Electric car conversion kit: Plugging into the future

Full story: The Santa Fe New Mexican

Photo: Bushrod Lake spent the past two years building EVII, an electric car that runs on a lithium battery.

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Hunter

Santa Fe, NM

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#1
Oct 18, 2009
 
PNM's New Mexico power plants are primarily coal fired.

Mr.Lake has gone from a gasoline powered car to a coal powered car.

Is this really an advance in terms of environmental cleanliness?

Who's kidding whom?

Since: Sep 08

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#2
Oct 18, 2009
 
Lithium ion batteries are what you have in your cellphone and laptops. They have a relatively short life. They can also explode.

Can't tow anything? So much for the mountain driving here going uphill. Or braking power of the engine going downhill unless the electric motor doubles as a charger.

I would wait awhile before making the change.

Mr. Lake sounds like he may own stock in battery companies.
Hunter

Santa Fe, NM

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#3
Oct 18, 2009
 
Dave Nelson wrote:
..........
I would wait awhile before making the change.....
Yeah. Maybe a LONG while. Electric cars are not "new" in fact, they have been around for well over a hundred years and still little more than a curiosity.

Since: Sep 08

Santa Fe, NM

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#4
Oct 18, 2009
 
wow, I'm sad to see these negative comments... and I would like to respond to a few points.

- even if an EV is charged via a coal-fired utility, the emissions are 10x cleaner than a auto engine, and the generation plants are usually far from population centers so the local air quality is not affected. But it is a good point, and would affect system capacity if everyone suddenly had an EV. Which is part of the reason I installed Photovoltaics on my house to produce all the juice I use in MY electric car.

- The Lithium batteries in EVs are not the Li-ion batteries that had been publicized in the past for burning up. The current chemistry of the LiFePo4 is very stable and virtually risk free when properly monitored... But Li is still pretty expensive, which is why lots of people still use Lead batteries in EVs. Lead is pretty toxic, but has a very good recycle program countywide.

- The limiting factor with EVs has always been the range... but also our expectations and habits. Chances are that MOST people have a vehicle that goes less than 50 miles per day. By adjusting our expectations of not 'needing' a vehicle that goes 0-60 in 7 seconds, and it doesn't 'need' to be big to be cool, EVs might become popular enough to part of the solution.... not for everyone, but they are a great solutin for short-range around town errands!

I'd like to invite interested people to come check out the conversion process on my website:
www.envirokarma.org
Hunter

Santa Fe, NM

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#5
Oct 18, 2009
 
The whole issue does become pretty complicated after a while. For example, every time these batteries are charged and then exhausted, they lose a little bit of their charging capacity so that eventually the car will only have a range of 50, then 40, then 30 miles before needing a recharge. Ultimately, the batteries will need to be replaced with the attendant serious expense. It is my understanding that with all costs considered, driving an electric car like Mr. Lake's will yield the equivalent of about 4 or 5 miles per gallon in a conventional car strictly in terms of cost. Of course, if you produce your own electricity, the attendant costs of installation, maintenance, and eventual replacement of your system must also be considered.

Since: Sep 08

Santa Fe, NM

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#6
Oct 18, 2009
 
Hunter wrote:
The whole issue does become pretty complicated after a while. For example, every time these batteries are charged and then exhausted, they lose a little bit of their charging capacity so that eventually the car will only have a range of 50, then 40, then 30 miles before needing a recharge.
The LiFePO4 batteries lose little capacity for about 2000 charges, then do degrade and probably will need to be replaced at around 4000 cycles... depending on how well they are treated, how deeply they are discharged during that period, etc. Lead batteries lose little capacity for the first 700 or so cycles, but are far less expensive to replace of course.
Hunter wrote:
It is my understanding that with all costs considered, driving an electric car like Mr. Lake's will yield the equivalent of about 4 or 5 miles per gallon in a conventional car strictly in terms of cost.
Taking this into consideration, the 'operating cost' of a lead pack with the electricity at retail rate of $.09/kWhr, and replacement cost of $1500 works out to about $2.00 or $2.25 per 40 miles for my car, which was about the same a one gallon of gas per 40 miles it was getting; but ignoring the cost of oil changes, spark plugs, belts, fluids, and maintenance that an electric motor does not require.

So.... as close as I can figure it a Lead battery EV works out to about the same operating cost as gas at $2.25/gallon. The LiFePO4 is closer to $3.25/gallon if the life cycles predicted turn out to be true.

But, cost is only part of the reason for converting to EV. Other reasons including air quality, particularly if we New Mexicans can take advantage of our 300+ days of sun per year to generate some of the energy.
Bushrod lake

Santa Fe, NM

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#8
Jul 10, 2011
 
Having a PV instalation cuts coal/hydrocarbons consumption to about zero...for trips under 60-70 miles.
The cost of converting is well under 10K. Batteries are extra. My lithium batteries from Thunder Sky China (I am not financially involved with them) can cycle up to 5000 times, supposedly. No one really knows at this point because they are too new.
5000 cycles = close to 11 years using your car every single day.
Batteries are key; that's why western energy companies brought up the patents from GM for it's EV1. No batteries = no EVs.
China is not in that game, yet.

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