[Oeva-list] The real EV pushback.

Steve's Account stevel at fern.com
Mon Jul 26 17:22:01 PDT 2010

> From: "Nick" <nickgaladay at msn.com>
> Subject: Re: [Oeva-list] The real EV pushback
> Though the herein initiated EV fans can't imagine someone continuing to
> choose to drive / buy an ICE once the Leaf (etc.) is readily available,
> considering an EV operates for 1/4th the cost of an ICE, there will indeed
> be pushback; and it's not "range anxiety".  I had a new '93 Mazda RX-7.  4.7
> seconds 0-60.  I once set the cruise control at 160 mph on I-84 early one
> summer morning on my way to Spokane.  It outperformed exotic sports cars
> costing much more.  So why in the world would someone buy a Ferrari when
> they could get my RX-7 (10 pounds per horsepower, did I mention that) for
> 1/4th the cost?  Testosterone.!  Simple as that.  My RX-7 had a Wankel
> engine (albeit 255 hp dual rotor - dual blower).  Unless you were
> pedal-to-the-metal at 8 grand (when it sounded like an F-16) it otherwise
> sounded like a Singer sewing machine - whirrrrrrrr.   That's the real reason
> the Wankel never made it. 

Well.. actually, he did. My father worked with Wankel when he came to the
US. For a time, my dad was a research engineer with Worthington, and
Wankel was trying to license his engine for various purposes. They
tried using it as a steam engine.

It worked fairly well.. but they always had problems with the apex seals.

To my knowledge, nothing in the steam engine development ever escaped the

The early car development that Wankel participated in was the NSU Prinz
Spider, which was the first production development, in 1958.

Wankel had an interesting design method. He put a roll of white butcher
paper on one side of his desk, and a crank on the other.. He'd start working
on one side, and when he got to the far edge, he'd turn the crank, and 
continue. My dad spent a lot of time pouring over those notes, trying to
resolve the issues with the seals.

I think an interesting parallel between the EV vs ICE can be seen in the
propane/butane/NG fueled vehicles.

There we have a fairly cheap, and available fuel, with a "better" polution
profile than gasoline or deisel that has been available for MANY years. And
yet it has failed, in the US to become a major player in the "over the
road" market. Largely, in my opinion, due to limited range and lack of
refueling capability. (Coupled with a bizare taxing structure, in some

(And yes, I did run a propane fueled vehicle for several years.. so I
know first hand, how this process works.)

You would think that propane (using propane as a generic for propane/butane/
NG) would have gone like gang busters.. The engine is the "same" as an ICE
engine.. .The mechanics all have the basics.. with a bit of additional 
knowledge about fuel vaporizers, and mixers, the ability to get one
serviced was a "no brainer".

Propane and butane fuel distribution was/is well established.

The existance of off the shelf parts to do conversions and a network of
dealers prepared to do the work was in place.

A limited fueling network was established, with people skilled in 
supplying the fuel..

There is a ready source of fuel from US sources. (In fact, the fuel was
readily available during the "gas crisis" of the 1970's, if you needed an
incentive to convert your vehicle.)

And yet.. in spite of all this, propane fueled over the road vehicles never
caught on.

I find the parallels between the EV's and propane fueled vehicles to be
at least "interesting".

One of the common threads between the two developments, is that "rabid
fans" of a given technology can make them work. But.. most people arn't
"rabid fans" of their car.. They just want it to work, and be convienent
and reliable. And even in times of severe fuel stress, like the "gas
crisis" of the 1970's, folks will sit in line for gas, before they switch
to something less convienent.


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