Friday, November 16, 2007

Funny Math

Sorry I found this after the last post, and I couldn't help but mention it.

On the main website for "Who Killed the Electric Car" ( they list some "facts":

Fact 8: "The United States consumes almost 9 millions barrels of gasoline daily ..."
Fact 9: "If everyone purchased on of the four most efficient models in each vehicle class, fuel economy would be 12% higher and Americans could save 13.1 billion gallons of gasoline annually"

So lets add those up. Everyone buys a nice car, and together we save 13.1 billion gallons of gas, or 13,100 million gallons of gas every year.

Daily that would be a reduction of 13,100/365 or 35.9 million. How can we save 35.9 million daily if we're only spending 9 million daily?

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Green Cars

Interesting to look at the stories of green cars, the cars that are supposed to reduce our carbon footprint.

Last year Sony Pictures came out with the movie, "Who Killed the Electric Car," which talks about the short life of GM's EVO. I never saw the movie, just the trailer. Now I have a bachelors in electrical engineering, so when I saw the trailer several things popped out at me. For example they say the electric car "produced no exhaust." The statement is misleading because the car doesn't produce exhaust when running, but exhaust is created when the electricity is produced to run it. Also they say the electric car isn't for everyone, "it can only meet the needs of 90% of the population." Now the EVO was expensive, and could only be used as a commuter car (the charge only lasted about the length of an average commute, then it took about 8 hours to recharge.) My guess is that the only people that can really afford the car, are about the 10% that it doesn't fit.

I had forgotten about the movie until today.

In the trailer someone says, "in the last fifteen years they've been saying fuel cells are ten to fifteen years off." But on November 15th Honda announced the, "FCX Clarity Advanced Fuel Cell Vehicle" which is to be sold mid next year. I learned about this watching TV a day or two ago and saw a commercial for it. My reaction was to say out loud, "What! They finally came out with a fuel cell car?!" So today I decided to look it up.

On the website they explain a few things, like the fuel is Hydrogen and the only emission is H2O (water.) They acknowledge that CO2 is created when getting Hydrogen, but that process generally creates less CO2 than a normal car. They're even have a station for you to make your own hydrogen at home using the natural gas line. The station will even make electricity and heat for your home. The specs are quite impressive.

Of course as an engineer, there are still several questions I'd like answered. What does this cost? You know the car is expensive, and the station is even more expensive. What about the batteries? Honda's new car has lithium ion batteries. They are compact, hold a lot of power, and highly explosive. For some reason neither Honda or the movie trailer mentioned that last one. Trust me, if an EVO got into a major accident, the batteries would make it much worse.

So in the end we are left with interesting new gadgets, but unfortunately we'll have to put up with the mundane for now.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blogging It

Well I keep reading other peoples blogs like family and friends so I decided I might as well start my own. I always have rants in my head that I'd like to get out and now I can. And if some reader doesn't like it, then I don't care. They're the ones that decided to read it. It's not like I'm going to force anyone to read these.

Also there are some things that are going to go on soon that I want to be able to share with others. I can't say what they are yet, but hopefully I can in a week or two. So keep your eye's peeled (especially if you're family.)