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Slashdot, and Electric Vehicles

current /. poll: what SpamAssassin setting do you use? Cool! (but who are the nutters voting ‘less than 0’?)

Tech: Danny blogs about fuel-cell vehicles, linking to the DrivingTheFuture site. I met Doug Korthof of DTF a month or two ago — a nice guy with a persuasive case, namely that electric vehicles work, and the current concentration on fuel-cell and hybrid vehicles is a diversionary tactic.

The facts of the matter really are quite wierd, as the OC Weekly interview notes:

  • When (Doug) first got the (GM) EV1, the lease allowed for unlimited mileage. But the car came with something else: a defective lead-acid Delco battery that took a couple of trips to the mechanic to get replaced. GM wound up replacing all the Delcos with Panasonic lead-acid batteries. But there was an unanticipated consequence: the Panasonics got such dramatically better range than the Delcos that GM took all its EV1s that had not been leased off the market and forced existing drivers into new leases that did limit mileage.

  • Korthof experienced even better mileage with a nickel-metal hydride battery that allowed his 1997 Honda EV-Plus to run for 140 miles without a recharge. Honda took the car back in 2002 and junked it. No subsequent electric cars had nickel batteries, and Chevron Texaco Corp. since acquired the worldwide patent to nickel-metal hydride batteries, which the company is partly using to satisfy the burgeoning hybrid-car market.

I took a look at the EV1 myself, and talked to Doug about the recharging system he uses. He recharges their 2 EVs directly from a plug socket in his garage, and with his house fitted with solar panels, it costs about 25 bucks a month to keep them charged. Of course, there’s a lot of up-front cost to install the solar panels and buy the EVs, but IMO it would be worth it.

A moot point anyway — most EVs (with the exception of the Toyota RAV4-EV) can no longer be bought, even second hand. Instead, there’s a recall in operation, and existing EVs are being recalled and dismantled. Even purely from a ‘cool tech’ POV, this is a shame.