Towards mass marketed electric vehicles

by Robert Ellison

A look at the Drift EV concept for electric vehicles.

Some 57% percent of greenhouse gases come from fossil fuels. Road transport is approximately 13% – trucks and buses being 7.5% and passenger vehicles 5.5%. Cars emit nitrous oxide – a precursor to tropospheric ozone – as well as methane and other pollutants. There are health impacts of driving fossil fuelled vehicles in cities. The solution for these emissions are technological innovations that work in the marketplace. In terms of passenger vehicles that means sexy – sex sells cars and always has. Mass marketing requires low costs. So what could the mass marketed electric vehicle of today look like? Something that can be all electric around town – and something you could take to Broom in Western Australia – or on the Dakar Rally – in the holidays.

The Drift EV Concept

A rear wheel drive street or rally car featuring a 3D printed ABS plastic and carbon fibre chassis, in-hub electric motors, dual carbon batteries and free piston linear generator range extenders. All of these technologies are at the edge of innovation in electrical vehicle development. Local Motors has manufactured a 3D printed car. Protean Electric has a high performance in-hub drive motor that eliminates all conventional drive train components. In a rear wheel drive configuration the peak power output is 200hp (150kW) – double that for a four wheel drive configuration. Power Japan Plus has a new battery with increased power density, a more usable power range, lower costs, greater thermal stability (eliminating complex cooling systems) and which is completely recyclable. DLR has a new ultra flexible fuel range extender that completes a brand new electric vehicle concept with all the range and reliability you need (and more) in a high performance and flexible, low cost package. Introducing a Local Motors concept that I have taken the liberty to rebadge as the Drift EV.


The Lotus Evora vehicle platform shown below is made of bonded aluminium and provides a basis for a number of vehicle configuration. A printable carbon fibre version is a cheaper solution. The design of the chassis might include aluminium sections to make it even lighter and to improve torsional rigidity if required or to engineer crumple zones.

Slide2The design is very much simplified using in-hub motors as it requires only the attachment of a wheel and suspension assembly. Change the suspension and wheel size for different models.   It is suitable for a sports car configuration – but also crossovers and light commercial. Attach a printable body in a variety of formats. It is very simply designed around a battery pack.


Each of these puts out 75kW peak power (54 continuous) – with four wheel drive that’s 400hp peak power.  A 2wd configuration results in a lower cost – and is what drift cars are all about. Indicative pricing for these motors is US$1600.


Protean Electric has designed and developed a unique in-wheel electric drive system for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric light-duty vehicles. The Protean Drive™ system can improve vehicle fuel economy, add torque, increase power and enable improved vehicle handling to both new and existing vehicles.

Protean Drive™ is a fully-integrated, direct-drive solution that combines in-wheel motors with an integrated inverter, control electronics and software – no separate large, heavy and costly inverter is required. Each motor packages easily in the unused space behind a conventional 18- to 24-inch wheel and can use the original equipment wheel bearing. The direct-drive configuration reduces part count, complexity and cost, so there is no need to integrate traditional drivetrain components such as external gearing, transmissions, driveshafts, axles and differentials.’


This Brabus E-class Mercedes conversion shows what’s possible.


Battery cost, reliability, safety and the environment impacts of rare earths and heavy metals have been a constraint on EV development. The dual carbon battery from Power Japan Plus promises to balance the energy storage equation. Superfast charging is a bonus.

‘For manufacturers the dual carbon battery offers a high-value, high- performance product with no switchover cost. For electric vehicle companies, production simplicity combined with great performance will unlock true mass-market electric vehicles.

The dual carbon battery slots directly into existing manufacturing processes, requiring no change to existing manufacturing lines. Even more, the battery allows for consolidation of the supply chain, with only one active material — carbon. Additionally, manufacturing of the dual carbon battery is under no threat of supply disruption or price spikes from rare metals, rare earth metals or heavy metals. Even more, the thermal stability of the battery eliminates the need for complex battery cooling systems. The dual carbon battery also fits any form factor.’

Free Piston Linear Generator Range Extender

The range extender is a fossil fuelled on board battery charger.  The Chevy Volt uses a 1.4L petrol engine for instance.  The free piston linear generator is the next step.  It does away with most of the moving parts of conventional internal combustion engines. In the simplest configuration it consists of magnets mounted on pistons and a coil surrounding the cylinder. DLR and Toyota are both testing versions.

The DLR device is described by gizmag ‘The explosion of the fuel-air mix pushes the pistons on either side of the central combustion chamber towards the gas springs, which decelerate the pistons and push them back. The device operates at a frequency of 40 to 50 Hz and produces up to 35 kW of power.’



Technology offers the potential for a low cost electric vehicle with a top speed of 200km/hr and a range of 600km.   The Drift is an idea whose time has come.

 JC note:  This post was submitted via email.  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments relevant and civil.


268 responses to “Towards mass marketed electric vehicles

  1. Super! I want one of these.

  2. Great post. The person, or company, that can free people from the gas station will become very rich.
    As long as electricity to charge the batteries is cheap, plentiful and reliable. Funny how those three things are pre-requisites for so much: electric high-speed trains, lower emissions for powering industry and homes, etc etc etc.

    • Actually the ‘gas station’ would be the ideal place to get the EV rapidly charged , if its possible , has it close has you can get to being infrastructure ready .

      • Poor clarity on my part. Where I was going with that was that China has little to no infrastructure to support large numbers of vehicles in many, many places. They aren’t locked into gas engines due to the amazing amount of money spent building an infrastructure to support gas engines.
        The choice in type of vehicle can dictate the infrastructure.
        It’s like the US in the year 1900- you can start building gas stations or charging stations or something else. Roads for heavy, high-speed vehicles or roads for light, lower-speed vehicles. It’s a unique opportunity.

      • Rob Johnson-Taylor

        In the UK we have charging points already located around some major shopping malls and the number of these are increasing due to government initiatives .i.e. they providing some of the upfront capital costs of installation.

      • Rob Johnson-Taylor

        Having seen a few here in the US, I’ve wondered who’s paying the electricity bill. If it’s a shopping center, it seems rents would increase. If an office, the same. So the costs for operation would seemingly be spread over a broad base even if one doesn’t get use of the vehicle. Taxation without utilization?

      • Rob Johnson-Taylor

        Danny Thomas – you have to pay for the electricity used, its just the installation that the government pays for. But you get a free parking spot whilst connected.

      • Rob,

        Thank you. Assume one just zips their credit card thru a machine, plug in, and walk away?

    • induction charging from the roadway may be possible. You might never need to stop for a charge.

  3. If the free piston linear generator works and presents an improvement then presumably we will soon see it replace conventional internal combustion engines?

    I’m a bit suspicious about claims of simultaneous exceptional advances in two or more essentially unrelated areas.

    • The application doesn’t require throttling the device. It runs in a range of 40-50 hertz.

      It isn’t a drop in replacement for an auto engine.

  4. Is methane really a pollutant?

    • Yes. It is something like 13 times more potent as a greenhouse gas as CO2.

      • I’ll ask again, is methane really a pollutant?

      • No, it occurs naturally and in atmosphere it oxidises into CO2 and H2O within a few years. CO2 has many benefits, eg. plant growth. It has been unjustifiably demonised over the last couple of decades, and there are at last signs that the demonisation is losing traction.

    • I was rather thinking of compounds other than methane as pollutants.

      Methane itself does not seem to have health impacts.

    • When you ask if something is a pollutant and the response is:
      “It… is a greenhouse gas”

      They mean no. If it was an actual pollutant they would mention something harmful it does.

      A little over half of methane is related to humans (55%).
      Over 600 Mt is released annually (naturally and otherwise).
      Around 5090 Mt in the atmosphere (1830 PPB).
      722 ppb preindustrial level.
      Average Lifetime 9 years.
      Level increasing at 1/333 the CO2 rate (6 PPB)

      In the pre-Cambrian period it was 0.1% of the atmosphere.(1000 PPM).

      A graph of historic methane is somewhat silly because a properly scaled graph essentially shows the current level of methane as zero.

      Natural gas is responsible for 2/3rds of the fossil fuel methane emissions.

      China is the main source of non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

      The methane level had flattened out until China started feeding its people better (more animals and rice paddies).

      Depopulation is really the only way to reduce the methane level. The short lifetime, and huge natural emissions or food related emissions make any action sort of futile.

  5. Nice. Slap a set of photovoltaic panels on the roof of the garage and you are good to go (since so much of our electricity in NM is generated in some pretty old coal plants in the Four Corners region).

  6. Please, vehicles only need sails. If Gaia doesn’t want you there, you are spittin’ into the wind to oppose her.

  7. Questions;
    1. ABS brakes – now that I have it I do not want to ever do without it. How does it work or not with this vehicle?
    2. Can I print my own at home? Other than the metal frame and conventional parts.
    3. Expected range?
    4. 0-60 mph in how many seconds?
    5. Bumpers? I really don’t like the trend towards cars without them. How are you supposed to push one? Of course this one would likely be light enough to push by hand.
    6. Crash testing? How safe?
    7. Top speed?
    8. Entertainment? Radio, plug in for Phone, etc.
    9. Blue tooth?
    10. A/C? Heating? How does that work? Normal cars use waste heat to heat the car.
    11. I can imagine that some coordination between the motors is necessary to keep the car from pulling in one direction or the other?
    12. How does steering work?

    • 1. Regenerative braking – mixed in with electro-hydraulic braking. Independent 4 wheel control with slip sensor.

      2. With a big enough printer –

      3. Aim for 300 mile range – but it has an ICE to recharge on the go.

      4. A 4wd Brabus Mercedes conversion gets 0-100 in 5.9s.

      5. Shiny ones.

      6. Yeah – it’s needs to crumple.

      7. The speed is limited by the wheel dimension and the peak RPM of the motors. Some 200km/h.

      8. The complete package from TRW automotive – airconditioning, heating, ventilation, etc.

      9. Yes

      10. Electrical heating as per 8.

      11. Integrated electronics in the motors gives fine control – no diff required.

      12. Normal steering – again from TRW.

      • 3. 300 mile range with ICE to extend range. 300 miles is Casper, WY to Billings, MT (Roughly). I deliberately picked two cities where there is a whole bunch of space between (although there are gas stations and small towns between, not sure about 24/7 access). Definitely not a place you want to run out of gas (or in this case electricity). Not bad by American standards. Not sure how that works outback, though.
        7. Converts to 124 miles/hour — not bad at all.

    • 9. Blue tooth? here is interesting info
      I heard something really interesting about Blue tooth lately.

      I have heard for years, that Houston Real Time Traffic data came from the EZTag information. Recently I heard that most of the data now comes from Blue Tooth. Most Cars, Most cellphones, you name it, has blue tooth. They do not record the data and they do not keep track of who you are and the data is not used in court against you. An EasyTag station can cost 75 thousand. A blue tooth station can cause 75 hundred dollars.

      • blue tooth can’t be all of that. gps and the regular cell signal is what is used – I’m not even sure any of it, unless your phone is talking to your car on Bluetooth to get on board data, which I doubt for most cars. Bluetooth range is a few meters….

  8. This still begs the question of where we are going to find the electricity to charge the batteries, and fast charging requires heavy current, something that isn’t particularly user friendly.

    Plus, those wheel motors look like a serious amount of unsprung weight, hence there will be a poor sprung/unsprung weight ratio, with the concomitant disadvantages in traction, ride, tyre wear and surface damage.

    • The motors are 34kg apeice of unsprung weight.

      ‘Each in-wheel motor can be controlled entirely independently, providing far greater control, performance and vehicle dynamics than any other drive system.

      In addition, traction control, launch control and torque vectoring are all easily implemented through the use of in-wheel motors.’

      • All of those advantages you list are dependent on your being able to keep the tire on the road surface. With 68 lbs of motor in each wheel you are effectively eliminating any advantage gained in vehicle design over the last 60 years from independent suspension, mag wheels, disk breaks, etc. All aimed at reducing unsprung weight in order to improve ride comfort and safe handling.

      • All of those advantages you list are dependent on your being able to keep the tire on the road surface. With 68 lbs of motor in each wheel you are effectively eliminating any advantage gained in vehicle design over the last 60 years from independent suspension, mag wheels, disk breaks, etc. All aimed at reducing unsprung weight in order to improve ride comfort and safe handling.

        What? Most vehicle traffic travels on paved surfaces where all that stuff does not matter.

      • ‘For more than three decades BRABUS has ranked as one the top addresses worldwide for exclusive high-performance automobiles. Since 2008 the BRABUS ZERO EMISSION business division of BRABUS, recognized by the German Federal Motor Vehicle Department as an automobile manufacturer, deals with the development of vehicle concepts for alternative-drive cars.

        For the electric drive of the BRABUS High Performance 4WD Full Electric the BRABUS vehicle and electrical engineers decided on four wheel hub motors from English manufacturer Protean ELECTRIC.

        A low weight of just 31 kilograms (68 pounds), a compact diameter of only 42 centimeters (16.5 inches) and a thickness of merely 11.5 centimeters (4.5 in.) make these motors perfectly suited for this project. They are positioned in the BRABUS Monoblock Q wheels in size 8.5Jx19 front and back.

        With a peak power of 80 kW and a peak torque of 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) in Sport mode these motors are ideal for meeting the high-performance requirements that BRABUS is renowned for. In recuperation mode under braking each of the motors contributes up to 70 kW to the energy recovery system and therefore to recharging the batteries.

        The concept car is equipped with an electro-hydraulic BRABUS brake system that was custom developed for this type of drive layout. The four vented bake discs are attached to the rear of the wheel hub motors, and gripped by two internal brake calipers each.

        Controlling the four wheel hub motors presented a special challenge. They are coordinated by a high-tech electronic control unit and give the E-Class sedan an innovative all-wheel-drive system that defies any kind of weather and all road surface conditions. But that’s not all: the independent drive of each wheel provides the vehicle with torque vectoring capabilities, the active controlling of the yaw angle, for impressive driving dynamics and particularly safe handling.

        On the road the BRABUS High Performance 4WD Full Electric exhibits the dynamic performance one can rightfully expect from a BRABUS high-performance automobile and one that has been unheard of in an electrically powered sedan of this size until now.’

      • Unsprung means greater physical forces on the motor, too.

      • Gee – I wonder if anyone thought of testing that?

        ‘It has long been widely accepted that unsprung mass is an important parameter in ride and handling behaviour. In a wide-ranging study connected to feasibility studies for in-wheel motors, some specific and detailed measures for the sizes of the effects in play have been taken – and the reality is something of a surprise compared to what “everybody knows”. Subjective, Objective and Predictive measures of ride & handling suggest that the modern development toolbox is easily capable of restoring dynamic performance and that the opportunities afforded by in-wheel motors in terms of packaging and vehicle dynamics control are of substantial interest to the vehicle dynamics community.’

      • Nice link, Rob, but durability wasn’t addressed. Hmmm.

  9. Thomas Edison advised Henry Ford to not go electric. The history is here:

  10. It is nice to dream of concept cars, but hard to make them real. That is what is so great about the TESLA, already here!

    • It doesn’t cost anything to dream. But, Tesla — if all goes well, the company is not expected to make a profit until, the 2020s?

      • The TESLA and all electric vehicles are complete DUD’s in cold climates like Canada. They are highly subsidized rich mans toys, to easy their white man guilt via this type of indulgence fee. I still don’t understand why the rest of us are forced to subsidize the green guilt-ed rich folk.

      • Fyi– Tesla Model S is said to be the best-selling car in Norway! It’s cold there, no?

      • Tesla are building a multi-billion dollar battery ‘mega-factory’.

      • Speaking about Tesla, it would seem that the cost of maintenance and repair far outweigh the cost of purchase …

        “Reported estimates from Tesla’s certified shops include:

        * $10,000 to repair a “minor but long” scratch
        * $45,000 for “minor front-end damage”
        * $7,000 for repair of a small dent and scratch that required no replacement of parts
        * $30,000 for “minor fender and door damage”
        * $11,000 for a minor scrape on the rear panel, including a $155 charge to “ensure battery remains charged” during the repair.”

        Frankly, why would you bother?

      • Fyi– Tesla Model S is said to be the best-selling car in Norway! It’s cold there, no?

        If a country in Europe does something stupid that bites them later, it won’t be the first time. You can roll that forward from world war one.

    • Wagathon firstly TESLA, are not the best selling car in Norway .secondly the TESL’s that do sell there are mostly seen in Oslo driven by the type of people who are speaking the truth with their ‘my other car is a Porsche ‘ bumper sticker.

      • It’s definitely a weird country: By most measures, Norway is among the greenest countries on Earth. It gets virtually all of its electricity from hydropower; it plans to cut its greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2020; and it has more electric vehicles per capita than any country in the world. But Norway is also the biggest oil producer in Western Europe and the world’s third-largest exporter of natural gas. All that petroleum money allows Norway to subsidize its green lifestyle; it has also helped create what is now the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, soon projected to top $1 trillion. (Ibid.)

      • Oil income is what feeds Norway’s extensive socialist programs. It is ironic, isn’t it?

      • Norway’s marvellous hydro means Norway is very water dependent. European droughts like 1976 and 2003 are quite survivable for a super-rich fossil fuel seller like Norway, especially when it’s far from being the epicentre. Still there is evidence of harsher Scando drought in times past. Just as well some of the neighbours are selling non-renewables. Never know when you might need a cup of sugar from the low-class types next door…or a top-up for the Tesla.

        To make Norway a poster child of the green religion it is necessary to overlook how it makes all that lovely, well-administered money, and what it does to those “living rivers” to get all that “sustainable” energy. Not my prob, since I love dams and fossil fuels…and I don’t have any poster children. (Not even old aqueducts and new Landcruisers, though I’m tempted to fetishism in those cases. And maybe Bamix.)

      • Anders Valland

        If you were to live in Norway, as I do, you would not know that we are the greenest country on Earth. About 2/3rds of our energy is renewable due to hydropower abundance. Alas, the greenies want us to be very unhappy about the fact that we do sell hydrocrabons to the rest of the world and that we should repent our sins – we thus need to to better than the EU when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
        That is why the Tesla is an easy sell in Norway. The NGO Bellona has done marketing and lobbying for Tesla (the son of the NGO leader works for Tesla, and Tesla sponsored the NGO with some cars to go sporting around the country showing them off…) and convinced our politicians that they should go all in to support EVs. Norway has a heavy tax on cars already before the GHG madness, more than 50% of the price of a new car is pure taxation. This means that our dear politicians could just cut away all those taxes for the EVs to make them look cheap. They also made the EVs run free of road charges, toll charges, parking charges, allowed to drive in public transport lanes etc. Even ferry crossings were free, but they recently reversed that decision. And with Europe’s lowest price for electricity most EV sellers will provide charging for free.
        In short, the EV is perfect as a city car in Norway and since you save huge amounts of money compared to an IC car it is actually a no brainer for those who can afford two cars. The Tesla is still an expensive car at 100000 USD, so the Nissan Leaf is the most popular amongst ordinary people. With Volkswagen finally understanding that an EV does not need to look ugly as the Leaf (they fitted the body of a Golf on their EV chassis) it looks as though there will be a shift in sales figures.
        This funding scheme, or lack of taxation, is supposed to end in 2017 or when we have 50000 EVs on our roads. There might be the odd Norwegian buying an EV for environmental reasons, but I think you see the reason most buy it.

  11. Eli, is sure all the good ideas were already patented, so what’s up doc?

  12. Good grief Rob, you’ve been busy. Are you still laid up with your leg?

    Both the last article and this one were very good.

    I really like the idea of electric vehicles. I have an electric powered bike which I charge up using a solar panel linked to a heavy duty car battery.

    The trouble with it is the distance that can be travelled, which is hugely influenced by a number of factors, Relating these to cars, we had a prototype electric vehicle passing through our village last year on a test run . It called in here as we have an uber trendy café that has a charging point.

    The problems were immediately revealed when the car left-up a very steep hill and ran down its battery.

    Devon is full of very steep hills. Add in the weight of the load being carried, the external temperature, whether the heater needs to be used, together with such things as windscreen wipers, heater, lights, radio and all the other things that are taken for granted in conventional cars, and the shortcomings of electric vehicles are currently exposed.

    A good range on hills whilst carrying a decent load, using all necessary accessories such as heating and lighting is fundamental if electric vehicles want to become mainstream and not be used just for city commuting.

    Oh and did I mention price? It has to compete.

    So good luck to E/v’s in general but whether we are at anything like the stage whereby they can directly compete with conventional vehicles-other than in a few specialist categories- remains in doubt.


    • Apparently with EV’s there is something called range anxiety – in case of premature discharge.

      This is where the fossil fueled range extender comes in.

      • I’ve read alot of the electric-car articles, and none so far have impressed. To start — way too expensive.

        In a cold winter climate, you need heat & lots of it. Batteries don’t make the grade on that point alone.

        This post does interest me, tho. Just to produce enough heat in winter & deal w/steep grades all year, a range-extender would be required. Check.

        But as an engineer, simpler is better/cheaper/more reliable, so if you’re going to have a ICE range-extender, why not just drop all the electric motor/battery gizmos and run off an ICE like regular vehicles?

        Bottom line, wondering what the range of costs could eventually be? 60-grand for a car is way too much for most. Even 30-grand.

      • Steam, electric, gasoline internal combustion. Been there, done that. Mobile things need an energy dense fuel source, else be handicapped or hogtied.

      • The ICE is not that simple when you add gearboxes, differentials, pollution controls, engine management computers, oxygen sensors, oil and fluid pumps, various chains and belts, etc.

        Replace it all with a battery and in hub motors – and keep the centre of gravity ultra low.

        The DLR range extender converts mechanical directly to electrical energy without a crankshaft.

        The limiting factor is battery cost and durability – the latter in terms of power capacity retention on cycling. The battery is sufficient for most journeys people usually take. Can be recharged overnight for $2 to $4.

        It is a simple concept – charger, battery, motor – but with application of leading edge tech. Just the sort of thing I have specialised in as an engineer.

      • Here’s what the free market in the USA tells us, as of July 2014:

        1. Top 3 selling cars: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nisan Altima
        2. Of the Top 4 selling vehicles of any class 3 are pickup trucks.
        3. Number 1 selling vehicle of any type ( for the 37th consecutive year), the Ford F – 150

        All of the above are powered by gasoline ICEs.

        The Prius came in at 16, I think. There are cars that have close to the same fuel efficiency as the Prius but are ICE powered and have a lower sticker price. They are probably easier to service, but I am just guessing.

        Gasoline has a high relative power density. It is tough to beat. For commercial applications like mining, shipping, and construction, diesel rules. There has to be a reason for that.


        A colleague of mine from farming country in Podunk, Idaho, who’s father is a mechanic, says the farmers, ever practical and frugal, buy 2-wheel drive Ford F series trucks and leave them out in the weather, no garage, all year for DECADES.

        Tales from the marketplace…

      • Justin

        An uneconomic brute of a vehicle such as the F150 (best selling Really? Why?) could only thrive in a wealthy country like the US that has absurdly low gasoline prices.

        It is difficult to see how e/v could possibly make any headway with the current fuel taxation regime. Not saying that is good or bad, merely stating the obvious.

      • Tonyb,

        I understand, those stats reflect the market in the USA. In the USA, for many working people and businesses, the Ford F series trucks ARE the most economical solution, and the sales reflect that reality. You have to consider the utility of the vehicle to the people that buy them. Of course, many people make the decision based on how the vehicle makes them feel. That gets into the area of behavioral economics.

      • Justin

        Such vehicles over here would normally be the domain of those running a trade such as a small builder or landscape gardener who would throw heir equipment in the back.

        It does reinforce the point however that electric vehicles need certain conditions in which to thrive and your gasoline at around 1.70 dollars a gallon must severely shackle their uptake. Your gasoline is around one quarter of ours and I think your heating energy is around 40 Percent of typical European costs.

      • ‘As of December 2014, there are 23 highway legal plug-in cars available in the American market from 12 car manufacturers,[8][9] plus several models of electric motorcycles, utility vans and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). As of November 2014, cumulative sales are led by the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid with 71,867 units, followed by the Nissan Leaf all-electric car with 69,220 units.[1] Ranking next are the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid with 37,610 units,[10][11][12] and the all-electric Tesla Model S with over 34,350 units.’

        The US actually has 40% of the global market in plug ins – probably due to credits. Tesla is planning to sell 500,000 units a year by 2020. Batteries are the key – hence their multi-billion dollar factory.

      • The source for the sales was Wikipedia.

      • Tonyb

        To be clear, I am a fan of unsubsidized EVs as long as the energy comes from nuclear, otherwise we are just burning more fossil fuels.

        The cheapest gas I have seen in my area is $2.20/gallon. I love the low prices, it is a boost to our economy, the only bright spot,and probably the global economy as well.

        Many people in the NE USA burn oil for heat and the rest use natural,gas, so cheaper fossil fuels is goodfor the economy, especially the middle class and the poor.

        EVs face a big headwind here.

        To Rob

        Unit sales are interesting, but percentage sales even more so – it is a big market. As for Tesla sales, we will see.

      • Rob

        Regarding the AFDC website narrative, the pollution from EVs etc are emitted at the energy source – the power generation sources, which are mostly coal and other fossil fuels. Given that there are losses in the transmission lines all the way to the chargers to the battery, and given the losses in the batteries themselves – they are not 100% efficient – EVs etc actually increase “tailpipe” emmisions compared to their similar size and range ICE powered vehicles.

      • Say, Chief, if yer prone ter carbon emission anxiety
        but not ter range anxiety, why, the electric vehicle
        is jest right fer you. )

  13. Very catchy, but quite impractical. The electric vehicle you want to describe is a small four seater which satisfies the needs of the Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Brazilian, Nigerian, Turkish and Mexican middle class around the year 2030. I don’t know about range, but a top speed of 100 kmph sounds fine.

    The need for such vehicles will arise from either or both of these reasons: global warming or peak fossil fuels. This means the key focus should be what satisfies the huge numbers of middle class families in developing nations. Rich people who wish to have a 200 kmph 600 km range super car can buy a BMW.

    • Excellent point. I like the idea of designing a vehicle for China. Just the infrastructure needed to support existing large gasoline-powered cars – fuel stations, high speed roadways, even parking facilities etc – is daunting in areas where it doesn’t exist.
      Why not lower speed, higher range?

    • The key is to simplify the mechanicals and decreases the cost and increase power density of batteries. The engines are priced at $1600 each. A chassis and body can be printed locally from a computer file. Direct digital manufacture. The whole package can be put together with a torque wrench and screwdriver.

      • Is that a crepe paper fender?

      • The prototype printed car is made from ABS plastic and carbon fibre. Better to wonder about the Renault Twizzy mechanicals.

      • Rob
        They can print carbon fibre now? Cool

      • The guest post is more suited for Wired magazine, or something aimed at young men. Speculation about future electric vehicles should be pragmatic and have sound engineering behind it. For example, printing a vehicle will raise costs and the vehicle integrity will be poorly controlled.

      • Printing is useful for prototypes and for low production runs – but there is no reason that the materials can’t be engineered just like any other material. Lotus use bonded aluminium for the Evora platform – got to be cheaper than that – as well as lighter weight. It is an interesting application and the picture is just above.

        There are a couple of interesting technologies that have been test bedded or prototyped and tested.

        I decided to put together a concept that was workable in principle – using leading edge technology – but was fun and flexible.

  14. Matthew R Marler

    All they need are a bunch more technical improvements to extend the range and reduce the cost of manufacture. Some friends of mine have gotten Leafs, which are fine for regular commuting on flat terrain, but not economical without the government subsidies.

  15. The ME apparently is so preoccupied with the threat of radical Islam within its borders that it’s dropping the ball letting the IP for all of these great alternatives to fossil fuel escape out into the public. I can hear the Left now: “If man was meant to benefit by unlimited low-cost energy, God would have made life without it so damn hard!”

  16. I own a Camry Hybrid, but electric cars are the result of consensus thinking guided by Big Brother.

    Once society accepts the influence on human life of a pulsar only 1AU (one astronomical unit) away from Earth, that scientific fact will almost certainly induce profound changes in mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of society, as noted on E. M. Smith’s blog:

  17. If I had some ham I’d make a ham sandwich. If I had some bread.

  18. In a rear wheel drive configuration the peak power output is 200hp (150kW) – double that for a four wheel drive configuration.

    What about front-wheel drive? Almost as good as 4-wheel in snow, etc. Is it really that much more expensive than rear-wheel?

  19. @ Robert Ellison

    Sounds like a plan; I want one installed in one of these: , with a single 35 kw DLR range extender. Two wheel drive only.

    The problem with electric cars, assuming that the new battery technology makes the range problem somewhat moot (except for the Australia outback jaunt, of course), is that they are only practical because their numbers are insignificant.

    There are currently about 250 million cars in the US, which travel approximately 3e12 miles/year. At 25 mpg, that translates into around 120e9 gallons of gas/year.

    It is doubtful that electricity can be generated, moved into the Power Japan Plus batteries, and translated into vehicle motion with greater overall efficiency than by burning the fossil fuels on board the vehicle and filling up at a traditional gas station. Therefore, to run the electric vehicles enough additional generation capacity has to be added to our existing grid to deliver 120e9 gallons worth of electricity to the electric vehicles.

    It’s worse than that though. We would have to add equivalent additional grid infrastructure to deliver the electricity to the ‘filling stations’. Even worse worse, the additional grid capacity has to be far in excess of the simple additional energy required, because the demand curve for ‘fill ups’ is extremely ‘peaky’. So not only does the grid have to have huge additional capacity, it has to tolerate sharp peaks and valleys in its delivery schedule.

    None of these problems are insurmountable, from a technical point of view (I hope.). Politically, to quote John McEnroe: ‘You cannot be serious!’. The only way in which electric vehicles can contribute to ‘solving the ACO2 problem’, postulating for the moment that there actually is such a thing, is to supply electricity from sources that don’t produce any. Can you see any political problems with adding the additional, CO2 free electrical infrastructure necessary to deliver 3e12 vehicle miles worth of electricity to our electrical vehicles, whenever and wherever their drivers wanted it? If not, it may be instructive to review the multiyear process of getting the permits to add an additional high voltage line to deliver power a couple hundred miles from the coal fired power plants in eastern WV to the burgeoning DC/Northern VA suburbs.

    I HOPE that the new technology pans out. I don’t EXPECT it, unless the political scene, currently controlled by green progressives who hate the entire concept of privately owned vehicles, which enable their owners to ‘move about the the country freely’, changes dramatically.

    • Some numbers. In 2013, US gasoline consumption was 134.5 billion gallons. Depending on car, ICE efficiency is about 25-28% and after drive train losses 15-19%. MY 2015 Prius is 32%.
      Best fossil gen effociency is CCGT, with an actual 2013 german record of 61%. T&D losses are 10-15% depending on grid. Typical battery charging loss is >10%; Volt battery is liquid cooled. So if the grid could handle it, if the battery didn’t cause range anxiety, if…. Then over 20 years or so (average vehicle age is 11) it might be possible to build out the grid to replace gasoline at some unknown cost.
      First, about that battery….

      • Electric motors are a lot more efficient than ICE’s – the free piston range extender is said to be a lot more efficient than conventional ICE – some 50% – changing is done primarily at night and at home or at work during the middle of the day – grids are sized for peak loads which happen fairly infrequently – batteries are currently the limiting factor. Cost per power density. As well as safety and reliability.

        The dual carbon battery is said to do away with cooling needs – i.e. thermally stable. I posted another video above.

  20. Rob Ellison

    I agree that electric vehicles are in our relatively near future. Several of the downside issues have been stated and with the automotive industry, I am sure there will be more as details of ride, safety and varying weather conditions become enumerated.

    What niche is this concept care targeted? Ford made a blunder with the Edsel. Bringing a concept car to fruition as a mainstream vehicle has to have a variety of audiences in mind other than the crunchy granola organic crowd. Personally, I like the idea of a drive around the city car with as occasional foray into the “Hinterland”.

    What has been selling well in the US has been the big vehicle, the enlarged mini-van, the SUV and cross-over, and in particular, pick-up trucks.

    Do you have an idea for the pick-up truck as well? The Ford Expedition (early popular SUV) was originally on a pick-up truck frame so I believe that something like that previous evolution may take place with the electric vehicles.

    • RiH008

      Pick up trucks?

      We have had electric milk floats delivering heavy loads for over 120 years


      • Thanks Tony
        There is organic local farm produce business on the USA West Coast. I believe they use an engine shut-off type of vehicle. Electric lorry? Great idea except San Francisco has a whole lot of hills and flat terrain is at a premium. One of the reasons for the cable car trolley.

    • electric vehicles have been around for over 100 years , and oddly the problems they have now where the same they had then.

    • RiH

      Why isn’t there talk about fuel cell cars? Read an article recently about break throughs, including some that will make them cost competitive. No need for fossil fuel sourced charging; fuel stations would eventually produce hydrogen from natural gas. I believe major automakers are serious about fuel cells. And that major fuel companies are serious about hydrogen stations.

  21. Having been involved off and on in LiIon and supercaps for about 20 years, and as inventor with issued patents on superior supercap carbons, I am deeply sceptical about the dual carbon battery. The claimed filed patent has not published, so that cannot be examined. The claimed power density does nothing to solve range anxiety, which comes from insufficient energy density– more range requires batteries that are too big. Just look at the monster in the Chevy Volt.
    Despite all web articles on this the past 6 months, it is all empty echoes of the company’s website. That has no data, even qualitatively, on this battery other than a cartoon of the usual lithium ‘rocking chair intercalation’.

    Innovation does happen, but this is extraordinarily well plowed ground. The only advantage of cotton as a carbon precursor is it is surprisingly pure cellulose. The disadvantage is it produces a turbostratic carbon; good for filtration (which they say is another application), bad for batteries. LiIon batteries with high energy density need graphitic carbons. This looks like another EEStor, in which Zenn investors have lost over $40 million.

    • Batteries are the limiting factor – weight, cost, safety and reliability. On all these counts LiIon batteries fall short.

      It needs to work on the road and be tested.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick


      I completely agree. The web site is pure hype…. no data, no patent numbers, no performance curves…. nothing. If there is going to be a breakthrough in battery storage, this looks most certainly not to be it. As for the claim of 3,000 charge/discharge cycles: I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • IMO, the problem is, and will remain, the energy density of the batteries.

      The things that makes liquid fuels so hard to compete with are (1) two thirds of the weight of what you burn comes from the air, and (2) the fuel is really quite safe to handle as long as it’s not mixed with air.

      Just for illustration, imagine 1 liter of gasoline, premixed with just the right amount of oxygen, in the trunk of your car. It would require considerable engineering to make that safe.

      Now imagine that much power stored in a spring, or a flywheel, or a battery or whatever, and then try to make it as small and light as possible. Even if you find a mixture that gives you that energy in a small volume, the engineering remains a challenge.

      Pent up energy just wants to be free.

    • Rob, I found time to do more research on the battery you cited. Turns out the patent app has published in the US, I used the wrong search strategy yesterday. The working anode is graphitic for Li intercalation, ruling out cotton as a precursor. Cathode is an activated turbostratic carbon for PF6 (electrolyte uses LiPF6 salt). Cotton precursor would work; my stuff would be better.
      Energy density in tested cells is on order of 100mAh/g. That is very low. For reference, A123 Systems LiFePo is on order of 170mAh/g. TheLiCoO2 systems (LG Chem for Volt) are on order of 275mAh/g.
      That rules this technology out for EV. No range.
      BTW, patent does not look strong, and there are others issued. Army has an active dual carbon Lithium battery development program also.
      Hope you see this tidbit of information and find it interesting.

  22. Fast charge?

    If I use the high delivery diesel pump round the corner of my local garage that is there for the convenience of the truckers I can put over 500 miles’ worth of fuel into my Merc’s twin tanks in a couple of minutes.

    Beat that.

  23. Have you ever found yourself away from home with a dead battery in your cell phone? Do you ever shut your phone off because the battery is almost dead and you want to save what’s left for an emergency?

    Expand that to your electric car.

    Someday there will be batteries with five or ten times today’s energy density, fast charge capability and an infrastructure to support hundreds of millions of automobiles (currently there are more than 254 million passenger vehicles in the US alone). Someday is tens of years from now.

    Evolution, not revolution. The Apple II was introduced almost 40 years ago.

    • That’s the reason for an inboard generator. The Volt uses a 1.4L ICE. There are several version of smaller engines that have been tested.

      • The Volt and other plug-in hybrids are perfect steps from traditional hybrids and plug-in electrics. Volt owners I’ve talked to love them but when all costs are included they aren’t money savers — especially with $2.00 gasoline. And without the $7,500 US tax credit it would be even worse.

      • Th Volt adds complexity to what is essentially a conventional drive system. It uses an engine to charge batteries to supply power a motor driving the wheels. Three clutches for instance. Not cheap. Existing batteries alone are very expensive and heavy with complex cooling systems.

      • Most Volt owners have them has second cars , just how ‘green ‘ is that ?

  24. John Smith (it's my real name)

    haute couture
    all my life I’ve seen these cool cars of the future
    they never seem to show up in real life
    like the “missing” heat

    • John Smith (it's my real name)

      still miffed about that summer vacation on the moon they promised me
      you know
      Pan Am stewardess in gravity boots
      zero G head
      black monolith

      • Well, Henry Ford gave us the any-color-as-long-as-it-is-black part of it.

        And while I was refreshing my mind, I discovered another of his quotes:
        “An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.”
        Would that it were still true.

  25. Instead of a diesel generator to make the electricity that must be pushed through electric lines to homes to charge batteries that run motors that power vehicles, how about putting a clean diesel (DEF and DPF technology) in a vehicle and call it a… personal car, like a personal computer. Genius!

  26. Bishop Hil repeats claims about outrageous costs of repairing a Tesla. I am skeptical that the costs could be this high, but no real basis for my cynicism.

    “Reported estimates from Tesla’s certified shops include:

    “$10,000 to repair a “minor but long” scratch
    $45,000 for “minor front-end damage”
    $7,000 for repair of a small dent and scratch that required no replacement of parts
    $30,000 for “minor fender and door damage”
    $11,000 for a minor scrape on the rear panel, including a $155 charge to “ensure battery remains charged” during the repair ”

  27. IMO the whole printable car (etc.) concept is far more of a game-changer than all electric. But it would probably be much more difficult to create a real printable car using a traditional IC engine/power-train. Making it electric makes printability much easier and (probably) cheaper, and it’s the printability that’s going to make it work.

    The big deal with printable cars is that you can standardize the basics, then let people pick out whatever designs they want. And customize it however they like. Everybody can have an effectively unique car.

  28. Money manager and climate activist Jeremy Grantham wrote in his latest quarterly letter to clients that

    November, a colleague and I personally
    witnessed a two-minute recharging of
    electric batteries (without any damage
    to the life of the battery). Interestingly,
    this was described to us a week later by
    a leading battery expert as being “against
    the laws of physics.”

    I would think that if rapid charging of batteries were possible, the news would be shouted from the rooftops by the likes of the NY Times, as storage is one of the main problems with wind and solar.

  29. Robert Ellison has put forward some novel ideas for an electric vehicle, but will they work? Some of the ideas could have been used years ago in then existing vehicles, but were not. I wonder why? The heart of any electric vehicle is the battery – has to be light, small and efficient, but he fails to ex;lain how this can be achieved with two carbon electrodes. Lithium is the hot favourite at present. However Lithium could be used in the Drift concept. The so-called range extender could have been used years ago as the primary power source in a standard vehicle, but never was. So the Drift concept is interesting, but has a long way to go.

  30. Very high tech–pretty but expensive like the Tesla. Insanely expensive to do body repair also I bet (see above). When something is that expensive, it is doubtful that you are “saving” fossil fuels–your money goes to pay people and robots and machines and the makers of the machines, all of whom emit CO2. I also would not want to be in that car in a crash. Also, the argument that going electric reduces fossil fuel use presumes that you aren’t burning coal, which also emits the same pollutants as a car. Since solar and wind haven’t licked the storage problem, the idea that electric cars can team up with wind and solar is simply not possible.

  31. If it can’t carry the golf clubs and buggy, what is its practical use? ;-)

    • It is a concept at this stage – but these are at the leading edge technologies that make a mas market performance EV practical.

      • I like the general idea, Rob. How is this all going to pan out once the required safety engineering is incorporated; this might negate the printable or blown plastic body shell ? Something is going to have to be done about the battery technology and charging cycles … even 1/2 an hour at a charging station is too long a time, imagine the queue out into the street.

  32. Concerned Citizen

    1) Does it meet crashworthiness requirements anywhere in the world?
    2) How well will the batteries serve the population going to work tomorrow at a temperature below 25F?
    3) Does anyone seriously think there is anything here that hasn’t been considered by at least 10 major industrial companies with $B’s of capital available seeking improved automotive solutions?

  33. Curious George

    I’ll argue that the “printed” part is a misrepresentation of technology. Printing is not inexpensive; it’s advantage is that it is economical for prototyping or for very short production series. On a large run it can not compete with technologies like pressing, where the major cost is the cost of forms; but they are then used thousands of times.

  34. The first two sentences bug me. Since 57% is the first number encountered, one wonders what are the components of the assumed 100%. How was it determined? The assumption is that ALL green house gases have been measured, even though they are still being generated. One wonders about the other numbers, then, as well…

  35. Nice post Rob, very interesting. I like the idea of electric cars and in-hub motors.

    I wonder how the Teslas and Leafs are working out. Anyone have any data?

    • Tesla’s imcome comes from selling California carbon credits to auto companies. And those are finagled to be double what they should. That was the purpose of the Musk’s quick battery swap headfake. So Tesla survives only because of California goofiness, including carbon credits for vehicles sold out of state because made in state.
      The Leaf is a disaster for Nissan.
      Just like the Volt is for GM. Plenty of credible reports to support all three conclusions.

      EV’s (Leaf, Tesla) are not ready for prime time. Nor are extended range plug in EV’s like Volt or Rob’s vision.
      Hybrids are real and economic, depending on which one, and come in various flavors. We drive a 2007 Ford (full) hybrid Escape AWD small SUV. Love it. 32 city, round about 27.5 highway at 75 mph. Tow capacity 1500#. Atkinson cycle 150 hp engine, 70kw electric boost, start stop, all electric to about 20mph unless hard acceleration. Now nearing 80k miles with no problems. No purchase premium after tax credit, and we are now maybe $10k in the black at the previous $4/gal regular. I talked to cab drivers in NYC who have put 350k on theirs with no battery problems yet. Sanyo NMH cells, Ford battery pack. Air cooled.
      Basically the Prius architecture in a different embodiment. Ford traded its European clean diesel technology to Toyota in exchange for the hybrid technology. No money involved AFAIK. Saved billions of R&D for both companies.

      • Electric vehicles seem quite popular in the state of Georgia for some reason – in fact two of my employees commute to work in an EV (one in a Leaf, the other in a Volt). They seem to like them, and there are charging stations in parking garages at Georgia Tech.

      • Judith,

        Electric vehicles seem quite popular in the state of Georgia

        What does this mean? Can you quantify “quite popular”, please? What is the electric cars proportion of total total cars, and the proportion of person-km of electric cars versus person-km of all cars?

        BTW, I am not trying to say I don’t believe we will move to electric vehicles over time and they will be come an increasing proportion of commuter transport over time – but very slowly as with all such transformations.\\It would certainly happened faster if electricity was cheaper. see my comment here:

      • Peter,
        Georgia is now the number one state for electric cars with 1.6% of new car sales:

      • Thanks Judith. That quantifies it for me. The national average is electric cars make up 0.32% of new car sales. And that’s with a lot of incentives. Clearly they won’t last forever. But also clearly, they will be come cheaper over time. I suspect it will be a slow transition, just like with all other transitions.

      • Judith,

        The poit of my comment to you and others, is thatpeople get all exicted about things like this, spend much of their time and effort advocating for them and in trying to convince others to get excited too. But it will make a trivial difference to the amount of GHG emissions saved. So it is a massive waste of effort. Yous and other people’s time and expertise could be som much more valuable spent on advocating for policies that can make a major difference – not just for GHG emissions but for the betterment of human well-being as well.

        Your efforts would be so much better spent learning about nuclear energy – as Barry Brook and other have done – then helping to explain to people why they need to get over their irrational fears and prejudices od nuclear power.

        Electric cars will help reduce emissions from fossil fuels once electricity is low emissions. To achieve that, we need to move to 80% of electricity generated by nuclear power. There really is no other alternative.

        If you really want to advocate for policies that can make a difference, why don’t you start to read up on this.

        Here’s place you could get a quick overview of many of the issues commonly discussed (it’s a CAGW believers site):
        ‘Renewable Limits’:
        ‘Sustainable Nuclear’

      • Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are some 57% of the total. Emissions from transport are some 13% of that. Forcing from black carbon exceed that of gases emitted by power plants. We are never coming close to solving the forcing problem even with 100% nuclear.

        What I was doing was not advocating but inventing something fun, accessible and with exquisite performance and handling.

        Sort of like the Honda concept – but chunkier. Great styling first and foremost. Once you have the motors everything else is achievable with mix and match technology without changing the basic format. Performance and looks is the keys to sales – cheap to own and run is the key to mass markets

        ‘It has long been widely accepted that unsprung mass is an important parameter in ride and handling behaviour. In a wide-ranging study connected to feasibility studies for in-wheel motors, some specific and detailed measures for the sizes of the effects in play have been taken – and the reality is something of a surprise compared to what “everybody knows”. Subjective, Objective and Predictive measures of ride & handling suggest that the modern development toolbox is easily capable of restoring dynamic performance and that the opportunities afforded by in-wheel motors in terms of packaging and vehicle dynamics control are of substantial interest to the vehicle dynamics community.’

      • I drive a Volvo C30 which gets 100 km on 3,7 liters of diesel at 100 km/h, which is 63,56 miles to the gallon if I calculated it correctly.
        Average consumption is 5,0 liters per 100 km. (averaged from driving it for almost one year.)
        Hard to top that with a hybrid or electric vehicle me thinks…

      • Peter,
        I think your missing the point of innovative technology. Who would have thought that perfume spray would lead to carburetors. I mostly agree with you about nuclear, that is what is available today. Does that mean we should stop dreaming and innovating? Even if 97% (if a may borrow the meme) goes nowhere maybe we’ll have a breakthrough in the 3% area.

    • curryja | January 29, 2015 at 7:55 pm | said: ”Electric vehicles seem quite popular in the state of Georgia for some reason – in fact two of my employees commute to work”

      Judith, you always ignore my comments, but to ignore this one – will be irresponsible:: you should advise your employees: to get a Geiger Counter and check for radiation! When fully charged batteries – is like seating on a transformer, glands suffer! That’s ”slow self castration” – he might be happy with the electric car / but, after a year, his wife won’t be!!!

      (will copy and keep this comment as souvenir and evidence)

      • Stephan, I’ve been hearing for a long time how cell phones lead to brain tumors. Then I saw literature that say it ain’t so. Now most of us just don’t know because we’re not scientists. I would have to reserve judgment on your radiation scare. It doesn’t seem to stop people from using it just like the CO2 scare doesn’t seem to stop the most adamant climate alarmist from filling up their tank or scheduling a plane flight. Just saying …

    • @curryja said: ”Electric vehicles seem quite popular in the state of Georgia”

      Judith, sorry for intruding, but you need to know this: -” microwave oven was invented like this: a policeman was complaining that his car sit gets too hot; because the battery and radio were under the sit. It was given to a scientist to investigate, WHY? That’s how he invented the microwave oven. That was only a 12volt lead battery.

      Now Tesla cars have batteries with thousands of times more electricity – to make things worse – all those battery terminals are connected with cables, to increase the voltage – that system is mimicking a microwave – is it good to expose human glands to microwave every day – it’s up to you to say. I’m only trying to prevent lots of sufferings, nothing more… Have a nice weekend!

      • @ordvic said: ”Stephan, I’ve been hearing for a long time how cell phones lead to brain tumors”

        Hi ordvic, I wouldn’t compare the cell phone electricity against the amount of electricity in Tesla cars = one spoonful of honey, good for you – deep you in 3tons of honey, not so good b] I’m not ”scaring” people; just pointing that: the problem should be minimized, or avoided..

        Regarding CO2 – that is 24 carat scaremongering!!! In submarines they tolerate CO2 up to 8000ppm – which cannot happen even theoretically in the environment! If you inhale some CO2 – exhale it together with your own CO2, no problem. Warmist exhale CO2 and use that same CO2 for their vocal cords, to badmouth CO2…. they are born hypocrites!

        500% more people now have more food and clean water, than before the industrial revolution. Not using fossil fuel – 5 billion people would be dead in few months – that makes the Warmist ”Premeditated Mass Murderers”’

  36. I like the concept and agree that EV use will increase, just not sure to what degree. 2 questions, when you say “super fast charging”, what’s the length of time required to fully recharge the battery independent of ICE? And, what is the estimated time to market?

    I like your posts Rob, and look forward to reading your next.

    • They say that battery charging is 20 times faster – but that depends on the available circuitry in the real world. Charging times are typically 4 hours at 110V, a couple of hours at 240V and a fast charge – to 80% capacity in half and hour or so

      The dual carbon batteries are yet to be put into a battery pack and tested.

    • @Rob Ellison

      Chief, Why don’t you buy one of those electric cars, instead of coning the others?!

      Almost everybody will develop testicular cancer from the radiation from the batteries! When fully charged – is like seating on a transformer…”Self castration” for Marxist swindlers like you, cannot be bad for the planet!

      • Much ELF is natural:

        Knowledge of expected parameters of natural extremely low frequency (ELF) radio signal arriving from the global lightning activity to observatory is necessary when one looks for the signals originating from other sources, in particular, for the electromagnetic precursors of a future earthquake shock. The radio waves of seismic and cosmic origin might be expected in the bands of ultra-low (ULF, 0.01-3 Hz) and ELF (3 Hz-3 kHz), i.e., at frequencies where natural electromagnetic radiation exists in the Earth-ionosphere cavity. Radiation from the magnetosphere or from underground electric activity provides additional signals to be discriminated from the ordinary lightning induced pattern. We construct the model variations of natural ELF radio signal on the daily and monthly scales. The maps of global distribution of lightning flashes are used as initial data. These were recorded by the OTD satellite (optical transient detector) and by LIS (lightning image sensor). The model developed provides expected variations of the ELF power on the diurnal and seasonal scales thus describing typical behavior of Schumann resonance background.

        A lot is man-made, eg 60 cycle power. We are exposed to that 24/7.

        I love my 60 cycle powered electric blanket!!

        Like so many other things, this is probably much to do about very little effect.

      • If you want to listen to some VLF radio, here is a web site with several stations.

      • Here are some recordings of VLF “whistlers.” You can also hear some chirps. Sometimes a dawn, there is a phenomenon known as a chorus.


        Dawn chorus:

      • A better way to reduce your carbon footprint would be to commute via bicycle rather than driving an EV. Oh wait, this just in…

      • Here is some info from Wikipedia regarding ELF:

        “ELF at human perceivable kV/m levels was said to create an annoying tingling sensation in the areas of the body in contact with clothing,…”

        It might be a bad idea to sit on top of those batteries – tingling while driving could be dangerous.

      • @JustinWonder said:”It might be a bad idea to sit on top of those batteries – tingling while driving could be dangerous”

        Justin, is not the ”tingling” that matters – is the degenerating / slow cooking the glands!…. that is: in every joint, glands are most sensitive – especially the testicles.

        You have to sit above the battery terminals – you cannot drive by sitting outside the car…

      • @JustinWonder said: ”A better way to reduce your carbon footprint would be to commute via bicycle rather than driving an EV”

        Bicycle runs 50 miles on a packet of cornflakes = economical!

        How about the tractor and harvester that produce that cornflakes, or lentils?! Can they run on solar or wind power? would need lots of baked beans, to create enough wind, for the tractor, to keep ploughing…?

      • Thanks Judy.

        I have bookmarked this article.

        I was thinking aluminium between the batteries and the seating – as a floor pan. But why not steel.

    • @ curryja | January 29, :”Here’s an article re radiation safety”

      Thanks for the link – it questions and some tests done on ”radiation” about hybrid cars made before 2008 and mobile telephones”

      The amount of electric capacity in the new Tesla cars is dwarfing.any hybrid car or a mobile telephones. All the drivers of those cars are Warmist – they love heavily subsidized goods = is called ”Natural Selection” BUT: innocent children should not be allowed inside those cars! Time will prove, who was correct…

      • It’s not dwarfing lightning. You can take that to the bank. See the VLF links above.

      • @jim2 | January 29, said: ”It’s not dwarfing lightning. You can take that to the bank”

        Jim, lightning is ”INSTANT” few seconds in a lifetime -/- siting inside an electric car for a hour a day, for a year…completely, completely different thing!

        Same as making ex-ray picture – comparing with standing in-front of it for many minutes every day.

        Very small exposure to radiation is actually essential, BUT: should be experimented to discover: ”how many minutes a day sitting in a Tesla car is over the limit” Also: ”how many days takes the body to recover; after one day expouser” AND in which model car c] AND: what dose is over the recommended dose for a child, or an adult?!”

      • We are exposed to lightning generated ULF/ELF/VLF 24/7. Also, what about the Sun? Do you recall this:

        On September 1–2, 1859, one of the largest recorded geomagnetic storms (as recorded by ground-based magnetometers) occurred. Aurorae were seen around the world, those in the northern hemisphere even as far south as the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.[4] People who happened to be awake in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by the aurora’s light.[5] The aurora was visible as far from the poles as Cuba and Hawaii.[6]
        Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases giving telegraph operators electric shocks.[7] Telegraph pylons threw sparks.[8] Some telegraph operators could continue to send and receive messages despite having disconnected their power supplies.[9]

        CMEs happen pretty often, too, just not as magnificent as this one.

      • You talk about electricity and radiation like you have a clue what you’re talking about.

      • phatboy | said: ”You talk about electricity and radiation like you have a clue what you’re talking about”

        Hi phatboy! Lets say: Nikola Tesla was my very distant relative – apparently; his ashes are spread around my friend’s farm – but that’s beside the point.

        Now listen very, very carefully: microwave oven was invented by: -”a policeman complaining that his car sit is very hot, because the battery and radio are below his sit” That was an old lead 12 volts battery – scientist was given the job, to see, WHY – so. that’s how he invented the microwave oven! Now Tesla cars have thousands of times more electricity than that lead battery! To make things worse: all those battery terminals are contested by cables = is same as putting your testicles in a small microwave oven every day, when you drive!!! Lucky you!!!

        I’m trying to prevent catastrophe – you are ridiculing me – time will tell

      • No, I’m not trying to ridicule you, you’re doing a perfectly good job of that yourself.

      • stefan – you have posted no explanation of how a battery can cause radiation. Your turn.

  37. One of the main selling points of EV is their cheaper to run , their cheaper to run becasue their fuel is hot heavily taxed in the way that fossil fuel is , now given the governments addiction to the money made of of motorists , and in the UK that is tens of billions every year , due to this taxation. What do you think the chances are of this situation changing once EV hit any significant volumes ?
    Once you taken away this cost savings , which advantage does EV give you over cars using gasoline other than the feel good one?

  38. The concept is based around a few innovative edge technologies – that have been at least bench tested. It is certainly not true that these ideas have been around for yonks.

    But the printable chassis makes it a doable proposition – and I am working o that. A printed chassis in ABS plastic and carbon fibre designed around a battery pack is a simple proposition – a one off prototype can be produced from a CAM file rather than spending millions on tooling up. These need to be modeled and crash tested – but there is no structural reason to suggest that the materials are inherently inadequate for the task. As I suggested above – we may incorporate aluminium elements if required for torsional rigidity., weight reduction or crumple zone engineering.

    I am envisaging two base models – one a 2wd and a larger 4wd. The base models can be changed with different wheels and suspension – all the drive train components simply bolt onto the chassis. Add standard off the shelf steering and brakes and you almost have cheap performance car – batteries are the limiting cost factor. $100/kW is widely regarded as the break point. That’s $2500 for a 25kW pack. So $3200 for the motors – $2000 for wheels and suspension – $2500 for the batteries – $1000 for the steering and brakes. So $8,700 plus the chassis – and – as an experienced engineer – I usually double it at this stage. Then you need to add the body and bells and whistles off the shelf. It only works if it is better and cheaper. It cost less to run and makes cities more livable as well. What’s not to like?

    Print a body in one of a number of configurations, bolt it on and hang all the modern bells and whistles off it. It can’t be realistically be compared to a Tesla.
    As I said above – I fully expect modular nuclear to be a primary source of electricity in the relatively near future.

  39. The free piston linear generator is fascinating. The car of the future might turn out to be an all electric drive hybrid with a modest size battery or super capacitor. Perhaps some of the waste heat could be used in cold weather.

    • I thought so too. But the trouble with using the waste heat is that the motor is not always running. But perhaps so – with an electric booster in line.

    • Curious George

      The issue is an efficiency. Burn anything, and your efficiency is limited by Carnot cycle to some 30%. Fuel cells is the way to go, in the long run. Meanwhile, I would stick with a tested combustion engine.

    • Or both. Adding up to about 1/3 supercap for power density not only reduces the battery a third, it enables it to be optimized for pure energy density, which further cuts cost and extends range. The negative is you have to add a DC/DC converter to prevent the battery from clamping the cap. With the new fast switching silicon on carbide power chips, the magnetics can be reduced 10 fold. Reduces size, weight, and parasitic heat loss. Dc/Dc costs are now under $10/ kw. So only $70 for the added electronics. Argonne National Lab built prototypes back in 2010-11 ( they invented the leading high energy density LiIon cathode material). Based on the prototypes, they figured would cut the cost of the Volt battery in half while improving both range and cold temp performance.
      Haven’t looked recently, but couple of years ago everybody in my circle of energy storage folks thought that was core to the Volt full redesign due out next year if still on the originally annouced schedule. GM was the first Argone licensee. Its LiIon pouch cell supplier LG Chem was the second. Pretty strong evidence.

      • I looked at both Argonne and LG Chem. The problem remains one of cost and of energy density. The latter maxes out at 160Wh/kg. We also have problems with cycle performance and thermal stability.

        A new departure is required. I looked also at solid oxide fuels cells. Again the cost is prohibitive for the under 30 Drift EV niche – or indeed as a basis for modest motoring more generally.

        There are other ideas as well.

      • Rob, agree on SOFC. I can dig out a working prototype SOFC from my MOT office stuff. Based on cheap perovskites. Invented by a Brasilian mat sci guy in the US, discovered in Osaka at a traditional Japanese dinner hosted by Mitsubishi. No way would work in passenger vehicles. See Bloom Energy for a stationary local gen attempt using similar mar sci. Google tried on campus, then abandoned.
        Sciency stuff is much easier than commercial realizations.
        As for fuel celled vehicles generally, see essay Hydrogen Hype. No go.

  40. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Electric Vehicle Service-Center?
       Or Mass-Marketing Display?

    It’s pretty much impossible for Seattleites to visit their beloved Seahawks stadium without walking right by the next-door Tesla Service Center

    Plain service-center? Or drool-inducing EV display?×378.jpg?c9dd01

    Let FOMD provide … for Climate Etc readers to decide!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • ‘The $5 billion so-called “gigafactory” that Tesla is planning (possibly near Reno, Nevada) with its current battery supplier, Panasonic Corp. (TYO:6752), will help the automaker lower the costs of battery pack production, but the main goal of the factory is to secure the company a dependable supply of batteries to produce 500,000 cars a year by 2020. How much that capacity will also lower costs is unknown. The production price of the individual lithium-ion cells used in the Tesla battery pack is less important than the cost of the battery pack, the cooling system and the electronics built around them.

      Tesla battery packs are the most expensive single component of the Model S, with current cost of about $500 per kilowatt-hour. This means about $30,000 of the price of a Model S is the 60 kWh battery pack that delivers 208 miles of range. Musk has said his goal is to reduce the kilowatt-hour cost by 40 percent, knocking about $12,000 off the price.’

      Tesla might bring down battery costs – and certainly they could slot in dual carbon battery materials without retooling. For weight and cost considerations – as well as range – halve the battery pack size and include an efficient range extended like the DLR – the German Aerospace Center – free piston linear generator.

      For cost competitiveness – the price of batteries needs to be less than $100/kW. $2500 rather than $40,000. Seriously deranged commentary notwithstanding.

      • Rob Ellison said: ”The $5 billion so-called “gigafactory” that Tesla is planning”

        Tesla should keep those money – for when is taken in ”Class Action” for castrating the drivers and passengers in those cars – by radiation from the battery terminals!

        Taxpayer shouldn’t be paying for a massive ”class action” when it happens!
        They are fleecing enough the Urban Sheep, in a form of subsidies…

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse


      Ordinary commutes  Public

      Hot dates (in-city; 100km or less)  Smart car (electric preferred)

      Long trips (100km or more)  Smart car (gas preferred)

      These young-urban folks don’t own cars (and don’t see any need to) … and so they save plenty of expense and trouble.

      For these young folks, cars are just another utility, that you locate via app, and park “wherever” when you’re finished with them.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  41. WARNING, WARNING: when fully charged, the batteries in electric cars RADIATE up to 4feet, similar as a transformer. Radiation first affects the glands; testicles are glands.

    Warmist love heavily subsidized cars – people stuck into ”albedo” end up without libido! it’s called: ”natural selection”

    Ironically, Nikola Tesla never had any children himself, because he was experimented too much with electricity!…

    If you have an electric car – get yourself a Geiger Counter and check inside, for yourself!!!.

    • Curious George

      The battery radiation changes brains, not glands. The brain grows very powerful, see Nikola Tesla.

      • Yes, Tesla was smart – BUT: Tesla cars shouldn’t have used Tesla’s name!

        2}That company should pay big insurance – when the ”class action” starts – shouldn’t be paid by the taxpayers – it was enough financing the factory AND for producing those electric ”beer cans”…

    • I have a Geiger counter. It does NOT detect electricity – unless it’s a charged particle going at an appreciable speed – ie, faster than a car battery.

      • @jim2

        You better double-check your Geiger counter – those fully charged batteries emit radiation!

        experiment; don’t use fully charged car for a month – more than half of electricity will not be in the batteries – where was it going?

        We are not talking about a normal 12 volts battery – those batteries are charged enough, to push a car for 150 miles, some places uphill.

      • Curious George

        I guess we will have to take your word for it. When did you double-check your Geiger?

      • @Curious George

        George, you were complaining of me not answering on your questions – I can’t find any of your questions… maybe was same as Jim2 questions – I hope my answer to Jim2 should have covered your curiosity…?!

      • Curious George

        Stefan – you are not very good at reading. Radiation exposure, maybe? My question is right above your statement that you could not find any of my questions. I repeat it:

        When did you double-check your Geiger?

  42. Affordable electric vehicles are right around the corner, in line just behind cold nuclear fusion and peak oil.

    • Cold nuclear fusion (strong force) is impossible bcause of the Coulomb barrier. But LENR per Widom Larsen theory (weak force) has a lot of experimental support. Nobody has figured out how to scale it to something useful. See that example in The Arts of Truth.
      Peak oil production will most likely arrive within a decade. See several essays in Blowing Smoke.
      Affordable, practical range EVs depend on battery ( and maybe supercap) enhancements that are perhaps not impossible, but not yet in view.

      • @Rud Istvan

        Rud, never one kilowatt of electricity will be produced! Not in 10 years, not in 10 million years! It’s only a scam!!! All proven here; beyond any reasonable doubt!!!:::

      • Well Stefandenier, I actually went to your linked unpleasant site and read that unpleasant stuff. It did not comprehend the huge physics difference between fusion and lenr. You have obviously not read my books. And that site is a waste of time, as ignorant of fundamentals.

        I dont know whether fusion will ever produce energy. I am quite confident that neither the ITER nor NIF big government approaches will. See essay Going Nuclear. Lockheed Martin skunkworks thinks yes using high beta moduler reactors based on the strong nuclear force. Plausible, not proven. Brillouin thinks yes using LENR using the weak nuclear force (via Widom Larsen theory of heavy electron conversion to cold neutrons). Plausible, not proven. I would much rather see both invested in than another dime into supercomputer climate models that are inherently two orders of magnitude off being able to actually model climate. See several essays in the newest ebook for specifics.

      • The problem I see with the Widom-Larsen Theory, even if correct, is that this “cold fusion” will do no more than provide thermal energy, which then has to be run through the same Carnot-limited heat engines that fission and combustion-based energy sources do. While this process might be free of thermal neutron radiation, and could probably be tuned to avoid creating radioactive end-products, the resulting energy generation would still depend on essentially mature technology to use the heat.

        As for the “standard model”, I long ago played around with the implications, and decided there’s only one viable reaction: lithium hydride. This produces two very high-energy alpha particles, which could be designed to (usually) escape the containment for the plasma core, then somehow be guided into a voltage gradient that could suck most of the energy out of them without being Carnot-limited. Perhaps. Subject to many design caveats not, AFAIK, addressed.

        All the other “standard model” reactions, IIRC, produce hot neutrons, which present a shielding problem not unlike fission. Not only do you have to shield the neutrons, and capture the thermal energy from them, but then that energy has to be run through a heat engine, which again is mature technology. Little potential for the sort of exponential improvements needed for the next century’s energy.

      • Curious George

        I looked at a beautiful Widom-Larsen picture provided by AK. Very nice. I miss a neutrino oscillation there, but undoubtedly it will be added later.

    • @Rud Istvan said: ”Well Stefandenier, I actually went to your linked unpleasant site and read that unpleasant stuff”

      Rud, the truth is sometime ”unpleasant and bitter” . BUT: is still the truth! If you have being writing in your books wooffy things, same as Robert Scribbler – would like to put off people from that post, wouldn’t you?! I can understand why is unpleasant for you… My grandma used to say to us kids: ”lies have shallow roots – get exposed to the sunlight, sooner than you think”

      I repeat again: ”from fusion will never be produced one kilowatt of electricity, not in 10 year, not in 10 million years; ALL PROVEN beyond any reasonable doubt!!!

      I CHALLENGE EVERYBODY: to read my post, every sentence and to compare if Rud Istvan and Robert Scribbler are correct, or me?!?!

      Also you can learn: how to make yourself $50 billion bucks – by doing nothing, nothing. Only to lie that you can produce electricity from nothing.
      here it is:

      • Please read the LENR example in The Arts of Truth, and essay Going Nuclear in Blowing Smoke. Then we can have a dialog.
        i read your cited stuff, please read mine. Then lets talk in a civil fashion.
        You already have my general negative opinion of the link you posted. You want more specifics, easy but not worth the effort unless you reciprocate the readings first. Never negoiate with yourself while the other side watches.

      • @Rud Istvan said “”Please read the LENR example in The Arts of Truth”

        Rud, I just gave you an extensive replay – but has being blocked ”in moderation” never happened before, so I think: if you ask the host, to moderate it – instead of me repeating the same thing again, sorry…

        on that comment says 10,o4pm – you must be still in Friday – here is already 1.30pm Saturday – let me know if you will receive this comment – if my are blocked – lets debate on the ”unpleasant post” and get to the bottom of the truth – it’s a challenge!! (hopefully she will unblocked, if you ask her)

    • @Rud Istvan | said: ”Please read the LENR”

      Rud my friend, I know what LENR does, no need to read second time – obviously: you are saying that, for the ”permanent Dung Beetles” here, to think that you have a case… They are irrelevant to me
      You probably read few sentences – realized that I have the proofs – instantly came back here; to prevent them reading it. Rud, I only need the ”secular” skeptics &believers – the 98% of the public – they prefer the ”unpleasant ugly truth”. The dung beetles are irrelevant, because they hate the truth, same like you. (I copied and pasted your original comment on my post) so, thank you -need it for a chapter in my book called: ”the unpleasant / ugly truth” is better than ”inconvenient truth”, and my is correct, not like Al’s lies!

      Rud, I have great respect for person that would correct me; ”because I don’t like to be wrong” – completely opposite than the way you populist operate. b] endorsing and promoting ”profiteering on false pretense” .is a crime in itself, BUT: trying to silence the truth – so that looting continues, is a crime and a half!!! You should go and read every sentence – for your benefit, and to realize that: muddying the truth is a fruitless crime!… When you go to bed, think about it
      ( I have another, even more ”unpleasant ugly truth” – regarding the misleading phony global warming – misrepresented by you guys as: ”Climate Change”) Rud, the more you know – the more you are worth. be fair to yourself and read at least the first two posts on my ‘homepage” – especially the second one, but read the first one first AND: if you have stomach for the real truth; read all five – will be like turning the lights on, for you (it’s up to you – you know: can point the water to a horse – but he can still dehydrate, if he doesn’t want to drink..) cheers!

  43. Interesting stuff.

    I just finished watching a documentary about Grand Prix racing in 1937 and 1938, mostly original footage.

    What I didn’t realise before is that those cars were just as fast as today’s racing cars – 200mph, no problem. The differences today are mostly about design (aerodynamics), and, crucially, handling. Plus, safety and reliability have improved.

    Oh, and the vision of the Duke of Kent meeting the Mercedes team bosses, who reciprocated with a Nazi salute, is not something that you see very often. Airbrushed from history. The Mercedes team were miles ahead of the pack in those days.

    Anyway, back to the topic. Cars as we now know them are obviously a mature technology, as a result of lots of incremental improvements. But, there’s nothing wrong with that. The notion that mature technologies are just waiting for the next game-changing breakthrough doesn’t stand up.

    Look at cooking. In the end, you need a heat source under a pan, and an enclosed space with a heat source for baking. Grilling is an incremental improvement.

    True, microwaves have taken a slice of the market, but nobody who cares about cooking would dispense with a hotplate and a proper oven. Sunday roast in a microwave? Nup. Eggs and bacon? I don’t think so.

    So, while it is all good that people are playing around with different technologies for cars, my suspicion is that it isn’t broke, and probably doesn’t need fixing. And we are still waiting for those personal jet-packs!

    • Johana

      Yup, you right. Whatever happened to those jetpacks and flying cars like the Jetsons had? Instead we have smartphones and Facebook. I am, however, thankful for modern medicine and dental care.

    • Hell – I have given up on non stick surfaces and gone back to – never went away from – a cast iron frypan and stainless steel pans.

      But petrol is pretty much broke even if you discount changing the atmospheric composition. Supply, cost, pollution and geopolitics. Along with a massively inefficient motive source. Inherently massively inefficient.

      But I’m all about performance and style. All the massively efficient – electric motors are inherently massively efficient – components low down to lower the centre of gravity, very impressive power output, tuneable suspension, unprecedented wheel control for precision handling and hulk level torque. What could go wrong? It’s like comparing a Volkswagon Beetle to a Lotus anything. Energy storage is the key – and the principle is to stay flexible.

      • Well, it’s a bit like saying that Betamax was technically superior to VHS. That’s as may be, but VHS won and did the job satisfactorily until the technology was superseded.

        You seem to really hate petrol, which has been a massive agent for better social and economic performance for the last 100 years. But, it’s rather like hating VHS. The ship has sailed.

        Harking back to my cooking example, kitchens all over the world are full of useless benchtop appliances which purported to be better ways of doing things that were already being done perfectly well. Electric cars are the electric cheese graters of the motoring world.

      • If they actually come up with a mass marketable EV, there are battery replacement options, fuel cells, that could make them more attractive.

        Plug power has been selling material handling fuel cell battery replacements that use either hydrogen or fossil fuel (reformed for the fuel cell). There is still the fuel storage issues with hydrogen of course, but the cost and weight of 10 to 20 kw fuel cells has been dropping.

      • Is the only meaningful phrase here – ‘until the technology was superseded’?

      • Curious George

        Rob – I am all for electric cars – tomorrow, or when the day comes. It just has not come yet. We need either a high-capacity electrical energy storage, or another source of power, be it fuel cells, fusion, or wireless transmission. Until then I am not happy with a car which needs recharging every 60 miles (would you dare to drive the latest Tesla for 200 miles without recharging?)

      • This is not reliant on batteries alone. Read it instead of leaping to obviously incorrect conclusions.

      • But you still haven’t answered the question – what is wrong with modern cars that needs fixing?

        They keep getting better, and cheaper. Today’s modest, affordable family car has features that even the mega-rich couldn’t buy 50 years ago.

        Some technologies are ripe for being superseded, others have a very long shelf life, and others (like food preparation) don’t change for hundreds of years, because they do the job just fine.

        Motor cars seem to be in the second category.

      • The internal combustion engine is not that simple when you add gearboxes, differentials, pollution controls, engine management computers, oxygen sensors, oil and fluid pumps, various chains and belts, etc.

        Replace it all with a battery and in hub motors – and keep the centre of gravity ultra low.

        The DLR range extender converts mechanical directly to electrical energy without a crankshaft.

        The limiting factor is battery cost and durability – the latter in terms of power capacity retention on cycling. The battery is sufficient for most journeys people usually take. Without the attendant noise, smell and pollution. Can be recharged overnight for $2 to $4.

        It is a simple concept – charger, battery, motor – but with application of leading edge tech.

        It is a better mousetrap – even without factoring in climate and peak oil.

  44. Ten years ago I decided to live on my remote property without a car. In view of plans for extensive travel which involved much physical exertion, it seemed like a good, if eccentric idea. This also meant I was not maintaining a vehicle while on the other side of the world.

    I wasn’t out to be a purist or activist, and I was always careful to offer money to more than cover the fuel of people who gave me lifts. Though the neighbours always wanted to give lifts, I usually just hitched a ride back from town, most often once a fortnight. Yes, I did have to get to and from casual work in town, and this did involve wading through the odd flood or dodging a bushfire by walking in its dormant hours.

    The experiment is over (after the full ten years) and I now have a car, a sturdy Toyota diesel (yum). What I learned from the experience was that I had been depending on cars and motorised transport just like everybody else. My contraction of vehicle use depended on others not contracting their vehicle use. It also depended on efficient urban/rural infrastructure serviced by heavy motorised transport. Whenever I hear people banging on about piously renouncing individual transport I’m reminded of the narcissists of Earth Hour who ignore the mighty fossil fuel economy which makes their orgy of ingratitude possible.

    Nonetheless, I am the guy who did without a car where nobody does, and for a full ten years. So I have to like ideas which involve simpler, cheaper and lighter transport. I like things as simple as covered walkways in rainy Singapore, and I’m in touch with my inner socialist when people talk of VF trains. I can’t help liking it all. So of course I find Chief’s Drift attractive.

    I’m a believer in spending millions on experiment – with public money or public subsidy if necessary – and being prepared to kiss the money good-bye.

    What does the harm is the spending of billions and even trillions on mainstreaming stuff which is still experimental or, worse, on stuff which was known to be lame from the very start. Saying something is so can’t make it so.

    The question remains as to which experiment is worth the punt. As with all punts, you better just get it right. You can’t hide behind a policy or a model or a percentage, though you can make use of those things.

    You took a small punt? Hope you got it right.

    You took a huge punt? You NEEDED to get it right.

    • Mosomoso +1. You are a doer and not just a talker. I agree with your thoughts on how we all rely on the infrastructure provided by the community around us while some of us may pretend to some degree of self sufficiency in energy.

    • Oh Moso – you continue to be wrong in the worst way. Girls in rags and feathers, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, 1971 Dodge Challengers. My heart beats faster just seeing this.

      My niece just posted something very wise on Facebook. When life turns it back on you – grab it by the ass. A Toyota diesel is much more like one step closer to turning up yours toes – than grabbing it by the ass. I replaced the Le Mans red Falcon – which my wife crashed – with a black later model. I call it Daisy’s hoon mobile. It’s great. So cheap. Never had a problem. Takes Central Queensland roads like a champion and has a very toey 190kW in line six. I got a 3 door Pajero – only because it is the model closest to the car that won the Dakar Rally 7 times in a row this century.

      Honestly – and I am saying this for your own good – you will never get a girl in rags and feathers into a Toyota diesel.

      • God drives a Landcruiser Diesel LWB. To win Dakar he’d drive a Peugeot, as so many have done to win Dakar.

        Chief, since that bufo marinus got squashed between your toes and infected your leg you haven’t been thinking right. (Shouldn’t the webbing protect your toes?)

      • I trailed a Roadrunner the other day,
        The light turned and it rumbly-bumbled away.

      • So you have talked to God lately? And he talked back? He gave you permission to talk to disabled people like that? My foot was fractured in several places and is a wreck. Hey I got a new moon boot today.

        The Pajero has won 12 times – out of 35. It has been a long time since the 80’s for Peugeot. Thy have an interesting take on 2015. A rear wheel drive rally style with a 340hp diesel engine.

        It is sort of the look I was going for. Or this 430hp monster from Local Motors. Of course 140hp from Protean electric motors doesn’t compare. We would have to add another 2 motors in a 4wd cinfig – but then it isn’t a lightweight drift toy.

      • Behold beauty:

        Je suis 504.

      • You are a lost cause Moso.

  45. Hi Rob,

    Fun post. Technology is an amazing thing. One thing I do find of interest regarding these cars is aren’t the ABS Plastic and Carbon Fiber/polymers formed from oil?

    • You would think that making plastic is a much better use of oil than burning it but here in California they are banning the use of plastic grocery bags. If those little bags are dangerous I can’t imagine how destructive a whole car would be.

    • They make “plastic” from lots of things. Old buttons are astoundingly tough. They were made from cow’s milk. We went to war with it.

      • JCH,

        I did not know they made “plastic” buttons from the oils in cow’s milk. Thank you for that. It amazes me the tidbits offered here. But if they went that route for making the “plastics” for cars I fear we’d never again enjoy good ice cream at an affordable price if we could get it at all. That in and of itself might set of an entirely different war. I’d be on the side of ice cream. :)

  46. Here’s an idea.

    Replace the batteries with a high efficiency Diesel engine – only joking.

    Mining haul trucks sell on the basis of cost effectiveness, by and large, and the market is competitive.

    For example, the Komatsu 960E-1 / 960E-1K series is fairly representative.

    Both vehicles are powered by a four cycle diesel engine with 18 V-type cylinders. The power output of the engine is 3,500HP. Komatsu 960E-1 uses GE dual IGBT AC electric drive system, whereas the 960E-1K uses Komatsu IGBT AC electric drive system. The top speed of both the trucks is 64km/h.

    If using batteries was cost effective, I assume mining companies would use them, but they don’t.

    Oddly enough, the largest of this type currently is the Belaz 75710, with payload capacity of 496t, is the biggest mining dump truck in the world. Made in Belarus, surprisingly. Total power output of some 4,600HP.

    As to domestic vehicles though, cost effectiveness is generally a secondary consideration. Initial cost, convenience, and so on, usually outweigh any detailed cost benefit analysis.

    In the early twentieth century, electric vehicles comprised up to one third of road vehicles in large US cities. Strangely enough, convenience in the form of the electric starter probably led to the demise of the electric vehicle. Even the puniest driver could now start the largest fire breathing Leviathan of the road.

    Fast forward to now, and practical storage of large quantities of electrical power is still just around the corner, as in Edison’s time. Dreams abound, but realities are few.

    In spite of all the disadvantages of the reciprocating four stroke ICE, it still remains king. Rotary engines have their place, two strokes are still used at both ends of the scale – small scooter engines to a two stroke marine diesel producing some 108,000 HP at some 50% thermal efficiency.

    If somebody produced an electric powered mid sized sedan with a power output of around 150 KW, weighing and handling around the same as current ICE vehicles, I’d buy one, if I could recharge it quickly in the Australian Outback. Obviously, it’s a case of horses for courses, and no such EV exists.

    The main problem, now as in Edison’s day, is a means of providing electrical power that can compete in practical terms with a tank of liquid fuel. Liquid fuel uses current technology, is simple, easily measured and refilled, cheap, and widely available. It is also cheap – cheaper than potable water in some places in Australia.

    Once the power supply problem is overcome – possibly by using fuel cells, direct mass conversion to energy, or something undreamed of yet – EVs will become mainstream. Until then, a niche market only. About as practical as depending on purely solar power for all your domestic power needs. It might sound wonderful, but there are many devils to found in the details.

    I know it’s all just around the corner, like World Peace, equality, and a cure for the common cold. Not cynicism – maybe a little sarcasm, perhaps – just reality. No offence to anyone living or dead intended.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  47. jim2 commented : ”We are exposed to lightning”

    Jim, please get your Geiger counter ”above the battery terminals” where the batteries are connected to each other!!! There is ”constant” radiation!
    trust me!

    • Explain how a battery can cause radiation. Your turn.

    • And, a static field is not “radiation.”

      The battery voltage of a Tesla is about 400 volts on a good day. That’s nowhere near enough to create radiation. Power lines in your house sport 220 volts. Transmission lines voltage is measured in thousands of volts.

      My Geiger counter G-M tube runs at about 600 volts.

      What bugbear are you afraid of here?

      • j@im2 | said: ”And, a static field is not “radiation.”

        Jim, glad you are not blaming me for not replaying instantly – I’m on different time zone! back to business.

        #1: ”static field” is the transformer – ”radiates”! by the way, Tesla invented the transformer AND high voltage. Get your Geiger on the transformer – to earn his bread!

        #2: Tesla also discovered that: electricity jumps from pointy bits. b] all those overcharged Tesla batteries are connected to each other, POSITIVE TO NEGATIVE to increase voltage! THE connections where positive and negative meet, produce heat – same the light bolb glows and produces heat, where those current meet, same in welding, burny, burny!

        #3: Jim, don’t take me wrong – small dozes of different radiations is even essential for life – radiation creates vitamin D in the body – which is not even a vitamin, but a hormone – without it, we are in trouble. b] plutonium radiates, also granite rock. It’s a matter of: what kind of radiation, how often and for how long is the exposer.

        The good lord made cells to renew themselves, if given time. People use those cars for more than an hour every day. That’s why you do not compare lightening with ”prolong” exposer. My mother was hit by lightening, sitting under a big walnut tree – it hit the tree, but she was sitting under and lining against it – she only became partially def – but was checked in hospital and was no other damage. .

        anecdotal: a person told me: he had a big problem sleeping – mowed the bed away – problem disappeared; because just outside the wall of from where his pillow was, was the electric meter box. So: the brains control the body by electrical charges, BUT: too much of it – body is mostly water; as in microwave, well slowly get damaged… why gets damaged? you tell me!

      • @Curious George

        George, I just received a comment from you, in my mail, but is not here. Answer is: no I haven’t checked my Geiger since the military days – long time ago. Anyway: the answer is same as the one i gave to jim2.

        By the way: I gave an extensive replay comment to Rud Istvan, and was blocked ”in moderation” never happened before – maybe this one will be blocked also. If it appears; would you tell Mr. Rud, that I did relay to him few minutes ago, here is 1,20PM Saturday now, must be still yesterday where you are. If my comments are blocked – cannot debate… See ya!

      • Stefan. You have just demonstrated nothing. A minuscule amount of heat at a joint in a circuit isn’t going to hurt anyone. You are making deniers look bad. Maybe that is your intent? Skeptics know better.

      • jim2 | January 30 said: ” Skeptics know better.”

        WOW! and another WOW!!! Time will tell jim, time will tell! Only the deniers have the whole truth, nothing but the truth!!!

        Here is ALL the ”skeptic’s”’ knowledge, face the truth:

    • Curious George

      Stefan – you have not provided a scintilla of support for your claims. My opinion of you took a nosedive. Trust me.

      • @Curious George said: ”Stefan – you have not provided a scintilla of support for your claims. My opinion of you took a nosedive”

        George, hold your horses, I’m on different time zone – I’m in eastern Australia – we are 3/4 of a day ahead of you – you have being kicking me, when I was snoring – George, patience is a virtue! How can you have bad opinion of a perfect person like me?! I have good opinion of you – actually, you and Jim2 are one of the more sincere people here; comparing with the rest of the Dung Beetles…

        I’m having my morning coffee now – in US is still yesterday – will see what you want answered and will, if i can, patience George, patience!

      • @Curious George

        George, I spent 1,5h searching for your questions – from top to bottom, again up, to see if i missed them – was expecting some tough, important questions, because you are angry for me not replaying on US daytime… Instead, you have this… a drunk in the pub would have come up with better questions…
        What they have done to you George? you have being too long with the Warmist and the phony skeptics… another collateral damage from the propaganda… i feel sorry for you…

      • Curious George

        Dear Stefan: You have been advising knowledgeable people to double-check their Geiger counter. You did not use one yourself. Now we know that you are a DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO gentleman.

      • The ‘radiation’ is an electromagnetic field – and not ionising radiation. So it won’t be picked up by a Geiger counter at all.

        Include a ferrous metal shield and the ‘problem’ is effectively dealt with. .

  48. I test drove A Zero dual sport model electric motorcycle, with semi knobby tires.
    They said the range was 100 miles it you go 45 or 50 mph. I was very pleasantly surprised about the performance. The bike had so much torque it would wheelie with a twist of the wrist, The electric motor was so controllable that full drift slides were no problem on dust covered parking lots.
    I ran the piss out of it for about 35 minutes putting about 20 miles on it with no noticeable loss of power. Put good motocross suspension on it and I would buy it .

  49. Video of the Zero in action.

  50. I read somewhere that 2015 is the “YEAR” of the future, as in “Back to the Future” so where is my Delorean?

  51. What is the relevance of green house gases and electric vehicles? Unless all your energy is generated by nuclear or wind or other types of renewables green house gas emissions will increase because of energy losses during recharging?
    Of course the pollution of inner cities would reduce and its concentration however the pollution will also increase.
    CO2 emissions will also increase but of course that is not pollution.

  52. You’re touching on my other specialist subject now Rob!

    Have you ever heard of RiverSimple? The world’s first open source EV (despite any propaganda you may have heard from elsewhere)!

    • ‘We’re making the world’s first crowdsourced high-performance sports car. Street legal. Easily customizable. Affordable.’

      The idea is to make cars that people actually want.

      • Rob

        Generally, there seems to be good will towards the notion of electric vehicles but scepticism as to their ability to break out of a niche market on their own merits. That is to say, if range anxiety can be overcome and whether they can be genuinely competitive over the long term to buy and maintain without govt subsidies.

        However, to be green the electric needs to be generated by green means which creates the ancillary problem of green electricity currently being unreliable and expensive.

        However, I think the most interesting element is what happens when it is taxed as a normal car, for if E/v’s became the norm the govt would wish to replace the fuel duty/tax it had lost.

        In the case of the UK’s £5 per gallon, tax is around 60% plus there is an excise duty per vehicle of several hundred that is currently waived for electric vehicles. All in all the taxation of cars in its various forms generates some £50 billion a year of revenue in the UK.

        If that is all lumped on to electric vehicles how will the industry stack up?


      • TonyB – In case you hadn’t gathered I’m from the UK. Why on Earth would our glorious government “lump all that on to electric vehicles” when we have EU targets to meet?

        EV purchases are currently subsidised on this side of “the pond”. When and why would that change?

      • Jim

        When our govt realises a large chunk of their revenue isn’t being taxed but is a subsidy and the voters realise this as well as presumably otherwise their car related taxes will go yup.


      • tony –

        On a different topic…stumbled across the following recently, and thought of your simplistic notion of America’s failure in “projection of power…”

  53. Actually, I’d like to see somebody (with lots of money they don’t mind losing) build one of these with the linear piston engine / generators and in – wheel motors (and without big batteries) just to see if they could sell it. Diesel locomotives have been running on this principle forever.

    • If we give up our cars in favor of trains for long distance intercity travel, then the technology now contained in today’s large diesel locomotives has already been fully enabled for the average person who takes these kinds of trips.

      If we view this alternative from a brutally simplistic perspective, all we have to do to force a dramatic transition into using trains for intercity travel is to make owning and operating a personal passenger car so hideously expensive that the average person will not choose to use one for that purpose.

      • Curious George

        “No theological treatise and no political or scientific creed has ever been as narrowly dogmatic or as offensively arbitrary in its prejudices as a railway timetable.” (Rex Stout, The League of Frightened Men.)

        That’s the downside of public transportation. With a 5-minute interval I would always go for it; make it 30 minutes or more – and I get forced to plan my life around it. A car is a symbol of freedom.

      • Curious George, thanks for that wonderful quote. I am a Rex Stout fan.

        Where does it come from?

        As a follower of the genre, I also have books by Freeman Crofts Wills, a railway engineer who often used railway timetables and settings in his plots.

        Indeed, rare is the Golden Age murder mystery that did not feature railway journeys – Murder on the Orient Express being a prominent example. But, that was another era, when only the well-off could afford cars, roads were bad and first-class service on the train was very acceptable. :)

      • Beta Blocker

        What you suggest is the opposite of freedom.

  54. This has been fun. I have made a new website for this. Be the first to comment – please be the first.

    I have also entered the Local Motors litecar challenge.


  55. I’ve been interested in, what if you didn’t have a typical transmission since I heard about something like this used in open pit iron ore mining: A typical differential seems complicated, inefficient and too heavy to the point of not being the best solution.

    • Operate the diesel charger at peak efficiency and get the torque advantage of electric motors. It looks like an idea.

      • “The 795F AC Off Highway Truck is equipped with an electric drive train system. The electric drive train system eliminates the need for a mechanical transmission and rear differential.
        In the FORWARD speed range, the electric drive train system enables travel speeds of 1.6 km/h (1.0 mph) to 64.4 km/h (40.0 mph) without shifting.” With heavy equipment the concern is, is it broke? Also regular and ease of maintenance. Caterpillar seems to have think this approach might work. I do think torque is a consideration as climbing out of the pit with a load can occur.

      • Rob Ellison

        Caterpillar also makes underground mining trucks that are electric, used in the salt mines under the Great Lakes. It would make sense that Caterpillar would continue to migrate towards a hybrid fleet.

  56. I look forward to seeing electric cars ground under SUV wheels.
    The problem with this matchbox cars is that cute design does not offset momentum transfer. If the other vehicle is 2x the weight, the momentum transfer means the smaller vehicle gets twice the exit velocity from the collision.
    It isn’t as bad a getting hit be a train, but it isn’t going to be pretty either.
    The upkeep of electric vehicles is also dramatically different than gasoline. The “green”ness of the electricity is significantly, if not completely, offset by the rare earths necessary for multi-hundred pound lithium batterie packs, magnets for electric motors, etc.
    The electric grid also won’t be able to handle mass electric car usage.
    The US population drives around 3 trillion miles per year. Even at 3 miles per kwh – this means 1 trillion kwh if every mile were instead driven by electric cars. The entire US electricity consumption is 4.6 trillion kwh per year – thus a switch to all electric cars would require increasing the electricity supply at least 25% (transmission losses, rectification losses, etc).

    • Even F150;s are heading down the aluminium route – 700 pounds lighter. And there is always someone bigger. And sure – we are all going to stop driving sports car. I was certainly not aiming at matchbox – more a 200hp mid sized performance vehicle.

      “Historically, the rates of driver deaths per million registered vehicles have been higher for the smaller and lighter vehicles. This was true again in 2011, but the differences were less extreme than they used to be,” concluded an IIHS report.

      The keys to a car’s ability to keep you alive during a crash involve safety equipment, the vehicle’s weight and its resistance to rolling over. While small cars don’t roll over easily, they lack weight and, until recently, were less likely to have advanced safety features like electronic stability control (ESC) or full side airbags. ESC has become an increasingly common feature over the past few years and is now required standard equipment on every 2012 and newer vehicle. And as of the 2012 model year, side airbags were standard on 84 percent of vehicles.

      The secret of survivability is safety equipment, retaining body tub integrity and crumples zone. All get better with newer cars.

      Here’s the 9 safest cars of 2014 – including a Ford Focus electric.

      Chemistry improvements in batteries are the key – such as the Ryden battery discussed. But an AC Propulsion battery pack and state of the art controller for 2X100hp motors (23kWh) weighs 155kg – a simplified drive means that batteries, motors etc weigh about the same as a conventional .
      drivetrain. Rare earths are not used in Lithium ion batteries, is too cheap to recycle, is safe to dispose in landfill. Tesla is looking to source Lithium from Texas.

      What do a smartphone, a hybrid car and a Tomahawk cruise missile have in common? They won’t work without obscure rare earth elements. Scarce materials like europium, neodymium and others are now so in demand that companies and governments are urgently considering unlikely places to mine them, including deep under the sea and, someday, even asteroids.

      But there’s another option that has been getting a lot of attention lately: recycling. While there are many challenges ahead, some experts think that recycled rare earths from scrap materials and discarded products may eventually be able to meet up to 40 percent of global demand. That could be a boon for the U.S. and other Western nations, since China now dominates the world market for rare earths and can effectively control their supply and price.

      The thing about rare earths is that they aren’t especially rare. Even the two scarcest, thulium and lutetium, are almost 200 times more abundant than gold. Yet the rare earths are difficult to mine because they’re spread out within the Earth’s crust.

      “Rare earths are the pepper and salt in many new technological applications,” says Koen Binnemans, a rare earth scientist at the University of Leuven in Belgium. “There are a few applications where no other elements can do the job.”

      These metals are valuable because they each have distinctive — and rare — qualities. Neodymium and samarium, for example, are strong magnets, making them crucial for computer hard drives and headphones. Cerium is a powerful catalyst used as an additive to diesel fuel. Europium and terbium are needed for fluorescent light bulbs.

      As the demand for rare earths has risen, countries have scrambled to get their share. Right now, China exports more than 80 percent of the world’s supply.

      There is a scramble to lift recycling – but also for alternative materials.

      Plug ins are most likely to be charged at night – with zilch impact on distribution – more efficient use of generation and – even with today’s generation mix in the US of 50% coal and with transmission losses – substantial reductions in CO2 emissions as well as pollutants.

  57. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #166 | Watts Up With That?

  58. From the Wall St. Journal:

    The car of the future …powered by gasoline.

    • From the article.

      ‘An engine that has attracted particular attention is the Achates, a unique, diesel-fueled technology. It features opposed pistons, which face each other in a single cylinder rather than sitting side by side as in a conventional engine block. Achates Power, the engine’s San Diego-based developer, says that it gets 30% better mileage per gallon than current diesel engines—and double the mileage of gasoline engines.

      “The Achates doesn’t need any weird sealing, no super materials that don’t exist, and it has no manufacturing issues with ceramics or geometry or anything unusual,” says Don Hillebrand, who heads the advanced combustion unit at Argonne. Such demands typically cripple vehicle innovation, whether combustion or electric.’

      So the same idea – but running linear generators to power high performance electric motors. Much cheaper to run – far less polluting in performance package. What’s not to like?

    • Archates Power video.