LENR vs Solar/Wind, and emerging Green Technologies.

  • As I thought, there are only 4 superchargers in Atlanta, none of them convenient to my house. But, if I had an electric car, I would charge it at home so that wouldn't matter. As I said, there are chargers at the FAA office and at shopping malls in Atlanta, but I never see them in use.


    On the way to Staunton, VA there are 2 superchargers. One is off the roads I use. It would be a long detour. The other is nearly 500 miles from Atlanta, so it is too far. It is almost too far for a Prius, which has a 600 mile range. A 600 mile range means you have to fill up after 500 miles. You don't want to come without 50 miles of running out of gasoline (or electricity) in the middle of nowhere in Virginia. The only gas station shown on the GPS might well be out of business. Or it might close at 6 p.m. when the owner goes home for supper, as one of them did.


    Of course there will be more superchargers in the future if electric cars become popular. But never as many as there are gas stations, for the reasons I described above.

  • Looking at the Supercharger map between Atlanta and Staunton, VA, I don't see any issue. There are chargers roughly every 100 miles all along I85 (Greenville, Charlotte, Greensboro. South Hill, Richmond) and along I81 (Bristol, Wytheville, Lexington) and even several between Atlanta and the start of I81 along various routes. I guess you must take a pretty exotic route. Like I said, use cases...

  • Looking at the Supercharger map between Atlanta and Staunton, VA, I don't see any issue. There are chargers roughly every 100 miles all along I85 (Greenville, Charlotte . . .

    Too soon. You wouldn't want to interrupt the trip for a half-hour at Greenville. It is only 130 miles. I guess you could recharge there . . . Giving you just enough range to reach Staunton. I am guessing the supercharger in Charlotte would be a 20-minute detour for us, plus a half-hour wait to charge up to 100%.


    The point is, you would have to plan this out, maybe drive several miles out of your way (although not in Greenville), spend a half-hour charging. That is more planning and logistics than with gasoline, and I think it will still be that way far into the future, given the differences between electric cars and gasoline.


    I suppose that eventually, batteries may have a 1000 mile range. So it will no longer matter because no one drives that far in one day. You could recharge overnight at a motel. Or perhaps with super-superchargers, they will recharge to 100% in 10 minutes, making them more or less as quick as refilling with gasoline.


    Let me again say that for city driving and commuting, electric cars are more convenient than gasoline models, because you can charge them at home overnight. Cheaper, too, because they are so efficient. The Leaf is ideal for Atlanta traffic and commuting. The only problem I see is for long distance driving in the U.S. But I would think twice about paying a ton of money for a Tesla that I cannot conveniently drive to Virginia or Pennsylvania. I prefer my Prius for that trip. I wouldn't want to rent a car leaving a $50,000 Tesla in the driveway at home. (Not that I would ever pay that kind of money for a car, unless it drives itself, always, in all traffic.)


    A plug-in gasoline hybrid is not a good choice for me because I would only fill it with gas ~4 times a year, and the gasoline would get stale, I think.


    A 1000 mile range may not be enough in the distant future, with the underground roads I predicted in my book, because the cars may go 180 mph. Under robotic control. No human should ever drive that fast! I don't think we should allow such speeds on above-ground highways, even with robotic control. The Japanese Shinkansen railroads are elevated far above ground, so no problem.


    I guess you must take a pretty exotic route. Like I said, use cases...

    I77 north at Charlotte. Much less traffic. More scenic. Friends & relatives along the way.

  • By the way, this discussion of highway travel with a Tesla is not from my imagination. I read an auto magazine article by a reporter who drove a Tesla on some long distance trips, to see how the superchargers and logistics work. He said it took considerably longer with more detours than a gasoline car.


    The problem will lessen with time, as more electric cars come on the road. If a large fraction of cars are electric, and gasoline consumption drops a lot, say ~20%, the opposite problem may emerge. It may become difficult to drive a gasoline car. In the 1973 gas crisis, sales fell only a little, but many gas stations went out of business, because their margin is so thin. In some neighborhoods it became inconvenient to find a gas station. Today, in depressed areas of Alabama, the GPS will show many gas stations and fast food places that went out of business. You may have to go a long distance to fill up. If gasoline sales fall 20% and gas stations on smaller highways go out of business, many people on highways may run out of gas.


    When gasoline sales fall by ~70% (or some number like that), gas stations everywhere will go out of business, and it will soon be impossible to operate a gasoline car in many places. You can't recharge it at home. You must have the gasoline delivery infrastructure, and it is not a multi-purpose infrastructure like the power grid.


    Many people think that new technology is a one-for-one replacement for the old, with similar charactoristics. I suppose that is why the mayor of Atlanta thinks we need more charging stations for electric cars, even though the ones we have are seldom used. She probably thinks that regular cars need gas stations, so electric cars need charging stations. Nope, not so much. The newspaper say we need charging stations so that people will not feel "range anxiety." I talked to some Leaf owners. They say they never feel range anxiety, and they don't bother charging at the shopping malls.


    Years ago, I heard a more extreme example of thinking the new will resemble the old. I said "cold fusion will not need a fuel delivery infrastructure." A rather stupid person said: "Yes, it will. We will need pipelines for the heavy water." She did not realize you could deliver a year's supply of heavy water for a city in a pickup truck, and most of the fuel will be built into the motor, like acid in a battery.

  • Jed: "By the way, this discussion of highway travel with a Tesla is not from my imagination. I read an auto magazine article by a reporter who drove a Tesla on some long distance trips, to see how the superchargers and logistics work. He said it took considerably longer with more detours than a gasoline car."


    Well, my comments are not from my imagination either. I have personally taken many long-distance trips in a Tesla and the logistics using Superchargers have been just fine and required virtually no special planning. Personally, if I am driving a couple hundred miles or more, I am going to want to stop at some point along the way and not just for 5 minutes. Stopping for 20-30 minutes or more for a bathroom break, a snack or meal, and just to stretch my legs is what I have always done regardless of what I was driving. This is not the case for everyone. Some people are determined to drive 800 miles in a day and would probably use a catheter if they could. For those people, electric cars are not ideal. I find that sort of trip to be an awful experience but to each their own. But I suspect that for most people, at least Teslas are no more hassle for road trips than any car for most of the country and, as you pointed out, are far easier at home since you start out every day with a full "tank". At the moment, there is no real equivalent to Superchargers for other long-range electrics on the road, so having a 238-mile Chevy Bolt is still a bit of a challenge on a long road trip. I am a totally boring broken record on this, but it all comes down to use cases. What works for me might be useless for you. But I suspect that the current level of technology and infrastructure is surprisingly effective for most people.

  • I wonder what percentage of households have two cars? And then what percentage of those ever need both cars to over 200 miles a day?


    I would suggest that a significant percentage of households could survive very well with one electric and one gas car.

  • I wonder what percentage of households have two cars? And then what percentage of those ever need both cars to over 200 miles a day?


    I would suggest that a significant percentage of households could survive very well with one electric and one gas car.

    I would suggest that a significant percentage of households could function (not just survive) very well with two electric cars.


    How often do most people drive more than 300 miles in a day? I would guess not more than a few times a year. And you can quite easily drive 500 or 600 miles in a day with at least some electric cars in case you really needed to do that. The key phrase here is "most people". Yes, there are people who drive from New Jersey to Florida in one day. Actually, some guy just did that with a Tesla last week. But that sort of behavior is way out on the fringes. I'm sure there are statistics out there somewhere about what most people do with their cars and I strongly suspect that today's leading electrics (not to mention forthcoming cars with increasingly favorable performance) can satisfy not just a significant percentage but rather a dominant percentage. One statistic that pops up in all sorts of analyses of the future of cars is that the average automobile spends 95% of its life parked. Something to think about.

  • Jed: "By the way, this discussion of highway travel with a Tesla is not from my imagination. I read an auto magazine article by a reporter who drove a Tesla on some long distance trips, to see how the superchargers and logistics work. He said it took considerably longer with more detours than a gasoline car."


    Well, my comments are not from my imagination either. I have personally taken many long-distance trips in a Tesla and the logistics using Superchargers have been just fine and required virtually no special planning.


    Evidently your experience was different from this car magazine journalist's. Perhaps I read the article some time ago, and things have improved. Or perhaps he deliberately selected long distance routes to places off the beaten path. Anyway, I defer to your real-world experience.


    I can see from the supercharger map that it would not be difficult to drive from Atlanta to Washington DC with a Tesla. You couldn't do it with an older Leaf, with a 75 mile range, but they were not designed for long distance travel. The latest ones have a range of 151 to 226 miles.


    This article says the Leaf cannot use the Tesla superchargers:


    https://www.drivingelectric.co…-i-use-tesla-supercharger


    Quote: "According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, this is because no other vehicle manufacturer agreed to sign up to Tesla’s Supercharger network when the company offered." Pretty stupid of those other vehicle manufacturers.

  • Some people are determined to drive 800 miles in a day and would probably use a catheter if they could.


    A diaper. That is what a homicidal NASA astronaut used. That's what they use during rocket launches, when there are often delays and no bathroom breaks. See:


    https://www.npr.org/templates/…story.php?storyId=7226705


    Quote: "Nowak wore diapers on the almost 1,000-mile drive from Houston to Orlando so she wouldn't have to stop, the Sentinel reported."

  • Evidently your experience was different from this car magazine journalist's. Perhaps I read the article some time ago, and things have improved. Or perhaps he deliberately selected long distance routes to places off the beaten path. Anyway, I defer to your real-world experience.

    The key thing about real-world experience with the cars is that it encompasses multiple events over an extended period of time. A magazine article reports on a specific test which may or may not be representative of what is typical for any number of reasons. Of course, my own results may not be typical either although at least they are based on a far larger and more diverse data set. Talking to other Tesla drivers, I find that my experience is widely shared.


    As for the availability of Superchargers to non-Tesla vehicles, the technology to do this has been offered to other carmakers for years but none of them has taken Tesla up on it. Presumably, this is because the other companies believe it would “look bad” if they were dependent upon Tesla infrastructure. I find this to be quite foolish since it would immediately make other cars (Bolts, Leafs, iPaces, etc) far more practical for road trips and therefore more attractive for purchase. The other manufacturers all claim to be developing their own fast-charging intrastructure (Electrify America, for example) but Tesla has been building out the Supercharger network since 2012, so doing this will not happen overnight.


    In any case, the next few years should be quite interesting in the electric car space.