Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Monday, January 2, 2017


Tesla plugin, 8 of them, Was taken behind a gas station in Beatty NV. Middle of nowhere. Via Iaman.
Eddie World Gasoline in Beatty. I think the pylons at the far side of the pavement are the charging stations.
Why anyone would want to put a charging station for electric vehicles in Beatty, Nevada, is beyond me. You are on the road from Las Vegas to Reno. Your only other choice is Death Valley. Some kind of bullshit, this is.

I've been trying to figure out why I don't like electric cars. Right now they have some shortcomings, but they are getting better every day and so it probably won't be too long before they perform as well and are as cheap as, or cheaper, than a gasoline powered car. So why don't I like them? There are a number of issues you could quibble over, but the gasoline empire has corresponding problems of its own, it's just been around longer so we have learned how to cope.

Part of the problem is that I have invested a great deal of time learning all I could about gasoline powered cars. And now someone is threatening to make all that knowledge obsolete? Stick it your ear, Tesla.

Another factor might be that the pieces used to control large amounts of electrical power are typically very expensive. They might be simple appearing, it's just a metal box, but it takes serious engineering to make these simple pieces. They are not something you can make in your garage. And the magnets in the motors are made from rare earths and the battery is made from Lithium. And where do we get those? China mostly. Three cheers for globalization. Bah, hum & bug.

And then there is the conceptual bit. All self propelled vehicles up till now have been powered by burning some kind of fuel to generate heat, which produces push, which makes the machine go. Electric cars count on someone else burning the fuel and making the power. If electrical power plants were any more efficient at producing power than a gasoline engine, there might be a point, but with the loses sustained from power line transmission, and the time it takes to charge a battery, I just don't see the advantage.

Now it might be that it would be cheaper to operate an electric car than one powered by gasoline, but I suspect that is only because the electric car isn't paying it's fair share of road taxes. Near as I can tell, this is just a plot by the electric utilities, the coal companies and China, to steal market share from the gasoline engine manufacturers and the oil industry. And for effete intellectual snobs to cut their tax bill.

One idea that I do like is a hybrid without a battery. It has a gasoline engine that provides power, but then instead of a mechanical drivetrain, it has a generator hooked to the engine and electric motors driving the wheels. Much of the undercarriage of a car is designed to accommodate the mechanical drivetrain. If you can replace that with some electrical cables, it could allow all kinds of new body arrangements. Still be needing those rare earth magnets from China, and we'd be putting the mechanical drivetrain manufacturers out of business, but at least we wouldn't have those giant, gawd awful expensive batteries.

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