Volkswagen Shoots Its Other Foot

“Volkswagen will apparently be ceasing the sale of all-electric versions of the Golf (the e-Golf) — already a model which the company throttles the production and deliveries of in order to keep numbers low — starting with the coming model year.”
 
See Volkswagen’s Decision To Not Offer A Mass-Market e-Golf, Focus On 48V Hybrid Instead, Raises Questions
Time to sell shares in VW if you have ’em… VW is veering away from all-electric cars just to prove it has no vision. Even after the self and other evaluations following the lingering diesel fiasco they are making another huge mistake as the world of driving goes electric. No, VW, an hybrid will not cut it. I have one. I know. It’s a pain to have a complete electrical system as well as a useless, bloated and costly internal combustion system. That’s just wrong, like extra legs on a race-horse or hair that’s way too long. The world doesn’t need an incremental increase in overall efficiency of ICEd vehicles. The world needs a five-fold increase in efficiency available with EVs.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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69 Responses to Volkswagen Shoots Its Other Foot

  1. DrLoser says:

    Well, at least I’ve beaten it into your thick head that I’m talking about energy wastage that occurs even before you put the pedal to the metal (or in the case of the Solo, the plastic), Robert. We’re making progress.

    Irrelevant. A utility may have thousands of customers with a load that changes slowly and predictably allowing generating units to be turned on and off a few times a day to meet demand.

    That appears to be pie in the sky, Robert, and I think it’s just not true, but actually it’s not relevant to the argument:

    While operating, a generator can be operated near peak efficiency whereas a private automobile is frequently accelerating when efficiency is at its lowest.

    Fine, if you say so. This frequent acceleration occurs, I would think, generally speaking, up-hill. Or it might occur if you’re driving into a 100 mph head-wind, but let’s stick to a common case like up-hill.

    Now, I may be mistaken here, but in terms of a tendency to accelerate up -hill, there is little or no difference between the driver of an ICE vehicle and the driver of an all-electric vehicle. Do let me know if I have somehow missed your no doubt elegant and subtle point, Robert.

    The hybrids do better using a battery as a buffer but there’s terrible waste in duplicating energy sources in a vehicle.

    It sort of depends upon what you mean by terrible, doesn’t it? On a pure cost basis (CA$20,000 for a wretched little tricycle versus CA$10,000 for a Nissan Micra), it’s hard to feel the terror. Oh look, here comes Tsar Ivan on his fierce little pony!

    But, basically, with the VW design, all you’re doing is to extend the notion of a battery/alternator — a cost of |CA$150 between them — to include a mild saving when coasting down a highway, and possibly a bit of KERS on the side. Hyperbolize all you like, Robert — there’s nothing terrible about it at all.

  2. oiaohm says:

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/100276/uk-petrol-and-diesel-ban-all-new-cars-must-have-50-mile-electric-range-by-2040

    Now VW so called hybrid using belt driver to do 50 Miles I don’t see that happening.

    This is the thing in the UK and the EU they are starting to have fuel free zones in cites to get air population levels down.

    The big thing here is even with the power losses is generate power using fuel in a generator where you can spin at ideal speed so that burning is clean you have way less over all emissions even with loses from battery storage and transporting mass of battery. This is all produced gases lower C02 and all the pollution gases. People miss how much fuel due to speeding up and slowing down end up burning off in exhaust pipe and this is avoid by running fuel based engine at ideal RPM.

  3. DrLoser wrote, “Transmission and distribution costs for electricity in the US amount to about 5% of the total. (They are higher world-wide.) That’s a loss of efficiency right there. Then there’s a further loss of efficiency in taking the power off the grid and pumping it into the battery. (And a further loss of efficiency in pumping it back out again.) Then there’s the fact that the electricity generator has to be “always on,” whereas a “gas guzzler” — or what we normal people call “an automobile” is by-demand”

    Irrelevant. A utility may have thousands of customers with a load that changes slowly and predictably allowing generating units to be turned on and off a few times a day to meet demand. While operating, a generator can be operated near peak efficiency whereas a private automobile is frequently accelerating when efficiency is at its lowest. The hybrids do better using a battery as a buffer but there’s terrible waste in duplicating energy sources in a vehicle. That raises capital cost and maintenance cost. A utility can also operate a plant for 25 years or so with reasonable efficiency whereas most private automobiles are scrapped long before. I bet the average life of a Solo EV will be much longer than the typical ICEd vehicle. Capital cost does not concern me at all when one considers the costs over the life of the vehicle. Solo wins easily.

  4. DrLoser says:

    Fossil-fuelled utilities generally should be more efficient than a typical gas-guzzler, because utilities are motivated to maximize margins.

    Not my point at all. I’ll try to be more clear.

    Transmission and distribution costs for electricity in the US amount to about 5% of the total. (They are higher world-wide.) That’s a loss of efficiency right there. Then there’s a further loss of efficiency in taking the power off the grid and pumping it into the battery. (And a further loss of efficiency in pumping it back out again.) Then there’s the fact that the electricity generator has to be “always on,” whereas a “gas guzzler” — or what we normal people call “an automobile” is by-demand. By-demand is going to be more efficient than “always on.”

    Until renewables come to dominate the power generation market (and I devoutly hope they do), you’re still going to be burning a lot of hydrocarbons. The only real advantage that the electricity utility has is that it can pick between hydrocarbons, which in practise means very little petrol/diesel and a very large amount of gas (in the non-American term).

    It’s not clear to me that the atmosphere benefits very much at all.

  5. DrLoser wrote, “You must have quite extraordinarily high household expenses”

    Our property-taxes are the big item, based on value of the property multiplied by a rate. The gas-guzzler is close behind with fuel, insurance and maintenance eating a similar chunk of cash. The deal was TLW was going to pay all this when I retired but now she’s retiring too… I’d prefer to live in a tiny cottage in the bush which would be much more affordable but TLW won’t have it. We’ll die rich instead.

  6. DrLoser wrote, “a sufficiently large number of EVs will require a startlingly large amount of good old fossil fuel being burned and then dispersed at very low efficiency in order to be “clean at the point of use.””

    Fossil-fuelled utilities generally should be more efficient than a typical gas-guzzler, because utilities are motivated to maximize margins. Still PV-panels are far ahead. That’s why I recommend them.

  7. DrLoser says:

    It’s not as if I don’t want her driving Solo but she’s not a defensive driver… She should buy her own Solo.

    Let me see if I can parse this logic, Robert. There are two people, call them A and B. A buys a Solo, and is entirely confident that he is a “defensive driver.” B doesn’t want to buy a Solo, because B has way more smarts than A, but is prepared to share A’s Solo. A does not want B to share his Solo, because, B not being a “defensive driver,” will almost certainly damage A’s Solo.

    B has no compulsion to buy a Solo, because B is well aware that she does not meet the exacting standards of “defensive driving” either to share A’s Solo or to drive a pathetic worthless plastic tricycle in the first place. B would prefer to drive a vehicle more suited to her needs and capabilities.

    A nevertheless insists that B buys a Solo, even though he knows she doesn’t want one and even though she is not a “defensive driver” and therefore has a higher likelihood of death, injury, or vehicular destruction. This is apparently a satisfactory result for A, because at least it doesn’t happen in A’s Solo.

    If I squint, Robert, I can just about see the logic in this. And I don’t like it one jot.

  8. DrLoser says:

    There really aren’t two sides to the issue of whether EVs are more efficient or dump less pollution into the atmosphere.

    There really are, Robert. Ignoring your individual case, replete with home-based solar panels and so on (whose construction also has an ecological impact), the general case is that a sufficiently large number of EVs will require a startlingly large amount of good old fossil fuel being burned and then dispersed at very low efficiency in order to be “clean at the point of use.”

    Down the road, the balance will change, no doubt. Right now? There are very definitely two sides to the argument.

  9. DrLoser says:

    I contribute most of my pension to household expenses but I have a discretionary part that can easily absorb Solo.

    You must have quite extraordinarily high household expenses, then, Robert. Let’s say, by “most, you mean a 66/33 split. The Solo is going to cost you north of CA$20,000, which on standard amortization (for the purpose of a loan) is about CA$4,400 per year. This would make your share of “household expenses” around CA$8,8000 per year. Assuming you split evenly between the two of you, that would be a “household expenses” budget of CA$17,600 per year. That seems, not so much “easy” to absorb for a retired gentleman of portly years such as yourself, as “actually a bit on the painful side.”

    But that’s not the point, really. You are well aware that you will never be offered a Solo and forced to cough up the extra CA$20,000, because the history of the pyramid scheme — whoops, company — clearly demonstrates that they will never get down to #200 on the list (or wherever you are. You’ve never ‘fessed up. You never will).

    I have this rather sad image, in the back of my mind, of you opening the inevitable envelope from Jerry that says “We appreciate your dedication to our cause, and your CA$250. Sadly, we’ve gone bust. I wish we could refund that CA$250, but unfortunately there are certain legal issues that preclude this. Here, have a signed sepia-tinted picture of what might have been!”

    If you wanted to pay up for an EV, Robert, you could have done so already. See Nissan Leaf comments, repeatedly.

    You seem to bask for some obscure reason of your own in the full knowledge that you won’t have to pay up, you’ll be ferried around by your Far Better Half, and you’ll get your CA$250 back.

    I hate to break it to you, Robert, but only the first two of these are accurate dreams.

  10. DrLoser wrote, “He doesn’t want to buy his wretched little tricycle. He doesn’t expect to buy his wretched little tricycle — in fact, I’ll bet he’s working out what he can do with the $250 refund right now. He can’t afford to buy his wretched little tricycle. The sturdy young lady to whom he is married would kill him if he bought his wretched little tricycle.”

    Facts not in evidence. TLW may not prefer I buy Solo but she can’t prevent it. I contribute most of my pension to household expenses but I have a discretionary part that can easily absorb Solo. I may spend a little more driving Solo around but it’s way cheaper than driving the SUV around. The SUV uses more than ten times as much per km than Solo: fuel/energy 8 times less, insurance, half as much, oil-changes are infinitely cheaper with Solo… TLW will not object to me saving money. The real challenge will be keeping her out of it. It’s not as if I don’t want her driving Solo but she’s not a defensive driver… She should buy her own Solo.

  11. Someone wrote, “full of fake-left liberal nonsense”.

    Science and technology is not about conservative/liberal. It’s about understanding how things work. The environment does not work well when any active ingredient is pumped out and dispersed in the atmosphere at rates far beyond what Nature has done. Living things and the ecosystem just can’t adjust rapidly enough to keep us comfortable. Conservatives should be wanting to preserve our good way of life with enough air/water/land for all and liberals should be wanting to have the best quality of life for us and all living things. There really aren’t two sides to the issue of whether EVs are more efficient or dump less pollution into the atmosphere. The only issue is how best to promote/produce the new technology and retire the old. I remember using horses on the farm. Some people cling to that old style but we now have an urban society with farm tractors doing the work of many horses and farms that are dozens of times larger. It would really help if all the urbanites who use motor-vehicles used EVs.

  12. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    Be aware Robert, “TheRiddleTM” is there, because its answer shows how profoundly clueless your whole EV enthusiasm really is.

    It wouldn’t have been so if you hadn’t copied it from CNN and other such sources, full of fake-left liberal nonsense, which isn’t anything more than pro right-wing propaganda (visible from the bl**dy atmosphere, if you care to look).

    The whole thing has nothing to do with ecology or any other nominally or othervise positive agenda, and you would have suspected as much (regardless of your knowledge), if you paid any attention.

  13. DrLoser says:

    I’vae though t long and hard about this.

    Well, should we let murderers compete on economic merit?

    Tough one, that. I say no. But perhaps they could compete on something like playing the flute?

    Just a suggestion.

  14. DrLoser says:

    Did EMV deliver your Solo during Q1 2018 as you expected and you are about to test its efficiency tomorrow?

    MoSCoW, Kurks, MoSCoW.

    Must, should, could, would. It’s Robert’s form of plausible deniability.

    He doesn’t want to buy his wretched little tricycle. He doesn’t expect to buy his wretched little tricycle — in fact, I’ll bet he’s working out what he can do with the $250 refund right now. He can’t afford to buy his wretched little tricycle. The sturdy young lady to whom he is married would kill him if he bought his wretched little tricycle.

    No, as with replacement Beast, this is all a dismal pathetic propaganda exercise. If he can get 100,00 other people to purchase something they don’t need and don’t want and can’t use … the price will drop.

    Not as far as Robert would want, I think, but I admire Robert for sticking up for his principles as a self-obsessed miser.

  15. DrLoser says:

    Now, now, Doctor; if I hope to get anything from Hammie I must give him something to google for, don’t I?

    I don’t think either one of them needs an excuse to bring up an irrelevant link. But yes, I see your point. We can go on parallel challenges here.

  16. kurkosdr says:

    My Solo should get 200 mpge while an ICEd vehicle might get 30 mpg.

    Wait wait wait…. Your Solo? Did EMV deliver your Solo during Q1 2018 as you expected and you are about to test its efficiency tomorrow? You have never confirmed or denied whether your Solo got delivered during Q1 2018 as you expected, your last update on the subject was “I’m quite confident that the sun will rise tomorrow and Solo will be mine in 2018”, so pardon the question if you may…
    http://mrpogson.com/2017/05/01/the-latest-info-on-electra-meccanica-solo/#comment-374800

  17. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    Now, now, Doctor; if I hope to get anything from Hammie I must give him something to google for, don’t I?

    It’s only fair, don’t you know.

    (And never you mind that it reads as techno babble, it only reads that way because it is, these things have normal names too, but I’d spoil it that way wouldn’t I?)

  18. DrLoser says:

    Yep, another big source of pollution not found in extracting lithium.

    Absolutely. Lithium falls as manna from heaven!

    Except, no it doesn’t. There is a noticeable amount of pollution involved in extracting lithium, either from a mine or from a salt-pool.

  19. DrLoser says:

    More specifically it has to do with logistics issues arising from the distribution of chemical energy in various parts of an energy (delivery) system and their removal (or, rather, simplification) in case of a transition from a chemical-kinetic to an electro-kinetic solution.

    Ooh, Mommy! Please make the physics top! They hurts my eyes!

  20. DrLoser says:

    That’s trivial compared to the pollution resulting from the production of several times as much mass of plastic, steel, aluminium, petroleum, copper etc. found in ICEd vehicles.

    None of which is required to build an equivalent EV, of course.

    You’re beginning to sound like a ninny, Robert. Oh, and btw, there are active recycling efforts going that can get back up to 90% of that steel, aluminium and copper. Recycling a dead Lithium battery might be … a little more expensive.

  21. DrLoser says:

    You can switch to renewable energy, live long and prosper.

    I always suspected that you were a Vulcan. Can yo u do that hand thingie, Robert?

    But, seriously, if the world switches to EV tomorrow, or even some time in the next ten years or so, we’re not really talking about “renewable energy,” are we? We’re talking about burning fossil fuels (or nuclear, if you wish to add that in) at source and accepting a 20% or so lossage through heat dissipation and the like before it ever gets to this “free electricity” recharging station that you dream of. And you’re not dreaming about “renewable” here, are you? You’re dreaming of “free!!!!!”

    We’ve all been too polkite to point this out to you, Robert. God knows why. But you’re not arguing for “renewable energy” here. You’re arguing, for the immediate future, in vavour of wasting 20% of the energy at the source.

    I do hope this makes you feel a little warmer on a chilly Manitoba evening.

  22. DrLoser says:

    Well, should we let murderers compete on economic merit?

    Let me take a few minutes to think about this, Robert. It is obviously a serious question, demanding a serious answer.

    You are, after all, a serious man. You really are, aren’t you?

  23. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    BTW, the government understands those costs, even if most citizens don’t.

    So I ask all of you again; why are they willing to press the issue?

    (And please, leave the “CO2!” and “oil!” scape goats alone….)

  24. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    Also, Robert, the amount of materiel in vehicles is corellated to their intended purpose, an EV car is just as much of a problem as a classic one, if it has to meet the same needs.

    You are deeply mistaken if you think EV means “small, light and cheap.”

    What it does mean is a massive increase in pollution as the existing fleets of vehicles get replaced before time due to govt. fiat.

    But then, you never understood the real-costs (be it of systems themselves, their use, or development) regardless of the subject, have you?

  25. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    Thanks for playing Kurkos, unfortunately, all you’ve offered is what DrLoser already proposed.

    My response remains the same:

    No, no, no, I wasn’t looking for the excuse (based on a real fact, certainly, but still an excuse); I was curious if anyone managed to connect the dots yet….

  26. Deaf Spy wrote, “Where I live, 1/3 of the electricity comes from a Nuclear Power Plan, and 40% from coal. Now, tell me, how will EVs save us from pollution?”

    You can switch to renewable energy, live long and prosper. Nuclear power can be OK but it’s still very costly and not renewable. There’s no pollution like radioactive waste.

  27. Deaf Spy wrote, “you conveniently omit all the pollution that comes out of producing batteries”.

    That’s trivial compared to the pollution resulting from the production of several times as much mass of plastic, steel, aluminium, petroleum, copper etc. found in ICEd vehicles.

    2Fe2O3 + 3C => 4Fe + 3CO2

    Yep, another big source of pollution not found in extracting lithium. Then there are the tonnes of gasoline burned by ICEd vehicles going straight to CO2. Let’s see. 15000 miles per annum X 12 years / 30 mpg = 6000 gallons. Waste! Pollution! I won’t stand for it. I’m going to drive electrically soon.

  28. Deaf Spy says:

    I see, Robert, that you conveniently omit all the pollution that comes out of producing batteries. So typical.

    Where I live, 1/3 of the electricity comes from a Nuclear Power Plan, and 40% from coal. Now, tell me, how will EVs save us from pollution?

    Finally, how many Solos rolled out in Q1 2008?

  29. Deaf Spy wrote, “where exactly is the proof that producing an EV generates less pollution? I’d love to see such data.”

    The chief pollutant is exhaust followed by lubricating oil. An EV has no exhaust and very little lubricant. My Solo should get 200 mpge while an ICEd vehicle might get 30 mpg. Even if the electricity comes from petroleum, the EV wins. Where I live 99% of our electricity comes from running water.

  30. Deaf Spy says:

    What’s wrong with regulating out of existence something harmful to people’s lungs and planet?

    And where exactly is the proof that producing an EV generates less pollution? I’d love to see such data.

    Btw, how many Solos got produced in Q1 of 2018, Robert?

  31. kurkosdr wrote, “decided instead to make ICE cars go extinct by imposing tough CO2 limits, instead of letting EVs compete on economic merit.”

    Well, should we let murderers compete on economic merit? What’s wrong with regulating out of existence something harmful to people’s lungs and planet? Here, we ban burning rubbish because of the pollution and danger to travellers. Sometimes government just has a role to play in regulating society. It’s not a loss of freedom but a gain of security and harmony.

  32. kurkosdr says:

    An Objectivist, a Libertarian, or a Fascist?

    I am proponent of just-enough regulated capitalism. And yes, this involves having solid labour laws and also hitting countries that don’t want to pass solid labour laws themselves (or don’t want to enforce them) with massive tariffs in order to make outsourcing production to those countries as a way to get around domestic labour laws unprofitable.

    Also, I do think the economy should have a nationalistic slant anyways, because domestic production is more important for a nation.

    So, Kurkos, what’s your answer, then? Mhm?

    The government, instead of regulating the labour market so we don’t have Amazon delivery people peeing in bottles to make the timelines, and instead of making sure iPhone made under horrible working conditions in China are tariffed to make that practice unprofitable, decided instead to make ICE cars go extinct by imposing tough CO2 limits, instead of letting EVs compete on economic merit. That the whole reason of the battery, bring down or eliminate tailpipe CO2 emissions. It is not economical to own an EV yet and the world isn’t running out of oil, and cars account for only 10% of CO2 emissions, but laws are laws.

  33. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    In order to get the rodent to google around, I’ll need to hint, won’t I?

    So be it, the question of “the batterie” revolves around something called “ongoing revolution in (*spoiler censored) affairs.”

    More specifically it has to do with logistics issues arising from the distribution of chemical energy in various parts of an energy (delivery) system and their removal (or, rather, simplification) in case of a transition from a chemical-kinetic to an electro-kinetic solution.

    Note that the car (bus, truck,…) does not have said issues, as the energy store isn’t “distributed,” it merely gets to suffer lower performance once govt’s force the issue.

    They hope to solve the problem by forcing the public into the new schema.

    But what is the problem, what are they trying to solve?

    It’s a riddle, isn’t it?

    🙂

  34. DrLoser says:

    “Carbon fiber R&D” is completely and utterly orthogonal to “EV R&D,” Kurks.

    My fault entirely. I did not stress this enough. I assumed that you might, for once, stop and think.

    De ma faute.

  35. DrLoser says:

    It requires new materials such as carbon fibre (and developing procedures to manufacture and shape them efficiently on a mass scale) and a new chassis with an integrated battery. This is not something you can throw together in a year.

    In the real world, Kurks, we think of this as R&D. The alternative is to sell a half-baked version at cost price.

    I do hope you’re not writing Java for a financial institution, because financial institutions generally expect some basic knowledge of the cost-benefit curve. You could always transfer to the Robert Pogson School of Miser Economics, where the cost-benefit curve can be safely ignored.

    Incidentally, which one are you? An Objectivist, a Libertarian, or a Fascist?

  36. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    No, no, no, I wasn’t looking for the excuse (based on a real fact, certainly, but still an excuse); I was curious if anyone managed to connect the dots yet….

    Now, mind you, some domain knowledge is necessary, but since everyone – meaning you, Hammie, and your owner – likes to play the role of the internet-know-it-all, I wondered if they had something to offer; they do like to claim expert insight into all things, after all.

    So, Kurkos, what’s your answer, then? Mhm?

  37. kurkosdr says:

    Ill-gotten? Because money made legally as a result of university studies and hard work are ill-gotten, it should all belong to the government so they can pay their early 50-year old pensioners from the public sector, right? I expect this kind of rhetoric from Joe Monco but not by you doctor.

    Now, on to the point, making EVs requires more than plopping a battery and an electric motor in a Golf chassis. It requires new materials such as carbon fibre (and developing procedures to manufacture and shape them efficiently on a mass scale) and a new chassis with an integrated battery. This is not something you can throw together in a year. All those automakers like VW and FCA who think they can treat electrics as “yet another engine” option start with a major handicap.

  38. DrLoser says:

    What is the point of the batteries?

    I can answer that for you, OOP. They save on fossil fuel. Obviously. 100% effieciency over the next five or ten years.

    I bet you’re feeling really silly for missing that point, aren’t you? (Me too.)

  39. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    BTW, I take notice that some of you apparently managed to get to the real point i.e. batteries (or so you would have me believe).

    Now, I too, shall ask of you a question (why leave all this to the Doctor); read carefully, for I shall type it only once:

    What is the point of the batteries?

    In the answer, lies the mirror in which you are observing the riddle of EV.

  40. DrLoser says:

    I’m still waiting for this interesting cost-based equivalence between “developing mass-produced carbon fibre” and selling an EV at cost price, btw.

    It’s a sort of “theoretical” waiting. The answer might pop out of Zeus’ head. But it probably won’t.

  41. DrLoser says:

    How the hell did you expect anyone to think about business mergers when you are talking about mats made of dinosaurs?

    We need to read between the lines, Ivan. Or possibly between dinosaur footprints.

    Kurks is a special little entitled* snowflake, and we really shouldn’t melt his brain.

    * He’s not quite sure whether he’s an Objectivist, a Libertarian, or an outright Fascist. Very confusing, if you can’t be bothered to think about it, which Kurks doesn’t. Must be tough, growing up in one of the few Greek households that stashed away their ill-gotten gains from joining the EU.

  42. Ivan says:

    How the hell did you read my comment as being a comment about crude oil?

    How the hell did you expect anyone to think about business mergers when you are talking about mats made of dinosaurs?

  43. kurkosdr says:

    “Now, really, young man. If I can admit to a brain-fart, why can’t you?”

    How the hell did you read my comment as being a comment about crude oil?

  44. DrLoser says:

    Even making an electric car is not a case of retrofitting a gasoline car.

    Really, Sir Bedevere? And this is how we know the world to be banana-shaped? This new knowledge astonishes me.

    BMW had to find a way to mass produce carbon fibre for its i3.

    Bears crap in the woods, and the Pope is nominally Catholic. Well, that about rounds out three good arguments against leaving EV infrastructure to the R&D department.

  45. DrLoser says:

    Expect to see lots of dinosaur-matting shortly afterwards.

    Now, really, young man. If I can admit to a brain-fart, why can’t you?

    We don’t all have to be passive-aggressive lunatics on this site, you know.

  46. kurkosdr says:

    What it is not derived from is “dinosaurs,” which you clearly implied was your belief.

    The dinosaur-mating referred to automakers left behind merging together. Let’s be honest, many “just getting by” automakers like Mitsubishi, Suzuki, FCA and whatnot won’t make it and will have to merge. Others will lose marketshare to the first movers who predicted the trends. BTW, EVs are much closer than you think (2021 is the cutoff date for 95 grams rule for the EU), and it’s not like battery development is something that can be done in a year. Even making an electric car is not a case of retrofitting a gasoline car. BMW had to find a way to mass produce carbon fibre for its i3. I still think automakers that don’t have anything analogous to the i Series or the Bolt are taking a gamble to increase short-term revenue.

  47. DrLoser says:

    Ah well, enough of this. Let’s get meaty.

    No, VW, an hybrid will not cut it. I have one. I know. It’s a pain to have a complete electrical system as well as a useless, bloated and costly internal combustion system.

    By “I have one,” I presume you mean that your better half drives an SUV version of one. I’m open to being wrong here,

    Either way, one of you owns a hybrid. Don’t care which one of you it is. Tell us the model and the age, please.

  48. DrLoser says:

    I expect batteries for EVs to follow the same trend.

    So do I, Kurks. We’re on the same page here.

    The only difference is that I see it as a better value proposition to continue making “high margin” cars for sale, and to reserve engine development, battery sourcing, etc as part of the R&D budget, which is I assume what Volkswagen are doing. There doesn’t seem (to me) to be much to gain from selling EVs at cost price, what with the tooling up and the changes to the production line and even with rolling out the diagnostic machines for various far-flung dealerships.

    But it’s just an analysis from afar. Your POV is also an analysis from afar. We’d have to get seriously deep into the strategy departments of VW and BMW and so on before we could begin to understand what they plan for the next five years or so. And neither of us is in a position to do so.

  49. DrLoser says:

    Fossil fuel is mostly algae and plant matter.

    Precisely. (Although I might quibble and insist on “marine flora”). What it is not derived from is “dinosaurs,” which you clearly implied was your belief. I’m just pointing out that we all have brain-farts every now and again …

    I was surprised, though I shouldn’t be by now, to see Grece (who is wrong) and Robert (who is right) duking it out on this matter. Still, no argument left unturned, I suppose.

  50. kurkosdr says:

    Doctor, there is a reason why car companies today are making their own motors instead of buying of the shelf. It’s because the motor is the part with the biggest cost in the vehicle and a major point of differentiation when it comes to performance and efficiency. I expect batteries for EVs to follow the same trend.

    BTW, BMW is about to release the iX3. They are well into EVs because they know they are important to their survival. When the 95 grams CO2 rule hits, EVs will be the only way to make a true driver’s car.

  51. Grece wrote, “Oil is derived from a abiogenic origin.”

    I took geology 101 back in the day. When oil-people are looking for oil they look for certain classes of fossils from the ages oil was generated. While it is possible for petroleum to be generated chemically, it’s very unlikely compared to what living things do. e.g. The deepest oil well is a few miles deep. The average oil well is about one mile deep. There’s a reason for that. Living things operate near the surface of Earth. Geology may churn up the surface but it rarely moves stuff down very deeply. e.g. There is petroleum found at the bottom of oceans where waste products of dead things accumulates.

    In the solar system there are planets with an abundance of primordial methane which almost certainly was not the product of living things but Earth is not one of those planets, so it’s not a practical source of our petroleum. Earth may have some primordial methane but it’s locked in rocks and is not mobile. It’s certainly not a source of heavy crude.

  52. Grece says:

    Oil is derived from a abiogenic origin.

  53. kurkosdr says:

    Fossil fuel is mostly algae and plant matter.

  54. DrLoser says:

    There is a reason BMW started the I Series despite the fact it contributes minimally to the corporate bottom line.

    And there’s a reason that they’re scaling back. Which is in fact detailed in Robert’s excellent cite. (Funny how his cites never actually prove what he says they do, but I have to admit, he does do quality cites.)

    BMW execs, you may recall, recently announced that they were pushing back their plug-in electric vehicle timeline, specifically because gross margins on the models weren’t high enough.

    Call me naive, but both BMW and VW are doing exactly the same thing for exactly the same reason. Profit margins, as I pointed out in the first place.

  55. DrLoser says:

    I think they mean 48 volts my Doctor.

    Good spot, Kurks. I’ve been worried that oiaohm would pick that brain-fart up and run with it. Strangely enough, it takes somebody with a brain to recognise a brain-fart, so he didn’t. Still impressive tech, though.

    Now, about this novel theory of yours that fossil fuel is made out of the remains of dinosaurs …

  56. Kurkosdr says:

    Of course they can Pog, but it’s a question of performance and cost compared to the vertically integrated competition. With the battery being the major component in an electric vehicle, every company that doesn’t make its own batteries will essentially become coach builder.

    Also, building electric cars is a learning experience. There is a reason BMW started the I Series despite the fact it contributes minimally to the corporate bottom line.

  57. kurkosdr wrote, “VW, FCA and Daimler are betting that in 5 years from now, they will be able to buy EV batteries off-the-shelf”.

    They can do that now if they build their cars around them. See http://www.evwest.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=4&products_id=292

  58. kurkosdr says:

    Basically, VW, FCA and Daimler are betting that in 5 years from now, they will be able to buy EV batteries off-the-shelf. A big gamble with other companies pushing for vertical integration.

  59. kurkosdr says:

    48 valves?

    I think they mean 48 volts my Doctor. Unless we are talking about a 12 cylinder beast of an engine with 4 valves per cylinder.

    BTW, that’s less than what the first-gen Prius had, and less than half the bottom-rung (when it comes to hybrids) Honda Insight has. A minimal battery giving minimal gains.

    A true minimum effort by VW. The analogue of the betting on feedback carburettors when the everyone else is planning the move to fuel injection. Yes, it will satisfy emission requirements, but not anything (or anyone) else.

  60. DrLoser says:

    (To be fair to oiaohm, I should point out that the paragraph about “being on top of his game” was intended as extreme sarcasm, a borderline joke, emphasising quite how little Kurks knows about the subject at hand. Please do not take it literally. I don’t know why I’m asking this, oiaohm, because that is practically all you are capable of doing. And even then you botch it horribly.)

  61. DrLoser says:

    Expect to see lots of dinosaur-matting shortly afterwards.

    Well, you seem to be on top of your game, Kurks. I see you’ve already figured out where “fossil fuels” come from.

    Next question, then. Where is all this “clean, renewable, energy” going to come from? If half the worlds’ vehicles turn electric-only in the next five years, windmills ain’t gonna do it. And it’s far more efficient (which translates to “cheaper”) to fuel a hybrid with fossil fuels, which are turned into raw power at source, than it is to use the National Grid to transport power that has been created at something like 70% efficiency in the first place.

    I’m not saying that electric cars won’t take over the world at some point, you fool. I’m saying that there is a perfectly good window of opportunity for Volkswagen to make money out of well-designed, German, hybrid power trains. Which happen to have a far higher profit margin. And which, btw, at the moment need less lithium to build, which means that (until world lithium extraction gears up), they will need a smaller fraction of a scarce resource.

    On a slightly different angle (and this is pure curiosity, not some sort of snark), what variety of car do you drive?

  62. oiaohm says:

    This has to be one of the worst design hybrid I have ever seen planned for mass production. Lets use the start motor to claim hybrid status. Got to ask what is the belt life in these new VW going to be like.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle_drivetrain
    Using the starter motor is not any of the standard Hybrid vehicle designs.

    What VW had done by some is called “micro or mild hybrid” at best this has been demoing saving 6 percent of fuel under ideal conditions unless they have done something really different. Going to a full electric drive train with no batteries saves you 5 percent. You conventional Hybrid designs in city driving save over 30 percent and 5-6 percent long haul at worst. So what VW has done is between 0% to 6% by prior attempts saving vs proper Hybrids 5% to 50% percent saving.

    Unless VW has done some new trick its not going to be competitive none of the write up says any new trick.

    There is a in fact problem being at the starter motor you are having to spin the complete engine even when it not running this starts eating your saving.

    Mind you well done micro/mild hybrids is the last step you can do to ICE engine designs. This brings regenerative breaking to ICE without needing the extra volume in area for the parts for full electric drive train or shared shaft drive train.

    Yes micro/mild hybrids have lower production costs they also give way lower performance results.

    Question how financially sound is VW as what they have done could be pure desperate penny pinching..

  63. kurkosdr says:

    that’s a side-projects = that’s a side effect.

  64. kurkosdr says:

    I agree with Pog and disagree with our Doctor here (surprise, surprise). Pog is correct, because reality happens to align with his prejudices for once. The reality is that shift to EVs will require economies of scale not entirely unlike those required for the production of integrated circuits. The Tesla-Panasonic Gigafactory comes to mind. The Gigafactory is not a monument to Musk’s arrogance, that’s a side-projects. It’s because it’s necessary for Tesla to have a chance at producing the Model 3 at the promised price with the promised performance and range. Companies who want to maintain their market position 5 years from now are already preparing for the all electric future and setting up their plants and partnerships while putting ICE cars in maintenance mode. BMW and GM come to mind.

    Companies like FCA and VW think hybrids will prepare them for the electric future, despite being ICE cars with an ho-hum battery under the trunk bed. The real shocker will come when vehicles like the Model 3 actually become available for purchase and the Gigafactory is running in full capacity. Expect to see lots of dinosaur-matting shortly afterwards.

  65. DrLoser says:

    Let me give you a brief lesson in how R&D works in engineering, Robert. It’s almost like the Underpants Gnomes (your preferred method), but not quite.

    1) Make as much profit as you can.
    2) Re-invest it for the future.
    3) Profit!

    To quote the South Park character — you lose, fat-ass.

  66. DrLoser says:

    That’s probably true but what happens when every other maker is selling EVs hand over fist and VW can’t give away an ICEd vehicle?

    I would imagine that they will continue to use R&D to develop pure-electric engines, Robert. That shouldn’t be too hard to do, considering that they are rolling out a rather splendid hybrid with high-level engineering values. I mean, 48 valves? That sounds like something that will sell bigly for ten years or so, if it works out right.

    Your attitude to long hair is deplorable, if not to say hilariously irrelevant to the idea of a hybrid vehicle.

  67. DrLoser wrote, “I confidently predict that Volkswagen’s share price will be up 5% by the end of the year.”

    That’s probably true but what happens when every other maker is selling EVs hand over fist and VW can’t give away an ICEd vehicle?

  68. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    Lower Podunk in Northern Canada: Robert complaining about “perceived problems,” as per usual…

    Meanwhile in Germany: VW raking in money hand over fist, whilst preparing for the coming EU regulations (the real reason EV is taking off, as opposed to hipster-type gum flapping).

    (Don’t believe me? Consider the fact that our govt. already set the cut-off date to 2030, EU wide measures only need Angela to give the nod…)

  69. DrLoser says:

    From your (leaning towards eco-warrior) cite, Robert:

    While I can’t prove it, I’d wager that the profit margin on the soon-to-be-released 48V hybrid version of the Volkswagen Golf will be much higher than it is on either the current Volkswagen e-Golf or the Volkswagen I.D. lineup models.

    And admirable summary of the situation, despite what might be a biased basis for discussing the matter.

    If people won’t pay the going price, then there’s no reason for Volkswagen to cut their profit margins, is there?

    Admittedly, they’ll lose a certain proportion of the Pogson retirement funds, which weren’t actually being deployed in that direction in the first place. It’s a small price to pay for massive profits, though.

    I confidently predict that Volkswagen’s share price will be up 5% by the end of the year.

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