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PHEVs moving in

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by TEG, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    This forum used to focus on pure BEVs.

    More recently, PHEV technology (in particular "series hybrids" where the ICE only ever runs a generator) have been touted as the next best thing to pure BEVs.

    We know Fisker is about to introduce a series hybrid using technology from Quantum.

    Raser has a deal in the works as well.

    I think Tesla has hinted at a possible deal to sell drivetrain technology to someone (perhaps to go in a hybrid).

    Tesla has also been saying positive things about the upcoming GM Volt series hybrid.
     
  2. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Also noted. . .

    * Aptera will sell their three-wheeled car in both BEV and PHEV versions.

    *VentureVehicles will sell their three-wheeled VentureOne in both BEV and PHEV versions.

    * When the Chevy Volt was first announced, it was mentioned that a pure BEV version wouldn't be hard to produce. Presumably GM could still do that if they think there's a market for it.

    * Tesla haven't said whether WhiteStar will be a BEV or PHEV, but it's not completely implausible that they might make both available.

    BEVs and PHEVs aren't incompatible ideas. If you develop one successfully, then you are most of the way to having the other.
     
  3. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    It's a similar picture on the TM blogs these days. Which is frustrating. I read around and pop over to the Volt site every now and then, but PHEVs or REEVs just don't do it.

    They are not inspirational. They are not aspirational.
     
  4. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Yeah, I look to Tesla for "bold strokes". Dramatic change. Not incremental "me too" improvements.
     
  5. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    #5 malcolm, Dec 15, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
    And as for "F**k Off Dealerships!" Bout time.

    We've grown accustomed to a certain David versus Goliath approach from Tesla. Admittedly, this hasn't always worked perfectly:

    "In general, it seemed to me that, the way all other people started electric car companies, got in the business, was wrong. They wanted to make a car that would save the world. So, they needed to make a car that everyone could afford and they tried to come in at the bottom end of the market. They try to go up against very, very mature companies in a very, very mature industry. Every single component they buy costs them double what Honda or Hyundai or somebody pays for that same part. So they wind up with a car that's a piece of crap. No one wants to buy it. No other industry does that happen. No other industry do you start in the low end and work your way up." Martin Eberhard http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/10/15/teslas-co-founder-says-all-other-electric-car-companies-are-wro/

    But Tesla should continue to punch above their weight. They are doing the impossible.

    I listened to the Tesla Town Hall recordings - http://www.teslamotors.com/media/updates.php - it was okay - let's just say I miss Martin's turn of phrase and delivery.
     
  6. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    You know, I'm sure the guys at CalCars or Plug-In America would take exactly the opposite view: "Why settle for the same old BEV technology with all its problems and limitations, when we could make a great leap forward to PHEVs?"
     
  7. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    'nothing against Cal-cars, but come on now... They "just" add more batteries and reprogram the controllers. What they do is simple compared to all Tesla has done. Cal-cars did add a feature that some people really wanted, but Tesla has gone and designed an all new car and is becoming a proper manufacturer and dealer. That is such a task that you haven't seen that happen in a while. (Although there is a sudden explosion if you count Fisker, Phoenix, Aptera, Miles, etc.)
     
  8. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    No, you completely misunderstood what I was trying to say. . . I wasn't referring to the plug-in Prius conversions at all. I meant, these various advocacy groups today are focusing on advocating PHEVs rather than BEVs. They'll give an occasional BEV a positive mention once in a while, but BEVs don't excite them.

    The PHEV could, in theory, get people driving most of the time on grid electricity without the limitations of range and recharge time that have hamstrung past BEVs. It's that "have your cake and eat it too" aspect that excites them.

    They don't see PHEVs as a timid half-measure that could lead to a bright future of BEVs. They see BEVs as something that might lead to a bright future of PHEVs.
     
  9. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #9 TEG, Dec 15, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
    OK, I get it now.

    ===================================================================

    I see PHEVs as a compromise and Tesla as a "no compromises" kind of company.

    Sure, there is a place for PHEVs, but I was hoping for BEVs to make a comeback too.
     
  10. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    #10 malcolm, Dec 16, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
    Good heavens! Why ever not? The game isn't going to end with the arrival of PHEVs.

    The BEV is THE engineering challenge of the 21st century. It may well be that in terms of available internal volume and required range, a large PHEV will be easier to sell to the American motorist, but once that happens, customers will do the running cost math and experience the ride with and without the generator working.

    Those brief experiences of all-electric motoring will increase the demand for better electrics in PHEVs and convince some to accept the (different set of) compromises/greater price of a BEV.

    There is going to be no better advertising for BEVs than a few PHEVs.
     
  11. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Oh yeah! I suspect you're right about that. But it's still speculation, and there are a lot of skeptics in the industry who don't and won't see it that way until it happens.

    Even though attitudes are changing, there's still a stigma -- especially among those who haven't been following the latest developments -- that a BEV is something inferior and unwanted which needs to be shoved down the public's collective throat for their own good, like bad-tasting medicine. Tesla's whole strategy is about turning that attitude around, but it'll take a long time for the light to dawn on most people.

    I'll do my part. . . When I get my Roadster I'll be happy to drive it around and show it off, and help educate the public. :biggrin:
     
  12. insndrvr

    insndrvr Member

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    I think most of the general public would sooner buy a PHEV than a BEV. They can benefit from the plug in advantages but still don't have to worry about "running out of charge" After maybe 10 years of switching people over to PHEVs, I can see more and more people being set up for and used to plugging in their cars at night, and not feeling the need to have the "gas" support.

    Ultimately, I hope everyone drives a BEV at least for a daily vehicle, since even a small improvement in the local power plant will mean a huge change for every car on the road.

    I don't see this happening for at least another 20 years, but that won't stop those of us that are really excited about it to get an early start. By then, we will be charging our BEVs for free from Solar or other forms of reuseable energy.
     
  13. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    LOL!

    Sports car driving as a civic duty! Go tony!
     
  14. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    On thing I have heard about the "range extended BEV" (AKA series hybrid) is that some customers could potentially be "so green" (only doing short trips between plugs) that they never fire up the ICE. This actually poses a problem in that many ICEs need to run once and a while to stay healthy. For instance, gasoline degrades after a while so you don't want to just leave a full tank sitting there for years unused. Also oil and coolant systems are better off if you run them through periodically. Also belts are better off being rotated now and then so the rubber doesn't slowly mold to the pulley shapes.

    There are a couple of ways around this:

    #1: Have the software run the ICE now and then just to "clear out the cobwebs"
    or
    #2: Design an ICE system that can be left alone for long periods.
    This might involve using compressed gas fuel rather than liquid. For instance, I think LPG in a tank could keep indefinitely compared to gasoline and bio-diesel which tend to break down over time. Also chains would be preferable over belts in this case, and you want to do something to keep the oil from thickening. (Perhaps run an electric oil pump now and then even though the ICE doesn't fire up?)

    Anyways, just more food for thought.
     
  15. mt2

    mt2 Member

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    Yeah, I've been thinking about that too. I think that's one of the unstated reasons 40 miles is the magic number GM and others shoot for. It is (supposedly) the average distance the average American drives in a day. So you could expect that the ICE kicks in once a week or so when you've got a couple extra errands to run.

    I'm guessing (pure speculation) that making the battery pack as small and inexpensive as possible is not the total motivation. Conventional automakers are so tied to the Otto cycle engine that they can't see a way around not using it. Putting a small gasoline engine that never gets used in a vehicle just doesn't make sense.

    To make a vehicle that, as Elon suggests, gets as many miles off the grid as possible requires rethinking how you'll power the genset. I'm kind of fond of Dean Kamen's Stirling.
     
  16. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

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    Home generators generally only have to fire off once a month to keep themselves in shape. Once a month isn't so bad.

    Oh, and why does it have to always be in the car? What about a modular drop-in generator for only those long trips? If there were a couple of standard sizes, one could even imagine a rental business for them.
     
  17. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Mainecoon Butler

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    #17 WarpedOne, Dec 18, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2007
    One word: weight. You do not want to lift 200 pound generator in and out of the trunk. Even with a garagemounted crane. One mini accident and you have a hole in the car body.

    That's why I propose genset trailers. With some cargospace for a bag or two.
     
  18. The Other Martin

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    I like both ideas

    I agree with both of you. I would love to own a pure BEV, and if further range is needed, I'll be happy with a drop-in ICE motor/generator or a genset trailer. Both have advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage of the trailer is the difficulty of backing up.

    The great advantage of both is that you don't have them as part of the vehicle when they aren't needed. That feature is clearly superior to the plug-in hybrid concept.
     
  19. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Mainecoon Butler

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    #19 WarpedOne, Dec 18, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2007
    This is a no-issue. A genset trailer from AC Propulsion for example has adaptive stearing for simple reverse driving.
    The Long Ranger(tm) by AC Propulsion Inc.
    Rav Long Ranger Hybridizing Trailer

    Absolutely and you don't even need to buy it. When you are about to set off for a longer journey you go to a local shop and rent it.
     
  20. The Other Martin

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    Electric vehicles are definitely the future.

    I was concerned about the difficulty of backing with a genset trailer...

    [WarpedOne]
    This is a no-issue. A genset trailer from AC Propulsion for example has adaptive steering for simple reverse driving.
    The Long Ranger(tm) by AC Propulsion Inc.
    Rav Long Ranger Hybridizing Trailer

    Thanks, WarpedOne - That's good news. And encouraging.

    As I guessed, based on all I've learned about efficiencies available from electric motors, the evnut.com link confirms,
    "There is little question that this 350 pound trailer functioned as planned - sustaining freeways speeds for as long as the 9.5 gallon tank had gasoline. Amazingly, even with all the conversion losses added up, the gas mileage of this combo is comparable or BETTER than the pure gasoline version of the same vehicle."
     

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