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Discussion Starter #1

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It also burns gasoline - most of the time. It has a minuscule Li-Ion battery (under 2 kWh), and isn't a plug-in hybrid (at least not the one sold in Japan) - think i3 REX (but with virtually no battery pack). I think that this model is popular in Japan because (among other things) taxes on "small" gasoline engines are much less, and there are significant government rebates/incentives for hybrids.

Now, as a plug-in with (say) a 10 kWh pack (7 kWh usable), I would consider it to be very interesting : all-electric for much of the time, gasoline when you need it. But the extra batteries do add weight and cost. You might end up with ... a Volt (although, IIRC, the current Volt isn't a pure serial hybrid - it's a parallel-serial, or serials-parallel, or something).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It also burns gasoline - most of the time..
It burns gas most of the time I believe, but it is 100% electric drive, meaning no transmission, better performance than the Volt, one pedal driving, and 50 mpg supposedly. Unfortunately, most Americans don't want to plug in their car...ever.
 

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Yeah, apparently the engine comes on to charge the 1.5 kWh battery "enough", then shuts off. The (3 cylinder) engine rpm doesn't run in (direct) proportion to the speed of the vehicle - when it is 'on', it is 'on' - running at optimum rpm (?2500?) to generate electricity.

I suppose if viewed as a cheaper hybrid vehicle (great gas mileage, lower pollution) ... It would make a great car for suburb/city driving.

But it should be really inexpensive, in the $20K range - adding a generator and small battery to a $16K car ...
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
But it should be really inexpensive, in the $20K range - adding a generator and small battery to a $16K car ...
It has an entire 2018 Leaf drivetrain. I would be amazed if that was cheaper than the motor, and transaxle it replaced. Replacing the big traction pack, with an ICE generator saves some weight and money.
 

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Why would the LEAF drivetrain (not the batteries) be more expensive than the gasoline engine drivetrain? Simply because of economies of scale? Electric motors are rather simple devices, compared to all the things that are needed for a gas engine to even run, all the moving parts, etc. If it *is* the 'economy of scale' thing, then by multiplying the amount of LEAF drivetrains produced lowers the cost for ... LEAF drivetrains.

Or maybe the transmission in the LEAF is more expensive (I honestly have no idea) ?

And the motive portion of the vehicle isn't - by far - the only cost associated with making a vehicle. Replacing JUST the drivetrain shouldn't kick up the price by $10K (a gas Sentra costs about $16K, doesn't it?). With the LEAF/Bolt, there are about $10K of batteries in the vehicle. The e-Power doesn't even have 5% of that battery capacity. And the rest of the vehicle is the one that they are already shipping - it isn't a one-off model like the LEAF or Bolt.
 

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Why would the LEAF drivetrain (not the batteries) be more expensive than the gasoline engine drivetrain? Simply because of economies of scale?
Production volume is certainly part of it. The other is the cutting edge nature of the electronics. These EVs are not running brushed forklift motors, and rheostat controllers. The high powered components in these things are literally being invented, and reinvented as we write. Until very recently this stuff was only being purchased by aerospace, and the military. There's a huge difference between the chips in your phone, and the ones that propel a two ton car down the road.
 

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Well, there's "cutting edge" and ... well, hmmm.

I'd wager that the electronics in smart phones (and tablets) are more "cutting edge" than what's in any EV - for safety reasons. A couple of thoughts/quotes come to mind...

(fake quote) When Bill Gates made the comment “If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.” and GM replied "Unlike Microsoft, we cannot release a product that crashes twice a day."

I toured NASA a few years ago, and there was a replica of a science module recently used in space. It was using chips from the 1970s and 1980s. Why? Because they were known to work in a harsh environment.

What is (most likely) cutting edge is the software - "cutting edge" in the sense that it is new rather than tested and tested and tested repeatedly over the past 5 or 10 or 20 years. But yes, the S/W is likely tied to specific (and more recent than 1980s) hardware. (It's a lot easier to swap chips when the model changes every year, and when the item isn't 50,000 miles above the earth :D ).

However, the "cost" is often the sunk cost(s) of development and software - the more copies made/sold, the less it costs "per unit".
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
SparkE;331241 I'd wager that the electronics in smart phones (and tablets) are more "cutting edge" than what's in any EV - for safety reasons. I toured NASA a few years ago said:
The electronics in a smart phone are cutting edge because there is a huge market, and much money to be made. Unfortunately, outside the on-board computers, that technology doesn't help with EV drivetrain development. Your example of NASA makes my point. The market for cutting edge high reliability, high power, high efficiency components didn't exist. That is why NASA is still running old stuff, not because it is in any way better than what we can do if the money is there. That stuff was all developed when the US and Russia were throwing money around for geo-political posturing. Once the c0ld war ended, nothing new was developed. Now that fortunes will be made, the R&D money is appearing. The work is happening. It doesn't get the press coverage of batteries, but it is happening. Probably 20% of the articles on EV tech cover power electronics development.
 

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NASA is running old stuff because it works fine - and most importantly - they can't afford to have stuff break, because people die when they do (and several hundred million gets lost, and the bad publicity). It has very little to do with availability or cost - NASA is very conservative about safety (as they should be).

I didn't make my point well that the big cost is *development* cost - sunk cost. It's the same whether you make a hundred, or ten million. Sure, the components have to be paid for each vehicle - but the 100s of thousands (or millions) of woman-hours (and hardware bought and thrown away) that is invested in designing a new product is the same amount. And it is accounted for. Now, if the same sunk costs of inventing, and reinventing (to use your words) can be spread across 5x or 10x or 20x the number of vehicles (say, by taking the drivetrain from the LEAF and placing it in a different vehicle body, and adding a generator upstream) that can only be GOOD - it lowers the per-unit cost of the development.

GM is going to be releasing a Buick-badged Bolt next year (OK, slightly different, as it will be a "compact CUV", but on the same platform, using the same batteries and drivetrain) for exactly that reason - to spread the development costs across as many vehicles as possible. And most car manufacturers do the same thing - they talk about the 'C1' platform, or the 'C170' platform, on which between 2 and 8 vehicles are built : sedans, hatchbacks, small CUVs, small wagons, ...
 

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NASA is running old stuff because it works fine - and most importantly - they can't afford to have stuff break, because people die when they do (and several hundred million gets lost, and the bad publicity). It has very little to do with availability or cost - NASA is very conservative about safety (as they should be).
A big factor for any space application is the electronics have to be radiation hardened and/or insensitive by design. Most modern high density electronics would simply fail in space. Getting a hardened CPU is not simple.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OK. First off, I hate ICE as a concept. It is horribly, stupidly, inefficient, in addition to literally poisoning us. That said, there is no possible way for us to replace tractors with electric equivalents on any useful timescale. Dr Porsche was the first to produce a serial hybrid, with an ICE generator charging a lead acid battery to run in-wheel hub motors.


Nissan has been building, and selling serial hybrids in Japan since November 2016, under the label e-Power. It is a Versa using the drivetrain of the Leaf with a typical small, high power density lithium ion battery as used in most hybrids these days. They are now planning to market a luxury SUV with this setup.


This makes more sense than the complex serial/parallel system of the Volt. Once a company has committed the resources to manufacture full EV systems, it is a simple step to use those systems with an ICE generator, and a small hybrid battery pack. The customer gets all the performance, and driving experience of an EV for less money, and none of the infrastructure hassle of a full EV. But most importantly, the rest of us benefit from somewhat reduced pollution from these monster vehicles.

What got me thinking about this again, was this video.

 

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Biggest drawback of the classic serial hybrid (to the owner) is the upkeep/maintenance of the ICE. Now you have oil changes, exhaust and cooling system maintenance, etc... not to mention all the added moving parts in an ICE.

I for one would not choose that option unless it was absolutely necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Biggest drawback of the classic serial hybrid (to the owner) is the upkeep/maintenance of the ICE. Now you have oil changes, exhaust and cooling system maintenance, etc... not to mention all the added moving parts in an ICE.

I for one would not choose that option unless it was absolutely necessary.
I would have no use for one, because I have no use for a huge, inefficient vehicle...the kind that would require an enormous, costly battery, and still not be able to haul-a-horse trailer-across-Texas as an EV.

The maintenance on a generator would be even less than current very low maintenance ICE car engines.
 

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... so now you get the negative benefit of ICE maintenance plus more frequent change of battery pack... smaller battery = more cycling = more degradation. Looks like a big win for the dealer service departments.
 

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... so now you get the negative benefit of ICE maintenance plus more frequent change of battery pack... smaller battery = more cycling = more degradation. Looks like a big win for the dealer service departments.
How many Volt battery packs have been replaced, compared to Bolt? With a hybrid you can design the pack to always operate between 30%-70% SOC.
 

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How many Volt battery packs have been replaced, compared to Bolt? With a hybrid you can design the pack to always operate between 30%-70% SOC.
No idea, but the Volt has only been out since 2011, so it's only been 8 years... just reaching the end of the battery warranty. Usually, warranty is set based on when mfg expect problems to surface... case being Tesla reduced their bumper to bumper from 8 yr down to 4 yr once they realized that the Infotainment has a chip that fails in about 4 years. The fact that Volt is doing so well so far, gives me great confidence that my Bolt battery will has 20-40 years. :)

I prefer for the battery pack to be engineered to be problem free for 20+ years... this way, even after many get tired of the cars at about 10 year point, someone else can keep it running cheaply for even more years without having to expect having to pay for a battery replacement. And, being an EV, the source of power advances with the times. This is why I stay away from plug-in and went straight from hybrid to an EV. Plug-in and this E-Note seem to have the disadvantage of both.
 
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