Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Case against EVs Still Hanging On In US

VValleyEV

Supporting Member
Sep 23, 2018
667
3,878
Cottonwood, AZ
I was surprised by this article today, and would appreciate any help in responding:
Tesla's Long-Range Model 3 Has A Heavier CO2 Footprint Than Toyota's Camry Hybrid - Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) | Seeking Alpha

Thesis here is that BEVs, including the efficient Tesla Model 3, do not save emissions compared to the most efficient hybrid cars. And that we should not invest them or provide incentives.

The main part of the case (I strongly urge you to read it), is that we cannot use average power utility emission levels for comparison, we have to use the emissions levels from natural gas, because (1) EVs are primarily charged at night, when wind and solar are unreliable, and (2) EVs must be assumed to be using the most reliable on-demand power source.

The number quoted for natural gas emissions is 600 grams of CO2 per kwh generated. Author then inflates that to account for inefficiencies in delivering the power to you wall socket, and then more for inefficiencies in delivering that power to the Tesla battery.

End result he comes up with 193 kg of CO2 per mile for the delivered power, then ads 85kw for amortized CO2 from battery production/replacement (arguably way smaller but would like to ignore this for now), totaling 278kg/mile for Tesla Model 3, vs 244kg/mile for th Camry Hybrid.

There is a lot of other stuff in the article that can be countered, like the CO2 footprint of manufacturing Tesla batteries amortized over the life of the Model 3, but I consider that beside the central point of “Charging your Tesla Model 3 from a power utility generates more emissions than burning gasoline in an efficient Hybrid car”.

If there is a really strong way to shoot down the numbers and/or reasoning in this article, I would like to know about it. Here is my source for power company emissions that was dismissed with a hand wave by the author of the seekingalpha piece because it is just averages they don’t count blablabla:
New Data Show Electric Vehicles Continue to Get Cleaner

Thank you for your feedback.
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
7,755
9,983
United States
The main part of the case (I strongly urge you to read it), is that we cannot use average power utility emission levels for comparison, we have to use the emissions levels from natural gas, because (1) EVs are primarily charged at night, when wind and solar are unreliable, and (2) EVs must be assumed to be using the most reliable on-demand power source.

.... that is completely opposite to how EVs can/are/should be charged. EVs are by far the most flexible demand source. If 10kWh is needed for the next days commute it's absolutely irrelevant when that 10kWh is delivered. If the battery is large enough and the commute short enough that could easily be extended to extended to charging once a week. Reliability is irrelevant for determining how clean the electricity for EVs is... abundance is. Wind is a FAR greater percentage of generation at night when most EVs are charged.

This isn't technology that needs to be invented.... just used.

EMotorWerks provides CAISO with 30 MW of DR through smart EV charging

Ohmconnect - alerts you and your smart home when dirty, expensive power plants switch on nearby and pays you for reducing your electricity use. Learn more!
 
  • Love
Reactions: David99

GregRF

Squirrel Power
Jul 22, 2014
520
1,044
CA
On the last page of the article he literally uses a slide from a study showing that EV's are cleaner. (though he uses it to try and dismiss the hybrid battery from his calculations)
 

Nekota

Member
Dec 27, 2018
9
8
Siler City, NC
Petersen is a long time antagonist for EVs. The case he makes is for electric generation is any additional electric generation comes from the thermal natural gas using conventional turbine cycles. He dismisses the combined cycle as it would be for base loading only which is flawed. Combined cycle electric power plants can be ramped to load follow so the data he takes is for California which imports most of it's electricity which he assumes is natural gas again using the additional electric on demand production would be natural gas. The composition of the electric grid continues to be 'decarbonized' and it is unfortunate that California has moved away from nuclear since nuclear is the cleanest power available for electric generation 24/7. The anti nuclear fears continue to prosper and the glut of natural gas is making all other forms of electric generation more expensive. Nuclear power reactors can load follow but current NRC regulations prohibit this type of control or operation. In fact nuclear power plants can outperform combined cycle natural gas plants in the power ramp rates. However nuclear plants are capital intensive and are not rewarded for their low CO2 emissions and restricted from helping regulate the power level of the grid. With the advent of negative electricity prices, a nuclear power plant is at a significant economic disadvantage when it is required to continue to generate electricity. To make natural gas and fossil fuels reflect the true cost arising from CO2 costs and particulate matter we need the energy innovation and carbon dividend legislation proposed in Congress as HR763.

Now for the special case of California with it's abundant sunshine days and it's major investment in renewable energy is changing the energy pricing and demand curves. For grids that have more than 30% renewable total energy mix a major flaw in Petersen's analysis for EV charging develops. His analysis says EV charging only happens at night when there is no PV. Historically this is true as the demand for electricity is lowest at night and time of use (TOU) rates promote the use of charging at night for the lowest cost. However the increasing addition of renewable electric generation is shifting the lowest cost of electricity to the daytime hours when solar generation is the greatest and by 2021 CAISO is proposing the super offpeak to be 10AM to 4PM. A smart EVSE such as OpenEVSE can be programmed to take advantage of the current solar PV output and divert the excess solar from local PV panels to charge the attached EV or use ohmconnect to schedule EV charging.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Scott7 and GregRF

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,023
Brea, Orange County
This is a daily occurrence at beaches around LA/OC/Malibu that have oil drilling platforms visible out in the ocean. Tar/oil goo is washed on the beaches 24/7. I collected these in 3 minutes just walking around where kids were playing in the sand. I can't wrap my brain around people who think drilling for and burning oil in any shape or form is OK. Trying to nudge the CO2 numbers so EVs look bad is just messed up. The environmental footprint of oil is horrific once you look at the whole picture.

tarBeach.jpg

This is Huntington Beach, right next to the pier.
 
  • Informative
  • Like
Reactions: abasile and nwdiver

SSedan

Active Member
Jul 24, 2017
2,948
2,310
Greenville Wisconsin
My EV is 55% coal and the nearest power plant is natural gas.

If you are being intellectually honest the point about most EVs being charged at night when solar/wind are less active is a valid point even if they get carried away exaggerating the numbers, no different than what you folks do pretending solar is actually a big contributor today.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jsmay311

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
7,755
9,983
United States
My EV is 55% coal and the nearest power plant is natural gas.

If you are being intellectually honest the point about most EVs being charged at night when solar/wind are less active is a valid point even if they get carried away exaggerating the numbers, no different than what you folks do pretending solar is actually a big contributor today.

Wind is MORE active at night while there is also less demand. Statistically charging done at night is much more likely to be wind. To ignore wind and solar because they're intermittent when EVs are literally the most dynamic of all demand is idiotic.

Your ISO is MISO. Watch their load profile. If they're anything like their neighbor SPP they likely toss out A LOT of wind at night due to lack of demand... when you charge your car at night it's possibly wind that would have otherwise been curtailed. Energy doesn't get any cleaner than that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: David99

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,023
Brea, Orange County
As for clean electricity, there are companies that go between you and your power company. You pay them, then they use the money to buy clean electricity credits from wind or solar farms and use these credits to pay the power company. This is very effective funding clean energy and starving out dirty coal or gas.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nwdiver

RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,723
1,572
Boston North Shore
I'd think that nighttime charging would be more from base load power, coal, nuclear, maybe hydro, since they don't like to be turned down or off. A lot of NG plants can be throttled more easily. Wind is still a very small part of the power supply in the US, night or day.

Anyway, I'm expecting the Trump administration to set a nationwide requirement for auto manufacturers to sell a certain number of coal or heavy oil powered cars after the next election.
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,416
7,548
Maine
1) It's John Peterson, so ignore him.
2) Assumptions are made to assuming charging using natural gas combustion turbine in order deliberately to choose inefficient electricity generation, forgetting that charging will be both (a) predictable due to scheduling and (b) by necessity controllable
 
  • Like
Reactions: David99 and nwdiver

Lozza12

Member
Aug 14, 2016
189
170
New Zealand
My EV is 55% coal and the nearest power plant is natural gas.

If you are being intellectually honest the point about most EVs being charged at night when solar/wind are less active is a valid point even if they get carried away exaggerating the numbers, no different than what you folks do pretending solar is actually a big contributor today.
A single coal fired power station is still better than thousands of people in ICE cars dragging their engines around with them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nwdiver

rays427

Member
Dec 3, 2014
444
88
Penn Valley, CA
This is a daily occurrence at beaches around LA/OC/Malibu that have oil drilling platforms visible out in the ocean. Tar/oil goo is washed on the beaches 24/7. I collected these in 3 minutes just walking around where kids were playing in the sand. I can't wrap my brain around people who think drilling for and burning oil in any shape or form is OK. Trying to nudge the CO2 numbers so EVs look bad is just messed up. The environmental footprint of oil is horrific once you look at the whole picture.

View attachment 398208
This is Huntington Beach, right next to the pier.

Most if not all of this is from natural seeps. Any man caused oil is more likely form ships. When I lived in Southern California in the 50's there was tar on the beaches all the time. In fact offshore oil production has reduced the pressure in the formations so there is less oil seeping into the ocean. At one time it was estimated 42,000 gallons per day of oil was seeping into the ocean from natural seeps offshore California.
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,087
1,605
Chicago suburbs
Have you looked? The dominant night-time generator in the mid-west is now wind and it's only getting more dominant. There's another ~30GW of wind planned in the next few years.

View attachment 398225

I can't figure out what I'm looking at in that graph, TBH.

Also, Idk where to find electricity generation source percentages by specific times of day, but the overall electricity generation sources for Midwestern states shows wind only comprising 11% of the total in 2017. And nationwide wind comprised 6%.

So wind might be "dominant" at night in some of the (relatively sparsely populated) plain states (Iowa, the Dakotas, etc.), but almost nowhere else. Now that's not to say there hasn't been impressive progress over recent years in expanding wind energy, and the trend continues in the right direction, but we shouldn't overstate the current state of affairs or pretend like EV's today don't still have a significant carbon footprint. Not that I'm agreeing with all of the assumptions in the linked article either, but it isn't always a slam-dunk for EV's vs hybrids.

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/state/annual_generation_state.xls
upload_2019-4-18_17-57-25.png
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top