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Accelerated Evolution

The Electric Car


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So yeah, discuss the electric car, possible substitutes, etc. I, personally, think we should have electric cars, considering that, years ago, back in the '90s, and way before then, also, we already had them. In fact, at one point, people preferred them. We had them back in the '90s, and they were fine. If we had them today, the downsides to the ones back then would probably be less so than back then.

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You can thank the government, the oil industry, congress, & several key figures for the demise of electric vehicles. What happened to my EV1? I want my fucking EV1! \(>o< )

OK. Actually I don't, but you get the point. Hahaha!

But yeah, if they were as powerful as gas/diesel operated vehicles, had a very long mileage range, & were as cheap as regular gas/diesel cars, I'd rock one! (^o^ ) <3

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Hummer beats hybrid on environmental impact?

CNW's 'Dust to Dust' Automotive Energy Report

Story Published: May 17, 2007 at 9:54 PM PDT

Story Updated: May 18, 2007 at 8:54 AM PDT

By Dan Tilkin and KATU Web Staff

PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon researcher is at the center of a dispute between SUV lovers and haters, especially since one of the claims is that a Hummer beats a hybrid when it comes to 'going green.'

Art Spinella's controversial 'dust to dust' study ranks more than 300 vehicle models for their energy consumption - from the time the raw materials are extracted from the ground, the vehicle is built, the vehicle is driven and burns fuel, to recycling it at the end.

For Judy Harrington, getting good mileage is the reason she bought a Toyota Prius and for Larry Guldenzopf, his Hummer H3 was practical.

"I have a little bit of guilt," Guldenzopf said.

The question is - should Guldenzopf hold his environmental head high? Maybe so, according to Spinella.

"The Hummer over the lifetime of the vehicle ends up being less of a drain of energy on society in general than does the Prius," he told KATU News.

Spinella's automotive research marketing company out of Bandon, Oregon ranked every vehicle model on how much they cost to run over their lifetime. He ranks the Hummer H3 at $2.07 a mile and the Prius at $2.87 a mile.

"It certainly caused a stir, even inside our own company," Spinella said. "We went back and spent six months going over all the data again because some of the numbers looked so strange."

Spinella's strange numbers on the hybrid get their roots in Sudbury, Ontario in Canada. That is where the nickel for hybrid batteries is extracted from the ground. For years, it was laid barren by acid rain, caused by pollution belching from the smokestacks.

"Without question, (it is) the biggest emitter of Sulfur Dioxide, the single largest point source in Canada and probably North America," said David Martin with Greenpeace Canada.

From Canada, the nickel is sent for processing to China, which has dismal environmental regulations, then on to Japan for manufacturing, where energy costs are some of the highest in the world.

Spinella did not stop there in his energy consumption calculations. He looked at 3,000 other factors, like how much energy was consumed by workers commuting to the factory.

He also determined the number of miles each vehicle is expected to go in its lifetime. For the Prius, he calculated just 109,000 miles. "The technology changes so quickly, that early versions wind up becoming obsolete very soon," Spinella said.

Not so he says for rigs like the Hummer and other SUVs based on tried and true truck technology. According to Spinella, SUVs will be in use for years, spreading their energy costs out, despite high fuel consumption.

"It raises in the rest of us some good questions," said Professor John Heywood with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

KATU asked Heywood to review Spinella's study. As the director of the prestigious automotive lab at MIT, Heywood does see merit in the study, but he has deep concerns that Spinella's plain language report that is meant as a buying guide for consumers who want to be earth friendly does not share any specific data.

"I can only guess at how they did the detailed arithmetic," Heywood said. "The danger is a report like this will discourage the kind of thinking we want consumers to do - should I invest in this new technology, should I help this new technology?"

Other experts on the life cycle of vehicles have not been as kind. One institution, the University of Chicago, Argonne, wrote to KATU "the study is so silly that it's not worth responding to."

"Have they peer reviewed every single step of it?" Spinella asked. "No, because again we don't want to release everything we have for competitive reasons. And number two, it gets in the way of doing what we intend to do, which is to make a public document available."

On environmental Web sites, Spinella has been accused of trying to "throw doubt into the debate on the science of climate change" and the established press has weighed in as well. An Oregonian column declares of the nickel facility in Canada - it "has devastated a large swath of the surrounding area."

However, the article only tells part of the story. What it does not say is that emissions at the nickel facility have been cut by 90 percent since the 1970s and there has been a massive reforestation plan.

Still, Greenpeace Canada wants emissions from the nickel mine cleaned up even more, but still supports nickel production to support hybrids as part of the answer to long-term environmental questions.

"Every technology and every consumption of resource carries with it some environmental cost and you have to ultimately look at the big picture of how it all fits together," Martin said.

For right now, Spinella says hybrids are an expensive part of that picture.

"I don't like the Hummer people using that as an example to justify the fact that they bought a Hummer," he said. "Just as it's not for Prius owners to necessarily believe that they're saving the entire globe, the environment for the entire world, that's not true either."

Spinella said the vehicle at the top of his environmentally friendly list is the Scion XB because it is easy to build, cheap to run and recycle and carries a cost of 49 cents a mile over its lifetime.

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That's a pretty interesting article, Cleese. Hell, I might not like it, but it makes sense.

My comment earlier was a little bit in jest. I think electric cars are pretty cool. But it's not like they're especially environmentally friendly. The electricity is still probably made some horrible way and batteries are not exactly the greatest thing, either.

Good mass transit is still the way to go, I think.

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That's a pretty interesting article, Cleese. Hell, I might not like it, but it makes sense.

My comment earlier was a little bit in jest. I think electric cars are pretty cool. But it's not like they're especially environmentally friendly. The electricity is still probably made some horrible way and batteries are not exactly the greatest thing, either.

Good mass transit is still the way to go, I think.

or nuclear power.

I've seen electric engines that work with linear accelerators and electromagnets, they're pretty much the most efficient motor i've ever seen.

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Who's going to buy a nuclear car? I mean, people are afraid of using it to power our HOMES. FORGET trying to sell them a car! People are too afraid that, if they get within 70 feet of something like that, it'll either give them cancer (no matter HOW thick the stuff keeping them safe from it is) or blow them up.

I think he meant using nuclear power to power the electric motors in the car (rather than getting your electricity for your car from, say, a coal plant and not being environmentally helpful at all).

Increased efficiency in engines is great, but I'm not so sure about nuclear power in itself. I don't trust it.

I was thinking about that article that Cleese posted. One thing it doesn't mention is the renewability of resources. Sure, it might be more expensive to use nickel, etc, but we've got a hell of a lot more nickel than we do oil.

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I think he meant using nuclear power to power the electric motors in the car (rather than getting your electricity for your car from, say, a coal plant and not being environmentally helpful at all).

Increased efficiency in engines is great, but I'm not so sure about nuclear power in itself. I don't trust it.

I was thinking about that article that Cleese posted. One thing it doesn't mention is the renewability of resources. Sure, it might be more expensive to use nickel, etc, but we've got a hell of a lot more nickel than we do oil.

Nickles is money, too, guys.

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or nuclear power.

My mom was telling me about when they first invented nuclear power. How they thought EVERYTHING was going to be nuclear powered, including cars.

But looking at the science of it; it just doesn't seem very cost effective or safe. People's cars break down all the time. Do we really want them to MELTdown?? Cars rarely explode, but when they do, it's because of a crack in the fuel tank + heat, etc. What happens if/when a nuclear car explodes? Would it be Chernobyl on wheels every time there's a car accident? It just ain't feasible.

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My mom was telling me about when they first invented nuclear power. How they thought EVERYTHING was going to be nuclear powered, including cars.

But looking at the science of it; it just doesn't seem very cost effective or safe. People's cars break down all the time. Do we really want them to MELTdown?? Cars rarely explode, but when they do, it's because of a crack in the fuel tank + heat, etc. What happens if/when a nuclear car explodes? Would it be Chernobyl on wheels every time there's a car accident? It just ain't feasible.

i didn't mean a nuclear car, an electric car with electricty coming from a nuclear power plant.

And nuclear power is extremely safe, there is very little that is unsafe with nuclear energy.

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