This article is intended to correct the misconception of the average consumer about electric vehicle emissions. Electric vehicles are proof that the American public is gullible to advertising. And advertising, as we who are savvy know, is brainwashing the ‘uneducated public’ in whatever is necessary to sell their product.
In California, ‘All Electric Vehicles’ (EV’s) are privileged conveyances. They get preferred parking spots at ‘all’ mall parking lots disguised as ‘electric charging stations’. And as if ‘electric’ is ‘good’, the California DMV issues bumper stickers that identify Electric Vehicles as vehicles that have special consideration with access to the commuter fast lanes on all freeways. This shows the ignorance of our lawmakers, DMV officials and the general public. Yes it’s true the ‘vehicle’ doesn’t emit any pollutants, but the pollutants emitted to produce this ‘clean fuel’ (electricity) it uses are still emitted (in the same quantities) at the power plant that produces the electricity!!
As an Electrical Engineer with 40+ years of experience in the rocket industry, ‘facts control the discussion’. Electric Vehicles are a fraud on the auto buying public. EV manufacturers use marketing ‘slight of hand’ that do not tell the whole story making ‘electricity’ sound like a ‘clean’ fuel. I submit the following analysis regarding the amount of pollution emitted by EV’s whether at the vehicle or at a ‘power generating station’.
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The total pollutants emitted by a gasoline powered engine or an electrical generating station are equivalent per unit of energy. Bottom line, EV’s are a fraud and cost the American taxpayer huge sums of money (as the government provides huge purchase rebates (thousands of dollars per vehicle) using your tax dollars) supposedly to support a ‘clean environment’ proposition. This simply isn’t true. The benefactors are the EV car manufacturers who have an ‘inside track’ on the American Car market at the behest of the EPA who is leading the way via ‘clean energy’ ads.
Reference the EV vs gasoline engine (ICE) emission analysis in the enclosed article found in a recent Popular Mechanics magazine:
Electric-car drivers are saving the planet, right? Their vehicles produce none of the pollutants that dinosaur-burning, fossil-fuel-powered machines do. That is the standard view, and governments around the world provide incentives to encourage the uptake of this new technology.
That is why a Tesla owner got a rude shock when he went to import his vehicle into Singapore — the first person to do so. Instead of an expected rebate of around S$15,000 (US$10,800) he received a fine of the same amount for being a gross polluter. The Tesla Model S is a 100% electric vehicle. It does not have an exhaust to emit from. So what happened?
Instead of an expected rebate of around S$15,000 (US$10,800) he received a fine of the same amount for being a gross polluter.
The Singapore authorities calculated the ‘carbon cost’ of generating the electricity that will be used to charge the car. This is the elephant in the trunk of electric vehicles. Where and how the power is produced is not often considered, but perhaps it should be. Let’s move the elephant up to the passenger seat and address it directly.
First — this specific case.
The authorities in Singapore apparently found the Tesla in question consumes 444 watt-hours of electricity per km (Wh/km) in tests. Tesla has disputed the rating.
“The Model S that our customer imported into Singapore left our factory in 2014 with energy consumption rated at 181 Wh/km,” the company said in a statement sent to BBC Autos. “This qualifies as the cleanest possible category of car in Singapore and entitles the owner to an incentive rather than a fine.”
Without wanting to get too math-heavy, the number of 444Wh/km does seem high. In our non-scientific testing of the Tesla Model S (ie: driving with a lead foot and having fun) we recently achieved around 3 miles per kWh in a Model S P85D. That is 4.83 km per 1000Wh, or 207Wh/km, which is much closer to Tesla’s claimed figure.
Should we be factoring in the emissions of power stations when working out how green an electric car is? The logical answer is yes.
“We are having cooperative discussions with the [Singapore Land Transit Authority] to ensure a proper understanding of these issues and to make sure that they are correctly testing our customer’s Model S,” says the company. “Based on the positive nature of those discussions, we are confident that this situation will be resolved soon.”
“Their numbers are completely wrong,” agrees Professor Dan Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California Davis.
But what about the bigger picture — should we be factoring in the emissions of power stations when working out how green an electric car is? The logical answer is yes. Emissions shifted elsewhere are still emissions, and CO2 impacts the global atmosphere wherever it is released.
“Based on the average current mix of renewable and non-renewable electric power sources in the US, the average of well-to-wheels greenhouse-gas emissions for current battery-electric vehicles is 214 g/mi,” explained Dr Michael Sivak, Director Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan, who has studied this issue.
“In comparison, the average for current gasoline-powered vehicles ranges from 356 g/mi for direct fuel injection to 409 g/mi for traditional fuel injection.”
(It is probably best not to ask about cars with a carburetor if you ever want to enjoy a drive in a vintage vehicle without being weighed down by guilt.)”
If you get an electric car running on electricity made from coal, its impact would probably be about the same as a gasoline car. If you run on anything else it gets much better.
That’s good news for the electric elephant then, at least in the United States. The argument that power stations can be more efficient and cleaner when it comes to burning fossil fuels seems to hold true. Additionally, emissions away from cities and homes have a lesser impact on people’s health, and if the electricity is generated through renewable sources then the environmental impact can be minimal.
However a deeper dig into the numbers reveals some local differences.
“If you get an electric car running on electricity made from coal, its impact would probably be about the same as a gasoline car,” says Prof Sperling. “If you run on anything else it gets much better.”
The Popular Mechanics analysis did not include the g/mi emissions using electricity produced using diesel power stations as is also done in the Eastern U.S. I suspect these emissions would be similar to burning gasoline in the vehicle. And to be fair, the analysis didn’t include electricity produced using hydroelectric power as is done in many locales in the Western U.S. This electricity would be ‘very clean’, however, hydroelectric power represents only about 10% of the electric power used in the U.S. (per Wikipedia) which leaves 90% of the ‘dirty electricity’ problem ‘on the table’!
Another element of this electric vehicle fraud involves the ‘hybrid’ gas/electric vehicles. These vehicles use a combination of gasoline and electric batteries/motors for power. Hybrid manufacturers claim fantastic mileage for their ‘hybrids’ in ‘miles per gallon’ but fail to adjust this efficiency claim for the cost of the electricity ‘sold to you’ like the gasoline service stations sell gasoline to you!! ‘And the beat goes on’ . . . more fraud!! And oh, by the way, did you ever notice all the prime parking spots near the entrance in a mall, they’re all marked ‘electric vehicles only’ and provide a cable where you can charge your hybrid vehicle batteries for a fee.
The ‘fuel cell’/gasoline hybrid vehicle uses hydrogen to run a fuel cell which generates electricity which powers motors that drive the wheels. This arrangement is cleaner than the ‘dirty electricity’ from a electric power station. The hydrogen gas is obtained by ‘reformating’ natural gas, a process which emits fewer pollutants than producing electricity using gasoline/coal/diesel, a step in the right direction. Once you get to hydrogen, you have solved the pollutant problem as it releases ‘zero pollutants’ when used as a fuel.
As stated above, hydrogen is the perfect solution for a portable fuel such as an automobile. It emits zero pollutants and is found everywhere. This however, is the subject of another article which I will submit later.
I conclude: EV’s/HYBRIDS SHOULD HAVE NO SPECIAL PRIVILEGES, NO CARPOOL LANE ACCESS AND NO ‘UPFRONT’ PARKING SPACES ANYWHERE AND THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT BE GIVING TAXPAYER FUNDED REBATES TO THE EV BUYERS!!
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.