Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 5/17 - Where Unsold Cars Go To Die, Who Gets To Graduate?

Saturday, May 17, 2014, 9:56 AM

Economy

Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die (pinecarr, Rector)

In the past several years, one of the topics covered in detail on these pages has been the surge in such gimmicks designed to disguise lack of demand and end customer sales, used extensively by US automotive manufacturers, better known as "channel stuffing", of which General Motors is particularly guilty and whose inventory at dealer lots just hit a new record high. But did you know that when it comes to flat or declining sales and stagnant end demand, channel stuffing is merely the beginning?

Who Gets To Graduate? (jdargis)

There are thousands of students like Vanessa at the University of Texas, and millions like her throughout the country — high-achieving students from low-income families who want desperately to earn a four-year degree but who run into trouble along the way. Many are derailed before they ever set foot on a campus, tripped up by complicated financial-aid forms or held back by the powerful tug of family obligations. Some don’t know how to choose the right college, so they drift into a mediocre school that produces more dropouts than graduates. Many are overwhelmed by expenses or take on too many loans. And some do what Vanessa was on the verge of doing: They get to a good college and encounter what should be a minor obstacle, and they freak out. They don’t want to ask for help, or they don’t know how. Things spiral, and before they know it, they’re back at home, resentful, demoralized and in debt.

Swiss Prepare to Vote on World’s Highest Minimum Wage (jdargis)

While poverty here is a relative thing for most people, given the generous social welfare system that ensures a basic standard of living, this is the third time the Swiss have been called upon in recent national referendums to decide the value of work. In March 2013, voters supported a move to give shareholders a stronger say in executive pay, but in November they opposed an outright cap on the amount executive can earn.

Obstructed Reality (jdargis)

Yet as I gazed upward and to my right, upward and to my right, to read a sentence or two at a time on the tiny screen, I found myself wishing that I could just read the article on my smartphone’s Field Trip app instead. I was no less distracted reading it on Glass, but the process was slower and less comfortable and I looked twice as silly.

Steve Wozniak to the FCC: Keep the Internet Free (jdargis)

As a side note, I once phoned the cable company in the town I lived in. I could look from my bedroom window at homes ¾ of a mile away which had cable. I told the cable company that I would be willing to pay the cost of laying cable to my home. The cable company looked into it and got back to me that they could not do this because there were not enough homes on my hill to pay for the monthly rental of running their cable on telephone poles.

CHART OF THE DAY: Iron Ore Prices Are Down 18% In 2014 (Arthur Robey)

Yesterday’s RBA Commodity Price index suggested that the Aussie dollar is around 10% overvalued and this report from HSBC simply reinforces that with our biggest export tanking in 2014, the RBA is probably right to be wanting the Aussie dollar lower – otherwise our export earnings might tank too.

Power Japan Plus announces dual carbon battery that charges 20 times faster than current lithium ion batteries (Arthur Robey)

The company provides a clear example of the faster recharge speed—they claim that a battery the size of the one used in a Nissan Leaf, which currently takes approximately four hours to charge, could be charged in just twelve minutes. As part of the announcement, reps for the company said that Power Japan will only be making the batteries for specialty applications such as medical devices or for use in satellites—they've already built a production facility that they say will be churning out thousands of the new batteries by the end of the year. As for batteries to be used in cars, the company says it will be licensing the technology to other companies who will in turn make the batteries for installation and use in a wide variety of vehicles.

California Wildfires Spread Across Hills, Leveling Homes (jdargis)

At the end of a week in which 11 wildfires consumed nearly 20,000 acres across San Diego County, residents and officials here were just beginning to assess the damage and determine the causes, even as fire crews continued struggling to get five of the blazes under control. At least seven homes across the county were damaged, along with two commercial buildings and an apartment complex, county officials said. One body was found in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. And three people have been arrested in connection with setting small fires, the district attorney said.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 5/16/14

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

9 Comments

KugsCheese's picture
KugsCheese
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 1428
Re: Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die

I checked a couple of the sites where car pictures were taken.  They are shipping port cities.   Very unreliable story.  Dealer lots have plenty of space for channel stuffing.

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 30 2009
Posts: 728
Where the World's Unsold Cars Go to Die

Ditto KugsCheese.  The article states that there are 10 billion useable cars on the planet, more cars than people.  There are a lot of cars on the planet.  However, the number is upwards of 1 billion, not 10 billion.  A miss of that magnitude says the author is either clueless or dishonest.

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
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Joined: Nov 23 2011
Posts: 209
World's Unsold Cars

Why would a business continue to produce a product at the same rate when the demand slows. To accumulate inventory? This article makes no sense. 

Guys you're right ....author clueless or dishonest .  Or shipping ports.

NN

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5569
No time stamps in pics either

Adding to the comments above....the article on the cars implies that the pics were all taken yesterday, but there were no date stamps or credits.

Not all of those pics were from Google earth (all of the ones taken from low angles for starters), so they were 'borrowed' and borrowed without attribution either, which is a big no-no in this business for a variety of reasons, one of them being able to check up on when and where they were taken.

So without any ability to assess when they were taken (2009 maybe?) this article fails to impress, and should not be taken seriously.

KugsCheese's picture
KugsCheese
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 2 2010
Posts: 1428
Nervous Nelly wrote: Why
Nervous Nelly wrote:

Why would a business continue to produce a product at the same rate when the demand slows. To accumulate inventory? This article makes no sense. 

Guys you're right ....author clueless or dishonest .  Or shipping ports.

NN

In the US car and motorcycle manufacturers register a sale when the product is shipped from factory.  So channel stuffing boosts sales temporarily to please shareholders' quarterly demands.

Boomer41's picture
Boomer41
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 30 2008
Posts: 132
Battery Breakthrough?

The new dual carbon battery from Power Japan Plus appears to be a major breakthrough and, assuming it is affordable, could revolutionize the electric car business.

However, there is a problem with fast charging. The example given is that a Nissan Leaf can be charged in 12 minutes instead of the 4 hours it now takes. All fine in theory, but when we look at the practical aspect it isn't so simple.

Charging in 1/20th of the time requires at least 20 times more electric current. The Leaf has a battery capacity of 24,000 watt hours. Charged in four hours from a domestic 240 volt dryer-style outlet the current will be about 25 amp.; well within the capacity of the outlet.

However, to charge the same Leaf in 12 minutes the current will be at least 500 amp. which is a huge current, well beyond the capacity of most domestic power systems - not to mention the massive cables that would be required.

In other words; a four hour charge requires 6 kW average. A 12 minute charge would need 120 kW. This is industrial scale power and would make handy, convenient charging stations impossibly expensive. Sometimes bigger is not better.

The inescapable truth is that pure electric cars will always require a substantial recharge time compared with the short time it takes to fill a tank with gasoline. Either that or easily interchangeable batteries.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
Some solutions

Flywheel storage of energy was raised. Recharge facilities would have flywheel storage that absorbed power slowly and dumped it rapidly into the batteries.

The carbon/carbon batteries will be cheap. The electrolyte is lithium hydride, if I remember correctly.

Another alternative would be to have ultra capacitors charged up, ready to dump their energy.

My own solution would be to have the primary of a transformer buried in the roadway and the secondary in the vehicle so that no physical connection is needed. No need for massive copper conductors and plugs.

At two or three hundred hertz the coupling coefficient would be strong even with a large magnetic circuit gap.

The cab could be a Faraday cage to protect people with pacemakers.

FreeNL's picture
FreeNL
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 27 2013
Posts: 112
Arthur Robey wrote: Flywheel
Arthur Robey wrote:

Flywheel storage of energy was raised. Recharge facilities would have flywheel storage that absorbed power slowly and dumped it rapidly into the batteries.

The carbon/carbon batteries will be cheap. The electrolyte is lithium hydride, if I remember correctly.

Another alternative would be to have ultra capacitors charged up, ready to dump their energy.

My own solution would be to have the primary of a transformer buried in the roadway and the secondary in the vehicle so that no physical connection is needed. No need for massive copper conductors and plugs.

At two or three hundred hertz the coupling coefficient would be strong even with a large magnetic circuit gap.

The cab could be a Faraday cage to protect people with pacemakers.

i would put the plugs in parking lots. Plenty of time to charge when your busy doing something else. You might not even notice recharging the car at all. Just park it and walk away. Easy to maintain too.

Dont assume that you would operate the car like you would with gas. You dont have to necessarily "fill up". You fill up at your house in the night time when power demand is low and top up at locations throughout the day in your travels.

people do that now in alberta in the wintertime. You wont start your car if you dont plug it in. 120/240v stations would work fine at malls, grocery stores, work, etc. No expensive infrastructure required.

i like the faraday cage idea.  :)

 

Boomer41's picture
Boomer41
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 30 2008
Posts: 132
Electric Car Infrastructure

Arthur, I agree completely that a flywheel could store enough energy to deliver a charge in a very short time. During my engineering career I worked for a while on a flywheel energy storage system to launch aircraft from a carrier (That was serious power delivered really fast!). Super capacitors would work too. Or even a nice big three phase charger. However, my point is that any system which is capable of delivering 500 amps for 12 minutes to three or four cars an hour will be very expensive.

Clearly there could be a market - at a premium price - for those who wish to recharge in 12 minutes. But I envisage a more modest scheme for the rest of us - in the form of electrical outlets in every parking meter. Park and Plug. These would be of modest output capable of recharging a car in four hours. Just because a battery can be charged in 12 minutes, doesn't mean you have to do it that fast. Even if only plugged in for half an hour a car will likely absorb enough energy to get home or to the next outlet.

I'm afraid you haven't sold me on the roadway transformer. I believe the losses inherent in the transformer will make that very inefficient. One thing is for sure;  electric cars will require a whole new infrastructure and what works best and makes a buck will become the new normal. Dual carbon batteries look to be a big step in the right direction.

 

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