Re: Electric Cars--An OWNERS perspective

As one who won a national prize for electric vehicle infrastructure
design concerning the model of Lancaster County, PA, I find these
comments very interesting. However, the dependance on lead-acid car battery
for these vehicles is *current* technology. Fuel cells are in the process
of being developed; and they are non-polluting. As well, the Japanese
have a flywheel technology that seems promising. Howard


>In article <[email protected]>, Frank Didik <[email protected]> wrote:

>>NO POLLUTION?
>> No, not exactly. Though the electric car itself does not burn fuel,
>>most power plants use fossil fuels to generate electricity, so we must
>>consider the pollution created at the power plant. It is estimated that
>>an electric car, charging from a conventional fossil fueled power plant,
>>produces less then 20% of the pollution created by a standard gasoline
>>powered car.

>This is very misleading. This figure only applies if the "fossil fuel"
>the plant is using is natural gas. Car & Driver frequently revisits
>electric cars and cites the latest studies, all of which show a pollution
>rate of 80% to 120%(!) for electrics depending on the exact type of pollution
>you are comparing, against a baseline 100% for each category with gasoline.
>This comparison was against the national average mix of power generation -
>some combination of natural gas, nuclear, and mostly coal and oil. This
>is a far more realistic comparison, and electrics show no overall advantage.
>Clearly, absent any national commitment to 0-pollution electric generation,
>electrics just aren't going to do this well. Please don't follow this up
>with lectures about controlling fewer emission points - it isn't done, in
>part because the volume of each emission becomes a formidable engineering
>challenge and in part because states lack the will to muzzle electric
>utilities - the whole CARB electric-car initiative grew out of their
>reluctance to restrict industrial emissions of _any_ kind because of the
>potential of job loss - as opposed to losing automotive jobs, which are few
>far between in California.

>It was misrepresented statistics like this that lead NY and Massachusetts
>to pile onto the electric car bandwagon when neither of them have the
>infrastructure to realize those gains, and when both have winters severe
>enough to cut range more than half - far more than is cited in this post.
>I also notice the toxic-waste disposal problem presented by used-up
>batteries - ten to twenty times worse than with gasoline cars - is simply
>not mentioned.

>I like electrics - I might even buy one. But inflated claims of their
>abilities and minimizing their drawbacks will do no one any good in the
>long run. Electrics have a lot of potential, they are worth some
>research and some money to develop. But they should be treated as the
>experimental prototypes that they are, not greeted as the second coming
>of the automobile and hang the costs.

>--
>Larry Smith - My opinions alone. [email protected]/[email protected]
>A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take
>everything you have. -- Barry Goldwater. Liberty is not the freedom to do
>whatever we want, it is the freedom to do whatever we are able. -- Me.

- - The original note follows - -

From: [email protected] (Larry Smith)
Subject: Re: Electric Cars--An OWNERS perspective
Date: 16 Jun 1994 09:50:55 -0500

In article <[email protected]>, Frank Didik <[email protected]> wrote:

>NO POLLUTION?
> No, not exactly. Though the electric car itself does not burn fuel,
>most power plants use fossil fuels to generate electricity, so we must
>consider the pollution created at the power plant. It is estimated that
>an electric car, charging from a conventional fossil fueled power plant,
>produces less then 20% of the pollution created by a standard gasoline
>powered car.

This is very misleading. This figure only applies if the "fossil fuel"
the plant is using is natural gas. Car & Driver frequently revisits
electric cars and cites the latest studies, all of which show a pollution
rate of 80% to 120%(!) for electrics depending on the exact type of pollution
you are comparing, against a baseline 100% for each category with gasoline.
This comparison was against the national average mix of power generation -
some combination of natural gas, nuclear, and mostly coal and oil. This
is a far more realistic comparison, and electrics show no overall advantage.
Clearly, absent any national commitment to 0-pollution electric generation,
electrics just aren't going to do this well. Please don't follow this up
with lectures about controlling fewer emission points - it isn't done, in
part because the volume of each emission becomes a formidable engineering
challenge and in part because states lack the will to muzzle electric
utilities - the whole CARB electric-car initiative grew out of their
reluctance to restrict industrial emissions of _any_ kind because of the
potential of job loss - as opposed to losing automotive jobs, which are few
far between in California.

It was misrepresented statistics like this that lead NY and Massachusetts
to pile onto the electric car bandwagon when neither of them have the
infrastructure to realize those gains, and when both have winters severe
enough to cut range more than half - far more than is cited in this post.
I also notice the toxic-waste disposal problem presented by used-up
batteries - ten to twenty times worse than with gasoline cars - is simply
not mentioned.

I like electrics - I might even buy one. But inflated claims of their
abilities and minimizing their drawbacks will do no one any good in the
long run. Electrics have a lot of potential, they are worth some
research and some money to develop. But they should be treated as the
experimental prototypes that they are, not greeted as the second coming
of the automobile and hang the costs.

--
Larry Smith - My opinions alone. [email protected]/[email protected]
A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take
everything you have. -- Barry Goldwater. Liberty is not the freedom to do
whatever we want, it is the freedom to do whatever we are able. -- Me.
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