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Old 01-16-2019, 09:41 PM   #1
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Electric F-150

Guess it was only a matter of time:

https://www.freep.com/story/money/ca...ck/2595515002/
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:58 PM   #2
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When it can TOW and has real RANGE, call me. I'll have my checkbook.
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:45 PM   #3
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And where are they going to get all the electricity needed to charge these battery powered vehicals?
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:49 AM   #4
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When it can TOW and has real RANGE, call me. I'll have my checkbook.
Towing isn't a problem. The Rivian pickup is at the prototype stage, but looks like a possible success when it goes into production, planned for a couple years from now. It has an 11,000 pound towing rating, and more than enough power and size to handle that. Even a Tesla Model X can tow 5,000 pounds, and it's really not intended for towing.

Range is a problem; the Rivian has about double the battery capacity of a well-equipped Tesla, and that still won't give it enough range for many users while towing a travel trailer. It's a straightforward problem, but difficult to solve without consequences including great expense: doing the work of towing takes energy, but storing energy in a battery is expensive and heavy.

An electric F-150 wouldn't be a very good electric truck, but I think it's reasonable to assume that Ford would only build a hybrid of the current design. A battery-electric pickup could carry the "F-150" name and similar style for marketing, but would be substantially different underneath.

Robert, I hope you don't mind writing a six-figure value in that chequebook. All battery-electric cars are much more expensive than the gas-engine versions of the same vehicle, and the premium is worse with an unusually large battery.
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:41 AM   #5
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Have a Chevy Bolt (all electric-$35k). Charge it with solar at my house. Solar runs the heat pump, dryer, hot water tank. Electric bill each month is $16 bucks to use the grid as a battery.

An all electric truck is probably not practical for a towing application, but the cost of ownership of my Bolt is way cheaper than a similar ICE. It gets the gas equivalent of 117 MPG (Free for me). First maintenance for the car is 150,000 miles besides windshield washer fluid and tires. No oil changes, tranny fluid, etc. and the car uses regenerative braking so brake pads are not expected to wear much.

Speaking of tires, my first set lasted 12,000 miles because I can't help blowing the doors off every ICE car that pulls around me at an intersection thinking my little spec of a car is slow. It's a little rocket ship.

Another upside is every morning you start with a full tank of gas. I never have to stop for gas. Distance to charge is 150 to 225 miles depending on the outside temperature. For all my normal driving, it is fantastic. Unfortunately it takes a few hours to charge meaning its a great second car, but I still have a Honda Pilot to pull a trailer and go long distances in comfort.

The Chevy Volt's hybrid system of electric drive and tuned generator scaled up would be just the ticket for a truck. Tons of torque, range and locally almost free to drive. If someone builds that, bye bye Pilot.
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:31 AM   #6
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My older brother and I had slot car racers growing up, and I've been waiting 50 years for the Interstate Highway System to adapt a 1970's style "slot car" technology where once you are driving on an interstate, you can simply drop an electric contact blade from the bottom of your vehicle frame down into an energized slot in the designated lane of the interstate roadway, and then you just sit back and cruse with the slot powering an electric motor in your vehicle while also guiding your vehicle down the highway. I loved those old slot car racers....
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Old 01-17-2019, 09:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilola View Post
Guess it was only a matter of time:

https://www.freep.com/story/money/ca...ck/2595515002/
Hi: Hilola... SHOCKING!!! Alf
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:11 PM   #8
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An electric F150 might be okay for farmers, tradesmen, and anyone who needs a truck and doesn't have to drive long distances during the day. That depends upon the price of the thing, of course.
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Old 01-17-2019, 03:08 PM   #9
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An electric F150 might be okay for farmers, tradesmen, and anyone who needs a truck and doesn't have to drive long distances during the day. That depends upon the price of the thing, of course.
This is why limited-production electric vehicles - usually consisting of a glider (vehicle without powertrain) from a mass manufacturer plus a battery and motor system from an upfitter - have been around ever since automobiles were invented. The companies doing this come and go... and it is only a matter of time before each one goes.

Companies such as Ford will produce this type of vehicle when there is a sufficient market; that appears to be coming in a few years.
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Old 01-17-2019, 03:42 PM   #10
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Have a Chevy Bolt (all electric-$35k).
...
Speaking of tires, my first set lasted 12,000 miles because I can't help blowing the doors off every ICE car that pulls around me at an intersection thinking my little spec of a car is slow. It's a little rocket ship.
EV enthusiasts certainly are enthusiastic. Reality is a little different.

The Bolt has a 200 horsepower motor, which is pretty good for the size of the car. Low-speed performance is typically good in EVs, because the motor delivers full power over a wide range of speeds, so there's no need to shift a transmission for best performance or reach a high enough road speed to get the engine turning fast enough. The result is a zero to 60 mph time which is typical of modern sporty cars; it's a fraction of a second faster than my Mazda 3, which is quite enjoyable to drive.

This is one challenge for potential manufacturers of electric pickup trucks. They have so much power "for towing and hauling" (although most pickup drivers never tow and rarely haul) that when not loaded they are quicker than most cars. For example, an EcoBoost 3.5 F-150 is about as quick up to 60 mph as the Bolt... and certainly quicker at higher speeds.

Just a note about on-road performance comparisons: the other person is not racing you (and you should not be racing anyone on a public road), so which one of you reaches the other side of the intersection first doesn't say anything about the performance potential of your cars. I drove a 78-horsepower economy car for many years, and I realized very early that if I wanted to pull away from other traffic leaving any stoplight I could... because almost everyone's acceleration is limited by their choice as a driver, not by the capability of their vehicle.
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:48 PM   #11
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I'm hoping that hydrogen fuel cells will be the answer to low emissions, long range towing in a pickup. The exhaust is water and the drive are electric motors so one would have the torque advantages of electric with the range of gasoline.

The main limiting factor is hydrogen fuel stations. That is a lot of infrastructure that needs to be developed to support widespread fuel cell use.
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Old 01-17-2019, 10:42 PM   #12
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I think Toyota is betting on hydrogen fuel cells. I'm not sure that's a good bet, though. The infrastructure problem may be insurmountable, given that national electrical grids already exist.
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Old 01-17-2019, 10:53 PM   #13
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BC and California jumped on board, but the boat never left the dock.
I had to photograph hydrogen buses several times and they are visually boring. You open a cover and underneath is a metal box. No indication anything is happening. Much easier to sell NASCAR.
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In British Columbia, Canada, five fueling stations were built, one each in Whistler, at the University of British Columbia and in Burnaby, and two others that were later moved to Surrey. But aside from Whistler they are little-used. Reportedly, only three leased Ford fuel cell cars remain in Surrey, and there is a fleet of 20 hydrogen buses in Whistler. There are no official plans to build any more fuelling stations as the Hydrogen Highway project closed in 2011.[36] The hydrogen bus experiment in Whistler ended in March 2014 due to high maintenance and fuel costs, the hydrogen fueling station there was dismantled, and diesel-powered buses replaced the hydrogen buses.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:08 PM   #14
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GM build a Silverado ZH2 for the Army
https://driving.ca/chevrolet/auto-ne...r-the-military
Toyota is also betting big on HFC SUVs and pickups for early 2020s, than there's Tesla, Elon Musk is working on a pickup by 2020
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:24 AM   #15
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I'm hoping that hydrogen fuel cells will be the answer to low emissions, long range towing in a pickup. The exhaust is water and the drive are electric motors so one would have the torque advantages of electric with the range of gasoline.

The main limiting factor is hydrogen fuel stations. That is a lot of infrastructure that needs to be developed to support widespread fuel cell use.
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I think Toyota is betting on hydrogen fuel cells. I'm not sure that's a good bet, though. The infrastructure problem may be insurmountable, given that national electrical grids already exist.
The whole system of hydrogen as a transportation fuel has massive problems, and distribution is one problematic aspect.

On the other hand, the vehicles do work, and I think that if there is any application in which they make sense it is for long-range vehicles. My reasoning: in a battery-electric vehicle range is a problem, because the energy storage is very expensive and heavy per unit of energy; in a fuel-cell hybrid, the whole powertrain is expensive regardless of range, but the incremental cost of additional range is somewhat reasonable, because it just requires more hydrogen tankage (although those are exotic carbon-fibre things).

One of the proposed vehicles which has been soaking up investor money for many years and might actually be built is the long-haul highway tractor (truck) from Nikola Motors... which is currently proposed as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Another concept vehicle which is better connected to reality is Toyota's Project Portal; this truck uses components from the Mirai fuel cell car (but two sets of them). Strangely, the truck only has a 500 kilometre range, but it could be easily doubled if the truck were actually produced.

The Mirai components could also be used in a pickup truck. Two of the actual drive units (motor plus gearbox and differential, with controller/inverter) would work, with one at each axle; two fuel cell stacks (which could go under the cab) would provide enough power. The problem, as usual, would be fitting in enough hydrogen... assuming that you actually want space left in the box to carry cargo.

A few auto manufacturers have tried hydrogen fuel cells in recent years (the fuel cells have been around for several decades), but Toyota is probably the most enthusiastic about them. I don't recall Ford showing any interest in them.
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:25 PM   #16
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I'm hoping that hydrogen fuel cells will be the answer to low emissions, long range towing in a pickup. The exhaust is water and the drive are electric motors so one would have the torque advantages of electric with the range of gasoline.

The main limiting factor is hydrogen fuel stations. That is a lot of infrastructure that needs to be developed to support widespread fuel cell use.
Storage is also a problem with hydrogen. Unlike propane, it is very difficult to compress hydrogen to the point where it becomes a liquid that provides relatively low pressure storage. Most of the vehicles using hydrogen tanks store the gas at thousands of PSI, and still have limited range.

Now, if someone made a high power fuel cell that ran efficiently on propane, that might be practical. While limited compared to gasoline of diesel, there is a infrastructure for propane distribution.

Watts Fuel Cell Corp makes a 1KW propane based fuel cell, but I don't know of one that can produce a couple 100KWs necessary to power a typical electric vehicle. I did see Chevy's Equinox fuel celled vehicle at the New York State Fair a couple of years ago. Powered by a hydrogen based 93KW fuel cell the size of a bread box. Very nice, but according the the engineers that were manning the booth, each fuel cell cost GM $1,000,000.
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Old 01-18-2019, 02:54 PM   #17
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Storage is also a problem with hydrogen. Unlike propane, it is very difficult to compress hydrogen to the point where it becomes a liquid that provides relatively low pressure storage. Most of the vehicles using hydrogen tanks store the gas at thousands of PSI, and still have limited range.
The problem with liquefying hydrogen is the need for extremely low temperature (about 20 K, which is -253 C or -423 F); that wastes a lot of energy. While some rockets use liquid hydrogen, it's not practical and so all fuel cell road vehicles use compressed hydrogen... which means handling a difficult gas at extreme pressure. Despite high-tech materials, the tanks weigh much more than the hydrogen which they contain.

Still, adding compressed hydrogen tanks for range (one you have the whole hydrogen handling system) should be much cheaper and lighter than adding battery of the same energy storage.

There was a trend for a while to try metal hydride storage, in which the tank is filled with a material that combines with the hydrogen for storage and then releases it when needed. That seems to have flopped.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:06 PM   #18
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Yea, the Equinox used a couple of carbon fiber storage tanks at 10,000PSI, as well as a battery bank to even out the current draw.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:04 PM   #19
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Now, if someone made a high power fuel cell that ran efficiently on propane, that might be practical. While limited compared to gasoline of diesel, there is a infrastructure for propane distribution.

Watts Fuel Cell Corp makes a 1KW propane based fuel cell, but I don't know of one that can produce a couple 100KWs necessary to power a typical electric vehicle..
The problem is that fuel cells fundamentally work on hydrogen. There are fuel cells run on various hydrocarbons (usually natural gas or propane, but Watts lists diesel as well, so essentially any hydrocarbon fuel will likely work), but to use that fuel they need to break it down to hydrogen and carbon dioxide first. If that is done in a separate stage the system is complex and inefficient. If that is done right inside the fuel cell - a design which is called a direct-reforming fuel cell - it must run hot, and is still not as efficient than a modern engine (at a many times the cost of an engine). All of the potential energy of the carbon content is just wasted, not used as fuel, so efficiency is doomed. If running on these fuels, a fuel cell only makes sense if very quiet operation and/or minimal moving parts for continuous unattended operation is important.

Watt claims that their fuel cell consumes 0.34 lb/hr of LPG to produce 500 watts, which (at 20,500 BTU/lb or 6 kWh/lb) is 25% efficiency. For perspective, this would empty a 20-pound tank in about a day of running an RV air conditioner, if you had three of these things in your RV for enough power. This seems pointless for a road vehicle, especially at the huge cost of an adequately powerful system.

There are methanol fuel cells which are somewhat more attractive. They have the same problem as natural gas or propane designs that the fuel cell only runs on hydrogen, but the direct reforming version uses a catalyst to get rid of the carbon, so it doesn't have to run hot. The efficiency is very low, the cost is very high, and the output for any reasonable size is laughable for a highway-capable vehicle. These are sold as generators for RVs, with the ideal being that it runs continuously to trickle-recharge the RV battery.

The common brand of small methanol fuel cell is EFOY, and roughly 100-watt unit costs about $7000 here. Based on the quoted consumption of 0.9 litres per kWh, the EFOY Comfort 210 model runs at about 22% efficiency (assuming my calculation is correct). Any modern engine does better than that. To make it worse, while methanol is readily available it must be quite pure to avoid killing the cell, and it is much more expensive than gasoline or diesel or propane. By the way, that methanol is usually made from natural gas, so there's another stage of inefficiency.

Most hydrogen for "clean" fuel cell vehicles is made from natural gas. The reforming is done at a processing plant, and only the hydrogen is (expensively) transported to and in the vehicle. The overall efficiency is still poor, but at least there is a chance that heat from the processing can be used by some other industrial process, rather than just dissipated to the atmosphere as it is in a fuel cell vehicle.

There are some uses for direct-reforming natural gas (or propane) fuel cells: I think they could be one component of a residential energy system, run to produce electricity when solar power is insufficient, with by-product heat being used for space and water heating. Of course the system would add substantially to the cost of the house.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:42 PM   #20
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Yea, the Equinox used a couple of carbon fiber storage tanks at 10,000PSI, as well as a battery bank to even out the current draw.
That battery is now typical for fuel-cell vehicles - they are hybrids, but fuel cell/battery hybrids rather than the more familiar engine/battery hybrid. The battery both allows a smaller fuel cell by smoothing out demand peaks, and enables regenerative braking without the need for a reversible fuel cell.
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