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Continuing electrical vehicle thoughts

TDegenhart

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Location
Geneva Illinois USA
I had a discussion with my local service garage owner about the future of the industry from the repair/maintenance standpoint.

His take is that in the next 10 to 15 years the repair shop as we know it will no longer exist. The small independent shops will go out of business or the bought up by larger shops. His mix is 45% automotive, 15% transmission and 40% small engines, lawn mowers and such. Engine and transmission work will largely disappear, brakes will go 75,000 to 100,000 miles. Service work on the power electrical system will be either at dealerships or large independents that can afford the diagnostic equipment and training. Battery life is not an issue. None of this is probably new to the membership.

One application that I have not read about is the replacement of diesel electric locomotives with battery operations. Many of the disadvantages of batteries could be easily handled. The batteries could be housed in a separate car behind the locomotive as was the tender in steam days. Change out the tender with a fresh one and off the train goes. There would be tremendous savings in maintenance of the diesel electric system. backup batteries would be carried in place d/e.

Your thoughts?

Tom
 

kustomizingkid

Titanium
Joined
Aug 2, 2010
Location
Minnesota
I'm a full time auto mechanic... I think the biz as I know it right now has 15-20 years left before its all over. Luckily as a final hoorah to the ICE all the manufacturers are building the biggest piles of shit they ever have, and they are EYE WATERING expensive to fix. Doing a motor right now, $13k for a 2011 Audi A4. Doing a 2012 X5D and thats pushing $15k for a USED motor.


I already picked out a new trade and I'm going to build a shop at my house and do classics repair for fun on the side.
 

adama

Diamond
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Location
uk
Brakes will go further than that, with electric regenerative braking can be as powerful as acceleration. You can even power the motors wingdings directly out of rotational phase and get even more stooping power too. Gearboxes are also going to fall out of use, there's just no need for them.

That said, i think you will find self driving takes over in the next 20 years or so, typical humans are already way worse drivers than a lot of the better systems being trialed right now.

That said i think there will be a lot of IC engine cars for a long while yet, lots of collector stuff too. Equally i think people will make way less journeys for mundane crap as internet purchasing takes over the final throws of the high streets.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
A friend of mine just bought a car from 1911- but he only got the motor and the radiator. The rest, he has to make.
there is a future in that kind of work.

But I have had 5 Hondas now that I put 200,000 miles each on, and they never needed anything more than tires, brake shoes, and batteries.
So even without electric cars, the amount you need a mechanic these days on a well made modern car is virtually not at all.

Most new car buyers keep a car for about 5 years, and nothing goes wrong with it in that time.
Most used car buyers cant afford a valve job, much less a rebuilt engine, on a modern car, so they just scrap em.
Neither hires mechanics much.

I dont see it as a growth industry.
I know people who make a living on collector cars, sure- but they work on maybe 20 or 30 cars a year. For rich people.

I used to buy used cars with 100k on em, for peanuts- $125, $250, maybe once in a while, if it was special, $500. But I would often have to put 35 dollar generators or starters on em every 20,000 miles, and have the auto trannys rebuilt at 50k intervals.
Everything costs more today, sure- but it lasts ten times as long.
In the 70s, a mid 60s car, say, 8 years old, was worth about 5% of new price, and needed constant large scale repairs.
now, an 8 year old car can often run another 100 k with zero work.

Cars may not look as good, or have those cool fins, or be made of 2 or 3 tons of metal. But they run better, last longer, and break down far less often- and THAT is what is killing the repair business.
 

thermite

Diamond
I had a discussion with my local service garage owner about the future of the industry from the repair/maintenance standpoint.

His take is that in the next 10 to 15 years the repair shop as we know it will no longer exist. The small independent shops will go out of business or the bought up by larger shops. His mix is 45% automotive, 15% transmission and 40% small engines, lawn mowers and such. Engine and transmission work will largely disappear,
Maybe I'm biased from the high-densty (and at least statistically "wealthy") Metro-DC area, but that part had already become the "new normal" on the averages a score of years ago. Not the small engines, though. There exist the rare full-sized operation shops doing the few we don't just throw-away. Not enough value to them to pay even min-wage to mess with them.
brakes will go 75,000 to 100,000 miles.
Get your brake work done elsewhere or DIY it. He dasn't understand them.

I haven't had a drum (no longer HAVE any anyway) nor a rotor refinished in about thirty years now. Nor even buy "rebuilts" in 20 years already. CNC factories make NEW rotor (and pads) too affordable to bother. Same again with calipers and even the weird electrically-actuated parking brakes. labour rates are too high to mess-with. These will remain consumables. If not from wear, then corrosion.

Service work on the power electrical system will be either at dealerships or large independents that can afford the diagnostic equipment and training.
It was surely TRENDING that way, but then.. mass-market diagnostic equipment was in demand, and the demand began to be filled. Today's successful shop just has to have that, where they no longer have brake lathes, cylinder bore hones, ring-expanders, and such. I needed several "gadgets" to keep DIY'ing when I added the Jaguar. One simply buys them.

The local "indies" still do well.

Dealerships can't help but have higher fees. They have to carry part of a heavier overhead structure that includes many times as much costly and highly-taxed real-estate.

One application that I have not read about is the replacement of diesel electric locomotives with battery operations. Many of the disadvantages of batteries could be easily handled. The batteries could be housed in a separate car behind the locomotive as was the tender in steam days. Change out the tender with a fresh one and off the train goes. There would be tremendous savings in maintenance of the diesel electric system. backup batteries would be carried in place d/e.

"Some routes", yes, we'll see that. Then again, many rail routes are already electrified and no battery has to be carried.

I don't see it as universal. Diesel carries a Hell of a lot of energy at low cost., and is cheap and simple. On a"vehicle' as large as a locomotive further reduction in emission by post-capture might make better economic sense, and further electrification more sense yet?

We may see batteries in trucks before rail.
 

adama

Diamond
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Location
uk
IMHO i think you train guys need to run some power numbers, several are north of 3MW. With a typical driver doing a 8 hour shift on longer routs thats going to be more than one rail car of battery! Electrified lines make way more sense especially when you have multiple things all following the same rout within inches!
 

Spinit

Titanium
Joined
May 13, 2007
Location
Central Texas
Interesting structural change lies ahead of us. I know a lady who bought a Prius when they were first available and I do not think she ever had any regret nor trouble with it at all. I can not see myself in a electric vehicle unless they come down in price and if I was able to charge back up quickly like the convinience of filling up my tank on the fly and on my way on a long trip. (Little down time).


It surprises me that the technology eliminates a lot of mechanical things which will not be needed anymore. I will admit that in a Haas machine that a lot of the torque and cutting force is electrical. Yet in a Mazak M5 lathe there were massive gears which were working giving some solid contact and I think of it as being very strong.

The whole change in repair and servicing cars is sort of a future shock. Change and progress can bring uncertainty. I can assume the electric cars may hold up for a much longer period of time than gasoline engines.
 
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thermite

Diamond
IMHO i think you train guys need to run some power numbers, several are north of 3MW. With a typical driver doing a 8 hour shift on longer routs thats going to be more than one rail car of battery! Electrified lines make way more sense especially when you have multiple things all following the same rout within inches!

Electric rail and (hybrid)/Electric motorbus are going to HAVE TO start displacing cars in general as well. The USA is one of the WORST served on-planet for a populous nation.

The self-drive technology has a far better fit to feeder mini-bus than it has to one-rider auto.

Hong Kong will spoil a body. Or even London Transport + rail. We are finally getting the mini-bus fill-in (still with human driver, and still fossil-fuels) here in Northern VA to our growing metrorail.

At present it costs me 30 minutes wasted time, minimum, 45 minutes to an hour, typical, to the growing number of places I could sub use of it for starting a car. Even so, it saves me about three dollars each go.

Hong Kong, that reached the advantage that we saw fit to shed cars outright, then pocket savings of over US$ 58,000 a year on parking space costs (seriously dear in crowded HKG! [1]), taxes, upkeep & MOT inspection, insurance - plus price of the vehicle, amortized, fuel, tires, and lube.


[1] We had "bought" a parking slot with our flat. But it was so inconvenient we paid monthly rental closer. ISTR the parking slot sold for enough to buy a nice suburban home in the USA.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Various Euro countries have tagged 2040 as the end date of hydrocarbon fuels.greens there are demanding 2030 as the end date.....But there is hope on the horizon for the IC engine......hydrogen fuel.Lots of carmakers are hedgeing their battery bets with hydrogen.....At the moment the problem with battery is the cost at 3x that of a similar gasoline model.if the cost came down to equal,then battery would take over very quickly....Maybe thats what is making Prince Muhammed Ali bin Whatsit so cranky.
 

RC99

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2005
Location
near Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
I can assume the electric cars may hold up for a much longer period of time than gasoline engines.

Will depend on the electronics. I think the reliability for vehicles peaked in the 1990's and has gone downhill since then.

Why do I say that? Because that was when the non electronic diesel engine quality peaked, essentially injector pump reliability. Since then it has had electronics installed which decreases reliability due to a more complicated and fussy system.

Unless there is some major breakthrough in battery technology, then the ICE is safe for the time being.

Battery cars will be used in greater and greater numbers in the areas they are suited to. That being urban commute.

Long distance and rural/off road the ICE will continue to burn through oil. Much like electric planes are a long way off.
 

thermite

Diamond
I can assume the electric cars may hold up for a much longer period of time than gasoline engines.

So far, very much the reverse - but that isn't necessarily a "bad thing".

So long as incremental maintenance is easy, fast, and inexpensive such that efficiency can be maintained closer to peak, the life-cycle costs are comparable - perhaps better - for the system with the more "consumable" components in-use and the more recyclable percentage of cost and mass.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
Will depend on the electronics. I think the reliability for vehicles peaked in the 1990's and has gone downhill since then.

Why do I say that? Because that was when the non electronic diesel engine quality peaked, essentially injector pump reliability. Since then it has had electronics installed which decreases reliability due to a more complicated and fussy system.

Unless there is some major breakthrough in battery technology, then the ICE is safe for the time being.

Battery cars will be used in greater and greater numbers in the areas they are suited to. That being urban commute.

Long distance and rural/off road the ICE will continue to burn through oil. Much like electric planes are a long way off.

Most car buyers dont want to work on their cars.
Most car buyers WANT modern electronics. They pretty much demand hands free phone connections in their cars, for example. Even in third world countries.
Most car buyers are totally willing to trade the higher cost of fixing "fussy" systems, given that they original new car buyers never have to do it.

Manufacturers simply have no financial reason to car about how easy, or costly, it is for second or third owners to repair ten or fifteen year old cars.
The fact that cars from the fifties and sixties (of which I have owned many) were easy to fix was not intentional- it was simply a side affect of relatively crude technology.
And no manufacturer likes the fact that its easy to rebuild a carb- because carbs, by their mechanical nature, need rebuilding pretty often. Thats a net loss to the manufacturer, in terms of warranty work, callbacks, and bad customer opinions of their cars.
I used to have my shop above a mechanics shop that specialised in V12s- XKE's, Ferraris, Lambos, etc, of the sixties. Many of those cars came in every month for carb syncro work. The mechanics may have enjoyed the pure beauty of six carbs, but believe me, rich guys are much much happier with complicated fussy electronics that dont need monthly visits.

Also, inflation has meant that average car prices have risen, and as a result, cars have had to be "value engineered". That means, make em cheaper so people can afford em.
Which means simple plastic boxes with electronics in em.

The rate of change of technology means its simply not feasible to repair many recent (ie, made in the last 40 years) cars. solenoids, obsolete chips, electronics that are obsolete in five years, parts no longer made- thats all very common. Only the most expensive cars are worth making those parts in short runs-
for example, you can pretty much get any part you want, including new engine blocks, for pre 2nd world war bugattis. But you cant get many "simple"parts for some mid 90s japanese cars- I had a Nissan 300zx for a while, with a Bose sound system- there was ONE shop in the entire US that would rebuild the unavailable bi-amped speakers.

All of which means, cars are designed from the get-go to be relatively short lived- 5 to 8 years, say.
But to be far more reliable in those 8 years than any 60s car was.
I spent way too much time lying under simple 60s cars, swapping simple electro-mechanical parts, again and again. Normal clutches often only lasted 30k to 50k, when driven carefully. Parts were crap back then. Heavy, solid metal, but crap. My recent Honda's, which have many "black box" parts sealed in epoxy, will still outlast my simple straight 6 1963 Falcons (I had 3 of em) by 2 or 3 times, with zero maintenance- and that is a thing most car buyers want.

Certainly, there are many uses electric cars will be slow to fill.
Although in the USA, where close to 80% of the population lives in urban or suburban areas, electric cars have a pretty big potential market share.
 
O

otrlt

Guest
I have been actively searching for a vehicle for my son and this is what I've learned;

The resale price of Hybrid vehicles is noticeably lower than regular cars. I have seen hybrids with just over 100,000 miles going for peanuts. My main question is, why?

On the other hand; pick-ups with over 200,000 miles are going for more than I've ever expected.

For the most part, dealerships large and small don't hold used hybrids.
 
Joined
May 29, 2010
Location
Denmark
I have been actively searching for a vehicle for my son and this is what I've learned;

The resale price of Hybrid vehicles is noticeably lower than regular cars. I have seen hybrids with just over 100,000 miles going for peanuts. My main question is, why?

On the other hand; pick-ups with over 200,000 miles are going for more than I've ever expected.

For the most part, dealerships large and small don't hold used hybrids.

I can't answer your "main question" but if your son has no objection to a hybrid then it sounds as if you could get a good deal.
 
O

otrlt

Guest
Hello Gordon,
I've asked a couple of salesmen about this but I haven't heard a good reason why this is happening.

It is quite possible that these vehicles will sell for parts.
 

kustomizingkid

Titanium
Joined
Aug 2, 2010
Location
Minnesota
I have been actively searching for a vehicle for my son and this is what I've learned;

The resale price of Hybrid vehicles is noticeably lower than regular cars. I have seen hybrids with just over 100,000 miles going for peanuts. My main question is, why?

On the other hand; pick-ups with over 200,000 miles are going for more than I've ever expected.

For the most part, dealerships large and small don't hold used hybrids.

Fear of expected large repair prices on the hybrid battery pack... Now I would NEVER EVER buy a Prius, just personal taste. From my experience working on a pile of them they are tanks, super reliable.

Truck prices are driven by the $45k-$85k price of new trucks. My friend just bought a mid optioned F150 Ecoboost for $47k... Another friend just got a new King Ranch Megacab dually diesel that set him back in the high $70's...
 








 
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