Podcast #95 – The electric dreams episode.

Why electric cars are completely and utterly useless.
Also, when Adam goes drinking on the town, things tend to happen.
And dealing with grief.

6 thoughts on “Podcast #95 – The electric dreams episode.

  1. didact117

    Solid podcast, mate.

    Btw – Nm = Newton-metres. It’s a measure of torque. More torque usually translates into better pickup and acceleration, too much torque results in the wheels simply spinning until the tires explode.

    I love Jeremy Clarkson’s reviews, writing, and general persona. I’ve been quoting his heresies since I were a wee lad watching TOP GEAR – also known as THE GREATEST TV SHOW OF ALL TIME UNTIL THOSE !@#$%^&* AT THE BOLSHEVIK BROADCASTING CORPORATION NEUTERED IT.

    Electric cars have their merits, but when you add up the charging times required, the infrastructure needed, the actual environmental impact from all of that horrible filthy nickel and cadmium mining, and the enormous amount of new reliable baseline power generation capacity required, the case for electric cars in the present time is simply stupid.

    As for your personal struggles – strength and courage, brother. I’ve read both of your books, and while it might seem quite trite to say this now, I know that you have been through much worse in your life than the loss of what you thought was a good woman. You will persevere and you will come through stronger than ever.

    BTW, if you are interested in doing a joint podcast about travels in the Dirt World and other things, shoot me an email. It would be a pleasure to chew the fat with an Australian again – I haven’t done that much since I left Oz nearly 20 years ago.

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  2. WFJacoby

    I agree that global warming is complete bullshit, and those trying to ban internal combustion engines are stupid. However, you’re looking at electric cars the wrong way.

    Electric cars are hands down the most practical vehicles for daily driving. They require effectively zero maintenance other than tire rotations and topping off the windshield washer fluid. Thanks to regenerative braking even the brake pads will last well over 100,000 miles. Running on electricity costs less than 1/3 the cost of gasoline per mile. Electrics are great cars to rack up dirt cheap maintenence free miles on.

    I will agree that having a pure electric car as one’s ONLY vehicle is stupid. A plug in hybrid like the volt could easily be one’s only car. However, a full electric car works best when one has a truck or some other vehicle for longer trips (which most people only do 2 to 3 times a year). Seriously 80% of drivers commute less than 50 miles a day and most families already have multiple vehicles.

    Public charging stations are a moot point because charging is done at home while you sleep; just like your cellphone. This is actually better for the grid because it enables power companies to sell more electricity during off peak hours when the generators are normally running at way less than peak capacity. Not to mention that the cars themselves could act as a power backup for the house and make the entire electric grid much more resilient.

    And lastly, I don’t care about CO2, it’s just plant food, but even if I did, electric power generation from a coal plant including transmission losses is still “better for the environment” than burning straight gasoline in a car. This is due to the fact that even the best internal combustion engines in labs are barely 50% efficient.

    As someone who genuinely loves machines and technology, electric cars do make sense for many applications. Yeah the companies are annoying and the fans are cringey as hell, but we can’t hate all new technology just because it attracts leftists.

    Best of luck to you Adam!

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  3. TechieDude

    That post at Tim Newman’s blog was great.

    Fact of the matter, electric cars are not autonomous. Like Adam mentioned, they require massive electrical infrastructure. They flat out won’t scale in today’s world.

    You want electric cars everywhere? Maybe neighborhood nuke plants may work. BTW, your typical home here has like 200 amp service. Usually, it’s oversubscribed – 50A for the AC, 40A for the dryer, 40 A for the stovetop, 30-40A for the oven, not to mention all the 15 and 20A circuits that run lights/plugs etc. If you wanted to have an electric car charge, you’d probably have to add another 50A 240V plug (to be realistic with today’s technology). So you’ll need higher amp service. OK in a new neighborhood, maybe. In my old one? Don’t think so. You’ll be paying for a separate meter. And, the grid, and your panel aren’t designed to have 200 amps flowing for hours at a time. Think about it – the AC runs, then stops, the dryer runs 45 min, stops. You cook for an hour or so.

    When I run into these types, especially the “renewable energy” fanboys, I ask them if they realize how any first world amenities work. What does it take to get clean water to your tap? What does it take to get dirty water out, and processed? Hell, what does it take to simply generate enough electricity so that when your neighbor turns on his washer, the neighborhood doesn’t go dark.

    They have zero concept how anything works, and of scale. BTW – I ran into a dude that worked at the regional water authority in my last town. He could answer those questions. They spend $13M a year on electricity just to pump clean water. Forget about pumping the shit away from your house and processing it.

    Hell, think of an easier public works project than power for electric cars – Municipal WiFi.

    I had a left coast friend that was chirping to me at one time about how his city was going to put in free muni internet. Having worked for a carrier at one point, I asked how they were going to pay for it, since commercial outdoor accesspoints and the management infrastructure was pretty pricey, let alone backhauling the data to a center to interconnect to the web. I told him it was certain to fail, and that what a city usually did was give them cheap right-of-way for fiber (if it wasn’t installed already) and let the carrier have at it.

    It takes:
    Gear, expensive gear, and it’s ongoing maintenance
    Fiber connectivity, or fiber & cable plant to move the bits, and it’s ongoing maintenance
    Nerds to run it.
    Backbone carriers to pay for connection to the web

    Sure enough, they dropped it. Sold what they had done so far to a wireless carrier.

    It won’t even take subsidies to make it end. Just muni budgets. Think about what it takes to transport that power and install power stations. It won’t happen for free. And as these towns coffers run dry, the first thing that’ll get cut is the electric car powerstation wet dreams. They will outsource it to the power companies and you will pay, pay, pay for that electric car.

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