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History and Future of the Electric Car

mspohr

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Jul 27, 2014
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In 1897, the bestselling car in the US was an electric vehicle: the Pope Manufacturing Company’s Columbia Motor Carriage. Electric models were outselling steam- and petrol-powered ones. By 1900, sales of steam vehicles had taken a narrow lead: that year, 1,681 steam vehicles, 1,575 electric vehicles and 936 petrol-powered vehicles were sold. Only with the launch of the Olds Motor Works’ Curved Dash Oldsmobile in 1903 did petrol-powered vehicles take the lead for the first time.

Approaches to transport that provide the convenience of a private car without the need to own one, for a growing fraction of journeys. Horace Dediu, a technology analyst, calls this “unbundling the car”, as cheaper, quicker, cleaner and more convenient alternatives slowly chip away at the rationale for mass car ownership. Its ability to connect up these different forms of transport, to form an “internet of motion”, means that the smartphone, rather than any particular means of transport, is the true heir to the car. The internet of motion provides a way to escape from the car-based transport monoculture that exists in many cities. That should be welcomed, because the experience of the 20th century suggests that it would be a mistake to replace one transport monoculture with another, as happened with the switch from horses to cars. A transport monoculture is less flexible, and its unintended consequences become more easily locked in and more difficult to address.
 
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XLR82XS

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Jul 26, 2019
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SWFL | Vegas
No mention of the first electric car?

In 1898, Ferdinand Porsche designed the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton. The vehicle was powered by an octagonal electric motor, and with three to five PS it reached a top speed of 25 km/h. In 1899, Porsche joined the carriage maker in Vienna, k.u.k. Hofwagenfabrik Ludwig Lohner & Co.

There he developed the electric wheel hub motor. In 1900, the first Lohner-Porsche Electromobile with this innovation was presented at the Expo in Paris. With 2 x 2.5 PS it reached a top speed of 37 km/h. Lohner’s reason for a vehicle with an electric motor sounds as topical today as it did then, especially in relation to the era of mass motorisation: the air was “ruthlessly spoiled by the large number of petrol engines in use”.
 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,242
12,883
California
No mention of the first electric car?

In 1898, Ferdinand Porsche designed the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton. The vehicle was powered by an octagonal electric motor, and with three to five PS it reached a top speed of 25 km/h. In 1899, Porsche joined the carriage maker in Vienna, k.u.k. Hofwagenfabrik Ludwig Lohner & Co.

There he developed the electric wheel hub motor. In 1900, the first Lohner-Porsche Electromobile with this innovation was presented at the Expo in Paris. With 2 x 2.5 PS it reached a top speed of 37 km/h. Lohner’s reason for a vehicle with an electric motor sounds as topical today as it did then, especially in relation to the era of mass motorisation: the air was “ruthlessly spoiled by the large number of petrol engines in use”.
Claims of first are often confused and difficult to resolve. Without taking anything away from Porsche...

Perhaps the most remarkable example, to modern eyes, of how things might have worked out differently for electric vehicles is the story of the Electrobat, an electric taxicab that briefly flourished in the late 1890s. The Electrobat had been created in Philadelphia in 1894 by Pedro Salom and Henry Morris, two scientist-inventors who were enthusiastic proponents of electric vehicles.

In 1897, the bestselling car in the US was an electric vehicle: the Pope Manufacturing Company’s Columbia Motor Carriage. Electric models were outselling steam- and petrol-powered ones. By 1900, sales of steam vehicles had taken a narrow lead: that year, 1,681 steam vehicles, 1,575 electric vehicles and 936 petrol-powered vehicles were sold. Only with the launch of the Olds Motor Works’ Curved Dash Oldsmobile in 1903 did petrol-powered vehicles take the lead for the first time.
 

wws

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Aug 11, 2014
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There were several EVs prior to the one or two experimental cars that Dr Porsche built. By 1898, the Electric Vehicle Company (Salom and Morris) had already deployed an electric taxi cab service in New York City - with plans to expand to other East Coast cities and Chicago.
 
The interesting part is what comes next, post Tesla?
IMO, the electric car as basically an electric appliance on wheels.
Challenge is to combine lightweighting and a sleek build with the notion not to come up with a small car.

IMO, there are two considerations.
1. Vehicle mass: the less kg's need displacing, the more it squeezes out of one kWh.
2. Vehicle size: the smaller/narrower, the more efficiency; may contribute to a higher level of driverless

Remember that a Model 3 is wider than the driver, usually the only occupant, is tall...
And has a battery pack which outweighs the driver 5-6 times over.

How%2Bvehicle%2Bmass%2Bdetermines%2BkWh%2Bintake.jpg

How%2Bvehicle%2Bsize%2Bdetermines%2Befficiency.jpg
 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,242
12,883
California
The interesting part is what comes next, post Tesla?
IMO, the electric car as basically an electric appliance on wheels.
Challenge is to combine lightweighting and a sleek build with the notion not to come up with a small car.

IMO, there are two considerations.
1. Vehicle mass: the less kg's need displacing, the more it squeezes out of one kWh.
2. Vehicle size: the smaller/narrower, the more efficiency; may contribute to a higher level of driverless

Remember that a Model 3 is wider than the driver, usually the only occupant, is tall...
And has a battery pack which outweighs the driver 5-6 times over.

How%2Bvehicle%2Bmass%2Bdetermines%2BkWh%2Bintake.jpg

How%2Bvehicle%2Bsize%2Bdetermines%2Befficiency.jpg
... Is the electric bicycle.
Meets all criteria.
(I love mine)
 
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Earl

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Jan 22, 2014
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Vehicle mass: the less kg's need displacing, the more it squeezes out of one kWh
Cute graphics, however, I don't see them describing the physics involved with EVs. Maybe my physics understanding is lacking but I don't think so.
However, other than for elevating a car (which averages out to zero if one returns to the same location), or overcoming some tire and bearing friction, that any kWh are used to displace any kg's in a vehicle.
Most kWh are consumed by displacing air out of the way as the vehicle moves through the air.
Vehicle size (particularly cross-sectional area) does improve this as less air needs to be moved out of the way.


... Is the electric bicycle.

Actually, the electric bicycle, or bicycles, in general, are not particularly energy efficient due to their poor aerodynamic qualities. The only reason they consume less electric energy than aerodynamic automobiles, such as Teslas, is because they go so slowly and they only have the cross sectional area of one person with minimal additional cargo capacity. Energy/carriage volume and energy/distance/velocity are both better for the EV car -- if, of course, one is using all of the volume available.

Sure, if you don't have far to go or much to carry, and time isn't a big issue, an e-bike is great. However, the real energy savings comes from not having far to go, little to carry, and time to get there, not so much the chosen means of transportation.

A tiny one-seat EV car, with an aerodynamic shape and any number of wheels, would use much less energy and would be useful in rainy or extremely hot weather.

All of these old wives tales or false science 'facts' are a form of science ignorance which are, IMHO, just as bad as science denial. One really needs to understand one's science (physics and chemistry, in particular) before making proclamations or, even worse, making or clamoring for rules or laws.
 
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Actually, the electric bicycle, or bicycles, in general, are not particularly energy efficient due to their poor aerodynamic qualities. The only reason they consume less electric energy than aerodynamic automobiles, such as Teslas, is because they go so slowly and they only have the cross sectional area of one person with minimal additional cargo capacity. Energy/carriage volume and energy/distance/velocity are both better for the EV car -- if, of course, one is using all of the volume available.

Sure, if you don't have far to go or much to carry, and time isn't a big issue, an e-bike is great. However, the real energy savings comes from not having far to go, little to carry, and time to get there, not so much the chosen means of transportation.

A tiny one-seat EV car, with an aerodynamic shape and any number of wheels, would use much less energy and would be useful in rainy or extremely hot weather.

All of these old wives tales or false science 'facts' are a form of science ignorance which are, IMHO, just as bad as science denial. One really needs to understand one's science (physics and chemistry, in particular) before making proclamations or, even worse, making or clamoring for rules or laws.

Good points, some "ouch". I agree for the better part.
As a matter of fact, in a recent survey the Tesla Model 3 beat several EVs from other brands
when it comes to the efficient way it squeezes miles (or kilometers) out of 1 kWh given its weight and drag.

But that's my point: when you use the Model 3 as a benchmark, the next step how to reverse the vicious circle
of weight, drag, battery size and kWh consumption is to reduce those by starting out with the first two mentioned.
That is what I meant by a Next-Gen EV as basically an oversized toy car. Teslas are still too much the 'old car'
with the ICE swapped for electric drive.

But the main benefits may lie more in the 'reduce size' (or footprint) department, I'll give you that.

E-b-MyGXEAEKruA
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,242
12,883
California
Actually, the electric bicycle, or bicycles, in general, are not particularly energy efficient due to their poor aerodynamic qualities. The only reason they consume less electric energy than aerodynamic automobiles, such as Teslas, is because they go so slowly and they only have the cross sectional area of one person with minimal additional cargo capacity. Energy/carriage volume and energy/distance/velocity are both better for the EV car -- if, of course, one is using all of the volume available.

Sure, if you don't have far to go or much to carry, and time isn't a big issue, an e-bike is great. However, the real energy savings comes from not having far to go, little to carry, and time to get there, not so much the chosen means of transportation.

A tiny one-seat EV car, with an aerodynamic shape and any number of wheels, would use much less energy and would be useful in rainy or extremely hot weather.
My electric bicycle has a range of 30 miles on 360 Wh (12 Wh/mile) which beats any other vehicle. Since most cars only carry one person and very little baggage it also beats them in energy/carried mass. Most trips are less than 30 miles so entirely feasible by bike. Hot weather isn't a problem since have excellent ventilation. We have coats for cold and rain and don't need tons of steel to keep out the weather.
In comparison, a tiny one seat EV is much less efficient and a death trap on roads compared to a bike on dedicated bike lanes. I doubt people would want to travel very far or fast in a tiny EV.
 

Earl

Member
Jan 22, 2014
272
347
USA
My electric bicycle has a range of 30 miles on 360 Wh (12 Wh/mile) which beats any other vehicle.
However, at about 15 mph, it will take 2 hours to get that 30 miles. With the exception of extreme urban congestion, this hardly beats any car unless, of course, time does not matter to you.
it also beats them in energy/carried mass.
I also mentioned that energy consumption isn't so much a function of mass as it is of speed. As I mentioned in my reply above. People tend to want their money to go as far as they can, meaning it needs to fit a lot of their needs including the rare times.
dedicated bike lanes
Also, of course, in places without dedicated bike lanes (like pretty much everywhere I've ever lived) you're putting your life in the hands of bimbos driving big SUVs to whom applying their makeup or gossip on cellphones is more important than not hitting you.
Getting to that low-impact economy can be quite a challenge, especially because, unlike with cars there are no consumption taxes on bicycles to tax in order to fund infrastructure development. This means bicycle lane funding (acquisition, construction, and maintenance) will always be made with politically-charged, discretionary funds.
 

mspohr

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Jul 27, 2014
10,242
12,883
California
However, at about 15 mph, it will take 2 hours to get that 30 miles. With the exception of extreme urban congestion, this hardly beats any car unless, of course, time does not matter to you.

I also mentioned that energy consumption isn't so much a function of mass as it is of speed. As I mentioned in my reply above. People tend to want their money to go as far as they can, meaning it needs to fit a lot of their needs including the rare times.

Also, of course, in places without dedicated bike lanes (like pretty much everywhere I've ever lived) you're putting your life in the hands of bimbos driving big SUVs to whom applying their makeup or gossip on cellphones is more important than not hitting you.
Getting to that low-impact economy can be quite a challenge, especially because, unlike with cars there are no consumption taxes on bicycles to tax in order to fund infrastructure development. This means bicycle lane funding (acquisition, construction, and maintenance) will always be made with politically-charged, discretionary funds.
Bikes are 25 mph so faster.

Energy consumption (that you pay for) is Wh/mile and the bicycle is lower than anything else.

You'd be surprised at how common bike lanes are and other options.
When I lived in Switzerland 10 years ago I used to commute to work on a (non-electric) bicycle 25 km each way. I used a combination of bike lanes (in the city) and farm roads for most of the journey. All types of weather. Only a few times regretted not taking the train. My commute was less than an hour which is what many of my co-workers spent in their car.
 

mspohr

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Jul 27, 2014
10,242
12,883
California
The trick is to strike the right balance. Passenger safety of paramount importance, obviously.
There's a totally different market out there for sensible electric drive based on squeezing as much range out of every kWh.
Npt based on 0-60 blistering acceleration.
I believe all Teslas are top ranked for safety as well as efficiency (and 0-60 times).
 

Earl

Member
Jan 22, 2014
272
347
USA
The trick is to strike the right balance. Passenger safety of paramount importance, obviously.
There's a totally different market out there for sensible electric drive based on squeezing as much range out of every kWh.
Npt based on 0-60 blistering acceleration.
I concur except that, with an EV, once you've put enough batteries in the car to get over 200 miles of range, the blistering 0-60 acceleration comes nearly for free, only adding a few $10s to the cost and a few 10's of lbs to the mass while, at the same time slightly increasing motor efficiency under normal driving conditions.
You've got to get out of the old ICE paradigm where:
With an ICE:
- fuel consumption is proportional to power (bad)
- fuel consumption is proportional to mass (bad)
With EV:
- fuel consumption reduces with power (good)
- fuel consumption barely increases with mass (not too bad)
 
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With an ICE:
- fuel consumption is proportional to power (bad)
- fuel consumption is proportional to mass (bad)
With EV:
- fuel consumption reduces with power (good)
- fuel consumption barely increases with mass (not too bad)
Interesting article about efficiency in electric vehicles:
Energy efficiency trade-offs in small to large electric vehicles
"Certified and real-world energy consumption of electric vehicles increase by 60% and 40%, respectively, with each doubling of vehicle mass, but only by 5% with each doubling of rated motor power."

"Mass-related efficiency trade-offs in electric vehicles are large and could be tapped by stimulating mode shift from passenger cars to light electric road vehicles."

"despite high overall efficiencies, there is scope for further efficiency improvements, specifically for electric cars"
 

mspohr

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Jul 27, 2014
10,242
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California
Too bad they only looked at mass. With an EV, a lot of the energy spent accelerating or going uphill can be recouped through regeneration, negating the mass factor.
Much better if they had factored in drag coefficient. I suspect this would have produced different results.
 
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Earl

Member
Jan 22, 2014
272
347
USA
there is scope for further efficiency improvements, specifically for electric cars
I agree (although I suspect other things may have changed with mass as well to yield the provided result).
However, for now, I believe the goal should be to get everyone over to electric cars, regardless of efficiency.
Unfortunately, the paper provided appears to focus on easily measured parameters (mass) and misses the harder ones (eg. Velocity, Cd, and frontal area). It seems that they're overanalyzing extremely slow speed vehicles that they can probably procure cheaply from China and measure with a scale but they completely miss what well-engineered, practical systems can accomplish. It is all too typical of narrow-minded academic research that we all too often see today in that it provides easy math to impress the professor but the conclusion misses so much and doesn't help anyone.
At such unrealistically slow speeds, of course mass dominates.
If one looks at energy consumption and CO2 and other emissions, one finds that but a small amount of them come from low-speed transportation. A more useful study would attack the large users and producers, not irrelevant ones. That might help us to actually save the planet instead of just winning research grants.
EVs are great. Even the most inefficient EV* uses less energy and produces fewer emissions than the best ICE using renewables and are at worst, about the same with the worst form of electricity generation. Sure, we can tweak things going forward but if the aero shape of the EV is the only turnoff for some (rain drip, visibility, towing, car-top hauling, general aesthetics, etc) I hope someone starts making inefficient EVs if that's what it takes to get them out of their ICE.
 
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