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  1. #1
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    Hybrid & Electric Cars - Are they better then normal cars for the environment?

    Over the last few years, hybrid and electric cars have become more popular, but are they really environmentally friendly?

    Electric Cars:


    • The battery (probably a lithium-ion battery): These need a certain amount of lithium to be built, that lithium has to be extract and processed which uses energy (and causes pollution), also there is only a finite amount of lithium available. There is also the disposal of the lithium and over chemicals from the battery when it is life-expired.
    • Charging Points: It will vary from country to country as to the availability of charging points but numerous charging points are wherever electric cars are to be used en-mass.
    • Source of electricity: The electricity that is used to charge the battery has to come from somewhere, the CO2 emitted by the power source may exceed the CO2 that would be emitted if the car was run on petrol or diesel.

    Hybrid Cars:

    The issues above for electric cars also apply to hybrid cars. Cars powered by hydrogen are only as environmentally friendly as the power source used to split the water molecule into the oxygen and hydrogen molecules.
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  2. #2
    Community Advisor ULTiMATE's Avatar
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    I would highly recommend watching this TED talk.

    To be honest I believed that hydrogen cars would be the future after the praise for them on Top Gear. However, this TED talk was rather convincing and if this can actually be pulled off we may see electric cars before we know it.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    Top gear is an entertainment show, and the production company is sponsored by oil companies (Shell I believe), which are all too interested in discrediting electric cars and promoting hydrogen, which they can supply.

    Tesla are currently suing the BBC over that particular episode of TG in which they basically lied about the electric cars running out of power and breaking down - something which the BBC have already admitted anyway, but refused to correct on repeats/DVDs etc. Hydrogen cars are HUGELY expensive (250,000 for that Honda FCX Clarity), something which they failed to mention as well.

    As you can probably tell, I'm firmly in the electric car camp! Much cheaper to make & run, emissions ARE far lower even when considering the electricity production as well, AND ignoring the fact that electricity production can be replaced by renewable sources in the future. Top Gear are very anti EV, that much is obvious, but then they only like a car if it makes a loud noise and costs more than 100k anyway. Loads of people are now using EVs, proving that they do work, and with cars like the Tesla Model S coming soon (Model S | Tesla Motors - god I want one of these!!)

    Robert Llewellyn says it best:

    So I’ll flip it around. Let’s just say for arguments sake that in 1920 something, a man called Charles F. Kettering had been run over by a horse and didn’t invent the starter motor and the internal combustion engine didn’t catch on. (Most cars were electric powered in the early part of the 20th century.)

    So now, I’m 35, live in a flat in a city, have an electric car parked over an induction charging plate set in the road. All the electricity in the country is from renewable sources and I’m not interested in cars.

    Then I read an article about these new engines, petrol engines. They explode a highly flammable liquid in a cylinder which turns a crank which turns a flywheel which turns a complicated, heavy gearbox and clutch, which turns a drive shaft which turns the wheels. When I stop laughing, I read on.

    The fuel I will need to make this machine operate has to be drilled out of the ground in Arabia and shipped to the UK in massive tankers. It then has to be refined in huge industrial plants that use copious amounts of electricity, it’s then shipped to a very expensive installation called a petrol station. I then have to stop, pump this dangerous liquid into the tank in my car. When the complicated engine is running, it not only makes a lot of noise, the gas that comes out of the exhaust pipe is poisonous, the engine creates huge amounts of waste heat which requires a massive, energy sapping cooling system, the fuel is very expensive and finite, it will run out. I throw my head back in hoots of laughter and put the kettle on. Ridiculous, it’ll never catch on.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I had the pleasure of driving a 1st-generation Prius for a few years. At the local/immediate level, of course it's better than "normal" cars (though keep in mind, gas mileage alone can be matched by many of the small diesels, and the 1st-gen Prius is a subcompact car). Frankly, if all current gasoline-only cars had a small electric motor whose sole purpose was to shut the engine off at idle and battery, coupled with regenerative braking, mileage would improve for everyone but more importantly, you'd be removing the biggest and least-useful source of car pollution. Unless you're running lights or heat, you're just burning oil sitting there. On the highway, a Prius doesn't get any better fuel mileage than any other car its size and weight. It's all the places it saves that makes the difference.

    There are schools where they had to demand that the school busses, lined out outside school doors and running their engines waiting for the kids to come out, turn their engines off because the amount of fumes that built up outside (and often were sucked into the air intakes lawlz).

    I've wanted an electric car since I was a kid. Too bad the infrastructure isn't as ubiquitous as it is for fossil fuels now.

    When I was big into renewable energy, I would go to RE fairs and drool over the 80's Mercedes and Volkswagen Rabbits running on biodiesel (both styles: modified fuels lines and straight veggie oil, or made biodiesel at home and had leftover methanol where they had to try to find enough little old ladies who liked making soap at home, lawlz). Using waste oil from restaurants is pretty cool. Using productive farmland to grow one crop solely to run vehicles is not.

    There is also the disposal of the lithium and over chemicals from the battery when it is life-expired.
    As a metal, it should never be "disposed". Metals are recyclable. That costs energy (and usually water), but no metal should ever really be "disposed". Especially when mining it in the first place costs so much (to the environment, in energy...).

    Y'all know Olshevsky's idea for a solid block of hydrogen? Man, that was a cool idea. So for the equivalent of hitting the gas station, you'd go to a station and swap H2 blocks. Solid fuels are totally appealing to me.

    But for the question of, which kinds of cars are better... frankly, we need to stop building our infrastructure in such a way that we NEED cars to do simple, daily things. This is where we're being stupid and short-sighted, not which kind of car we allow on the road.

    I haven't driven a car in about 4 years. Public transport sucks butt over here (every time a single snowflake touches the ground, every time a pidgeon poops on the rails, every time the world is not absolutely 100% crystal perfect, the trains and busses are late and cost way more than owning, insuring and driving a gas-guzzler), but I am very pleased to be able to buy food, get to work, and do pretty much anything I need to do on foot or on a bicycle.

    When we were in New Zealand, wow it's a pretty country but you can't take a poop or tie your shoes without having a car (or two). It was, for me, the biggest turn-off of the country. The distances are vast, but people hurry to fill them as much as possible, instead of seeing how they can intersperse agriculture and living (I hope some of the urban solutions in Cuba, even though they were born by extreme need, spreads around quickly).

    It's simply not going to be sustainable to have the whole world living the way a part of it does now: large agriculture, manufactured far away relying on fossil fuels, reduced of its nutrients so it can be shipped (or flown) thousands of kilometers (relying on fossil fuels) so that most of us have kids who don't know where mustard comes from. The store? A little plastic packet? A factory?

    (I love when they go to schools and ask kids what foods are and where they come from. They have no idea. Which is why they can't tell real food from edible food-like products. Which is why so many of the Western world is sick and fat)

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy cydewaze's Avatar
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    Working at the US Department of Transportation, I get quite a bit of exposure to alternative fuel vehicles. Some manufacturer or another is always bringing their "stuff" here for us to look at. A few years ago they brought a Tesla. It was nice. Really nice. I even got a few pics.

    I'm a car guy. Always been a car guy. I've always had big American V8s up until around 2006, when I just couldn't justify the fuel consumption, so I bought a Mini Cooper. I really like the idea of electric cars, especially for local city driving. Sure, you have to generate the electricity somehow, but there are tons of ways to generate electricity (solar, hydro, wind, etc) that create little to no pollution. Plus, to me it seems that cleaning up a few hundred power plants would be easier than cleaning up a few million vehicles that are all owned by private citizens.

    As for the recharging problem on long trips, I think what we need to do is come up with a battery standard for all electric cars (a form factor if you will) and make all electric cars use it. Service stations could have a few dozen of these on charge, and when you need a refill you pull in and have a swap. Your old battery goes onto the charger for someone else a few hours down the road. It's sort of how propane tanks are done.

    So I think if there is a market for these things, and a financial incentive, they're going to happen. Car companies have historically fought change and told us that things were "impossible" (CAFE, safety features, emissions requirements) only to miraculously pull it off once the laws are passed. I think they can pull this off too. It's just more profitable (at the moment) to stick to business as usual.
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  7. #7
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    The problem with both electrics and hydrogen is that they all suffer from NOT being more efficient than other fuel sources, and are only really practical as transmission/storage mediums. As a rule, they usually just mean you're polluting somewhere else instead of where you happen to be -- NIMBY in action. (Not in my backyard)... Who cares if you're polluting at the power plant or extraction station, at least your not polluting your backyard -- net change zero.

    Hydrogen may be the most plentiful element in the universe, but there's a "problem" with it -- it is NOT naturally occurring on it's own when in the presence of heavier elements -- like say... on a iron/silicate body with a oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. It's tendency to readily combine with just about any other element makes it very hard to find "straight" -- sure, it's in water and natural gas, but it takes the application of energy to extract it... said energy requirement being higher than what is produced by the fuel...

    Where does that energy need to come from then? Fossil fuels end up the weapon of choice with people having their panties in a twist over nuclear, solar and wind both having increasingly negative environmental impacts and not delivering practical amounts of energy despite all the claims, and your ecology nuts refusing to allow more dams to be constructed.

    Of course the four legs good two legs evil leftist-moonbat eco-nuts don't seem to want to let us even do the stuff 20 years ago they were clamoring for us to do. Few years ago they were talking about adding a wind farm off the coast of new england -- this was cancelled because the spinning blades might endanger some bird species. Solar farms aren't practical in places like New England (60% overcast) but worse, even in places that get the type of sun and have the raw acreage to make them useful, the drop in ambient temperature in many places has started to be linked to changes in weather patterns to the point of effecting the length of mating periods of many species... think about it, you're stealing light and heat that otherwise would be warming the ground and air, and turning it into electricity instead to be released as heat, movement and light somewhere else...

    Then you have the storage mediums on things like hybrids... Lithium? Too expensive which is why most hybrids use NiMH cells -- Nickel-metal hydride. Nickel is one of the biggest polluters to refine requiring lots of heavy diesel machinery, caustic chemicals to be processed, and as a rule turns everything withing a mile of the mine into a "dead zone" where little if anything can actually survive. While this has nowhere near the impact many of your right wing-nuts would have you believe, it does still add up to most hybrids having a higher pollution footprint than your average gas powered economy car over the first six years of it's life. The right wing-nuts want you to believe it's higher than a hummer over the entire life of the vehicle, and their exaggeration and card stacking gutted the "battery footprint" arguments credibility -- even though it was based in fact... they blew the fact out of proportion, tacked on their own lies and agenda, and in the process pissed all over the science behind it.

    Really these technologies are not the answer - from needed changes in the infrastructure, to not returning on the investment cost, to many of them being little more than sweeping the problem under the rug, they flat out do not deliver the power needs of 6.7 billion people!

    You want a real answer look no further than Brazil; a country that has gone over to a biofuel economy. Biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel can run cleaner with nearly as much power, are easily made from renewable resources, and can also provide more employment. Brazil is so far ahead of the entire rest of the planet on this front so called "first world" nations should be ASHAMED.

    It gets more interesting when we talk waste recovery -- Nearly any organic waste can be converted through a process known as thermal depolymerization into a variety of compounds, most notably potable water and a biodiesel that is almost identical in burn and flow to #2 heating oil... It ends up way cleaner than natural petroleum as the heavier compounds that pollute natural fuels (sulfur, heavy metals, free carbon, etc) are separated out.

    ... and when I say ANY solid organic waste, I'm not joking. We're not just talking corn and peanuts here -- There's a turkey plant in Carthage, Missouri that's outputting 500 barrels a day of biofuel and several thousand gallons of potable water extracted from turkey offal (that's guts, bones, feathers and other stuff you can't actually sell)... The process makes enough of a gasoline type fuel to actually power the process, they burn much of the oil in-house, put the clean water from the process back into the farmyards, and still have enough "crude bio" left over to sell on the open market and even sell electricty back onto the grid. The entire facility is not only self-sufficient on power -- it's contributing to the power infrastructure! All using waste that 20 years ago would have been left to rot in a landfill.

    The joke on thermal depolymerization is that you drop a 200 pound man in one end, you get two gallons of crude, eight gallons of water and a pound of valueable chemical compounds out the other end.

    Though biodiesel isn't ALWAYS the answer, as those of us in the north can attest -- for a good 4 to 5 months of the year it's unusable or requires a supplemental fuel source as in cold temperatures it turns to jello.

    But that's just the tip of the iceberg on waste recovery -- organic waste simply left to rot in landfills produce large amounts of methane as they decompose; a smelly but easily burned fuel. (that doesn't produce odor if you burn it). Simply putting layers of non-decomposing plastic sheeting in place to 'trap' the gas in a bubble and then piping it out gives us a cheap, affordable source of fuels -- and the trapping of the gas and heat underground can be further used for geothermal-like recovery. Once the 'field' has processed you end up with an organic soil that can be sold to agriculture and the plastic sheeting can be reused on a new load of waste.

    Given the increasing need for clean water and reliable cheap energy as the world population grows, the increase in output of waste materials that population produces -- the future near as I can tell is in renewable crop fuels and waste recovery. It certainly does not lie in solar, wind, nuclear, hydroelectric, or pure hydrogen...

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    You want a real answer look no further than Brazil; a country that has gone over to a biofuel economy. Biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel can run cleaner with nearly as much power, are easily made from renewable resources, and can also provide more employment. Brazil is so far ahead of the entire rest of the planet on this front so called "first world" nations should be ASHAMED.
    Brazil is a HORRIBLE example. People can't afford food because they're wasting valuable farmland (and burning rainforest with sh*tty soil to make more farmland) just to grow corn just to make ethanol (which has less energy per mass than gasoline or diesel... meaning you need to burn more of it to go the same distance). Reusing existing waste is way more awesome.

    Growing fuel is as bad as growing meat, if both replace growing food (and meat can count as food, but at 3 times the cost of growing straight food... especially costs water). It's not sustainable IF it continues the assumption than everyone drives, all the time, with sometimes mutliple vehicles. Not sustainable.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    The problem with both electrics and hydrogen is that they all suffer from NOT being more efficient than other fuel sources, and are only really practical as transmission/storage mediums. As a rule, they usually just mean you're polluting somewhere else instead of where you happen to be -- NIMBY in action. (Not in my backyard)... Who cares if you're polluting at the power plant or extraction station, at least your not polluting your backyard -- net change zero.
    Total misinformation - producing electricity and transmitting it down a power line to a car is FAR less damaging than drilling for oil, shipping it, refining it, storing it, transporting it again, then burning it in an engine, even with fossil fuelled power stations. With a nuclear station, the emissions are zero. In the future, renewable sources make this even better (although I firmly believe we should be using nuclear until the renewable sources get sustainable enough... shame the govt. are dragging their heels on this one).

    Hydrogen I'm not sure on, but I know it does take a lot of energy to produce so you may be closer with that one.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Brazil is a HORRIBLE example. People can't afford food because they're wasting valuable farmland (and burning rainforest with sh*tty soil to make more farmland) just to grow corn just to make ethanol (which has less energy per mass than gasoline or diesel... meaning you need to burn more of it to go the same distance).
    No, people can't afford food there because of the abject poverty of many regions -- they grow more food than their people can consume, much like the rest of their South American neighbors -- so much so that I go to the produce aisle at the local grocers and my Tomato's are from Argentina, my Lettuce, cabbage and onions are from Brazil, and all my fruit is from Chile.

    Flat out many of the people there cannot get JOBS to PAY for food from the people growing it -- or even jobs that pay well enough to handle that. Historically prior to the introduction of export crops they were looking at 30-40% poverty -- the export of cash crops cut that in half, and further social programs are whittling away at it. They have MORE than enough land to feed their people and grow cash crops -- especially since most of your good cash crops like sugar cane and cotton are best grown on a rotation schedule with food crops like lettuce, cabbage, or with crops that can go either direction like Corn and Peanuts.

    Much less the WASTE from food crops is just as easily converted into ethanol and biofuels -- with corn for example you have to clear the stalks every spring from the field -- traditionally these were either left to rot, burned inefficiently, or used in the paper manufacturing industry (to a limited capacity). Pressure cooking for ethanol and de-pressurization for biodiesel takes this otherwise waste material and puts it to use.

    The export crops and self sustaining fuel resources are what will save Brazil and have been saving that country for thirty years -- it's been a hefty part of why their government even has the money in the first place to pour into education and societal aid in impoverished areas... Biofuel growing is NOT to blame for their poverty, and is their one shining hope at getting OUT OF IT!

    See, there's this economic concept called "transfer" -- where if you have exports other countries want you can increase your national wealth and the well being of your citizenry by raping other countries economies. A concept I realize is lost in places like western coastal Europe and the United States where we don't manufacture or export anything worthwhile anymore -- hence the GNP's that don't match the inflation rates and teetering economies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Growing fuel is as bad as growing meat
    Oh, here we go with the fuzzy science nonsense... The moment someone stops calling meat food, you know you're in feel good fantasy-land where pseudo-science quackery is the norm. Considering most livestock consumes grains not fit for human consumption or waste materials from human consumption growing (again, dried corn, wheat and barley stalks), as well as rotational crop-stock not suitable for other industries, that "3 times the cost" nonsense holds about as much water as a sieve. The "circle of life" found in nature is easily mimicked and present in the entire agricultural industry, and this "meat is evil" nonsense as a whole is akin to kicking out one of the sides of the fire pyramid. Air, fuel, heat.... you remove any one of them you don't have fire. Food-stock, grain-stock, livestock... it's the same notion. Especially if you talk grazing stocks like cow and sheep, which can survive on rocky terrains unsuitable for normal horticultural farming. (see my local dairies where you can't grow anything on that land except grass, hay or weeds -- and where the ground is frozen 5 months of the year!)

    Just ask a farmer. There's a reason most of your major farms deal in all three, or cluster together; The chicken farm next to the corn farm next to the wheat farm. The only places you won't see it is in grossly inefficient resource consuming plant growing like grapes, apples and oranges... All of which generally consume more effort, cost and labor per calorie and nutritional value than long term livestock production like dairy or rotational crops... and ends up about the same as slaughter production at the bottom line.

    ... and that's before we talk the economic benefit of livestock production paying better and actually having higher regular man-hours than the seasonal migrant work that you see from horticultural foods.

  11. #11
    secure webapps for all Aleksejs's Avatar
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    I am sorry that the following links are really one-sided, but I think even those who oppose to claims in them would nevertheless find them interesting.

    The issue of supplying enough power at once to quickly charge yet-to-be-seen efficient high capacity low loss accumulator:
    Low-tech Magazine: Who killed the electric grid? Fast-charging electric cars

    Low-tech Magazine: The status quo of electric cars: better batteries, same range


    One more (not so pretty) alternative:
    Low-tech Magazine: Wood gas vehicles: firewood in the fuel tank

    On biofuel:
    Low-tech Magazine: Leave the algae alone

    Some other links:
    No Tech Magazine: Oil Dependency & Alternative Fuels in 1909
    Low-tech Magazine: Airships: green, slow air cargo

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    producing electricity and transmitting it down a power line to a car is FAR less damaging than drilling for oil, shipping it, refining it, storing it, transporting it again, then burning it in an engine, even with fossil fuelled power stations.
    Think about what you just said:

    even with fossil fuelled power stations.

    Which involve drilling, shipping, refining it, (it's not like a oil power station can burn crude!) storing it (in giant above ground tanks that always leak into the surrounding groundwater)... you're still burning it, you're just buring it somewhere else... and you're losing energy in the process of turning it into electricity, storing the electricity when not in use on the grid, loss of power over transmission lines -- meaning that per mile traveled you're actually consuming MORE fossil fuel.

    We don't have "perfect conversion" of fuels and by the time you turn most fossil fuels into electricity you've gone from fossil to mechanical to electrical to transmission -- losing efficiency as light, heat, friction, momentum and a dozen other things at each stage of conversion. That mean electricity sent from a fossil fuel power station to be turned back into moving a vehicle ends up consuming many times more fossil fuel than just going straight to mechanical energy from the gasoline/diesel. Every time we change the energy type, from the inefficiencies of the process we "lose" energy. (you can't really "lose" energy, but you can end up with wasted energy that doesn't serve your purpose).

    Seriously, given you lose power through inefficiencies along the way, which is going to be more effective?

    fossil-> refine -> power station -> power lines/storage stations -> battery -> electric motor

    or

    fossil -> refine -> fuel motor

    Guess which one produces more carbon emission per mile traveled... it's not the ICE.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    With a nuclear station, the emissions are zero.
    Assuming you ignore the storage of spent fuel, risks of transporting fresh and spent fuel, and how your ecology nuts throw a hissy fit every time you go to build a new one. (the last of those being the pathetically useless real reason it's not an option. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    (although I firmly believe we should be using nuclear until the renewable sources get sustainable enough... shame the govt. are dragging their heels on this one).
    Given that politicians actually listen to the pseudo-science quacks on that (i believe the proper term is "lobbyists"), it's hardly shocking -- but there is some truth behind the anti-nuclear rhetoric if you figure in the Yucca Mountain storage facility. It drains the economy of 100 billion dollars a year... more than what is spent on coal at power stations over the same period; and that's just storing spent rods that aren't producing power for a industry that only produces 20% of the domestic supply (vs. coal's 50%). Nuclear may have a cheaper fuel cost and the plants don't really cost more to build, but if you figure in maintenance and disposal of spent fuel it's efficiency and financial viability are completely gutted compared to coal or natural gas... especially since you're talking about paying through the nose for hundreds of years to store this stuff.

    Though like anything else, in places that are natural energy resource poor -- like pacific rim island nations, it's certainly much more economic a choice, especially with high population densities; See Japan. They've got no natural gas, they've gutted what little coal reserves they had, china isn't trading fuel with them (not that you want Chinese coal given it's ridiculously high radon levels) and shipping from anywhere else costs too much -- to meet their populations burning desire for electricity, they have little other choice than nuclear power.

    Especially with their own eco-nuts getting their panties in a twist over the mere notion of tidal power-stations.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    Think about what you just said:

    even with fossil fuelled power stations.

    Which involve drilling, shipping, refining it, (it's not like a oil power station can burn crude!) storing it (in giant above ground tanks that always leak into the surrounding groundwater)... you're still burning it, you're just buring it somewhere else... and you're losing energy in the process of turning it into electricity, storing the electricity when not in use on the grid, loss of power over transmission lines -- meaning that per mile traveled you're actually consuming MORE fossil fuel.
    So where does the power that goes to the oil refinery come from? Magiced out of thin air? It takes a lot of power to run one of those places. What about the cost of transporting fuel in tankers? What about the cost of drilling for the oil, for transporting the oil overseas? What about the environmental impact of the oil drilling (see: Deepwater Horizon)?

    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    fossil-> refine -> power station -> power lines/storage stations -> battery -> electric motor

    or

    fossil -> refine -> fuel motor
    Ha, another misrepresentation. Just miss off the vast majority of the chain to prove a non point! Also, what does 'power station' mean? Why are you putting the location of some of these processes inside a chain? Why not 'oil well' or 'storage depot' or anything like that?

    Try:

    fuel digging -> storage -> transport -> storage -> refinery -> storage -> transport -> storage -> transfer to car -> storage -> burn fuel

    Of these, the following require fuel fed from exactly the same process:
    - fossil digging
    - transport (x2)

    and these require electricity fed to them:
    - fuel digging
    - storage (x4)
    - transfer to car
    - refinery (huge amounts)

    ...this electricity being produced by this process:

    fuel digging -> burn -> drive turbines -> transmit electricity

    ...of which fuel digging requires both fuel and electricity.

    I see the equivalent for electric cars as (similar to electricity production above):

    fuel digging -> burn -> drive turbines -> transmit electricity to car -> storage -> drive motor

    of which fuel digging will require fuel and electricity, and transmit to car will require further electricity (to run the charging station, not much), but almost nothing else.

    All in all, ICE cars require a HUGE chain of events, many branches of which are recursive. If you want me to draw a large diagram / flow of it all then I will, but it's pretty obvious the electric chain is far smaller.

    So again, just more misinformation.

    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    Guess which one produces more carbon emission per mile traveled... it's not the ICE.
    Do you want to place a bet on that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleksejs View Post
    I am sorry that the following links are really one-sided, but I think even those who oppose to claims in them would nevertheless find them interesting.
    Well, the last few you linked to aren't bad, the first two reek of more "someone writing about science while completely blinded by it" -- thankfully, I'm not Thomas Dolby, Science doesn't blind me.

    This one in particular:
    Low-tech Magazine: The status quo of electric cars: better batteries, same range

    Is so far out there, it's laughably pathetic as the author seems to have this bizarre delusion that going slower over distance saves power... While certainly the processes of acceleration and deceleration do have their associated energy costs, traveling at a higher consistent speed over distance is ALWAYS more fuel efficient -- in fact the further you go in a trip the more true this is.

    The point of the article would therein best apply to your in-town trips -- but for the average city commuter maintaining 55 to 65mph down the highway on a 30 to 60 minute trip, slowing down to 40mph should by all logic mean HIGHER energy consumption due to one of the most basic principles of Newtonian physics... an object in motion. If you went to high school you should know the rest...

    The only outside forces needed to be compensated for on wheeled vehicles is friction of the propulsion mechanism, friction with the ground, and drag. Compared to the energy needed to create that initial momentum at speeds below 100mph these are bupkis. It's actually one of the arguments that allowed many states to post higher speed limits than the 55mph US federally mandated one where higher speed was not a safety issue.

    Even hypermilers know this -- in town they may drive like grandma so as not to waste momentum and energy on breaking, but you get them up on the highway and they're pushing whatever speed (typically 55 to 70) puts the engine in their car at the optimum fuel to power ratio.

    It can even be funny when a heavier vehicle of equal shape and size can get higher fuel economy at flat highway speeds due to their increased ratio of momentum to drag... something that makes people scratch their heads just as much as the fuel difference between tailgate up and tailgate down, or why an airplane on a treadmill wouldn't take off when the indicated speed at the wheels equals the rated takeoff speed. [i](that Mythbusters even had to do episodes on those shows just how STUPID people are when it comes to physics).[i/]

    You'd think the heavier load would take more fuel -- and it does to get up to speed -- but once at speed it can consume less, or at the very least the same fuel. See why it's more efficient to ship by train than by truck -- you're still overcoming the same amount of drag even as the mass increases... the speed difference of the two vehicles doesn't even play into it.

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    Methinks you missed the logic disconnect I was pointing out -- either way you're still talking burning fossil fuels for the foreseeable future as the majority of the electric supply... so burning it at the plant vs. burning it at the engine is LITERALLY just sweeping the problem under the rug.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    So where does the power that goes to the oil refinery come from? Magiced out of thin air? It takes a lot of power to run one of those places.
    Which is why most refineries burn the less often consumed Kerosene that comes from the refining process?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    What about the cost of transporting fuel in tankers? What about the cost of drilling for the oil, for transporting the oil overseas? What about the environmental impact of the oil drilling (see: Deepwater Horizon)?
    As opposed to the cost of transporting coal or natural gas on railcars, mining coal and drilling for natural gas? The storage costs and environmental impact of transporting and storing spent nuclear waste?

    NO difference, if anything they can cost as much or more. It takes a crew of five to drill and cap a oil well, and if on land one guy to sit there watching twenty of them pump... try that with a coal mine... or a uranium mine, refinery and breeder reactor.

    They all pretty much suck equally on those points, which is why they don't figure into such a discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    Ha, another misrepresentation. Just miss off the vast majority of the chain to prove a non point!
    Huh, I don't understand what you're trying to say with that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    Also, what does 'power station' mean?
    A power station -- nuclear plant, oil plant, coal plant, gas plant, hyrdo-electric plant, wind farm... A power generation station. The place where a non-electrical energy resource is converted into electricity. What did you think I meant?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    Why are you putting the location of some of these processes inside a chain? Why not 'oil well' or 'storage depot' or anything like that?
    Which are before the conversion process into useful power and for pretty much all of them involve the same amount of effort.

    The entire next section of your post (starting with "try:") I couldn't even make sense out of, but seems to fail to grasp the processes involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    of which fuel digging will require fuel and electricity, and transmit to car will require further electricity (to run the charging station, not much), but almost nothing else.
    Which is just as much of an issue as transporting it to the power station and then back to the automobile -- more so given the loss of energy at both ends. You're either running fossil or other source to electricity (loss)

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    All in all, ICE cars require a HUGE chain of events, many branches of which are recursive. If you want me to draw a large diagram / flow of it all then I will, but it's pretty obvious the electric chain is far smaller.
    Not when you figure in loss of conversion. In mechanical terms the term is 'engine efficiency'. Your average internal combustion automotive engine may have less than 20% efficiency -- around 80% of the energy being lost as heat out the exhaust... and it's figured that by the time you count in the expense of shipping after the refinery that's actually dropped to around 10% total energy efficiency.

    You look at electric, your typical steam turbine power station (be it coal, gas or oil, covering >70% of electricity generated in America) may be able to reach the 40% efficiency -- but that's once you have the steam, a conversion process from those fossil fuels that in itself is only 60% efficient under the best of circumstances... (though straight natural gas turbines can reach 40% directly!) You figure in the national average 30% grid loss and the electric motor at the wheels itself having an average speed efficiency for city driving of 40% (despite the peak RPM efficiency that can hit over 90% -- the odds of being at that peak RPM are between slim and none; though CVT's can help with that).... do the math. 0.6 (making steam) * 0.4 (steam to elecricity) * 0.7 (loss over grid) * 0.4 (at the wheels) == 6.72% at wheel efficiency for electric.

    ... and that's skipping a whole bunch of other loss points like capacitance loss during charging, power loss during PWM switching to control motor speed, etc, etc, etc...

    NET CHANGE ZERO... Which is why unless we find some other source for electricity, pure electrics and hybrids you charge on the grid are nothing more than NIMBY so far as pollution, environmental impact and cost are concerned. They are not an improvement, they're just a different way of handling it. We need something that's a tangible improvement.

    Notice again I'm talking POST refinery -- since from ground to power station fossil fuel ends up costing pretty much the same be it coal, natural gas or crude... and even nuclear ends up costing the same or more if you look at the costs dealing with the fuel AFTER it's used.

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    You seem so stuck in your ways and unwilling to change (and some of your arguments are so crackpot anyway) that I'm not going to waste my effort trying. Take a look at this table which shows the 'Well To Wheel' efficiency of the various methods:

    http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/def...mparison_0.png

    Read: EVs are over twice as efficient as any other type.

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    Also, check out page 4 of this for the equivalent in emissions:

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/greend...slaReading.pdf

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    Both being card stacking propaganda from the people behind Tesla motors -- you should know better than that!

    As such missing a great many consideration factors -- like them listing crude oil as the only fuel source for hybrids and gas, omitting the cost of natural gas by energy output... The real hoot though being that they're claiming the power for the Tesla vehicles comes entirely from natural gas on that first chart.

    They're plug-in electric meaning that you're taking power from the grid -- where only 23% of the electricity nation-wide is from natural gas, over 44% is coal, 20% is nuclear, just under 7% hydroelectric, 1% petroleum and the remaining tiny fraction being "other". They're blatantly card stacking their own statistics by cherry picking the electricity source!

    Though at least their numbers piss all over hydrogen fuel cells -- but that just boils down to the classic old line "the best place to wedge a lie is between two truths".

    Card stacking and glittering generalities -- the cornerstone of any good marketing propaganda.

    The only thing their claims prove is that natural gas is more efficient than coal or crude -- it's not as plentiful or cheap either... that 23% nation-wide here in the US comes from only 11% of power stations; much like the 6.9% of hydroelectric comes from less than 1% of power stations -- it doesn't mean it's effective to use them or build them everywhere.

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    Oh, and it REALLY pisses on hydrogen fuel cell since they're using the cherry of electric generation -- natural gas -- as it's primary source too... naturally omitting it's cherry source as a byproduct of desalination plants.

    NOT that desalination is big in the west -- go to the Middle East or Africa that's a whole different story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    Both being card stacking propaganda from the people behind Tesla motors -- you should know better than that!
    Yes, they are both by Tesla. Does that make them invalid? Have you provided proof that this is not the case?

    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    They're blatantly card stacking their own statistics by cherry picking the electricity source!
    I don't know about the USA but I'm pretty sure here you can pay for a separate electricity connection that only uses renewable sources, I don't know why the same can't apply to gas.

    Still, I fail to see any numbers or references backing your own claims, while dissecting others.

    I would have thought it was an obvious conclusion to come to that EVs are far more efficient 'Wheel To Well' to anyone who thinks about it for a few seconds, but apparently not in your case!

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    With the advent of latest battery technology like capacitor batteries and lead acid battery technology and free energy source such as solar energy, wind power, or hydroelectric power for charging the battery, it would be feasible for energizing future transportation using electric cars and light motor vehicles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    Yes, they are both by Tesla. Does that make them invalid? Have you provided proof that this is not the case?
    It puts them into question -- their own technology being the one pimped and all. Do you automatically believe it when three different toothpaste commercials all claim that "9 out of ten dentists"? How about when a political advert calls a candidate "A Real American" (as if that's somehow not true of his competitor).

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    I don't know about the USA but I'm pretty sure here you can pay for a separate electricity connection that only uses renewable sources, I don't know why the same can't apply to gas.
    1) paying more for the fuel than it normally would cost -- doesn't that change one of the consideration factors for if it's a good choice or not?

    2) Yes, in the US impractical because the infrastructure isn't in place, and some fuels are simply not practical in some climates. Like you don't see a lot of natural gas in New Hampshire; You'd think that 40 to 50F temperature swing in the spring between night and day compromised the lines, tanks and regulators... You'd think natural gas sources are five to ten times further away than coal mines or something... There's more to that 48% coal figure for US power generation than the coal lobbyists. (despite wild claims to the contrary).

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    Still, I fail to see any numbers or references backing your own claims, while dissecting others.
    Excuse the truthiness...
    Engine efficiency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Electricity generation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Electric power transmission - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (their losses numbers omitting substation to ground faults during underages, which gives you another 10-15% over their 6.5% number -- such underages and overages being what led to those two oh-so-wonderful east coast blackouts as transmission stations faulted down the line from an overage)

    Oh, and if you have a High School level physics book handy or paid attention during physics you might remember a lot of what I'm talking about? I'd quote MC Hawkings, but then I'd get a warning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stormrider View Post
    I would have thought it was an obvious conclusion to come to that EVs are far more efficient 'Wheel To Well' to anyone who thinks about it for a few seconds, but apparently not in your case!
    I can't imagine where you'd think it was the obvious conclusion... Maybe you've just never paid to heat your own place? Given how bad electricity sucks for heating compared to oil ($1000+ a year to heat my last apartment of almost identical floorspace to this one, which only consumes 60 gallons of oil over the same period; 250 gallon tank I filled three years ago still has over a quarter of a tank left!), how piss poor the performance of the best efforts so far on electricity have failed to surpass what was available 100 years ago, etc, etc...

    Much less the simple efficiency of conversion -- the cornerstone of all this that frankly, doesn't seem to be in Tesla's numbers accurately. Of course, that's card stacking for you. Omit enough small details and include the ones that favor you -- and poof, instantly you look twice as good.

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    How do the efficiency of gas based car compare with battery car, assuming that the power required to charge the battery comes from conventional energy source? If they both have same efficiency factors then it doesn't matter whether one uses gas or battery. However, if the battery vehicle results in better efficiency levels, it is recommended to use the same.

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    How does linking to 3 irrelevant wikipedia articles show anything? The first has no figures, and hardly even mentions electric, the second is pretty irrelevant, and the third as well. You've made no comparisons between the 2 methods, only linked to some articles which explain 1 or the other on wikipedia, that most reliable of sources!

    Oh, and if you have a High School level physics book handy or paid attention during physics
    Don't patronise me, you make yourself look like an idiot. I took Physics all the way through school and still have a keen interest in it today.

    I can't imagine where you'd think it was the obvious conclusion... Maybe you've just never paid to heat your own place?
    I've lived in flats with electric heaters only for 6+ years now. Again, don't assume you know everything about me.

    And you have still failed to tell me in what way Tesla's quoted figures are wrong, or provide a correction.


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