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Thread: The Lightyear One is a prototype ‘solar car’ with 450 miles of range

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    No worries, it's all in good fun. This is a single news item anyways, not an ongoing thread.

    I am quite interested in alternative energy, electric cars and that sort of thing, so I was thinking about starting a thread in that mould, but I'm not sure there is really a demand for it on this forum. To most people it is quite a boring and technical subject. I mean if you start droning on about Kilowatthours, 97 percent efficiency and induction motors, most people's eyes glaze over...
    Well, yours truly is a bit of a petrolhead ─ my dad was a mechanic and a truck driver, and I grew up around cars and trucks ─ and I for one have been paying attention to the newest developments in both electric vehicles and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. We've certainly come a long way from the G-Wiz to the Tesla Roadster, but the major problem with electric vehicles are the batteries.

    The weight of the amount of batteries required for a halfway decent autonomy ─ say about 400 kilometers, or some 250 miles, and that's still quite below the autonomy of a petrol-/gasoline- or diesel-powered car ─ is already enough to turn a sleek sports car into something with the inertia of a loaded van. And weight is very bad for the handling. It's extremely hard on the tires when cornering and braking, but that inertia will become even more dangerous on a slippery underground of ice and snow, when the tires have virtually no grip anymore. This poses significant challenges for the engineers of tires and suspension systems. Down force by way of aerodynamics is Good™, but weight is Extremely Bad™.

    Another thing I don't like is the trend toward completely autonomously driving vehicles for personal transportation. What's the fun of stepping into your own car and being driven somewhere by a robot? Plus that the people who buy those things will soon no longer know how to drive a vehicle themselves, and thus, how to manually intervene when things go bad.

    I mean, look at the USA... More than half of the US population doesn't even know how to operate a vehicle with a manual transmission. Not that there's anything wrong with a good automatic ─ emphasis on "good", i.e. with at least six forward ratios and a torque converter that locks in all forward gears ─ but it's not like manual transmissions are a thing of the Stone Ages. They have always been around, and most manufacturers in Europe and the Far East still regard a manual transmission as the de facto standard ─ many people even find a manual "stick shift" more involving than an automatic or a twin-clutch transmission. But in the USA, the vast majority of regular automobiles for the private market have always been torque-converter automatics since the 1950s, and the standard US driver's license doesn't even cover being able (or legally allowed) to drive a vehicle with a manual gearbox.

    If you're going to cater to laziness and/or stupidity, then lazy and stupid people are what you'll attract ─ that's a proven fact.
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    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    Well, yours truly is a bit of a petrolhead ─ my dad was a mechanic and a truck driver, and I grew up around cars and trucks ─ and I for one have been paying attention to the newest developments in both electric vehicles and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. We've certainly come a long way from the G-Wiz to the Tesla Roadster, but the major problem with electric vehicles are the batteries.

    The weight of the amount of batteries required for a halfway decent autonomy ─ say about 400 kilometers, or some 250 miles, and that's still quite below the autonomy of a petrol-/gasoline- or diesel-powered car ─ is already enough to turn a sleek sports car into something with the inertia of a loaded van. And weight is very bad for the handling. It's extremely hard on the tires when cornering and braking, but that inertia will become even more dangerous on a slippery underground of ice and snow, when the tires have virtually no grip anymore. This poses significant challenges for the engineers of tires and suspension systems. Down force by way of aerodynamics is Good™, but weight is Extremely Bad™.

    Another thing I don't like is the trend toward completely autonomously driving vehicles for personal transportation. What's the fun of stepping into your own car and being driven somewhere by a robot? Plus that the people who buy those things will soon no longer know how to drive a vehicle themselves, and thus, how to manually intervene when things go bad.

    I mean, look at the USA... More than half of the US population doesn't even know how to operate a vehicle with a manual transmission. Not that there's anything wrong with a good automatic ─ emphasis on "good", i.e. with at least six forward ratios and a torque converter that locks in all forward gears ─ but it's not like manual transmissions are a thing of the Stone Ages. They have always been around, and most manufacturers in Europe and the Far East still regard a manual transmission as the de facto standard ─ many people even find a manual "stick shift" more involving than an automatic or a twin-clutch transmission. But in the USA, the vast majority of regular automobiles for the private market have always been torque-converter automatics since the 1950s, and the standard US driver's license doesn't even cover being able (or legally allowed) to drive a vehicle with a manual gearbox.

    If you're going to cater to laziness and/or stupidity, then lazy and stupid people are what you'll attract ─ that's a proven fact.
    Oh yes, and another drawback in "not so-sunny" climates is recharging the batteries with electricity, which isn't always at hand in some places. What if you burn fuel to get it? Where is the winning then?
    Whatever is true. Whatever is noble. Whatever is right. Whatever is lovely. Whatever is admirable. Anything of excellence and worthy of praise. Dwell on these things. Jesus Christ (I agree)

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    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    Well, yours truly is a bit of a petrolhead ─ my dad was a mechanic and a truck driver, and I grew up around cars and trucks ─ and I for one have been paying attention to the newest developments in both electric vehicles and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. We've certainly come a long way from the G-Wiz to the Tesla Roadster, but the major problem with electric vehicles are the batteries.
    I wouldn't call myself a petrolhead, but I'm quite knowledgeable about cars in general. Hadn't owned one for over a decade though.

    Still, I work in the vehicle parts business (as an import-export manager, for rail, passenger and commercial vehicles), so I try to keep up to date with the technology and the news.

    The Tesla Roadster is a Halo Vehicle, not that relevant for the mass market, but the model 3 is very impressive. It already beats the equivalent BMW 3-series in most areas, not least in performance, comfort and on-board tech.

    The weight of the amount of batteries required for a halfway decent autonomy ─ say about 400 kilometers, or some 250 miles, and that's still quite below the autonomy of a petrol-/gasoline- or diesel-powered car ─ is already enough to turn a sleek sports car into something with the inertia of a loaded van. And weight is very bad for the handling. It's extremely hard on the tires when cornering and braking, but that inertia will become even more dangerous on a slippery underground of ice and snow, when the tires have virtually no grip anymore. This poses significant challenges for the engineers of tires and suspension systems. Down force by way of aerodynamics is Good™, but weight is Extremely Bad™.
    That is becoming less and less of a problem, with the annual increase in energy density for Li-ion battery packs. Solid state batteries are just around the corner, both Toyota and Dyson are working hard on them and they should come to market in the next couple of years. It is estimated, it will achieve at least double the energy density at half the cost and with much faster charging, without the risks inherent with highly volatile and combustible Lithium.

    Another thing I don't like is the trend toward completely autonomously driving vehicles for personal transportation. What's the fun of stepping into your own car and being driven somewhere by a robot? Plus that the people who buy those things will soon no longer know how to drive a vehicle themselves, and thus, how to manually intervene when things go bad.
    I disagree. Most people are terrible drivers and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the wheel. Autonomous vehicles can't come soon enough, not least to take the wheel from my elderly dad, who is absolutely terrifying behind the wheel.

    I mean, look at the USA... More than half of the US population doesn't even know how to operate a vehicle with a manual transmission. Not that there's anything wrong with a good automatic ─ emphasis on "good", i.e. with at least six forward ratios and a torque converter that locks in all forward gears ─ but it's not like manual transmissions are a thing of the Stone Ages. They have always been around, and most manufacturers in Europe and the Far East still regard a manual transmission as the de facto standard ─ many people even find a manual "stick shift" more involving than an automatic or a twin-clutch transmission. But in the USA, the vast majority of regular automobiles for the private market have always been torque-converter automatics since the 1950s, and the standard US driver's license doesn't even cover being able (or legally allowed) to drive a vehicle with a manual gearbox.

    If you're going to cater to laziness and/or stupidity, then lazy and stupid people are what you'll attract ─ that's a proven fact.
    Again, I see this differently. Manual transmissions are good for carving canyons in a Mazda mx-5 (Miata in Yanklish), terrible in heavy traffic. If I have to endure another heavy traffic jam in Budapest or Vienna slipping the clutch for hours on end, I'll probably just saw my legs off. Less painful. They made sense twenty years ago when traffic jams were a rarity and you stayed in gear for most of the journey. Now, they're just a pain in the butt.

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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Here's the thing though, Aragorn. Do have any idea how hard it is to eat a Cheeseburger while driving a manual transmission down a busy interstate?
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Quote Originally posted by Elen View Post
    Oh yes, and another drawback in "not so-sunny" climates is recharging the batteries with electricity, which isn't always at hand in some places. What if you burn fuel to get it? Where is the winning then?
    That is a very common objection, but easy to refute.

    ICE engines are only about 30 percent efficient (Mazda's latest petrol engines are close to 50 percent though), whereas electric motors are 97 percent efficient, so they actually waste far less energy overall. ICE engines can only utilise petrol or diesel, whereas electricity can be made in myriad ways. Electricity is actually available in far more places than petrol. Just compare the number of petrol stations with the number of electric outlets. Even in cloudy and northern climates, solar cells generate quite a lot of energy, usable amounts certainly, which is why there are plenty of solar panels and farms in Norway and Germany. As the efficiency and cost of solar panels and batteries improves with every passing year, these arguments are quickly becoming moot anyway.

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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn
    Another thing I don't like is the trend toward completely autonomously driving vehicles for personal transportation. What's the fun of stepping into your own car and being driven somewhere by a robot? Plus that the people who buy those things will soon no longer know how to drive a vehicle themselves, and thus, how to manually intervene when things go bad.
    I disagree. Most people are terrible drivers and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the wheel. Autonomous vehicles can't come soon enough, not least to take the wheel from my elderly dad, who is absolutely terrifying behind the wheel.
    I understand, but then there's still a difference between vehicles that can drive autonomously and vehicles that were designed to exclusively drive autonomously. As someone who thoroughly enjoys driving, I would consider it a horrible evolution if the vehicle wouldn't allow me to drive it myself. And such vehicles do exist ─ they don't even have a steering wheel or pedals anymore. It's essentially a robot taxi.

    There's nothing wrong with it for the people who want or need such a thing. It's just that I prefer being the driver rather than a passenger, and that I'm afraid that driving one's own vehicle will become impossible in the future.

    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn
    I mean, look at the USA... More than half of the US population doesn't even know how to operate a vehicle with a manual transmission. Not that there's anything wrong with a good automatic ─ emphasis on "good", i.e. with at least six forward ratios and a torque converter that locks in all forward gears ─ but it's not like manual transmissions are a thing of the Stone Ages. They have always been around, and most manufacturers in Europe and the Far East still regard a manual transmission as the de facto standard ─ many people even find a manual "stick shift" more involving than an automatic or a twin-clutch transmission. But in the USA, the vast majority of regular automobiles for the private market have always been torque-converter automatics since the 1950s, and the standard US driver's license doesn't even cover being able (or legally allowed) to drive a vehicle with a manual gearbox.

    If you're going to cater to laziness and/or stupidity, then lazy and stupid people are what you'll attract ─ that's a proven fact.
    Again, I see this differently. Manual transmissions are good for carving canyons in a Mazda mx-5 (Miata in Yanklish), terrible in heavy traffic. If I have to endure another heavy traffic jam in Budapest or Vienna slipping the clutch for hours on end, I'll probably just saw my legs off. Less painful. They made sense twenty years ago when traffic jams were a rarity and you stayed in gear for most of the journey. Now, they're just a pain in the butt.
    Don't get me wrong, I would love to own a car with a twin-clutch gearbox, and I think those are the way to go ─ or at least, when it comes to vehicles with internal combustion engines. But the thing is that today's killer traffic was not an issue yet in the USA back in the 1950s. The choice for and adoption of an automatic transmission in the USA in those days was a matter of laziness in combination with the amount of incompetent drivers, and it was inherent to US American culture, not something that was inspired by commuting in city traffic.

    I'll give you another example. During World War II, there were US American troops stationed in the UK. And the barracks where those American troops were staying were the only ones with air conditioning. In fact, the British military had to install air conditioning in those barracks from beforehand for the Americans. Why? Because the Americans demanded air conditioning, even back in those days, when winters were still cold and summers were far from tropical.

    It's a cultural thing.
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    stomme Amerikanen...

    Guess what, at least in America if one looks up foreign phrases for 'stupid Americans' there are none. Now that, my friends, is true bias in action
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    stomme Amerikanen...

    Guess what, at least in America if one looks up foreign phrases for 'stupid Americans' there are none. Now that, my friends, is true bias in action
    Ok, as usual, I'm going to go left-field here and be my usual contrarian self. I find the European proclivity to be highly condescending towards Americans, calling them stupid and such, highly irritating. Intelligence can be measured and Americans are about average for the Western World. PISA scores put them on the lower end of the OECD average, but still not significantly lower than the European average.

    Now, if you want to go to a country with very intelligent people, you won't find them in Europe, but rather in Asia. Singapore has an average IQ of 114 and Japan is pretty close as well. Consequently, they look like some advanced planet from Star Trek, rather than the dilapidated mess of what most of the Western World is becoming. I can compare London and Singapore directly, since I know both cities inside and out and Singapore looks like it's 50 years ahead of London in every sense. Don't even get me started on things like public safety, cleanliness, infrastructure and the education system. Most London Underground stations look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Most Singapore MRT stations look like the lounge of a 5-star hotel. Changi Airport is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Heathrow is a toilet. British schoolchildren can barely read and write. Singaporean schoolchildren wipe the floor with them in English comprehension, reading, spelling, etc... even though for most of them English isn't even their first language. The gap in maths is embarrassing.

    So, instead of bashing Americans, Europeans should concentrate on how they are increasingly falling behind Asia in every area you could think of, except of course for paying people to sit at home doing nothing for decades on end, whilst Asians work their asses off. Yes, rant, but I think this had to be said, because I feel Europeans are completely oblivious to how rapidly they are being eclipsed and made utterly irrelevant, except as a sort of Disneyland-For-Asians.

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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Ok, as usual, I'm going to go left-field here and be my usual contrarian self. I find the European proclivity to be highly condescending towards Americans, calling them stupid and such, highly irritating. Intelligence can be measured and Americans are about average for the Western World. PISA scores put them on the lower end of the OECD average, but still not significantly lower than the European average.

    Now, if you want to go to a country with very intelligent people, you won't find them in Europe, but rather in Asia. Singapore has an average IQ of 114 and Japan is pretty close as well. Consequently, they look like some advanced planet from Star Trek, rather than the dilapidated mess of what most of the Western World is becoming. I can compare London and Singapore directly, since I know both cities inside and out and Singapore looks like it's 50 years ahead of London in every sense. Don't even get me started on things like public safety, cleanliness, infrastructure and the education system. Most London Underground stations look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Most Singapore MRT stations look like the lounge of a 5-star hotel. Changi Airport is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Heathrow is a toilet. British schoolchildren can barely read and write. Singaporean schoolchildren wipe the floor with them in English comprehension, reading, spelling, etc... even though for most of them English isn't even their first language. The gap in maths is embarrassing.

    So, instead of bashing Americans, Europeans should concentrate on how they are increasingly falling behind Asia in every area you could think of, except of course for paying people to sit at home doing nothing for decades on end, whilst Asians work their asses off. Yes, rant, but I think this had to be said, because I feel Europeans are completely oblivious to how rapidly they are being eclipsed and made utterly irrelevant, except as a sort of Disneyland-For-Asians.
    That's all fine and dandy, Chris, but... I wasn't bashing US Americans ─ I was merely reporting historical and cultural facts, and there might have been a bit of criticism in there as well ─ and NotAPretender is a US American.
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    But, and let's call it a big but....How many countries in the world will pull out a lashing cane for spitting bubblegum on the sidewalk. To me, that is as scary as traveling through Texas in my hippie days. I wouldn't last a week and I would be on public display in the colonial style pillory. In truth, I wouldn't spit bubblegum on a public sidewalk...but you get the idea.
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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    But, and let's call it a big but....How many countries in the world will pull out a lashing cane for spitting bubblegum on the sidewalk. To me, that is as scary as traveling through Texas in my hippie days. I wouldn't last a week and I would be on public display in the colonial style pillory. In truth, I wouldn't spit bubblegum on a public sidewalk...but you get the idea.
    It's one of the common misconceptions about Singapore.

    They don't sell gum (unless you have a medical prescription), because people just stick it under the seat on public transport or drop it on the pavement and it is incredibly hard to remove once it hardens. You are perfectly within your rights to chew gum if you want to, but you either need a prescription or must import it from abroad. I think it is a sensible public cleanliness ordinance. It is the same thing with not allowing food and drink on public transport.

    I lived in Singapore for 2,5 years and was never fined for anything, even though I did plenty of jaywalking. In fact I had no encounters with the police at all. There are strict fines for various anti-social behaviours, but they generally don't need to be enforced because people are smart enough to keep to them on their own.

    There is however a dark side to the Criminal Justice system in Singapore, which is typical of South East Asia and is something I strongly disagree with, but it does have its roots in the Opium Wars and how Britain got rich by hooking half of Asia on drugs.

    Drug trafficking carries a mandatory death penalty and hundreds of drug mules are executed every year, which means Singapore has some of the highest executions per capita in the world. These are almost all poor foreigners who were desperate for money.

    As for caning, that is a colonial holdover. It was introduced by the British, Singapore just never got around to abolishing it. Still, it means no graffiti or random destruction of public property. Also, coming from say London or LA, the safety aspect is just unbelievable. Anyone can walk anywhere at any random hour at night without the slightest risk of being attacked, raped, mugged, beaten up, shot, etc... That to me is a freedom in itself that most big cities in the West lack. This is especially important to women I think, because it gives you and incredible peace of mind, not having to worry about safety at all.

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