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Dade Official Proposes Hyperloop That Would Connect Miami To Orlando I


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#21 me_little_me

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 05:15 PM

Good analogy, GML. It's like the difference between the Prius and the Camry. The Toyota Prius (arguably the ugliest new car ever) was designed around the hybrid system and is now, by far, the most popular hybrid vehicle on the market. On the other hand, the Toyota Camry Hybrid installed batteries into an existing frame and the result was a Camry with no baggage space. Same with the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid. I have one of those. Wonderful, comfortable car with no room whatsoever - not even for a spare tire. Comes with a can of fix-a-flat.

As an owner of a Prius and a Camry Hybrid, I disagree that the Camry has no room. Yes, there is a considerable difference between a car designed as a hybrid from ground up and a retrofit into an existing design, but let's not exaggerate. As to ugliness, you never encountered an AMC Hornet, did you?

 

With two hybrids, I pass all gas stations but have to stop at every tree for a hug.



#22 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 07:10 AM

I personally think the Hornet was a rather attractive car. You sure you don't mean the Pacer?

And seriously, the new Prius isn't ugly. It's gratuitously ugly. It's like Toyota sat down and said, "it's very important for our car to stand out, but stunningly beautiful is too hArd and will be copied. How ugly can we make this car?"
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#23 jis

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 09:28 AM

As they say, beauty (and hence ugliness) is in the eyes of the beholder :P



#24 neroden

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 09:10 PM

And dude, the Tesla was not an incremental development. Each tech in it was, but the break through was actually designing an electric car, rather than adapting one. Even the GM EV-1 was an adapted Saturn platform. The unique platform is the breakthrough.


Of course, there were electric cars "designed from the ground up" as electric cars back in the 1890s, so that wasn't a breakthrough either.

There's actually a subtle point here. Musk's genius is in an area way more specific than most people think. He's very good at figuring out how to make a product affordable *and* marketable: which pieces are essential and must not be skimped on and which pieces are inessential and can be cheaped out on or eliminated technology. He's very good at putting capital to good use: spending money where it gets a payback and not where it doesn't. He has applied this talent at Tesla and he has applied it at SpaceX.

He has not applied this talent to Hyperloop, which he sketched on a napkin one day. He said he did it because CAHSR was expensive, and promptly sketched something much *more* expensive, because he was *solving the wrong problems*. If he actually takes the time to seriously apply his talents to Hyperloop (which he didn't), he will end up with conventional HSR and find some way to make cheaper bridges, tunnels, cuts, and fills.

 

He's actually slowly inching in that direction. He started the "Boring Company" and started trying to redesign the tunnel boring machine, which was another "solving the wrong problem" mistake.

 

Then he went to an *actual tunnel boring site* and started asking them what the limiting factor on the speed was.  Usually, it's spoil removal.  At which point he was clearly surprised.  But maybe now he's actually got his mind on speeding up spoil removing, he might be able to figure out how to do that.


Edited by neroden, 18 April 2017 - 09:14 PM.

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#25 neroden

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 09:28 PM

Read this book:
 
https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/0813528097
 
His point is that the reason the internal combustion engine prevailed over electric cars in the early 1900s was due to cultural forces, not the inherent superiority of the particular technology.  (This should be a truism to all of us who do our computing on Windows platforms.)

It wasn't just cultural; I've listed out the reasons before. They don't apply any more.
(1) There was no electricity in rural areas until the 1930s when FDR implemented rural electrification. So electric cars simply couldn't be used outside of town.

(2) Electricity, where it existed, was expensive. I have lost the link and it's hard to find, but electricity was *expensive* back in 1900. The price has continuously fallen in real terms.

Ah, here's a partial example. A DOLLAR per kilowatt-hour as late as 1930? I pay 11 cents now.
http://institutefore...ry-electricity/

(3) Gasoline was *extremely cheap*. It was a waste byproduct of kerosene refining and was being *burned in open pits*. Even after they started deliberately refining it, it was still incredibly cheap.

I can find historical oil price charts, but these don't really capture the fact that gas was extra-cheap before the gasoline car took over in the 1910s (because kerosene was the main product):
http://www.zerohedge...real-oil-prices


I can also point out the reasons the gasoline car beat out the steam car. Again, gasoline was cheap, while coal was expensive (because coal was used for *lots* of stuff at the time, and gasoline wasn't).

And the steam car took an hour to heat up in the morning.

But despite this... go look in the World Almanac of 1890 (which I did when they were deaccessioning them from the library... before I threw them out, I'm sad to say). There was a big discussion of what sort of automobile would win out. The consensus opinion was that it would be steam for the countryside and electric for the city. Gasoline was discussed but considered unlikely, as it was too unreliable. You'll see a pretty similar assessment in the 1900 World Almanac, but by then steam was declining and gasoline was gaining, and there is mention of gasoline being cheaper to operate than electric but not as nice....

---

The price of electricity in real terms has been slowly creeping downward over the 20th century.
The price of gasoline stayed really low through the 1950s, but then started going up.

The relative prices of electricity and gasoline for transportation crossed over in the 1970s during the Oil Crises. In the late 1980s and 1990s they were actually pretty much equivalent in price, and since then electricity has been *definitively* cheaper.

Edited by neroden, 18 April 2017 - 09:34 PM.

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