[17x06] July 31st, 2011

[17x06] July 31st, 2011


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Spectre

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Another possible alternative to help push electric cars would be some sort of fluid battery solution that can be drained and replaced at refilling stations.
That's called a fuel cell. Runs on hydrogen. :p

If you're talking about an actual electrolyte, that would actually greatly increase mass because you'd be going back to the older wet-cell battery technology, such as lead-acid, and that not only weighs more you then have the issue of having a highly toxic and hazardous chemical in vast quantities in the vehicle with you.

Battery tech just isn't there for electric vehicles. Never has been and doesn't, at this point, look like it will ever be. That elusive super-battery continues to be 'just 10 years away' and has been so as long as I have been alive.
 
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CD82

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[...]
the electric car thing was solid without being an idiot. I do wonder why it's so quiet around hydrogen atm btw
[...]
They mentioned the Clarity briefly, but I too was hoping for some more information on that project. Especially since it's been going on for quite a while now. Also some rough numbers on "how many more power plants" (and especially what type) would be needed if nearly everbody switched to electric cars would have been nice. Overall the segment was very nice and I liked how they talked about the good and bad points, but all in all it didn't offer much new information, since we already knew that electric cars (at least for now) have a very limited range, are very quiet, take forever to charge, and the batteries will give in after a couple of years (like every single other battery ever devised [except for plutonium batteries, but then not many people would wanna drive around with one of these]). In my mind the development of electric cars is great because it means development in regenerative braking and better electric motors, but batteries are the wrong power source, at least the ones we have today. Ok so the current cars are meant for short commute but at some point we have to switch to some non-petrol alternative full stop, not just when it's convenient.

Another possible alternative to help push electric cars would be some sort of fluid battery solution that can be drained and replaced at refilling stations.
Like... a hydrogen fuel cell maybe? :rolleyes:
Or something radically different like changing the whole battery pack, but then that would mean every manufacturer would have to use the exact same battery pack, and also it would need quite a bit of storage space...
 
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gtrNL

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Aventador: Great review of a great car. Hammond was surprisingly great here. I really enjoyed it.
News: Had a great laugh.
Electric: Insanely good. This is why I watch Top Gear.
SIARPC: Great time to get some more cookies.
Soldiers: Woow. Very nicely done by the crew and Hammond (he really was on a roll tonight).

10/10. The first one of the season and normally reserved for full length special episodes.
 

The Mouse

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Fabulous, fabulous season. Just watched the final. The Aventador. Hammond's enthusiasm and excitement (and perhaps tinge of fear) seemed genuine. Helsinki syndrome. LOL.. I like how they kept the error in and were able to make a joke of it. The electric car segment, informative and entertaining. And finally the rally car team. Inspirational. I also liked how Ben Collins' appearance was handled. Referenced his departure from the show but also ackowledged his valuable contribution to this project. Interviews handled well too, with humour and sensitivity. Nice to be reminded of what Hammond can do when he's not having to play the daft thicko. What a high note to end the season. Pity it's over. I have the feeling they were only just beginning to hit their straps.
 

Spectre

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Like... a hydrogen fuel cell maybe? :rolleyes:
Or something radically different like changing the whole battery pack, but then that would mean every manufacturerer would have to use the exact same battery pack, and also it would need quite a bit of storage space...
You can't even get them to agree on one size starting battery now, good luck getting them to agree on one standard car battery pack. Which would probably be outdated the moment it was introduced, hobble innovation, and would not be storable at "fuelling" stations in the numbers you would need. Also doesn't take into account how battery capacity drops as it ages - you could get stuck with someone else's pack that only lasts for 20 minutes at 'idle', etc., etc.

The issue with hydrogen is not that it's "difficult" to make - you can make it in your basement with a bowl of water, some wiring, and a big battery - it's that it's energy intensive, takes a lot of power to make it the simplest way, through zapping water. There have been some huge advances in catalytic production of H2 lately, some of which have interesting byproducts. And, as it turns out, getting power to your electric car isn't any more efficient and is usually actually worse.

That said, H2 has so many potential feeder stocks, you run little to no risk of running out of it at the societal level and nobody can corner the market on it. There cannot be a Organization of Hydrogen Exporting Countries, for example, because all it takes is someone setting up an electricity generator next to a water source with a compressor and gas handling equipment. It's the closest thing to open-sourcing fuel that we're likely to get.

Best part? If you make a hydrogen fuel cell car, there is NOTHING preventing you from converting it to run the mythical superbattery if it ever materializes. The opposite (converting a battery car to fuel cell usage) is not true.
 
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Goose+

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Lambo - I want one.
Electric cars - I enjoyed this.
Guest- Boring as hell.
Soldiers - Brilliant.

I gave it about a 7. Overall, I think the consensus is that Top Gear has improved again. Just a pity there isn't more of it :(
 

CD82

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You can't even get them to agree on one size starting battery now, good luck getting them to agree on one standard car battery pack. Which would probably be outdated the moment it was introduced, hobble innovation, and would not be storable at "fuelling" stations in the numbers you would need. Also doesn't take into account how battery capacity drops as it ages - you could get stuck with someone else's pack that only lasts for 20 minutes at 'idle', etc., etc.

The issue with hydrogen is not that it's "difficult" to make - you can make it in your basement with a bowl of water, some wiring, and a big battery - it's that it's energy intensive, takes a lot of power to make it the simplest way, through zapping water. There have been some huge advances in catalytic production of H2 lately, some of which have interesting byproducts. And, as it turns out, getting power to your electric car isn't any more efficient and is usually actually worse.
[...]
Agreed on both statements. I just wanted to throw it out there, but even I see that probably every car maker wants to use its own size, shape and voltage. And being stuck with somebody's bad battery pack would suck... so yeah could be done but very unlikely.

And for instance using fossile fuels to make hydrogen would be stupid (at least on a large scale), it would be much better to use regenerative power sources for that. But the question remains, why has it gone so quiet around hydrogen fuel cells? It seems that only Honda is interested in them and only on a very small scale. Everybody else is going either hybrid or battery-powered, but both are only short-term solutions to a bigger problem...
 
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doofusman

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The problem with hydrogen is that it contains 1/3 the energy of fossil fuels measured. For 1 litre of petrol you need 3 litres of hydrogen with current technology.

This is a major problem, graphene can be used to make extremely solid compressed hydrogen (more weight) tanks. Imagine seeing a bubble gum, cell phone talking 18 year old dealing with highly compressed hydrogen pumps.

Great episode, love the signal they sent in the last segment when Hammond and Collins was in the same frame to honour these guys.
 
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Spectre

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Agreed on both statements. I just wanted to throw it out there, but even I see that probably every car maker wants to use its own size, shape and voltage. And being stuck with somebody's bad battery pack would suck... so yeah could be done but very unlikely.

And for instance using fossile fuels to make hydrogen would be stupid (at least on a large scale), it would be much better to use regenerative power sources for that. But the question remains, why has it gone so quiet around hydrogen fuel cells? It seems that only Honda is interested in them and only on a very small scale. Everybody else is going either hybrid or battery-powered, but both are only short-term solutions to a bigger problem...
Part of it is that most of the other fuel cell efforts by other makers were concentrating on fuels other than straight up hydrogen initially. As I recall, (and this time I'm not picking on the Euros, just using the first example that comes to mind) most of the German makers' early fuel cell efforts centered around things like methanol, which turned out not to work. Even the Daimler NECAR 4, which used hydrogen directly in its fuel cell was intended to have its production version run on methanol. BMW had decided that H2 was the future, but instead of a fuel cell they had decided to run it as a fuel for their internal combustion engines; see the Hydrogen 7. They had apparently neglected fuel cells almost entirely, as did most other makers.

As such, they were quite a bit behind Honda and the Clarity. They're catching up - IIRC, there's a Merc B-class H2 version that's available for lease in Europe as of last year. Hyundai also had to catch up, to name another maker; their H2 fuel cell version of the ix/Tuscon SUV is undergoing public testing this year, will go into limited production for MY2012 and full production by 2015. Other makers are coming; Toyota's anticipating their production-ready car will be out by 2015, Ford's given their once moribund fuel cell program a reprieve and are talking about 2018-2020 for an H2 fuel cell car. It's amazing what happens when someone else proves the tech can work and shows up with a production car.

Mostly it seems that the makers themselves are starting to roll the H2 fuel cell cars out, but with little fanfare, perhaps due to various media biases. After all, H2 still gets somewhat of a bad rap, even here on these forums where people should know better, due to the Hindenberg incident. It wasn't the H2 causing it to burn so fast in that case, it was the fact that the idiots that built it thought that the shiny was more important than non-flammable and they basically painted the thing in thermite. Ooops. Sadly the media is always happy to remind us of the "hydrogen-filled Hindenberg" so rolling fuel cell cars is perhaps best done quietly.

One final note - as the Hydrogen 7 proves, if you switch to hydrogen, you don't have to scrap the existing internal combustion fleet as much of it can potentially be converted. Whole lot of waste disposal issues avoided in that case.
 
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Richmondgal

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I'm really glad Andy put this episode last than what they intended to do in the first place, which was the demolition.

It was a very good mix of sheer excitement from the Lambo, logic and slight humour in the electric cars and sheer determination and spirit with the rally driving.

9/10, if only there was a better SIARPC this week, although it was funny when he said he likes to look at them all the time.
 

thelxinoe

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Great episode, not perfect, but entertaining.

Lambo: Want one! But it would've been cool to have a comparision to a similar car (not that I can think of any at the moment).
Electric cars: Yes, we know their limit is short for longer journeys, and I felt that the quest for a charging station was a bit, too fake. Still, fun
News: Hammond mocking Clarkson for his Black and 70s May was hilarious, not much actual news though :)
SIARPC: Not British, so I didn't care much for "that other guy from X-factor"
Veteran racing: Really good, though I felt it was Richard presenting one of his other shows, and the old Splitter back was nice, I also want an update on their road to Dakar.

Overall, 8.5 / 10. And 6 episodes is too short, now I have to wait for several months again...
 
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aaurora

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THANK YOU to the Top Gear team for a thoroughly enjoyable season. I am not the type to complain (as per Jeremy and James' comments on the last tg.com video) and I'm pretty much happy with anything on my screen that has James, Jeremy or Richard involved ;)

Lamborghini - One word: wow. Incredible looking car and my word can it fly. Richard looked like he was having a brilliant time.

News - I love it when they show amusing pictures and 1970's 'James' was no exception. Loved this news and bonus points for gentle mockery of each other (mainly Jeremy in this case).

Electric Cars - I really enjoyed this segment and although I'm a fan of the cocking about, I also love a more serious review like this one. I don't think battery powered cars are the solution to the future; it is hydrogen all the way. I've been reading James' columns on the hydrogen situation and it's so very interesting. I adored how the boys were discussing motoring of the future. I just love hearing their opinions and views on a more serious subject matter. I have, in all honesty, much faith in James being able to come up with a solution to hydrogen if he put his mind to it ;)

Guest - Sorry, I didn't watch.

Dakar - Brilliant. Well done, Richard. I know Richard cops a lot from this forum, but I am a Hammond-fan and I think he presented this very well. I enjoyed seeing Ben. He was a fantastic Stig and I appreciate how they were open about the fact that he was the Stig, and why he was there. I'd love to see him being used more, if an opportunity comes up.

Well done TG team, I look forward to seeing you all again at the end of the year.
 
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noFlooder

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7/10 at best, sadly this one wasn't really special compared to the first few.
The Lambo was an awesome car, but the review was standard, the news were standard aswell, but thank ramen not as bad as last week, the electric cars could have used some small challenge, that they suck we knew before from old segments on that topic, the guest was mediocre and props to the army guys for pulling that off, but the segmet as such did not really stand out.

I have the feeling if it wasnt for the struggling army guys, this episode would not have been rated this high on here.
 
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caro

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10/10

Also, one of my favourite series ever.
 

Icedvovo

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10/10 My first ever 10. What a great ep.

The Dakar piece was inspired. Well done for bringing Ben back into the fold. As someone who actually read his book cover to cover I understand how it would mean a lot to him. That was an incredibly noble gesture on the the part of the TG team.

I did, however, have to explain to my 9y/o why 'polish the bishop' was hilariously funny.

Bravo. Best season to date IMHO.
 

savamane

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I have to say, it was a very un-topgearish episode. That Lambo didn't participate in a drag race or a short pursuit with another 4WD supercar, the electric cars survived and actually reached their destination without being left on the side of the road and the presenters continuing by foot. Richard's film about the Afghanistan veterans was actually serious and didn't mock or crash/burn anything. When the last film started I expected to see a race between Richard and the veterans though and am a tiny bit disappointed it didn't happen.

Don't know why they decided to break the mold but it worked out.

The only familiar part of the was, that nobody outside of UK has ever heard of the SIARPC.
 

rideclutch

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9/10 - Brilliant.

I'm really glad Andy put this episode last than what they intended to do in the first place, which was the demolition.
The importance of this cannot be exaggerated enough. A wise choice of final film means that we're left wanting for more, rather than questioning why they haven't killed it off yet.

I have to say, it was a very un-topgearish episode.

Don't know why they decided to break the mold but it worked out.
Point taken, but I'd counter by saying it was a very, very Top Gear episode, and that we all wondered why they broke the mold 5 series' ago.

But don't mind me... :wheelchair:
 
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Amie8

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Re the Rally Group. BBC needs to put up the funds to send Hammond on the Dakar with those guys, and provide a couple of films to go along with it showing how they cope, that can then be included in Season 20 of Top Gear at the end of next year.
That would just be hijacking their achievement - it's about the soldiers themselves, not Hammond, not Top Gear. TG have done their bit in spreading the word - now leave the guys to get on with the rally.
 
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