Author Topic: The Environment Thread  (Read 2230 times)

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Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2022, 10:47:23 AM »

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Having started this thread, I'd like to initially offer a testimonial about my electric car purchasing experience.  Last July (July 2021), my 10 year-old Ford Focus started having transmission issues, so we were in the market for a new car.  Tesla's were out of my price range, and I had hoped my Focus could last 2-3 more years so that I could get an EV in 2023 or 2024.  But that wasn't to be, as Ford took my Focus for an indefinite period to fix it (it ultimately was four months).  Being reduced to a zero-car household, we needed to find something quick, and a nearby Hyundai dealerships had some Kona Electrics in stock.

We drove one and quickly fell in love with it.  Including sales tax it was a shade over $35k.  After a state rebate last fall and a federal tax credit this spring, we got back $10k, reducing the net cost to $25k.  Eventually we sold our crappy Ford Focus once it was repaired, and got back another $8400 for it, bring our new EV cost down below $17k.  I've seen it said many times that the EV tax credits are for rich people buying expensive cars, but in our case it helped a car that was outside of our price range become affordable.  It drives wonderfully, and is easily the best car I've ever owned.

I know not everyone can even afford a new car at even $25k, but that's also not in the luxury vehicle price range.  There are a lot more models coming on the market in the next year or two that after tax incentives will cost between $20-30k.  If you're in the market for a new car in 2023, EVs aren't all Teslas, BMWs, and Mustangs.  Do give them a look.

How's the Kona? How about in terms of charging it each day...does it spike up your home electricity bill or out of pocket costs (if done outside)? Is it free to use those charging stations out there? I'm financing a 2020 Sonata Hybrid...love and enjoy it better than my old vehicle (Acura ILX 2014). Personally, I don't like anything Prius (I just hate the look and it's just bleh IMO)...but I know other EVs not at the luxury level are out there as well.

We are lucky to have a free charging station two blocks from our house, so our operating costs are very low.  That said, we also got a charger when we installed solar panels a few months before we got the EV, because it was efficient to it it all then.  If we only home-charged it, we’d pay about $6.75 every 100 miles of driving, which is far less than we’d have paid for gas.

Fast-charging on the road runs about 50% more, but we only do that on road trips, which are about once every two months.
What are your concerns about re-sale? You used your old car as an offset of the cost.
Do you think these "earlier" gen EV's will have re-sale value or do they come with a disposal charge?

And longer term what do you think the batteries are going to do to the environment?
I haven't seen anything concrete here, but I would think there is a business/economic opportunity. There seems to be some runway to develop and refine recycling technology.

180 miles would put me at the uncomfortable edge of a round trip to a C's game. TD-Garden has some charging stations, and I'm sure this will improve over time. Do you have any worries about the grid being able to support the increased demand over time? Especially given that the grid will be moving away from fossil fuels.

This is not meant to be negative. I have a car replacement coming up in the next few years and am "paranoid" of being a "guinea pig" in the wrong part of the cycle.

Thanks for the questions.

1) In terms of resale value, I'm not at all concerned.  We tend to keep our car for about 10 years, and I think that, on average, an EV purchased in 2021 will retain more of its value in 10 years than a gas car purchased in 2021.  It might have a shorter range as the battery loses its capacity over time, but even then it would still be in the 150-200 mile range, which would be sufficient for many people looking to purchase a used EV.  One thing that does need to happen is a way to more easily verify how much capacity remains in the battery -- that will make the used EV market a lot less troublesome, because the quality of a used battery heavily depends on the original owner's behavior.  If you regularly overcharge or overdrain a battery it will lose its capacity much more quickly.  We're pretty careful not to do that, but without being able to show a future buyer how much capacity remains in the battery, there's no way to know what we or anyone else has done.  This seems like a pretty easy product to develop, personally, but I'm not an expert.

2) I think long-term batteries will have a second-use beyond in a vehicle.  Batteries are supposed to retain at least 70% of their capacity for 100k miles of driving, and real-world testing shows they retain closer to 80% of their charge through that point.  Even once it drops down to 50% of its initial capacity, which probably wouldn't occur until after 15 years or so of driving, maybe longer, the capacity of the battery would be 32 kWh.  This is enough to power my home for 2 days on average, so these batteries should certainly have a second life either as backup home generators, for grid storage (which gets to your next question), etc.  It will still hold societal and thus economic value, and it will be reused as opposed to dumped.

3) I'm not too worried about the grid's ability to handle EVs -- grid operators for years having been moving to "smarter" grids, and EVs actually could be a solution rather than a problem.  Many carmakers are making their future EVs able to reverse charge -- in other words you will be able to use your cars battery to directly power your home or even plug into the grid.  In other words, an EV would be able to draw from the grid when there is excess energy, but if it remains plugged into the grid during a time of excessive demand, it could actually supply power to the grid rather than drawing from it.  Ford's recent pick-up truck has this capacity, and Volvo (I think) has announced that all their future EVs beginning in I think 2025 will have this ability as well.  I would expect energy companies to offer incentives for consumers to have their vehicle supply grid energy, the same as many of them do to have you reduce your consumption during peak demand.

4) As for your nervousness about driving 180 miles, my thought is this.  If you're going to a game, you absolutely should be able to find somewhere within half a mile that you can leave your car charging for 3-4 hours, which would give you an extra 75-100 miles of charge.  And in general, if you're someone who drives a regular longer route, you'll learn pretty quickly where the fast chargers are along the way (and more are coming on line every month).  Tesla supercharges are relatively ubiquitous in the Northeast, so Tesla's are easy to charge.  Supposedly Tesla is going to open those up to other cars in the future, which would be a boon for us non-Teslas, but even without that I've only had one instance in a year of EV driving when it was even remotely difficult to find a fast charge on a long trip.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 10:54:34 AM by Celtics2021 »

Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2022, 11:11:17 AM »

Offline sgrogan

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Thanks for the answers.

I was under the impression the batteries had a 10 year life and then where toxic waste. I was oblivious to the fact that a "spent" battery had so much remaining capacity. Re-using these batteries in combination with home rooftop solar seems pretty existing.

Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2022, 11:21:48 AM »

Offline Roy H.

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How's the size of the Kona compare?  How big is the Kona?  Is a Subaru Impreza Hatchback a fair comparison?


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Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2022, 12:22:22 PM »

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How's the size of the Kona compare?  How big is the Kona?  Is a Subaru Impreza Hatchback a fair comparison?

The Kona is a compact utility-vehicle, so it isn't large.  It's sufficiently sized for us, which is generally two adults and a kid in a booster seat, but we fit 3 adults and a kid in just fine for a beach trip last weekend.  We have three kids in boosters across the back for our part of the summer camp carpool, and they fit, but it's a good thing the drive is only 15 minutes -- I wouldn't recommend the Kona for a family of 5.  It's appropriate for a family of 4.  The cargo space isn't huge, but again it's sufficient, although if you've got bikes or skis you'll want them on top of the car.   We helped a friend move recently and could get a medium-sized dining table and bookshelves in it with little difficult when the back seats were down -- I was pleasantly surprised at its capacity, which isn't large, but was more than we had previously with our Focus.

I don't know the Impreza, but looking at the dimensions online, it seems like the Impreza is 2-5% larger in most categories.  So the Kona is similar, but a touch smaller.

Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2022, 03:31:41 PM »

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It seems to be current events/politics season.  It's also heat wave season, and I thought an environment thread might be in order, since it touches a lot of different issues.  It's a broad topic, so people can say whatever they like here (or just let it wither on the vine if there's no interest).  I do hope that one thing this thread can provide is advice for people who'd like to make some environmentally friendly choices but want more info, and maybe others here have already gone down that road and can offer advice.  Some examples might be:

  • You're considering an electric car, but are worried about range/finding chargers/if it's actually cheaper to drive than a gas car
  • Someone rang your doorbell and tried to sell you solar panels, and you're wondering how legit this might be
  • It's time to update your heating/cooling systems and a cousin told you about mini-splits
[/b]
  • Your teenager has suddenly stopped eating meat because she says it's bad for the environment, and you'd like to make sure she's still getting enough nutrition

Of course, one could also talk about various legislation, in the US and elsewhere, that helps (or harms) the environment, major whether events, climatological news, etc.  It's just a topic I sometimes would like to talk about here, but it's generally tangential to other topics.

Great Idea with this thread, TP. Do you have solar panels and mini-splits? I have a lot of direct sunlight at my house, so I'm considering solar, however, I'm unsure if it's worth the investment  as it's expensive and the technology changes so quickly. Appliances are also becoming more energy efficient as well. Leasing is another option, but I'm not keen on putting another lien on the property and I've heard of solar companies such as Vivint having insane "opt out" clauses that are 6 figures.

In regards to the mini-splits, these seem like a good option as some can provide heat and AC, however, I'm not sure how long they typically last or if it's worthwhile to install without having solar panels.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 03:49:38 PM by Goldstar88 »

Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2022, 04:36:40 PM »

Offline SHAQATTACK

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I toured the Ford 150 plant in Michigan recently.   Pretty impressive with wonderful people to pick their brains.  Get to see the new electric …all electric that is F-150  pickup , with body off to show the layout of the mechanicals, batteries , transmission , etc. 

I see where GM have already  received orders for 140K of their new all electric full size pickup from dealers .  Way more than anticipated and they are scrambling to find the resources to meet the apparent demand. 

Toyota holds the “ trump” card ..LOL …..they have completed their new solid state battery development.  Next phase to build the plants to produce the none Lithium based batteries. Made from none rare earth metals I understand.Supposed to give around 700 mile per charge .  last 10 plus years ,  explosion proof,  recharge 75% in less than 20 minutes .   This will be my first all electric SUV ….hopefully a 4Runner maybe 2025 !

Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2022, 06:27:21 PM »

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I toured the Ford 150 plant in Michigan recently.   Pretty impressive with wonderful people to pick their brains.  Get to see the new electric …all electric that is F-150  pickup , with body off to show the layout of the mechanicals, batteries , transmission , etc. 

I see where GM have already  received orders for 140K of their new all electric full size pickup from dealers .  Way more than anticipated and they are scrambling to find the resources to meet the apparent demand. 

Toyota holds the “ trump” card ..LOL …..they have completed their new solid state battery development.  Next phase to build the plants to produce the none Lithium based batteries. Made from none rare earth metals I understand.Supposed to give around 700 mile per charge .  last 10 plus years ,  explosion proof,  recharge 75% in less than 20 minutes .   This will be my first all electric SUV ….hopefully a 4Runner maybe 2025 !

That's exciting and impressive.  It's the distance capacity (oh... and the cost) that is keeping people like me from going electric.   I am at 120K+ miles on my Camry but I have no payments left and I'll probably drive it into the ground.  It is an interesting calculation in terms of when to go electric.  It's the kind of calculation I typically get wrong.   

Random questions:  What will happen to gas stations?   Will many become charging stations?  When will it become a challenge to find a gas station for your old gas car?  How fast is this transformation going to happen once we hit a tipping point (could we be talking a massive change in the next 5 years)?   When will the cost of low-end electric cars come down to where the inexpensive gas cars are now? 

I've never purchased a new car over 25K -- my wife or me.  Typically 18-22K has been our range.  I don't know how people take on a 40-50K car but I know that a lot of people do.   I really hope the purchase cost comes down significantly from where it is now.

Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2022, 05:05:25 PM »

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Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2022, 12:41:06 PM »

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Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2022, 02:24:01 PM »

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I toured the Ford 150 plant in Michigan recently.   Pretty impressive with wonderful people to pick their brains.  Get to see the new electric …all electric that is F-150  pickup , with body off to show the layout of the mechanicals, batteries , transmission , etc. 

I see where GM have already  received orders for 140K of their new all electric full size pickup from dealers .  Way more than anticipated and they are scrambling to find the resources to meet the apparent demand. 

Toyota holds the “ trump” card ..LOL …..they have completed their new solid state battery development.  Next phase to build the plants to produce the none Lithium based batteries. Made from none rare earth metals I understand.Supposed to give around 700 mile per charge .  last 10 plus years ,  explosion proof,  recharge 75% in less than 20 minutes .   This will be my first all electric SUV ….hopefully a 4Runner maybe 2025 !

That's exciting and impressive.  It's the distance capacity (oh... and the cost) that is keeping people like me from going electric.   I am at 120K+ miles on my Camry but I have no payments left and I'll probably drive it into the ground.  It is an interesting calculation in terms of when to go electric.  It's the kind of calculation I typically get wrong.   

Random questions:  What will happen to gas stations?   Will many become charging stations?  When will it become a challenge to find a gas station for your old gas car?  How fast is this transformation going to happen once we hit a tipping point (could we be talking a massive change in the next 5 years)?   When will the cost of low-end electric cars come down to where the inexpensive gas cars are now? 

I've never purchased a new car over 25K -- my wife or me.  Typically 18-22K has been our range.  I don't know how people take on a 40-50K car but I know that a lot of people do.   I really hope the purchase cost comes down significantly from where it is now.

I wonder about how an entire country—especially one as large as the US—is going to convert from gas to electric. Obviously it can't happen all at once, but even with a phased approach there are a lot of roadblocks in terms of practicality, some of which you mentioned. One thing I definitely DON'T want to see is the government mandating that people must have electric vehicles by such-and-such a date, as a lot of people (including my wife and I) couldn't afford that. Not unless there are heavy government subsidies.

But I think any kind of tipping point won't happen soon—for example, not in the next 5 years—because as of yet there's still no master plan. Even here in L.A. County, with the Hollywood crowd and so much environmental regulation, there are hardly any charging stations around.
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Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2022, 03:39:17 PM »

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I toured the Ford 150 plant in Michigan recently.   Pretty impressive with wonderful people to pick their brains.  Get to see the new electric …all electric that is F-150  pickup , with body off to show the layout of the mechanicals, batteries , transmission , etc. 

I see where GM have already  received orders for 140K of their new all electric full size pickup from dealers .  Way more than anticipated and they are scrambling to find the resources to meet the apparent demand. 

Toyota holds the “ trump” card ..LOL …..they have completed their new solid state battery development.  Next phase to build the plants to produce the none Lithium based batteries. Made from none rare earth metals I understand.Supposed to give around 700 mile per charge .  last 10 plus years ,  explosion proof,  recharge 75% in less than 20 minutes .   This will be my first all electric SUV ….hopefully a 4Runner maybe 2025 !

That's exciting and impressive.  It's the distance capacity (oh... and the cost) that is keeping people like me from going electric.   I am at 120K+ miles on my Camry but I have no payments left and I'll probably drive it into the ground.  It is an interesting calculation in terms of when to go electric.  It's the kind of calculation I typically get wrong.   

Random questions:  What will happen to gas stations?   Will many become charging stations?  When will it become a challenge to find a gas station for your old gas car?  How fast is this transformation going to happen once we hit a tipping point (could we be talking a massive change in the next 5 years)?   When will the cost of low-end electric cars come down to where the inexpensive gas cars are now? 

I've never purchased a new car over 25K -- my wife or me.  Typically 18-22K has been our range.  I don't know how people take on a 40-50K car but I know that a lot of people do.   I really hope the purchase cost comes down significantly from where it is now.

I wonder about how an entire country—especially one as large as the US—is going to convert from gas to electric. Obviously it can't happen all at once, but even with a phased approach there are a lot of roadblocks in terms of practicality, some of which you mentioned. One thing I definitely DON'T want to see is the government mandating that people must have electric vehicles by such-and-such a date, as a lot of people (including my wife and I) couldn't afford that. Not unless there are heavy government subsidies.

But I think any kind of tipping point won't happen soon—for example, not in the next 5 years—because as of yet there's still no master plan. Even here in L.A. County, with the Hollywood crowd and so much environmental regulation, there are hardly any charging stations around.
It is going to be a long time before gas vehicles are gone and when it happens it will be because of consumer choice not government mandate.  Electric may not be the future.  It could be hydrogen or some new technology or some combination. 
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Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2022, 03:52:58 PM »

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I toured the Ford 150 plant in Michigan recently.   Pretty impressive with wonderful people to pick their brains.  Get to see the new electric …all electric that is F-150  pickup , with body off to show the layout of the mechanicals, batteries , transmission , etc. 

I see where GM have already  received orders for 140K of their new all electric full size pickup from dealers .  Way more than anticipated and they are scrambling to find the resources to meet the apparent demand. 

Toyota holds the “ trump” card ..LOL …..they have completed their new solid state battery development.  Next phase to build the plants to produce the none Lithium based batteries. Made from none rare earth metals I understand.Supposed to give around 700 mile per charge .  last 10 plus years ,  explosion proof,  recharge 75% in less than 20 minutes .   This will be my first all electric SUV ….hopefully a 4Runner maybe 2025 !

That's exciting and impressive.  It's the distance capacity (oh... and the cost) that is keeping people like me from going electric.   I am at 120K+ miles on my Camry but I have no payments left and I'll probably drive it into the ground.  It is an interesting calculation in terms of when to go electric.  It's the kind of calculation I typically get wrong.   

Random questions:  What will happen to gas stations?   Will many become charging stations?  When will it become a challenge to find a gas station for your old gas car?  How fast is this transformation going to happen once we hit a tipping point (could we be talking a massive change in the next 5 years)?   When will the cost of low-end electric cars come down to where the inexpensive gas cars are now? 

I've never purchased a new car over 25K -- my wife or me.  Typically 18-22K has been our range.  I don't know how people take on a 40-50K car but I know that a lot of people do.   I really hope the purchase cost comes down significantly from where it is now.

I wonder about how an entire country—especially one as large as the US—is going to convert from gas to electric. Obviously it can't happen all at once, but even with a phased approach there are a lot of roadblocks in terms of practicality, some of which you mentioned. One thing I definitely DON'T want to see is the government mandating that people must have electric vehicles by such-and-such a date, as a lot of people (including my wife and I) couldn't afford that. Not unless there are heavy government subsidies.

But I think any kind of tipping point won't happen soon—for example, not in the next 5 years—because as of yet there's still no master plan. Even here in L.A. County, with the Hollywood crowd and so much environmental regulation, there are hardly any charging stations around.
It is going to be a long time before gas vehicles are gone and when it happens it will be because of consumer choice not government mandate.  Electric may not be the future.  It could be hydrogen or some new technology or some combination.

Technically speaking, there's always the possibility of some unknown technological breakthrough, but as of now there's nothing anywhere close to electric that we should expect for decades. Hydrogen is extremely well understood and nowhere close except in many some specific niche situations.

Batteries / electric are also just a storage medium in this scenario. By far the most likely scenario is:

1) We will continue to aggressively improve battery technology, similar to the race for faster computers. There is a TON of investment in this area that will play out in coming years because it is so lucrative. Including moving away from certain rare earth materials.

2) Power generation is ever-evolving, but you can expect an interplay between more renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal) and battery storage, because they complement each other. Think affordable home batteries plus electric vehicles -- now energy is distributed and stored everywhere in homes and cars, to the point that you can much more easily deal with peak / off-peak demand. A distributed grid vs a centralized grid is massively important.

My 2 cents anyway.

Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2022, 07:38:40 PM »

Offline Kernewek

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https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.2c02765#


The long and the short of the study linked above is pretty grim: in effect, there may not be any rainwater on earth that is free of micro plastics (and therefore safe to drink).

If you’re looking for the insidious ways the world becomes inhospitable to human life, its in collectively refusing to reign in companies that profit off of these materials and hoping they will “self-regulate”.
Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time.

But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.

Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2022, 08:52:27 AM »

Offline Roy H.

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The link for this article was,  "'There's nothing we can do': Attitudes shift on climate":

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ap-norc-poll-many-us-041610056.html

I'm not sure that that sums up the poll at all.  But, as always, the "what difference do I make as an individual?" question is a legitimate one. 



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Re: The Environment Thread
« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2022, 09:16:20 AM »

Offline Kernewek

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The link for this article was,  "'There's nothing we can do': Attitudes shift on climate":

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ap-norc-poll-many-us-041610056.html

I'm not sure that that sums up the poll at all.  But, as always, the "what difference do I make as an individual?" question is a legitimate one.

It's worth keeping in mind that the people who are pumping this narrative that there's nothing we can do (not Jake from Nebraska or whoever is quoted in the article) are, more often than not, the same people and organisations who used to be change deniers - so they've moved from 'it's not happening we don't have to change any of our behaviours' to 'it's happening but there's nothing you can do so why change any of our behaviours'.


edit: on the car front, I did see this earlier:
https://slate.com/business/2022/08/golf-carts-transportation-future-peachtree-city.html

Roughly a million reasons why it wouldn't work in the north east, but an interesting idea none the less.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2022, 11:24:01 AM by Kernewek »
Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time.

But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.