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Has VW (and others?) pushed forward the tipping point for EVs by trashing diesels?!

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by Sunlight, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. Sunlight

    Sunlight Member

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    I feel that the VW emissions scandal will one of the turning points in automotive history...........

    Even with legal software none of those diesels will actually comply so..?? What are the implications for companies/people who have claimed tax breaks because of 'low emissions'? Will they have to repay tax..?

    Where does this leave pollution legislation? Will they have to 'water it down' to 'allow' diesels to remain on the roads?

    Have other manufacturers done the same? With all the amount of research work that has gone into diesels over the years, presumably diesels CAN'T comply.

    The amounts of money in fines; legal action; up-grades etc etc will be enormous.

    So it is down to petrol vs EV/Fuel-cell. Petrol pollution was part of the cause for the push for diesels so now..?

    Also I understand that one of the issues is that refining oil produces an amount of diesel that needs to be used so if diesel cars disappear, who is going to use all the diesel produced?

    This is enormous for the oil companies too.

    And the EV ship sails on unaffected and just laughing from the sidelines.
     
  2. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    Let's just hope so. EV's are in motion, it's something which can't be stopped.

    It's not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN EV's will dominate.
     
  3. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    It will be a while before EVs dominate. A lot of infrastructure has to change to support them. You can refuel an ICE virtually anywhere, but charging for EVs needs to expand about 3 orders of magnitude from where it is now to support a complete conversion to EVs. Tesla has built an impressive supercharger network, but they only sell 0.07% of the cars built every year. To support 100% of cars with a similar network would require an expansion of around 1500X from where we are today. That's going to take time and it's going to take money.

    The Gigafactory will supply enough batteries for 0.8% of all cars built per year. To build all cars as EVs will require 125 Gigafactories.

    This doesn't take into account growth in the market, getting the electricity to power all those EV chargers (solar isn't going to work in all parts of the world!), getting the raw materials to make all those batteries, and a number of other logistical problems that need to be solved. This also doesn't count light trucks and other vehicles that may also convert to EVs somewhere along the way and need to be supported too.

    Gasoline also has the advantage of being the most compact fuel for transportation we have. 1 gallon of gas has 33KWh of energy. ICE engines don't use that very well which is why they only get 20-50 mpg. By comparison, the Model S battery pack is 96 gallons in volume but it only holds about 3 gallons of gas worth of energy. Gasoline can also be put into an ICE car much faster than electricity into batteries, there is a well established network that took 100 years to build to distribute it too.

    There is a lot of examination of alcohols for fuel going on. In the US, ethanol is mostly made now from the waste when making animal feed from corn. It's converting something that was a waste product a few years ago into something useful. Alcohols can also be made from any biomass, which includes a lot of waste products we're just throwing away today. Most ICE cars built in the last 20 years have the ability to burn alcohol built into the firmware on the car. All it takes is one change in the firmware switches to enable flex fuel. They do this because Brazil requires all cars to be able to use flex fuel and car makers don't want to enable it in other parts of the world, but don't want to write multiple versions of the firmware.

    Converting to using more alcohols will most likely be the transition alternative while the infrastructure for electrics is being built. It has the advantage of being able to drop right into the current market with only a few changes instead of requiring a complete overhaul of the infrastructure.

    If you want to learn more about the logistics I recommend you find a documentary on YouTube called Pump which goes into a fair bit of detail about the scale of the change we have to make. It does predict that electric cars are the future, but makes the point I made above that getting there is going to take time and goes into the feasibility of alcohol as a transition fuel.

    This Volkswagen scandal might put the nail in the coffin for diesel cars among consumers, but electrics are not mature enough to take over that market niche. Nobody is capable of building enough of them, and the infrastructure to support them is not there yet. The impact from this is probably going to be bigger in Europe where diesel cars have been more popular than in the US.
     
  4. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Not anywhere near that much because most charging happens at home where the infrastructure is already in place.
     
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  5. Panoz

    Panoz Member

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    Fascinating question, and a very detailed answer, wdolson.

    I doubt the VW scandal will go outside VW too much. The lawsuits alone will hit them hard. Depending on your point of view, you could also call into question the EPA standards and their cost-to-benefit ratio. But that's a whole other discussion.
     
  6. Neech

    Neech Member

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    "Even with legal software none of those diesels will actually comply so..?? What are the implications for companies/people who have claimed tax breaks because of 'low emissions'? Will they have to repay tax..?"

    i don't see why they couldn't fix the software to run clean 100% of the time. It works well enough to pass emissions testing. This would compromise the power but at least the car is presumably still functional.

    I wonder how many other ICE manufacturers are doing the same trick? GM has shown they are not hesitant to screw with their owners.
     
  7. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    What we don't know is how reliable, performant, or ? that the cars are while in "emissions testing mode". One possibility mentioned by many is that the cars are sapped of their power, and drivers lose some of the driving experience they were looking for when they bought the car.

    Another possibility that at least sounds reasonable is that while emissions test mode does indeed work for a short time, it was never designed or tested as the long term operating condition of the car. Running in the mode will generate crud to be filtered, run the engine hotter (or colder I suppose) than designed with reliability concerns, or other issue. The net result being that the short term and rarely used mode becomes the normal full time operating mode, and the affected cars become (a)expensive to maintain, (b) break down frequently, or worse (c) both.

    When the updates start rolling out, I hope somebody like Consumer Reports starts a public and long term test of reliability under the new operating conditions.
     
  8. SebastianR

    SebastianR Member

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    Yep, I think that ship has sailed. Any ICE will be under suspicion now. Even more significantly, I don't think that CARB will ever go near ICE vehicles ever again (let's remember, they jumped on board the "clean disel" bandwagon). I think that next on the chopping block will all other non-AdBlue Diesels, then there will be the miles/gallon and the CO2 emission declarations. Finally, I don't ever think that sophisticated ICE engines will be looked as technological marvel but rather as complicated machines to defraud environmental legislation. VW destroyed the myth that ICE can be "clean".

    If you want to innovate today, you show an electric car. Don't talk to me about downsizing engines and dynamic cylinder deactivation, don't even talk to me about PHEVs that are carefully crafted to beat the cycles - show me an electric car and how far it goes - then I'm impressed.
     
  9. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    One has to remember we are here amongst the EV aficionado. And an U.S. centric group at that.

    This place - or the sensationalist media (and most of them are these days to grab headlines) - really are probably not accurate ways to estimate how slowly the establishment changes in the world or how big diesel (and thus how established) actually is around the world.

    Look, I am a beliEVer (not a belieber). I wrote of my awakening in my rightmost signature post too. ICE and hybrid are complicated, antiquated crap to me. Never again.

    However, to the wider world EV is still as unproven as are other alternative fuel technologies. The world still needs to move around. The VW scandal may hurt VW and others (and destroy U.S. consumer diesel ambitions, fickle as that market always was) but the solution won't be EVs globally. It will be fixes to ICEs and corresponding legislation and the same slow march of alternative fuels, none of which is yet to be declared winner.

    I think EVs have a great shot at winning the alternative fuel war. However, it is a LONG way before any alternative fuels win over gasoline and diesel. This case is mere noise in that cacophony.
     
  10. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    That only works for people who have a garage or some other way to charge on their property. There are many people who have to park on the street, even home owners, who need some kind of charging access. In neighborhoods where people always park on the street at night, cities could line them with chargers like parking meters, but that's not going to be cheap to put in. Home ownership rates in the US is declining, which puts more people in that sort of situation. Though I know some homeowners who are in that situation too. In some neighborhoods in Portland, houses with driveways or garages are rare, everyone parks on the street.

    Most Model S owners have a garage because if you have enough money for a Model S, you probably also have enough money for a house with a garage. That's not going to be the case when EVs become more mainstream.

    We also still need to generate the extra electricity to charge all those cars. Some can be from solar, especially in the sunnier parts of the world, but Seattle isn't known for sunny days in December (it's frequently sunny in the summer though). I think Elon said we could charge up a lot of electric cars if we diverted the electricity used to refine gasoline into EVs, and that would make up some of the gap. But more power stations will have to be built to deal with the new demand for electricity.

    The problems are solvable, but it's going to take money and time to do. Some of the changes have to be done by governments and the political will in the US to spend public money on any infrastructure projects is very low right now. That may change in the next decade or so, but the lack of will now will slow down the conversion.
     
  11. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    ...and that's just the U.S. In this thread posters from Europe and South Africa already face quite different scenarios in housing, infrastructure and things like diesel adoption. Not to mention places like Asia where the population density alone may dictate a completely different ground reality.

    It is a long walk for EVs. Tesla is leading the way but it will take so much more than just that. The diesel scandal won't suddenly make all those ICE investments and sheer inertia there go away. It may help Tesla, sure, but not change world opinion and action overnight.
     
  12. Sunlight

    Sunlight Member

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    I suppose the next 'tipping point' moments will be when there are batteries that charge at, say, 350-400mls per hr and 'Ultra Chargers' get added to all petrol forecourts so people without access to charging at night would just drop in to 'top-up' with at least 50 mls in under 10 mins (if in a hurry) to last for the next few hours and one would get into the habit of allowing this time (we already time allow to find and pop into a petrol station as req'd and often don't fill full...)

    It would be a cultural shift but I reckon people would accommodate it fairly quickly if it were the norm. On numerous occasions I have used up well over half an hour getting petrol/diesel because it is rush hour or holidays or whatever.
     
  13. MichFin

    MichFin Member

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    I remember reading somewhere a long time back that car evolve in 13-15 year cycles. So most cars you buy today won't be on the road in 15 years so there is no way electric cars will dominate anytime soon. But if Tesla hits it's targets of 500k cars by 2020 and the rest of the car makers can match that together there will be a boom of infrastructure build out.

    It's all about profits and once there are enough cars out there you will see fast chargers everywhere.
     
  14. SebastianR

    SebastianR Member

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    A small political group in Bavaria once said "it only needs a small needle poking the bottom to get a big seated man up and moving fast". I hope this scandal will be this "small needle".

    I know this is US centric. And I know this is about EVs. But I look at it this way: CARB really(!) needs to get its credibility back. They were fully behind the clean diesel. Now they have egg on their face (and probably need to double down on compliance testing to regain their credibility / satisfy their need for "revenge" and show they can be taken serious. Then the FoolCell car from Toyota is nowhere near getting any traction. And last not least Tesla is a car maker right there in California and they demonstrate every date that BEVs are technically feasible and doable. If that's not a perfect storm I don't know what.

    So I think that in the next years the ICE regulations for CA will be tightened like there is no tomorrow. I also don't think the whole compliance car business will survive. Then car makers have the choice to either exit CA forever or develop truly clean cars. Now if cars are truly clean, they will be sold everywhere - in particular since I predict that every country that doesn't have their own car makers will adopt CA rules & mandates (ref. Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland etc.)
     
  15. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    In California and many other states there is adequate capacity during off peak hours. We will not need to build more power stations. We will need a better grid to handle the distributed resources like renewables and battery resources.

    It will take investment and my hope is the sooner the better.
     
  16. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    The EPA should mandate VW to offer following options to every affected customer
    a) fix the emission control system in the car, pay compensation for lower fuel efficiency, poor acceleration, higher emission tax classification, reduced resale value, and traumatic owner experience :tongue:
    b) swap the car for an e-Golf :biggrin:
     
  17. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Truth is, the people owning the cars don't really care that much. People who are aware about environmental impact are not typically buying Diesel cars. Especially in the US, the land of the SUV and pickup trucks and 'rolling coal' movement.

    Not to downplay the issue, but do we know by how much the emissions are over the limit? And why would a random limit define it's clean? Quite frankly it's total BS when any ICE car manufacturer advertise their cars in any way as 'green' or 'clean' or efficient. Go head, feel good in your clean car (whatever it is) driving to the store buying products that were shipped and trucked around the world with dirty Diesel engines, produced in factories that pollute the air and water and wasted huge amounts of energy.
     
  18. jgs

    jgs Member

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    deonb worked it out as 1 VW = 10 F150s. Volkswagen Is Ordered to Recall Nearly 500,000 Vehicles Over Emissions Software - Page 29

    I think "they're all somewhat bad so it's a waste of time to call out the egregious ones" is not terribly helpful in this context, in the context of political parties, or really, much of anything. The real world is analog, not digital, there are shades of grey. Except if you're behind a VW TDI that is, then it's soot-black.
     
  19. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

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    Well, the limits aren't generally random. Most pollution law is based on epidemiological data about the health effects of certain chemicals.
     
  20. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    The problem is that Tesla's proof of concept has gotten the message across that BEVs are feasible to some, but there are still a lot of people out there who still don't believe it. YouTube has a recent video from Consumer Reports which is focused on the 103 rating for the P85D and all three of the CR people were saying that while the Tesla is a great car in many ways, it still has drawbacks. One said that just about everyone who has a Tesla also has an ICE for taking trips. Despite what everyone says here which is the Model S is a great road car and many people take them on trips all the time.

    I also heard a discussion about the VW scandal on NPR (National Public Radio) here a few days ago. They discussed alternatives for consumers and things like hybrids and fuel cells were mentioned, but electrics didn't even get a passing nod.

    The usefulness of the Tesla BEV is something that is a real thing and anyone who has bothered to research it themselves has found that out. However, the people who make a living telling the public about cars are still somewhat negative about Tesla's usefulness. Even Consumer Reports which has made quite a splash with their ratings of the original 85 and P85D. Most people aren't going to bother to do the research. I initially ignored Tesla when I started researching cars because I had the impression there were range issues and I needed a car capable of 1000 mile road trips. I looked at it as a lark after looking at just about everything else and once I learned about the superchargers, which mitigate the one negative, I was hooked.

    Unless you are "plugged in" to Tesla culture, you don't really see them or the infrastructure. I only saw my first supercharger two weeks ago. The first time I saw a Model S and recognized it for what it was was a couple of months ago. I'm sure I've seen a number of them over the last couple of years, but ignored them because they look a lot like many other larger cars.
     

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