Hybrids plug-in by adding batteries

Al_Havemann

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

180mpg – sorry, no way. I don't mean to laugh, but adding a batch of batteries charged from a different energy source than the Hybrid's alternator then claiming some fantastic mileage isn't just unfair, it's a scam.

If you want to know the cost per mile, you'll have to first convert the fuel used to KW hours using the true efficiency of the engine/alternator combination and multiplied by the battery efficiency, which is considerably less than 100%.

Then use that number times the fuel used (gasoline) to arrive at the actual number of KWH produced.

Next get the cost per KW and the number of KW used to charge the pack and divide it by the number of miles traveled to arrive at a cost per mile and add it back. Now that you have a cost per mile, you can compare it against a pure ICE equipped car, a hybrid or pure electric. You'll have to do this or there's no common cost per mile, the only number that really counts. And that number isn't going to add up to 180 mpg or the KWH equivalent of that.

There's a problem with "plugging in" anyway. While that will work for a small number of electric cars, it would take a very major overhaul of the national grid to accommodate any substantial number of cars. The grid, as it stands now is operating at about 105% of engineered capacity, in other words, it's already overloaded. Now add to that load several million electric cars traveling 60 miles/day and drawing several hundred KW from the mains to recharge and the whole thing would go down in flames (literally). It would take dozens of new power plants just for a start.

To overhaul the grid to accommodate 1 million cars in an isolated area, say California, would take a multi billion dollar investment and probably 10 years just for that small area. For the whole country, say 20-30 million cars?; can't do it; the power isn't available and can't be made available without vast construction of power plants. And if their to be fossil fuel, the pollution problem looms as does the availability of fuel.

Think Nuclear?; think again; the greens would kill any Nuclear proposal and even if they could be built (which they can't) in less than ten years, which they can't, it would take dozens at least, and you're not going to get them. Also consider that the US electricity requirements have been skyrocketing. I don't know the exact numbers, but several of the trade mags have put numbers like 15-20% increase/year on it; with virtually no increase in capacity being built. That being said, existing capacity will be saturated in less than ten years unless new sources come online, not a likely happening.

So that's the big question, if a wonderful new battery became available and there were suddenly pure electric cars with great storage capacity, power and range, well than just about everyone would want one but if they get them, where do we get the power?.

Be nice if there was something on the horizon to solve that problem. Some people here at work have said, "What about solar". Problem is, solar energy density is very low. To power a city like Phoenix for example, it would take 190 square miles of solar panels at their current efficiency, killing everything underneath from lack of sunlight in the process. Hydrogen?, it comes from fossil fuels, so no bargain there. Nothing much seems to be lurking out there, no matter where you look.

I though for a while that the Thermo-Depolymerization process by Changing World Technologies was the holy grail, maybe it is, but it's a long way from solving the problem, at least for the next 10-20 years if at all.

So, anybody get a new invention?, maybe something that sucks power from the Casmier effect, how about vacuum energy or something similar that doesn't pollute and is endless or endlessly renewable?; better kick it out, cause we need it now.

Al
 

Frangible

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

I know that where I live, Montana, 80% of our power comes from coal. Is using coal-generated electricity to charge a battery any cleaner than an ICE? Or is it dirtier? Is it more economical? Or less?
 

ledlurker

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

Last I read when you compare Kwh to Kwh comparions is that the coal plant is cleaner. I tried to do some research last year on how much electricity it takes to make a gallon of gas. I researched about 6 weeks before I gave up. I have been told that unofficially by a insider in the gulf coast area that some refineries take as much as 20 Kwh (overhead included) to refine crude into one gallon of gas. This does not include the cost of exploration, drilling, transportation to refinery, and distribution to the customer.

Take it all with a grain of salt. My insider was unwilling to get me copies of the documentation and made me promise that to reveal his identity.

The best way to estimate is to find out the total Kwh of power used by a refinery for a certain time frame and find out the total gasoline produced.


I guess its time to take a stab at this again.
 

Al_Havemann

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

It's all fossil in the end. A stationary power plant is very efficient, considerably more so than an ICE but; and there are several "buts"; the first and biggest is that transmission losses can be as high as 60%. That number could be reduced by quite a large amount if the grid were not already so heavily loaded.

As more electricity is fed to the grid, its efficiency drops; it's a nasty feedback loop. At low loading, a transmission line can approach 80% efficiency. At 90% load, efficiency drops to 70% and the curve is logrhythmic from there to meltdown.

For a pure electric car to really become mainstream, there needs to be a solution to the power problem, and that won't be easy. Revamping the grid is a multi generation project where billions have to be spent to gain perhaps 40% additional transmission efficiency, which does not directly convert to additional electricity, only saving some of what is now generated and lost.

Additional generating capacity must be built, in large quantities just to meet the increasing demand and without adding in electric cars to the mix. This is not my specialty, only something I keep tabs on, but I've seen numbers that scare me. People in the know talk about building 100 new power plants a year and still falling behind on demand. According to one source, we'll either embrace Nuclear again and build hundreds of new plants or blackouts will come in huge swipes across the country. Unless you want to burn more coal, lots more coal.

As for economy, I haven't done the numbers but I'd guess it's a wash power for power with some gains to be had because of less maintenance to the car. Maybe like Darrel, if you don't drive too far and can generate a fair chunk of your power from solar you come up considerably ahead (at least when he had the car, that is).

Sorry Darrel, had to poke you a bit even if I do know it a sore spot, don't hold it against me.

Al
 

ledlurker

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

there are estimates that the internet infrastructure and use accounts for 7 to 12 percent of all of the electricity used in the US
 

Lurker

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

I am curious about the technical aspects of making a plug-in Prius. Does it require modification to the computer program that controls the power management? I am curious because it seems like a stock Prius must be programmed to use the engine to keep the battery topped off pretty much all of the time. With a Prius Plus, you would want the battery to discharge pretty low without triggering on-board charging and then you probably wouldn't want it to go to full charge using enging charging. Does a Prius Plus modification also require additional controls and input from the driver, or is it automated and invisible to the driver?

It also seems like you would have a somewhat sluggish car in battery-only mode since the electric motor was never sized or inteneded to accelerate the car by itsself (or was it?).

I am not trying to be a critic. I am a supporter of this technology. Just wondering how these hurdles are being worked out.
 

cy

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

Here's a new hybrid...

The PHEV Car is a hybrid vehicle driven by a compressed air engine combined with electric motor. PHEV CAR is driven by expansive force of compressed air and it also uses a battery driven motor when it is necessary.
 

gadget_lover

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

Al, none of your numbers match what I've looked up. Darell's numbers also indicate that a large number of BEVs can be charged. Like any other change to the infrastructure, some intelligence is called for. Things like off hours charging, smart charging, etc.

Even the car usage you quote does not quite ring true. 10-12,000 miles per year is considered 'average milage' by the auto industry. That includes vacation trips and such. That comes out to an average of only 27 - 32 miles per day.

I'd like to see the source for your figures so I can evaluate them myself.

Daniel
 

Lurker

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

Regarding the additional load on the electrical infrastructure, I think I have heard Darell's explanation (I apologize for putting words in your mouth, Darell, especiall if I get it wrong). It goes something like this: The electricity consumed by the cars is offset by the fact that less gasoline has to be produced to run them. This is because producing gasoline is very electricity-intensive. It also requires petroleum and electricity to distribute the gasoline. So you are saving all of those resources and those can be used to charge the cars without increasing the overall load on the grid.

Also, charging cars will mostly consume electricity overnight during off-peak times. There is also a couple of reasons that having cars plugged into the electrical grid can actually increase the grid's efficiency by levelling demand, but I won't attempt to restate the technical details of that part.
 

gadget_lover

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

Lurker, the electric motor is designed to accelerate the car by itsself. The ICE is only powered up during acceleration if the computer predicts that there will be a need for extra power, either because of continued acceleratoin or battery depletion. Battery only acceleration is brisk.


The stock Prius does not run the ICE all the time. Just about any time you are running at a steady speed on a level road, the car will cycle the ICE on and off. I can even 'nudge' it into turning off the ICE simply by lettting off the gas for a couple of seconds, then gently accelerating back to the same speed. I frequently see several blocks go by between use of the ICE in city traffic.


The Prius I've read about with an augmented battery pack had no changes to the software. I can't tell if they are doing something to trick the control software. The 2004 and later Prius has an input that requests maximum battery usage, so they may have simply activated that via a switch.

It should be totally invisible to the driver.

Daniel
 

Brock

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

[ QUOTE ]
To overhaul the grid to accommodate 1 million cars in an isolated area, say California, would take a multi billion dollar investment and probably 10 years just for that small area. For the whole country, say 20-30 million cars?; can't do it; the power isn't available and can't be made available without vast construction of power plants. And if their to be fossil fuel, the pollution problem looms as does the availability of fuel.

[/ QUOTE ]

First if you charged most cars at night it wouldn't be an issue, well maybe if every car in the US were immediately switched over, but right now we typically run about 55%-60% at night vs 90-95% during the peak day hours. So at night where do you think the extra 30% is going? No where, sure some peaker plants can be shut down at night and typically if they can do maintenance it is done at night, but almost all plants take at least 12-24 hours to even get up to full output. Some do throttle back, but once they do that they loose quite a bit of efficiency.

As far as the grid being at 105% that isn't true at least not here in WI, we are running at about 80% on transmission lines. Although in 4-6 years we will be past 100% and we do need to add new lines to keep up. The thing is lines don't suddenly stop working pushing 120% through them, they are just less efficient, that is they loose more power as heat. Not that that is a good thing, but they can and do, do it.

And if we stopped all the refineries we would get a HUGE chunk of power, I think about 12% last I heard back from all the refineries, that do run during peak times, they have to, to keep up with our gasoline habits.

[ QUOTE ]
I know that where I live, Montana, 80% of our power comes from coal. Is using coal-generated electricity to charge a battery any cleaner than an ICE? Or is it dirtier? Is it more economical? Or less?

[/ QUOTE ]

Heck a diesel powered power plant is about twice as efficient and clean as even the best car, the Prius, coal plants are typically 4 to 10 times cleaner then that. They can be because of all the pollution scrubbing devices that can be installed in a huge stationary smoke stack, can't do that on your car.

[ QUOTE ]
It's all fossil in the end. A stationary power plant is very efficient, considerably more so than an ICE but; and there are several "buts"; the first and biggest is that transmission losses can be as high as 60%. That number could be reduced by quite a large amount if the grid were not already so heavily loaded.

[/ QUOTE ]

Having worked at a power company, actually in the line division, we never and I mean never had more then a 10% loss. I don't remember the numbers now, but if it ever got above 7% they would upgrade the line, that is far cheaper then loosing the power as heat. 60% line loss? I can't believe that would happen anywhere in the US, not with any company wanting to actually make money.
 

ikendu

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

I've been reading these EV posts now on CPF for about 3 years (can't remember exactly how long).

Explaining some of these misconceptions seems like emptying the ocean with a tea cup.

Which is cleaner, electricity (even from coal) or burning gasoline.

Winner? Electricity even from a coal plant with controls is cleaner.

Won't EVs require the grid to be hugely expanded?

Nope. EVs will be charged mostly at night when electricity generation is at its lowest point of the day (think about a hot summer when everyone has the air on during the day).

Won't we have to build huge new generating stations?

Same answer.

For those that don't like change (most human beings), I hate to tell you, but EVs make a lot of sense. Getting off of imported oil is one of those things.

As far as the post about "Don't quote huge mpg figures if you are charging off the grid", if charging off the grid helps us use way less imported oil...I'm all for it. At least the energy money stays here in America.

The money we send overseas sometimes pays for terrorism, repressive gov'ts and middle east nuclear proliferation. Domestic electricity seems like a really good trade off for that. We are building more and more renewable, clean energy wind farms...that's good! Over time, less and less imported oil and more and more of our electricity coming from renewable sources.

So ...one mpg on imported oil...and much better mpg of imported oil by charging from the grid. All good IMHO.

Also... who cares if there is a fuel choice between grid power and gasoline? I think a lot of Americans will care as the price of oil goes up, up, up. Also, if we have a oil flow disruption from a refinery loss (ala the Texas explosion) or any number of other conceivable potential disruptions (like terror attacks on Saudi oil fields, etc.), Americans may not even be able to get gasoline. It was like that in the 70's. Believe me, if there is a disruption in the supply, and some Americans can choose charging at night from the grid... they will.
 

HarryN

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Re: Hybrids plug-in... Toyota Prius gets up to 180

Of course, there is also a lot of energy remaining in waste nuclear fuel as well. Significant amounts of the waste consists of Beta emitters. (directly emit electrons at high ev levels) as well as heat. IMHO, this is really a waste of a very real energy resource.
 
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