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Thread: Electric Car Challenges

  1. #61
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    I don't know much about hydrogen cars, you don't see many around here right now. But it seems like they'd offer advantages which would avoid most of the complaints about current battery electric cars.

    I have noticed that the sanctioning body for Formula-1 has an all electric series, Formula-E, running right now. Traditionally motorsports has fostered automobile technology development. So battery cars will likely be different beasts in 5, 10, and 20 years.

    OTOH- the body that sanctions Le Mans is working on a hydrogen electric series. The announcers were talking about the demo and plans they'd shared with the public earlier in the week during the race. They ran a "last-generation" prototype around the course at "competitive" speeds. (Competitive with the prototypes, the current gasoline-electric hybrid cars.) They said the next generation they're working on will be faster. They also said they're working on a hydrogen based series, which will require only roads and water as local resources. Their goal is to show up with extra containers which unload / unfold in to a solar array and hydrogen generating facility to fuel the cars.

    That reporting got one of the announcers reminiscing about a demo day he'd attended earlier in the year outside of London. He mentioned 4 to 5+ manufacturers participating. He got to drive a Hyundai sedan and said, other than missing the growl of a big V-8, it drove as well as any street car he'd ever driven. His drive included stopping at a "gas station" along his route (M-40? I don't remember or know London roads.) and having the refill go pretty much the way gasoline or diesel fuel goes.

    I'd speculate we might eventually see cheaper battery cars to run errands and get around town and more expensive hydrogen cars for cross country and heavy duty vehicles. But that's just speculation.

  2. #62
    One other thing about hydrogen fuel cell cars - they also have batteries. The fuel cell is designed to produce sufficient power for cruising on the highway and for charging the battery (this is essentially the same as a hybrid vehicle). When the car needs more power than the fuel cell can provide, the battery provides that extra power - that includes starting off from a stop. If the fuel cell was designed to produce sufficient power to rapidly accelerate the car it would be too expensive - you'd never be able to sell the car.

    Regarding the problems and cost of transporting hydrogen, Google "problems with transporting hydrogen". Here's one report. Everything I've read says that hydrogen just has too many problems for use in consumer vehicles (cars, SUVs and light trucks).

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 04-30-2021 at 7:09 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #63
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    Just read where 20% of those who bought an EV replaced it with an ICE vehicle. The number one complaint is charging. Either they didn't have access to an outlet or it was a 120v outlet which is just not up to putting enough of a charge into EV. I suspect there'll be more as people get ready to buy a new vehicle.

    Hydrogen isn't easy to transport but ammonia is. Ammonia is just NH3 and has lots of benefits. It's still a little early yet but it has too many advantages. EV's are just a stepping stone IMO. In fact as the advance they are also helping hydrogen due to the fact that they share so much.

  4. #64
    A problem with using ammonia is that first you have to create the ammonia. That requires that you first generate hydrogen, then use the Haber-Bosch process to produce ammonia. Then you ship the ammonia. At the receiving site, you have to convert the ammonia back to hydrogen because fuel cells can't take ammonia.

    By the time you do all that, you have a very expensive fuel. Then you put that expensive fuel into an expensive vehicle.

    But even beyond that, there's no hydrogen infrastructure. People complain about not having enough public EV chargers and yet we have over 210,000 available today. There are about 168,000 gas stations in the US today. Adding hydrogen distribution to even half of those stations will likely cost billions of dollars and would take decades. You'd have the "chicken and egg" problem. No one would want to install hydrogen distribution points until there were enough vehicles to make it worth while and no one is going to purchase a hydrogen vehicle until there are places to purchase hydrogen.

    Battery electric vehicles are here now and they have range of over 300 miles per charge. Improvements are being made to batteries to provide even greater range. I cannot see how hydrogen is going to overcome the head start that battery EVs have, or the problems of hydrogen infrastructure and costs.

    Studies available on the Internet all say the same thing - hydrogen is not a viable fuel for consumer vehicles.

    Mike

    [Note that there's no natural source of ammonia (in volume). The Haber-Bosch process saved the world because prior to that process (to produce nitrogen fertilizer) it was obvious that the world could not produce enough food to feed the growing world population.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 04-30-2021 at 9:08 PM.
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  5. #65
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    Currently there are 76 electric vehicle models available from 43 different manufacturers and 6 hydrogen vehicle from 5 manufacturers worldwide. There are over 40,000 public charging stations in the US and almost 100,000 public charging connections (plus home charging connections). There are 115,000 gas stations in the US and 45 hydrogen fueling stations in the US.
    Seems like the industry is leaning toward EV's over hydrogen vehicles.

  6. #66
    Another way to look at ammonia as a transport medium is to do an energy equation. Note that when we looked at generating hydrogen for a fuel cell - and ignored any transportation cost - the cost per mile for hydrogen was a bit less than three times the cost for electricity for a battery electric vehicle. And that was taking into account the cost of transporting the electricity

    Now, let me do a "back of the envelope" calculation for converting the hydrogen to ammonia, transporting it, and then converting it back to hydrogen.

    We start with 100 units of power in the form of electricity and use that for electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen. Our output is about 70 units of power in the form of hydrogen. Then we input that hydrogen to the Haber-Bosch process to produce ammonia. Let's say that costs us 10%, or 7 units of power, giving us 63 units. Then we ship the ammonia and let's say that takes 5%, or 3.15 units, giving us a bit less than 60 units. Then we convert the ammonia back to hydrogen and compress the hydrogen to about 10,000 pounds per square inch to put it into a vehicle. Let's say that takes 10%, or about 6 units or power, giving us about 54 units. Then we put that hydrogen into a fuel cell at 50% efficiency, which gives us 27 units of energy to feed to the motors.

    Note that for a battery electric vehicle we started with that same 100 units of power, allocated 5% to transmission and 5% to losses in charging the battery, giving us about 90 units of power.

    As a back of the envelope calculation, hydrogen will be a bit more than three times as expensive as power from electricity per mile.

    Add to that, a fuel cell vehicle is more expensive than a battery electricity vehicle and you wonder how many could be sold - completely ignoring the question of where the buyer is going to purchase the hydrogen.

    Mike

    [And there are a lot of safety issues with hydrogen that would have to be overcome before you could have a mass market system.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 04-30-2021 at 10:26 PM.
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  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    Just read where 20% of those who bought an EV replaced it with an ICE vehicle. The number one complaint is charging. Either they didn't have access to an outlet or it was a 120v outlet which is just not up to putting enough of a charge into EV. I suspect there'll be more as people get ready to buy a new vehicle.
    Found the originating study.

    https://escholarship.org/uc/item/11n6f4hs

    Sample size less than 2000 drivers - all in California.
    Vehicles purchased from 2012-2018.

    "The survey received 4512 responses, 1856 of these had made a subsequent purchase decision regarding the first PEV we surveyed them about. Discontinuance in this sample is 20.96% (387 households), while 79.04% (1459 households) continue to own a PEV.
    Downward trend in the last two years studied."

    Small surveys are notorious for unreliable results.

    Most of the respondents declining another vehicle had plug in hybrids or first generation EV (likely Nissan Leaf - given the years listed).

    The extrapolation taken by Business Insider to impugn the choice is not only misleading, but deliberate in obscuring the pertinent facts.

    Plug in hybrid vehicles are answering a question no buyer has asked.


    https://usafacts.org/articles/how-ma...united-states/
    Last edited by Jim Matthews; 05-01-2021 at 7:45 AM.

  8. #68
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    Just like with batteries the price would drop if production ramps up. Right now we don't have the electrical grid to support everyone switching to EVs. Transmitting electricity over long distances is also an issue. There's limited ways of storing electricity. To speed up charging a battery you need to speed up the amount of electricity going into it. That creates problems. First the cable either needs to be a much larger diameter (which would be an issue for some people) or the voltage would need to be upped. That would mean going to thousands of volts. The standard wire jacket can't handle those kids of voltages.

    Swapping batteries would work but without a standard and the fact that they degrade is also an issue. Would you want to spend $100k on a Tesla and then on your first trip swap out your nice new battery for who know what? I don't even like doing it with my propane bottle.

    But all of this is nothing compared to the charging at home issue. Most houses don't have a 240v outlet in the garage or near where people park. Around here a lot of apartments are older homes that were converted and parking is usually on the street or in a haphazard way. In the winter snow gets piled high so getting to an outlet becomes very hard. New apartment complexes have parking for one vehicle per unit in a place that could have a charger (like a car port). What works in Southern CA doesn't work in a lot of other places in this country. Which means if we are going to go to one standard (like gasoline is right now) it needs to work everywhere. That's the challenge.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    Citation, sample size and methodology please.

    https://electrek.co/2020/12/29/once-...o-back-survey/


    Small surveys are notorious for unreliable results.
    https://thehill.com/changing-america...nt-of-electric

    The poll you linked is 2000 people in the UK, this one done by the University of CA Davis (whoa re pro EV) is 4000 households in the US. That 20% is people who were early adopters who bought in. As more and more people who are less excited about buying an EV the number who swap back will increase. Davis is looking into ways to counter this but charging is always going to be an issue. I've timed it and I can pull off the road into a gas station, pay at the pump, fill my wife's Rav4, and be back on the road in as little as 3 minutes. That's going to be hard to come close to and most people get annoyed having to wait a couple minutes when a flagger stops at a construction site.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    Right now we don't have the electrical grid to support everyone switching to EVs.
    Yes, we do.
    EVs don't require more than 30A 220v to charge overnight.

  11. #71
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    Hydrogen is the smallest molecule and hence leaks the easiest of any gas or liquid. To test vacuum chambers they will pressurize with hydrogen and sniff for any leaks. It will leak out gaps that air cannot fit through.
    Bill D

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post

    [And there are a lot of safety issues with hydrogen that would have to be overcome before you could have a mass market system.]
    The Joule-Thomson inversion temperature is fairly low for hydrogen so the gas would warm as it expands... might be a safety issue with a flammable gas leaking.

    There are definitely safety issues with transporting liquid ammonia

  13. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    (1.)Just like with batteries the price would drop if production ramps up.
    (2.) Right now we don't have the electrical grid to support everyone switching to EVs.
    (3.)Transmitting electricity over long distances is also an issue.
    (4.)There's limited ways of storing electricity.
    (5.)To speed up charging a battery you need to speed up the amount of electricity going into it. That creates problems. First the cable either needs to be a much larger diameter (which would be an issue for some people) or the voltage would need to be upped. That would mean going to thousands of volts. The standard wire jacket can't handle those kids of voltages.
    Let me address your points:
    (1) The problem is to get volume built up for hydrogen vehicles. What we're looking at now is an expensive vehicle and expensive per mile cost in fuel. The reason the vehicle is expensive is because of the fuel cell, the batteries, but most of all, the tank for the high pressure hydrogen. Another problem with volume adoption is the lack of hydrogen infrastructure - where are the early adopters going to get hydrogen?
    (2) Yes, the electrical grid, today, could provide power to EVs even if everyone bought one. During sunlight hours, California often has to pay other states to take our excess electricity from all the installed solar. The outages you heard about in CA were from transmission lines being shut down because of fire danger, not a shortage of electricity.
    (3) There's absolutely no issue with transmitting electricity long distances. We do that today in the grid.
    (4) True, but it doesn't affect the sale and use of EVs.
    (5) Let's look at the numbers for quick charging a 90 kWh battery. First, rapid charge only charges the battery to 80% of capacity so that's 72 KWh. You're not going to drive the car to completely empty so let's assume half or 36 kWh in 30 minutes. The CCS can provide up to 125 amps at up to 850 volts. That's a bit over 106 kWh per hour. It would take a bit over 20 minutes to supply 36 kWh.



    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    Swapping batteries would work but without a standard and the fact that they degrade is also an issue. Would you want to spend $100k on a Tesla and then on your first trip swap out your nice new battery for who know what? I don't even like doing it with my propane bottle.

    But all of this is nothing compared to the charging at home issue.
    (6)Most houses don't have a 240v outlet in the garage or near where people park.
    (7) Around here a lot of apartments are older homes that were converted and parking is usually on the street or in a haphazard way. In the winter snow gets piled high so getting to an outlet becomes very hard. New apartment complexes have parking for one vehicle per unit in a place that could have a charger (like a car port). What works in Southern CA doesn't work in a lot of other places in this country. Which means if we are going to go to one standard (like gasoline is right now) it needs to work everywhere. That's the challenge.
    (6) Installing a 240 volt 50 amp outlet in your garage is not that difficult and essentially everyone who has an EV has done so. It's less complex than putting in a subpanel. I recently installed two 50 amp outlets in my garage.
    (7). People who live in apartments without dedicated parking spaces will have to charge at public charging stations. I expect having to do that will make EVs less attractive to those people. I expect some apartments which provide reserved parking for tenants may begin to build solar structures, underneath which the cars will park. Each parking space could have a charger. The reason the apartment owners might do this is to make their place more attractive to potential renters, which will allow them to increase the rent. This would also be like a carport, providing shade for the cars, and some protection from rain.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 05-01-2021 at 9:17 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  14. #74
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    I see compressed natural gas ford f15o pickups for sale om craigs list. Ex caltrans. Good shape, a little cheaper then a gas engine one but.. The nearest CNG filling station is about 100 miles away or 230 miles. And I am near several major highways and big cities that lack them.
    These are not dual fuel so just enough capacity to drive to the pump fill up and come home. No side trips allowed at either end.
    Bill D

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    ... compressed natural gas ford f15o pickup... nearest CNG filling station is about 100 miles...
    If you have natural gas service at home*, there are appliances (aka "compressors") that allow you to fill the tank. I've never used one but, suspect its like charging EV batteries, since the utility gas delivery pressure is so low and line size small, it would likely take >3-4 hrs.

    *-guessing you might have to leave CA to avail yourself of this in the long run??

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