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|Please, take a look at this photo.
Do you find it disturbing? Those of us who happen to live in a large crowded city, have to
breathe the air seen on the horizon here every single day. Like it or not, every time you
turn ignition on, you inevitably contribute to this situation. What can you do about it?
You can drive an Electric Vehicle.
Are the EVs possible? Sure. Here are a few photos of what the world's engineers came up with (this is as of 2005 and such information is outdated quickly). Major auto makers are well capable and have produced several OEM models - in USA most noticeable ones being GM's EV1, Chevy S10, Ford's Ranger and Toyota's RAV4 to name a few. They are clean, quiet, require no gas, oil or expensive maintenance. So what's the problem? Like to admit it or not, it is only...
>>> The following information was put together in about 2005 and is my personal view on the matter <<<.
The auto makers and you happen to have conflict of interests. They sure can produce cars which will last longer than you want, require no expensive service and no gasoline. You want such a car, but the manufacturers want to make sure they keep getting steady income from far more profitable SUV sales, car maintenance, and the oil companies - income from the fuel sales, be it gasoline or hydrogen. EVs are so good that require none of that so you'd pay very little to nothing for your car maintenance and your personal "gas station" is as far as the nearest electrical outlet. So what do you think auto makers will sell you - what's good for you or what's good for them?
They afraid of EVs, they try very hard (and unfortunately succeeding) to convince you that no one wants electric cars. They can make EVs if forced by law but at first opportunity they destroy perfectly normal EVs (sad GM's EV1 story). Hard to believe? Yes, this is unfortunate but well documented fact. Despite long waiting lists, they try to convince you there was no demand. EV1's of course were never advertised. Simple truth is, they never offered EV1's for sale to the general public precisely because they knew there was demand. If they would offer EV1's, the public would demand more, GM would be pressured to work against their business interest, so they simply decided to only lease the vehicles putting such lease conditions that very few would qualify, which is "proof" no one wanted EV1's. GM claimed EV1 could not be made because of lack of spare parts to keep it on the road... Why not make parts then? Every vehicle GM ever made has enough parts. Not EV1.
Can you buy EV1 or RAV4? How about Ford's Think City or Ranger? No. GM scrapped its EV program, and despite long waiting lists, kept telling "there is no demand" while never allowing anyone to buy a single EV1 vehicle and destroying them at the end of lease. If you want to know more about it get "who killed the electric car" movie.
You'd think GM could sell EV1 they leased for $25k each and make some money - certainly more than when cars were shredded and GM got nothing? It would be smart and show good will, but the problem is Wagoner makes this much in one hour so why should he care about you wanting something like EV1? Now Wagoner is asking for bailout money. Well, guess where this money will end up and when was last time *amount* changed someone's mentality?
Today (2008) GM changed the tune and promises Chevy "Volt". Will see. But I'm afraid based on demonstrated history of promises and deliveries, you will die waiting. However, most people has amazingly short memory...
EV technology exist today. Far less complex, electric cars would cost less than gas ones if produced in the same quantities. You can compare the costs of ownership of ICE vs. EV.
A word about fuel cell (FC) vehicles, namely ones using hydrogen as an energy source. Don't hold your breath to see them any time soon if ever. A FC vehicle is no doubt a step in right direction in a sense that inefficient internal combustion engine is replaced with an electric motor. The only difference between pure battery EV (BEV) and FCEV car is the energy source; the drive systems and control electronics are almost identical, so FCEV *is* an electric vehicle. However, instead of just a plain rechargeable battery, FCEV has to carry a very complex hydrogen reformer using exotic expensive materials, full of pumps, blowers, hoses, and a tank of liquefied or compressed hydrogen you need to keep putting in. Or just a tank that has been fueled somewhere else. Fuel cell manufacturers claim that FCs are quiet, since contain no moving parts. Did you have a chance to stay next to a working fuel cell vehicle? I did. A FC itself is sure quiet, but all necessary supporting equipment (blowers and pumps) make far more noise than modern ICE engine. Here is an example of "quiet" FC equipped city bus demonstrated at Michelin challenge Bibendum event in California in 2003. A FC car will have scaled down version of all these components. When it runs, you can't keep a conversation unless move 50 feet away.
For the record, the serious work on FC started in the 60's and GM back then announced that practical FC car for masses is "around the corner". Well, today, 50 years later, we're still wondering about location of that corner...and still waiting. Why? Well, regardless of your or my opinion on this subject, it's because of the inconvenient and unpopular in PR fact of reality:
Auto makers say fuel cell cars are clean an environmentally friendly. But so are EVs, which are even cleaner, considering charging from solar, hydro or wind sources. Auto makers sure are pro environment as long as corporate profits are not compromised. As long as you keep buying fuel and keep servicing overly complex vehicles. Doesn't matter what type of fuel, as long as business in charge is in control of your pocket, it's happy. Are you happy too?
Have you questioned anyone how much energy is needed to produce a hydrogen for a FC you're going to pay for? You need electricity to run the equipment reforming hydrogen to the useable for FC form. And then, the hydrogen is going to be used to get back electricity to run a vehicle propulsion motor. What's wrong with this picture? Isn't it simpler, cheaper, more efficient and just plain makes more sense to store electricity directly in a car's battery in a first place??
"Hydrogen economy" is an extremely clever scam.
When you step back and ask, "Wherever the hydrogen will come from - how much energy
it will take to produce it in usable [in cars] form?" the house of cards falls apart.
You will get hydrogen from fossil fuels. To date, the most economic way to get hydrogen is
to catalyze natural gas. When you do this, you throw away 50% of the fuel value. If you
were to put that hydrogen into a fuel-cell car, it would only go 50% the distance (at
best) that a hybrid car would, if fueled from the natural gas directly. The oil companies
would love this - they'll get to sell twice as much natural gas per mile driven. It is
also twice as much CO2 per mile driven. (G.W. = Global Warming)
Many advocates of hydrogen economy say, "But we can
figure out a way to make hydrogen more efficiently if we throw big research dollars at the
problem." Unfortunately, there are only so many hydrogen atoms in each methane
molecule. Also, until we unlock the secret of photosynthesis, there will be no efficient
way to make hydrogen. Batteries will always be more efficient at storing electricity than
Finally, please read this independent report to be better informed about reality.
Can an EV run far? Well, if an EV could run more than 340 miles on a single charge 10 years ago, you'd think that today technology can be only better, especially if part of the money going into FC research would be spent advancing EV batteries. Can it run fast? Is about 300 mph fast enough for you? Can it be quick? How does 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds sound? Can you own an electric car for every day use? Yes! If you're fed up with Big three, motivated enough and have a handy man skills or can get help, you can convert a conventional vehicle to an EV yourself. Or you can buy a conversion made by other EVers. Thousands have done it. You too can make a difference. If you are thinking about doing EV conversion yourself, I'll show you how I did it.