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"people want to know why an EV, without a gas tank, can burn to ashes in minutes" There's no fuel, but there's plenty of volatile material in the car (the seats, interior plastics, and wiring). That's the stuff that burns the fastest (in minutes). A short-circuit in the crash can start the fire and then it's a big blaze in minutes. This wouldn't even be news if it happened to a gas car.
@wintermane2000 Well, they are still testing the Balqon trucks so EV trucks are not out. Not too convinced about Zebra batteries. They are cheaper but not as good as Li-ion judging from the usage in buses. Not too sure about the Tyrano. Wasn't too impressed with them during their launch (no details on actual fuel cell specs, like kW output, website light on details). We'll see, I guess.
@jake Actually scratch that. I was using the estimate for passenger cars: 30mph * 5000 hrs = 150k miles. An typical AC Transit bus averages 11 mph so: 5000 * 11 = 55k miles. The 2006-2007 evaluation of the AC Transit fuel cell buses operating for 5,765 hours corresponded to 62,191 miles. I wonder how this operating life translates to passenger cars which have a higher average speed and different power demands. These buses seem to be hybrid buses and has a fairly large battery pack in it (only a few kwh less than the one on the Tesla Roadster), which probably aids the fuel cell's operating life.
5000 hours translates to about 150k miles which is pretty good in terms of durability, esp for a fuel cell. Buses cost more so they can more readily absorb the extra costs of a fuel cell. I ride AC Transit regularly so I probably have seen this bus around a couple of times already, though I haven't ridden in one before.
Sometimes I don't know if the best thing to do is to ignore them or to respond. Anyways on the CRU emails themselves, there are things that deserve investigating (like the Freedom of Information requests) but as for it being "climategate" or changing any fundamental conclusions about global warming, I don't see it. As far as I know, the emails are mostly being held up by the right wing for political reasons. There are a couple of analogies to be made, such as what was done by the tobacco industry or the "debate" on evolution vs intelligent design. I guess it does relate with Copenhagen though. Any meaningful commitment by the US is unlikely since right now we are still fighting over politics. China's commitment is also quite lukewarm. Maybe things will get better, but it seems unlikely.
@ToppaTom I don't think they really even gave EVs much of a chance. The Prius had slow sales initially too, but they eventually reached the second gen model (2nd gen for the US), it started picking up, and now it's a fairly popular car. Of course it is true the costs for EVs are very expensive (much more expensive than hybrids, and they still are expensive) so that is probably why they were so quick to end the programs and I don't think any of the automakers voluntarily wanted to build EVs. That and automakers are unsure about the reception of a plug-in vehicle: it's too big a departure from traditional fueling. It's just too much of a risk for them (Honda and Toyota still seems to see it this way). As for what time the public perception shifted for EVs? I don't think the Prius played much of a role. It's a hybrid and automakers emphasized that you didn't have to plug it in. The Prius is just a more efficient gas car. It didn't make anyone want a car that could plug-in.. I think the Tesla Roadster played a much bigger role. It's the first EV to greatly top the ~100 miles that all the automakers say EVs are limited to and the probably the first EV most people know about (it was the car that got me interested in EVs). Even GM says they were inspired: if such a small company can build something like that, why can't a large automaker? This was what led to the Volt (which also played a big role in changing perceptions about plug-ins by introducing the "range extender" idea). I think "Who killed the Electric Car" played a big role too in bringing EVs into mainstream perception (it especially made the EV1 well known and probably also pushed GM to develop the Volt to fight the backlash).
I generally agree that judging by hybrid sales, phev adoption will likely be a slow progress. Of course it's hard to predict the future and if consumer tastes will change. Of course, if gas prices get back to $4-5 then that's when you see many people in the US all of the sudden willing to look at alternatives (ie last summer with people ditching SUVs and getting smaller cars even when in reality if you do the calculations it doesn't necessarily make the most economic sense). And the wildcard with plug-ins is the new experience of plugging in and also the still inexpensive electricity. I guess we'll see how the consumers respond when the plug-ins actually come out.
@wintermane2000 "H2 ice cars do manage to get into the zev catagory which is all they needed to do to win a spot mid term." I think they have the "silver+" spot, so it's the same level with PHEVs, but there's relatively little development for hydrogen ICE. The only one I see promising for a decent amount of volume is the Mazda Premacy. I'm pretty sure PHEVs will still be the ones in the most volume, they seem to be the most cost effective and practical out of all the ZEV options (though if Ford really comes out with a ~$30k BEV Focus and/or if Nissan really comes out with a Cube-sized ~$20-30k BEV with ~100 miles of range then it starts becoming a harder choice). A F-CELL A-Class getting over 100k miles is pretty decent. Maybe they will be able to hit the 150k milestone in the future.