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Old 06-27-2005, 12:23 AM
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A 150+ mpg Prius

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,1889039.story

This is very interesting. I've been researching building an electric vehicle (EV) for around town driving. Many of the EV supporters are kinda rabid about it, but there is some fascinating info floating around.


Like the fact that automakers are shy about EV's and plug-in hybrids because of an old survey that showed US consumers were leery of the idea. So, Toyota et al tout their hybrids as plug free. But as this article shows, a few extra batteries and a plug in capability at night will greatly diminish the need for pumping gas...but if you can't plug it in, no worries 'cuz you've got the gas option.


Now some will point out that there's no free lunch...plugging in costs money too and the power has to be generated somewhere.

True, but you'd be plugging in at night when there is excess power in the grid, and some power co's will even give a price break for nighttime use. Or, install some solar panels at home to generate the Kw you'd use on average at night, get credits for pumping them into the grid during the day (at the day rate), and use the credits at night.

Or use a diesel generator running on biodiesel to charge up.

Hopefully someone at Ford is paying attention to this.
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Old 07-11-2005, 02:49 AM
jcp123 jcp123 is offline
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True, the fact that the power for plug-ins has to be generated somewhere was always my biggest reservation, but you just solved that with the solar panel idea. Why more houses don't have them is beyond me. It's basically free power if you live in a sunny part of the nation!
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Old 07-17-2005, 08:43 PM
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Great, the LA Times pulled the story from the link.

The story was of an aftermarket company which is making an add-on kit for the Prius which adds batteries and a plug in capability. It also "fools" the computer into thinking there is more juiced available, thereby delaying the time the gas motor comes on.

They report up to and over 150 mpg. Kit cost is still high, near $10k. But if Toyota were to adopt it as an option, the cost could drop as low as $2k. If I can find the company link I'll post it.
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:02 AM
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Solar costs are too high to justify their use even with State rebates. If you calculate how much power is needed to cruise around in a car and look at how big of a solar panel you need to generate it, its cost, and its ROI, you'll quickly see why nobody is doing it already.

Something else that most people probably don't know is the cost of replacing those batteries in hybrids when the time comes. We all know how long rechargables last in our laptops and how much they cost when they can't hold a charge anymore. Well, guess what folks, hybrids use the same and I bet most will wake up to a rude surprise that when they sell their cars in a few years--they've lost most of their resale value because the next dude has to cough up $4-5K for a new set of batteries.

Buying a hybrid might save a few bux at the pump and do good for the environment in terms of emissions, but what folks fail to see is long term costs as well as the toxic waste of dumping out their spent batteries... Are they as environmentally clean as they think?

I'll stick with my 15mpg truck until someone can manufacture a flux capacitor that runs on trash. In the meantime I'll be cruising around in something that I can use and actually have some fun instead of driving a tiny hybrid that can't haul much more than a few bags of groceries :-)
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Old 07-26-2005, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaman
Solar costs are too high to justify their use even with State rebates.
Our family house at our cattle station now runs purely on solar power. It wasn't cheap (Dad winced when I showed him what it was going to cost).
Mind you, the house previously had to run purely off diesel generators (200miles away from the closest grid electricity), so we were able to justify the cost by getting rid of two diesel generators (and thier fuel and upkeep costs).

Once purchase costs reduce though I wouldn't be surprised to see a LOT of houses with them.
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Old 07-26-2005, 12:17 PM
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the chemicals from making solar panels is a big reason theyre not widely used. if solar panels became the main source of energy we would have a major problem. and they do wear out eventually, so then you have to justify the replacement cost for that "free" energy.
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:20 PM
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there are still many problems witrh solar cells... i am part of the kansas state solar raycing team and we deal with very powerfull cells...

the main thing is they are very expensive... and there are still alot of problems with converting engery, and keeping cells, when its hot out cells can actually crack and break... so kansas is out of the question

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Old 07-26-2005, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead_Foot
the chemicals from making solar panels is a big reason theyre not widely used. if solar panels became the main source of energy we would have a major problem. and they do wear out eventually, so then you have to justify the replacement cost for that "free" energy.
Ummmm, and the byproducts of finding, driilling, pumping, transporting, refining, re-transporting, burning of oil doesn't have costs (environmental, medical, military, etc) ?

These costs are not reflected in the price of your gallon of gas...if they were, as a user tax, gas would be twice as expensive, if not more.

Everything has "hidden" costs. Alternative fuel/energy solutions that are "homegrown"/home produced have the incalculable advantage of leading to independence from oil, a limited commodity whether internationally got or from domestic sources.

Adapt or die.
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Old 07-26-2005, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaman
Solar costs are too high to justify their use even with State rebates. If you calculate how much power is needed to cruise around in a car and look at how big of a solar panel you need to generate it, its cost, and its ROI, you'll quickly see why nobody is doing it already.

Something else that most people probably don't know is the cost of replacing those batteries in hybrids when the time comes. We all know how long rechargables last in our laptops and how much they cost when they can't hold a charge anymore. Well, guess what folks, hybrids use the same and I bet most will wake up to a rude surprise that when they sell their cars in a few years--they've lost most of their resale value because the next dude has to cough up $4-5K for a new set of batteries.

Buying a hybrid might save a few bux at the pump and do good for the environment in terms of emissions, but what folks fail to see is long term costs as well as the toxic waste of dumping out their spent batteries... Are they as environmentally clean as they think?

I'll stick with my 15mpg truck until someone can manufacture a flux capacitor that runs on trash. In the meantime I'll be cruising around in something that I can use and actually have some fun instead of driving a tiny hybrid that can't haul much more than a few bags of groceries :-)
Aquaman: Being a 24/7 dad right now, I don't have the figures readily at hand, hope to in the future to post.

But if you consider that most vehicle trips for most people are less than say, 30 miles (for those groceries you mentioned), you can certainly get enough charge or credits from a decent solar array.

Next, I believe several states have laws which regulate how many miles a battery pack MUST get before replacing for an EV car to be certified. And the economies of scale (mass production) could certainly drive the costs of both solar cells and batteries down.

And I think there are (and should be) regulations regarding the recycling of spent batteries so they are not "dumped"...and from what I've read the technology is there to do a decent job of it. Especially with the lead acid types which are simple and still being improved.

Furthermore, it's not like oil burning is the cleanest thing around either...along with the incredible amount of motor oil runoff from city streets into the rivers coastal areas after it rains. The amounts are boggling. If the cleanup and costs of environmental destruction were factored into a gallon of gas as a user tax, you'd be paying a lot more.

Believe it or not, I'm not a raving greenie...but there's too much disinformation and mythology being passed around on all sides of the issue. I hope to research and post some of my findings as I go.

For me, the real kicker is independence from foreign oil, and having existing technologies for when the real oil depletion crunch happens.
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Old 07-26-2005, 11:47 PM
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right after my mom rolled her izuzu we thought about getting that hybrid escape but they were charging like 3-4k more depending on dealer than the regular gas driven escape. we asked the dealer what would happen if we crossed some low water bridges with water up to the head lights, they said due to it having batterys in such a low spot that it might ruin them, we ended up getting a van that....floats, but its a v6
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Old 07-27-2005, 04:02 PM
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Hi e1p1,
I fully agree with you on your points. I went off on a rant because everyone around here and their extended families are buying a hybrid because they're thinking they can save big bux at the pump. It also seems very fashionable to drive one just like it was when SUV's were so popular on everyone's driveways. I think that's the wrong approach. One should buy a hybrid because of other reasons knowing they can get a similar gas-guzzling car for less $$.

The problem with oil is it's the only source of energy that has a high enough energy density to satisfy our energy demand and it's so widely available--for the time being. We also have a huge infrastructure to have it available anywhere we travel, so much that we don't think twice about worrying about finding a gas station.

Some folks think running a hydrogen car is the solution for the future also--it emits water and heat as exhaust--what can be better? Well, the problem with that is, it takes energy to extract hydrogen and it's not something we can just pump out of the ground like we do with oil and natural gas.

No doubt that hybrids are more efficient than regular gassers. That's a given, but they cost more.

I'm not a solar expert nor do I want to be :-), but the highest efficiency solar panels in mass production today can get about 10Whr/sqft per day, best case. If it takes an average of 30hp to drive a car for 30minutes, 30*748*0.5 = ~11.2KWhr is needed. Assuming roughly an 80% power conversion efficiency from the solar panels, one needs about 14KWhr for that 30 minute drive.

Assuming an average of 8hrs of solar insolation all year round (which is never the case depending on where you live), one therefore needs a solar panel system with about 1.8KWhr capacity. Figure about $5/KW for materials only, your solar panel would cost approx $10K just to let you drive a modest car 30minutes everyday for "free". Ignoring inflation, foregone investment oppurtunities, electric rate hikes, etc, it'll take about 6-8yrs at best to break even in electric savings if you just plugged into the wall instead.

Unfortunately land where I live costs a premium, so I don't have the privilege of having a huge lot where I can setup some panels :-( Otherwise I'd do it just for fun simply because of the geek factor and I think it's totally cool. Panels do wear out, and their efficiency drops over time.

Someone kick me if my math is wrong :-)

On that strap-on battery pack for extended running on the Prius--a cheapazz like me could get a couple and go plug in at work or anywhere there's a electric recharge station. I could theoretically drive free of charge and never have to pay a dime for fuel, and I can claim tens of thousands of mpg. If there's extra charge left at the end of the day, I could run my whole house in the evenings and cut my electric billz. LOL!

Last edited by aquaman; 07-27-2005 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 07-27-2005, 04:02 PM
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