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I've just done some sums and noticed something interesting.

While the economics of battery electric passenger vehicles just don't add up (ie the savings made from using electric power don't repay the cost of the battery over the life of the vehicle), the numbers do, surprisingly, add up very convincingly for heavy goods vehicles.

It leads me to the unexpected projection that the first widespread electric vehicles on the road, and sooner rather than later, are actually likely to be 40 tonne lorries!

In fact I'd go so far as to say that the technology exists today to build a 700 mile range HGV using off the shelf batteries.

http://www.benerridge.freeserve.co.uk/hgv1.htm

Any views on this, anyone? Or have I overstepped the mark this time? :wink:
 

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clett said:
...have I overstepped the mark this time? :wink:
No way have you overstepped anything, Clett; your posts have been very informative and helpful.

This subject is interesting to me, partly because I believe that reducing only automotive use of petroleum will be inadequate to stave off the eventual depletion of oil field reserves.

It's coming very quickly indeed, folks. I believe we need to reduce all of our consumption of petroleum, whether by transportation (cars, trucks, trains, planes, ships, or home heating), packaging, or manufacturing (the next time you're in the local toy store, take a serious look at the meaningless junk we're making and peddling to our families and children!).

I think Clett has presented an interesting question; why not consider putting electric motors into trucks! This might be a fantastic idea, yes?

Please forgive my ignorance, but I must ask: when you say "40 tonne", how heavy are we talking in US pounds? And is that a loaded or empty vehicle weight? I'm trying to get at how much freight weight are we talking about, and what kind of fuel conservation numbers might we see with a (US) nationwide adoption of these vehicles? Worldwide?

Can anybody else put this into US cultural perspective for me? For example, are we talking about an 18-wheeler, such as the Walmart trucks that might be seen on US highways? That link makes me think so.

I think it would be VERY interesting to consider hybrid tractor-trailers. How many MGs would it have to have, and at which axles? Would it matter that the ICE is a diessel engine? Maybe not, since diessel-electric trains and ships pretty much rule the rails and seas.
 

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** OOPS **

I see now we're not talking about hybrid trucks; we're talking about EV trucks. Interesting, but we still burn mostly coal to create electricity in most parts of the world.

I'm not really enamored with plug-in vehicles primarily for this reason, because our dependence on coal would increase. We'll still eventually have the same problem...because coal is a limited resource, and will eventually run out like oil will someday.
 

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It makes some sense, but you'd need very good batteries that could be discharged deeply quite a bit.

Also one problem is recharging them. That would be an incredible amount of energy to store. If it takes a couple hours to charge a 10kwh plugin hybrid, how long would it take to charge a 1000kwh battery? You'd need a hundred plug in points. Very tricky. I'm trying to read up on battery research, but I don't know how far away they are. The lithium batteries aren't used yet for hybrids, so I guess they must have some problems still.

Also, about hybrids, they work mostly by using batteries to accelerate instead of the gas engine which is inefficient at low RPMs. This allows the engine to be much less powerful and more efficient. That's from what I know. Given that a diesel 18 wheeler travels a constant 60-70 mph for 12 hours a day all day, I don't think they'd do anything for them. You need more stop and go for that. Diesels are already very efficient in taking diesel fuel to energy sothe increase in efficiency from going from an Otto cycle gasoline engine to a Atkinson cycle to raise efficiency wouldn't be as great.

As for energy, the only non-fossil fuel energy that can be used for baseload power that isn't intermittent (like wind and solar) would be nuclear. But that's a different subject.
 

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BIF said:
...when you say "40 tonne", how heavy are we talking in US pounds?
A tonne is often called a "metric ton" in the US, and it equates to 1,000 kg or 2,204.6226218 lb. When we say "ton" in the US, we usually mean "short ton", which equates to 2,000 lb.

So, 40 tonne = 88,184.904874 lb = 44.0924524 ton.

Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin)
 
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