July 27, 2008
Aptera Typ-1 Electric Car Nears Production

The Toyota Prius is about to become the also-ran in ultimate environmental car chic. Aptera has raised enough money to begin production of their highly efficient 3-wheeled 2-seater cross between a car and a motorcycle.

CARLSBAD, Calif., Jul 24, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Aptera Motors announced today that the company has raised more than $24 million at the close of its Series C round of venture funding. The new funds will be used to start initial production of its Aptera Typ-1, a radically different vehicle designed to marry advanced aerodynamics with light-weight composite technology creating an incredibly powerful, yet extremely safe vehicle that is a joy to drive. Additionally, the company plans to use the newly raised funds for a new manufacturing facility located in Vista, Calif., just a short distance from the company's present headquarters in Carlsbad.

Initially they will start selling only in California.

The Aptera Typ-1 will be the most efficient passenger vehicle in the world. The first production models are planned to be available in December 2008 with the production rate increasing throughout 2009. With a coefficient of drag literally one-third of a subcompact car and less than half the weight, the all-electric version will get up to 120 miles per charge, while the hybrid version, which will follow in about 12 months, will achieve close to 300 MPG. With these results, Aptera Motors aims to change the way the world thinks about personal transportation. Interest is already high as Aptera has received over 3,300 deposits from California-only buyers eager to be among the first to drive this new vehicle. With its commitment to efficiency and safety, Aptera Motors is positioned to be a leader in the new era of efficient vehicle design and production. California residents can reserve a vehicle now by placing a fully refundable $500 deposit at www.aptera.com.

Such a high fuel efficiency far surpasses that of motorcycles and even scooters. Will it turn out to be safer than a motorcycle too?

As oil production starts declining we are going to have a lot of options for ways to keep industrial societies functioning. Need to commute distances too long for a pluggable hybrid Chevy Volt? Drive an Aptera. Price will range from $27k to $30k.

How much will the Aptera cost?

The approximate price for the all electric version is $27,000 and the plug-in hybrid $30,000. These prices are subject to change any time before we begin production.

Why are you selling the Aptera only in California?

There are many reasons, including our dedication to seamless customer service. We will not have maintenance centers set up in other states until the expansion of our distribution as well state regulatory issues worked out. We are working hard to make the Aptera available to everyone, but in order for that to happen we need to solve any future contingencies on a regional level.

When are you starting production?

Our goal is to begin production of the all-electric in late 2008 and the hybrid in late 2009.

Aptera says this thing is registered as a motorcycle. Check out the details. But in California they say that a 3 wheeled vehicle does not require a motorcycle license. Plus, since it is enclosed it does not require a helmet. So it is legally classified as a motorcycle. But for practical purposes you can treat it like a car.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 July 27 11:14 PM  Energy Transportation


Comments
Rebecca Withey said at July 28, 2008 7:48 AM:

My husband and I have been following Aptera for the past year. I am eager to see if there will be some way we can "finance" this bad boy (or girl). It's an interesting concept and we'd love to have one.

kerry bradshaw said at July 28, 2008 8:19 AM:

Aptera will go quickly to market for ione, and only one reason - they are
taking advantage of a loophole in the Fed safety regs by making a three
wheeled vehicle, thereby gaining motorcycle status for their vehicle. They
make a lot of meaningless, unsupportable claims about the safety of their
vehicle but the fact that they specifically designed the vehicle in order to
avoid real crash testing tells me that they are in for some huge personal
injury lawsuits. See what happens when these California amateurs start trying to
build automobiles? Look at the mess over at Tesla, a company that claimed they
were "leading the way" in electric vehicles, only to learn that they are
using obsolete 1st generation lithium ion batteries that weren't even designed
with a car in mind. Then the had to learn about transmissions and that held them
up for another 6 months. Then they had to hire some ex-automaker execs to show
them how to get their car thru safety testing by the govt. At this point, Tesla
is years behind schedule, something that didn't stop them from announcing
another product (an "affordable" $50K sedan) that probably will never be
produced. The younger generation is applauding Tesla, apparently for resurrecting
the failed technology of the EV-1.

Alex Walworth said at July 28, 2008 8:39 AM:

kerry bradshaw,

Shut the hell up, you're an idiot, sorry, but your oil money is running out, get over it.

Matthijs said at July 28, 2008 12:07 PM:

Feel free to visit www.apteraforum.com for the latest on the Aptera Typ-1e and Typ-1h

K said at July 28, 2008 1:04 PM:

I prefer to wait and see. Aptera is making a lot of noise. Whether they sell vehicles will be the test.

OTOH, Tesla seems to have solid management, financing, and planning. And a very desired car. The difficulty of starting a car company is always underestimated. They have overcome every problem but do still have a poor battery configuration. That will be fixed.

I think it was wise to go with available batteries rather than pause indefinitely until they could have exactly what they needed. That decision did increase the risk of bad publicity, so they must support their earliest customers very well.

CA is giving Tesla huge subsidies - in various forms - to build a modern factory there. Overall the plant won't cost them anything.

TTT said at July 28, 2008 1:29 PM:

Don't buy one until at least 10,000 units have been sold (which could take 18-24 months or more). This will allow enough of a test of safety, fuel efficiency, reliability, maintenence costs, etc.

After that, then decide if you want one. Don't be the Guinea Pig. Let 10,000 units be tested first.

Wolf-Dog said at July 28, 2008 2:59 PM:

Renault-Nissan will start mass-producing full size 4-door pure electric cars for Portugal and Denmark in 2010, and these will have a range of 100 miles:

http://media.cleantech.com/3075/renault-nissan-to-bring-electric-cars-to-portugal

This is a good start, even though they are not using the best lithium battery. The good thing about electric cars is that the batteries can be upgraded in a few years when better batteries are available. One of the innovations in the Renault-Nissan cars is that instead of charging the battery, the battery can be swapped at the gas stations. Once the range of the car is increased to 200 miles within less than a decade, this would be far more practical.

Joe Bruin said at July 28, 2008 3:54 PM:

I think Tesla did an incredible job to bring an electric car to market. They started from nothing and beat multi-billion dollar companies to market. If the feat were so easy then why doesn't Toyota, Nissan, Honda, GM, or Ford have any cars in production that is technologically advanced as Tesla? I applaud Tesla because they are forcing the big auto makers to innovate or get destroyed. I do not doubt Tesla when they stated their desire is to bring the technology down to the masses. Their progression from high end sports car to high end sedans, to family sedan makes since. Each release has higher and higher volumes which gives them more time to refine their engineering and production capabilities.

Randall Parker said at July 28, 2008 7:00 PM:

kerry bradshaw,

Safety: I totally agree that you give up considerable safety with a vehicle so light. But an Aptera is probably going to be a lot safer than a real motorcycle and lots of people drive them around.

I look at it this way: When gasoline hits $15 per gallon and you have a long commute what choices will you have? A motorcycle will cost less but be more dangerous than an Aptera. Plus, the Aptera will work better in the rain and snow.

Now, if your needed range is shorter then you'll be better off from a safety standpoint with a Chevy Volt. It'll eventually go for a similar price. For most people a 40 mile electric range PHEV will deliver a much better trade-off all considered. But some people will find the Aptera better fits their driving profile. I'm thinking of people who drive 60 miles each way in the country. That's not a lot of people. But probably enough to support a car like this one.

Alex Walworth,

Act more mature in future posts or I will delete them.

TTT,

I think there'll be plenty of first adopters. They've already got over 3300 deposits. For some people $30k is small change and they want to be the first to be seen driving one around.

Wolf-Dog, Joe Bruin,

My skepticism about these small car companies is that car design is very non-trivial and car production ditto. At the same time, GM has the Volt coming and a bunch of other car companies are joining in. Carlos Ghosn has both Renault and Nissan going down the the electric car development path. As soon as the batteries are ready many established makers will pile on.

RP said at July 28, 2008 7:27 PM:

I'm glad Alex Walworth said what I was going to say.

As for safety, the Aptera would be orders of magnitude safer if it didn't have to share the road with 5000 lb SUVs. We should thank God there are people actually thinking about solutions instead of standing at the sidelines sniping at the limitations inherent in all pioneering technologies.

Nick G said at July 29, 2008 4:27 PM:

"When gasoline hits $15 per gallon and you have a long commute what choices will you have?"

This PHEV conversion wouldn't be bad.

cb said at August 3, 2008 4:13 AM:

"As for safety, the Aptera would be orders of magnitude safer if it didn't have to share the road with 5000 lb SUVs."

The reason we drive heavy vehicles (way to exaggerate there; the GMC 2500 diesel suburban is only 3/4 ton, and that's got to be twice as heavy as the gasoline 1500) is because there really are multi-ton eighteen-wheelers out there -- and sometimes we have to drive where the big rigs outnumber the rest of us. Insurance coverage can not prevent injuries and fatalities, but a massive steel frame can. I'll go with the latter and pay for the safety over loss of efficiency.

Nick G said at August 3, 2008 5:20 PM:

cb,

SUV's are not safer than sedans. They roll over, they have bad visibility.

They're not safer - that's just advertising and wishful thinking.

cb said at August 3, 2008 7:50 PM:

Nick G,

Suburbans are not SUVs. They have a lower center of mass, have excellent visibility, and have safer frames than any consumer vehicle I know of.

(Though I may have underestimated the weight in my last comment: 2500s can be two tons.)

Nick G said at August 4, 2008 3:36 PM:

cb,

I can understand how you feel. On the other hand, a suburban makes the road less safe for smaller vehicles. Which causes more deaths by hitting smaller vehicles (and pedestrians): eighteen-wheelers or light trucks (SUVs, pickups and Suburbans)?? I'd put my money on the small trucks, by a big margin.

Nick G said at August 4, 2008 3:59 PM:

cb,

Also, I could be wrong, but I don't think the laws of physics support the idea that a Suburban is significantly safer in a crash with a semi. The smaller vehicle gets the brunt of the collision, and I don't think the difference in weight between a suburban and a sedan would make that much difference in the proportion of kinetic energy: IOW, a sedan would absorb 95% of it's kinetic energy delta in a frontal collision, and a Suburban would absorb 90% - not much difference.

What would make the difference is the safety design, and that's not a matter of size.

Nick G said at August 4, 2008 4:12 PM:

cb,

Finally, I'm curious - how does one describe a Suburban, if it's not an SUV?

Randall Parker said at August 4, 2008 6:20 PM:

cb,

Suburbans are classified as SUVs.

Suburbans have a far higher center of gravity that passenger cars. Sure, GM has done engineering that has somewhat lowered their center of gravity. But a tall vehicle made on a truck frame has a high center of gravity. Check out the 3 star rollover ratings for the 2008 Chevy Suburban.

Nick G,

As long as it doesn't roll over you are safer in the Suburban. But everyone else is less safe.

What I'd like to see: tax trucks accurately for the amount of wear they cause highways. Then more stuff would get shipped by rail and we'd be less at risk from trucks.

Nick G said at August 4, 2008 6:40 PM:

"As long as it doesn't roll over you are safer in the Suburban"

hmm. Isn't that a big caveat? And are they really as much safer in impact as people think? After all, size only matters when hitting another vehicle of roughly the same size or less: hit a semi, tree, or wall, and you suffer the same consequences as a sedan. And, you're not invulnerable even with another light vehicle. I'd be curious about stats.

"tax trucks accurately "

I agree. Also, tax diesel as heavily as gasoline, add carbon taxes, and charge for the lost property taxes caused by public highways.

cb said at August 4, 2008 9:13 PM:

Nick G: I don't know what one should call them, but I know that the category of suburban (and the vans and trucks they can be compared to) came before the differently-shaped elarged-Jeep-ish SUV vehicles, except for the Land Rover (which probably beats both except for frame massiveness). So when people hear "SUV" they tend to assume it excludes things that came out before that term was popularized, and I don't blame them.

RP: That link didn't work for me (and that government site is nearly unusable and without data for most years' suburbans; and the one I did find had most blanks empty and just a 4/5 rating without comment on what that means), but this and this have at least a little safety data on one of the common models. They basically say it's "above average" on a couple of dimensions, and untested on everything else. I wonder if that had something specifically to do with how it's classified.

"But everyone else is less safe."
I don't think I can accept that; but if I and my family are more safe (I think we are) and I'm not even involved in wrecks (I haven't been when in a suburban so far), then I don't care. At some point me and mine come before everybody else. If everything weren't so heavily regulated, we'd actually be able to see where the market failure lies. Until that happens, new regulations keep piling logs on the fire.

"tax trucks"
I was under the impression that there were some sort of existing road taxes somewhere in the US on big rigs carrying freight, but I searched briefly and couldn't find anything to support that. Though I might have been thinking of licensing issues, which may incorporate some of that thinking. In any case, large trucks (which I think of as Class C license or bigger) do indeed tear up the roads -- especially residential non-highway routes they insist on using -- and a tax on commercial road use makes sense.


I'd love to drive a tiny ATV that qualifies as a motorcycle, but I'd have to work to change my routes. Jelly-bean cars pulling out in front of me barely see my suburban's huge backside, so what would make them see something even smaller than they are? (Summary: technology and laws restricting technology are not the answer; skill is.)

Nick G said at August 5, 2008 10:17 AM:

""everyone else is less safe. - I don't think I can accept that"

Ah, but why? Is that just wishful thinking?

"At some point me and mine come before everybody else."

That's perfectly rational, for your individual situation. It's also a very clear, very strong argument for regulation, to reduce the overall risk for everyone.

"If everything weren't so heavily regulated, we'd actually be able to see where the market failure lies. "

The market failure is quite clear: the SUV CAFE loophole wasn't closed when it should have been, due to industry resistance, thus making overpowered "sport" utility vehicles possible. It's easier to charge high prices for larger vehicles, so Detroit had an incentive to fool people into thinking that SUV's were safer, and generally make SUV's fashionable.

Nick G said at August 5, 2008 10:24 AM:

"It's easier to charge high prices for larger vehicles"

Also, of course, Detroit had an advantage in already having the infrastructure to make trucks, so they were cheap to make. So, they had low costs and high prices - a strong incentive to promote SUV's.

cb said at August 5, 2008 2:52 PM:

"so Detroit had an incentive to fool people into thinking that SUV's were safer, and generally make SUV's fashionable."

Maybe so, but the heavy pickup frame in the long Suburban speaks for itself (which is part of the reason the distinction is important: SUVs seem to usually be based on light trucks).

Nick G said at August 5, 2008 3:09 PM:

"the heavy pickup frame in the long Suburban speaks for itself "

I'm not sure why. Going from a sedan to an SUV based on a light truck gives you more weight. If it doesn't give more safety, why would adding even more weight do so?

I suppose you might get a bit more crash resistance, without adding more rollover risk, but the difference seems pretty marginal. Personally, I'd prefer to have fewer personal tanks on the road.

Sione said at June 4, 2010 11:31 PM:

Nick G

There was no market failure. The failure was with the moronic notions behind CAFE in the first place.

CAFE forced the gradual elimination of the traditional full framed US car. People moved into trucks and vans and utility vehicles to get back the size, suitability for task and adaptibility they wanted. They also sought the ability to deal with decaying roads and severe winter conditions- compacts and hatch-backs and other economy cars encounter problems with the duty cycles and applications that were sought. Detroit responded by refining and civilising what were vehicles originally intended for commercial operations.

No-one was forced to buy from Detroit, but buy they did. Every truck, van etc. that Detroit built was sold. People wanted them.

The real problem lies with deluded idiots who think they "know better" what people "should" want and what people "should do". These self appointed towers of corrupt political and bureaucratic idiocy (all suckling from the state nipple on OPM* one way or another) demand that all people be coerced or forced by any means to do as they prescribe. Too bad if anyone has different values, opinions or ideas.

IF people want to purchase a light weight compact vehicle they can. Leave the rest alone to do as they want. It's their money.

By the way, I like the loo of the Aptera. Give it about 220 bhp and it should be really good fun.

Sione


*OPM = other people's money

Nick G said at June 6, 2010 7:57 PM:

CAFE forced the gradual elimination of the traditional full framed US car.

Sione, do you have any documentation for that? I'd be very curious to see it. As far as I can tell, station wagons were still available during all of that period.

Leave the rest alone to do as they want. It's their money.

Reliance on free Markets is always best, but external costs have to be factored into our accounting. The US is spending $500B more per year for military and homeland security because of our involvement in the ME. CO2 and other pollution have large costs as well.

Sione said at June 8, 2010 2:06 AM:

Nick

I still have some of the notes, discussion briefs, contracts, plans, project outlines etc. My operation contracted to a T-1 supplier for many years. We were told what was happening and why and we watched as the types of components and sub-assemblies we were asked to develop altered to suit the revised vehicle mix. Full frame sedans were allowed to wither away.

Whenever visting the USA it was possible to see the model spread evolve. By the end (which was about 12 months ago) the full frame car was only available as a four door sedan. The suspension was a soggy mess (it didn't need to be). The engine was a weakling (it didn't need to be). Some key production tooling dated back to 1978 so detail specification was less than satisfactory (that didn't need to be). None of this needed to be except for the requirement to game the regs. What was going on was that the manufacturers slowly abandoned this design variant as it was expensive from a CAFE point view. Utilising truck platforms was a "regs cheaper" means to satisfy customer demand without falling foul of those silly regulations. Full frame cars were not developed further so as to render them unappealing beyond a specific core market (retirees, conservatives, fleet use such as taxis etc.). That kept the numbers well within check and avoided the penalties that otherwise would have been incurred.

We worked on a prototype full-frame sedan that was as good as a Mercedes S-class in terms of NVH, performance, ride and approached it for handling ability (couldn't quite get the handling as good as the Merc but we did exceed its road-holding performance in certain circumstances and our car had better steering feel and response). The customer (a US manufacturer) said no way. They couldn't offer the car in that form, as if the sales did as well as was expected CAFE would become an issue for them. Car was dropped from forward development so we put a real good engine in there and kept it for fun. It easily seats six and has room for all their luggage. If you wanted to purchase something useful like that in the USA these days the closest you can get is a truck SUV thing. Those do not handle. NVH is not that good. Comfort is average. Ride is weird (OK, poor). Performance (depending on model) is surprisingly good, especially when you consider that these things weigh appreciably more than a car. The demand was there and it was very profitable to make them, but now the govt has added a new distortion set. This time it is unlikey the US domestics will find any work around. This time they are not expected to survive into the long term unless purchased by another entity (likely an off-shore outfit- say goodbye to the Big Two).

In my view such vehicles as truckie SUV things are inept and unsafe. Still, if it's a choice between that or nothing that suits the customer's demands, guess what happens....

-

Reliance on free market is exactly as you say, ALWAYS best. Always means ALWAYS, every time. Apply that consistently.

The US military adventure across the whole globe costs well over 1-trillion per year. That wealth is coercively expropriated from US residents and others by various means. Then it is consumed in the business, ultimately, of committing acts of violence upon other people. This is hardly a free market activity. It has nothing to do with freedom. Rather than eliminating the free market (and freedom in general) with yet more government action, it would be superior to abide by the advice of your great forefathers. For example, President Washington spoke on this subject. He corresponded with his colleagues regarding its import as well. His advice was not to engage in off-shore military entanglements and adventures...

The term "externalities" is a handy catch-all used by greedy fraudsters who seek means to disguise coercive expropriations of resources from other people to themselves or to their pet projects. Best policy is to leave people to make their own voluntary choices. IN the presence of adequately defined property rights "externalities" are internalised, factored into transactions between parties.

As for CO2 being a pollutant- that's nonsense. The notion is based on common frauds including but not limited to standard academic rorting.

Cheers

Sione

Nick G said at June 8, 2010 10:35 AM:

Sione,

I agree - the manufacturers gamed the regulatory system with trucks, and this was a poor result. OTOH, this loophole could have been closed, and would have been if not for excessive influence by the car industry.

I agree about the military adventure. It was in large part the result of an out of control presidency which deceived the media, the congress and the public. Again, more democracy would have helped prevent it: a stronger, more independent press, a more independent congress, and more involved voters.

Regarding externalities - you don't believe pollution is a real problem? How could it be handled by competitive private companies, whose legal responsibility is to ignore the public good? Could you give specific examples?

Regarding CO2 - I assume you're not a climatologist. So, on whose research/analysis do you rely?

Sione said at June 8, 2010 1:44 PM:

Nick

The manufacturers reponded to their customers. It was the customers who switched over to truck platforms to regain the utility that was being withdrawn due to government interference. The manufacturers reponded to demand pull exactly as they should have. Had the domestic US manufacturers not done as they did, or had they been unable to, they would have all bankrupted decades ago.

The military adventure has been going on for far far longer than merely the last Bush presidency. The costs are immense.

I'll respond to your remaining two questions when I get back to the office later on today.

Cheers

Sione

Sione said at June 8, 2010 7:07 PM:

Nick

Pollution is a problem of damage done to the property or person of an individual. It is only when the property rights of an individual (or several individuals) is assaulted that a real problem exists. The means of addressing this I've outlined (briefly) in another thread in response to an enquiry you made there, so I'll avoid repeating it for the moment.

In the present situation in the government has set itself up as the final arbiter of permissions over all property and all people. In practice this means that individual rights are not recognised. One consequence is that those who align or ingratiate themselves with the government can obtain legal priviledge to do as they please with other people's property. Hence, for example, it is possible for me to poison your water supply should I have legal permission and indemnification to so do. All I need is a govt granted permission and your rights are extinct.

Note that BP appears to have a government mandated legal limit for remedying accidental oil spill damage to other people's property of some US$75-million. Unless it can be proven that BP's actions were reckless or wanton and deliberate, BP is not legally obliged to pay out more than US$75-million in compensation in cumulative total. Important to notice is that those whose property or livelyhood is presently under threat, or actually being damaged, had nothing to do with that legislative deal. They were not party to it and yet they are irrevocably bound to it..... Their property and person is not the subject of the application and defense of their individual rights, but rather of arbitrary permissions. Good luck to them in being made whole again! Perhaps the government and BP will renegotiate the deal in order to get some PR spin out of this affair. Still, it's a totally flawed approach which in the end will simply move distortions and costs around a little, but nothing will change and little will be solved. Until the next time then....

In order to eliminate these sorts of troublesome situations the best policy is to make each person strictly liable for the consequences of their actions and the damage they cause to others (should they so do). Of course, this requires the accuser to make and prove his case. That is, he must demonstrate proof of claim of damage done. That is a reasonable requirement as it filters out malingerers, fraudsters and the like at source.

-
In my business I am well aware of the need to avoid damaging other people's property (or other people for that matter). I don't want to attract a bad reputation. I don't want people to avoid doing business with me. Pretty much every entrepreneur I have personal dealings with is exactly the same in that regard, with the exception of those who gain special priviledge by ingratiating themselves with government power.


-
I'm not a climatologist. My position on global warming is based on fact such as:

-since 1998 global climate has cooled
-no proof for anthropogenic global warming has been produced
-no-one has yet been able to demonstrate thorough understanding of how the atmosphere operates and what determines the climate
-violation of the second law of thermodynamics by climate models drafted and prepared to promote the AGW theory
-AGW is the justification for a political movement which relies on a collectivist model long since discredited
-development of AGW has not been conducted according to the scietific method
-recently evidence has come to the public domain which demonstrates the entire AGW business was little more than a funding rort
-most of the climate data utilised by AGW pimps is innacurate or flawed

There is plenty more but that will suffice for now.

Back to work for me now- have to go and earn a living!

Cheers

Sione

Nick G said at June 9, 2010 10:02 AM:

Sione,

So your remedies for pollution would be civil lawsuits, and business owner fear of loss of reputation or loss of business? So, if I get asthma from coal pollution, I have to sue the utility? Would you allow contingency and clas-action suits? I assume that you disagree with the general desire of the business community to limit lawsuits, and would allow unlimited liability for all things? How would you deal with limited liability corporations, which by definition limit liability?

Regarding climate: you haven't answered the question. If you're not a climatologist then you're taking those points from someone else's authority or analysis. So, who are you relying on?

Regarding the "military adventure" - you didn't really address my point. By 1995 US military spending was at it's lowest point since WWII. Since then it's roughly doubled, and this was due to a US presidency that deceived the media, the legislature and the public. It was a classic example of autocracy, which needs to be restrained by an expansion of involvement by the media, the legislature and the public. IOW, we need more democracy to prevent these kinds of things.

Nick G said at June 9, 2010 10:10 AM:

Sione, a couple more questions:

Pretty much every entrepreneur I have personal dealings with is exactly the same in that regard, with the exception of those who gain special priviledge by ingratiating themselves with government power.

How does "special priviledge by ingratiating themselves with government power" protect a business owner from loss of reputation, or loss of business?

How do you feel about anti-trust?

Who would administer civil courts, if not a government with final authority over property, etc?

Finally, are you following a philosophy or general group of ideas with a name, or is this your eclectic set of ideas?

Sione said at June 9, 2010 1:38 PM:

Nick

If you were able to prove that damage to your person or your property was caused by another then you are in the position to make demand upon that other to cease and desist from their action and to make you whole.

A limited liabilty company is limited only in the sense that the sum total of resources available to it for the remediation of damage is its capital, assets etc. It is not possible to hold those whose sole contribution to the company was to invest in it (by purchasing equity) liable for the actions of management or employees. For example, say you are a passive investor holding a significant equity position in BP, that fact would not make you personally liable for the damages to other people's person & property caused by the accident in the Gulf. Were you an employee who enagaged in a wanton act of recklessness which caused damage to others, then you would be personally liable (possibly for criminal as well as civil sanction- it would depend upon the specifics of the action you took). The limitation of liability is itself limited.

Re Anthropogenic Global Warming
I rely on myself. I'm well read on the subject and have personal experience with it. I don't intend to reproduce my library or list of correspondants and colleagues here. That would be a major undertaking.

Anthropogenic global warming ideology really started to become most influential at about the time I held a senior position in the R&D office of a major university. I was able to gain access to a lot of material and ask questions about it. It soon became clear that there were problems with the conduct of the "science" of AGW. There was also significant academic rorting. That in itself was not new. Most academics are low achievers of average ability, but cursed with the cunning and immorality that comes with over-inflated egos attendant an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Rules, including morality and honesty, are for others. What was new was the rapidity that the rorting gained higher magnitude than previously experienced. Staff who had been working in the university sector for decades prior to my time uniformly commented on the changing conduct of academics, in particular those associated or involved in AGW or AGW related "work". This wasn't only happening at my university either.

Another newly experienced effect was the extreme venom and hostility applied against anyone who dared to ask questions. Questioning from first principles was severely discouraged. Even undergraduate students who were unfortunate enough to ask questions that were unable to be adequately addressed got trouble. Some were threatened. An interesting thing was how quickly this culture was imported into the university from outside sources. It became clear what our institution was experiencing was the sharp end of an ideological campaign. It was also soon evident that much research into non-AGW topics could not get funded unless the researcher added an AGW element (which naturally enough had to support the contention that AGW was real). This was all political stuff and nothing to do with the scientific method or seeking truth, fact of reality. It was corrupt and corrupting. That was cause for suspicion and elevated interest in what was going on.

About this time a few colleagues and I analysed several climate models being run on the university IT network. I already suspected that there were issues with AGW theories (there were big unanswered questions and much evidence which opposed it), but the violation of the 2nd law pretty much did it in for me. From that point I knew it was unscientific, an arbitrary blind faith. What I discovered subsequently confirmed that conclusion. Amongst later occurances was the distribution of a "patch" that attempted to get out of the 2nd law violation. In so doing it introduced other problems (like a zeroth law violation for one). Imagine my surprise when a few years later I came across the same patch in the latest greatest climate model in the UK! Then again, most of these climate "science" guys don't understand thermo.

Anyway, since then there has been a lot more information entering the public domain. Hard data that hasn't been tampered takes some effort to come by, but it is available (I've been lucky to have colleagues still working in positions where they can access such material). The serial acts of dishonesty and rorting by some senior AGW "research" figures have now been revealed. Shortcomings of the silly assumptions, fabricated research, faulty reasoning of AGW theorists and their immoral behaviour is available. Lately there has even been a review that concludes that none of the AGW arguments and postulations is defendible.

When I first started training in science and technology my professor said that one must always start from first principles and make enquiry from there. He was wary of assumptions and took the time to note what they were in each instance before proceding further. My best teacher added to this. He said that one must always provide proof for one's assertions. In its absence all one possesses is arbitrary claim, faith and assertion. My enquiry leads to the necessary conclusion that presently AGW theory does not make the grade.

Re military adventure
If you check the historical record you'll find that the US military has a presence in over 100 countries. Is this what the founding fathers of your country envisaged? One would have thought that they were against the notion of an empire. Washington, for all his failings, was clear on the direction to take.

Democracy is no solution. A majority can and will vote away individual rights of a minority, particularly when the minority is weaker. See again my comments regarding those gang members at Hapu St. They really did conduct a vote prior to setting forth.

Counting heads without regard for the content of those heads is not a viable solution.

More later, as I have to head off now.

Sione

-


-

Sione said at June 10, 2010 4:39 AM:

Nick

OK. I have a little free time now until things get busy up around here again in a little while.

The point regarding the military adventure is that it isn't an "externality" which needs to be paid for by coercively expropriating value from people. Eliminate the adventures of empire and it is not necessary to force people to pay for it.

By the way democracy, media and public approbation have never conrolled the welfare/warfare state and the initiation of war. Indeed they remain instrumental in providing powerful support for the mongering and lust for the emotionally purging violence of "good" war. Recall that at the time of the 2nd invasion of Iraq there was overwhelming media and public support. Now, on it lingers, soon to become worse it would seem. Democrats once said they'd end it, only to become indistinguishable from the Republicans whose regime preceded theirs. Vote and get yee to war.

There is a book by Han Herman Hoppe called "Democracy- the God that Failed." Worth taking a look at that one you'll find. Meanwhile the writings of the Roosevelts (both Presidents) are reference for a background read. Teddy tends to capture the baseness of the war adventure sentiment more concisely while R2 is merely brutish. There is a good quote that war is the health of the state. Think on it.

-

Re special priviledge.
There are many varieties. A tariff upon competitors is the most obvious. There have also been many examples of implementation of "standards" and regulations designed to erect barriers to entry for competitors. The medical profession is but one example of the approach and the great pharmas even more so. Then there are government contracts many of which allow massive overprice and huge boondoggles while others involve the manufacture of articles of no civilised utility whatsoever- all good for the contractor and all paid for by soaking the citizen. Then there are the permissions that allow destruction and damage to others by limitation or elimination of their ability to seek redress or remedy for harm done. Then there are direct subsidies, such as those to the producers of corn syrup and even sugar (can you believe how big that one is) all of it paid by soaking... guess who.

I shouldn't have equated those who engage in such strategies with entrepreneurs. Although the term "government entrepreneurs" is often used for those using state pull to gain value or advantage, it is more accurate to call this class mercantilists, cronies or even rortists. They share the characteristic of acting to obtain value by negating the rights of others in some manner. As for reputation, yes they are concerned about that to the point where they generally work carefully enough to draw attention away from the fundamental of what they are doing. Nevertheless they are not as vulnerable to reputational issues as is a private citizen or entrepreneur.

-

Anti-trust legislation is a needlessly harmful distortion of the free market. A monopoly can only survive as the result of government action anyway so there is no real need for it.

-

The administration of civil courts or arbitration tribunal or similar arrangements can be a private affair. It could also be governmental, assuming that said government was restricted to the provision of the defense of individual rights and no other function.

-

I am Capitalist. That requires consistent support for Individual Rights and opposition of coercive collectivism such as socialism etc.


Sione


Sione said at June 10, 2010 5:04 AM:

Returning to Aptera

Visiting their site got me interested in three wheeling again. I went to get the Morgan out this evening but couldn't get it started. It's my fault for leaving it at the back of the lock-up unused for much too much too long.

Three wheelers are good fun and a good one can be extremely quick (like VFQ fast). My one is a replica with a big twin out front. I probably should get a Japper engine for it as Brit ones are high maintenance and sometimes not ideal from the reliability point of view. Also I am getting too old for manual starting. My daughter reckons I should put a Guzzi there but perhaps a V-Max from the wreckers would be better (much more power and a lot more modern with cheaper spare parts if required). There are bound to be several available as changing weather always biffs a few people down the road at about this time of year. But a new engine would need a revised power-train and that would need some design work and hey presto we have el grande project to do!

I wonder whether it is possible to get enough battery in the Aptera for decent performance and range. I reckon it only needs about 100 km or so. Oh OK then, perhaps 110 km. But acceleration would have to be startling. Viscious even.

It may be that small and light is not really the way to go with electric vehicles after all. I was always interested in the Eliica from Japan. Perhaps the best approach is to build large vehicles for battery power. Although the payload gets smaller, there is far more room for battery and hence performance/range could be significantly improved. Where is the tradeoff? Not in roadholding or handling, as there is definately the room to put the battery pack nice and low. In this case the drawback would be the matter of cost and some utility. Think expensive. Fast heavy non-conventional stuff always ends up being that way, so no-one would be too surprised surely.

Sione

Nick G said at June 10, 2010 10:53 AM:

It is not possible to hold those whose sole contribution to the company was to invest in it (by purchasing equity) liable for the actions of management or employees.

This makes a tort system ineffective as a system for deterring pollution, and the risks/rewards highly asymettric. Why would we use such as system for pollution, and not for robbery?

I don't intend to reproduce my library or list of correspondants and colleagues here. That would be a major undertaking.

Doesn't that conflict with: "My best teacher...said that one must always provide proof for one's assertions. In its absence all one possesses is arbitrary claim, faith and assertion."?

I'd be curious to see an extended discussion/analysis of your claims. If you want them taken seriously, you should start a blog of your own (it only takes a few minutes) and provide the evidence, analysis and discussion.

Democracy is no solution. A majority can and will vote away individual rights of a minority, particularly when the minority is weaker.

Of course. Democracy is just better than any other solution. Autocracy causes inferior decision making and corruption.

The point regarding the military adventure is that it isn't an "externality" which needs to be paid for by coercively expropriating value from people. Eliminate the adventures of empire and it is not necessary to force people to pay for it.

Ah, but the root problem is the cost of loss of control of a crucial resource. I would certainly argue that an aggressive program to prevent dependence (via substitutes) would have been far cheaper. The straightforward solution would have been a heavy oil-consumption tax to properly allocate the cost of this security problem. It would have reduced consumption and developed substitutes.

By the way democracy, media and public approbation have never conrolled the welfare/warfare state and the initiation of war.

Sure they have - we just don't hear about such wars, because they didn't happen. News media, legislators and voters have enormous power - the fact that they can be bought or fooled doesn't change that. I agree that our institutions of democracy are far too weak. The solution, of course, is to strengthen them.

Re special priviledge....Nevertheless they are not as vulnerable to reputational issues as is a private citizen or entrepreneur.

Earlier, you suggested that a fear of loss of reputation would be a serious deterrent to such things as pollution. Now, a crony capitalist only has to worry about it's patrons, but what about those large entities whose primary client is not government? I see very little sign that reputational concerns are anywhere near the same order of magnitude as the profits to be made for not worrying about pollution.

A monopoly can only survive as the result of government action.

I boggle at that assertion. What about Standard Oil, or IBM? Even Adam Smith didn't believe that.

The administration of civil courts or arbitration tribunal or similar arrangements can be...governmental, assuming that said government was restricted to the provision of the defense of individual rights and no other function.

Final authority over property disputes means a government with final authority over property, right?

I am Capitalist.

You realize that doesn't really give me useful information, right?

I wonder whether it is possible to get enough battery in the Aptera for decent performance and range.

Have you looked at the latest li-ion batteries, like A123systems? Take a look at the Kill-A-Cycle.

Sione said at June 10, 2010 1:19 PM:

Nick

"This makes a tort system ineffective as a system for deterring pollution,...etc."
How so?

"Doesn't that conflict with: etc."
No. I possess the necessary evidence.

I've already provided you a short list of established fact sufficient to demonstrate that AGW theory as presently promoted does not correspond with reality. That's not assertion, it's a list of fact.

I note your enquiry was directed at whose analysis I supposedly "rely" on, not on my means of coming to that conclusion, nor the conclusion itself. Your use of a rhetorical substitution is noted.

"Democracy is just better than any other solution."
An excellent example of a baseless assertion! For a review of why Democracy isn't the best solution Hans Herman Hoppe's, "Democracy- the God that Failed" offers plenty to consider.

"Ah, but the root problem is the cost of loss of control of a crucial resource. I would certainly argue that an aggressive program to prevent dependence (via substitutes) would have been far cheaper. The straightforward solution would have been a heavy oil-consumption tax to properly allocate the cost of this security problem. It would have reduced consumption and developed substitutes."
Control of the resource by whom? Who should have "control" of it? Why is that? More importantly, whose property is it?

When you say that you certainly agree that an aggressive program to prevent dependence would have been far cheaper, I confirm that I do not agree with such a course of action if it is undertaken by government coercion and compulsion. A heavy tax is nothing other than theft by another name. It is the negation of individual rights. Again, there is no need to compulsorily soak people for the cost of a military adventure if there isn't a military adventure to generate the costs in the first place. Interestingly enough, what you are supporting is a severe distortion of the market (of every individual's decision making and action) and the establishment of special priviledges for some at the expense of others. Rort alert! Rort alert!

"Sure they have - we just don't hear about such wars, because they didn't happen. News media, legislators and voters have enormous power - the fact that they can be bought or fooled doesn't change that. I agree that our institutions of democracy are far too weak. The solution, of course, is to strengthen them."
Circularity!
News media, legislators and voters overwhelmingly supported the initiation of the war. They were not "fooled." They were willing participants and collaborators. Very few had the courage or integrity to examine the situation with honesty, let alone oppose it publically. Those that did faced opprobrium and cruel sanction. I note that the situation presently is that these same "fooled" media and legislators and voters are still being "fooled" as the so-called "opponents" of the war continue to prosecute it. Being "fooled" must be a permanent state of existence for the majority...... aint democracy sweet, a head count of the "fooled".

"Earlier, you suggested that a fear of loss of reputation would be a serious deterrent to such things as pollution. Now, a crony capitalist only has to worry about it's patrons, but what about those large entities whose primary client is not government?"
So long as they are able to secure special priviledge and permission from the government it does not matter who their customers are. The issue is that they have obtained a permission that allows them to obliterate other people's rights when it suits.

"I see very little sign that reputational concerns are anywhere near the same order of magnitude as the profits to be made for not worrying about pollution." If your profits are protected by government issued indemnities, regulations, standards and legislation etc., then you are not going to be allocating much attention to the damage you are imposing upon others. It isn't a priority. On the other hand, if you are a private concern, operating independent of government, strictly liable for your actions, then your profit absolutely depends upon you not causing damage to others. That's a significant motivation for concern. I know by direct experience that it affects how I conduct my operation.

"I boggle at that assertion. What about Standard Oil, or IBM? Even Adam Smith didn't believe that."
You need to avoid boggling and get an eduction in basic economics then. For a specific analysis of anti-trust legislation try Dominic Armento, "Anti-Trust and Monopoly."

"Final authority over property disputes means a government with final authority over property, right?"
Not necessarily. Some minarchists would argue that it does. Others would state that a final authority resides with the individual subject only to a codification of individual rights, breach those and then government can be allowed to step in to resolve a situation. Others maintain that only in the case of direct agreement or direct assent from individuals can final authority devolve to a government (that is, each individual grants permission). Anarchists, of course, maintain that there is no requirement for government at all. Some support the evolution of private arrangements for the protection of individual rights and the resolution of disputes etc. Interesting commentary is to be found in the writings of Lysander Spooner and Murray Rothbard should you wish to pursue this topic.


"You realize that doesn't really give me useful information, right?"
Well, I could have put Liberal, but that term has long been hijacked by socialists and various other collectivist rabble so it wouldn't have conveyed the political ideology I favour. Had I written Anarchist, that wouldn't have been very helpful either. It beings up images of long haired Bohemian bomb chuckers! So if you are after information about my political ideology you'll need to refer to Prof Reisman's text-book, "Capitalism". It's a good overview of economics and encapsulates most of the economic system I support. Take a good detailed read of that one. It is an important work.

Sione

Sione said at June 10, 2010 3:06 PM:

Nick

Re batteries
I know about those ones. Promising.

Lately I came across a Chinese lithium-iron (iron, as in the metal) battery. I asked for some samples to have a play. It would be fun to see what they can do.

The recently "reinvented" metal-air cells (such as aluminium-air and lithium-air) are really interesting. Perhaps the one-shot type will be the best. That would require significant new infrastructure, but much less than with the recharables.

I once had some small lithium- carbon-monofluoride batteries. They were not bad and seemed to offer promise. Turns out there were problems though and I haven't come across so many since then.

Re cars
All in all, batteries are pretty hopeless for cars right now. Expensive. Limited utility. Reliability issues. Safety concerns. Complexity. Maintenance issues. Insurance issues. Mass. Repairability and re-use headaches. Performance restrictions. They really require an enthusiastic, sympathetic and commited owner to work their best. This restricts them to modest niches- a state of affairs likely to persist for some time. On the other hand, they do have some interesting attributes which could be exploited in the right vehicle. A large luxury sedan or coupe with reduced payload fraction may well be the best application and hence offer the best market opportunity. I'm keen to see the Fisker when it comes out. A direct comparison against the latest iteration of the Eliica would be revealing. Is bigger and heavier a better design avenue for battery electric after all?

Sione

Nick G said at June 10, 2010 3:51 PM:

Chinese lithium-iron (iron, as in the metal) battery.

Hmmm - just iron, not li-iron phosphate? Do you have a link? What's the cost per kWh?

Yes, I'm very curious about metal-air cells. Li-air seems a bit combustible - I'm told zinc-air might be better.

batteries are pretty hopeless for cars right now. Expensive. Limited utility. Reliability issues. Safety concerns. Complexity. Maintenance issues. Insurance issues. Mass. Repairability and re-use headaches. Performance restrictions.

I think the reliability, safety, maintenance, insurance, repairability and re-use issues have been pretty well resolved. Range, performance, mass and cost issues still remain for pure EVs, but are resolved by an EREV design, like the Volt. An EREV reduces fuel consumption by 90% over a conventional US vehicle - that's good enough.

Nick G said at June 10, 2010 4:45 PM:

"This makes a tort system ineffective as a system for deterring pollution,...etc." - How so?

As I said, the risks/rewards become highly asymmetric: a subsidiary corporation can hold all of the risk, and the parent corporation, or the investors, can take all of the profit. Again, why would we use such as system for pollution, and not for robbery?

"Doesn't that conflict with: etc." - No. I possess the necessary evidence.

Remember your teacher: one must always provide proof for one's assertions.

I've already provided you a short list of established fact sufficient to demonstrate that AGW theory as presently promoted does not correspond with reality. That's not assertion, it's a list of fact.

Until you provide some kind of evidence, analysis and discussion, it's just an assertion.

I note your enquiry was directed at whose analysis I supposedly "rely" on, not on my means of coming to that conclusion, nor the conclusion itself. Your use of a rhetorical substitution is noted.

No, no substitute. If you feel competent to do the analysis and exposition, that's great. But...you haven't done it yet. Not publically.

Hoppe

I took a quick look - more detail will take longer, of course. Oddly, he seems to assume agreement on a lot of premises which I find unrealistic, like that lower fertility is bad, or that war has become larger in the 20th century, that 20th Century inflation is bad (or at least worse than the recurrent deflations of the 19th), or that government services like Social Security are inherently bad.

Control of the resource by whom?

By it's consumers, of course. Oil has been a weapon of war many times, and the US is understandably concerned about that. Such dependence has a cost. I would argue that the straightforward solution is to avoid such critical dependence by developing alternatives. Please note that I'm not arguing that military intervention is the right solution.

Rort alert!

My understanding is that's an Australian colloquialism. I was willing to look it up, but it's inconvenient to anyone reading. I don't know if we have an audience in this case, but in future you might want to find something more universal.

News media, legislators and voters overwhelmingly supported the initiation of the war.

Not really. Some of the votes met real resistance, at least briefly. There's no question that ultimately most opposition "rolled over", but not all. " You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time".

Wars have declined greatly under democracy: 1) both WWI and WWII were started and perpetuated by autocrats. 2) WWI and WWII were smaller proportionately than previous wars, and 3) current wars are truly tiny by historical standards.

So long as they are able to secure special priviledge and permission from the government it does not matter who their customers are. The issue is that they have obtained a permission that allows them to obliterate other people's rights when it suits.

That means that fear of reputation alone isn't enough to deter them.

I should think that under current US law that companies would be required to maximize shareholder profits in the absence of standard regulations - I would anticipate shareholder lawsuits against companies that voluntarily incurred costs to reduce pollution voluntarily. Further, you'd see a competitive race to the bottom, where anyone who chose voluntarily not to pollute would go out of business.

Sione said at June 14, 2010 1:17 AM:

Nick

Yes indeed. They are lithium iron phosphate. I've been listening to a Hong Kong buyer who reckons they are ace. If those batteries are any good it would be worth going to see the manufacturer direct. I wonder who it actually is. Perhaps that might not be easy.

Unfortunately the drawbacks of battery electrics are nowhere near resolved. Even hybrids are blighted with "be careful" issues. That's why an unsympathetic owner won't get the best performance, let alone reasonable behaviour, out of them. They can be (and often are) an expensive, low performing, poor utility proposition.

Already there are hybrid cars coming through the auctions at bargain prices due to battery or related electrical system troubles. In each case they sell at steep discount. New battery packs and/or electrical repairs are expensive. Most of these vehicles are not worth the cost to put right, unless you are an enthusiast and have the skills to do it for yourself or can find someone who will do it for you at best mates rates. I expect that the vast majority of these cars (only a few years old) are going direct to scrappage. The trouble is that there are more of them turning up for sale at the auctions then there is demand. Once a yard or wrecker has an example for parting out he's going to have it around for a long time. They are just too new for appreciable wearing out of mechanical, cosmetic and structural components to have developed across the fleet. Hence there isn't much demand for regular components. This in turn means there is little demand from the dismantlers at the auction and the prices achieved approach scrappage residual. Of course, for people who like to experiment and muck around with cars, that's a terrific opportunity (which is why my mob have collected so many non-running hybrids between us- one day, one day!). The severely discounted prices these cars achieve demonstrate a personal financial disaster for the owners. That side of it ain't a good thing.

This brings us to the most important thing to realise about cars. The cost of fuel is probably the lowest order overhead you have in running one. Overheads such as insurance, maintenance, replacement of failed/end of life/damaged components, regular servicing, registration, licensing, road user charges/taxes, depreciation/amortisation, purchasing/financing/commission, cleaning, storing/garaging/security, residual and so on, overwhelm fuel cost. A reduction of fuel burn by 90% isn't that big a deal in the scheme of life. Reducing fuel burn by 90% is not enough if other prices are commensurably higher (which so-far they have more than turned out to be).

There are so many unrealistic hopes and dreams associated with the hybrid segment. For instance, the Chevrolet Volt, she going to save GM. Naah! Projected volumes are way, way too low. GM, as far as I can tell, is not going to survive as a major manufacturer in its present form anyhow. Inevitably there is going to be a foreign take-over or a split up. Expect to see something analogous to Chrysler with its FIAT masters.

There is tremendous hype surrounding the hybrid Volt (which is unfair to the actual design, as its real attributes will be overshadowed by the high hopes of being the saving of GM). Trouble is, that car is very expensive for what it actually provides. Its (expected) purchase price puts it up against some very competent high quality European and Japanese vehicles- some of them are in the junior luxury class. Wait until the new Korean and Chinese cars get released in NA. Competition in the car market is getting very intense. Product is going to have to be first class in almost every aspect if it is to have any chance of selling in volume.

Being realistic with this new car, apart from being a hybrid what have you got? Will it be as good as it needs to be? It's slow and likely to be dynamically inept. NVH will be reasonable, but the overall impression is going to highlight some weird effects. I have yet to drive one but can almost guarantee that the steering will be horrible with low feedback and poor tactility. Road-holding will be modest to poor. Brakes will be average. Interior trim is going to be standard low quality, el cheapo, rattle and squeak and fall apart (not particularly going after the Volt there, it's just that most American vehicles, with a few notable exceptions, are like that). It wonít look great in there, but there will be plenty of cup-holders. Styling is, yawn, standard Bunglism. Seats will be mush yuck. And...wait for it..... it's likely a beta with recalls and using the early customers as product development testers- all likely to tarnish the ownership experience (being an early owner means being very brave and the complete enthusiast, otherwise...). I genuinely hope that this isnít the actuality, but on the basis of the majority of previous product out of GM USA that is what is more than likely.

Expect sales to start out modestly well, but flatten soon enough. If there are any reliability issues or problems, then the sales are going to collapse. Even if they do not, again, the overall sales volumes are going to be too modest to make any real difference to GM. It is likely that the development costs won't be recouped. Put it this way, Toyota = not real concerned. They know that in the final analysis they have the UAW helping out!

Here is what is out to kill GM's magic-bullet hybrid dream. Toyota is about to release what will be their 5th and 6th generation hybrid technology right across the range. That is the serious hit, right there. Aside from that, there is all sorts of high end action leading to developed product becoming available in competing brands in the hybrid arena. Porsche already have a hybrid "911" being raced. Their new 90mpg 918 is outstanding. I have driven the predecessor and that was impressive. One can only imagine how good this one is. It is about to enter production and the technology is ready to be used in lesser cars (Porsche's Weissach centre develops for other manufacturers). Porsche was recently acquired by VAG. That means all the mass market brands of Ferdinand Piech have access... BMW have demonstrated their hybrid powertrain. They are known for the dynamic excellence of their cars. Even Jaguar have hybrid XJ vehicles in final development. They have two types, flywheel and battery. I've not driven the battery car but my friends reckon that one to be the best of the lot. Its NVH is said to be an improvement over the Series 2 and that IS a high achievement (one that even Jaguar themselves never managed over recent times). Jaguar is a branch of the Indian company, Tata. That means...

Plenty going on, but still this is niche right now. You need a lot of money for the sum total of the car you get. Expect rising maintenance costs and rapid depreciation from ~Y2 for any of this stuff. If you are looking for low cost of ownership and low running cost, hybrid or pure electric are not there. Maybe later. Not now.

Back to pure battery electric stuff- I regard these vehicles as remaining in the experimental or possibly the toy phase. Battery cars are a complex business to do right. They inhabit an enthusiast's sector which offers fun and learning. That's why I'll play around a little with it, but in the end I drive a choice of either the turbocharged-twelve cylinder car or a blown diesel Euro sedan. Most of my friends drive V-8s or turbo-sixes. One of them even wants to shove a cast iron V-8 into a spare Prius! Thatíd be funny. Still, all of us expect that oil prices, when denominated in US dollars, will rise to high levels in the not impossibly distant future. That may encourage more people to look to electric and hybrids (which for most will turn out to be even more expensive then staying with the stuff they already own). It should also mean that significant investment opportunities exist for those who donít mind taking on risks. Peak US$ is looming. Luckily enough, there is plenty of coal and gas here and we donít transact in US denomination much any more. Anyway, you could run a car on ball-milled coal if needed. Last I checked you could get milled coal at mates rates for less than $280/tonne near here (go the diggers!). Tech is developed and simple. Reliable. So no worries.

By the way, rising oil prices (in $US) is not a sign of Peak Oil, itís the result of government interferences in markets. My position is what will eventually be seen is Peak Sovereign Bond and that will be immediately followed by Peak US$. The results of that lot will severely reduce oil consumption in the US. Europe as well. In neither case will it be because ďwe are running out of oilĒ. Itíll be because government activity impoverished citizens.

Hey, what about this? What about carbon composite super-flywheels for an electric car? Thatís got to be the go, surely? You can accept high power flows (necessary for regeneration or near instant recharge) and do it time and time and time again, cycle after cycle after cycle, without hurting them. Also you donít need to worry if you completely drain a flywheel of all of its energy. No permanent damage done. No nasty chemicals either. Now how about that?

Crikey, this eats the time. Have to go. Work calls.


Sione

Nick G said at June 14, 2010 2:50 PM:

Sione,

Regadring the li-ion batteries you're looking at - I'm curious what $/kWh they're quoting?

Already there are hybrid cars coming through the auctions at bargain prices due to battery or related electrical system troubles. In each case they sell at steep discount. New battery packs and/or electrical repairs are expensive. Most of these vehicles are not worth the cost to put right

Could you give more info? What manufacturer/models are you talking about? Consumer Reports says that the Prius is very low maintenance, and that there have been very few battery/electrical system problems.

The cost of fuel is probably the lowest order overhead you have in running one.

I agree. Unless you recognize external costs (pollution, CO2, security of supply, etc, etc) EV/PHEV/HEV/EREVs will take a while to grow. See http://energyfaq.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-quickly-will-we-move-to-electric.html

the Chevrolet Volt, she going to save GM.

I don't think anyone expects that, at least in the short run.

Trouble is, that car is very expensive for what it actually provides.

There's no official price yet. If it's priced where it should be, it will be below $30K with the tax credit.

It's slow and likely to be dynamically inept.

Test drivers say that it has very good performance.

"The experience was exhilarating. "

http://energyoutlook.blogspot.com/
Monday, January 25, 2010
"910 Miles Per Gallon*"

If there are any reliability issues or problems, then the sales are going to collapse.

GM agrees, and is being extremely careful with testing. They see the Volt as a "halo" car in the short run, and it's extremely important to them that there are no bugs.

there is all sorts of high end action leading to developed product becoming available in competing brands in the hybrid arena.

That's great to hear. I'm more concerned here about the general concept of electrification, though I wouldn't mind seeing GM do well.

Expect rising maintenance costs and rapid depreciation from ~Y2 for any of this stuff.

Again, the Prius has had very low maintenance costs, and low depreciation. They've sold more than 1M, for more than 10 years. I'd say that hybrid tech (at least by a good company) is well proven.

Battery cars are a complex business to do right.

They're much less complex than ICE cars. An "engine" with one moving part....?

What about carbon composite super-flywheels for an electric car?

My impression is that the gyro effect is a real problem.

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