'detune' their new bikes just to get the right sound out of the muffler. With the way that things might be going, I wonder if some won't miss their cars making engine sounds, not to mention blind people.

Come on, man, hasn't anybody else seen The Delimma [imdb.com] ?

The missing bit from the summary (4, Insightful)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286232)

At first glance, the summary fails to say how this development (which appears to make demand more likely) manages to ease the problems on the supply-side of the hydrogen fuel cell option. What it didn't include is the information that a solid oxide fuel cell can conceivably burn any hydrocarbon fuel stock. TFA mentions gasoline, diesel, natural gas and propane. The idea is that a fuel cell extracts more energy from hydrocarbon fuels than the pitiful 25% claimed for ICE technology. What isn't stated is whether this new fuel cell can handle any of the hydrocarbon fuels without any hardware changes. e.g. pipe in propane or natural gas or supply liquid diesel or gasoline for either gas or liquid based fuelling.

Re:The missing bit from the summary (3, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286958)

Additives are going to kill it. The article is notably silent about the additives. In a lab they can feed the fuel cell "pure" gasoline or "pure" diesel and show it can work. Or feed it stock fuels, show it works and ask the graduate students slogging at minimum wage to dismantle the stack and clean it for the next demo. But in reality the fuel at the pump has detergents to prevent fuel injector fouling, anti-freeze to prevent water-contamination leading ice formation in the fuel lines, and a host of other additives to prevent evaporation etc etc. All these are not hydro carbons. If you don't burn them at high temperatures and flush them out using air flow, they will be deposited on the fuel cell surfaces.

Technically the pumps can store pure hydro carbons and mix them with additives at the delivery nozzle, the way the mix 87 and 93 octane fuel to create 90 octane. But it is still a major infrastructure upgrade.

Despite all this, if the technology bears out, it would be a great thing. But let us not raise our hopes prematurely, only to seem them smashed down, yet another time.

Re:The missing bit from the summary (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287228)

Use 93 octane gas. This has the fewest additives. (I know it's not a cure-all; but this fixes the breakage happening in chainsaws when fed 87, 89 or 91 gas, which generally has ethanol added.)

Re:The missing bit from the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287960)

Many '93 octane' pumps are also injecting ethanol; the guys with the experimental airplanes have to check for ethanol and often discuss which (single) gas station in the city has ethanol-free 93 octane that week.

Re:The missing bit from the summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287888)

Natural gas, propane, diesel, and gasoline are all primarily alkanes (saturated hydrocarbons) and chemically similar. I would imagine gasoline and diesel would be aerosolized in the fuel cell, yielding a gaseous fuel. Natural gas and propane exist at room temperature as gases, I would assume they would work just fine as the cell reacts gaseous fuels anyway.

Re:The missing bit from the summary (2)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288274)

I'm shocked that nobody else queried what reducing the operating temperature by a factor of 10 means. Let's say the operating temperature was 470 Kelvin. The new operating temperature would, therefore, be 47K, or -226C. Reduce it by another factor of 2 or so and you could run it on liquid hydrogen.

Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286292)

If they could also shrink the cost by a factor of 10 we would have a winner.

It's called "economy of scale" (3, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287340)

If they could also shrink the cost by a factor of 10 we would have a winner.

It's called "economy of scale".

When they're being built in hundred-thousand lots by automated factories several model years into vehicle production, the design and tooling costs have been largely paid off, and some competitive product is bidding for customers which creates price pressure, they will cost a lot less than the parts in the concept-car prototype or the first model year.

'not the time to look backwards to oil-based fuel (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286300)

Surely, it would only [Big Oil funded?] "ostrich researchers" who'd keep their heads buried in the past of oil-based sources of energy, right?

Even if EV's lead to more uranium-based power stations (eg, until we can develop & build non-nuclear, renewable ones), it's got to be worse to use even "a little gas (petrol)" to drive EV's.

Who's funded this research? Big Oil, maybe? 'dunno, but it wouldn't have been any of the many proponents of renewable energy sources doing it.

Standards-based (ie, compatible across all EV makers' cars) battery swap stations would solve the "range problem" with renewable energies.

Look at the business plans of EV proponents, like Shai Agassi's BetterPlace.com, who plan to help fund renewable energy industries, eg, by buying renewable energy to power their cars, with each 1,000 cars purchased.

(See his talks on TED.com and FORA.tv)

- - -

BTW, I note that only Germany seems set up (by years of good planning rules (eg, requiring nearly "super windows" in their homes & offices) & R&D) to be able to say No to nuclear, in future.

I say: Watch Germany, Denmark & other "renewable lights to the nations" for clear, practical examples of how to throw-off much if not all of our habit of oil-based thinking, while keeping even nuclear energy at bay.

Re:'not the time to look backwards to oil-based fu (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286774)

anything that can make use of the high energy density of hydrocarbons without actually emitting CO2 would be good.

something ~2x as efficient as current engines is also a good thing.

something that can double the life of oil/coal/gas reserves will be a good thing.

stuff like this might just buy us enough time to figure out just where we're going to get our energy from when the free stuff runs out.

Re:'not the time to look backwards to oil-based fu (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287074)

TFA mentions the fuel cells work off natural gas as well, not just oil. I wouldn't be surprised if they also worked with alcohols. As a bonus, natual gas is produced more in parts of the world where there is little war going on (USA, Canada, Russia) and is easier to produce from organic waste than the more complex hydrocarbons

Re:'not the time to look backwards to oil-based fu (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287984)

Oxygen concentration cells work off anything that eats oxygen when it burns (and doesn't poison the fuel cell - which very few things do) and which is physically compatible with the fuel feed infrastructure.

For a cell designed for liquid fuels that's liquid hydrocarbons (gasoline, diesel fuel, salad oil, liquid fat, ...), alcohols, and just about any other liquid fuel. If it also handles gas you can also use propane, hydrogen (if your plumbing is up to it), etc. Use a good enough feed system and you can run it on solid fuels, too.

I want one that eats stove pellets. B-) You can make those out of any plant waste: sawdust, lawn clippings, stalks of food plants, weeds, ... Or shred and pelletize your junk mail.

I must be misunderstanding (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286314)

Is the article saying they've developed a gasoline-based fuel cell that you can recharge at a 'fueling station', with which you can generate electricity to power your electric car?

Doesn't this just turn your EV into a less-efficient gasoline-powered vehicle?

Re:I must be misunderstanding (2, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286402)

Doesn't this just turn your EV into a less-efficient gasoline-powered vehicle?

There's a common misconception that because an EV puts out no emissions, that it's 100% clean. And that because electric motors are 80%-90% efficient, EVs are 80%-90% efficient.

About 2/3rds of electricity is generated from fossil fuels, burned in power stations operating at about 40% efficiency. So if you can get the efficiency of this gizmo high enough, you could actually exceed the overall efficiency of plug-in EVs. The transition point would be at about 75% efficiency by my back of the envelope calcs. Of course then the question becomes, why not put these in the power plants. (If you're anti-nuclear, about 2/3rds of that remaining 1/3rd comes from nuclear. Only about 1/9th of our electricity comes from renewables. So that transition point shifts down to about 50% efficiency.)

If your fuel source is predominantly biofuel, then that transition point drops even further.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286554)

However unlike motor vehicles, the extreme pollution is not located within the city and for more stringent pollution controls are fitted to the energy generating medium.

It is to be expected, once sufficient momentum is gained by electric vehicles, pollution generating vehicles will simply be banned.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286662)

Depends entirely where you live and what you've set up. If you have solar panels/geothermal/whatever or live in one of the better (luckier?) countries of the world on the energy front, you can do much better than ~10% renewables.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (1)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287598)

Also, I can (and do) pay extra on my electricity bill and have my power provided by 100% renewable sources.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38288096)

How much you pay on your bill has absolutely no bearing on "where" your energy actually comes from. If you live in a region that is predominantly coal-powered, sorry to say it, but you are getting your electricity from coal. You are simply paying someone to subtract numbers from a spreadsheet indicating excess green energy quotas from elsewhere.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (0)

mjdrzewi (1477203) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286762)

Doesn't this just turn your EV into a less-efficient gasoline-powered vehicle?

There's a common misconception that because an EV puts out no emissions, that it's 100% clean. And that because electric motors are 80%-90% efficient, EVs are 80%-90% efficient.

That number conveniently ignores the battery efficiency.

So lets re run those number including every thing.

Fuel to electricity 40% ( Generation plant)

Transmission ~90%

Battery Depends on chemistry

NI-MH ~66%

Li-ion ~80-90%

NiCd ~70-90%

SOFC ~60%

DC Motor 75-92%

Bottom Line From fuel to road

Best case 30%

Wost case with current EV batteries 18%

Modern ICE 20-25%

SOFC EV 45%

Re:I must be misunderstanding (4, Insightful)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287126)

You've included generation and transport in the EV case, but not with ICE. Factor in the refining and transport of fuel for the ICE and you will have a far differnt story.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (3, Insightful)

CyberBill (526285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287210)

You're not comparing apples to apples.

First of all, you're ignoring the amount of energy required to import and refine the gasoline. I've heard estimates as high as 8kWh per gallon for refining. Most of the power plants in the country use coal, which doesn't have an energy intensive refining process.

Secondly, you're ignoring the fact that 40% of electric vehicle owners have solar panels. This negates that pesky coal power plant and its transmission deficiencies.

If you compare the efficiency of the vehicle itself, when you put electricity into an EV, it is 85%+ efficient. If you put gasoline into a car, it is 25% efficient (max). With a gasoline car, no matter what technology comes out, that vehicle will never be more than 25% efficient. With an EV, if you want to have a green car, you can buy solar panels and charge your car that way. Or you can live in an area with wind, solar, geothermal, or nuclear sources (Southern California) and offset pollution that way. Or you can join a program with your electricity provider, and pay a little extra, and get a higher percentage of your electricity from renewable sources.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (2)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287420)

I would rather power my car with American coal, gas, or nukes, than with imported oil. Though LFTRs would be my first choice, if there's a chicken-and-egg problem, I say just pick one and fucking start with vehicular electrification already.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287758)

On the contrary, it's a correct perception that at the tailpipe (which of course, most EVs don't have) the EV is 100% clean. How efficient it is is a different question and totally depends on the energy profile of the particular state or country, which varies widely throughout the world.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286438)

It turns it into a MORE efficient gasoline-powered vehicle when you're on a long trip. The fuel cell is better than a portable heat engine at burning fuel into electric power. (Perhaps even more efficient at converting fuel into shaft HP after converting the electricity, vs. going straight from an engine through a transmission). And you still have all the braking-scavenging advantages of a hybrid.

It's still an EVEN MORE efficient whatever-the-grid-is-using-powered vehicle when the trip is short enough to be powered entirely by the battery charge. (Even if the grid is driven by fossil fuels, big stationary plants are enough better than little portable engines to more than make up for the grid transmission and battery-charging-and-discharging losses.)

Re:I must be misunderstanding (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38288312)

For city driving, you'd presumably get the usual benefits such as no need for idling at stop lights/signs, regenerative braking and so on. Those efficiencies over conventional fossil fuel vehicles shouldn't be ignored.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (1)

TheWoundedSeagull (183327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286520)

Possibly Its turning you car into a more efficient gasoline-powered vehicle.
Electric engines are efficient. Internal combustion engines less so.
So the combination of an efficient fuel cell and electric engine *may* outperform an ICE car.
Also you can still use batteries for short trips if it is a plug-in which is the dominant use case.

Re:I must be misunderstanding (2)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286622)

I guess it depends on how efficient the fuel cell is. The last link in the summary says "internal combustion engines only transform a quarter of the energy content of gasoline into torque to a car's wheels. The new design could, theoretically, double that figure." So, theoretically, very theoretically, this new fuel cell design could enable a vehicle like the Chevy Volt to go twice as far on a gallon of gasoline as one using an ICE. Maybe more, since because it wouldn't need as large a gas tank and the fuel cell would be smaller than an ICE and generator, it would weigh less. And, since it wouldn't have as many moving parts it could potential have lower maintenance costs and a higher reliability.

Yes. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38286336)

I squeeze your ass like it's dinner, and nothing more.

It's got what electricity craves! (1)

MoronGames (632186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286422)

It's got electrolytes!

Hard part still remains (5, Insightful)

shimpei (3348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286426)

Temperature is actually more important than the energy density in this case. At 650C never mind 900C, you'll still have a lot of trouble with heat--material have an unfortunate tendency to expand and warp (or, worse, snap) at that kind of temperature. Thus, you may be able to turn your car on and off only dozens of times before the SOFC breaks down. This is the real reason why SOFC has never been seriously considered for cars--SOFC has always been relatively compact for the amount of energy they produce (except for the apparatus you'd need to get rid of the huge amounts of heat).

Now, 650C is easy, at least if you are using natural gas as feedstock. (Gasoline may be somewhat more difficult, but not impossible.) Other solid oxide fuel cells that are trying to enter the market operate at or near that temperature range. 350C, though--wow. That will be remarkable, and may indeed be able to brings in an era of fuel cell vehicles, but it'll involve whole new set of chemistry, and I won't believe it until I see it.

Re:Hard part still remains (2)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287394)

Turbo EGTs can run 800+C regularly underhood, and presumably having some sort of insulated molten salt to retain heat would be helpful for reducing load on the battery and improving startup times.. The engineering to have those temps in automotive applications has been done (though the molten salt probably hasn't), and with a large enough battery pack, it shouldn't be a huge issue getting, say, a 20x20cm fuel cell core to fit in the space of, say, a transverse V6..

Feasible to capture CO2 from a fuel cell (1)

TheWoundedSeagull (183327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286432)

The other advantage of using a fuel cell is that it makes it feasible to capture the CO2. In an ICE because you burn the fuel the concentration of CO2 in the exhaust is low, making it impracticable/expensive to capture the CO2.
It may be possible then that when you are filling up to return the CO2, which can then be used to produce a synthetic hydrocarbon based fuel.
Major technology hurdles, but a possible route to solve both the range problem of electric vehicles and the emission problems associated with hydrocarbon fuels.

Re:Feasible to capture CO2 from a fuel cell (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287446)

The other advantage of using a fuel cell is that it makes it feasible to capture the CO2. In an ICE because you burn the fuel the concentration of CO2 in the exhaust is low, making it impracticable/expensive to capture the CO2.

In an oxygen-concentration fuel cell you burn the fuel to exhaust, just like in an engine. It's just that the oxygen is provided through the cell membrane on the way to the combustion, rather than being mixed (along with a lot of nitrogen and miscellaney) with the fuel before ignition. You lose the nitrogen from the exhaust but you've still got water vapor out the wazoo.

Cooling, condensing, separating, and storing the CO2 would be a major weight and energy cost.

Simpler to just use carbon-neutral fuels from renewable sources, so the carbon that's the carrier for your hydrogen (which is the main "fuel" in a hydrocarbon) came OUT of the atmosphere before running the vehicle put it back IN. Since an oxygen-concentration cell burns essentially anything that eats oxygen, you have a lot more options than with a internal combustion engine.

duravolt (2)

pinfall (2430412) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286436)

You don't need new batteries, just rename it duravolt and do a superbowl commercial with Madonna riding the E-street band's EV.

detailed description in Nov 18 Science (4, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286472)

This is basically how they think the Bloombox fuel cells shown on 60 minutes last year works. Bloom is how start-up in Silicon Valley with prototypes powering several buildings there. Except the Science article says their technology is five times more space-efficient. A 5' by 5" plate could generate 50W to 100W for a portable computer. 10 of these plates could run a military backpack or appliance. 100 could power a car or house. 500 an office building.

Re:detailed description in Nov 18 Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287172)

I don't know about space efficient, but a 5 foot metal pole sticking out of your laptop bag would work wonders as a lightning rod.

America (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286570)

Giving up its gasoline addiction by designing electric cars that need - gasoline.

Re:America (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286702)

I think the idea is that it solves the chicken and egg problem: people won't buy fuel cell cars until there's a network of hydrogen supply stations, and it's not worth having a network of hydrogen supply stations until people buy fuel cell cars. With this invention people don't have to worry about having a hydrogen network, because they can just put gas in it. Then we can develop an appropriate hydrogen network because there are cars on the road with fuel cells in them.

Re:America (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286746)

Albeit, by the claim, half as much gasoline as a like car with an internal combustion gasoline engine.

Re:America (2)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287352)

Or methanol, or dimethyl ester.

Both of which can be created from water, air, and power from solar or LFTRs.

In fact, carbon-neutral (and American-made) liquid hydrocarbon fuels could be a GREAT way to store sunlight for later use.

entirely missing the point (4, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38286878)

the article is entirely missing the point. range extension doesn't help if the vehicle into which the range extension is placed is massively inefficient. that means that you need to fix the problems associated with standard vehicle designs (box and wedge shapes) in order to get the aerodynamics losses cut by at least 50%, and you need to cut the weight by over 70% (1.5 to 2.0 tonnes down to 350kg) in order to be able to take advantage of hard compound "ECO" tyres, which would otherwise rapidly wear out on a "standard" car. once the aerodynamics are efficient and the weight is low, "range extension" actually provides enough power to run the vehicle pretty much directly. see http://lkcl.net/ev [lkcl.net] for details.

Re:entirely missing the point (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287612)

350kg would get squashed by any legacy car on the road. A typical mid sized SUV is 4000lbs / ~1800kg. Even a Smart Car is 740kg!

Nobody is buying a 350kg vehicle with room for 4. It's either too dangerous or too expensive.

Um... (4, Insightful)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287018)

Last I checked, gasoline-powered vehicles don't have an "unlimited" range either. It may be an order of magnitude farther before you have to fill up a gas car than you have to recharge an electric, or somesuch, but that's still far from "unlimited."

Re:Um... (3, Informative)

j-beda (85386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287688)

Last I checked, gasoline-powered vehicles don't have an "unlimited" range either. It may be an order of magnitude farther before you have to fill up a gas car than you have to recharge an electric, or somesuch, but that's still far from "unlimited."

The point is that a gasoline-powered vehicle can be refilled in a short enough time that it doesn't really matter that the range on a single tank of gas is "only" 400km. If an "alternative" powered vehicle could be refilled in a similar amount of time (and if the infrastructure needed to support that refilling system was widespread) then it could also be considered to have "unlimited" range. Currently pure electric and hydrogen powered vehicles do not have the infrastructure (and for the electric the time-to-refill is generally thought of as being too great.)

Unlimited Distances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287156)

"While electric-car advocates may avoid the issue, some buyers simply won't choose a plug-in car that can't travel unlimited distances."

There's a car that can travel unlimited distances? My internal combustion engine can can't do that either. Neglecting the stops I need to make to eat, sleep, pee, get fuel, change the oil, buy new tires, get other maintenance, etc. my car might go 150,000 to 250,000 miles before it becomes too costly and unreliable to drive. That's hardly an unlimited distance. Perhaps the writer was thinking of the word "long" rather than "unlimited". That's an understandable mistake; nice sound to it though, let's try it out: "I have an unlimited row to hoe", "It's been an unlimited time coming", "So unlimited, see you later", "my penis is unlimited than average" (isn't everyone's?).

Re:Unlimited Distances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38287594)

They mean 'unlimited' in the sense that you can drive 300 miles, fill up your gas tank at any gas station in about 60 seconds, and then drive another 300 miles, and repeat that as long as it takes to get to your destination. With an electric-only vehicle, you can only drive 100 miles before you must find a place to stop and charge the battery for 18 hours. Yeah, the current electric technology is fucking retarded and I won't be buying into it until it is orders of magnitude cheaper AND it is practical enough to compete with any internal combustion engine vehicle. Until then, I will continue buying cheap 10-year-old used cars and driving them for another 10 years or until they are too costly to repair.

If they can keep the conversion efficiency up.. (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38287336)

.. then why bother with the weight and complexity of an ICE at all?

I get about 390-410WH/mi in my Volt, which (assuming 33KW/gallon) is about 80MPG. That's actually a bit lower "mileage" than I could get, but I have a bit of a heavy foot. Assuming an 80% efficiency in the fuel cell, that'd be 64MPG, roughly double the mileage of a comparably-sized and -equipped car.

(and yes, I'm an early adopter, it beats smoking crack.. Barely..)

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