Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Re-taking the Dialog: Part 1 of a Series

Remember: Don't say "electric car", say "coal-powered car".

22 comments:

Homer said...

About 25 years ago Brock Yates said in Car and Driver that electric cars are great if your objective is to run cars on coal.

How right he was.

staghounds said...

No, do some research first! Depending on where you plug in- say Oswego County, N. Y., or France- you could be driving the ULTIMATE EVIL- a nuclear powered ride.

Yes, an atomic car at last...

Anonymous said...

Or in the Pacific-NW, a hydro-powered car.
Or Hawaii: oil-powered.

pdb said...

On the third hand, if I could pick up a coal powered, steam propelled car, I'd be all over that like a Kennedy on a case of Chivas Regal.

Top of the Chain said...

Where's my shipstone, damnit?

Jay G said...

TOTC FTW!

Lorimor said...

The Left has a burning hatred of fire.

Marja said...

How about a wood powered car? There are a few around in my country, and they were common during the last war. You'd have something that can be used when the oil runs out after the zombie apocalypse...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas_generator

Ian Argent said...

The Shipstone is awaiting a breakthrough in battery/capacitor physics. And possibly an exception to the 3 laws of thermodynamics.

Seriously, power storage tech is an area that is holding a LOT of things back. (including the WV of spiers)

Brad K. said...

Nope. Coal powered, each and every one.

No matter the actual generation of power for the moments a given vehicle is recharged - that is electricity, than in aggregate, requires that last, evil, coal-burning power plant to remain in operation. Once the demand for electricity is dropped to not need that coal-fired plant - then each and every erg of power will be keeping that last oil or gas fired plant on line.

And of course, mining and manufacturing, and transporting, the materials and assembled electric car didn't consume any electricity, or fossil fuels.

But then there are those (Cadillac and Hummer dealers) that claim "Cash for Clunkers" accomplished something besides degrading the quality of the decrepit vehicles who's owners couldn't afford to trade.

Joel said...

Well, nit-picking aside, I thought it was funny, Tam. ;)

theirritablearchitect said...

"...Or in the Pacific-NW, a hydro-powered car..."

Ask the Eco-Phreaks about that sometime.

All they do is complain about how much ecological damage is being caused or has been caused by dams.

Electricity doesn't grow on trees, but these people can't get that shit through their heads. They'll keep yammering on and on about PV's or some other non-sense and turn up their smug noses and put their fingers in their ears when you tell them that their vaunted PV's don't have much power density, even when they've got full sun, and they lose power on conversion from DC to AC through the inversion process, not to mention the line loses and heat displaced through the battery array that typical systems use. Nor do they ever mention that the manufacturing processes and materials for making the cells have all kinds of mining, refining and byproducts that are at least as dangerous and toxic as anything in the much maligned coal-fired industry.

Stoopid fux abound, and they're almost universally sure of their brilliance.

Look at who they've put in the big chair, and what he's done (with considerable help) lately.

We're screwed.

aczarnowski said...

I don't think saddling coal power plants with greenie-utopia-car baggage helps here.

Maybe "toxic burning acid cars" instead? ;o

Scot J said...

Equivalent sticker for real cars is "This vehicle powered by compressed and liquified solar power".

Kristopher said...

I want a nuclear powered car, dammit.

Nathan said...

Makes you wonder if PSI wishes they'd persevered all those years ago...

Mikael said...

Even so, I seem to remember the calculation roughly being that an electric car running on coal generated electricity would have total emissions of one quarter that of a fossil fuel car.

(Ethanol on the other hand is not so efficient... the only place they're managing to make the ethanol so it's more efficient emission wise than gasoline is brazil, with basically 18th century tech).

Although if we took the entire process and how the rest products are used, with gasoline, the emissions go way up, since you'll have to consider the rest product sludge that international shipping vessels use.

Rick R. said...

Well, if you wanted to be "green" for real, you'd only permit the building of tidal or nuclear power plants -- or impeller based hydro plants in flowing rivers (no dam).

That would be about the "greenest" mix -- the heavier you go nuclear, the greener. . .

Sigivald said...

This reminds me of the "let's just plant pot and make biodiesel for everthing!" idea I've seen hippies throw at me.

Sounds good enough on its surface, but they didn't do the ten minutes of bothering-to-check-that-shit that I did.

Using pot-oil-biodiesel advocate numbers, and assuming that the total oil demand by volume is unchanged in the massive gas-to-diesel conversion (and ignoring the costs of converting the entire rolling stock of the nation to diesel)...

You end up needing to plant over every square inch of the United States (including Alaska), with pot farms. And even then it's not enough

All of that ignores -

A) growing and harvesting and distributing all that will use more fuel

B) it'd use an insane amount of fresh water, which we'd need to desalinate to service (more power needed; so either nuke plants or a vast drain on the new pot-oil-biodiesel supplies).

C) we'd need to grow food somewhere, just for ourselves. And forget about exporting to the rest of the hungry world.

D) lots of the US (Alaskan tundra, the Southwestern desert, etc) isn't suitable for growing jack shit.

The real problem here is that most people, and especially hippie environmental types, have no idea at all about the scales involved, or the ability or desire to do even the clumsiest, most tentative back-of-envelope estimates.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for a Mr. Fusion device to power the 1.21 jigawatt flux capacitor in my old Delorean...

reflectoscope said...

I think in the present term tidal power is the way to go: All that water coming and going on a very regular reliable basis, why not tap it?

A believable source of electricity and super-capacitors could be the two enablers for people driving electric cars because they want to, but neither are here yet.

Jim

rickn8or said...

Anonymous--
Your capi-seater is on Back Order.