Jan 28 2011

The Danger Of Eco-Madness

Published by at 1:20 pm under All General Discussions,Global Warming

I would never own an electric car, maybe a hybrid, but never full electric. They are just not capable of doing what gas powered cars can do, and sometimes that can be dangerous:

Count me among the many thousands of Washington area residents who spent Wednesday night stuck in traffic as a snowstorm sowed chaos all around us. Being car-bound in sub-freezing weather for six hours can make a guy think. I counted my blessings. The situation could have been worse, I realized: My fellow commuters and I could have been trying to make it home in electric cars, like the ones President Obama is constantly promoting, most recently in his State of the Union address.

It is a basic fact of physical science that batteries run down more quickly in cold weather than they do in warm weather, and the batteries employed by vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf or the Chevy Volt are no exception.

The exact loss of power these cars would suffer is a matter of debate, partly because no one has much real-world experience to draw on. But there would be some loss. Running the heater to stay warm, or the car radio to stay informed, would drain the battery further.

It was brutal on Wednesday when the storm hit DC. People were stuck on roadways for up to 12 hours. It reminded me of a storm back in 1987 where gridlocked cars spent all night on the Woodrow Wilson bridge, fighting for survival.

So why would anyone risk their life on some green tech that the government claims will avoid global warming, but kill you when it gets too cold?

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “The Danger Of Eco-Madness”

  1. joe six-pack says:

    I can see where an electric car MIGHT be useful. For a person who makes many really short trips. I work close to home (About a mile and 1/2) The car never really warms up. Maybe as a 2nd or 3rd car, for the short trips to the store.

    Not much of a reason to own one. Certainly not worth government involvement. The market will supply such a vehicle in due course and at a reasonable price, once the cost of development has been recovered. I certainly do NOT need President Obama’s help on this one. Nor do I want his help.

    The need for this type of vehicle may evolve into a different product to fill that demand. Then again, some other need may drive a different product that fills that demand even better. Our government (NO government) is very good at determining market needs and requirements.

    Oh! I forgot. President Obama is different. HE KNOWS BEST.

  2. crosspatch says:

    The major problem with electric vehicles is scale. Imagine the amount of energy used by all commuting cars burning mineral fuel in the average urban day. Now convert that to kilowatt hours and transfer that energy to the electric grid. Then realize that people commute on cloudy days, calm days, etc. They will be charging their vehicles at work and at night.

    Our electrical grid is straining under the current load. How can we expect to handle what might amount to a DOUBLING of demand? We can’t build power plants. Think a windmill or a solar panel is going to get you to work? Not going to happen.

    If we are really going to have electric cars at any significant scale, then we will absolutely have to invest in a nuclear electrification project and recycle the fuel.

    Once again, if you haven’t read this, I urge you to. This should be required reading for every member of Congress and, indeed, for every American:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=smarter-use-of-nuclear-waste

    It is several pages, read the whole thing.

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  5. momdear1 says:

    The problem is that the peole in charge have had no practical experience doing anything and Everything they have ever wanted has been given to them with no effort required from them. therefore, they think all they have to do is say they want things a certain way and pass laws requireing everyone to obey. Like, ‘We need to stop buying so much foreign oil so we pass a law requiring all cars to get 90 milers per gallon.” Simple as that. They do not have the reasoning skills to realize that there has to be technology which will accomplish their goals. they think if they legislate it it will happen. Having all these simple minded people constantly demanding alternative green energy and passing laws mandating people switch from fossil fuels to green energy won’t produce any energy unless the technology is there. The government has been subsidizing, through grants, ever cockamany hair brained scheme that could be dreamed up to produce alternative energy since 1965. Most of those projects were created by entrapreneurs who figured out how to make a job for themselves studying a problem they had no idea how to address. What we really need to do is to elect people to office who have practical sense instead of being schooled in theory. Government is not the answer. It’s the problem. If the government will get out of the way, the American people will solve most of our problems themselves.

  6. Mike M. says:

    This is what happens when you have a gang of lawyers making decisions about technical questions. Crony capitalism doesn’t help, either.

  7. WWS says:

    good article link, crosspatch, and if we were going for engineering efficiency, that’s what we would do.

    But we aren’t, and we won’t. Too many intentional roadblocks in the way – no company would dream of risking their capital on anything like that right now, not without a governmental unit as a full partner and financer. That will happen in France and China, but not here. Not in our lifetimes.

    Just reading a few reports – the future of electrical generation in this country is Nat Gas, and maybe the future of transportation, too. Exxon is betting their companies future on it, and buying nat gas reserves in the continential US as fast as they can. So are Chevron and guess who – China.

    When the real energy crunch comes, and it will, soon, those are the players who will hold all the high cards.

    and our clueless government doesn’t even know what game is being played yet.

  8. crosspatch says:

    It already IS happening in China, France, India, Russia, and Japan. They have been doing this all along since they developed nuclear power. That was also OUR plan. But Jimmy Carter decided not to do it, decided instead to bury the waste. Reagan tried to revive it, Clinton drove the stake through its heart making it explicitly illegal to reprocess spent fuel (rather than simply making it policy not to do so as Carter had done).

    Every other major nuclear power already does reprocess their fuel. We are the ONLY major nuclear power that doesn’t.

  9. archtop says:

    “Running the heater to stay warm, or the car radio to stay informed, would drain the battery further.”

    Running the (electrical resistance) heater in an electric car is really what hurts the battery life and range. We’ve had temperatures in New Hampshire averaging in the single digits at night and 10 – 30 F during the day. I don’t think these first generation electric cars would do very well in this environment.

    Now, I have nothing against electric cars. If they work reliably and are efficient and safe (and have a decent range between recharging), then great! We’ll all want one. But let the marketplace decide. As an example, no one had to convince me to switch to an iPod from a clunky cassette tape walkman.. or to switch to CDs from LPs…or to buy a nice, big flat screen TV versus a small, clunky tube model. The better products won the day in the marketplace.