Hyperloop is a pipe dream


The coming shock in our soon to come all electric world.

The world over is giving subsidies for electric cars. Has anyone wondered WHY the world is so set on electric cars when FACT is they are NOT emission free. Making that batter pack is major emissions, yet its being sold by ALL that its a FREE LUNCH, just go electric and life will be good, you acne will go away, wrinkles disappear from your skin and you will lose weight…yea and it will be powered by Unicorns…


I don’t know about this. I am skeptical, as most modern engines in a car last easily 150,000 miles. There are very few electric cars that have cleared 150,000 period. Even if so, the engine isn’t the weakness so much as the drive train.

That is an improvement.

Aside from going up steep hills, I’m not sure why the transmission is a particular hindrance. 90% of my freeway driving is in 5th gear, and shifting up is basically seamless anyway.

This would be good compared to cheap low horsepower cars. If they make decent cheap electrics at some point.

I don’t feel that these improvements are drastic enough to warrant a fleet overhaul.
The biggest thing you’ve overlooked is maintenance. My understanding is that Tesla has been putting almost $15,000 into repairs on the average model. That’s a pretty extreme cost of ownership that’s being ignored because it’s temporarily being absorbed. They can’t do that on a fleet of millions of cars.


I never said they are emission free, I just pointed out that the cars themselves were free of emissions. Thus, if all of the cars in a city like New York were all electric the amazing impact that would have on the downtown of New York in terms of the noise and the pollution.

It’s also easier to manage the nation’s pollution in a few thousand power plants than it is in hundreds of millions of individual cars.

So the reality is that electric cars from raw material to scrap need only improve on today’s ICE’s to be better.

As more renewable energy sources come online, the energy used to create the cars will be extremely low in emissions. I believe Tesla is trying to generate most if not all of their power to build their cars from renewables.

It won’t happen overnight, it will take at least a generation, but America is still an amazing place when it puts its collective mind to something and I suspect there will be a point, like there was with cable TV, with Cell Phones and perhaps with electric cars where the economic logic of it will be undeniable

Can I get a source on that? Oh, that was sarcasm…


It’s not like electric motors are a new thing. All diesel locomotives actual drive the wheels via electric motors. The engines generate power. So, while Tesla may be having issues, it’s hard to say if this issue is indicative of all electrics or are there problems specific to Tesla’s implementation?

If you are a tech person, I can assure you are familiar with Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant”?

Tesla would be off the charts in innovation and vision but would be low in its ability to deliver and agility, but this shouldn’t be any surprise. It’s trying to enter an extremely difficult market and it’s trying to innovate past all of its competitors in just it’s first few years.

Do you believe that Toyota, or Honda, when they set their minds to creating an all-electric for the masses that they will encounter similar issues? I doubt they will be on the cusp of innovation, instead focusing on practical reliable cars.

No transmission.

Less friction
Less weight
Fewer parts to break
Lower cost
More efficiency.

Again, let’s not focus on Tesla so hard because I don’t believe that their product is necessarily indicative of what other companies like GM, Toyota, Ford, and Honda are capable of.

It will be interesting to see how the less expensive Tesla Model 3 does.


As CWolf pointed out, a lot of new technologies have gone by the wayside; including the supersonic airliner.

For one thing, that assumes the viability of solar power; another technology that hasn’t born economic fruit except perhaps in situations of isolation from powerlines. And although I value torque, it’s far from the only factor in efficiency; and converting one form of power into electricity is NOT as effecient as using the original form of power directly, where feasible.

I wouldn’t recommend counting those unhatched chickens.


I was NOT addressing your comments (you should know me by now, that I would have quoted you had that been the case).

I prob am the biggest fan of renewables you will ever meet…but, BUT at age 10 seeing a solar power demonstration was amazing and did spark a life long interest and belief, but as I morphed and grew in life to become the engine I was, reality set in. The renewables have gone from hope and optimism to hype and hucksters.

Windpower, good grief can you make the cost of electricity higher, not sure how, solar, no free lunch there. Even NASA grade solar panels on hit a high of 37% efficiency and they are completely unaffordable by anyone but NASA and B Gates etc.

Then the DIRTY little secret. Wind/Solar ONLY when the wind blows and the sun shines so the reality is your mega watt generating plant does NOT go away, it just gets bigger to support the grid and wind/solar are ONLY adjuncts to the grid.

Obama tried to do solar and it was EPIC FAIL costing the taxpayer $millions if not Billions.

I was just a big Home and Garden Show a couple of weekends ago and the place was full of Hype/Hucksters wanting to sell you solar panels for your home so you can live free and lose weight too. So I talked with them and of course they glowed with promises. Then they started running the numbers, WOW, thank gawd they were not selling stock in the market or I could have become a Billionaire overnight if not sooner. Even Huck Huckster said their panels were near 100% efficient and I could completely leave the grid behind me.

Then of course they ask how much is my electric bill? Ehhh about $125 mo x 12. Well of course they can get it down do near nothing…OK, fine, so my annual electric is under $1500 even on the hottest of summers, but your package is well over $25,000 installed incl taxpayer subsidies. Based upon that it will take 20 years to break even, not instantly you claim. Huck sheeplessly agrees.

Then I bring up the “RUB” and Huck asks, whats the RUB? Life cycle on the best of panels is a 20 year run with ever declining efficiency and the batteries that carry thru the cloudy days, that is a 10 year life cycle AT BEST, but in reality for planning purposes we use a 5 year for the best of batteries that are in constant use. So at the end of 20 years at the most optimal of scenarios I will have bought the system 2 times plus and extra set of batteries which are the bigger side of the cost equation.

Huck is dumbfounded, but being the sales guy and not an engineer he just spews more crap about how solar panels can cure cancer and athlete’s foot…as I walk away I see the Boiler room boss walk over to Huck and tell him to NEVER try to sell this junk to an Engineer!

All that said I got solar panels, you bet I do and have used them for years maybe 15 years ago I went solar, but I went Solar Smart and they fill and incredible niche market the most folks do not even know about. My cattle gates, all solar powered, I camp out a lot sometimes out for a week or 10 days and I enjoy the benefits of solar panels that power my tent lights and charge my cell fone etc. My back pack has a solar panel for charging cell fone. YES there is lots of uses for Solar and in fact it pays for itself. Can you imagine the costs to run electric to my cattle gates of which I have 4, but a small 10 watt solar panel and a cheap car battery has opened those gates for almost 10 years at a savings of about $10,000 to install hard wired underground electric, my solar cost: Panel and battery about $100 and I am at $10 per year cost factor and getting better every year.

Electric cars: Fine if you want the govt to KNOW every move you make! That smart Fridge and HVAC, FINE if you want it control by some faceless bureaucrat who sees that your fridge is to cold or your AC set to low or heat to high and he either adjusts or just shuts it off for a while to teach you a lesson…YES we have that tech down to that level of granularity TODAY! And now you know, why the govt is obsessed with electric cars and SMART appliances…NOTHING to do with emissions or pollution, everything to do with CONTROL!


Yes and there are very specific reasons for that. But given the lack of reasons related to the technology in question, I could simply counter by saying “lots of technologies become game changers”.

The question should be, why will electrics succeed or fail?

The answer seems blatantly obvious.

There is a very real limit to the amount of energy you can store by volume and weight in a battery. First, batteries today are 1/2 the weight today per unit of energy then they were in 1990 by volume, that is, the same size battery can make the same amount of power at 1/2 the weight. The theoretical limit of Lithium-ion is about 1/2 the wight we have today per unit of energy by volume.

Without getting into the physics it’s easy to look at the periodic table and determine the best elements for making batteries. Unfortunately, the best combination is Lithium and Florine, the problem is they are highly reactive. So much so NASA once mixed them to make a very powerful rocket fuel, but it was too dangerous.

Another alternative on the horizon is Lithium Sulfur battery which would weigh 30% less than lithium-ion (again by energy unit and volume).

After that, there is Lithium Oxegen. An even harder technology, but if it can be achieved it would be 25% lighter than lithium sulfur.

Ok, ok, so I think it safe to say that given current battery tech and possible improvements, battery technology itself will advance to the point that electric cars won’t be rendered improbable because of battery technology.

There is one other problem, and it’s probably the more significant one.

All of the combinations involve lithium. If the world went electric, is there enough lithium to make all the batteries necessary to power the worlds electronic devices?

I’ve seen some estimates on how much capacity the world would need with current technology to make renewables viable. Since wind, solar and tidal vary, these sources would have to store energy created at peak demand to supply constant power during off-peak times.

Having said that, I’m not aware of any limitation of Lithium (or Beryllium another possibility) that would prevent the world from using a combination of renewables and lighter denser batteries.

In the end, politics and unfounded beliefs aren’t going to drive the market. Efficiency and cost will. There is nothing I’ve seen when looking at the physics that prevents these technologies from increasing in efficiency over the next 30 years.

Gut feeling or do you know of some real, tangible technical limitations to solar, wind and battery technologies?


First, there have been advances that have increased efficiency to as high as 46%…

But I admit, I haven’t done much research on these at this moment, so take it with a grain of salt.

As far as solar only working during the day, there are solutions to this problem you know…That’s where battery technology changes the viability of solar and wind, but I will agree that the world will probably never exceed 75% of its power from these sources.

So other eventually viable technologies never experienced failures?

Again, there are lots of people that lie about lots of different products, not sure how that really affects the actual viability of solar.

I don’t subscribe to the “mean old government wants to control everything” conspiracy theory, however, I work in tech for a ($112 billion dollar company) company that hires some really smart people who fight off hackers and I will agree that the IoT (the internet of things) is incredibly dangerous. Companies are selling “smart door locks” which can be hacked with a cell phone.

Now I’m familiar with network technology and I know how to trace every connection to every device in my home. I can see all the files installed, changes to the operating system etc, but 1-10,000 people have the kinds of skills necessary to see into their devices like I do. Having said that, the onslaught of attacks against internet-connected “smart devices” like washing machines and dryers, Frigerators and other “low risk” devices is terrible. People don’t care about updating these devices unless, from hacking, all they care about is being able to see how long before the clothes dry on their phones.

Which is why it bothers me that this administration (or the last for that matter) doesn’t do more to raise awareness about hacking.

As a nation, we need to address the hacker problem before we go creating lots of internet accessible devices in our homes.

Right now, hackers want you “smart fridge” not to see what you’re eating, but to use the fridges IP address to bounce their content though so it cannot be traced.


2 things:

  1. Solar panel efficiency: That is a good chart you put up, but BEAR in mind it reflects OPTIMAL LAB efficiency. NASA is hitting right at 40% in outer space on their panels, terra based panes fall way below that due to, mostly just airborne junk, dirt, bird droppings, water spots, etc etc. Put panels on your house in the big city and the available sunlight is now degraded and add in the aforementioned junk and cheap buck China panels you are down in the high teens and low 20’s for efficiency. Progress on efficiency has been slow and they have been around for a LONG time. We need panels with a outdoor working efficiency of >50% to start really seeing good use from them

  2. SMART stuff/and govt intervention: SMART stuff is here and now, almost impossible to not buy it anymore. While yes you are prob being optimistic in thinking you are 1 out of 10,000, maybe 1: 25,000, but again that is a machine level, we don’t need a code head to be able to access your HVAC system at 123 Maple anycity USA to turn down the Heat or Up the AC, that tech and ability is old news.

But throw it in a database and a quick search of all residential properties in anycity USA gives me a long list of homes and with the flip of a switch and a dial to make AC temp reset to 82 F and its DONE! No coder needed, just the DB interface and a some govt worker and why does the govt do it? BECAUSE IT CAN! Therefore it WILL all in the name of ‘green earth’.

Yes but you could override, sure and better be sitting down when the bill rolls in. Customer Override AC, Bill x 50% for AC usage!

You work for a $112 B corp, big stuff, my IT budget was $127 M in '94, that was MY budget, I managed and controlled that slice of the pie, I was BOTH accountable and responsible and owned the spreadsheet.


That’s quite impressive and I mean that sincerely. My responsibilities are more technical. My unit manages about 200PB of data, of which I am the principal engineer for our biggest client, Deloitte, I’m sure you’ve heard of them.

I’ve worked on all sides of the business, sales, operations, R&D. I like where I am now and do not have any greater aspirations as I like the perks that come with sitting where I am.

As far as solar tech, I won’t disagree that it has been a slow road and were still minimum 10 years away from it becoming a viable consumer technology. Batteries are going to have to improve as well, but battery tech is advancing, much faster than solar tech…

Here is a graph of the last 20 years…

Economics will make the transition inevitable IMO, and I’ve aligned some of my investments to go along with my belief. We’ll see how it plays out.


@17Oaks, your mention of bird droppings reminded me of as experience my brother had (he wrote it up in a book for his grandchildren). When they lived in the last home they had before moving to a “granny” apartment on their daughter’s house, they put bluebird houses up. But it was decided that all the “white stuff” landing on the kitchen window screens wasn’t worth it, so they moved the birdhouses (a story in itself). They had an orchard protected by an electric fence powered by small solar panels. So, now, their fence isn’t working, because the birds are depositing everything on the solar panels.


We have petrol far as the eye can see, at least worlds supply thru 2050 at reasonable costs.

Battery is important, but LiIon is $$$…as my good friend and pilot found out, when his after battery pack in the Prius took a dump and he drove out just a hair over $5000 poorer he realized the cost savings in electric did not add up to $5k and he kept a LOG book.

What is needed and hoped for is a BREAKTHRU on solar panels and batteries, I think we are near and when that happens then its home run time and that will flip the world upside down. Of course you could or should ask the question: WHY has the govt(s) NOT chased the solar rainbow in a consortium of govts and private industry. Do that and the breakthru could be found and the RIGHTS to it would belong to WE the people the world over and suddely less costly and more efficient would be in anyone’s reach. But breakthru DOES NOT give the control over We the people the govt wants. In FACT, the last thing the govt wants is us to be grid free!!!

Good on ya, stick with what you are doing, me, I long ago retired when I sold my company, enough was enough, after 25 years of IT as a practing SW/HW/Network engineer which turned me into an Architect and that is where the real fun is, that an system integration, which I was a pioneer in. Deloitte, yea they tried to pick me up after I left Anderson (which I QUIT!, those folks could NOT spell ETHICS) and after seeing that the name of the game was over bill over bill I got as far away as I could…started my own company. You have a lot of diversity in the IT field, I can think of NOTHING BETTER. You are lucky, back in my day, you had little choice, you either could do it all and they found someone that could…


Indeed. It won’t take a central planning committee to get things going. How Austrian of you :smiley:

Of course, the US as a nation does not need to lead or follow. No one does. Meddling in a market will only cause problems.

BR discs and players do not seem markedly more expensive than DVDs and DVD players. It’s weird to me that anyone would use DVD. You’re spot on about tablets.

– And in any case, whenever the combustion engine dies, before that, sad as it will be, it’ll all be driverless anyway, either on a socialized transportation network or a private subscription or ordered as needed and paid for by the mile. Our interest and demand as drivers will change substantially. Dunno what that means for the tech, but cars will not sit idle for the majority of the day any longer.

– Oh, yes, and let’s not forget solar roadways, the other hyperloop.

– Oh, a graph about the 18650, my best friend :slight_smile:


All of which will require ELECTRICITY to power. WHERE do these morons think that electricity will COME from. By in large, it’ll come from BURNING FOSSIL FUELS!



It’s not that simple (and us morons know that), but you bring up a good point and it is the source of a lot of confusion. The truth is a little more complicated, but if you break it down it becomes easier to think about.

Now, you are correct in that electric cars are only zero emissions for the car itself, however, the cars actual emissions depend entirely on the methods used to generate power for the electric car in question.

In order to figure out what is better, we’d have to take all the miles driven by all the cars in the US and estimate the total hydrocarbon output (pollution).

Then average it out. Then we could create a metric for pollution per mile driven by the average combustion engine car. Basically, we do that in the average mpg statistics for ICE cars in the US, which is about 28mpg.

Then we’d need to do the same for electrics. We’d need to calculate the MPG equivalent with respect to pollution. That is, how many miles can an electric drive before it’s made the same amount of pollution as an ICE based on the power sources it get’s it’s energy from and create an equivalent.

Obviously, electrics themselves make zero emissions, so we’d have to look at the amount of energy that needed to be generated to drive an electric a certain number of miles then look at the sources of generation that make electricity for electric cars. Assuming that electrics will be in places that use power in the same proportions as the chart below, then it’s reasonably easy to figure out the amount of pollution created to drive an electric a certain number of miles.

Here we see the breakdown:

The question is, do these sources taken together when powering the average electric car make less pollution when compared equally to a car with an ICE?

Without getting into the specifics, I believe the answer is yes (less pollution), however, when looking at the whole world the answer is no in some countries. The answer in nations like China, India, South Africa and, surprisingly, Australia is no as electrics can only drive about 25 miles before the sources they get their power from make the same amount of pollution as the average ICE.

However, in other countries, the answer is a resounding yes, places like Brazil, Paraguay, Norway, Sweden and most of Europe.

The statistics I’ve seen basically take all the data and look at the data and give electrics a mile per gallon equivalent rating based on the electricity generation method.

In the US the average ICE gets close to 28mpg whereas the energy sources for electrics create the same amount of pollution as an ICE getting 40mpg (again, driven 40 miles before the sources they get power from make the same amount of pollution as an ICE). In India, it’s about 24mpg equivalent for an electric (one of the worst, and in Norway and Sweden it’s about 160mpg equivalent…So it varies quite a bit depending on the nations electrical sources.

So clearly you are 100% right, the issue is more complicated and there are definitely emissions associated with electrics, but they are still better than ICE’s in most nations in the world.

Now there are other factors I’m sure to be reminded of. The emissions to create electrics are higher, So, on day one, ICE’s start with an advantage and the electric has to “earn” the lead by driving and saving emissions over its usable life. Then there are potential emissions associated with destruction/ recycling. I don’t have figures for these, I just know electrics are higher emissions in the creation phase, I’m not sure how much higher, though I’ve read that from creation to destruction, they make less pollution.

The other thing to remember is that even if electrics and ICE’s were equal, one thing electrics do is move pollution from the cities they drive into the power plants which are typically aware of densely populated areas. This might be a big deal in cities like Shanghi in China, so even if electrics there make more polution than ICE’s they can move that polution out of the city.

Having said that. I don’t expect anyone here to just take my word for it. If you care, do some research, if you don’t, well, believe what you want to believe.

Anyway, hope that helps.


You’re assuming that the problem is Tesla’s focus and not the technology itself. Maybe Toyota or Honda can make an electric car that’s better than combustion engine cars. My default answer is that existing tech usually beats new tech unless the new tech is much better. So while I certainly think there is a chance that electric cars will replace combustion engines, I also recognize that most tech fails.

What you’re saying about electric, was said almost verbatim about Hybrids. But Hybrids are almost universally considered to be dead tech today. Hybrids have been around for ten years. They’re 2% of the market.


Making cars that run on battery power will never satisfy the needs of car owners, this migration will only happen by force and the increased cost and reduced utility will be economically devastating to any people who try it.

The same issues that condemned battery powered cars 120 years ago condemn the idea today, the odds are FAR greater that a new portable fuel type will be implemented if and when fossil fuels become non viable; but it will never be batteries.

Hydrogen is a far more promising tech and would be a much better use of an expanded electric infrastructure, it cannot compete with current fossil fuels but it does not suffer from a loss of functionality or create mountains of hazardous waste in spent batteries.

There is no lack of water and all water used goes directly back into the environment, the idea that running a car on batteries is worth a single investment penny is laughable, GM will R&D to the exact extent that government pays them to with our money; the profit motive will not result in battery powered cars.


Your chart: Source of Electricity Generation US '16 contains a FATAL FLAW:

Appox 90% of all power generation comes from Natural gas, Coal, Nuke, Hydro.

90%, but we are going hell bent for leather to change the narrative from those, to wind/solar/biomass and whatever scheme can be dreamed up.

However due to the fact that the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine, our electrical generation must always = 100% of the requirements. And now we are getting the the comical part. So the solution is to spend MEGA bucks on the ‘schemes’ that in reality all create more pollution in their making and installation on top of what ever is already in place, which must = 100 %, and now we are adding 10% more green house gases and pollution (at least) just to say they are more efficient, where they are not.

If I tried to sell this to anyone other than the govt or the stupid, at best I would be laughed out of the room and at worst be blacklisted for being that dumb.


Three lawyers and three engineers are traveling by train to a conference. At the station, the three lawyers each buy tickets and watch as the three engineers buy only a single ticket.

“How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?” asks a lawyer.

“Watch and you’ll see,” answers an engineer.

They all board the train. The lawyers take their respective seats but all three engineers cram into a restroom and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the restroom door and says, “Ticket, please.” The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The lawyers see this and agree that it is quite a clever idea so, after the conference, they decide to copy the engineers on the return trip and save some money.

When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the engineers don’t buy a ticket at all.

“How are you going to travel without a ticket?” says one perplexed lawyer.

“Watch and you’ll see,” answers an engineer.

When they board the train the three lawyers cram into a restroom and the three engineers cram into another one nearby.

The train departs.

Shortly afterward, one of the engineers leaves his restroom and walks over to the restroom where the lawyers are hiding. He knocks on the door and says, “Ticket, please.”


You’ve already cited the battery limitations. Solar isn’t cost effective without subsidy. Wind has potential, but nobody wants it in their back yard.