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Discussion Starter #1
BTW, I recently read a book called Solo: Life with an Electric Car which was written in the early 90s. That was quite an experience because the author touches on factors that were in play immediately preceding the California EV boom of the late 90s. The author spends a lot of his time playing apologist for the drawbacks
of a lead-acid based conversion. He attempts to make a cross-country
trek and he quickly tires of wasting time waiting for the thing to charge and buys a trailer.
He winds up unhitching his car only for brief jaunts. He opted for
solar panels bolted onto the body which provided almost no extra range even when the car sits
in the sun all day. A lot of the wishful thinking about new battery chemistries I see people express here today, he was expressing over 15 years ago. The only difference I see in attitude between then and now is that back then he was primarily motivated by reducing smog (and a hint about global warming) whereas today we have fullblown global warming, peak oil, and not wanting to "fund terrorism". All the anticipation for advances "right around the corner" he writes about persist today. It makes you cynical about the future.

If next-gen batteries don't come down in price before gas prices spiral out of
control, I actually expect people to respond by changing their driving
behaviors to reduce their expenses. They will downsize their cars,
move closer to work, take public transportation, use bikes and
scooters. None of this requires huge upfront costs or changes in the auto industry.

----- Original Message ----There isn't *one* problem. There are several. People are unwilling to
change their lifestyles or reduce their convenience for an important
cause.




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Discussion Starter #2
The book is interesting to read. You can reada bit about the book and
order a used copy at:
http://www.alibris.com/search/search.cfm?S=R&qisbn=0393034070&qsort=p&siteID=JaJqVekCebc-GJarmqeETEhEbax.tLOH5Q
It's an interesting adventure--buying the car in California while living in
Vermont, transporting the car from California to
Vermont and driving the car in Vermont.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Glenn Saunders" <[email protected]>
To: "Electric Vehicle Discussion List" <[email protected]>
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 12:41 PM
Subject: [EVDL] EV attitudes


> BTW, I recently read a book called Solo: Life with an Electric Car which
> was written in the early 90s. That was quite an experience because the
> author touches on factors that were in play immediately preceding the
> California EV boom of the late 90s. The author spends a lot of his time
> playing apologist for the drawbacks
> of a lead-acid based conversion. He attempts to make a cross-country
> trek and he quickly tires of wasting time waiting for the thing to charge
> and buys a trailer.
> He winds up unhitching his car only for brief jaunts. He opted for
> solar panels bolted onto the body which provided almost no extra range
> even when the car sits
> in the sun all day. A lot of the wishful thinking about new battery
> chemistries I see people express here today, he was expressing over 15
> years ago. The only difference I see in attitude between then and now is
> that back then he was primarily motivated by reducing smog (and a hint
> about global warming) whereas today we have fullblown global warming, peak
> oil, and not wanting to "fund terrorism". All the anticipation for
> advances "right around the corner" he writes about persist today. It
> makes you cynical about the future.
>


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Discussion Starter #3
I've been somewhat disappointed too - but we do have a bright-side:
Lithium Ion, Lithium Polymer, and AltairNano "nano-safe" batteries.
These batteries may have been in the lab back then, but they're on the
road today (but expensive).

It really is hard to beat gasoline as a 'fuel storage medium' - It gives
you 100% power during its entire life span (gasoline doesn't get 'weaker'
as you reach the bottom of the tank) - and it allows you to refuel with a
bucket, something harder to do with an EV.

I'm still waiting on my own EV Grin...(primarily because other things keep
getting in the way of getting mine on the road) -

A little 'friendly nagging' on your part wouldn't be amiss. :)

I'm still very eager to get mine going, in spite of the drawbacks. Most
days, I drive less than 10 miles a day (round trip to/from work). My ICE
barely warms up.
On the occasion I leave work to go to lunch with friends, I still am
within a 30 mile range (round trip) to a variety of resturants.

Reading Bob Brant's book and seeing his comment about "grow gas" (written
in the early 90's, referring to the recovery of lead-acid batteries) seems
silly. The man is very smart, it seems to me that he would simply admit
that the lead-acid battery sulfation prevents the effective transfer of
electrons from the battery pack to the electric motor/drive train; and it
takes time for the batteries to "recover" if they've reached that stage
(nearing 80%+ dod, or just old).

I think if I had my life to do over again, I'd have gone into (battery)
chemistry...There's a bazillion dollars to be made in the battery
industry...



Ed Cooley





Glenn Saunders <[email protected]>
Sent by: [email protected]
09/07/2007 15:41
Please respond to
Electric Vehicle Discussion List <[email protected]>


To
Electric Vehicle Discussion List <[email protected]>
cc

Subject
[EVDL] EV attitudes






BTW, I recently read a book called Solo: Life with an Electric Car which
was written in the early 90s. That was quite an experience because the
author touches on factors that were in play immediately preceding the
California EV boom of the late 90s. The author spends a lot of his time
playing apologist for the drawbacks
of a lead-acid based conversion. He attempts to make a cross-country
trek and he quickly tires of wasting time waiting for the thing to charge
and buys a trailer.
He winds up unhitching his car only for brief jaunts. He opted for
solar panels bolted onto the body which provided almost no extra range
even when the car sits
in the sun all day. A lot of the wishful thinking about new battery
chemistries I see people express here today, he was expressing over 15
years ago. The only difference I see in attitude between then and now is
that back then he was primarily motivated by reducing smog (and a hint
about global warming) whereas today we have fullblown global warming, peak
oil, and not wanting to "fund terrorism". All the anticipation for
advances "right around the corner" he writes about persist today. It
makes you cynical about the future.

If next-gen batteries don't come down in price before gas prices spiral
out of
control, I actually expect people to respond by changing their driving
behaviors to reduce their expenses. They will downsize their cars,
move closer to work, take public transportation, use bikes and
scooters. None of this requires huge upfront costs or changes in the auto
industry.

----- Original Message ----There isn't *one* problem. There are several.
People are unwilling to
change their lifestyles or reduce their convenience for an important
cause.




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Discussion Starter #4
BTW, another big difference between then and now is there was no internet community, wifi hotspots, or GPS navigation. He just bumbles his way across the US in a haphazard manner that would seem incredibly foolish today. He could never plan out where his next charge was going to come from. He just drove until the car started to konk out and then panicked in the middle of nowhere. You could certainly make the trip as a pure EV if it were properly plotted out ahead of time on mapping software.

----- Original Message ----
The book is interesting to read. You can reada bit about the book and
order a used copy at:
http://www.alibris.com/search/search.cfm?S=R&qisbn=0393034070&qsort=p&siteID=JaJqVekCebc-GJarmqeETEhEbax.tLOH5Q
It's an interesting adventure--buying the car in California while living in
Vermont, transporting the car from California to
Vermont and driving the car in Vermont.





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Discussion Starter #6
Joseph wrote:

> No one is going to mass-produce the true good batteries for EVs
> because the market is so tiny! If there was a market, which I think is
> slowly developing, they can mass produce batteries, and *boom* you got
> a 150 mile range 4 door EV for 30k

When Tesla starts making and selling their roadsters; they will have
an actual bargaining commodity and money. They will potentially be
able to make better batteries happen or become available. If that car
sells well; wouldn't A123 for example prefer to be the battery
supplier for it?

Tesla could pose the question of "how much money do you need to make
an even better battery? And we want it now; how much for that?"

Like that bigger A123 battery that might be out in December. Slide
your China factory some money under the table and have them run 3
shifts at the factory. Tell them a large bonus awaits them as soon as
they get done.

You know the size/format of the current cell. What happens when you
hand make one and make it like one foot in diameter or many feet long?
Still functions? When you scale it, what are the upper size limits?
What dictates the resting voltage of the cell? Why can't we have A123
cells made at any voltage we want? What if you made an A123 cell in a
Kokam format? A flat mat and not like a Duracell.

http://www.proev.com/Graphics/WHist/102504/images/P6130008.jpg

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Discussion Starter #7
I checked this book out from my local library (along with Brandt's book)...

Trying to get from California to Vermont with a 30 mile range EV is crazy
enough, the guy finally gave up when he figured out that his 30 miles
dropped to almost zero when tackling large hills (the Rocky Mountains!).
At least he still used his EV to commute once it got to Vermont.

Not to mention the battricide from driving to almost 100%DOD with a brand
new pack ;)

-Adrian

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Discussion Starter #8
On 7 Sep 2007 at 12:41, Glenn Saunders wrote:

> If next-gen batteries don't come down in price before gas prices spiral out of
> control, I actually expect people to respond by changing their driving
> behaviors to reduce their expenses. They will downsize their cars, move
> closer to work, take public transportation, use bikes and scooters. None of
> this requires huge upfront costs or changes in the auto industry.

All of this happened in the 1970s, during the middle east oil embargo.
Gasoline increased in price so much in such a short time, that it exceeded
the mechanical limits of some older gasoline pumps (this was before
computerized pumps). Some filling stations would set the price on the pump
at half the real price and post a sign warning customers that they had to
double the indicated total. I was there, I know!

The speed limit was reduced to 55mph on interstate highways. The CAFE
regulations were promulgated and Detroit automakers all shrank and lightened
their "standard size" cars to meet them (this was before they thought of
just convincing their customers to buy less-regulated "trucks").
Carpooling, public transportation, and biking all became somewhat more
popular (though more in lip service than in actual employment). More people
bought motorcycles and scooters, though how often they really rode them is
unclear. Commuting distance became a consideration in choosing a home.
The US DOE funded considerable research in advanced batteries, EVs, and some
other alternately fueled vehicles.

And yes, electric cars were offered - Citicar and Elcar, to name a couple.
At the end of the '70s and beginning of the '80s, conversion companies also
offered EVs - Jet Industries, South Coast Technology, and US Electricar of
Athol MA (Chandler Waterman's company) come to mind. (None of these EVs
sold at a price anywhere near that of a comparable ICE, however.)

All gone. What happened? The oil embargo ended. Fuel prices dropped. Not
to where they'd been before, but enough that Americans began to drift back
to their old ways. The US DOE, now under different political control and
priorities, cut off funds for alt-energy and EV research.

By the mid-80s, all of the EV conversion companies were out of business.
Elcar gave a few twitches and collapsed. Sebring-Vanguard, maker of the
Citicar, hit with declining sales and facing gargantuan fines from the NHTSA
for selling cars that didn't meet federal safety regulations, sank. It
briefly floated under the Commuter Vehicles flag, and then once again slid
below the surface.

Will that happen again? Nobody can tell. But those of us who've been
watching the EV field for more than 5 or 10 years have seen more than a
couple of cycles of interest in EVs. The cycle always has a downturn. But
interest always returns later, too!

Cyclic (small) demand and external forces aside, the fact remains that EVs
are fundamentally a product with a very limited market.

New products succeed when there is consumer dissatisfaction with current
products and/or the new product is a clear improvement.

EVs are not a clear improvement for users - at least not yet. They don't go
as far on a "tankful." They don't cost appreciably less. They don't (yet)
offer obviously improved reliability. They may look better to >us<, but they
don't meet the "improved" criteria for the vast majority of vehicle buyers.

Nor is there a lot of consumer dissatisfaction with ICEs. I don't see a
groundswell of disgust over their noise or filthy exhaust, or annoyance at
their complexity. Very few people think about these matters. Most of those
who do, "greenies" if you will, are quite satisfied to buy a "hybrid" ICE,
since those cars have been so well positioned as "green."

As fuel prices increase (which they will inevitably do), most people will
adjust by budgeting more for fuel, driving less, and buying more fuel-
efficient vehicles. There will be more demand for EVs but it's unlikely to
be markedly higher - unless suddenly people become deeply dissatisfied with
ICEs.

How could that happen? It might the same way it (almost) did during the
1970s, when the fuel itself became a source of serious dissatisfaction.

Not so much because fuel was expensive, but because it was scarce and hard
to get. Buying fuel for the car meant waiting for hours in a queue at the
filling station (engine idling, getting zero miles per gallon!) - perhaps to
reach the head of the line just as the station's tanks ran dry, or as the
station closed for the day.

People >hated< not being sure they'd be able to get enough fuel to drive to
work for the week. At least as much, they >hated< wasting the time waiting
in line. (College students and even some adults made money holding places
in gas lines.) They were uneasy when they read that the feds were printing
gasoline ration coupons just like in WW II (trivial nugget : years after the
fuel crunch faded it was discovered that these coupons worked in some dollar
bill changers).

Thus, I think this is what will make EVs really go (sorry) this time, or
next. It won't be $10 or $20 per gallon gasoline; Europe's experience with
higher prices than ours demonstrates that. It will be simply that gasoline
and/or diesel fuel is not readily available, or that getting it is
inconvenient.

Only then, I think, will EVs really capture interest among the general
public in the US.

David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
EVDL Administrator

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Discussion Starter #10
<<<< BTW, another big difference between then and now is there was no
internet community, wifi hotspots, or GPS navigation. He just
bumbles his way across the US in a haphazard manner that would seem
incredibly foolish today. He could never plan out where his next
charge was going to come from. He just drove until the car started to
konk out and then panicked in the middle of nowhere. You could
certainly make the trip as a pure EV if it were properly plotted out
ahead of time on mapping software. >>>>

I haven't read the book, but wouldn't you want to plan out a trip like
that? Even *decades* ago, you could get maps from AAA (or at least buy
them) and go to a library to look up businesses along the way - some
had pretty extensive phone book sections, although I haven't had to
look for them in 20 years. In the end, some (most) people seem to
attract the outcome they have subconsciously planned!

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Discussion Starter #11
Actually, they're fantasies there to attract venture capital.

The market for ANY large-format batt is quite substantial, hybrids and
especially plug-in hybrids already have a market for large cells, the
larger the better. But that's hardly the end of it, military robots,
power stations, electric lawnmowers, there's just no shortage of
applications already there which need large, high energy density batts.

But production really is an issue. I mean you may make an ideal batt
with a stainless steel case and demo it, then you realize that the
stainless would be ridiculously expensive. So you look into plastic,
then find reasons why some plastics won't work and realize a lot more
research is gonna be needed to avoid screwing this up and putting you
back to square one. Similarly you find that the way you machined the
plates and busbars isn't cost effective and assume there's some way to
do it cheap but never looked into that. And the way you attached the
busbars to the plates, it was a stunt requiring a genius engineer to
pull off and you have doubts that you can train the Chinese plant to do
that reliably, maybe the whole method needs to be changed. Maybe at
first you want to put out just a few thousand because that's all you can
make and it's important to get them to OEMs so they can use them for
research and to get the name out- which seems to be where we're at.
Making enough to fully supply the market is going to take awhile.

You get the idea.

Danny

Joseph T. wrote:

>It's very simple why all these batteries are "just around the corner."
>
>1. These "just around the corner" batteries are just fantasies that
>only work in labs.
>
>2.No one is going to mass-produce the true good batteries for EVs
>because the market is so tiny! If there was a market, which I think is
>slowly developing, they can mass produce batteries, and *boom* you got
>a 150 mile range 4 door EV for 30k
>
>Demand and supply (and some politics) shape the business world
>
>
>
>On 9/7/07, Glenn Saunders <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>
>>BTW, another big difference between then and now is there was no internet community, wifi hotspots, or GPS navigation. He just bumbles his way across the US in a haphazard manner that would seem incredibly foolish today. He could never plan out where his next charge was going to come from. He just drove until the car started to konk out and then panicked in the middle of nowhere. You could certainly make the trip as a pure EV if it were properly plotted out ahead of time on mapping software.
>>
>>----- Original Message ----
>>The book is interesting to read. You can reada bit about the book and
>>order a used copy at:
>>http://www.alibris.com/search/search.cfm?S=R&qisbn=0393034070&qsort=p&siteID=JaJqVekCebc-GJarmqeETEhEbax.tLOH5Q
>>It's an interesting adventure--buying the car in California while living in
>>Vermont, transporting the car from California to
>>Vermont and driving the car in Vermont.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>>http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
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>>
>
>_______________________________________________
>For subscription options, see
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>
>

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Discussion Starter #12
I have done my best to drive my car as an "average consumer" would because I
wanted to see if it were possible to substitue an EV for a regular car. I'm
no genius but I think I'm smarter than the average consumer so this is kind
of hard because I have the "burden of knowledge".

At the bare minimum, Joe Consumer wants to jump in his car, turn the key and
drive to his destination without a hassle. Lather, rinse, repeat.

When the car works, it works really well. I have driven for months without a
problem.

When it doesn't work, it has been frustrating. The car stranded has stranded
me twice. Once was my fault, once wasn't. So far, if I was Joe Consumer I
would be pissed off and not have a lot of faith in EV's.

I will say that the problems I've had appear to be age/design related. My
Bug was converted back in 1992. The cables are old, the controller was old
and had no heat dissapation, the contactor was old and corroded and the
charger was over 5 years old and had suffered from water intrusion.

Now, the controller is fresh with a big heatsink on it, the charger is new,
the water leak fixed and the Albright contactor has been replaced with a
totally sealed Kilovac contactor which should prevent any corrosion related
failure. I'm replacing the cables in sections.

As a "learner", I am satisfied with the car and understand the cause of the
failures. As Joe Consumer, "I don't care why it broke, it just broke and I'm
pissed". Now that the car is in better shape, I intend to slip back into my
Joe Consumer persona and drive the car as a typically neglectful, abusive
consumer would and see how it holds up.

I believe that ICE-to-EV conversions can be safe, comfortable and very
reliable. I think the only real trade-offs you have to make are short range
and increased build costs. That's what I'm trying to find out.

Rich A.

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Discussion Starter #13
In recent weeks, I have heard twice that the tesla is using cobalt based
cells and not the A123 cells; And web references confirm that.

I thought there was talk early that they would be using the A123 cells,
did they change their mind? (or was it just one of those things I read
on the web)


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Discussion Starter #14
> But production really is an issue. I mean you may make an ideal batt
> with a stainless steel case and demo it, then you realize that the
> stainless would be ridiculously expensive. So you look into plastic,
> then find reasons why some plastics won't work and realize a lot more
> research is gonna be needed to avoid screwing this up and putting you
> back to square one.

Please don't forget that there is a usable and proven technology available
with Nimh. It's not technical difficulties, new development or what ever
reason that makes that technology to 'unobtainium'. It's politics. It's
the desire to make money from fossil fuels and related technologies. And
this is what will continue to obstruct the way to clean(er) vehicles in
America and in Europe. It will take many, many years for the majority of
people to understand that we can't continue to waste our global resources
and I doubt that I will be around to see it.

Michaela


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Discussion Starter #15
Michaela Merz wrote:
...
It will take many, many years for the majority of
> people to understand that we can't continue to waste our global resources
> and I doubt that I will be around to see it.
>
> Michaela

I tend to stay away from such topics, but will respond on this one.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but
unfortunately, this sounds a bit naive hope (I wish it wasn't).
I's a bit like hoping to let people know drinking is bad and expect
everyone live sober lives starting tomorrow. They know it's bad, but
it's well settled habit, convenient and [still] cheap enough.
So most will show the world third finger and keep drinking.

We are not children and should not be afraid to admit something
like this.

Why do you expect different reaction from a hummer driver if you
tell him his choice is ultimately bad for the world? C'mon.

If wasting resources is bad but cheap, people WILL waste resources
if this brings them real or imagined satisfaction.
Plenty of examples. Tell me one example where you told somebody
something is bad and it has changed not because you offered better
alternative instead, but just because you expressed that your
opinion.

Bill Dube expressed very valid point I couldn't agree more -
people buy cars out of emotional reasons, like cloths.
I would add why. Because they are being judged by others
based on what they drive, same way as by what they wear.

Unless being seen in H3 will be judged so that it is undesirable
for it's driver (whatever his criteria is), NO WAY you can pry him
out of that vehicle. He wants to be cool, he [thinks that he] is
being seen cool, so if it is offered and affordable, he'll go for it.

Let's get real.

It will only end when resources end. Or, as David pointed out, when
resources will artificially be made too hard/inconvenient to obtain or
expensive (or gradually outlawed), but these options are up to
manipulation by politicians, so not much hope they will do right thing
(based on past history).

Fortunately, politicians and oil forces cannot change the fact that
fossil resources are simply finite, so they will be forced (against
their will) to find other solutions. *Then* situation will change
for sure.

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Discussion Starter #16
[email protected] wrote:
> I haven't read the book, but wouldn't you want to plan out a trip like
> that? Even *decades* ago, you could get maps from AAA (or at least buy
> them) and go to a library to look up businesses along the way...

I think "naive" was the operative word here. He didn't realize what he
was getting into.

In 1999, I was working on a contract job in Seattle and had built an EV
to commute to work. When the job was done, I wanted to drive my EV back
home to Minnesota. I did just what you suggested; I got AAA maps, and
drove the route first, marking each spot along the way that had AC
outlets. I found I could go all the way with an EV having a range of 40
miles per charge, except for two stretches in North Dakota that were
about 50-60 miles between outlets.

In those gaps, I would have to get off the interstate and find a
friendly farmhouse to recharge. Given the uncertainty of this, I was
going to bring along a little ICE generator, and use it to recharge only
in case of emergencies.

The plan was to fully charge overnight, use up that charge in the
morning, stop somewhere for an 80% charge, then drive in the afternoon,
then stop for the night and fully recharge again. At this rate, the 1700
mile trip would take 3-4 weeks. I saw it as a leisurely summer vacation,
rather like the trip in the book "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat Moon.

I was all set to do it! But my significant other put the kibosh on the
plan. :-(

--
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget the perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
--
Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart_at_earthlink.net

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Discussion Starter #17
<<<< It will only end when resources end. Or, as David pointed out, when
resources will artificially be made too hard/inconvenient to obtain or
expensive (or gradually outlawed), but these options are up to
manipulation by politicians, so not much hope they will do right thing
(based on past history). >>>>

I'm curious: in Cuba, they are suppose to have a lot of pre-'59 US
cars they keep cobbled together, but what else do they drive? Seems
another open market for EVs...if it wasn't for the political climate
(ours and theirs).

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Discussion Starter #18
Jeff Shanab wrote:

> I thought there was talk early that they would be using the A123 cells,

That's what the Volt is using.

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Discussion Starter #19
in Cuba they drive Japanese and eastern European cars and some from south America . they use trailers with cattle car style seating for buses and they get cramed full and your pockets get picked fast , the tourists are told to take raxies if at all possible
----- Original Message -----
From: [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>
To: [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>
Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: [EVDL] EV attitudes



<<<< It will only end when resources end. Or, as David pointed out, when
resources will artificially be made too hard/inconvenient to obtain or
expensive (or gradually outlawed), but these options are up to
manipulation by politicians, so not much hope they will do right thing
(based on past history). >>>>

I'm curious: in Cuba, they are suppose to have a lot of pre-'59 US
cars they keep cobbled together, but what else do they drive? Seems
another open market for EVs...if it wasn't for the political climate
(ours and theirs).

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