Archive for the ‘Electric’ Category

State of the Electric World

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

Every so often I’ll post a quick review of current green (sic) technolgies. These items are sourced from a variety of places, including some of the better youtubers, along with more standard web e-stuff sites. So here it goes, in no particular order.

  • Audi and BMW and Mercedes, paid for the dismantling of the Tesla Model 3 recently, and concluded, much to their chagrine, that Tesla is way ahead TODAY of what they had developed to compete, particularly Audi/VW, to the tune of something like 4000 dollars more expense to produce the primary powertrain system than what Tesla is spending, a powertrain that is basically also inferior in most ways to what Tesla is producing now, today. This caused some dismay, but what do these morons expect? they outsourced their early e-stuff development, thus losing the ability to generate inhouse expertise, and as with GM, often had the power train supplied by people like, oh, Tesla (Mercedes City Car), or Rimac, whatever. Who piled up said expertise, and pulled away further and faster.
  • Some of the big Germans also, grudgingly, admitted they are making a big mistake by not controlling their own battery sourcing, dugh, I mean, I said a while back, ad nauseum, the battery is the primary component, like an engine in a fossil car, if you outsource that, your company is little more than a kit car assembler, if you are honest.
  • Rumors swirled last few weeks, we recall that GM was ‘thinking about’ making a lot of EVs. Not actually making them, note, particularly remembering that the Bolt, their single EV, runs a full LG power train/battery pack, ergo, GM knows nothing about EVs, like, literally nothing. So what was this thinking about referring to? Well it came out, GM was thinking about investing in Rivian. Apparently, that thinking was too tiring, and it came out this week that Amazon is the one that ended up dropping a cool 700 million into Rivian. Smart investment. With this said, it has struck me, you recall that GM went bankrupt in the 2008 crash, and the US gov ‘saved’ them. This probably should not have been done, sad to say, for what do we see now? we see a massive resurgence in the USA vehicle industry, but none, not one, of those companies are in any way connected to the big 3 fossil USA car companies, none of whom can make anything remotely resembling a good vehicle, particularly not a car anyone outside of the Americas wants to buy (except, of course, Tesla, who cannot meet global demand, and who employs some 45,000 American workers, while GM closes plants and lays off workers).
  • Rumors were also swirling about Ford partnering with VW on the VW sled, that is, VW produces the sled part, and Ford sells the assembled cars. Note the aggressive refusal to actually make their own e vehicle? Anyway, it turned out, this won’t work, because Ford has no interest in selling lower cost EVs, though they are testing an e-F150, but given Rivian’s lead, pardon me while I stifle a yawn.
  • Ok, ok, I lied, GM is in fact producing, or at least, putting their name on what is probably a Chinese produced, vehicle, fully e powered. Very reasonable pricing, about 3-4 thousand dollars. I see you react with surprise, what? 3 or 4 k? yep. Ok, it’s a bicycle, an e-bike. Yawn. I doubt they even make the motor and battery.
  • Real solid state batteries are here, as I noted, look for the weak spots, in the unspoken parts, and I have read enough solid state battery stuff, including a few now in real production, to find the fine print, which in some cases, had to be grudgingly put into the very fine print, it’s charge cycles. So, what happened, there is a new UK solar powered drone, weather satellite sort of, except flying in atmosphere, can stay up about 90 days. Why, do you ask, is it limited to 90 days? certainly running highest kwh/kg packs, since weight is a premium, and though they did not say this specifically, it is because they are using solid state batteries, that have only a 100 charge cycle life time, 100 days, that is. Also note, that means, you replace the battery pack cells every 90 days. Obviously a no go for phone or car, and this is why you still are not seeing this tech in phones or cars, which require a 1000 minimum charge cycle life for phones, and many thousand for cars.