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EV's being considered "Green"

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by jebinc, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    #1 jebinc, Sep 3, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    First, I'll start off by saying I love my Model 3 and that it doesn't burn dead dinosaurs. I often hear/read how going EV is the responsible "Green" thing to do to save the planet, etc. My question is this, is it really "Green" or just a means to push the pollution further "up stream" in the power generation supply line? While some electricity is generated by wind, solar, fission, and hydro, the vast majority is still generated by the inefficient burning of coal, gas and oil. So, how is driving an EV (which is charged via a supply from a dino-juice powered generator up stream) considered a "Green" alternative? I must be missing something, what is it?
     
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  2. Saghost

    Saghost Well-Known Member

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    Less pollution in total, from more easily managed sources:

    Redirect Notice

    If you're looking for green, it's generally easy to buy all renewable power for a few cents extra per kWh in most places. Otherwise, the car is cleaner than any ICE already, and will get better as the grid improves.
     
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  3. scubastevo80

    scubastevo80 Member

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    Less polution in my direct area as well. For example, my family was in Boston staying at the Marriott over the weekend. They have valet only service. When we requested our car, there were two SUVs that were backed up infront of the hotel with engines running. One of them was bad enough that my 3 year old commented on the smell. Even if "emissions" were localized elsewhere in less populated areas, I'd still be thankful that my direct health is improved by vehicles that aren't meeting ULEV or better standards.
     
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  4. bjhinkle

    bjhinkle Member

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    What I like about EVs is they are energy-source agnostic. Like you said, it can come from anything, from solar to wind to hydro to coal to natural gas to hamsters on wheels or spin classes... whatever. Doesn't matter. But ICE cars are limited to fossil fuels.

    Making billions of endpoints agnostic to where they get their energy should make mass conversion to different energy sources much easier and future-proof.

    Imagine if we find out wind-power actually causes some major issue, like hurricanes (hyperbole of course). All you would have to do is shift your power grid to something else in the diverse selection of renewables. No cars would have be be replaced, no new refueling infrastructure would be required once an electric infrastructure is in place.

    Or imagine a ridiculous turn of events where we discover that fossil fuels really are the best source of energy. No problem. EV's don't care. Switch your power plants to whatever you want and nothing at the end user's side changes.

    Is this a reasonable way to look at it?
     
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  5. SSedan

    SSedan Active Member

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    I expect it is easier to manage emissions from a coal plant than a million separate ICE each cold starting and in various stages of maintenance or outright disrepair.

    That said, China's big EV push is all about moving the pollution out of the cities.
     
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  6. VQTRVA

    VQTRVA Member

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    The way it has been explained to me is that the pollution you are taking OFF the roads day to day negates any of the negative outputs being generated @ the source several times over.
    So at worse we maybe carbon neutral with EV but potentially carbon positive as the technology matures & more recyclable energy is used to produce EV's.
     
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  7. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Well-Known Member

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    Power produced by larger production plants is significantly more efficient than that produced by smaller car engines.
    A gas car is going to burn gas forever, while the EV burns less as the grid turns green.

    The green mix from utilities is definitely getting better because coal is getting more expensive. Gas is a big player, but renewables are getting price competitive
     
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  8. Eno Deb

    Eno Deb Active Member

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    It's not so vast anymore. For example, in California, which has by far the highest number of EVs in the nation, only ~45% of the energy consumed comes from fossil fuels, and about 90% of that is natural gas (which emits less CO2 than coal or oil). But even if you assume an energy mix dominated by fossil fuels, EVs are overall still more efficient than the best gasoline hybrids.
     
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  9. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    Good discussion; very helpful. Please keep the letters and cards coming!
     
  10. Saghost

    Saghost Well-Known Member

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  11. GregRF

    GregRF Squirrel Power

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  12. ralph142

    ralph142 Member

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    just from an efficiency standpoint, mining, transporting, refining, transporting and then burning oil in an ICE vehicle has a best case efficiency of ~30% at the end stage. reality is certainly lower than that. Coal or gas fired electricity starts off at ~90% efficiency, then there are transmission losses, and wall to battery losses, but end point efficiency is very high, as is the whole process, comparatively. another way to think about it is how cheap the whole deal is. A gallon of gas is 33.7 kw of power, but I can get ~133 mpge, vs 30 mpg in my ICE, so 4 x farther for the same power use, and far more efficiently delivered. I end up averaging about $.02 per mile, vs my ICE at ~$.13.
     
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  13. srs5694

    srs5694 Active Member

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    Here's another reference about the local (well, state-level) sources of electricity, and therefore the CO2 emissions of an EV compared to ICE, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles:

    Alternative Fuels Data Center: Emissions from Hybrid and Plug-In Electric Vehicles

    As others have said, you can increase your use of clean power by changing your supplier or by installing solar panels on your house. There are questions of how you do the accounting, though. For instance, some solar programs assign the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to the utility, so having solar panels on your house might not give you a moral right to claim "green karma" for the solar panels. That's the way the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Growth (RI-REG) program works, for instance. I've got solar panels on my house under this program, so to get the RECs back, I also buy my power via the Green Energy Consumers Alliance, which sources power from small-scale wind installations and then sequesters the RECs. This whole thing is a bit of a shell game, and it depends on how you choose to do the accounting -- by the physics of how the electrons flow, by RECs, by who owns the solar panels, etc. It can be simpler in some cases. In Rhode Island, for instance, installing solar panels via a net metering system enables the owner to keep the RECs, which makes the accounting methods align more closely. Unfortunately, laws vary from state to state, and electricity suppliers also vary from state to state. (Some big suppliers claim to supply power from renewable sources, but if you dig deeper, their claims are dubious or rely on REC accounting sleight-of-hand.)
     
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  14. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    Would love to do solar, but we live in Seattle...:(
     
  15. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker S 100D 2020.40.4

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  16. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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  17. Saghost

    Saghost Well-Known Member

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    And that doesn't even count the thousands of cars that have chips and cat deletes because the owners want a few more horsepower or a cool sound and don't care about emissions or breaking federal law...
     
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  18. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    Good discussion so far on such an important topic. Thanks for all of the input thus far - please keep it coming as I'm sure there are others who would be interested in this information as well (but were too afraid to ask :oops::D)
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Active Member

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    Not to worry. As per the site I referenced, Washington State has one of the cleanest power grids in the US, thanks largely to the 70% hydro power you use.
     
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  20. jebinc

    jebinc M3 LR AWD w/FSD and white premium interior

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    Yes, I knew that. I was thinking, when mentioning local solar, about eliminating power transmission inefficiencies (smile)
     

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