TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Misleading SCMP Article

Discussion in 'Hong Kong' started by kwerkun, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. kwerkun

    kwerkun Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Please have a look:
    Electric shock – Tesla cars in Hong Kong more polluting than petrol models, report claims

    I am not sure if anyone has seen it (Mark did for sure since he is mentioned in this article). It seems to me that it is beginning of lobbying by car dealers to prevent extension of tax waivers. The article (or rather the report it is quoting) is wrong on so many counts but I think they are playing the old game of repeating a lie thousand times so that it becomes common sense (the arguments here are rehash of old reports I have seen in US and Europe that were proven to be lacking). Tesla should react quickly and debunk it or we will have problems next year (possibly together with HK Electric and CLP). Below a few points I would make re this article:

    On the methodology of comparison with ICE cars:
    1) If you compare emissions of power plants then you need to take into account that gasoline does not just flow out of the earth into gas stations, at minimum it needs to be refined - the estimated energy for that is around 4-5kwh per gallon of gasoline produced according to US sources that I googled up - and this is not clean energy. I bet the report does not account for it since that energy alone is enough for a Tesla to go about 20km. You can add on top all the pollution caused by extraction and transportation of oil and then gasoline (Coal and Natural Gas - the most common fuels in in power generation are much more energy efficient in terms of extraction/distribution - that's why they are the most popular fuels)

    2) The article seems to imply that big reason for 'pollution' are the batteries. That is another red herring. How exactly do they account for 'pollution' - do they divide production/materials pollution by no of kilometres driven on the batteries? And to by fair, do they account on the ICE side for what the batteries replace - i.e. engine, power train and of course ICE car batteries which for hybrids are quite big as well and the pollution resulting from making these parts?. There is not enough data on longevity of the batteries to really use it and they forget that large size LiOn batteries are not typically disposed of but typically repurposed in storage systems (where battery efficiency requirements are different). Add to this Gigafactory that is fully powered by solar and this argument is on really thin ice.

    Logical Fallacies: Besides the above technical points I think the article/report have some significant logical issues in their argument:
    1) They seem to conflate CO2 with all pollution - I don't see any mention of other pollutants caused by ICE cars. According to this methodology the cleanest car on the road would be a VW Diesel model - low CO2 and who cares about the rest. (as I mention above their CO2 numbers are likely wrong in the first place but still it's wrong even using their numbers)

    2) Efficiency logic - large power plant turbine has thermal efficiency ratings which are around twice as high as ICE - how can something twice as efficient be worse if one fully accounts for the whole fuel cycle?? Coal generates more CO2 but only because it hasn't been processed beforehand which gasoline was. Also it is easier to scrub emissions in one spot vs in thousands of individual vehicles. Using their arguments it would be cleaner for HK to produce electricity in individual generators and shut down those bad dirty power plants! - the logic fails here and points to omissions in analysis.

    Let me know if you have any other points but we should strongly encourage Tesla to react to fight this misinformation campaign.
     
  2. Mikischu

    Mikischu Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Need to also factor in maintenance and repairs:
    All the parts needed to service a car 2 times a year. Oil filters, spark plugs, 6L of oil each time, not to mention all the bits that break down too!
    A combustion engine will have more wear and tear since it harnesses the power of explosions.

    Now offset that against the pollution of a batter which even after its effective capacity as an EV battery, can still be used as a home storage unit for many years.
     
  3. FequalsMA

    FequalsMA Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    This is just another swipe at EV's. (At least its bringing a wider wider attention/ focus to the conversation).

    One point often not considered are the GAS STATIONS needed to support ICE cars.
    Footprint wise they don't take up too much space but they leave ecological impacts during and after their effective operation.
    Reclamation cleanup for land that used to be occupied by a gas station can take time and lots of capital

    Meanwhile, with electricity, modern cities have pretty much paved the way to ubiquitous infrastructure everywhere because it's used for so many different other purposes. Harnessing that infrastructure to make it charge a car just requires a little additional planning. Many existing places can be converted to charge a car in a reasonable amount of time.

    But with gas stations, you're only visiting one 90% of the time solely for some fuel.
     
  4. Captain_Kong

    Captain_Kong Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    HK
    This has gone global, and please also see this on Bloomberg today:

    Powering Hong Kong Teslas With Coal Seen Adding to CO2 Emissions

    I haven't read the quoted research report, but I'd challenge the fact that a Tesla emits more pollutants on 2 areas: 1) an electric motor is much more efficient than an ICE in a car where most of the energy is wasted as heat (has the author considered this in his calculation?); and 2) as someone working in Central, do I prefer to take heavy breaths besides something traditional like a VW or a Tesla? This is self-explanatory!

    We all get it that driving an EV transfers the pollution issue to a genco's site, unless you're powered by renewable energy. But the genco's pollution has an universal implications as a result of our city's overabundance of neon lights, air con, etc. and consumption of electricity, not just 3k of Model S. Would these critiques' effort be better (and more effectively) directed at power off the totally unnecessary neon lights after mid-night for example?
     
  5. nghktom

    nghktom Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    i am no scientist, and have no idea on how to measure pollution. However, if pollution includes noise, then EVs produce almost no noise. As for air pollution, it is up to the power company to look into ways to produce cleaner electricity. The fact with EVs is to allow reduction of pollution on the road. At least, cutting one source of air pollution.

    This is another reason i have given up reading this particular newspaper.
     
  6. Vitold

    Vitold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2015
    Messages:
    990
    Location:
    NM
    Non obvious pollution factor are all of the asbestos containing brake pads that ICE cars wear out 2x as fast.
     
  7. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,009
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    Sometimes the cart is bought before the horse is bought, and sometimes the horse is bought before the cart is bought. I just made that up -- don't quote me. My point is, I think this article is a good kick in the butt to make it not true. wk057 demonstrated how solar panels that are hooked in and being used (their energy either stored in batteries or put to use immediately or both) suck up the heat hitting buildings. Surely, some of HK's tall skyscrapers get hot at top, and not just from the sides, but also from the roof. Covering those roofs with solar panels would not only allow electricity to be collected from the sun, but also absorb a lot of the heat that would otherwise go into the building. This is a double savings in a lot of buildings that deal with daytime heat at their tops. HK can start installing those now. Solar panels are far more cost effective than they have been historically, and they keep getting better.

    The second thing HK can do is find out-of-city sources for electricity collection. They can build runway-specification panels into their runways. They can lease land outside of the city limits, and transport the electricity in, depending on politics, and from what I understand, generally speaking, politics is very friendly toward clean power around there.

    From afar, I don't see any types of problems for HK in developing its clean electricity collection. This article, though it stings, might be just the right thing needed to kick it in the direction of solving this.

    The opposite conclusion, that therefore they should not buy Tesla's and EV's in general, would only make sense if HK decides NOT to convert over to clean energy soon.

    If it becomes an offsetting question, they could enact a wildly unpopular but probably successful rule that every new Tesla car buyer must also install 2x the expected use in clean energy collection, and every used Tesla car buyer must buy 2x the expected use in clean energy collection (whether used or not). Then, the excuse that Teslas use coal is null and void point blank. But that's an extreme that would only be necessary if no one budged on any of the other ways to collect clean energy.

    I'm just making up ideas here, but there's nothing wrong with them generally speaking.
     
  8. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,009
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    I should add that the same accusation was made in California and USA, that Teslas are coal burning cars, until it was found out that the same group of people buying Tesla cars also were behind buying solar panels, offsetting all of their EV car driving use.
     
  9. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    986
    Location:
    Florida, United States
    #9 Electric700, Apr 14, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
    We should contact [email protected] and ask them to make corrections to the article (you can also contact them using the information at Contact Us). It's good that they include comments from Tesla, but I think they can go further to rebuff the information from the oil company firm. As the grid becomes cleaner with solar, wind and other sources such as hydro power, so do EVs.

    Also from what I understand, the power plants try to operate at close to constant rates. So, if you plug in an EV and start charging it, the power plant operator may not even need to adjust the energy generation rate since you could be using some of the already available energy to charge your EV.
     
  10. Rob Pegg

    Rob Pegg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Hong Kong
     
  11. deonb

    deonb Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,020
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    This is not true. Don't use that.

    It's been disputed many times over on this site (by very pro-EV people).

    Read this thread:
    Question about EV Value and environmental impact
     
  12. Rob Pegg

    Rob Pegg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I agree totally that this is the first shot in what will be an extended campaign of disinformation by big oil, traditional car manufacturers, and the various support industries against tesla in general and the HK FR waiver in particular.

    As we have seen before in HK, govt is very capable of caving in under pressure and if this is not immediately discredited then it wil always be out there.

    Incidentally does anyone know if HKE has any plans to clean up its act ?
     
  13. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,661
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    This could be a useful and good discussion to have. The fuel mix used for electricity generation in Hong Kong is important to our future, and to the planet we look after on behalf of our kids. Improving that mix, and reducing emissions, is vitally important to our future. But, this biased article does nothing to address that.

    A summary from the bloomberg article:
    Getting pollution advise from an oil and gas investor is like getting investment advise from Charles Ponzi.

    I obviously disagree with the numbers the authors chose (the worst for EVs, the best for petrol), and the assumptions made. Things like not accounting for pollution in production of engine, gearbox, etc, of a petrol car. Using HKE rather than CLP or a mix of the two. Comparing a BMW 320 to a Tesla Model S. etc. They are clearly biased. Even small corrections to make the comparison fairer swing the result in favour of the EV (even with today's fuel mix for electricity generation in Hong Kong).

    But, the biggest issue, and danger, is the suggestion to delay the introduction of EVs (or support for that introduction) until the grid is cleaner. That is just ridiculous. An EV purchased and put on the roads today will automatically get cleaner to drive as the years go by and as the grid gets cleaner. Cleaning the grid cleans the EV, irrespective of whether the EV was purchased today, last year, or 20 years ago. Indeed, an EV purchased in Hong Kong 20 years ago, and driven today, would 'produce' just 1/10th of the NOx, SO2, and RSP emissions that it did 20 years ago. The same cannot be said for a petrol car (which has a fixed pollution rate at purchase, and gets worse over time as it's engine ages and deteriorates).

    The second issue is the concentration on CO2 emissions. Sure, those are important, but what about NOx, SO2, RSP and others? The stuff we breath in, on the street, every day. If the authors truly believe that petrol cars are cleaner than EVs, I invite them to choose between either standing in one of Hong Kong's country parks, breathing in the air polluted by Hong Kong's power generators, or behind a petrol/diesel vehicle in central, sucking on it's exhaust pipe.

    I'll leave my conclusions to Robert Llewellyn, when commenting about a similar report back in 2012:
     
  14. Optic

    Optic Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    135
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I think SCMP did a good piece showing both sides of the story. Oil companies beautify their side but I think Tesla does the same. Does Tesla really know the whole environmental impact of electric cars? What are the plans for Tesla when it gets totaled or unusable? The aluminium can be recycled, but some of our battery packs will go into the landfill. Is disposing an EV more harmful than disposing an ICE? I truly hope our Tesla is magnitudes more environmentally friendly than an ICE, perhaps we will get there when the model 3 comes out.

    When I drive a Tesla i don't claim to be an environmentally friendly, I just claim that I do less evil than driving an ICE. True environmentalists won't drive in HK.
     
  15. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    7,041
    Tesla already thought of these things many years ago:
    Tesla's Closed Loop Battery Recycling Program

    And before recycling, the battery modules can be reused for stationary storage. Just 150,000 km of life out of a battery pack is an exaggeration.
     
  16. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2015
    Messages:
    1,398
    Location:
    Minnesota
    The Union of Concerned Scientists have already covered this.

    UCS map comparing lifetime emissions of BEVs based on each regions electricity production:

    [​IMG]

    Hong Kong's electrical grid:

    [​IMG]

    North Carolina's electrical grid:

    [​IMG]

    Alabama's electrical grid:

    [​IMG]

    I did just a quick search, and found that the South-Eastern US is relatively similar to HK's grid. As you can see, the region of the US that is reasonably similar to that of HK rates BEVs equivalent of ~50-60mpg.

    That' doesn't seem particularly dirty to me.
     
  17. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,661
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I'd dispute that.

    I live in a remote part of Hong Kong. 1km walk from the nearest public transport. 3 to 4 hour roundtrip commute to my office on public transport. I can't even reliably get a taxi.

    Sure, if the government extends public transport to the remoter areas of Hong Kong we can all do away with private cars. But, not all drivers live in mid levels.
     
  18. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Messages:
    2,571
    Does no one actually bother to run their calculations? Bernstein is the culprit here, they botched the calculations.

    First, they used a 85 kWh size for the Model 3 battery. That's way oversized. We're more likely to get 55 kWh and 70 kWh or so. Further, the Gigafactory is likely to have a far lower carbon emissions level than the existing modeling of CO2 emissions for the manufacturing of the batteries. We don't know how much renewables will be in play at the outset, but even just the energy management within the factory will be superior than what is being done right now. For example, the anode, the cathode, and various other components are built separately and then shipped to factory in Osaka.

    But their data inputs are crooked. Using U.S. WTW data based on the Argonne National Labs GREET model as found on fueleconomy.gov, the BMW 320i emits 381 grams of GHG per mile. That's when the car is new, but ok, we'll go with that. Hong Kong's WTW is higher since they don't have nearby gasoline refining or oil production. At 93,000 miles, that's 35,511 kg of GHG, or 39.1 tons of GHG, not 22.2.

    For a Model S70, if we use their 0.79 kg/kWh of CO2 emissions, 38 kWh/100 miles (fueleconomy.gov) we get 35,417.9 kWh to go 93,205 miles. That's 27,980 kg of CO2, or 30.8 tons. If we use their battery pack calculation, that's then:

    • Model S70: 36.5 tons
    • 320i: 39.7 tons
    The 320i has 8.7% higher GHG emissions than the Model S 70 kWh in Hong Kong. Increase the miles to 150,000 or 200,000, and the lead grows. At 150,000 miles, it's 45,030 kg or 49.6 tons of GHG for the Model S versus 57.2 tons of GHG for the 320i, looking at energy only.

    The Model 3 will be smaller and lighter and therefore more efficient by a significant amount. Even with the same size pack, the Model 3 will have another step more advanced battery cell chemistry. So the battery pack is lighter, the car is lighter, and the emission from battery cell and pack manufacturing should drop a lot. The Model 3 will have a substantial drop in GHG over a 320i.

    That's before we talk about the benefits of having the emissions be at the power plant rather than the street in front you. Their coal power plants are right on the edge of the water, and one of them is very far from population centers:

    List of power stations in Hong Kong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  19. Optic

    Optic Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    135
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Obviously not everyone can just take public transit and that I am generalizing that some Tesla drivers would over state their environmentally contribution to something like saving the world. My point is that driving EV does not not make us Captain Planet, it just means we pollute less than the ICE driver. It is still not a point to be proud of. It just feels weird we are debating of who is polluting less and as if the person who pollutes less is a winner here.

    Battery recycling technologies is not mature yet in HK and we might see a lot of these battery packs ending up in the land fill. There are still plenty of ways to improve the whole Tesla life cycle emissions from electricity generation (going nuclear/renewable) to dismantling.
     
  20. Optic

    Optic Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    135
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    What if he had compared vs a Prius?

     

Share This Page