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      07-14-2017, 01:53 PM   #11
Roger Murdock
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Drives: 2006 MZ4C, 2015 Fiat 500e
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Originally Posted by NickyC View Post
The dawn of EVs, along with autonomous driving, has been greatly exaggerated. We're still decades away from either being the majority of what is seen on the road.
Funny thing is, I used to argue that about the end of manual transmission about 15 years ago. And here we stand, on the precipice of the end of driving with a 3rd pedal, with almost ALL but the most die-hard and hard core "performance" brands holding onto some sort of 3rd pedal offering as a gesture to the small, almost insignificant percentage of the driving public that can actually operate 3 pedals with 2 feet.

I see it as this. Battery and charging technologies are evolving much MUCH faster than mechanical/ICE technologies. For ICE engines to double the output for the same capacity it would take about 25 years (we've seen that trend pretty consistently through out the last 100+ years). For electric propulsion that is happening every 3-5 years now, and the rate will continue to accelerate to perhaps on par with Moore's law of doubling every 2 years. ICE can't keep up with that sort of rapid advancement.

Where we are right now, again, is where I used to stand back 15 years ago. I used to argue that automatic, torque converter based transmission can never keep up with manuals in efficiency, transmission of power, and package, that manuals will always be lighter, smaller, and offer better fuel economy.

Well, guess what? In the last 15 years, automatic transmissions have gotten much better at shoehorning in more gears, thus allowing über tall overdriven gears for highway efficiency, while stuffing in ultra short first 2-3 gears to achieve acceleration numbers on-par with manuals. Software designed to lock certain valves to force the torque converter to lock down instead of spinning freely shortly after a gear has engaged has continued to make gear transitions shorter, to a point that gear to gear changes on an auto now happen much faster than a human can engage in a manual. At this point the ONLY argument for driving with 3 pedals is the sheer "enjoyment" of being able to execute something analog as a lost art vs. "letting the machine do it for you."

In all reality, automatics can match and BEAT manuals in almost all performance and statistical categories, AND offers the ability for the masses to actually operate instead of only the select, initiated few (percentage of adults capable of operating manual transmission cars in the U.S. is probably in the single digit range. And I mean operate, not actually DRIVE). At this point manual transmission's future is bleak.

Sure, there'll probably still be some manufactures that continue to offer manuals for ROW and for the enthusiasts (re: Porsche). But for all intent and purposes, the manual transmission is dead.

The same can't be said for ICE propulsion, but the days will come when pure electrical propulsion can match ICE in all performance and statistical categories. At that point it would no longer make any sense to continue the "dance," just as there will no longer be a case for manual transmissions to be equipped on cars. That day is not that far off in the future when EVs can:

Accelerate faster. Telsa has already proven that electrical propulsion is superior than ICE propulsion in a straight line. The P100D, for all purposes, can accelerate to 120mph as fast if not faster than all but the most exotic of sports cars.

Has better range. We're not quite there yet, but the days where nanowire Litihium Ion batteries that will double, triple, or quadruple battery capacity while reducing the size, and improve battery life is right around the corner. In 5 years EVs capable of 300mi range will be commonplace. In 10 years EVs capable of up to 1,000mi range will more than likely be amongst us.

Can "refill" nearly as fast. Level 3 fast DC chargers can now add about 50mi of range in 15 minutes. I stopped at Long Beach BMW to get some parts, plugged in my dad's i3 to their fast charger, and by the time I am done in 15 minutes the i3 was fully charged. How quickly the EV can charge is all but a function of the difference in potential, voltage, and current...A DC charger capable of delivering say, 10X the voltage of current DC superchargers (5,000V) can drive say, 10x the amperage through at 1,250amp can potentially charge the i3 full in less than 5 minutes. A 20,000V DC charger can potentially charge a 1,000 mile EV in the time it takes to order a burger. These are all hypothetical, of course, but the technology is not far off. once the industry can figure out a safe way to deliver such high voltage through daily, public use, the days of being able to fill up your Tesla quicker than you can fill up a gas tank is coming.

Where to refill? This is likely going to be the last hurdle, as it does take government infrastructure spending in the power grid to deliver so much KWh of power to so many hungry EVs. THIS is the true roadblock to EV saturation, IMO. An EV can get 10,000mi of range, if you can't fill it back up with electrons (misnomer, I know) it's useless. This is pretty much the only thing that dictates whether or not EV become fully saturated because, other than the convenience of fill-ups, all other technology are on the horizon to make EVs far superior than ICE as a mean of propulsion.

So, from a practical perspective, electric propulsion offers the ability to better package (electrical motors are much smaller and lighter and can deliver more torque and power already than ICE motors), you can install 4 small motors to drive each individual wheels rather than 1 big motor to drive 2 or 4 wheels via a power sapping transmission, once scientists solve the problem of mass producing nanowire LiON batteries, the entire drivetrain (say, 4 small electric motors and battery) can potentially weigh less than an ICE capable of delivery the same power ratings (remember, the 4 motors concept do not require driveshaft, differential, and transmission). You can dramatically lower the center of gravity and increase cabin space because the hardware to deliver power to each wheel is no longer required, and batteries can be laid out to minimize space. Power delivery to each wheel can be monitored and individually adjusted based on surface conditions and operating conditions (i.e. torque vectoring on demand). Once the draw-backs for EV is solved, there's absolutely no reason for ICE just as there's little to no justification for manual over autos today, except for the raw, soul enriching experience of an inline 6 (or a high revving V8) screaming to its 8,100RPM redline coming from the @ss end of the car.

But BMW can program that into your audio system, apparently.
The hell I don't! LISTEN, KID! I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night! Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!

-Roger Murdock