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Edd and Mike have gone crazy with an electric Maserati. Honest.

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Cyrano, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    I'm watching Wheeler Dealers, and even by the standards of Mike Brewer and Edd China, this time they are doing something weird. Mike found a 1985 Maserati Mara that a home handyman converted to electric operation. The duo spent $22,500 to gut the existing electrical setup and rebuild in to current standard, installing dual engines that combined top out at around 150 horsepower, sacrificed the trunk to put in a dozen 3 kilowatt-hour power packs, did some cosmetic crap, and ended up with a car capable of driving about 120 miles on a single charge. Mike sold it to some California ecolunatic for what it cost the Wheeler Dealers to get it roadworthy.

    This points up, quite clearly, the major failing of the electric car. No one has yet devised a battery that has anything near the energy density of gasoline. Mike and Edd sacrificed the entire trunk to the battery, and their electrical Italian roller skate still only has one-quarter of the range of its gasoline-powered brother.

    So just what is the point of building a one-off electric Maserati? It's only fit for running around town and very short weekend trips. It has zero storage space because the trunk is now filled with a battery bank that weighs substantially more than the 20 gallon gas tank that would fit under the trunk in a real automobile.

    I've voiced my opinion concerning the multiple failings of electric vehicles before, so I won't repeat myself. But until some scientist invents what Robert A. Heinlein called the Shipstone (the best description of which can be found in his novel Friday), which is to a conventional battery as a hydrogen bomb is to a kitchen match, something that will give an automobile the same range and performance equal to or better than a gasoline-engined car, that can go from zero to full charge in 15 minutes, the electric car will remain a politically correct piece of crap that rich econuts use to prove how ecologically sound and how much more dedicated to the cause they are.

    Mike Brewer and Edd China have rebuilt some strange automobiles in their time. I still have nightmares about the time Mike brought Edd an AMC Pacer to work on, where Edd applied the weirdest paint job and interior refit I have ever seen, and then could not flog it because no one wanted something that ugly. But this is the first time I've ever had serious cause to doubt their sanity.
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  2. Kmcdowell

    Kmcdowell G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Omaha NE
    I saw the episode you're talking about. Electric cars are still kind of a novelty and there are just too many limitations. I won't be interested for quite a while yet. Wheeler Dealers is one of my favorite shows.
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  3. 870shooter1

    870shooter1 G&G Evangelist

    95 percent could use electric with a gas back up for travel.

    Or they could do what BMW dis and have a hybrid running on diesel and do something near 150+ mpg.

    Or just run a diesel electric set up and have electric motors at each axle. Diesel generate power and you have 4wd. Put it in Pick ups and be amazed!
    Cyrano likes this.
  4. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    Funny thing is, electric cars predate gasoline cars. They've had over a century of development time. But it's the same with steam cars - simply not as efficient as gasoline.
    870shooter1 likes this.
  5. 870shooter1

    870shooter1 G&G Evangelist

    I believe if they went with a diesel electric set up as is used I the big locomotives on the railways, they would have extremely efficient vehicles.

    Diesel generator makes power for the electric motors driving the wheels. Each wheel or axle can have a motor and youd have all sorts of traction.

    Diesel runs at constant rpm, electric motors have wonderful output.

    Trains and haul trucks in the mines use this type of set up.
    TXplt likes this.
  6. Stickman

    Stickman Less well known member Forum Contributor

    You guys just don't get it. They are saving the PLANET! By not burning gasoline they are not contributing to greenhouse gas build up. Because everyone knows that electricity is CLEAN!

    Never mind that the electricity fairy doesn't exist and that lithium is one of the most toxic substances in the world. Never mind that most power plants burn fossil fuels, never mind the fact that the life of those batteries isn't really very long (question: How will all those batteries be disposed of when they finally die in 5-6 years? Don't worry if you can't answer that, neither can they.)
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
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  7. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    One of my questions about electric cars has always been just how long do you have to charge it anyways? I mean I pull into a gas station, and five minutes later I am on my way, full tank of gas. You won't be able to do that at a charging station.
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  8. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    The "best" electric cars currently need a minimum of three hours to charge. So, plan your cross country vacation trip between motels with good restaurants. Take lllooonnnggg meals. Or hike the tourist attractions between charges. Your trip will now take three times longer and cost four times more.
    I'll keep my smelly old gas-burner, thanks.
  9. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist

    but it is coming.
    they are racing formula E cars already and pushing the boundary's of what can be done.
    they make 1 minute pit stops to re-charge the battery's to go another 15-20 miles.
    this is already 1/3 of the time they were using a few years back when they first started.

    I recently watched a guy cut a battery pack in pieces and the out put was still the same voltage and amperage.
    plus that pack was squishy and thin it could be laid out as the car floor, roof, or inside the body panels.
    the technology is coming pretty quickly someone just needs to put it all together into an acceptable package that everybody can use.
  10. Stickman

    Stickman Less well known member Forum Contributor

    In Seattle, and I assume elsewhere, they have charging stations in parking garages and lots. They are talking about being able to charge up at parking meters also. You swipe your credit card, plug in and go to work or whatever. Car is charged when you get back.

    I've always been curious what rate they pay for that electricity.

    Naturally those green cars get the preferred parkong spaces as well.
  11. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist


    I think either method could have been better than what we have now if the same time and devotion had been put into those methods of operation as what was put into fossil fuel-driven cars. We might have come up with super capacitors and Lithium batteries about the same time we came up with fuel injection.

    As for steam, it was actually more efficient than gas in the early days but came with three major problems; first, It had to work in such a way that it could be left on all the time or you had to fire it up a long time before you were ready to go, second, It was hard to change speed, and third it might blow up.

    Those little instant water heaters they have in Asia could sure come in handy for something like that today. I'd think you could have a low pressure steam engine running electric motors without the need for any more battery storage than a standard car has.

    I've also always wondered why you couldn't scale up a moped to passenger size. Some of the new mopeds can go up to 70 miles without pedaling and some can go 40 miles at up to 60 miles per hour. With the additional space, some super capacitors and a few batteries it looks like you could make a hybrid car where you are the backup engine. Throw in a few of those other nifty gizmos that reclaim energy from wheel movement, braking and steering and it looks like it could be possible.

    I have three small children in the back seat half the time, if I could get those pressure pad cells, and line my back seat with them, the kids' fighting and playing could probably keep me on the road.
  12. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    And I wonder if the electric plant burns fossil fuels to charge that "green" car.
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  13. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    And the fossil fuels used in the production of these "green cars".
    Cyrano likes this.
  14. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman G&G Evangelist

    If you haven't seen the electric forfjOGg. 1 cars, check it out. In the second video the race starts about 33:00 minutes in :) ...

  15. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    Your point about the time it takes a steam plant to reach operating pressure and temperature are the main thing that did in the Stanley Steamer. It's been suggested that if the brothers had gone to flash-tube boilers instead of the conventional steam drum-type boilers they were using, they would have run Henry Ford out of the marketplace.

    The Stanley Steamers had the supreme virtue of being able to burn any combustible liquid -- kerosene, gasoline, diesel, ethanol, methanol, benzene, naphtha, anything that's handy. Add in a water tank to feed more water into the boiler as required (unfortunately, the mass of a hot well, a direct contact deaereating feed water heater and a condensate pump to move the condensed steam back to the feed water tank is prohibitive for anything below the size of a dump truck). And in terms of miles per gallon, a steam plant using external combustion is much more efficient than any internal combustion engine.

    But the Stanley Motor Carriage Company did not make the change, and Ford was able to get his Model T down to the point any working stiff could afford one. Stanley went out of business in 1924, victim of a failure to innovate.
    Big Dog likes this.
  16. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    That's why steam power in ships is now nearly extinct. My Frigate needed 24 hours to go from lighting the cold boilers to "weigh anchor". Modern shaft turbine ships can be ready in minutes.
    Saw an episode of "Mountainmen", where one old feller converted his ancient pickup truck to run on woodgas. Took up a lot of his bed space though. But he had fuel all around him.
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  17. jdavis

    jdavis G&G Enthusiast

    Ed and Mike are in California so it isn't surprising that they had to do it for local appeal. Did you notice how quickly the buyer was willing to accept the price? I costs a lot to be green but the true tree hugger would sell his soul to appear to be the greenest. IMHO, electric cars currently available are only practical for commuters and short local trips. Even with that thought they aren't really practical because of their initial cost. For instance, a Chevy Volt fully equipped can cost nearly 40 grand while the gas version, Cruz, is about half that. You can buy a lot of gas for that much difference. In this sense, electrical cars are not an economical alternative.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  18. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    You must have had a really poor black gang then, Big Dog. I sailed with a lot of marine engineers who served in World War II, and if they had to they could go from "cold" to "hot" in 4 hours and be ready to answer bells in 5. Apparently the Naval Academy stopped teaching some of the tricks the old-timers learned.

    The real reason steam no longer rules the roost is automation. You can't automate a steam plant effectively because of the burners, at least if you are running on Bunker C (Navy Special Distillate No. 6 to you). The burners will foul if they are given a chance to. When I was a young swine standing watches in The Pit, we used to change all six burners over the course of a four hour watch, and we weren't running the plant hard. (Training ships are limited to 12 knots by law except in an emergency.) Fouled burners cause all sorts of problems in the fuel system, never mind the reduction of heat to the boilers.

    But diesels and gas turbines adapt well to automation, and can be directly controlled from the bridge. I only sailed with a diesel plant once, but it used to bother us deck officers that from 1700 to 0800, no one was on watch in the engine room. The engine control console on the bridge had more gadgets than Darth Vader's bathroom. We had readouts that told us what the plant was doing, but the one thing we were most concerned with was the "All Call" button, a big red button that would ring an alarm bell in the cabins of all the snipes from the Chief Engineer down to the lowliest wiper. It was a source of concern to me that we only had four licensed engineers in the ship, and the number of unlicensed engineers per watch had been cut from three to two, and that we only had two watches, not three. Us deck apes always felt that company management was gambling that nothing would go wrong ... go wrong ... go wrong ... because if something DID, we might not be able to fix it at sea because we didn't have the manpower to do the job.

    Mind you, in the six months I was in that ship, the plant purred right along without a problem. We ran the big diesel -- literally the size of a house -- on diesel oil going in and out of port, or when we were in tight quarters like the English Channel, and on Bunker C the rest of the time, with a donkey boiler running on diesel providing steam to preheat the fuel oil for the plant and for the domestic water and heating systems. But the crew size was half of what it was in ships with steam plants, we were down two officers from what we'd had in steamships, and the ships were larger and less maneuverable. If you thought about such things, it would disturb your sleep.

    The suits in the company offices had not problem putting their faith in gadgets. But they didn't have to sail with them. Even the engineers weren't happy being shipmates with an automated plant.
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  19. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    Cyrano, the 24 hour thing might have been simple SOP, to make sure everything and everybody got loaded. I wasn't a snipe, so the inner bowls of the ship was a mystery to us in the upper decks.
  20. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    During the Battle of Midway, a Chief Water Tender named Wally Kleinschmitt saved the USS Yorktown when a Japanese dive bomber managed the much-talked-of-but-rarely-achieved "Down The Stack Shot." The intrepid Japanese pilot laid his egg right into the main uptake from all four fire rooms and blew out the fires in three of them. What was worse, the explosion blasted stack gas into the fire rooms and made them untenable. You get that stuff in your eyes, and it blinds you with your own tears. It has to be swabbed out; you can't sluice it out or wash it out with an eye cup.

    The word came down to abandon the fire rooms, but Kleinschmitt told his gang, "Where the hell do you think you're going? They're going to need this boiler!"

    They ran the boiler pressure up to well over redline, channeled power to the forced-draft blowers and vented steam into the uptakes, which gradually pulled the stack gas out of the other fire rooms and allowed the engineers to return and light off again. The other fire rooms siphoned steam from Kleinschmitt's boiler to speed up their getting their own teakettles back on line. As a result of Wally Kleinschmitt's skill and dedication, ninety minutes after the bomb hit Yorktown's Chief Engineer was able to report to Captain Elliot Buckmaster, Yorktown's skipper, "Cap'n, Engineering reports ready to answer bells and make speeds of 20 knots or better."

    Chief Water Tender Kleinschmitt should have received the Navy Cross for his intepidity and valor. His men should have received Bronze Stars for their dedication and efforts. Unfortunately, none of them survived the battle. They were relieved on duty and returned to their berthing compartment to sleep, and their compartment was where the torpedoes of the Japanese submarine I-373 hit.
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