SherryBoschert said:This is not a "report." It's an opinion piece. He did no original research to report on. He read widely and cherry-picked his references to others' research and opinions to form an opinion that he pitches in this article.Here are some of the most obvious problems that I see with his article:
1) He claims that "it's very difficult to find researchers who are looking at the environmental merits of electric cars with a disinterested eye." Not really. He conveniently ignores research by Argonne National Laboratory and the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Rocky Mountain Institute, among others. Why not talk to our public scientists about this?
2) His first two examples of studies that he says are critical of EVs give very short-term scenarios that would not be expected to make a huge difference. Richard Pike of the Royal Society of Chemistry says EVs would reduce UK carbon dioxide by just 2% given current electricity sources. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office says EV subsidies will provide little or no decrease in total gas use and greenhouse gas emissions over the next several years. Well, duh. Cleaning up the power grid amplifies the benefits of EVs but takes time, as does penetration of EVs in the marketplace.
3) He says, "The experts writing about them [EVs] all seem to be unquestioning car enthusiasts." Not. See #1.
4) He tries at one point to make renewable power sound dirtier than fossil-fuel power. Taking that preposterous statement at face value, is he proposing that we don't move away from fossil fuels to renewable power? Or that we use no power at all? Absurd.
5) One of the main studies he cites to make his argument is the National Academies study "Hidden Costs of Energy." But he omits a key sentence in that study's summary of its transportation section, where it says, "However, further legislative and economic initiatives to reduce emissions from the electricity grid could be expected to improve the relative damages from EVs substantially." Notice that it doesn't say technical initiative, it says legislative and economic initiatives. Translation: If our politicians act, EVs will be even cleaner.
6) Another key study he cites is the Norwegian study, but this too uses a short-range scenario, and he ignores the fact that they mainly looked at greenhouse gas emissions, and declared EVs beneficial. From the abstract: On the present European electricity mix, EVs result in a 10%-24% decrease in global warming potential with a car lifetime of 150,000 km (even better if the car is in use longer).
So, the studies he uses to support his argument can just as easily be used to argue against his point of view. The problem is, few people will take the time to read the original studies and form their own opinions.
What about even going back further than making the gasoline - the oil wells and drilling to get the crude out of the ground or ocean, the energy and CO2 from making the equipment to do the mining. Even the energy/CO2 to manufacture tankers to haul oil from the foreign countries to get it here.
The number of gas stations (121,000 in US) - the energy/CO2 for gas pumps and huge underground tanks at each of those stations. There were over 200,000 stations in 1994. How much time/money/CO2 to dig those old tanks up. In addition, the clean up and maintenance from the leaking tanks.
That all is 'part' of the gas that ends up in the tank of an ICE...
It took me a while to find verification of his association with the auto or petroleum industry, but it's now known that Mr. Zehner spent 5 years GM's European Opel division. Hmmm
Although an academic, Zehner has deep Detroit-area automotive roots. He attended Kettering University (née General Motors Institute) in Flint and then worked for GM for five years, along with a stint in advanced vehicle development at the company’s Opel division in Europe for three years.