Oils4AsphaultOnly wrote: ↑
Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:01 pm
GRA wrote: ↑
Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:47 pm
Oils4AsphaultOnly wrote: ↑
Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:19 pm
Edit: So no, BEV's never had that advantage, or if they really did (it's hard to judge based on such old historical data during a time when information only traveled as fast as the pony express), that advantage was temporary and combustion vehicles eventually gained the cost/mile advantage until only recently.
Nope, BEVs had a cost/mile advantage regardless, but ICEs could go out further without refueling, expanding the territory covered in a given time (which was already expanded over horse coverage by BEVs); even installing intermediate depots for BEVs was cheaper than ICEs, but the time and flexibility factors were judged more important than the cost (cf. Amazon today, or why people buy SUVs they'll hardly ever need). Note that truck delivery was strictly an urban phenomenon, as there were no hard-surfaced roads outside of cities, and the rubber available at the time meant heavy vehicles like trucks had to have solid rubber tires, so they had limited speeds regardless. It didn't hurt that BEVs didn't have to be hand-cranked (the "Ford Fracture" being a common injury, when the crank kicked back) and were also quiet (mufflers not being a requirement), which is one reason they were often used by doctors, who often made house calls at night. But those same doctors often owned ICEs for touring.
The development of better tires, and the invention of the electric self-starter in 1916 (by Charles Kettering's Dayton Electric Labs Co., or as it's far better known nowadays, Delco) eliminated many of the BEV's advantages, and mass production of the go-anywhere ICE brought its costs down enough that along with better roads, it was the no-brainer choice for trucks, even though it was still more expensive per mile than a BEV.
In cities (the only place where there was electricity), personal BEVs were also cheaper per mile, but they couldn't tour, and that was what private car owners wanted to be able to do then as now, even if they did so rarely or never. In short, we're experiencing a "Back to the Future" moment.
BEVs retained their cost advantages all through that century plus
,and were used for a few jobs which still matched their capabilities (milk floats in the U.K., etc.), and those are much the same jobs we're now seeing modern commercial BEVs re-acquire: mail and package P&D and similar jobs where frequent stops, low speeds and limited range with overnight charging at a central depot are acceptable, and quiet, zero emissions and low operating costs are significant pluses. As batteries and costs continue to improve the range of jobs for which BEVs are best suited will expand.
That's not what your referenced study concluded.
Oh didn't it? Pages127-128 of Kirsch, summing up commercial BEV use:
Numerous reports proved that under appropriate conditions the electric truck was more economical to operate than its gasoline-powered cousin. But with the gradual demise of horse-based transport, the approval of more fundamental changes within delivery systems, the standardization of the ton-mile, the acceptance of speed and range as necessary components of long-haul trucking and the inability of proponents of separate spheres to practically define the economic boundaries between supposedly distinct fields of action, the appropriate sphere of the electric truck grew smaller and smaller. Local merchants, faced with the choice of either internal combustion or electricity - but not both - almost invariably opted for internal combustion because only gasoline trucks could provide universal service. Had a hybrid market for passenger vehicles emerged or had battery service* been introduced a decade earlier, perhaps the situation would have developed differently. As it was, however, the electric vehicle was slowly relegated to increasingly narrow fields of action - industrial trucks (moving freight inside warehouses and factories) and personal mobility (motorized wheelchairs and golf carts) - until its rediscovery in the early 1960s.
*Battery service was introduced by a few utilities working in conjunction with usually a single truck manufacturer and battery supplier. Under it, customers bought the truck but leased the battery, which was charged and serviced by the utility. The battery came with a guaranteed minimum capacity (80% typical), and could be freely exchanged whenever the customer wanted to, as the trucks were designed for rapid battery swapping. This allowed BEV trucks to travel further during the day, although swapping outstations seem to have been a rarity so the useful radius wasn't increased. Unfortunately, manufacturers were unable to agree on a voluntary standard for battery pack design/swapping, which made it impossible to expand usage much beyond single cities/manufacturers. Nothing has changed in that regard; only a government mandate will likely work.
The relegation of BEV trucks by ICEs was happening gradually anyway for the same reasons as private vehicles, but was radically speeded up in the U.S. by WW1. The western powers quickly ran out of their own truck capacity and started to buy from the U.S., so economies of scale kicked in and reduced the price of ICE trucks (BEVs being inherently unsuited for military use in the field). Add to that U.S. railroad companies were psychologically incapable of cooperating and were so dysfunctional that once the U.S. entered the war the government had to take them over. Even then they were unable to handle all the military traffic, so trucks became increasingly necessary for interurban use.
All the above, combined with private car owners wanting to tour, led to the U.S. government support of improved and ultimately paved inter-urban roads (Federal Aid Road Act of 1916; Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921 etc.) during and after the war. For that story I recommend
The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways
by Earl Swift and
The Road Taken: The History and Future of America's Infrastructure
by Henry Petroski.
We're now seeing the same process play out in reverse, as BEVs gradually expand their capabilities in hopes that they can ultimately replace ICEs as the 'universal vehicle', but pretty much every technique and argument for and against one or the other tech was tried a century ago. It's entirely possible that unlike then, we may see the idea of separate spheres become the norm, with far fewer people owing their own vehicles but only using one as needed - they didn't call it "Mobility as a Service" then, but that was the idea. Or history will repeat itself, and everyone will own their own personal BEV/FCEV or what have you.