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 Post subject: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:31 am 
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Buy an electric! I bought a Volt two months ago and have been loving it... when using the battery it's eerily quiet and has no vibration. I call it my magic carpet ride because it's just so smooth. The gas generator (which is only needed after 40 miles or so) can be noticeable at lower speeds, but I usually only need it on longer highway trips and it is hard to detect at those speeds. Recently I carpooled with a friend in his "normal" car, and the noise and vibration were horrendous now that I am so used to my Volt... it really spoils you.

But just like when silencing a PC, now that the engine noise is gone, I notice other noises around the car! Mostly electric coolant pumps and such. But I usually don't notice them anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:45 am 
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I sat in a parked Model S a few weeks ago, the car was on, but the lack of noise is strange. I love it. I wish I could have driven it around the block. There is a person in town who has one, I'm jealous !
It's also a very roomy car (compared to my Elantra anyways :lol: )

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:34 am 
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What's it like at highway speeds? What's the main noise - road (tires) or wind?

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:07 am 
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It's great on the highway! Well, going 70+mph kills range a bit when in electric-only mode, but it's still eerily quiet. I'd say road/tire noise dominates over wind noise (they did a lot of work on aerodynamics for this car). Perhaps some luxury gas cars might sound similar, but I don't have any experience with that.

I unplugged in the rain for the first time this morning... I've charged in the rain before, but usually the car was already plugged in when it started raining. Today was really the first day that I was getting wet as I unplugged it (no garage for me). No problems, as it's designed for this, but my eyes do widen a bit when I look at a wet charger handle that can transfer 1.4kW.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:20 am 
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Why did you pick the volt versus, for example, the leaf ? Just curious.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:57 am 
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Because the Volt allows me to drive just like a normal gas car when I need to. I have hobbies that cause me to travel 80-100 miles roundtrip about once a week. A Leaf, with it's max 100 mile range, would not work for me (too close to its max range, which would be reduced if I had other errands that day or in cold weather). I also take a 300 mile (each way) roadtrip to see family about twice a year. Again, this would not be possible with a Leaf. The Volt simply switches to gas after 40 miles and I keep driving. But in general, for 6 days a week, I burn no gas at all because I stay within 40 miles for that day. If I didn't have my hobbies, then perhaps a Leaf would work (and I could rent a car for the family visits, or use public transit). There are some people who do things like that. Personally, I want to have my car able to take me hundreds of miles at a moment's notice if required (family emergency, etc). I think a Leaf makes more sense as a second car for a family. Their first car could be the requisite mini-van for transporting the kids, while the breadwinner commutes to work in the Leaf. But for a single guy with one car, the Volt is perfect. Even a Tesla Model S would be tricky at times for my longer trips. But the Volt just keeps going (although you are now burning gas). Everything is a compromise... I see the Volt as an evolutionary step until battery tech gets much better (lighter, cheaper, longer range, faster charge, etc).

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:56 am 
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whats the real world mileage after the 40 miles is up?
there are ways to deaden the sound, but they will add some weight and reduce range... dynamat comes to mind. but it need to be applied under the trim and on the firewall under the dash and under the carpets though, so its a rather big job.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:45 pm 
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If I go 75mph, I get 38mpg when purely on gas. One time I could only go 45mph due to heavy traffic for about an hour and got 45mpg on that stretch. My old car (2001 Nissan Altima with 2.4L 4 cylinder) was getting about 25mpg at 130k miles... it used to do a little better. If you're a traveling salesman who routinely drives 200+ miles in day, you would probably do better in a Prius. But the Volt is actually cheaper per mile for trips 0-170 miles or so (haven't done the exact math recently, but it was around there). With federal tax credits, it didn't cost me much more than a Mazda3. I'm happy so far. But it is somewhat complicated... who knows what long-term reliability of all those parts will be? Lots of people lease them just for that reason, but I always prefer to buy.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:44 pm 
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flyingsherpa wrote:
If I go 75mph, I get 38mpg when purely on gas. One time I could only go 45mph due to heavy traffic for about an hour and got 45mpg on that stretch. My old car (2001 Nissan Altima with 2.4L 4 cylinder) was getting about 25mpg at 130k miles... it used to do a little better. If you're a traveling salesman who routinely drives 200+ miles in day, you would probably do better in a Prius. But the Volt is actually cheaper per mile for trips 0-170 miles or so (haven't done the exact math recently, but it was around there). With federal tax credits, it didn't cost me much more than a Mazda3. I'm happy so far. But it is somewhat complicated... who knows what long-term reliability of all those parts will be? Lots of people lease them just for that reason, but I always prefer to buy.


thanks. good info. the volt is very interesting...especially since i cant afford a tesla!

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:33 am 
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Most of this concern with noise seems to be about the idle noise. This is not so convincing to me as you should not be spending time sat still anyway - if you're having to spend so much time in congested traffic then you're in the wrong form of transport. My car (new BMW 330d Touring) can automatically cut the engine at a standstill which makes sense if you are just sat for say 10 seconds at the lights so this is just as silent as an electric car in such a circumstance.

You might also not be comparing like with like. What internal combustion cars are you comparing this too? They are most likely substantially cheaper and therefore will not have the quality of noise and vibration insulation that a more expensive car might have.

In terms of noise at speed I would think that some electric cars might actually be more disturbing noise wise than internal combustion. The high pitch whine from electric motors would get to me far more than a smooth running diesel engine running in a high gear at ~1000rpm. At speed in most cars wind and road noise are the main problems and changing the drivetrain does nothing about this.

I'm not totally against the electric car because they certainly have their place in urban areas but many urban journeys should be being taken on other transport anyway. I was in the BMW Welt in Munich on Friday and they have an i3 on display (with its CFRP monocoque on display also - an amazing piece of manufacturing to do it at this price) and it has a mode on the navigation system where it will suggest you to use public transport if more appropriate. This car is probably suitable enough for urban dwellers who have to do a daily commute for which public tranport does not offer an option but that does not mean everyone should drive an electric car. I drive long journeys on business and have to drive products around with me and often stay overnight in hotels so public tranport is rarely an option. An electric car won't manage the range and will in most cases be frustrating for motorway use so a diesel car is the way to go. I know in the US diesel is not a big seller which is a real shame as the longer distances in the US make it quite appealing to me. Of course the market is biased against it, as is some legislation but also the car makers are not offering you the best diesel options in many cases.

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If you're a traveling salesman who routinely drives 200+ miles in day, you would probably do better in a Prius.

This is a similar circumstance to mine but I would not recommend a Prius. They aren't good at speed so long journeys aren't their thing unless your long hourney really is all in stop start traffic. Consider a diesel instead. In the US BMW now sells the rest of world 320d rebadged as a 328d (and they say the Germans have no sense of humour) and this would be very suitable for long journeys at speed.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:02 am 
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Driving an electric car is a revelation - if you get a chance, you do it. My family owns three electrics (a Leaf and two i MiEV's) and we will be getting one for my wife and me, soon. My sister-in-law has been driving the LEaf for over two years now, and my brother and my father each drive an i MiEV. My wife test drove the Smart Electric Drive, and the $140/lease is tempting. It is a great commuting and city car, and would be ideal for her; especially since she could charge it at work.

As you may know, I'm building an electric car from scratch.

There are other EV's coming: the Chevy Spark is available in two states (CA and OR), and there will be a Kia Soul electric, and a couple of VW's, and the BMW i3, and also a Mercedes B-class is coming in 2014, as well.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:28 am 
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Yes, i chime in too. I drove a BMW 1 activeE electric car for about an hour and i have to say this one is brilliant. Couldn't afford one, to be honest.

And in my usage, current e-cars do not offer enough range since most of my distances to work exceed 50km one way.

But the power and silence of this car has taken me in, i'd definitly want one if i could meet the money necessary and if they have the range i'd need.

@car silencing: I try to maximize my in-car sound quality, so i can listen to music and will not hear most of the noise a car makes.


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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:01 pm 
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Pappnaas wrote:
Yes, i chime in too. I drove a BMW 1 activeE electric car for about an hour and i have to say this one is brilliant.

The i3 can be considered the next evolution of that drivetrain. By building an EV specific CFRP bodyshell around it, it is much lighter, more practical and better packaged. Image how good the i3 would be to drive!

For those in the US, coincidentally TG USA is tonight reviewing electric cars:
http://transmission.blogs.topgear.com/2 ... a-tonight/

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:50 pm 
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edh wrote:
Most of this concern with noise seems to be about the idle noise.

Actually, no, it's not. I only have a few data points as I've only been in two gas cars since getting my Volt. One friend has a 2011 Nissan Rogue, another has a 2007 Mazda3. In each case, I found engine noise and vibration annoying throughout the entire ride, from startup to idle to city street speeds to highway cruising. It just felt and sounded very different from my Volt.

And I've heard more cars are stopping the engine at stoplights and such, which is neat. I guess the only advantage an electric car has is that they can continue to run full heat or a/c while silently stopped.

edh wrote:
You might also not be comparing like with like. What internal combustion cars are you comparing this too? They are most likely substantially cheaper and therefore will not have the quality of noise and vibration insulation that a more expensive car might have.

I mention the cars above. Like I said, I have no experience with more luxurious cars, I'm sure they would do better than the ones I mentioned, but I would still bet an electric car would be a noticeable improvement. I have friends at Ford (engineers) who've driven every car out there as part of their jobs. They recently got to take home a Model S for a day. Both said it was the most impressive car they've ever driven (power, smoothness, noise, etc).

edh wrote:
In terms of noise at speed I would think that some electric cars might actually be more disturbing noise wise than internal combustion. The high pitch whine from electric motors would get to me far more than a smooth running diesel engine running in a high gear at ~1000rpm. At speed in most cars wind and road noise are the main problems and changing the drivetrain does nothing about this.


I can't speak for all electric cars, but there is no whine in the Volt. I hear a small whir while accelerating from a stop for about a second, but it's a pleasant turbine-like sound and I never hear it after that. You really need to drive one... the drivetrain absolutely makes a difference, even at highway speed. That was the whole point of me writing this; I was shocked at what a difference it made. YMMV, of course, based on the luxuriousness of the car you are used to. Unfortunately I don't have any friends with luxury cars so I can't do a broader comparison. I do frequent some Volt forums and several drivers there came from luxury cars (Cadillacs, Jaguars, etc)... perhaps I'll post a question there asking for input on this.

edh wrote:
I drive long journeys on business and have to drive products around with me and often stay overnight in hotels so public tranport is rarely an option. An electric car won't manage the range and will in most cases be frustrating for motorway use so a diesel car is the way to go.


A normal electric car wouldn't handle your range, but a Volt (Opal Ampera in your country) could. Not saying it's ideal for that usage scenario, but it could certainly do it without inconveniencing you. I see the Volt as several cars in one: 6 days a week it acts like a pure electric car for me, I don't use a drop of gas and drive to work and run errands. One evening a week I drive 80 miles roundtrip for hobbies and it becomes a hybrid, running pure electric for part of the journey and then switching to gas as the battery gets low, cycling the engine on and off if it wants to).

I actually planned on getting a diesel before I got the Volt. I had been waiting for Mazda to bring their diesel Mazda3 or 6 to the US, but it kept getting delayed (now due next spring). And then my friend got a Volt so I got to play with it a bunch and there were some good pricing deals and I jumped. I never thought I'd have one, but with existing tax credits they are actually a good deal. Edmunds shows it as having the lowest TCO over 5 years of any car I had on my list (Civic, Jetta TDI wagon, Subaru Impreza Sport, Mazda3 or 6).


edh wrote:
This is a similar circumstance to mine but I would not recommend a Prius. They aren't good at speed so long journeys aren't their thing unless your long hourney really is all in stop start traffic. Consider a diesel instead.


I only recommended the Prius from the standpoint of minimizing gas usage. If someone is routinely taking long (>150 mile) trips and wants the lowest cost per mile, a Prius will likely be cheaper than a Volt. Most US diesels would be more expensive per mile due to higher diesel cost here. But of course, not everyone's goal is to have the lowest cost per mile. If I did long trips all the time, I doubt I'd want a Prius either... I'd want something more built for sustained high speed cruising. Not sure what that would be, as I haven't shopped with that requirement in mind. Though my friend's dad is a traveling sales/repair guy and he does have a Prius and seems to like. Choice is good :) I just encourage people to look at the Volt, it's really a great car... a practical stepping-stone EV for the average person today, on the way to the future of more practical pure electrics.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:15 pm 
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flyingsherpa wrote:
One friend has a 2011 Nissan Rogue, another has a 2007 Mazda3. In each case, I found engine noise and vibration annoying

The cars you compare to are hardly in the same price bracket so it's not like you would expect the same levels of refinement. These are both American market 4 cyclinder cars. The American market traditionally turns it's nose up at smaller 'economy' engines and the manufacturers (especially Japanese) follow suit by only offering cheaply made engines which have far from ideal engine mounting, materials and tolerances as they'd rather people bought the larger engined models. In Europe we don't have such an aversion to 4 cylinders and it is noticable that the models offered by Japanese manufacturers in particular have totally different engines.

flyingsherpa wrote:
I guess the only advantage an electric car has is that they can continue to run full heat or a/c while silently stopped.

Mine will continue running ancillaries unless the load is too great so if you have the aircon on maximum on a hot day then the engine would not cut out but otherwise you're fine. Virtually all modern cars have ditched systems running from engine power or hydraulics as electric motors are more efficient - don't get existing 911 owners started on how Porsche has 'ruined' (in their eyes) the new 911 by giving it more efficient electric power steering. With an electric car the power still has to come from the batteries (as it will on an internal combustion car with the engine off) and depletes your range substantially. Many modern cars also have alternators which automatically engage and disengage according to battery charge which does save fuel and means there is no efficiency advantage to electric cars from the ancillaries perspective at all.

flyingsherpa wrote:
luxury cars (Cadillacs, Jaguars, etc)

These aren't luxury cars. Neither are BMW, Mercedes, Audi, any of the Japanese upmarket brands or American upmarket brands despite what their marketing departments might want to tell the general public. There's a trend in recent years in trying to upsell things with 'premium lifestyle asperational excellence' or some other marketing nonsense but the fact of the matter is they are only executive or prestigious brands, not luxury brands. Yes, they're more expensive than average but not luxury. The same applies to clothes, jewellery, food or anything else that marketeers think they can call luxury just because it's more expensive. We buy 'luxury toilet tissue' apparently. What nonsense, it's just a little more expensive than the other stuff the supermarket sells but it certainly isn't a luxury item. Rolls Royce and Bentley are luxury cars and right now they are possibly the only true luxury car brands.

Marketing comes into electric cars unfortunately too.

flyingsherpa wrote:
Volt (Opal Ampera in your country) could. Not saying it's ideal for that usage scenario, but it could certainly do it without inconveniencing you.

The Volt/Ampera is a range extender hybrid which does make some sense if you are able to charge up. The trouble is that when doing frequent long journeys without return to a charging base every day, running the car at any sort of speed long distance will mean that the internal combustion engine has to start up. So then you're driving around with the same lack of refinement from a 4 cylinder GM engine and they do have a distinct boominess to their noise which means it'll be no difference in refinement to me than what Opel/Vauxhall calls an Astra, and it's over 50% more expensive here than the Astra. Even if you do run it on electricity all of the time it will take a long time to pay for itself and within that lifespan the batteries may need replacing anyway. The toxicly mined, expensively refined, internationally shipped batteries that is.

The Tesla Model S I know has impressed many people however it's hardly a cheap car. For me to get the less powerful one with the bigger battery would have cost an additonal £15000 and for that I would have got a worse specced, less practical, slower (in acceleration slightly and top speed by a long way), worse handling (2000kg takes a lot to change direction) car with a range insufficent for some journeys I have to do. To save that money in fuel I would have to drive over 100000 miles plus after that kind of use I would expect it to need replacing anyway and then residual values on a worn out electric car can't be great. Tesla also has had issues with batteries catching fire and I think it's deplorable that they sued Top Gear for criticising the Roadster. It's also quite a jump for a company to go from sticking electric drive in a Lotus Elise to trying to make a sporty executive car so I would hang back on expecting it to be as reliable or well built as an established brand. It would be madness to be buy one.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:06 am 
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Interesting conversation here.

Just a couple of things...
What happens when a gas powered vehicle runs out of gas : it is stuck and you have to push it... Same as an electric vehicle :) . Yes you can get a can of gas, walk to a gas station, and refill your car, and hopefully it will start. Electric cars need a long power cord....
There were 187,500 vehicle fires in the US in 2011 (http://www.nfpa.org/research/fire-stati ... icle-fires), out of approx 255 million gas powered vehicles, 2011 estimate (includes cars, trucks, buses) => .07% chance of a fire
Approx 15,000 model S have been sold so far, 3 caught fire (seems that all 3 were caused by impacts to the battery compartment) => .02% chance of a fire
The basic model S does 0-60 in 5.9s (pretty good, 5.4s for the 85kW), does 120mph top speed (nobody drives that fast on open roads) and has 208 miles range (of course, not doing 120mph... ;) but no car has good mileage at that speed). It is an expensive car but quality is TOP notch, I was very very impressed from just sitting in it. Nothing seems out of place. And it has a LOT of space in it, without looking like a huge car.
Lastly, with electric cars, maintenance is minimal (no oil changes for example, no belts to changes...), and the very low number of moving parts compared to a gas powered engine reduces the likelihood of failures.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:24 am 
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frenchie wrote:
The basic model S does 0-60 in 5.9s (pretty good, 5.4s for the 85kW), does 120mph top speed (nobody drives that fast on open roads) and has 208 miles range (of course, not doing 120mph... ;) but no car has good mileage at that speed). It is an expensive car but quality is TOP notch, I was very very impressed from just sitting in it. Nothing seems out of place. And it has a LOT of space in it, without looking like a huge car.

What are you comparing it with though? Consider the price of it and that it is 4.9m long, this brings it up against some very stiff competition. You could go for a very high spec 5 series, E-class, Jag XF or similar and you could get better performance, handling, spec and interior quality and still have enough money left to pay for fuel for some years. Alternatively you could spend a bit more and get perhaps this cars closest conventional competitors in the CLS and 6 series Gran Coupe. It's also perilously close in purchase price to the XJ, 7-series and the mighty Mercedes S-class. I think if you sat in the 2013 S-class before the Tesla, you'd then think the Tesla looked a bit cheap... and if you can afford that much for a car then the fuel isn't likely to be a major concern so what about a Range Rover Sport? If you have not sat in or driven any of these cars then you can't make a fair comparison.

It's not just about Tesla though. You get the same story if you buy a Maserati Quattroporte, Porsche Panamera or Aston Martin Rapide. They don't have the massive development busgets of the major car makers and while they trade very well on performance and style, they're not as well thought out on the inside and depend upon technology from external suppliers. The fact Aston uses a terrible navigation system from Volvo is an example of how bad this can be. Wonderful cars for weekend use and impressing people who can't possibly afford them but for everyday use they're not the best. If you're looking for a stripped out sportscar then these sort of issues aren't a problem as you wouldn't care about fit and finish, comfort, waterproofing, noise, vibration etc.

frenchie wrote:
Lastly, with electric cars, maintenance is minimal (no oil changes for example, no belts to changes...), and the very low number of moving parts compared to a gas powered engine reduces the likelihood of failures.

Maintenance intervals for cars are getting longer. Mine is 19000 miles and even that won't be particularly expensive or in depth. Many car manufacturers have dropped cam belts for example, returning to chain driven cams because they last the life of the engine. Oil isn't a major consumption item for cars nowadays as the tolerances are so much better and electric cars will still need some attention. The big maintenance cost for cars is tyres and that still exists for an electric vehicle, as do all of the other small things like windcreen wipers, brake pads and brake fluid changes. Plus at some point the batteries will need replacing and that is going to be a similar cost and inconvenience to an engine replacement in a conventional car.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:56 pm 
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FYI my latest car cost me £360 (because I am skint ATM).

This is one area where it will take years, or more likely decades for dirt cheap electric/hybrid vehicles to trickle down to very low price-points and still be usable without costing a fortune to fix.

EV/hybrid (depending on miles driven etc) vehicles in many parts of the world will become very popular (in terms of sales rather than just desirability) when the following questions can be answered in a positive manner.

1.) Can you charge it at home/work.

2.) Is the headline price affordable (vs non EV\Hybrid vehicles).

3.) Is the reliability / safety record good (vs non EV\Hybrid vehicles)

4.) Longer term costs. Batteries cost serious money, how long will they last, will you lose range over time, will you lose range during winter and if so how much.

My personal answers to those questions are: 1.) No. I cant charge an EV at either my home or work, so I simply could not use one at all, totally useless to me. 2.) More than I can afford ATM (skint). 3.) They look to be very reliable and very safe (I can see through those stupid attention grabbing headlines about the Model S and the fire caused by an accident). 4.) This is a serious concern for me for the future, and the future will provide me with the answer.

I would love to have an EV/Hybrid, and the Volts variation on the theme of the Hybrid is a fantastic compromise, but unless I can regularly charge my EV/Hybrid car there is no way I would buy one (reasons being obvious). This is where infrastructure comes into things, there is little/no infrastructure for charging EV's in the UK, and an enormous amount of the populous would not be able to charge at home as they don't have a drive (and might never have one) and you cant drape a cable across a public footpath either, so for a great many people in cities (where EV's ironically are best suited) an EV/Hybrid is simply not even a choice.

If I had a driveway, the money, and a job I would seriously consider an EV/Hybrid and the Volt would be on that list, as I have none of those things I will have to make do with a £360 16 year old car (albeit in pretty good condition).


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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:46 am 
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andyb wrote:
my latest car cost me £360 (because I am skint ATM).

Most of the world doesn't have used cars as cheap as we do in the UK. In the US you won't find much that works for $1000 whereas we really can find £1 cars that are more or less drivable. We do face very steep depreciation as a proportion of cost and for most owners depreciation is greater than fuel cost here.

andyb wrote:
there is little/no infrastructure for charging EV's in the UK

There are now charging stations at some motorway service stations for free but they are not common enough to form a viable network. It's not like you can pull in anywhere and expect to be able to charge up. The business model for providing free electricity is obvious though: they'll be able to recoup the money on the food and drink you'll spend money on while you wait for the car to charge.

andyb wrote:
you cant drape a cable across a public footpath either

You'd be amazed how many people are already doing this in London and not realising that they're obstructing a right of way. If you come across a car plugged in like this you can unplug it.

andyb wrote:
so for a great many people in cities (where EV's ironically are best suited) an EV/Hybrid is simply not even a choice.

For those who live in cities public transport is a often a better choice and for occasional journeys there are growing car clubs like Zipcar.

As for the business case for electric vehicles long term, they have been in regular use on the railways for over a century and dominate that mode of transport as a power source. The difference there though is that there are no batteries and they are in general fed by overhead high voltage cabling. Battery powered electric drive involved carrying heavy batteries with current technology. If there was a long term business case for this, road freight would already be using electric vehicles.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:56 am 
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According to the Ars Technica review the model s is louder than similarly priced luxury sedans at highway speeds. The noise from the wind and tires on the road were very loud. The model s has very poor acoustic insulation. Even with a gas engine the 60-80k cost mercedes and lexus and bmw do a much better job sealing out highway noise.


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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:46 am 
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laststop wrote:
According to the Ars Technica review the model s is louder than similarly priced luxury sedans at highway speeds.

As I suspected. I would however expect that they'll work to catch up with established manufacturers. Oh, and as I said before, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus et al are NOT luxury cars. :P

Some of you might find this interesting, a drag race between a BMW M3 and i3. It shows where electric drive really can have an advantage. The footage is from the i3 and the noise is all from the M3:
http://bmwi.bimmerpost.com/forums/showt ... p?t=911080

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:34 am 
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I think an important part of the comparison is being missed : the i3, model S, leaf are ELECTRIC !!

It's very true you can get a fancy BMW 5 series for the price of a Model S, but the series 5 (sedan) is not electric
and it's fuel economy is terrible !! the 2013 series 5 does 34 mpg highway and 23 (!! ouch) in town. Come on, my 2010 elantra does 36 mpg (80% highway, 20% small slow country roads). The model S gets 97 highway and 94 in town (epa numbers)
Also, from a performance perspective, the series 5 does 0-60 in 7.9s (5.9 for the Model S), manufacturer data.

So yes, you can get a fancy bmw that will guzzle up gas for the same price as the model S. Maybe the ride will be better.
Even if you factor in the fancy 8 years 100,000 miles warranty that covers everything except tires, the model S is a good deal in that price range.

model S warranty details : $4,800, the technician comes to you (no need to take your car anywhere), includes Annual inspection (or every 12,500 miles), Replacement parts like brake pads and windshield wipers (almost everything except tires), 24 hour roadside assistance, System monitoring, Hardware upgrades and the battery
Hard to find BMW warranty info : for a platinum 7 years 100,00 miles coverage it seems that the MSRP is $4000 (bumper to bumper, pretty much everything covered, 24h roadside assistance), there is a $50 deductible per visit... :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:48 am 
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frenchie wrote:
I think an important part of the comparison is being missed : the i3, model S, leaf are ELECTRIC !!

I know that they're electric, that's obvious. This may bring some advantages but it may also bring disadvantages. Electric cars are a suitable substitute for some but not for others. By concentrating on the power source alone you ignore wider issues.

frenchie wrote:
It's very true you can get a fancy BMW 5 series for the price of a Model S, but the series 5 (sedan) is not electric
and it's fuel economy is terrible !! the 2013 series 5 does 34 mpg highway and 23 (!! ouch) in town. Come on, my 2010 elantra does 36 mpg (80% highway, 20% small slow country roads). The model S gets 97 highway and 94 in town (epa numbers)
Also, from a performance perspective, the series 5 does 0-60 in 7.9s (5.9 for the Model S), manufacturer data.

Which 5-series are you referring too? It is in general a very fuel efficient car given size and performance. I know in the US you get limited models and the way testing is done does not take account of stop-start systems which does explain part of the picture. The EPA MPG figures you quote are correct for the latest N20 powered 528i (bearing in mind the anti-stop-start stance of the EPA already mentioned) but the performance figure you quote is wrong. Maybe you are referring to the older N52 powered car or some even older model? Nowadays it's 6.1:
http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/ ... tions.aspx

That's not the best model to be choosing anyway, even in the USA. The US 535d (what we in the rest of the world call the 530d, our 535d is more powerful, another great demonstration of the German sense of humour) does 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and even on the biased EPA test will get 38/27mpg.

I would be a little worried about comparing 0-60 times in the US. A lot of your motoring publications and also manufacturers measure 0-60 how it is in drag racing: from when the car crosses the start line to 60. Obviously the car isn't doing 0 at the startline when it actually starts a little behind the line and in fact what they're giving you is measured over 5-60mph. This is how there are are American 'tuners' who take a Corvette, modify the engine, test it on a poorly calibrated dynomometer at the shaft and claim vast power improvements over the factory rating which is measured at the wheels, then claim that they can do 0-60 in 2 seconds. They can't, they lie. An electric car would do disproportionately better in such a drag style test of 0-60mph as it's initial acceleration is so quick. Take a look at the i3 vs M3 video to see this. It would be nice to see Tesla qualify how they do their performance testing to see if they're measuring it properly.

A major problem you also see me bring up here is that the EPA test does not allow use of stop-start systems. This means you're not even taking advantage of all of the technologies the car has and it is one of the key ecomony techniques, just check ecomodder.com. An electric car or hybrid on the other hand is not effected by this testing issue, hence they will score better in this biased test. Then again, diesel isn't such an easy marketing buzzword as electric or hybrid. :roll:

The EPA eMPG have a debatable relevance. That energy has still got to be made somewhere and it's weighting is up to interpretation. Yes, electricity is more efficient but trying to work out some MPG equivalent misses the point - they are NOT comparable, that's the whole point.

frenchie wrote:
So yes, you can get a fancy bmw that will guzzle up gas for the same price as the model S. Maybe the ride will be better.

Let's just check US prices shall we?
Tesla Model S: $62400 but only after a $7500 federal rebate, the cost still has to be ridden out somewhere by someone and you can expect these rebates to end in time.
BMW 528i: $47800.
So no it isn't the same price. Then how many miles will it take for the fuel to be offset? I calculate it to be around 124000 miles. That's even with the federal rebate you get in the US and your cheap fuel.

Plus you will get better ride but also far, far better handling as you simply can't expect a 2000kg car to handle as well. I know handling is a foreign concept to many, but it's important to lots of people. It'll also be more reliable, more comfortable, have lower cabin noise and you can expect a longer service life from it.

frenchie wrote:
model S warranty details : $4,800, the technician comes to you (no need to take your car anywhere), includes Annual inspection (or every 12,500 miles), Replacement parts like brake pads and windshield wipers (almost everything except tires), 24 hour roadside assistance, System monitoring, Hardware upgrades and the battery
Hard to find BMW warranty info : for a platinum 7 years 100,00 miles coverage it seems that the MSRP is $4000 (bumper to bumper, pretty much everything covered, 24h roadside assistance), there is a $50 deductible per visit... :roll:

UK list price for BMW Service Inclusive Plus is £1580 for 5 years. No idea what kind of service prices might be in the US and where you have got your data from. Tesla are quite possibly offering these services at cost or below cost, because they want to give people assurance that they're buying into something that should be reliable. You're also very limited in who else you might be able to take your Tesla too whereas I can take a BMW to any number of independant garages who will be able to do work on it at lower cost once the car is out of warranty.

I'm not totally against the electric car here. It does have it's place however the batteries remain a problem. Carrying around hundreds of kilograms is inherently inexpensive. For many of those people who would benefit from an electric car, the wider benefits to mankind would be far greater if they switched to public transport. Then again, public transport doesn't make someone lots of money... Trains are electric and they don't have the troubles of batteries, a big reason why electricity is the accepted power source for trains. I am for innovation of course and the BMW i3 is a clear innovator by bringing composite materials to a far lower price point and this low weight helps make electric drive practicable.

What I really don't like however is people believing in marketing nonsense and big headline grabbers about power source without considering the wider picture. There are for example people who believe that a hybrid is automatically more environmentally friendly, even if the fuel economy is the same. I pointed out the poor economy on the Lexus RX400 some years ago and how it only matched some other car to which someone said "but it's a hybrid so it's better for the environment", proving my point.

I think Tesla aren't going to be around long term as an independant company. They are very much living off investor money as people will see it as the next big thing. However, what happens when the big manufacturers cotton on to the technology as finally being economically viable? Either Tesla will be bought or they will simply be steam rollered as they will not be able to keep up with companies who've been making cars for over a century. Don't be surprised if they are not operating independently by the time electric cars are a common sight.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:29 am 
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I just filled up my tank this morning : $3.29 a gallon
The cheaper the gas the worse it is for electric vehicles....
Higher prices will drive demand for more efficient vehicles, including diesel and electric. The sad part is that gas is a short term vision of the market. A company that misses the electric train will never catch up. I wish more companies took the plunge ! It's nice to see BMW on the bandwagon. I also wish they had vehicles closer to the 200 miles range, and that's why the Model S is so appealing to me at the moment : it would match my needs 99.99% of the time ! A 100 miles range, cuts it too close for everyday driving... :(

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:21 pm 
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frenchie wrote:
I just filled up my tank this morning : $3.29 a gallon
The cheaper the gas the worse it is for electric vehicles....

Not entirely. With the historically cheap fuel prices the US has there is less incentive for internal combustion engines to be more efficient compared to those parts of the world where it is more expensive. Electric drive on the other hand bypasses many of the problems associated with inefficient of conventional engines, hence in the US you may see more of an advantage in electric cars. In Europe they will be popular in some major cities but this may be more driven by congestion charge exemption in places like London and Oslo.

frenchie wrote:
I also wish they had vehicles closer to the 200 miles range, and that's why the Model S is so appealing to me at the moment : it would match my needs 99.99% of the time ! A 100 miles range, cuts it too close for everyday driving... :(

This is where another problem with electric car marketing exists. Doubling the range of the car by doubling the batteries is HIGHLY HIGHLY inefficient. To demonstrate:

- The Tesla Model S needs to carry around 454kg of batteries to do 500km.
- My car needs to carry around 20kg of diesel to do 500km. Yes, it will burn up but this is about weight of what you need to set off with.

In this example diesel fuel is 22.7 times more weight efficient than electric. People demand a range that they are used to in a normal car and by adding all of the weight of extra batteries it gets worse! Consider if the Model S had a battery half the weight. It would be better in so many ways although the range would be shorter, not half but perhaps 55% because weight loss would make the car more efficient. So I don't agree with the Tesla Model S having such a long range! Using the same technology they should have given it a shorter range and it would have been a better, more efficient car!

To get over this problem we need big advances in battery technology. The Model S uses Lithium Ion which has about twice the energy density of NiMH which is still used in some cars but this still falls along way short of the energy density of hydrocarbons. Lithium Polymer batteries may give you a further 10-20% but are not in mainstream use in electric cars yet. Further generations of batteries will improve this further but we have a long way to go to get the kind of storage efficiency that we already get with hydrocarbons:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

Only with far higher energy density batteries will electric car range finally be able to counter other forms of power.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:26 pm 
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I'm not sure I follow you. The battery is the tank, not the fuel. All you can say is that the tank of fuel is less heavy that the battery, regardless of whether it is full or not.
So you are displacing a constant weight when you use electricity, not when you use regular gas (and maybe mileage improves as the weight of the gas in the tank decreases... ?)

I don't believe the weight of the electricity (the fuel) needed to travel is relevant... no ?

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:59 pm 
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frenchie wrote:
I'm not sure I follow you. The battery is the tank, not the fuel. All you can say is that the tank of fuel is less heavy that the battery, regardless of whether it is full or not.
So you are displacing a constant weight when you use electricity, not when you use regular gas (and maybe mileage improves as the weight of the gas in the tank decreases... ?)

I don't believe the weight of the electricity (the fuel) needed to travel is relevant... no ?


I don't think you follow me here at all either. In a conventional car with a tank that only takes 40kg of fuel, it makes little real difference to the efficiency of the vehicle how much fuel the car is designed to carry. It also makes little difference at design time how big they make the tank to achieve the kind of range people might expect. 40 or 50kg won't make much efficiency difference in a 1500kg car. Adding an additional 400kg as you have to with batteries does.

Electricity weighs nothing BUT the capacity of the batteries is proportional to their weight. By deciding that you must have a 500km range the battery design has to be so ridiculously massive that it heavily impacts efficiency and every other aspect of vehicle design.

If a 20kg battery offered you a 1000km range instead of a 10kg battery a 505km range then you'd take it. However currently as it's a 454kg battery for a 500km range and a 200kg battery for 250km, the smaller battery makes more sense.

Until batteries offer substantially better energy density we should settle for electric cars with short ranges rather than ruining them with massive batteries.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:37 am 
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edh wrote:
Until batteries offer substantially better energy density we should settle for electric cars with short ranges rather than ruining them with massive batteries.


That is what the Volt is basically doing... providing an electric car with a smaller (lighter) battery, plus a range-extending generator so that it can be driven like a traditional car as needed. It's a good in-between step until we have better batteries. Not perfect, but we have to start somewhere, right?

And I wouldn't say a Model S is "ruined" with its massive batteries. Sure, it would have even better performance if it dropped half its pack weight, but it's already winning accolades left and right with its current design. Substantially better batteries would be an absolute game-changer for electric vehicles, no question. But until then, I'm thrilled there are still companies producing these vehicles, as clearly they are practical for some subset of drivers. And it helps mature the tech so it can go more mainstream over time as batteries improve.

There's also value to many people in not giving so much of your money to foreign oil. I've only had my car a few months and have already reduced my gas consumption by around $100 / mo (with a small increase in my domestically-produced electricity consumption).

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:41 am 
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the jaguar xfr weighs only 600 lbs less than the tesla s.

course driving from Sand Diego to visit mike in Vancouver will cost you over 260$ in gas in the jag, where the tesla would be free.

I would think in the very near future that EV's will be able to leave part of the battery pack at home (or maybe at a charging station) to lighten the vehicle for short trips. going on a long trip? stop off at the charging station and pick up a few extra packs. with robotic parking the car could safely position itself over the packs and swap them automatically, while you run inside to grab a latte, pay for the juice and put deposit on the extra packs.

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 Post subject: Re: How to silence your car
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:22 am 
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flyingsherpa wrote:
That is what the Volt is basically doing... providing an electric car with a smaller (lighter) battery, plus a range-extending generator so that it can be driven like a traditional car as needed. It's a good in-between step until we have better batteries.

...and by adding a separate internal combustion engine, generator and all ancillaries you add a similar amount of weight. Plus as stated before when running long distance you have to accept that the engine will be running most of the time so you get the same rough sounding GM 4 engine noise that you so desperately want to escape. If I wanted to listen to that engine noise I'd buy a Vauxhall Astra.

Adding a motor generator is from a commerical persepctive a marketing ploy to help people get over the 'range anxiety' with electric cars. An internal source from BMW says that they didn't bother developing an internal combustion engine for it specifically as they believe most people will hardly use it and when buying a replacement vehicle will order the fully electric one instead. This is why they use a motorbike engine to run the gernerator.

flyingsherpa wrote:
And I wouldn't say a Model S is "ruined" with its massive batteries. Sure, it would have even better performance if it dropped half its pack weight, but it's already winning accolades left and right with its current design.

Extra weight doesn't just hit performance. The efficiency will also be greatly impacted as will the handling, safety, size, cost, environmental impact of manufacturing, running costs, etc. Making a car heavier makes EVERYTHING worse.

flyingsherpa wrote:
There's also value to many people in not giving so much of your money to foreign oil. I've only had my car a few months and have already reduced my gas consumption by around $100 / mo (with a small increase in my domestically-produced electricity consumption).

Then why is fuel so cheap in your country yet you spend so much on it because you use it so inefficiently? American fuel consumption is terrible and the fact you all complain about it yet many don't drive sensible cars is mad. If you weren't wasting so much fuel currently you wouldn't notice so much of a difference moving to electricity. As for domestic/imported production, the US is an oil producing nation. As is the UK for that matter too (we have Europe's largest onshore oil field and most people don't even know it's there). The belief in many countries that oil is entirely imported from a small number of gulf states is a myth.

As for electricity production, where do the fuels come from the power electricity generation? There's no way that's all domestically produced.

xan_user wrote:
the jaguar xfr weighs only 600 lbs less than the tesla s.

Why the R? That's a very different category of car and there's no way you would buy one for the same reasons as a Tesla Model S. I know in the US you get a limited choice of engines which means that it's a 5 litre V8 or nothing which is a dissappointment. You really should be putting pressure on dealers to offer the diesels, they're very good.

xan_user wrote:
course driving from Sand Diego to visit mike in Vancouver will cost you over 260$ in gas in the jag, where the tesla would be free.

First you need to consider why you are making this journey. If it's only a single person then this is a perfect route for high speed rail to exist as there is a string of major population centres along the west coast with big gaps in between. You should be lobbying your governments to make the investment in high speed rail (include Canada in this too as the line could go on to Alaska). You could then be doing San Diego to Vancouver in a day without flying and aboard an EV which doesn't have to drag massive batteries around with it - a train.

Next, why oh why do you want to do it in an XFR? Even given the US model range that's not the best XF to use, the naturally aspirated V8 would give you around a 20% saving in fuel. If however Jag were to import their diesel models then you could do this in the 2.2 litre diesel for around 40% of the cost of the XFR. It's not like you're needing massive performance when cruising long distance and diesel makes sense long distance, why do you think diesel dominates at Le Mans? If however I had the choice of every car in the world to do it in then the BMW 320d ED would be my choice and you could do it with only one stop for fuel.

Now, to come to doing the journey with the Tesla. Firstly, electricity is not free and never should be - unmetered utilities encourage wastage. Next you're not covering 1395 miles with just one stop. You're going to need plenty of stops and it's quite likely that given the number of stops and lengths of stops that this will change from a 2 day journey with one hotel stay that this instead will become a 3 day journey with 2 overnight hotel stays. Better factor that extra hotel stay into your costs. Also how much is that extra day worth to you? If you are in the market for a Tesla Model S, your time is probably quite expensive so now it no longer makes financial sense to use the Tesla Model S.

xan_user wrote:
I would think in the very near future that EV's will be able to leave part of the battery pack at home (or maybe at a charging station) to lighten the vehicle for short trips. going on a long trip? stop off at the charging station and pick up a few extra packs. with robotic parking the car could safely position itself over the packs and swap them automatically, while you run inside to grab a latte, pay for the juice and put deposit on the extra packs.

Nice thought but then you consider how heavy these things are. You're not going to be able to change them yourself that easily obviously but more worryingly I would be very concerned driving a car where 10-20% of the weight of the vehicle is not firmly attached. The safety considerations of a battery pack coming loose in an accident are concerning. Plus this is going to add weight to have such a system setup as the car designed is no longer going to be able to make use of the battery casings as a structural part of the car - take the batteries out or no longer fix them in firmly and the car would loose it's torsional rigidity.

A general comment I would make for those who are so enthusiastic about the Model S - why are you all so enthusiastic about a car which exists in a market segment that you are not in a position to buy? I see a lot of comments here about how people would buy one if they could afford it, but that misses the point. You can't afford it so it is just a dream and dream cars are not fueled by logic, look at supercars for an example.

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Last edited by edh on Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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