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Erik of Hazelfield

Electric cars and the future of transportation

109 posts in this topic

15 minutes ago, Erik of Hazelfield said:

Yes, keeping drivers around even though the cars can drive themselves seems a bit similar to digging holes and then filling them up again. Won't happen and I don't think it's even desirable. But I think we might need to look at some kind of basic income system, because unemployment will skyrocket and this time the jobs won't be coming back.

 

Sure put your money where your mouth is and start advocating for deregulation of commerical airline rules that require a pilot and co-pilot. 

Keeping pilots around even though the planes can fly themselves seems a bit similar to digging holes and then filling them up again. I don't think it;'s even desirable.

Pilots just need to get out of the way of technology. they are just dead weight, and are in the way of PROGRESS. 

Pilots don't need to make mortgage payments.

The children of pilots don't need to eat.

Their families don't need to participate in the economy in any way whatsoever. Technology has made pilots obsolete, they just need to suck it up and accept it. (funny that this hasn't happened for some reason, people sure are irrational when it comes to their own self interest, huh? it's a shame we can't predict that they'll vigorously defend their own self interest).

Pilots will be happy living on UBI welfare, in UBI public housing. They could not possibly dislike such a scenario. :-/ They could not possibly dislike such a change in social status.

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Posted (edited)

Electronic cars compete with cryptocurrencies. Why waste energy for transportation if you can turn it directly into money? ;) Just kidding I read that cryptomining already consumes more energy than countries like Iceland before seeing this thread.

edit: does anyone know how much power electric cars consume worldwide right now? If I google it I only find projections for the future. Bitcoin and Ethereum consume about 20 TWh already. An environmental nightmare...

Edited by Wolfgang I

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7 hours ago, lokisnow said:

Using technology to eliminate the cost of labor hurts labor and benefits capital. If we want to fight inequality, it means we have to defend labor, particularly labor like driving jobs, from capital.

This approach is theoretically possible, but I am not aware of any society which made any meaningful headway towards implementing it (as I said, the Luddites are the archetypal example and they didn't get very far) and even if you could make it happen, it leads to obvious problems (i.e. stagnation relative to other societies) down the line. It is much more plausible to make capital share the wealth created by machines than it is to stand against the tide of automation.

7 hours ago, lokisnow said:

There is a solution, Labor can demand rent-extraction from capital.  Use the Airline pilot model: Create a regulatory environment that requires a highly trained (preferably union) driver be behind the wheel of every autonomous vehicle ready to take control if need be.

Anyone can demand anything, but what do you use for leverage? Once the AI becomes a safer driver than a human, there is no incentive for redundancy and human reaction time is pretty slow for this kind of task in any case. The pilots are also on notice, but because the possible damage caused by improper control of a plane is so much worse than that caused by improper control of a car or truck, they're probably safe for another generation or so (but not forever...).

7 hours ago, lokisnow said:

Rather than eliminate the jobs because of tech, use tech as an excuse to UPGRADE the jobs in prestige and pay. Capital requires that goods MUST be transported, Labor needs to focus on extracting rent from that requirement and preserve the jobs.

This is exactly what is happening: for every million drivers, you will have on the order of fifty thousand (I'm guessing; it might be more, but probably not by an order of magnitude) firmware engineers, validators and the like. The jobs will be more prestigious... but there will be fewer of them.

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Posted (edited)

On 8/1/2017 at 4:40 AM, Altherion said:

But as you point out, most of the trade offs are due to the low battery capacity of your Leaf. A 2017 Model 3 goes either 220 or 310 miles depending on how much you're willing to pay for one and the Chevy Bolt is likewise around 240 miles. Even adjusting for the fact that the Leaf is cheaper, the available battery capacity at the same price point has more than doubled in the past 3 years. If it keeps going at this rate (and given the economies of scale, it looks like it might), in 5 years or so this won't be a problem.

Prices may have fallen over the last couple of years, but that won't continue forever. There is an obvious problem: worldwide lithium production is 36,000 tons per year. A 100kWh battery contains about 10kg of Lithium. (The Wikipedia article on Li-ion batteries quotes a figure of 11.6 kWh/kg.) That means the world's whole lithium production would be enough for 3.6 million cars a year. World car production is approaching 100 millions. You may be able to do to stretch the lithium a bit with smaller batteries, but there are also smartphones, laptops, etc. So you'd need to ramp up lithium mining by two orders of magnitude if lithium-ion batteries are to replace the internal combustion engine. Is that even possible? 

Edited by Loge

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14 hours ago, Swordfish said:

I'm really more curious about the public charging infrastructure.(Stations, ports, etc...)

What happens to all that infrastructure when someone say, figures out a safe and efficient cordless charger for cars?  (Or insert whatever other innovation makes sense).  Owning and operating these public charging stations seems to be a fairly high risk endeavor at this point since the technology is still relatively immature, and highly likely to evolve, and to do so quickly.

Depends where the value is in the infrastructure. Is it in the charging interface? Or is it in the (contracts with) the electricity network and producers? Or even in the data on usage, optimization of charger placement, incentivize clients to move on after their vehicle is charged?

 

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4 hours ago, Loge said:

Prices may have fallen over the last couple of years, but that won't continue forever. There is an obvious problem: worldwide lithium production is 36,000 tons per year. A 100kWh battery contains about 10kg of Lithium. (The Wikipedia article on Li-ion batteries quotes a figure of 11.6 kWh/kg.) That means the world's whole lithium production would be enough for 3.6 million cars a year. World car production is approaching 100 millions. You may be able to do to stretch the lithium a bit with smaller batteries, but there are also smartphones, laptops, etc. So you'd need to ramp up lithium mining by two orders of magnitude if lithium-ion batteries are to replace the internal combustion engine. Is that even possible? 

Lithium-ion is the first battery technology that makes electric cars viable, but given the history of battery development, it probably won't be the last. We can get pretty far with Li-ion (especially since the batteries can be recycled), but by the time there's a demand for 100 million electric cars per year, I suspect we'll be using something different.

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4 hours ago, Loge said:

Prices may have fallen over the last couple of years, but that won't continue forever. There is an obvious problem: worldwide lithium production is 36,000 tons per year. A 100kWh battery contains about 10kg of Lithium. (The Wikipedia article on Li-ion batteries quotes a figure of 11.6 kWh/kg.) That means the world's whole lithium production would be enough for 3.6 million cars a year. World car production is approaching 100 millions. You may be able to do to stretch the lithium a bit with smaller batteries, but there are also smartphones, laptops, etc. So you'd need to ramp up lithium mining by two orders of magnitude if lithium-ion batteries are to replace the internal combustion engine. Is that even possible? 

Lithium is the third most common element in the universe,  after hydrogen and helium. Accessible lithium may be a different story. Up till now lithium has not been much in demand. 

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49 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Lithium is the third most common element in the universe,  after hydrogen and helium.

Not true. It's actually damn rare:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/SolarSystemAbundances.png

Not that it matters. It's how much of it we can mine on Earth and what the cost and environmental impact of those mining operations is, not how much is out there in the solar system or even in the Earth's crust.

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The drawbacks of electric cars will be somewhat mitigated by most people not actually owning cars, just relying on a network of autonomous vehicles to be used as needed. Then part of the fleet can be charging while part of the fleet is driving. When the roads are set aside for 100% autonomous and collisions virtually non-existent, the vehicles can be made out of lighter materials that will make them more energy efficient, and the seating lay-outs could be more flexible, miniature social environments or sleeping compartments.

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7 hours ago, maarsen said:

Lithium is the third most common element in the universe,  after hydrogen and helium. Accessible lithium may be a different story. Up till now lithium has not been much in demand. 

Hmm, maybe you're referring to Lithium being the third element to appear after the Big Bang?

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, maarsen said:

Lithium is the third most common element in the universe,  after hydrogen and helium. Accessible lithium may be a different story. Up till now lithium has not been much in demand. 

Unfortunately no, it's properties make it easily destroyed making it much less abundant than it otherwise would be in the universe. However, while it is relativity rare in the universe, and much rarer on earth than its place on the periodic table would suggest (25th most abundant element on earth) that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of it on earth. As you said though the problem comes with getting at it, it's high reactivity means it binds very easily to other elements so getting at the 230 billion tons in sea water for example is not a simple thing. Given it's importance in modern technology expect many formerly non-viable sources of lithium to become viable in short order.

Edited by TrueMetis

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21 hours ago, Wolfgang I said:

Electronic cars compete with cryptocurrencies. Why waste energy for transportation if you can turn it directly into money? ;) Just kidding I read that cryptomining already consumes more energy than countries like Iceland before seeing this thread.

edit: does anyone know how much power electric cars consume worldwide right now? If I google it I only find projections for the future. Bitcoin and Ethereum consume about 20 TWh already. An environmental nightmare...

A Tesla Model S consumes about 22 kWh per 100 km. I can't find statistics for the world and it might not even exist but according to this link about 3 trillion miles are driven in the U.S. every year. If we naïvely assume the rest of the world (23 times the population) drives as much, we end up with about 2500 TWh per year if all the world's cars were electric. That would mean we had to increase world electricity generation by about 10%. I've seen other calculations vary between 7% and 24% increase in electricity demand. Definitely possible during the slow ramp-up of EV sales that we expect. Of course, while doing this demand for oil would drop by more than half.

12 hours ago, Loge said:

Prices may have fallen over the last couple of years, but that won't continue forever. There is an obvious problem: worldwide lithium production is 36,000 tons per year. A 100kWh battery contains about 10kg of Lithium. (The Wikipedia article on Li-ion batteries quotes a figure of 11.6 kWh/kg.) That means the world's whole lithium production would be enough for 3.6 million cars a year. World car production is approaching 100 millions. You may be able to do to stretch the lithium a bit with smaller batteries, but there are also smartphones, laptops, etc. So you'd need to ramp up lithium mining by two orders of magnitude if lithium-ion batteries are to replace the internal combustion engine. Is that even possible? 

Lithium hasn't been high in demand so production has been low. Most of it isn't even being used for batteries. Two orders of magnitude, that might be a stretch, but there is little doubt the industry will try to recycle all the metals in the batteries once the volume makes it economically worthwile. Tesla are designing their new factory to do this, for example.

Like Altherion, I believe future battery tech might use something else. Lithium is particularly good from a chemical perspective because of its high electrode potential though, so I won't hold my breath. We might get rid of the cobalt and manganese though. Neodymium is not necessary with AC asynchronous motors so that problem is already solved. This link is awesome.

 

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On 2/08/2017 at 9:02 AM, lokisnow said:

Pilots will be happy living on UBI welfare, in UBI public housing. They could not possibly dislike such a scenario. :-/ They could not possibly dislike such a change in social status.

They can get used to it. There are certainly advantages, like not having to be away from their families for extended periods, and more time for recreation and hobbies. Reduce the length of the working week as more jobs get replaced by automation, to keep the available work distributed fairly - how does a three-day weekend every week sound, for a start? Automation isn't a problem, the problem is taking jobs away without adding UBI and other such measures to compensate.

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Erik of Hazelfield said:

A Tesla Model S consumes about 22 kWh per 100 km. I can't find statistics for the world and it might not even exist but according to this link about 3 trillion miles are driven in the U.S. every year. If we naïvely assume the rest of the world (23 times the population) drives as much, we end up with about 2500 TWh per year if all the world's cars were electric. That would mean we had to increase world electricity generation by about 10%. I've seen other calculations vary between 7% and 24% increase in electricity demand. Definitely possible during the slow ramp-up of EV sales that we expect. Of course, while doing this demand for oil would drop by more than half.

Those are they numbers I found too. I was looking for current numbers which I did not find. If I do the calculation with 3 millions electric cars cryptoncurrency mining already wastes more energy than all electric cars use worldwide... this does not bode well for humanity when we are already wasting more energy on something that's of most use to criminals than on clean transportation.  Yeah for global warming I guess. 

Edited by Wolfgang I

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21 hours ago, Weeping Sore said:

The drawbacks of electric cars will be somewhat mitigated by most people not actually owning cars, just relying on a network of autonomous vehicles to be used as needed. Then part of the fleet can be charging while part of the fleet is driving. When the roads are set aside for 100% autonomous and collisions virtually non-existent, the vehicles can be made out of lighter materials that will make them more energy efficient, and the seating lay-outs could be more flexible, miniature social environments or sleeping compartments.

sure, everyone will share their cars, or mega companies will have superfleets!

The super-fleet or super-sharer theory of electric autonomous cars is a theory so stupid and so divorced from reality only economists could come up with it.

0. People have emotional relationships to the things that they use and things that they own. Most people have a mortgage, meaning they don't own their house, but they still have an emotional relationship to their house. Most people have a car payment, meaning they don't own their car. but they still have an emotional relationship with their car. Most people have a phone payment, meaning they do not own their smart phone, but they still have a deeply profound relationship with their phone. As cars become more like cellphones that emotional relationship will increase commensurately. People's brains are hard-wired to be selfish. The more emotionally attached people get to their smart cars, the less likely they are to share their smart cars.

On the other hand, maybe there are billions of people in the world that happily share their phone with any stranger willing to offer them a few dollars to rent it for a short stint. Afterall, the vast majority of the time a smart phone sits idle, and unused, think of the money you could earn renting it out to people who only want to use it for a few minutes!

But no one rents out their phone, because human brains are hardwired to declare "MINE!" when it comes to things they are emotionally attached to.

So when car companies successfully lobotomize people to alter their brain structure, then they will start super sharing their cars.

1. As things become easier to use, consumption ALWAYS increases. If cars become autonomous it is axiomatic that more miles will be driven in cars.

2. This means that commute distances will increase because the costs of commuting have gone down. The greater the distance traversed, the more difficulty it is to share the journey, so commuting goes from 1.2 people per vehicle we average today and decreases. This means more cars on the road, not less.

3. There is an enormous supply of slack automobile capital parked at office parks around the world during the work day. This is an incredible resource. Someone would monetize it if they could, signing people up to rent  their cars to the company for their cars to be "air b & b" during the day, but always returned by the end of the work day so people could drive home. There are is a potential capacity of more than 100 million cars sitting there every day just in the united states. Someone would start a business to air b and B that capacity if there was any money in it. The entire theory of super sharing and super fleets spoken of with autonomous cars rests on the principle that all this slack capacity will be instantly always utilized 

There is not any money in it.

Because driving usage is asymmetric. miles driven are concentrated into two, three hour periods for weekdays. And usage drops off a cliff outside of those periods. Super fleets of autonomous vehicles super-sharing will not work economically for companies because the way the demand curve is distributed. If you need 100,000,000 vehicles to transport during rush hour and only 3 million vehicles to meet the demand for all non rush hours times, you cannot create a pricing scheme that will pay for the 97,000,000 excess of capital units because you can never make them pay for themselves,  This is why there is no initiative from uber (et al) in Los Angeles to rent cars from office parks during the day to use for their company to give them a super fleet. There is no off peak demand that needs to be met, that can be met profitably.

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erm hello?      Have you not heard of these things called Taxi's?

 

Are Taxi's not a form of car sharing where you don't have to drive or find somewhere to park?

The Taxi will come and pick you up,  take you where you want to go for a fee and drop you off then drive off.    Ok so there is a Human driving the taxi   so its not exactly the same thing.   But it does prove the is demand.

 

Oh do you not also know that Taxi fares change depending on what time of day you use them.  ok the peak rate of fares are more to do with unsociable hours than peak demand.  but robots don't care what time of day it is,  you could easily have a price structure during peak travel times.  (happens in other forms of public transport)

 

No-one is saying all cars will be car sharing.  some people will own them.   It may be that to start with most people will own their own.    although as more time goes on I expect less personal car ownership.   

 

 

A lot of people use public transport  they don't use it because they are emotionally attached to buses or trains.   I see no reason why people will feel the need to be emotionally attached to a car to ride in one.

 

The reason why people don't rent out thier cars during the day is  its not very practical.  finding someone to rent your car and get the same car back would be a nightmare.   + you then have the insurance nightmare to add.

 

Its also very easy to rent a car for a day.    there are many car hire companies out there.

 

There are also several car sharing companies out there right now.   you use you phone to find the nearest parked car(in the scheme) to you.  reserve it,  walk to it.  then use your phone to unlock it.   and drive off.    park it somewhere for the next person to use.       so yeah   this happens already.   but with autonomous self driving cars it will be even easier as the car will travel to you.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Pebble said:

No-one is saying all cars will be car sharing.  some people will own them.   It may be that to start with most people will own their own.    although as more time goes on I expect less personal car ownership.   

If you're talking about self-driving cars, if not all cars are self-driving the chances of accidents skyrockets.  Roads are incredibly volatile which is why these first cars have done so terribly on them.  So either AI will have to get drastically better and at a faster pace than is currently conceived, people will have to make the decision that a self driving car is worth the extra risk to your life for almost no gain, or the adoption of self-driving cars as the norm will be much further in the future than most are thinking.  

IMO it's stupid to even talk about some sort of self-driving car renaissance as anything besides science fiction.  Current technology isn't there and current pace of technology isn't showing that we're gonna get there soon.

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Just now, aceluby said:

If you're talking about self-driving cars, if not all cars are self-driving the chances of accidents skyrockets.  Roads are incredibly volatile which is why these first cars have done so terribly on them.

So far AI-driven cars have had a significantly lower accident-per-mile rate than person-driven cars. 

Just now, aceluby said:

 So either AI will have to get drastically better and at a faster pace than is currently conceived, people will have to make the decision that a self driving car is worth the extra risk to your life for almost no gain, or the adoption of self-driving cars as the norm will be much further in the future than most are thinking.  

AI is getting drastically better, as are the sensors and information. Another way to say it is this: when an accident happens people can make it so that same kind of accident will almost certainly never happen again, for any self-driving car, ever. That alone makes it significantly more likely to improve. 

You're going to see states with self-driving cars this year. 

Just now, aceluby said:

IMO it's stupid to even talk about some sort of self-driving car renaissance as anything besides science fiction.  Current technology isn't there and current pace of technology isn't showing that we're gonna get there soon.

I just want you to try and remember that you said this in 2020. 

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4 hours ago, lokisnow said:

On the other hand, maybe there are billions of people in the world that happily share their phone with any stranger willing to offer them a few dollars to rent it for a short stint. Afterall, the vast majority of the time a smart phone sits idle, and unused, think of the money you could earn renting it out to people who only want to use it for a few minutes!

People are largely attached to the information stored on their phones, not the physical hardware; they're usually happy to toss out their old phones without a second thought when they get a better, newer model. And while phones might be unused the majority of the time, they're used frequently and unpredictably. And it's not that unusual for people to let someone borrow their phone to make a call, without charging anything.

Some people are attached to some cars, but most people most of the time just want a reliable way to get from one place to another.

4 hours ago, lokisnow said:

2. This means that commute distances will increase because the costs of commuting have gone down. The greater the distance traversed, the more difficulty it is to share the journey, so commuting goes from 1.2 people per vehicle we average today and decreases. This means more cars on the road, not less.

The time cost of commuting doesn't go down, so long distances are still undesirable. And the most practical option is probably local shuttles that take people to and from the nearest train station or express bus hub, making many trips every rush hour.

4 hours ago, lokisnow said:

3. There is an enormous supply of slack automobile capital parked at office parks around the world during the work day. This is an incredible resource.

No, it's an incredible waste. It would be far more efficient for most of those people to use public transport instead.

 

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Posted (edited)

31 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

So far AI-driven cars have had a significantly lower accident-per-mile rate than person-driven cars. 

AI is getting drastically better, as are the sensors and information. Another way to say it is this: when an accident happens people can make it so that same kind of accident will almost certainly never happen again, for any self-driving car, ever. That alone makes it significantly more likely to improve. 

You're going to see states with self-driving cars this year. 

I just want you to try and remember that you said this in 2020. 

Likewise, I want you guys to remember your wildly optimistic projections in 2020.

We are a long way from self driving cars making significant inroads(see what I did there) in terms of overall acceptance and prevalence.  A LONG way.

 

Edited by Swordfish

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