WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?

In case you didn’t know, this is the second coming of the electric car.  In September 1990 California adopted a regulation that would force car manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles in the state by the year of 1998, and in subsequent years to follow, thus initiating a paradigmatic change in car technology by an attempt to revive the battery-only electric car.

The car manufactures fought the measure, which was brought before Alan C. Lloyd Chairman of the California Air Resources Board.  Lloyd was “bought” for one million dollars by GM to reverse the decision regarding the electric cars.

At the new hearings, where each side was supposed to be given equal time to make their points, Lloyd gave 10 minutes to the pro-electricity supports and 50 minutes to the auto industry, which feared the sales of its gas-powered cars would suffer and that due to the projected longevity of electric cars, would decrease revenues long into the future.

The California Air Resources Board’s reversal of the mandate after relentless pressure and suits from automobile manufacturers, continual pressure from the oil industry, orchestrated hype over a future hydrogen car, and finally the George W. Bush administration.

The measure to adopt the electric car was defeated.  All 5000 electric cars were designed and manufactured by Chrysler, the Ford Motor Company, General Motors (GM), Honda, Nissan, and Toyota; were destroyed or donated to museums and educational institutions.

GM as its primary example, engaged in both negative marketing of the electric car as its intentions toward the car and California legislation changed. In earlier days, GM ran Super Bowl “doomsday-style advertising featuring the EV1 and ran customer surveys which emphasized drawbacks to electronic vehicle technology

This pushed California to abandon its ZEV mandate regulation.  George Bush’s chief of staff Andrew Card had recently been head of the American Automobile Manufacturers Alliance in California and then joined the White House with Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and other federal officials who were former executives or board members of oil and gas companies.  They quickly deep-sixed the idea.

Now, the major car manufactures are embracing electric cars as the future of automobiles.  And you think they are looking out for the environment and clean energy and the welfare of the people?  If so, you are living a fantasy.

The car business has always been about profit; and profits only.  This to the detriment of the environment, the rest of the economy and the future of America.

So why the change of heart?  Again profits.  The electric car mandates now state that gas-powered vehicles will no longer be allowed on the roads after 2035.  That means every car owner will need to sell or trash their gas-powered car by then, providing the car companies with a tremendous turnover.

But isn’t that good thing?

No.

What?  You can’t mean that!  Electric cars are the future.  No, actually, it’s the salvation of the car companies.  Those bean-counting, bottom-line, quarterly-profit, stock-buyback, shysters, always coming up with something new, some way to stimulate fledgling sales or boost profits.

A little background.

First, it was leasing, which really came into its own in the early 1990s.  A neat way to buy something you can’t really afford.  You see, you don’t earn equity when you lease, because what you owe on the car only catches up to its value at the end of a lease. This is a waste of money since you’re not gaining equity.  But, like buying a vehicle, you’re required to maintain full coverage auto insurance while you lease.

In case you didn’t know, car dealerships make little to no money when they sell a car.  90% of the profits come from the options, parts, dealership repairs and finance kick-backs.

What new car dealerships have been doing for the past ten years, is trying to put all independent repair shops out of business.  Manufacturers design new cars each year that need new, one-off, expensive tools.  Independent shops can rarely afford to buy such tools AND they normally will work for only one year when manufacturers will change the design again.

New car dealers charge an average of $145 an hour for shop time.  Parts are marked-up 40-100%.  Accessories are marked up 100%.

So, now that leasing is shrinking and cars are lasting longer (not due to the good efforts of the American car manufacturers, but due to competition from better made foreign cars), what was the next great scam to boost sales?

Well, how about electric cars!  Since most states are now imposing restrictions on the sale of gas engine vehicles, that means by 2035, gas powered cars will no longer be legal.

That will force even the poorest of people to buy new cars.

But what about the environment!  Won’t electric cars protect that?  Have you ever asked yourself where the electricity comes from?  No?  Well, it’s predominantly coal-fired power plants: the worst polluters in the world.

But what about solar farms?

Of course, why didn’t I think of that?  Except that the only place solar farms are efficient are New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and the middle of California.  That means the electricity produced in the “solar states” has to be transmitted thousands of miles: to where the great majority of American cars are.

Well, then we can simply transmit the electricity produced to those areas where it’s not efficient to place solar panels.  Wrong, A/C power dissipates over log distances.  It requires a fantastic number of “boosting transformers: to drive the electricity thousands of miles.

Well, that seems to solve the problem!  Except for the fact that the electrical grid is 50 years old and goes through rolling blackouts even before the added demands of charging electric cars.

Further, Ultimately, AC power won out because of the ease of changing voltage levels with a transformer and use of polyphase induction motors. Today, with few exceptions, the electric grid is predominately AC.  Digital equipment, solar PV, storage batteries, electric vehicles and other end-use devices all require DC power.

So, the electrical power grid must be completely rebuilt to run on DC power. Cost to correct?  Two trillion dollars

Charging stations:

There are 150,000 fueling stations across the United States. 127,588 of these stations are convenience stores selling fuel.  So you can eat and go to the bathroom at the same time.  Electric charging stations are not affiliated with any other services.

There are 3,884 public fast-charging stations in the country now with 14,858 outlets.  Good luck getting across the country.

A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point.  Most drivers top up charge rather than waiting for their battery to recharge from empty-to-full. For many electric cars, you can add up to 100 miles of range in ~35 minutes with a 50kW rapid charger.  That, as opposed to 350-500 miles on a gas fill up in three minutes.

Ridiculous to impossible to get from one place to another in an electrical car.

Did you ever see the initials “PZEV” on the back of a Subaru?  It stands for “partial zero emissions vehicle.”  That’s right, zero emissions for a gas engine.  And that is, was, improving every year.

Gas mileage.  If it wasn’t for Trump, the average car would already be getting 50 miles per gallon.  Within 5 years, the average car could be getting 100 miles per gallon.

Batteries.  The batteries in many electrical cars weigh an average of 1,000 pounds and last an average of eight years and cost $15,000 to replace.  That means, a used electric car is worth zero.  Basically there is no used car market for an electric car.  Just junk it.  Then start thinking about how to get rid of those batteries.

Say, maybe we can store them next to the spent nuclear waste in the caves in Arizona which surely won’t ever suffer and earthquake!

The whole thing is farcical.

Just about the time everyone has been forced to switch over to the electric car, the hydrogen-powered cars will become cheaper to drive.  So, electric cars will go by the wayside and Hydrogen powered cars will become the norm.

So, what am I suggesting?

Skip electric cars and go directly to hydrogen powered cars.  Zero emission, simple fill up…in just minutes — not hours.  It’s 100% emission-free, costs next to nothing, and involves no fossil fuels. The only thing it emits is pure, clean water.

The car takes moments to fill and lasts hundreds of miles on a fill up.

Hydrogen can be pumped into a vehicle’s fuel tank just like gas. You can fill up quickly, the same way you would with gas or diesel.  And once it has a full tank, a fuel-cell vehicle can travel just as far as a gas vehicle

  1. What’s the Secret of Fuel Cells?

“Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle” sounds pretty exotic, but in reality it’s just an electric car that replaces the bulky, heavy and expensive grid-charged battery pack with a relatively small, lightweight and expensive electrochemical system that produces electricity onboard.

  1. Where Do We Get the Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is the most common element on the planet, so there are no worries about shortages. It rarely exists as free hydrogen, however. It usually is bound to something else, like hydrogen in water or in natural gas.

  1. Is Hydrogen Fuel Safe?

The University of California at Irvine has operated a public hydrogen station for a dozen years without incident, says Carl Baust, alternative energy projects specialist for the Orange County Fire Authority.  Several other hydrogen stations opened in Southern California and the Sacramento area to fuel test the vehicles that have been plying the state’s highways since 2002.  So far, they also have been incident-free.

  1. Typically, a fuel-cell system is twice as efficient as a gasoline system. Most of the fuel-cell vehicles coming to market in the next few years will be able to deliver close to 70 miles per kilogram of fuel. That’s the equivalent of 70 miles per gallon. There is no established retail price for hydrogen fuel, but most suppliers say $10 per kilogram is about right for the early days of low-volume sales. The price is expected eventually to fall to parity with gasoline.

Additionally, fuel-cell systems are much lighter and smaller than the battery packs that dominate plug-in electric drive systems. That means they can be more easily scaled up without the weight penalties that make plug-in systems impractical for large sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks.

So while battery-electric vehicles tend to be compact and subcompact models with limited range and lengthy recharging times, fuel-cell electric vehicles are quick and easy to refuel. Fuel-cell systems could power everything from minicars to large pickups.

  1. What Will They Cost?

Hyundai is offering the Hyundai Tucson fuel-cell vehicle, a midsize crossover SUV, on a lease-only basis for $499 a month. The lease payment also covers all maintenance and fuel.

Toyota has followed Hyundai’s lead with its own $499 monthly lease that includes free fuel.  It also will sell its Mirai for $58,325 before federal and state incentives that could knock the real cost to buyers down to around $48,000. Honda hasn’t announced pricing yet but is expected to be competitive.

Funding for construction, at an average of about $1.5 million per station: the same or less than the cost of building a conventional gas station.  However…once the hydrogen station si built, there is no transportation.  The hydrogen is manufacttured in site), is being provided by grants from California’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

Well, then that will be the end of changing cars…won’t it?”

No, by then, fusion cars will be available and that will get rid of the hydrogen powered cars.

I think you can all see where this is going?  As long as there are companies that have shareholders who demand profits over protecting the environment, there will be different cars and trucks coming out.  Each one seeming to be the solution.

There are hydrogen cars on UK roads – and while you might be hard-pressed to spot one right now, manufacturers (notably Toyota, Honda and Hyundai) have already produced hydrogen models.

Essentially, there are no moving parts, it’s just the chemical reaction that ‘fuels’ the action. It sees hydrogen enter the fuel cell from a tank and mix with oxygen to create H2O in a chemical reaction, which generates electricity that is used to power the motors that drive the wheels.

Hydrogen tanks are refueled in a process that’s pretty much the same as with a petrol or diesel car. You just need to lock a pipe to the car and wait. The cost of filling the tank is also comparable at around £10 per kg, which is equivalent to petrol.

How do hydrogen cars work?

So what are some of the advantages of hydrogen vehicles?

Faster refueling: compared to recharging an electric car, a hydrogen vehicle can be fully fuelled in three to five minutes.

No harmful emissions: the only thing to be emitted from a hydrogen fuel cell car is water.

An impressive range: with a range of around 300 miles per tank, hydrogen cars are on a par with many conventional vehicles.

Good efficiency levels: Fuel cell power trains are much more efficient at getting energy out of hydrogen than traditional cars are at getting energy out of petrol or diesel.

Just keep in mind…the car companies and the oil companies are going to do what is best for themselves and their shareholders.  What might look to you as progress is just them reshuffling the deck.

Write me with your comments: jeffryweiss@gmail.com

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