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View Diary: Dispelling Electric-Vehicle Myths, #3B: Business Viability and Consumer Value (63 comments)

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  •  Here's why electric cars are perfect (15+ / 0-)

    Firstly the amount of carbon dioxide released per mile using coal-based electricity is less than that of gasoline, so there is an immediate reduction in greenhouse gases when a user switches. But that's only the beginning.

    EV's don't care where the power comes from. They are a disruptive technology because from the bottom-up EV's free us from fossil fuels in locations where power is generated without them. Unlike every other alternative power source they largely use the distribution network for power that's already in place. Someone just needs to stick a special charging unit at the end of that network. And as renewable energy replaces fossil fuel power the fleet of electric cars will get greener and greener automagically.

    This is aside from the fact that point pollution sources like coal and natural gas power plants are easier to clean up than non-point sources like autos. I'd like to see every fossil fuel plant replaced with renewables in the next fifteen years. I believe we could do it. But we could more cheaply start scrubbing CO2 out of our current fossil-fueled plants and it would be easier than doing the same for millions of dinomobiles.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 08:28:11 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not sure I'd say "perfect".... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      ....but all your comment's content points are spot-on.

      Thanks!

      •  PERRFEEEECT!!! (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DrFood, Larsstephens, KenBee, splashy, BYw

        There is a wall of resistance to the novel and I think hyperbole can serve to plow through it. Even smart people can be hesitant to embrace something better simply because it's new and people are naturally cautious.

        EV's need to improve in range and recharge time. There are a raft of new technologies in energy storage that are likely to eliminate these barriers in the next five to ten years. The battery you replace your 2013 Leaf's original battery with, will not be the same battery. It will probably double the range and halve the recharge time -- or better. In fact I suspect people will replace their batteries before they have to, just for the improved performance.

        So I know they aren't perfect, but as a guy who's spent a lot of time and money using alternative fuels I don't see anything better as an end-to-end solution to the impact cars have on climate and the environment.

        There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

        by BeerNotWar on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 10:48:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, my Chevy Spark EV doesn't care where the (6+ / 0-)

      electricity comes from.

      It could be wind.

      It could be natural gas.

      It could we hydroelectric.

      It could be solar.

      Three of the 4 are for all intents and purposes greenhouse gas and emissions-free.

      My Lexus SUV on the other hand runs on only one form of energy and there is no way to change that.

      The Spark's battery is 21 KWH, or just shy of the energy content of 2/3 of a gallon of gas.  With that energy, I regularly get almost 4 1/2 miles per kilowatt.  Even taking into account losses in electrical generation, transmission and charging, the efficiency of the car to go distances using a fraction of the energy of an ICE or even a hybrid cannot be ignored re its contribution to the greenhouse gas problems.

      I haven't driven my 3rd (and soon to be sold) car in almost 2 months.  My expenditures for gas for that car alone used to be in the $70/month range.  My electrical bill only went up $30 and it's the standard rate plan, not the one which benefits car charging.

      Even my right-leaning sister in law was surprised at the economies of acquiring and driving a BEV.

    •  That's only provisionally true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder
      Firstly the amount of carbon dioxide released per mile using coal-based electricity is less than that of gasoline
      probably true if you factor in the overall mix of electricity used in the USA, but if coal alone were to supply the power, it wouldn't be.
      •  Here's an important thing to consider (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, Larsstephens, Assaf, splashy, BYw

        Fromthis diary by Assaf:

        There's this 2010 Guardian piece, part of their "What's the carbon footprint of...", that quotes some 250-600 million tons CO2 as the Iraq war's footprint. And finally, I even stumbled across a scientific article (by two agronomists from Iowa State U, Liska and Perrin) that tries to address exactly the question I was asking other researchers. They conclude that roughly 1/5 of US military emissions is related to "oil security". Then they calculate that the overall GHG overhead for imported Middle Eastern oil in the US, due to US military expenditures and conflicts in the past decade or so, is close to 20%. When re-adjusted to reflect the share of this oil in the US total consumption, the number is reduced to a little over 2% for each ICE mile driven, regardless of petroleum source.

        This study is a great start, but I think their calculation framework is wrong. Oil is not an American commodity, it is a global one. For example, when ongoing disruption in the Middle East due to the Iraq war caused an irreversible rise in world oil prices, it made tar sands and fracked shale oil more economically feasible. These sources carry a far higher GHG overhead, currently estimated at >40%. And the US, while being far and away the biggest military energy spender around Middle Eastern oil, is not the only one: the militarization of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya and even a substantial part of Israel's military expenditures can be attributed to oil. And we haven't even counted the GHG associated with the tonnage of sheer destruction and the energy required to rebuild; the GHG cost of displacing and disrupting millions of human lives; etc.

        There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

        by BeerNotWar on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 02:11:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's really interesting . .. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Assaf
          Then they calculate that the overall GHG overhead for imported Middle Eastern oil in the US, due to US military expenditures and conflicts in the past decade or so, is close to 20%.
          in that it's very close to the 22% "penalty" calculated by the Europeans for extra emissions from the Alberta Tarsands (others put the number at 12%, but it's still in the ballpark).
          •  I got my biodiesel car because of the war (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Larsstephens, Assaf

            I didn't want to think my car was encouraging disasters like that. Sure it takes fossil fuels to grow soybeans, etc, but a lot less of my money went to Exxon. Electricity is even less dependent upon foreign adventurism and that's a good thing all by itself.

            There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

            by BeerNotWar on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 02:28:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you can get waste biodiesel... then your CO2 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy

              footprint is negligible. And also some types of the farm-produced ones (I cannot quite figure out why some are better than others; the soybean variety seem to be bad).

              Unfortunately, diesel's other tailpipe emissions are a nasty mix.

              •  Yes, in general biofuels are a huge clusterfuck (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Assaf

                for what you say, and more generally, almost always what is being burned for fuel could be used instead for some considerably higher "value added" process.

                There might be some narrow niches where the fuel is legitimately "waste" so this makes sense but that really has no significance in the larger scheme of things.

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