Electric car

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Electric car

Post: #107040 Turtuga Blanku
Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:42 pm

Does anyone here own an electric vehicle (EV)?

I hear there are companies producing kit to convert your combustion engine driven car into an electric driven car.

Ideally you'd want to charge your EV with a renewable energy source such as solar power, but even if you do not do that, the outcome is very much more environmentally friendly compared to using a fossil fuel powered car.

Doesn't the electric car just shift the pollution to the power plant?

No. It's much easier to clean up one large stationary smokestack than millions of tiny mobile ones. In fact, where power is generated primarily from hydro sources, EVs are 98%-99.9% cleaner than equivalent internal combustion vehicles. Even where power comes primarily from coal, EVs are 55%-92% cleaner, depending on which gasses you are measuring.

And by the way, if you want a fair comparison to gas cars, you really need to include the pollution from the oil refineries, tanker ships, and tanker trucks.


For more info, check out this article:

http://www.electroauto.com/info/pollmyth.shtml


b.t.w. if you have not seen the documentary 'Who killed the electric car?', I would highly recommend it...
Last edited by Turtuga Blanku on Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post: #107053 Clara
Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:02 pm

That is interesting, I´ve often wondered the very same question....

Sadly I´d need an extension cable about 2 miles long in order to have an electric car, and I bet a pv system that would cover about half my land! so unfortunately no-go for us.

I´m sure I´m not the only one that will have noticed it, but that last statement is a bit misleading......what about all the pollution caused by the mining and transportation of coal to the power stations as well? A minor point, but a conspicuous omission.
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Post: #107055 Turtuga Blanku
Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:23 pm

Clara wrote:Sadly I´d need an extension cable about 2 miles long in order to have an electric car,
there are electric motor cycles as well :mrgreen:


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Clara wrote:and I bet a pv system that would cover about half my land! so unfortunately no-go for us.
Do you have a PV-system right now? How "big" is it? (plates-batteries)? How's that working out in Europe (Well..Spain. [are you originally from spain, yourself?])?

Clara wrote:I´m sure I´m not the only one that will have noticed it, but that last statement is a bit misleading......what about all the pollution caused by the mining and transportation of coal to the power stations as well? A minor point, but a conspicuous omission.


This information underneath is basically saying that it does not matter whether or not EVs are being connected to power plants in terms of the amount of fuel needed for the powerplant to generate electricity. So it might not be completely misleading after all:

If we have a lot of EVs, won't we have to build a lot more power plants?

No. EVs are charged primarily overnight. This is perfect for electrical utilities, because this is the time when they have surplus capacity available. In fact, a large population of EVs would serve as a "load leveler", allowing the power plants to operate with less fluctuation between high peak demand and low off-peak demand, which would make them run more efficiently.
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Post: #107064 Clara
Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:50 pm

I have 720v 24w system with 2300Kw inverter, this is fairly new and replaces a system that was cobbled together over 20years (which we have retained and will be using elsewhere in the future). Before we had a dual voltage system with 12v lighting. Since the conversion we have changed all that to 230v (and we can now see eachother across the dining table!).

In terms of usage, we are still monitoring to learn what we can get away with, though to give you an idea we are using 230v lights (mostly with energy efficient bulbs), laptop and wi-fi, tv and dvd player and washing machine (though the water is not heated by the PV system, it feeds in from the solar hot water tank via the cold feed). The previous owner had converted a small chest freezer into a fridge (using a thermostat and a switch) and used that during the day during the summer with the old much lower powered system. We have not felt the need to keep a fridge running, since we mainly eat veggie and find that the pantry works just fine even in the heat of the summer. so we are thinking about converting it back to a freezer as this would be useful to help us with preserving our harvests.

We expect and get a lot of sunlight days per year, though being in the mountains it can get cloudy for days at a time. With the old system, that wasn´t meeting our needs at all, we would run out of power sometimes in the winter, this is disasterous for the batteries. We have learnt a lot since we started living like this and would never allow that to happen again, but we now have the option to charge the batteries from a generator in extended periods of little sun (not brilliant for the environment in one way, but better for preserving the life span of the batteries to only use the top 30% of their capacity)

Phew, that was a ramble, but do ask anything else you would like to know about the practicalities of living off-grid....I´m not too technically minded, but I do tend to retain bits of information!

BTW I´m a Brit, I´ve lived here for just over 2 years.
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John Headstrong

Post: #107094 John Headstrong
Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:15 pm

I love electric vehicles but I don't have one. I have plans to build a electric motorbike and a really nice shopping list of parts I need, all I need is the money and time :lol:

there are some great resources on the web for electric vehicles.

http://www.evalbum.com/
http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/
http://visforvoltage.org/

alot of people design their vehicles to do the trip that they do the most often, work or the school run. first ask yourself what do you want it to do, carry the wife and kids or just yourself and the shopping?

my dream electric bike is
http://www.electricmoto.com/blademicro/index.html

:wink:

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Post: #107505 Turtuga Blanku
Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:03 am

Clara wrote:I have 720v 24w system with 2300Kw inverter, this is fairly new and replaces a system that was cobbled together over 20years (which we have retained and will be using elsewhere in the future). Before we had a dual voltage system with 12v lighting. Since the conversion we have changed all that to 230v (and we can now see eachother across the dining table!).
Dual system here as well: 12V and a 110V (through an inverter [1200 W], obviously). did you have trouble with 12V lighting? We use that.. (must say there's some kind of..er.. transformer?.. build in in each individual light"bulb". I'm not sure how to describe it or how it works. Anyway, we never have troubles with the lights not being bright enough.

Clara wrote:In terms of usage, we are still monitoring to learn what we can get away with, though to give you an idea we are using 230v lights (mostly with energy efficient bulbs), laptop and wi-fi, tv and dvd player and washing machine (though the water is not heated by the PV system, it feeds in from the solar hot water tank via the cold feed). The previous owner had converted a small chest freezer into a fridge (using a thermostat and a switch) and used that during the day during the summer with the old much lower powered system. We have not felt the need to keep a fridge running, since we mainly eat veggie and find that the pantry works just fine even in the heat of the summer. so we are thinking about converting it back to a freezer as this would be useful to help us with preserving our harvests.

Why did you choose NOT to have a dual system anymore? I'd say getting the lights to work on 12 volt, well , in your case 24V, instead of 230v is saving you a lot of electricity, right?

Washing machine on generator, here. Also without heating.
Water is warmed in the normal piping/plumbing by the sun, no need for a solar hot water tank even! (Caribbean...). It gets really hot during the day (and we do not have cold water to add, hehehe).
Fridge on gas (not very environmentally friendly, actually).

Clara wrote:We expect and get a lot of sunlight days per year, though being in the mountains it can get cloudy for days at a time. With the old system, that wasn´t meeting our needs at all, we would run out of power sometimes in the winter, this is disasterous for the batteries. We have learnt a lot since we started living like this and would never allow that to happen again, but we now have the option to charge the batteries from a generator in extended periods of little sun (not brilliant for the environment in one way, but better for preserving the life span of the batteries to only use the top 30% of their capacity)
same here. hardly ever have to do that, though..again: Caribbean..

Clara wrote:Phew, that was a ramble, but do ask anything else you would like to know about the practicalities of living off-grid....I´m not too technically minded, but I do tend to retain bits of information!
I know about it :wink: . I'm just very curious what other people's experiences are, especially as I want to promote solar energy as much as possible, and the more I now about it (including experiences of other people), the better I can do that.

Clara wrote:BTW I´m a Brit, I´ve lived here for just over 2 years.
don't know why, but I figured you were probably not a native of Spain. So, how do you like it? What made you decide to move to Spain?
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Post: #107506 Turtuga Blanku
Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:05 am

@John Headstrong

cheers John, for the links!

I would use an EV...well, for getting around the island (groceries, diving, snorkeling, meeting friends and family, etc..). The island being really quite small, an EV is all you need! I think you'd have trouble emptying the batteries in one day, here! :)

man, this IS a nice bike!

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the price however... (some $11.000) :(
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Post: #107517 Clara
Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:55 am

Our 12v lights weren´t bright enough, moreover the previous owner used to have to botch together his own light bulbs (I won´t go into details) in order to get 12v lighting coming out of regular lamp fittings and shades (probably more a cosmetic point, we could go without lamp fittings, but we on´t want to!) and frankly we are outdoor people: we do digging not tinkering with electrics, we just wanted a system that worked and one that we could just buy light bulbs for, we have enough work KWIM?

I am surprised that the system we installed hasn´t given us a vast increase in the power as compared to the previous one, this is probably to do with the lighting. But it s a choice we have made. I suspect we might get a few more panels so that we can get that freezer running!

We also inherited a coil of black pipe on the roof which provided the hot water, backed up by a back boiler and very basic gas boiler. It was another "invention" of the previous owner and it had the most complicated pipe set up that you have ever seen, and even the owner could no longer explain what came from where and where it was going to. Again rather than fix it up and work it out, we just tore it out and put a professional system in (we still retain the ability to switch to a boiler if needs be). The old system was unfathomable and didn´t work any longer, since installing the vaccuum tube system we have gone from using 1 gas bottle every 3 weeks to one every 3 months (on average). As mentioned before we live a couple of miles from road access, which means gas bottles (and everything else) has to be carried here, along a mountain path. OH is rather pleased about our reuction in gas usage! :lol:

We could have made do with all that was here before, but life would have been more complicated! We had the money so we spent it on making our lives easier, we moved here a week after my daughter was born - we had enough to cope with!

Are you using a solar oven? I love mine, I bought a commercial one (though there are instructions on the main site for a diy job), it cost the equivalent of 12 gas bottles. I use it a lot and mainly for jobs that would require long cooking (rice, beans etc) that I would never dare waste gas on. In just over 18 months I reckon it has nearly paid for itself.

Why move to Spain? Simple, I couldn´t live this way in the UK - not enough sun, land is too expensive (especially where I lived in the South East) and too many demands on your money and your freedom.

Whereabouts in the Carribean are you? A few years ago I spent three weeks in Tobago, looking after my poorly friends kids whilst they were on holiday. I really loved the natural abundance that the climate creates, unfortunately the mossies really love me!
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Post: #107811 Turtuga Blanku
Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:07 pm

wow, it seems that you "inherited" a lot of work :)


No solar oven, here. Actually, we don't use an oven at all.. I don't trust the old gas oven that's in the house (we rent the place, we don't own it).

Still, the gas bottles go quick: the big ones last about 6 weeks. But we don't have to go down a mountain trail to get a new one.. :)

You know, I really wonder in what way it would be possible to live on solar energy only in, say, the U.K. What kind of system do you need for that?

I'm on the Netherlands Antilles, off of the coast of Venezuela. Lots of sunshine! :cheers:
Mosquitoes can be irritating, but are usually only present during the rainy season. Tobago is far more green, whereas where I live it is really quite arid. (probably comparable with certain parts of Spain during the summer). No rainforests, unfortunately. However: beautiful reefs (relatively healthy, that is, compared to other spots in the area and the world)
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Post: #107831 Clara
Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:04 am

http://www.sun-co.pt/EN/3.html

This is what I mean by solar oven, so long as you have an outdoor place to put it, it is perfectly suitable for rental houses ( you don´t have to install or deinstall any thing). I think there is something similar in the US (which should be easier to get?) called the sun oven.

It´s not just for things that you would cook in the oven, I use it for things that I would cook for a long time on the stove top too.
Bit of a solar cooker evangelist, I know, but they are fab and in terms of seeing money back on your investment, perhaps the quickest of all solar technologies.
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Post: #107877 Wombat
Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:55 am

Pardon my butting into this conversation..... :mrgreen:

It really is easy and cheap to build your own solar oven. Have a look at my articles on the main site or go to www.solarcooking.org

Nev
Garden shed technology rules! - Muddypause


Our website on living more sustainably in the suburbs! - http://www.underthechokotree.com/

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Post: #107932 Clara
Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:35 pm

*bows to the god of garden shed technology*

Hi Wombat, I did mention your article earlier....I am probably the arch-gremlin of diy tinkering, that´s why I bought one.....though I was thinking how handy it would be to have another.....perhaps I´ll try. At least I have something in front of me to refer to.
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Post: #107961 Turtuga Blanku
Sun Jun 08, 2008 2:59 am

cheers folks!

I fear all our food will be burned in no time, by the unforgiving Caribbean sun here! :lol:

in the meantime:

http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/06/bob-lutz-drives.html

(the same GM as the one who helped kill the electric car some years ago..?!)
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