Prague Twin

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Future

This car is absolutely amazing. An electric car that does 0 to 60 in four seconds?! Why haven't I heard about this? Here is the official website. Also, Vanity Fair has a good article on the history of the Tesla Roadster.

Now the only question is where do we get the juice?

Nukes?

Other ideas?

Also, since I live on the fourth (fifth to you Americans) floor of an apartment building, how exactly am I supposed to plug mine in? Just thinking out loud here.

16 Comments:

  • Here is a link to what I believe could and should be the future of fuel supply - fuel cells.
    http://www.fuelcells.org/

    By Anonymous rockync, at 6:34 PM  

  • You still have to generate the electricity to generate the hydrogen. Why not just go strait to electric?

    Also, the platinum requirements are a problem now, but could be worked out in the future I suppose.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 7:09 PM  

  • Very cool car but it must have brakes the size of 55 gal. oil drums. The divide between hopeful science fiction and hopeless (about the future at least) was the existence of cool, fast electric cars. The main ingredient of hopeless fiction was human powered rickshaws in England and America. I have to admit I've seen more of those lately in real life--We're doomed!

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 3:35 AM  

  • Great article in Vanity Fair - thanks.

    By Anonymous abi, at 4:47 AM  

  • Roger,

    The car is very light, thus the brakes are not so import.... what am I talking about? Have you looked into brake technology lately? Super light, super powerful.

    Man, your whole post come out of the stoneage! Awake!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 7:50 AM  

  • Abi,

    Glad you liked it. Just goes to show what is possible with some vision and ALOT of cash.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 7:50 AM  

  • The Tesla is a hot looking car. But it suffers from all the standard problems of electric cars. First among all problems is the battery.

    Two hundred miles on a single charge is the range for this vehicle. Two hundred miles for a light-weight two-seater. None of the spec-sheets reveal the speed at which the car must travel to achieve the 200-mile range. I'm guessing 40 miles per hour.

    Meanwhile, putting the pedal to the metal to zip from 0 to 60 in four seconds will take many miles off the range of a single charge.

    Moreover, the lithium-ion battery is an improvement over the lead-acid battery, but it's still a lousy energy reservoir. A tank of gasoline contains far more energy. Period.

    The spec-sheets for the car reveal very little. What happens when you turn on the headlights, the air conditioner and sound system? How far can you travel on a single charge? I estimate the range would drop to about a hundred miles if the driver took it slow. Of course, the air conditioner, headlights and sound system draw on the battery even if the car is not moving, unlike the motor.

    Meanwhile, there are some basic facts of physics that are overlooked in the marketing literature. Yes, braking can recharge the battery. But slowing the vehicle with the brakes, for a stop-light perhaps, means accelerating again when the light changes. But the charge generated by the brakes is less than the energy required to reaccelerate the vehicle.

    Battery disposal will become a big issue if electric cars catch on. We have a huge problem with discarded tires. We would have a huge problem with lead-acid batteries, but lead is recyclable. Nevertheless, lead is dangerous to the touch.

    One spec was revealed: battery life was estimated at 100,000 miles. I found this claim disingenuous. Battery life is usually a funcion of the number of recharges. Note that the basic dry-cell battery used in most portable electronic devices is not rechargeable. One use, then you toss it.

    In any case, the lithium-ion batteries will start to pile up. Some parts may be recyclable. But that does not ensure that a recycling market will develop. It's a matter of cost. If new batteries are cheaper and better than recycled lithium-ion batteries, well, who would enter the business of recycling the batteries?

    How large is the market for $92,000 electric cars, anyway? Not too large is my guess.

    Meanwhile, the electric-car market is not comparable to the personal computer market in its early days. The electric car, from the perspective of the passenger, is the same as a gas-powered car. It goes from Point A to Point B at about the same speed. The electric car does not open new worlds to anyone.

    As for generating the electricity for electric cars and any other electric device, YES to NUKES.

    NUKES are the future.

    By Blogger no_slappz, at 4:19 PM  

  • Also, since I live on the fourth (fifth to you Americans) floor of an apartment building, how exactly am I supposed to plug mine in?

    A really, really, really long extension cord? It's how I used to plug in my car's block heater from my 3rd floor apartment when I lived in Minnesnowta.

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 3:15 AM  

  • In piston powered gas cars most of the braking comes from the engine which when you let off the gas, slows the car down. You don't get that with electric cars, which do indeed have big brakes since they do all the braking. I'd be willing to double down on the Taliban Spring offensive that the car has huge brakes.
    So maybe not in the stoneage completely, perhaps early iron.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 5:32 AM  

  • Kvatch,

    I actually thought about that, but, well no. Especially when I usually have to park like 2 blocks away.

    Roger,

    Not in automatics. That is why the brakes wear out so fast. You do live in the states where most cars are automatics, don't you?

    The Tesla roadster comes with "4 wheel disc brakes with ABS". Why would they need to be bigger than a normal car?

    Come on Roger, you are smarter than that. Consider yourself double-downed.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:20 AM  

  • Roger;

    It would do you well to google "regenerative braking"

    While I'm sure I'm not first to conjer up such an idea, I will never forget riding on the tube in London 17 years ago in a braking train thinking "god,,, what if we could recapture all this momentum in the form of generated electricity?"

    By Blogger Lysander Cadwalader, at 5:43 PM  

  • lysander, you wrote:

    "...I will never forget riding on the tube in London 17 years ago in a braking train thinking "god,,, what if we could recapture all this momentum in the form of generated electricity?""

    I believe they do. The propulsion of subways and other electric-motor powered systems is provided by "motor-generator sets", which offer this advantage.

    By Blogger no_slappz, at 7:48 PM  

  • God it pains me to say this but I think No_Slappz is right. The new trams here in prague are clearly using generators for brakes.

    Although this does not generate as much power as is used for acceleration (entropy is real) it does conserve a lot of power.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:42 AM  

  • Lysander, if that really is his name, told me to go directly to where I got independently in two google jumps. When the brake is applied, the motor becomes a generator and helps slow the car and recharge the batteries. Very clever. So the brakes here, look about normal so I lose this bet.
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/tesla_roadster.php

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 6:44 PM  

  • Thank god I'm off the hook for the spring offensive!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:11 AM  

  • Roger

    My real name is Arch. (hahahah)

    By Blogger Lysander Cadwalader, at 12:27 AM  

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