Tesla Achilles Heel

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Eddie_T

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The recent Tesla accident reveals the batteries as being a real hazard. Lithium batteries are finicky about mistreatment and overtemperature any accident that results in a short circuit or internal battery damage can be a disaster. It was reported that first responders had to use 30,000 gallons of water over four hours to put out the fire, as the battery kept reigniting. What is going to happen after a greater number of electric vehicles are on the road and become involved in accidents? Green may suddenly turn to charcoal.
 

Flyover

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I expect in the short term there will be some turbulence and panic, but in the long term they'll figure out ways to mitigate this problem (whatever that is; you didn't provide a link so I don't actually know what you're talking about).
 

Eddie_T

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I expect in the short term there will be some turbulence and panic, but in the long term they'll figure out ways to mitigate this problem (whatever that is; you didn't provide a link so I don't actually know what you're talking about).
Sorry about that, it was all over the news. Elon Musk claims autopilot was not used in fiery Tesla crash that killed 2 people in The Woodlands I suspect that people were so sucked into the autopilot issue they didn't latch onto danger lithium batteries present.
 
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Steve123

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25 gallons of gasoline going up in flames is not a good thing either.

Root of the problem is a vehicle needs to carry a whole lot of energy. Be it as a fossil fuel, battery, supercapacitor, or whatever.
 

bud16415

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IMHO electric cars have a whole lot of Achilles Heels.



Batteries will evolve into safer and safe packages as the need continues increase just as internal combustion fuel cells have been designed to be safer. It was once thought external combustion would be the answer and that still may be the case. What killed them was the abundance of cheap liquid fuel that made lightweight engines compared to Stirling engines.



I feel the major problem with electric cars is first where does the electric come from? Secondly is to replace 100 years of infrastructure built around one form of energy and redo it all to something different. We already have a shortfall in electric production with an ever-growing demand.



Right or wrong we have a society built around requiring a lot of movement of people and things over long distances. That plan worked ok given an abundance of cheap fuel. We are trying to not change any of that but radically change the method of doing it. Pure economics will show you the problems.

There is a lot of wishful thinking when it comes to making power and distributing power, not just storing power. :dunno:
 

ajaynejr

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Don't look now but pure lithium (a metal) reacts with water to give off hydrogen gas and heat.
 

Eddie_T

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We may be trying to store too much energy in batteries. There has to be a limit and wishful thinking cannot take us past that limit.
 

Steve123

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I feel the major problem with electric cars is first where does the electric come from? Secondly is to replace 100 years of infrastructure built around one form of energy and redo it all to something different. We already have a shortfall in electric production with an ever-growing demand.

I guess it depends on where you are. I know in Ontario, we have an excess of electric power. Coal power is long gone. About 10% of electricity is from natural gas (which is one of the cleaner hydrocarbons) and the rest is non carbon emitting.
 

bud16415

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I guess it depends on where you are. I know in Ontario, we have an excess of electric power. Coal power is long gone. About 10% of electricity is from natural gas (which is one of the cleaner hydrocarbons) and the rest is non carbon emitting.
Canada is lucky and smart to have a good supply of hydro available 60% and take advantage of it.

Then add in another 15% nuclear the non-carbon emitting no one likes to talk about or name. You have a vast reserve of natural gas as a buffer back up for the 7% wind/solar or so of the classic non-carbons we are putting a lot of hope in down in the states.



Canada is a big place and power distribution works best when the demands are near the sources as you mostly have.



I believe the US is ahead of Canada in what we call renewable wind/solar but fall way short on hydro and doubt we have the ability or will to expand on what we have. Nuclear is a really tough sell here even if it would be the logical way to grow away from carbon assuming carbon is a problem.

So we are somewhat stuck if we wanted to flip our infrastructure for cars from gas to electric with releasing the carbon at the cars or at the source of the electric production. The bigger problem I see is demand with adding all these electric cars to a power distribution system that is already under rated. Not to mention power loss in transmission as here we like to consume our electricity but we like it made a long distance away. We like to go when and where we want and don’t support mass transit very well. A huge amount of our goods come to us by rail and locomotives have been hybrid powered for 75 years and over the last 40 years have become much cleaner, but still burn fossil fuels. :coffee:
 

Spicoli43

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Ok, lets take a Tesla on a "National Lampoon's Electric Family" trip. Don't worry, there are charging stations all over the country. By the Third charging station that takes an Hour and a half or so, and the 400th "Are we there yet"?, Daddy, who wishes he had his Escalade back, is willing to push the Tesla over the nearest cliff. He can claim the very valid "temporary insanity" defense.

The local Tesla supercharger here is in the parking lot of a supermarket, across the street is a Costco. There is also a Home Depot, but that's pretty much it. This family can't buy anything that isn't instantly consumable since every square inch is taken up for their trip luggage... I assume that's how most of the charging stations are situated, so the nightmare is real for anyone trying said trip.

For a work commuter plugging it in every night, I can see that working possibly, but I can also see the Home Insurance people asking if you have an EV you charge at the residence, since there isn't a good insurance company in existence and they need to find a way to charge for every possible thing.

Weighing all the problems of electric, while saving money actually driving, I say people will widely reject the thought of an all electric idea.
 

68bucks

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I doubt the potential of a battery fire will be the end of electric vehicles. As for the change to electric vehicles in general it seems inevitable. Most people can get by just fine with an electric vehicle. Now if you haul a lot of stuff or pull a trailer that's more of a challenge but I see there are some all electric trucks coming out. I think the biggest challenge is still long distance travel. The longish recharge times is the problem it seems to me. The infrastructure for electric is gradually building out and will continue. I imagine gas stations will start adding charging stations as their gas business gradually falls off. I don't think generation capacity will be an issue for a while as most of the charging takes place during off peak hours.
 

68bucks

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So here's a question, how many times a year do you drive more than 300 miles in a day? We have 2 vehicles one being a PU truck. I haul with that and pull a boat frequently. The truck would be a problem but the 2nd vehicle could probably be electric and fill our needs 95%+ of the time. I have no frame of reference for the cost per mile for electric vs gas though. I know maintenance is far less though.
 

Spicoli43

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So here's a question, how many times a year do you drive more than 300 miles in a day? We have 2 vehicles one being a PU truck. I haul with that and pull a boat frequently. The truck would be a problem but the 2nd vehicle could probably be electric and fill our needs 95%+ of the time. I have no frame of reference for the cost per mile for electric vs gas though. I know maintenance is far less though.
 

Eddie_T

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I often have to wait for another vehicle at the gas pump when traveling. Can you imagine waiting on a charging port?
 

68bucks

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I often have to wait for another vehicle at the gas pump when traveling. Can you imagine waiting on a charging port?
That is the major pain with an all electric vehicle but as I said how often do you do that? For us that's like once a year maybe. If we have to drive more than about 5 or 6 hours we are really thinking about flying. The exception to that is fishing trips. I usually make 2 or 3 a year and the drive is usually between 5 and 8 hours so that is a truck trip. But for 95% of our needs an EV with 250 - 300 miles of range would more than meet our needs. I suspect that is the same for most people. We just bought a a 2020 SUV so we are set for a while but the next car we buy may well be an EV. It will be interesting to see how the performance of them changes in the next 5 years or so. If they can get 500+ miles of range that would really change some things. Most people never drive more than 500 miles in a day even when traveling. After that length of time a lot of people are stopping for the night.
 

Eddie_T

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I only have one vehicle and keep enough gas in it for emergency needs. If one goes on a 300 mile trip there has to be an immediate means to charge upon arrival. The same when returning home, no room for emergency use. With considerable planning one might be able to make it but much freedom and convenience would be lost.
 

bud16415

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Right now in my state every gallon of gas has included in the price about 57 cents of road tax. When charging at home they will have to figure out a way of applying tax to your electric bill based on how much you charge your EV.



Someone above mentioned a lower cost to maintain an EV. Most new cars are easily getting 200k miles with routine service. I know this because I’m currently looking for a motor for a Honda product and everything out there in junkyards shows 200-300k. Folks run them forever. I have no idea the battery life in an EV and will it cost like an engine replacement when the time comes. Will the batteries go for 20 years? When a car dies a junkyard recycles the metal including the engine and it ends up being another car or a washing machine or something steel. Will these batteries be able to be made into new batteries?



A few years ago one of the car companies was looking into making an all EV small car that came with a modular gas engine thing that hooked on it kind of like a small single caster wheeled trailer and turned it into a hybrid unlike the plug in hybrid where you haul around all that gear when you don’t need it. I thought this was a great idea although complicated a bit. For those trips where you had to push your distance. Charge when you can and gas when you can’t.

Too many people have this idea because nothing is spewing from their car that there is no pollution in the chain of events getting them to that point. Not just making the energy but also the energy used to make the product that they drive. Lithium batteries don’t grow on trees. :coffee:
 

Steve123

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In 2020, 75% of new car sales in Norway were electric. 45% in Iceland. 32% in Sweden.

I read that Couche-Tard, that owns a lot of those gas stations/variety stores, is experimenting with putting charging ports at their stores. They can see the day, that a lot of people stop coming to fill up with gasoline.
 

bud16415

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I had an engineer friend that built an electric car from a Porsche in the late 60’s and drove it to work every day about 30 miles round trip for about 20 years. He only retired it when he found the value of the car stock was quite a lot and he returned the gas engine to it. Around the same time we started building an electric car to test market it looked like a little postal jeep. We built less than 100 of them and sold and gave them to the government at military locations to test. There was little to no desire for them commercially at that time gas was cheap and muscle cars were the rage. Not to mention batteries life was a big concern. A few years later never to give up on a good idea in the early 70s we introduced the Elec-Trak catchy name and all it was ahead of its time and a huge failure in the market place. I had to smile when I went to our new Ace Hardware in town the other day and there was a rechargeable electric push mower. I was looking it over and the owner came over and asked me if I wanted to buy one telling me it was the latest thing.



 
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