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John Petersen
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John Petersen is executive vice president and chief financial officer of ePower Engine Systems, Inc., a company that has developed, built and demonstrated an engine-dominant diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain for long-haul heavy trucks that promises fuel savings of 25 to 35 percent depending on... More
My company:
Fefer petersen & co.
My blog:
ipo-law.com
  • Introducing EV Insights: In-Depth Analysis of Challenges and Opportunities in Vehicle Electrification 26 comments
    Nov 19, 2010 10:13 AM

    After months of planning, I'm pleased to announce the launch of EV Insights, an Internet site dedicated to in-depth analysis of the challenges and opportunities in vehicle electrification and other cleantech sectors. My partners in this project are Jack Lifton, a highly regarded expert in the fields of rare earth metals, mining and extractive industries, and Dr. Gareth Hatch, a thought leader in the field of permanent magnet materials, components and their end uses in motors and generators.

    In coming months we will offer a series of wide-ranging and probing interviews, conversations and debates with experts, industry professionals and executives from a variety of industrial sectors and companies that will play key roles in vehicle electrification and other emerging cleantech sectors. Our goal is to go beyond happy-talk headlines and advocacy and drill down into the more difficult issues of supply chains, technical maturity, sustainability and end-user value. We hope our discussions will give serious investors an edge by increasing their understanding of how these issues will shape and ultimately dominate the sixth industrial revolution, the age of cleantech.

    We don't know all the answers, but we have a pretty good feel for the important questions. We hope to learn by listening to people who know more than we do and asking hard questions that never make it into press releases, company presentations and the mainstream media. We're certain that our conversations will have more balanced, informative and probing content than we could ever squeeze into a blog.

    Our kickoff conversation is one Jack and I recorded in October that discusses the challenges and opportunities in the battery sector. The recording and transcript are available without charge to visitors who are willing to part with their name and e-mail address.

    EV Insights may eventually become a subscription service if initial user feedback is positive, but for now it's just an experiment. We truly hope you'll volunteer as a lab rat by visiting us at evinsights.com and taking our first conversation on the battery sector for spin around the block.

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Comments (26)
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  • JRP3
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    Thanks for the invite, I'll check it out ;)
    19 Nov 2010, 05:38 PM Reply Like
  • renim
    , contributor
    Comments (1591) | Send Message
     
    Log graph of Li ion prices and the price of gasoline.
    Graphs don't fit in comments sections, so I posted it in a instablog (apologies for linking to my own instablog, but it is an 'EV Insight' and placing it in a instablog seemed the only way to link to a graph)
    seekingalpha.com/insta...
    20 Nov 2010, 09:45 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong. – H. L. Mencken
    20 Nov 2010, 10:13 AM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1844) | Send Message
     
    Great interview from both of you. Thank you very much for doing this and posting it. I liked the format and the content.

     

    Some initial thoughts, for what it's worth:

     

    1) Jack naturally did a great job of leading the discussion along and breaking up your comments with his interjections.

     

    2) The categorization of topics in the PDF was absolutely critical to keeping the listener from getting lost or off-track. It also makes it much easier to reference in future.

     

    3) Since this was obviously not recorded in a sound studio, there was a slight echo quality. Overall, everything was heard loud and clear but, short of recording in a studio, perhaps the sound can be improved to give it a more professional quality.

     

    4) Jack sometimes stepped on your comments before you had been able to complete them. Again, it was necessary that he interject to break things up and make it more listenable for the audience but this is one area of possible improvement.

     

    5) Perhaps a somewhat more question-and-answer format might also improve the experience for the audience.
    21 Nov 2010, 10:35 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Thanks for taking the time to offer a critique and some suggestions. This is an experiment for us and trying to get to a format that's useful and engaging is tough. Ultimately we all believe there has to be a better tool than a blog to drill down into the economic, technical and natural resources complexities. The challenge is making it fun and overcoming the natural tendency to drone on.
    21 Nov 2010, 10:50 AM Reply Like
  • tomdotstar
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    John,

     

    Thought you might want to see this article...

     

    blogs.forbes.com/warre.../
    24 Nov 2010, 06:31 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Many thanks for the link. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who's not impressed with the mileage figures for the new fleet of coal burning cars.

     

    Maybe we should see MPT figures - miles per ton.
    24 Nov 2010, 11:50 PM Reply Like
  • JRP3
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    Still singing the same tired song. Less than 50% coal fired, so again, mostly anything but coal powered cars. He actually does address hydro/nuke power but tries to counter it with NG peak support. Most EV's will charge at night when demand is low so peak is not an issue, and combined cycle NG plants are closer to 60% efficient anyway. The most important aspect is of course ignored by the article, EV's don't use the "G" in MPG. Domestically produced electricity always beats foreign oil. They seem to forget the emissions, lost energy, and lives, of two Iraq wars and the rest of our Middle East policy. There's a lot more coming out of your tailpipes than just CO2.
    25 Nov 2010, 09:37 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
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    Author’s reply » At night 100% of power comes from base load, which eliminates the ameliorating effects of natural gas. In other words far more than 50% of nighttime power comes from coal. If you want to let Peabody sucker you into swapping their coal for Exxon's gasoline, be my guest. Just don't expect me to sit idly by while you delude yourself and others that your thoroughly wasteful and dirty solution is somehow virtuous.

     

    As my mother always said ... "Son you need to use your head for something other than a hatrack."

     

    I keep telling everyone who will listen that the cleanest solution on the face of the planet is a natural gas powered Prius class hybrid. The only folks who don't get the message believe batteries and money grow on trees. "C'mon Ma, let's mosey down to the battery orchard and pick us a couple kilowatts."
    25 Nov 2010, 09:46 AM Reply Like
  • JRP3
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    There are no numbers, not even your own, that show EV's less efficient and dirtier on a per vehicle basis. You like to concentrate on coal, but what do you think the emissions profile is on Canadian tar sand oil? Also, have you considered that emissions figures from automobiles only apply to brand new fully warmed up vehicles? Considering a car may take 5-10 minutes to reach full operating temperatures and a large part of the fleet is in less than perfect repair overall ICE efficiency numbers are probably lower than what is published.
    25 Nov 2010, 10:16 AM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
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    I will second the thanks for that link, tomdotstar.

     

    Electric vehicles are becoming a lot like the housing bubble now. They are a mass delusion, profited upon by industry, enabled by executive and legislative branches of government, perpetuated by captured regulatory bodies.

     

    I fear the working stiff will play the same role as in the housing bubble too: the gullible sucker whose labor pays for it all.
    25 Nov 2010, 10:23 AM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10288) | Send Message
     
    Except that an EV will start paying you back on a daily basis. Remember, there is no "premium" being paid for an EV. A car buyer is going to spend X amount of dollars on a vehicle. Someone looking to spend $15K on a car isn't going to suddenly pay $25K for an EV. It's the person who's going to spend $25K on a car, for whatever reason, that might decide to put that money into an EV. If something like the LEAF meets his driving habits then he's saving money every day on fuel and maintenance.
    25 Nov 2010, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
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    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I have shown several times that an EV plugged into the US grid average will be dirtier than an NG fueled Prius class HEV. More importantly, the Scientific American has shown that EVs are dirtier than HEVs

     

    www.scientificamerican...

     

    and researchers at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Argonne National Laboratory Center for Transportation Research have reached the same conclusions for China

     

    pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfpl...

     

    I admire the depth of your religious conviction, but find you as convincing as a teacher of creation science.
    25 Nov 2010, 11:11 AM Reply Like
  • JRP3
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    China uses a lot of dirty coal generation, so what? It's not the US. As for the SA slide show, all it does is point out that the Illinois and Ohio areas need to clean up their generating mix. The rest of the country should start driving EV's right now.
    Even using your suspect numbers shows lower emissions from an EV than from an ICE or a Prius.
    seekingalpha.com/artic...
    Now you're promoting a nonexistent CNG Prius as a counter argument. You constantly worry about battery safety but think sitting on a tank of CNG is a good idea?
    Civic CNG explosion aftermath:
    www.cleanmpg.com/photo...
    www.cleanmpg.com/photo...
    www.cleanmpg.com/photo...
    25 Nov 2010, 11:40 AM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1844) | Send Message
     
    Mere sophistry and sleight-of-hand, JRP3.

     

    Who is paying for the $7,500 tax break on the EV?

     

    Who suffers from the environmental damage that John has so clearly proven are the result of EV use v. hybrid?
    25 Nov 2010, 11:48 AM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
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    Who's been paying the billions of oil subsidies for the last century? In case you didn't know our gas doesn't really cost us only $3 a gallon.
    John has "proven" no environmental damage from EV's over hybrids. His entire argument is based in a fantasy world where battery production is limited and there aren't enough batteries to fill the PHEV demand if some are used in EV's. It's a ridiculous premise to begin with. Even in his fantasy world he ignores the reduction in environmental damage by not building an ICE and it's support systems in the first place. Sure battery production has some impact, but so does producing 500+lbs of ICE, transmission, exhaust system, etc. in a conventional vehicle.
    25 Nov 2010, 12:03 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
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    Author’s reply » Toyota showed a CNG fueled Camry Hybrid at the 2008 Los Angeles auto-show. It's old news, not vaporware.

     

    green.autoblog.com/200.../

     

    The only thing missing are headline stories from breathless policy wonks who don't know how to use a calculator and think EVs are desirable when in fact they're impossibly unsustainable.
    25 Nov 2010, 12:47 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
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    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Environmental damage includes the mineral resources that will have to be raped to make batteries. The fact that you and the other EVangelists fail to recognize is there are six billion people in the world that will not let you waste very scarce mineral resources in the name of conserving relatively plentiful petroleum. The numbers are here for the world to view.

     

    seekingalpha.com/artic...

     

    Come back when you can refute them with facts rather than silly emotion.
    25 Nov 2010, 12:50 PM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10288) | Send Message
     
    What exactly are we running out of? Aluminum? Nope, plus you save hundreds of pounds of it by not building an ICE and transmission.
    Copper? Maybe but last I checked there was at least 100 years of reserves, a lot of it in the US. Heck it's still being used for pipes when there are other alternatives like PVC and PEX.
    Lithium? Nope, not even close.
    So exactly what are we running out of that goes into battery packs?
    25 Nov 2010, 03:02 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » There were hundreds of years of reserves at historical production rates that could only remain stable as long as the six billion poor labored in ignorance. We've given over half of them cell phones and internet access and now they're all working very hard to earn a fraction of the lifestyle most self indulgent Americans and Europeans believe is a god given right.

     

    With those six billion mouths to feed the 600 million who have consumed 80% of the earth's resources for as long as we've had the written word are going to have to change their wasteful ways and change them fast. Otherwise we'll be facing a lot more than price pressure. Like it or not the penalty for continued waste will be global conflict. My generation had it very easy. The self absorbed generations X and Y that will have to compete for resources with the BRIC countries and others have no idea how hard things are going to get. Everybody under the age of about 50 is well and truly screwed and too blind to recognize the reality.

     

    You cannot waste one resource in the name of conserving another and it doesn't matter what the resource is.
    25 Nov 2010, 03:07 PM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10288) | Send Message
     
    A demo vehicle not in production is vaporware. Obviously it could be done, it just doesn't exist at the moment and therefore isn't an option.
    25 Nov 2010, 04:23 PM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10288) | Send Message
     
    I totally agree that we all need to consume less. To follow your logic, instead of building complex hybrid vehicles with two separate systems, all so people can cling to the fantasy of unlimited travel, we should be building small, lightweight, aerodynamic electric vehicles with around 5kwh of batteries. In such a vehicle that would provide 40 or so miles of range at moderate speeds and spread resources over a greater number of people. The world you project, which I agree may be quite accurate, doesn't support two ton, 120mph, 400+ mile capable vehicles, no matter what the configuration.
    26 Nov 2010, 11:16 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » One of the top managers of Ford's successful Ecostar test in the late 90s told me that the Ford design team concluded electric drive could not be economic in any case where the unloaded vehicle weight exceeds 70% of GVW. A 3,500 pound Nissan Leaf or GM Volt will never meet that standard.

     

    I love e-bikes and scooters where the vehicle weight to passenger weight ratio is 1-to-1. The current crop of EVs that the press is gushing over are wasteful in the extreme. In addition, most consumers are likely to discover that they're a 25 foot power cord connected to a monumental pain in the ass. Last week I had a fascinating discussion with a former top level battery manager for JCI who observed that he both loved and hated his EV because it required so much care and feeding. They're fine for folks who are committed and view them as a labor of love. They're not sensible for the 98% of the population that just wants a reliable and affordable way to get from point A to point B.
    26 Nov 2010, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • JRP3
    , contributor
    Comments (10288) | Send Message
     
    I'm guessing his EV must be a flooded lead acid conversion which requires watering, terminal cleaning, and balancing? Because all I do with my EV is plug it in once in a while. There are things I will tinker with and make some improvements because I want to, but nothing that has to be done other than plugging it in. Tesla owners don't do anything other than plugging in either, nor will LEAF owners. The Volt is a hybrid and twice as complex as an EV or an ICE so that's a whole other issue.
    Regarding vehicle weight, I've always said we need lighter vehicles, and much better aerodynamics, which plays a greater roll at speed. All vehicles sold today are too heavy, not just EV's, so if you're going to use that criticism against EV's you need to apply it to all other vehicles as well. As I've mentioned we need vehicles similar to the Solectria Sunrise. www.megawattmotorworks...
    We may someday need to go even further to the Sunev.
    evmaine.org/html/sunne...
    However, in no way is the market ready for that type of vehicle, so suggesting it as a possibility today is unrealistic. We already know that NEV type EV's simply don't sell, which is why Nissan and other automakers are building EV's as full sized fully capable vehicles. The type of resource constraints you talk about simply aren't coming soon enough for the extreme measures you want to apply to EV's, especially since they aren't applied to much less efficient ICE's.
    27 Nov 2010, 10:55 AM Reply Like
  • TSelanne
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Hello, I am a first-time poster, long-time reader. I recognize I am far from being the smartest person reading and following your posts/articles, and I learn something new from every one. I always appreciate your articles, and find the arguments, discussion, and opinions in the comments educational and, well, entertaining (to some degree at least). I will be looking at EVinsights soon.
    22 Dec 2010, 04:08 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I hope you enjoy it. We had a lot of fun that weekend.
    22 Dec 2010, 04:35 PM Reply Like
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