Fuel Efficiency

Well the photoblogging experiment yesterday was mostly a failure. I posted images I took on my phone via my phone and they came out too large and loaded too slowly. The whole point of the experiment was to see if I could post quickly and easily from my phone and avoid the laptop entirely. I was seeking efficiency and did not find it.

But one place where we have found efficiency on our trip is our car. We got this Peugeot convertible for our trip.


It is a stick shift and takes diesel gas. The tank was almost empty when we got it so we filled the tank at the start of our trip. That cost 85 euros (roughly $110) but we’ve driven almost 500 kilometers so far and we still have over half a tank left. So we are getting roughly 900-1000 kilometers on a tank of gas which is 500-600 miles.

I’ve never owned a diesel car and finding diesel in the US isn’t easy and with the move towards electric, I suppose diesel will never be a thing in the US.

But I’m impressed with the fuel efficiency you get with diesel. It’s kind of amazing that you can drive almost 600 miles on a single tank of gas.

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. snooch

    Fred- diesel is EVERYWHERE now in the states. It’s an old myth that you cannot find it anymore. I just got a new diesel vehicle and on the highway I have gotten almost 700 miles on a tank (and it’s a 4 door sedan)! Great gas mileage, very green and super economical. Win, win, win.

    1. JamesHRH

      Lots of Mercedes diesels on the road in Canada. Easy to find it – at most stations.

      1. William Mougayar

        There’s a new Diesel Jeep Cherokee that’s pretty good.

  2. Chris Mack

    Diesels are much more common in Europe. I used to have an Audi A4 diesel that got better mileage than my friend’s Ford Fiesta. Downside – they SUCK in cold climates. Take forever to warm up.

    1. Florian

      The warm-up issue is a side effect of the efficiency of modern Diesel cars. They simply don’t generate that much excess heat.Many makers of Diesel cars sell an extra heater as an option though.

  3. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Our previous car was a turbo diesel – my first ever – and I became a convert. Sadly it blew up due to an incompetent garage. Will get another one day. The nicest thing about diesel is their low-revs and high torque makes driving so relaxing – everything slows down. Such traits especially useful in very hilly terrains such as ours.

  4. Richard

    A nice (and interesting) general theme of these travel posts could be comparing EU vs USA quality of life?

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Yes, good idea.

  5. JimHirshfield

    On our trip to Sweden we hit the countryside (3 hours outside Stockholm) in my brother-in-law’s father-in-law’s (yeah, that’s a thing) diesel Volvo. Great ride. No fuel stops.Brother-in-law’s father-in-law told us of his biggest fail ever. Upon committing to buy the car, he figured he ought to take it for a test drive (right?) and proceeded to fill’er up with gasoline (reg petrol, as they say). Doh!! He realized his mistake while still at the pump, engine still off. Towed to garage where the gas tank was drained and replaced (tankadectomy).In the end, the great deal he negotiated on the car was negated by the $6000 upfront repair. Ouch!

    1. Salt Shaker

      I boneheadedly did the same thing w/ a rental in Boise, Idaho. Blanked out at the pump and the restrictor that allegedly prevents you from putting regular gas in a diesel tank didn’t work. I fortunately noticed while I was pumping away so there was no engine damage. Avis or Hertz (can’t remember which) had the car towed, tank drained, fuel lines pumped clean, etc., and only charged me $500 on top of my rental fee. Luckily AMX’s “buyer protection” plan covered the damage.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Whoa…lucky. $500 is better than the full price of replacing the engine.

        1. Salt Shaker

          A Volvo, like most imports, is pretty tight under the hood and perhaps access to the engine and fuel lines is far more challenging than the American car that I rented. I was quite relieved it was only $500 and was pleasantly surprised that AMX covered.

  6. JimHirshfield

    Image upload protip: Open up Image on your Android and tap the pencil icon (edit). The from the menu select Export. Then slide the quality down a few notches. Save and then you’re ready to photoblog.

  7. William Mougayar

    Being in Italy, I thought you’d be driving a Lancia or Alfa Romeo! But i love the Peugeots. Growing-up, my father had a 504, then 505.

    1. Jon Michael Miles

      There is nothing on this earth like driving a stick shift in Italy. My personal favorite is Naples, where the dogs have a better sense of traffic than most people. I love driving in Italy.

      1. William Mougayar

        oh yeah…been there. You gotta watch for the vespas in naples. They swarm you like crazy. and watch for the lady purses…they will snatch them on the go. Actually, we witnessed a purse snatching from a passing vespa, but the woman had the strap around her head, so they gave up and kept going.

        1. awaldstein

          funny…when I think of naples i think of pizza and anglianico.Been there many times and to me that is what the place is about.

          1. William Mougayar

            man…the city of naples is known for its bad traffic, chaos, almost as many vespas as cars, pickpockets, and they have a problem with waste. the city was built in the middle ages. despite that, it has its charm, the best pizza, the best tomatos (Marzano), of course fresh buffalo mozarella, and Capri is an 1.5 hour away by ferry.

          2. awaldstein

            You know more than me my friend. I simply get off the train from Rome there many times and head south.Capri has never spoken to me personally as there are so so many out of the way places to explore there.Revello seriously does though.

  8. JamesHRH

    You got it with the tank empty?

  9. awaldstein

    Curious how you are doing with or if you don’t w/o Italian.Big hotels, easy. Back roads, small villages in parts of Italy, especially way south and into Sicily, is always fun.

    1. William Mougayar

      He’s probably testing a new Duolingo feature that auto-translates when you speak into the smartphone.

  10. Mario Cantin

    That’s 20 cents per mile. I wonder how that compares to the cost of electricity required to keep a Tesla running.

  11. Tom Evslin

    I have an audi a8 with a diesel engine and am getting 40mpg on the highway and overall about 36 despite the fact that it’s a big car. range is 800 miles but that’s partly a function of tank size, of course. Like hybrids, it turns off at stop lights but restarts immediately when I take my foot off the brake. It also selectively recharges the battery as a form of breaking (again technology borrowed from hybrids). Part of the reason for the good mileage is the excellent torque which avoids consuming huge amounts of fuel to climb hillsWith this range, finding diesel stations is a minor annoyance but not a serious problem.No cold weather problems – had it all last cold winter.Diesels has come a long way – and is now very low sulfur.I think that CNG rather than electric may be what challenges diesel. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to burn natural gas at power stations (much less coal) to generate electricity for lossy transmission to a recharging station for slow and lossy charging if you can burn the natural gas directly in the vehicle. Of course, this also requires infrastructure buildout and I’m biased because I’m in the CNG business. And note that, for the moment, i have a diesel and not a cng car.

    1. needcaffeine

      FYI, get Gasbuddy for your phone & you can find diesel easily.

      1. Tom Evslin

        Thanks. actually (not surprisingly) the installed gps finds diesel stations. at 100 miles range left car asks if it I need a station.

        1. needcaffeine

          Ah, cool the MB rental I had in Europe did that. I wish my BMW did that. Though it is interesting to see the cost difference between stations, I’ve seen as much as 0.35c per gallon difference within a few miles.

  12. Rohan

    Diesels are big back home in India as well.. and for the same reason.it also helped that diesel used to be heavily subsidized. That’s changing now though.

  13. Matt Zagaja

    Diesel pumps are pretty common in Connecticut. We also have plenty of EV charging stations including Tesla Superchargers. People seem to be gravitating more towards the plug-in hybrids though.

  14. Jon Michael Miles

    Curious, does it emanate that diesel smell? How is the pickup?

  15. Juan Ageitos

    this is what happens in the land of great engineers and no access to in-house-oil – welcome to Europe

  16. Laura Yecies

    And diesel engines last longer and need less maintenance – another bonus. Fuel prices in Europe definitely incent for more efficient cars. Just got back from Ireland where gas was 1.6 euro’s per liter!

  17. Steve

    Fred I have a diesel vw jetta wagon in boston and there are plenty of diesel pumps. I get 40+ mpg in a car that is comfortable, not slow, reasonably fun to drive, does well in snow, and fits plenty of cargo. All for about $27k with the 6 speed. Audi and vw offer several diesel models as well as bmw, mercedes, and chevy. The vw diesels are also extremely reliable – my father has run two of them to 150k+ miles with mimimal issues.

  18. lunarmobiscuit

    Isn’t it amazing how you can assume Tesla and others will install the tens of thousands of charging stations required to make electric cars ubiquitous, but fail to assume the existing tens of thousands of existing gas stations would (far more simple), add one extra tank and pump for diesel.Out here is Seattle, most every “gas” station already has that pump. My VW turbo diesel has no problems filling up. Especially given it goes 600 miles between fill-ups, at 42mpg.I’ve taken it on rounds trips to Portland, Vancouver, and the Channel Islands, filling it up only once for $50 at the end of the trip in my own neighborhood.If only the electrics could do that, we wouldn’t need the charging stations…

    1. Salt Shaker

      Recently test drove a Tesla at the dealer on Westlake Ave. Lots of Tesla’s on the road in Seattle. I’m sure it’s a big status/ego thing, but the car is amazing–feels like a rocket-ship. If I only had Microsoft money.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Tesla is the new Prius with hipster rich geeks – reflects how SV et al ‘valuations’ have bubble-grown, also…

  19. Hunter

    Fun fact: the diesel engine cycle was originally designed to run on vegetable oils, but when fossil fuels became big, refineries found they had oily byproducts with no applications. The original diesel engines were retuned to use this waste product, which we now call diesel fuel.The significance of this is that diesel engines – by design – can run on a completely sustainable fuel. Batteries, however, still use finite resources in their construction. Electric cars do not change the paradigm, they only trade one set of resources for another. The reality is that it isn’t what powers the car that needs to change: it is the paradigm of people using individual cars that must change. We are extremely wasteful in how we get around due to lugging around several thousand pounds of material per person. It is not sustainable, no matter what is under the hood.

    1. kenberger

      So true, using motorcycles/scooters helps this cause (I do).And in Europe I rent the cheap and awesome little Fiat 500 (which is actually made in Mexico).

  20. Alex Wolf

    I miss my stick shift. I broke it in perfectly.

    1. Anne Libby

      You really feel like you’re driving.

  21. needcaffeine

    Diesel is easier to find than you might believe in the US. It’s at around 1/5 of the normal gas stations, but once you remember that most trucks run on it you realize it’s around more than you know.I just got back from the UK, where I made sure to get a diesel rental car as I was planning to drive a lot of miles. I finished up with 1,900 miles on 3 tanks of fuel. The MB 200cdi I was driving was averaging 54 MPG though I assume that’s imperial gallons?Diesel is cleaner for newer European vehicles which have cleaner exhaust systems than US produced vehicles.It is odd that primary fuel use of the US or Europe isn’t swapped. As those in the US usually drive a lot more miles than most Europeans, especially daily.A diesel hybrid would be the best option, but there’s few small diesel engines available from US manufacturers for US hybrid vehicle builds.BTW, I also drive a bmw diesel in the US due to how many annual miles I drive here.

  22. Jeff T.

    In college I had an early ’90s diesel suburban with a 40 gallon tank. I got about 800 or 900 miles per tank with that, and it didn’t matter if it was just me in the car, or me and 6 friends packed to the gills on a road trip. An absolutely amazing car for college life.

  23. LIAD

    Driven diesel for years. Great full efficiency, but they sound like you’re driving a tank.

    1. William Mougayar

      Really? Not the new ones. Had a 607 peugeot diesel rental in france. it was smooth and fast.

  24. sigmaalgebra

    Disclaimer: Right, as has long been common for US males, I’m an only partially reformed ‘car nut’.Diesel makes a lot of good sense just from the Carnot cycle.Why not such a high compression ratio with gasoline? Long the standard reason was pre-ignition just from the heat of the compression. But now that direct fuel injection is getting common with gasoline engines, maybe we can have the same high compression ratios, and gains from the Carnot cycle, as with Diesel.And, with direct fuel injection for no worries about pre-ignition, maybe can have some versions of ‘force feeding’ the engine, that is, compress the air before letting it into the cylinders, and not worry about cooling that compressed air with an ‘inter-cooler’. How to compress? Sure, either turbocharging or positive displacement, ‘Roots’ supercharging. Getting rid of the inter-cooler sounds like a good idea, but I would need information on the engineering a little deeper than I do have (I’m embarrassed to say this since once I was made a Full Member of the SAE!). the move toward electric, I suppose diesel will never be a thing in the US. I don’t see that. First, for all-electric, my view is that so far it’s essentially hopeless. Why? Likely and apparently the best of current electric energy storage battery technology has far to far to go. One of the main problems is recharging time. And, even if a battery could take a full charge quickly, we’d be talking one heck of a power line from the electric power grid to any such charging station.The basic fact remains: A car needs a good supply of quite a lot of energy, and, net, so far, for that supply it’s just super tough to compete with a 15 gallon tank of gasoline or Diesel. So, net, now and for years, the energy for a car will come, at one point in the flow of energy, from a tank of gasoline or Diesel (or natural gas, maybe a few more possibilities).Really, as far as I can tell, all electric cars in the US and Norway can sell now essentially only because of massive government subsidies. Also, unless really careful, for the owner of an all-electric car, recharging is a pain.But, ‘hybrid electric’, that is, where the car has a battery, the battery drives motors that drive the wheels, and a gasoline or Diesel engine charges the battery, does have a chance, and there a Diesel engine should be, really, with some common assumptions, the first choice if only because it’s okay to have the power source for charging the on-board battery run at just one power setting, long the sweet spot of Diesel. And, really, if we accept a power source with just one power setting, then, especially with progress in ceramics, can consider gas turbines which can have very high compression ratios (e.g., 27:1 in some military turbojet engines). Also, with constant power, get to consider centrifugal compressors and turbines, both of which are simpler to work with than axial flow turbines.So, in the morning, darn, the battery is low. So, just crank up the Diesel, let it feed the battery, drive slowly for a few minutes while also put some charge into the battery, and then be back into the intended situation of running the car off the battery while the Diesel runs occasionally.To make everything nice and smooth, want a relatively large battery, say, with enough energy to accelerate the car to 100 MPH and enough power for rapid acceleration, say, 500 HP, and a relatively large Diesel, say, 300+ HP. Then with both the battery and the Diesel, for short times, can get 800 HP. And the efficiency? Should be fine except for more weight for the drive train than could have with less power.Also, of course, get to f’get about the ‘trick’ Brembo brakes and, instead, use the electric motors, one at each wheel, as a generator to stop the car. Then get some interesting possibilities for ‘smart’ braking and traction control, etc. Also save on differentials, drive shaft U-joints, transmissions and fluid couplings, clutches, etc.The cost of the extra weight from extra power? Have higher rolling resistance, but the aerodynamic drag should be about the same. For the extra energy needed for acceleration, the brakes get some of that energy back!To me, all-electric? Bummer. Hybrid? Good idea. Then, Diesel? Sure. Or maybe gas turbines.I know; I know; I know; I’m supposed to be worried about evil, sinful humans destroying the 100% all-natural, delicate, fragile, pristine environment with CO2. Alas, I’m not worried, at all, and see nothing important there to worry about. Sorry ’bout that.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      Not with you on the global warming denial !ButElectric vehicle growth may certainly have a rare earth limitation ?Rare Earth Metals: Will We Have Enough?

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Not with you on the global warming denial ! I’m not a denier; instead, I would say that I’m an objective, rationalist arguing with alarmists! But, Fred’s Place is a nice bar, and we shouldn’t do name calling.Seriously, and you and many others are welcome to disagree as in horse racing or most of politics, I’ve looked at a lot of data and arguments and, net, as I wrote, am just not concerned at all about global warming or climate change, human caused or otherwise. Sorry ’bout that; I’m not even a little convinced or concerned. Instead, I see the concerns about global warming and climate change as driven by a flim-flam, fraud, manipulative scam that likely can be best explained by the usual approach of follow the money, e.g., tax carbon, send money to poor countries, get news headlines, get big government subsidies, keep a scam industry going, etc. Maybe much of it is about selling bicycles.For rare earths, I doubt that there is much in the way of significant shortages or limitations. Instead, I suspect, just raise the prices a little for a few years, and any such shortages will magically disappear as people find lots of new sources.Maybe if I had some good data on the efficiencies of electric motors and generators and charging and discharging batteries I would f’get about hybrids.Actually, my favorite solution is just a lot of dirt cheap gasoline from, say, Utah coal, nuclear power, water from somewhere, and something like the old Fischer–Tropsch process, as I recall, still heavily used by South Africa. There was an old article in Scientific American reviewing some engineering and planning that claimed could put gasoline into a pipeline in Utah for $0.65 a gallon.

        1. ci5er

          I like you.I am a little worried about potassium supply, but that’s a fertilizer issue, not energy.If you like FT, you should take a look at zeep.com. They have some really slick tech for converting cheap coal (or dried algae for that matter, if one were all into renewables and government subsidies) into syn-gas. You can up-convert from there using FT and related processes. Ron Oligney (their CEO) is an absolutely fascinating guy to spend time with. The man has a lot of oil on his boots.

    2. ci5er

      This is pretty slick/clever: – http://www.extremetech.com/…A gas/diesel powered EV design. Which is an obvious option when you’ve seen it. Or I’m an idiot for not thinking of this type of thing myself. Or both.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Right: Want to get the electric power from hot gasses from burning fuel. So, don’t necessarily want the hot gasses turning a crank shaft. So, have the piston act like a generator version of a linear electric motor. Sure. As I recall, a fairly old idea.The usual issues will be the efficiency from the compression ratio from the Carnot cycle, frictional losses, leaks of the high pressure gasses, ease of manufacture, and reliability.Without some more data on efficiencies, etc., it’s still something of an open question if (A) converting the hot gasses to electric power to charge a battery to discharge to drive electric motors to drive the wheels is more efficient than (B) a very efficient version of a traditional Diesel engine driving a transmission driving the wheels.

        1. ci5er

          > So, have the piston act like a generator version of an electric linear electric motor. Sure. As I recall, a fairly old idea.It may well be. I’m more of an EE-Math-Physics type than an ME/ASE type, so I hadn’t ever come across it before.> Without some more data on efficiencies, etc., it’s still something of an open questionIn both cases, I’m sure that it wouldn’t be to hard to come up with a theoretical bounding limit model. But those assume “perfection”, and wouldn’t be that immediately useful. I guess my first response would to call Toyota and ask for the data book — they will have certainly measured what their DUT (device-under-test) is doing.

  25. ErikSchwartz

    The immaturity of charging station network is a secondary issue.The larger issue is the amount of time it takes to transfer enough energy to go a mile.You can transfer enough energy to go 500 miles in under 5 minutes if the energy is being transferred as diesel or gas.Half an hour on a Tesla 120 kW supercharge station only gives you 170 miles of range.What makes it more complicated from a customer acceptance/understanding standpoint is that transferring fuel is linear (if I am hooked to the gas pump for twice as long I get twice as much range) while charging batteries is logarithmic (the first half of my battery charges pretty quickly, but then charging gets slower).

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      On the other hand once we’ve suck all that petroleum out go the ground its going to be a very long wait for that energy source to recharge 🙂

      1. ci5er

        Well, sure, it would be. But when we run out of the low hanging fruit in the ground, we’ll just make more, like the Germans figured out how to do in WWII. It’s hard to beat the energy density of hydrocarbons for portable applications.

    2. LE

      Agree and to me the whole idea of having an electric (that takes so much time to charge and/or has a low range) is a deal breaker.Today, with gas (or diesel) you drive and you don’t think about running out. Actually the only time you really think about running out is when you are closer to empty and you need to find a gas station. And if you remember any time you are in that zone you start to be more conservative in how you drive and the things that you do. Because you fear running out.Likewise with electric. The whole idea that the range is short and the fillup time is long makes it less likely to be able to really enjoy using a car spontaneously. It gives you something to think about.In a sense like the difference between when you paid for time on the internet and when you didn’t. Or when you have to pay even $2.99 for a movie on cable and when you don’t. It makes you think. And that transcends whether you have money or not.

    3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Why do they not make a swapping out modular system for the hardware.If you see how fast an F1 car can change its tires – you know it must be possible with a even with a volume of heavy batterieshttp://www.youtube.com/watc…

      1. ErikSchwartz

        They absolutely can. Tesla is already experimenting with it.I see two issues.1) To make sense all companies making electric cars would need to agree and enforce a single standard for battery modules both electrically and mechanically.2) Battery technology is currently early enough in it developmental cycle that making that standardization now in 2014 would be foolish.

  26. jason wright

    i wonder if Herr Diesel realised his name would become forever a word that today means “pollution”? a sad epitaph.500 kilometers of pollution. you need to redeem yourself. a bitcoin donation to an environmental cause in Italy would be nice.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Nice example of environmentalism as religion, replete with sin, redemption, and indulgences.

      1. andyswan

        Enviro-religion has the “hell” part down pat, rife with threats of biblical levels of climate destruction.The threat of Hell alone isn’t enough to sell your religion.. We tire of it…What you really need to move a religion forward, and maximize those tithes, is the promise of Heaven. Environmental folks haven’t figured that out yet.Give them time though… Marxists are fantastic at promising Utopia.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          That’s a good point.Speaking of Marxists, remember how after the Berlin Wall fell, it turned out that communist Eastern Europe was a lot more polluted than Western Europe.

          1. andyswan

            “wrong leader” I’m sure

        2. kidmercury

          the best part is when you ask them for some proof of their assertions. that is when they just get mad at you for daring to apply scientific rigor……

          1. andyswan

            It’s the same look I got many Sunday mornings…

        3. Chimpwithcans

          HA! – so are Americans.

      2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        If by religion you mean believing – clean water to drink, flushing toilets for hygene, fresh air to breath, and food free of toxic crap made by major petro-chemicals concerns is good for your soul, planet, nature and its’ peoples in generalSIGN ME UP

  27. Perry Ismangil

    Agree with jasonpwright – I just recently heard a science piece that the NO2 emission and the particulate matter is quite worrying.Planet’s saved at the expense of breathing humans…

  28. louis

    Check out the bmw 328d xDrive sedan back in the States- i get ~500 miles on a tank and it’s a great car.

  29. John Revay

    Fred – did you & Joanne pickup the Tesla yet in NYC?

  30. LE

    Anywhere that trucks go (which is everywhere) there is diesel. Also with a range of 600 miles you have much more flexibility anyway.Here is the EIA page on diesel prices vs. gas:http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet

  31. cfrerebeau

    Driving a small car makes also a big impact on fuel efficiency, the stick shift as well. Considering the price of gas europeans have long been more careful than american about miles per gallon.But I agree it’s impressive. Car markers have made some amazing improvements along these lines.

  32. Ian Smith

    As I’m based in the UK, it has always amazed me at the slow pace of adoption diesel cars in the US, but then you still use paper for only $1 value ;-)Diesel cars have become the norm in Europe, with most new purchases being a 4-cylinder diesel car. Performance is on a par with gasoline engines, for 20% less fuel on long journeys and even better around town. Most new models come with auto-stop at lights to save even more, and 700 miles range on one tank is normal. It’s only with very small cars that the 3-cylinder gasline engines do really well on economy.I have one of each: a diesel 4-cylinder 140hp VW Passat for family journeys, and a gasoline 6-cylinder 230hp BMW for fun. The wallet goes with the former, the heart with the latter. Both are stick-shift, although the family car could easily be automatic. (We’re a bit obsessed with stick-shift in Europe. US is a bit more pragmatic on that one and there is no big difference in fuel economy.)Why has diesel come on so well in the past 10 years? Why do we now have electronic injectors that can fire in 8 timeslots per cycle, rather than slow mechanical ones? I think it has something to do with European Standards forcing the development, with long-term targets for fuel efficency. Perhps the standards will drive electric development one day.

  33. Paul Meloan

    Fred, I spent the last two days driving from Chicago to Wash DC on one tank in my Audi A6 diesel, cruising comfortably and effortlessly at 70 mph (thats the posted limit!) and getting 44.7 mpg average. Diesel is easy to find and about the same price as premium gas. In terms of cars that drive this well this efficiently there is only the Tesla that exceeds it. Diesel is not the long term solution, but it’s a hell of a step in the right direction.

  34. Philip Smith

    I was recently in Italy and had the exact same experience and the exact same thoughts. Somehow I managed to spend 4 days driving all over Tuscany and still had half a tank of gas left.

  35. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    FWIW – Fred you may like this pushed to the extremeWe have been involved in planning controls of some bio-diesel Combined Heat And Power (also known as Co-Generation) sites.The idea is that you burn bio waste (old fat from chip fryers &tc), this powers a diesel engine which drives a generator (in isolation or feeding the grid) – the big win is where you can use the by-product heat of generation – this is often termed “free heat”. So from cheap recycled fuel you get electricity and heat.In other configurations the heat can be used to power chillers so (ideally) you avoid capital power plant use (which simply dump their heat to the air or a river), transmission losses and you use a high proportion of the input energy for benefit (with a bonus if the fuel is recycled or renewable).This is a big coming theme particularly in Germany because local generation creates energy security and grid resilience (and is not subject to weather like wind/solar).Energy security apropos Ukrainian situation is interesting and the world will move this way (and will likely screw it up for another few iterations).Although the technology is not new (at all) – optimisations (our field) are becoming increasingly possible with real-time demand response to market pricing / weather forecasts etc. However controlling and sizing these machines is a “bit of an issue” where short-cuts create monster fails that are hard to recognizeAs an example I personally audited data from a large supermarket chain (global titan) and on average 20% of the on-site electricity generated was being used to rid the supermarkets of the in fact unwanted “free-heat” through increased cooling loads.Conclusion – If you are a supermarket get food distribution right. If an engineering company get engineering right. If you are not an X and if X is complicated subcontract it (unbundle it) and put good market frameworks around it with penalties to punish the screw-ups – just my 2 cents

  36. Alex Teu

    Fred, I just bought a VW Jetta Sportswagen. It’s TDI (Turbo, diesel) and manual. It gets 42 MPG; I passed up the PriusV. Perfect family car. Living in SF, finding diesel was a problem the first time I had to fill it up. Then, you determine the go-tos for getting gas locally. Outside SF, almost every station has diesel. Those 18 wheelers need their diesel! Diesel is here to stay (I hope).

  37. Cima

    Ah, the delights of diesel power. We got our first diesel-powered car around 4 years ago and it’s been pretty good so far. As expected, fuel efficiency is quite good and the torque is addicting. i do miss the throttle response of a gasoline engine and the higher rev range. Servicing a gasoline engine seems to be relatively cheaper too. Maybe because there are more gas cars out there that parts like oil and fuel filters for gas cars are relatively cheaper.

  38. aseoconnor

    Fred, I live in the North East (New Jersey) and I never have an issue finding diesel. Sure I may have to stop at a few fuel stations, but 1/3 carry diesel. With a 600 mile range it hasn’t been an issue for me.

  39. paramendra

    I like large photos.

  40. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Electric still has a long way to go. Literally!

  41. Matt Zagaja

    How long does the electric quick charge station take?

  42. SubstrateUndertow

    Still – 66% of that electric recharge comes from fossil fuel based electrical generation in the US ?

  43. JamesHRH

    Having just relocated back to Calgary, it is noticeable that there is not a Charge Network planned or Tesla stores planned for the entire province of Alberta.

  44. Carl Rahn Griffith

    A solar powered 2CV is my dream car. Weight – a lack of – and simplicity is key. Ironically, we make the whole thing more difficult because of our perceived need for absurdly heavy/complex cars. Colin Chapman is but a distant memory for too many car designers…

  45. LE

    Nice to drive with only something like 2400 parts instead of 20,000. Why? Why does it matter at all how many parts the vehicle has?Maintenance is near zero.Maintenance is near zero for any car I’ve driven for a long long time. This is not the 70’s or even the 80’s. And especially with cars in the price range of a Tesla btw.

  46. ShanaC

    do you think they can make it into a self driving telsa (I can’t drive…)

  47. kidmercury

    will never scale. not enough land, water, or government subsidies.it’s very hard to prove, but renewables are probably negative net energy. meaning takes more energy to get them than they produce. that’s why things that are deeply energy-intensive, like water desalinization, only use “renewables” sparingly as ancillary tool.

  48. William Mougayar

    oh so you’re heading back to calgary? make sure you stop in toronto one last time, and we’ll have coffee before you pack and go.

  49. SubstrateUndertow

    It’s Alberta !

  50. JamesHRH

    too late.Kids started school last Wednesday, Michele starts new gig on Tuesday. Will be back to ONT to pack up house when it sells, but that is probably in / out Sarnia.Heading west @ all?

  51. JamesHRH

    I am kind of curious. Isolation? Lack of population density? Research that shows the most dynamic economy in NA won’t buy Tesla ( Petro $$$ )?I have been back 2 days & it is apparent the province is going into its third boom cycle in a decade.I would think Teslas would fly out of the stores here….

  52. ErikSchwartz

    How is EV battery performance impacted by extreme cold?edit: answering my own question. http://www.technologyreview…The combination of long distances and cold temps suggest that many provinces of Canada are not a great market for EVs.

  53. SubstrateUndertow

    the most dynamic economy in NAThat all depends on how you defined dynamic !

  54. JamesHRH

    What is weird is that Montana & S Dakota are?

  55. PhilipSugar

    Not to mention heat. Needing to go at least once per winter, the heat is the problem.

  56. JamesHRH

    I am using job & wealth creation.

  57. SubstrateUndertow

    Minus a shit load of externalized long term costs !

  58. JamesHRH

    So?I am spending the day @ Chinook Centre Mall. People from all over the globe spending $$$ like crazy. Retail Help Wanted signs everywhere.I saw SV beak down as a place to live in 2000. I have seen that happen in Calgary in 2004-2005, 2007-2008 & it appears it’s happened again in 2013-2104.Calgary with population of < 1.5M supports a Bentley dealership.

  59. John Revay

    Matt, they have them now at the rest stops on the Merritt & I-95

  60. LE

    That time is totally a non starter that will impede any type of mass adoption. Besides if you add more charging stations you’d have to increase the size of the restaurant seating as well. Maybe even bathrooms.

  61. LE

    So are you shorting TSLA?I don’t do any stocks. It’s gambling to me. I only do things that I can have some input or figure out an angle to gain an advantage. To me stocks are either for someone who can devote enough time to improve the gamble (like my Dad who was retired) or someone who doesn’t have the ability to make money from something else and has no choice.

  62. LE

    “Near zero” and “maintenance free” are not the same thing.I said “maintenance is near zero for any car I’ve driven”. I didn’t say “maintenance free”.My current car is a Porsche (as were my last two cars). Oil change isn’t for a year (or 10k miles). Minor maintenance every 20k or 2 years. Major maintenance every 4 years or 40k. They give you a loaner when you bring it in or they will pick up your car. And it’s really not much of an inconvenience either. Other cars have been similar high end cars. Same deal every now and then you bring it in and they give you a loaner. So if you are driving 12k per year that’s about 1 time at the dealer per year. What’s the big deal? (And they will pick up the car as mentioned..) I would call that “near zero”.I mean compared to having to worry about charging and electric range it’s hardly anything to be inconvenienced by. Porsche got 32mpg on the highway by the way (and that was with aggressive driving).That said I don’t put many miles on a car nor do I keep a car a long time. The degree to which you adhere to a maintenance schedule obviously not only depends on what car you are driving (there is more things needed on a Honda for example) but also how long you are keeping your car. If you are keeping your card for a short period of time much of the maintenance doesn’t even really matter.ICE are actually very reliable. One of the reasons that corner service stations are not on every corner like they were in the 70’s.

  63. michaelbrom

    not cool to knock trading (or traders) since you can’t figure it out

  64. SubstrateUndertow

    Those externalized long term costs will come home to roost and are ultimately materially pertinent to the true dynamism of any economy.The American housing market was thought to be one of the most dynamic in the world until all the irrational externalities came up for reconciliation.

  65. ci5er

    Charging? Hourly.

  66. ci5er

    How are the costs of hydrocarbon extraction externalized. It’s not like they’re actually burning it themselves.And given the Tesla love in this thread, I’m surprised that most people don’t realize that their coal-burners are more harmful to the environment than clean diesel.

  67. kenberger

    That’s because Norway now provides massive monetary subsidies for all EVs, including Teslas.

  68. kenberger

    Yep. Norway has no vehicle manufacturers. Can you imagine this happening in the land of Ford, GM, and Exxon?Then again, Norway has major oil interests who didn’t block this, so it is all the more impressive.

  69. SubstrateUndertow

    Environmental clean up costs after oilsands extraction are left for Albertan tax payers as is the agricultural cost of water depletion associated with oilsands extraction.Not to mention the huge amount of cleaner natural gas that is burned-up/wasted processing tarsands oil.The average “energy returned on investment,” or EROI, for conventional oil is roughly 25:1. In other words, 25 units of oil-based energy are obtained for every one unit of other energy that is invested to extract it. With tarsand that EROI drops to 5:1!http://albertaoilsandsjobs….

  70. kidmercury

    how are the “renewables” getting the copper, silver, and rare earths they need? #fossilfuelpride

  71. kidmercury

    excellent counter-diss. i hereby declare this beef won. congrats! 🙂

  72. kidmercury

    Not when you want to get it into a form that allows for widespread usage of electric cars

  73. kidmercury

    The math is called energy density. They is the only detail that really matters. If energy density is too low, add is the case with renewables, it will end up taking too much land to scale.that is why All renewables combined produce less than 2 percent of all energy usage in the world.