View Poll Results: what will replace gas/petrol for cars?

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  • electric

    44 34.65%
  • hydrogen

    59 46.46%
  • other

    24 18.90%
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  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by orissa View Post
    Good, that means we're getting somewhere. Can these cars be recharged or have their batteries changed in the same time, or less, than it takes to gas up? Can they maintain interstate speeds for 300 miles? Can this be applied to larger vehicles, such as 18 wheelers or even aircraft? In order to cut ourselves away from oil, we have to change practically everything.

    But I don't see why we can't do this if we keep working on the problem.
    Yeah we are getting there, but we aren't quite there yet, the 300 mile range is rated at 55 miles per hour and that is the S class tesla model, the Roadster gets a little bit less than that, and your milage with electric cars is actually better city compared to hwy.

    Honda is coming out with a Electric Fit this year 100ish mile range, 118mpg-e that is not a luxury car like the Tesla's.

  2. #22
    More efficient hybrids will probably be the way to go for the foreseeable future, with a gradual shift to purely renewable sources.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazy Gecko View Post
    More efficient hybrids will probably be the way to go for the foreseeable future, with a gradual shift to purely renewable sources.
    yeah, hybrids are now though, my intent was to look past hybrids (whenever the hell that will happen, lol)

  4. #24
    The Insane Reeve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smelltheglove View Post
    ive kept up on tesla, and they are doing some interesting stuff. they have a good long range plan to develop affordable electric cars, using their supercars to fund future projects. problem comes in on long range applications. i like your 3rd rail idea, but would take a MASSIVE infrastructure investment
    So would any electric car plan. The current electrical grid wouldn't stand a chance of handling the number of cars currently on the road if they were run on electricity. At least with electrified third rails, there are existing precedents in mass transit we could build off of.
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  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamdwelf View Post
    Electricity, a 30sq mile solar panel even with how inefficent they currently are, could power the entire USA.

    Sun powered cars!
    Wat, no. The most efficient mass-produced solar panels have energy density (peak power output per unit of surface area) values of greater than 13 W/ft2, but let's go with 13W/ft2 = 0.3624 GW/mi2. This means that a 30 sq mile panel would have a peak power output of 10.872 GW. If we assume that you can run it with peak power for a whole year, you'd get 10.872*365*24 GWh of energy, or 95,238.72 GWh.

    Guess how much electricity the U.S consumes in a year? 4,401,698 GWh. Your panel yould be about 4,306,459 GWh short...

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamdwelf View Post
    OK I have worked the math out before on my own and I'll do it again later, and then post it up. You could probably do it too, its simple changing words pretty much.

    Just start with the total kWh used in the US then change that untill you have the amount of solar panels in sq miles it would take to get to that amount of kWh.
    Which is exactly what they do at the linked site. I'm thinking your math is off - or else one or more of your assumptions.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Reeve View Post
    Why is natural gas impractical on a large scale? We've got skads of it in North America alone, and it can be compressed to work just like gasoline (though you'd need a CNG engine in your vehicle). The infrastructure for it is pretty much already there. Electric vehicles, on the other hand, have low maximum ranges, high cost, environmental issues associated with the batteries, supply issues with the metals needed to make the batteries, etc.
    Your complaints about electric cars are almost all to do with battery tech. New technologies are being developed (a lot based on nanotech development) to make batteries lighter, smaller, much more efficient, made of more common materials, and not wearing out and needing replacement (at least not in the relatively short time periods like current batteries do). Batteries in the near future could be 10x better than the batteries of today.

    Switching from gasoline to natural gas isn't worth the investment. The pollution reduction is not that big. The US has a lot of natural gas, but what the industry doesn't tell you is that a lot of it is inaccessible without causing severe environmental damage (I hope you don't mind earthquakes and poisoned well-water) or without increasing the cost. Speaking of costs, it's cheap now but if widely used as a vehicle fuel the price would skyrocket.

    If such a big investment is going to be made in order to change the main fuel source of automobiles, why bother with a stepping stone like natural gas that might only be tying us over for a decade or two? (actually, likely longer because once the conversion is made it will be too expensive to convert again so soon) I'd rather see the focus and development go into electricity.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by kuukl1 View Post
    Wat, no. The most efficient mass-produced solar panels have energy density (peak power output per unit of surface area) values of greater than 13 W/ft2, but let's go with 13W/ft2 = 0.3624 GW/mi2. This means that a 30 sq mile panel would have a peak power output of 10.872 GW. If we assume that you can run it with peak power for a whole year, you'd get 10.872*365*24 GWh of energy, or 95,238.72 GWh.

    Guess how much electricity the U.S consumes in a year? 4,401,698 GWh. Your panel yould be about 4,306,459 GWh short...
    Hmm. Well, factor in the that the sun does indeed set, and that there are indeed clouds. And that there are indeed maintenance issues. You're likely better off not trying to build a 30sq mile useless panel that keeps getting graffiti tagged by the local teenagers.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by kuukl1 View Post
    Wat, no. The most efficient mass-produced solar panels have energy density (peak power output per unit of surface area) values of greater than 13 W/ft2, but let's go with 13W/ft2 = 0.3624 GW/mi2. This means that a 30 sq mile panel would have a peak power output of 10.872 GW. If we assume that you can run it with peak power for a whole year, you'd get 10.872*365*24 GWh of energy, or 95,238.72 GWh.

    Guess how much electricity the U.S consumes in a year? 4,401,698 GWh. Your panel yould be about 4,306,459 GWh short...
    No no, plz keep going with your math, like I said I hadn't actually done it in a while, I might have been off a bit, like i might have thought 30 instead of 300 or 3000. so how big would it need to be to power 4,401,698 Gwh?

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Reeve View Post
    So would any electric car plan. The current electrical grid wouldn't stand a chance of handling the number of cars currently on the road if they were run on electricity. At least with electrified third rails, there are existing precedents in mass transit we could build off of.
    you've pretty much hit on another reason i see hydrogen as more realistic plan - private enterprise would actually assist in the conversion, instead of it being entirely on the govt tab (very hard to do with US politics, as im sure you are aware) or every road being toll with ridiculous rates. the "filling station" model works fairly well for us, and would be a matter of business shifting to follow an emerging market

  11. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamdwelf View Post
    No no, plz keep going with your math, like I said I hadn't actually done it in a while, I might have been off a bit, like i might have thought 30 instead of 300 or 3000. so how big would it need to be to power 4,401,698 Gwh?
    About 1387 mi^2. I wouldn't say that you were "a bit" off.

  12. #32
    Generating electricity at a power plant is ALWAYS going to be way more efficient than in a small engine, and you can't run a car on nuclear power. There is literally only one thing that makes running cars on fuel even remotely a good idea, and that is the fact that our battery tech absolutely sucks. The millisecond that someone makes a battery that can deal with what people have come to expect from cars these days, there will be no reason to use fuel. Whether this happens before we run out of fossil fuels or not is another question, we may need some stopgap solution in the middle.

    We have the technology (gen 4 thorium reactors!) to keep going in terms of power for a long time yet. Whether we will be able to use personal transport the same way we are used to it in today's society is actually an interesting question.

  13. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by smelltheglove View Post
    you've pretty much hit on another reason i see hydrogen as more realistic plan - private enterprise would actually assist in the conversion, instead of it being entirely on the govt tab (very hard to do with US politics, as im sure you are aware) or every road being toll with ridiculous rates. the "filling station" model works fairly well for us, and would be a matter of business shifting to follow an emerging market
    The "filling station" model with electric cars is simply swapping out your battery for one that is already charged.

    Of course, you could also simply have large enough batteries (or maybe extras since they are safe to transport) to get you as far as you need to go in any given day before needing to be recharged. New technology being developed could get a battery to charge to full in a matter of a few minutes.

  14. #34
    Sort of interesting though, I have indeed seen "Spray-on" Solar panels. That work, quite well.. literally sprayed onto a rock, and I could charge the batteries for my radio. Imagine if every man-made exterior surface was painted with this? Even though they are less effective, it could possibly work for sustainable, "free" energy.

  15. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by sillabear View Post
    Generating electricity at a power plant is ALWAYS going to be way more efficient than in a small engine, and you can't run a car on nuclear power. There is literally only one thing that makes running cars on fuel even remotely a good idea, and that is the fact that our battery tech absolutely sucks. The millisecond that someone makes a battery that can deal with what people have come to expect from cars these days, there will be no reason to use fuel. Whether this happens before we run out of fossil fuels or not is another question, we may need some stopgap solution in the middle.

    We have the technology (gen 4 thorium reactors!) to keep going in terms of power for a long time yet. Whether we will be able to use personal transport the same way we are used to it in today's society is actually an interesting question.
    You also have the issue of transporting the electricity and the losses (and costs) associated with that. Of course, it's also expensive to transport fossil fuels.

    Research into superconductors could really help eliminate a lot of the power grid issues we have right now.

    ---------- Post added 2012-08-14 at 03:33 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by wdmshmo View Post
    Sort of interesting though, I have indeed seen "Spray-on" Solar panels. That work, quite well.. literally sprayed onto a rock, and I could charge the batteries for my radio. Imagine if every man-made exterior surface was painted with this? Even though they are less effective, it could possibly work for sustainable, "free" energy.
    Generating electricity isn't really the issue. It's the storage that's the issue. Once we get batteries that can essentially act as great big capacitors a lot of our energy worries will vanish almost overnight.

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by ptwonline View Post
    You also have the issue of transporting the electricity and the losses (and costs) associated with that. Of course, it's also expensive to transport fossil fuels.

    Research into superconductors could really help eliminate a lot of the power grid issues we have right now.

    ---------- Post added 2012-08-14 at 03:33 PM ----------




    Generating electricity isn't really the issue. It's the storage that's the issue. Once we get batteries that can essentially act as great big capacitors a lot of our energy worries will vanish almost overnight.
    Solar storms Peak next year. We need to get on that conductor work ASAP. It probably wont happen, but if it does, it will cost a lot more to fix, after it has been fried, than it would've been to just update it.

  17. #37
    Herald of the Titans Yilar's Avatar
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    I'm gonna go with electricity. Unless they invent some way to make hydrogen a lot more efficient (and not blow up like a zeppelin). I don't see that happening and because everyone can "produce" electricity they are gonna chose that so they don't have to be dependent on foreign nations for fuel.

  18. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by ptwonline View Post
    You also have the issue of transporting the electricity and the losses (and costs) associated with that. Of course, it's also expensive to transport fossil fuels.

    Research into superconductors could really help eliminate a lot of the power grid issues we have right now.
    Theoretically if you were able to generate all power fairly locally for every location all over the planet and transfer it via normal power cables it would be entire order of magnitudes cheaper than digging up oil at one side of the globe and transporting barrels all over the world. The extra losses on the grid wouldn't come close to the cost of shipping oil etc.

    And while I hate to be 'that guy', the losses in power transfer are pretty low, the best way to offset costs is just to.. generate more power more cheaply ;P.
    Which will happen when we start generating the majority of our power using nuclear.

  19. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamdwelf View Post
    so how big would it need to be to power 4,401,698 Gwh?
    If 30 sq miles = ~95 000 GWh... Even simplier math...

    4.4 million / 95 000 = 46 x 30 sq miles = ~1386 sq miles.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamdwelf View Post
    No no, plz keep going with your math, like I said I hadn't actually done it in a while, I might have been off a bit, like i might have thought 30 instead of 300 or 3000. so how big would it need to be to power 4,401,698 Gwh?
    Assuming there are approximately 100,000,000 households in the US (there are actually more but this makes the math easier and still proves my point). Keep in mind I'm assuming here that households use 100% of total energy consumption in US - business energy consumption is assumed 0.

    30 square miles = approximately 830,000,000 sq ft which means it would take only 8.3 square feet of solar panels to power the average US household.

    300 square miles = 83 square feet

    3000 square miles = 830 square feet.

    If you assume households only use 50% of total electricity in the US then these values are cut in half.

    I live in the New Mexico desert where sunshine is most plentiful and there are many people who use solar panels. Not even 830 square feet will power an average household 100%. Which starts putting us into the ballpark of the 10,000 I originally quoted from the website I cited.

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