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Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:14 am

GRA wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:51 pm
Of course, if the implementation of such zones here is very delayed, it may be that pure ZEVs have come down enough in price by then to see mass market adoption, and there's no need to make provision for a transitional tech like PHEVs.
An interesting subject. A new topic.

Consider a range of use cases. At one end is the vast majority of driving, which is near home and can be served by home or workplace or curbside or parking garage charging at a fairly low rate and cost. At the other end is driving to remote locations where charging is rare and/or expensive.

Might a PHEV be the lowest cost way to handle the latter cases?

Yes, might not be a gasoline hybrid, but perhaps biofuel or hydrogen or aluminum-air or zinc-air or ...

Putting power wires into remote locations cost a lot of money. The more miles, the more money. And as the location becomes more remote, the fewer uses the wires get as fewer people would drive to there. Other ways of getting power there have similar objections, such as solar cells that are rarely used have a high fixed cost relative to the actual used power generated. Hauling gasoline or biofuel or aluminum-air batteries or hydrogen has the advantage of scaling with use rather than a high fixed cost. Also a primary battery using air is going to have more energy per unit mass as the air doesn't need to be carried along (on Earth, at least!), so fueling stations can be more widely spaced.
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salyavin
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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:09 pm

What do you mean by long lasting? As much as I want gasoline cars to go the way of steam engines (slow, smoky, useful for history buffs and tourists) I don't see full gasoline cars going away for a couple decades. Some people drive cars for 20 years so if we stopped tomorrow it would take 20 years for them to become down to more classic car people who like fixing them.

All you really need is chargers every 50 miles or so and EVs to go 200+ miles on a charge so they have multiple chances to fill. We already have 200+ mile EVs (including LEAF Plus) and along interstates here we have chargers every 50 miles. As EA can feed me in the 70s the charge time with the kids is not bad either. The problem for me is there are roads that are not an interestate in the middle of nowhere I would love fast chargers. I am in Colorado I can give a number of examples one easy one is Great Sand Dunes National Park, I can make it there and there is a lizard park with a l2 charger or there are camp outlets, eithere way that is a long time so you'd have to stay overnight probably to get a good charge. Wyoming is a pain for me even on the interestate some l2s and camp no fast chargers at all, to get to Yellowstone I'd have to go through Utah and up that way. EVTrail is trying to get money to build we shall see.

Most people just drive within a couple hundred miles except for a vacation a couple times a year and even then many just fly somewhere. In the cases where they need to drive a long way a rental makes sense rather than ownership IMHO. People do not need to go more than 200 very often. Where I am I go to major mountain towns like Breckenridge easily in my LEAF and have charging, many Teslas and such go there too.
Why does an individual need a PHEV? I really don't see it. Rent one now and then when you go way off fast charging routes even then there is often RV plugs and l2 it's just too painful to go too far.

I have a hybrid there is "disgusting" (as my wife says) gasoline, oil changes, and other maintenence it needs like a regular gasser. they have shorter electric range. Longer term I see hybrids going to occasional rentals for going in the middle of nowhere until a DCFC is built within a hundred miles of it. I am sure gasoline stations were similar long ago.

With DCFCs remember no transport of fuel, once it is built it can just sit there no people manning it, no truck to deliver anything, some even have solar panels to help with the electric. I could imagine a battery system where solar charges the battery and the battery delivers the charge if you don't want to run cable way out there. That only works if the usage is not too high.

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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:16 pm

salyavin wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:09 pm
....Longer term I see hybrids going to occasional rentals for going in the middle of nowhere until a DCFC is built within a hundred miles of it. I am sure gasoline stations were similar long ago. ...
Yep. During early attempts at driving across the continental US, motorists would sometimes have to purchase gasoline at pharmacies, where it was sold as a solvent.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:16 pm

I didn't know that, thank you. I figured they had to do something before the gas stations were built and supplied.

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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:51 pm

General stores also sold gas (sometimes heavily watered).

Back on topic, as many here know I believe that PHFCEVs have the potential to be the ZEV go-anywhere ICE replacement option, always assuming the price of renewable H2 can be made competitive with gas. Economies of scale and incremental technical improvements should reduce the price of the stacks to commercial viability (also see range-extenders below), and the cost of stations likewise. FCEVs already have similar capability and longevity to ICEs.

Note that when I say PHFCEV I'm talking about using the fuel cell as a range extender, with just enough power to maintain freeway speeds on the level or up a slight grade/into a moderate headwind, plus run the hotel loads. The battery pack handles accel and steep climbs, plus routine commuting. We're talking something like the i3 Rex power train, but with about 1/2 the power loading and a 'hold' mode.

For BEVs to be the all-around ICE replacement vehicle requires that they provide adequate range at an acceptable charging rate that's competitive with gas, for the useful life of the vehicle (they also need to be lighter or we'll be repairing/replacing our roads more frequently). Either that, or battery leasing/swapping will need to be the norm.

Note, this assumes that car ownership remains the norm, rather than some type of MaaS as Salyavin implies, and which I'm a fan of.
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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Sun Aug 23, 2020 8:23 am

I was referred here from another thread. It's a darn good question, so here are some of my initial thoughts:

I take as a working assumption that while there are various reasons to transition the transportation system both to new tech and new practices, co2 concerns are (in my assumption) an immediate life-and-death global concern, and so logically they impact the conversation more than other concerns (IMO). Thus, in my view, the only way that PHEVs can be a long-lasting use case, and not just a transitional tech, is if they go to zero or negative carbon. The only way to do this is if the fuel is ultimately zero- (or would negative- be the better way to put it?) -carbon though there can I suppose be transitional periods where potentially zero-carbon chemicals used as fuels (eg: CH3OH, H2, whatever) are not presently made renewably. As far as I can tell, most chemicals, if we have to, can be made fully as zero- or negative-carbon-dioxide footprint fuels, but the cost is prohibitively high at present. Whether that cost is inherently high and cannot be changed, or just presently high and subject to change, is something that should be discussed. (The question of inherently versus presently expensive is a point I used to raise in the 90s when folks would seem to try to throw a wrench into battery discussions.)

Aside from choosing a PHEV's non-battery energy storage method, there is the question of the fuel conversion method. Generally PHEVs are conceived as using combustion engines, but I think that a fuel cell vehicle with a pluggable battery can be viewed as a PHEV. Two advantages of fuel cell PHEVs over combustion PHEVs are that they are generally potentially more energy efficient and they do not have the other emissions baggage that might be associated with combustion PHEVs (NOx, etc.). I"m not sure that precautionary principle considerations are being fully properly brought into play to look at FCEV downsides while we make some move toward them, but they do seem at the least well worth considering and understanding. As to greater efficiency, I have joked with colleagues over the last decade or two that I'm waiting to hear more discussion of how avoidance of carnot cycle considerations is a way of describing how or why FCEVs are more efficient than PHEVs.

If PHEVs of whatever sort end up being just a transitional tech, then I wonder if we shouldn't try, somehow, to calculate all the extra carbon footprint that will come about from temporarily deploying 2 or 3 waves of hundreds of millions of vehicles throughout the world that then have to be recycled.

Another thought is sometimes I think back to the transition we went through in light bulbs - incandescent and other tech to CFL to LED. CFL will end up transitional, not long-lasting (as far as I'm aware) and it sure has some baggage which make this clear which make me somewhat regret having used them (mercury, for my main concern).

PHEVs have some big advantages such as using established well-known IP and technology know-how (combustion engines, and perhaps using some of the older complex mechanical transmission tech as well) and allowing for a different path in transitioning companies, workforces and supply-chain. However, due to my own ideas of what the priorities are, I think combustion PHEVs qualify as potentially just a transitional tech unless they address the main concern of co2 emissions and co2 lifecycle consequences, as well as addressing emissions, lower efficiency use of energy, and perhaps other issues.
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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:22 am

The answer is simple: ask the market after distorting subsidies are removed.
Subsidies are much higher for PHEV in Europe than e.g. the US, and market penetration is correspondingly higher.

The related answer to this question is to query how much the plug is used. There is UK data that found very little
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rmay635703
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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:24 pm

SageBrush wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:22 am
The answer is simple: ask the market after distorting subsidies are removed.
Subsidies are much higher for PHEV in Europe than e.g. the US, and market penetration is correspondingly higher.

The related answer to this question is to query how much the plug is used. There is UK data that found very little
Europe has a lot of ship shod PHEVs that are poorly thought out with extremely limited range.

In the US you might get a subsidy up front but then pay hundreds extra on title and license fees over the life of the car making the math not work out.

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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:43 pm

rmay635703 wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:24 pm
SageBrush wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:22 am
The answer is simple: ask the market after distorting subsidies are removed.
Subsidies are much higher for PHEV in Europe than e.g. the US, and market penetration is correspondingly higher.

The related answer to this question is to query how much the plug is used. There is UK data that found very little
Europe has a lot of ship shod PHEVs that are poorly thought out with extremely limited range.
Yep. The first mass-market PHEV shipped in the US in Dec 2010, the Chevy Volt. It's discontinued but other automakers continue to make and introduce PHEVs to this day, most of which have pretty limited range.
GM for the US market has stopped shipping PHEVs but I can't speak to their efforts on this in rest of world.

I suspect the reason for them is both European (outside of Norway) regulations like CO2 targets and within the US, to raise US CAFE numbers and (for the ones that meet the requirements) CA/CARB enhanced AT-PZEV (TZEV) credit and CA HOV stickers (quite a selling point in CA). Not all PHEVs introduced into the US market meet enhanced AT-PZEV requirements and thus qualify for CA HOV stickers but most do.
Last edited by cwerdna on Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are PHEVs a transitional technology? Or a long lasting use case?

Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:47 pm

Don't forget bans in ICEs in a lot of European city centers. This alone accounts for many/most of the short-AER PHEVs.
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