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Rebuking common arguments against EVs

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by Dan5, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

    Oct 13, 2011
    Delran, NJ
    Most recently I have noticed the following arguments against EVs and would like to put them all to rest and to see if people can put it more eloquent than I can. This way we can just copy/paste are arguments with facts to back it up.

    1. Your EV is powered by coal and is dirty than a “normal” car

    Answer: Even using your argument, a Tesla Model S, a heavy EV is rated at 0.3 kwhr per mile. If we just used coal, this would mean that it would output as much as a 30 mpg car. The grid is NOT completely coal and is a mix of nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric and coal. Using the grid CO2 average, this one car is equivalent to around 60-70 mpg.

    2. The battery technology is not there, they are costly and will have to replaced when the car is X years old.

    Answer: Please cite proof that the batteries will degrade to nothing in X years. Currently the Roadster batteries have held up extremely well and have not had the degradation that Tesla predicted. The norm for the Tesla Roadster seems to be 1 mile every few months. There have been isolated incidences of Nissan batteries in hot areas, but that is a unique situation and unique battery, most other manufacturers have batteries that are liquid-cooled which prevents excessive heat. Look at the battery warranties. Nissan is 70%/100000 miles/8 years, Tesla is 8 years unlimited miles.

    3. EVs are a drain on the grid and will push the grid to its maximum.

    Answer: The electrical grid is set-up to provide the maximum power mid-day in the summer when all the AC units are on. Would you be able to go home and charge your EV mid-day? For a normal person they work a 9-5 job which means the earliest they could charge their car is maybe 5:30 at night, well past the daily peak. Most EV owners would have a timer set up to take advantage of “off peak” times 2 AM to 6 AM. Not many people are up at 2 AM and have all the appliances in the house working at that time.

    4. You are taking money away from the regular tax payer to pay for your “toy”
    An EV purchaser only gets that break if they have paid at least that much to the IRS. Remind me again how many incentives that the oil companies get per year? Estimates range from $2 Billion to $40 Billion per year. Since I am no longer using oil, I do not want my money going to oil. You only get that incentive IF you PAY taxes. If we both pay 10 K in taxes, let’s see $5 - $100 per year of MY tax money is going to oil companies so that your gas is cheaper and 1/500th of a cent is going to make my EV cheaper one time. Whose really making out on this deal?

    5. What about using rare earths? They are hazardous and require lots of refining
    Answer: Can you please name any that use rare earths? The Nissan Leaf, new RAV4 EV, Tesla Roadster, Model S and Model X, and Lightning GT do NOT use any rare earths in their motors. The only one that does is the MiEV by Mitsubishi. It is currently unknown what BYD, Coda, or Ford are using for their motors.
    More than 75% of the current EVs 2011 and forward do not use rare earth metals in the batteries or the motors. Typical batteries use lithium and common elements that are easily refined/ purified. These include Iron, phosphorous, aluminum, nickel, lithium, titanium, manganese, and cobalt. The typical EV motor is an AC induction which contains copper and iron.

    6. The price of lithium and other metals used in batteries have gone up 300% or more in the past 10 years. That shows the demand cannot be met.
    Answer: Which specific metals are you talking about? All the battery metals listed above are typically refined together besides manganese which is only used in the Leaf. The demand for these metals is not explicitly due to EVs, but the technological growth of the world. There are plans by many mining and refining companies to increase the supply of these metals. If we used 20% of the cobalt reserves it would be enough to make 110 Million Tesla Model S type vehicles, if the Lithium-iron batteries are used, and 20% of the Lithium reserves are used for EVs that is enough lithium to make 1.5 Billion cars. This is assuming that the packs are thrown away after. There’s only about 1 Billion cars on the road, so having enough material for 50% than the number of cars is a safe “bet”

    7. What about the “bricking” and if the power goes out for weeks
    Answer: Out of 2,000 Tesla roadsters 4-5 bricked, almost due to consumer negligence or not checking to ensure they have the correct plug. If you do something that it says NOT to do in a manual and something bad happens, the manufacturer clearly said not to do it and should not be held liable. If the power goes out for a week and you have a 300 mile Tesla, there should be no issue. If the power goes out from Washington to NYC for weeks, yes, there is a problem, but at the same point you would not be able to get gasoline anyway since the gas pumps would not work. At that point, there’s probably much more pressing concerns that getting to and from work- there’s probably a huge state of emergency and you probably will not have to go to work. One the bright side, if you have off grid solar cells, you are in much better condition than your neighbors.
    8. I drive more than 70 miles per day so an EV is not acceptable

    Answer: Well, you can get a Model S or a BYD. Both have ranges over 100 miles

    9. The infrastructure is not there, and I want to make a cross country trip in 2 days

    Answer: What? You want to go 3000 miles in 2 days. I guess you could in a regular car, if you did not sleep or eat or take any bathroom breaks. I would not want to be driving on the same road as someone who has not eaten, slept, or even gotten out of the car in 36 hours. Typically a cross country trip will take 5/6 days, which is the same for an EV. There are charging stations along the way and plans for more. With the current amount of charging stations, it is possible to make it with either a BYD or Model S in 5-6 days (same as a regular car road trip)

    10. EVs catch fire!

    Besides the BYD that was hit at 80 mph, can you name one EV that has caught fire immediately after an accident. The Volt, not an EV mind you caught fire weeks after test accident and was due to the NHTSA not following a procedure. The Fisker in Texas, also not an EV was shown that the batteries were NOT the cause of the fire. I can name quite a number for regular cars that are prone to fires if in an accident. Most notorious of which is the Ford Pinto, or how about the 90’s Police Interceptor, or Toyota’s Camry recall for an electrical short that caused a number of fires.
  2. Citizen-T

    Citizen-T Active Member

    Aug 25, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    I like this idea of consolidating arguments. As we contribute, can you update your first post to incorporate the resources we point you to and the additional arguments? I don't have time for all of them right now, but let me start with #1.

    1. Your EV is powered by coal and is dirtier than a ICE. (the long tailpipe argument)

    First of all: in the United States, coal only makes up 32% of electricity generated (tied with Nat Gas for the #1 spot Monthly coal- and natural gas-fired generation equal for first time in April 2012 - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)) so it is incorrect to even say that an EV is "mostly" powered by coal. It would be more accurate to say "EVs get some of their electricity from coal". But, let's put that aside for a moment, and pretend that you plugged your EV directly into a coal-fired power plant so that 100% of your electricity did come from coal. Well'd still be wrong.

    The reason is really pretty simple to understand. While it is true that pound-per-pound coal is dirtier than oil, that fact relies on all being equal. You are comparing apples and oranges. You are comparing a gigantic, super-efficient, highly regulated power plant, with armies of engineers that work to keep it running at it's absolute optimum, and all it's economies of scale, to several million tiny little, inefficient, gas engines that are being maintained and operated by amateurs at non-optimal levels for most of their lives.

    Let's apply some numbers. The very best ICEs can convert about 25% of the available energy in the oil they burn into forward motion (citation needed). The average coal fired power plant is about 33% efficient (Fossil-fuel power station - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) (Am I looking at the right number? Is thermal efficiency what I want to use here?). EVs can convert about 90% of the electricity you put in them into forward motion (citation needed) which gives you a combined efficiency of 29.7%. And remember, that is the very best vs. the average, so in reality the difference is even more pronounced.

    So, even in this imaginary world where 100% of electricity comes from coal the EV is, let's say "on par" with the ICE. But remember, this is an imaginary world. In the real world, coal is only 32% (on average) of what goes into your EV.

    P.S. In some places like CA, coal is only about 8% of your electricity mix.
    P.P.S EVs will get cleaner as they get older (the grid gets cleaner year to year) while ICEs get dirtier every year (loose efficiency as they age).
  3. Grendal

    Grendal SpaceX Moderator

    Jan 31, 2012
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    After many arguments with people online I find that some of your arguments, Dan5, can be fine tuned and hit someone who doesn't understand EV's and have fallen for a lot of anti-EV gibberish in a better way.

    4. You are taking money away from the regular tax payer to pay for your “toy” - When talking about the $7500 tax credit (which anti-EV poeple will call a subsidy) you should point out that it is a tax credit similar to what they would get for their mortgage and their dependents. Do they want to give up their tax credits? If not, then they are hypocrites. You don't have to call them names but point out how they have been taking tax credits all their lives. Also they will bring up the fact that Tesla took a government loan. Just point out that Elon has guaranteed that loan out of his own pocket. Point out that Ford got $4 Billion from the same loan program (ATVM) and Tesla only got $485 Million.

    7. What about the “bricking” and if the power goes out for weeks. - Point out how you can ruin a gas car through negligence too. If you don't change your oil you will seize your engine. Point out to them that basic maintenance is needed for every vehicle including EV's.

    9. The infrastructure is not there, and I want to make a cross country trip in 2 days. - The best argument to this is to tell them not to buy an EV. No one is forcing them to buy an EV. Keep their gas car and continue paying for gas, oil changes, transmission repairs, etc...

    10. EV's catch fire! - This one is easy. The number of regular car fires that happen everyday are found at the following site:
    This comes out to 700 car fires and at least 1 death every day. Those are pretty hard numbers to argue with. Gas cars are dangerous and flammable.
  4. adric22

    adric22 Member

    Jul 6, 2012
    Ft.Worth, TX
    #4 adric22, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    I made a few videos last year to dismiss some of these arguments. Here's one:


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