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Old 03-01-2014, 07:11 AM   #15
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Electric cars are actually perfect for towing - for as long as we manage to get enough power to the motors, i.e we need to improve battery capacity. The torque of an electric motor is hard to beat.

There's a reason most locomotives are diesel-electric, or, in Europe, fully electricity powered.

I am working with Tesla right now for a work project, the cars are incredibly powerful and well put together. If they'd be able to store more power onboard, I'd get one tomorrow. Their upcoming SUV will come with a tow rating.

Additionally, it is far easier to produce clean energy in a central location, be that nuclear, solar or hopefully soon fusion, than it is to so in millions of individual engines - at least until we manage to build solar panels that combine high output with small size.
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:23 AM   #16
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As far as the buy back of electricity from the installation of solar panels in Fl. The initial cost of the panels precludes anyone except the rich from getting the benefit. The poor who do not have the money for the panels get no benefit except a higher rate. As usage from solar rises, rates increase. Just as when rates from biomass rises rates increase with no appreciable reduction of air quality. And those are facts. Jim
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:34 AM   #17
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I just said to my wife the other day - maybe our next commuter car will be electric (probably 7 or 8 years away). Even the electric vehicles available now have plenty of range for that drive; we have a gas-powered car (and by then, probably a second one), plus the diesel truck, for longer drives. In the meantime, our commute, which is the bulk of our miles accumulated, will be cheaper.

As for the emissions issue: It's much easier to trim emissions at a single source, the power plant, than at millions of vehicles. Electric cars that are powered by clean sources are clean.
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:56 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by zigzagguzzi View Post
As far as the buy back of electricity from the installation of solar panels in Fl. The initial cost of the panels precludes anyone except the rich from getting the benefit. The poor who do not have the money for the panels get no benefit except a higher rate. As usage from solar rises, rates increase. Just as when rates from biomass rises rates increase with no appreciable reduction of air quality. And those are facts. Jim
Wow Jim, thems the facts huh? If we offset the need for building new plants, how does that make rates rise? Thats the same tired argument that Duke Energy and a consortium of Utilities is selling through their propaganda machine. Fact is household consumption of electricity is declining and thats what worries the big utilities. The switchover to natural gas is also contributing to a decline in rates as it is more efficient. Utilities like Duke, that have a terribly large liability with their environmental legacy based on coal generation, have the most to worry about.

Its true that the cost of entry for Solar PV makes it difficult for those without means to install, but if you do have the means it makes sense, and its getting cheaper every day. You don't have to be rich to put up a modest array and the Federal Tax credit is reason enough to do it from an economics viewpoint. I look at it as part economic and part civic duty. But the facts are, the FPL program is a multi-million dollar program, that the reservations for are so competitive they book up in a matter of a few minutes when they open up on an annual basis. If it prevents another nuclear plant from being built, there is no telling what future savings may be had because no one can tell you the long term cost of disposing of spent nuclear fuel will be.

If you'd like to discuss biomass, I am somewhat of an expert on it having worked as a graduate researcher on DOE projects on the topic in the 70's (remember that ENERGY crisis?) on forest biomass production. I majored in natural resource biometrics/statistics, and am published in several well known journals on the topic.

I also understand the political pressures of University studies such as this and the publish or perish mentality. I understand well how statistics can say many things depending on your desired outcome. That is why I am skeptical of studies such as this. I will say, that I gave up a career in "propagating myths" as some might call it, for one that was more lucrative, but I never sacrificed my integrity in any of my published work and stand by all of my published work despite the political pressures.

There are many economic implications of energy policies that have many competing interests that are all vying for a piece of the pie (Coal, Gas, Oil, and Battery companies to name a few etc). Political discussions are valid, but ultimately it is the consumer who should decide, but they have to have an even playing field and thats what incentives are all about. I really dislike dis-incentives though.

The problem with the original post is it ignores the fact that just as any small reduction in CO2 is still a reduction.. its the right thing to do. The way I look at global warming, a stitch in time save nine.
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:20 AM   #19
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Please note that they are not taking ag land out of production; those solar thermal plants are being built in dry lakebeds.

Ag production in CA is limited by water - not by available land.

- Bart
I would suggest that you check out the ag land west of Gila Bend AZ that was once planted in cotton and now is a mega-solar farm. I think that you're referring to the five square mile solar farm in the desert that instantly kills birds as the fly though the 1000 degree heat that provides steam for a turbine generator.

Interestingly enough, they are developing small solar gardens here in Durango with any number of small investors that will benefit by reducing their power bills. Too, as land is taken off of the market to provide for a solar farm, remaining properties will increase in value and the resultant values will kick up property tax values!

There is no free lunch!
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:21 AM   #20
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Will Electric Vehicles Really Reduce Pollution?

Will Electric Vehicles Really Reduce Pollution?

Conclusion

At present, for the vast majority of the country, neither electric vehicles or comparable gasoline-powered vehicles holds a solid advantage over the other in cleanliness. This balance will probably not change any time in the near future as the problem with electric vehicles is not inherent to them, but rather to the means by which we generate our electricity. Although electric vehicles offer some compelling advantages over internal combustion engine vehicles in terms of pollution management, the real advantage of electric vehicles lies in the future when more electricity is produced from cleaner sources. For those living in California, or in other regions with a high percentage of energy production coming from clean sources, the future is already here.
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:36 AM   #21
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I burn wood pellets for heat.
(I wish I had a pellet-fueled pickup truck for haulin' the trailer. )

Still need a conventional oil-furnace as a "primary", but it isn't used much.
Its going to need to be replaced in the not too distant future (20yrs old)...thinking about going geo-thermal. Like other "green" stuff, that's typically cost-prohibitive, but I recently found out that I might already have the most expensive part of the system in place--a deep well (drinking water supply). I've seen case-studies on houses similar to mine where the cost to convert wasn't much more than any other replacement would be. (more research is needed, on my part--a little nervous about the idea of fiddling with my drinking water).
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:51 AM   #22
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Will Electric Vehicles Really Reduce Pollution?

Conclusion

At present, for the vast majority of the country, neither electric vehicles or comparable gasoline-powered vehicles holds a solid advantage over the other in cleanliness. This balance will probably not change any time in the near future as the problem with electric vehicles is not inherent to them, but rather to the means by which we generate our electricity. Although electric vehicles offer some compelling advantages over internal combustion engine vehicles in terms of pollution management, the real advantage of electric vehicles lies in the future when more electricity is produced from cleaner sources. For those living in California, or in other regions with a high percentage of energy production coming from clean sources, the future is already here.
Indeed, we will never solve air pollution until/when we get away from burning fossil fuels for our energy needs across the board. It should be clear by now that none of the "alternative energy sources" being experimented with are capable of meeting our energy needs of today let alone the future. This leaves nuclear as the only viable energy source right now, which BTW, is why I have some long-term investments in uranium producers.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:56 AM   #23
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We love our 2013 Volt. 7 months 6,500 miles and only 3 eight gallon fill ups. My wife drives it about 28 miles round trip each day to work and we try to drive it everywhere else we can within the total electric range. Even on an occasional highway cruise you just set the cruise control and put it in hold mode which is good for 40mpg. Put it in sport mode and it is just a blast to drive. More people should give it a try.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Skater View Post
I just said to my wife the other day - maybe our next commuter car will be electric (probably 7 or 8 years away). Even the electric vehicles available now have plenty of range for that drive; we have a gas-powered car (and by then, probably a second one), plus the diesel truck, for longer drives. In the meantime, our commute, which is the bulk of our miles accumulated, will be cheaper.

As for the emissions issue: It's much easier to trim emissions at a single source, the power plant, than at millions of vehicles. Electric cars that are powered by clean sources are clean.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:04 AM   #24
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The only reason I would drive a battery powered car is if the cost per mile went down. Until we find a way to generate power from fuels that don't produce CO2 and other pollutants then electric won't be green. It is just like putting insecticide in a recycled bag. It does not make it a green product. Here in the TN valley where we have hydro and nuke power, it might actually better than a gas powered vehicle.

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Old 03-01-2014, 11:17 AM   #25
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Also a Volt driver here. Recharging via a time-of-use plan, where car gets charged between midnight and 4 AM, fueling costs average $0.02 per mile. PG&E states that approximately 30% of power delivered is from renewable sources such as hydroelectric, solar, and geothermal. Another 27% from natural gas. Taking into account energy production, CO2 emissions per mile is about 1/6 that of gasoline engines.

Running electric might not make sense in some locations based on the source of the electricity consumed, but here, at least, it does, in my opinion.
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:51 PM   #26
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I never thought I'd be talking about sustainable living with folks on a forum dedicated to a lifestyle that includes hauling your living room, bedroom and galley up and down the highways to the tune of 9 MPG, but here we are. I am guilty as charged, but it seems that many of us are making up for our excessive preoccupation with AS trailers in other ways.

Then it occurred to me that there just might be some wisdom to doing this, and in particular, for those that are full timers, an advantage over owning a suburban house with all of the burden that goes with that... maintaining a lawn, heating and cooling and other uses of resources. I'll have to look into this as an alternative lifestyle.

In any event, the discussion about electric motive power is a good one. The real advantage of having electric hybrids is urban stop and go driving, and I think we can include those who frequent the interstates on the more busy weekends (have you seen the snowbirds on I-95 on select spring and fall weekends making the annual migrations?). Having an electric backup to move your TV and trailer ten feet at a time makes a lot of sense. I'd be interested in hearing how others might perceive this usage model.

And I'd also love to hear about other techniques we employ for sustainable living beyond the obvious Solar Electric and Water conservation techniques we already apply so well.
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:55 PM   #27
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Just curious, how many of you have the Eco-Stop/Start capability on your TV's. My car does it, but not terribly consistently. Its pretty good at saving fuel in stop and go I must say.
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:25 PM   #28
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We replaced a couple of ATV's with electric golf carts. However, we charge them with electricity from what some say is the dirtiest coal fired power plant in the country! Go figure.
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