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Old 11th October 2020, 05:29 AM   #1
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GeoFence to force drivers to use electric engines in city centres

Just read this article in a Norwegian paper.

It's about a Norwegian test project which will use GPS and modern cars' built-in computers to make hybrid cars change automatically to using their electrical engine only when they drive in and around city centres. So effectively, a sign that says "Only electrical engines beyond this point", only it's automatically enforced. At the moment, though, participation is voluntary. Drivers can override the GeoFence if they wish.

Bergen, my hometown, has a problem with pollution, especially in certain areas, and I can imagine this might reduce that somewhat. The article says the geofence can also be moved at will, for example on days with high pollution.

Authorities are also looking into making cars obey speed limits by themselves, at least around school areas and where there's roadworks. This is probably the future anyway -- driverless cars that drive exactly at the speed limits, or even slower if conditions are poor.

Thoughts?
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Old 11th October 2020, 02:24 PM   #2
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A clever use of technology.
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Old 11th October 2020, 03:53 PM   #3
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In the future, there won't be any fences. There will only be lines on the ground with signs that read, "If you cross this line without authorization, your smart phone will automatically disable itself."

(There will also be... Rollerball.)
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Old 12th October 2020, 03:44 AM   #4
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Great idea until someone hacks into it and puts a fence around a large area.
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Old 12th October 2020, 04:04 AM   #5
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Sounds like a good idea if you're going to keep allowing car traffic in town centers. I'm sure there are going to be problems with it, not counting the probable massive problems from people who don't want to/can't afford to switch to electric, but it's a step in the right direction.
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Old 12th October 2020, 03:27 PM   #6
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I don't know about driverless cars; but cars that automatically obey speed limits is perfectly feasible, most internet mapping applications and GPS units already have speed limit information as part of their map database.
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Old 12th October 2020, 09:36 PM   #7
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There are places that already have a Congestion Tax. This is simply a more high-tech version.
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Old 13th October 2020, 12:09 AM   #8
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Might make some hybrid owners/users actually charge their batteries.
A study here in the UK found many drivers had never actually unpacked the charging cables, or charged their car. Mostly company cars, which were purchased because there had been a tax incentive to buy them for the car pool.
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Old 13th October 2020, 09:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I don't know about driverless cars; but cars that automatically obey speed limits is perfectly feasible, most internet mapping applications and GPS units already have speed limit information as part of their map database.
A bit off-topic, but I wonder how hard it will be, if this system becomes automatic and mandatory, for people to hack their cars' computers to be able to override this limit?
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Old 15th October 2020, 09:38 AM   #10
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The article was behind a subscription, so I don't know if it answered the question of how many hybrids are out in the wild and would be subjected to this rule.

I would also like to see some sort of pause feature for those who live in the area who have managed to drain their battery and need 15 or 20 minutes, to get home to plug it in. Maybe tie it into the nav system where home must be the end target. But if it remains optional, which it won't, then it doesn't matter.

I really wanted to know how the goats factored into their decision. Not enough to pony up any cash, 'tho. Probably isn't as funny as the hybrid goats jokes I'm thinking of (which aren't all that funny).
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Old 15th October 2020, 10:16 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
A bit off-topic, but I wonder how hard it will be, if this system becomes automatic and mandatory, for people to hack their cars' computers to be able to override this limit?
Impossible to say of course; but I would think it would be very unwise to do so in such a case, as you're a lot easier to spot and get ticketed when you're the only car on the whole street that's passing anyone.
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Old 15th October 2020, 11:31 AM   #12
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What happens if your battery runs out mid trip?
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Old 16th October 2020, 01:00 AM   #13
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Presumably the same thing as happens if you run out of fuel...
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Old 16th October 2020, 01:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tolls View Post
Presumably the same thing as happens if you run out of fuel...
You go to the nearest garage and buy a can.

No way to do that with electric.
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Old 16th October 2020, 09:08 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
You go to the nearest garage and buy a can.
In many cases it can't be done, so you call tow truck.

Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
No way to do that with electric.
Yep. This is why electric cars have more elaborate warning system than blinking fuel light. You can see on onboard computer how much is left in battery, how many miles you can still drive, closest charging stations etc.
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Old 16th October 2020, 12:07 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Mader Levap View Post
In many cases it can't be done, so you call tow truck.



Yep. This is why electric cars have more elaborate warning system than blinking fuel light. You can see on onboard computer how much is left in battery, how many miles you can still drive, closest charging stations etc.
But a hybrid engine is used precisely to avoid this eventuality. If there's gas in the tank, it turns on the ICE components which, in conjunction with regenerative braking, charge the battery until it can switch back to electric operation.
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Old 16th October 2020, 03:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mader Levap View Post
In many cases it can't be done, so you call tow truck.
Call for roadside assistance, they'll have some gas but they won't have a massive battery they can swap in. You might even be lucky and find another driver who has a can in the back of their car.
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Old 16th October 2020, 06:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
But a hybrid engine is used precisely to avoid this eventuality. If there's gas in the tank, it turns on the ICE components which, in conjunction with regenerative braking, charge the battery until it can switch back to electric operation.
You people overlook the obvious. Before a person goes into an area where it is battery only, they make sure that they have a full charge on their battery so that they will never run out of electricity.
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Old 16th October 2020, 11:04 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
You people overlook the obvious. Before a person goes into an area where it is battery only, they make sure that they have a full charge on their battery so that they will never run out of electricity.
How, precisely, is a hybrid driver supposed to accomplish this with certainty? Their charge status at any given time will be affected by a large number of factors from distance being driven to traffic conditions to the weather. The same is obviously true of fully electric cars, but those are designed with larger (huge) battery capacity and the driver would know that the car will stop when they run out of battery.
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Old 17th October 2020, 06:47 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
But a hybrid engine is used precisely to avoid this eventuality. If there's gas in the tank, it turns on the ICE components which, in conjunction with regenerative braking, charge the battery until it can switch back to electric operation.
Hybrid cars are presented as middle way, but for me they are distraction. Final goal is replacement of all cars to electric vehicles. That will take a while, of course.

I can only imagine what silly questions people asked when gas cars were that newfangled thing that people did not knew anything about.
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Old 17th October 2020, 08:10 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Mader Levap View Post
Hybrid cars are presented as middle way, but for me they are distraction. Final goal is replacement of all cars to electric vehicles. That will take a while, of course.
I have no problem with the idea that phasing out ICEs completely is the preferred option, but hybrids have been extremely valuable in both increasing fuel efficiency and increasing public acceptance of ICE alternatives. Until hybrid and electric engines are the only options, it doesn't make a lot of sense to make hybrid use more difficult.
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Old 17th October 2020, 08:31 AM   #22
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It doesn't make sense to assume the system will strand hybrid vehicles that run out of battery power. Hybrid vehicles have power management systems that most operators pay little attention to. All the GeoFence system has to do is to tell the power management systems to go into a "battery preferred" mode (the same operating regime a commuter who can make a daily round trip on battery power alone, and charges the vehicle from the grid every night, would choose). Such a mode would still turn the engine on, if the alternative were stopping dead.
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Old 17th October 2020, 02:44 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
It doesn't make sense to assume the system will strand hybrid vehicles that run out of battery power. Hybrid vehicles have power management systems that most operators pay little attention to. All the GeoFence system has to do is to tell the power management systems to go into a "battery preferred" mode (the same operating regime a commuter who can make a daily round trip on battery power alone, and charges the vehicle from the grid every night, would choose). Such a mode would still turn the engine on, if the alternative were stopping dead.
That sounds good, except for one thing: Hybrids already operate with a preference for battery operation. Since they're sold on the basis of their gas mileage, if there was an operating mode that was more efficient, it would be enabled by default.
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Old 17th October 2020, 03:09 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Babbylonian View Post
How, precisely, is a hybrid driver supposed to accomplish this with certainty? Their charge status at any given time will be affected by a large number of factors from distance being driven to traffic conditions to the weather. The same is obviously true of fully electric cars, but those are designed with larger (huge) battery capacity and the driver would know that the car will stop when they run out of battery.
It's actually pretty straight forward.

Mine has a couple of buttons which are labelled 'Charge' and 'Save'.

'Charge' turns on the internal combustion engine (ICE) and keeps running it until the battery reaches 80% of full charge.

'Save' maintains the current charge level of the battery by cycling the ICE on and off in approximately five minute intervals.

I rarely run the ICE unless I'm deliberately using fuel because the car forces* the user to add fifteen litres of fuel every six months, to keep the ICE and fuel system in a good state.

* The car runs the ICE continuously during operation until the extra fuel has been added to the tank.

That could be inconvenient for driving in an electric only area, but it's easily cured (by adding fuel).

Most users have long enough journeys that use a mix of ICE and electric that they never see that mode.
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