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The Pressurized Air Car?

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby JRP3 » Mon 11 Feb 2008, 18:37:53

threadbear wrote:
And this is something that r&d can't easily get around? If it is so inefficient why is it being proposed to be developed en masse?


No, R&D can't easily get around the laws of physics!! Compressing and decompressing gas in an engine is very inefficient!
Lot's of things are being proposed to be devolped en masse, including non starters such as ethanol and hydrogen. Doesn't mean they can actually be implemented or sustained.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby JRP3 » Mon 11 Feb 2008, 18:45:02

EnergyUnlimited wrote:Electric vehicle will fall fool of expensive battery technology.
There are some plans to bring EV called Volt within 3 years from now on, but price estimate is now in range $30-40k, at least according to one article which I recently have red.
On the top of this price tag it is likely that batteries will rather be leased then sold.
All this suggest that large scale production is unlikely.

The Volt is an overly complex hybrid, not a true EV. It therefore has unnecessary ICE components just so people can have the option to drive hundreds of miles without refueling, a completely unnecessary and mostly unused option. Further, batteries will not be leased unless they retain value beyond the life of the vehicle, which may be possible, (Altairnano), but is not so at this time.
On the other hand air car has far better prospect because of low price of components and easy mass production.

Again, an EV with the same performance as the Air car would be very cheap to produce and much cheaper to run.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby yesplease » Mon 11 Feb 2008, 19:24:20

My bad about the ICE thing, I got mixed up. What I meant to say is the Aircar can run on liquid fuels as well...
JRP3 wrote:Secondly you're trying to compare mass marketed ICE vehicles with small volume EV's. Mass produce Lithium batteries which will last the life of the vehicle and maybe beyond and your argument completely falls apart.
If we mass produce Lithium batteries supply starts becoming a problem at current prices, so any advantage from large format mass production would likely be wiped out due to supply issues. The only format I know of that wouldn't have this problem would be lead acid, and even then, we would need greater energy capacity than what we have now at reduced cost.

Lets assume we have the same glider, a small city car platform that used, on average, about 100Wh/mile. Like you and WisJim pointed out, compressed air is inefficient, and batteries are fairly efficient. Lets say batteries are five time more efficient than compressed air. Right now, at the extremes, lead acid batteries cost 7Wh/$, and will last around 800 cycles to 80% dod.[1]

With electricity at $.2/kWh, if the EV was 100% efficient, electricity costs would be $.002/mile. Given the 7Wh/$ price, 800 cycles at 80% dod, and 100Wh/mile range, the batteries would go 1 mile 800*.8=640 times, for $14. The cost over their lifetime is around $.0218/mile, and with electricity this is about $.022/mile. If the air car was five times less efficient and used five times more electricity to travel the same distance, it would cost $.01/mile.

Since the EV version will probably cost more as well, either electricity is gonna have to get really expensive, or batteries really cheap, or both to a lesser extent, for a BEV to be cheaper than a compressed air/liquid fuel vehicle.

threadbear wrote:If it is so inefficient why is it being proposed to be developed en masse?
Because batteries are expensive and electricity is cheap.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_acid_batteries

edited for errors
Last edited by yesplease on Tue 12 Feb 2008, 14:11:41, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby yesplease » Mon 11 Feb 2008, 19:34:28

EnergyUnlimited wrote:It was claimed on this forum that turning transport electric would require increasing of electricity production by 20%, assuming EV.
So in the case of air car it would be necessary to increase electricity production by 60-70%.
That is assuming full global conversion and current level of car use.
I don't see how use could stay the same. An air car has only decent range in the city due to reduced energy requirements. Any more than that and it would have to switch over to a liquid fuel, so there's no way we would see a 60-70% increase in electricity production because there's no way air cars could travel that distance on compressed air.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 05:01:40

yesplease wrote:I don't see how use could stay the same. An air car has only decent range in the city due to reduced energy requirements. Any more than that and it would have to switch over to a liquid fuel, so there's no way we would see a 60-70% increase in electricity production because there's no way air cars could travel that distance on compressed air.

Why not to fit compressor stations every 20 miles or so, as motorway goes?
About once per 60 miles you would have to take a charging brake and carry on.
Anyway, that's only theory.
Somehow I do not think that air car is going to be widely adapted.
We cannot sufficiently scale up electricity supply to carry on with that.
If air car is used mainly by commuters, I wonder what peak demand would actually result out of this mess.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby EnergyUnlimited » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 05:08:52

JRP3 wrote:Further, batteries will not be leased unless they retain value beyond the life of the vehicle, which may be possible, (Altairnano), but is not so at this time.

I think, it has something to do with value of Nickel ($30,000 per tone) used in Ni/MH batteries, the most likely battery candidate from technologies which already exist.
Few hundreds kg of Nickel per battery would be required.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby Frank » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 09:36:46

If this is such a wonderful idea then why aren't there thousands of them running around? Is there a Youtube video of one? Is there a forum where we can ask questions to anyone who's ever used one? Just because someone's trying to develop an idea doesn't mean it's practical and efficient! After all we already know how to compress air, how to store it and how to make an air motor. Compressed air is EVERYWHERE! How could it be so hard?! I'm not from Missouri - but show me!
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby WisJim » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 14:19:06

The reason that I mentioned the industrial uses of compressed air, and its inefficiency, is that increasing efficiency of compressed air production and use is, and has been for decades, a major concern and focus of industry. They save money and increase profits by increasing compressed air efficiency, and they are doing the best they can already.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby yesplease » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 14:26:12

Frank, because no one ever made much money helping people save money. You might as well as why we don't have decent manufactured BEVs or velomobiles...
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby JRP3 » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 15:55:03

yesplease wrote:Frank, because no one ever made much money helping people save money. You might as well as why we don't have decent manufactured BEVs or velomobiles...

Saving manufacturers money is the same thing as making them money. If you save them a dollar in manufacturing a product how is that different from selling the product for a dollar more?
The reason we don't have BEV's is another story all together, mainly the lack of real demand until very recently.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby JRP3 » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 15:59:19

yesplease wrote:Since the EV version will probably cost more as well, either electricity is gonna have to get really expensive, or batteries really cheap, or both to a lesser extent, for a BEV to be cheaper than a compressed air/liquid fuel vehicle.

I do expect electricity costs to increase, how can it not? I'm not arguing that an EV is now cost competitive with an ICE, just the Air version of the Aircar. Remember the cost of the aircar has to include the cost of the air compressor, just as an EV includes the cost of it's charger.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby threadbear » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 16:39:11

Frank wrote:If this is such a wonderful idea then why aren't there thousands of them running around? Is there a Youtube video of one? Is there a forum where we can ask questions to anyone who's ever used one? Just because someone's trying to develop an idea doesn't mean it's practical and efficient! After all we already know how to compress air, how to store it and how to make an air motor. Compressed air is EVERYWHERE! How could it be so hard?! I'm not from Missouri - but show me!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSwlTqaM1oA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmqpGZv0 ... re=related

Did you read the Oil Drum interview I posted?
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby yesplease » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 16:51:51

JRP3 wrote:
yesplease wrote:Frank, because no one ever made much money helping people save money. You might as well as why we don't have decent manufactured BEVs or velomobiles...
Saving manufacturers money is the same thing as making them money. If you save them a dollar in manufacturing a product how is that different from selling the product for a dollar more?
Because manufacturers make money off of things besides sales costs, such as repairs. In this case having a vehicle that's cheaper to operate, be it a BEV or air car, would result in less profit from repair work and sales to replace vehicles that become too expensive to repair. In the larger picture, financial firms make money off of synergistic effects, such as auto manufacturers selling inefficient cars, which drives up the price of oil. Even if they own half of domestic auto manufacturing, and loose twenty billion or so per year, if, due to high gas/oil demand from the domestic manufacturer's inefficient vehicle, the oil companies they own half of start reporting profits three times what the auto companies lost, they'll still make billions.

JRP3 wrote:
yesplease wrote:Since the EV version will probably cost more as well, either electricity is gonna have to get really expensive, or batteries really cheap, or both to a lesser extent, for a BEV to be cheaper than a compressed air/liquid fuel vehicle.
I do expect electricity costs to increase, how can it not?
Well, considering I used 20 cents/kWh as my basis for comparison, electricity rates have to increase substantially just to catch up with my comparison, and increase beyond that to make a BEV economically comparable to a compressed air vehicle.

JRP3 wrote:I'm not arguing that an EV is now cost competitive with an ICE, just the Air version of the Aircar. Remember the cost of the aircar has to include the cost of the air compressor, just as an EV includes the cost of it's charger.
IMO, you should be arguing that a new EV is cost competitive with an ICE, because they are. It's compressed air vehicles that they aren't cost competitive with due to the low cost of electricity compared to the high cost of batteries. Air compressors are pretty cheap. A company who wants to offer compressed air refills may spring for a large rotary compressor in order to double efficiency, but those that come with the car are probably going to be in the 7+% efficient range, compared to 15% at a large station. Like I said before, even if my efficiency figures for air compression compared to battery charging were off, I included a safety net by doubling electricity prices.

If you have information about batteries that will last just as long as current versions for a third of the cost and aren't limited by material availability, or some compelling information about how electricity rates on average will double or triple, please, bring it to the table.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby JRP3 » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 20:55:10

yesplease wrote:Because manufacturers make money off of things besides sales costs, such as repairs. In this case having a vehicle that's cheaper to operate, be it a BEV or air car, would result in less profit from repair work and sales to replace vehicles that become too expensive to repair.

That has nothing to do with what Frank was talking about. He was pointing out industries' use of air power in manufacturing, where the most efficient process would save them money, and how after many years they have not been able to increase the efficiency of air power. This has nothing to do with after sale repairs or services.
IMO, you should be arguing that a new EV is cost competitive with an ICE, because they are. It's compressed air vehicles that they aren't cost competitive with due to the low cost of electricity compared to the high cost of batteries. Air compressors are pretty cheap.
Where are your figures for the actual purchase price of the aircar? It's all conjecture at this point since they aren't yet selling any. Carbon fiber tanks and aluminum frames aren't cheap to make. Those tanks probably cost more than a set of batteries, maybe more than 2 sets.
The actual demonstrated performance of an Aircar, not the claimed but the actual, can be easily met with a small electric motor and 72 volts of batteries. Just because they say "it will have a 200km range and 110kph speed" doesn't make it so.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby yesplease » Tue 12 Feb 2008, 23:36:43

JRP3 wrote:That has nothing to do with what Frank was talking about. He was pointing out industries' use of air power in manufacturing, where the most efficient process would save them money, and how after many years they have not been able to increase the efficiency of air power. This has nothing to do with after sale repairs or services.
Frank never mentioned anything about industries' use of air power in manufacturing, they said...
Frank wrote:If this is such a wonderful idea then why aren't there thousands of them running around? Is there a Youtube video of one? Is there a forum where we can ask questions to anyone who's ever used one? Just because someone's trying to develop an idea doesn't mean it's practical and efficient! After all we already know how to compress air, how to store it and how to make an air motor. Compressed air is EVERYWHERE! How could it be so hard?! I'm not from Missouri - but show me!



JRP3 wrote:Where are your figures for the actual purchase price of the aircar? It's all conjecture at this point since they aren't yet selling any.
I assumed the same glider for both. If you read my post you may have noticed I used the same small city car for the comparison. Based on that the difference in price will be between the electric motor/inverter/charger/batteries and air car engine/tank. If you have evidence that the electric drivetrain/batteries will cost so much more than the engine/air tank that it will wipe out any difference in the costs of battery replacement please link them.
JRP3 wrote:Those tanks probably cost more than a set of batteries, maybe more than 2 sets.
Source?
JRP3 wrote:The actual demonstrated performance of an Aircar, not the claimed but the actual, can be easily met with a small electric motor and 72 volts of batteries. Just because they say "it will have a 200km range and 110kph speed" doesn't make it so.
What actual demonstrated performance? I wasn't aware they had made any commercially available units. Do you have a source?
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby JRP3 » Wed 13 Feb 2008, 00:38:09

yesplease wrote:Frank never mentioned anything about industries' use of air power in manufacturing

Yes, it was actually WisJim who said:
The reason that I mentioned the industrial uses of compressed air, and its inefficiency, is that increasing efficiency of compressed air production and use is, and has been for decades, a major concern and focus of industry. They save money and increase profits by increasing compressed air efficiency, and they are doing the best they can already.
When you said there is no profit in saving money I thought you were referring to that.
What actual demonstrated performance? I wasn't aware they had made any commercially available units. Do you have a source?

The demonstrated performance in various videos of the car. The car can barely accelerate and drives around the block or so. Therefore any comparison about the performance and cost of the aircar is pure speculation, so I don't understand what your comparison between the aircar and a BEV is based on.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby yesplease » Wed 13 Feb 2008, 00:42:32

If you're concerned about hypothetical comparisons why are you even discussing these two? Neither a city car based on air storage or electrical storage has been released, so in any case it's hypothetical.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby JRP3 » Wed 13 Feb 2008, 10:48:34

There are hundreds of NEV's and converted ICE's out there that can provide real world EV data. Most ICE conversions are done for less than $10 grand leaving money left over for a replacement battery pack and still costing less than the projected $15 grand for the Aircar. These conversions are also done without the benefit of mass production pricing.
But yes, you are correct, this is pointless at this time.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby yesplease » Wed 13 Feb 2008, 14:35:05

You can't reasonably compare a EV conversion since the cost of the glider is much less because it's used, and EV conversion parts, while not exactly cheap, are fairly common. It's reasonable to compare the per mile to operate two different new drivetrains in the same new glider, but using your method of comparison is just silly. According to that my diesel on WVO is cheaper than anything you've mentioned, so clearly an ICE is the cheapest of all. :razz:

If you want to talk about it seriously, please do so.
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby JRP3 » Wed 13 Feb 2008, 16:22:43

yesplease wrote:You can't reasonably compare a EV conversion since the cost of the glider is much less because it's used, and EV conversion parts, while not exactly cheap, are fairly common.

Common? Try and order a Zilla 1K controller, it's a 6 month wait because the guy hand assembles them. Electric traction motors and controllers are not made on anywhere near the scale of automotive components, not even close. Yes the used glider has depreciated, but all additional EV components are purchased at retail in small quantities. So for the sake of argument increase the cost of the glider and decrease the costs of all EV parts through direct volume purchasing and it balances out.
Here's an example of markup. At work we get our batteries from a distributer, they get the battery from the manufacturer. We sell a battery for $75.00, we paid $40.00, the distributer probably paid $20.00. A mass manufacturer of EV's could bypass the middlemen and really cut costs on all components.
An 08 Aveo retails for $10,000. What do you think the glider version of that actually costs to make? Probably half that, and it's still a larger and nicer vehicle than the Aircar. GM could easily build an EV version for $10k but the limited range would be a hard sell for most of the public.
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