Mar 272010
 

I see they’ve set up some recharging points in Dublin for electric cars.

They call them Juice Points, and Eamon Ryan, minister for slurred speech, is very proud of them.  Eamon is absuley cvince abou thr efficien.

His rigorous training as a travel agent allows the minister to understand hard technical details that escape some of us.  For instance, Eamon unrstan why it’s much more efficient to burn fossil fuel in a Clare or Kerry power station, convert the heat to electricity and transmit the power to Dublin, instead of burning fossil fuel directly in a car’s engine.

He also unrstan why these four Juice Points are going to roll back the tide of job losses in the country.

And of course, Eamon knows exactly why it’s better  to pump the smoke from electricity generation into the air of County Clare than to allow exhaust fumes into the atmosphere in Dublin.

See?

I bet none of the other cabinet members would have such a grasp of fine technical detail. That’s why, in addition to the eight teachers, three lawyers, one social worker and one political adviser, we needed a travel agent.

They unrstan things like heat engine efficiency and lots more besides: for example how to supply a broadband service using two bean tins and some wet string.

  17 Responses to “Electric Cars — Putting the Pollution Where It Belongs”

Comments (17)
  1.  

    Well done for pointing out the nonsense of electric vehicles without significant renewable generation infrastructure. Never mind the energy embedded in every new car.

    But, be fair Bock, electric cars are cool, happening and full of people with sharp suits shuttling between Anglo Irish and the Department of Finance. Also it’s within the allowance given to young Eamon by the grown ups to ensure he doesn’t run away from home. A renewables grid (creating a serious number of jobs) would require serious money and that is already spoken for.

    If the Fianna Fáil Greens would confine themselves to this sort of thing it would be bearable. But they are more ambitious: ‘stability is essential’, to quote Ciarán Cuffe, the new Minister for Greyness, and if that means selling us and our children off as debt-slaves to take on the private debt created by the insider class, then they are happy for us to pay that price.

    Unspeakable self-righteous bollixes, the lot of them.

  2.  

    Well done Bock. Despite the lies and propaganda about electric cars, the truth is they are not green at all. The energy has to be produced somewhere, so until we are totally dependent on wind energy, there will be pollution. Perhaps they could install a windmill in the Dail. On the plus side though, if you were to recharge at night at least you will be using the electricity that normally just goes to waste.
    There is another problem that we are not told about the current crop of noddy styled electric cars. They need a complete new battery pack every 1 to 2 years, at a cost from €1200 upwards, depending on what type of battery technology is used. Many companies are working on different types of fuel technologies. BMW are working on hydrogen power, Renault /Nissan on batteries, Ford/ Volvo on Bio Fuels. They all have a way to go as each has currently unsolvable problems

  3.  

    Well said. As a member of the hard end of the Green spectrum, the degree of woolly thinking in the soft end is pretty amazing, and depressing…

    E.G.:

    Solar power will save us! Even though it takes between 1 and 4 tons of coal to make a typical panel. Yay. Also, a typical solar panel has a lifetime of only a couple of decades before it craps out. Those 40 square mile “energy squares” of solar panels so beloved by alt.energy types won’t last too long in the hostile environments of the Sahara or US SW.

    Electric cars/hybrids will save us! Even though each tire consumes about 7 gallons of oil in its creation, never mind the rest of the vehicle.

    Recycling will save us! Never mind that most plastic is down-cycled, no recycled, and that Entropy means that ever smaller quantities of material can be reused economically.

    Energy Efficiency will save us! Never mind that the 19th century economist/logician William Stanley Jevons proved that improved engines lead to increased coal use, instead of decreased coal use. Same applies to oil/natural gas, etc. See “The Rebound Effect” and “The Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate” for 20th century variations on “Jevon’s Paradox”. Therefore, a car that ran on water would probably not be the panacea that people like to imagine.

    The “Green Economy” will save us! Never mind that this so-called Green Economy will demand massive amounts of ~20 rare earth minerals for the high tech alternatives – 90% of the world’s rare earths come from China, 90% from a single mine in Mongolia. Good luck with that one.

    *

    What passes for the “Green” movement these days is equivalent to the South Sea island Cargo Cults of post WW2. Meaningless, totemic gestures (buying a CFL), then flying to Italy for a summer holiday; recycling plastic shopping bags, then buying a “Green” hybrid, etc etc etc.

    People just can’t wrap their minds around the colossal implications of exponential economic growth, or the imperative for a zero-growth/steady-state economy. A short animation from a longer work in progress that I’ve been labouring over:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0sAcunYz1c

    And the infamous “cubic mile of oil” used per annum globally:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEHfDYRVO4M

    *

    The joke is that conservation so beloved by soft greens will probably make things worse, as resources conserved will simply be consumed by the growth-based economy; absent a fundamental reform in the way money works, you change nothing.

  4.  

    Dermot, “absent a fundamental reform in the way money works, you change nothing.”
    that’s interesting..how would that work do you think?

  5.  

    I’m back on the bromide, you will all be glad to hear.

    However, further to the dangerously deluded state (and it takes one to know one, as they say) of young Eamon’s mind, he genuinely thinks that if we let Anglo Irish fail we’d be kicked out of the Euro.

    As Brian Lucey says in the commentary to the link above:

    its either extremely misleading politics, or a deep dangerous misunderstanding of almost everything.

    I’d bet on the latter, personally.

  6.  

    Eamonn Ryans green logic is based on his expierience as a travel agent he runs a bike tour business where wolly greens ride around ireland for a week or so with a big fuck off of a transit van behind them transfering luggage and a back up team

  7.  

    Let me say at the outset – two things I know a little bit about are the environment and cars. Almost equally passionate about both. The Green Party holus-bolus know fuck-all about cars, beyond what manufacturers put on roadside billboard posters. Witness – Gormless’s embracing of the Prius. As a matter of simple fact, BMW in the UK proved conclusively a few years ago that a BMW 520d was a more economical car than a Prius, establishing what most car afficionados have suspected for years – the combination of diesel and turbochargers is the sweet spot, giving low fuel consumption, great driver satisfaction and….long-lived motor cars. Typically a modern diesel engine will run trouble-free for 300,000 miles with only basic regular servicing which any shade-tree machanic can do. Lube-oil and filters, that’s it. The Greens can’t seem to grasp that a car makes its biggest hit on the environment when it is manufactured, and every policy initiative on their parts seems to involve new cars. Major loss of plot.
    Long ago, Volvos lasted for 21 years on average, before Ford bought them and it dropped to around 21 days. That is the sort of car a true environmentalist should be advocating, with a turbo-diesel engine. Less fuel consumption means less importation of fuel, so there’s a sound economic benefit as well.
    There should be a tie-up between the NCT and motor tax. Your tax should depend on your measured emissions, to give a truly honest environmentally-based car usage tax.
    I have a 2.7-litre diesel car which does 54 mpg, yet it costs over 1100 Euro to tax it each year. I also have a 5.5 litre petrol car for high days and Holy days, which last week did 4.8 mpg. Yes, four-point-eight – a pint of petrol per mile, Bock will know this. Yet, under Gormless’s regime, the 5.5 litre gas-guzzler costs just a fraction more than the 2.7 to tax it (Bet you don’t really know why – hint: Jaguar).
    I reckon that the govt needs to make motoring significantly cheaper in the overall national interest, not just on environmental grounds. This would mean incentivising cars with long lives – instead of a scrappage scheme for 10-yr-olds, they should knock the vat off the parts to keep them going and thus reduce the environmental impact of scrapping them and buying new ones. Knocking the vat off tyres altogether would be a major road safety booster – tyres make a huge contribution to car control and anything that incentivises people to renew them before they are worn to the meaningless legal limit would be enormously beneficial.

    I could rabbit on all day about this. Those Greens are blitheringly incompetent fucking nuts and screwballs. I look forward to their total political annihilation before long.

    Nuts

  8.  

    Dermot, this is for you;

  9.  

    Hi Bolted Nut. I agree with some of your comment but not all. Yes I drive a 2 litre turbo diesel Ford Mondeo. I put €20 in the tank and forget about it. So I ask the question, what the hell were the genius’s in Toyota thinking when they made the Prius? Why didn’t they fit a turbo diesel, instead of a petrol? And then what about all the extra weight. And while they are recouping some of the energy lost while braking, what about the fact that there are always significant losses in any energy production/recovery. The whole exercise seems rather scatter brained to me.
    As regards Volvo’s lasting 20 years, well was that really a good thing. I for one dont think so. Most cars built pre 94 had no catalitic converters fitted, and although Volvo were among the pioneers of the of the cat, their cars were very overweight, and the 2 litre engines didn’t produce enough power to pull them, thus burning too much fuel.
    I am not a lover of the green movement either,( though would consider myself environmentally aware) but we have to thank the Green movement for the curent crop of fuel efficient motors available today. Do you remember all the fuss back in 1992/93 when the Eu brought in legislation forcing the motor manufacturers to fit catalitic converters to all new cars sold after Jan 1st 1994.( The Japanese and Californians had this for about 10 years) Well the manufacturers told us all that the new cars would have no power and use more fuel. Well this was a partial lie. Yes the then current old fashioned crap engines they were producing for peanuts and selling for huge profits were no longer to viable. They had 8 valve cylinder heads and carburettors, and couldn’t breath properly. They were highly inneficient. So the manufacturers were forced to turn to what was then racing technology, ie 16 valve cylinder heads and fuel injection. ( up to this , our asshole friends in insurance loaded the premium of any car with fuel injection). So now we have smaller engines with more power and catalitic converters, using less fuel and causing vastly less pollution.
    The car firms just didn’t want to spend the extra money on the production of these engines, but with mas production, the reality is it costs no more that before. So thank the green lobby for something.

  10.  

    Peter – I suspect I’m a little older than you, I can remember things for a very long time. Fuel injection began as aviation technology – it let Messerschmidts fly upside-down. It was utilised by Mercedes in the 50’s in road-going sports cars, and in the 60’s in 4-door saloons. I still have one – a 280SE, which puts out 195 bhp, comparable to anything. That was the Bosch mechanical system. Lucas developed a similar system in England, Maserati even used it subsequently, but Lucas-equipped injected engines weren’t unusual when I was a lad – the Triumph 2500P!, the TR6 etc.
    California is the land of fruits and nuts. When the BMW 2002 was imported there, it couldn’t meet the emissions standards, at the tailpipe. So, the clever menschen in Munich fitted an air pump, driven by a belt in the engine. It sucked in air and blew it into the exhaust, diluting the fumes enough to pass the test.

    My main point is that manufacturing cars and destroying cars are the two big environmental hits. Minimise both of those and the emissions don’t matter a whole lot in between, but charge the annual tax with a strong direct link to emisions and people will minimise those too.

    Nuts

  11.  

    Well nuts you must be quite old because I am no spring chicken. Indeed I remember those same cars when I was a lad. Yes you are correct about the fuel injection coming from the aero industry. As do a lot of other ideas in racing. But lets be honest, the Lucas mechanical injection was a complete disaster. So much so that most people just put carbs on them.
    As far as tax is concerned, the people with the gas guzzlers already pay through the nose when they buy their fuel. The motor tax system has already been changed for cars registered after 1st Jan 2008 in favour of more environmentally friendly cars. Unfortunately it was not backdated to favour already “cleaner” cars.
    The main advantage of newer cars is that they are safer. Again I hate to say but its thanks to the EU forcing the motor industry, who would not spend a cent on important issues unless they really have to. And of course the motor industry produces employment, which produce revenue, so its not all about the environment.
    Personally I dont believe in global warming and all that shite. Dont forget that in nature there is always an equillibrium, and that for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. People have been burning fossil fuels since time began. Climate changes all the time. did mankind cause the ice age. Well if he did it certainly wasn’t by driving too many cars.

  12.  

    one of my favorite topics. I think I would be in the Bolted nut camp. Apparently the new nickname for the prius is the Toyota Pious.
    I think they have actually shown that a Hummer is actually less of an environmental threat than the prius.
    There is a mercedes taxi in their museum with over four million kilometers on it and I have personally been ferried in one with 1.5 million.
    My mother is thinking of getting a more suitable car for her advancing years and it seems the most economical option for her will be to surrender a perfect 00 astra with 37000 miles, (genuine, owned since new), to the scrappage scheme to be crushed. How can this be green. Its a perfect car. Its emissions will only be marginally worse than a new equivalent, and when the environmental cost of making a new car are considered, that difference is irrelevant. How much energy goes into manufacturing not just the new car itself, but the metals, plastics rubbers plastics glass, textiles etc., etc, that go into it. How much energy goes into all the office workers, designers, executives, engineers etc., etc.,offices and studios. How much energy goes into the new plate glass salesrooms and showroom, (and they have the nerve to suggest that “side of road” car sales are a distraction and dangerous), and the offices of the salesmen within.
    What comes out the exhaust is pittance whatever the engine in relative terms.
    So I drive a 10 yearold TDi as well and am convinced that it is nearly the perfect vehicle, its fast powerfuland economical, and for the sake of a couple of hundred euro a year in upkeep is nearly as good as when it was new. At 180,000 miles I expect many more years from it barring accident. One expensive repair, injection pump, in 10 years is to my mind an acceptable fault. I have the advantage of being able to do my own repairs, but I was not born this way and had to learn from a lowly start, as can anyone else.
    I had a volvo for years (and it was 2 litre, and not underpowered) and had well over 200, thousand miles before going on to the next owner, as had my Saab before that.
    I would prefer to be in either of those as opposed to a modern “safe” mini or even medium sized car, in the event of an accident. You can have all the safety features you like and of course they can help, but when it comes to a head on collision, (the worst case), like the ladies say, “Size does matter”
    Catalytic convertors are far from the saviour that they are portrayed as being, in fact they could be doing more harm than good. The American EPA, and they have had cats since 1975 remember, have stated catalytic converters are a significant and growing cause of global warming, due to their release of nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas over 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. (wikipedia).
    But whether that convinces you or not, consider that, it is the requirement for catalytic convertors to be fed with such a tightly regulated exhaust mixture that has led to car electronics systems becoming so complex that most “ordinary” mechanics could not be expected to keep them running properly, and this has led to many otherwise perfectly good cars being scrapped well before their time.
    Ah well the oul recession should sort most of this out, it will be a while before we are buying new cars every time the ashtray fills again.
    Hey, maybe thats why the greens support NAMA, to leave us so broke that we can’t afford to pollute. The new breed of cute hoorism, perhaps.
    Oh yeah, the Lucas system may have been a bit of a letdown in the Triumphs, but might that not have been attributable to the general British Leyland, malaise. Also, to most mechanics at the time these systems were like todays electronics and many systems were probably blamed in the wrong. I wouldn’t mind a Kugelfisher equipped 2002 BMW myself, or a spica Alfa.
    I too look forward to the green annihilation, bring it on.

  13.  

    I was listening to Bill Cullen on Radio last Friday extoll the virtues of this new Electric car, Renault of course, The explanation of the process, Registered at time of purchase, The card provided to top up, change battery etc……….

  14.  

    Oopps, computer went mad, To continue……..
    I can only imagine what a total ball’s all of that will be,
    “Sorry, the system does not recognise your card ” To just plain gobbling up of your details as with every other damn system here, Queues of abandoned electric car’s blocking every road and every top up station, Phone lines jammed on Liveline.
    I won’t abandon my diesel engine, I will walk before i will get sucked into some car sellers nonsensical idea of “save the planet “

  15.  

    Bolted Nut, just wondering if I know you, would you be partial to german tractor trucks

  16.  

    Hi inco. Where do I start. So I’ll keep it short. Your mother should either keep the Astra, get a professional valet. Replace whatever it needs, timing belt etc and get another 10 years out of it. Or else sell it. In order to match the value of the scrappage deal, you would have to get a minimum of €1500 plus VAT @21%, which comes to €1815. Then go to your friendly salespeople behind the large plate glass windows and make them earn their keep. They will gladly match the discounts of the scrappage deals. Just be carefull what you buy because there is some shite out there.
    As regards being too complex, well nothing can be further from the truth. The modern car is very straight forward. There are a number of sensors measuring different esential parameters electrically. The on board computer(ECU or processor) is fed with these electrical signals where it processes them many times a second. It then sends out signals to the fuel injection and ignition so as to give the optimum amount of fuel and ignition advance. Mechanically, the engine has moved forward from the old days, but the basic principle is the same. As we mechanics say, its just nuts and bolts. So how do you find a fault in the electronics. Simple. You need a code reader and a scanner. Most people prefer to call this a computer. You plug it in to the car and it interogates the ECU’s memory, telling you the faults. You then use the live data to check the readings from the different sensors, and use all the info to make an eduacated decision on what the fault is.
    As regards a Volvo being safe, I for one dont agree. Yes when you hit the wall you may walk away from it, but I would rather have a car that won’t hit the wall in the first place. Something that is light and manouverable

  17.  

    Hi Peter, thanks for the advice, but the car is clean and needs nothing, I replaced the belt, all pulleys and water pump about a year ago, and the head gasket too as you know they are prone to failure due to age as opposed to overheating.
    It is not a change for vanities sake, as I said she needs something more suitable, as in higher.
    My exact point was that there was no justification for this car being scrapped yet this is a likely outcome, sorry to say, and I cannot see any “greeness” in this.
    You make the on board diagnostics seem so simple, and if you are one of the very few who are educated enough to find it simple and make educated guesses, then I salute you and predict that you will become very rich.
    The truth is that few mechanics are this capable and would need to be on a constant path of education to keep up to date, this field changes so much.
    Any one can get a scanner , I have one, and have had some success with it, yet the codes are often as confusing and misleading as the original fault. Also I am sure you know that faults regularly cause good components to give incorrect signals and thereby lead to their replacement at the punters expense. The “suck it and see”, method of fault finding is due to carry on into the future.
    “light and manouverable”, yeah right, I had a rear wheel drive volvo estate that could turn on a twopence and park into where many a smaller front wheel drive car would not dare even try, and as regards being overweight, you are talking about 1 or 2 hundred kilogrammes, in a most cases, remember a car is largely a tin can with a lot of air, and a few heavy bits, engine gearbox and people of course.
    “light and manouverable”, won’t do much for ya if someone else ploughs into you, woe betide.
    Size Matters, if I could afford to I would be driving the biggest heaviest jeep I could get, and hope to god the fella in the fiesta is alright if we crash.

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