[Oeva-list] EV Awareness Day & Hybrids

Brad Hippert bhippert at worldstar.com
Sun Aug 14 15:25:41 PDT 2005

I am in agreement with Gary, Todd and Don.


A little history might help everyone understand the issues better:
Electric vehicles, in development since the 1840s, were the main means
of transportation from 1882 to 1900, enjoying success into the 1920s,
with production peaking in 1912.  This was considered the first golden
era of electric vehicles.  The decline of the electric vehicle was
brought about by several major developments: the need for longer-range
vehicles, since America had developed a better road system, the
discovery of Texas crude oil reducing the price of gasoline, and the
invention of the electric starter by Charles Kettering in 1912, which
eliminated the need for the hand crank.  Electric vehicles all but
disappeared by 1935 and were virtually dead until the 1960s when a need
developed to reduce our dependency on imported crude oil and reduce the
problems of exhaust emissions from ICEs (internal combustion engines).
Although these were market driven forces, it wasn't until legislative
and regulatory actions were implemented in the early 90s that an
interest in electrical vehicle development was renewed.  


Through the incredible efforts of the OEVA, Portland officially ranks as
the city with the highest-per-capita ownership of hybrid vehicles.  This
is no small feat.  Each and every one of you made this happen and
deserve great recognition!


The question is where do we go from here?  Are we headed back to the
second golden age of electric vehicles?  Our goal is to understand this
first and foremost, and then to educate the public about the forces at
hand.  Are the forces that brought about the electric-vehicle's decline
being reversed?  Have we hit peak oil production?  Will prices continue
to rise -- $4, $5, $6 per gallon.  Europe has been paying $6/gallon for
many years now.  In America, we have this spoiled attitude that it is
our God-given right to cheap oil, to use as much of it as we want.
Although we are only 5% of the population, we currently use 25% of this
natural resource.  Economics, peak oil, pollution, advanced batteries
and other factors, will they drive us back to that golden age?  Changes
are already evident as we witness the hybrid expansion.  Is this a
stepping stone to pure electrics?


And what happens in 20-30 years, if technology produces hydrogen
cheaply?  Already there is AEC, a new start-up company that owns a
metallurgic formulation which separates hydrogen from water at low cost,
requiring no electrical energy or external input, nor does it utilize or
produce any hazardous waste materials. Their process involves chemical
reactions between a proprietary metal alloy mix and the liquid solution.
www.cleanwatts.com <http://www.cleanwatts.com/>   The University of
North Dakota also has a similar working prototype.  If fuel cell costs
drop and electric vehicles start using fuel-cells to generate
electricity on-board, are they still considered electric vehicles?  What
happens to OEVA then?


This target will keep moving and continual assessment will need to be
made as to where OEVA is going and where the technologies are taking us.
There is no right or wrong answer here but only solutions that mitigate
global warming along with transportation that creates zero emissions by
utilizing renewable energy.  For everyone's information, over 40% of
Portland's power comes from coal burning plants in Wyoming.  Portland
outgrew Bonneville's power-generating capacity long-ago.


As far as the article goes regarding auto manufacturers changing the use
of the electric motors from being a tool to reduce the size of the ICE
engine and fuel usage into a tool used to increase the vehicle's power
without reducing the size of the ICE engine or the amount of fuel used
(or the emissions created), we need to remember what this is . . . news.
I didn't see anyone jumping up-or-down when GMC announced their first
hybrid pick-up, the Sierra over a year ago which is similar.  Why
suddenly the awakening?  This is the media's job, to hype information.
If they didn't do this, they wouldn't be able to sell the news, which
means, out-of-business.  Also, a little objectivity is required here to
understand who the consumer is that will buy this vehicle.  It doesn't
matter if the car/pick-up is a hybrid or not, they will purchase such a
vehicle regardless of whether or not it gets good gas mileage.
Ultimately, it is the consumer who drives the "Big Three Automakers" and
to date the general public has shown little or no interest in high
mileage vehicles.  Is that about to change?  I believe so.  The pain at
the pump is increasing in intensity and will continue to grow.  To date,
less than 1% of all vehicles sold in the U.S. are hybrids.  However, if
Americans start demanding high mileage vehicles, electric vehicles, they
will come.  And this is OEVA's mission, to educate and encourage.


Often, I hear how simple it is to convert a vehicle.  I personally own a
Prius and for the past 5 years have been researching my dream of
converting a vehicle one day.  But after listening to those that have,
it is not an option for me yet.  I need dependable, reliable
transportation.  I don't have time for break-downs, repairs, or not
enough juice to get me where I need to go.  Almost everyone I know seems
to continuously have their vehicles in some state of repair mode; a
battery blew-up, the controller failed, charger went out again, burnt
through two sets of lithium-ions because of over-charging, etc. etc.
Until the EV reaches the dependability stage, which will probably take a
production model, it will remain in the hobby status.  Will
dependability happen soon?  It is our job to keep pushing!


I propose a steering committee be set-up to deal with the issues stated
above.  I am willing to be a member of that committee.


Lastly, comments that make ad hominem, off-the-cuff remarks about other
commentators are counterproductive.  As an organization, this serves no
one, and only alienates our fellow members and undermines our goals.


Brad Hippert

Event Coordinator

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