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Chevy Volt a Failure - GM to Layoff 1,300

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Evil Bastard (aka Chris_L), Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Just the facts ma am

    Just the facts ma am Well-Known Member

  2. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    So batteries are no better today than they were 130+ years ago? Of course the cost of manufacturing batteries will come down. The price of manufacturing damn near any established technology goes down over time.*

    You can try to hedge your bets at the end of your post by saying, "I am not saying that won't change someday," but the fact is, it inevitably WILL change someday. You're viewing the future through a 2018/2019 lens so that you can be right.

    And you're still wrong. The price of lithium ion batteries related to cars has already dropped significantly, and is expected to continue to drop.


    And, as far as stripping cobalt out of the batteries, that may not actually be the only answer, according to MIT.

    All of that said, I'm curious which "potentially more cost-efficient technologies that have been disadvantaged" you believe "could have been way farther ahead by now" if not for government subsidies of EVs. That's really the crux of your argument. I'm open to the idea that the government is missing the boat on Technology X by subsidizing Technology Y. I'm curious what efficient-engine technology we're missing that you think is more viable than electric.

    *Interesting that you suddenly narrowed the parameters to specifically only include lithium ion batteries instead of just battery technology in general. I didn't miss that. For the purposes of this argument, it's fairly moot since lithium ion is currently the predominant technology, but when you drag this thread up in five years, it should be noted that if a new, cheaper battery alternative emerges, it still counts toward my statement that it's a given that battery prices will eventually come down.
    BTExpress likes this.
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    That is not what I posted. In 130+ years (or whatever it has been) since the first electric vehicle was made, the market has never adopted the cars. That is because other vehicles STILL make way more sense for the vast majority of people. Even with all of the subsidization of EVs in the last decade. It's what I have posted over and over again, and it is common sense.

    It is not the battery technology. It is the materials that go into the batteries. There were stories, actually, this morning about Erik Prince of Blackwater infamy, trying to raise half a billion to invest in the metals needed for EV batteries, because he thinks it is going to be so lucrative as governments try to push the vehicles. Subscribe to read | Financial Times Erik Prince seeking $500m for battery metals fund — report

    Cobalt, Lithium, copper. The cobalt in particular, because most of the world's supply comes from the Congo, which isn't stable, and it has become increasingly more difficult to find deposits and mine them. Those batteries, particularly the newer ones that offer high capacity, are overly reliant on natural resources, more than most technologies are. And those resources are going up in price faster than most things.

    I am not hedging my bets. I just am not being evangelical about this. I have no idea why you think I am "rooting" for some outcome, which is why you responded to something other than what I actually posted.This is how you just came off to me: It WILL change. WILL change. WILL change dammit!

    Look, the world continually changes. But you can not tell me today what unknown technologies are going to garner a market (because of their utility and cost) 20 years or 50 years from now. Which again is my point. By forcing resources to some hand-picked thing today, you are subverting the market and creating opportunity costs for what could have been if the resources were being allocated in a more efficient way.

    I know you googled furiously to find some disparate things and find some predictions and a story about a battery that doesn't actually solve the major cost problem with batteries, and still isn't commercial available (as it hasn't been since 2010 when they started setting timetables), etc.

    What I posted is not an opinion. The cost of batteries have not been decreasing at the rate they need to, to make the cars competitive with cars with internal combustion engines any time in our lifetime. The only way those cars can proliferate is if they are subsidized to the point of extreme and unsustainable debt, or if governments eventually outlaw cars that run on fossil fuels and mandate that everyone has to drive an EV. Or if some technology that doesn't exist today changes everything. But that doesn't exist, despite how sure you are of the future.

    As things stand at the moment, though, there is the opportunity cost of potentially more viable technologies that were disadvantaged because EVs with lithium-ion batteries have been force-subsidized. You are missing the point of that opportunity cost. I can't tell you what the cost of having forced capital toward EV development is. That is the nature of an opportunity cost. We live in a world with limited resources. We have diverted some of those resources to something not based on market demand. You can't know where we would be today if individuals had been left to put that capital to use based on where they saw the most potential. If your motivation for trying to force EVs on people is an environmental concern, you very well may have made it so that something that is more environmentally beneficial than cars running on fossil fuels, but is more viable than what you hand-picked, never got off the ground. The capital for it, which would have been available in a market that hadn't been hijacked, was being funneled elsewhere.
    Buck likes this.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, it is a niche. Norway accounted for about 46,000 EV sales last year. That is out of more than 88 million vehicles sold worldwide.

    EVs accounted for 2.2 percent of sales in China. 1.2 percent of sales in the US last year. Norway is a tiny market.

    To even get those sales in Norway, the cars have been heavily subsidized, get tax-emempt status and come with subsidized parking and subsidized charging stations. That is while Norway is running a government deficit. If the whole world did that, the debt levels on top of all of the exponential debt growth we are seeing worldwide, would be unsustainable.
    justgladtobehere and Buck like this.
  6. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    The graph contains data from 12 studies, all of which show the cost of batteries HAS significantly dropped and is expected to continue to drop. You can scoff at it, I suppose, but it certainly comes across as "evangelical," as you put it.

    Yeah, I found the graph using Google. So what? I don't apologize for it. Google is a resource, and you used it to look up the cost of cobalt. Don't condescend to me about using Google. The MIT story, which came out just a few days before I posted and came up in my FB news feed, shows that while you are so focused on the cost of cobalt, there are some really smart people out there engineering new ways around the problem. Yeah, things WILL change.

    You do keep hedging your bets with phrases like "at this moment," and "I am not saying that won't change someday."

    Also, you keep saying "forced." The government - and manufacturers - see potential in this technology and are "choosing" to support research into making it more cost-effective. If you think they should "choose" something different, I'd love to hear it. If you think they shouldn't choose to subsidize anything, then we're talking about withdrawing all government support of innovation across all industries so as not to "force" subsidies on anyone. No more government subsidies for research into cancer, ALS, communications, weapons manufacturing, etc. That's fine if you want to make that argument, but it's a different discussion altogether.

    And, for all of the parts of my post that you chose to respond to, I notice you avoided the question of which promising technologies you believe are disadvantaged by government subsidies for research into EVs and battery technology.
  7. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    Choosing to fund basic research and subsidizing products are entirely different things.
  8. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I can get a federal tax credit to replace my home's windows or install an EnergyStar rated central air conditioning system or to install solar panels on my roof. All those products are subsidized by the government. What's your point?
  9. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    My point is that generally supporting scientific research is not the same as subsidizing what people buy in the marketplace. It's pretty simple. The government doesn't know what will come out of research, but when it subsidizes something in the marketplace it is choosing one thing over another, distorting the market, and inefficiently using resources.
    Buck likes this.
  10. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

  11. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    Before Electric Cars Takes Over, Someone Needs to Reinvent the Battery
  12. Hermes

    Hermes Well-Known Member

    I've wondered if we couldn't figure out a system of stations for swapping lithium-ion batteries to make longer trips possible and use existing technology. Make the battery quickly swappable like a forklift and pay a monthly fee to have access to battery stations.Because the batteries are the issue. I know working for Honda, it's been a bit of a quandary even when it comes to batteries for its hybrids. It's a company that has perfected the internal combustion engine . They don't have any institutional knowledge for the batteries. For a company that is emphatic that the engineering and production of all the major components are done in-house and in-company, having to go outside Honda to get its batteries introduces all sorts of variables to quality and a fear that reliability — the hallmark of the company — could be compromised.
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