By on April 10, 2013

So-called “range anxiety” is the biggest — perhaps the only — issue being discussed in the electric-vehicle debate nowadays. Whether it’s a Leaf crapping out at the sixty-mile mark or a Tesla Model S driving in circles around a parking lot to drain the battery for theatrical purposes, electric cars and range potential are linked in the minds of most potential buyers by a true Gordian knot.

If the people at Phinergy are correct, that knot can be sliced by a sword constructed from charged aluminum plates — and the resulting rewards would be spectacular, to say the least.

Gizmag reports on a new electric vehicle concept from Israel’s Phinergy:

“The company’s battery currently consists of 50 aluminum plates, each providing energy for around 20 miles (32 km) of driving. This adds up to a total potential range of 1,000 miles (1,609 km), with stops required only every couple of hundred miles to refill the system with water…

Phinergy claims to have solved the CO2-related premature failure problems seen in other metal-air battery technologies by developing an air electrode with a silver-based catalyst and structure that lets oxygen enter the cell, but blocks out CO2. The result is an air electrode that Phinergy says has an operational lifespan of thousands of hours.

The company says the aluminum plate anodes in its aluminum-air battery have an energy density of 8 kWh/kg, but the batteries are not rechargeable. Once the energy is expended, the plates, which add up to around 55 pounds (25 kg) per battery, need to be replaced. However, the company points out that aluminum is easily recyclable and that swapping the battery out for a fresh one is quicker than recharging.”

Now I’d like to talk about something my mother once said to me. I was sitting in front of our family’s console TV when an advertisement for the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon Miser came on. “50 MPG!” it said in big letters. I was perhaps ten years old at the time.

“If that’s true, it’s incredible,” I opined. My mother looked up from her copy of Songs Of Innocence And Experience or whatever the hell she was reading to bark at me.

“The proper use of the word ‘incredible’ is, literally, in-credible, which is to say, unbelievable, so when you say what you have just said you must mean if it is true, you are too much of a fool to believe the truth.” How I treasure the memory of all the little interactions like that we had every time I forget to visit her in the home*. If you’re reading this, Mom, allow me to say that

if the Phinergy claims are true, they are incredible!

It’s also fair to say that the plates would be incredibly expensive. This isn’t a Better-Place-style swap-out plan. Rather, the plates serve as a known opportunity cost for extended range.
They could be combined with a traditional electric battery arrangement to produce a car that got, say, 300 miles on a charge — but if you needed more, you could just use the plates. There would be a cost to doing so, but it would presumably be less than the cost you would incur by not using the plates.

The practical Israelis probably haven’t considered it, but there would be another aspect to the plate battery that would appeal to Americans — the sheer conspicuous consumption of using the plates whenever you felt like it. Imagine, if you will, the rap songs of the near future:

(Drake)
I’m on a 24 hour
Aluminum diet
Swappin’ plates cross-country
I encourage you to try it
Im probably just saying that cause I don’t have to buy it
Phinergy supply it, Boy I’m on that fly shit
Don’t try to charge me up, I like runnin’ on E
Swappin out these five-pound plates loike constantly

(Birdman)

Hit the Phinergy store and later get served
Crank the A/C with no reservations
Them people passin’ so we smash on em’
Bindin out we keep the plates on deck
Teslas and Leafs with extra charge on deck
Chevy Volt is America’s conflict diamonds
Detroit Electric version of the Lotus Spyder

And so on. Kim Kardashian could be seen ostentatiously leaving the plug for her C-Max Energi or whatever dangling unconnected from her upstairs window before leaving for the morning with a fresh aluminum-plate battery. I’ve forgotten to include the Cadillac ELR in this fantasy, so here goes: Motor Trend will get a free one stacked to the ceiling with batteries to deplete.

Naturally, the most important modern question about batteries — what makes them explode? — has yet to be answered by the Phinergy folks. Still, it’s exciting to consider that the elimination of range anxiety could electrify nearly the entire American fleet, leaving plenty of fuel to run my Porsche 993 in perpetuity. Gets you all charged up, really.

* The phrase “the home” refers to her home. I haven’t found a facility that will take her, to be honest.

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66 Comments on “What if Electric Vehicles Had More! Range! Than! Gas! Powered! Ones! (?)...”


  • avatar

    This is probably the best thing I have ever read about “green cars.”

    Also, one can’t help but wonder how much energy it takes to “recycle” those aluminum plates…

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Melting 1kg of Aluminum require 15kwh of electricity. One gallon of gas contains 33.41 kwh of energy. So melting 25kg of aluminum would require 11 gallons of gas.

      More or less if I’m doing the math right.

      • 0 avatar
        kosmo

        No fair bringing up practical matters like that! I only want to hear about the truly silly mgpe ratings.

        Seriously, battery research is amazing. But we need the next “quantum leap” in charge density before things really start to make sense.

        And that could come tomorrow, or in twenty years.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          What do you mean? That’s 100 mpg using gas. If we were using Icelandic power the price would be lower and I’d have to assume the post melt processing and transport requires a small percentage of the original melt energy.

          • 0 avatar
            Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

            And BTW that energy wouldn’t have to come from imported dead dinos, it could come from entirely domestic sources of heat or power. Plus, less microparticulates and smog forming emissions. And less noise. And more reliability.

            Oh, and even by your reckoning, you spend 33kwh to get a usable 16kwh, a 50%ish conversion that’s already superior to most combustion engines, and that 16kwh is good for about 50-60mi in a decently peppy near 2 ton EV.

            Still, I think hydrocarbon SOFCs would be better, since there’s already an infrastructure in place, and the efficiency gain would improve the nation’s security and trade balance. Plus, gasoline or butanol could be manufactured from atmospheric carbon, water, and energy from domestic sources, and would be a good way to utilize sporadic renewables until enough NIMBYs die to make way for thorium MSRs.

        • 0 avatar
          240SX_KAT

          (Jack’s Mom’s Voice)”The proper use of the phrase “quantum leap” is to delineate the smallest possible change in state of an electron.”
          +1 on unintended pun misusing that phrase on battery technology.

          • 0 avatar
            BMWnut

            Yup, a “quantum leap” is in fact an infintessimally small number, often smaller than the diameter of the nucleus of an atom. I had to google for the second part of the sentence, but there you have it. Thanks to 240SX_KAT for setting the record straight.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Interesting that it could turn Iceland into Saudi Arabia. Iceland has so much geothermal power that they are planning on building an undersea cable to Scotland to power continental Europe.

      In future, rather than moving takers full of oil from Saudi Arabia to Europe and returning them empty for refilling. You could move spent aluminum plates back and forth from Europe to Iceland.

      * note: it appears that Alcoa Iceland’s 346,000 metric ton per year Fjardaál smelter is powered by hydro rather than geothermal. Iceland is also rich in that power source as well.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        A coworker visited Iceland and related that some roads are defrosted via geothermal heat. We all thought it was a goof until we wiki’d it.

        Odd place, Iceland. 300K people on an Kentucky-sized island with glaciers, volcanos, banking criminals, and Bjork.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Gasoline is definitely not recyclable so the plates are winning here.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Also, one can’t help but wonder how much energy it takes to “recycle” those aluminum plates…”

      It doesn’t make me think that at all.

      The electricity comes from the galvanic reaction of aluminum oxidizing. It appears that the 55 lb of aluminum would become about 159 lb of aluminum hydroxide, Al(OH)3. Interestingly, this car would have the unusual property of gaining weight as it consumes its fuel because of the addition of the oxygen+hydrogen.

      Aluminum hydroxide is the main ingredient of bauxite, which is the raw ore used for making aluminum in the first place. Except, it doesn’t have to be mined, separated, purified, etc. Therefore, the energy needed to recycle it is no more than the energy needed to make aluminum in the first place.

      There just happens to be a great way to compare such energy consumption: cost. Energy that goes into processes isn’t free, and its cost is rolled into the final product. Thus, the energy cost can be thought of as the price difference between the final product and the raw material.

      Aluminum hydroxide costs somewhere around $0.20/lb, and aluminum costs about $1/lb. When the battery is used up, you have ~$31 worth of raw material, and the aluminum costs ~$55, so let’s say the cost of those 1000 mi is $25 or $0.025/mi. I have no problem with that.

      If boutique shops were ‘recycling’ it, it would be much more expensive. But with metals, we’re talking about an economy-sized industry, which is far more efficient.

      Now, the really important question is: “Can I run this car on my empty coke cans?”

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        great explanation/breakdown

        but I don’t think those costs would remain that low/constant if the demand necessarily increased to meet demand if this were a viable alternate transport ‘fuel’.

        I think EV can and will make sense if and only if the first world pushes forward with next gen nuclear.

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          If anything, it would drive even more recycling for purely economic reasons, which I have no problem with. Plus, it’s more abundant in the earths crust than anything but silicon and oxygen.

      • 0 avatar
        George Herbert

        I was too busy to comment earlier, but had the same question and was going to look up the same reaction stuff. I believe you got the right info on the cycle and right conclusion here.

        The batteries here seem to go from aluminum plate or sheet (plus stuff) to high grade aluminum ore, requiring re-refining (the electric process in the salt bath, etc).

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Aluminum?

    No Blood for Foil.

  • avatar
    jco

    55 pounds of aluminum per 1000 miles? not even factoring the energy costs of producing, recycling, etc. is that math correct?

    it’s incredible all right.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I know nothing of electric cars.

  • avatar

    Magical! And it’s coming true!

  • avatar

    “So-called “range anxiety” is the biggest — perhaps the only — issue being discussed in the electric-vehicle debate nowadays.”

    NO – the other issue is THE COST. The Model S, even in it’s cheapest configuration costs more than the Lincoln MKS, Chrysler 300 SRT and Cadillac XTS – and for that you get less than 200 miles range.

    And yet another factor is INTERIOR SPACE. Until the Model-S, EV were plagued by small interiors. Now that Model-S showed everyone that a flat floor battery could work, you can bet Hyundai and Toyota will have their own clones eventually.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      I suspect much of the cost comes from low volume production.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      You are correct. We deal with “range anxiety” all the time with our electronic devices (phones, laptops, etc.). People know these things don’t charge in a couple minutes, yet have had no problem adjusting their behavior to charge them at night or when sitting in their office.

      If EVs had no sticker shock, the barrier to entry would be gone, and people would gladly buy them, especially when they realize how much cheaper they are to operate: fuel is 1/3 the price, and maintenance looks to be far simpler/cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      No, no, no. The only real issue with EVs is recharge time, which is a persistent technology problem.

      The other factors you mention are merely implementation issues.

      By the way, Hyundai and Toyota are not going to clone the pack from a Model S, unless something creeps into the arrangement Toyota and Tesla already have. Nobody is making money on EVs yet. The reality is they are practical vehicles for some consumers (like me), but really serve as PR channels for the mfrs, with a slight dose of CAFE boost from selling them.

      • 0 avatar

        Great comment

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          He does a car with a battery in it. :)

          Does it fly? Since I won’t be paying gasoline tax to support transportation infrastructure it might as well fly.

          • 0 avatar
            blowfish

            yes what is the govt going to do when there’s enuf EV running around, as govt can see the benzoline tax revenue start to dwindle?
            And just simply to have all toll roads?

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          I agree – great comment. Also two small issues with the cell phone/laptop analogy – you can recharge your cell/ipad/laptop in an acceptable amount of time, using existing infrastructure in homes, offices, cars etc., unlike EVs. AND those items can all be used WHILE they are being recharged. In the case of laptops they are used while recharging probably 75% of the time. Try using your EV while it’s being recharged.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            I really can’t use my tablet when it’s recharging because I don’t have a plug conveniently located to my couch. Also, the cable really gets in the way. Similarly, when my phone/laptop are plugged in, they cease to be mobile, which is a huge part of their intended functionality. Some areas are considering installing induction charging in roads so that EVs can run off of the grid while driving. (I doubt it would recharge the car, but it effectively turns it into a ‘wired’ car by avoiding depletion of the batteries.)

            What is an acceptable amount of time? My laptop takes hours to fully charge. Same goes for my tablet. Is that “acceptable”? It is for me since I do it overnight, but if I maintained an irrational expectation to not need to plan ahead, then no, it wouldn’t be acceptable. (Also, because they are intended to be mobile, I actually don’t use them when they are plugged in.)

            EVs *are* recharged using existing infrastructure. Garages have outlets. Plug in the car when you get home (and thus when the car isn’t going anywhere), and everything is just fine. The problem with EV recharging only occurs if you drive farther than the range allows. In that case, by all means get a different car. (Just like if you need to haul a boat, don’t buy a Civic.) But since we already know range is not a real problem for most people, I do not believe that the range or recharge time is really what prevents people from buying EVs.

      • 0 avatar

        RECHARGE TIME is a huge problem, but when you combine that with sticker price, interior space and range anxiety, you realize it would be FAR LESS of a hassle to just buy an ICE.

        Smartphones are a great example. Recharge time isn’t great and they only get you about 10 hours per charge, but their conveniently sized and their price is subsidized by contracts. If I had to spend $600 on iPhone5 instead of $299, I’d be thinking twice about it.

        • 0 avatar
          Buzz Killington

          Hmmmm.

        • 0 avatar
          blowfish

          Ya my phone motorola razr is free from fido but i do pay for it with my monthly installment though. Interesting though my 2 yrs contract is cheaper than 3 yrs, go figures?
          Or is like leasing using 2 yrs to amortize my phone.
          I wouldn’t even think about it to blow 6 bills on a phone, is totally not my priority list , as I am not 16 needs a phone to enhance my lowly status.
          These things are God awful to read anything serious, as u need to jog from left to right. My eyes will get crossed as bad as Timmy Conway.

    • 0 avatar
      BMWnut

      Because the Model-S has a flat floor, it means that an LS1 conversion would be a huge effort. No space for the gearbox, drive shaft and so on. Bummer.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Shoot the idea down in flames, if you must, but… You will never win the lottery with out buying a ticket so lets all keep an open eye on these developments with out casting jaded cynical judgement about.
    BTW it’s “Change anxiety” not “range anxiety”… Think about it.

  • avatar
    jco

    also, since the overwhelming majority of electricity comes from dinosaurs anyways, and loses a great deal of energy in the process, it doesn’t solve any problems.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I’m in coal country so it is mostly dead plants.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    More range would certainly help EV. But I would also think the EV’s primary problem is not range, it’s the time it needs to fully recharge a spent battery. As many EV manufacturers claim, today’s EV range is already perfectly adequate for the majority of driving out there. If the battery can be fully recharged in a reasonable time, say, 20 minutes, then I can totally live with today’s EV range.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      As I said in a post above, I don’t think charge time is really a problem because as you note, the range is perfectly fine, and when you get where you are going (home, work), it typically sits for hours. Phones, laptops, Kindles, etc., don’t charge in 20 minutes, but people don’t have a problem.

      Refill time only matters when driving very long distances, in which case, the EV isn’t the right tool for the job, just like a Miata isn’t the right tool for helping your buddy move apartments. In those cases, rent a diesel for the weekend.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        As an EV driver, my lifestyle fits the EV recharge cycle very well. But if I drive 40 miles across town to see family after running errands on a Saturday, recharge time is a big deal – not to mention the social awkwardness of stealing their electrons (even if they’re dirt cheap).

        Americans demand flexibility; EVs won’t get widespread acceptance until they can treat an EV just like an ICE car.

      • 0 avatar

        Redav,
        Not all of us go home to houses.
        Roughly 40% of us live in apartments,and in the numerous apartments I’ve lived in in Ga,Texas,Fla and Cali I have yet to have garage parking,much less an electrical outlet.
        On the other hand every apartment I’ve lived in has had electric outlets to charge my phones.laptops and Nooks :)

        Now if there was a neighborhood electric recharging station where I could re-charge an electric car in about 5 minutes,I’m in.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          I don’t assume that EVs are a good fit for everyone, nor do I assume they need to be. The question of what prevents people from buying them doesn’t hinge on that. Considering the current price of EVs, odds are that people who rent generally aren’t going to be in the market for EVs regardless of infrastructure. I know I wouldn’t.

          The real crux of gslippy’s point is that people have an expectation of their car. That expectation may be reasonable, or it may be pie-in-the-sky stupid. I agree people think they need exactly what their current car does. In some ways that’s valid because we’ve spent a lot of time optimizing cars. But in other ways, it’s kind of stupid.

          I consider actual obstacles preventing EV acceptance (price, access to electricity) as hard barriers, because those are show-stoppers–you cannot use the product. Expectations are different–they are soft barriers because while people can use it, they choose not to. Hard barriers require solutions; soft barriers can be overcome by solutions or just changes of perception. For example, gslippy not wanting to recharge when visiting family is because it’s “awkward.” That’s just a social norm, an expectation. Change the expectation without changing the product, and that problem disappears.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            I guess getting up to get an extension cord so your tablet can recharge while you’re on the couch would also be a soft barrier – ?

            The inconvenience of reduced portability of such devices while being recharged is similarly a soft barrier.

            The total inability to use an EV while it’s being recharged would be a hard barrier.

            I think I understand.

        • 0 avatar
          blowfish

          I moved to a parking next to an outlet soon as I saw it being avail, there’s only 2 outlet in our apt.
          And I am sure my landlord is not going to be amused to see that my car has to be plugged in every night.
          And an EV require a lot more juice than topping up a batt or block heater.

      • 0 avatar
        Darkhorse

        redav – I agree with that. I was talking to my mechanic once who opined that cars were going to be very different in a few years. EVs with 100 – 200 mile range. I asked him how could I drive my kids to Disneyworld. “Take a bus” was his reply. No thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Again, this is the crux of the issue. I own a laptop, a smartphone, a Kindle. The laptop and smartphone can be charged fully in a couple of hours. Same for the Kindle…except that it only needs to be charged once a month. That time is on the super-low end of the car-recharge time spectrum (say Tesla S on a Supercharger), and can be done using infrastructure that exists now, everywhere. And if one is willing to accept a loss of portability, those devices can be charged while being used. Limit portability in a vehicle…it’s not a vehicle anymore.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    This idea of aluminum plate switching is crazy – it only makes the EV look MORE like a science experiment, not LESS.

    The holy grail of EV battery technology – whatever it will be – needs to be rechargeable (and rapidly, too).

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Wrong. A consumer should only demand a quick “re-fuel”. Whether that “re-fuel” is “recharge” or something else, it’s not his business.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I disagree about it being like a science experiment. People are well versed on the idea of replacing items that wear out, whether they be oil, tires, or lead acid batteries. I think peole would see this like replacing the D cells in their kids’ toys.

      True, people would not see it as a leap forward, and a swap-out would make EVs seem more like toys than cars. But it can be spun like an oil change: “Come in every 5000 miles to get your battery serviced. For under $50 and in 10 minutes, we’ll drain it and fill it back up to get you on your way.”

      • 0 avatar
        Buzz Killington

        And replacement is something that could be handled at a roadside “refueling” station, just like today, in about the same amount of time.

        I do like the “rechargeable paired with plates” idea. With the plates as a reserve power source, it would eliminate “range anxiety.”

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    gslippy – -

    I agree. If EV’s had the following ten (10) characteristics for enthusiasts (and others), they might have a chance to go beyond and overcome ICE’s as general-use vehicles, IMO. They can’t just “match”; they have to do better:
    1) 500-mile range;
    2) 5-minute recharge time (Requires capacitors dumping into batteries);
    3) A gearbox to select torque vs. RPM needs (one can have TOO MUCH torque, as on slippery surfaces);
    4) A charging source of electricity that is itself pollution-free;
    5) Temperature independence (not affected by -20 deg F, nor +120 deg F);
    6) Low replacement cost for batteries and capacitors after 10 years;
    7) NO safety issues with creating fires or melting;
    8) Does not inhibit cornering/handling of vehicle by adding more than 500-lb weight TOTAL;
    9) Does not have a vehicle cost more than 10% of a comparable ICE version;
    10) Can provide some genuine (not phony) acoustical feedback to the driver, a “music” of its own.

    —————

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I’ll challenge a few items on the wish list:

      3) With the Leaf, anyway, I find that ‘one-speed suits all’ works very well. Traction control helps in the snow. The simplicity of fixed gearing is a wonderful thing.

      4) Green/renewable charging would be ideal, but we live in a world powered by hydrocarbons. Recent studies show that the ‘green-ness’ of operating an EV depends on your zip code (meaning the source of your generated electricity), but all of them are greener than operating an ICE due to the EV’s high efficiency. Renewable and nuke are best, the dirtiest coal is worst. My power comes from coal (not sure how clean it actually is), but the Leaf’s MPGe still makes it cleaner than the dirtiest coal. I’m not actually a greenie, but this was a nice discovery.

      7) Safety issues are present wherever you store potential energy. I’d still rather have a battery under me than 20 gallons of gas.

      8) Cornering – the low CG of an EV means they corner pretty well. It’s the eco tires they install that hurt. Car and Driver put performance tires on a Leaf and got it to corner at well over 0.9 G.

      10) Silent running is part of the EV appeal. Once you get used to it, it’s amazing how loud an ICE car is.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Since you’re a scientific persona and I’m not, I’m not foolish enough — even on the Internet! — to argue point no. 4. It does, however, seem counter-intuitive. Here in Washington, DC, our electricity comes for coal, the dirtiest power generation technology of them all. It’s not just what comes out of the powerplant smokestack (and the remaining ash that has to be disposed of … no small problem in itself, but what is done to the land to extract that coal. We owned a vacation house in W. Va. for about 10 years and used to drive right by the Mt. Storm generating plant, owned by Dominion Resources, which supplies electricity to the VA suburbs of DC. There was a huge stepped “reclaimed” “mountain” which looked like a Babylonian ziggurat covered with grass — no trees (because trees won’t grow in the thin soil used to cover this former strip mine. The town of Thomas West Virginia is a picturesque little town on a hillside above a river with a railroad yard below. Unfortunately, half of the town is condemned and uninhabitable because it sits on top of an abandoned coal mine that has been determined to have been inadequately sheared up. So the ground underneath most of the town could collapse into a giant sinkhole without warning.

        Therefore, I remain unconvinced of the environmental merits of EVs, at least outside of areas where electricity is generated by hydropower or nuclear reactors.

        And, even for me — who has a 15-minute drive to work — the car has such limited utility as to be an expensive toy. I couldn’t use it, for example, to visit my father at the old folks home he lives in in Annapolis, 40 miles away, without the dreaded “range anxiety.”

        • 0 avatar
          Darkhorse

          I grew up in the Mt. Storm area in the 50s when they were building the power plant. I even dated the daughter of the first plant manager! Anyway, a lot of my classmate’s fathers worked in coal mines in the area and made a decent income in spite of the dangers. That sent a lot of those kids to college. Remember, everything is relative to the era. With fracking and the nat gas boom in WV, maybe they should convert Mt. Storm to gas?

      • 0 avatar
        Buzz Killington

        Agreed: re the handling. I would not be surpriced to see EVs (and all cars, really) becoming lighter over time b/c weight is the enemy of efficiency. If the battery pack adds weight, it can be lost somewhere else (that will likely be higher on the vehicle), resulting in an equally-weighted vehicle with a lower CoG. Sounds like a win-win.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        gslippy – -

        Ironically, I was making a marketing determination, not a technical one. (I’m a scientist, by the way, but have worked in technical marketing for a very happy part of my life.)

        When one comes out with a new product based on a new technology, it simply is not good enough to match or even slightly surpass the current offering. You have to come out with something that will absolutely slaughter the competition, at the risk of being perhaps too graphic. Take a look at the original iPhone and iPad from Apple to get a sense of what I mean.

        So far, EV’s have not even come close to the comprehensiveness of ICE’s, which are currently being adapted to hybrid and diesel and hybrid-diesel forms, to say nothing CNG. If you want to consider technical issues: the new VW XL1 is rated at a real 270 mpg, and will go to a test market at least in Austria. That number surpasses the phony “MPG-e” ratings that the US Government still plays with in various formulas. The hot and cold problems of EV’s are well known and are a significant shortcoming: those cannot be overcome easily because of the inherent electrochemistry of batteries.

        From a performance point of view, if an EV can cost $30K and outperform a Scion FR-S around Laguna Seca in a 6-hour s race, and sound like a Ferrari F360 doing so, then we might have something. If an EV can do the 24-Hours of LeMans or Nürburgring AND WIN overall, it will have arrived.

        But if having a glorified golf cart is all you need, then I guess you got what you want. That certainly would not be suitable for me, under any conditions…

        ———————-

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          gslippy – -

          To give you some comfort that EV’s may in fact rapidly be approaching reasonable performance levels (at least that), I invite you to watch Chris Harris’ surprised analysis for the new Mercedes SLS:
          http://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/video-chris-harris-reviews-the-mercedes-sls-amg-electric-drive-ar152498.html

          ————–

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            A astoundingly beautiful car with state-of-the-art electric drive sophistication, but still battery-limited.

            The admitted “everyday” range of 125 miles (for a car with 700+HP) can (and WILL) be translated into an everyday driver with 200HP and 200+ miles of range – we just need to ensure that the power grid is converted more and more to clean energy so that this “future” will have a smaller footprint.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I would challenge the very assumption to care what traditional ‘enthusiasts’ think when selling an EV. As gslippy pointed out, EV buyers want different things–we don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        redav – - -

        But we do live in a world of more or less common agreement about what makes a good performance car that satisfies both the timer’s clock and the human soul. So far, EV’s satisfy neither.

        And since this is largely (not exclusively) an enthusiast’s website, it should not be surprising to find more concern about EV’s than you may feel. I shall repeat a paragraph from above:

        “From a performance point of view, if an EV can cost $30K and outperform a Scion FR-S around Laguna Seca in a 6-hour s race, and sound like a Ferrari F360 doing so, then we might have something. If an EV can do the 24-Hours of LeMans or Nürburgring AND WIN overall, it will have arrived.”

        No, one size does not fit all, but that is not the issue here…

        ————————–

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          If an EV powered by wind and solar can zip around enough to make the driver happy, and not exploit the earth and its people for filthy oil, well, that’s a different kind of satisfaction.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Shaker – -

            Yes, you are right. That is a type of “satisfaction”. But not one that belongs yet to car-performance enthusiasts. Daring to speak for most of us, I would rather hear the visceral roar of engines rather than the whine of wimpy electrons ….

            ——————————-

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    For point 5, traditional gas engines dont even have “temperature independence”. They are very affected by temprature, altitude etc. We have just become very good at managing the issues around this. Why do you think there are giant tanks of water at the side of the road in death valley and engine block heaters available as factory options for cold winters? Now if you are talking just range, then yes ICE has better temperature independence than battery right now, but even fuels have issues at very cold temperatures icing up/gelling etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Well, yeah – but those issues have already been handled to the point that very little consideration is required to successfully and conveniently operate ICEs in varying temperature and climate conditions. Watch your coolant in hot weather? Use your block heater in cold weather? That’s cake. Keeping a giant 800-lb. battery from overheating and overcooling, without using precious energy FROM said battery? That’s hard as hell.

  • avatar
    Skink

    “More! Range! Than! Gas! Powered! Ones!”

    Is Shatner available?


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