Electric Cars

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MARC Rider

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We can quibble about the percentage, but there really isn’t a point in doing so. The pertinent point is that fully autonomous vehicles are still a ways off.
The other thing about fully autonomous vehicles is that, for safety and environmental reasons, they will probably ride like Grandpa driving to church on Sunday. Most consumers of automobiles want much more get-up-and go than that. I see it every day on the road, the aggressive way a lot of people drive. I've been to enough engineering/environment conferences where representatives of the automakers flat-out say they could make ICE cars with a way better fuel economy than they do, but that the consumer wants "performance," (which actually means 0 -60 acceleration, or maybe the ability to drive hairpin curves at 50 mph over the speed limit), so such fuel-efficient low emissions cars won't sell. What makes everyone thinks that an autonomous vehicle, even if it's 100% safe, will sell the way the automakers want?

I think that the real role for fully autonomous vehicles is for closed-loop offroad applications like airport rental car shuttles. Those are conceptually not too much different from the currently deployed fixed-guideway people movers that seem to be working OK. And, of course, being that it's a limited range route, always returning to base frequently, it would be ideal for full electrification of the vehicles. I've even seen inductive battery chargers, where the electric bus can just sit parked at the terminal without getting plugged in, and still get the battery recharged.
 

railiner

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The other thing about fully autonomous vehicles is that, for safety and environmental reasons, they will probably ride like Grandpa driving to church on Sunday. Most consumers of automobiles want much more get-up-and go than that. I see it every day on the road, the aggressive way a lot of people drive. I've been to enough engineering/environment conferences where representatives of the automakers flat-out say they could make ICE cars with a way better fuel economy than they do, but that the consumer wants "performance," (which actually means 0 -60 acceleration, or maybe the ability to drive hairpin curves at 50 mph over the speed limit), so such fuel-efficient low emissions cars won't sell. What makes everyone thinks that an autonomous vehicle, even if it's 100% safe, will sell the way the automakers want?
I have to disagree with this. I think that with fully autonomous vehicles, there would be no need for aggressive driving, as the automated traffic control system would insure that all vehicles would get from origin to destination in the most efficient way possible, and the safest way. The most desirable trait would be a smooth ride, like the car was driven like a limo.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Most consumers of automobiles want much more get-up-and go than that. I see it every day on the road, the aggressive way a lot of people drive.
My efficiency focused Accord can go from lawful driving to felony speeding in about five seconds. I'm not sure what that does for anyone but there you go.

I've been to enough engineering/environment conferences where representatives of the automakers flat-out say they could make ICE cars with a way better fuel economy than they do, but that the consumer wants "performance," (which actually means 0 -60 acceleration, or maybe the ability to drive hairpin curves at 50 mph over the speed limit), so such fuel-efficient low emissions cars won't sell.
If consumers really wanted "performance" wouldn't they be buying sports cars, which are one of the worst selling segments, instead of SUV's and crossovers, which are two of the best selling segments?

I think that the real role for fully autonomous vehicles is for closed-loop offroad applications like airport rental car shuttles.
They're not spending billions on research to replace a low wage shuttle driver. I could see heavy manufacturing areas and port operations being a target though. The crown jewel is long haul trucking.
 
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MARC Rider

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I have to disagree with this. I think that with fully autonomous vehicles, there would be no need for aggressive driving, as the automated traffic control system would insure that all vehicles would get from origin to destination in the most efficient way possible, and the safest way. The most desirable trait would be a smooth ride, like the car was driven like a limo.
Sorry, but I have to disagree. I see American drivers and how they drive. Most of them don't want a "smooth ride" like a limo. When I try to drive that way, some impatient jackass behind me starts honking his/her horn, and then passes me on my right, even if I'm driving fast. This isn't just Americans, of course. In practically every country I've visited, except maybe Japan, the driving is incredibly aggressive. There is some kind of psychological need for speed, acceleration and power. Just controlling the car gives one a feeling of power. Having a computer do it for you could feel a little emasculating. That may also be why people don't like to ride public transportation. It takes away some sense of control. The barriers to autonomous vehicles will be as much psychological as technical.
 

MARC Rider

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My efficiency focused Accord can go from lawful driving to felony speeding in about five seconds. I'm not sure what that does for anyone but there you go.
And if your Accord had less "performance" it would be even more "efficiency focused." I once tested my CRV (which is an SUV built on a Accord chassis) by driving a tank of gas 300 miles across the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes, but keeping to the speed limit. I got 30 mpg. Usually I'd get 24-26 mpg driving on the highway, but not accelerating as much really made a difference. I've seen the ECU logs from test laps I've run for my work. You start revving up the engine and pouring on the torque, it really sucks up the fuel.

If consumers really wanted "performance" they'd be buying sports/sporty cars, which are one of the worst selling segments, instead of SUV's and crossovers, which are two of the best selling segments.
There's another psychological factor driving vehicle preferences. People seem to want nice big, intimidating vehicles. Whether it's because they want 'em big because they think they'd be safer in a crash or because they just want to project power isn't fully clear. Families like the minivans (another kind of crossover) because they want the space for the kids and stuff they haul. Sports cars are small and get mangled in a crash, they aren't that intimidating, and you can't haul many people or much luggage. What people seem to want is a big intimidating SUV that drives (or accelerates, at least) like a sports car. I've actually rented a bunch of them. Some of them are big, but fast, as I know from speeding tickets I got in Wisconsin and New Hampshire. :)

Those SUV's could get a lot better fuel economy if they decreased "performance," but, as the automakers told us, they believe their customers want "performance" -- whatever the vehicle type they choose. They also believe that "performance" and fuel economy are inversely related, at least for ICE vehicles. Thus, they get very nervous if EPA/NHTSA gets too aggressive about fuel economy/greenhouse gas standards. They've been forced to develop engineering workarounds that moderate that inverse relationship to some extent, so they're not totally opposed to the standards, but not if it really compromises "performance."

They're not spending billions on research to replace a low wage shuttle driver. I could see heavy manufacturing areas and port operations being a target though. The crown jewel is long haul trucking.
If they're not spending billions on research to replace a low wage shuttle driver, then they're also not spending billions to replace low wage drayage and long-haul truck drivers either. I'm not sure why they're spending the money to research this, but I seem to recall that the initial push for autonomous vehicles came out of Silicon Valley, not Detroit. Silicon Valley (i.e., the software and computer industry) really doesn't understand the auto market. I think maybe they got into it because it's just a "cool" software challenge and it's sort of science-fictiony. Think Elon Musk and his Hyperloop. It's the auto industry equivalent of gadgetbahnen.
 

railiner

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The need to transform from a mild mannered rational human being, into a bullying and aggressive driving menace, and driving the type of vehicle that fulfills that ability, must be an 'inadequacy thing', IMHO...such people need to 'grow up'.
This is exacerbated by the generally inadequate level of driver training and education in this country. And perhaps, just a reflection of the way our society has become.
 
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I think that the real role for fully autonomous vehicles is for closed-loop offroad applications like airport rental car shuttles. Those are conceptually not too much different from the currently deployed fixed-guideway people movers that seem to be working OK. And, of course, being that it's a limited range route, always returning to base frequently, it would be ideal for full electrification of the vehicles. I've even seen inductive battery chargers, where the electric bus can just sit parked at the terminal without getting plugged in, and still get the battery recharged.
Somehow I thought that something like that already existed, but can't remember where. There are tons of PRT/fixed guideway systems from West Virginia to London Heathrow.


As an aside, I'm kind of laughing to myself at the argument of owning a leased vehicle, it's like renting an apartment.
 

joelkfla

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Somehow I thought that something like that already existed, but can't remember where.
There's an autonomous bus running in the Lake Nona development in Orlando, but currently it runs a fixed route of only a mile, has a top speed of 15mph, and has a "safety driver" on board to take control if necessary.

I think there are also driverless shuttles running in Las Vegas between the Convention Center and the strip.
There are tons of PRT/fixed guideway systems from West Virginia to London Heathrow.
Lots of fully automated fixed guideway people movers, but just a handful of true PRT's (that is, running on individual demand.) The WV system is sometimes called Group Rapid Transit because the vehicles have the capacity of a small bus and are often shared, although they do run in PRT mode at times.
 

Qapla

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There was a test vehicle running in Gainesville, Fl "in traffic" - one of the first such tests in the US. Before it could get any real tests, the Feds put an end to the tests because a similar vehicle in Ohio did a "sudden stop" and someone "slipped off the seat" ... but they still allow subways and city busses to operate even though they toss people around way more than this thing did.
 

MARC Rider

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The need to transform from a mild mannered rational human being, into a bullying and aggressive driving menace, and driving the type of vehicle that fulfills that ability, must be an 'inadequacy thing', IMHO...such people need to 'grow up'.
This is exacerbated by the generally inadequate level of driver training and education in this country. And perhaps, just a reflection of the way our society has become.
Oh, I agree, but that's the way a lot of people are, and I, for one, can't see how we are all going to suddenly change our personalities. And most people with these "inadequacy" issues, aren't "bullying aggressive driving menaces," yet they respond to the cues that meet their psychological needs. And the auto industry has based their sales and marketing on exploiting that psychology. They want to make selecting a car to buy an emotional thing, so naturally, they're going to want to push all the customer's buttons that they can, and try to sell the kinds of cars that would be selected by people who have their buttons pushed in that way.

I'm not sure how more driver training and education can help with this unless it includes a full course of psychoanalysis or something. :)
 

Exvalley

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It's also possible that the compulsion to purchase a larger vehicle than is necessary is similar to range anxiety with EVs. Specifically, people want a vehicle that will always do what they want it to do rather than something that will do 98% of what they want it to do. My work gives me either a truck or an SUV, and even though my family only needs the extra space a few times per year, it sure is nice to have on those occasions.
 

Qapla

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We live in HOT Florida and A/C is nearly a must. We also need vehicles that can carry weight AND have range along with stop-and-go performance without needing any additional charge during the work day - we all use our vehicles for work and finding time to wait for a charge would not fit the work schedule.

In our area, much of it rural, there are not many places to get a charge - especially not a rapid one.

Two of my daughters pull a trailer with weights of 5,000 - 10,000 pounds trailer and cargo. Another daughter drives a cargo van hauling 4,000-6,000 pounds of cargo daily. They all may need to travel 150+ miles every day in traffic and open road.

So far we have not seen an EV that fits their need and is affordable.

I need a truck or van that can carry my tools and supplies and able to travel 130+ miles a day. Since I do not work in the same place each day, access to public chargers is not really an option and there are time when the only power available is a generator.

We are not opposed to EV's and would happily use one if there was one that did what we need and be affordable - still a little ways off from that.
 

PVD

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There are a couple in the pipeline that might work, but I haven't seen pricing yet. They are pickups. I haven't looked at light trucks recently, but I think Ford has an Electric Transit Van that should be a mid 2022 intro.
 

willem

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not accelerating as much really made a difference.
From a conservation of energy standpoint, the rate of (positive) acceleration should be irrelevant. The change in kinetic energy of a vehicle going from 30 mph to 50 mph (or any pair of numbers) is independent of the rate of change in speed. However, converting kinetic energy to heat energy is energy lost, so every use of the (traditional) brake is a ding on fuel efficiency.

In my experience, a driver who is likely to speed up quickly is likely to brake hard, so there is a correlation between lead foot driving and poor fuel efficiency, but it is changing the potential energy of fuel to thermal energy (with an intermediate stage of kinetic energy) that is a big waste.
 

Qapla

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There are a couple in the pipeline that might work, but I haven't seen pricing yet. They are pickups. I haven't looked at light trucks recently, but I think Ford has an Electric Transit Van that should be a mid 2022 intro.
There may be some vehicles in the planning and/or development stages that might fill the bill if-and-when they are available - providing they would be priced affordable - but my girls need those vehicles now ... not sometime in the future.

And they need vehicles that would not need recharging during the day since the recharge infrastructure does not exist in our area.

Personally, I would love to have an all electric vehicle - if it would last all day and charge quickly when needed ... and I mean, charge fully in the same time frame as it takes me to fill my gas tank.

I do NOT agree with the people who think EV's are "too quiet" and need to be made to make more noise so pedestrians who don't pay attention (like those with earbuds in) know they are there.
 

willem

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I do NOT agree with the people who think EV's are "too quiet" and need to be made to make more noise so pedestrians who don't pay attention (like those with earbuds in) know they are there.
I can see (or would that be hear) your point of view. However, would you agree that electric cars need to make more noise so people with a hearing impairment know they are there?
 

Qapla

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Having hearing difficulties myself - NO, I don't!

Since I have problems hearing, I do not rely on THAT sense to keep me free from traffic problems ... I use my eyes. I know a few deaf people who also use their eyes.

When I go to cross a street, I look both ways, just like I was taught to when I was a kid - I do not just assume that I have the "right of way" and walk into the road oblivious to what is going on - like many do when they are glued to their devices or wearing earbuds.

The people who want EV's to make more noise are not the ones with hearing impairments - it is those who just don't want to pay attention.
 

Exvalley

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Federal regulations require hybrids and electric vehicles travelling at less than 18.6 mph (30 km/h) to emit warning sounds that pedestrians must be able to hear over background noises.
 

railiner

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Federal regulations require hybrids and electric vehicles travelling at less than 18.6 mph (30 km/h) to emit warning sounds that pedestrians must be able to hear over background noises.
My Prius doesn't do that...if I drive slowly in EV mode, and if I turn the ventilation blowers off, at low speeds on a hard smooth surface, my car is 'silent'....
 

Exvalley

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My Prius doesn't do that...if I drive slowly in EV mode, and if I turn the ventilation blowers off, at low speeds on a hard smooth surface, my car is 'silent'....
It’s a fairly new regulation. I believe the final rule came out in 2018. My Bolt has a noisemaker, but it’s not that noticeable. They chose a noise that is kind of a white noise.
 

jiml

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The need to transform from a mild mannered rational human being, into a bullying and aggressive driving menace, and driving the type of vehicle that fulfills that ability, must be an 'inadequacy thing', IMHO...such people need to 'grow up'.
The term for males used to be "V8 _____ extension", but more recently it seems to apply equally to women. I guess "breaking through the glass ceiling" comes with wanting to drive more aggressively.
 

jiml

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For anywhere but areas with ideal climate, the short-term answer to EV's is a hybrid of some sort. Current electric-only vehicles aren't going to perform as expected where there is heavy air-conditioner demand any more than they will in areas of extreme cold in winter. Having an internal combustion "assist" available to extend range is essential in those areas. I have a neighbor with a Volt... it is parked and covered on days when it's bitter cold and the roads are buried in snow. He's fortunate to have a second car.

I am hoping to buy a new vehicle in the next 2 years. I would love a hybrid. Some manufacturers do a clever job of hiding the actual price of them however. A "Titanium" hybrid model may be the same price as the "Titanium" gas-powered model, but may actually include several thousand dollars less options than the latter. If you even can spec them the same be prepared for sticker-shock.
 

me_little_me

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Federal regulations require hybrids and electric vehicles travelling at less than 18.6 mph (30 km/h) to emit warning sounds that pedestrians must be able to hear over background noises.
Now that more and more cars have pedestrian detection systems so the driver doesn't run over them, it would seem that such vehicles be allowed to (or required to) produce sound only when a pedestrian is detected. This would reduce the noise pollution created by internal combustion engines and theoretically eliminated (except for that electric whine) in electric vehicles and dramatically reduced in hybrids.
 

Exvalley

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Current electric-only vehicles aren't going to perform as expected where there is heavy air-conditioner demand any more than they will in areas of extreme cold in winter.
Actually, EVs perform MUCH better in hot climates than in cold climates. Air conditioning does not reduce range nearly as much as heat does. And the battery performs better in hot temperatures than in very cold temperatures.

In hot, humid weather my Chevrolet Bolt loses, at most, about 25 miles of range. On cold winter days it loses about 90 miles of range.
 

RichieRich

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Trading my Yukon XL in on a new Denali XL...need the 6.2 V-8 and like the weight & size. No little toy battery car will do. Now get off my lawn!
 
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