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    • CommentAuthorMikel
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2017
     
    For a different perspective on progress, see

    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2015/09/you-call-this-progress/

    FWIW, I'm inclined to agree with ringi that air pollution will be more important than climate change in giving impetus to a switch to EVs.

    And do we really think that renewables will replicate our current lifestyles?
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2017
     
    Good article, think I have read it before, or something very similar.
    If the late Victorian era engineers looked at our technology, they would probably understand it very well.
    • CommentAuthorMikel
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2017
     
    Yes, the article dates back to Sep 2015. Tom Murphy, the author of the article got promoted and stopped writing posts. One for the conspiracy theorists, maybe.

    We have had a lot of technological progress for so long that it now expected to be a given. Also, I'm inclined to view humans as being defined as toolmakers and think that making tools solves all problems.

    We see necessity as the mother of invention but there is a flip side: invention is the mother of necessity. We are now facing a declining net available energy and are not looking at the consequences.

    I would like to be persuaded that there is an optimistic outcome.
    • CommentAuthorwookey
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2017
     
    Billt. I don't understand why you seem so invested in arguing that EVs are terrible, and inefficient, and too expensive and will never work, and there's no slack in the grid, chargers don't have timers, V2G can never work, etc etc.

    The bottom line is that we have about 500GT of CO2e left before 'seriously bad shit', and are using it up at 35GT/yr. That's now 14 years. The future is going to look very different indeed, either because we changed everything, or we get everything changed for us.

    We don't really have any choice here. (Human) Emissions should be dropping at 10+%/yr already in the developed world, but are not doing anything of the sort. They may have stopped rising worldwide - it's hard to tell - and are dropping very gently in the western world, (if imported embodied carbon is ignored). One thing that will make a difference is a very fast transition to EVs instead of fossil engines (not as much as bicycles, trains and buses, or simply staying at home, but those shifts can be parallelised).

    So it seems to me that sane people can argue for either/both of two things.
    1) Move ICE->EV as fast as possible (done in 15 years)
    2) Major shift to cycling+PT for urban populations, (using rented EVs as needed)

    Anyone arguing for 'ignore all that bollocks and keep using ICE cars because they might be a bit cheaper' is just being a nihilist.

    The change has to occur - stop quibbling about the details and work out how to make it work.
    • CommentAuthorbillt
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2017
     
    I'm not particularly against EVs. In fact their quietness is an attractive quality. I keep looking at old Nissan Leafs as I no longer do many miles, but they just don't work in our circumstance. We would still want 2 cars to cope with more than 1 local trip a day or trips of any distance and that in itself is not eco-friendly. The maximum range of a Leaf is less than the range still left on my car when the fuel warning light comes on, not a recipe for relaxed driving.

    Personally, I'm not convinced by the man made global warming argument so I think the danger of CO2 emissions are greatly exaggerated, not that we can stop the future CO2 emissions anyway and the UKs contribution is miniscule. Humanity does a lot of things that are actually proven to affect climate, deforestation in particular.

    If you actually do want to reduce consumption of fossil fuels the only way to do it effectively is to cut down the use of vehicles massively. Live close to work so you can walk, cycle or use PT. Don't drive several hundred miles for your holidays, don't fly several thousand miles on your holidays.

    All the EV proponents seem to be arguing from the position that personal motorised transport is a necessity, maybe even a right. They tend to rave about things like the Tesla because it can out accelerate many ICE vehicles. If your focus is on vehicle performance, you obviously aren't at all interested in reduction in resource usage.

    A lot of the EV advocates seem to think that it is reasonable to run two cars as the EV only has the range to do a shopping trip or two, so they need another car for long distances. That is very wasteful of resources, and a sign that the EV advocates aren't really interested in environmental issues, but just another middle class green toy.

    What I am arguing is that there should be honesty in the evaluation of EVs and that seems to me to be seriously lacking by their proponents. In particular, my argument is not about the economics of fuel costs (although that is what the advocates major on) but the fact that the inherent energy consumption is no better in an EV than an equivalent ICE vehicle. That energy has to come from somewhere and it isn't going to come from renewables.
    • CommentAuthortorrent99
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017 edited
     
    The article Mikel references rings true. It seems this last "lifetime period" we appear to have been undergoing a consolidation period. One would hope that it is merely a breather before the next leap forward. Perhaps our base technologies are tools are merely being sharpened before their use to create some more magic. (AI seems a probable contender here)

    They say necessity breeds invention, the Victorian to 1950's period he discusses incorporates 2 world wars (and many smaller wars). It's a sad fact that wars breed necessity and usually massive technical innovation. Hopefully we are not on track for another (though President Bannon's ambitions do no auger well). Perhaps our necessity will be global warming?

    Unfortunately, the articles predictions re: Social leaps backwards are becoming true.
    Even sadder is that just at the time we should be devoting 100% of human CPU cycles to the global warming problem, they seem to have become 100% committed to the political equivalents of working out why the monkey wants to drink dried leaves in boiling water...
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017
     
    Posted By: billtit isn't going to come from renewables
    Don't bet on that - way to go yet.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017
     
    Posted By: billt…but the fact that the inherent energy consumption is no better in an EV than an equivalent ICE vehicle.
    An ICE, by its nature as a heat engine, throws about 2/3rds of its energy away as heat (about 1/3rd to cooling fluid and 1/3rd to exhaust). Only higher combustion temperatures or more complexity (as per combined-cycle turbines) will improve on that and even then not by much.

    Of course, if the electricity came originally from a heat engine then an EV just moves that waste up stream. But a) at least it's potentially useful there (CHP) whereas in a vehicle only a tiny bit of the waste heat is useful (for heating) and b) it doesn't necessarily come from a heat engine.

    The 40 odd MJ/kg of energy available in typical road vehicle fuel needs to be compared against about 15 MJ or so of electricity fed into an EV.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017
     
    Posted By: Ed Daviesif the electricity came originally from a heat engine
    which should be nearer 50% efficient, running at higher delta-t and a streamlined process less liable to loss from the theoretical max efficiency.
    • CommentAuthorbillt
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017
     
    Posted By: fostertom
    Posted By: billtit isn't going to come from renewables
    Don't bet on that - way to go yet.


    I've just seen a pig over my house at 200 feet.
    • CommentAuthorbillt
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017
     
    Posted By: Ed Davies
    Of course, if the electricity came originally from a heat engine then an EV just moves that waste up stream. But a) at least it's potentially useful there (CHP) whereas in a vehicle only a tiny bit of the waste heat is useful (for heating) and b) it doesn't necessarily come from a heat engine.


    Yes, the potential to use the waste heat from a power station is there, but it is never used in the UK. (There were projects in the past, but NIMBYism rules and power stations aren't sited where the waste heat can be used, and the waste heat is often not useful. E.g. if aimed at space heating you don't need it in the summer.)

    My point was that most of the electricity generated in the UK is produced by burning something (65% at the moment). Pretty well all the electrcity used for load following will come from gas generators, the more EVs demanding power the more gas will be burnt.

    Burning things for generating electricity isn't going to stop anytime soon. The only practical way to stop it is to build more nuclear generators and the combination of irrational nimbyism, artificially high costs and political cowardice is going to mean that it won't happen.

    Posted By: Ed DaviesThe 40 odd MJ/kg of energy available in typical road vehicle fuel needs to be compared against about 15 MJ or so of electricity fed into an EV.


    Again you are missing the point that most of the UKs electricity is made in heat engines, so the difference is moot.
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