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Thread: Why do we have gasoline cars?

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    Default Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Because the electrical grid wasnít ready in 1900 argues this paper
    Electric vehicles have a potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions but still face challenges. This study asks what can be learned from the US automobile history. In 1900, there were three equal contenders in the US automotive industry: gasoline, electric and steam cars. Only a decade later, the gasoline car had achieved a crushing dominance. This dominance is often attributed to techno-economic factors, such as an innate inferiority of electric cars. Meanwhile, the role of the infrastructures is not well understood. This study presents evidence on the mechanisms behind the rise of gasoline vehicles, using a database of more than 36,000 passenger car models. We estimated econometric models to explain the technology choice of car producers, which show that the slow expansion of electricity infrastructure had a key impact. We estimate that a 15 or 20 year earlier diffusion of electricity grids would have tipped the balance in favour of electric vehicles, most notably in metropolitan areas. In the context of the current climate crisis, the results support the notion that large-scale investment in infrastructure is critical to achieve sustainable socio-technological transitions.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-021-00898-3

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    You can't bring electricity by large trucks or trains.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Battery tech was lacking. Still is.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Internal combustion engines gained a convenience advantage over steam with the advent of electric starting.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Alcohol was the preferred early IC fuel.
    Oil interests prevailed.
    Methanol made from virtually any plant matter.
    Burns clean too.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    In 1900, most of the population was in rural areas, widely dispersed. An electric grid capable of reaching such a population was considerably more difficult than making vehicles that run on easily stored liquid fuel. Start with a farm tractor. The early cars were seen as a way to reach the cities, not move around in a city. It's also worth noting that today's batteries are only about four times better in terms of energy vs. weight than the batteries in 1900. There are some basic physical limitations there.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    In the context of the current climate crisis, the results support the notion that large-scale investment in infrastructure is critical to achieve sustainable socio-technological transitions.
    I’d say that social unity is more critical to achieving a less delelterious transition to lower fossil fuel infrastructure and there won’t be anything sustainable about the transition. It’ll be built on collapse. You can invest trillions in “infrastructure” just as we are doing in “defense” and still not achieve security.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    In 1900, most of the population was in rural areas, widely dispersed. An electric grid capable of reaching such a population was considerably more difficult than making vehicles that run on easily stored liquid fuel. Start with a farm tractor. The early cars were seen as a way to reach the cities, not move around in a city. It's also worth noting that today's batteries are only about four times better in terms of energy vs. weight than the batteries in 1900. There are some basic physical limitations there.
    Makes better sense than most reasons given and is logical when one looks at the portable energy picture of 1900. A steam vehicle is still a complicated piece of machinery and lack of a quick start would have been bad for Al Capone and others. I have watched people try to make a viable electric vehicle for decades and even with modern technology it is difficult. Lots of attempts during the 70's fuel crisis but few could supplant vehicles in most cases. Some electric vehicles are now very good and able to find space on American roads in some, but not all, cases. The electric boat is much less viable as energy requirements to move a boat are much greater per weight/mile at reasonable speed.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    We estimate that a 15 or 20 year earlier diffusion of electricity grids would have tipped the balance in favour of electric vehicles, most notably in metropolitan areas.
    It would have been hard to travel from one metropolitan area to another without a gas powered car back then. So households would have needed 2 vehicles.

    Not much different than a few years ago.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    In 1934, less than 11% of U.S. farms had electricity. By 1942, nearly 50% of US farms had electricity, and by 1952 almost all US farms had electricity.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    In 1900, most of the population was in rural areas, widely dispersed. An electric grid capable of reaching such a population was considerably more difficult than making vehicles that run on easily stored liquid fuel. Start with a farm tractor. The early cars were seen as a way to reach the cities, not move around in a city. It's also worth noting that today's batteries are only about four times better in terms of energy vs. weight than the batteries in 1900. There are some basic physical limitations there.
    40/60 urban/rural split in 1900; rural mostly couldn’t afford cars anyways.

    seriously like 4000 cars in 1900, the answer is the hicks had them?
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 10-07-2021 at 09:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    ford's model t entered true mass production in 1908
    it was an everyman's car

    in 1908 ford produced 12,000 model t's annually
    within ten years they making 12,000 model t's per day!
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Why do we have cars?
    FTFY

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    In two words

    Energy density.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    In two words: Energy density.
    In a few more words: Because even 80 years ago, you could get into a gasoline car here and drive to Boston or Seattle, limited only by the driver. (But that applies to alcohol-fueled cars as well.)
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    So much wisdom from people who can’t b3 bothered to read.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    shirley you knew what you were gonna get posting this
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    So much wisdom from people who canít b3 bothered to read.
    So write something worth responding to. What you provided contained enough buzz words and conjecture to not invite further reading and your pattern of using a topic to insult people is a bit of a damper on any thread starter of yours. Maybe you could discuss the topic you introduced?

    Sure a distribution infrastructure built for EVs is critical to popular adoption but the simple fact that oil derived fuel is easily stored, higher density and available in larger amounts than electricity is why it took dominance. To say electricity, steam and ICE were equal is meaningless when the number is so small.

    Wrt
    large-scale investment in infrastructure is critical to achieve sustainable socio-technological transitions.
    transition by definition isnít sustainable as it links two states.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Yeah, it’s my fault you are smug and lazy

    it’s totally expected Paul

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    O&O Minnesota!
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    Yeah, it’s my fault you are smug and lazy

    it’s totally expected Paul
    And your contribution to your topic is zip.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    And your contribution to your topic is zip.
    The inability to penetrate bilge boomer galaxy brain isn’t a defect of mine.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    In my opinion widespread adoption of electric cars will be limited by the electric grid and the charging infrastructure. Back in the late 60s I worked at a gas station located about half way between Seattle and Portland on I-5. We averaged about 500 fills a day - mostly to people coming off the interstate highway driving either to Seattle or Portland. It was 90 miles to Seattle or Portland. A bit of searching on line gives EV power consumption in the 24 to 34 kWh per 100 miles range. So taking the mid-point of that range (29 kWh/100 mph) power to recharge an EV after driving the 90 miles from Portland or Seattle to the charging station would be about 26 kWh and that assumes the cars left for the trip with a full charge. Five hundred 26 kWh fills per day would be 13,000 kWh per day (13 megawatt-hours). The bulk of gas sales back then were in the 12 hours between 9 AM and 9 PM. If I assume that that time period accounted for 90% of sales, the EV power equivalent would be 975 kWh per hour. For a 240 volt feed from the transformer that amounts to a bit over a 4,000 amp system. That is a pretty big power system for ONE charging station. However, at peak times sales volume was frequently 3-4 times the 12 hour average volume so to meet a similar demand a charging station would require about a 16,000-20,000 amp 240 volt system. Back then there were four similarly busy gas stations at that highway exit.

    Now lets consider the space requirements. I will assume that each EV charge takes 15 minutes (charging time plus vehicle maneuvering and connection/disconnection time). 450 charges (90% of 500) over 12 hours would require 10 charging stations if the number of charges per hour was 450/12. However, as I stated peak customer levels were as much as 4 times the twelve hour average, maintaining a 15 minute charge time would require 40 charging stations or 20 charging stations if patrons were willing to wait 30 minutes during peak business periods. Twenty charging stations would require a pretty big area when you consider ingress and egress lanes plus charging station infrastructure (transformers, rest rooms (the main reason people stopped after a 1.5-2 hour drive), payment kiosks, etc.). A charging station that size designed to permit 80 car per hour through put would require at least a 1/2 acre lot and likely closer to an acre. That is a lot of real estate in a prime area (i.e., expensive). On top of real estate costs building a 20-40 charge point EV charging station would not be cheap.

    Finally, note that I based my numbers on 1969 interstate traffic levels. I don't think anyone would view it as a stretch to say that traffic levels are just a bit higher now than they were in 1969. The result is that either substantially larger or more numerous charging stations would be needed to accommodate current traffic levels of a predominantly electric vehicle fleet. Plus, for the next 10-20 years there would still be a need for gas/diesel filling stations. So the EV charging infrastructure would be in addition to current gas/diesel infrastructure. Taken together those factors would require significant upgrades to the electric generation/distribution grid as well as substantial costs for charging station construction. Of course this can all be done, but it isn't going to be cheap or quick.

    Personally, my feeling is that we would be better served by improving mass transit within and between population centers rather than building out mass charging capability for individual personal vehicles. I know that the last time I visited a real city I used transit exclusively within the city and only rented a car for travel outside the city. I actually rented the car outside the city after taking transit to the rental location. Had there been transit infrastructure I wouldn't have rented that car, but I was going places where there was no public transit.
    Last edited by Todd D; 10-08-2021 at 10:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    The article seems like it makes some good points, actually. (as much as one can tell from the abstract), as one would expect from something in Nature. Early electrics were much closer in functionality to early gas cars than they were in, say, 1935, with some real advantages, in fact - reliability, ease of operation, noise and stink . . . Not having to start it with a crank was a big thing. But once the balance tipped, gas stations started appearing all over the place, and all the development effort went into gasoline-fueled cars, it was all over until there was a revolution in battery technology. Right now the major disadvantage of an electric for city use is initial cost. If that were closer, we'd probably have one gas car for trips and one electric.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 10-08-2021 at 10:20 AM.
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    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Keith don't forget charging issues if you don't live in a single family home or an apartment with parking AND a charging station. Many apartments in large cities do not provide parking, so charging is a significant issue for people who live in those apartments.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Todd
    Personally, my feeling is that we would be better served by improving mass transit within and between population centers rather than building out mass charging capability for individual personal vehicles.
    Which is a realistic path for a new transportation infrastructure than trying to replace the free lunch of petroleum BTU with similar quantity of kwh stuffed into a battery so one person can continue doing in a 4000lb EV what they did in a 3400 lb ICE vehicle. America is fighting tooth and nail to not do what the rest of the world is already doing. More people between wheels and fewer vehicles per capita. In the mean time let’s get excited about trucks(!) that can accelerate faster than sports cars because nothing says efficiency and low environmental impact than accelerating to the next stop sign like a drag racer.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd D View Post
    Keith don't forget charging issues if you don't live in a single family home or an apartment with parking AND a charging station. Many apartments in large cities do not provide parking, so charging is a significant issue for people who live in those apartments.
    True. That wouldn't be an issue for me, but it would for a lot of people.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd D View Post
    Keith don't forget charging issues if you don't live in a single family home or an apartment with parking AND a charging station. Many apartments in large cities do not provide parking, so charging is a significant issue for people who live in those apartments.
    Good point, Todd. Leads than to the question about what the impacts of de-urbanization due to the "work-at-home" movement mat have on urban densities. Will we see population diffusion into suburban and rural areas increasing, possibly making more space available in urban areas foe those parking and charging systems?

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    We have them today because they've been the norm.

    I wasn't there when all this began, but it might be a similar thing to why Los Angeles never got the free monorail. Oil companies didn't want bus competition.

    Monorails in the cities made sense, IMO.

    It looks very much as if we are going to have more and more electric vehicles soon.

    Back in the day, one could use gasoline/diesel engines to transport fuel to places that didn't even have running water.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    Good point, Todd. Leads than to the question about what the impacts of de-urbanization due to the "work-at-home" movement mat have on urban densities. Will we see population diffusion into suburban and rural areas increasing, possibly making more space available in urban areas foe those parking and charging systems?
    Consider that the "work at home" thing does not apply to blue collar workers. It is difficult to roof a house, drive a truck, work in a warehouse, repair power lines, or do any hands on job from home. So while white collar workers will be able to relocate and "work from home" in some cases, that won't apply to those that do actual physical work. Also parking/charging is a very low profit business which will be hard put to justify high urban real estate costs.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    We have them today because they've been the norm.

    I wasn't there when all this began, but it might be a similar thing to why Los Angeles never got the free monorail. Oil companies didn't want bus competition.

    Monorails in the cities made sense, IMO.

    It looks very much as if we are going to have more and more electric vehicles soon.

    Back in the day, one could use gasoline/diesel engines to transport fuel to places that didn't even have running water.
    LA would still be a car centric region if General Motors hadn’t stifled inter city rail there.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Baker Electric Motor Vehicle Company

    As gasoline-powered vehicles increased in popularity and gained infrastructural support, he shifted his attention instead to diminishing the electric carís liabilities, particularly their limited range. He worked diligently on new battery designs, shaft drives, and other componentry. In 1910, Bakerís new chief engineer, Emil Gruenfeldt, set a record for distance driven on a single charge, taking a Baker Victoria for a 201-mile trip at an average speed of 12 mph. Not exactly Ludicrous speed, but an impressive feat nonetheless.

    https://www.caranddriver.com/feature...mpany-feature/
    Last edited by Jimmy W; 10-08-2021 at 12:04 PM. Reason: added link

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by phiil View Post
    Why do we have cars?
    FTFY
    To be kings controlling the power of a thousand slaves. It’s a rush. Why else would Tesla, Ford, Rivian be promoting expensive vehicles with insane power. Nissan Leaf has been around for ten years with its measly 110-150 hp engine but what really gets people excited is 600hp vehicles. Yeah, that’ll be our sustainable socio-technological transition. Big expensive batteries requiring big high amperage fueling stations.

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Quote Originally Posted by phiil View Post
    Why do we have cars?
    Because we like going places quickly and easily, whenever we want, with little hassle or effort. And because we've built cities around them, so that getting along without one is hard in many places.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: Why do we have gasoline cars?

    Most of this is the big guys trying to make cars acceptable, while the planet is saying they aren't. The electric supply simply can't keep up with the ideas of the idealists.
    Mainly because it has to make decisions on base loads. Here in France, we get 80% of our Kwh from nukes. Not so popular in other countries and takes quite a while to get new units online.
    There is simply no easy answer and all the people talking about carbon neutral in X years are frankly pissing into the wind. Why? Because people won't want to accept the reductions in their lifestyles that it will need.

    Those that really do live carbon lite lives are a small minority, mostley because they live in places of low density. Doesn't work for high density places. Certainly not citys.

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