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FUD article about CO2 pollution of EVs

ZsoZso

Supporting Member
Apr 24, 2014
1,754
10,351
Mount-island
Motor Mouth: A few more inconvenient truths about EV CO2 emissions

The article sites a study from U. of Michigan that expresses the CO2 emission of EVs in terms of mpg equivalent of ICE cars, different numbers depending on the generating source of the electrical energy, which comes out to roughly 29 mpg for coal-powered EV, 350 mpg for solar, 2300 mpg for nuclear and 5100 mpg for hydro.

Well, of course, the problem is that they are comparing tail-pipe emission of an ICE to well-to-wheel emission of an EV. If they added the emissions of the ICE for crude oil extraction, transportation of crude oil and gasoline and the refinement of gasoline, then the comparison would be very different and much more favorable to the EV.

Then the article author goes on to complain about the CO2 emission of battery production -- again assuming the energy comes from the dirtiest possible sources of course, not considering the possibility of solar-powered factory. On the other hand they do not consider the CO2 emission cost of the ICE production at all.

I hate these inconvenient FUD articles!
 

EinSV

Active Member
Feb 6, 2016
4,328
21,513
NorCal
Concidentally, I just read a FUDDY article published by the Financial Times with a similar theme. Subscribe to read It cites a 2016 MIT for support, but the MIT article's conclusions come out strongly in favor of the need to convert to EVs/PHEVs very quickly to meet climate goals:

A primary takeaway for car buyers is that vehicle decarbonization compatible with future climate targets can only be achieved by transitioning away from ICEVs, principally to (P)HEVs and BEVs. We find that with today’s options, the average consumer is able to choose (P)HEVs and BEVs at little to no additional cost over similarly sized ICEVs once the existing tax refunds for PHEVs and BEVs are taken into account. Our analysis helps highlight the extent of cost-carbon savings that car buyers forego by opting for traditional ICEVs over alternative lower-cost, lower-carbon technologies.

Meeting the 2030 climate target requires that by well before 2030, the emissions intensity of the average new car must be as low as that of today’s average HEVs and PHEVs. Thereafter, sufficient vehicle-emissions reductions will likely require both the electrification of the vehicle fleet and a large and rapid decarbonization of the electricity generation sector (40% by 2040 and 80% by 2050). This finding corroborates previously proposed climate-mitigation scenarios at state,(53-55) national,(56) and global scales.(57) However, by examining technology choices from the perspective of consumers (key decision-makers in any future low-carbon transition), our study goes a step further in illuminating technological development and policy pathways that might reach these goals.​
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,227
15,138
New Mexico
I did not read the methods of the U Michigan source article but I do agree with this sentiment found at the end of the op-ed:
In other words, the American — and certainly the Chinese — government might be better off spending those hard-to-come-by tax dollars on cleaning up its coal production rather than converting all our cars to batteries.

The problem is the hyperbole-- "all our cars"
and the implication that we must choose all or none

The author is also ignoring the positive feedbacks between EVs and clean energy: one begets the other.
This is propaganda in the sense that the author is only interested in protecting ICE cars. If his actual intent had been to address the problems of GHG and criteria pollution emissions his analysis would have been a lot more nuanced.

Building out transmission lines between geographic areas to improve intermittency of clean energy sources and funding infrastructure to areas that are rich in wind and solar resources is a fine use of tax dollars.
 
Last edited:

KarenRei

ᴉǝɹuǝɹɐʞ
Jul 18, 2017
9,619
103,829
Iceland
This sort of thing entirely misses the point of incentives.

Incentives aren't about "buying off emissions" - aka, "if we put in X dollars today, what emissions do we prevent directly in the short term?" The point is to accelerate new emissions-saving industries to get their costs down.
 

EinSV

Active Member
Feb 6, 2016
4,328
21,513
NorCal
Motor Mouth: A few more inconvenient truths about EV CO2 emissions

The article sites a study from U. of Michigan that expresses the CO2 emission of EVs in terms of mpg equivalent of ICE cars, different numbers depending on the generating source of the electrical energy, which comes out to roughly 29 mpg for coal-powered EV, 350 mpg for solar, 2300 mpg for nuclear and 5100 mpg for hydro.

Well, of course, the problem is that they are comparing tail-pipe emission of an ICE to well-to-wheel emission of an EV. If they added the emissions of the ICE for crude oil extraction, transportation of crude oil and gasoline and the refinement of gasoline, then the comparison would be very different and much more favorable to the EV.

Then the article author goes on to complain about the CO2 emission of battery production -- again assuming the energy comes from the dirtiest possible sources of course, not considering the possibility of solar-powered factory. On the other hand they do not consider the CO2 emission cost of the ICE production at all.

I hate these inconvenient FUD articles!

Just noticed this posted by @rxlawdude in another thread. Sponsors of the U. Mich. institute responsible for the study referenced in the article include Exxon Mobil, Saudi Aramco, Mercedes Benz, etc.

Sustainable Worldwide Transportation - Current Members
 
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EinSV

Active Member
Feb 6, 2016
4,328
21,513
NorCal
Concidentally, I just read a FUDDY article published by the Financial Times with a similar theme. Subscribe to read It cites a 2016 MIT for support, but the MIT article's conclusions come out strongly in favor of the need to convert to EVs/PHEVs very quickly to meet climate goals:

A primary takeaway for car buyers is that vehicle decarbonization compatible with future climate targets can only be achieved by transitioning away from ICEVs, principally to (P)HEVs and BEVs. We find that with today’s options, the average consumer is able to choose (P)HEVs and BEVs at little to no additional cost over similarly sized ICEVs once the existing tax refunds for PHEVs and BEVs are taken into account. Our analysis helps highlight the extent of cost-carbon savings that car buyers forego by opting for traditional ICEVs over alternative lower-cost, lower-carbon technologies.

Meeting the 2030 climate target requires that by well before 2030, the emissions intensity of the average new car must be as low as that of today’s average HEVs and PHEVs. Thereafter, sufficient vehicle-emissions reductions will likely require both the electrification of the vehicle fleet and a large and rapid decarbonization of the electricity generation sector (40% by 2040 and 80% by 2050). This finding corroborates previously proposed climate-mitigation scenarios at state,(53-55) national,(56) and global scales.(57) However, by examining technology choices from the perspective of consumers (key decision-makers in any future low-carbon transition), our study goes a step further in illuminating technological development and policy pathways that might reach these goals.​

I just noticed that the Trancik Lab at MIT sent a letter to the editor slamming the Financial Times for their misleading reporting described above:

"We are dismayed that [the FT article] turns the fundamental conclusions of our research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on their head, giving the public a misleading conclusion about electric vehicles."​

Subscribe to read

Good for them. This is absolutely disgraceful reporting.
 
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