Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

By Robert Rapier on Sep 2, 2010 with 112 responses

Leaked Study on Peak Oil Warns of Severe Global Energy Crisis

This week a study on peak oil by a German military think tank was leaked on the Internet. The document shows that the German government is closely studying the issue of peak oil, and is aware of the potential for serious consequences as oil production declines. The study is reminiscent of the Hirsch Report, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy, that warned of the risks posed by peak oil.

Europe's continued reliance on Russian oil and gas supplies may not be secure in the long term, according to the study.

The document warns of the potential for regional shortages, market failures, and a shift in political power toward those capable of exporting oil. This report describes potential outcomes that require planning and preparation. The scenarios outlined in the paper are exactly the kinds of drivers that lead me to advocate for greater regional energy self-sufficiency. The report clearly lays out just how vulnerable Europe will be because of its continuing dependence upon Russia for both oil and gas, and notes that Russia will be in a very strong political bargaining position as a result.

The report can be accessed from the popular German paper Der Spiegel in this story: Bundeswehr-Studie warnt vor dramatischer Ölkrise. The report is so far only available in German, and while Ich spreche ein wenig Deutsch (I speak a little German), I am not fluent enough to capture the essence of the report. (Der Spiegel has summarized the report in English now: Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis).

However, I have a friend who is both fluent in German (his native tongue) and passionate about peak oil outreach. Given a week, I could probably translate the report. My friend (who didn’t want to be identified) did it overnight. Below is his translation of the major points in the report.

Peak Oil

Implications Of Resource Scarcity On (National) Security

Center for German Army Transformation, Group for “Future Studies”

July 2010

1.        Introduction

The focus of the document is on the topic of finite resources, using Peak Oil as an example. The report is part of a series of publications focused on long term (30 years) with the intent to enable the Ministry of Defense to take action early.

In the past, resources have always triggered conflicts, mostly of regional nature. For the future, the authors expect this to become a global problem, as scarcity (mainly of crude oil) will affect everybody.

The authors confirm multiple views on Peak Oil timing and concede that there will be Peak Oil eventually. The study isn’t about positioning the problem on a timeline, but instead about the consequences of a peak. They expect major consequences with a delay of 15-30 years after the peak has hit.

The report refers to the uncertainty of reserve statements mainly in OPEC countries based on the quota allocation method within OPEC but also refers to the possibility of better extraction technologies.

They suggest that it has become urgent to understand those consequences of an eventual peak now in order to have enough time to adapt.

2.        The Importance of Oil

2.1       Oil as a driver of globalization

95% of all industrial outputs is dependent on oil, in fuels, as a chemical base for polymer production etc. Oil has become a key driver of modern lifestyle and globalization.

Substantial oil price increases poses a systemic risk, not just for obvious things like transportation, but equally for other subsystems.

Thus, internationally, but equally nationally, there is a vital interest in securing access to oil, which is currently possible on world spot markets, with OPEC being cooperative due to a mutual dependency between key actors (and a massive presence of the U.S military in the gulf region).

Yet on the other hand, regional conflicts can always at least partially be attributed to resources, such as in the Caucasus region, the Middle East or in Nigeria, or they fuel conflicts due to the wealth they create (such as in Africa).

The report sees – within a timeframe until the year 2040 – a changed international security layout based on new risks (including transport risks for fuels) and new roles of actors in a possible conflict around the distribution of increasingly scarce resources.

2.2       German energy security

The term is defined narrowly as “reliable energy supply”, and then extended to include environmental objectives, technology transformation of societies, planning for energy demand and the long-term planning of a national strategy, tied in with international organizations

This expansion of the view is seen as required based on the globalization of energy markets. However, the report then narrows down the scope again to the possible risk from a supply shock, focusing on the key suppliers of oil: Russia, Norway and the U.K. It is noted that both European partners are already past their peak and that Germany is increasingly dependent on Russia, which currently is reliable but not necessarily so in the long term. Given the expected decline in German energy consumption, the Russian share will likely be 40% by 2025, with the Middle East, Africa and sources around the Caspian Sea making up for the increasing gap from declining European production.

3.        Possible Scenarios After Global Peak Oil

This chapter looks at gradual changes (3.1.) and the risk of disruptive changes (3.2) past a certain tipping point.

3.1       General interdependencies driven by Peak Oil

3.1.1      Oil as a deciding factor in international relationships
With increasing scarcity, producers are increasingly in an advantageous position, both from high revenues and access to cheaper oil when compared to spot market prices. This partly reverts the trend to free oil markets which took place after the ’70s shocks, and gives those countries more control over the supply chain, with a risk of monopolies and nationalizations, and of “political pricing.”

Further, oil producers use increasing amounts of their production internally at lower prices, which increases domestic consumption and inefficiencies, accelerating the problem. [The authors miss out on the fact that high oil prices also bring more wealth to the country which AGAIN increases resource consumption].

The report then looks at increasing “strategic” moves by key actors including the Chinese CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), which tries to grab the sources that are still available (particularly in Asia and Africa), but often at relatively unattractive conditions.

strategic_elipse

The focus of risks is expected in the “strategic ellipse” region (a term used for the region East of Europe reaching from Saudi Arabia in the South to Russia and former Soviet Union countries in the North), because a majority of oil reserves are located in this area.

Overall, the authors expect a reduction of “free market” mechanisms in oil trade, and a rise in more protectionism, exchange deals, and political alliances between suppliers and customers, which could lead to significant geopolitical shifts. Equally, the authors expect this interdependency to shape foreign affairs of oil importers, making them more tolerant towards rogue behavior of suppliers out of sheer need.

Overall, higher volatility and loss of trust are seen as possible outcomes in a world where oil supplies are limited, increasing the need for “oil related diplomacy” and thus increasing risks for moral hazard among all actors, which in turn decreases overall global supply security.

The report then refers to already existing actions of the German government to tie close economic relationships with energy suppliers, and to the tendency of consuming countries to reduce oil dependency, trying to steer clear of risks of future supply shocks.

The Middle East is identified as a very dangerous region with high external involvement from many players and thus a very unstable overall situation.

Overall, the report expects a reduction of the importance of “Western values” related to democracy, and human rights in the context of politically motivated alliances, which increasingly are driven by emerging economies such as China – likely leading to double standards. Emerging economies are equally expected to receive higher recognition in international organizations, particularly those with strength in resources (such as Russia).

3.1.2      New security risks based on additional/alternative energy resources
New conflicts are potentially arising from oil exploration in international or disputed ocean waters, where multiple issues arise, particularly around the arctic circle, with further geopolitical risks for conflict.

Also, the shift to natural gas is reviewed as an extension of the “oil age”, because it might be able to replace crude oil as a bridging source until new solutions are found. The risks for problems from transporting gas (pipelines) and the related issues (as seen between Russia and its neighbors during the past years) are highlighted.

Equally, nuclear power as a potential source is highlighted – emphasizing the risk for safety and the proliferation of nuclear technology. This would also require an increasing shift towards electricity.

Equally, the competition between biofuel and food production is highlighted, showing the limits of biofuel outputs to compensate for reductions in oil availability, and also showing risks for water supply and soil degradation from excessive use.

Overall, the authors see a trend to increase the energy autonomy of entire regions from external supplies, both in the ability to generate alternative fuels (from biofuels and coal), but particularly in electricity generation.

3.1.3      A shift in roles between private and public actors
Based on the increasing importance of oil, governments are becoming more relevant in securing the benefits of oil, both on the supply and on the demand side. This puts a higher emphasis on political negotiations and deals, and increases the risks for nationalizations of resources and key exploration activities.

Exploration licenses are seen as a key area where bidding wars (including non-financial commitments) might emerge. Equally, increasing pressure to renegotiate or revoke already existing licenses might emerge. Ultimately, each country will try to secure sufficient oil to keep its standard of living.

On the other hand, private enterprises are seen on the rise in protecting infrastructure and ensuring production and transportation security in less developed regions, particularly if weaker countries become unable to keep their own services up.

The dependency on oil-related infrastructure (pipelines, refineries, harbors, key pathways on oceans) will increase, and thus the risk. Damaging infrastructure through hostile acts (sabotage, war) might become an attractive target for groups or countries with a tendency to use violence. The same is expected for electricity and natural gas-related infrastructure – they all might require higher protection.

Generally, the focus of risks is expected in the region which the authors consider the “strategic ellipse” (a term used for the region East of Europe reaching from Saudi Arabia in the South to Russia and former Soviet Union countries in the North), because a majority of oil reserves are located in this area.

3.1.4      Economical and political crises as a consequence of the transition to “post-fossil” societies
A number of risks of higher oil prices are seen for modern economies, particularly in transportation. Security risks are seen in resulting systemic crises.

A first direct consequence of higher oil prices and lower availability of fossil fuels is a possible reduction in transportation capacity, equally in individual transportation and in freight forwarding. This might lead to another “mobility crisis” for societies that heavily depend on cars and trucks.

Higher cost in commercial transportation markets might severely affect current supply chains, and no alternatives are in sight (electric trucks don’t exist yet). Particularly food might become a critical issue for countries that are a) highly dependent on imports and b) are susceptible to price-increases of food products, particularly affecting Africa, parts of Asia and Latin America, and the Middle East.

High oil prices would further affect almost all aspects of society, as it will also influence the cost of chemicals and all products derived from them, which might substantially alter the nature of value chains and make certain things uneconomical – ultimately leading to higher unemployment during a transformational phase away from an oil based economy. This might particularly affect the German car industry.

Limits in availability might also strengthen regulatory efforts, encourage the allocation of energy (oil) by rationing schemes and possible other actions limiting free markets.

Additionally, the changes and likely reduction in standard of living might render societies less stable and make them more attracted to extremist political positions and even trigger changes in government systems, as trust into key actors in politics will diminish. This might be a particular risk for the relatively young democratic countries in Eastern Europe.

3.1.5      More selective intervention – key actors overwhelmed
Overall, more expensive transportation and increasing problems “at home” might reduce the ability of larger countries to intervene internationally (politically and/or with military action), and also lower the readiness to provide help to poorer countries. The focus will be more on a country’s egotistic (energy) interest and not so much on an ideal of transferring Western values. The gap will likely not be filled by NGOs, as they will be affected by similar limits.

Overall, international institutions will be weakened, as they will have less resources to provide help and support, and it becomes equally possible that help will be attached to direct (energy) needs of the donors.

3.2      Systemic risks after reaching a “tipping point”

In addition to the gradual risks, there might be risks of non-linear events, where a reduction of economic output based on Peak Oil might affect market-driven economies in a way that they stop functioning altogether, leaving the range of a relatively steady downward trajectory.

Such a scenario could pan out by an initially slow decline of trade and economic activity, combined with higher stress on government budgets from lower tax income, higher social cost and growing investment into alternative technologies.

Investment will decline and debt service will be challenged, leading to a crash in financial markets, accompanied by a loss of trust into currencies and a break-up of value and supply chains – because trade is no longer possible. This would in turn lead to the collapse of economies, mass unemployment, government defaults and infrastructure breakdowns, ultimately followed by famines and total system collapse.

4.        Challenges for Germany

4.1      Risk of new dependencies for Germany

Oil as a new factor of global power would create significant dependencies for Germany, and in order to avoid supply issues, strong ties with suppliers are a must, but equally a diversification of supply relationships, taking into account that a supplier might intentionally reduce capacity to accomplish political objectives.

Among the key supplier countries is Russia (supplying 35% of German oil imports), where reliability risks are prevalent, given past experience. Natural gas, as a possible temporary substitute, bears the same risk (37% come from Russia). Thus, a diversification becomes essential.

4.2      Focus of politics on supply relationships

Germany needs strong and reliable ties to Russia and other Caspian Sea countries. This might create some challenges in international relations, particularly with smaller Eastern European countries [like Poland]. Thus, intensifying relationships to the Middle East might be equally relevant. However, all those relationships have an inherent risk of being instruments in conflicts, which puts a certain limit on treating all foreign partners the same.

4.3      More pragmatic foreign policy

The need to mitigate supply risks might require some compromises on foreign affairs topics (such as human rights). Equally, more active diplomatic efforts will be required with a focus of energy security in mind. This is more difficult given Germany’s reluctance to engage in political power play due to its history, but needs to be tackled in order to deal with the challenges ahead. The authors don’t want to encourage military solutions, but suggest a strong preventive development of political and diplomatic initiatives to tackle the problem.

4.4      Importance and freedom of industrial nations reduced

All industrial nations that depend on energy imports will become more dependent on new partners, both in emerging economies and supplier countries. This requires a new focus in foreign affairs, sometimes giving up standards in negotiations with countries that have different cultures and political systems.

4.5      Help in stabilizing supplier countries at risk

Some supplier countries (and surrounding regions) might be destabilized by the force of higher resource prices. This is an area where Germany needs to help by providing support for nation building and conflict resolution on the national and international level. This is in conflict with the lower economic power likely to result from Peak Oil, which might make interventions less likely and requires new approaches of “stabilization with lower effort.”

4.6      Growing conflict potential concerning the Arctic Circle

Germany might have to take positions in case of an upcoming conflict regarding resources in the Arctic Circle, where multiple countries (including Russia) have open claims for accessing oil and gas fields. This requires further research.

4.7      Nuclear technology proliferation

The risk for nuclear technology proliferation and thus more countries with the potential for nuclear weapons (and the risk for terrorists having access to nuclear material) is growing due to the proliferation of nuclear technology for energy generation. Equally, risks for terrorist attacks and accidents on German soil are rising. Both scenarios require more surveillance, intelligence and preventive action.

4.8      Higher conflict potential regarding critical infrastructure

Energy delivery infrastructure for all sources including electricity will have a higher importance in an oil constrained world, thus, securing its reliability, security and availability becomes mission-critical. International cooperation is needed to secure large international supply paths (pipelines, sea routes).

4.9      Larger “energy regions” change international alliances

The expectation of stronger connections between suppliers and consumers across continents creates different settings for current international alliances and security risks. DESERTEC (a large power production system in Northern Africa based on CSP) would require different settings even for military strategies.

4.10   Peak Oil for armed forces

Armed forces would also be significantly affected by fossil fuel limits, as they are very dependent on oil products. Significant investments in alternative energy procurement technologies (biofuels, coal-to-liquids – Fischer-Tropsch) and applications (electric and hybrid vehicles) would be required, with long transition times. Further, local energy-independence of stationary troop infrastructure (like military bases) using more renewable sources would be beneficial. Long term objective would be to fully convert Germany’s armed forces to only use renewable energy sources by 2100.

4.11   Crude Oil as a systemic risk

For scenarios which end with a complete destabilization of societies, Germany is at a significant risk given its strong participation in a globalized economy. Being still able to act requires a number of basic infrastructures to keep functioning, both for the country and its armed forces. Work is required to look into redundancy, high-resilience of infrastructure and local self-organization approaches.

5.        Summary

The report sees significant risks arising from an unavoidable peak in oil production, which go beyond gradual shifts in energy systems and economies. This will likely lead to economic change and new geopolitical risks that affect much more than just what we can anticipate. The overall ability to describe exact outcomes is very limited, as many scenarios are possible, and further research is required.

Overall, more emphasis needs to be put on understanding and shaping international relationships in respect to energy security, anticipating and integrating the ongoing shift to different players in a resource-constrained world.

In any case, Germany has to identify and implement alternatives to the current transportation technologies that require oil, and put a similar emphasis on avoiding other dependencies, for example concerning rare earths.

For armed forces, Peak Oil creates significant risks, both from a mobility standpoint as well as from dependencies on other societal services. Understanding those risks requires further analysis and likely a very different approach in the future.

In general, more preparation is required for society and army to make sure that problems are recognized and solutions are actively implemented.

  1. By Jimmy on September 2, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Russia will rule the world.

    [link]      
  2. By Rakovi on September 2, 2010 at 4:55 am

    And even all this being 100% correct – Crude Oil prices still may go down in the short-term motivating more people to brush all this “nonsense” off and increasing the future shock severity…

    [link]      
  3. By Jimmy on September 2, 2010 at 5:03 am

    If prices go down short term, they will quickly go up again as supply contricts.

    Its more critical to take action to avoid both loss of national soverignity and internal collapse, which happens if you are dependent on someone for your life support.

    For western europe and the united states, the only practical solution is Hemp on a scale like never before to provide fuel for those overly dependent on crude oil based fuel. Its simple market forces, a cheaper alternative emerges to replace the existing hegemon.

    [link]      
  4. By Wendell Mercantile on September 2, 2010 at 9:46 am

    For western Europe and the United States, the only practical solution is Hemp on a scale like never before to provide fuel for those overly dependent on crude oil based fuel.

    Hemp? What have you been smoking?

    The only practical solution is a make-or-break, do-or-die nuclear reactor build out program; and also hope like all get out we finally make a breakthrough harnessing fusion energy.

    [link]      
  5. By Perry on September 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    The only practical solution is a make-or-break, do-or-die nuclear reactor build out program; and also hope like all get out we finally make a breakthrough harnessing fusion energy.

    How does more electricity help with peak oil if nobody has electric cars Wendell? People won’t buy PHEV’s or EV’s until they’re a cheaper mode of transportation than ICE’s. That won’t happen until peak oil bites us in the butt. They’ll spend more for leather seats, sunroof, and bluetooth. But, PHEV’s are a no-go until gas hits $5 a gallon. At that point, a mass conversion of the transportation fleet is only 20 years away. We’re not prepared for peak oil. More electricity won’t help much. But, at least we can watch the havoc unfold from our leather seats. Gotta look at the bright side.

     

    [link]      
  6. By Perry on September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Another oil rig blew up in the Gulf today. Thankfully, no deaths this time. I’m trying to remember the last time a cornfield exploded.

    [link]      
  7. By Wendell Mercantile on September 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    How does more electricity help with peak oil if nobody has electric cars

    Perry,

    If someone has to decide between driving an electric car or paying $15 dollars or more per gallon for gasoline (if they can even find gasoline) the choice will become very easy. (The very rich will always be able to find gasoline – you and I on the other hand may have problems.)

    Abundant and inexpensive electric power from nukes would also open the door for inexpensively producing alternative motor fuels such as methanol, dimethyl ether, and ammonia.

    Inexpensive and abundant electricity is also the key to making the hydrogen economy work. Plenty of hydrogen available in water, once we have an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy to crack those water molecules apart.

    [link]      
  8. By Benny BND Cole on September 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    In general, I dislike scare-mongering, and this study may fall into that category. Also, remember–military agencies have a stake in scare-mongering. The US military has never issued a report that concludes, “Well, threats are lower and fewer, there is less need for military outlays.”
    I know little of the German military, but would it be a surprise if they are making a bid for greater German “preparedness.”?

    That said, the solution from the US perspective is obvious: Higher gaoline taxes. I prefer an addtional 25 cent a federal gallon tax be levied every quarter ($1 a year) for three or perhaps four years.

    We might consider tax breaks for buying PHEVs or CNG cars.

    Every PHEV is far more valuable to our bona fide national security than any tank or jet fighter plane.

    But our politcial parties prefer to define “national security” as heavy spending on military boondoggles and a coprolitic force structure.

    [link]      
  9. By ronald-steenblik on September 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Perry wrote:

    I’m trying to remember the last time a cornfield exploded.

    Ethanol tanker fireMaybe cornfields don’t explode (except, on a very small scale, cornfields growing popcorn Wink), but the rigs that supply the natural gas used to transform corn into fuel ethanol do; and ethanol storage tanks, ethanol rail cars and ethanol tanker trucks certainly catch fire.

     

    [link]      
  10. By Wendell Mercantile on September 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I’m trying to remember the last time a cornfield exploded.

    I can’t remember that either Perry, but I do remember the last time a major flood washed away corn fields and swept them down the Des Moines and Cedar Rivers in Iowa — along with all the pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilizer that farmers had applied to those fields.

    [link]      
  11. By Kit P on September 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    “I have a friend who is both fluent in German (his native tongue) and passionate about peak oil outreach.”

     

    Except for my wife, I try not to be passionate anything.  You could say I am passionate about being rational.

     

    Identify the hazard, and if the consequences are unacceptable; then quantify the risk.  If the risk is too high, develop a mitigation plan.  From the Hirsch report.

     

    “Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking.”

     

    There you have it, no need for drama.  One of the things we see in the US is the military developing bio fuels for aircraft.  

     

    From the leaked report translation:

     

    “The report sees significant risks arising from an unavoidable peak in oil production..”

     

    Like what?  Trot out nuclear fear mongering. 

     

    “The risk for nuclear technology proliferation and thus more countries with the potential for nuclear weapons (and the risk for terrorists having access to nuclear material) is growing due to the proliferation of nuclear technology for energy generation. Equally, risks for terrorist attacks and accidents on German soil are rising.”

     

    First, this is an insignificant risk (based of 50 years of history).  Second it has nothing to do with peak oil.

     

    Like every other crisis that people have been passionate about over the 50 years, the crisis has never come about.  One reason is that rational people solve the problem before it comes a crisis as RR writes.

     

    “In general, more preparation is required for society and army to make sure that problems are recognized and solutions are actively implemented.”

     

    A second reason is the problem leading to the crisis was not real but some drug induced hysteria.  

     

    the only practical solution is Hemp

     

    [link]      
  12. By Ug on September 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    “I’m trying to remember the last time a cornfield exploded.”

    The exploded gulf rig supplies the oil that fuels the diesel tractors that harvest the oil that you burn as ethanol in your gas tank. Corn that is grown by virtue of fertilizers derived from natural gas. The idea that corn is an alternative to oil is absurd.

    [link]      
  13. By Perry on September 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Touche ronald and Wendell. Everything has a downside. Still, something tells me those cornfields will be producing centuries after the last oil rig is through pumping. I hear time and again how we can’t produce enough biofuels to make a dent in the problem. But, if we used half the acreage livestock grazes on to grow switchgrass instead of regular old prairie grass, we could produce 180 billion gallons of ethanol annually. More than enough to meet our liquid fuel needs.

     

    “Some 788 million acres, or 41.4 percent of the U. S. excluding Alaska, are grazed by livestock”

     

    http://www.westernwatersheds.o…..ticle6.htm

     

    Researchers found that switchgrass grown on the marginal fields produced an average of 300 gallons of ethanol per acre compared to average ethanol yields of 350 gallons per acre for corn for the same three states.

    Recent yield trials of new experimental strains in the three states produced 50 percent higher yields than achieved in this study.

    http://www.ens-newswire.com/en…..8-091.html

     

    450 gallons per acre X 400 million acres = 180 billion gallons per year. A herculean task, no doubt. But, it can be done without natural gas, or a lot of pesticedes and herbicides.

    [link]      
  14. By Kit P on September 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    “Plenty of hydrogen available in water, once we have an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy to crack those water molecules apart.”

     

    We are working on that but Wendell you may want to get on board with corn ethanol because technology (HTGCR) to efficiently produce hydrogen is a generation away from being commercial.  

     

    Also Wendell there is a difference between small increases in pollution and blowing up people.  

     

    Russia uses nuke reactors to power ice breakers.  With higher oil fuel cost nuclear propulsion could be adopted to other large ships.

    [link]      
  15. By rrapier on September 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    One of the things in the report that should alarm Eastern European countries is Germany’s realization that they may have to toss them under the bus to curry favor with Russia. Poland may be more aligned with Germany than Russia, but guess which side Germany will take if it’s a matter of getting their oil or gas cut off? The report spells that out pretty clearly.

    RR

    [link]      
  16. By rrapier on September 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Benny BND Cole said:

    In general, I dislike scare-mongering, and this study may fall into that category.


     

    From the point of the military, peak oil is scary business. If fossil fuel supplies start to run short, that has the potential to make them ineffective. That’s why you see military associations involvement with so many alternative fuel trials. They have tested hydrocracked jet fuel, GTL and CTL to name a few.

    I think the report from a military perspective is certainly understandable. It is a risk, whether you think it is a serious risk or not. It is their job to identify threats and possible mitigation strategies. This isn’t much different than you deciding you need homeowners insurance against a low-probability threat like a house fire.

    RR

    [link]      
  17. By Perry on September 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    There’s probably no all or nothing answer to peak oil. We don’t have to produce enough biofuel to replace all our oil needs. We’ll probably still be getting 40M bpd of oil 20 years from now. The difference can be made up by EV’s and biofuels. The good news is, we’re on a path to do it. Bad news is, we probably aren’t moving quickly enough.

    [link]      
  18. By savro on September 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    One of the things in the report that should alarm Eastern European countries is Germany’s realization that they may have to toss them under the bus to curry favor with Russia. Poland may be more aligned with Germany than Russia, but guess which side Germany will take if it’s a matter of getting their oil or gas cut off? The report spells that out pretty clearly.

    RR


     

    I think that was made abundantly clear at the end of section 3.1.1. Global politics will turn into a game of bullying, and Russia will likely turn out to be the biggest winner. Values and friendships will be unimportant if the world reaches this point:

    Overall, the report expects a reduction of the importance of “Western values” related to democracy, and human rights in the context of politically motivated alliances, which increasingly are driven by emerging economies such as China – likely leading to double standards. Emerging economies are equally expected to receive higher recognition in international organizations, particularly those with strength in resources (such as Russia).

     

    [link]      
  19. By rrapier on September 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    From the Hirsch report.

    “Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking.”

    There you have it, no need for drama. One of the things we see in the US is the military developing bio fuels for aircraft.

    You left off the first part of that quote, which is:

    “The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented.”

    I have sat down with Bob Hirsch and discussed the issue. I have also seen him give a presentation covering his views. Three takeaways. 1). We are very adaptable; we will survive this. 2). We are less than a decade away from peaking; 3). We are not where we need to be with respect to mitigation.

    Add it up, and he says we have a very difficult period in front of us, but we will emerge from the other side. (This is also my view). But he isn’t nearly so nonchalant (“no need for drama”) about the seriousness of the risk as Kit implies.

    Incidentally, while Kit loves to show his ignorance by mouthing off that I don’t produce any energy, there is great irony in his statement “One of the things we see in the US is the military developing bio fuels for aircraft.” The fact is, the fuel the U.S. military is testing is not generally being produced by the military. Enough said.

    RR

    [link]      
  20. By paul-n on September 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Same again in section 4.3;

    The need to mitigate supply risks might require some compromises on foreign affairs topics (such as human rights). Equally, more active diplomatic efforts will be required with a focus of energy security in mind. This is more difficult given Germany’s reluctance to engage in political power play due to its history, but needs to be tackled in order to deal with the challenges ahead. The authors don’t want to encourage military solutions, but suggest a strong preventive development of political and diplomatic initiatives to tackle the problem.

    I like the first line – basically, we’ll buy oil from you even if you are axe murderers.

    The rest – we need to get out there and lean on oil producing countries so they sell to us, first.  

    China is taking this approach – in addition to their activities in Africa, Brazil, etc, they have been buying out the stakes of American companies in Canadian oilsands projects.   When it comes to the crunch, China can just threaten to cut off access to it’s market for other goods if they don’t sell oil (China is such an important market for western Canada that they couldn’t now say no). And China is now too important a trading partner for most countries.  Germany is not as important for most, and arguably getting less so all the time.

     

    I like the map of world food security – all the democratic countries have it (except Japan), and most others don’t.   These same democratic countries (with the exception of Norway and Canada) are almost all oil importers.  And most of the oil exporting countries are not food self sufficient.  Decades of foreign aid to Africa has not achieved much (but they are net exporters of oil!).

     

    I think the whole peak oil scenario as described here, can be likened to game of musical chairs.  One by one, there are less chairs as oil exporting countries become importers (UK, Indonesia), and less oil hits the world market.  And when the music stops (post peak), there will be a scramble for a chair, and this will trump everything else.  No wonder China is trying to sign up the chair holders first.

    The winners here will be those oil independent countries that can watch from the sidelines – as long as they are not geographically between the oil givers and the takers.  

    [link]      
  21. By Nick G on September 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    This appears to be a very early draft. For instance, the coverage of transportation needs to be greatly expanded – the idea that electric transportation doesn’t exist is remarkably unrealistic – there are both electric trucks and rail (rail is obviously better for long distances), and water shipping can and will move away from oil.

    They need to light a fire under the move to standardize and expand rail in Europe, which is moving very slowly at the moment. Right now trucks carry the majority of European freight, unlike the US.

    It’s time for Europe to kick it’s oil addiction, as it is for the US.)

    [link]      
  22. By Brent on September 2, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    “Every PHEV is far more valuable to our bona fide national security than any tank or jet fighter plane.”

    I think that you really hit the nail on the head here.  If we were to redirect even a portion of our military funds which are used for the procurement of fossil energy (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan) we could have had working hot fusion.  We are talking trillions of dollars cumulatively or even 500 billion annually.

     

     

    [link]      
  23. By Mac on September 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Brent,

    Former Secretary. of State George Schultz and James Woolsey (former head of the CIA) were both intimately involved in U.S. national security.

    Both Woolsey and Schultz came out long ago in favor of plug-in hybrids

    [link]      
  24. By Robert on September 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Didn’t the Germans have a peak oil crisis around 1942?

    [link]      
  25. By Ryan on September 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    They should have done a sister study about the effects of exponential population growth. The two together would have painted a far more accurate outlook of things to come.

    [link]      
  26. By Kit P on September 2, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    “But he isn’t nearly so nonchalant
    (“no need for drama”) about the seriousness of the risk as
    Kit implies.”

     

    Kit implied nothing about the
    seriousness of unmitigated risk and made a straight forward state
    about the mitigated risk.

    [link]      
  27. By Charles Powars on September 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    My conclusion: Invest in Gazprom and Lukoil. I did, some years ago. High risk but high potential payoff, IMHO.

    [link]      
  28. By Kit P on September 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    OT but I would like to point out my
    post contained no disagreement with what RR wrote.

    “Incidentally, while Kit loves to
    show his ignorance by mouthing off that I don’t produce any energy,”

     

    I can oblige RR if he would like to banter
    about like Paul and I do with strong difference of opinions.
    However, I am reluctant because RR has to waste time commenting on my
    ignorance and manners.

     

    So what say you RR, care to banter or
    would like to skip off topic things from old posts?

    [link]      
  29. By rrapier on September 2, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Kit P said:

    So what say you RR, care to banter or would like to skip off topic things from old posts?


     

    It’s hasn’t been a couple of days since you made one of your frequent insinuations about productive people. I just think that it is prudent — given that you don’t know what I actually do — to stop. Your comment was just particularly ironic given what I actually do.

    RR

    [link]      
  30. By MrEnergyCzar on September 2, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    You’d think Germany would be better positioned for PO with their high percentage of solar but of course no one really is…..I’ve been weaning my family off of oil for several years and made some videos about what we did… I attached one here….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..HmXhgBhtWk

    MrEnergyCzar

    [link]      
  31. By Kit P on September 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I just love when someone with $4000
    counter tops starts lecturing on how to save money on electricity.

     

    No RR, no insinuations about you. Don’t
    care about your counter tops.

     

    “I’ve been weaning my family off of
    oil for several years”

     

    These video need a laugh track. First
    in the US does not use very much oil to make electricity, so saving
    on electricity is not a very good way to save oil.

     

    “with their high percentage of solar”

     

    No country has a high percentage of
    solar. Most of the tips in the video are expensive gadgets for thos
    who are OCD about saving energy. I do not have a problem with rich
    people buying solar panels just the concept that they are saving the
    planet.

     

    One important note is storing gasoline
    to save money. Not only is it stupid but it is dangerous. Saving
    money on storing 3 years of wood pellets may or may not be a good
    idea but not inside your house. Kept the fire loading down.

     

    I did like the radiant barrier in the
    attic. Great DIY task for about $200.

    [link]      
  32. By Walter Sobchak on September 2, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Jimmy said:

    Russia will rule the world.


     

    Clearly you have spent very little time learning about Russia. Russia has enormous social and demographic problems. Disastrously low birthrates among ethnic Russians, high rates of alcoholism and heart disease, make Russia a third world country with a lot of nuclear weapons. Their government has devolved into a thugocracy. It is unlikely that they will be able to maintain control over resource rich areas outside the Russian Heartland over the course of the next 50 years.

     

    OTOH, I would not recommend any strategy that involves depending on Russia. They are a treacherous and unreliable partner.

    [link]      
  33. By Walter Sobchak on September 2, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Perry said:

    “How does more electricity help with peak oil if nobody has electric cars”


     

    Transportation fuel is not an ultimate resource. If you do not have petroleum it can be manufactured. Germany did it in WWII, and South Africa did it during Aparthied. They used coal, but natural gas is a great feed stock, but in a pinch carbon dioxide and water will do. Further, cars are not the only method of transportation. Even today, there are many electrically powered railroad systems.

    [link]      
  34. By mac on September 3, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Walter said

    “Even today, there are many electrically powered railroad systems.”

    Exactly, most people don’t realize most modern trains are either pure electric or are diesel-electric hybrids. All the really super-fast trains like the Bullet trains in Europe and Japan are pure electric.

    Most modern freight trains are diesel-electric hybrids where the diesel engine only generates electricity. The train wheels are driven by electric traction motors. just like the Chevy Volt except the Volt uses a gasoline engine to make the electricity. In either case the gas or diesel motor is not connected to the wheels.

    The Chevy volt is not really a new idea. During WWII the submarines were diesel-electric hybrids. The submarines navigated the seas on the surface where they re-charged the batteries. When they wanted to attack they dove under water and used the electric motor.

    The Volt is not really a new idea………….just a new idea for cars.

    [link]      
  35. By paul-n on September 3, 2010 at 2:43 am

    most people don’t realize most modern trains are either pure electric or are diesel-electric hybrids.

    While this may be true, a diesel electric is not an “electrically powered train system” no diesel = no go.  And this would be the entire north American freight rail system.  Yes, it could be electrified, but at ridiculous cost, and to save all of 1.25%  of US consumption.  Mind you, it is one of the safest, and most cost effective applications I can think of for using CNG to replace diesel (they could also use ethanol!).

    As for Europe, the high frequency, and speed, of passenger rail has limited freight rail development, which often needs separate tracks.  Plus many countries have more localised industry and transport needs, so the average trip distance is shorter, which favours trucks.

    Not saying they (and we) can;t do more freight rail, but it’s not always easy, and it certainly is not always electric.

     

    As for this;

    ………….just a new idea for cars.

    That couldn’t be further from the truth!

    The first hybrid car (and a Volt style series hybrid at that) was built by a certain Ferdinand Porsche in 1899!  It predates diesel electric by decades!

    http://www.hybrid-vehicle.org/…..rsche.html

     

    From that site;

    While the Lohner-Porsche technology was reliable, it was not competitive with conventional petrol-engined cars. Production costs where higher.  Production of Hybrid cars seized in 1906

     

    Sound familiar?   110 years later, and how much has changed?

     

    Porsche also went on to invent the first “hybrid electric” train – it used a gasoline engine to power hub motors on the trailers – he was truly an innovator.

    [link]      
  36. By Benin on September 3, 2010 at 5:39 am

    Very true. Why not just develop micomanufacturing and use the looming jump in transformative technologies to solve these problems? Cave men beat things with sticks to solve problems. We’re supposed to be beyond that.

    I mean, hell, a combination of tritium nuclear power plants, renewable energy, and ambient energy collection via micromanufactured nanobots would not only work in parallel to overcome this problem, but we’d be better off than ever before.

    But no, let’s go hit things with sticks. It’s what we’re used to.

    [link]      
  37. By Prof Baldwin on September 3, 2010 at 5:57 am

    “The effects to occur 15 to 30 years after the peak occurs…” what exactly was the Iraq war about, but a resource war in all but name ? The effects will and are pre-dating the peak.

    [link]      
  38. By Brent on September 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    The effects to occur 15 to 30 years after the peak occurs…” what exactly was the Iraq war about, but a resource war in all but name ? The effects will and are pre-dating the peak.

    I think that peak production will exacerbate problems that were already there.  Most wars have had energy supply implications.  Japan’s involvement in WW2 can be associated with an oil embargo as well.  Nothing new here.

    [link]      
  39. By Michelle on September 3, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Benin, no one currently knows how to build a tritium power plant or a nanobot. If you are talking about hot fusion, the former may never be practical. The latter may eventually be but certainly isn’t now. Just because you’ve read about some speculative technology, doesn’t mean that anybody can really produce it.

    [link]      
  40. By Kit P on September 3, 2010 at 10:22 am

    “Japan’s involvement in WW2 can be
    associated with an oil embargo as well ..”

     

    The Japanese Empire invaded China.
    Maybe Brent thinks the US should have kept selling oil to the
    imperial army to support crimes against humanity in China. WWII had
    already started before the US was attacked because it tried to
    pressure Japan into more peaceful to world trade.

    [link]      
  41. By rrapier on September 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Prof Baldwin said:

    “The effects to occur 15 to 30 years after the peak occurs…” what exactly was the Iraq war about, but a resource war in all but name ? The effects will and are pre-dating the peak.


     

    That is the basis of my Peak Lite theory:

    http://www.consumerenergyrepor…..revisited/

    As excess capacity disappears, we will see peak oil impacts even if production continues to rise. So yes, I believe effects will pre-date peak.

    RR

    [link]      
  42. By mac on September 3, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Paul N

    Yes, the hybrid idea is not new for cars either. I’m well aware of Porsche’s early hybrid.

    What’s “new” is that they are going into production. (Chevy Volt) and that’s what I meant when I said ‘IT’S JUST A NEW IDEA FOR CARS.

    You are absolutely right. The hybrid car idea has been around since the dawn of the automotive age.

    But back in Porsche’s day gasoline was cheap and we thought we had enough to last us forever. Nobody had ever heard of smog or air pollution and OPEC was just a nightmare that hadn’t happened yet.

    In Porsche’s day there were few cars. Now there are over one Billion gas guzzling monsters gnawing away at a limited oil resource like Pac Man on steroids,

    Has anything changed in the last 110 years that might make hybrid vehicles attractive ? I don’t know for sure. I think so. But, I’m not dogmatic about it.

    [link]      
  43. By Wendell Mercantile on September 3, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Now there are over one Billion gas guzzling monsters gnawing away at a limited oil resource like Pac Man on steroids,

    Mac,

    The problem isn’t the cars. Cars are inanimate objects — not monsters. The problem is our addiction to the mobility and freedom automobiles have given us.

    Theoretically, that addiction could be met just as well by a car (hybrid or non) that runs on methanol, ammonia, or dimethyl ether; or nearly as well by an all-electric car.

    It’s just that for the last 120 years, oil has been the most accessible and to use source of the motor fuels we need to feed our “mobility addiction.”

    Of course, the advantage that oil has had for more than a century will soon come to an end. The first to offer a car that can feed our mobility addiction without taking losing the advantages of energy density and world-wide availability gasoline and diesel fuel offer, will become a billionaire several times over. Unfortunately, corn ethanol wasn’t the magic bullet to fill that need.

    [link]      
  44. By Nick G on September 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    The first to offer a car that can feed our mobility addiction without taking losing the advantages of energy density and world-wide availability gasoline and diesel fuel offer, will become a billionaire several times over.

    Well, then, GM should do very well with the Volt.

    [link]      
  45. By Kit P on September 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    “Has anything changed in the last 110 years that might make hybrid vehicles attractive?”

     

    The ICE has gotten a lot better eliminating almost all practical benefit for hybrids leaving only the image of being environmental conscious.  

     

    “The problem is our addiction to the mobility and freedom automobiles have given us.”

     

    Mobility and freedom is a problem?  Let me point out to Wendell that energy is also like an ‘inanimate object’.  One we are not running out of either for all practical purposes.  There will always energy for mobility and freedom.  I do not know how we will do it 100 years but I know how we could if I was still around.  

     

    It is like have a beer or glass of wine with dinner; the risk of addition is small for most people.  There are folks that are always on the go with a cell phone to their ear.   

     

    “Unfortunately, corn ethanol wasn’t the magic bullet to fill that need.”

     

    Well actually it is.  Ethanol is big enough to fill the NEED just not the addiction.

     

    Like Ron suggested with lighting.  Our family’s lighting needs are nicely met with 29 watts of LED and CFB lighting.  There is other lighting at our house for infrequent tasks but those have ON/OFF switches.   Devices that some out neighbors are not become are of but that is none of my business. 

    [link]      
  46. By Wendell Mercantile on September 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Well, then, GM should do very well with the Volt.

    Nick G,

    The idea of the Volt is certainly good. The question is whether GM can successfully execute and has turned their good idea it into a quality product. Considering GM’s track record over the last three decades, that is a huge question.

    [link]      
  47. By doggydogworld on September 3, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    mac said:

    Most modern freight trains are diesel-electric hybrids where the diesel engine only generates electricity. The train wheels are driven by electric traction motors. just like the Chevy Volt except the Volt uses a gasoline engine to make the electricity. In either case the gas or diesel motor is not connected to the wheels.


     

    GM refuses to reveal the specifics of the drivetrain design, but they’ve dropped hints which imply the gasoline engine is connected to the wheels through a variant of their two-mode transmission. I suspect they switched from a pure serial design to reduce motor/generator cost and to improve highway MPG in charge-sustaining mode. We should know the details in a few months.

    [link]      
  48. By mac on September 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Doggy.

    Yes. I have heard this also.

    What interests me about the Volt and electric cars in general is that they eliminate gasoline consumption for most Americans, most of the time.

    [link]      
  49. By Herm on September 4, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Regarding the Volt, most likely GM will meet their original specs, they have spent a lot of manpower and money refining their computer models over the last two decades.. I am sure their will meet their promise of 50mpg on the epa hwy cycle once the genset starts to run, my guess is around 60mpg. Some people will do better and others will do worse. By design, there will be many people that will NEVER use any gas.. unfortunately the Volt will force you to cycle the fuel every couple of years or so by running the genset.

    Should the Feds subsidize coal-to-liquids plants in the US?.. what form should that subsidy take?

     

    [link]      
  50. By Kit P on September 4, 2010 at 10:47 am

    “What interests me about the Volt and
    electric cars in general is that they eliminate gasoline consumption
    for most Americans, most of the time.”

     

    The reason MAC is interested is his
    lack knowledge on all things electrical. The type that calls a
    carpenter to carpenter to change a light bulb.

     

    The first thing in common BEV have is
    they already have more than one car that they paid too much for.
    Usually some over priced Volvo selected to impress the neighbors.
    Second they do not have a clue about the source of electricity.
    Third, look at the house where they live. We are not talking about
    someone who lives in a double wide and drives a F250 to the
    construction site.

     

    The Bottom line is that BEVs are no
    greener than current ICE. No one is going to buy them until if and
    when we we run out of oil. If you are going to talk about most
    Americans all you have to do is look at what they buy now.

     

    “Should the Feds subsidize
    coal-to-liquids plants in the US?”

     

    We already know the technology works.
    We should be drilling of the coast of California, Virginia, and
    Florida. It really is stupid too worry about pollution when oil is
    the primary means of getting to the beach.

     

    The solutions to peak oil in the order
    of cost is:

     

    • car pooling

    • ethanol

    • CTL

    • BEV

    • doing without

    [link]      
  51. By ronald-steenblik on September 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Kit wrote:

    The reason MAC is interested is his lack knowledge on all things electrical. The type that calls a carpenter to change a light bulb.

    Kit, why this urge always to insult? How do you know that Mac, an anonymous commentator, is “[t]he type that calls a carpenter to change a light bulb”? Why not just make your point and leave your presumptions about other people out of it?

    [link]      
  52. By Kup on September 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    doggydogworld said:

    mac said:

    Most modern freight trains are diesel-electric hybrids where the diesel engine only generates electricity. The train wheels are driven by electric traction motors. just like the Chevy Volt except the Volt uses a gasoline engine to make the electricity. In either case the gas or diesel motor is not connected to the wheels.


     
    GM refuses to reveal the specifics of the drivetrain design, but they’ve dropped hints which imply the gasoline engine is connected to the wheels through a variant of their two-mode transmission. I suspect they switched from a pure serial design to reduce motor/generator cost and to improve highway MPG in charge-sustaining mode. We should know the details in a few months.


     Doggydog, GM has clearly indicated that the gasoline engine in NO WAY is connected to the wheels.  The ICE is merely an onboard electricity generator which keeps the charge in the batteries which power the vehicle.  I have a deposit on the Volt and expect to get delivery in January and have followed the development rather closely. 

    [link]      
  53. By Kup on September 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Herm said:

    Regarding the Volt, most likely GM will meet their original specs, they have spent a lot of manpower and money refining their computer models over the last two decades.. I am sure their will meet their promise of 50mpg on the epa hwy cycle once the genset starts to run, my guess is around 60mpg. Some people will do better and others will do worse. By design, there will be many people that will NEVER use any gas.. unfortunately the Volt will force you to cycle the fuel every couple of years or so by running the genset.

    Should the Feds subsidize coal-to-liquids plants in the US?.. what form should that subsidy take?

     


     

    My guess is that in CS mode the Volt will get between 40 to 45 mpg but it is also likely that GM will not release this prior to launch.  In addition, GM has said that they expect the genset to kick on far more than every couple of years.  In fact, they mentioned that it may turn on as much as once a month.

     

    My commute is 25 miles each way and I am working with my company to get a charger installed at work.  If they do this then I would expect to essentially be off of gas except for the genset being turned on occasionally to extend the life of the ICE and for those infrequent trips of longer than 40 miles.  If you guys want more info about the Volt, Lyle at gm-volt.com does a great job of getting the facts from GM.

    [link]      
  54. By doggydogworld on September 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Herm said:

    Regarding the Volt, most likely GM will meet their original specs, they have spent a lot of manpower and money refining their computer models over the last two decades.. I am sure their will meet their promise of 50mpg on the epa hwy cycle once the genset starts to run, my guess is around 60mpg.


     

    I’m a big fan of the Volt but 60 mpg highway would be miraculous. They’ve changed the original spec (which was more back-of-napkin than computer-modeled) quite a bit since they launched the concept in back 2007. The 3-cyl turbo 1L became a 4-cyl naturally aspirated 1.4L. More ominously for highway MPG, the 6 gallon gas tank grew to 8-9 gallons while gasoline range stayed fixed at 300 miles.

    The Cruze Eco is built on the same platform as the Volt and uses the same 1.4L engine, albeit in turbocharged form. It gets 38-40 mpg highway. This is a good starting point for estimating Volt highway MPG. The Volt is penalized for being much heavier but should get some benefit from tuning the 1.4L engine for low RPM/low power. If the Volt uses a variant of the two-mode transmission to mechanically connect the engine to the wheels I think 40-45 mpg highway is likely and 50 would be a heroic. If the Volt stuck to the original spec of a pure serial configuration I think even 40 mpg will be a stretch. As a practical matter the difference between 38 and 45 mpg is meaningless – about 10 gallons/year. But from a marketing perspective I think 38 mpg would be a disaster. That’s one reason I believe they ditched the pure serial configuation. The other reason is pure serial adds roughly 50% to the motor/generator price tag.

    [link]      
  55. By Wendell Mercantile on September 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Usually some over priced Volvo selected to impress the neighbors.

    The people I’ve known who own Volvos are the kind of people who could care less what the neighbors think. They have all been independent thinkers who make decisions based on facts and what they thought was best for them, and not because of peer pressure or some other psycho-social stimulus. A Volvo is not the car people buy who want to make an impression.

    What happened in your formative years that makes you think that about Volvo owners?

    [link]      
  56. By mac on September 4, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    The argument for plug-in hybrids is simple,

    Most people only drive a few miles every day. The distance most people drive each day is well within the range of current battery technology.
    Widespread adoption of PHEV or BEV would greatly reduce overall gasoline consumption in the U.S. and would completely eliminate gasoline consumption for most people most of the time, (if we are to believe the various studies that have been done on American driving habits.)

    [link]      
  57. By Kit P on September 4, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    “Kit, why this urge always to
    insult?”

     

    Oh gosh Ron next time someone like MAC
    attacks me and you make an effort to say that that is inappropriate,
    then I will say Ron is a stand up guy and I will take your suggests
    about being nice under advisement.

     

    “Why not just make your point..”

     

    Would you like to make a comment on my
    point? For example, KUP wrote;

     

    “I have a deposit on the …”

     

    I few years ago we bought anew
    Corolla. After it looked like the best choice on paper, we rented
    one from Hertz for a weekend trip to make sure we would still like it after a long trip.The point is that a car is transportation.  That is all. 

     

    A friend who was also navy nuke
    officer bought the latest GM hot new model by putting down a deposit
    and getting one of the first factory floor (father worked for GM). I did
    not see him for about a year. I asked him how he liked the car.
    His wife totaled it when see let of the gas in the rain. Turned out
    to be one of GM’s hot new lemons.

     

    There is always someone who wants to be
    the first on their block to show stupid they are. The smarter you
    are the dumber you look sometimes. If you know anything about GM or
    things electrical, then you would hold off a little while and find
    out if you will be happy with your purchase.

     

    “I’m a big fan of the Volt ..”

     

    It is car not a rock star. I love the
    Beatles but I never bought a record until I knew that I would enjoy
    it after listening to it more than once.

     

    “What happened in your formative
    years that makes you think that about Volvo owners?”

     

    Nothing! As an adult I test drove one.
    The marketing does not live up to the reality. Granted a Volvo
    makes more sense for a family than trying to put a car seat in the
    back seat of a Mustang convertible.

     

    “independent thinkers”

     

    That is who Volvo markets to but
    Wendel.  Not real independant thinkers, just those who think they are.  

     

    A new 2010 Corolla – $15,450 – $20,150

    A new 2010
    Volvo – C30 $24,100 – $26,300

     

    Since the Corolla is much cheaper and
    gets better mileage it must be the ‘leather gearshift knob’ that
    appeals to the “independent thinkers”.

    [link]      
  58. By OD on September 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Robert,
    Since you have spoken with Hirsch in person, did he elaborate on why he believes electric cars will play no role for peak oil mitigation?

    [link]      
  59. By OD on September 4, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    This report seems pretty useless.

    Sometime in the next 30 years(Joe six pack will go to sleep right there, mind you) there will be a power shift to exporting countries. Times will be rought, but no one knows the details because there are too many scenarios that could play out.

    If anything, this report will make the average joe believe it is someone elses problem, because of the long time frames they are talking about. They will hit the snooze button and keep on motoring.

    [link]      
  60. By rrapier on September 5, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Since you have spoken with Hirsch in person, did he elaborate on why he believes electric cars will play no role for peak oil mitigation?

    We didn’t discuss electric cars at all. In fact, I don’t remember him discussing it during his presentation.

    RR

    [link]      
  61. By Wendell Mercantile on September 5, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Since the Corolla is much cheaper and gets better mileage…

    I assume then you bought the Corolla to impress your neighbors?

    [link]      
  62. By paul-n on September 5, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Doggy wrote;

    If the Volt uses a variant of the two-mode transmission to mechanically connect the engine to the wheels I think 40-45 mpg highway is likely and 50 would be a heroic.

    Considering that there numerous non hybrid vehicles available that get 40+mpg hwy, I don;t think 50mpg is heroic at all.  In fact, that should be the benchmark, and avehicle designed for efficiency like this one should be able to better still.

    How much better?, take a look at this car;

    Mileage (on diesel, converted to US mpg) is 55 city, 66 highway, and apparently all the driving thrills you could want, if you are that sort of driver.  Of course, the engine could be converted to run on E85, and you would still get that sort of mileage!   Sounds like a good demo project for Growth Energy – imagine that as the company car!

     

    Given that the Volt is only going to be a niche car, and is really meant for an urban commuter, they should have made it a compact but spacious two seater, a bit along the lines of the Honda Del Sol.  It would have needed a smaller motor, batteries, subsidy and price tag.  Yes, you can only take one other person, but that’s a small trade off for a big improvement in efficiency.

    The obsession with “the vehicle that can do everything” in the US leads to vehicles that are oversized for 90% of their use.  The Volt fits this pattern too.

     

     

     

     

    [link]      
  63. By ronald-steenblik on September 5, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Kit P wrote:

    [N]ext time someone like MAC attacks me and you make an effort to say that that is inappropriate, …

    I checked through all the comments on this string that MAC made prior to your own, and in no way can they be construed as attacks on you, Kit. Each string is a conversation that, in my view, should be started afresh. But, point taken: we should all avoid insults.

    It is particularly not necessary to denigrate anybody’s intelligence personally. Other readers can tell if somebody doesn’t know what they are talking about. There is no need to say, “Mr. X is a stupid moron and doesn’t know his toes from his tonsils.” Simply pointing out the error and providing convincing evidence to back up one’s point will suffice.

    Would you like to make a comment on my point? … Since the Corolla is much cheaper [than a Volvo] and gets better mileage it must be the ‘leather gearshift knob’ that appeals to the “independent thinkers”.

    My impression from knowing many car owners is that some buy Volvo for the status of it, but some are also motivated by its safety record, or at least its advertised claims about its safety features. Others, particularly in northern climates, feel that Volvo caters to their needs: good heaters (including seat heaters), early adoption of ant-lock breaking systems (important on icy roads), strong anti-rust protection, etc. And in some places (like Burlington, Vermont) owners know there is a wide network of dealers and second-hand parts suppliers.

    I’m not suggesting that for all or even most people their choice of a car is a purely rational decision. Just that there could be other factors that come into play besides status or frivolous trimmings.

    [link]      
  64. By mac on September 5, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Chevy Volt Architecture

    This was written by Bill Moore at EV World

    EV World’s UK-based motor racing correspondent, Chris Ellis, caught an interesting observation the Volt’s electric drive system based on an article in the June 25th issue of the Telegraph, which noted that the Volt’s top speed is a good 30 miles slower than comparable Sedans available in Europe.

    “General Motors is working on the problem and this autumn plans to unveil a mechanical direct-drive from the engine to the front wheels through the existing twin-clutch planetary gearbox. This would reduce the energy losses of turning petrol power into electricity to drive the car at high speeds, and would also give the Ampera more spritely overtaking performance.

    “GM is also considering an “electric-only” button so drivers can save their 40-mile battery range for use in restricted urban areas.”

    This would explain how GM can claim hybrid fuel economies
    comparable to the Prius for what we’ve assumed was a purely series architecture: engine-to-generator-to-battery-to-e-motor. Presumably, this v1.1 upgrade in the Ampera, will also find its way into the Chevy Volt. If you’re curious about patents covering the Voltec drive, check out FAQ.org.

    [link]      
  65. By Kit P on September 5, 2010 at 10:55 am

    “I assume then you bought the Corolla
    to impress your neighbors?”

     

    We bought a Corolla because that is
    what my wife wanted. We needed to buy a car because the 20 years old
    family van with 250K miles no longer met our needs and need some
    expensive work to restore normal mileage. Since we just moved, we
    had not got to know our neighbors either.

     

    When I worked for GE they sent me to a
    week long school teaching problems solving and decision making. To
    avoid emotional decisions that often are not the best one, decisions
    must be based on quantitative choices such as cost, mileage, and
    reliability. Then you check buy renting the car it. If after four
    hours of driving, you need to call the paramedics to pry you out of
    the seats, that is not a car you should buy.

     

    If my wife had wanted a Volvo because
    that what her friend has, that what should would have gotten based on
    reading about a Volvo on paper. Assuming that is the Volvo is better
    than the first one in test drove in ’75.

     

    Just for the record, when I bought the
    Corolla is did ask the dealer about the Pious. They had no
    quantitative data to base a choice. So when people tell they make a
    choice based on environmental reason without comparing the idea to
    the reality, their motives are worthless.

     

    Paul, you are correct. I bought a new
    Honda Del Sol for $13k when I was commuting a long distance, it go great
    mileage. Several years back I put in outdoor path lighting. The
    12v LED set came with twice as many lights as the incandescent lights
    for the same price. The LED only needs a 10 watt transformer while
    the other needed 125 watts. You were paying for the bigger
    transformer and not the lights. If you keep the power requirements
    down.

     

    Maybe an electric assist on a bicycle
    is a good idea. However, hauling heavy batteries around does not
    reduce the amount of energy needed for transportation. It changes
    the energy from oil to an inefficient SCGT.

    [link]      
  66. By doggydogworld on September 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Kup said:

     Doggydog, GM has clearly indicated that the gasoline engine in NO WAY is connected to the wheels.

     


     

    Not so clearly, in my experience. For instance, GM Volt spokesperson Rob Pererson denied the (somewhat nonsensical) report from the “Telegraph” Mac quoted above. But he didn’t say what you just said. He said:

    This report is inaccurate. First
    off, the Volt cannot be driven without electric power. It always makes
    use of electric power within the drive unit. Secondly, we have no plans to make any mechanical or control strategy changes prior to launch.

    All of this can be true even if the Volt has a mechanical connection between gasoline engine (ICE) and wheels. More interestingly, he also said:

    We have a very innovative drive unit that includes a number of clutches and a planetary gear-set which is highly efficient and exists in our pre-production vehicles today. For competitive reasons we won’t provide more details on the operation at this point, but will soon.

    Planetary gear-set? Clutches? Sounds a lot like two-mode, doesn’t it? Furthermore, we know the Volt uses a two-mode transmission housing. The ICE output shaft goes into this housing. Then look at this interview with Volt Chief Powertrain Engineer Alex Cattelan (chaperoned by a marketing flack to make sure she doesn’t actually reveal any useful information), in which she clearly says the generator and traction motor can both drive the wheels.:

    http://gm-volt.com/2009/11/09/…..ic-motors/

    OK, then. The Volt has two-mode transmission housing which contains a planetary gear-set, clutches and two electric motor/generators (MGUs). The ICE connects to MGU1, which in some modes connects to the wheels. So by definition there is a mechanical path from the gasoline engine to the wheels. The only way the Volt can avoid using this path is to use clutches and software to make sure MGU1 connects to either the ICE or the wheels, but never both at the same time.

    Why would engineers accept a 10-15% highway MPG hit when they have a highly efficient mechanical connection from ICE to wheels already in the car? It makes no sense, but as you point out their official statements imply that’s exactly what they did. Did GM intentionally sacrifice highway MPG just so their marketing folk wouldn’t have to backtrack on the “ICE only makes electricity” statements? I certainly hope not, but the other possibilities I can dream up don’t make any more sense:

    1. GM engineers found a magical way to convert mechanical power to electrical and back to mechanical without suffering the 15-20% loss typical of state-of-the-art MGUs and inverters

    2. The mechanical connection exists and GM is simply misleading us to throw off the competition

    3. GM’s engineers snuck the mechanical connection in against marketing’s wishes and is misleading them

    I guess we’ll all find out soon enough.

    [link]      
  67. By Perry on September 5, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    “Why would engineers accept a 10-15% highway MPG hit when they have a highly efficient mechanical connection from ICE to wheels already in the car?”

    That sounds counterintuitive doggy. IC’s have a theoretical efficiency limit of 37%. Electric motors can operate at 90% + efficiency. To make the most of both, wouldn’t you want to run the IC at steady, low RPM’s when you had to use it? Imagine if that gas guzzler in the driveway could be made to idle at 1500 RPM’s, whether sitting at a stop sign or hauling ass down the highway.

    [link]      
  68. By Kit P on September 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    “It is particularly not necessary to
    denigrate anybody’s intelligence personally.”

     

    Very nice post Ron, I love the tone.
    Feel free to call me on the carpet anytime.

     

    Here is the problem Ron. How do you
    respond to statements like this repeated over and over?

     

    “That sounds counterintuitive doggy.
    IC’s have a theoretical efficiency limit of 37%. Electric motors can
    operate at 90% + efficiency.

    [link]      
  69. By Perry on September 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    It should be possible to respond without insults Kit. A 30 MPG ICE operates at an efficiency of about 15%. Under optimum conditions, the engine efficiency can increase to 25% or more. 10 gallons of gas contains 366 KWH of power. At 15% efficiency, you’ll get 56 KWH to the wheels. At 25%, you’ll get 91.5 KWH to the battery, and 82 KWH to the wheels if the electric motor is 90% efficient. It makes more sense to use the ICE as a generator imo. Unless I’m missing something.

    [link]      
  70. By doggydogworld on September 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Paul N said:

    Considering that there numerous non hybrid vehicles available that get 40+mpg hwy, I don;t think 50mpg is heroic at all.  In fact, that should be the benchmark, and avehicle designed for efficiency like this one should be able to better still.
    How much better?, take a look at this car;

     


    I couldn’t get your link to work, but the EPA shows only two non-hybrid gasoline cars which get 40 mpg highway: the Smart Fortwo and one version of the Ford Fiesta. The Chevy Cruze Eco might become the third. There are a few small diesels at 40-42 mpg, but remember than diesel is about 15% denser than gasoline. That 15% is a false economy, if I invented a magic additive that doubled gasoline’s density everyone’s MPG would also double. But a gallon of gas would cost twice as much and we’d only get half as many gallons from each barrel of imported crude. My additive would be useful, allowing you to cut your gas station visits in half, but it would do nothing to reduce our petroleum consumption. If you adjust for density those diesels get about 37 mpg.

    I ignore European and Japanese MPGs when talking about American markets. They test on different cycles which show 20-50% better numbers than EPA cycles (e.g. Prius shows 60 mpg combined in Europe and something like 80+ mpg on one Japanese cycle vs. 50 mpg combined here, Smart shows 49 mpg vs. 36 here). They also have “champion” versions of some cars (e.g. VW Lupo 3L) which are too underpowered even for Europe and sell only in small numbers. I figure if the car isn’t available here it’s because the maker knows it’s too small or underpowered to sell here. Of course we could adopt, or be forced to adopt, Europe’s taste for small cars in which case I agree a smaller, less powerful version of the Volt could beat 40 mpg in CS mode even with an inefficient serial configuration.

    You’re right the Volt is designed to be a “no sacrifices” car. GM didn’t want to repeat their previous bad experience building a two-seater niche EV. Perhaps you’ve seen the movie? Other companies are filling the niches, though. Time will tell who gets it right.

     

    Perry said:

    That sounds counterintuitive doggy. IC’s have a theoretical efficiency limit of 37%. Electric motors can operate at 90% + efficiency. To make the most of both, wouldn’t you want to run the IC at steady, low RPM’s when you had to use it? Imagine if that gas guzzler in the driveway could be made to idle at 1500 RPM’s, whether sitting at a stop sign or hauling ass down the highway.


     

    Technically speaking, the ICE will not “idle” on the highway. The car needs power to move, and by definition Idling produces no net power. Maximum thermodynamic efficiency for a gasoline automotive engine typically occurs at 2000-3000 rpm with the throttle almost wide open. Car engines are super-sized for acceleration and hill climbing, though, at this point of maximum efficiency they product 3-10x as much power as needed for highway cruising. The Volt uses a small engine that is detuned, so it can operate in the sweet spot when putting out a mere 18-20 hp.

    The question I address is how do you route this power to the wheels? You can keep the Volt engine in its sweet spot with either a mechanical or electrical transmission. But mechanical can be 97% efficient while serial is more like 80-85%. I can see why you might choose to leave out a mechanical transmission and avoid the cost and weight penalty, but deliberatly eschewing a mechanical path that’s already in place seems insane.

    [link]      
  71. By ronald-steenblik on September 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    In answer to Kit’s question:

    Here is the problem Ron. How do you respond to statements like this repeated over and over?  “That sounds counterintuitive doggy. IC’s have a theoretical efficiency limit of 37%. Electric motors can operate at 90% + efficiency.”

    How does one express disagreement with any statement that is repeated over and over? I guess it depends. If only one person is making the statement, you can rebut it and then if nobody else uses the same argument, just ignore it. Or, you can keep repeating your problems with the statement every time it comes up, and even reminding us that you are repeating yourself. But attack the idea expressed, not the person.

    [link]      
  72. By Kit P on September 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    “Unless I’m missing something.”

     

    Yes, Perry it is the use of the word
    ‘if’. If it works in the use by actual people getting the same
    efficiencies.

     

    I do understand the theory of hybrids.
    It is the practice of hybrids I am not impressed with when it comes
    to real world use. Aggressive taxi drivers maybe.

     

    The use of the word ‘if’ is also about
    buying habits. IF people buy them and IF the people buying them are
    not complete idiot then maybe less gasoline will be imported. Too
    many if’s for me.

    [link]      
  73. By paul-n on September 6, 2010 at 3:13 am
    Doggy,

    Try the link again

    The car in question is the Mini Diesel, a very functional vehicle that gets almost as good mileage as the Prius. 

    Yes, the Euro testing cyclers are different, they give mileage numbers high by about 20%.  

    Modern diesels in the city get almost as good mileage as gasoline hybrids, as their engines are much less wasteful at part load and idling.  On the highway of course, they are better than all but the best hybrid, and cheaper.

    For a good comparison, consider the UK Honda Civic hybrid, the diesel VW Golf (roughly same sized vehicles).

    Their Uk fuel numbers are;

    Civic 54city/65hwy (imp gal) = 45 city/55hwy (US mpg)

    Golf 57.6city/70.6hwy (imp gasl diesel) = 48/58.8m(US mpg), and correcting for 13% greater energy content in diesel,

    the Golf, in US mpg gasoline equivalent, is 42.5/52

    So the Golf comes out almost even, but does not need all the expense of batteries and motors, rare earths, etc etc.  Its diesel engine will last much longer than the Civic.

    My point is that you don’t need all that expensive tech, you can achieve the same with a good diesel.  And all these good diesel are being sold over there, and not here, purely because of over zealous emission rules regarding NOx.  It is costing the US a lot of barrels/day!

    (I did not use the Prius for comparison as the vehicle itself (not just the driveline) has been highly optimised, shape, ultra low roling resistance tyres, etc, which would equally benefit the same car with a diesel engine).

     

    Good website for the Euro car fuel economy here

     

     

    I have seen the movie about the EV, I don;t recall seeing anyone complain about it being a two seater, and that was never mentioned as a reason for it’s demise.  The fanatical owners didn’t seem to mind that is was a two seater, either.

    The Volt was designed around one statistic relating to US drivers – an average daily commute of 30miles.  The other statistic they ignored is that the average commute also has 1.1 people. So they designed a five seater car!  So the car is bigger, heavier and certainly more expensive than it needs to be – it is not optimised for its purpose, and perpetuates this attitude that we can carry on driving needlessly large vehicles, given enough technology.  Jevons paradox at work!

    Personally, I think if they had updated the EV-1, with everything that has happened in the last decade in regards to batteries, etc, they would have had an affordable electric (or series hybrid) car that was  optimised for its purpose – city commuting.  Doesn;t mean they couldn’t do the volt in its current shape, it’s just they they could have had a real leadership car, and chose not to.

    Instead, we have an oversized, overequipped car , and the result is soemthing so expensive that not enough people can afford to buy it to make a difference..

    All the greatest selling cars in history- model T, VW Beetle, original Mini, Citroen 2CV, Honda Civic/Toyota Corolla (and now, possibly, the Tata Nano, but we’ll see), were all small and economical, and they were all game changers in their own way, and sold in huge numbers.  The Volt is an incremental step when what is needed is big leap.  The plug in technology may be the way of the future, but the car itself is trying to cling to the past.  

     

    My 2c on the transmission – I hope they do have a direct drive, for the same reason auto’s have lock-up, it simply makes sense.  The whole idea of the battery storage was to handle the city driving, for on the highway direct drive is absolutely the way to go, though there are some engineering tradeoffs in doing that.  

     

    Consider this hybrid bus from Designline (http://www.designlinecorporation.com/EcoSaver%20IV.%20pdf.pdf)

    It uses a 40hp engine (microturbine, actually), and 26kWh of Li-ion batteries, and is capable of unlimited distance driving.

    And it weighs 13 tons.

    So they can run a plug in hybrid city bus, using an engine half the engine power of the Volt, and just 3x the battery storage.   That is what I call optimisation for purpose.  The Volt looks more and more like it has been optimised for marketing, not purpose – unless, of course, if marketing IS the true purpose…

    [link]      
  74. By doggydogworld on September 6, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Paul N said:

    Modern diesels in the city get almost as good mileage as gasoline hybrids, as their engines are much less wasteful at part load and idling.  On the highway of course, they are better than all but the best hybrid, and cheaper.
    For a good comparison, consider the UK Honda Civic hybrid, the diesel VW Golf (roughly same sized vehicles).


     

    The best US diesel gets 30 mpg city (26 adjusting for density) vs. 51 for the best hybrid. I wouldn’t call that “almost as good”. Even the mid-size Ford Fusion Hybrid gets 41 city.

    The best Euro apples-to-apples comparison I ever saw was the 2005 VW Golf TDI vs. Twincharger (1.4L TSI). Both engines were 170 hp and car performance was almost identical (if I recall the TDI was a tick slower due to extra weight). Both used similar high-tech approaches to minimizing fuel burn (forced induction, high pressure direct fuel injection, etc.). The difference in petroleium usage, as indirectly measured by grams CO2 per km on the Euro combined cycle, was 8%. That’s a pretty pure expression of a diesel engine’s inherent advantage over gasoline. Of course matching diesel’s high-tech tricks raised Twincharger’s price above that of typical gasoline engines, but the Golf Twincharger still cost less than the TDI.

    8% is worth pursuing if you can get it, but you can’t. A barrel of crude yields various products, including both diesel and gasoline. If everyone buys diesel cars, what do we do with the gasoline? Europe exports their excess gasoline to us. Shipping oil across one ocean to a European refinery and then shipping the gasoline it produces across another ocean to the US is absurd. It’s obvious the Europeans have overdosed on diesel cars and would be better served by focusing some effort on improving their gasoline burn. The US, on the other hand, could stand to add a few diesel cars into the mix for customers who do a lot of highway driving. But diesel cars are not “the answer”. They’re not even a significant part of the answer. As a nation “diesel vs. gasoline” is a false choice. We have to get maximum utility from every gallon of both fuels.

    [link]      
  75. By paul-n on September 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    The best US diesel

    There is the problem right there.  The only diesel versions VW brings in are the ones with the largest engines.  The same vehicle in Europe can have a 1.4, 1.6 and 2L diesel.  It is the buying patterns of American (and to a lesser extent, Canadian) drivers that is the problem.

    Yes, the Fusion hybrid (at 39mpg combined) bests the Jetta (at35mpg combined, and 31 gasoline equivalent), but again, the Fusion hybrid has been completely optimised for efficiency, the Jetta is just a car with a diesel engine.  Also, the Fusion hybrid costs $5k more ($28k v$23k for base models of each), so that economy comes at quite a price.

    I disagree that diesels are not a significant part of the answer.  The fact that you always get 10% more energy from the fuel is a real advantage, IMO.  The mileage penalty for a diesel compared to a non hybrid gasoline in city driving is much less, and for highway driving they are better.

    And then when you look at your alternative fuels (ethanol, methanol, CNG) they all do better in diesel engines than in gasoline.

    While I think the diesels are great in passenger cars, they are even better in things like pick ups and vans, and there is plenty of scope for adding diesel engines there.

    Agreed that we need to get maximum utility out of every drop of fuel – the diesel type engine (high compression) will always be ahead of the gasoline engine, yet has largely been ignored in north American light vehicles.   There is much room for improvement there with diesel engines.

    Of course, there is most room for improvement by driving smaller, lighter vehicles in the first place, and driving them less.

     

    [link]      
  76. By Kit P on September 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    BEV in France.

    “in France this offer lasts for five
    years and costs €499 (US$643) including VAT per month, which
    includes:”

     

    http://www.greencarcongress.co……html#more

     

    Sorry stopped reading, in 5 years our
    Corolla will be paid for and we will not have any car payments for
    the rest of our lives.

     

    How many people will spend $600/month+
    to save $20 bucks at the gas station?

     

    [link]      
  77. By paul-n on September 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Kit, if you had kept reading on after that  outrageous price, you would see the answer to your question;

    Peugeot is targeting the iOn mainly at local government, local authorities and public services and companies active in the transport and energy sectors,

    In other words, organisations that can waste taxpayer/company money on publicity stunts.

     

    Looking at their specs, the “fast charge needs 50kW, and will recharge the 16kWh battery to 80% (from 10%) in 30 minutes.  That is 25kWpower in, to get 11.2kWh on board, a charging efficiency of just 45%.  It is no wonder people are asking governments (of course) to provide such fast charging stations, so they don;t have to pay for the electricity.

    With Euro electricity prices at $0.25c/kWh, you are looking at 10c/mile.   A similar sized euro car, with a diesel engine, gets 60mpg, and at $7/gal costs 12c/mile, so where is the advantage for the owner.  Add in the outrageous lease cost (allow  $300 premuim for this vehicle)  at 100miles/day, adds another 10c/mile, so the owners are backwards.

    Can;t see this ever being a big seller unless the buyer is using someone else’s money.

     

    Also,  a few of these fast charging stations at 50kW apiece and you are starting to look at some serious electrical upgrades for small commercial buildings, and out of the question for houses.  Even the slow charger needs 5kW continuous.  

    The real winner out of this would seem to be Japan, who gets to sell these expensive batteries.

     

    [link]      
  78. By doggydogworld on September 6, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    With Euro electricity prices at $0.25c/kWh, you are looking at 10c/mile.

    $0.25/kWh * 16 kWh = $4.00
    $4.00 / 93 miles = 4.3 cents/mile

    Not defending the iOn/iMiev, just trying to keep the conversation factual.

    [link]      
  79. By paul-n on September 6, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Doggy, 

    You missed the key fact – the charging loss of 55%

    My point was that you needed, according to them, 50kW x 0.5 hrs = 25kWh, to get 11.2 kWh into your battery (70% charge,from 10 to 80%).  You pay for the 25kWh, so 25×25=$6.25, for 70% of 93 miles, = 65 miles.

    Overall cost = 9.6 cents/mile.

    [link]      
  80. By Kit P on September 6, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    “With Euro electricity prices at
    $0.25c/kWh, you are looking at 10c/mile.”

     

    What part of ‘in France’ confused you
    Paul?

     

    Since almost all generation in France
    is nuke or hydroelectric, generating costs are very low. Efficiency
    is not important because it is not coming from fossil fuels. EDF and
    AREVA are primarily owned by the government. Creating more demand
    for electricity and reducing imported oil is good policy for France.

     

    Whenever nukes are load following,
    battery charging increases demand for nukes; the marginal fuel cost
    is 5 cents to make a million dollars worth of electricity.

     

    So while BEV might be a very expensive
    choice for an American driver, promoting it by the government of
    France might not be.

    [link]      
  81. By paul-n on September 6, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    But unless the French government are prepared to give the electricity away to the drivers that cheaply, what’s in it for the driver?

    To be fair, upon checking the French retail electricity prices are 13.8 Eurocents/kWh, the 20+ stuff is in Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy…

    Yes, they can promote electricity usage, and to use more of their own at nightime and export peak electricity is good business for France, but this car sure is an expensive way to do that and save oil, even in France.  To be effective it has to be a good economic decision for the buyer, and even with their high fuel prices, I still can;t see it, unless there are some other subsidies involved.

    [link]      
  82. By Kit P on September 6, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    “To be effective it has to be a good
    economic decision for the buyer, and even with their high fuel
    prices, I still can;t see it, unless there are some other subsidies
    involved.”

     

    I certainly agree but you have to
    start someplace. A word of warning, do not try to understand the the
    French. It could hurt your brain.

    [link]      
  83. By doggydogworld on September 7, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Paul, quick charging is inefficient but not that inefficient. The charger does not run at 50 kW for the entire charge. It ramps down depending on battery SOC. Most charging will be done slowly via wall socket and will be much more efficient. The theory behind quick-charging (which I don’t necessarily buy) is people will gladly pay up for it when they need it, but will need it so rarely the cost and efficiency are immaterial.

    [link]      
  84. By ronald-steenblik on September 7, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Paul wrote:

    To be fair, upon checking the French retail electricity prices are 13.8 Eurocents/kWh, the 20+ stuff is in Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy…

    Yes, they can promote electricity usage, and to use more of their own at nightime and export peak electricity is good business for France, but this car sure is an expensive way to do that and save oil, even in France.  To be effective it has to be a good economic decision for the buyer, …

    Actually, that’s close to the daytime rate. The night-time rate in France, after various taxes, is just 7.84 eurocents per kWh.

    [link]      
  85. By moiety on September 7, 2010 at 5:07 am

    From 2007 I know but still reflects the general trend in prices (Denmark is lower than it should be). There is a better link but I will not find that today.

     

    http://www.cbs.nl/en-GB/menu/t…..187-wm.htm

    [link]      
  86. By ronald-steenblik on September 7, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Dank Uw, Moiety. Dat is een heel nuttig ’zine! Wink 

    [link]      
  87. By Kit P on September 7, 2010 at 8:43 am

    There are two reasons for high power costs to the consumer.  Fuel cost for natural gas and taxes.

     

    Tax on top of tax on top of tax! When
    government talks about taxes they only talk about the last tax.

     

    It costs about the same to make
    electricity, assuming a competent staff, depending on the fuel.
    There is a certain range for nukes, there is a certain range for
    natural gas and so forth.

     

    Governments likes natural gas because
    there is so many ways to tax it. You can tax the seller, the buyer,
    the pipeline. The more it price of NG goes up the more taxes you can
    collect. The more you use the higher the price. The best part of
    high energy prices is that government can hold hearing to blame
    energy producers for passing along the taxes.

     

    Most of the cost of nukes is fixed.
    The reason that the generating cost in France for nukes is higher
    than in the US is because capacity factor is about 10% lower in
    France because French nukes load follow. Increase the demand for
    French nukes then the unit cost of electricity goes down.

     

    It reactor operator gets the same
    salary if he is reading 100% reactor power as 90%. One of the odd
    things about France is how electrical workers go on strike. The
    reactor operator runs back power 10%.

     

    [link]      
  88. By doggydogworld on September 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Ronald Steenblik said:

    Actually, that’s close to the daytime rate. The night-time rate in France, after various taxes, is just 7.84 eurocents per kWh.


     

    Alrighty then, we’re down from Paul’s 10 cents per mile to:

    16 kWh * 7.84 cents/kWh / 93 miles = 1.35 cents per mile

    Over 80% lower than the per mile cost for his hypothetical 80 mpg diesel car. Yeah, hard to imagine why anyone in France would be interested in an EV.

    [link]      
  89. By Kit P on September 7, 2010 at 10:51 am

    “Yeah, hard to imagine why anyone in
    France would be interested in an EV.”

     

    Bad case of IDD, imagination deficit
    disorder. Over at they can make a million dollars in transportation
    fuel for 5 cents. They just need to create a market. If they can
    get the socialist government to create the market by buying expensive
    the BEVs, they would make more money.

     

    Wait a second, let me check how hard
    that would be. EDF is owned by the the socialist government. You
    can not get individuals to take money out of their pockets but you
    sure can get individuals in the government to take money out of
    everybody else’s pocket.

     

    Is this good or bad policy? I think it
    is good for France because they will make it work and bring the cost
    down. On the other hand, I do not think it would be good policy.
    First, those in our government who would support this policy are
    inept. They can not walk and chew gum at the same time. There will
    be too many BEV being towed back to the shop.

     

    Second, we have lots of coal and corn.

     

    Good policy depends on where you live.

     

    [link]      
  90. By Wendell Mercantile on September 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    …we have lots of coal and corn.

    As it turns out, we also have lots of natural gas. So why aren’t we making methanol and DME directly from that coal and natural gas; instead of the more inefficient process of using natural gas to grow corn so we can then burn more natural gas to distill ethanol from fermented corn mash?

    [link]      
  91. By paul-n on September 7, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Alrighty then, we’re down from Paul’s 10 cents per mile to:

    16 kWh * 7.84 cents/kWh / 93 miles = 1.35 cents per mile

    Over 80% lower than the per mile cost for his hypothetical 80 mpg diesel car. Yeah, hard to imagine why anyone in France would be interested in an EV.

    Not so fast Doggy.  While the quick charge may be the least efficient way to go, the nightime charge is not 100% efficienct either.

    I found a technical document from Mitsubisihi that pins down the chargung efficiency – 83% (under ideal conditions)  So to get our 16kWh on board, we need 19.3 to charge it.  IF we only ever do it at night, then we are at 19.3*7.84/93=e1.63/mile (eurocents)

    Now, a similar sized car with a highly efficient diesel is the Renault Clio (you are not allowed to laugh at the name).

    From Renault’s French website (had to try to interpret French!), the 5dr diesel version of that car gets 4.3L/100km in combined cycle (which is 2/3 city driving), so for the 93 miles, it will use 6.4L.  The current retail price for diesel in France is e1.24/L, so it will cost e8.13 for the trip, or e0.087/mile.

    So, if you are diligent about charging slowly at night, the electric car is definitely cheaper per mile.

    Of course, this assumes you have some money left over after buying the vehicle in the first place.

    The electric car leases for e499/mo, and you can lease that Clio for e330/mo, so we have a difference of e170/mo to make up.

    Assuming average driving of 15,000 miles/year (1250/mo, or 42mi/day);

    Electric car =e499/mo +1250*1.63=e520.4/mo

    Diesel car = e330/mo +1250*0.087=e439/mo

    So you are going backwards e80/month with the electric.

    Now, if you drive more, say 93 miles/day (2790mi/mo, or 33,500/yr), then;

    electric car = e499+45.5=e544/mo

    diesel car = e330 +243= e573/mo

    The break even point is actually 81 miles/day, which is a lot of driving for most folks.

    Presumably, for either vehicle, if you drive that much, you will run into excess mileage payments on your lease, and I’m sure the electric will be much more than the diesel.

    So for an average driver, it is not worth it, for a fleet vehicle it may be worth it, as long as you stay under 93 mi/day.  If the company electric car has a busy day, and gets it’s 93 mi up before the day is out, then it has to find a quick charging station and take a break.  That’s actually not a big deal, as long as it can find such station.  Then, of course, you have less charging efficiency and higher electrical rates.  A car that does a morning run and comes back to base midday, and goes out again (e.g. a courier type vehicle) would be the best use for this car

    So I will maintain my original position that it is not a good economic decision for the driver to get one of these.  Unless, of course, they see value in the “image” of driving an electric, which is why they are targeting governments, the utility companies (also government) and the like.  People can feel good, supposedly, about what their government is doing, though they can’t afford to do it themselves.  Which comes pretty close to Kit’s line of government taking money out of everyone else’s pockets.

     

    And, for the moment, the electric car is not paying road taxes either, but if they catch on that will have to change.  The Euro governments are not going to let that tax stream wither away.

     

    I am not saying there is not a future for electric cars, but it has to be recognised there is a serious cost to them, and even with Euro fuel costs, and cheaper electricity than here, they are far from being a good business decision for the buyer.  Even when, as Kit points out, the country has almost free electricity, there is a huge capital cost in buying these things (almost all of which leaves the country), and further costs (charging stations and electrical service upgrades) if they are to be widely adopted.  

    I maintain the best thing they can do is to reduce the need for (city) people to drive in the first place, which France is doing.  They are building more electric rail, both inter and intra city, faster than anyone else.  I think this makes for a much better town than more cars on the road, be they electric or otherwise;

    This in in Bordeaux, and yes, those are grape vines by the train – it is France, after all.

     

    [link]      
  92. By Kit P on September 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    “more inefficient process of using natural gas to grow corn”

     

    Well duh!  Every farmer that I have heard of uses sunlight to grow corn.  In fact photosynthesis which is a process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, including sugars, using the energy from sunlight is often called renewable energy. 

     

    Since we have a lot of sunlight, it does not matter how ‘inefficient’ photosynthesis happens to be.  

     

    Wendell is an example of someone who never learned to keep his eye on the ball and remember the name of the game.  The game here is reducing dependence on oil in case we run out.  Yes we do have lots of natural gas.  I could have also said lots of corn, uranium, sugar beets, sugar cane, natural gas, and coal.  The end game is sustainablity. 

     

    It is good that we have lots of choices and there will always be a Wendell who will explain why the choice that is working the best is the wrong one.  There will always be a Paul who will explain why a good choice (electric rail) precludes merits of an alternative.

     

    “which is why they are targeting governments, the utility companies”

     

    The electricity generating industry is interested in market share resulting successful application of BEV not image of a few pretty but very expensive cars.

    [link]      
  93. By Wendell Mercantile on September 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Every farmer that I have heard of uses sunlight to grow corn.

    Try this Kit, lay some seed corn on your driveway, make sure it gets lots of sunlight, and let’s see how much corn grows.

    You might say, but it also needs soil and water. If you said that, I’d stipulate you’d made a good point. Then plant some seed corn in the vacant lot or field nearest you where you live — a place where the seed corn would get Sun and rain — and let’s see how much corn you’d harvest without also using synthetic nitrogen fertilizer (made from natural gas), and pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides made from petroleum.

    Sunlight is certainly a necessary component, but it takes far more than sunlight to get a decent yield. Without synthetic nitrogen made from NG, our corn farmers would still be putting a fish in each hill of corn as Squanto taught the Pilgrims back in 1621.

    [link]      
  94. By Kit P on September 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    “Sunlight is certainly a necessary
    component”

     

    Sun is where the energy in corn comes
    from so hence the relationship of efficiency being just a tad silly.
    I have grown sweet corn simply by planting seeds in the ground.
    Works fine without fertilizer too.

     

    If you check you find that fertilizer
    increases yield which would indicate that fertilizer increases
    efficiency. Further more corn is grown for animal feed a fact that
    you like to ignore. American farmers are going to use fertilizer
    even if the energy is processed out.

    [link]      
  95. By paul-n on September 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    One of the odd
    things about France is how electrical workers go on strike

    Well, you called this one.  2.5 million government workers on strike today.

    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/arti…..19,00.html

    No mention if it includes electrical workers, but I would hope the ones at nuclear plants do not leave them unattended.

    Much as I like rail systems, one of the problems is that they are vulnerable to this sort of thing – much harder to close a highway by going on strike.

    [link]      
  96. By Wendell Mercantile on September 7, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Sun is where the energy in corn comes from

    The Sun is from where some of the energy in corn comes. When my Grandfather had a corn/dairy farm in the 1940s and his average yield was ~ 40 bushels/acre, most of the energy in that corn was due to the Sun, water, and the natural fertility of the soil.

    Farmers today don’t get 180-200 bushels/acre without generous applications of nitrogen fertilizer synthesized from natural gas.

    I have grown sweet corn simply by planting seeds in the ground.

    Give me your best guess at what you think the yield of that homegrown sweet corn was.

    Works fine without fertilizer too.

    That might work for one, or at most two seasons. But it would stop working “fine” after more without fixing nitrogen through crop rotation, or using fertilizer. Many corn farmers have now abandoned the ages old practice of crop rotation in favor of synthetic fertilizer.

    [link]      
  97. By paul-n on September 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    There will always be a Paul who will explain why a good choice (electric rail) precludes merits of an alternative.

    Not precluding the merits at all, it’s just that this car doesn’t have any, for the proposed use.  While the French workers go on strike because the government is in debt and cutting their jobs, the government is about to spend more taxpayer money on things like this that achieve little.

    Electric vehicles have their potential merits, and their uses. There are many applications for them – but ordinary passenger vehicles are about last place that they make sense.  

    Meanwhile, we have (here) the airlines doing deals for biofuels for their ground support vehicles – I can hardly think of a better place for electric vehicles than at an airport.  

    meanwhile just down the road, a more intelligent approach, and a great use for the current state of EV’s;

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2…..of-teslas/

    I am in favour of developing new technologies, but the politicians and marketers inevitably end up pushing them to where they have the greatest exposure, not necessarily the greatest benefit.

     

    [link]      
  98. By Kit P on September 8, 2010 at 9:40 am

    generous applications

     

    Many corn farmers have now abandoned

     

    Wendell it sure sounds like you do not
    like farmers and are anti-ethanol.

     

    It is hard to tell because you really
    do not make a point. In the context of mitigating peak oil, it sure
    looks to me like corn ethanol is one of many choices that we should
    be working on.

     

    “Not precluding the merits at all,
    it’s just that this car doesn’t have any, for the proposed use.”

     

    I have listed the merits several times.
    Do I need to do it again?

     

    “I can hardly think of a better place
    for electric vehicles than at an airport.”

     

    What now Paul, you want to have stupid
    contest with your liberal friends in southern California? While
    suspect that LAX has found a very expensive way to make biofuel it is
    not as dumb as BEV where the electricity is going to come from
    burning natural gas.

     

    If check they are always burning fossil
    fuels to make electricity. Does it reduce imported oil, yes. Does
    it help air quality, yes.

    http://www.caiso.com/green/ren…..sWatch.pdf

    Is it anything more than expensive
    window dressing at the expense of California tax payers, not really.

    [link]      
  99. By ronald-steenblik on September 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Kit wrote, “What now Paul, you want to have stupid contest with your liberal friends in southern California?”

    Why do you continue to lard your comments with personal insults, Kit?

    [link]      
  100. By Kit P on September 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

    “Why do you constantly larder your comments with insults, Kit?”

     

    Ron if you think my observation was incorrect and that LAX and Paul are brilliant examples of insight that we should all take note of, please correct me.

     

    I sorry you do not like my style.  Paul seems to be able to hold his own very well.

     

    Some people like their ideas being challenged and some people want to be told how smart they are.  If you are looking for the latter, when you see my name in the left column just skip to the next poster.

    [link]      
  101. By ronald-steenblik on September 8, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Paul wrote:

    Meanwhile, we have (here) the airlines doing deals for biofuels for their ground support vehicles – I can hardly think of a better place for electric vehicles than at an airport.  

    The airline industry is promoting biofuels because they need to show: (a) that they are doing something to address their growing GHG emissions; and (b) that there are other kinds of liquid fuels being produced besides Jet-A kerosene. However, the price of Jet-A is about half the price of bio-jet.

    As for ground-support vehicles, during part of my childhood I lived only a few miles from a big international airport. Rather than motorized support vehicles, the mechanics used big front-loader industrial tricycles, like the ones still being produced by Worksman Cycles.

    [link]      
  102. By ronald-steenblik on September 8, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Kit P wrote:

    Some people like their ideas being challenged.

    Challenging ideas is fine. Trash talk interspersed with those rebuttals gets tiresome, real quick.

    [link]      
  103. By rrapier on September 8, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Why do you constantly larder your comments with insults, Kit?”

     

    I sorry you do not like my style.  Paul seems to be able to hold his own very well.


     

    That doesn’t mean he likes it either. I can assure you he does not. But some people are able to just let things roll off of their back. Most aren’t, and it is comments like the one Ron highlighted that leads to much unproductive discussion.

    RR

    [link]      
  104. By moiety on September 10, 2010 at 3:10 am

    doggydogworld said:


     

    Alrighty then, we’re down from Paul’s 10 cents per mile to:

    16 kWh * 7.84 cents/kWh / 93 miles = 1.35 cents per mile

    Over 80% lower than the per mile cost for his hypothetical 80 mpg diesel car. Yeah, hard to imagine why anyone in France would be interested in an EV.


     

    That may be fine now but there will be increases in electrical prices considering the potential decentralisation of the grid and need for more infrastructure and generation if we go all electric. I wonder if that economic sense (in the ideal case) will still make sense when that is considered.

    [link]      
  105. By russ on September 11, 2010 at 12:57 am

    @ Ron – Because Kit knows nothing else and has nothing else to say. The electric car is a thing of the future and probably will remain that way until the storage (battery) problem is solved. Same with all intermittent consumers or suppliers.

    @ Paul – Quote, ‘And, for the moment, the electric car is not paying road taxes either,
    but if they catch on that will have to change.  The Euro governments are
    not going to let that tax stream wither away
    .’ Very true – transportation and heating fuels are the source of a significant percent of income for almost all European governments – they could not let go of that income, even if they wanted to.

    I was watching a couple of guys with small electric bikes a few days back – when they came to a hill they had two choices – either pedal very hard or get off and push. They were the equivalent of Mopeds but without all that HP I guess.

     

    [link]      
  106. By ronald-steenblik on September 11, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Thought this might be interesting. The on-line transport journal, ITS International (access may require registering first), recently surveyed a panel of eight, mainly European “decision-makers” in the urban transport industry about how they say the future of transport in 2030. The panel members were:

    Camiel Eurlings, Minister of Transport, Works and Water Management, The Netherlands

    Moritz Leuenberger, Conseiller Fédéral, Chef du Département fédéral de l’Environnement, des Transports, de l’Energie et de la Communication

    Peter Ramsauer, Minister of Transport, Works and Urban Development, Germany

    Robin Chase, CEO, Meadow Networks and founder of Zipcar and GoLoco

    Cyrille du Peloux, CEO, Véolia Transport

    Andreas Renschler, Member of the Board of Directors, Daimler Trucks

    Hermann Ude, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding

    Katsuaki Watanabe, Vice Chairman and Representative Director of Toyota Motor Corporation

    The article is reproduced in full below.

     

    Monday 16 August 2010

    “The global transport system in 2030

    Major constraints on global transport demand in the foreseeable future will include energy costs and scarcity, climate change, congestion, urbanisation, scarcity of available funding, the aging population in developed countries and the need to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries.

    Innovation, including through the application of new technologies, techniques and policies, must play a role in ensuring that transport contributes to a sustainable future. So what innovations are likely to support these changes and how might they come about? …
     

    What will the future look like?
    Discussions amongst the panel revealed diverse views of the future although some common trends were highlighted. The transport system of 2030, and perhaps that of 2050, will at least superficially resemble that of 2010. It will still be based on cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships, but these will be much more efficient than at present. Business-as-usual projections of robust growth in car ownership, especially in developing countries, may, however, be tempered by congestion and a physical lack of parking space in large megacities.

    Crucially, several fundamental changes are likely to have occurred in the organisation of transport – vehicles will interact much more intensely with each other, with related infrastructure and with their users, and innovative new transport services will allow more seamless inter-modal mobility in urban areas.

    Carsharing will occupy a growing market share in some urban areas and this will slow the growth of vehicular travel and possibly reduce urban vehicle stocks. The car fleet will still be dominated by internal combustion engine technology but vehicles may be twice as efficient and will display much higher levels of hybridisation. Electric vehicles may fulfil a need in certain urban niches but inter-city and freight road transport will still rely on optimised diesel technology. Freight logistics will be better optimised due to much more nimble ICT applications but infrastructure investment may fall behind in some regions unless current trends are reversed.
     

    Necessary innovations
    Though technical innovations in ICT applications, engine and battery technology and electricity grids will be necessary to achieve some of the vehicle-related efficiency improvements, these pose less of a problem than developing innovative new administrative arrangements, partnerships, business processes and funding streams.

    Administrative arrangements:  Delivering seamless passenger travel in urban areas will require that local and regional authorities re-assess the limits and boundaries of current regulatory structures. These will have to be more flexible and less mode- and jurisdiction-bound to allow for imaginative new mobility services.

    Partnerships:  There is little room in today’s mobility landscape for small start-up entrepreneurial services and yet these are precisely where some of the most innovative ideas have been developed in other fields. Unleashing innovation will require allowing these actors to play on an even playing field while at the same time ensuring key transport policy objectives such as safety.

    Business processes:  These must be much more open to mode-neutral mobility. Common standards allowing interoperability are one important factor not to overlook. Another key area to address is revenue allocation arrangements amongst service providers which, along with transparent contractual arrangements, will allow more seamless passenger and freight flows and more flexibility.

    Funding
    Infrastructure investment across all modes must not be overlooked and innovative funding arrangements will have to be further developed. Sharing risk and liability with public-private partnerships will play an important role as will greater uptake of road pricing. The latter, however, faces formidable challenges since the public perception is that such pricing schemes are just an additional tax. Clear and transparent pricing rules that are demonstrably revenue neutral and that align themselves completely with other government policy objectives are fundamental pre-conditions for such schemes to work.”

    [link]      
  107. By paul-n on September 11, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Interesting, I wonder what they mean by “These will have to be more flexible and less mode- and jurisdiction-bound to allow for imaginative new mobility services.”  I guess we haven’t invented them yet.

     

    The question of road pricing comes up all the time, and I have no problem with tollways and the like, but the simplest way to do road pricing, is a fuel tax – it is very easy to administer, and very hard to avoid.  Of course, electrics do avoid it, but then you can just have an annual per km charge when you re-register the thing.

     

    Here in Canda we can’t afford to get together such a panel, so they interviewed just one guy – head of Ford Canada, who had a fairly similar outlook.  His view, summarised, is that electric will be less than 5% of the market by 2020, but we will see lots of improvements in efficiency of ICE, and probably about 20-25% hybrids by 2020.  He also forecasts the decline of the big passenger vehicle, though you wouldn’t know it looking at the Ford Flex.

    It doesn’t show up on the web version, but the paper version had a photo comparison of a 1910 Gm electric car and the Model T.  electric – 4x the cost for half the range.  And then the modern equivalent, Nissan Leaf and Nissan Versa, electric 3x the cost for 1/4 the range.  I think for the the 3x cost is a  much bigger turnoff than the 1/4 range.

     

    I suggested that EV’s seem like a good fit for an airport, like LAX, because of the unique operational environment there -they have short stop-start trips, always on flat ground, always close to a charging station, 7 day/week usage etc etc.  Kit discarded the idea  because it is a liberal state and the inept electricity industry there, without even considering the customer’s situation – let’s hope he is more professional in his day job.  LAX didn’t get to hear either his or my suggestions, but which way did they go? 

     

     

     

     

    Canadian made EV truck refueling the Airbus A380 at LAX

    More pics and info about the vehicle here.

    I wish them well selling to airports, regardless of the politics of the state or whether they use NG for electricity or not – oil saved is oil saved.

     

    I had never thought it would be possible to fit a  truck into a jet engine, but with this plane I think you could.

     

     

     

    [link]      
  108. By John on September 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Petroleum is like a Genie in the bottle, just with billions of wishes granted instead of only three. The wishes are so plentiful people have made the mistake of forgetting the “wishes” are finite. The best thing is, used correctly, we can break the old “You can’t wish for more wishes rule”. But only if we wisely apply our resources in a manner to develop the best source of energy the universe has to offer (controlled nuclear fusion). If we squander all the wishes before realizing the need to spend a vast sum of those wishes wisely, then all will suffer the consequences of short sighted energy policies. Controlled nuclear fusion needs to be pursued with the same urgency that was applied to the Manhattan Project and the Space Race, anything short of that and we will not be remembered well by generations to come.

    [link]      
  109. By Wendell Mercantile on September 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Controlled nuclear fusion needs to be pursued with the same urgency that
    was applied to the Manhattan Project and the Space Race…

     

    Bingo John.  Once we have that, all things become possible.

    [link]      
  110. By The Mathematical Inq on December 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm

               So after carefully considering the situation a question formed in my mind: why are we focusing on obviously flawed and controversial solutions to the impending oil energy crisis? Shouldn’t we rather be trying to come up with newer, more productive solutions or fixes that solve the oil crisis. In my eyes, everything that was already mentioned is just a temporary unattractive quick fix that tries to ignore the problem or just brush it aside. We should try to come up with a new solution or at least discuss some new solutions. After all, since we are discussing the solutions the officials have come up with, couldn’t we try to come up with a few ideas of our own. Even though these top oil researchers and scientists may be very good in their field. We probably need a legion more of these amazing scientists in order to effectuate real, successful, positive change. Does anyone else have any ideas?

             On a second note: one idea I had from earlier is that we find a substance that works like oil, that is not grown through food, that is not found in the ground, but that is rather created from some other materials, giving the substance properties like oil, even though the substance will be a much longer lasting alternative. I was also thinking that we might have to start changing our global-economic and globalizing system now. Since, if we don’t find a solution soon, we will have to change or collapse in environmental, economic, and technological disaster, we might as well figure out a better system for the daily issues which lead us to rely so fervently upon oil.

    [link]      
  111. By the-mathematical-inquisitor on December 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Now I restate this as a member:

              So after carefully considering the situation a question formed in my mind: why are we focusing on obviously flawed and controversial solutions to the impending oil energy crisis? Shouldn’t we rather be trying to come up with newer, more productive solutions or fixes that solve the oil crisis. In my eyes, everything that was already mentioned is just a temporary unattractive quick fix that tries to ignore the problem or just brush it aside. We should try to come up with a new solution or at least discuss some new solutions. After all, since we are discussing the solutions the officials have come up with, couldn’t we try to come up with a few ideas of our own. Even though these top oil researchers and scientists may be very good in their field. We probably need a legion more of these amazing scientists in order to effectuate real, successful, positive change. Does anyone else have any ideas?

             On a second note: one idea I had from earlier is that we find a substance that works like oil, that is not grown through food, that is not found in the ground, but that is rather created from some other materials, giving the substance properties like oil, even though the substance will be a much longer lasting alternative. I was also thinking that we might have to start changing our global-economic and globalizing system now. Since, if we don’t find a solution soon, we will have to change or collapse in environmental, economic, and technological disaster, we might as well figure out a better system for the daily issues which lead us to rely so fervently upon oil.

    Laugh

    [link]      
  112. By oobuc5 on January 4, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Tunnel vision is the problem ,oil is running out so everybody and his dog are looking forward to the newer technologies ,ok fine for some but no one seems interested in the past ,it is said that you have to look to the past to see the future ,case in point in the 80s ford designed a 1600cc engine and put it into an escort the mileage was for the auto version was 31mpg i had one of those cars and got 40mpg by augmenting a system on it
    It stuck me thay ford could have done this as it was a simple modification but like all of the others they did not do it ,this is just one of many examples and the reasons money pure greed , gm have a patient on a gear drive system they have had it for years ,but these things are only bought out when they need the the share price to go up and to hold public interest .

    With all of the talk of electric vehicles i have to laugh because in the 1920s there was a 3 ton electric yard truck that was run for years the batteries were changed every 3 years

    !990s an asian company made a 3 cylinder diesel engine that did appx 60 plus mpg as we got into 2000 it disapeared from the market ,got an idea for a economical modification ?
    keep it to your self other wise it will be stolen or squashed , we i run a pre emission 3 ltr v6 and im going for 30 plus mpg ,work starts in the spring .

    [link]      
Register or log in now to save your comments and get priority moderation!