The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just Plug it in

Israeli Venture Meant to Serve Electric Cars Is Ending Its Run

In light of articles such as the above, I wonder about the chances of all-electric cars becoming a force to be reckoned with and about the wisdom of the entrepreneurs who back them.

We think of these electric powered cars as something new. They aren't, of course. This is just their revival.

In 1897, the first commercial EV application was established as a fleet of New York City taxis built by the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia.

But they failed to catch on. Mostly because the technology was not sufficiently advanced. They were cleaner and easier to drive than the internal combustion powered cars of their day. But, like today, they failed to deliver on range. They were fine, as today, for town cars and short commutes. And, like today, they were more expensive than the internal combustion vehicles. People want vehicles for many reasons but traveling long distances is one of the most important.

A problem for electric vehicles today is a lack of infrastructure and the limitations of batteries. They (batteries) do not charge as quickly as a gas tank can be refilled. And, today, there are few charging stations. The article about the Israeli company above tells us of a clever person who had an excellent idea: Change the batteries out and charge them at leisure. Again, an additional cost... the Israeli company charged its clients $350 a month. And only one company was willing to adapt their cars to the system.

California is considering requiring homes to be built with built-in charging stations. Not a bad idea but, of course, the home buyer will foot the bill... whether he or she has, or intends to buy, an all electric vehicle. The cost will likely be a pittance compared to the average cost of a house in California. There are rebate programs that help reduce the cost of a home charging station but, from what I gather, they cover around 2/3 of the actual cost. I saw a similar thing happen with solar water heating systems. You could get a rebate but the cost doubled by the time the rebates began.

And I still wonder what happens when the EV's grow in number and become a burden on the electric grid.  Because they will become a burden if they become popular. Which means we will need more electric plants and more power lines and some way to power those plants. Currently, about 50% of the electric plants are powered by coal.

Not pleasant thoughts, really.

1 comment:

Douglas said...

The alleged reader "justplugit" is banned.