Jul 13, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Continuing our international focus, we're happy to announce that our home page and the summary section of the "What Carmakers Say" page is now also in Spanish and Swedish, along with Japanese and German. (We welcome volunteers to translate into other languages, and at the bottom of the Carmakers pages in each language you'll see credits/thanks.)
Meanwhile, an official at Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has turned around on electrification of transportation. This heavily coal-dependent country that is experiencing the worst drought in either 100 or 1,000 years, setting off intense debates about sustainability, population and climate change. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drought_in_Australia
NOTE: In the journalist's report, we again see an off-handed mention of the persistently-cited CNW study that said a Prius is more polluting than a Hummer. For critiques, see http://blogs.toyota.com/2007/06/save_the_earth_.html plus http://truthalyzer.com/?p=57 and links from there.
Researcher fuels hope in electric cars
By Ian Porter
July 11, 2007
CONCERNS over oil supplies will be a thing of the past when electric cars are the norm, being recharged by solar panels or wind turbines on house roofs, according to a leading automotive research scientist.
That means cars could be refuelled virtually for nothing and with no emissions, said David Lamb of the CSIRO. First, though, cars will have to progress through several stages of development, from petrol-electric hybrids to plug-in hybrids and then full electric cars, said Dr Lamb, leader of the CSIRO's low-emission transport group.
Dr Lamb's strong endorsement of electric cars has come as the current crop of hybrids on the road start to attract criticism due to the amount of energy consumed when making them, as opposed to when driving them.
A survey in the US showed hybrids used more energy over their life cycle than many "less efficient" vehicles, altering the common image of hybrids as the cars that will save the world.
Dr Lamb said current petrol-electric hybrids would evolve into cars that would rely less on petrol and more on electricity.
"The next stage is the plug-in hybrid and that will save more emissions again," he said.
Like a regular hybrid, the plug-in hybrid has an internal combustion engine and an electric motor with batteries, but the batteries can be recharged from the electricity grid.
This means the internal combustion engine would be used less often to charge the batteries, further limiting emissions. "Ten years ago we used to say plug-in hybrids only displaced the emissions from the tailpipe to the power station where the electricity was generated, and that it didn't save any emissions," Dr Lamb said.
"In fact, we got it wrong. We were very wrong."
Early analysis did not take into account the pattern of electricity use across the grid, which sees consumption vary widely during the day, he said.
"There is such a variation on the draw on the electricity grid that, with clever metering, clever charging devices and clever batteries, you will have the ability to suck the power from the grid at times when it would not add to the load on the grid," he said.
"In other words, you could have, say, half the cars on the road charging from the electricity grid without changing the emissions profile from the power station."
"You can expect in a few years time a lot of houses will have solar generation from panels on the roof and a little wind turbine on the roof, maybe, and that opens up the door to charging the vehicle for free, and absolutely emissions-free."