From: email@example.com (Larry Smith)
Subject: Re: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY
Date: 3 Oct 1994 14:20:40 -0500
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Barry Smith <email@example.com> wrote:
>In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>email@example.com (Larry Smith) writes:
>> In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Barry Smith <email@example.com> wrote:
>> >In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> >FWIW, my principal long-term concern is improving our economic
>> >communication so as to more equitably manage indirect, social,
>> >and "external" costs. As (and if) we improve the economic system
>> This is a laudable goal in and of itself, provided the implementation
>> of it relies on a free market, not gov't intervention and control.
>> "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"
>Guess we'll have to see if I float, eh?
It's a fair court.
>In your terms (which I find rigidly ideological, btw), I'm a rational
>free-market advocate. I recognize, however, that there _are_ no free
>markets, perfect knowledge being somewhat scarce these days, and that
>even ideal free markets can resolve only a certain limited class of
>decision problems. I believe it's a legitimate function of government
>to _improve_ markets.
I don't normally stick my neck out this far in this newsgroup, because
there are some _real_ rigid idealogies to be found here. But I will note
this: completely free markets can show a tendency to become unfree -
while anyone can theoretically compete with a monopoly if the market is
free, it can also come to pass that a monopoly can obtain enforcement
power by controlling all means of competition. One such means that has
become very popular of late is the idea of "intellectual property", but
other, purely physical means, also exist. It _is_ a legitimate function
of gov't to see to it that markets remain free to "stir the pot" every
now and then - smart ones will also fund basic research or some large
program that will spur development, such a space program, to help seed
new markets. But this is very, VERY different from the kind of central-
control paradigms that are the steady diet in this newsgroup. Cars are
the continuing best case in point. While it might be argued that the
initial controls were a "quick fix" for a problem that was not clearly
articulated soon enough for a free market to handle it (since the means
for doing so requires education of the consumers) it "set in" mechanims
that have since been used again and again to the detriment of the free
market and have now all but closed the autombile market completely,
freeing it from competition outside of the current participants and, in
essence, freezing it in amber. Not a good thing when we want the auto
to completely re-invent itself.
>> >If other states are picking
>> >up the ZEV approach, I'll cheer personally, but only slightly
>> >because of its direct effect on noxious emissions.
>> Why cheer? What is there to cheer about when NY and Mass decide
>> what's good for California is good for New England, and pushes
>> EV's in an area where most power comes from coal? It will run
>> up the prices of cars _and_ power _and_ increase pollution overall.
>> What kind of a solution is that?
>As I see it, the principal short-term benefit of the ZEV program is to
>direct investment capital into areas of research and development that
>I believe will prove (in the long run) to be of high public value.
That _would_ be a benefit, but that _isn't_ what the ZEV program will
do. The ZEV program _mandates_ sales of electrics, and on a very,
very short timetable by the standards of the industry. Did you know
that the ZEV law has already caused the cancellation of most the
advanced battery programs in the auto industry? Simple economics:
lead acid is the best we have _now_ so it is the _de_facto_ battery
that will be used, and all funds are now earmarked for further work
on lead acid. If lead acid turns out to be not the best choice, well,
that's too bad. It wins by default. Not the right way to run any
kind of a research effort, I think.
>At the 2% level, the program will have negligible effects (positive
2% in 1996. It rises rapidly to 10% by 2004, less than two full cycles
of development. As I said, the emphasis has shifted from "blue sky"
research that _might_ find a good long-term solution, with better
power, faster recharge, and less toxic materials with lower environ-
mental impact, and gone to lead acid. And for what? To take cars
that are 99.5% clean and replace them with cars that are 100% clean
_at_the_tailpipe_. Never mind the source of that electricity, even
if we grant that EV's are God's gift to bunny rabbits, we are still
talking less than half a percentage point improvement. Less with 1997
>_or_ negative) on pollution, fleet operating costs, etc., etc.,
>regardless of geographical area, but it _will_ have a dramatic effect
>on development of technology in areas such as electrical storage,
>electronic motor controls, electric motor efficiency, etc., not to
>mention the necessary infrastructure. And, the program ensures that
That's the point, if we build an electric infrastructure now we will
be building it around lead acid batteries, with all the toxic materials
and environmental impact that that implies, and we will be _closing_
the_door_ on newer solutions. Once this is done there will be just
as much momentum against, say, liquid sulphur batteries as there is
today against electrics in general - car companies will not, cannot,
invest in them while they are paying off the amortization of the lead
acid technology we are _forcing_ to market now - it would be expensive
if the market was demanding electrics, but by fiat it will be ten times
as expensive, and every penny will count _against_ any successor technol-
>much of this technology will not remain "in the lab" but _will_ make
>it out to the street. I make no argument that the ZEV program
>is perfect, as no such thing is possible, but I feel that it makes
>a reasonable allocation of costs with a reasonable expectation
>of return on what are, in my opinion, significant social goals.
>Viewed solely as a short-run pollution solution, the ZEV program
>is difficult to justify, IMHO, but as a technology and market
>forcing action I think it's brilliant.
But it was _sold_ as a short-term pollution solution, and people
_believe_ it is a pollution solution, and are _voting_ for it as
a pollution solution, and they are going to be a whole lot less
inclined toward "environmental" legislation in the future when
they find out the program has pushed up the price of cars by 50%
(the most conservative estimate of the impact of 10% electrics in
2004 - CARB's). They won't be able to _afford_ new "environmental"
legislation when a Ford Taurus costs $24,000 in 1994 dollars for a
stripped model. That's $16,000 for the Taurus and $8,000 to help
buy down the price of somebody _else's_ electric car! And _no_ one
has an estimate for the cost of dealing with all that lead. Look
what we went through in the 70's to get rid of the comparatively
miniscule lead in gasoline!
>One could ask, quite reasonably, why the private investment markets
>would not make such choices if they were in fact a good investment.
>I think there are many reasonable answers here, but I'd venture that
>the sheer size of the investment (and risk) is far beyond the market's
>ability to allocate. This is not a small short-run investment here,
>and even optimistically it won't necessarily pay off in private gain,
>nor in less than (say) 20 years or so.
"BZZZZZZT! Nope, but thanks for playing." Private investment
_cannot_ start a new car company, no matter _what_ the propulsion,
the moment they exceed some small number of cars they become liable
for the same regulations that made the new Taurus from Ford cost
over $5 billion to develop. EPA certification and crash tests and
all _kinds_ of internal stuff to get the liability insurance down.
The liability insurance problem _alone_ sees to it that no car that
is greatly different from any other can reach the mainstream market.
It was almost ten years before ABS could move from Europe to the USA,
because installing them implied there was something wrong with the
old brakes so old cars would have liability problems, and new ones
might have them fail and the decade-long record in Europe was needed
to help defend them in court.
This should not be under-estimated. It was liability laws that
virtually _killed_ production of single and two-place airplanes
for personal use in this country. Cessna, I think it was, promised
the gov't to reenter the business if only they would not continue to
be held liable for planes built more than 20 years ago under the
then-current standards, and were refused. You can't get a plane like
that any more unless you build it, or buy it from someone who did,
or you get one built before the market was closed down.
_Anyone_ could start a new car company if the EPA were removed from
the loop and liability laws reformed. _I_ have enough money to
found a new car company, and would, I'd _love_ to bring an ultra-light
composite-body hybrid to market, and I have enough in savings to build
a prototype or two and put together a business plan, and there _are_
investors who love to underwrite the effort. But I could _not_ even
_dream_ of affording EPA certification, NHTSA certification, SEC dealer
rules or - the 6,000 pound albatross of the car industry - liability
insurance. A Ford Taurus carries almost $3500 in liability insurance
premiums _alone_, how could someone who isn't building hundreds of
thousands of cars afford that?
>One could also ask, similarly, why is not the government financing
>and controlling the development directly, but I trust that the
>undesirability of _that_ is obvious to free-market advocates. :)
>> >[Y]ou're making the (common) mistake of
>> >equating "a car" in 1970 with "a car" in 1994. The 1994 car
>> >is measured by different metrics, and could not have been had
>> >_at any price_ in 1970.
>> Well, this is quaint. Well, I can buy a computer in 1994 that
>> could not be had at _any_ price in 1970, and it's _cheaper_,
>> too. Why? Because computers are a free market and cars are
>> not, it's that simple. More on this below.
>Simple? If you believe this ideological nostrum, you're simple-minded.
>Tell me, Larry, has the free market in wheat given us kernels the size
>of Texas selling for a penny a pound? Has the free market in housing
>given us each palaces to live in for $100/year?
The free market for wheat has given us heaps of grain the size
of a house and selling for far less than before. Houses are too
intimately tied into the price of land to make comparison easy,
but in terms of labor now cost about half of what they did before
WW II - including all the nifty new features that could not be
had before WW II. Simple-minded? I wish. No, I've _priced_
what it would cost to build a car _company_. I could buy a farm
and a housing company for less than 100th of what it would cost
to even start.
Oh, yes, as long as you keep the price of a car high and the
numbers very low, you can hang on. Kit cars are still out there.
But none of them can go big-time, because the bars are set too
high - bars that are not so high for houses or wheat. Though
they _are_ present, take a look at the wheat-support price
and cost of licensing electricians and plumbers. Those are
the same sort of tools gov't used to make it impossible to
compete with GM, but they have not been applied so lavishly.
>To address the specific comparison: profit in computer markets is
>_directly_ related to technical progress; profit in automobiles is
>only very weakly related to technical developments, hence economic
>forces will only weakly encourage automotive technology.
And it is my contention that over-regulation and unintended conseq-
uences are _why_ they are only "weakly related" and that we can
solve these problems by making profits for cars as strongly related
to technical progress as computer markets are.
>> >Here again, economics wins over politics; the automobile industry
>> >(correctly :) doesn't _want_ cheaper cars: they're low-profit.
>> Of course they don't "want" cheaper cars. Companies don't
>> _want_ free markets, free markets admit of the possibility of
>> not making money, even of crashing and burning in chapter 13.
>> Controlled markets are much safer, and management can screw
>> up big time and the company just goes on. Oh, sometimes we
>> need a bailout from uncle sugar, but in general it's a very
>> comfortable arrangement.
>I'm sympathetic with this argument; have a good solution? :)
Yes. De-control the market. The two factors:
- Double jeopardy: EPA certification accomplishes _nothing_ that
is not handled by your annual inspection. We should have one or
the other, not both. Since people could otherwise let cars go
to hell, we should simply require every car pass an annual ins-
pection and get the EPA out of the loop. Let them set the standards
and stay out of the way.
- Safety: let consumers decide how safe they want to be. Air bags
are been shown to only shift the type of injuries, not reduce them,
over seat belts, let them be optional.
- Liability: the liability law system in this country has been
completely gutted by the "deep pockets" theory that demands that
every time someone is hurt, even if it is their own damn fault,
someone else should pay, and lawyers get the cream - more than half
of all liability settlements go to lawyers. Liability must take
contributory negligence into account. It must take into account
that engineering is an exercise in _judgement_, and that trade-offs
are a fact of life, courts should not second-guess engineering
decisions. And since everyone is fond of gov't regulation, how's
this for regulating: regulate lawyers fees and require they account
by hour, not by case.
In short: if a company sells a car they know is dangerous, they
should be liable. If they sell a car someone misuses, they should
not be, if they sell a car that someone won't use properly or needs
training to use and doesn't get it, they should not be, and liability
trials should not be like lotteries and set someone up for life if
they "hit", people should get medical and lost pay, not more than
an equal amount for pain and suffering, where appropriate, and lawyers
should get $50 a hour like any other professional performing a similar
There are other things that could be done. Eliminating sales taxes
on cars from companies that make fewer than 10,000 a year. Eliminate
the protectionist legislation that bars imports. Lots of other things
If computers were held to the same liability standard as cars, a 286
machine would cost more than a Lincoln.
>no one with less than, say, ten billion in capital can start a new
>competitive auto company. (And that cuts out most of us... :)
>This is what's known as a market with high costs of entry.
And _why_ are those costs high? Are they because cars are so vastly
different from any other manufactured product?
>> Because the tradeoffs that _must_ be offered to
>> customers in order to accomplish that are illegal. Customers
>> cannot, for example, decide to buy a car that is a little less
>> safe than "normal" to get better mileage. They cannot decide
>> the airbag is worth the $1,000 it adds to the price of a car
>> for the tiny advantage it _might_ provide over 3-pt seat belts.
>> A new company cannot forego EPA-certification, even though
>> every car it makes must pass emissions tests every year, nor
>> can they avoid the safety testing, nor the liability insurance.
>And this is a market with high fixed costs, indeed some imposed by
>government regulation. We could quibble over what's appropriate to
>impose for bona-fide social benefits, but more seriously I think these
>costs are pretty small in comparison to the costs of capital for mass
>production, which is _essential_ for low cost, which makes high volume
>essential, which makes the whole thing very risky indeed.
Not so. If this were the case, IBM would be outselling any other
computer maker, instead we have fifteen startups in this city alone,
and all the major corporate accounts except Digital, for obvious
reasons, buy locally, from "assembly lines" in back rooms.
Size isn't always an advantage. As companies grow they develop
more and more overhead. Once the volume purchases of raw materials
reach a certain level, size does _nothing_ to help and costs a lot
to maintain. Why _else_ would car companies now be shrinking so fast
while production is going up?
>So I take it you're in favor of government intervention and regulation
>that has the effect of reducing market entry costs? ;-)
Perhaps. Let's try removing gov't intervention and regulation and
see if the market entry cost is still too high.
>a fascinating topic, but it's irrelevant (and largely an impediment)
>to their technological development. M. Veblen would have enjoyed
>tail fins, I think.
Fashion is a fascinating topic. In the 1960's transmissions were
placed behind the engine, in the hump between the front seats, since
most cars were front-engine, rear-wheel drive. So how was it controlled?
>From a stick on the steering wheel linking to belts or rods in a complex
arrangement to the transmission. Nowadays most cars are front-wheel drive,
with an east-west engine that puts the transmission right at the base
of the steering wheel. So how is it controlled? By a complex arrangement
of belts or rods from a stick between the seats. In the 1950's and 60's
we had aerodynamic bricks with big tailfins. In the 1990's we have
slippery little eggmobiles that could _use_ a stabilizing fin or two,
but can't get one because they are not in fashion.
>> I agree. But that choice should be up to the consumer.
>And here I agree, which is another reason I'm in favor of the ZEV
>program: it makes that choice _possible_ for the individual consumer
>by _creating_ the market.
We could _create_ electric markets and hybrid markets and hydrogen
markets and whatever else you want to do cheaper and easier. In-
dividuals _already_ have the choice of electrics. Read Solo by
>Speaking personally: I've recently been car-shopping, and would have
>been willing to pay an extra 25%, maybe more, for a car that was clean,
>quiet, and efficient, "environmentally friendly" if you will. My market
>choices did not include electric vehicles of any form whatsoever, since
>I don't consider boutique vehicles a rational choice for my situation.
Are you willing to make everyone else pay an additional 25% as well?
25%. Be still my beating heart. I wish 25% was _all_ it was.
>> The fundamental principle is that the <whatever> to mechanical
>> to electric to wire to battery to mechanical conversion is
>> more complex and less efficient overall than the simple chemical
>> to mechanical conversion of car engine, and that _huge_ gains
>> in all conversions must be posted to affect the end result - and
>> that those gains could just as easily be applied to the car engine
>> in the first place.
>Here, perhaps, we can make some technical progress!
>You suggest a fundamental principle: "In general, energy transforms
>are lossy, so that reducing the number of transforms will produce
>a more efficient system." Fair enough?
>Allow me to suggest a principle that I find less general, but more
>important numerically: "Energy transforms have distinct characteristic
>(first law) efficiencies". Here I draw your attention to two transforms:
>Carnot heat engine to motion, where the characteristic efficiency derives from
>the temperature difference, source to sink; and electro-magnetic
>field to motion, with characteristic efficiency of 100 percent,
>i.e., not lossy at all, in contradiction to your "fundamental principle".
>(NOTE that I speak here of characteristic efficiency only, and that I am
>_well_ aware that practical details will intrude! :) Heat engines are
>_fundamentally_ inefficient (and in practice grossly so); electric
>generation, transmission, storage, and conversion to _and from_ motion
>are each fundamentally loss-free (first law) and in practice technologies
>exist for each of these transforms with efficiencies in excess
>of 90 percent. (Portable electric storage being the most problematic.)
This is most impressive double-speak but it ignores that inconvenient heat
engine that is the _start_ of all your electric efficiency. That's the
way most power is created in this country, it's all downhill from there.
And while you can talk about "theoretical" efficiency to your heart's
content, as much _practical_ efficiency as we are going to get has already
been achieved, and cannot be improved until we re-invent or re-implement
the entire national power grid. Furthermore, while I can put X number of
gallons of gas into a pipeline and get X number of gallons out, that does
not hold true for electricity, it degrades, and rapidly, and even if you
get it down to 2-5%, which it is, that more than overpowers the marginal
efficiency of a 99.5% clean gas car and a "100% clean" electric right
there. And even ignoring all the foregoing, as is frequently the case,
you _can't_ build a 100% efficient battery, even exotics only run 90% and
lead-acid is much, _much_ worse.
Now if the country went to all-nuclear or geothermal coretap or tidal or
_anything_ that didn't star a glorified car engine in the first place,
you would have a point. I never denied it. But we haven't, and we won't,
mostly because environmentalists won't allow it.
>Again, I do not pretend that perfect technologies exist, or are cost-free
I don't care about perfect. All I demand - and I think I am justified in
doing so - is that they be _at_least_no_worse_ than the technology we are
proposing to replace. Is that so unreasonable? That we not go backwards
in cleanliness and air quality? I would also require the replacement
technology be affordable. I could build a "perfect" gasoline car with
no tailpipe, too, but what good is it if it costs $50,000 and needs a
huge market of other types to subsidize it?
>(and in any case second-law losses are inevitable); also, many economic
>trade-offs will result in less-than-optimally efficient components.
>No doubt we can debate endlessly the actual efficiencies of the various
>stages of the process. Here, though, is the gleam in the eye of
>advocates of electric vehicles: energy in the form of electricity,
>to motion, _and back_ to electricity with only small losses appears
>to be within our technological grasp. Even the once-through path
>dissipating in air and bearing and brake friction offers the prospect
>of _real_ efficiency gains; the closed loop of regeneration much more so.
This is just blue-sky dreaming. Even the most efficient regenerative
braking system can't recover more than 50 to 75%, even the most efficient
battery cannot deliver the full amount of power that was put into it.
When you are down to tenths of a percent comparisons for gas cars, this
kind of gap is just too wide to even be considered in the running.
>(Nor are electrics the only possibilities. :)
They are under the California EV law. No other type has been
certified by CARB as compliant. Hybrids were considered and
>> GM's Impact made 100 miles or so, tops, in
>> range on a full charge - a full charge was equivalent to 1 gallon
>> of gas. If the same lightness and engineering was applied to
>> a gasoline car - as a hybrid, for example - it could get 100 miles
>> per gallon PLUS - the plus being that it has no need to lug the
>> heavy batteries around. The _exact_same_technology_ applied to a
>> hybrid, with a gas tank equal is weight to the battery rack, would
>> produce a car that could drive coast-to-coast without refueling.
>There's a paradox here: if IC engines could be made as efficient as,
>say, coal-fired turbines, then (due to mass production) it would make
>sense to distribute the generating capacity instead of centralizing
>it as we do. (Don't think it'll happen, though. :)
Try doing the math by adding in a use for the waste heat and you'll
find we have already reached that point. Utilities are fighting the
potential for co-generation because they fear it will reduce them to
simply caretaking of the power grid, instead of making the power.
>> God damn it, I _read_ the engineering specs on the Impact! 90 is
>> the actual max range on the EPA highway cycles, you won't get it
>> in real life unless your batteries are broken in, but not too broken
>> in, the weather is moderate, you drive at the slowest possible legal
>> rate, etc, etc, etc. Don't tell me that number is something I _know_
>> it isn't! You won't get that in real life more than one in ten times -
>> maybe 2 in ten in California, but I doubt it, traffic jams have less
>> impact in mileage for electrics but they don't have _none_.
>You're driveling again, Larry, and your level of emotion doesn't help
>your argument in a .sci group. Read it one more time, and consider that
Despite it's placement in sci.*, please do not try to tell me this
socialist forum is a "sci" group. It isn't. It probably should be,
but it isn't, and there is no point in wishing it was.
>_my_ car "driving downhill ... with a favoring tailwind" gets _infinite_
>range. I don't have any particular attachment to the CARB figures
>(I note that Bruce Hamilton suggests that GM now says "70-90" miles with
>allocation for heating and A/C, which I can accept), but if you want
>us to believe that we should derate the manufacturer's specs by 50-75%
>then you should offer something other than a wave of your hand.
Read Solo by Noel Perrin for an object lesson in manufacturer _estimates_
and "real life experience" and why they do not match. The Impact mileage
rating is an "estimate" under ideal circumstances, not a "spec". _No_
electric can consistantly deliver full range because they are far more
sensitive to driving style, weather, temperature, condition of batteries,
load, tires and braking, and all other factors than a gasoline car. And
_all_ of this is discussed at length in every article, report, or paper
that doesn't _assume_ electrics are wonderful at the outset. Car and
Driver reported on the Impact, and noted that the "effective" range _is_
about 75 miles tops on average - that's GM, _not_ C&D, they just reported
it. But Pop Mechanics is gaga over electrics, they are going to save the
world, so the range is listed as 125 miles, the maximum theoretical range
on GM's closed, flat, test track with no braking, no cornering, constant
speed, temperature 70+, with batteries with more than 5,000 miles of use
and less than 10,000, with a nominal 125 pound driver with _no_ luggage
or other load, and they _never_mentioned_ the average effective range.
Automobile reported the effective range. Car and Track didn't, nor did
Reader's Digest. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both
reported the effective range, the Post, Newsday and the NY Daily News did
not. The number is _there_, it has far more meaning to any discussion
of electric cars than the theoretical maximum, and no amount of complaining
about my hand-waving is going to change it. Try reading something _critical_
of some of your cherished theories if you want to see the other side of
the argument. Or read Solo, Perrin is a raving mad greenie, but at least
he has a streak of honesty. On the basis of the "maximum mileage" claim,
_he_ decided to drive his new electric car home from the manufacturer in
California to Vermont. A week later, and still less than 200 miles from
the factory, he _bought_ a gasoline-powered pickup to finish towing it
home. That's how he gets it to shows, now, too. He brings it to Boston
for the electric car show that way. Go ahead! Don't take my word for it.
Perrin also discusses the efficiency question. Go to a show. Ask him
why he spent $15,000 for photovoltaics - hint: it wasn't to make the car
cheaper to run. He spent over $35,000 to drive a used Ford Escort electric.
Read the book. Ask him yourself.
>> >if manufacturers can't achieve _actual_ ranges of, say, 100mi/charge,
>> >they won't sell many, but I don't think that's how it will happen.
>> They _know_ they won't sell any, why do you think they are dragging
>> their feet? The gov't is offering to subsidize the whole thing with
>> _our_ tax money and they are _still_ dragging their feet! GM has already
>> _cancelled_ the Impact, they are planning to meet the 1995 requirement in
>> California with converted vehicles sold to fleets - which are being req-
>> uired to buy them by law. The same law that will require _you_ to buy
>> them no matter what mileage they get, if the EV yahoos get their way.
>There's a lot of opinion here, could you offer some basis for any of it?
Opinion? Call GM and ask them if they are going to build the Impact. Every
car magazine reported it, so did NYT and WSJ. The plans for converted cars
came from the same source.
>Which manufacturers _know_ they won't sell any? (I offered Bruce,
All of them. And all gave the same reason: too short a range. The gov't is
offering to use our tax money to buy down the price, money is no object, the
most the merrier. But not one car company wants to try to sell a car that
can't get 100 miles without a four to six hour recharge.
>who can serve as a model of probity here ;), a bet that at least one
>major would sell their quota in the first half of 1998; he refused,
>seemed to think it was easy money for me.) What tax subsidies do you
>refer to? GM has cancelled the Impact? Hadn't heard the news.
>What 1995 requirement for ZEVs? What law requires me to buy them?
The California EV law mandates that 2% of all vehicles sold in California
in 1995 be electric. It rises until, I believe 10% in 2004. They are
proposing to "phase in" a tax on all non-electrics to help cover the cost
of the electrics to those who buy them, they will get preferred parking
and free recharges from employers. They need at least that much to leap
the range hurdle.
>> >(As I've posted before, I believe hybrid technology can produce
>> >cars with range and acceleration that _exceed_ current vehicles,
>> >for those buyers who take those points as critical.)
>> _Exactly_. That is _exactly_ right. A hybrid ultralight could
>> best 100 mpg _today_ - even converted hybrids have done so. Ahhhh,
>> but a hybrid _isn't_ "zero emissions" - it may be even lower than
>> a modern car by virtue of using much less gas, but it isn't "zero"
>> and so doesn't qualify. Only _electric_ cars have been certified
>> as "zero" as far as CARB is concerned. You won't see hybrids so
>> long as this kind of thinking is forcing work into electrics.
>Let's back up here for a second. Remember, my interest is in technology
>development (and deployment); consider that a major fraction of ZEV
>technology is directly applicable to hybrids, and vice-versa. I don't
Really. Like what? Electric cars need better batteries, hybrids
don't, lead acid is fine. Oh, exotics would be better, but lead acids
can do the job without too much weight. So what else is going to help
>rule out the possibility that some hybrid fuel systems may qualify as
>ZEVs, although I don't think it'll happen in 1998.
CARB has already ruled out hybrids, forever.
>If you wanted to do something _politically_ significant, perhaps you
>should argue in favor of _extending_ the ZEV program to include hybrids
>that meet some particular performance standards. It's interesting to
>speculate as to the _political_ difficulties thereof; I've also thought
>that CARB themselves might bring the idea up at program review time.
You need to read up on this stuff before you bother replying.
>> This is what drives me nuts in this newsgroup. I am not, nor have I
>> ever, argued we "can't afford" clean energy systems. We can. We need
>> to. What we cannot afford to do is tilt at every environmental windmill
>> we meet while we have not _yet_ put such systems in place. Electric
>> cars are going to be so hideously expensive that the mere _attempt_
>> to use them to "replace" the IC engine will leave us with _no_other_
>> options_ - most especially, we will not be able to afford hybrids,
>> because even if they are developed, they will still have to carry
>> inflated price tags to help pay for the electric debacle.
>Give me an effing break. You're whining as if the ZEV program
>mandated replacement of every vehicle in 1998, by a program that
10% by 2004. More later, obviously.
>was not subject to political review and modification. It's tough
How much review was it given in Mass or NY? It was rubberstamped
in one of their periodic salaams toward California.
>to see the ZEV program as an economic dislocation of more than
>about a billion per year, if that; compared to GM's or Toyota's
>profits, that's spare change.
We aren't comparing it to GM's or Toyota's profits, we are comparing
it to what a 99.5% clean car costs _today_ and we are asking if that
that .5% is worth the increase in other forms of pollution elsewhere,
if it is worth the money it will cost, and why we can't shave it down
another .4 with hybrids instead. CARB itself admits the final phase
of the law may add as much as $8,000 to the price of an average car,
is _that_ "spare change"?! Private think-tanks, several of which
with a proven track record of estimates of this type in defense and
other industries, have reported estimates as high as $20,000 - that's
a $20,000 tax bill added to a gas car to buy an electric down in
the same range. That's using the "foreseeable future" numbers from
CARB's own estimates, never mind what would happen once we pass the
10% level and continue trying to tax gas cars to fund electrics. It
will be Social Security all over again, works fine so long as most
people drive gas cars, goes completely to hell as more and more don't.
Spare change? This spare change issue will make or break the next
generation of cars, we won't _get_ another chance, a wrong decision
here will leave us holding a bill we cannot afford to pay and still
try again. _Somebody_ is going to be hurt, very, very, very badly.
>> If we went the way _I_ wish we would, we'd remove the restraints against
>> starting a new car company and let the industry compete again, we'd see
>> 200 mpg hybrids within a few years and that would go a _long_ way toward
>> reducing CO2 emissions. But wrong-headed gov't mandated "solutions" like
>> electric cars will waste so much money that hybrids, when they come - IF
>> they come - will cost $50,000 a piece instead of $15,000 because so much
>> money was wasted on electrics and they have to be paid for one way or
>> another. That will _force_ people to keep running their current gasoline
>> cars and _increase_ the amount of time we spend putting CO2 into the air.
>"Let the industry compete again"? Rolling on the floor here, Larry...
Not "the" industry. "The" industry is all the companies that have already
paid their entrance fee. We need a "new" industry, to deal with new technology.
IBM didn't bring the micro to the world, why should we expect GM to bring us
the next generation car?
>> Damn it, I don't necessarily disagree with the goals, it's this short-
>> sighted "greenthink" that substitutes mindless feelgoods for real logic
>> that are bugging me. If the _goal_ is to reduce CO2, _fine_, let's choose
>> some solutions that will address that. But spare me some socialist
>> nostrum that will actually make the problem worse and tell me we are
>> reducing CO2. The _real_ reason why greenies want electric cars is
>> because they know full well that they will only be viable if the market
>> is "adjusted" with huge taxes on gas cars to subsidize electrics, which
>> will drive up the price of _all_ private transportation. This is not
>> a solution, it's a trojan horse.
>Your willingness to attribute malice and bad faith to others is
>not the most attractive aspect of your personality.
I do not ascribe to malice or bad faith what is so easily explained by
simple stupidity. Go do your homework. Post a review of Solo, then we'll
Larry Smith - My opinions alone. email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org
A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take
everything you have. -- Barry Goldwater. Liberty is not the freedom to do
whatever we want, it is the freedom to do whatever we are able. -- Me.
From: email@example.com (Dave Williams)
Subject: Re: E-The Environmental Magazine
Date: 14 Jun 94 20:30:00 GMT
-> I'm not going to argue that it'll reduce pollution by some amount...
-> but at what cost?? IMHO a car with a 200-mile range is NOT a viable
-> option. I don't care if it's a second car, or a commuter car, or
Actually, 200 miles is pretty optimistic for an electric. 50 to 100 is
more like it. And although regenerative braking can help stop you,
you're driving a very heavy car (some EV battery packs weigh as much as
entire small cars) with manual steering. Power steering would cut into
the batter power needed for range. Air conditioning? Don't be silly.
Your office mates will have to learn to put up with your sweaty armpits.
Heat and defrost? A defroster is required by Federal law, but between
that and the way batteries behave in cold weather, your range will
probably be cut down to an occasional trip to the corner 7-11. Heat is
free on a gas engine; it comes right out of your range on an EV. As for
operational costs - most EV figures I've seen have electricity priced
1/4 to 1/5 of what I pay per kwh, and don't forget those batteries wear
out and have to be replaced on a regular basis, drastically adding to
the per-mile operating cost of an electric.
The energy density of a gallon of gasoline is hard to beat, and the
average four stroke car engine ain't doing bad either.