Saturday, September 01, 2012

"To Save the Planet " NOT!

There is old cliche which goes something like this: "No fool like an old fool." Perhaps those words should be modified to: "No hypocritical fool like an environmentalist fool."

The following is an advertisement on Ebay for a:
1965 MercedesBenz 230 SL Electric vehicle, finished in white exterior with a dark blue interior, both tops, 4 speed transmission, the motor is a ADC 9.1 inch,FB1-4001, the car has 19 6 volt PBV flooded sealed battery system , the voltage is 114 and this car can be charged with any 110 outlet and has a 60 mile range, this set up is very reliable , the batteries are very long lasting and top speed on the car is 60 MPH, runs and drives great and was designed by the creator of the EV cars GM produced in the early 90's.
The vehicle is pictured below.

The curb weight of the original 230 SL was 2750 lbs. After the modifications, this electric car now weighs approximately 2 tons (3965+ lbs).

This writer, though not an engineer or mathematician can justly claim a degree of knowledge regarding both the vehicle and its power source due to owning an unmodified 230 SL of the same vintage (see below) and having spent 10 years living off-grid utilizing these batteries to power the family residence.

Each of these golf cart batteries sell for +- $185.00 and weigh 85 lbs. The car contains 19 such items and they consist of mostly lead and sulfuric acid. Both of these substances are highly toxic and require energy intensive mining/manufacturing processes. In such an application the batteries with normal care and use will need to be replaced  in 7 years or less.

You, gentle reader, will doubtless note that this classic car displays New York license # ZERO-CO2 and is offered for sale in Malibu, California. These locations are separated by a distance of 3000 miles. In the highly unlikely event that it was driven that distance, the journey would have required +-50 days. This figure is arrived at by computing thusly: range of 1 charge of the batteries =60 mi. @ speed max 60 mph., recharge time for the battery pac =16 hrs+-.

Let us discount that recharging the batteries requires a 120v electrical outlet drawing 30 Amperes for 16 hours fed by an "evil" coal or gas fired power plant spewing noxious pollution into the atmosphere. This hypothetical road trip would of necessity need to be undertaken by no more than two people in a vehicle whose luggage compartment is now fully occupied by batteries. Those batteries have an energy efficiency recovery rate of < 20% .

I will leave you, gentle reader to draw your own conclusions as to the net environmental impact of this exercise in intellectual gymnastics. Meanwhile, the auction on ebay of this  kinetic sculpture vehicle will have ended by the time you have completed reading this screed.

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