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Bottom line is that the development of new internal combustion engines is nearing an end. Mercedes-Benz posted a month ago that they were converting their internal combustion engine powertrain R&D facility to an EV R&D facility.
 

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Hopefully they come up with a charging solution for the tens of thousands of California PG&E customers that have their electricity shut down for days during high winds.

If they spent money and maintained their infrastructure (PG&E and the other company), they wouldn't have to shut power down in order to not start wildfires...
 

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Yep on both counts.

Rather than full-electric though, I still think the Volt was the best of both worlds, electric for around town combined with the extended range of ICE when traveling cross country AND when charging isn’t an option. Seems like GM abandoned that concept prematurely.

California utilities and rate-payers are in a real bind...utility company mismanagement and overly-aggressive mandates for ’clean’ (aka ‘expensive’) electricity has been a bad combination. Throw in an ever-growing out of control homeless population illegally camping in high-risk fire areas and it’s a recipe for disaster.

But I digress, it will be interesting to see if the extra research $$ will translate to finally cracking the nut of EV battery/range limitations.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Yep on both counts.

Rather than full-electric though, I still think the Volt was the best of both worlds, electric for around town combined with the extended range of ICE when traveling cross country AND when charging isn’t an option. Seems like GM abandoned that concept prematurely.
Agreed. It took the automobile a generation from the time it replace the horse & carriage in the cities to conquer the middle of the continent. Today we have the same issue with BEVs. In both cases the real hold up was/is the fueling (charging) infrastructure.

California utilities and rate-payers are in a real bind...utility company mismanagement and overly-aggressive mandates for ’clean’ (aka ‘expensive’) electricity has been a bad combination. Throw in an ever-growing out of control homeless population illegally camping in high-risk fire areas and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Combine this with a serious issue of NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) when it comes to power plants and lines and you get a recipe for disaster. California's power problem runs parallel to their housing and homeless problems. This was published yesterday and it has the same underlying problems. https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/analysis-california-is-becoming-unlivable/ar-AAJBXG3?li=AAgfYrC

But I digress, it will be interesting to see if the extra research $$ will translate to finally cracking the nut of EV battery/range limitations.
The Porsche Taycan is available for sale now. Electrify America has 400KWh chargers in several major cities and is working to deploy them nation wide. Electrify Canada is doing the same in Canada. The Taycan can charge to 250 miles in about than 30 minutes on a 400KWh charging station and 15-20 minutes at 800KWh chargers. Yes, the Taycan starts at $103,000 and goes up to nearly $200,000, but all new technology starts at the top end (think ABS brakes which were originally designed for commercial aircraft) and works its way down to the low end.

(Porsche, Electrify America, and Electrify Canada are all part of VW Group)

The Tesla Model S can be charged to 350 miles of range in 45 minutes on Tesla's supercharger network, which currently charges at 200 to 250KWh rates.

Tesla is working on their next Roadster - same price range as the Taycan but with a 600 mile single charge battery range. Tesla has also announced they have designed and built batteries that have a life expectancy of over one million (1,000,000) miles.

On top of this, researchers using electron scanning microscopes have recently figured out and published why rechargeable batteries wear out. Now that this is known battery manufacturers have a place, other than trial and error, to start to improve overall battery charge capacities and life.

The technology is coming.
 

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I don't think the final chapter on EV can be written until we figure out the electrical grid. Unless people can plug in their cars at work, they won't be charged by solar. Putting solar into batteries to charge millions of cars at night makes no sense. I don't know as wind is the answer. It doesn't seem like it's working out cost-wise. I think a newer generation on nuke is the only thing that will work.

I'm still rooting for biofuel. I think it's young enough to have some good breakthroughs and allow much of our current fuel infrastructure to continue.

As for California, it's biggest problems (beside some of their theories that don't work) is what I call "clustering". Everyone wants to live where everyone else is. Supply and demand drive real estate sky high. And you can't manufacture more real estate. There are communities that are trying to draw people to them, but they're on the losing side of the clustering thing.
 

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I think a newer generation on nuke is the only thing that will work.
This - absolutely this. I know Fermi, in SE Michigan, is approved for a third reactor, but DTE (one of our main electric companies) hasn't gone forward with it yet. Building wind/solar, as well as natural gas, at this point has been cheaper, I believe. But that can only add so much capacity. They'll need that third reactor eventually.

And the further we advance in fission, the more likely we are to figure out fusion.
 

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This - absolutely this. I know Fermi, in SE Michigan, is approved for a third reactor, but DTE (one of our main electric companies) hasn't gone forward with it yet. Building wind/solar, as well as natural gas, at this point has been cheaper, I believe. But that can only add so much capacity. They'll need that third reactor eventually.

And the further we advance in fission, the more likely we are to figure out fusion.
Interesting tidbit about nuclear fission reactors - other than our two nuclear bombs to end WWII, there are more deaths annually in the coal industry than there have been in the 70 years we've had controlled nuclear fission. Yet coal continues and nuclear power is feared.
 

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Yep...because it is easy to be made "scary". People seem to think Chernobyl is the norm rather an extreme outlier (I mean...flawed RMBK reactor design, poor instrumentation, untrained crew running tests they shouldn't have at night...with said poor instrumentation and flawed reactor design...it's surprising something didn't happen sooner), but that simply is not the case. The new GE reactor approved for Fermi 3 can basically survive for 48 hours with no coolant flow - it's crazy.
 

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Yep...because it is easy to be made "scary". People seem to think Chernobyl is the norm rather an extreme outlier (I mean...flawed RMBK reactor design, poor instrumentation, untrained crew running tests they shouldn't have at night...with said poor instrumentation and flawed reactor design...it's surprising something didn't happen sooner), but that simply is not the case. The new GE reactor approved for Fermi 3 can basically survive for 48 hours with no coolant flow - it's crazy.
No one died at TMI.
 

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No one died at TMI.
Exactly. But, for whatever reason, people assume this is what happened:



It wasn't even a full meltdown, but yet...
 

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My understanding is that none of the modern generation of nuke plants has had a problem. All the names we talk about are the old generations. Meanwhile, the Navy has been running nukes on subs and aircraft carriers without any big problems.

The biggest problem with wind and solar is it's "at nature's whim" supply. Until you get cheap storage, it's not a solution. (Not unless being a third-world nation is a solution). Bottom line, something else is going to have to fill in. Odds are solar and wind just makes that "something else" more expensive. Why? Because the high fixed costs of whatever the other power source will be will be spread across fewer megawatt-hours, increasing the price.

Nukes tend to be steady-state, but it's always there. Nukes powering industry by day and charging cars by night, now, that's a plan.
 

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For EV I think the key is to develop a much smaller battery that could keep and use electricity much longer. And of course to be very cheap. With today's technology the infrastructure is not developed to support too many EVs and other issues will come in a few years when you have to replace and dispose these batteries. Poor people won't afford "a good used car" since these will be with bad batteries and too much to invest to replace these. Then when is a power issue, yes the gas pump won't work in your town, but you can get gasoline from other places, you can put from your other cars into one that you can use it as an escape from the bad zone with your family, EV will be useless under these circumstances. Do you see emergency vehicles powered only by batteries? I don't think so! Dual power source could be the solution. My final opinion, yes EV may be the future but not driven by batteries that you charge from work or home only.
Oh, I forgot politics! Each country has its own politics that can enforce changes. Depending on politicians and presidents things can be drastically push in different directions..
 

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Oh, I forgot politics! Each country has its own politics that can enforce changes. Depending on politicians and presidents things can be drastically push in different directions..
But even above politics is cost. I would propose that the quality of life is directly linked to the availability and low cost of energy. The masses will follow the cheapest, legal source. Government subsidies can push things in a direction, but they can't hold things long-term without becoming a tax burden. The "winning" country will be the one that picks the lowest cost source. Any country picking anything else will financially handicap themselves.

Germany went heavy into Solar, and has the high electric bills to show for it.
 

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But even above politics is cost. I would propose that the quality of life is directly linked to the availability and low cost of energy. The masses will follow the cheapest, legal source. Government subsidies can push things in a direction, but they can't hold things long-term without becoming a tax burden. The "winning" country will be the one that picks the lowest cost source. Any country picking anything else will financially handicap themselves.

Germany went heavy into Solar, and has the high electric bills to show for it.
Chile went with solar as well - it was cheaper than the same sized coal plant over the planned 50 year lifetime of the plant. Solar and Wind costs are really dependent on location.

As for taxes and subsidies, worldwide tax subsidies for oil and coal is over half a trillion dollars a year. This number comes from the oil industry itself. Germany's consumer, including business and industry, electric prices didn't go up because of solar but because Germany subsidizes oil but didn't subsidize solar.
 

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Chile went with solar as well - it was cheaper than the same sized coal plant over the planned 50 year lifetime of the plant.
What are they going to do about night or inclement weather?

As for taxes and subsidies, worldwide tax subsidies for oil and coal is over half a trillion dollars a year.
What kind of subsidies are we talking about? When most people talk about what fossil fuel gets, it's a tax break. In other words, they're not being taxed at the same rate as a normal business. If they had to pay those taxes, it would be passed to the consumer.

When I talk about subsidies for "green" energy, I'm talking about what's being handed out to those companies. Some, like net metering, is great for jump-starting things, but is ultimately unsustainable.
 

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What are they going to do about night or inclement weather?
The way I understand it (and I'm no expert) there are coal fired and nuclear, steam driven plants that supply much of the grid in the US. These take a while to heat up before they can be put on line (especially the nukes). That is, they cannot react quickly to large changes in demand.

To complement them, there are smaller, gas-fired plants that can be fired up and placed on line more quickly as needed, such as on a hot summer day when AC usage is up.

I would expect the solar and wind sources to be added to the coal/nuke fired production, then use the gas-fired plants to fill in when the wind dies down or when the sun goes down.

But, since we're talking South America, I have to wonder if they won't simply have black outs instead :)

Doug

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What are they going to do about night or inclement weather?
The plant has a liquid sodium based heat reservoir to power steam turbines at night.


What kind of subsidies are we talking about? When most people talk about what fossil fuel gets, it's a tax break. In other words, they're not being taxed at the same rate as a normal business. If they had to pay those taxes, it would be passed to the consumer.

When I talk about subsidies for "green" energy, I'm talking about what's being handed out to those companies. Some, like net metering, is great for jump-starting things, but is ultimately unsustainable.
Subsidies come in multiple forms. Tax breaks are one form - because this means that one legal entity isn't paying the same tax rate as another with the same income. Direct money out of the government treasury is another. Significantly lower properly leases relative to what someone else would pay for other purposes is yet another (we see this in our National Forests where mineral extraction leases tend to be pennies on the dollar of the estimated open market value of the land). For that matter, the Home Mortgage exemption on the Form 1040 Schedule A is a subsidy to home owners, one that renters can't get. The upshot of these various reductions in taxes is distortion of the energy market. Germany's electric market felt this when they continued subsidizing coal and oil but wouldn't subsidize solar. Had Germany eliminated the subsidies from the oil and coal companies a year before going to renewables it would have been very clear that it wasn't that renewables weren't more expensive, but that the German's had been paying a significant portion of their energy bill via taxes.

Net metering is useful to give energy consumers incentive to avoiding energy usage at peak times. Power plants that are brought on-line solely to support peak power consumption times are far more expensive to build and operate relative to the amount of power they produce. Because of this, net metering actually started before solar and wind were commercially viable. At one of last summer's utility industry conferences, CEOs of several US electric utilities made the statement that EVs could actually reduce their cost per KWh by charging at night, allowing them to run closer to capacity for more hours of the day. In other words, EVs charging at night would raise the traditionally low nighttime power requirements and allow them to run their plants more efficiently. Power plants are fired up and left on. They're cycled on and off as power requirements demand in order to balance the power grid.
 

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The plant has a liquid sodium based heat reservoir to power steam turbines at night.
That still leaves a long line of inclement weather.


Subsidies come in multiple forms.
The ones I'm referring to are the ones that make "approved" energy practical for users. It's one thing to jump-start an industry, but not sustainable.

I'm curious about how man billions are taken in gasoline taxes. A bit of Googling indicates that California consumed 15.1 billion gallons of gas in 2015. With a Federal excise tax of 18.40¢/gal and local taxes of 61.20¢, that's $2,760,000,000 in federal tax and $9,210,000,000 in local taxes just for California alone. So, I',m not sure as "big oil" is getting a net subsidy.


Net metering is useful to give energy consumers incentive to avoiding energy usage at peak times.
You're talking about Time Based Rate. Currently, that has a higher charge during peaks and cheap during the dead of night. But solar is going to force it to be cheap in the day and expensive at night. A boon for business, but a problem for consumers.

Net Metering is when you pay for the net amount of electricity used during the month. Great for individual consumers, but there comes a point when everyone selling power in the day and consuming power at night and paying nothing doesn't work. It's an accounting trick that hides the fact that fossil fuel was consumed to generate that night-time electricity.
 
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