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Electric Cars vs.Gas Guzzlers

Discussion in 'Members Lounge' started by TRexall, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. TRexall

    TRexall New Member

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    I heard you could convert an ordinary car to an electric for about the same price as an ordinary vehicle,what are the pros and cons of doing this?
     
  2. RadioRon

    RadioRon Well-Known Member

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    I guess it depends on who does the work. If done by a competent pro you might suffer these effects:

    - your range would decrease from 300 miles to about 100 miles per "fillup" and it will take about 12 hours to fillup an electric vehicle vs about 5 minutes to fill a gasoline vehicle. If you fail to return to your home for recharging before the batteries run out of juice, you will have to get towed home.

    - the handling dynamics of the vehicle would change dramatically with the new weight distribution. If the gasoline engine is replaced by an electric motor the front of the car will be a lot lighter while the area with the batteries will be a lot heavier.

    - for maintenance, you would have no alternative but get repairs done by the shop that did the conversion, since all others would view your car as a "science project"

    - the car would operate a lot quieter

    - in the winter your operating range would decrease, partly because of less charge available from the batteries when they are cold, but also because you would want to keep warm and you might operate with the lights on more often, both of which drain your batteries even further.

    - you would suffer other quirks that come from a vehicle that is not engineered thoroughly from the ground up.

    - your car would have almost no resale value when it comes time to get rid of it
     
  3. dknguyen

    dknguyen Well-Known Member

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    Your car would have awesome acceleration and top speed though.
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. TRexall

    TRexall New Member

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    Interesting...Some say the cost of batteries is less than the money you would spend over a period of time for things such as Tune-ups,oil changes carburetor, gas lines and tank, spark plugs, radiator, pumps, hoses ,anti-freeze,sensors etc...plus an ICE would wear out much sooner than an electric motor.
     
  6. Space Varmint

    Space Varmint New Member

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    I think you are more than dreaming. Where would you put the electric motor? Can you image the linkage into the drive train? You would probably pay more trying to convert the thing than to just buy a hybrid.
     
  7. TRexall

    TRexall New Member

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    well the electric motor would be fitted to the transmission using an adaptor plate or if you bought the high end motor you could just forget the transmission and just use the controller to adjust the speed.
    (after removing the engine of course....and tossing it for recycling)
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  8. mneary

    mneary New Member

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    Depends entirely on the motor strength and peak output delivery of the batteries.

    Not quite true if you replace a 80-100hp ICE with a 50hp electric motor. And then add 200kg+ to the curb weight.
     
  9. dknguyen

    dknguyen Well-Known Member

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    A 80-100 HP motor vs a 50 HP motor is hardly fair comparison- about as fair as comparing a 100 HP engine to a 50 HP engine. If you want energy (run time) of course gas wins. If you want power the batteries win. Think dragster.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  10. mneary

    mneary New Member

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    Just pointing out that some electric conversions gain "efficiency" by strictly limiting the horsepower. It seems to me that rarely do conversions match the horsepower of the removed ICE.
     
  11. dknguyen

    dknguyen Well-Known Member

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    THat's why you gear for power like a dragster, and use it as such. I just know that for RC helis and cars, you can make an electric have way more power than a gas or even nitro model for the same weight. What you sacrifice, however, is run-time and in some cases battery life which are all due to the limitations of batteries.

    Sure, after the other guy loses the race he can say "but mine runs longer". Says the guy who LOST. lol. Just don't race him on a long track.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  12. AllVol

    AllVol New Member

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    Does anyone know the effective range of a nominal electric automobile traveling in late-evening rush hour traffic, with a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow falling, dark and cold?

    And you want to listen to the radio?
     
  13. Mikebits

    Mikebits Well-Known Member

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    The thought of dead batts for my ecar in a winter storm just makes me shiver...
     
  14. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    We all know that when starting an engine a cold battery has a fraction of the cranking power of a warm one. Years ago I was stranded on campus when my pickup refusted to start in 20 below weather. I took the battery out and placed it in a sink of hot water while I took a nap. In a few hours the battery was at room temperature. It started the truck with no problem.

    The point is that the energy was still in the battery. But it was not possible to extract enough of it, at a fast enough rate, to start the truck.

    A fully electric car may not have this problem. If there is enough power to start the car moving the internal resistance of the battery should warm it up to normal operating temperature in a few miles. yes/no

    So the range should be about the same as any other night drive.


     
  15. Space Varmint

    Space Varmint New Member

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    I wouldn't consider it unless they improve solar paint. Look up nano-solar.
     
  16. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    I was under the impression that the complete opposite was true, and by a huge margin, with electic planes and helicopters having only just become possible not too long ago, and still much lower performance.

    Certainly they don't race electric cars against glow-plug engined ones, they don't perform anywhere near glow-plug ones.

    As for dragsters - how many electric dragsters are there?, and do they beat petrol engined ones? - I've never heard of any such thing.
     
  17. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    One reason you do not see people racing electric is that as a rule there are no classes for them to race in. I am talking full size not models or scale.

    I saw a bit on TV where they set out to answer this very question. They showed both a drag bike and a sports car that performed on par or better then their ICE counterparts. But it is a lot easier to go fast with petro given the quanity and quality of parts built for that purpose.

     
  18. BeeBop

    BeeBop Active Member

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    I have to agree... How large, physically, is a 8000 BHP electric motor? Those are about the specks these boys are getting out of 500 cubic inches these days:
    from here:
    http://www.seattleschild.com/article/20080714/BLOG25/469225818
     
  19. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Apples and oranges.

    A drag engine has a life time maybe a minute or two.

    To compare it to an electric motor that can put out the same power for months on end is wrong. The electric motor only needs to get down the track once (or a few times).
     
  20. RadioRon

    RadioRon Well-Known Member

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    Thats a good point. I think that the subject of an electric car must revolve around the batteries, at least for now, not the actual electric motor, since it is the batteries that are the weakest link in the whole thing. Many of us think of Lead Acid batteries when discussing this topic, and that is where the poor range claims come from (like a practical range in the winter might be 25 miles). Those on the leading edge have long since abandoned lead acid for more energy density. One good example is Tesla Motors who are building a sports car in California that is focussed on performance instead of utility. So the first things mentioned in the ads are "0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds" and "13,000 rpm redline". They claim 220 miles per charge too. They use a 185KW motor. Most importantly, they use Lithium Ion battery packs which have a relatively high energy density compared to other types.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/
     
  21. jpanhalt

    jpanhalt Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    You are right about the timing. Whether the margin in performance is "huge" depends on what you want to do. Electrics have really taken off in popularity in the the USA in the last decade. They were popular in Europe (Germany) before that. The major technological improvements that have contributed to the popularity are brushless motors, batteries with high capacity and high discharge rates, and solid state controllers.

    As for shear power, the electric class of sailplanes go straight up and are quite light. Electrics are very compatible to gearing; whereas, fuel engines are not (the power pulses cause problems). The ability to gear the motors and use large props has given the electrics an edge in terms of acceleration. Electrics have even made it into and won major international competitions for scale and aerobatics.

    You cannot use a folding prop on a fuel engine, and re-start in flight is very hard to do. Hence, one almost never sees a fuel powered model sailplane today; whereas, they were around 20 years ago.

    Fuel, of course, still has an advantage for duration of motor run.
    Here is an interesting site. You will notice several record holders were electric, including recent drag (1 mile) records.

    John
     

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