American Elephants


Electric Cars are Clearly the Wave of the Future! by The Elephant's Child

This is the Roberts electric car, built in 1896. According to the Daily Caller, it gets exactly the same mileage Chevrolet advertises for the Volt: a solid 40 miles to a charge.  Robert Bryce, in an earlier article about electric cars dug up a clip from the Los Angeles Times, dated May 19, 1901.

The electric automobile will quickly and easily take precedence over all other kinds of motor carriages so soon as an effective battery of light weight is discovered. The very great weight of the storage battery as at present constructed militates against its use for automobile propulsion except within limited areas.

So this is progress over the last 100 years.  The idea has been constant that there was a looming breakthrough of electric cars, just as soon as battery technology improved. This is not really fair, because battery technology has improved tremendously, but internal combustion engine technology has improved even more.  Thousands of man hours of engineering talent have gone into improving the internal combustion engine and its associated systems.  Every time the electric car was reintroduced to compete with an internal combustion automobile, it was less competitive than the time before.

Engineers have said that as far as battery technology goes, we have reached the end of the periodic table of elements, and we need some unknown breakthrough to have a significant change. We are, as I understand, not far from brownouts and blackouts, as the Obama administration tries to “bankrupt coal,” as Obama promised. We certainly aren’t going to get enough power from wind and solar to transport a society on electricity. Millions and millions of vehicles plugged in to recharge on the current grid? I don’t think so.

The impetus behind killing the coal industry, behind subsidizing electric cars, behind wind farms and solar arrays, behind the protests over a Canadian pipeline, behind banning drilling, behind banning the use of our own abundant supplies of fossil fuels is a mistaken belief that emissions of carbon dioxide are a cause of climate change, and that we can do anything about them in any case.  We can’t.

Europeans are waking up to the fact that all their wind farms and  all their solar arrays have had no effect whatsoever on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and there aren’t any green jobs.  And then there’s the fact that the planet stopped warming over ten years ago, and has been cooling a little ever since. The IPCC has been discredited, and the public is growing cooler towards the whole global warming enterprise.  Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who leads a coalition with Australia’s Greens, has just passed a carbon tax to the fury of a majority of Australians, so we will have a clear demonstration of how well that works.

This is a Detroit Electric, produced by the Anderson Electric Car Company in Detroit, Michigan.  Production ot this automobile powered by a rechargeable lead acid battery began in 1907.  Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress.   They really are cute.



Are You in the Market for a $41,000 Electric Car? by The Elephant's Child
July 27, 2010, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Energy, Law, Liberalism | Tags: , ,

Government Motors General Motors has announced that the starting price for the battery-powered Chevrolet Volt will be $41,000, a $1,000 more than original estimates.  The Volt’s closest rival, the all-electric Nissan Leaf, starts at $33,000.  Either of the cars could provide buyers with a $7,500 tax rebate.  The Volt will go on sale late this year.  Adding sales tax in my state would bring it up to $45,100.

GM says that the car can go about 40 miles on battery power alone.  When the battery runs down, a small gasoline engine connected to a generator will  power the electric motor. (How much and for how long wasn’t mentioned).

The Volt plugs in with a special adapter to recharge the battery.  Popular Mechanics says it takes about 30 minutes for the generator to recharge the battery.  There are ports on both sides to charge the battery from a 110-volt  outlet in about 6.5 hours.  The battery will come with an eight-year, 100,000 mile warranty on the battery pack.

Utilities are beefing up transformers in neighborhoods where they think there could be numbers of people adopting plug-in cars. ( I do want to see how they measure that.  Do Leonardo De Caprio and Streisand live in the same neighborhood?).  Rapid charging of batteries can put as much stress on circuits as adding new homes. Nissan’s Leaf is a pure electric vehicle.  Utilities are rolling out programs offering their customers discounted prices for electricity consumed overnight.

Toyota for years lost money on the Prius, but those losses have, according to the company,  more than paid off.   GM expects to sell only a small number of Volts this year, and around 10,000 in 2011.  But it expects eventually to make the Volt a high-tech car for “the masses.”

I dunno.  Where I grew up, for major shopping, we drove 150 miles (one way) and 35 miles (one way) to go to a movie.  $41,000 for a very local extra car seems pretty pricey.  But it is our government that is driving up the price of gasoline, I assume deliberately, to force the public into these cars and public transportation.  If you can figure out why this is a good idea, please let me know.




%d bloggers like this: