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Plug-in hybrids: Peter Sinclair’s clean energy solution of the month

By Joe Romm  

"Plug-in hybrids: Peter Sinclair’s clean energy solution of the month"


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Our favorite climate de-crocker, Peter Sinclair has now started putting together videos on clean energy solutions:

Plug ins are indeed a core climate (and peak oil) solution.  If you want to know more, here’s where to start:

The one last piece of the puzzle is the possibility of an aftermarket for the batteries.  The requirements for a PHEV battery are much more demanding, say, what a utility or renewable energy company might require of a battery for storage of electricity.  So after the battery is no longer useful for the car, it still has value.

That’s why it’s entirely possible you won’t actually buy the battery in your car, but merely lease it, which could dramatically lower the first-cost of the car, speeding the transition to PHEVs.  I’ll try to do a post on that some time in the not-too-distant future.

For now, kudos to Sinclair for deciding to bring his video skills honed on discussing the climate problem to elaborating on the climate solution.

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10 Responses to Plug-in hybrids: Peter Sinclair’s clean energy solution of the month

  1. Leif says:

    Great video. I had no idea that resale value for battery electric reserve could be worth as much as $2 to $4 thousand a year. That is about 10 times my yearly electric bill! ~$30/month) I could pay my electric bill and have enough left over to pay off my car and drive for free. A cash cow car, what a concept. Better yet, just buy the battery and take my bike.

  2. Wonhyo says:

    Sadly, the Aptera in the video (white car with three wheels) may never become a production car. They had a production ready prototype over a year ago. Then they hired “industry experienced” new management, which then insisted on design changes affecting 60% of the parts, increased weight, decreased side impact strength, and increased the required battery size, which would have increased the price. In the meantime, they burned through the cash they could have used to build the vehicles for 4000 reservation holders.

    The Aptera was unique in that it was to be the only fully highway capable electric car designed with efficiency as the driving design consideration (safety was number 2). Its aerodynamic shape cut its highway energy consumption in half. Three wheels reduced rolling resistance. Advanced composite manufacturing gave it top marks in all aspects of vehicle safety, with side impact strength four times the federal standard.

    I was really hoping Aptera would go into production along with the Chevy Volt and Tesla Roadster, but that may not happen. Somebody may have to produce the movie “Who Killed the Aptera”, as a sequel to “Who Killed the Electric Car”.

    I hope some car company will pick up Aptera’s original efficiency driven design philosophy and produce an electric car as efficient and safe as the Aptera.

  3. mike roddy says:

    Great video, and thanks for the info on the Aptera, Wonhyo. Looks like a much better play for a venture capital company than the $100,000 ego driven Tesla.

  4. TaylorS says:

    PHEVs are a great clean energy tool (if fueled by clean power electricity) for American individuals and all users of vehicles in the sedan market. What PHEVs cannot “power” is the light-duty commercial truck market, school buses, transit buses, trash trucks, beverage distributors, mail/delivery vans, semi-trucks, etc. The best and only fuel for this market that not only is much cleaner, most efficient, American, affordable, and abundant is natural gas. CNG (Compressed natural gas) is the energy solution for this market of our transportation sector. One diesel trash truck switching to natural gas is the same thing as pulling 325 cars from the road from an emissions perspective. One CNG trash truck or city transit bus can save a municipality thousands of dollars per vehicle per year. America needs to embrace PHEVs in the light-duty sedan and crossover market, and then support natural gas in anything larger than a 1/4 ton truck. CAP agrees and you can learn more at http://www.cngnow.com.

  5. Sonia Crowell says:

    Plug-ins won’t keep you warm for hours when caught in a snow drift.

    [JR: Why not? They still have a gas engine. AND they can act as a mobile power generator -- which is incredibly useful for dealing with the kind of extreme weather events that are becoming increasingly common thanks to human caused global warming.]

  6. Brewster says:


    Why wouldn’t it keep you warm?

    As soon as the battery runs down, the engine/generator in a Plug-In Hybrid will start up, and you’ll be pretty much in the same position you would be with a standard ICE car.

    But a better suggestion would be to stay out of the snow drift.

  7. Leif says:

    Even four wheel drive does not mean you will not get stuck. It means that you get stuck in harder places.

  8. Jay Turner says:

    TaylorS: Local delivery vehicles are actually ideal for plug-in hybrids and EREVs. Regenerative braking and having a backup fuel like gasoline, diesel or CNG should make them quite practical. I do agree that CNG or biofuels are needed for very heavy trucks and long-haul trucks.

    One beautiful thing about electric range-extended vehicles is that the range-extending generator can be anything that works–CNG or otherwise.

    And on the subject of cold weather: It’s not such a trivial problem. PHEVs perform worse as the temperature falls, and battery-electric vehicles have shorter range. It will be something that will need some fine-tuning as these vehicles become mainstream.

  9. Felix Kramer says:

    Good video! A possible $2-4K payment may be overstated, or a long ways away, and payments would derive more from “regulation services” (stabilizing voltage/frequency levels) and everyday spinning reserves rather than providing summertime peak power.

    Another good video out today: “Electric Vehicle Thought Leaders: The Future of Electric Vehicles (2.5 minutes), from GM, about the Volt:

    at http://www.chevroletvoltage.com/index.php/videos/videodirectlink/165-electric-vehicle-thought-leaders-discuss-the-future-of-evs.html and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3r9Os8VCZQ

    – Felix Kramer, Founder, CalCars.org

  10. xmizanx says:

    great info and great video.
    thanks for sharing