Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My interest in electric cars -- a big rant

My interest in DIY conversion began back when I saw videos on YouTube about HHO gas and cars "running on water". I'm not really sure what to think about all that, but I learned about other alternatives like bio-diesel, hydrogen/electric, methane, ethanol, batteries, etc.
I found out about the Automotive X-Prize competition and determined to follow it closely to see if any of the participants would release products to the public that I could buy and afford.

It wasn't too terribly long until I learned about the EV1, years after its demise. It's amazing that I lived in California in 2003 and didn't know anything about it, or CARB, the lawsuits or the Bush Administration's hand in the whole mess. Anyway, this is NOT a political or environmentalist-ish blog. I finally managed to see "Who Killed the Electric Car", I strongly recommend it.

So, why batteries? Why not the oh-so-popular hydrogen or bio-diesel or ethanol?
My primary reasons were simply that it's tried and true, the technology is already on the road and it's getting better as time goes on (Lithium Ion, Integrated-Cell, EEStor capacitor, Firefly, new longer-lasting, lighter Lead-Acid batteries...) and cheaper as more companies gear up for mass production, giving more competition on the market.

It's true that the BEV I'll be converting is not for everyone - but then I have the luxury of already owning another car I can use for long road trips and once the prices have come down I can switch to lithium or something with better range and less weight.

Although the benefits for the environment are nice, the bottom line is that at current gas prices I'll save over $1000/year on gasoline, not to mention maintenance as very little is required for an electric motor. I'm told gasoline will plummet again as OPEC or "big-oil" or whoever will realize that alternatives are becoming available and affordable and try to keep their customers - but it would have to be well below $1/gallon before I'd stop saving a significant amount of money.

I'm also tired of big promises undelivered, political games and the like and the project itself will be fun to undertake, so I've decided to do something myself.

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