Everyday day in the news there is an article claiming some breakthrough in energy efficiency. I have blogged about Raser the Eraser and how they claim greater than 100 mpg for their plug in hybrid Hummer. They have even taken the claim a step further on their web site by now stating that if the driver of this supercharged Hummer drives less than 40 miles before a recharge the “fuel economy is unlimited”. Raser also claims that 75% of drivers could enjoy this “unlimited fuel economy, as 75% of drivers have trips that are less than 40 miles and can therefore recharge the vehicle from the infinitely efficient electric grid. http://www.rasertech.com/news/raser-in-the-news/msnbc-reports-electric-hummer-in-washington-dc
This got me rethinking something that I had written about back in 2003. The average person has no clue of the meaning of the units of energy that we use to describe the quantity of energy generated or consumed. Many of the units of energy or power are named after a long dead scientist such as Watt or Joule. Many of the units of energy are even more strangely named. We have calories, kilocalories, BTUS, horsepower-hours, ergs, Hartree, Rydberg, reciprocal centimeters, therms, quads, gigawatt-hours, foot-poundal and even electron volts. So back in 2003 I invented the universal unit of energy that every Joe or Jane could relate to. This ubiquitous unit is the TV-Hour™ or TVH™ that equals the energy needed to power a 24 inch tube TV for an hour. Back in 2003 the most common TV was a 24 inch tube TV and it consumed 100 watt-hours of energy in an hour. Now LCD TVs are becoming the viewing standard and given the larger size of their screen I will revise the TV-Hour™ TVH™ to be the power needed to enjoy one hour of TV viewing of a 42 inch LCD TV. A state of the art LED driven 42 inch LCD TV requires 150 watt hours of energy to operate. Of course some energy is needed to power the cable box and just about every TV in the US is connected to cable or dish but for the sake of this article I will assume we will use the 150 watt hour equivalent for our standard measure TV-Hour ™TVH™.
Getting back to Raser and their claim of “unlimited fuel economy” for the 75% of us who drive less than 40 miles per trip, let me relate the operation of the wondrous Hummer to how many TV-Hours of electricity were used to propel the vehicle on the 40 mile journey to nowhere. The Tesla plug in roadster that is half as heavy and certainly twice as aerodynamic than the brick styled Hummer, needs 300 watt-hours or 2 TV-Hours™ of energy to travel a mile. http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/ Therefore the Raser Hummer will need at least 600 watt-hours or 4 TV-Hours™ of energy to travel a mile. To travel 40 miles the Raser Hummer will require 160 TV-Hours™ of energy. The average person in the USA watches approximately 25 hours of TV a week, so the “unlimited fuel economy” monstrosity driven for the single 40 mile trip uses the equivalent of six and a half weeks of TV watching energy. I don’t know which is more worthless the 40 mile trip in the Earser or watching TV for 160 hours, my readers can be the judge of that. Arne the Governator wants to buy the Eraser perhaps he would be better served if he powered eighty 42 inch TVs simultaneously all showing his 2 hour long Kindergarten Cop movie rather than a 40 mile trip in the Eraser on the now defunct Hydrogen Highway he proposed.
For more on my original 2003 work on the TV-Hour™ please go to http://www.dalefield.com/slspartners/hydrogen_stdu.html
TV-Hour™ TVH™ are pending registered marks of Lindsay Leveen