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The future of diesel


Snagger
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The bit that drives me nuts is all the do gooders bang on about electric cars but the batteries are not environmentaly friendly and nobody seems to remember the electricity still has to be made in a polluting power station.

Mike

I dont think EV using batteries is there yet but its coming along at a pace.

remember in the eighties we were all encouraged into diesel cars as they were cleaner, now we are potentially being driven back by a change of opinion - bread is good for us, bread is bad for us etc.

I suppose having the electricity centrally generated by a power station that we have good control of the emissions is better than thousands of potentially badly setup vehicles doing short journeys and moving those emissions away from population centres has some merit.

Driving a hybrid with a 70Kw hydrogen fuel generator would be interesting as it would allow you to power your home overnight charging your heating store while you sleep. We are currently developing a methanol generating set to power an off grid site with a refill period of 12 months so the technology is moving.

Right now, a Leaf doesn't seem like a good move to me.

Of course whether we all need to plan alternate power for our LR's is all speculation 'cos 'we' have no idea what the economic pressures will be.

I suspect we will carry on with our clattery TDIs and hopelessly inefficient Petrols till the end and we all end up in EV's and/or a horse and cart with the odd LR driving round a show field.

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I agree entirely. They are not zero emission unless the electricity is generated by solar, wind or nuclear. But they do help improve city air by removing local emissions and the efficiencies of scale of large scale power generators may be less polluting than IC engines. That has health benefits for the bulk of the population, which is the point that the media are leaping on in recent articles, rather than the global warming debate.

Certainly hybrid vehicles are a marketing con and should never have been permitted - a car needs to be one or the other to be efficient, not sitting on the fence.

Even if it is charged from renewable if you consider all aspects of the life of the vehicle it is ridiculous to be allowed to brand it zero emission. For example the car and energy source has to be made, maintained and disposed of. I wouldn't even accept 'zero emission at source' as an advertising line, I remember reading an article once about how many tonnes of tyre particles were swept off the roads each year and how they were harmful.

I believe there is a strong future for EV and I believe they can be fantastic products but at the moment the energy storage is not there. I think if they want them to go mainstream with todays technology they need to device a common battery pack, lets say a long tube that slides in from the rear bumper through what would've been the transmission tunnel in a RWD car, where you can pull into a petrol station, it is swapped for a charged one using a jig, and your payment covers the rental on the battery and the energy it contains. That way you never have to buy a battery which makes the cars very affordable and your not so restricted by range.

The government are ramping up the cost of plug in electric, they used to be for nothing as company cars, couple that with the tax and congestion advantages and it's hard for a city worker not to consider one, but at the moment they're ramping the benefit in kind tax up by around £400 a year.

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I suppose having the electricity centrally generated by a power station that we have good control of the emissions is better than thousands of potentially badly setup vehicles doing short journeys and moving those emissions away from population centres has some merit.

The unpredicatbility of supply of renewables has always made them a bit of a show of will rather than a credible supply option but there is a company at the moment who are trying to get funding to install large underground tanks in old mines, they will use electricity, ideally green energy to compress air into reservoirs, when electricity is needed they will release it through a turbine. They claim to have come up with a heat exchanger to overcome the problem of expanding and compressing air which will mean the whole unit has an efficiency of 70%. If they complete the entire proposed project they will be able to store enough electricity for a week :blink:

India are trial running taxis on compressed air, i believe it's proving inefficient energy wise but is improving city air.

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Having had a good nose about a Tesla shop in the US last month, I was very impressed. I think the recharge times vs range will be viable within a few years, and it's already good enough that I'd buy one now if I had the cash.

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There has also been talk for some years of reducing the speed limit on the M1 to 60mph around the Derby area as it is believed this will significantly improve air quality in that area.

as opposed to the infuriating 50MPH avg speed "roadworks" that have been in force for the last few years :hysterical:

50MPH on a good day too!!

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I tend to see EV's along the same lines as GW81ZR..... I think it's inevitable really that they will come of age and the benefits are pretty clear as long as the energy density of the batteries (or whatever) and the embodied energy/rare earth elements issues are addressed.

I see the downsides of the current generation of EV's as the price we pay to bring the technology to maturity. We need some 'smug' early adopters to bring them into the mainstream and allow the technology to evolve to suit real world needs.

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as opposed to the infuriating 50MPH avg speed "roadworks" that have been in force for the last few years :hysterical:

50MPH on a good day too!!

Your not wrong there, I've spent many a mile stuck behind someone in the outside lane at 40 looking at the other two empty lanes thinking dare I? Lol.

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Your not wrong there, I've spent many a mile stuck behind someone in the outside lane at 40 looking at the other two empty lanes thinking dare I? Lol.

perfectly legal to undertake a lane 3 (or 2 for that matter) lane hogger as long as you dont change lane to do it, so see him a few miles ahead, you wont be in lane 3 anyway cos your not a hogger so just sit at 50 and cruise past him.

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I know you can in queuing traffic, not sure your 100% right otherwise :unsure: I did used to do it in the lorry but I figured I wasn't allowed in lane 3 therefore it was acceptable. lol The ones that really get me are where you slow down, sit behind them for quarter of a mile, they see you and move over then as soon as your passed pull out again despite there being no other cars in sight. Why?!?!?

The best I've ever seen is an unmarked police car pull up behind one then stick all it's lights and sirens on, the guy moved then.

Infact wasn't there a youtube video where a lane hogger brake tested a police car when it came up behind him :hysterical:

I was once following a car in lane 3 that kept slowing down to 30 and veering left into lane 2, then swerving right and speeding upto 50 again, then gradually slowing to 30 and veering to lane 2 again then speeding up. Eventually I got alongside him and the guy was texting with his phone by the gearstick. I mean surely if your texting and look up and you've lost 20mph and are in a different lane you'd think hmmm, I can't multitask safely I'll concentrate on driving not just veer back into the outside lane without looking behind you and speed up again. I did the usual beeping and shouting and arm waving but he just stared at me as if there was something wrong with me.

Why is it me that always ruins topics?

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I know we are waaaaaay off topic but I couldn't resist. I have good memories of courteous driver behaviour on English motorways - all things being relative. There aren't many motorways here in New Zealand but, where there are (or wherever there are two or more lanes really), there's an indecent proportion of drivers who consider multi lanes as an invitation to spread out and do their own thing. It's not uncommon for the middle lane to be the fastest because someone slow is hogging the fast lane. We have a general rule of keeping to the left but it's not taken seriously, wasting the potential for good traffic movement. The other common behaviour is people who drive just a bit under the speed limit but accelerate hard when they come to a passing lane. It can drive you mad!

.....and back to the proper topic: we have a different system here, in which diesel fuel is much cheaper than petrol but petrol has road tax included. Diesel vehicles incur separate road tax according to a complex formula of gross weight, number of axles/wheels and wheel size. Despite that tax being quite high, it works out vastly cheaper for me to run my current diesel Land Rover than my former petrol one. LPG tends to be marginally cheaper than petrol but is a risky option as the relative prices vary a lot over time.

There is a subtle gummint move against diesel. They somehow incur a higher registration fee for no apparent reason and that road tax has increased significantly over the last decade or so. Still, no paranoia here and most large four wheel drive vehicles are diesel powered (though petrol Range Rovers and older Discoveries are commonplace). Pure electric vehicles are near non-existent and hybrids are still scorned as a bit of a marketing gimmick, though you do see a few on the road.

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Certainly hybrid vehicles are a marketing con and should never have been permitted - a car needs to be one or the other to be efficient, not sitting on the fence.

I'm no engineer and no expert so happy to be corrected if i'm wrong but haven't hybrid diesel-electric locomotives been pretty successful for a good while now? Not saying current hybrid cars are any good but is the concept entirely worthless?

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I had a ride in a Mitsubishi 4x4 hybrid a few weeks back, an on board 1.5L petrol charger and the benefits of electric driving - it seemed pretty good to me.

With all the subsidies and gizzits from the dealer it had convinced the Welsh farmer ( a Yorkshire farmer with no charitable traits )

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Trains and boats both use diesel generators with electric motors for drive but I would say for different reasons. On a train you can mount a motor on each bogie and a small diesel unit under each car so you don't have to have the traditional huge motive unit at the front giving more passenger space & flexibility for example. The acceleration / deceleration of trains is more controlled and its heavier so regenerative braking can be taken advantage of more than with a car.

The problem with the hybrid is not that it's a bad technology, it's that it's misunderstood. The purpose is not to improve MPG or lower emissions (all the energy comes from the petrol engine which will have the same basic efficiency regardless, every time you transform that energy you lose some, so unless the generator, storage, drive, motor and motors gearbox are more efficient than the ic gearbox then your using more petrol to run on electric) it's to improve air quality in cities. So if someone in the suburbs drives the 20 miles down the motorway on petrol at 70mph, then the 2 miles at 5mph in the city on electric then the city sees less smog.

For me the thing to remember with any of these technologies is that they don't improve unless they are used, so even if you think the hybrid is a pup remember that people are learning from them how to make better motors, drives, batteries etc. With wind turbines they've managed to develop generators that don't need gearboxes that was the main area of failure. All that knowledge can be applied to many other areas.

Work are talking of changing my beloved Isuzu next year :( and I have seriously considered a PHEV. The engine wouldn't need to start for my daily commute (which could be good or bad for reliability lol) and I could charge it at work so very cheap motoring for me. The only thing putting me off is the government seem to be ramping the benefit in kind tax up by around £400 a year on PEVs at the moment whereas double cab pickups are pretty static.

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I'm no engineer and no expert so happy to be corrected if i'm wrong but haven't hybrid diesel-electric locomotives been pretty successful for a good while now? Not saying current hybrid cars are any good but is the concept entirely worthless?

But I'm sure the main reason for a diesel electric train is that it's far easier to get the power to the ground with electric motors and instant torque and no need for a gearbox?

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Is there any benefit in Prius-type hybrids over short journeys? With the higher pollutants being produced when an IC engine is cold, I imagine that's the main benefit of the PHEV. Especially when a lot of commutes probably fall within the electric-only range.

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Certainly our Prius ( we had two ) never did anything like the mpg that Toyota claimed.

One had the ass ragged of it from day one and the other was driven like a .... and they did exactly the same mpg .. almost to the decimal point.

In terms of emissions from cold - I suspect they are better as then warm up period is very short and the typical urban stop start stuff is mainly electric. Of course me suspecting something and facts are not the same at all.

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If it's a short journey then so long as you don't go over the point where the engine starts then it's reasonable clean. Once the engine does start it's smaller than an equivalent normal car so hopefully would be more efficient in terms of warming up. Obviously a PHEV has the potential to be better depending where the electric has come from. The only hybrid I've ever driven was quite old, maybe 10 years, and could only manage 1 or 2 miles before the engine started as the batteries were low.

The fact that hybrids etc get such fantastic MPG figures on test but not in real life is one of the reasons the test is being reviewed as it's no longer considered representative of real life.

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I remember Top Gear's cleverly rigged test, in which they got a BMW M3 to chase a Prius around a racetrack and got better fuel economy out of the M3. I think the hybrid idea really only pays off in slow city traffic. Otherwise you are carrying a heavy car, with two motors and a pack of batteries, around the countryside with a too-small engine. If it's stop-start, then the efficiency of charging with a small engine probably come into play. Anyway, those batteries have heavy metals which bring their own problems.

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Hybrids are grossly inefficient, lugging two engines, transmissions and energy sources. That means that petrol mpg is worsened and it has higher electrical consumption when driving on electrical power only, needing more recharging and therefore adding to power station emissions. They should be banned - they are the most environmentally damaging cars on the road and are marketed solely as being green. The companies producing them should be facing higher fines then VW as their fraud is even more extreme than the VW test cheating. All electric or all I/C, chose one or the other; both have their merits, but hybrids take the worst of both worlds and exacerbate them by having underpowered engines dragging excess weight.

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The current implementation maybe poor but a hybrid isn't necessarily inefficient for the reasons you mention. A small engine running at a constant design speed could be a very efficient way of generating the power for an electric traction motor, the batteries simply provide a short term store for getting the mass moving. The wide range of speeds an electric motor can deliver very usable torque means it can be more efficient than the losses in a transmission. It 8could* all be quite efficient and to be truthful very nice to drive. But IMO they aren't there yet.

On a wider matter its always made me grimace when people talk of emissions - my 300TDi is in a good state of repair and maintenance and it does maybe 1500 Miles a year. Now my Hilux is a far cleaner and modern design but it does 25000 miles a year ... which one hurts the environment? - excluding the 'neither' argument as its all a load of none sense invented by (insert your own green character here) with nothing else in their lives!

If the way to persuade people to change fuel types isnt going to be done by moral blackmail its going to be done by taxation as usual, how is heavily taxing a low mileage car due to its poor(er) emissions caused by fuel choice a fair system....

But we all know this I guess /RANT_OFF :-)

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my wife does about 6 miles a day. she would benifit from a ev car.

the tesla p85 is a hell of a car and 300 miles range. i'd have one if i was an exec.

diesel is a by product of making petrol so commercial vehicles will stay derv and the government will change company car rules to drive the buying public to small, turbo charged engined cars.

i'll stick with my 110 and my motorbike.

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