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Author Topic: What if?  (Read 17517 times)

geoffbaker

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Re: What if?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2009, 07:01:46 PM »
I think the quantum leap that is coming isn't in technology or even in vehicle design; it's in appropriate use.

When you think about it, almost all vehicles purchased bear no real relationship to the actual needs of the user in terms of the distance driven. Instead, buzzwords such as 'muscle', looks, 'sport', 'crossover' etc demonstrate that cars are sold through marketing concepts, not purchased based on need.

I think when we really start to size our vehicles to our commuting needs, we will find that a very large proportion of users could switch to a battery technology easily.

When Americans start buying based on need, not on what Detroit wants to sell us - that will be the quantum leap.

I think most American families could easily and appropriately trade in one of their vehicles for an electric vehicle for short commutes, leaving the other(s) for long distance travel, weekend getaways, that kind of thing.

When we start doing this, the savings - and energy efficiencies gained - will be enormous.

And it is starting to happen, already. Here in Tucson I've seen a considerable change in the past four years, with many more small vehicles (Smartcars etc) on the road, electric vehicles, gas and electric powered bicycles zipping along the bike paths, whole fleets of Vespas and small scooters... it's been a VERY noticeable change.

Geirskogul

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Re: What if?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2009, 11:47:07 PM »
Whole reason I bought a RE.  75mpg instead of 25.  The 5k it cost me was better towards a bike I can ride 3/4 of the year than a car, after considering maintenance and fuel cost differences.

My car works just fine (knock on wood)
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Ice

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Re: What if?
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2009, 03:34:27 AM »
 Again it goes back to cost and efficacy.

We need the Quantum leap.

 The future battery needs to be the same size,weight and give the same range as 10  to 20 gallons of fuel, charge in 5 minutes, last for not less than 300,000 miles and be replaceable by the do it yourself-er for less than $2,000.

  The future battery vehicle needs to be as cost effective as current vehicles for the total life cycle or the used value will be lower to the second hand purchaser.

 If the future battery car does not offer the same performance and versatility as current motor vehicles at the same cost, only a minority will be interested.

 Smart cars are alright but do not meet the transportation needs of the majority.  Buying one would be a waste of money for many.

 Take my Jeep Cherokee for example. It gets 20 MPG combined average with four people aboard. To separately move the same people the same distance for the same fuel each would need to achieve 80 MPG individually. With my Diesel Rabbit its more like 200 miles per gallon per individual.

 For us to use two smart cars or electrics we would use up twice as many tires and we would spend twice as much on insurance and other taxes. Never mind the initial purchase price difference.

 If the future car is not markedly better and equal in all costs to the current car, no amount of advertising from Detroit,Munich or Tokyo will convince the public majority to buy it en mass.

 Sadly the future cars we were promised as children in the early 1970's have yet to be realized. I am however optimistic that if they don't arrive in my life time that maybe my children or grandchildren will get the benefits that future cars may provide.
 

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geoffbaker

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Re: What if?
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2009, 01:15:53 PM »
Smart cars are alright but do not meet the transportation needs of the majority.  Buying one would be a waste of money for many.

 Take my Jeep Cherokee for example. It gets 20 MPG combined average with four people aboard. To separately move the same people the same distance for the same fuel each would need to achieve 80 MPG individually. With my Diesel Rabbit its more like 200 miles per gallon per individual.

 For us to use two smart cars or electrics we would use up twice as many tires and we would spend twice as much on insurance and other taxes. Never mind the initial purchase price difference.


But again, we come back to making a car that meets our needs. There is nothing essentially wrong with your Cherokee - except that if you are  like 90% of the commuters on the road (count them yourself this morning!) you are driving a vehicle that weighs 4500 lbs to transport a SINGLE person less than thirty miles. That's what we do; most of the time we are driving a vehicle capable of hauling six or seven people and merely moving ourselves. Vastly inefficient. And if we got suckered by Detroit marketing - we're driving the sport version with the V8 instead of the V6 and oversized tires and the 4WD option (which if we are honest is never ever used).

I had a Nissan Xterra, same issue. We all have.

What I suggested was not ADDING to our vehicle fleet but merely exchanging one of our two (or three or four) SUVs and sedans for one ultra-efficient vehicle, ideal for what most of us do most of the time.... drive by ourselves on short commutes. There are no extra tires to buy - in fact, we would save money because the efficient car's tires will be much cheaper than the big fat oversized WRANGLERS or GRABBERS or Uniroyal MANHANDLER tires that came stock with the old Xterra or Cherokees... 'cause we got suckered.

And we would quickly find some advantages... for those short rides into town the small car is ideal - easy to park, easy to manoeuver, and of course cheaper to run.

I see ultraclean diesel as the intermediate step.

The second step is that Detroit could build TOMORROW, without any engineering leaps, turbodiesel hybrid  (TDH) Cherokees and Lincolns and Cadillacs that would get not 16-20 mpg but 35-40.... with, repeat, NO quantum engineering leaps necessary. Of course, Detroit being Detroit, and therefore retarded, they won't, but then the Japanese and the Germans (as VW has already announced) will already be busy selling giant efficient Tuareg SUVs and TDH Tacoma trucks... so Detroit will follow, filing lawsuits (to keep their lawyers paid) and complaining bitterly about government regulations...

The third step will be appropriate use matched to actual need. Natural selection favors it ultimately - some cities already reward the small car driver in many areas with benefits such as lower taxes, cheaper parking,  and toll breaks, along with special lanes etc. As we all compete for dwindling resources (space in inner cities) and cities fight growing pollution issues, there will be more and more reasons to drive efficient small cars.

It is coming.

1Blackwolf1

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Re: What if?
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2009, 10:52:23 PM »
  Corruption/buy outs/ under handed dealings by both the US Automakers and oil magnates back in the 50's stiffled a V-8 car that attained over 85 mpgs.  Finaaly the world is getting SOMEWHAT wiser to what they really need.  Most modern diesels can run run on alsmost anything oil based especially if there are turbine.  We teseteds M1 tanks back in the early 90's and found they could run on basically any cooking oil to synthetic based fuels.  We just have to demand more and not buy anything until it's available.  Will.
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ace.cafe

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Re: What if?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2009, 12:12:17 AM »
If we went back to the 55mph national speed limit, we could all ride our Bullets on the highway!
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REpozer

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Re: What if?
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2009, 12:19:43 AM »
Good thinkin Ace.
 I've already pumped up my tires and got me a tune-up.
I might also try a swimers cap to cut down drag.
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geoffbaker

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Re: What if?
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2009, 12:29:29 AM »
Well, I couldn't, ace... :(

How about 50?

1Blackwolf1

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Re: What if?
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2009, 03:04:10 AM »
  Interesting idea.  trouble is only the law abiding would drive at that speed.  I know police of all jurisdictions that say it wouldn't help much to reduce the speed limit.  Of course it would make the government more money in the long run through fines.  I am really surprised it hasn't been done yet though.  It saved a lot of fuel the last time we had that law.  But I do agree 55 is a much more social speed to drive at.  Will.
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Geirskogul

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Re: What if?
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2009, 06:47:41 AM »
Going 75 versus 55 is a 40% increase in speed, and not many people will be able to add that much time (a 28% INCREASE in time taken) to their commute if they are used to going 75 or 80.  I'm fine with 55, but I don't have to get any place in a hurry, and it's fun in my car.  I'm not against dropping the speed limit, but it will never happen.
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Coronach

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Re: What if?
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2009, 07:53:13 AM »
Quote
What impresses me most is how fast these changes are occurring.
Technology moves in fits and starts. Just because there is rapid development in something now doesn't mean the technology won't mature and the rate of change won't slow down considerably- until the next leap forward or paradigm shift.

This is why I'm not worried about alternative energy. When the need presents itself (read: when gas gets expensive and stays expensive), creativity will kick in.

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PhilJ

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Re: What if?
« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2009, 11:30:44 AM »
The 55 IS a good idea. The first time we had the 55 law took a while to get used to slowing down. The when it was lifted I was uncomfortable going 65. Wow and I wasn't old then.

Till I got y RE I rode Beemers over the years and was accustomed to running highway speeds. When the RE became my love and I drove over the same roads as the BMWs, I found that for all those years I had been missing a very lot of interesting sights.

geoffbaker

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Re: What if?
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2009, 03:11:33 PM »
I always thought conservatives believed the 55 mph limit to be an unconscionable infringement on their Constitutional right to go very very fast...

:D


This is why I'm not worried about alternative energy. When the need presents itself (read: when gas gets expensive and stays expensive), creativity will kick in.

Mike

So here's a truly shocking thought... let's get a head start.

A national tax of $5 per gallon. Proceeds either fund alternative vehicles or pay off the deficit, you choose.

(claps hands over ears; I can already hear the shrill cry of angry conservatives, all in favor of energy independence and efficiency... until they actually have to do something about it...)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 03:16:47 PM by geoffbaker »

Kevin Mahoney

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Re: What if?
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2009, 03:32:06 PM »
Geoff, Geoff, Geoff,
I take a break and here you are causing trouble again!!!

When Americans start buying based on need, not on what Detroit wants to sell us - that will be the quantum leap.
While a great conspiracy theory, Americans buy what they want not what Detroit wants to sell us. Ergo - Cars are available from Hybrids to Escalades and people get what they want. Free market at work.

I always thought conservatives believed the 55 mph limit to be an unconscionable infringement on their Constitutional right to go very very fast...

By the very definition of conservative they would be the ones wanting to go slower.

As I reccollect, the biggest complaints about the double nickel speed limit was from trucking companies. Since they get paid by the mile I can see their point. I didn't really mind 55 myself, although in the Western States it is a bit off the wall.
Has anyone done the calculation about how much fuel would or would not be saved by this? Of course you get better mileage at 55, but you also are running the car sucking up fuel longer? It really gets interesting when you read some of the new studies showing that in many cases public transportation is leaving a larger overall carbon footprint than cars. I think higher ridership may help mitigate some of this.

Lastly, I own a Suburban (22mpg at 55). Other than the fact that I tow trailers I bought it as a defensive measure. In Phoenix it is so dangerous to drive (even on city streets), the extra money was worth it to me to give my family a better survival rate.

geoffbaker

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Re: What if?
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2009, 03:59:23 PM »
Yeah, I never had anything against the 55mph but now we have another generation raised to go fast, and they would hate it.

Your Suburban, using turbodiesel and hybrid technology could easily get 35mpg... if Detroit wanted to build them that way.

Maybe some day they will get the message.

As I said earlier, VW plans on being the biggest car company in the world, with a fleet of vehicles getting 80-100 mpg on clean turbodiesel technology.

You would think someone in Detroit might get their head outta their...

But that's why they have lawyers, so they can sue instead of think.

Actually, Detroit markets large cars to us because Detroit does NOT KNOW HOW to make a profit on small cars, they never have; which is why they have been losing so badly to their competitors. That is what is going to have to change in the next couple of years if they want to survive. They limped along giving away the small car market so long as they could sell you a Suburban... that thinking won't work anymore.

Regarding your 'defensive' purchase of the Suburban; that argument (for the safety of my family) has some problems IMHO... let me explain...

My sister, about fifteen years ago, when she had three young kids, clinically suffered from depression. One of her symptoms was that she would go on shopping binges because they made her feel better (I don't remember the clinical name but I'm sure you do, it's pretty common). Her argument was always the same ... she would buy stuff "for the kids" and "for their safety" (she spent a lot one summer on fire alarms and new doors etc, all for better "safety"). And then she purchased a new Volvo wagon she couldn't afford, for the 'safety of the children'.  We ended up - literally - doing an intervention, because she had maxed out her cards and was borrowing from other family members who didn't know what was going on...

My point being that there is ultimately no end to the 'defensive' argument... if a Suburban is safer for your family, then a Rolls-Royce would be safer yet, and best of all... a M1A1 tank would be a better, more logical purchase.

All I'm saying here is that there ARE other factors that need to be weighed in; and as a parent I know we all have to make tough decisions ... and there were times (winter driving in Maine) I was uncomfortable driving my child to school in my little Toyota... but I couldn't afford anything else, so that's what I did. I've driven in Phoenix and Boston and NYC and SF and LA and Miami in small cars, and myself - and my daughter - survived happily. I could argue that small is equally safe in many ways - it doesn't JUST come down to crash tests after all, there are issues such as manoeuverability to consider as well. (My little AWD car certainly avoided accidents where I saw trucks flip and roll) Then of course, small targets are harder to hit ... and ultimately, a tanker truck will flatten a Suburban just as flat as a Prius.

I'm not saying that you are wrong - I'm merely saying there are other factors, and I am sure there are Phoenix famiies driving to school in hybrids and biodiesels who would argue that in the biggest sense, their choice is the safest of all... they are doing something to give their children better air, for example, and isn't that, really a safety issue too, in the long run?

Hope this hasn't sounded offensive, it wasn't meant to be.

And maybe a new Audi diesel might have a better crash rating than a Suburban, you should look into it :)

And as I said right at the start... there are no technological hurdles to building a Suburban that gets 35mpg or better using turbo diesel and hybrid technologies... Detroit just hasn't been bothered, because they are dominated by a lazy, overfed, overpaid 'muscle car' CEO/engineer mentality that has consistently looked to big car sales for their profit margin, ignoring the more difficult challenges of small car profitablity - something no other car makers have ignored...

I've got nothing against big cars. Many people need, them, after all, not just for safety but to pull trailers and work on ranches and so on. My argument is there is NO reason they can't be EFFICIENT big cars. We could easily have 45mpg Escalades and 35mpg Tacomas and Tahoes... and pretty soon, if VW has its way, we will.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 04:57:49 PM by geoffbaker »