Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Uncle Orson review from earlier this month

   
Author Topic: Uncle Orson review from earlier this month
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I thought his discussion of industry transitions was pretty interesting, though I think he missed the mark on electric cars.

The whole "swap out the battery" thing has been discussed by a lot of people in the industry before, and in fact, a multi billion dollar company just closed its doors the other day because they couldn't get customers to buy into such a radical concept. The idea for them was a bit different than OSC's: You buy the car but not the battery, and you go to company service stations to swap out your battery, which they charge up. So for everyday around town driving, you fill 'er up yourself. For long trips, they swap it out in lieu of waiting to charge it.

But they've found building such an infrastructure is enormously expensive. Plus, you have to talk car companies into designing cars that have easily swappable batteries, which no one but Peugeot was interested in doing (Tesla's are already made that way). Tesla, on the other hand, created a network of supercharging stations. On a 30 minute charge, you can go 150 miles. And the super charging stations are free to use and cost half as much ($250K to $500K) as the switching stations, which includes solar panels to power the chargers, which means you can set one up just about anywhere without needing to connect to the grid (another bonus). Tesla already has a network in place in CA, and is putting one in place in North Carolina where their other dealerships are located.

I think the battery swapping thing was an interesting idea when it was pursued a couple years ago, but two technologies have advanced much more quickly than expected: 1. Charging speed. 2. Capacitors in batteries.

Combined, batteries are now lighter, with more storage, and charge many, many times faster than they used to. Modern electric cars no longer have what OSC calls a "six hour" wait. A Tesla supercharges in 1 hour. Or as I said before, 150 miles for a half hour. That makes the added expense of an entire swapping infrastructure totally unnecessary. And technology is increasing leaps and bounds every day as game changing battery technology moves from drawing boards to labs to factories.

Still, it's nice to see he's not against electric cars on principle as I might have expected.

Posts: 21434 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
capaxinfiniti
Member
Member # 12181

 - posted      Profile for capaxinfiniti           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Still, it's nice to see he's not against electric cars on principle as I might have expected.

Why might you have expected this?
Posts: 536 | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Because of his past vicious rants against anything that smacks of being part of the "green" or "environmental" movements. On matters such as this, in my experience with his writings, he's usually one or both of two things: 1. Sadly misinformed. 2. Ideologically opposed.

On this one, he's not opposed, I think he just sees it as a sign of inevitable progress, which he's fine with. Though he's behind the times on both charging and batter technology, and the general direction of the industry.

Posts: 21434 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
steven
Member
Member # 8099

 - posted      Profile for steven   Email steven         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's taken him 12 years to get to the point that I was in 2001 re: Islamic terrorism. ROFL Go electric and starve them out. It was easy to see then, and easy to see now.

I suppose I should have mercy, though. He was raised during the height of the Cold War, in a time when American militarism was seen by many Americans as the solution to all possible problems. I was still in high school when then old Soviet Union dissolved, and formed a lot of my ideas about the larger world during the 90s, when the military was looking pretty useless, and Clinton's base closings were hard to argue with.

Still, you'd think a man who had to support a family would understand the idea of "you don't like me, kid? then get a job, pay your own way. Get out." You don't have to give money to people that want you dead. ROFL

Posts: 3257 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I thought his discussion of industry transitions was pretty interesting, though I think he missed the mark on electric cars.

Hmm.. If his point was to get people to sign up for Rino Times as a subscription service, he did them a huge disservice by burying that under 2000 words of Orson. But how could he have done otherwise... really?

quote:
Because of his past vicious rants against anything that smacks of being part of the "green" or "environmental" movements. On matters such as this, in my experience with his writings, he's usually one or both of two things: 1. Sadly misinformed. 2. Ideologically opposed.
Here he's just getting religion on an idea that's only about a decade or so behind the curve.

OSC is dependable in one regard: any challenge to a consumer driven lifestyle is bad. This is why "battery gas stations," is good, because it's attractive to him as essentially an analogue to the current consumer culture. He wants people to consume energy, if not in the same form, then in the same *way* that they always have (at least always did in his lifetime). I don't know why, but it's a near constant theme for him. Remember the lightbulbs thing? The railing against plug-in electrics when they started coming out? The thing about plastic bottles? On and on- sandwiched between glowing reviews of the consumer experience.

Posts: 9555 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You'd think he'd be more down with the democratization of power. Once the technology is really there, and hits the right price point, we'll all have a gas station in our garages (and it's coming sooner than most people think). Isn't that best for everyone?
Posts: 21434 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
C3PO the Dragon Slayer
Member
Member # 10416

 - posted      Profile for C3PO the Dragon Slayer           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Because of his past vicious rants against anything that smacks of being part of the "green" or "environmental" movements. On matters such as this, in my experience with his writings, he's usually one or both of two things: 1. Sadly misinformed. 2. Ideologically opposed.

On this one, he's not opposed, I think he just sees it as a sign of inevitable progress, which he's fine with. Though he's behind the times on both charging and batter technology, and the general direction of the industry.

I think you're mistaking OSC's rants against global warming-alarmists for an attitude against all environmentalist causes.

It's easy to skim his many articles about how there's "no evidence" for anthropogenic global warming and how scientists and liberals have created a "religion" that recognizes driving a car as a mortal sin, and miss that OSC actually calls for greater investment in alternative energy and other environmental causes, just not because of the global warming alarmism that he sees as either an exaggeration or warrantless hysteria.

I don't think OSC is right about global warming (though I think the effects of global warming are often exaggerated), but I have to hand it to him that he has perfectly good reasons for supporting alternative energy and transportation, even if fighting climate change is not one of them.

Re: the battery-swapping companies. If electric cars become a sizable portion of the vehicles on the road, then a business that swaps pre-charged batteries could probably do well along interstates. The prevalence of these stations would not even nearly rival current gas stations, though, since in most cases drivers can charge their cars for the day in their garage, and only long road trips will require this service. Because it's a niche service for a niche market, the rise of stations like this can not be a catalyst to moving towards an all-electric transportation system, but can be an indicator of the health of our progress towards it.

Posts: 1018 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Are you forgetting his rant against light bulbs a couple years ago?

Stations like that can only pop up if car companies design their batteries to be easily removed. Tesla's are like that, but the Nissan Leaf, for example, is not. It's a situation where the car industry has to work with that sort of service, otherwise the time it would take to swap out a battery wouldn't be any better than just charging it up. I also seriously wonder how they could make such a service price competitive. It would have to be incredibly fast, and cheap, and it can only be fast if the car is designed with that in mind, but I don't see how they'd be able to keep costs down. A battery swap would have to be as cheap as or cheaper than a tank of gas and faster than a half hour. That's a tall order.

Posts: 21434 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Godric 2.0
Member
Member # 11443

 - posted      Profile for Godric 2.0   Email Godric 2.0         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
A battery swap would have to be as cheap as or cheaper than a tank of gas and faster than a half hour. That's a tall order.

You know, with the rising cost of gas, how long until it will be as cheap to just swap out a battery?
Posts: 382 | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You have to balance that with increases in fuel efficiency, and increases in global oil supply. The price spiked like crazy for years but it's actually been stagnant lately. There's a difference, budget wise, between the price it takes to fill up your take and the price per mile. As fuel economy drastically improves, your gas might cost more, but you'll be able to do a lot more with it, which means you don't need nearly as much of it. Your overall gas bill doesn't go up as fast as you'd think it would.

Given the infrastructure and labor costs of running a facility like that, I still think, unless oil explodes in price in the next 20 years, it's not going to be worthwhile. Not when supercapacitors and charging technology will let you fill your car all the way up in a half hour or less.

Posts: 21434 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
theamazeeaz
Member
Member # 6970

 - posted      Profile for theamazeeaz   Email theamazeeaz         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by C3PO the Dragon Slayer:
I think you're mistaking OSC's rants against global warming-alarmists for an attitude against all environmentalist causes.

Way too tired to hunt out the links, but check out his recent review of "Collpase", the repeated referrals to environmentalism as a church, the rant against the college homework that asked students to go door to door, and how he complained the students drove to a neighborhood, and the remarks about how environmental science shouldn't take up a whole semester, let alone a major in college, and that surely two weeks was enough to learn it all.

It's a pretty common theme. Once you start to notice it, you can't unsee it.

Posts: 1355 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
OSC has been saying for a while now that fossil fuels need to be conserved for their use in plastics for which we have no alternative.

IIRC, he's been on board with the idea of alternative fuel cars for a long time.

Posts: 14504 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
OSC has been saying for a while now that fossil fuels need to be conserved for their use in plastics for which we have no alternative.

Just another case of him not understanding or not caring about current events. There are many alternatives in the works. Many which are highly promising.

quote:
IIRC, he's been on board with the idea of alternative fuel cars for a long time.
In the sense that someone prefaces a rant by saying: "now, understand, I'm not *against* the idea of alternative fuel cars... but," then yes.

In the sense that he has made no secret of his disdain for them damn libs and their godamned electric cars and their stupid iphones (he owns an ipod, we learn, because he also enjoys things that are for sale, even though ipods are stupid, so he tells us, and not as good as other products that he could buy, but hasn't, because Apple runs his life, which he hates, because it's a liberal company, and not a freedom loving company, even though any company has the right to run your life if they can, which is good because freedom), then no.

But to be as fair as possible, most of his electric car hate was actually hate for the likes of Martin Short and "who killed the electric car," because it was about liberals who drink lattes and have no real problems in life. He prefers conservatives who drink lattes (because freedom), write windy articles about the fact that they literally buy water over the internet because it's mint flavored, and have no real problems in life.

Posts: 9555 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
steven
Member
Member # 8099

 - posted      Profile for steven   Email steven         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
OSC has been saying for a while now that fossil fuels need to be conserved for their use in plastics for which we have no alternative.

Just another case of him not understanding or not caring about current events. There are many alternatives in the works. Many which are highly promising.

quote:
IIRC, he's been on board with the idea of alternative fuel cars for a long time.
In the sense that someone prefaces a rant by saying: "now, understand, I'm not *against* the idea of alternative fuel cars... but," then yes.

In the sense that he has made no secret of his disdain for them damn libs and their godamned electric cars and their stupid iphones (he owns an ipod, we learn, because he also enjoys things that are for sale, even though ipods are stupid, so he tells us, and not as good as other products that he could buy, but hasn't, because Apple runs his life, which he hates, because it's a liberal company, and not a freedom loving company, even though any company has the right to run your life if they can, which is good because freedom), then no.

But to be as fair as possible, most of his electric car hate was actually hate for the likes of Martin Short and "who killed the electric car," because it was about liberals who drink lattes and have no real problems in life. He prefers conservatives who drink lattes (because freedom), write windy articles about the fact that they literally buy water over the internet because it's mint flavored, and have no real problems in life.

OSC's anti-Apple rants are no more or less rational than the average pro- or anti-Apple rants in the general population. Why should he be held to a higher standard in that regard? He's a soft sci-fi writer, not a tech reviewer, and even tech reviewers are often irrational in their Apple-related attitudes.

The rest is more or less true.

Posts: 3257 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by steven:
OSC's anti-Apple rants are no more or less rational than the average pro- or anti-Apple rants in the general population. Why should he be held to a higher standard in that regard?

I don't mind his tech reviews. He is not particularly knowledgable, but not offensively so. I was pointing out that he is a hypocrite- and seemingly quite unaware of the contradictions he makes with his own behaviors on a regular basis.
Posts: 9555 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
C3PO the Dragon Slayer
Member
Member # 10416

 - posted      Profile for C3PO the Dragon Slayer           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Apparently Tesla Motors is developing exactly what OSC predicted.

http://qz.com/96649/tesla-introduces-robot-mechanics-to-swap-out-electric-car-batteries/

Posts: 1018 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I saw that.

I was hoping no one would notice. [Wink]

I still don't think it's going to be anything close to mainstream, and I stand by that. Full electric Teslas are still toys for rich people and diehards.

Posts: 21434 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I honestly don't see why it can't become mainstream. It only requires one specific element to drive that: being significantly cheaper.
Posts: 14151 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
El JT de Spang
Member
Member # 7742

 - posted      Profile for El JT de Spang   Email El JT de Spang         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Much like space travel.
Posts: 5454 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I honestly don't see why it can't become mainstream. It only requires one specific element to drive that: being significantly cheaper.

Well, being significantly cheaper and getting people over the idea that they don't really own part of their cars.

But the reason why I don't think it will become mainstream is because by the time you install a massive nationwide infrastructure to make it possible, and by the time you sell enough fully electric cars to make such an infrastructure necessary, battery and charging technology will have advanced enough to make it totally and utterly irrelevant.

Posts: 21434 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DustinDopps
Member
Member # 12640

 - posted      Profile for DustinDopps           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
But the reason why I don't think it will become mainstream is because by the time you install a massive nationwide infrastructure to make it possible, and by the time you sell enough fully electric cars to make such an infrastructure necessary, battery and charging technology will have advanced enough to make it totally and utterly irrelevant.
I don't think it will become mainstream either, but... The same thing you said here could have been said about *any* technology that required huge infrastructure. We (usually) find a way to adapt to new technology. For example, the Interstate Highway system and the prevalence of gas stations would have seemed like a ludicrous dream when the first automobiles came out. But as cars improved, we built, re-built, and found new ways to make the highway system work.

Or if the new tech is remarkably better, sometimes the old still exists. Trains are woefully bad at giving you options for where you want to travel. But adding the highway system didn't completely eliminate railroads - it just gave us a new option while leaving the tracks in place and usable for commerce (while effectively neutering commuter rail use).

Posts: 257 | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 10495

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Battery technology has been moving pretty slowly since the jump to lithium-based tech, which was necessary to make electric vehicles practical. I wouldn't be surprised if we're another 10-20 years from the next major leap in tech and it may be a while past then before it's cheap/mainstream. In the meantime, Tesla will have basically full national charger coverage within the next two years. The real question is how quickly they can produce less expensive vehicles. The Model S is priced as a luxury sedan. If they can produce a $35K "economy" model then they've really got a shot at taking off.
Posts: 3272 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I honestly don't see why it can't become mainstream. It only requires one specific element to drive that: being significantly cheaper.

Well, being significantly cheaper and getting people over the idea that they don't really own part of their cars.
If battery swap is effectively as convenient as gas station, but is half the price per mile, you have every idea how easy that will be to get used to.
Posts: 14151 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlackBlade
Member
Member # 8376

 - posted      Profile for BlackBlade   Email BlackBlade         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A swap looks like it's 60 bucks for 200 miles. The tech isn't there yet for me.
Posts: 14243 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I honestly don't see why it can't become mainstream. It only requires one specific element to drive that: being significantly cheaper.

Well, being significantly cheaper and getting people over the idea that they don't really own part of their cars.
If battery swap is effectively as convenient as gas station, but is half the price per mile, you have every idea how easy that will be to get used to.
People get used to ideas like this fairly easily. I'm not even too young to recall the days in which Pacific Bell *owned* your telephone. We had a receiver in our house that belonged to them. And when you think about all those Apple customers out there, well, we are clearly comfortable with some degree of the idea of not fully owning the things we buy.
Posts: 9555 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jeff C.
Member
Member # 12496

 - posted      Profile for Jeff C.           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
Much like space travel.

If you ask me, this is where our focus needs to be.
Posts: 1322 | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2