Hate the Volt?

Discussion in 'Chevrolet Volt' started by fotomoto, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    I missed that was the key issue you were responding to.
    You misunderstood it though. When I said that the Volt was the clear winner for our driving patterns, it was from an efficiency standpoint, not necessarily a CO2 standpoint.

    http://priuschat.com/forums/chevrolet-volt/99245-hate-volt-9.html#post1411461

    According to the EPA a gallon of gasoline is roughly equivalent to 34KWH. In our Volt, that will take us about 102 miles (about 120 in our Tesla). One gallon of gas used to take our Prius about 48 miles.

    There are a lot of reasons we drive the Volt. But focusing on this one point, it seems the Volt is hands down more efficient for us.
     
  2. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    WRONG. It's not magic at all. His net grid-electricity use for the car is zero. What's more, he draws electricity when the coal plant is already producing excess electricity, which would go to waste if he didn't use it, and he's feeding back electricity at peak times so the coal-fired plant does not have to increase its output.

    WRONG AGAIN. Coal is the dirtiest way to make electricity, but is still cleaner and more efficient than a gasoline-powered car.

    By KEEPING HIS GRID ELECTRICITY USE EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS PRE-VOLT, his net effect is to switch from 100% gasoline transportation to mostly electric transportation, and producing as much clean solar electricity as he uses for his car.

    Switching from gasoline to electricity is a net winner.

    Producing as much electricity as he uses means his net grid draw remains unchanged.

    In an earlier post you admitted that if he didn't shave the peaks, but charged directly from his PVs in the daytime, he'd be reducing his carbon footprint because he'd be using nearly no gasoline. (With the Volt, he's still using some, as compared to, say, a Leaf.)

    Since shaving peaks is UNIVERSALLY recognized as a good thing, what he's doing is even BETTER than the above.

    Your argument is so illogical it boggles the mind.

    You base your entire argument on the (incorrect) assertion that gasoline is cleaner than coal. But his net draw from the coal-fired plant remains unchanged since he gives back as much electricity as he takes. From the point of view of the grid, all he's done is shift his electric usage from daytime to night time, which is a GOOD thing.

    From the point of view of transportation, what he's done is to replace most of his gasoline with clean PV electricity.

    WIN - WIN - WIN!!!

    Score: Zythryn 3; usbseawolf 0.
     
  3. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    That may be true for a non-hybrid gasoline car but a well designed hybrid like Prius is cleaner than a coal powered BEV.

    That's because you are locked into a premise that we need to use coal. We don't, consider this. If Zythryn kept his Prius and install a 16kWh battery (but use only 10kWh like Volt) to store power from the solar panels and use it at night to cover his household need. The extra electricity could be sold off to the grid.

    Wouldn't that cut the need to use coal (possibly shutting off some coal power plants)? Wouldn't it net lower carbon footprint?
     
  4. giora

    giora Senior Member

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    Its a debate of deaves (I am one of them but feels I am not the only one).
    Let me try and summarise what we can agree upon:
    Zythryn decided (for whatever good reason) to replace his Prius with a Volt. He also decided that since he will have a Volt he will install PV panels.
    These are very good decisions as with his driving patterns he is displacing gasoline and at the same time reduce his Carbon footprint (compared to Prius and no panels situation and Volt - no panels situation). He is also reducing local (tailpipe) pollutants and reduce his electrical bill (compared to Volt - no panels situation).
    Side benefit - another clean vehicle (his Prius) is out there in the market.

    Now, take another guy, having a Prius and PV panels installed on his roof, with same driving patterns as Zythryn, living in the same area and considering replacing the Prius with a Volt.
    Among other considerations, he is considering his Carbon footprint and on this issue he will be in loose situation with the Volt until such time when his local grid will be cleaner. Waiting for the PiP will be a better choice for this guy.

    Hope we can agree on this.
     
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  5. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    I disagree.


    Wrong! I do not feel we need to use coal!!! Coal is a disaster. But we do need to have an electric grid, and there will always be more demand in the daytime than at night. And right now, today, we DO have coal-fired plants, and anything you can do to shift demand from daytime to night-time helps.

    Two errors with the above:

    1. You are ignoring that if Z kept his Prius he would still be burning gasoline, which is a fossil fuel. In his present situation, he has nearly eliminated his gasoline usage.

    2. Your premise is unjustified: You say that if he installed PVs but kept driving his Prius, he would be able to reduce coal usage. But why should he do that? The illogic of your argument can be seen if I turn it around and increase it: If you installed 25 acres of PVs you could reduce coal usage. Why don't you do that? Well, maybe because you cannot afford 25 acres of PVs.

    Zythryn made the choice to STOP BURNING GAS (mostly) by buying the Volt. That was the decision he made. He did NOT decide to spend all his savings installing PVs to reduce coal burning. He wanted to get away from gas, mostly. Then, because his electricity is generated from coal, he decided to make an investment in PVs which would keep his coal use unchanged!!! He did this. HIS COAL USE IS UNCHANGED!!!

    Even you admit that if he charged during the day he'd have accomplished this.

    But then he went one step better and chose to charge at night from the grid and sell his PV electricity back to the grid, thus REDUCING the stress on the grid even BELOW what it was before he bought his Volt.

    Now, I'll grant you this: If he had installed 25 acres of PVs, he'd reduce coal use. But that is a false argument because he is not in a position to do that.

    He reduced his carbon footprint by (mostly) eliminating his use of gasoline while keeping his coal-fired electric usage unchanged, and at the same time shifting part of his demand from peak to off-peak time.

    You err in ignoring his greatly reduced consumption of gasoline and in claiming that peak shaving is a bad thing rather than a good thing.

    You also err in ignoring the carbon footprint of the wars we fight continuously over oil. By shifting from gasoline to PV electricity for his transportation, he is setting an example of how we could end the need for oil wars with their disastrous carbon footprint, loss of life, and the likelihood that they will in the end bankrupt the nation.
     
  6. gwmort

    gwmort Active Member

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    I get what you're saying. Everyone should have PV (that reasonably can) to minimize their household loads, so then compare to what is not coming from the PV. IN a typical household not charging an EV overnight but with PV generation during the day; there would be less coal (or other electricity generation fuel) consumed at night [ignoring for a moment the peak shaving argument].

    In two such households you could then compare just the cars, conventional prius or volt PHEV, over the course of ownership the prius would consume hundreds of gallons of more gasoline and the volt thousands of kwh's of electricity more than the prius.

    If you believe a couple of dollars of gas is better than a couple of cents of electricity, its easy to see which side you'd come down on. I'd favor the electricity myself.

    The difference with this specific example is he wouldn't have put the PV in without the PHEV. Its not necessarily a cost benefit decision. The PV system is not likely to realize actual savings until hes well into his next car. However he is driving around silently and smoothly on sunshine sitting next to traffic belching the exhaust of society's oil addiction. Priceless.
     
  7. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I was going by the DOE report. I posted the graph as well.

    What is your disagreement based on?

    It helps the utility company to continue firing those coal power plants even when the demand should be low. Instead of trying to eliminate it, Zythryn is reinforcing the use of coal. According to the eGrid data, 71% of his grid electricity is from coal.


    Perhaps, it was misread. I said if he recharge his Volt directly from his solar panel, not recharge from the grid during the day. There is a huge difference as one is solar electron and the other is mostly coal electrons.

    I agree with that. However, we produce about a third of our petroleum. Another third is from friendly countries (Canada and Mexico). The last third is from the unfriendly countries.

    We just need to substitute the "bad third", not all. We also need to prevent homeland carbon footprint as coal usage will surely increase it.

    Prius (plug-in or no-plug) is a very well balanced "solution" to cut the gasoline consumption by half and use very little (or none at all) coal to keep the homeland carbon footprint at minimal.
     
  8. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    Your arguments are inconsistent. You can't write about marginal petroleum usage but not allow for marginal electricity usage. As a marginal electricity user he won't be responsible for any significant coal use, since electricity companies don't use coal as peakers unless they have to. And if they are using coal peakers his consumption would probably be "spare" load.

    The argument is also ignoring the fact that due to the way electricity is billed driving a mid-to-long-distance PEV almost always increases off-peak consumption so significantly that it makes shifting to TOU tariffs economical and PV more economical and thus increases the incentive to move other load (e.g laundry, heating) and install more capacity and further improve peak-shaving.
     
  9. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Volt will consume gas as well (about a third of all the miles). For the life (150k miles) of the car, Volt will consume about 1,351 premium gallons.

    A no-plug Prius would consume 3,000 regular gallons. The difference is about 1,649 gallons. However, Volt will also consume 36,857 kWh of electricity. That's 22 kWh to substitute a gallon of gas.

    The driving experience may be priceless for the Volt owners but what about the living experience (and health) for those reside close to the coal mines and power stations?

    Is the cost of health care cheaper than the cost of war?
     
  10. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    uh, don't even get me started on that vauge missuse of facts:
    1 - After you convert DC PV panels to AC ... then AC house power back to charge DC batteries, and the extra kWh's you need to get your batteries charged, you have about 10% loss ... so you do NOT get to count 34kWh for your total use towards an electric motor - and that's just for starters
    2 - One does not get 34kWh's of energy from gas when one honestly accounts for conversion losses to GET the gas ... that must necessarily count for conversion losses of crude into usable products ... health costs ... military costs, etc.
    Guess what you're left with after you deduct all the return on investment type values to get the gas into your tank. Liberally, your gas's energy is left with about 24kWh of energy. Thus, the "one gallon comparison" works out to about 68 miles ... not 100+ miles.
    Yea, don't even get me started on that.

    .
     
  11. mfennell

    mfennell New Member

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    The PIP appears to be very close to the Volt and worse than the Leaf in electric efficiency. How is it better than either of those cars, especially given your constant promotion of opportunity charging as a positive thing despite the fact that it would typically occur at the worse possible time of day?

    Your argument would at least be consistent (if still wrong) if you were against the PIP too but to champion it and not pure BEVs is illogical.
     
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    His disagreement is that carbon is the only emission.
    Coal is dirty. There is no denying it. So is gasoline. The only reason the Prius is as clean as it is is because smoking tailpipes have been staring to public in the face for decades. If the will had been there for power plants, they could be cleaned up as much.

    You are ignoring the realities of base load plants. In order to reduce expansion and contraction fatigue, and other stresses caused from shut down and start up, the plants do not turn off. To do so is like asking a freight train to accelerate and brake like a car.

    The best the plant can do is throttle back compared to the day output. Planners try to size the plant to provide the minimum power for an area at the plant's lowest setting, hence base load. If the area's minimum power requirement drops below the plants base output(say from adopting energy efficient practices), the extra electricity is essentially thrown away (I'm sure it's sold and 'shipped' to other area's, but that involves greater transmission losses).

    So it is better that the extra juice goes into a PHV or EV. Even if the power called for is more than the plant's base, it is still better to charge night. The extra demand during the day will likely lead to the use of peak plants. Which can be natural gas, but might be diesel or even bunker oil.

    To paraphrase Daniel, electrons are electrons. It doesn't matter to the car, lightbulb, or toaster how they're produced. The solar electrons produced during the day are displacing coal electrons that would otherwise be used. They aren't being wasted. So it doesn't matter when the car charges.



    We need to substitute it all. The Canadian tar sands is one of the dirtiest sources of crude. The midwest oil shale will be even dirtier. Then there will come a time when we will curse ourselves for burning it instead of saving it for plastics, pharmaceuticals, and other base compounds needed for our society.
     
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  13. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    usbseawolf: How in the world can you possibly say that Zythryn is encouraging the utility to burn more coal when his electric usage is THE SAME AS IT ALWAYS WAS??? Your assertion that there is a difference between charging directly from PVs, and charging from the grid and later replacing the electricity from PVs, is just plain preposterous! Your argument defies logic, mathematics, and physics. Electricity is fungible because a kWh of coal-generated electricity is IDENTICAL and INDISTINGUISHABLE from a kWh of PV-generated electricity!

    Furthermore, peak-shaving is UNIVERSALLY recognized as a good thing.

    And while I agree with you that in general and for the average driver, a Volt is a poor choice for the environment, Zythryn will put far fewer gas miles on his Volt than will the average driver, which was why he selected it.

    You keep insisting that Zythryn is using more coal, in spite of and in the face of the clear fact that his grid-electric usage remains unchanged. NOTHING he does will encourage the utility to burn more coal or to continue burning coal. Social and political and economic factors will determine whether is utility continues to burn coal or switches to cleaner and/or more sustainable energy.

    Lastly, I will concede that a hybrid like the Prius produces less carbon emissions than a coal-fired plant for the same number of driving miles, but that is not the issue for Zythryn, because he is producing enough clean electricity (in the daytime, when it's most needed) to offset his use of grid power at night (when there's an excess). The report you linked to says in the conclusion that a PHEV is superior if clean electrical-generation capacity is installed to offset its electric use, and that's exactly what Zythryn has done.

    In his particular case (and only in his or similar cases) where he will drive very few gasoline miles, and ignoring the cost of the car and possible GM quality issues, the Volt is better for the environment than a conventional Prius. And his total carbon footprint is lowered by the reduction of gasoline usage and the unchanging amount of coal-electricity usage. (The issue is more cloudy with the PiP due to its shorter EV range and totally different mode of operation, and thus largely dependent on an individual's driving habits.)
     
  14. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    15 EV miles in the city can get you to a lot of short frequent stops. 48 miles on the highway with a gallon of regular gas can get pretty far.

    Gas engine is bad for short trips (even for a hybrid). The low energy density and high weight of the battery is bad for long highway trips.
    The key really is to use the right fuel at the right time. In another word, create the synergy from the hybrid drivetrains. PiP is a plugin hybrid with synergy drive.

    I believe the first badge is from the prototype. The second one is from the production PiP.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. gwmort

    gwmort Active Member

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    I am glad we are in agreement.

    I'm putting in PV for my thousands of extra kwh's, as did Zathryn, so you're health comment is moot. You've got the cost of the wars versus the costs of the panels.
     
  16. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    That's what I am pushing for. Clean up the grid. Find a way to stop and restart the coal plants easier. HSD made the gas engine stop and restart seamlessly.

    We don't need more reasons/excuses to keep those coal plants running if renewable energy can cover the night low load.

    So, energy is energy? Ultimately, they are all from the sun. The difference is millions of years apart stored in the fossils.

    It is pretty simply. He is using coal electrons and someone else is using his solar electrons. We may not come into agreement because you believe electricity is fungible and I don't. To me, the electricity from fossil fuel is not fungible with the electricity from a renewable source. The prices are different as well.

    It is for sure that as long as Zythryn keep charging his Volt at night, there is one less reason for the coal plant to shut down. In my previous post, I presented an alternative way of using the solar panels and a battery pack to completely avoid the coal.

    I think I made my point pretty clear that Volt is not a "clear winner" so I shall give it a rest.
     
  17. Jeff N

    Jeff N The answer is 0042

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    I'm looking forward to careful measurements of the efficiency of burning gas for brief acceleration events blended-in while otherwise running off the battery charge in the PiP. Does it burn gas at the equivalent efficiency of 49 mpg? Probably not. How about 25 mpg? Maybe less on a cold engine that hasn't been otherwise seriously used in several hours. What happens to emissions on the cold catalytic converter? How many unburned hydrocarbons is it puffing out for a few seconds of acceleration every 2-3 minutes? Or is the engine run to warm things up every time you start the car is started like with a non-plug Prius -- I'm not sure if there is a definitive answer yet for the production PiP.
     
  18. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    I don't think anyone here would argue otherwise. Personally, transportation efficiency is third on my list of priorities.
    First is cleaning up the grid, second is dramatically improving the efficiency of our buildings, third is transportation.

    Most, if not all people here are pushing for cleaning up the grid as well.
     
  19. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Very valid questions and concerns. Prius has the exhaust heat recovery/circulation system to reduce emission and the duration of the warmup cycle. We know Volt doesn't have it.

    Furthermore, the redesigned EHR in Prius v (wagon) cut it down by one minute, amazing! I would think the same improvement will be in the upcoming PiP.

    See the video at 12:20.



    The PiP prototype's tailpipe emission is an order of magnitude cleaner than the Volt. PiP during the warm-up stage may be just as bad as the Volt gas engine at normal operating temp.

    Carbon Monoxide:
    [​IMG]

    Exhaust Emission:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Then you disagree with every physicist, every economist, every energy-planning professional, and every mathematician in the whole freaking world. This is not a matter of belief.

    It matters how we produce our energy in aggregate, but once produced, a kWh of coal fired electricity is identical and indistinguishable from a solar-generated kWh. This is the freaking DEFINITION of "fungible."

    We need to be burning less coal. But when Zythryn draws electricity from the grid, and then feeds back the same amount, his net draw is zero and he's had ZERO effect on the total amount produced by the grid, except that by peak-shaving he's improving the efficiency of the grid. He is altering the time of day when he draws from the grid, but he is NOT consuming any more coal-fired electricity than he was before he bought his Volt, because electricity is freaking fungible. Even to suggest that "someone" is using his solar electricity is preposterous, because once fed into the grid his solar electricity augments the total while mixing indistinguishably with the electricity of all the other sources.

    I continue to be amazed and saddened that faulty reasoning continues to be used to turn Zythryn's positive contribution into a negative.
     
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