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Promises of Electric Vehicles?
Contra Costa Times | December 11, 2010 | Vlado Bevc

Posted on 12/11/2010 3:38:13 PM PST by editor-surveyor

 

 

Promises of Electric Vehicles?

 

Vlado Bevc

Synergy Research Institute, P.O.Box 561, San Ramon, California 94583

 

 

The promotion of General Motors Chevy Volt by three mayors (Contra Costa Times, November 6, 1010) merits some mundane evaluation from the energy standpoint. Electric vehicles –with an internal combustion engine assist – are compared to a “typical car” using 13 cents of $3.00/gallon gasoline per mile, that is one that makes 23 miles per gallon. (13/300 = 0.0433 gallon/mile)

 

In a conventional car 25 percent of 37 kWh from a gallon of gasoline gets into traction (because of losses in the engine and drive train). “Conventional car” thus uses 0.4 kWh/mile and so does any comparable car.

 

Reader Coughlan (CCT, November 13, 2010) correctly pointed out that at  residential electric rates of 40 cents/kWh the energy cost is “about 10 cents/mile” rather than 3 cents/mile (above calculation shows 16 cents/mile). Moreover, Chevy Volt has a 435-pound battery costing $8,000 which wears out after 100,000 miles. That adds 8 cents to the energy associated operating cost of the electric car.

 

PG&E also has an experimental tariff designed for users of electric cars through which all of us are subsidizing electric vehicle owners.

 

Electric power plants supplying energy require from 3.5 to 4 kWh of thermal energy to generate 1 kWh or electrical energy. Thus the 0.4 kWh used by the electric car requires 1.6 kWh to generate. Energy wise we are at the same place as with an internal combustion engine.

 

About 70 % of electric power generating plants America use coal. At heating value of 3 kWh/lb, 1.3 pounds of coal is needed to generate 1 kWh. As coal is 80% carbon 3 pounds of carbon dioxide is emitted in generating 1 kWh of electric energy. In other words, electric vehicles cause production of 1.25 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile.  On the other hand, an equivalent conventional car using 0.0433 gallon/mile emits 0.78 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile. Electric cars thus cannot reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to which climate changes are wrongly attributed.

 

The mayors say 500,000 electric vehicles in the Bay area would reduce costs and emissions dramatically. As shown no cost reduction can happen. Moreover, if 500,000 electric vehicles using 500 gallon/year producing 4 tons of carbon dioxide each were eliminated, there would be 2 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions less. This would be only 0.4 percent of the annual fluctuation (48,000 megaton) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which totals about 3 million megatons, an insignificant amount.

 

Particularly unreasonable is the hint that electric vehicles while parked in employee parking lots could be running their gasoline engines to feed energy it back to the network. Efficiency of any electrical generator is proportional to the fourth power of its dimensions, hence a number of small power generating stations would waste more energy than a normally sized electric power plant.

 

Vlado Bevc

925 683 9254

 


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: caenergy; carboncult; carbonfootprint; electriccars; electricvehicles; greenreligion; hybridvehicles; physics; volt
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The above is posted by permission of the author, to whom I give thanks for providing HTML text for posting (cctimes does not make letters from individuals available on line).

Dr Bevc is an Electrical Engineer living in Damville, California. Email: akobevc@sbcglobal.net

1 posted on 12/11/2010 3:38:17 PM PST by editor-surveyor
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To: 1Old Pro; aardvark1; a_federalist; abner; alaskanfan; alloysteel; alfons; Always Right; ...

Electric cars are an energy hoax!


2 posted on 12/11/2010 3:43:28 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: editor-surveyor

In conclusion, the proponents of electric vehicles clearly think that electricity comes from magical holes in the wall.


3 posted on 12/11/2010 3:46:15 PM PST by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: editor-surveyor

Because a good percentage of these short-distance vehicles will be used to commute, half the recharge will happen in the employers’ parking lot getting ready for the return trip. First off there’s the cost of building that infrastructure and then the cost since the electricity used will be billed to the employer at commercial rates.


4 posted on 12/11/2010 3:46:41 PM PST by NonValueAdded (Palin 2012: don't retreat, just reload)
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To: B4Ranch; backhoe; bd476; been_lurking; blackie; blam; bigfootbob; BigWaveBetty; Billie; ...

Exposing the deception WRT electric cars.


5 posted on 12/11/2010 3:46:46 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: editor-surveyor

The batteries last 100,000 miles at cost 8K according to the article. My 02 Chevy SUV has 112K on it and has had to have some parts related to the drive train replaced.

If you want to dive the Volt past 100K you need to replace all the batteries. Has anyone calculated the impact of that on the environment verses a few parts on a traditional car, besides the much lower cost.


6 posted on 12/11/2010 3:48:52 PM PST by matt04
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To: Dan(9698); dandelion; darth; D Joyce; dark_lord; Dave Olson; Delphinium; dogcatch; Don Corleone; ...

Spreading the wealth:

PG&E also has an experimental tariff designed for users of electric cars through which all of us are subsidizing electric vehicle owners.


7 posted on 12/11/2010 3:51:07 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: matt04

“Has anyone calculated the impact of that on the environment verses a few parts on a traditional car, besides the much lower cost”

Never heard of exhaust?


8 posted on 12/11/2010 3:53:36 PM PST by goseminoles
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To: matt04
If you want to dive the Volt past 100K you need to replace all the batteries. Has anyone calculated the impact of that on the environment verses a few parts on a traditional car, besides the much lower cost.

A friend of mine is the head of the physics dept. at the
local college. He openly states that the Prius is the most
environmentally harmful car made.

9 posted on 12/11/2010 3:54:09 PM PST by CrazyIvan (What's "My Struggle" in Kenyan?)
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To: editor-surveyor
The United States has (largely) decided that tariffs are a bad thing. Many people blame the Depression on the Smoot-Hawley tariff. I think that grossly over-states the matter, but it has given tariffs a bad name. Tariffs improperly protect failing domestic businesses, and tariffs improperly drive up the cost of goods which our consumers wish to buy.

But how are corporate subsidies any different? I would note that the Constitution talks about tariffs, but does not seem to drop any hints that taxpayers' money should be used to benefit certain businesses over other businesses.

I'm not 100% opposed to taiffs. I think they have their place. But I am opposed to subsidies.

Electric vehicles would find no welcome in the marketplace if the government did not heavily subsidize them. It's just a bad business.

10 posted on 12/11/2010 3:54:38 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: editor-surveyor
I saw no mention in this article to things other than "travel" costs.

For example, there is no mention of such items as "comfort" costs. Will the Chevvy Volt be air-conditioned? If so, how will that affect the energy cost per mile traveled? How many kilowatt hours will be required to cool a vehicle to, say 75 degrees, in sunny California where the external temperature is, say 90?

Other things, like heaters in colder weather, which must be electric because there is no heat generated automatically by the engine as in a gas-fueled vehicle. Anyone with electric heat in a home knows the cost of this. How would electric heating affect the Volt's mileage?

11 posted on 12/11/2010 3:55:44 PM PST by eCSMaster
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To: matt04

There is also a huge “sustainability” issue: the rare earth elements used in the manufacture of the batteries!

How much Lithium do we have, and at what cost will it be extracted?


12 posted on 12/11/2010 3:55:44 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: CrazyIvan

But at least they can feel good driving it, which is the only purpose for that car to exist.


13 posted on 12/11/2010 3:56:31 PM PST by matt04
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To: editor-surveyor
All I know is, if they take off big time I'm buying me a (gasoline powered) truck with a (gasoline powered) GENERATOR on the back, and charging stalled (dead battery) Volt drivers $225 per charge alongside the highways and biways of Obamerica...

And in HONOR of the GM VOLT, I'm calling my service...(are you ready for this?)

LEMON-AIDE



14 posted on 12/11/2010 3:58:10 PM PST by FrankR (Don't let the bastards wear you down!)
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To: goseminoles

> “Never heard of exhaust?”

.
Water, CO2, small amount of hydrocarbons. - big deal.


15 posted on 12/11/2010 3:59:28 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: editor-surveyor

In their blind hatred of oil, they will only see less gas used at the pump, and call it green. They don’t and will not think about where the rest of the car came from.


16 posted on 12/11/2010 4:01:20 PM PST by matt04
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To: FrankR

You’ll be regulated and cronyized out of business in a flash!


17 posted on 12/11/2010 4:01:40 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: matt04
Has anyone calculated the impact of that on the environment verses a few parts on a traditional car, besides the much lower cost.

I've heard claims that, "by that time we'll have technology to make batteries more effecient and cheaper."

When asked for the premise behind this claim they respond with the "thousand yard stare."

18 posted on 12/11/2010 4:06:08 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Grizzled Bear

More from Dr. Bevc:

TESLA ELECTRIC CAR AND WHAT IT PROMISES
Vladislav Bevc, Synergy Institute, P.O.Box 561, San Ramon, California 94526
[ako@cal.berkeley.edu]

Following is a simple analysis of the effect of the electric cars on the environment, energy management and the specter of global warming supposedly caused by carbon dioxide.

Consider first the environment that is to be “saved.” The mass of Earth’s atmosphere is about 5.3 billion megatons. The measured amount of carbon dioxide (by number of molecules) is 381 parts per million, that is approximately 3 million megaton. This amount of carbon dioxide varies throughout the year by 6 parts per million, that is by 48,000 megaton. Compared with these numbers all the figures of emissions attributed to human activities are of very little significance.

There are 160 million automobiles in the United States (and about 500 million in the entire world). On the average every car in the United States uses about 500 gallons per year. Burning one gallon of gasoline produces 18 pounds of carbon dioxide. All the cars in the United States, accordingly, emit 640 megaton of carbon dioxide annually. Compared to the 3 million megaton of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere this amounts to a mere 1.3 percent of the natural annual variation. Thus removing all the automobiles would have very little effect on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

However, the internal combustion engine powered automobiles are to be replaced with electric cars. These, too, require energy. The same amount as the conventional cars, to be sure. The energy in one gallon of gasoline is about 37 kWh. Because the efficiency of the internal combustion engine powered cars is about 25% we can readily estimate that the energy required for propulsion of electric cars in the United States is about 800 billion kWh. In the year 2005 the annual generation of electrical energy in the United States was 4,038 billion kWh. Accordingly, electric energy generation would have to be increased by at least 20 percent. (More, in fact, as there are losses in charging the batteries, transmitting electrical energy and even in the “more efficient” electric motors.). “Stewards of the Planet,” however, always oppose construction of any new electric power plant. To generate annually 800 billion kWh 45 nuclear power plants with capacity of 2,000 Megawatt would be needed. But “Protectors of the Environment” oppose nuclear power plants. About 72% of electrical energy is produced in electric power plants using the so much maligned fossil fuels, the greater part of which is coal. Allocating this amount of fuel to the electrical energy needed for electric cars consider that 576 billion kWh is produced by coal fired power plants. On the average fossil fuel fired power generating plants require 4 kWh of energy to generate one kWh. Accordingly fuel with total 2,300 billion kWh of heating content is needed. The heating value of coal is about 4 kWh per pound. Hence 256 megaton of coal is needed. At combustion that amount of coal produces 940 megaton of carbon dioxide.

We see that in the present economic system and today’s technology replacement of 160 million internal combustion engine powered automobiles in the United States with electric cars would increase carbon dioxide production by almost 50%. It would not matter to the environment, really as pointed out above, but one adopts for the moment the view of the “Guardians of the Environment,” the situation would thus be made even worse as far as carbon dioxide generation is concerned.

Theoretically it is true that carbon dioxide could be more easily sequestered at the power generating plants than in the individual automobiles but sequestration is not used to any great extent at present. Promoters of electric cars also say that the needed electrical energy will be provided by photovoltaic solar electric power generating plants. In 2005 solar electric power generating plants produced a total of 500 million kWh (as compared with the total electric power generation of 4038 billion kWh). All other options, such as the “renewable energy” including hydroelectric power generated a total 457.3 billion kWh.

Finally it should be examined if the world resources of lithium are adequate to supply enough of lithium for the storage batteries required by 500 million cars in the world. While the known deposits of lithium might suffice for batteries of 600 automobiles the production of batteries would require energy and petroleum products, too. For a car battery containing 35 pounds of lithium each an annual production of 60 million new automobiles would require 1.08 million ton of lithium which is 50 times more than the current production which amounts to 20,000 tons. Required production levels might be attained in about ten years but the costs of such undertaking cannot at present be predicted.


19 posted on 12/11/2010 4:07:41 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: goseminoles; matt04
Never heard of exhaust?

Is that what coal burning electical generating plants emit?

20 posted on 12/11/2010 4:10:38 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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