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Thomas:
approximately two days after the invention of the gasoline-equivalent battery, all manufacturers of combustion engines will be bankrupt, and oil demand will freefall to the level comsumed by industry for plastics and such.

Yeah, because the battery / electric car manufacturing capacity will be built overnight worldwide, as well as the electricity distribution infrastructure for charging these batteries . And all the world's car owners will buy a brand new electric car within a week, too...

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 07:31:22 AM EST
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Recently in Sweden, there was i article in Ny Teknik - which is a weakly engineering newspaper - about enthusiasts who had bought used Citroën electric cars. Apparently you can buy the car, but the battery is on lease, and as in some cases the previous owners had violated the terms of the lease agreement by not servicing their cars regularly, the batteries were demanded back.

Somehow, I do not think this is the only problem there will be in a transition to electric cars.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 08:16:23 AM EST
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And these delays will preserve the solvency of the combustion engine manufacturers, how, exactly?
Once an industry has obviously joined the ranks of the buggy whip manufacturers, capital crowds the exits and the remaining players end up running down under court administration to discharge as much as possible of their debts. Of course, a lot of these firms are subsidiaries of automakers that will be enjoying the sales boom of the century as people replace their gas gusslers with electron ditto*, so the wind down should be somewhat more graceful than usual.

*and then sales will completely crash and burn 5 years later when the world catches on that electric engines last more or less forever

by Thomas on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 12:08:17 PM EST
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However, the key to the future of the car as anything other than a privilege of the rich (much like horse-drawn carriages were), has to be a drastic shedding of weight.

As Jake points out, lugging around a ton of scrap metal everywhere you go is completely nuts, we can not afford the energy for that. Get it down to 300kg for a small family car, and we're perhaps back in business.

Over recent decades, cars have only got bigger and heavier. Safety regulations are a major factor, and need to be rethunk. I suspect that the major car manufacturers may be unable to make the transition, and will crash and burn, to be replaced by new players.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 04:28:59 PM EST
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eh, this is actually not nessesarily true - Ligher cars would very strongly reduce the minium quality of batteries needed to give good preformance, but the supply of electricity is not a limit on how big cars we could use under an all-electric paradigm, because the total size of our electricity infrastructure will be at a minimum big enough to service average daytime comsumption, and there are no current zero-carbon solutions to that problem that do not end up also producing quite ridiculusly large surpluses of electricity at night. If your grid is all-nuclear, the marginal cost of running the reactors at full throttle at night as well as during the day is near zero, and a wind, wave, geothermal grid would by nessesity be overbuilt to a degree that would invariably result in very large amounts of spare electricity at night. which means that if you have a battery that can keep a 3 tonne limo going from dawn till dusk, everyone could drive one with a clean concience as far as fuel consumption goes (less so as far as embodied energy goes.. but then again, if the electricity supply is clean, aluminum bodywork suddenly has fuck-all enviormental footprint.)
by Thomas on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 05:58:11 PM EST
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Wake me up when we're there, Thomas.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 06:40:33 PM EST
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doesnt have to be free, just cheaper than gas. and gas costs a tonne.
by Thomas on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 06:56:30 PM EST
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Maybe you could waste all that lovely electricity by lugging around scrap metal encasing self-loading bulk freight. But you'll want to use that night time energy to synthesise phosphates, thus displacing non-renewable sources of phosphates that are currently being depleted at a rate that would have them gone completely within the forecastable future.

Personalised transportation is optional. Synthetic fertiliser is not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 06:57:45 PM EST
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Thomas:
if the electricity supply is clean, aluminum bodywork suddenly has fuck-all enviormental footprint.)

wasn't that red toxic mud catastrophe in hungary the other day the waste from alumimium production?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 07:09:13 PM EST
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Thomas:
everyone could drive one with a clean conscience

It would still be a stupid waste of energy, raw materials and work compared to mass transportation. And there would be even more traffic jams in big cities, wasting time and space and creating stress.

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 08:26:04 PM EST
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