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posted by Fnord666 on Friday July 07, @06:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-have-methane dept.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40518293

France is set to ban the sale of any car that uses petrol or diesel fuel by 2040, in what the ecology minister called a "revolution".

Nicolas Hulot announced the planned ban on fossil fuel vehicles as part of a renewed commitment to the Paris climate deal.

He said France planned to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Hybrid cars make up about 3.5% of the French market, with pure electric vehicles accounting for just 1.2%.

It is not yet clear what will happen to existing fossil fuel vehicles still in use in 2040.


Original Submission

Related Stories

China Planning Gas and Diesel Car Ban 21 comments

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-41218243

China, the world's biggest car market, plans to ban the production and sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans.

The country's vice minister of industry said it had started "relevant research" but that it had not yet decided when the ban would come into force. "Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry's development," Xin Guobin told Xinhua, China's official news agency China made 28 million cars last year, almost a third of the global total.

Both the UK and France have already announced plans to ban new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040, as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.

Chinese-owned carmaker Volvo said in July that all its new car models would have an electric motor from 2019.

Previously: France to Ban Petrol and Diesel Vehicles by 2040
France Plans to End Oil and Gas Production by 2040


Original Submission

Book Review: Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by Dr. John D. Clark 20 comments

For anyone who enjoys Things I Won't Work With, this is similar craziness in a longer form. I laughed outrageously over numerous incidences.

Dr. Clark retired from rocket research in 1970 and his long-suffering wife was an impetus for him publishing an account of his experience and expertise in 1972. The stated purpose of Ignition - An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants was for people to avoid repeating mistakes. Indeed, if the contents were more widely understood, particularly the three references to O-rings and numerous references to temperature, the Challenger disaster could have been avoided. The chapter on energy density should also be read more widely because, in 1970, LiH was used to start rockets rather than make batteries which, predictably, catch fire. Likewise, if the USAF had heeded Dr. Clark's advice against the disclosure of a particular technique, SS-1 "Scud" missiles may have been less effective against US personnel.

The book provides a brief and functional history of rocket chemistry before it expands massively into Dr. Clark's first-hand knowledge. No attempt is made to explain rocket hardware which can be obtained from numerous other sources. Dr. Clark's personal technical contributions conclude the longest chapter and this concludes within the first half of the book. The remainder of the book is a number of advanced topics which progress after the industry checkpointed with the success combination of RFNA and UDMH.

Dr. Clark's remaining experience is mostly in an adminstrative capacity of running a chemistry laboratory or the practicalities of industrial test standardization. His speciality was the two types of explosive test. He generally avoided compounds which exceeded a cellulose card-gap test from 30 to 35. Compounds which exceeded this or other limits often led to hurried telephone calls to other labs. Unfortunately, this was too late for one chemist who was blinded in one eye and lost four fingers in an avoidable incident. Numerous people were killed or hospitalized. Although researchers rapidly shied away from the most dangerous compounds, this often came too late for one or two people:

RFNA attacks skin and flesh with the avidity of a school of piranhas. (One drop of it on my arm gave me a scar which I still bear more than fifteen years later.) And when it is poured, it gives off dense clouds of NO2, which is a remarkably toxic gas. A man gets a good breath of it, and coughs a few minutes, and then insists that he's all right. And the next day, walking about, he's just as likely as not to drop dead.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @06:48PM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @06:48PM (#536212)

    It's fine because by 2040 no one in France will be able to afford a vehicle.

    • (Score: 2) by jcross on Friday July 07, @07:34PM (12 children)

      by jcross (4009) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07, @07:34PM (#536237)

      It's hard for me to believe, if things keep going the way they seem to be, that in 20 years gasoline vehicles will even make sense to sell in rich industrialized countries, or that most people there will be buying personal cars. I guess it's good to have a stopgap in place before the time comes and it's controversial, but my guess is that in 2040 this law will only be relevant for stopping the future equivalent of rolling coal enthusiasts or rich people with gasoline sports cars.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @07:57PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @07:57PM (#536247)

        Personal cars are for rich people with jobs.

        • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Saturday July 08, @05:00AM

          by SanityCheck (5190) on Saturday July 08, @05:00AM (#536429)

          In the (unfortunately near) future having a job will make you rich, everyone else will live on government subsidy, supplemented with "rich uncle" allowance, the one uncle in your family that has a job.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by julian on Friday July 07, @08:20PM (2 children)

        by julian (6003) on Friday July 07, @08:20PM (#536254)

        gasoline sports cars...

        ...will be getting lapped by electric sports cars in 2040.

        Antique petrol cars will just be a nostalgia indulgence.

        --
        I am expecting written apologies from all Trump supporters when the indictments start
        • (Score: 1, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday July 08, @12:51AM (1 child)

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @12:51AM (#536335) Homepage Journal

          Wishful thinking.

          Cars represent the uniquely American independence of the individual. Globalist fifth-columnists don't like that spirit, they like their good citizens to be as dependent on them as possible. And when you're forced to ride the bus to make a living in France, then you're open to being bombed by Muslims or having your head hacked off by some crazy Chinese. The ones in charge want to normalize that, so that eventually the citizenry will accept it as routine and not resist.

          They tell you cars pollute and to conserve resources as they import millions of unwashed hordes who have no concept of conservation, setting their whole kitchens on fire to cook a pack of ramen noodles and flooding a whole building to take showers. They tell you to give up your last shreds of individuality for the "greater good," which means remotely disabling your vehicle or even programming it to kill you if you don't toe the party line. And when they control your vehicle, then your ability to flee is nil unless you commandeer a battle tank or sneak under a fence on foot.

          That is not who Americans are. And to those who ridicule us, Fuck You.

          • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Saturday July 08, @05:07AM

            by SanityCheck (5190) on Saturday July 08, @05:07AM (#536431)

            Amen my friend. But there are many reasons in addition to free spirit why the automobile is the staple of American culture. For one thing in a country this vast, it be hard to live without it. Tiny European countries can get away with not having cars because you can cross those countries by train in mere hours. But American is a huge country and barely inhabited. Only other place with similar density would be Canada and Russia (And the land Down Under). But I digress, as as long as we have the other staple, guns, no one will take the cars from us.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @01:14AM (6 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @01:14AM (#536346) Journal

        It's hard for me to believe, if things keep going the way they seem to be, that in 20 years gasoline vehicles will even make sense to sell in rich industrialized countries, or that most people there will be buying personal cars.

        I don't see that at all. First, gasoline remains by far the highest energy density storage option out there because you neither have to store the oxidizer nor store the reaction products. My bet is that battery storage won't solve that in 20 years because they can't. That means that electric cars will continue to have the performance problems they currently have such as greatly reduced range (and degrading battery storage, another nasty problem that gas-powered vehicles don't have).

        Second, we also ignore that it would be easier to make a more efficient car engine than it would be to make higher density battery storage. For example, turbine engines already can greatly increase fuel efficiency, particularly when used in hybrid vehicles (which I do see as a natural evolution of the gasoline-powered vehicle). There are some issues, such as having trouble currently with variable power output, but everything has that problem.

        Third, gasoline need not come from fossil fuels. For example, anything that would make electricity vastly cheaper, will also make certain sorts of renewable gasoline vastly cheaper.

        Fourth, gasoline and its supposed problems are cheap. Countries that figure out how to remove polluting ICE vehicles from roads and deal with the modest effects of current climate change are going to do better IMHO than countries that force their entire transportation infrastructure into electric vehicles.

        France is welcome to prove me wrong. I just don't think they'll manage to and will instead be a great example to the rest of us as to what not to do.

        • (Score: 2) by jcross on Saturday July 08, @03:10AM (5 children)

          by jcross (4009) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @03:10AM (#536384)

          I agree with what you're saying about energy density and range, but I think the importance of that stat rests on some assumptions that may not apply for much longer. If you want to take a really long trip in a vehicle that you own, you probably want an ICE. But if your goal is to get from A to B in a private cabin as quickly as possible, current battery tech coupled with emerging self-driving tech might be able to do better.

          First of all, there's no need to take time charging if you can switch batteries or even just get into another car at a waypoint. Iirc Tesla has demonstrated doing 2+ battery swaps in the same time it takes to fill a gas tank. That should take care of the range problem unless you're traveling a long way from the electrical grid, which I think would mean nowhere in France. I haven't seen this discussed much, but if the car were computer driven, and especially if all cars on the road were, it could safely drive much faster than any human, while also minimizing g-forces with perfectly tapered deceleration on curves, even anticipating turns the car can't see yet. Extending range by forming a tight peloton on the highway or even linking together into bus-like vehicles. Seamlessly driving onto specialized train cars and taking high-speed rail for longer legs of the journey. Better streamlining because human visibility of the road is no longer needed. I could probably keep going but you get the idea.

          And far from being more expensive in a larger sense, my guess is it would be much cheaper. I don't have the exact figure, but fuel is not the bulk of the expense of a personal car in money or energy terms. I think more money/energy is spent building and maintaining a car than will be used in fuel over its lifetime given average driving habits. We currently have a massive fleet that spends the bulk of its time rusting in garages. Now, at times we may need a lot of cars at the same time, for example when commuting if everyone works 9-5. But imagine something like Uber Pool, but cheaper than you could possibly manage by driving yourself, and you could easily cut the number of cars by 3-6x just by making sharing convenient. Congestion would virtually disappear so everyone would spend less time commuting, and they would all skip the stress of driving and be able to do something relaxing instead. You can even maintain privacy by splitting the car into personal compartments. I can still imagine a few people insisting on a personal gas vehicle in this scenario, but not so many.

          I'm probably missing tons of stuff here, but my point is that even with current technology, the transit landscape could change so radically that figures of merit like energy density or fuel cost aren't nearly as important as they are now. All it takes is a little imagination.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @04:00AM (4 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @04:00AM (#536402) Journal

            I agree with what you're saying about energy density and range, but I think the importance of that stat rests on some assumptions that may not apply for much longer. If you want to take a really long trip in a vehicle that you own, you probably want an ICE. But if your goal is to get from A to B in a private cabin as quickly as possible, current battery tech coupled with emerging self-driving tech might be able to do better.

            First of all, there's no need to take time charging if you can switch batteries or even just get into another car at a waypoint. Iirc Tesla has demonstrated doing 2+ battery swaps in the same time it takes to fill a gas tank. That should take care of the range problem unless you're traveling a long way from the electrical grid, which I think would mean nowhere in France. I haven't seen this discussed much, but if the car were computer driven, and especially if all cars on the road were, it could safely drive much faster than any human, while also minimizing g-forces with perfectly tapered deceleration on curves, even anticipating turns the car can't see yet. Extending range by forming a tight peloton on the highway or even linking together into bus-like vehicles. Seamlessly driving onto specialized train cars and taking high-speed rail for longer legs of the journey. Better streamlining because human visibility of the road is no longer needed. I could probably keep going but you get the idea.

            The thing is the advantages of self-driving and related technologies apply to gas-powered vehicles as much as they do to electric vehicles. Those advantages of gas-powered vehicles such as range and lower mass still apply. There's much less need for switching batteries or waypoints when your vehicle can just do several hundred miles in one trip. And just as you can automate a battery swap to get much faster turnaround speed, you can do the same with gasoline fueling. A lot of these supposed advantages of electric and self-driving vehicles only happen because no one has otherwise bothered to do it with the current gasoline technology due to the relative efficiency of the current processes compared to the current inefficiencies of the proposed new processes requiring a higher degree of automation in order to become competitive.

            • (Score: 2) by jcross on Saturday July 08, @12:28PM (3 children)

              by jcross (4009) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @12:28PM (#536506)

              I still think self-driving tech mitigates the disadvantages of electric cars, and there are some real advantages in other areas. For instance, if I had to manage the maintenance of a fleet of vehicles in near-continuous use with minimal breakdowns and downtime, I think I'd rather it be a fleet of electrics. There are fewer moving parts and components can be made more modular, for example you can put the motors right behind the wheels, so the whole assembly can be swapped out if needed with just a plug connecting it to the chassis. Modern gas engines have become fairly reliable, but whenever anything does go wrong (and it often will on a car driving 20 hours a day), they're a real pain in the ass to maintain. Then you have the emissions, which I'd personally rather not be breathing. Electrics are quieter both inside and outside the cabin. Maybe these are small things, but I think the market will speak for itself when the time comes. Think about it this way: currently the super-rich seem to hire a limo or employ a personal driver because they can afford it. Do they give a shit what's under the hood? Subtract the expensive driver and I imagine most people will want that. Once the bulk of vehicles are owned by the likes of Uber, the market will be tuned to the demands of fleet management, and all the chicken/egg problems of charging or battery-swapping will be much easier to solve.

              Also, this range obsession doesn't make much sense to me in places like France. If I'm taking a long trip there, I can't think of a reason not to take a train, and if cheaply hired cars can drop me off at the station and take me wherever I need to go at the other end, why would I want to go through the expense, hassle, and danger of driving myself all that way? If you're used to how transit works in the USA, then sure, gasoline is king, but only because our passenger rail system has deteriorated to developing-world quality. Scratch that, it's worse: I've ridden on Indian trains and they're pretty decent. And yes, a lot of trains are diesel-electric hybrids for all the range reasons you're talking about. I'm just predicting that personally owning and driving a gas-powered car won't be what the French market wants anyway in 20 years.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @01:35PM (2 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @01:35PM (#536523) Journal
                On the maintenance issue, sure, electric vehicles have advantages in some areas and drawbacks in others. Lower range, battery life issues, and higher weight per axle will impact maintenance and operational complexity in the other direction.

                Also, this range obsession doesn't make much sense to me in places like France. If I'm taking a long trip there, I can't think of a reason not to take a train, and if cheaply hired cars can drop me off at the station and take me wherever I need to go at the other end, why would I want to go through the expense, hassle, and danger of driving myself all that way?

                Why do that hassle when you can just take a cheaply hired, self-driving car for the entire ride, start to finish? No need for waypoints or hopping transportation modes. As to safety, let us keep in mind the most dangerous parts of your outlined trip are the end points which you handled by car anyway. As I noted before, gasoline-powered vehicles also benefit from self-driving automation. It doesn't make sense to compare electric self-driving to gasoline non-self-driving, where most of the alleged virtue of the former comes from the self-driving aspect rather than the electric vehicle aspect.

                My view here is that most mass transit fails hard when it comes to the most common mode of transportation in the world - point to point. Most people want to go to specific places when they take a trip. Self-driving vehicles help fix that, but electric versus gasoline is almost an afterthought in comparison. I can see various subtle nuances that give advantages which might make one choice better than the other in certain circumstances (particularly, pollution control), but I think the supposed advantages of electric are exaggerated. It certainly doesn't make sense to pick winners and losers decades in advance in such a situation.

                • (Score: 2) by jcross on Saturday July 08, @04:10PM (1 child)

                  by jcross (4009) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @04:10PM (#536556)

                  As you say it's a complex set of tradeoffs. I guess we'll see!

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @10:26PM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @10:26PM (#536665) Journal
                    As an aside, you wrote:

                    Maybe these are small things, but I think the market will speak for itself when the time comes.

                    Here, the France government deciding to kill hydrocarbon vehicles in twenty years is not an example of the market speaking. Fortunately, there's more to the market than just France, but it's worth noting that it's kind of empty to talk of the market while governments have put their thumbs on the scale.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ikanreed on Friday July 07, @06:48PM (13 children)

    by ikanreed (3164) on Friday July 07, @06:48PM (#536213)

    They have no problem adding carbon-neutral capacity to their electrical grid, especially with their large nuclear program. And they already have a large surplus that they export to neighboring nations(something like 40 TWh per year).

    So they don't face a production problem. They face a delivery problem for the transit sector. This is the next logical step in becoming a fully stable economy.

    Sometime in the next 1000 years as nuclear fuels start to dry up, they'll have to worry about that problem too, but they're basically trashing countries like the US.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @06:51PM (12 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @06:51PM (#536215)

      At the very worse, the US can just sit back and let France try to innovate; should France succeed, the US can just copy what works and improve upon it in the process.

      Let these hangers-on do the hard work for once!

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Friday July 07, @07:08PM (4 children)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07, @07:08PM (#536221) Journal

        the US can just copy what works and improve upon it in the process.

        If that were true we would've copied their medical system by now. It's vastly superior by every metric.

        • (Score: 3, Touché) by digitalaudiorock on Friday July 07, @07:56PM

          by digitalaudiorock (688) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07, @07:56PM (#536245)

          If that were true we would've copied their medical system by now. It's vastly superior by every metric.

          Indeed. The 'pubs love quoting the famous Winston Churchill statement "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.", yet do everything imaginable to prove that even that was far too generous.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @11:14PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @11:14PM (#536306)

          The reason the Europeans' bad system hasn't been adopted in place of the Americans' worse system, is because there are a lot of Americans who see another system that is even better: A Free Market.

          The fighting between ideologues makes it difficult to adopt any system in particular.

        • (Score: 2) by Sulla on Saturday July 08, @02:09AM

          by Sulla (5173) on Saturday July 08, @02:09AM (#536367) Journal

          I would rather be in debt than in pain or dead.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, @05:12AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, @05:12AM (#536433)

          Their metric system is another thing America isn't ready for.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by ikanreed on Friday July 07, @07:16PM (6 children)

        by ikanreed (3164) on Friday July 07, @07:16PM (#536226)

        Hahaha, you think that US conservatives are going to recognize when an ideological center-point of theirs has failed or backfired?

        That's not how this works. When evidence suggesting we're on the wrong course comes up, you blame the liberals who've instituted zero actually-progressive policies in decades, and drive further into insanity.

        I fully expect that if the world standardizes on electric cars, for a last ditch effort to "save coal jobs" banning them to be the policy du jour.

        • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Friday July 07, @07:34PM (5 children)

          by Unixnut (5779) on Friday July 07, @07:34PM (#536238)

          "I fully expect that if the world standardizes on electric cars, for a last ditch effort to "save coal jobs" banning them to be the policy du jour. "

          Actually, if you want to save coal jobs, just ban anything except electric cars, and then watch as all the coal power plants go up to supply the energy.

          Win win, you keep coal miners employed, the eco-warriors get their "pollution free future" (primarily because they can't see all the emissions, as they are far far away out of the cities), and all those coal futures will rally, making your friends in high places even richer.

          • (Score: 3, Flamebait) by ikanreed on Friday July 07, @07:45PM (1 child)

            by ikanreed (3164) on Friday July 07, @07:45PM (#536243)

            Rule 1 of understanding republicans: all policies, regardless of actual logic, must have an element of "sticking it to the libs". If it feels like a counterpoint to a liberal position, then it will obviously help whatever thing they've been saying libs want to destroy. Results do not matter in this calculus.

            No actual current republican positions do anything positive for coal jobs under critical analysis. The biggest positions relating to fossil fuels as stated seem to benefit Canadian fracking concerns most.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, @04:38AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, @04:38AM (#536419)

              The biggest positions relating to fossil fuels as stated seem to benefit Canadian fracking concerns most.

              That must be who's pumping out the most propaganda on this wedge issue then. The one thing that infuriates me about conservatives is how uncritically they lap up corporate propaganda. People in the "political liberal" tribe seem to be swayed by it now and then, depending on the issue, but not nearly as much as conservatives are.

              (It would truly impress me to meet somebody who isn't swayed by it at all.)

              All the social wedge issues are nothing more than corporate propaganda. They are truly inconsequential other than to act as a lens for the new, improved aristocracy, the corporate class, to focus all attention on, distracting away from the more ineffable things that really matter.

          • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Friday July 07, @08:54PM (2 children)

            by DeathMonkey (1380) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07, @08:54PM (#536259) Journal

            and then watch as all the coal power plants go up to supply the energy.

            No, they'd build natural gas plants for that. A natural gas plant costs about half of what a coal plant costs to build and operate. Why do you hate capitalism?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @09:31PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @09:31PM (#536274)

              If the USA went all electric cars over a short time frame, I think we'd need all the natural gas, coal, wind, solar and every other kind of electric production that we could get. This is a lot of power we are talking about, current USA usage is over 350 million gallons of petroleum...PER DAY.
                    https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=us_energy_transportation#tab2 [eia.gov]

              Anyone care to convert to the number of large electric generators needed to replace all that (given that electric cars tend to be more efficient, due to regen?)

              • (Score: 1) by Acabatag on Saturday July 08, @04:31AM

                by Acabatag (2885) on Saturday July 08, @04:31AM (#536416)

                If America went all electric cars in a short timeframe, we'd need to convert a large area of land mass into scrapyards to store the current fleet of vehicles in. It just could never happen, though it's interesting enough to speculate about.

                There would be a groundswell of electric-conversion projects, though. There have always been people into tinkering around who would thrive in an economy where people needed a new engine for their old car.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @06:48PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @06:48PM (#536214)

    It must be the case that society leads government.

    It doesn't get much more worthless than the proclamations of a bureaucrat who will have long departed office when the Ban Hammer is supposed to drop.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @07:22PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @07:22PM (#536228)

      Spoken like an idiot who has never lived through a war. Society doesn't lead, dumbass.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, @01:51AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, @01:51AM (#536360)

        And, in doing so, they destroy society.

    • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Friday July 07, @07:23PM

      by Unixnut (5779) on Friday July 07, @07:23PM (#536229)

      > It doesn't get much more worthless than the proclamations of a bureaucrat who will have long departed office when the Ban Hammer is supposed to drop.

      Indeed, it is what makes proclemations like this so good,

      1) You look good to the current eco-warriors , which is in tune with the Paris agreement, especially as it was shaken a bit by the USA pulling out
      2) You make it really vague (Ban the sale of liquid fueled cars? All of them? Or just the sale of new cars? What about people buying cars in other EU countries and bringing them in?). Does that count for cars that are carbon neutral burners? (i.e. run a closed carbon fuel cycle, like bio-ethanol, of which France is a pioneer of in Europe already).
      3) You put the date so far out, that the current government will be long gone, they themselves will already be enjoying their fat pension, and and if it doesn't happen, all you can say is "we were misguided, sorry". If it does happen, it would be due to tech improvements rather than a ban.

      Back when the motor car came onto the market, It wasn't like the government had to ban horses to get people to use the motor car, it was so obviously better than the alternatives. It just happened as the benefits and technology improved. Indeed the first cars were basically novelties for rich people. They couldn't carry much, and they were not that fast, especially compared to long established horses. Not unlike modern battery electrics, but time and tech refinements made them the rational choice for people to switch, and switch they did.

  • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Friday July 07, @06:58PM (3 children)

    by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Friday July 07, @06:58PM (#536217)

    I'm not sure you can plan something 20+ years in advance and call it a revolution.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by takyon on Friday July 07, @07:25PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday July 07, @07:25PM (#536231) Journal

      La révolution sera télégraphiée.

      --
      [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @08:44PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, @08:44PM (#536257)

        > The revolution will be telegraphed.

        At first I thought you had a translation of, "The revolution will not be televised."
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGaoXAwl9kw [youtube.com] "The revolution will be live."

        • (Score: 1) by Acabatag on Saturday July 08, @04:33AM

          by Acabatag (2885) on Saturday July 08, @04:33AM (#536417)

          The revolution will be on vinyl: 33-1/3 revolutions per minute.

          And for the impatient, on acetate: 78 revolutions per minute.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by MrGuy on Friday July 07, @07:57PM (19 children)

    by MrGuy (1007) on Friday July 07, @07:57PM (#536246)

    France is set to ban the sale of any car that uses petrol or diesel fuel by 2040

    This effectively kills the growing (and generally eco-positive) movement away from pure petrol cars to hybrids. Because it will ban hybrids too.

    Electric cars are nice, but they (currently) have some significant issues with range. 20 years is a long time to work those out, but there are no guarantees.

    Meanwhile, they've killed any incentive to invest in better hybrid petrol/electric hybrid vehicles, because they've effectively declared them a dead-end tech. Partially electric, by this standard, isn't good enough - only fully electric. Sure, cars being sold today will be almost totally off the road by 2040. But auto manfacturers work on multi-year lead times. So after this announcement, why would anyone continue to pursue hybrid technology? It's fully electric or bust, apparently.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Friday July 07, @08:07PM (17 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07, @08:07PM (#536252)

      Electric cars are nice, but they (currently) have some significant issues with range. 20 years is a long time to work those out, but there are no guarantees.

      The range issues will be completely fixed in 20 years. But if they're not, no problem, the government then doesn't have to maintain this policy as-is that far ahead, they'll just revise it. The politicians today get to look good by pitching themselves as "courageous" and "forward-thinking" by issuing this ban that'll take 2 decades to take effect.

      Meanwhile, they've killed any incentive to invest in better hybrid petrol/electric hybrid vehicles, because they've effectively declared them a dead-end tech.

      No, they haven't. France is a *tiny* part of the overall automotive market, and does not in any way control the direction of technology development. If the US had done this, it'd be a very different matter, and same with China. If the EU as a whole had done this too, but this isn't the EU, it's just France, the country whose car companies don't really export much (and pretty much nothing outside the EU). France is simply not a global player in the automotive market the way Germany, the US, Japan, and Korea are, or even China. You're making way too much out of this.

      • (Score: 2) by nethead on Friday July 07, @09:09PM

        by nethead (4970) Subscriber Badge <joe@nethead.com> on Friday July 07, @09:09PM (#536266) Homepage

        Now if California did this...

        --
        How did my SN UID end up over 3 times my /. UID?
      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday July 07, @10:54PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Friday July 07, @10:54PM (#536300)

        > France, the country whose car companies don't really export much (and pretty much nothing outside the EU).

        May want to check that again
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_manufacturers_by_motor_vehicle_production [wikipedia.org]

        France's two manufacturers rank 10th and 11th (2015). or a combined 6th globally, right in front of ... Nissan, which is controlled by Renault.
        The fact that the French can't sell in the US doesn't mean they aren't in major developing markets, outside of the EU.
        Obviously, a ban would only affect the much lower local sales.

        Now, that whole ban is a pie-in-the-sky thing which could just be realistic enough considering that the EU allows anyone to go buy their car next door if they want a gas one. 23 years is a really long time (who was talking about mainstream electric 23 years ago?), and prohibitively expensive gas and taxes mean that people don't buy more car than they absolutely need (and rent when they need).
        Charging stations in dense historic urban centers is pretty much the biggest problem electrics will still have in 20 years, in places with good public transport network...

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday July 08, @01:06AM (1 child)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @01:06AM (#536344) Homepage Journal

        There is another point to the electric car vs. gas car debate:

        Gas cars, generally speaking, still offer cheap models which offer mechanical control to the driver rather than a bunch of abstracted poorly-tested electronic bullshit coded by Indians and proofread by half-aware Americans.

        This is why I drive base-model stick-shift cars. Cheap, manual, I'm in control. Power goes out, and my brakes magically die, I can still controllably engine-brake and have a bit of help from the E-brake.

        Clutch job: $300-$1000 depending on who you know and where you go.

        Surviving near death on the road only to hit the road again daily: Priceless.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday July 08, @04:56AM

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @04:56AM (#536427)

          rather than a bunch of abstracted poorly-tested electronic bullshit coded by Indians and proofread by half-aware Americans.

          If you're really worried about that, don't buy an American car.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday July 08, @01:26AM (2 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @01:26AM (#536350)

        No, they haven't. France is a *tiny* part of the overall automotive market,

        Renault Groupe [wikipedia.org] - tenth largest car manufacturer in the world by volume, with production facilities in 19 other countries outside France.
        Renault–Nissan Alliance is the fourth-largest automotive group, and controls nine major brands: Nissan, Renault, Infiniti, Renault Samsung Motors, Dacia, Datsun, Venucia, Lada and Mitsubishi. [wikipedia.org]

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday July 08, @04:54AM (1 child)

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @04:54AM (#536426)

          I think it's safe to assume that their foreign subsidiaries/partners aren't going to be subject to this French law.

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday July 08, @05:01AM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @05:01AM (#536430)

            I think is safe to assume that even the plants in France will be allowed to continue producing Diesel cars as long as they are meant for export.

            Besides, I don't think we are going to see a tank or any military vehicle in eV style - unless electricity storage will evolve quite a lot.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @04:12AM (9 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @04:12AM (#536409) Journal

        The range issues will be completely fixed in 20 years.

        I'm betting against that. The key problem is simply that batteries are less efficient chemical storage than gas tanks. Gas tanks don't need to store all of the reactants - air provides the oxidizer - nor do they need to store the resulting reaction products - those go out the exhaust pipe. This causes two related effects from the higher energy density, longer range and lighter vehicles. I think it'll be easier to come up with a more efficient combustion engine (such as a turbine electrically coupled to electric motors at the wheels, hybrid-style) than to come up with a safe enough battery technology with higher energy density than gasoline.

        Now, if they can come up with a viable battery technology based on nuclear physics (say some sort of tritium-based battery with a far higher energy density than any chemical or mechanical storage system can achieve), then the game changes and electric vehicles would indeed be far more viable. I just don't see that happening in the 20 year time frame.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Grishnakh on Saturday July 08, @04:53AM (8 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @04:53AM (#536425)

          Batteries don't need to store as much energy as gasoline. With combustion, you waste most of the energy in the form of heat, and immediately are stuck with, at the very best, about 45% efficiency, which is practically unachievable in a car, where it's really more like 35% best-case. Batteries have efficiencies in the 80-90% range, and electric motors are in the high 90s. Turbines aren't more efficient, they're actually horribly inefficient internal combustion engines. They only use them in aircraft because the power-to-weight ratio is so much more important there, and because they can scale them way up. There's a reason that small airplanes and even helicopters still use piston engines.

          Teslas are already achieving about 250 miles of range or better per charge. That's not that much less than a gas-powered car; my compact gets about 400 miles if I only drive on the highway, and in the 300s otherwise. So batteries only need to get maybe 30% better to be comparable to gas cars, or people can just revise their range expectations. The problem with EVs now isn't range, it's battery cost, and recharge time/difficulty. Battery cost is keeping the 200+ mile range only accessible to higher-income customers, and recharge issues make the cars problematic for anyone wanting to drive more in one day than their battery capacity allows. Fix those two problems and gasoline will be obsolete.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @06:14AM (4 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @06:14AM (#536444) Journal

            With combustion, you waste most of the energy in the form of heat, and immediately are stuck with, at the very best, about 45% efficiency

            True, yet not true. You can do better than 45%, but it requires a different sort of engine than the piston/rotary engine.

            Batteries have efficiencies in the 80-90% range

            No they don't because you need to charge them as well. Fast charging in particular has high losses. And the electricity power source isn't going to be 100% efficient either though that usually gets ignored since what matters is the cost of the power at the point that it enters the vehicle.

            Turbines aren't more efficient, they're actually horribly inefficient internal combustion engines.

            But they can be used in combination with other engines to generate much higher efficiency than 45%. For example, from Wikipedia:

            An open circuit gas turbine cycle has a compressor, a combustor and a turbine. For gas turbines the amount of metal that must withstand the high temperatures and pressures is small, and lower quantities of expensive materials can be used. In this type of cycle, the input temperature to the turbine (the firing temperature), is relatively high (900 to 1,400 °C). The output temperature of the flue gas is also high (450 to 650 °C). This is therefore high enough to provide heat for a second cycle which uses steam as the working fluid (a Rankine cycle).

            In a combined cycle power plant, the heat of the gas turbine's exhaust is used to generate steam by passing it through a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) with a live steam temperature between 420 and 580 °C. The condenser of the Rankine cycle is usually cooled by water from a lake, river, sea or cooling towers. This temperature can be as low as 15 °C.

            That yields a theoretic maximum (for 1400 C heat source dumping to 15 C heat sink) of over 80% (I understand that the real world thermodynamic efficiency of these combined engines is around 60-70%). Even if you end up with the weaker situation of 1400 C dumping to 80 C (for a car, that would be much more typical), that would be 1673 K dumping to 353 K which would cap out at a theoretical maximum of around 79%. My point here is that you can get far higher temperature differentials between hot and cold sinks by using a turbine engine combined with something else than an cylinder or rotary-based internal combustion engine by itself. And we see that in play in actual natural gas generation today. Obviously, using such an engine in a car is going to be harder and more complex than current automotive engines of any sort, but that, combined with the lighter mass of the overall system, including energy storage, makes the engine competitive with the most efficient of electric engines and storage systems.

            I think in addition that the actual hot sink temperature can be made hotter than 1400 C though it is probably not practical for the foreseeable future. For example, rocket engines can run with temperatures as high as 3500 K (~3200 C) with kerosene or hydrogen. At that point, you could get thermal efficiencies of almost 90% even if you were to dump the heat at the boiling point of water (for an air-cooled engine you should be able to do better than that). But that would likely have to include a device for greatly concentrating and pressurizing oxygen before running the oxidizer through the engine and possibly a three-stage combined engine with extreme material demands (say liquid-cooled rocket -> turbine -> Rankine cycle, for example) which overall would result in a very complicated engine.

            The point here is that we aren't tapping the full efficiency of gasoline-powered (and similar hydrocarbon-fueled) engines. So it doesn't make sense to discontinue a good idea and reduce the performance of our vehicles merely because some part of society has a hard on for electric vehicles and hopes that the technological difficulties of the electric vehicle can be figured out in the next two decades.

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday July 08, @07:09PM (3 children)

              by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @07:09PM (#536609)

              You can't do combined cycle power plants in a car. There isn't enough room in there, and the power-to-weight ratio is still important unlike a ground power plant. Also, notice your bit about cooling from water from a lake or river: you can't do that in a car for obvious reasons. So this comparison is totally invalid. There's no convenient working fluid around a car for it to dump heat into: you can't count on air to be moving (it only does that when you're at speed), and that air is liable to be 120F or hotter. It's very simple: if this crazy plan made any sense, someone would have tried it already.

              You can't run car engines as hot as rocket engines. Rocket engines use advanced materials like beryllium to do that stuff, and rocket engines cost an absolute fortune, plus they're not all that reliable compared to car engines. You can't make a car engine that can handle such temperatures at an economical price. Batteries and electric motors don't have these problems.

              We *are* tapping the full efficiency of gasoline-powered engines. There just isn't much potential left in them. The best you're going to get is the newest ideas of running gas engines like diesel engines, using compression ignition, but that's very problematic too because fuel quality varies a lot, which again is something that's not such a problem with large-scale power plants.

              because some part of society has a hard on for electric vehicles

              This bit is just plain stupid. Hydrocarbon vehicles create enormous amounts of pollution, and worse, they do it in populated areas where people have to breathe it. These engines are frequently not well maintained, and emit more pollution as they age. They're also causing global warming, whether you choose to believe it or not, which is going to have drastic effects on society. Moving to a more efficient solution isn't just some people "having a hard on", it's the only rational move, unless you're some kind of religious idiot.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @10:11PM (2 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @10:11PM (#536661) Journal
                I strongly disagree on your claim. It just hasn't been worth our while yet to build a more efficient hydrocarbon-based engine. In part, because it's not easy and in part because the economics of fossil fuels just haven't justified an engine that efficient.

                Hydrocarbon vehicles create enormous amounts of pollution, and worse, they do it in populated areas where people have to breathe it.

                True, yet not true. Hydrocarbon vehicles create enormous amounts of pollution, but they don't need to. A regulatory policy which eliminates the worst polluters would substantially drop the pollution from vehicles in the developed world.

                They're also causing global warming, whether you choose to believe it or not, which is going to have drastic effects on society.

                Unless, of course, it doesn't have drastic effects on society. It is worth noting here that advocates for global warming mitigation have had an extraordinary difficult time to actually find negative effects of global warming that significantly affect society and occur on a time frame where we can verify the affects in our lifetimes.

                • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday July 10, @03:15PM (1 child)

                  by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 10, @03:15PM (#537134)

                  I strongly disagree on your claim. It just hasn't been worth our while yet to build a more efficient hydrocarbon-based engine. In part, because it's not easy and in part because the economics of fossil fuels just haven't justified an engine that efficient.

                  Well, apparently, is HAS been worth our while to build both EVs and hybrids (both serial and parallel), because we have a shit-ton of them out there now.

                  True, yet not true. Hydrocarbon vehicles create enormous amounts of pollution, but they don't need to. A regulatory policy which eliminates the worst polluters would substantially drop the pollution from vehicles in the developed world.

                  Prove it. Let me see your zero-pollution hydrocarbon engine that costs on the order of a current EV drivetrain. Put up or shut up. I'm really sick of your idiotic claims that have no basis in reality.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday July 11, @12:03AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 11, @12:03AM (#537383) Journal

                    Well, apparently, is HAS been worth our while to build both EVs and hybrids (both serial and parallel), because we have a shit-ton of them out there now.

                    But not because of economics. Status signalling is a common human activity and EVs and hybrids play to that desire.

                    Prove it. Let me see your zero-pollution hydrocarbon engine that costs on the order of a current EV drivetrain. Put up or shut up. I'm really sick of your idiotic claims that have no basis in reality.

                    I'd say that most modern cars achieve that well enough, such as the already mentioned Nissan Tiida/Versa. Further, if we use renewable fuels such as biofuels, then we don't even have a global warming contribution.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @06:23AM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @06:23AM (#536449) Journal

            Teslas are already achieving about 250 miles of range or better per charge. That's not that much less than a gas-powered car; my compact gets about 400 miles if I only drive on the highway, and in the 300s otherwise.

            Let us note that if we were to devote a similar portion of the mass of the compact car to gasoline storage as is used for electricity storage on a Tesla, we would have a range of several thousand miles (an 85 kWh battery with the 250 mile range weighs over 500 kg - that's a lot of gasoline).

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday July 08, @07:01PM (1 child)

              by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @07:01PM (#536608)

              That's a bad comparison. The gasoline engine in a gas car also has a huge mass on that same order, and EVs don't have such things, only electric motors which are much smaller and lighter. A Tesla isn't significantly heavier than a similar luxury car in that class.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 08, @10:21PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @10:21PM (#536664) Journal

                The gasoline engine in a gas car also has a huge mass on that same order, and EVs don't have such things, only electric motors which are much smaller and lighter.

                Try comparing vehicles of the same frame and design. For example, the Nissan Leaf [wikipedia.org] is based on the gasoline-powered Nissan Tiida/Versa [wikipedia.org]. The curb weight of the former is 1500 kg while the weight of the latter is 1100 kg. That's almost a 40% increase in weight of the electric vehicle despite Nissan going to great lengths to reduce the weight of the vehicle. You will find that the mass of the electric storage system is heavier than the mass of the added components of a gasoline-powered vehicle.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Unixnut on Friday July 07, @08:14PM

      by Unixnut (5779) on Friday July 07, @08:14PM (#536253)

      Its only France, ignoring the fact that the French pretty much make it a national sport to ignore as many laws as possible, France alone is not that big in comparison to the whole world. Even if France banned all petrol/diesel cars by 2040, there is still the rest of the world to sell such cars to.

      I doubt manufacturers would halt all hybrid R&D because one country out of ~200 in the world decided to ban them.

      if the entire EU banned them, then manufacturers would have to notice, but even that is a pretty stagnant market. The big car growth is in Russia and China right now, and they don't seem in a rush to move away from fossil fuels (as the Paris agreements actually allows them to pump out as much CO2 as they want, while they develop to western European standards). I think they is plenty of market left for petrol/diesel engined cars, hybrids or not, for a while.

  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by jmorris on Friday July 07, @09:42PM (1 child)

    by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Friday July 07, @09:42PM (#536277)

    France is home to a dying people, we should let them pass.

    We will then see what policy the new inhabitants adopt.

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday July 08, @12:57AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08, @12:57AM (#536337) Homepage Journal

      It'll be like The Flintstones, except with more beheadings and bombings. There's no point in discussing the future of cars when their future of cars are a couple logs couple to feet-driven stone wheels.

      " WillllllmaaaAAAAAA! "

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