back to article Guide names mass e-car adoption potholes

A US-based pro leccy vehicle organisation has recommended that 25 per cent of the country’s new car sales be for battery-electric or plug-in hybrid cars by the year 2020. The Electrification Coalition – described as a not-for-profit body “committed to promoting policies and actions that will facilitate the deployment of electric …

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FAIL

CO2 helpers

"One area the roadmap doesn't touch on, though, is the issue of carbon dioxide emissions – the inevitable result of generating all that electricity used to power expanding numbers of leccy cars."

Is that, like, the equivalent of flame bait?

It's pretty well accepted that you emit less CO2 per unit of energy produced in a large, efficient, central power plant than you do in small systems like gasoline engines. You would need extreme transmission and battery storage losses to offset that decreased CO2 emission. This is why environmentalists are in favour of electric transportation.

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Flame

CO2 emissions?

Electricity for vehicles doesn't need to involve massive CO2 emissions, it only does so because that's the way the market chooses to generate electricity today. Nuclear and the 'renewable' sources (hydro, solar, wave, wind, etc) are capable of generating electricity with a lot less CO2 per vehicle mile than you'd get with a fossil fired equivalent, whether the fossil fuel is used in-vehicle or centrally.

It's also been suggested that the batteries in a huge fleet of electric vehicles parked and plugged in could be used to help match the variations in grid electricity demand and supply (be it nuclear, wind, whatever, they all have a problem - nuclear can't/won't change output fast enough to match the daily demand cycle, wind isn't always predictable).

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Grenade

CO2

If the extra leccy comes from new Nuclear Power then it's not even an issue.

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Anonymous Coward

@ AC

I think the point being made is that while running electric cars from coal powered stations will reduce CO2 emissions - and about half the USA's electricity comes from burning coal - running electric cars on power generated by nuclear, wind, solar etc reduces them by a lot more. The report highlighted makes much of ending US oil dependency but says virtually nothing about the larger issue of CO2 generation or moving to "green" power generation.

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Anonymous Coward

You Forgot - Electric is More Efficient

Oh, please, not again! Go and google "well-to-wheel efficiency".

A battery-electric vehicle with current 2009 technology is roughly 3 times as efficient as a similar internal combustion engine (ICE) car. The leccy transmission, storage and charging losses would have to be many, many times larger than they actually are (measured, nor projected) to make battery-electric CO2 emissions as bad as an ICE car - and that assumes all power generated from fossil fuels in both cases.

Furthermore, using electricity from central power plants allows a diverse range of electricity generating methods to be used, which will increasingly be from low-emission sources - wind, solar, geothermal, tide, biomass, "clean" coal (if it eventuates) and even nuclear.

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Beware mandates

Let's see, California mandated that a certain percentage of cars sold had to be electric. And how many are being sold now? None, or close to it? The only way for consumers to move to something other than gasoline is to have sky-high prices. Lots of money for the mega-rich oil companies, and misery for the consumer.

I'll just keep pedaling and take the bus, myself.

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I'd love an electric vehicle but...

A pure electric or plug-in hybrid could currently handle most of my personal transport requirements with substantial savings on both CO2 emissions and fuel costs. I regularly drive to and from an airfield that is 45 miles away. There's no possibility of charging the car while I'm there, so I need a guaranteed 100 mile range. However, I've yet to see a pure electric or plug-in hybrid that can tow my glider trailer: unless it can do that its a non-starter.

No, I don't count vehicles like the Prius or Lexus hybrids as serious electric transport. They're just con jobs to make pretend greenies feel good about themselves. All are less fossil fuel efficient than an equivalent modern European diesel and have a much higher whole life energy cost thanks to the manufacturing cost and materials that go into their joke electric motors and batteries.

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Stop

Hydrogen

They seem to have dismissed hydrogen fuel cell technology as a 'someday' technology, even though the German car makers are gearing up to make test production runs of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles aimed at normal consumers. It seems to me that the authors information on this area of research is woefully out of date.

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FAIL

When will this myth ever die

Unless your car gets over 30 mpg (gasoline), it uses more electricity to refine it's gasoline than an electric car uses to go the same distance (7.5 kwh, and that's probably the low end, if you include pumping, exploration and other energy expenditures in securing oil it's closer to 12 kwh/gallon).

Nissan is even advertising the fact: http://twitpic.com/pokps

It also takes at least 20 gallons of water for every gallon of petrol.

The entire meme, of where are we going to get the electricity for all the leccy cars is a red herring that ignores that it takes electricity ... LOTS OF IT ... to refine oil in the first place. Technically illiterates running the MSM are one thing, but The Reg?!? Come on guys, get your act together.

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Pint

A123 Batteries

Killacycle:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDHJNG2PngQ

Good Stuff. Pity it sounds like a bloody washing machine!

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

Decoupling.

The key advantage of electric vehicles is the decoupling of the power generation from the point of use. A petrol engine can only be powered by petrol. An electric motor can be powered by electricity generated using whatever you wish. THAT is the key advantage of electric vehicles.

Initially, such vehicles will probably use batteries of some sort. Hydrogen fuel cells, should they become viable, can trivially be designed as drop-in replacements for existing batteries. If some other magic wonder-storage medium pops up, we can drop that into the battery slot instead.

You don't get that flexibility with diesel or petrol vehicles.

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Stop

Re: Hydrogen

Forget about hydrogen. Hydrogen-fuelled vehicles are science fiction, with an emphasis on fiction.

Mass for mass, hydrogen contains a fair amount of energy. But storing hydrogen in a tank is a nightmare. To store a decent quantity of hydrogen, it must be stored under very high pressure which means extremely heavy tanks i.e. the tank will be many times heavier than the fuel it stores. Also, pressurized hydrogen has the nasty habit to diffuse through any material suitable for building tanks. Leave a filled up hydrogen tank sitting for a week and half its contents will be gone.

Cryogenic storage is an option, but is complicated and expensive.

Bottom line is that building an extended hydrogen fuel infrastructure will be costly and inefficient, and this will be a major hurdle for its adoption as a widely used fuel.

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FAIL

Nice use of words...

"Electrification Coalition"

Hmm.. What stands out there is the word "Coal". Yup, you're gonna need a hellova lot of that style of resource to charge up those babies..

"I say, let 'em crash.."

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