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Electric Vehicle Pros & Cons

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,338
Discuss the pros and cons of EV's here.

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Comments

  • prm1prm1 Posts: 4
    Here is a good analysis of Hydrogen electric vs battery electric.

    http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=article&storyid=750

    He quotes Los Angeles Times writer Dan Neal on Honda's Solar farm generating hydrogen for their hydrogen car:

    "I'm driving pharmaceutical-grade California sunshine: hydrogen generated in an experimental solar-powered station at Honda R&D America's facility in Torrance", and "I'm driving on pure hydrogen, the converted essence of the sun itself."

    The only problem, the author then points out, is that the Honda solar farm/Hydrogen production facility "on a daily basis, 32 kWh is consumed to make 1/2 kilogram of hydrogen. Of that 32 kWh, only about 8kWh is provided by the fuel cell system to run the vehicle's drive motor ; the other 24kWh is wasted.", and then states that for a battery electric "it will take about 0.30 kWh/mile for battery charging, or 8.4 kWh for 28 miles." Hmmm. So if they would have just used the same solar panels to charge the battery, they would have driven about 106 miles vs 28 miles for the fuel cell.

    You can't argue with that logic. Let's go Hydrogen!

    In any case, fuel cells are just a replacement for batteries. The car is still electric. There is no reason not to build battery elcetric vehicles now until fuel cells are viable, is there? That's the big lie. When car companies say they are waiting for fuel cells to improve.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    That's the big lie. When car companies say they are waiting for fuel cells to improve.

    Absolutely. People need to understand that the established auto manufacturer's business model is based on the ICE. I hear a lot of comments that the auto makers would enthusiastically embrace EVs if they really believed anyone would buy them. That's just not true. Toyota would not make as much money selling 400,000 Camry EVs as they would selling the same number of ICE Camrys even if the mark-up over cost was the same. Maintenance and spare parts is a big component of the auto industry's revenue. EVs are relatively maintenance free and electric motors last longer than ICEs.

    The emergence of EV manufacturers will be similar to what we saw in the early 70's when the Japanese imports started showing up. Initially the domestic big 3 chose not to compete in this segment of the market. Primarily because it involved building cars that weren't as profitable as what they were currently producing. Well look what that shortsightedness got them.
  • Although I love the idea of having an all electric car for daily commuting, I can't get over that I also have a need for a car that I can use to take long trips with. I just can't afford to have two vehicles; one for commuting and another for when I take trips.

    I wonder if there is a way to have the wonderful all electric vehicle for commuting, but still have the ability to have the vehicle be able to travel for a full day without having to be re-charged or so that I wouldn't have to stop more than say 1/2 hour for that full day's travel? I would approximate that a full days travel might be 10-12 hours.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I agree that, given the current state of technology, EVs aren't suitable for everyone. But I believe they would suffice for a significant portion of US drivers and as technology improved that percentage would increase. Actually I think its the cost of EVs rather than the limited range that represents the biggest obstacle to mainstream acceptance.

    For those people that say they need a vehicle capable of travelling distances over 200 miles. I wonder how many times a year trips of this length are made? If the answer is around 3 then how much would it cost to rent a vehicle on those occasions? Some people already do this to keep miles off their personal vehicle. When you consider that the cost of electricity is about 1/4 the cost of gas then the rental expense could be recouped in gas savings.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I wonder if there is a way to have the wonderful all electric vehicle for commuting, but still have the ability to have the vehicle be able to travel for a full day"

    Plug-in hybrid.
  • I would bet that if the manufacturers could focus on providing a vehicle with Electric only as the primary motivation, but with a very small engine to recharge the battery, in cases where extended driving is required and plugging in is not possible, that there would be a line out the door... :) I know that I would be one of them!
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    From an engineering perspective I don't know if a dual drive system(PHEV) or even an ICE just as a re-charger is the cleanest solution. The problem seems to be the ability to extend the range per charge. That becomes less of an issue if the time to charge is reduced to something comparable to the time to fill up a tank of gas. That seems to be the way battery technology is headed. The Tesla Roadster re-charges in half the time of GM's EV1 or Toyota's RAV4 EV. Still 3 1/2 hours is a long time. Ultra capacitors may be the holy grail when it comes to storage devices for EVs. Rapid recharge, almost zero degradation over time, less hazardous materials. Here's a link to an article from an engineering professor at MIT.

    http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/jun2006/bw20060628_655501.htm

    http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2006/06/26/mit_research_may_s- pell_end_for_the_battery/
  • Quick charge and extended range...almost seems too good to be true. I know the cost will be quite high, but if it's not too high, I'll be on board. :D
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    If this ultra capacitor technology pans out the initial cost probably will be very high. The nice thing is that it never wears out so, potentially, you'd only have to pay once in your lifetime. If that's the case I'm sure you'd eventually recover the cost in gas savings.

    The ICE would almost immediately become obsolete.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "From an engineering perspective I don't know if a dual drive system(PHEV) or even an ICE just as a re-charger is the cleanest solution."

    Any discussion involving the "cleanest" solution must include a discussion of the source of the electricity.

    I know there is a lot of emphasis in here regarding the use of renewables (predominately solar/wind) but the facts are these:

    Between 1993 and 2004, the amount of electrical energy produced in the U.S. from 'other renewables' (principally solar and wind; not including hydro) increased by 18.6% (from 76,213 to 90,408 gigawatt/hours). Over that same period of time, the total amount of electrical energy produced in the U.S. increased by 24.2% (from 3,197,191 to 3,970,555 gigawatt/hours).

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat1p1.html

    Conclusions to be drawn: despite two terms of the most 'renewable friendly' administration as you'll likely to get, despite numerous advancements in renewable technology, despite ever rising energy costs and worldwide increases in demand of petroleum products, the % of electrical energy the U.S. produces from renewables has gone DOWN over the last 11 years (from 2.4% to 2.3%).

    Over that same period of time, the amount of electricity produced from fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, NG and other gases) has increased from 69.8% to 71.1%.

    So, my question is this: IS the 'cleanest' solution, given the CURRENT power production infrastructure, electricity?
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    By "clean" I meant from a design perspective, not environmental. Having both a battery driven electric motor and a gasoline powered ICE is not an ideal setup. Which is not to say that I oppose PHEVs but they represent an intermediate/evolutionary step towards a purely electric vehicle.

    In regards to the environment and electricity. Electricity at least has the potential to be generated in an environmentally friendly way. I suspect that the past 11 years are not representative of the current trend towards renewables. In that time the cost competitiveness of wind and solar has improved significantly and should continue to. Afterall, the sun and wind are always going to cost the same. The cost for electricity generated for natural gas and coal will continue to rise. Once the tipping point is reached the composition of where we get our electricity from should start to shift towards renewables.

    Even if that doesn't turn out to be the case at least we can produce our electricity from domestic sources.
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    >>"I wonder if there is a way to have the wonderful all electric vehicle for commuting, but still have the ability to have the vehicle be able to travel for a full day"

    "Plug-in hybrid."

    Current plug-in hybrids (e.g. a plugin Prius) have it backwards. Why do you want to carry around an entire drivetrain for your ICE, when you predominantly want to use electric? Direct electric drives are more efficient than an electric assist, plus dedicated electric generators that operate at a single rpm are much more efficient than automobile engines with their requirement for wide power bands.

    For extended trips where you don't want to stop to plug-in, take one of these:
    http://www.acpropulsion.com/Products/Range_extending_trailers.htm
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Ah. I misunderstood where you were going WRT your 'clean' statement.

    "Electricity at least has the potential to be generated in an environmentally friendly way."

    Potentially? Sure. I'm just pointing out the facts AS THEY ACTUALLY ARE. Potentially, everybody within range of mass transit could be using it, rendering virtually all of this discussion moot. But let's deal with the real world.

    "I suspect that the past 11 years are not representative of the current trend towards renewables."

    So let's look at the 'current trend' (up to the total numbers for 2004 - I haven't seen the final numbers for '05):

    2000 to 2001: 80,906 down to 77,985 (decrease of 3.7%)
    2001 to 2002: 77,985 up to 86,922 (increase of 11.5%)
    2002 to 2003: 86,922 up to 87,410 (increase of 0.6%)
    2003 to 2004: 87,410 up to 90,408 (increase of 3.4%)

    Seems to be all over the place. Yes, it is generally increasing but I don't think THESE numbers show any rise in the rate of increase. I've heard (read) a lot of verbage related to how cost competitiveness of wind/solar has 'improved significantly' but I haven't seen the NUMBERS to back these claims up.

    "Afterall, the sun and wind are always going to cost the same."

    Sure. But the fact that the sun and the wind are 'free' isn't the issue. It's the cost to EXTRACT the energy from the sun and the wind which is the issue.

    "The cost for electricity generated for natural gas and coal will continue to rise. Once the tipping point is reached the composition of where we get our electricity from should start to shift towards renewables."

    Yes. But that point IS NOT NOW.

    Over the last 11 years, our demand for electricity increased by over 770,000 gigawatt/hrs. In that same period of time, production of electricity via renewables increased by 14,000 gigawatt/hrs.

    Therefore, the inescapable conclusion is that OTHER sources (fossil fuels and nuclear) made up the other 3/4 of a million gigawatt/hrs.

    So, my question (slightly restated) remains: would widespread use of electric vehicles be 'cleaner' for the environment given the CURRENT source of electricity?

    "Even if that doesn't turn out to be the case at least we can produce our electricity from domestic sources."

    Virtually all of our electricity IS currently produced from domestic sources (coal, NG, nuclear, hydro, solar/wind, etc.) We only produce a bit over 3% of our electricity from petroleum products, and that is both domestically and foreign sourced.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Interesting concept.

    "...dedicated electric generators that operate at a single rpm are much more efficient than automobile engines with their requirement for wide power bands."

    True. Which is one reason why most hybrids like the Prius use CVTs which allow the engine to operate in a much narrower rpm range.

    However, I think (and this is just my opinion) it would be easier to market the plug-in hybrid than a system requiring a tow-behind trailer. Most people want the whole thing in a single tidy little package.

    Why not an electric car with an on-board diesel powered generator (vastly scaled down version of what one might see on a diesel/electric locomotive). It could be run as an electric plug-in commuter if desired or use power generated by a very small on-board diesel for longer trips?
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    You're lumping hydro-electric into your renewable figures. For whatever reason energy generated in that manner has decreased. I'm referring primarily to solar and wind. Solar energy now costs around 25 cents per kWh. Depending on where you live the state and federal tax incentives can get that down to around 10 cents per kWh. Wind is already under 10 cents per kWh. On my latest electric bill I paid 10 cents per kWh and with all the other fees, taxes and surcharges it was closer to 13 cents. So these renewable means are already cost effective, depending on location.

    Sure. But the fact that the sun and the wind are 'free' isn't the issue. It's the cost to EXTRACT the energy from the sun and the wind which is the issue.

    The cost to extract is the cost of the conversion device. Either a wind turbine or solar panel. These cost have steadily declined over the past 15 years.

    So, my question (slightly restated) remains: would widespread use of electric vehicles be 'cleaner' for the environment given the CURRENT source of electricity?

    Yes, it would be cleaner for the environment. Because, as you pointed out, 100% of our electricity does not come from burning coal and natural gas. Even if it did it is easier to maintain 1 smokestack than 1 million tailpipes. And as you also acknowledged, we are not dependent on foreigh sources for our electricity. So EVs are definitely the way to go. And we can always expand our nuclear energy capacity.
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    "However, I think (and this is just my opinion) it would be easier to market the plug-in hybrid than a system requiring a tow-behind trailer. Most people want the whole thing in a single tidy little package.

    Why not an electric car with an on-board diesel powered generator (vastly scaled down version of what one might see on a diesel/electric locomotive). It could be run as an electric plug-in commuter if desired or use power generated by a very small on-board diesel for longer trips?"

    I agree. I think an on-board generator probably makes more sense then a tow-behind. The benefits of the trailer (or some sort of dockable generator) would be the reduced weight and space taken up by something you don't need 99% of the time.

    The other nice thing about an all-electric drivetrain (as opposed to the current Prius) is that the basic design doesn't have to change as new electrical storage devices become available. For now you can hook in a diesel generator. In the future you could hook in additional improved batteries, a fuel cell or nano-capacitors as those technologies become viable, but your basic drivetrain doesn't have to change to accomodate them.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "You're lumping hydro-electric into your renewable figures."

    No, I'm not. Look at the chart. There is a seperate column for hydroelectric (which was at 268,417 gigawatt/hrs in 2004). Right next to the column for "hydroelectric conventionals" is a column titled "other renewables". The note indicates that this column is for: "Wood, black liquor, other wood waste, municipal solid waste, landfill gas, sludge waste, tires, agriculture byproducts, other biomass, geothermal, solar thermal, photovoltaic energy and wind."

    ALL of my figures were based purely on "other renewables".

    "Solar energy now costs around 25 cents per kWh."

    Actually, according to solarbuzz.com (very pro-solar, I assure you), they show the average price for solar power running closer to 30 cents per kWh. They also state that "...solar is a long way from competing with conventional power generation costs at 3-5 cents/kWh..."

    http://www.solarbuzz.com/StatsCosts.htm

    Meaning that it is MUCH more economical for utility companies to produce power from sources other than solar. Solar begins to make more sense when constructed/installed by the individual user since the consumer obviously pays much more than 3-5 cents/kWh. But this is why solar PV isn't being done wholesale by the electric utility companies.

    Wind power makes a lot more sense (and cost a lot LESS cents) than solar PV. However, I find it absolutely typical that some of the very congressman most adamant about pursuing renewable energy voted AGAINST having a wind farm in their back yard. They took a perfectly golden opportunity to set an example and pissed all over it.

    Beyond that however, I'm always interested in seeing how many more wind turbines have been constructed everytime I drive through west Texas. It seems as though for every oil pumper which has stopped pumping, 3 new wind turbines have been erected.

    "Yes, it would be cleaner for the environment."

    Would it? Odds are INCREASING that the electricity would be produced from the consumption of fossil fuels, since the % of electricity produced from fossil fuels is climbing, not declining.

    Let's talk about those million tailpipes. Common sense tells me that the VERY folks likely to convert from ICE to a 100% electric vehicle are ALREADY driving something very clean (at least LEV if not ULEV), so how much dirtier are THOSE million tailpipes compared to......that new lignite coal power plant constructed to supply the electricity for those million non-tailpipe electric cars?

    Meanwhile, the other 200 million folks are still driving 10-year old Malibus or Dodge Intrepids or Ford 150 trucks (and are the LAST folks to ever consider a 100% electric car).

    "And we can always expand our nuclear energy capacity."

    We already are (just not fast enough IMO). Electricity from nuclear energy grew 29% over the same period of time that 'other renewables' grew by 18.6%.
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    "Yes, it would be cleaner for the environment. Because, as you pointed out, 100% of our electricity does not come from burning coal and natural gas. Even if it did it is easier to maintain 1 smokestack than 1 million tailpipes. And as you also acknowledged, we are not dependent on foreigh sources for our electricity. So EVs are definitely the way to go. And we can always expand our nuclear energy capacity."

    As a matter of fact, barely over 50% of our electricity is generated by coal. Even dirty coal is marginally better than burning gasoline in an ICE, but not all the coal is dirty. In California, we use no coal and our power is very clean, so the pollution benefits are huge.

    Even if the entire country was powered by dirty coal, you would have a small reduction in pollution and dramatically reduce our dependance on foreign oil. That is a compelling argument in and of itself.

    It is also true that the same electric car you buy today has the distinct possiblity of running progressively cleaner over it's long life than it does today. That is simply not the case with any ICE.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Even dirty coal is marginally better than burning gasoline in an ICE"

    Is it? I'd like to see the figures that support that.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I agree that solarbuzz is very pro-solar.

    It is really impossible to come up with an accurate cost per kWh since it is dependent on your location. A solar panel in Phoenix is going to produce a lot more electricity than one located in Seattle even though their costs are the same.

    You seem to be knowledgeable in these things so you must realize that one of the factors driving up the cost of solar energy is the demand for PV cells is currently outstripping manufacturing capacity. Countries like Japan and Germany are very aggressively pursuing solar energy and pretty much buying up the global supply of PV panels. Maybe they aren't as smart as we are.

    In 2004 the US installed 90,000 Megawatts in PV solar capacity bringing total capacity to 365,000 Megawatts. Essentially 25% of the total was installed in one year. In 2005 another 105,000 Megawatts was installed. This represents nothing short of explosive growth. The fact that it has yet to make a dent in our energy composition is because it started out at 1/10 of 1 percent. BTW, these stats come from solarbuzz, a source that you obviously feel is reputable.

    Where can you buy electricity for 3-5 cents per kWh? The fact that utilities might be able to generate electricity at this cost is irrelevant to the consumer that now has the potential to generate his own electricity.
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    "Even dirty coal is marginally better than burning gasoline in an ICE"

    Is it? I'd like to see the figures that support that.

    Here is a Canadian study:
    http://evworld.com/library/CanadaFuelCycle.pdf

    "battery electric vehicles operating in provinces which rely primarily on electricity generated from coal, will produce 55% to 59% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to a gasoline internal combustion engine vehicle, and will produce between 80% and 92% less total other (non-CO2) emissions depending on the specific type of coal used."
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    "Where can you buy electricity for 3-5 cents per kWh? The fact that utilities might be able to generate electricity at this cost is irrelevant to the consumer that now has the potential to generate his own electricity."

    Ditto that. I just paid over 19 cents per kWh for a good part of my bill last month (the rate steps up with usage). That makes the 27 cents per kWh for a sunny location not sound so out of line.
  • Thanks to everyone for the wonderful insights and information. I definitely feel better about considering the purchase of an all electric vehicle.

    Based on your comments, I feel safe to conclude:
    1. Electric is less polluting and will continue to improve,
    2. Battery technology will continue to improve to allow for longer range and less interruption for re-charge,
    3. Those of us that are able to generate our own power will have an increased motivation to do so, which should also help drive down the price,
    4. Gas prices will increase to the point that even those that would prefer to keep their old polluting vehicles, would have to let their wallets dictate a cheaper solution.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Where can you buy electricity for 3-5 cents per kWh?"

    You can't. But you are ENTIRELY missing my point.

    If one buys an electric vehicle, and PLUGS INTO THE GRID, the odds that the electricity they use will be from solar PV will be essentially ZERO.

    Why? Because utility companies can produce electricity all day long at 3-5 cents per kWh using fossil fuels.

    Now, if one were to install their OWN set of PV cells (which is where all the explosive growth that you mentioned is coming from), and THEN plugged their electric car in, this would be the 'cleaner' solution.

    Please understand, I'm not AGAINST electric cars. I'm just saying that those who go that route and pull energy off the public grid MAY NOT be reducing pollution/demand for fossil fuels as much as they think.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I'm just saying that those who go that route and pull energy off the public grid MAY NOT be reducing pollution/demand for fossil fuels as much as they think

    I agree with that. The terms "green" or "clean" are not absolute. It would be more accurate for a person driving an EV to state that he has made a "greener" choice. He is still impacting the environment, just not as much as if he was driving an ICE.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Thanks for posting the link to the Electric Vehicle of Canada link comparing emmissions of ICEs to that of power plants supplying the electricity for replacement EVs.

    I'm going to dig a little deeper on this issue but I have this comment to make regarding one of their assumptions:

    They've comparing the emmissions from various types of power sources supplying electricity for EVs against the vehicle emmissions from an AVERAGE fleet of cars using ICEs.

    Is this a valid assumption to make? How likely are owners of large trucks/SUVs to move to EVs? And how likely are the owners of EVs to be migrating from current LEV and ULEV cars?

    I'm going to try and dig up the emissions numbers for the vehicles which are actually USED by those most likely to make the step from ICEs to pure EVs. I'll then compare THOSE emissions numbers to the emission numbers used in that analysis.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "It would be more accurate for a person driving an EV to state that he has made a "greener" choice. He is still impacting the environment, just not as much as if he was driving an ICE."

    Again, we don't know that.

    The EV study reference above compared the emissions from various power plants to the emissions of AVERAGE vehicles.

    If one is already driving a LEV or ULEV Honda (or perhaps a hybrid like the Prius), if THOSE people make the jump to EV, what is the comparison of their current ICE emissions to that of a power plant?

    In all honesty: who is more likely to make the jump to a 100% EV - the current owner of a Prius or the owner of a 10-year old Chevy Malibu?
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    "Please understand, I'm not AGAINST electric cars. I'm just saying that those who go that route and pull energy off the public grid MAY NOT be reducing pollution/demand for fossil fuels as much as they think."

    The 50% of electricity that is coal generated might not reduce emissions as much as people think (although it still reduces emissions), but the other 50% of generated electricity would reduce emissions dramatically.

    In this whole discussion I don't hear enough talk about how electric cars would dramatically reduce the amount of oil we import. At the moment the national security issue is the most important factor to me. The increased efficiency and dramatically reduced emissions are gravy.

    I think it is criminal that politicians help Detroit and Big Oil to suppress the electric car, and then spend many billions to fight foreign wars to stabilize the middle east oil fields.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "In this whole discussion I don't hear enough talk about how electric cars would dramatically reduce the amount of oil we import. At the moment the national security issue is the most important factor to me."

    For a very good reason, I will not contribute to such a discussion.

    Discussions regarding emissions comparisons and energy production can be done in a (somewhat) level-headed means. Facts and data can be presented and mulled over. Agreements can be reached (I think) without too much animosity.

    However, if some individuals simply feel COMPELED to drag politics into this discussion, it can ONLY end up with one side wanting to pull the ears off the folks on the other side.

    If your INTENT is to run me off, then by all means let's have this discussion degenerate into whining about 'Big Oil' and 'foreign wars to stabilize oil fields'.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I thought that we were primarily talking about CO2 emissions. In which case whether a car is rated LEV or ULEV is completely meaningless. So it appears we are actually talking about criteria air pollutants. If that's the case then it probably is possible, but unlikely, for a person to be polluting more with an EV. Coal power plants vary widely in how much pollution they pump into the air. The older plants are more than 10 times dirtier than the newer ones. So if you get 100% of your electricity from one of these older plants then maybe going EV won't help with air pollution. From the perspective of saving gas you will be doing more than the driver of a hybrid.

    Tesla Motors has an arrangement with solar installers for buyers interested in re-charging their Roadster with the sun's energy. People that can afford this car can probably also afford a PV system. That represents closing the loop.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I thought that we were primarily talking about CO2 emissions. In which case whether a car is rated LEV or ULEV is completely meaningless."

    My question was in regard to ALL emissions. And the data link posted by prm2000 contained info relating to both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions. Which is why I brought up the issue of LEV and ULEVs.

    You are correct. CO2 emissions are essentially a pure function of gas mileage rather than degree of emissions control. LEV/ULEV vehicles aren't necessarily any better at controlling CO2. To that end, I'd like to contribute the following data (from fueleconomy.gov)

    The Prius will generate roughly 3.4 tons of CO2 per year (15,000 miles/year). This equates to 0.45 lbs/mile of CO2 which translates to approximately 125 grams/km.

    The study referenced by prm2000 assumed an AVERAGE vehicle CO2 emission (composite number of cars and trucks) of roughly 250 grams/km.

    These numbers indicate the Prius generates 50% the GHG of the average vehicle from that study. And the study further states that electricity generated from coal powered sources would generate 55%-59% less GHG of the average vehicle.

    So, IF comparing a Prius to the GHG produced by a coal-fired plant for EV use, CO2 production is close to a wash. It then DOES become of interest what the OTHER non-CO2 pollutants look like.

    To achieve ULEV status, vehicles must emit no more than:
    0.04 gm/mile (0.025 gm/km) of Total Hydrocarbons (HC)
    1.7 gm/mile (1.06 gm/km) of Carbon Monoxide (CO)
    0.05 gm/mile (0.031 gm/km) of Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)

    The 'Average car' values used in the study for these same criteria are:
    1.07 gm/km for VOC+TP (HC)
    9.23 gm/km for CO
    0.88 gm/km for NOx.

    It is further stated that a coal-fired plant would reduce these levels of non-CO2 emissions by "80-92% depending on the type of coal". Which would give the following levels of non-CO2 pollutants:

    0.086 to 0.214 gm/km of HC (2x to 5x HIGHER than ULEV)
    0.738 to 1.846 gm/km of CO (74% higher to 44% lower than ULEV)
    0.07 to 0.176 gm/km of NOx (2x to 6x HIGHER than ULEV)

    Bottom line:

    With hybrids, it is possible to achieve roughly the same level of CO2 emissions as an equivalent EV vehicle with electricity sourced from a coal-fired (a MODERN coal-fired) power plant.

    Also, an EV with electricity sourced from a coal-fired plant would generate AT A MINIMUM TWICE the HC and NOx pollutants (and as much as 5x to 6x depending on the quality of the coal) compared to a current ULEV vehicle. Carbon monoxide emissions appear to be highly dependent on the type of coal used in the plant.

    So, if an individual lives in an area served by coal-fired plants (or if additional electrical demand would be met by a coal-fired plant), does it REALLY make more 'green' sense to go EV or conventional hybrid?
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    "For a very good reason, I will not contribute to such a discussion.

    Discussions regarding emissions comparisons and energy production can be done in a (somewhat) level-headed means. Facts and data can be presented and mulled over. Agreements can be reached (I think) without too much animosity.

    However, if some individuals simply feel COMPELED to drag politics into this discussion, it can ONLY end up with one side wanting to pull the ears off the folks on the other side.

    If your INTENT is to run me off, then by all means let's have this discussion degenerate into whining about 'Big Oil' and 'foreign wars to stabilize oil fields'."


    I'm baffled by your response. I have no intention of getting into a political debate.

    It is a fact that we are heavily reliant on foreign oil. It is not a political statement.

    It is a fact that an electric car is the most fuel flexible vehicle made. No matter what is used to generate the electricity now or in the future (NG, coal, nuclear, hydro, biomass, solar, wind, fuel cells, whatever) an electric car will use it. That is not true for an ICE vehicle.

    That is an enormous selling point, and it's not political. I am pretty confident that you have no clue what "side" I am on politically, so your "side" would not know who to tear the ears off of. I could care less what side you are on. It's not an issue I care about.

    Being reliant on unstable and relatively unfriendly countries for a vital resource puts us in a weak position. All things being equal, if we can avoid that form of reliance we would be in a stronger position which would help national security. That is hardly a partisan political statement.

    Discounting the real and very strong benefit of reducing oil consumption as "political", has been a very common ploy to discount BEVs. How about I make the claim that battery range and recharging time is a "political issue", and refuse to discuss it when comparing BEV and ICE? How do you think that ICE would fare based solely on performance and cost per mile comparisons?

    Big oil is a valid topic for discussion, but it doesn't have to be political and it also doesn't have to be here. I don't blame big oil for protecting their interests. The question is where are we going to be in the future and how do we transition from where we are now (pure petroleum) to wherever we are going to end up in 10-30-50 years. Huge companies don't go away quietly. What will their role be in the future, and what will the transition be like? It's a fair question, and it is not political.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Okay, I'll concede that it is possible for grid electricity to be "dirtier" than the cleanest ICEs from a criteria pollution perspective. But that is somewhat the exception. For instance, California uses almost no electricity generated from coal.

    How much electricity are they assuming an EV uses per mile/kilometer? For a Prius-like vehicle it should be about .25 kWh/mile. Also, not all hybrids are low polluting. A lot of times it depends on where you buy the vehicle. According to the EPA the Honda Insight is one of the most polluting vehicles outside California.

    http://www.epa.gov/emissweb/E-HONDA-Insight-06.htm

    The same is true for Toyota's Scion XA; a non-hybrid that gets excellent mileage.

    http://www.epa.gov/emissweb/E-TOYOTA-ScionXA-06.htm

    There are plenty more examples. My point is that unless you're talking GHG emissions small, fuel efficient cars aren't necessarily clean.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I agree 100%. Using less gas/oil is not a political issue because its one of the few areas where there is a unanimous consensus across party lines. Its like curing disease or reducing crime.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    California may not use any (much) electricity from coal, but large portions of the rest of the country do. BTW - just how much excess electrical production is available to Californians? Probably a moot point since most EV recharge demand would be at night when the current grid DOES have enough capacity.

    "How much electricity are they assuming an EV uses per mile/kilometer?"

    I wish I could tell you. Unfortunately, I haven't taken enough time to fully digest that study (particularly the electrical production side of it). To be honest, all I did was look at their assumptions for emissions from their 'average' ICE vehicle fleet and compare those assumed emissions levels to what I know is achievable with CURRENT technology in an ICE vehicle. Just my heavy-handed approach to refuting the assertion that production of electricity for EV use was always cleaner than ICE (regardless of how advanced ICEs may be, though this was not explicitly stated).

    Correct, not all hybrids are low polluting. However, since the technology DOES exist (and is currently being used in California), then it follows that all fuel efficient vehicles (which are naturally lower in CO2 emissions) COULD also be lower in other emissions.

    So, IF we are talking about the emissions aspects of hybrids compared to EVs, then my point is that the technology is currently in place and being used on a wide-scale (I consider use in all of California wide-scale) for very clean hybrids.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Using less gas/oil = 'good' is not a political issue.

    Making the assertion that the only reason we 'fight foreign wars is to stabilize foreign oil fields' is a different matter. It basically translates to the old old old anti-war chant of "no blood for oil".

    And that IS a political issue.

    "Its like curing disease or reducing crime."

    Stating you are in favor of reducing crime is not a political issue. Stating that we should reduce crime by spending more money on (fill in the blank) Government program (or less money or whatever) makes it a political issue.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    The goal is not political. The methods to achieve that goal may very well be. I am talking about how EVs can reduce fuel consumption. I don't see anything political in that position. When you start advocating tax breaks to encourage EVs or hybrids then it becomes political. The worst criticism is that EVs might not be all that environmentally friendly. Fine. It accomplishes something positive while being neutral at worst from an environmental perspective.

    This is the Tesla Roadster thread so lets put it into that perspective. If a person was debating whether to purchase the Tesla Roadster or a Dodge Viper, IMO, the Tesla would be a better purchase from a US best interest point of view.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Fair enough. I think we've (I've) spent more than enough time discussing the environmental aspects of EVs in general and not enough on the Tesla in particular.

    Curious about something concerning the Tesla: I know that the range is supposed to be pretty good; and the video was self-explanatory regarding the performance ( :surprise: ). My question is, what kind of range do you get if you include 1/4 mile run like that?

    A seperate question (and this gets back into the whole EV vs. ICE question): how quick is a standard Honda powered Ariel Atom compared to the EV version (Tesla roadster)?
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I'm sure that driving style definitely impacts range. They advertise a range of 250 miles per charge but the CEO has stated that he doesn't expect to get more than 200 with the way he drives.

    As fast as the Tesla Roadster is it could be quicker. When I first heard about this car I assumed that there were 4 separate electric motors driving each wheel. This is very doable with EVs. The Tesla car has one motor driving the rear wheels. Their claim of 0-60 in four seconds is probably limited by the point wheel spin occurs. An all-wheel drive EV will be capable of unmatchable acceleration.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    "Although I love the idea of having an all electric car for daily commuting, I can't get over that I also have a need for a car that I can use to take long trips with."

    As the electric car technology is refined, it will become relatively easy to add a small and very efficient internal combustion motor that will start when the batteries are below, say, 50% and start producing energy to recharge the batteries. The engine would run at WOT and at low RPMs, and would therefore be more efficient than if it were driving the wheels directly.
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    "Thanks for posting the link to the Electric Vehicle of Canada link comparing emmissions of ICEs to that of power plants supplying the electricity for replacement EVs."

    Here are a few more interesting docs to look at:

    This is an interesting Wheel-to-well analysis for Japan. Of course it is not apples to apples with US, because their power mix is different. I find it interesting that their numbers show a large advantage for BEV over FCV, but their conclusion states "BEV is a little better than FCV both in terms of required energy and CO2 emission, but still needs total evaluation including driving range per charge.". They have to discount their own numbers because BEV comes out to well!
    http://www.jhfc.jp/data/seminar_report/04/pdf/06_h17seminar_e.pdf

    This is a fairly recent large, very detailed Wheel-to-well analysis of energy use and emissions from Argonne National Labs and GM. They compare 18 different future vehicle/fuel systems. Guess which future vehicle/fuel system was not considered in the comparison? While there is some very good info here, this is the kind of government study that really pisses me off because government policy will be made based on it without accounting for the glaring omission.

    http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/339.pdf

    Here is a similar Japanese study by Toyota (just to show I am not biased towards GM!) It basically does the same thing.
    http://www.mizuho-ir.co.jp/english/knowledge/documents/wtwghg041130.pdf
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    I just stumbled across something very cool. It should help with the discussion on emissions. I just loaded it up and haven't done much with it yet, but I thought I would pass it along.

    http://www.transportation.anl.gov/software/GREET/
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    I've posted this link before on other Edmunds chats but I think it belongs here.

    Electric cars with their batteries charged by nuclear power stations are the only way to go. The link describes safe nuclear generating plants.

    http://www.eskom.co.za/nuclear_energy/pebble_bed/pebble_bed.html
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Electric cars with their batteries charged by nuclear power stations are the only way to go

    I agree that it is a very good way to go and far superior to generating electricity from coal. My objection to expanding nuclear energy has to do with the fact that we live in a world with terrorists and that's not going to change. Nuclear plants and their waste materials are going to be very attractive to these people that want to do us harm. The cost to provide security for these facilities will be considerable and will only increase as the threat becomes more sophisticated.

    I think from a domestic security perspective we are best off generating our electricity on the most local level possible. Homeowners producing their own electricity through wind, solar, etc., being tied together in a small community grid.
  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    You forget that other less friendly countries to America are also developing nuclear power stations - see my link. Terrorists could just as well get nuclear material from them.

    Meanwhile, America lags behind. Solar and wind power can only provide a small percentage of power needed. It is also unreliable and dependant on the weather. Coal mines and their environmental impact are more dangerous than nuclear power. Coal fired power stations pollute the atmosphere. How many coal miners have been killed in America and how many people have died due to nuclear accidents in this country?
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,696
    Electric cars with their batteries charged by nuclear power stations are the only way to go.

    Somewhere someone will come up with a system that charges a battery or capacitor in someones garage using solar panels which the electric car can be plugged into at night.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 37453745 Posts: 152
    "Somewhere someone will come up with a system that charges a battery or capacitor in someones garage using solar panels which the electric car can be plugged into at night".

    Fact of the matter is that solar power chargers do exist. Cell phone companies use them to charge their remote station batteries as one example. Solar panels are expensive to make and the manufacturing process is environmentaly dirty. It's also no good to plug into the solar charger at night. It's just not going to work!

    Bear in mind we are talking about millions of vehicle batteries that would have to be charged if and when a change to battery power took place.

    Super capacitors are an alternative to conventional batteries and at this moment you can buy super capacitor batteries for your flashlight. There are claims that they outperform standard rechargable flash light batteries and are much lighter.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Somewhere someone will come up with a system that charges a battery or capacitor in someones garage using solar panels which the electric car can be plugged into at night.

    Its already being done. Tesla Motors website states that they have an arrangement with solar installers to provide customers with this capability. If you live in a sunny climate like the desert Southwest this could be a very attractive way to go especially when the tax breaks are considered.

    While I'm sure the initial investment won't be cheap this represents something the individual can do to make himself energy independent. Expanding nuclear energy may be a good idea but it is something clearly outside your control.
  • prm2000prm2000 Posts: 17
    My parents just installed a PV array that will produce more juice than their electric RAV-4 uses. They did it more to make a point and to help suppport the technology than for maximim cost effectiveness. From this point forward theif driving will produce zero emissions. It will take 10-15 years to pay for itself (depending on the future cost of electricity).

    Early on, Governor Arnold talked about a grand plan to put solar cells on all new houses. I haven't heard anything about that lately, so I don't know where it stands. Once PV cells get thin, and flexible (which the new ones are), and cheap, they make a lot of sense because they distribute the generation across the grid.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    THANKS!

    Well, THAT'LL certainly 'clean up' the other discussion.... ;)
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