You find out they are burning coal to make the electricty.
China's march into the future of everything moved forward yesterday with the debut of an electric vehicle that can draw power from either on-board batteries or overhead wires, plus a demo of roads set up to handle such traffic. Words clearly fail us in our attempt to describe this … thing … so here's an image sourced from …
...is free to leave the €-zone, make a nice default and start over with New Drachme.
But I guess they are l4zy people who want to live off the hard work of other people and simply use the German Credit Card.
All of Europe is full of entitled lazies who all want to live off the work of others instead of getting their own hands dirty.
Germany was once a leader in nuclear reactors. We had all types of reactors, including two types of breeders.
Almost all shut down by people who are great at communist Propaganda, but are otherwise useless(useful for Moscow) idiots.
It was always communists and Maoists (very similar), who campaigned against nuclear power in Germany. Sometimes it was close to a civil war. Merkel was driven by them or worse, as she was a commie in her youth, too.
German media is now full of commies and they convinced the 80% of gullible Germans that we should do what they desire.
Now they also campaign against coal power and dream their wind+solaor+H2 pipe dream.
The only big beneficiaries of German deindustrialization(that is the effect) are Moscow and Beijing.
But what do I know ? The Americans allowed these folks to grow like fungi here. Maybe they have a great plan I am not aware of ?
That makes sense, the CDU are all secretly Maoists trying to overthrow capitalism by making luxury cars
And Putin is in on it because his plan is to show the workers how bad the oligarchs are by creating lots of bad oligarchs, thus fermenting revolution.
If only there was a way of also blaming the French ...
Funnily enough the city of Nancy in France has just ditched its trolley bus / tram things. Effectively a trolley bus that's guided by a single rail for in town sections of the route. Plus, because the depot is no where near the route it runs they've also got a diesel engine.
Wierd combination, actually serves some needs very well (good on hills, good for accessibility in town because it can get close to a platform, good for emissions). Its uniquenes was its downfall.
And now the Chinese have come up with something not dissimilar. We could see a return to the streets of Nancy yet!
Trolleybus in towns are not even unusual, there are dozens of examples. Small local areas like town centres and bigger industrial campuses can be served nicely if the vehicle doesn’t need to be too flexible on its exact path.
If nations were to install overhead cables on motorways to allow HGVs to do the major parts of their journey and charge a battery at the same time, it might go some of the way towards solving EV freight trunking.The battery could cover the vehicle power for unelectrified end sectors, which the trains can’t do.
In Geneva, the buses that run through the center of town all use this method. At the places where there are no overhead they simply run a small diesel engine which is enough to simply get to the next line or is extremely useful in case of powercuts/problems.
It's been like that for more than 15 years.
>If nations were to install overhead cables on motorways to allow HGVs to do the major parts of their journey and charge a battery at the same time
Perhaps it would be safer if they buried some sort of guidance system in the roadbed that the vehicle could "track" using some sort of Ruby related package/
With advanced control systems you could even "couple" 100s of these trucks together so they only needed a single driver at the front
Nancy is replacing its tram-on-tires by a trolleybus (which in France designates a vehicle with two overhead cables and no rail).
i live in another French city with tram-on-fires: they suck in winter. As soon as there's a little ice on the road (fortunately not common), there's a slope on the way that it can't climb.
Oh, and the company that made them folded at about the same time it was delivered.
About 20 years ago Grenoble strung trolleybus wires around the suburbs. The buses ran for a while, but then the whole thing was abandoned. The wires are still there, tangled in overgrown trees. Now a city with some of the worst air quality in France due to small-particule pollution, and a mayor from the Green party, runs its buses on biodiesel. The trams are electric, and have a good network, but only really around the city centre.
My home town of Hull ran a mixture of trams and trolley buses. The trolley busses were really nice to ride on but not particularly fast but who cared in town. There was a nice side effect - all the Xmas decorations plugged into the trolley overhead cables.
I would see a fleet trolley buses with batteries as being a far better solution than trams for towns and cities.
I grew up near Philadelphia when they still had trolley buses, some on rails but also some rubber tire/tyre. They served efficiently and for a long time, no smoke. I see they still serve, now with a donkey engine so they can get off-line for detours or garaging.
They still serve all over the world, including in Qingdao and Beijing, China. Also Brazil, Sweden, Belgium, most of the former Soviet Union. Shanghai's trolleybus system is the oldest operating system in the world. San Francisco and Seattle use trolleybuses.
Bus and truck come from the same roots, and used to be built on the same chassis. Both rackets are very competitive and details have diverged to favor seat-count vs max payload, turn radius vs long-haul economy, but they are still more alike than truly different.
Cutting off the butt of a bus and hitching a semi-trailer seems trivial.
(OTOH, the Maine potato-haul trucker built a series of bus-trucks with 8 seats between the driver and the hitch. This made more sense than running *both* a bus and a truck up that long lonely highway.)
> aren't clear on whether the vehicle can charge its batteries when overhead wires are available.
Power is power. Voltage conversion is becoming very mature. When you run into "can't charge that" with cellphones or e-cars, it is usually marketing run-around or false economy. In moderately competitive economies, truckers will foil marketers or dumb economy, installing proper charging systems if needed.
Yes, even moreso than recent USA, electric power in China is mostly burning dirty coal.
That may be about to change now their first commercial Thorium reactor has been up for a year. China has been working on electrification for a long time, I think there's even a city where anything using an ICE is not even allowed anymore (the joy of not being democratic, I guess).
This is also the core reason why the US is working so hard to ban the cr*p out of them - the US knows that if China gets its act together, its ability to force governments to hold USD as reserve currency to buy energy is coming to an end as the dollar is firmly tied to fossil fuels. If China can provide much cheaper energy via Th based reactors it will pull the rug from underneath the dollar, so the US is working hard right now to get some degree of control in place.
IMHO they're far too late - if they had a sensible president instead of Trump they could maybe have managed in time, but those 4 wasted years and the dirty residue of it closed that window.
FYI, an early pilot project was implemented in Sweden back in 2016
and is being tested in Germany as well
2016? ahem... production of "cargo trolleybus" started in Ukraine almost 50 years ago.
https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0%B8%D1%97%D0%B2%D1%81%D1%8C%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9_%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BD%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B6%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B9_%D1%82%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B9%D0%B1%D1%83%D1%81 (in Ukrainian)
It's IMHO not very eco friendly to travel at more than 120/130 km/h as energy consumption due to roll resistance and wind pressure goes up exponentially. You still have to produce that energy so it's not very ecologic to then waste it by going faster as you could use that extra energy to almost power another vehicle.
To illustrate that with an ICE measurement: naturally aspirated V8 at 120 km/h: 10l/100km. At 250 km/h: 52l/100km (i.e. enough fuel to power 5 cars).
Yes, I had one of those, that's how I know :).
energy consumption due to roll resistance and wind pressure goes up exponentially
Are you sure of that? I thought it went up more or less cubically (i.e. speed raised to the power of three). Square of the speed for the force of wind resistance, multiplied by the speed to convert force to power. Something like that.
People are often inclined to say something has "exponential" growth when it isn't. Inflation is though - as is compound interest.
Instead of using the ground, as it were, as the ground?
Given that trolley busses and trams require effectively diagonal wires to avoid the lines cutting through the collectors, steering them is going to be interesting.
The conductance of concrete and asphalt is not as good as required. You would have to bury a metal rail into the road, flush with the road surface. That is prolly more expensive than a second overhead line and it creates a safety problem, as the metal does not provide as much grip as the asphalt does.
I suspect ground requires a dedicated conductor due to the power required.
Traditionally these systems use around 600v DC which absolutely requires a return conductor.
Even using AC the voltage required to overcome the road surface over the area any vehicle could occupy would be in the order millions - not practical in the scale of road vehicles.
AC does open up the possibility of contactless charging using inductors buried in the road surface, though I'm not aware of any operational system beyond the R&D phase.
Going back to pantograph wear, an alternative system used a grooved metal wheel on the end of a sprung "fishing rod" to make the connection - which was was unsurprisingly prone to slipping off.
..they should jump up and down when they measure the alternating field from coils inside the road.
Seriously, ripping up all roads and inserting coils sounds very much excessively expensive. Much cheaper/easier to install the overheard wires.
See also: "why Transrapid was excessively expensive".
What they did in Sweden(?) is to have coils in the Bus Stops asphalt.
Given that no road vehicle ever follows an exactly straight line I doubt that it will be necessary to do anything special with the wires to distribute wear. In any case, when your manoeuvring a multi-tonne vehicle I doubt pantograph drag factors very highly in your considerations.
The mining application mentioned in the last paragraph is actually more interesting than the highway variant which somewhat negates the flexible idea of being able to go anywhere. At first it might seem pointless to build an overhead line in a middle-of-nowhere mine, but it replaces heavy duty diesel engines (a grid connection is necessary, but fuel trucks don't drop down from the sky either) - and most dump truck already has an electric drive for better maneuverability these days, so it's just a logical next step, they already do it in a few Canadian, Australian and African mines. And besides being economic in the long run it's really just a nice way of dismissing environmental concerns to say that "yeah, we might destroy the planet, but we'ge got electric trucks!".
Though the next big step in efficiency would be installing coveyor belts between logistic hubs and factories (as everyone seems to skip good old railways). An industrial district could potentially eliminate all local road use by having a conveyor system running to a port and a highway-connected depot.
Don't forget all the rare earth mining needed to save the earth... I'm sure we're missing something here.
+ 1 for railways, generally a pretty efficient transport system. It's not a huge stretch to consider a conveyer belt as basically an infinite train.
The bigger surface mine excavators are already electrically powered.
Electrical haul trucks sound attractive, you get to recover some of the energy of your Cat 797 going back down into the pit empty - tipping might be a challenge!
Underground mine trucks are more and more becoming electrical because of the costs of ventilating diesel exhaust.
"Though the next big step in efficiency would be installing coveyor belts between logistic hubs and factories (as everyone seems to skip good old railways). An industrial district could potentially eliminate all local road use by having a conveyor system running to a port and a highway-connected depot."
Batteries are expensive and very dirty to produce (in terms of CO2 and other emissions and environmental damage). The Way Forward is
1.) Electrify all major Autobahns and other highways with two overhead power lines per lane.
2.) New cars and trucks are electric-combustion hybrids. They have an automatically steered pantograph(using a camera to correctly touch to the power lines). A small battery is included to "bridge" lane changes and so on.
3.) Use the combustion engine for the last couple of kilometers from the Autobahn to the destination.
4.) Nuclear fission power for electrcity generation.
I venture to claim that this approach has the lowest total environmental footprint. Batteries are hugely dirty and energy-intensive to produce. It is much better to electrify with overhead power lines from copper or aluminium.
Electrifying Autobahns and any long-range journeys involve far too much infrastructure and cost, plus there are engineering issues to have pantographs on anything that is both travelling at 120km/h++ and changing lanes at the same time.
It's much easier to electrify cities in this way, extending power that in many cases already exists for public transport trolley-buses. Bonus is that there is less exhaust pollution in congested cities. Pantographs are really only practical for trucks, buses, heavy vehicles. Not really for cars. But just electrifying delivery vehicles and public transport in this way, while allowing the vehicles to go off-grid when needed is a bonus. As much as possible having electrical or hybrid vehicles anyway.
Nuclear to generate power, absolutely.
Imagine how much it would cost (in terms of energy, work, raw materials) to build 40 million large batteries for a country like Germany, Britain or France. Then compare that to the cost (in terms of energy, copper, steel, work) to electrify all major roads of said countries.
I cannot prove it by numbers at the moment, but my strong feeling is that it would be much cheaper/easier to do the second option, as no exotic materials are required. It is more a problem of Thinking. We cannot imagine a car with a pantograph (which could look very different than the one for trucks or trains).
We have 20000km of electrified rail in Germany already. The autobahn network is 13000km(multiple lanes, two wires per lane, yes...). Definitely looks like it can be done.
Electrifying rail is relatively straightforward, one overhead catenary which a pantograph bar can contact anywhere across its width, and a return via the rails. Catenaries can cross easily at junctions because they're all carrying the same voltage and polarity.
Doesn't work so well for road vehicles with rubber tyres on asphalt. There you need paired overhead wires, and a way to ensure that the corresponding 2-pole pantograph connects correctly, and can disconnect/reconnect when changing lanes, crossing junctions etc. You really don't want a lorry to come to a halt in the middle of the traffic because the pantograph came unhitched. If you remember trolleybuses you'll remember the entertainment of watching the conductor waving a long wobbly pole around trying to rehook the power collector onto the wire, while the traffic clogged up behind the bus.
Cable tension is also an issue, the faster the vehicle is travelling, the more taut the wire must be. On an autobahn that means supports that can handle railway-like tension, not the relatively loose wires that can be used with city buses.
We have "small" computers* and cheap cameras in cars and lorries these days. And we have GPS and the cloud. Just lower the pantograph before you switch the lane or enter a junction. Run on a SMALL battery for a minute or so. If the battery approaches death, turn on the combustion engine before the "critical section" occurs. Can all be nicely automated without half-baked neural network AI stuff. Conventional software and reliable KISS image processing algorithms suffice.
*Ranging from 32bit PowerPC+1Mbyte RAM/100MHz to 64bit ARM+1GByte RAM/1GHz . Your ABS brake already depends on such small computers.
> Just lower the pantograph before you switch the lane or enter a junction.
Trains cannot raise and lower the pantograph at will - they have to do it at a specific section of reinforced cable (source: Pops is a train nut and often rants about the terrible implementation of railway electrification in the UK)
So you'd need significantly stronger cables than used on railways.
Better to build a system of guided routes with more control over the vehicles and designated on/off points.
Anyone up for a BYOD railway?
> Just lower the pantograph before you switch the lane or enter a junction. Run on a SMALL battery for a minute or so. If the battery approaches death, turn on the combustion engine before the "critical section" occurs.
- every car is going to be a hybrid, with the extra complexity that entails
- the pantograph is going to be ludicrously long on the car! The overhead lines have to be tall enough for the largest vehicle (double-decker bus, hay lorry, those tall thin ones from Pilkington Glass) to safely use. So goodbye to the Smart car, the open-top runaround or just any sensibly sized car. No, let me guess, the pantograph is going to extend itself - so we have a huge scissor lift on the roof of the car, or a hydraulic pole or - how about a robotic fishing rod that swishes a cable back and forth a few times before launching it to hook the wire! Maybe we could just have a gunter rig, lowering the gaff to change lanes - no need for the internal combustion engine, just haul up the sails!
I'm starting to think we need Gerry Anderson's team in to design the pantograph Car Of The Future.
One more small hitch in the autobahn electrification plan, is that trains usually stay on their rails (recent events in Greece nothwithstanding). Motorway crashes happen much more regularly, and having a crashed car take out a pole would mean either large stretches of motorway suddenly finding themselves without power, or very high-current wires suddenly intermingling with the cars and humans at road level.
By the way, @fg_swe, apologies if it looks like a pile-on against your idea! While it might not be practical in the end, it's good to have new and alternative solutions up for discussion, and I love the Register forums precisely because of the large and varied knowledge base of all members throwing up interesting and new ideas
You really don't want a lorry to come to a halt in the middle of the traffic because the pantograph came unhitched. If you remember trolleybuses you'll remember the entertainment of watching the conductor waving a long wobbly pole around trying to rehook the power collector onto the wire, while the traffic clogged up behind the bus.
Which wouldn't happen if you had a battery in the EV because it'd just switch over to the battery, and then the connection to external power would be reestablished 5 seconds later as it drives down the road.
1.) Looks like a telescope whip, with a T-shaped end
2.) Controlled/moved by a camera-based ECU, which tracks the wires and also reacts on the driver input (lane change) by lowering, raising and steering the pantograph.
3.) Can be telescoped and folded into the car when not needed.
That would be my idea.
"2.) New cars and trucks are electric-combustion hybrids. They have an automatically steered pantograph(using a camera to correctly touch to the power lines). A small battery is included to "bridge" lane changes and so on."
But trucks are much taller than cars, so do you propose that the pantograph for a car is maybe 10 feet longer than that for a truck? (and so they can share the same electrical conductors strung along the road).
I suspect a far better system is to have an industry standard of eco-friendly batteries (sure to be developed soon), that can be interchanged at "battery stations" when you need a top-up - just slide the old (depleted) battery out and put a new fully-charged one in. Simple !
Trucks could have more of these batteries to provide the grunt needed to haul loads long distances across the country.
And both types of vehicles should have roof mounted solar panels to "trickle charge" the battery when the vehicle was in daylight.
Of course we will need to produce the electricity somehow...maybe follow the lead of one particular Victorian prison and have penal treadmills that the crims must walk on, which will turn a dynamo and make leccy !!
" industry standard of eco-friendly batteries (sure to be developed soon), that can be interchanged at "battery stations" when you need a top-up"
Good idea and it's been trialled (by Renault I believe), the economic incentives just aren't there. For this to work, it has to be the case that you are buying the vehicle without a battery, and then seperately leasing/ renting the battery. That means the batteries don't have to be just technically compatible, you have to have contracted agreements between every service station chain and every car manufacturer that they would take each others' batteries. Not impossible in an environment where it takes hours to charge (which is why the system was trialled years ago), but much less likely now that batteries can be charged super-quickly (most modern e-cars can charge anything between 50% and 80% in 10 minutes and full charge in an hour or so). The way charging has developed, its much more likely that there will be more and more charging stations of higher and higher power.
The other issue is car design. In an electric car the batteries are very heavy already, and designers want to minimise the weight, and place the weight as low as possible in the car. Any mechanism to encapsulate batteries and slide them in and out is taking up space that could otherwise be occupied by battery, while increasing the weight. New electric-only car designs incorporate the battery structure into the car chassis
Nuclear power using established light water reactors has proven to be sufficiently safe. If you add up all the damage from Chernobyl, Harrisburg, Windscale and Fukushima, it is the safest form of electricity generation in terms of People_Killed/TWh. Just think of how many people have been killed from Methane explosions and burning oil platforms. Think of how many cancer cases from coal plants.
There is no need for supa-dupa new reactor types or fusion. Just build more proven light water reactors(like the french ones) or the CANDU, which is a proven heavy water reactor.
"Nuclear power using established light water reactors has proven to be sufficiently safe...." IF safety procedures are rigorous.
Since it takes decades to build them anyway, better build something (a) safer and (b) optimised to produce power rather than optimised to produce bomb material.
The Soviet-Ukrainians worked hard to ignore the operating manual written by the design engineers in Moscow. That is how they managed to blow it up.
But even if you add the 1000 or so people killed in Ukraine from the Chernobyl accident, nuclear power is still safer and cleaner than anything else.
Also, the NATO(+SK+JP) approach of encasing the reactor with a concrete containment building has proven to contain a melted-down core, as happened in Harrisburg and Fukushima. Disregard the "corium will melt into the middle of the earth" scaremongering. The corium was stopped in the concrete floor of the containment building. Noone killed in Harrisburg and less than 10 people killed in Fukushima.
The Russians never had the money to produce the concrete and steel for the containment building, which made Chernobyl dirtier. They did have plenty of lazytime to twist the minds of their useful idiots inside NATO, though.
Since it takes decades to build them anyway
It doesn't take decades to build them. Sizewell B was the last nuclear plant built in the UK (of a first of a kind design) and took 8 years from the politician uselessly shovelling a single load of dirt and the ribbon being cut on the finished structure.
The only part where multiple decades comes in is people arguing over if it should be built at all, or if we want to stick with gas power generation and gas heating under various pretexts. If you want to decarbonise electricity, heating and transport then we want to be building one or two new nuclear installations a year for the next several decades.
better build something (a) safer and (b) optimised to produce power rather than optimised to produce bomb material.
But yes, otherwise agreed.
"It doesn't take decades to build them.... The only part where multiple decades comes in is people arguing over if it should be built at all"
Agreed, lets say it takes at least a decade between deciding to build one and having useful power produced. The point is that over such a large timescale (10 years + build and commission and you would hope at least 30-40 years useful power generation), better build something that's more modern and safer. Over 50 years timescale, building an obsolete-design reactor just to save 2 years and a billion or so is pretty senseless.
In any case since we (as in, pretty much every European nation) need the power desperately now and more so in the future, we'd better decide to build right now and start building ASAP. And since building a few of them will greatly increase the expertise available, and they can be designed/built to not produce any bomb material, they can also be safely sold to developing countries who will also desperately need the power, and who I'd rather have them depending on EU for help with power rather than be beholden to the Saudis, Russians etc
I can see this kind of thing working until batteries catch up with what we want. Charging on the go is a must though as fitting this wiring through junctions with lane changes is going to be impossible. Maybe it needs combining with 'teaming' vehicles so the maximum number of vehicles can be charged and moved at the same time.
Very conservative estimates suggest that it will take more than 30 years and over $76bn to decommission Fukushima, but they cannot be sure because they don't yet have tech capable of dealing with the most heavily radioactive stuff. It will then have to be packaged and monitored in secure storage for hundreds of years in an earthquake zone, perhaps requiring multiple repackings several generations down the line, assuming humanity still exists then. So the storage has to be accessible - you can't just dig a hole, dump it in, and top it up with concrete. Humanity has no record of being able to maintain any such equipment across such a span of time. That is as long as it is not hit by another big quake in the interim. They are having enough trouble just disposing of the vast amount of treated water that has accumulated in over 1000 tanks around the plant.
Nuclear power is the most expensive form of power generation out there if you are honest and compare TCOs and include risks (such as when your nuclear power plant suddenly finds itself in a war zone, being shelled, or becomes a target as a proxy bomb). It is not remotely 'green' or 'sustainable'.
1 Million people killed.
Hundreds of oil wells set ablaze, million tons of soot emitted.
Cost in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Even more for Iraq herself, if you can quantify their "cost" (read: death an misery in the millions of cases).
Poisonous ammunition spent all over the place.
It all started with a dispute about "horizontal oil drilling theft" and a finance dispute related to low oil prices.
Compared to that, Fukushima is child's play.
Nuclear power can make a nation self-sufficient in energy production, which makes her much less likely to start a war. Also see Pearl Harbour and what led to that event.