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Report: Electric drive vehicles have little impact on US pollutant emissions

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by J1mbo, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. J1mbo

    J1mbo Member

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    Just found this from NC State Uni. Not able to read full report so not sure how much they factor solar/renewables into their simulations.

    "A new study from North Carolina State University indicates that even a sharp increase in the use of electric drive passenger vehicles (EDVs) by 2050 would not significantly reduce emissions of high-profile air pollutants carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides."

    More here: Electric drive vehicles have little impact on US pollutant emissions, study finds
     
  2. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    The comments are worth reading--very thoughtful, for the most part.

    I agree with the article's general conclusion: passenger vehicle pollution is a small contributor to overall GHG emissions, so policymakers shouldn't focus only one technology as the answer. The study DOES show a benefit in shifting to EVs. The researchers make the assumption that there is no meaningful change in the mix of generation sources on the grid, so EVs just migrate pollution upstream. If energy policy continues to decarbonize the grid, however, EVs automatically get that benefit.

    The article also forgot to mention how much more enjoyable it is to drive an EV, and how much safer they are. :)
     
  3. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es4045677

    Apparently I need credentials to view the full text, but did they account for solar being the energy source for the EV's? I get that North Carolina needs to reduce coal power plants, but why couldn't the study also show that by creating solar fueled charging stations emissions could be reduced?
     
  4. Zextraterrestrial

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    didn't read it but how about noise pollution in denser cities and vehicle exhaust directly near people? these must have a positive impact
     
  5. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    That, but even if they want to stick to air emissions, they ignore fine particulate matter (PM). PM2.5 and PM10 are real issues in urban areas that cause real health problems.
     
  6. tigerade

    tigerade Member

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  7. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Gotta love the straw man argument... "....makes more sense to set emissions reductions goals, rather than promoting specific vehicle technologies with the idea that they'll solve the problem on their own...."

    WHO IS SAYING THAT?!... NO ONE!!!! No one... anywhere... is under the impression that ICE => EV = emissions problem solved. That's why Elon got his cousins to start Solar City. That's why I have 10kW of solar on my roof. That's why >70% of Tesla owners either have or want solar!! Apparently NC state is a diploma mill... they're selling Ph. Ds to idiots. :cursing:

    Yes, emission reduction goals would be more effective but politically it's a lot easier to give a $7.5k TC to someone for buying an EV than it is to increase the cost of Gasoline 0.0001%
     
  8. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    So, basically, if technology stops its rapid advance and stands still, and electricity distribution and purchase of PEVs is spread evenly across the country based on the current state of the electricity grid, and if you ignore the other logical impacts of electrification of personal transportation, they'd only be a bit better when you only measure CO2, NOx and SO2.

    Oh let's stop this EV madness right now.
     
  9. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    I just re-did my family carbon footprint analysis. We live at half the German average CO2 footprint.

    highest runner is "food & stuff" - can improve by going veggie, buy local goods, grow my own vegetables, and use/repair my tech stuff forever. Have low intentions to do so. I will benefit if supply chains improve.
    second is "public" - so having a government, and an army, actually adds here.
    3rd is "car" - still using gas for family transportation

    We already cleaned up other carbon sources (power, heating) in our life style. So the easiest way to reduce further is to go EV.

    So the study might be correct that only going EV won't do much - but it is a step that can be done easily and not for outrageous amount of money by most people.
     
  10. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    @VolkerP did you use some app/website for this analysis?
     
  11. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    Here is a link to the CO2 footprint calculator developed by Umweltbundesamt (German federal environment agency, resembles the EPA):
    Meine CO2-Bilanz erfassen | CO2-Rechner Umweltbundesamt

    You enter your personal or household consumption numbers and behavior patterns on selectable detail level. The calculator puts your individual numbers in relation to national average.

    I emailed them because 1) electric is not a selectable option for your private car and 2) no CO2 credit is given if you generate your own energy (e.g. photovoltaics). They seem to be 10 years behind state of the art. :cursing:
     
  12. mgdurand

    mgdurand Member

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    Well... I bought my Leaf knowing that it was only a second car to my Jetta TDI which gets better mileage than almost all of those grid numbers on the map above. I bought the Tesla assuming that it probably takes more barrels of oil equivalent to R&D, manufacture and distribute than I will probably pay off as long as I have the car. However I do assume that I am investing in the technology. If the supercharger network becomes covered in enough solar panels to produce more energy than the cars consume, then we will be in the black and a very significant step in the right direction green-wise. Then what happens next, built upon that concept? Technology marches toward a purpose, incrementally.

    Anyway, I didn't buy the Tesla just to be "green." I don't have enough money for that kind of idealism! :) I got it because it's a great car, and the technological vision also helped me rationalize the extra expense.
     
  13. omgwtfbyobbq

    omgwtfbyobbq Member

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    I'm not sure if that's accurate. My WAG regarding well to wheel energy consumption n AZ for both vehicles are that the S is at ~700wh/mile versus ~1300Wh/mile or the TDI. This is based on AZ's grid mix (third nukes/renewables, third coal, third ng), 40mpg combined for the TDI, and a 30% overhead for diesel production (extraction, transportation, refining, etc...).

    With a ~.5kWh difference per mile, and assuming ~100k kWh of embodied energy in the S, it would take ~200k miles for the S to "pay off" it's embodied energy via lower energy use per mile, and proportionally greater mileage with a battery replacement. With solar PV, this would drop to something like ~75k-100k miles, since the PV panels will pay off their embodied energy in 1+ year, and everything after that is gravy.
     
  14. Reykjavik

    Reykjavik Member

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    It really depends on the grid, and the future of the grid. If Iceland switched all their cars to electric cars, there only carbon emissions would be fishing boats. If everyone in coal burning states switched to EVs, it would make a marginal impact.

    Ultimately, switching to sustainable transportation is one of many things we have to do if we want to keep living on this planet in large numbers.
     
  15. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    A couple of really good responses from NRDC and Slate. Note that the study author is not anti-EV and agrees that they help; he was just trying to make a point about how important he thinks a carbon cap is, and it sounds like the headlines got away from him.
     
  16. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Headline writers exist to make other journalists feel better about themselves.
     

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