U.S. Comeback?

wxman

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Another take regarding the Environment from the Argonne National Labs GREET model. YES it will change gradually in favor of electrical vehicles (now diesel is tied or better than EVs according to the GREET chart below from wxman). In the mean time, if you have a safe running light duty diesel vehicle, why not keep it until your budget/needs allows to move into EVs? People might also buy used light diesel vehicles as a bridge technology towards getting EVs in the future due to finances, range, etc.

I have updated the damages from passenger car non-GHG emissions according to the latest version of Argonne National Laboratory's GREET model (GREET_2020 - https://greet.es.anl.gov/). I've also used an updated (2019) set of damage cost factors from https://www.eea.europa.eu//publications/the-first-and-last-mile (Table 2.1 on page 24). The "Metropolitan" damage factors were used for urban PM2.5 (€381/kg)

Here is the graphical representation of the results:





Note that the damages from the battery production are broken out. The "Vehicle Manufacturing" portion actually represents the damages from vehicle manufacturing and materials acquisition phase minus the damages from the battery manufacturing and materials acquisition phase.
 

atc98002

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Chrysler Pacifica commercial has/had a woman say how she loves her Pacifica. I charge it for two hours and get 525 miles.
What the commercial did NOT say is that it's a hybrid and runs for up to 50 miles on electric and then a 3.4L ICE takes over!
Yes, it's a PHEV, but it doesn't get 50 EV miles. It's rated at 32 miles, and that's about what my daughter gets. But even with the engine running it still gets 30 MPG. It's an amazingly efficient minivan. If you can spend the majority of your driving in EV mode, your overall fuel use is incredibly low. I can do that with my Niro PHEV, and in 19 months my overall MPG is almost 140.
 

nwdiver

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I have updated the damages from passenger car non-GHG emissions according to the latest version of Argonne National Laboratory's GREET model (GREET_2020 - https://greet.es.anl.gov/). I've also used an updated (2019) set of damage cost factors from https://www.eea.europa.eu//publications/the-first-and-last-mile (Table 2.1 on page 24). The "Metropolitan" damage factors were used for urban PM2.5 (€381/kg)

Here is the graphical representation of the results:





Note that the damages from the battery production are broken out. The "Vehicle Manufacturing" portion actually represents the damages from vehicle manufacturing and materials acquisition phase minus the damages from the battery manufacturing and materials acquisition phase.
LOL! How is the fuel portion higher for BEV higher than CNG when 'Cal Mix' no longer contains coal and is a mix of NG and renewables? Is that the grid mix from 1950? Over how many miles? The chart assumptions aren't on page 24 of the report.

Yeah... EVs take more energy to produce but pretty much every study has pegged the break-even point at ~80k miles. How often do you think a car gets recycled before 80k miles? I've already got 175,000 on mine, with the original battery and it's still at >90%.

I agree EVs ARE absolutely terrible.... wish I could ride a bike everywhere... but burning fools fuel is >10x worse.
 

turbobrick240

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Most of these models are basically throwing lawn darts at a moving target. The pace of innovation in EV development and "greening" of grid power far outstrips the models. Also, any damage assessment that omits greenhouse gasses gives an extremely incomplete picture of the real situation. The damages done from greenhouse gas emissions far outweigh the others.

 
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wxman

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The above graphic refers to damages from non-GHG emissions, i.e., damages caused by criteria pollutants like VOC, NOx, PM2.5 and SOx. GHG emissions are also calculated by GREET, but I did not include those here.

GREET has been in constant development since the early 1990s, i.e., nearly 30 years. ANL has extensive documentation supporting its development (https://greet.es.anl.gov/list.php) It appear that that model has a reasonably good grasp on emissions at various phases of the life cycle, acquisition of materials, manufacture of vehicle, feedstock for fuel (e.g., well drilling, pipeline construction, fracking), processing the feedstock into fuel (e.g., refining), and direct emissions from vehicle operations. The larger uncertainty is likely in the damage cost factors, which is why I try to use the most recent sets available.

GREET assumes a vehicle useful life of 173,151 miles.
 

turbobrick240

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I believe the GREET models are a good faith effort to give accurate projections. It's not an easy task by any means. For damages related to ghg emissions in particular, I'm not sure it's even possible to give an accurate estimate. The climate interactions are so complex and multifaceted- maybe some AI supercomputer could tackle that somewhat accurately at some point in the future. But leaving those damages out entirely due to the uncertainty around them gives an unacceptably incomplete picture of the total damages done, imo.
 

nicklockard

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In my opinion, GHG damages are nearly impossible to model because the vast majority of cost is either: self-inflicted damages by societies choosing ignorance; or non-monetary (i.e. personal and family pain, loss of connection to community & place, loss of memories).

If one were to say intentionally try to only model 'hard costs' at minimum, like "relocate city "x" to a safe spot, then that could be parameterized. But people are predictably unpredictable. If you train the AI to expect humans to do the dumbest imaginable things and choices (thus magnifying self harm), it couldn't possibly capture even 1% of it.

Edit note: sorry for veering off the rails. I would personally hope that VW would bring a small diesel genset as part of a series PHEV hybrid. I think there's a strong case for them. Think: a small, quiet single cylinder Tdi making 68% of cruise power, a smallish battery, and one electric motor making 7x cruise power (sustained) and 9x cruise power (burst).
 
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bhtooefr

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I would personally hope that VW would bring a small diesel genset as part of a series PHEV hybrid. I think there's a strong case for them. Think: a small, quiet single cylinder Tdi making 68% of cruise power, a smallish battery, and one electric motor making 7x cruise power (sustained) and 9x cruise power (burst).
There's a few problems I can see with that powertrain specifically.

The big advantage of diesels is that they don't lose much thermal efficiency at light loads, due to the lack of a throttle plate. (The fuel is more volumetrically energy dense, but the need for additional emissions control hardware to offset the lean burn NOx emissions, and a turbocharger, more than eats up any packaging advantage that you get from denser fuel. And, the denser fuel isn't any more energy dense in gravimetric terms, so you're carrying quite a bit more weight.)

However, in a constant load generator application, the engine can be set up to just run at its efficiency peak, and the best stoichiometric spark-ignition engines are very close to TDI thermal efficiencies (~42.5% for the ALH and CBEA, versus 41% for the Toyota A25A-FXS and M20A-FXS). Additionally, if you do want more engine output flexibility, the aforementioned Toyota engines have awfully diesel-like BSFC maps due to their combination of late intake valve closing with wide-authority variable valve timing, allowing the intake cam to be heavily retarded to reduce intake charge volume with minimal pumping losses.

Also, a 68% power target is simply far too low, especially with a small battery. At least 100% of a sort of "worst-reasonable-case" (10% over the fastest speed limits, into a headwind, up a continuous hill) cruise power would be needed to avoid problems where you run the battery down and then only have enough engine power to maintain 35 MPH, something that has actually happened to BMW i3 owners. (With a larger battery, you could set it up so the worst-reasonable-case cruise power can be maintained for a reasonable daily range with the generator running constantly, but at that point, just use the space and weight that you're allocating to the engine for more battery.)

Finally, really not a fan of serial hybrids, especially if you're packaged such that the engine is right there in line with the wheels anyway ala the BMW i3. Might as well throw a power split device or a clutch or something in there, and then just have some engine flexibility to deal with the variation in engine speed in certain regimes.
 

nicklockard

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Excellent points. I would agree to bump up the continuous output to cover the fairly common case you mentioned (uphill, AC on max, against a headwind, etcetera). But I still maintain that for reasons of: simplicity, packaging, power delivery, and maintainability, a series hybrid works for most cases. I think the theoretical cases against it are far too hand-wavey. Or, if you *have* to have some parallelization, do it by splitting the drive wheels up: electric in front and fuel-driven in back, or vice versa, and have the coupling done through the road. Use software algorithms for torque control.
 

atc98002

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Of course, a diesel range extender would really have no need for a turbo. It would likely run at a steady RPM of say 2000 for the most part. But that's the only use I would want for a diesel. In a general hybrid, the engine is far too often in stop and run mode, and it would likely be hell trying to get the emissions in check. Perhaps a PHEV, where the battery has 40-50 miles of range, and the car has a heat pump so the engine isn't needed for cabin heat. That's the most common use of the engine in my Niro, unless I'm driving far enough I exhaust the EV range. I have 16,000 miles on it now, and my guess is the engine hasn't been running for close to half of it.

I actually think a genset capacity of 60-75% of the battery's capability would be fine. My Niro has a whole 60 HP in EV mode, and it's rare I need the engine for actual power use. If the EV has say 175 HP, and the diesel genset can generate enough current to provide even half of that, my guess is it would be more than enough. Don't forget that you only need that max current when really pushing it hard, and the rest of the time the current is flowing back into the battery. So there's going to be some cushion in the battery for a quick spurt of power, and after 15-20 minutes there's likely enough charge back in the battery for either switching back to EV mode or easily climbing a long hill. My Niro has a button that I can press to keep it in hybrid mode if I want to conserve the battery, and if I switch to sport mode it will slowly charge the battery while driving. Obviously not as efficient as plugging it into a wall, but I've made a 250 mile round trip, saving the battery for the town driving at each end, and still ended up at over 60 MPG for the entire trip. And that was over two mountain passes, each way.
 

bhtooefr

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Note that I was saying 100% of worst-case cruising load, not 100% of electric power.

Worst-case cruising load is lower than electric power in almost any BEV.
 

Dannyboy

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I remember the VW were going to launch the Twin Up! model with 2 cylinder diesel engine and 35kw electric motor, similar power unit to the XL1. It claimed just 1.1 liter per 100km. Then dieselgate put a hold on everything. Absolute pity
Obviously market has changed and it's all SUVs and trucks.
 

Pat Dolan

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Well, this thread took a sharp turn into the golf cart world! I certainly hope that the diesels we are seeing in light trucks will move public opinion back into the ICE/CI line, and there are a couple of reasons it may well happen. Obviously, the big one is range, but what is going on in the research side is some stunning increases in engine efficiency. Not long ago, we could bracket the various technologies as "SI=20%-30% automotive CI 30%-45% and cathedral 2 cycles (i.e. very large marine engines)50% for thermal efficiency. Today, we have the very best of SI gassers pushing up into the 40s but I have seen some interesting developments running automotive 4 cycles at 70% - to the point of researchers learning that the basic calculations for what energy COULD be extracted from a combustion chamber is essentially wrong. If those same researchers are right (and I have reason to believe they are) 90% might be achieved in the not too distant future.

So, what is so significant about this? Back to range. While the golf cart set imagines Tesla semis darting all around (on autopilot) the US world where trucks are limited to 1/2 of logical gross weight and get to run down billiard table smooth highways in battery-friendly temperatures, that is simply not the rest of the real world. We run trucks at 63.5 tonnes (134,00 lbs.) and up and we have to do it on roads that an autopilot camera will never be able to follow and at temperatures where batteries piss away a significant amount of energy just to keep themselves warm. On top of that, some of these road are off grid and offer zero chance of charging a big golf cart. With the range of current and near-term battery energy density running from 1% to 2% of diesel, and the need for trucks to have absolutely maximum payload, electric HD trucks are STUPID to even think about.

That takes us to the world of ships and planes. While we might think of ships as having unlimited carrying capacity, that is simply not true. The NEED really efficient engines (and have, at about 52-53% thermal efficiency for the largest 2 strokes) and will use new technologies to enhance that in the very near future. They need the range and high energy density fuel. Move off of the water and into the air, and the whole thing becomes ultra-critical. Lots of news about electric airplanes fly 15 minute routes - and that - very much like commuter cars - is actually not a bad thing. Won't get into the safety of lithium batteries or the environmental and resource depletion costs of making them, but as soon as you start flying any distance, you are back to distillate fuels in a flash. BUT: gasoline (for a dozen reasons) is a really bad idea for planes and boats and really REALLY bad for high altitude aircraft (where best efficiencies can be had) the era of endless super-cheap petroleum makes some applications of jets no where near as light as diesels (particularly low altitude, long range) and the shift to diesel is starting to happen there now.

Diesels are no where near their maximum potential in our transportation system yet. Just that they are going to have a big struggle at lighter weights and shorter ranges with competing technologies.
 

turbobrick240

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What percentage of diesel rigs rolling down the highways do you think weigh in at(or very near) the max 80,000 lbs? Hint- it's not a very large proportion. There's no point in fighting the inevitable- electric transport is here to stay, and we'll all be better off as a result. Take solace in the fact that all of the diesel rigs aren't going to disappear overnight.

 
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Pat Dolan

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To drag this poor thread ever further off topic: you hit one of my pet peeves right smack on the head. NOTHING pees me off more than driving down a Yankee interstate at half load (because that's all that is allowed) and pass truck after truck after truck running empty and worse yet, seeing the identical load going each way in opposite directions. In the world of trucking, the worst thing of all is to be running anything less than fully loaded - be it by weight or bulk. We are so far away from managing transportation effectively it makes me want to puke. Don't even think of nudging me into marine transportation!!!!
 

jmodge

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Commercial truck diesel engine technology is advancing also.

https://dieselnet.com/news/2020/07supertruck.php
All good as long as they can convince, educate, prepare, motivate, and compensate young people to diagnose and repair these vehicles in a timely and efficient manner. I question wether that process can keep up with the pace of technology. It will be interesting to see how technology/engineering/marketing/ and field work all adapt to one another
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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If I'm reading that chart correctly tires and aero show the biggest efficiency gains. Drivetrains look to be less. But still, it would be nice to see manufacturers continue to refine the efficiency and emissions of diesel engines.
 

jmodge

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Before I retired the last Dealer seminar I went to I met an owner/operator that had his new truck in for multiple shut downs on the road. They were just finishing their third week of diagnostics with no conclusion yet. I imagine eventually they figured it out and the next time that happened to someone it got repaired faster. The problem is with the technical changes happening so fast, two years down the road what they found may no longer apply. A lot of those gains get equalized out on the shop floor where the work is getting more challenging and shop software, tooling, and educational investments are reaching annual small fortunes.
 

Mongler98

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Before I retired the last Dealer seminar I went to I met an owner/operator that had his new truck in for multiple shut downs on the road. They were just finishing their third week of diagnostics with no conclusion yet. I imagine eventually they figured it out and the next time that happened to someone it got repaired faster. The problem is with the technical changes happening so fast, two years down the road what they found may no longer apply. A lot of those gains get equalized out on the shop floor where the work is getting more challenging and shop software, tooling, and educational investments are reaching annual small fortunes.
This is the 1 thing that sells me on electric transportation. Less parts. A hell of a lot less.
 

jmodge

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The average mechanic has to be quite a bit more intelligent than 25 years ago
 

TDIMeister

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Obviously, the big one is range, but what is going on in the research side is some stunning increases in engine efficiency. Not long ago, we could bracket the various technologies as "SI=20%-30% automotive CI 30%-45% and cathedral 2 cycles (i.e. very large marine engines)50% for thermal efficiency. Today, we have the very best of SI gassers pushing up into the 40s but I have seen some interesting developments running automotive 4 cycles at 70% - to the point of researchers learning that the basic calculations for what energy COULD be extracted from a combustion chamber is essentially wrong. If those same researchers are right (and I have reason to believe they are) 90% might be achieved in the not too distant future.
This is now my full-time occupation and I've started up a company in its pursuit. 90% efficiency is a stretch but I believe 70% is eminently possible - this is the target of an initial design prototype I am working on. 75% - is the long-term goal and 80% may be technologically within reach. Scientists and engineers generally know the pathways toward achieving this level of efficiency but are currently hindered by cost considerations and lots of ARPA-E and VC money being sucked up by "sexier" technologies than the 150-year-old ICE (forgetting their history that fuel cells, batteries and electric motors are even older tech).

PS: Anyone can play the game of claiming sky-high efficiency figures using freshman 1st law ideal air-standard Otto cycle calculations. I can play the same game too. Every other ICE concept that I have encountered to date claiming efficiencies of 70% or more are thermodynamically implausible and therefore BS.



... to the point of researchers learning that the basic calculations for what energy COULD be extracted from a combustion chamber is essentially wrong. If those same researchers are right (and I have reason to believe they are) 90% might be achieved in the not too distant future.
This statement is true and quite prescient. You might be referring to these researchers:

The practice of declaring thermal efficiency claims from ideal First Law calculations is facile at best and spurious at worst. The researchers in the above propose calculating efficiency from the Second Law of Thermodynamics using the concept of exergy analysis. I tend to agree with this but maintain that we can use both - using one to validate the other. What you might have read suggesting that 90% is possible do so by looking at the sources of combustion exergy destruction. This is denoted "D" in the bottom left of my calculation screenshot above - so yes, 90% IS at least plausible... However, this will not be achieved burning any conventional fuels in air - which typically have exergy destruction of between about 20-33%, meaning that the highest attainable efficiency is in the order of 67-80% if and only if all other processes in the cycle proceed perfectly reversibly and without any losses due to friction, heat transfer, etc.
 

Pat Dolan

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This is now my full-time occupation and I've started up a company in its pursuit. 90% efficiency is a stretch but I believe 70% is eminently possible - this is the target of an initial design prototype I am working on. 75% - is the long-term goal and 80% may be technologically within reach. Scientists and engineers generally know the pathways toward achieving this level of efficiency but are currently hindered by cost considerations and lots of ARPA-E and VC money being sucked up by "sexier" technologies than the 150-year-old ICE (forgetting their history that fuel cells, batteries and electric motors are even older tech).

PS: Anyone can play the game of claiming sky-high efficiency figures using freshman 1st law ideal air-standard Otto cycle calculations. I can play the same game too. Every other ICE concept that I have encountered to date claiming efficiencies of 70% or more are thermodynamically implausible and therefore BS.



This statement is true and quite prescient. You might be referring to these researchers:

The practice of declaring thermal efficiency claims from ideal First Law calculations is facile at best and spurious at worst. The researchers in the above propose calculating efficiency from the Second Law of Thermodynamics using the concept of exergy analysis. I tend to agree with this but maintain that we can use both - using one to validate the other. What you might have read suggesting that 90% is possible do so by looking at the sources of combustion exergy destruction. This is denoted "D" in the bottom left of my calculation screenshot above - so yes, 90% IS at least plausible... However, this will not be achieved burning any conventional fuels in air - which typically have exergy destruction of between about 20-33%, meaning that the highest attainable efficiency is in the order of 67-80% if and only if all other processes in the cycle proceed perfectly reversibly and without any losses due to friction, heat transfer, etc.
Not them, but you DID put your finger on the important point: it's all about the chemistry of the combustion process (not so much the fuel per se). Thanks for the link, though, really interesting.
 

tikal

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In this article this caught my attention:

"Electric motors only have a fifth of the parts of a traditional diesel engine, putting a question mark over jobs. "

So I could see a resistance from the Unions and other organizations to 'rush' into EVs in the US. Yes it is going to happen the change but slower here in the US than other more centralized governments in my opinion.
 

Pat Dolan

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The electric MOTOR has fewer parts than a poppet valve engine, but there are far simpler engine designs that don't use cylinder heads and have much lower parts count. What IS in an electric car that is far more complex is the battery charging and management systems, and the battery itself. IMHO, the big disconnect is the poor match between electrical and mechanical disciplines. Punctuate that with the need to be very digital savvy and that is where the old school mechanical dynosaurs (such as myself) are at a severe disadvantage when dealing with ANY new tech vehicles.
 

quartersaw

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Couldn't agree more with the second part (not so much with the first). It will take AT LEAST ~2 years ;)
Oil companies in the U.S., seemed to have 'cooked the books' on Diesel fuel pricing, which has taken away much of the competitive advantage over Petrol. That being said, I plan on driving my 2002 Jetta Wagon, into the ground. Since I am now retired, that will be a long, long time.
 
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