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posted by martyb on Friday November 09 2018, @05:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the elektrowagen dept.

Reuters:

Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) intends to sell electric cars for less than 20,000 euros ($22,836) and protect German jobs by converting three factories to make Tesla (TSLA.O) rivals, a source familiar with the plans said.

VW and other carmakers are struggling to adapt quickly enough to stringent rules introduced after the carmaker was found to have cheated diesel emissions tests, with its chief executive Herbert Diess warning last month that Germany's auto industry faces extinction.

Plans for VW's electric car, known as "MEB entry" and with a production volume of 200,000 vehicles, are due to be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on Nov. 16, the source said.

Fallout from cheating on diesel emissions tests continues. If German automakers, of which VW is the largest, switch to electric vehicles (EVs), will other car companies have to follow suit?


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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @05:21PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @05:21PM (#759939)

    I wonder how they will try to cheat consumers like they did with their diesel vehicles. Diesel-gate wasn't an accident, it was a business model.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Friday November 09 2018, @05:34PM (7 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 09 2018, @05:34PM (#759949) Homepage Journal

      Yes, it could be described as a business model. But, looking at the bigger picture? The EPA and others set requirements that were nearly impossible to meet. Maybe not impossible, but nearly so. It wasn't just VW, but most of the diesel car makers who were cheating. Maybe all of them. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/business/diesel-emissions-volkswagen-bmw-mercedes.html [nytimes.com]

      --
      Make an actual interesting, germane, and relevant point and you may get away with Flamebait - 'Zumi
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mcgrew on Friday November 09 2018, @05:40PM (4 children)

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday November 09 2018, @05:40PM (#759959) Homepage Journal

        I would be happy if all diesel vehicles disappeared tomorrow. Nasty damned things. I live on a very busy street and as soon as I walk outside, the first thing I usually smell is diesel exhaust. It's especially bad when the school buses are running. Actually, I'd lie to see all vehicles be electric, poorly tuned gas engines smell almost as bad as diesel. Then there are the vehicles with bad rings and/or valves that burn oil.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @06:43PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @06:43PM (#759988)

          Taking donations to buy mcgrew a bumper sticker - https://www.zazzle.com/diesel_smoke_makes_me_horny_bumper_sticker-128898009265399595 [zazzle.com] If every member donates a dollar, we can buy him one for every bumper he owns!

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by tizan on Friday November 09 2018, @08:58PM (1 child)

          by tizan (3245) on Friday November 09 2018, @08:58PM (#760073)

          VW damaged new diesel engines reputation.

          In fact new diesel cars made after 2016 for the US market are cleaner particulate wise than most GDI gas engine cars !

          e.g
          https://phys.org/news/2017-07-diesel-gas.html [phys.org]

          So ban gasoline engines first if diesels have to go !

          Most vehicles with DEF meets EPA requirements easily...and in fact the requirements is going to ships in 2020...it is not hard to meet ! It is an argument for car makers to make more money quickly.

          VW was claiming that they could have low NOx emission without DEF fluid...you can but at much lower HP power and worst gas consumption (as proven by their cheats).

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @08:58PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @08:58PM (#760490)

            >> In fact new diesel cars made after 2016 for the US market are cleaner particulate wise than most GDI gas engine cars !

            The GDI [wikia.com] vehicles are still cleaner than anything from NOD [wikia.com].

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @06:22AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @06:22AM (#760265)

          I would be happy if all diesel vehicles disappeared tomorrow. ... I live on a very busy street

          Whereas I live in a very rural area, and have no problems with internal combustion engines or their exhaust, whatever the fuel source.

          I think that's at the core of most non-city-dwellers resistance to EPA-style regulation. It's not that we like 'harming the environment', but when you take multiple-million human beings, give them each an automobile, then cram them in the space of something like Greater LA, you're going to have a much, much bigger problem than those same millions with the same automobiles, spread out over something the size of, say, north and south dakota. Emission-control systems come with inherent trade-offs that cause legitimate problems for a lot of use-cases, and having them designed for the LA valley and then rammed down our throats by Law when we're out in the middle of nowhere, is really rather frustrating.

          tldr: context matters.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Friday November 09 2018, @06:39PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday November 09 2018, @06:39PM (#759985) Journal

        The EPA and others set requirements that were nearly impossible to meet. Maybe not impossible, but nearly so.

        Except that in cheat-mode they did pass these impossible tests. At the expense of mileage and power, of course, but they did meet them.

        So, no, not impossible at all. In fact, they're so easy to pass they can do so at the flip of a switch.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @09:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @09:54PM (#760093)

        Whaaaaa! The test was too hard so I cheated. That's okay, right? Whaaaaa! Look over there, they are cheating so I can too, right? Whaaaaa!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @12:25AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @12:25AM (#760164)

      I am not kidding. A VW group racing electric prototype emits CO2. Around 200 Kg in a racing day for Cupra e-Racer, based in SEAT Leon.

      No. Really, electric car spitting CO2. They use dry ice for cooling. I read the article and LOLed. VW gotta be VW. If the race is 400 Km, that means 500 g per km (current street cars are ~100 g).

      https://www.elmundo.es/motor/2018/10/28/5bd33d0046163f36548b45ad.html [elmundo.es]
      https://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/a23475826/seat-cupra-rimac-electric-touring-car/ [roadandtrack.com]
      https://www.carscoops.com/2018/09/cupras-high-tech-e-racer-can-burn-440-pounds-dry-ice-day/ [carscoops.com]

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Knowledge Troll on Friday November 09 2018, @05:30PM (3 children)

    by Knowledge Troll (5948) on Friday November 09 2018, @05:30PM (#759947) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand why Elon is getting so weird with Tesla because the point when VW and earlier Mercedes as well as other manufacturers like Jaguar I believe started offering pure electric vehicles or plans to do so with release dates Tesla won.

    Everyone seems to have forgotten or never paid attention to the original stated goal for Tesla from Elon: scare the shit out of the established automotive industry so they have to admit electric cars are better and get them producing it. It does not mater if Tesla as a company dies because if the industry turns it has won.

    Good news Elon: mission accomplished! You did it! You can stop freaking out and being all weird about Tesla production numbers. Don't have to make your employees crunch on the factory floor like they work for a game company with a release date they missed (I bet those machines were manufactured really well). Now you can calm down, relax, and live with the realization that you did something significant for humans.

    That's not going too happen though. Tesla morphed into something else.

    • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Friday November 09 2018, @05:35PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Friday November 09 2018, @05:35PM (#759952) Journal

      It's probably the huge financial losses that are making him act weird. This quarter's posted profits were some serious accounting trickery that can't be repeated, so unless Tesla Motors gets good at making cars faster and cheaper soon, the $$$ side of things looks real real bad. If I were him, cutting my losses by selling the car designs and branding to a company that can run a cost-effective factory would be the out I'd take.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by istartedi on Friday November 09 2018, @07:17PM (1 child)

      by istartedi (123) on Friday November 09 2018, @07:17PM (#760022) Journal

      He has to prove that electric cars are better *and* that you can make money with them. If Tesla went belly-up, the other companies would point to that as justification for shutting down their electric lines.

      • (Score: 2) by Knowledge Troll on Saturday November 10 2018, @04:59PM

        by Knowledge Troll (5948) on Saturday November 10 2018, @04:59PM (#760387) Homepage Journal

        If the existing manufacturers already know how to make money building cars one way then why does Elon go beyond ignoring their collective wisdom from the last 100 years to the point where he tells them they flat out do not know what they are doing and are wrong and stupid. Then he sucks at running a factory and learns the hard way slowly that the incumbents are right. They do know how to make a really heavy complicated machine after doing it for 100 years.

        He learns the lesson from that specific point then continues to say they are stupid. Eventually maybe he'll get it and actually run a modern factory with known best practices. Is that how you prove to them electric cars are profitable? By running a factory like a software engineer right out of college?

  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday November 09 2018, @05:36PM (5 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday November 09 2018, @05:36PM (#759953) Homepage Journal

    I guess I'll get a VW, then. I had a Rabbit back in the '90s.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @05:50PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @05:50PM (#759962)

      Um ... an electric rabbit isn't a car, so you may want to do some research before getting one ;-)

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Immerman on Friday November 09 2018, @06:10PM (3 children)

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday November 09 2018, @06:10PM (#759973)

        So, either an automated corkscrew or a vibrator... Hmm.

        Include both in the car, make it self-driving, and I think you've got a winner!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @07:42PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @07:42PM (#760035)

          If you have the first two why would you need to leave the house?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @09:30PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @09:30PM (#760082)

            To get a vagina installed.

          • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday November 09 2018, @11:20PM

            by Immerman (3985) on Friday November 09 2018, @11:20PM (#760133)

            You've got to pay for all the wine and batteries somehow...

  • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Friday November 09 2018, @06:21PM (8 children)

    by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 09 2018, @06:21PM (#759977) Homepage Journal

    I would argue that the Chevy Bolt already hit the mass market segment with good range and a decent price. However, the Bolt has undersold while the Tesla Model 3 is selling as fast as they are made. Purchasers really like Teslas.

    Now this is not a completely fair comparison: the Bolt is much more MPV compared to the sedan Model 3, and the interior is much cheaper feeling in the Bolt. Further, the VW is priced in the low 20s compared to the Bolt and Model 3 priced around 30k.

    Still, more main-stream options for electric vehicles is great. I hope to see these electric VWs on the road soon.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @06:51PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @06:51PM (#759995)

      >...and Model 3 priced around 30k.
      ...and Model 3 priced around USD $50k.

      ftfy. The chance of seeing a $30K Model 3 in the next couple of years approaches zero.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @07:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @07:46PM (#760038)

        The chance of seeing a $30K Model 3 in the next couple of years approaches zero.

        Really? I thought I just read about one in that price range on SN.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Friday November 09 2018, @08:03PM (5 children)

      by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 09 2018, @08:03PM (#760052) Journal

      Chevy has a quality reputation to overcome. I like EVs, have one, but I have trouble getting myself to seriously consider anything Chevy.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @10:28PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @10:28PM (#760111)

        Plus dealerships HATE electric cars. They make most of their money on their maintenance garage. Electric vehicles are terrible for those. They require almost no maintenance and what they do require (short of a blown motor or battery) can be done by any Joe Blow, let alone a certified mechanic. The schedule is literally air filter every 25k, coolant system every 150k, and, as necessary, rotate tires, change light bulbs, fluids, wiper blades, and brakes.

        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Saturday November 10 2018, @02:42AM (3 children)

          by hemocyanin (186) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 10 2018, @02:42AM (#760208) Journal

          And as far as "fluids" goes, that means "windshield wiper fluid".

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @02:50PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @02:50PM (#760348)

            No brake fluid? Are they all using electronic brakes?

            • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Saturday November 10 2018, @09:07PM (1 child)

              by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Saturday November 10 2018, @09:07PM (#760491)

              > No brake fluid? Are they all using electronic brakes?

              By and large, Yes. Regenerative braking converts the cars kinetic energy into potential energy stored in the battery. This dramatically increases the lifespan of brakes. Regarding brake fluid specifically it usually lasts the service life of a modern vehicle.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11 2018, @04:32AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11 2018, @04:32AM (#760566)

                Regarding brake fluid specifically it usually lasts the service life of a modern vehicle.

                Not sure where you live, but here (NE USA, salted roads in winter), it's a good idea to change brake fluid every few years. It's hydroscopic (absorbs water) and the times I haven't changed it, calipers have been internally corroded to the point of replacement, one time took 4 years, the other (more recent car) about 8 years (it was stored for the last 3 years, calipers ruined while in storage). Have not lost any calipers on cars with preventative fluid changes, this includes a Corolla I kept for 20 years (other parts of the Corolla did rust out).

                Oddly, I haven't seen brake fluid replacement in the manufacturer's recommended service, but some dealers have figured it out and recommend it.

  • (Score: 2) by legont on Friday November 09 2018, @06:22PM (31 children)

    by legont (4179) on Friday November 09 2018, @06:22PM (#759978)

    will other car companies have to follow suit?

    I can't imagine switching to electric. I am way more likely to switch to Uber and/or sharing. If this is the future, keep in mind that NYC - the most cosmopolitan and blah blah - was perfectly all right with 2 almost identical taxi car models for decades. That's the future.

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Sulla on Friday November 09 2018, @06:33PM (16 children)

      by Sulla (5173) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 09 2018, @06:33PM (#759982) Journal

      I can't imagine ever taking a cab or a uber when I am not traveling to a location where its impractical to rent. Driving is one of the most enjoyable things in life to me. Getting out for a couple of hours and enjoying the scenery. Maybe this is a west coast thing, but it seems to me people are always driving a couple of hours to the coast just to get out of town for a while. I don't see a use for uber/taxi/self driving vehicles but I see some huge upsides to long-distance electric.

      I imagine the car culture in the US is dying off significantly, but for me at least it would be a huge loss in my ability to enjoy life.

      --
      Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
      • (Score: 2) by legont on Friday November 09 2018, @06:58PM (15 children)

        by legont (4179) on Friday November 09 2018, @06:58PM (#760005)

        Until portable fission is invented, electrical car is way more attached to infrastructure. That's why I can't imagine ever wanting one. Car is about freedom and no way I am giving in part of it.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
        • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday November 09 2018, @07:59PM

          by Sulla (5173) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 09 2018, @07:59PM (#760049) Journal

          In general my opinion is "yeah but what if I want to drive the Alcan again?" which I have done like six times in the past decade. Fixing the range issue would make me more interested or even giving me a hybrid truck would definitely get me more interested. I'm willing to negotiate here if they can give me what I currently have (equivalent of a '16 F150) without a loss of the features that I desire (6-700 mile tank range, 2k payload, 12k towing).

          --
          Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
        • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Friday November 09 2018, @08:09PM (1 child)

          by fyngyrz (6567) on Friday November 09 2018, @08:09PM (#760055) Journal

          Until portable fission is invented, electrical car is way more attached to infrastructure.

          I assume you're referring to range; certainly an ICE is well attached to the need for a great deal of petro-infrastructure. EV range is steadily, if slowly, increasing as onboard energy storage improves, and an EV with good range tends to have short-range capabilities that an ICE with good range will not - acceleration, torque curve, independence from a fixed power source type (even if it's powered by a coal plant when you buy it, it can end up being powered by solar, nuclear, all manner of less- and/or non-polluting sources eventually.)

          Where I live, I absolutely have to have good range, about ~300 miles or ~485 km with the heater or A/C on the whole way, and an EV isn't close to giving it to me as yet. But the finish line is slowly approaching. When it gets here, that's the end of our buying ICE-based vehicles. My guess is that Tesla will get there first with an acceptable combination of vehicle quality and range. But I'm ready to buy if someone else gets there first. Power here is hydro in general, and solar at my home, so I feel very good about going this way.

          Lastly, ICE fueling costs are extremely, and consistently, high. With solar here at my home, that will drop to basically nothing, as most of our runs are both infrequent and short-range. So we could easily keep an EV charged for $0 until we need to get out of town (and then we're back to needing ~300 miles range, which we could prep for here but once there, we'd need a huge charge from somewhere, which I expect would not be cost-free.)

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @02:57AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @02:57AM (#760211)

            I expect an electric pickup traveling steadily down a highway is going to use about 30 kw.
            5 hours to go 300 miles = about 150 kwHrs.
            Price per kwHr is about 10 cents, So $15 to refill. Cheaper than gas.

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by PhilSalkie on Friday November 09 2018, @08:48PM

          by PhilSalkie (3571) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 09 2018, @08:48PM (#760068)

          There's electric power everywhere you're likely to travel - much, much more electrical infrastructure exists than gasoline infrastructure, electricity is pre-wired to nearly every dwelling unit and business in the developed world. I put 40K+ miles on my Model S85D last year, and the convenience is unparalleled - the vehicle "fills its tank" in the carport every night, I can and do jump in the car without a thought about "infrastructure". As for "freedom", the solar panels on my house mean I'm able to charge the car without relying on OPEC or Exxon to extract and refine motor fuel for me, or having to send our military into harm's way to protect the oil shipping lanes worldwide.

          Road trips are where infrastructure _is_ required, and one of the places where Tesla is way out front of every other EV manufacturer. Until the other car manufacturers invest in their own fast charge infrastructure (or license Tesla's) - and integrate it with the car to make it as seamless as Tesla has, they just aren't contenders for any non-local use of an EV. When I go on a 200+ mile trip I just tell the nav system where I'm going - the car tells me how far I can drive, adjusting its calculations continuously to account for weather and road speed. It shows locations available for high-speed charging, how many slots are available at each one, how long I should stop and charge, how much power they can provide, and what amenities the location has. There were far more times driving a Prius that I had to worry about gas stations, where the next one was, how far I could drive, and so on. It works out that by the time I want to stop and hit the restroom, the Tesla wants 20 minutes' charging. On longer trips, I'll stop for a meal and let the car charge to 100%.

          I couldn't drive a Chevy Bolt from Detroit to Philly without quite a bit of route mapping and preparation ahead of time - and constant concern that I might get to a spot and find the single DC Fast Charger at some rest area is down, and have to plug into a 110V outlet and wait six hours. (Not to mention that Tesla sold as many Model 3's in Q3 of 2018 as GM sold Bolts all year - it looks to me like GM is in this game just to be able to sell gasoline cars in California (due to combined fleet efficiency requirements), and Tesla is in it for the long haul.)

          IMHO, electrification of the vehicle fleet has begun, and will be all but unstoppable - electric cars just make more sense in so many ways (simplicity of design, reduced parts count, decreased pollution and noise, regenerative braking, home charging, they're a blast to drive...) Tesla's out front because they've got a game-changing, thoroughly integrated product - after driving a Tesla, driving any conventional vehicle feels like fifty different designers crammed two hundred different things into one metal box, without talking to each other, and sometimes with active hatred for the next guy over - then expected me to drive it down the road at 70 MPH. Tesla may not stay out front, may lose its way, or may run out of money - but they'll have produced vehicles which made everything else on the market look like, and operate like, something out of an antique auto show. There's a great big market for all these manufacturers to grab a share of - but Tesla's busy eating up lunches right, left, and center while the rest are announcing their plans to start designing a Tesla-killer real soon now. I look forward to seeing how things progress.

        • (Score: 2) by rleigh on Friday November 09 2018, @09:37PM (10 children)

          by rleigh (4887) on Friday November 09 2018, @09:37PM (#760083) Homepage

          Have you considered the amount of infrastructure put in place to distribute fuel all around the country, from pipelines, refineries, storage tanks at distribution centres and strategic reserves, to all the trucks to deliver to individual filling stations? It's really quite huge.

          As soon as electric reaches a tipping point, the economics of this vast distribution network will rapidly decline. In a few decades it could be a distant memory, with liquid fuel being an expensive specialty item for classic cars.

          • (Score: 2) by legont on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:12AM (9 children)

            by legont (4179) on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:12AM (#760176)

            Have you ever been in a wide electric outage situatuon? I had; twice. That was just light, mind you, and heating.

            Once your vision is in place, which is likely to happen, I agree, one lucky hack will do it.

            What is important though is that so called green replaces current robust infrastructure with an unproven one. Yes, at some point old school energy sources become obsolete and that's exactly when shit hits the fan. There will be boood.

            --
            "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
            • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday November 10 2018, @03:16AM (8 children)

              by deimtee (3272) on Saturday November 10 2018, @03:16AM (#760218) Journal

              Solar seems to be on every second roof here in Oz, and more is getting installed all the time. Most don't have batteries but just about every solar system now comes advertised as 'Battery-Ready'. The same battery advances that make cars economical will bring individual homes closer to cutting the powercord and telling the power companies to go pound sand. The 'blood' is going to be the power companies trapped in a cycle of raising prices for fewer customers, leading to more cord-cutting, more price rises.
              It is already quite common for people building out in the sticks to check out the cost for running a line to their house*, and then go solar/battery.

              *If they have to run a line that is not on your property, it can easily hit several tens of thousands of $.

              --
              No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
              • (Score: 2) by legont on Saturday November 10 2018, @03:58AM (7 children)

                by legont (4179) on Saturday November 10 2018, @03:58AM (#760230)

                Yeah, I can see a bright future of driving a Tesla from one solar powered house to another. Kindness of strangers, all right. Somehow I don't think it will work.

                --
                "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
                • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday November 10 2018, @05:22AM (6 children)

                  by deimtee (3272) on Saturday November 10 2018, @05:22AM (#760244) Journal

                  I was more addressing the blackout comment. I think economical power storage is going to have far reaching effects beyond electric cars. Like it or not, solar power and storage are slowly getting cheaper and oil dearer. Eventually it will hit a tipping point and I think we will end up with a much more distributed combined generation/storage system.

                  Instead of gas stations, you might have a couple of acres of solar cells and energy storage, paid charging slots, and a coffee shop to wait in while your car charges. Seems like a reasonable proposition out along the highways where land can be cheap.

                  --
                  No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
                  • (Score: 2) by legont on Saturday November 10 2018, @06:14AM (5 children)

                    by legont (4179) on Saturday November 10 2018, @06:14AM (#760263)

                    Historically, changes were different. For example, oil revolution happened in addition to existing technologies - horses and wale oil. Fossil fuels added to the existing capacity. Nobody tried to forcibly switch old to new. Now it is different. New technology adepts are using unfair business practices and government support trying to replace the old. Power grid needs all the customers to function. If solar or whatever takes even 10-20% of the old system, the old one will die while the new system is not proven to function well enough. I'd have no problem if solar would take new business - new energy consumption - but it is stealing existing business. Replacing existing one should come later. Starting with robbing existing infrastructure is a receipt for a disaster.

                    --
                    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
                    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by deimtee on Saturday November 10 2018, @11:06AM (2 children)

                      by deimtee (3272) on Saturday November 10 2018, @11:06AM (#760297) Journal

                      Yep. Not really arguing with unfair support at the moment. But I think that the trends are that pretty soon it would have happened anyway without forced incentives. Maybe not as fast, but it would still have happened.

                      I think we will soon have .Gov propping up power companies, and probably legislating to stop people going off grid. 'Support for Infrastructure Bill' or something similar that requires you to stay connected to the grid and pay the fees. And the fees will keep rising.

                      Interestingly, here in AU, technically the way the law governing utilities was originally written, the power company can come in and put a meter on your own generator and charge you for the power you generate. They did not expect that people would ever generate their own power.
                      They never have yet because the backlash would be huuuuge, but I can easily see them claiming you are not allowed to disconnect.

                      --
                      No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
                      • (Score: 2) by legont on Sunday November 11 2018, @12:09AM (1 child)

                        by legont (4179) on Sunday November 11 2018, @12:09AM (#760525)

                        They - power companies - have a point, I think, and our ancestors thought about it carefully.

                        --
                        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
                        • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Sunday November 11 2018, @12:04PM

                          by deimtee (3272) on Sunday November 11 2018, @12:04PM (#760625) Journal

                          I don't understand your comment here. What point and which ancestors?

                          --
                          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
                    • (Score: 2) by rleigh on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:24PM (1 child)

                      by rleigh (4887) on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:24PM (#760332) Homepage

                      If you look at history, Standard Oil did a number of rather dodgy things to force the adoption of oil and motorised transport. Later government policy encouraged it with the development of motorways and interstate systems etc. These actions displaced the previous systems, some forcibly through legistation and sharp business practices.

                      I can't see much difference with this change. The technology is here, and the infrastructure is being slowly rolled out. It's not yet ready for universal adoption, and won't be for a good while until we have the electrical generation and distribution capacity to match. But it's coming is an inevitability. Just like haymaking and distribution was once of great concern to driving our economies and feeding us, oil product manufacture and distribution will eventually decline as well. The legislation in progress to e.g. ban diesel in cities and eventually sale of diesel cars is harsh, but necessary given the problems we face. Is that any different than the banning of horse-drawn vehicles from fast roads?

                      The points about the electricial grid being a single point of failure are well made. We do need independence in case of failure. Be it diesel or other fuel generators, solar panels, wind or whatever you can make work for you. Important buildings already have this capability in place for short-term failure, but we are already mostly entirely reliant on a functional grid, and it's not realistic for all of us to go off-grid. The point about distributed storage is also well made. It may well be that car batteries themselves are part of that solution, as well as PowerWall type domestic storage systems.

                      • (Score: 2) by legont on Sunday November 11 2018, @12:06AM

                        by legont (4179) on Sunday November 11 2018, @12:06AM (#760523)

                        Company I work for has large headquarters in Manhattan and we produce our own electricity using fuel cells. Yes, we burn fossils for electricity right in the middle of the island.

                        The reason is that it is cheaper than to pay for grid electricity plus to have backup generators. We, however, still attached to the grid in case of emergency.

                        Now, look at it from the power company point of view where cheap electricity especially a reliable kind is a matter of scale which we reduce. If I were their boss, I would not give us emergency power.

                        Here is the punch line: imagine Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and all the follow up because it was refused power. That's where we are now.

                        --
                        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday November 09 2018, @07:07PM (1 child)

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday November 09 2018, @07:07PM (#760014) Journal

      I can't imagine switching to electric. I am way more likely to switch to Uber and/or sharing.

      Those two are orthogonal issues. You can own ICE cars or electric cars, and you can share ICE cars or electric cars. And of course when using Uber, the cars can be ICE or electric, too.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2) by legont on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:17AM

        by legont (4179) on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:17AM (#760177)

        There is no question that Uber and shares will be electric.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Friday November 09 2018, @07:46PM (11 children)

      by Unixnut (5779) on Friday November 09 2018, @07:46PM (#760039)

      > I can't imagine switching to electric. I am way more likely to switch to Uber and/or sharing.

      I can't imagine switching to electric, primarily because I can't imagine switching to something worse than what I have in every metric, except tailpipe emissions. Electric cars:

      - Are more expensive
      - Are generally heavier (due to the battery pack)
      - Seem to be more prone to short circuits, fires and problems with the battery pack (I still don' t know if you could even drive an electric car through the flooded roads we get here, or would you be at risk of shorting something out, or getting electrocuted)
      - Have a lower range, and a range that varies based on the weather and other variables.
      - Have an expensive "fuel tank" (the battery) that wears out with use
      - Are built with cheap parts (in order to save weight as much as possible, both for economy and to offset the heavy batteries, every single electric car I have sat in seems to be made of really cheap plastic materials).
      - Have to wait hours for a "full tank" equivalent (v.s. ~5 mins)
      - Are impossible for me to maintain myself (too many complex, interconnected, proprietary systems)
      - Have a questionable "total pollution cost" when you take into account all the energy and toxic processes involved in manufacturing the batteries and electronics

      The only other benefit is "lack of engine noise", but modern ICE vehicles make virtually no noise anyway, although they do make enough to let people know they are nearby or approaching. BEVs are so quiet its jarring just having one sneak up on you when you are not expecting it.

      The only clear benefit is lack of tailpipe emissions, and the fact they consume less energy when sitting in traffic, which in a dense urban environment is very important, but then, urban environments are ill suited to personal cars full stop. Car renting/sharing of some kind, as well as public transport, cycling or just walking make more sense in cities.

      • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday November 09 2018, @08:02PM

        by Sulla (5173) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 09 2018, @08:02PM (#760051) Journal

        The only other benefit is "lack of engine noise", but modern ICE vehicles make virtually no noise anyway, although they do make enough to let people know they are nearby or approaching. BEVs are so quiet its jarring just having one sneak up on you when you are not expecting it.

        I am often impressed how quiet my truck is. I have on many occasions wondered whether or not it was on when I was idling. I also find it interesting that Ford has been piping noise into the cabin in the v6 versions of their mustangs and f150s to replicate the old muscle car noise, I personally find that extremely stupid but whatever.

        --
        Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
      • (Score: 2) by anotherblackhat on Friday November 09 2018, @08:16PM (4 children)

        by anotherblackhat (4722) on Friday November 09 2018, @08:16PM (#760060)

        While I agree that electric cars don't make sense (yet), they do have a few other advantages over ICE;
         

        • You can fill-up at home. Yes, it takes longer for an electric to charge up, but it takes less of my time.
        • They have less down time for repairs. As complex as they are, there's still fewer parts than a modern ICE, which means less stuff to break.

        For me though, the major issue is still "the price is too high for what you get".
        If they could fix that, I might be willing to put up with the other stuff.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Unixnut on Friday November 09 2018, @08:57PM (3 children)

          by Unixnut (5779) on Friday November 09 2018, @08:57PM (#760072)

          > You can fill-up at home. Yes, it takes longer for an electric to charge up, but it takes less of my time.

          I have to say I didn't think of that. Round here, in high rise dense cities, there is no way you can charge the car overnight. You don't have a garage, or even a driveway, to park up the car, and stringing an extension cord down your window overnight to charge your car just isn't going to work. The local authority has had the idea to build "charging points" into the road, but the problem is that there just isn't enough parking spaces to have all the cars sitting there charging overnight.

          That also only works if the entire daily range you need fits within one charge cycle, if you end up needing more range than usual for whatever reason, you are stuck. One of the reasons I think series hybrids will be the future for a long time to come. The ability to have a "range extender" ICE for those moments where due to unforseen circumstances you need more range than normal at a snap, you got it.

          A hybrid might well be an excellent commuter vehicle. You can charge it overnight outside the city, in your big house with garage/driveway, then drive with the ICE on the motorways until you get to the cities, where you can switch to EV mode for the rush hour "stop-and-go" traffic.

          > They have less down time for repairs. As complex as they are, there's still fewer parts than a modern ICE, which means less stuff to break.

          I can't comment on this. The only "ongoing maintenance" costs I have had to deal with on my cars are tyres, bearings. suspension components and oil changes, which are the exact same things I expect to need replacing on EV's. One exception is for timing belts on an ICE, if your engine uses them. The engines I have had have been bulletproof (i did have to replace the head gasket on one of my cars, but at 35 years old, and a hard driven sports car, I expected something to go wrong eventually).

          Also, EVs may have fewer parts, but they have a lot more electrical systems in them, and more complex ones. Ask anyone who buys and handles second hand cars for a living. The first thing to go on a car is the electronics. The mechanics will generally outlast a cars electrical systems (and most of the time the body itself, which tends to corrode and fracture due to metal fatigue, at least in the UK). The more electronics in a car, the more of a maintenance nightmare they are. Now, as the 90s BMWs are coming into "classic" area, people are finding out how horribly complex it is to maintain, when computer modules decide to misbehave, or stop working, or generate incorrect outputs. They are much harder to keep going than the 80s and earlier cars. I would rather rip apart and rebuild an engine, than have to debug 20 year old proprietary car computer systems.

          I don't even want to think of all the software bugs and updates, and firmware problems, and memory corruption that will start being seen after 10 or so years on an EV, especially if, like with pretty much anything else software based, the manufacturer will stop supporting it shortly after rolling out a new model.

          BEV cars have not been around long enough to gauge exactly what their maintenance costs will be. We shall have to see what the first "35 year old EV" looks like. Thing is, BEV have one big cost, the battery. Unlike an ICE vehicle, which (if well maintained), will keep the same range it had when new as it ages, a BEVs range is when "new", the more you drive it, the more it wears out. It is like my mobile phone. It lasted 3 days on a full charge when new, but after a year or so I had to charge it multiple times just to get through one work day.

          On my phone, the battery is replaceable and I can get it cheaply replaced. A EV battery is expensive (possibly the majority of the cars cost), and when it goes chances are it will cost more than the cars worth to have it replaced.

          Another thing to think about are the electric motors. They do wear out, the bearings would need replacing (no idea how often), and their efficiency will degrade as the winding insulation breaks down with time, resulting in a loss of power, and eventual motor burn out. Then there is corrosion (and how that would affect the power transmission to the motors), and a whole bunch of other stuff.

          As such, I think, to keep an EV car going, it will cost a lot more over the long term in maintenance costs than an ICE, even if superficially, it looks like it is "simpler" than an ICE. .

          > While I agree that electric cars don't make sense (yet),

          Personally I don't think they will make sense as long as they insist on using batteries. Batteries suck, they can never beat liquid fuels for energy density, or refill time. The only reason we use batteries at all is because we were not able to find a way of converting liquid fuels to energy in a small enough space to fit them to portable electronics (excluding places where handling liquids is a bad idea). If something has to fit in your hand, batteries are the "least worst" option we have.

          However cars, and mobile machinery are different. They don't have such extreme size restrictions. More effort should be put in generation of liquid fuels efficiently, and finding a way of using those fuels in EV's. The Ethanol fuel cells seem like a good direction, but so much misallocated capital is going into battery EVs at the moment, in the hope that people will want them (or be forced into them by the state).

          Fun fact, is that one of the main reasons Diesels are a problem now, is because government subsidised them heavily in the 90s and 00s (Despite people telling them they are stupid to do so), because they listened to eco lobbies, and got it into their heads that CO2 reduction was the bee-all-end-all solution to all problems, and Diesel produced less CO2.

          Now, the government are subsidising yet another technology due to eco-lobbying, with a good chance that 20 years down the line it will be shown they were stupid to do so, but governments being incompetent is so common now, it borders on cliche, unfortunately.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @03:50PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @03:50PM (#760356)

            It really sounds like battery-electrics are a vehicle manufacturers dream. Resale value of a vehicle with shot batteries is likely very low, and everything else will go bad quickly too.

          • (Score: 2) by mobydisk on Saturday November 10 2018, @04:27PM

            by mobydisk (5472) on Saturday November 10 2018, @04:27PM (#760372)

            Ask anyone who buys and handles second hand cars for a living. The first thing to go on a car is the electronics.

            Old-school car mechanics often claim this, but the statistics show the opposite: the electronics are the most reliable part of a car by an order of magnitude. The only justification for this statement is that the electronics often fail without pre-failure warning indications. But that is because the MTBF and MTTR are so low that it isn't worth putting in early detection systems for electronic parts and it isn't worth doing preventative maintenance like replacing wires or chips. By the time a car's electrical systems fail, it has gone through many sets of tires, a new clutch or transmission, 50 oil changes, air filters, fluid replacements, brakes, spark plugs, headlights, a water pump, some belts, several new batteries, a few replacement seals, etc.

            This statement about reliability also applies to industrial machinery, computers, aircraft. Parts that move are the first to fail. I work with industrial medical devices, and the only "electronic" parts that factor into the reliability estimates are CPU fans and hard drives. And we prefer designs that don't require them.

          • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Saturday November 10 2018, @10:37PM

            by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Saturday November 10 2018, @10:37PM (#760505)

            The market opportunity is to find a way to economically refurbish EV Batteries. Someone is going to make a lot of money doing this. It will certainly be cheaper than mining more raw materials to make one.

      • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Friday November 09 2018, @08:35PM (4 children)

        by fyngyrz (6567) on Friday November 09 2018, @08:35PM (#760066) Journal

        There are actually a number of pros to be considered:

        EVs:

        • Have (usually far) better acceleration / torque for their weight class (which translates directly into less risky merging, passing and on-ramp capabilities, assuming there's a competent driver, which... yeah, I know)
        • Are fuel-source agnostic, so they can transition from polluting to non when/if your power infrastructure does
        • Don't inherently produce additional air pollution when run (that depends entirely on the power source)
        • Don't produce noise pollution
        • Don't consume energy when sitting at the equivalent of idle because hot/cold/stop/go traffic, and you don't end up breathing your own exhaust, either, when you're sitting enjoying the AC/heat
        • Can do short run / infrequent use with at-home solar for $0 in continuing fuel costs. If you have an actual home.
        • Can charge overnight / off-shift so that you never have to go to the equivalent of a filling station again for light/medium use
        • Can be much lower maintenance in general, because far fewer moving parts
        • Carry a great deal of their mass lower and more evenly distributed, so are more stable in turns and WRT rollover potential
        • Can do 4WD much better then any gear train could or is ever expected to
        • Reduce dust pollution when using regenerative braking
        • Don't suck in your own tailpipe fumes when blowing fresh air into the cabin
        • Don't contribute to choking everyone out, including you, in tunnels
        • May end up with non-aging, fast-refresh storage solutions, such as ultracaps, though not soon for sure. If that happens, that would be the last battery pack replacement, ever. Certainly this is a very active area of research, and if there's one thing we know about technology, it's that it's very difficult to see the next fundamental innovation that breaks the current paradigm.
        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by pTamok on Friday November 09 2018, @10:12PM (1 child)

          by pTamok (3042) on Friday November 09 2018, @10:12PM (#760103)

          EVs Don't inherently produce additional air pollution when run (that depends entirely on the power source)

          There's a bit more to this than meets the eye. It turns out that a significant source of PM10s and PM 2.5s (the particles that cause most lung damage) is in fact the dust generated from tyres rubbing on the roads, and if you live somewhere where people use studded tyres in winter (to use on minor roads) combined with salt to clear major roads and in cities, the studs generate a great deal of particulate pollution - to the extent that large Norwegian conurbations like Bergen, Stavanger, and Oslo have truly terrible air quality in winter.

          https://stro.se/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Vegdirektoratet-presentation-of-VTI-test-EDEN-Group-meeting-25.09.25.pdf [stro.se]
          https://www.scienpress.com/Upload/GEO/Vol%207_1_1.pdf [scienpress.com]
          https://www2.dmu.dk/atmosphericenvironment/norpac/Downloads/Johansson_Oct2005.pdf [www2.dmu.dk]

          So even if you remove exhaust emissions, you have not removed PM10 and PM2.5 emissions.

          • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Saturday November 10 2018, @12:15AM

            by fyngyrz (6567) on Saturday November 10 2018, @12:15AM (#760156) Journal

            Yes, that's correct. However, exhaust emissions and brake dust emissions are way down.

            Tire compounds are probably generally par, but I suppose because EVs tend to stick the road better, they might actually be a little worse on tire particulates. All in all, though, since better traction makes for a much safer ride, I'll take it.

        • (Score: 2) by Knowledge Troll on Saturday November 10 2018, @05:14PM (1 child)

          by Knowledge Troll (5948) on Saturday November 10 2018, @05:14PM (#760395) Homepage Journal

          Can do 4WD much better then any gear train could or is ever expected to

          I'm quite curious about this. I'm an avid off-roader myself and I don't readily see too many advantages for electric propulsion over ICE.

          In 4 low I already have way more torque than is even mechanically safe. In 4 low engine braking performance can only be described as "extreme." I can shift from 2 wheel to 4 hi while moving and out again but not into 4 low.

          Traction control is available for 4wd and control of torque output to each wheel can be achieved too with sophisticated systems that can actively control the brakes at each wheel independently. Crawl control and descent control has been around for a while now on ICE.

          Watch this ICE Toyota very carefully auto-dig itself out after the driver buried the front and rear tires in sand up to the axles [youtube.com]. That is some extremely precision and fine detailed control being demonstrated on that ICE.

          The benefit seems to be in something like tons of torque or speed with out having to stop (shift from 4hi to 4low) but not in any kind of vehicle feature.

          So I'm curious where does electric propulsion start offering things that we can't do now? What am I not seeing here?

          • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Sunday November 11 2018, @08:01PM

            by fyngyrz (6567) on Sunday November 11 2018, @08:01PM (#760698) Journal

            In 4 low I already have way more torque than is even mechanically safe. In 4 low engine braking performance can only be described as "extreme." I can shift from 2 wheel to 4 hi while moving and out again but not into 4 low.

            My Chevy 3/4 ton is the same; 4W high can be entered and left under power and rolling, but 4W low requires neutral to shift in and out of. I've never tried it rolling, don't think I will. :)

            So, more about 4WD comparisons: The torque curve of an IC engine can be fairly described as a curve. The torque curve of EV motors is better described as a cliff. You get (very) large torque without having to have high RPM and gearing. No clutches are involved. Each wheel can be controlled completely independently of one another, so traction control is more easily achieved. No shifting is required, you always have the power and torque you need, presuming you have enough at all.

            Also, I've not personally seen this done yet, probably because it compromises the low center of gravity advantage, but the possibility of a high-clearance design with much less stuff hanging off the chassis exists. The motor pods / chassis mounts and support structures are really all that's needed under there. No transaxle(s), no drive shaft(s), no low-hanging headers, etc. Motors can be integrated right into the wheels, which would also help with clearance issues. Imagine the wheel mounts being a thick vertical plate of steel with the wiring and brake support apparatus run safe inside it, and nothing else hanging down there at all. That'd handle deepish snow and other high-clearance challenges really well.

            WRT to your observation about mechanically safe application of power: since there can be no gears, etc., the motors can be designed to apply power and get away with it right up to the point that the tires would rip off their mounts, assuming only that the motor pods / chassis mounts and motor bearings are designed to take it.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @07:09PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @07:09PM (#760017)

    VW "intend" to make/sell a car.
    Tesla already have one selling like hotcakes.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @03:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10 2018, @03:26AM (#760221)

      Audi (VW upscale brand) also intend to sell EVs. First one due in 2019 is a mid-size SUV, larger than any Tesla, so going for a different piece of the luxury market.

      Article I saw recently indicated Audi are looking at brute-forcing the fast-charging issue, with future plans to charge at 350KW (yes, ~1/3 megawatt, or 470hp). That kind of power isn't available just anywhere on the grid, not sure how that's going to work out.

    • (Score: 2) by Blymie on Saturday November 10 2018, @09:29AM

      by Blymie (4020) on Saturday November 10 2018, @09:29AM (#760290)

      Indeed.

      And their intentions aren't even solid yet, just "We're thinking of converting some plants" to make them.

      On top of that? Looking at a few articles I discovered this : "MEB entry" is their platform. But I can't get any solid specs, except for old press releases on range and such.

      And here's the thing....

      Tesla has a HIGH profit margin:

      https://evannex.com/blogs/news/tesla-model-3-profit-target-is-5x-higher-than-the-average-vehicle-from-ford [evannex.com]

      Now, this makes sense. All that initial R&D has to be paid back somehow. But it *also* means that VWs pricing?

      Can likely be met instantly, should Tesla decide so.

      And this is all still years away. Meaning Tesla may already have continued to scale up, started to really ship numbers, and have dropped pricing lower all on its own.

      If handled right, this isn't even remotely an issue.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @09:21PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09 2018, @09:21PM (#760079)

    German electric cars with VW's reputation of integrity.

    • (Score: 2) by legont on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:20AM

      by legont (4179) on Saturday November 10 2018, @01:20AM (#760178)

      running on Russian nuclear power grid.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
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