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Just got verbally abused by an EV basher

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Al Sherman, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    I guess it wasn't as bad as the title makes it sound. I'm really excited about my MS for so many reasons and love telling people about it. The truth is I read most everything on the anti ev gibberish thread and a lot of it is over my head. While this guy agrees that my MPGe is clearly better, he has the idea that the whole Hybrid/EV thing is foolish. He feels that the energy used to create the car nullifies any advantage. It's not really the long tailpipe thing. It's more the energy (dirty,and expensive) required to create the batteries. I'm prepared for the long tailpipe argument. I wasn't prepared for the battery thing. I've looked for something easy to understand with a reputable source and can't really find one. I've found a lot of well to wheel stuff but nothing specifically on the batteries. His feeling is that it's just as dirty and expensive to use energy creating and disposing of/recycling the batteries as it is to use an ICE . I felt badly that I was unprepared.
     
  2. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Look at my Roadster ... when I'm down to about 70% range, I'll get a new battery. But the old one will likely have around 40kwh of storage. Perfect for storing excess solar to use in the evening, for use in third world countries where solar cannot be stored overnight, or just reconditioned and resold.

    Solar City and Tesla have a battery for homes, that probably is the beginning of that recycle program: Tesla, SolarCity quietly selling building battery projects Tech News and Analysis

    It's a common fallacy to believe that when the battery is insufficient to power a car, that it will be 'straight to the landfill'. The reality is it will be 'straight to another use'. In San Diego, Mulling the Second Life of an E.V. Battery - NYTimes.com

    - - - Updated - - -

    A good webinar to help prepare of all the questions an EV owner will get (thanks to two TMC forum members, Tom Saxton and Chad Schwitters): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcMS8uF69V4
     
  3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    It's a reasonable objection. However, studies suggest that as long as battery life and vehicle life are reasonable, they actually are still better. Part of it is how the electricity is generated, and part is the alternative.

    Another important point to raise is that no study, as far as I am aware, has taken either the military demands or cost of pollution into account. There's a lot of embedded energy in life.
     
  4. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Also, from the fuel point of view, the energy consumed in pumping, transporting, refining and transporting (again) a gallon of gasoline is very significant. A lot more so than the generation and transmission of electricity.
     
  5. goaliemanshark

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    Also different battery chemistries have different impacts on the environment.

    Lithium is FAR better than some other battery chemistries.
     
  6. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #6 ChadS, Jan 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
    Don't feel bad that you weren't prepared - the other guy clearly wasn't either.

    There have been a number of studies on this (for example, HERE is one). They generally end up deciding that manufacturing the car - including the batteries - is only about the 15% of the environmental harm of a vehicle. Most of the harm comes from burning petroleum in the car. It took a while for Plug In America to wave these studies at the big enviros, but now groups like Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists are onboard and advocating for EVs. Believe me, they wouldn't if the studies weren't convincing! But sorry, none of them are simple - the topic is complex.

    The really annoying part is that there have been a couple of studies that have shown EVs to be worse. Of course, it's easy to look them over and see what they did wrong - the most recent one (which was discussed on a thread somewhere on this forum) assumed WAY too few miles over the life of the car, and assumed the EV motor to be many times larger than it is. And of course for all the electricity to come from coal (now just 32% of the US grid, and dropping).

    Most people also assume lithium batteries to be very dirty and toxic. Not true; they are not toxic and can be dumped in a landfill. But as Bonnie points out, they will be reused before they will be recycled.

    EVs do have a much larger environmental cost than bicycles or many forms of mass transit. and they don't solve congestion issues - so some enviros still oppose them. But they are a large step ahead of any other current vehicle propulsion technology.
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Another point is that after the batteries' "second life", they can be very effectively recycled. Just like automotive lead-acid batteries are now (although unlike lead, lithium isn't toxic).

    It takes massive amounts of energy and materials to build any car, including an internal combustion car.
     
  8. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    It was a false meme going around a decade ago that it took more energy to make a Prius than a Hummer. Top Gear covered it in a episode with stories of bad mining in Canada and shipping to Asia for battery making and how much more energy intensive it is. It's all a crock (someone did a dust to dust on both cars) and that has carried into the energy to make batteries but that's even more of a crock as the energy to get oil in near the same as it is to get lithium but we just burn it up. Actually it's worse because there is so much more of it in the 600 million cars worldwide. The battery is different as you use for years and years and then recycle into more batteries.

    Tell your guy that burning found, drilled, pumped imported oil in his car for ten years is far more wasteful than using your one battery for 10 yeas. You car's electricity? You can drive your Model S for 20 miles on the energy it takes to refine one gallon of gasoline.


    My quick answer when the pure "battery thing" comes up? I hit them with this stream:

    Car batteries are the single most recycled thing on the planet. 98 percent of all car batteries are recycled. 70 of all car batteries are made from old car batteries. Lithium is classified as safe for landfill disposal but is far more valuable than lead so there is no chance they won't be turned into new batteries.
     
  9. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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  10. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Correction. 6kWh is often quoted from a recent study but in fact that was heavy crude. And it was 6 kWh of energy, mostly from a low value fraction, so after generation you might end up with 2 to 2.5 kWh at the wall.

    Actually lithium isn't that valuable. Its relatively modern use in batteries means that recycling is relatively young and could improve. At the moment lithium recycling is quite energy-intensive so the lack of value makes it a net loser, and the difficulty in recycling and the high manufacturing cost relative to the scrap value is one of the reasons manufacturers are so keen on re-use.
     
  11. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Early on when the Roadster was just beginning to be sold, I remember a video that Telsa put out that showed the recycling process of the used batteries, and the companies that would be contracted to complete the cycle. What happened to that production? Perhaps it should resurface. It did a great job of explaining the recycleability of the batteries.
     
  12. cwerdna

    cwerdna Active Member

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    #12 cwerdna, Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
    It wasn't a decade ago. It was more like ~6 years ago. Unfortunately, the "conclusions" from the CNW "junk science" to this day STILL refuse to die, quoted by random anti-EV and anti-hybrid folks. :( I still hear that garbage on other forums and random folks (who I don't personally know) on Facebook.

    It doesn't help that Top Gear per The secret behind the hit TV car show "Top Gear" - CBS News has 350 million viewers and reruns are being shown all the time. :(

    An example of such a troll from late 2011 showed up and I responded to him at Prius vs Hummer? Take that, Hummer!! | PriusChat.

    As a Prius owner, I looked into this and did some calculations myself and we had PLENTY of discussions on Priuschat about this. Some of the links refuting that garbage are at Environmental - Prius Wiki. And, I added some simple calculations at the bottom.

    And, there are plenty of example refuting CNW's bogus claims that Priuses last only 109K miles at Lifespan/Operating costs - Prius Wiki esp. given the HV battery is warranted for 10 years/150K miles in CA and CARB emission states.

    I went thru an analysis of CNW's garbage spreadsheets (not sure if they're still up, but there were PDFs w/bits and pieces of the spreadsheets scattered). I was able to preserve it at MY350Z.COM Forums - View Single Post - Thomas Friedman's foolish attacks on GM.

    Jeremy Clarkson on the Prius - MY350Z.COM Forums was another exchange in 08. :|

    edit: It looks like moron/shill Art Spinella/CNW no longer has the garbage PDFs or spreadsheets up anymore. But, you can still one of the garbage PDFs at http://web.archive.org/web/20120115090142/http://cnwmr.com/nss-folder/automotiveenergy/DUST%20PDF%20VERSION.pdf. The file is crap but you can at least try to follow the scattered tables (from the spreadsheets that are gone now) and compare them to my above posts, if you wan.
     
  13. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Thanks guys. I really appreciate the help even though I was almost worthless at the time. I got the guys email address and will try to send him a thoughtful unemotional email. He may not change his mind, but he may think about it.
    What about solar? When I mentioned that part of my dream was to install solar and run the car on sunlight for as much and as long as I could;he started wailing on that. Cost, energy used to produce/recycle/dispose of the panels.
     
  14. cwerdna

    cwerdna Active Member

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    I've only skimmed http://www.environment.ucla.edu/media_IOE/files/BatteryElectricVehicleLCA2012-rh-ptd.pdf, but you might find that interesting. Myth vs. Reality - Electric Vehicles - Sierra Club
    doesn't directly address production by does discuss recycling and repurposing.

    You can also run some calculations based upon How can 6 pounds of gasoline create 19 pounds of Carbon dioxide?. Per http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/mpg/fetrends/2012/420s12001a.pdf (executive summary from Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2011 | OTAQ | US EPA), 2011 model year vehicles averaged 22.8 mpg. A 22.8 mpg ICEV over 100K miles would use ~4386 gallons of gasoline which would weigh ~27631 lbs and burning it would emit ~87719 lbs of CO2. For a 50 mpg car (such as a Prius), those number would be 2000 gallons, 12600 lbs and 40000 lbs of CO2.

    That gasoline comes from oil that must be explored for, drilled for, transported, refined (requiring more energy input), transported again and then carried as dead weight in a car.

    I don't know the weight of the 85 kwh Model S battery pack, but I'm seeing figures of ~30% of the 4647 lb curb weight.

    Also do notice that from Oil: Crude and Petroleum Products - Energy Explained, Your Guide To Understanding Energy - Energy Information Administration, the US currently imports 45% of its oil. It's higher in better economic times. And, notice at CIA - The World Factbook where most of the oil resides.
     
  15. Volker.Berlin

    Volker.Berlin Member

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    To make things worse, the Model S has an all aluminium body, which is extremely energy intensive to produce.
     
  16. strider

    strider Active Member

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    You're not going to convince this person. I agree w/ the others that if you added in all the costs (dollars, lives, and energy) of keeping our military active to secure oil then the costs of gasoline would be WAY higher than they are today. Also, do you know what this person drives? If it's anything larger or faster than a Honda Fit then THEY are wasting resources dragging around unnecessary weight or if they have a fast car they are wasting energy driving faster than is absolutely required to get somewhere, etc etc. You can talk about how much energy is put into extracting the oil as others said. With tar sands you have to consume a ton of nat gas and water to make steam to separate the oil and sand such that the energy you put in vs what you get out is almost 1. Also there are tons of toxic waste ponds from these activities, ask him where in his calculations does he list the energy required to remediate all of those.

    You can rat-hole these discussions quickly but if it goes sideways and I don't really care about being nice any more I ask them how many of our kid's lives are enough for them to burn cheap gas. It's a slap in the face but they always shut up at that point.

    - - - Updated - - -

    But Audi, MB, etc use a lot of aluminum in their manufacturing so compared to other cars in its class it's a wash.
     
  17. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Clarkson was still parroting that "mined in Canada, shipped to Japan" thing when he hosted the prime time quiz show Have I Got News For You at the end of last year.
     
  18. cwerdna

    cwerdna Active Member

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    Sigh... all ado about a ~100 pound NiMH battery pack and from
    For those that make a big deal out of that, they should watch Car Footprint - YouTube or read National Geographic Channel - Human Footprint - Our Driving Imprint besides looking at where most of the world's oil resides, as I posted earlier.
     
  19. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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  20. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    I can't help with the Lithium argument because I've never run the numbers, but I did for solar back when I installed my system years ago and, generally speaking, back then it took about 1.5 years to have a solar panel generate the amount of energy that it took to create it. I'm not sure how much things have improved since then, but I was satisfied that a product with a 25-50 year lifespan would net out so quickly.

    Peter

     

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