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Alternative Energies
See other Alternative Energies Articles

Title: Tesla Motors’ Devastating Design Problem [Dead battery = Dead PERMANENTLY]
Source: [None]
URL Source: http://jalopnik.com/5887265/tesla-motors-devastating-design-problem
Published: Feb 22, 2012
Author: Michael Degusta
Post Date: 2012-02-22 18:36:23 by Capitalist Eric
Keywords: None
Views: 2419
Comments: 13

Tesla Motors' Devastating Design Problem

Tesla Motors' lineup of all-electric vehicles — its existing Roadster, almost certainly its impending Model S, and possibly its future Model X — apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle. If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a "brick": a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery. Unlike practically every other modern car problem, neither Tesla's warranty nor typical car insurance policies provide any protection from this major financial loss. Here's how it happens.

Despite this "brick" scenario having occurred several times already, Tesla has publicly downplayed the severity of battery depletion risk to both existing owners and future buyers. Privately though, Tesla has gone to great lengths to prevent this potentially brand-destroying incident from happening more often, including possibly engaging in GPS tracking of a vehicle without the owner's knowledge. UPDATE!

NOTE (UPDATED!): The argument outlined in this story by Michael DeGusta that originally appeared on theunderstatement.com has been confirmed by Tesla with the following statement:

All automobiles require some level of owner care. For example, combustion vehicles require regular oil changes or the engine will be destroyed. Electric vehicles should be plugged in and charging when not in use for maximum performance. All batteries are subject to damage if the charge is kept at zero for long periods of time. However, Tesla avoids this problem in virtually all instances with numerous counter-measures. Tesla batteries can remain unplugged for weeks (even months), without reaching zero state of charge. Owners of Roadster 2.0 and all subsequent Tesla products can request that their vehicle alert Tesla if SOC falls to a low level. All Tesla vehicles emit various visual and audible warnings if the battery pack falls below 5 percent SOC. Tesla provides extensive maintenance recommendations as part of the customer experience.

— Ed.

How To Brick An Electric Car

A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a "brick". The parasitic load from the car's always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery's charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn't receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it's not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.

The amount of time it takes an unplugged Tesla to die varies. Tesla's Roadster Owners Manual [Full Zipped PDF] states that the battery should take approximately 11 weeks of inactivity to completely discharge [Page 5-2, Column 3: PDF]. However, that is from a full 100% charge. If the car has been driven first, say to be parked at an airport for a long trip, that time can be substantially reduced. If the car is driven to nearly its maximum range and then left unplugged, it could potentially "brick" in about one week.[1] Many other scenarios are possible: for example, the car becomes unplugged by accident, or is unwittingly plugged into an extension cord that is defective or too long.

When a Tesla battery does reach total discharge, it cannot be recovered and must be entirely replaced. Unlike a normal car battery, the best-case replacement cost of the Tesla battery is currently at least $32,000, not including labor and taxes that can add thousands more to the cost.

Tesla Motors' Devastating Design ProblemFive Examples And Counting

Of the approximately 2,200 Roadsters sold to date, a regional service manager for Tesla stated he was personally aware of at least five cases of Tesla Roadsters being "bricked" due to battery depletion. It is unknown if there are additional cases in other regions or countries.

The 340th Tesla Roadster produced went to a customer in Santa Barbara, California. In 2011, he took his Roadster out for a drive and then parked it in a temporary garage while his home was being renovated. Lacking a built-in Tesla charger or a convenient power outlet, he left the car unplugged. Six weeks later his car was dead. It took four men two hours to drag the 2,700-pound Roadster onto a flatbed truck so that it could be shipped to Tesla's Los Angeles area service center, all at the owner's expense. A service manager then informed him that "it's a brick" and that the battery would cost approximately $40,000 to replace. He was further told that this was a special "friends and family" price, strongly implying that Tesla generally charges more.

As a second Roadster owner discovered, the Tesla battery system can completely discharge even when the vehicle is plugged in. This owner's car was plugged into a 100-foot long extension cord for an extended period. The length of this extension cord evidently reduced the electric current to a level insufficient to charge the Tesla, resulting in another "bricked" Roadster.

A third bricked Tesla Roadster apparently sits in its owner's garage in Newport Beach, California. That owner allegedly had a similar prior incident with a BMW-produced electric vehicle. He claimed BMW replaced that vehicle, but Tesla refuses to do the same. The owner either couldn't afford or didn't want to pay Tesla the $40,000 (or more) to fix his car.

A fourth customer shipped his Tesla Roadster to Japan, reportedly only to discover the voltages there were incompatible. By then, it was too late, the car was bricked, and he had to ship it back to the US for repairs.

The whereabouts and circumstances of the fifth bricked Roadster the Tesla service manager expressed knowledge of are unknown.

No Warranty, No Insurance, No Payment Plan

Tesla has a "bumper to bumper" warranty [Page 3: PDF], but the warranty text allows Tesla to hold the owner responsible for any damage related to "Failure to maintain the Battery at a proper charge level at all times" - the meaning of "proper charge" doesn't appear to be specifically defined. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Vice President of Sales & Ownership Experience George Blankenship, and Vice President of Worldwide Service J. Joost de Vries all became directly involved in at least one "brick" situation, with de Vries stating in writing that since Tesla's documentation and warranty "identify in clear language to keep the Roadster on external power when parked" the decision to decline any warranty or financial relief was "correct and justified".[2]

Unfortunately for current and future Tesla owners who encounter this problem, it's also not covered by normal automobile insurance policies. This makes the situation almost unique in modern car-ownership: a $40,000 or more exposure that cannot be insured. After all, car insurance is designed to protect owners and drivers even when they are neglectful or at fault. The affected customers probably would have been in a better financial situation if they'd accidentally rolled their Teslas off a cliff, as insurance would generally cover much of those costs.

Due to Tesla batteries naturally decaying over time, Tesla offered Roadster customers a $12,000 "battery replacement program". This program is intended to replace a Roadster battery with a new one seven years after purchase. When asked, the Tesla service manager said even if owners had paid in advance for this replacement battery program, they would not be allowed to use it to replace an accidentally discharged battery - they would have to pay the full $40,000-plus cost.[3]

The Santa Barbara owner was also informed that no other financing or payment plan would be made available to pay for the replacement battery, and that he needed to either pay in full or remove his dead vehicle from the Tesla service center as soon as possible.

Tesla Motors' Devastating Design ProblemUnderstated Warnings to Owners

With such a large price tag for a bricked vehicle, it would be reasonable to expect Tesla to go to great lengths to ensure their customers were fully aware of the severity of battery discharge. Instead it seems that Tesla, while working to make it clear their vehicles should always be left plugged in, also appears to have focused on trying not to spook their current and future customers about the potentially severe ramifications of complete battery discharge.

The Tesla Roadster Owners Manual begins with several "Important Notes About Your Vehicle" [Page 1-2: PDF], none of which make any mention of battery discharge. In Chapter 5 of the manual, where vehicle charging is addressed, Tesla states that the vehicle is "designed to be plugged in" and that allowing the charge level to fall to 0% "can permanently damage the Battery." [Page 5-2: PDF] It does not specify that a completely discharged battery may need to be replaced, entirely at the owner's expense, at a cost that could be the majority of the value of the vehicle.

Tesla did begin handing out a "Battery Reminder Card" [PDF] when a Roadster was brought in for servicing. However, the card gently and cheerfully prods owners to "Remember - a connected Roadster is a happy Roadster!" with no mention of the possible consequences of a complete discharge.

There is no warning regarding battery discharge on the actual power port of the vehicle itself, where a gas-powered car often contains warnings about issues like the use of leaded gasoline in an unleaded vehicle. There is also no warning on the power port or in the Roadster Owner's manual regarding the use of extension cords.

What About The Model S?

It's not just the Roadster - Tesla's service manager stated the upcoming Model S definitely shares the Roadster's discharge problem, describing it as fundamental to the battery technology. Another Tesla employee concurred, saying it would be "neglect" to leave the vehicle unplugged when it's parked. This fits with statements by Kurt Kelty, Tesla's Director of Battery Technology, that the Model S uses the same battery technology as the Roadster. Yet on Tesla's Model S "Facts" page under "Charging", potential buyers are presented with only the lenient guideline that "Tesla recommends plugging your Model S in each night or when convenient."

Assuming the Model S has the same battery vulnerability as the Roadster, Tesla's Model S FAQ is woefully incomplete at best. In the FAQ, Tesla explicitly addresses the question of what happens when their car is parked and not charging:

If Model S is parked and not charging, will the battery lose its charge?
Loss of charge at rest is minimal. For example, Model S owners can park at the airport for extended vacations without plugging in.

That's the answer in its entirety - nothing at all about the eventual, inevitable, catastrophic battery failure that the Tesla service manager seemed certain of.

Even the minimal loss of charge statement is highly suspect. The Roadster's owner manual [Page 5-2, Column 3: PDF] states that a fully charged car can be expected to lose 50% of its charge in just 7 days, clearly not a "minimal" amount. As far as leaving the car for an "extended vacation", the manual [Page 5-3, Column 1: PDF] actually states that vehicles left for more than two weeks should not only be plugged in, but plugged into a special $1,950 (plus installation) Tesla High Power Connector that is not generally available at airports or elsewhere at present. Additionally, leaving a Tesla Roadster at the airport for an extended vacation would seemingly invalidate the warranty which says the battery "should never remain continuously unplugged for an extended period of time, regardless of the state of charge" [Page 5, Column 2: PDF] - practically the exact opposite of Tesla's Model S FAQ answer.

The Model S battery could be very different from that of the Roadster. If so, however, this would mean not only that the Tesla employees are wrong, but that Tesla has made radical improvements in these areas but has decided not to actively promote them or even mention them prominently on their website. Barring that improbable scenario, Tesla's marketing appears to be less than entirely forthcoming on this key issue.

Tesla's Unorthodox Prevention Measures

While customer and marketing communication about charging are focused on gentle reminders, behind the scenes Tesla has seemingly been scrambling to try to ensure existing owners don't "brick" their cars.

After the first 500 Roadsters, Tesla added a remote monitoring system to the vehicles, connecting through AT&T's GSM-based cellular network. Tesla uses this system to monitor various vehicle metrics including the battery charge levels, as long as the vehicle has the GSM connection activated[4] and is within range of AT&T's network. According to the Tesla service manager, Tesla has used this information on multiple occasions to proactively telephone customers to warn them when their Roadster's battery was dangerously low.

In at least one case, Tesla went even further. The Tesla service manager admitted that, unable to contact an owner by phone, Tesla remotely activated a dying vehicle's GPS to determine its location and then dispatched Tesla staff to go there. It is not clear if Tesla had obtained this owner's consent to allow this tracking[5], or if the owner is even aware that his vehicle had been tracked. Further, the service manager acknowledged that this use of tracking was not something they generally tell customers about.

Going to these lengths could be seen as customer service, but it would also seem to fit with an internal awareness at Tesla of the gravity of the "bricking" problem, and the potentially disastrous public relations and sales fallout that could result from it becoming more broadly known.

Coming Soon: More Customers, More Problems

Tesla produced 2,500 Roadsters, but it plans to make 25,000 Model S vehicles by the end of 2013. This vastly increases the possible number of accidental "bricking" incidents. At the same time, the Model S pricing starts at $49,900 (after US tax incentives), broadening the market to households of far more modest means than the owners of the $109,000 and up Roadster. This in turn makes it even less likely that Tesla buyers will have the necessary tens of thousands of dollars to spare if they ever allow their battery to fully discharge.

Tesla has officially stated that "it is impossible to accurately forecast the cost of future battery replacements", but the Tesla service manager said he expected the Model S battery to cost even more than the Roadster's. If true, it would mean that a Model S battery failure could essentially render the car valueless.

Tesla is actively targeting the mass market, with CEO Elon Musk recently touting the Model X as "the killer app for families." But as things stand today, families who fail to keep their car charged could end up unexpectedly forced to continue making payments on an inoperable and worthless vehicle. That would be a killer.

The Bottom Line

Tesla Motors is a public company that's valued at over $3.5 billion and has received $465 million in US government loans, all on the back of the promise that it can deliver a real world, all-electric car to the mainstream market. Yet today, in my opinion, Tesla seems to be knowingly selling cars that can turn into bricks without any financial protection for the customer.

Until there's a fundamental change in Tesla's technology, it would seem the only other option for Tesla is to help its customers insure against this problem. As consumers become aware that a Tesla is possibly just a long trip, a bad extension cord, or an accidental unplugging away from disaster, how many will choose to gamble $40,000 on that not happening? Would you?


This post was originally published by Michael DeGusta at theunderstatement.com on February 21st, 2012 and has been republished with permission. Follow him on Twitter here.

Notes

Other All-Electric Vehicles

While discharge issues are inherent to lithium-ion battery technology, it's beyond the scope of this article to address the ramifications for electric vehicles in general. Regardless, a company's battery management system and obviously their marketing and handling of the situation can vary.

The Nissan Leaf is currently the only other widely available all-electric vehicle in the US. A Nissan Leaf sales specialist was emphatic that their vehicle did not have the discharge problem. The Leaf warranty [Full PDF: Page 9] does however state that the owner must plug in the vehicle within 14 days of reaching zero charge, which does appear to differ from Tesla's manual that says the owner must do it immediately. [Page 5-2, Column 1: PDF]

Personal Note

I've paid $5,000 for a Tesla Model X reservation. Either these issues will be resolved by the time it's ready, Tesla will be gone by then, or I'll most likely give up my spot and get a refund. No one has paid me to write this article. TheUnderstatement.com has no ads or sponsors.

1. A written Tesla report on one "bricked" Roadster documents that the vehicle went from 4% full to complete discharge in seven days.

2. Mr. de Vries also pointed out that at below 4% charge the car displays a visual "Plug me in" warning on its screen with an accompanying audible alert. This would seemingly only help owners who are actually sitting in the car.

3. This would seem consistent with the language of the agreement [PDF], which actually stipulates that the replacement battery cannot be used while the car is still under warranty.

4. Roadster owners have the ability to turn the GSM connection on and off via the vehicle's settings screen.

5. There appears to be no reference to Tesla having the ability to track a vehicle's location at its discretion in either the data recording section of the Roadster Owners Manual [Page 1-2, Column 2: PDF] or the addendum that covers the GSM connection [Page 9: PDF]. (3 images)

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TopPage UpFull ThreadPage DownBottom/Latest

#1. To: Capitalist Eric (#0)

Obama will come to the rescue with a brick bailout.


"We (government) need to do a lot less, a lot sooner" ~Ron Paul

Obama's watch stopped on 24 May 2008, but he's been too busy smoking crack to notice.

hondo68  posted on  2012-02-22   19:11:48 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: hondo68 (#1)

LOL.

It wouldn't put it past him.

To: mcToejam, rat-boy, drippy, Alzheimer Fred, whitesands, t-bird, loonymom/ming, e-type jackoff, goober56, wreck, cal-CON, rabid dog, dummy DwarF, biff, harrowup the communist, and meguro. You're on the "a waste of human flesh" list. Piss off.

Capitalist Eric  posted on  2012-02-22   19:24:59 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Capitalist Eric (#0)

Plug-in electrics are NOT the future.

I have been convinced for some time that hydrogen fuel cells are the future.

The leadership of most of the 9 largest global auto companies agree -- including Mercedes.

Hydrogen is the most abundant molecule in the Universe. We can never run out of it.

Fuel cells are a 100+ year old technology.

The issue is cost. Old fuel cells required platinum, which is prohibitively costly.

New technologies have already been invented that either dramatically reduce or eliminate the need for platinum.

People usually over estimate the short term impact of a new technology, while grossly underestimating long term impact of a new technology.

Fuel cells will not replace the internal combustion engine in the next 5 years.

They could and very well might do this in the next 25 years.


Iran’s main drive for acquiring atomic weapons is not for use against Israel but as a deterrent against U.S. intervention -- Major General Zeevi Farkash, head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate

jwpegler  posted on  2012-02-22   19:47:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: jwpegler (#3)

Plug-in electrics are NOT the future.

Correct.

I have been convinced for some time that hydrogen fuel cells are the future.

A nice sentiment, and it'd be really swell, if you were right... ahh, damn those laws of physics!

The issue is cost.

You're right, on this point.

Old fuel cells required platinum, which is prohibitively costly.

Uh, NO.

The key word here, is "entropy," also known as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. You cannot gain efficiency, only lose it, through inherent inefficiencies of every energy conversion. In more practical terms, it takes more power (using nuclear, natural gas or petroleum) to create each GGE (gallon of gas equivalent) of hydrogen, as it is to simply refine the gasoline itself...

It's the same as the electric car; you lose efficiency with the conversion process. The ONLY advantage that a hydrogen-cell car gives, is that it takes less time to fill up the tank.

Other than that, it's as much of a loser as electric cars- and perhaps more, since there are safety issues involved with hydrogen, than are much less prevalent with electrics.

Key word: "Hindenburg."

To: mcToejam, rat-boy, drippy, Alzheimer Fred, whitesands, t-bird, loonymom/ming, e-type jackoff, goober56, wreck, cal-CON, rabid dog, dummy DwarF, biff, harrowup the communist, and meguro. You're on the "a waste of human flesh" list. Piss off.

Capitalist Eric  posted on  2012-02-22   20:12:15 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Capitalist Eric (#4) (Edited)

the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

The 2nd law of thermodynamics???

LOL.

Sometimes you are a great guy.

Sometimes you are as stupid and narrow minded as the idiot leftists that we both despise.

You are getting a business degree. Have you ever take a calculus-based physics class? Apparently not.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics refers to closed systems where no additional energy is added.

Is the earth a closed system? No, we exist in a larger universe full of energy.

Hydrogen is the most abundant molecule in the universe.

It's basically what all stars are made of. It's mostly what water is made of.

Harnessing hydrogen is the future of virtually unlimited energy on planet earth.

Almost all of the auto companies understand this. They are spending a ton of money to perfect hydrogen fuel cell technology.

We live in a science and technology driven world.

You would add greatly to your reputation in the world by adding some actual science knowledge to your knowledge of economics.


Iran’s main drive for acquiring atomic weapons is not for use against Israel but as a deterrent against U.S. intervention -- Major General Zeevi Farkash, head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate

jwpegler  posted on  2012-02-22   20:23:28 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: jwpegler (#5)

Sometimes you are as stupid and narrow minded as the idiot leftists that we both despise.

Based on your above comment, I'd say the stupid person is you. I'll give you a piece of advice: wish in one hand, shit in the other, and tell me which fills up faster.

Now then, to the rest of your wishful-thinking:

You are getting a business degree.

I never said that. I already have two, and ~20 years of experience in the design and real-world operations of engineering systems. If this is an indication of the quality of the rest of your post, I'm gonna' be really bored by the time I get done, here...

Have you ever take a calculus-based physics class? Apparently not.

Again wrong.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics refers to closed systems where no additional energy is added.

As they say, "it depends." You're referring to the thermodynamic "strict" definition, and I'm referring to the statistical "real world" definition. Nice try.

You failed.

Next point?

Is the earth a closed system? No, we exist in a larger universe full of energy.

Hydrogen is the most abundant molecule in the universe.

It's basically what all stars are made of. It's mostly what water is made of.

All of which is utterly irrelevant, and you know it. That kind of shit will work on dummies like loonybitch and ming, but I know better.

Nice try. You failed.

Next?

Harnessing hydrogen is the future of virtually unlimited energy on planet earth. Almost all of the auto companies understand this. They are spending a ton of money to perfect hydrogen fuel cell technology. We live in a science and technology driven world.

WOW. A lot of hyperbole, but absolutely nothing of relevance. If you ignore entropy, then your ideas would be valid. Despite your fantasies, I can't ignore physics.

You would add greatly to your reputation in the world by adding some actual science knowledge to your knowledge of economics.

Your reply is heavy on insults, but gives nothing in the way of facts.

For a layman's explanation- one that even you should be able to comprehend, see The Truth About Hydrogen.

In reality, it goes a lot deeper than this, but this makes a very good summary.

Thanks for the laughs, pegler.

Good night.

To: mcToejam, rat-boy, drippy, Alzheimer Fred, whitesands, t-bird, loonymom/ming, e-type jackoff, goober56, wreck, cal-CON, rabid dog, dummy DwarF, biff, harrowup the communist, and meguro. You're on the "a waste of human flesh" list. Piss off.

Capitalist Eric  posted on  2012-02-22   22:20:49 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Capitalist Eric (#6)

Your reply is heavy on insults, but gives nothing in the way of facts.

Must be like looking in a mirror.

Anyone claiming to be an expert is selling something. I brandish my ignorance like a crucifix at vampires. Aaron Bady

lucysmom  posted on  2012-02-22   22:26:21 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: jwpegler, Crapitalist Whatever (#5) (Edited)

You would add greatly to your reputation in the world by adding some actual science knowledge to your knowledge of economics.

Chortle.....That gaseous Liberace ball sack emission Crapitalist Erica still posting here??????

STILL??

Who knew?? Who cares??

BBBWWWAAAHHHAAAA.....the mouthy little pissant must have his 8th or 9th doctoral defense done about now eh?

But....alas....none of them in the hard sciences it would seem.

Death to everybody who does not get outta my way. (decided to retire the beatdowns on old worthless retread posters that are bozoed)

e_type_jag  posted on  2012-02-23   0:03:51 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: lucysmom (#7)

Must be like looking in a mirror.

Tanx for the LOL this AM, LM....;}

mcgowanjm  posted on  2012-02-23   7:51:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Capitalist Eric (#6) (Edited)

All of which is utterly irrelevant, and you know it.

I'll make this really simple.

There is huge source of energy outside of the earth called the Sun.

Every second, enough energy from the Sun reaches earth to supply all of the earth's energy needs for an entire year.

Because it's sometimes night and because it's sometimes cloudy, the Sun's energy doesn't always reach a particular spot on earth, so solar energy would be an unreliable source for inclusion directly in the electrical grid.

However, the Sun's energy can be used to split hydrogen from water, which can be stored, transported, and used at a later time.

Again, most of the 9 largest auto manufacturers are investing billions into hydrogen fuel cell research, for good reason. So are other types of companies that are using fuel cells to power buildings.

Using solar power to split hydrogen from water would give us a virtually unlimited source of energy.

This is future and yes, I do know it.


Iran’s main drive for acquiring atomic weapons is not for use against Israel but as a deterrent against U.S. intervention -- Major General Zeevi Farkash, head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate

jwpegler  posted on  2012-02-23   10:04:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: jwpegler (#10)

Using solar power to split hydrogen from water would give us a virtually unlimited source of energy.

This is future and yes, I do know it.

Go for it, you'll soon be a rich guy.

Almost every country in the Middle East is awash in oil, and we have to side with the one that has nothing but joos. Goddamn, that was good thinkin'. Esso posted on 2012-01-13 7:37:56 ET

mininggold  posted on  2012-02-23   10:58:06 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: mininggold (#11)

I am a rich guy and I'm in the computer business, not energy business.


Iran’s main drive for acquiring atomic weapons is not for use against Israel but as a deterrent against U.S. intervention -- Major General Zeevi Farkash, head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate

jwpegler  posted on  2012-02-23   11:32:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: jwpegler (#10)

I'll make this really simple. There is huge source of energy outside of the earth called the Sun. Every second, enough energy from the Sun reaches earth to supply all of the earth's energy needs for an entire year. Because it's sometimes night and because it's sometimes cloudy, the Sun's energy doesn't always reach a particular spot on earth, so solar energy would be an unreliable source for inclusion directly in the electrical grid.

However, the Sun's energy can be used to split hydrogen from water, which can be stored, transported, and used at a later time.

Uh-HUH. "Captain Obvious" to the rescue.

Pfft.

The problem is the same as with electric cars; economics.

WHY do you think it is, that the Tesla car, the Chevy Volt, the Nissan electric cars, and all the rest, never caught on with the public? Economics, bubba, economics.

The are two sides of the economic problem:

1. Electric cars are very expensive, compared to gas (or diesel) powered vehicles.
2. The power to recharge or refuel electric (and hydrogen) cars is far more expensive to generate, store and transport.

Here, I'll post the chart from the link I provided before:

__________________________________________________________

Where Will the Hydrogen Come From?
President Bush's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative calls for replacing fossil fuels used in passenger cars by 2040. This would require 150 million tons of hydrogen anually. Here's what it would take to reach that goal with any one technology.
NATURAL GASNUCLEARSOLARWINDBIOMASSCOAL

Gas station-size facilities using steam reformationVery High Temperature Reactors providing heat for electrolysis or for thermochemical cyclesPhotovoltaic systems providing electricity for electrolysis with 10% efficiencyTurbines producing electricity for electrolysis, assuming they operate at 30% capacityGasification plants using steam reformationFutureGen plants using coal gasification then steam reformation

Raw
Materials
Required
15.9 million
cu. ft. of natural gas — only a fraction of current U.S. annual consumption
240,000
tons of unenriched uranium, five times today's global production
2500
kilowatt-hours of sun per square meter per year, found in the Southwestern states of the Sun Belt
7
meters per second average wind speed, typically found in many parts of the country
1.5 billion
tons of dry biomass (initially byproducts such as peanut shells, then concentrated crops)
1 billion
tons of coal — which would require doubling current U.S. domestic production

Infrastructure777,000
facilities; though a more likely scenario would include a mix of larger central production plants
2000
600-megawatt next-generation nuclear power plants; only 103 nuclear power plants operate in the States today
113 million
40-kilowatt systems, covering 50% of more than 300 million acres — an area three size the size of Nevada
1 million
2-megawatt wind turbines, covering 5% of 120 million acres, or an area larger than California
3300
gasification plants, and up to 113.4 million acres — or 11% of U.S. farmland — dedicated to growing the biomass
1000
275-megawatt plants; only 12 sites were proposed for a DOE demonstration plant — not all met the requirements
Total Cost$1 trillion$840 billion$22 trillion$3 trillion$565 billion$500 billion
Price Per GGE
(Gallon of Gas Equivalent)
$3.00$2.50$9.50$3.00$1.90$1
CO2 Emissions
measured in tons
300 million000600 million*600 million**

*Zero net emissions because crops pull CO2 from the air. **90% will be captured and stored underground.

Time FrameThere are four fueling stations that now produce hydrogen from natural gas.The first Very High Temperature Reactor in the U.S. will be built at Idaho National Laboratory in 2021.Honda built an experimental solar-powered hydrogen refueling station at its lab in California in 2001.A 100-kilowatt turbine is now being built at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado.Government funded bio- mass research will be transferred to private industry in 2015.By 2012, the first FutureGen demonstration plant should be running at 50% capacity.

_______________________________________________________

The key point, is the COST per Gallon of Gasoline Equivalent.

Hydrogen isn't economically viable, thus it will not replace gasoline. Oh, you could "help" the industry by using government subsidies, but even that won't matter in the long term. People won't blow 3x more money, just so they can be "green." (I'm talking about the real-world market, not the liberal assholes who are so smug in their environMENTAList mind-set.)

I am a rich guy and I'm in the computer business, not energy business.

Rich? LOL. Whatever.

As to not being in the energy business, that much is obvious. Maybe you should stick to subject you know something about.

Your lesson is over. You're dismissed.

To: mcToejam, rat-boy, drippy, Alzheimer Fred, whitesands, t-bird, loonymom/ming, e-type jackoff, goober56, wreck, cal-CON, rabid dog, dummy DwarF, biff, harrowup the communist, and meguro. You're on the "a waste of human flesh" list. Piss off.

Capitalist Eric  posted on  2012-02-23   12:26:56 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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