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Are electric cars really saving anything? This video says no...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Panoz, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Panoz

    Panoz Member

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    I like my Tesla! But I also like telling people it saves the planet. This video says it doesn't, mainly due to the high carbon footprint of lithium mining. I'd like to counter all the arguments in the video, but they make a compelling case that EVs save little, if nothing, by their use. One thing the video omits is that ICE vehicles have a single-source fuel that is running out, but that's a minor argument for most folks.

    Sorry, you have to logon to Facebook to see the video. I'd really like to have some replies...

    https://www.facebook.com/prageru/videos/1008531932522996/
     
  2. ElectricTundra

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    I think GCR posted something about this earlier this week.
     
  3. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Can't watch the video right now, but my understanding was that most Lithium "mining" was by evaporation/reverse osmosis of water that's been deep underground, like from geothermal powerplants.
     
  4. commasign

    commasign Active Member

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    Oil industry propaganda. Already debunked many many times online if you search for it.

    Union of Concerned Scientists just a few months back. http://www.greencarreports.com/.../1102307_once-again...

    And then regarding that $7500 tax credit. How about the billions in tax subsidies? Triumph of the Drill: How Big Oil Clings to Billions in Government Giveaways | Mother Jones

    And they forget to mention that it takes electricity to refine oil! (exact amount difficult to know for certain but the numbers being tossed around are probably in the ballpark) http://longtailpipe.com/.../the-6-kwh-electricity-to.../

    Any why are they talking about scraping EVs at end of life? Same argument applies to ICE cars, except with EVs the battery actually lives on for decades more! http://www.nytimes.com/.../gm-and-nissan-reusing-old...

    Yes, the US grid does rely on a lot of coal, but 100% renewables is possible. http://cleantechnica.com/.../getting-100-renewable.../

    Other countries are doing it. 70%, 80%, 99.9%, 100% Renewables -- Study Central | CleanTechnica

    And hello, the latest research shows that traffic related air pollution (i.e. the junk coming out of your tailpipe) causes asthma, cancer, alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, eczema, preterm birth, low birth weight, COPD, heart attacks, stroke, liver disease, lung cancer, etc. @sacev #airpollution - Twitter Search

    Lastly, one doesn't even have to wait for the US government to switch to renewables. A 2kW rooftop solar system costs under $10,000 and generates enough renewable electricity to drive an electric car 12,000 miles per year for 25+ years. So it is well within the reach of the individual to go electric and solar right now.
     
  5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    The GREET model tries to track all inputs, and calculations done for EVs say that the overall efficiency largely depends on the electricity used. Just like conventional cars, really.

    But using the GREET model still leaves externalities, like the massive amount of energy expended fighting over resources, and the energy expending dealing with health problems caused by pollution.

    The ideal energy supply would be clean, sustainable, domestic and cheap. We need renewable electricity and electrification of transportation. And if you want to improve the electricity grid, you really have to have good, cheap storage.

    Obviously if we make a lot of use of batteries, we want to improve all the processes involved, including mining and recycling, and improvements to recycling will be absolutely essential.

    I'll take EVs over ICEVs any day.
     
  6. WestCoastP85D

    WestCoastP85D Member

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    This is is a stupid video.

    1. He doesn't account for the continuous mining/pumping/fracking/refining of oil and gas and the amount of electricity refining alone consumes. Mining lithium is a one time thing. Gas is an everyday drill, frack, pump, and refine thing. Refining consumes enormous amounts of energy. (He skips all that....)

    2. EVs are all Coal powered?? Nope. Try solar powered.. for me and increasingly others. Besides the grid is getting cleaner.

    Disinformation.


     
  7. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Bjorn Lomborg does this whenever he gets a media outlet that doesn't vet his information. Search the forums for his name. He's said similar things in WSJ and IEEE Spectrum (who later apologized for running his work as an opinion without having their fact-checking group go over it as is their usual policy).

    He is not from the oil industry. Nor is he a right-winger. He's a very-far-left winger that is willing to lie about pretty much any topic (search the internet for his name) to convince people that we can't use technology to solve our problems.

    It's not that he is confused; I have seen him presented with clear corrections to his work and then repeat the exact same error in later screed.

    He is not an "obvious troll". His mistakes are mingled in with truthful bits and hidden behind a bunch of math that nobody wants to check. It takes longer to find the problems with his work, but they are always there. I don't look anymore; he's one of a small handful of people that are willful enough liars that I don't see the point.

    There are enough good EVs out there now that those fighting against them can no longer say they are small, ugly, no fun to drive, unsafe, strand you on the side of the road, etc. The math on their environmental benefits are complicated and few people will check it over, so that's where most attacks center these days. But there's plenty of good stuff out there (peer reviewed, no less) that comes to a very different conclusion than Lomborg. I like the stuff by UCS; they have updated it over the years and gone out of their way to have it reviewed by a very large number of groups.
     
  8. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    Best I can tell, there is only 16.5 pounds of lithium in a 90kWh battery. It's a trace element in a lithium battery. 25g per 300Wh. Lithium is not rare, and it can be recycled when EV batteries start to fail in sufficient quantities. A 90,000 mile life expectancy for an EV car is not realistic either, since there are cars with that many miles on their lithium batteries already.

    Natural Gas, which is far cleaner than coal, is replacing coal. In the US, it's now 1/2 the fossil fuel used. In California, it's about 60% of all power generated, coal is 6%.

    Non-CO2 methods of electric production are 31% in the US, and I suspect his 17% for global non-CO2 (implied) deliberately subtracted nuclear.

    So I question how he derived his CO2 tonnage. By not mentioning natural gas and nuclear, he seems to have his CO2 numbers inflated deliberately.

    Gasoline powertrains today are mostly aluminum by volume, and aluminum is very energy intensive to produce. It would interesting to read his report and research sources for power production and use.
     
  9. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    It's interesting to me that even when people with strong vested interests set out to prove that EVs suck, the best they can do is show that they're on par with gasoline vehicles for emissions. None of these biased reports ever come out and say, hey, you're emitting way more than you would with a gas car.

    So even if the propaganda is true, well, I got car that is far superior, and the worst you can say is that it's no better in emissions? Sounds like a win to me.

    And even if it were true that there's no advantage in quantity, there's still a big advantage in location. Gas cars mostly emit locally, EVs emit far away, and that's a big improvement.

    Then you take all of that and look at the assumptions, which often are ridiculous things like "all of your electricity comes from coal." My own local mix is about 1/3rd coal, 1/3rd natural gas, and 1/3rd nuclear. In the US as a whole, coal is under 40% of the total.

    Wrapping it all up, emissions today are not really the point. The point is emissions over the coming decades. EV emissions will drop enormously in that time as the grid moves away from fossil fuels. Normal cars will not. If your goal is to greatly reduce emissions in the future, then at some point you need to switch much of the automobile fleet over to EVs, and you might as well start that switch now.
     
  10. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    I saved over 400 gallons of gasoline!
     
  11. Panoz

    Panoz Member

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    One of the items not mentioned is the single-source of fuel for ICEs. Dinosaur goo and ONLY dinosaur goo can push an ICE around. Electricity comes from a myriad of sources, even my roof.

    Another thing not mentioned is the single-source/single-point of pollution of a generator plant. You now have a concentration point instead of hundreds of thousands of independent engines. Clean up the one generator of electricity and you clean up ALL user's source of energy.
     
  12. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    Full article at:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Bjorn_Lomborg
     
  13. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    Because gasoline is magically delivered to the pump by unicorns.

    These guys never do a complete well to wheel analysis, because it does not support their desired narrative.
     
  14. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    There is a reason why toilets and sewage treatment plants were invented
     
  15. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    What a crappy analogy. Seriously though, that's great. I'll have to remember that one.
     
  16. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    Gas cars are just the end point of a very long well-to-well chain that includes refineries, power plants to power the refineries, ships to transport crude and trucks to transport refined products, all of which have their own emissions.
     
  17. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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  18. California Roll

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    commasign got it right, seems like something sponsored by the Koch brothers. Li mining emits no more than aluminum, copper mining - and it will improve once demand increases.

    omarsultan has another excellent point - it is not apples to apples since this is not a full cycle analysis.

    anyway, a total bogus and propaganda. most people on this forum will understand this. unfortunately, this may not be true universally
     
  19. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Member

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    I'm interested in that point as my personal view has changed. Why do you think cheap storage is needed to improve the grid? (I think the Grid in the UK is better developed than in the USA [but I don't know that for a fact] so that may be a factor?)

    I used to think that PowerWall was needed "now". I've changed my view to storage not being needing at all until the production from renewables exceeds demand (which I think is quite a long way off). Up to that point power companies can turn off other sources when renewable supply is high; we may not be well endowed, currently, with generation equipment which can be turned on-and-off, and Solar and Wind would be wasted if not used, but presumably over the next decade we could concentrate on building fossil fuel generating power that can be run stop/start. Currently when the Number One Soap finishes / goes to an advertising break, and people start boiling kettles, over here in the UK we fire up instant-start power-stations (Gas Turbine I think) to cope with the demand. Presumably similar problem in USA, although time-zone spread may mean that peak power, for evening cooking etc. on winter evenings, may be spread and less dramatic than in UK? We buy power from France etc. (one hour time difference to us) to help with that, but across the time zones of the USA perhaps there is a much better "opportunity"?

    I also think that once we have smart metering, and my power company can tell my house to "adjust" its usage, that peak-power requirement will a) be reduced (e.g. my fridge & freezer will turn off for a while) and also b) my car battery's energy can be "sold" back to the grid. So when I get home at, say, 6PM to 10PM I can sell the remaining power from my car battery and from 10PM to 6AM it can re-charge - using cheap rate overnight electricity (currently at least 50% cheaper here in the UK) as excess is produced (currently from always-running generators, but in future increasingly from Wind). Perhaps car batteries are the only/majority? storage requirement we will need, going forwards?

    I read somewhere that in June or July last year the solar panels on people's houses produced 99% of the domestic electricity usage at that time. That leaves out all the business usage, plus we have almost zero AirCon in domestic houses in the UK, and no lights on in the house on a summer's day :), and everyone was out at work ... but still! it seemed to be more to me than I would have guessed :)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Actually ... in a couple of years time Autonomous vehicles will be here, and I will no longer own a car and just summon an Uber Autonomous Vehicle when I need one, so the fleet size will reduce to match the maximum number of concurrent, shared, journeys and perhaps the opportunity to use car batteries to augment the grid will go away, or diminish. All the Uber vehicles will park up somewhere when demand slopes off in the evening, but their software will have optimised vehicle usage to select a vehicle for a journal to use up battery energy optimally so that it returns to base for recharging "empty". Ergo none available to put back into the grid.

    There again, I suppose that that software model could easily be changed if the price of selling back to the grid was higher than the, subsequent, cost to recharge. no Uber vehicles to be found at 8PM because they've all found somewhere to plug in and SELL their battery contents to the grid at a better price than Punters are paying for a ride!
     

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