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Making a better electric car

Old 02-13-2012, 05:11 PM
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d&mrc
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Default Making a better electric car

With all the hype about the latest electric and hybrid vehicles, has anyone else given serious though to building their own? I mean, I have a feeling I could get better performance than any of these mass-produced vehicles, by applying what I have learned in this hobby. As far as I am aware, no vehicle yet uses LiFe (A123) cells, or a brushless motor. I was also thinking of turning the wheels into full-time dynamos (not just when breaking), thus increasing my run time. I am getting more enthusiastic about the idea the more I dwell upon it....
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:22 PM
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Brushless is used in all the electirc cars to my recollection. They are AC motors however.

Both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt Use LiIon cells but they may be LiFe - they are all a bit secretive about the batteries they use, but I am confident they are LiFe. I think Toyota has gone to LiFe in the plug in Prius as well.

Here is some good detail in the pics.

If you really want the jump don't think about batteries. Thin about Hydrogen fuel cells. Take a look at this:
http://automobiles.honda.com/fcx-clarity/
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:47 PM
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While you can achieve an 80% efficiency with electrolytic spitting of water, the problem with hydrogen is that it has to be compressed to 5000 to 10,000 psi to be useful as an automotive fuel which has an efficiency of 30 to 50%. When you consider that, and the infrastructure needed for hydrogen powered vehicles, it looks like a pipe dream.

Electric vehicles powered with batteries are far more likely to become common place.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by pmullen503 View Post
Electric vehicles powered with batteries are far more likely to become common place.
We shall see. It will be fun to see what lives but unless there is a significant change in battery technology I suspect Hydrogen will be it.

couple of the big car guys agree but no question it is years away.

Mike
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:04 AM
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Not so much a car, but a motorcycle with performance interests me.

http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/?_kk=...FcuP7QodzA6JIA

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Old 02-14-2012, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by d&mrc View Post
With all the hype about the latest electric and hybrid vehicles, has anyone else given serious though to building their own? I mean, I have a feeling I could get better performance than any of these mass-produced vehicles, by applying what I have learned in this hobby. As far as I am aware, no vehicle yet uses LiFe (A123) cells, or a brushless motor. I was also thinking of turning the wheels into full-time dynamos (not just when breaking), thus increasing my run time. I am getting more enthusiastic about the idea the more I dwell upon it....
the technology used in electric cars is at least as advanced as that used in RC models, and as far as the control systems goes considerably more advanced.

As for full time alternators.. This smacks of an 'eternal motion' machine (which is impossible):- use a motor to drive the wheels, use the wheels to drive an alternator, and use the electricity produced by the alternator to power the motor that drives the wheels.. etc etc.. The problem is it doesn't work!
An alternator does not produce 'free' energy. It requires torque and power to drive it. Because like every other thing in this universe an alternator is not 100% efficient then it takes more power to drive the alternator that the alternator itself produces in electricity. The alternator is a net consumer of energy. Having one hooked up permanently would reduce the range and performance of the car, not increase it.

Steve
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:33 PM
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Those motorcycles have definitely piqued my interest I was under the impression that commercial zero-emission vehicles used older battery technologies/ brushed motors. I stand gleefully corrected ( I couldn't abide the apparent idiocy of using outdated tech)
@ JetPlaneFlyer: I understand the fundamental problems with a perpetual motion machine, but I wasn't sure whether or not utilizing the spinning wheels to generate power would increase current draw (though I should have deduced that, since the magnets involved in said dynamos would add resistance). I guess I will just have to settle for getting a bit of energy when braking.....
Still, if I ever have the spare money, I think I could build a damn-good car.
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:27 PM
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The other issue is the "fuel".


What happens in California every summer?

That's right, rolling blackouts. Everyone turns on their air conditioners at the same time, and the power supply can't handle it.

What happens when you add charging stations for automobiles to this?
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by d&mrc View Post
@ JetPlaneFlyer: I understand the fundamental problems with a perpetual motion machine,
that's good, it's always worth keeping in mind the fundamental laws of physics that do make certain things impossible (yes there is such a thing as impossible)

Keeping these scientific fundamental in mind means you don't get suckered in by these sort of scams:
[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkcn8ZkvKKc[/media]

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ2QciCN5Ks[/media]
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:07 AM
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when I built my roadster, I reduced the weight of the vehicle (Toyota pigup) by 40%, and the MPG went down 50%. My original intention was to convert it to electric without changing the weight of the original vehicle. Years of fighting with the local Motor Vehicles Dept. left me without the money to carry that out (hence my ongoing contempt for bureaucrats).

Lots of this stuff is not new; seems to me Edison was told he could not build a boat that would sail directly into the wind, so he did it...
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Old 02-15-2012, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by d&mrc View Post
With all the hype about the latest electric and hybrid vehicles, has anyone else given serious though to building their own? I mean, I have a feeling I could get better performance than any of these mass-produced vehicles, by applying what I have learned in this hobby. As far as I am aware, no vehicle yet uses LiFe (A123) cells, or a brushless motor. I was also thinking of turning the wheels into full-time dynamos (not just when breaking), thus increasing my run time. I am getting more enthusiastic about the idea the more I dwell upon it....
I've run across adds for larger sized A123 chemistry cells designed for automotive use. However, they might be a little expensive. Take a look at A123's website:
http://www.a123systems.com/
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:17 AM
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For the present, and for probably the rest of my life, I don't think I'll bother with an electric, unless I'm driving it in my back yard, park, or RC field by RC. Just retired from the electronics field, haven't seen anything in the works that can likely go into production in at least the next 10 years or so that will give any practical range in a reasonable size and expense package. A vehicle that has a range of 50 to 100 miles might be useable for local commuting and local shopping, but when I drive down South to visit my son and his family, I just can't see having to pull into a motel every 75 or so miles for an 6 to 12 mile recharge on a 600+ mile trip. Nor can I see having one car for local use, and another for long trips.
Maybe a plug-in hybrid would fit my needs, except for a probable 5 year interval for replacement of a deteriorated expensive battery.
And I've got better things to do than build my own electric.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:52 AM
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Going down South? If you are in a hurry, airliners work fine. If you're not, rail is the only answer, if the US ever sees the wisdom of building a proper system. I will never understand the devotion to the automobile for long-distant travel: I've done it enough to hate it.

Worst part of this debate is that no one feels that a 50-100 mile range is worthless in today's world. Then along comes the Gummint and imposes 55mph crash regs on a vehicle that can't do 35mph on its best day, but still gets you down to the grocery store or the mailbox.

There are still too many people out there who think that a car is a definition of their local status. What a joke that is...
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:54 PM
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Of all the new tech I've seen, the Bloom Energy Fuel Cells look very promising. Direct conversion of natural or LP gas to electricity.

So far though, it looks too expensive for automotive use. But the founder talks about using a small shoe-box sized unit to power a home. So there may be a future in automotive applications.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:23 AM
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I did fly south a couple times. To drive a round trip costs me approximately 190 dollars for gas and maybe 60 for meals. Trip takes between 11 and 13 hours, ddepending on what stops the wife wants to make. We can also carry a couple hundred pounds of baggage without extra cost. The last time we flew, the round trip cost almost 9oo for the two of us, took almost 7.5 hours including the drive to the airport, required that someone meet us at the destination airport where we were heading, required someone to take us back to the airport when we were leaving. and then had to pay a couple weeks parking charges at the home airport. Then, we did not have a vehicle to use down there, unless we wanted to rent a car for something over, the last time we did it, 430 bucks for two weeks. I love flying, but anymore, it's just too expensive and inconvenient, especially with airlines even starting to talk about charging for carry-on luggage.
Regardless of what the defenders of electric cars say, each person has a separate set of needs and attitudes. At this stage in their development, none out there come close to meeting my needs. For me, even being retired, a car with a less than 200 mile range and still needing an overnight charge is worthless.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post
The other issue is the "fuel".


What happens in California every summer?

That's right, rolling blackouts. Everyone turns on their air conditioners at the same time, and the power supply can't handle it.

What happens when you add charging stations for automobiles to this?
Boy, you must be the downer for every party.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:39 AM
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Okay, so flying is out. We used to travel by bus until the bus lines abandoned their idea of actually serving customers. We were Greyhound agents for awhile, and watched the service dragged down: old vehicles, poor maintenance, cutting routes, boosting prices, concentrating on freight instead of people, so I can't recommend that any more.

The rail system is constantly being attacked by the freight industry, and are no longer offering proper passenger service; another option gone, even though it has the best prospects for success.

At that, road travel is a lousy option. I really don't know what would happen to the US if they actually paid World prices for gasoline and diesel. Personally, I think truck transport would no longer be viable, and people would be forced to re-think those long-distance trips. We will see.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by TLyttle View Post
Okay, so flying is out. We used to travel by bus until the bus lines abandoned their idea of actually serving customers. We were Greyhound agents for awhile, and watched the service dragged down: old vehicles, poor maintenance, cutting routes, boosting prices, concentrating on freight instead of people, so I can't recommend that any more.

The rail system is constantly being attacked by the freight industry, and are no longer offering proper passenger service; another option gone, even though it has the best prospects for success.

At that, road travel is a lousy option. I really don't know what would happen to the US if they actually paid World prices for gasoline and diesel. Personally, I think truck transport would no longer be viable, and people would be forced to re-think those long-distance trips. We will see.

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Old 02-18-2012, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by aviatordave View Post
Boy, you must be the downer for every party.
We just need a better supply system, obviously we're not there yet.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post
We just need a better supply system, obviously we're not there yet.
And we wont be any time soon.

Even in IA we have had plans for power plants get rejected. Nobody wants the pollution or waste but they all want the energy. Wind farms make the tree huggers happy, but are not enough for demand. Power output vs start up price and maintenance pretty sums up the benefit of wind farms.
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