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Electric Cars - Green?


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Old 10-18-2010, 11:07 PM   #31
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My thought on why a battery could let the car get more out of the fuel is that the battery can store power normally wasted as heat during breaking to use during acceleration. I'm thinking there may be a better way than a battery, maybe some kind of flywheel.
Many years ago, Ford experimented with a flywheel vehicle. They modified a Pinto with a flywheel that was made out of a composite material. Reasons were for conservation of weight AND the fact that a composite flywheel can spin at thousands of RPMs higher than a solid single metal one. I never heard what the results were on this vehicle. The big story was the flywheel and no other news stories were ever printed in the MSM. Here's a story reflecting the author driving a flywheel-equipped Pinto:

Driving a Flywheel Car
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:27 PM   #32
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^^^ Interesting! My BIL had an ugly lil Pinto backintheday; that thing would fly (BIL is the best mechanic i know).
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:09 PM   #33
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I'm still wondering why there are only a handful of places in this country that can (legally) convert a car to run on compressed natural gas, which this country is supposed to have craploads of, CNG that is. CNG is safer than the LPG which is a more common conversion (CNG is lighter than air & dissipates more safely than LPG). I wanna fuel up at my house with a small home compressor.
Same problem as hydrogen vs gasoline: LPG and CNG both have lower energy density than gasoline so the equivalent mileage is much lower requiring either much larger tanks, more frequent fillups, or more limited range. On the other hand CNG would be a good alternative since the US has so much of it. Home natural gas compressors are a good idea but cost of these compressors is currently high.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:43 PM   #34
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Many years ago, Ford experimented with a flywheel vehicle. They modified a Pinto with a flywheel that was made out of a composite material. Reasons were for conservation of weight AND the fact that a composite flywheel can spin at thousands of RPMs higher than a solid single metal one. I never heard what the results were on this vehicle. The big story was the flywheel and no other news stories were ever printed in the MSM. Here's a story reflecting the author driving a flywheel-equipped Pinto:

Driving a Flywheel Car
About 45 years ago Scientific America featured an article about work done at MIT on the feasibility of the flywheel car. It pioneered the composite flywheel suspended on magnetic bearings in a vacuum chamber. The flywheel was connected in the chamber to a motor/generator that was used to either spin up the flywheel while "charging" it or to provide power to the electric motors in the wheels. The entire flywheel unit weighed about 150 pounds for a compact car and fit in about the same space as the gas tank. It had to be gimbaled to prevent severe reactions when the vehicle changed attitude. It was spun up to about 60000 RPM in about 5 minutes using a high current charger which would be available at "charging" stations much like gas filling stations do today. Being in a vacuum on magnetic bearings the flywheel had very low losses so that a charged flywheel would run for a week and still be 80% charged if parked. The other great feature was the lifetime of the sealed unit was projected to be about 100 years. Instead of changing the motor in the car when it wore out you would change the car body when it wore out and keep the flywheel.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:12 AM   #35
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Just curious- what does the flywheel DO when the vehicle turns a corner? We used to do a gag with a 15 lb milsurp gyro in a briefcase. Straight line movement, no sweat, but going around the corner was a hoot.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:41 AM   #36
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Just curious- what does the flywheel DO when the vehicle turns a corner? We used to do a gag with a 15 lb milsurp gyro in a briefcase. Straight line movement, no sweat, but going around the corner was a hoot.
That's why the flywheel is gimbaled. If a change in direction occurs the gyro or flywheel in this case will want to precess. Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotation axis of a rotating body. If the flywheel is allowed to rotate freely the gyro will rotate to maintain its original plane and no forces are exerted on the car. The same thing would occur if the car went up or down a hill.

By the way as I recall the MIT guys spun the flywheel up to destruction at about 100000 RPM but it slowly shredded the material inside the vacuum chamber so no problems occurred.

The MIT guys also calculated the overall efficiency from the power plant that made the electricity to the "charging" stations to the drive wheels of the car and compared that to the efficiency of producing gasoline to the wheels of an internal combustion (IC) engine car. As I recall the flywheel was about 15% more efficient. You can't say that for any technology proposed today including the best battery technology solutions or fuel cells;These are all inferior to the IC solution. There must be problem with this scheme I don't know about that because it sure seems like a good idea.
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