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Ridiculous Forbes Article - Tesla Model S A Nice Fossil Fuel Car

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by yobigd20, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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  2. JGard

    JGard Member

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    I think you're being a bit defensive, but I also think the author of the article is being over-dramatic about it all.

    First of all, he's absolutely correct. The Tesla cars still are fossil-fuel driven. However, what he neglects to mention are at least two items that are very important. First, the type of fuels used in major power plants is much more available than crude oil, which we use in ICE engines. So the fear of running out of those resources within the next 50 years isn't there. Second, major power plants are MUCH more efficient than an ICE. I'm sure these percentages are made-up, but I've heard that a car's ICE is something like 40% efficient. Meaning only 40% of the energy created is actually going towards moving the car. Power plants run at something over 90% efficiency, so most of the energy being created is actually going towards electricity. That's huge.

    Also, it just shows (this article does) that we really need to stop being such wimps about nuclear energy and start making it more of a reality in this country.
     
  3. Jeff Miller

    Jeff Miller Member

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    It's closer to 20%:

    Fuel Economy: Where the Energy Goes

    There is a range but a typical efficiency for a coal plant is around 33%. Extremely efficient combined cycle gas plants can reach about 60%.
    Line losses are around 7%. Electric motors are around 90% efficient. Back of the envelope, assuming a 40% efficiency for the US grid, 7% line losses, and a 10% loss from the motor, total efficiency for an electric motor is around 33%.
     
  4. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    Some people have solar arrays/wind turbines and are able to rely on those completely to supply electricity for their EVs. Plus, in addition to fossil fuel sources and nuclear power, the energy grid has of a mix of large-scale solar arrays, wind turbine systems, and other types of green power such as hydroelectricity and these will hopefully continue expanding, making grid energy even cleaner each year.
     
  5. liuping

    liuping Active Member

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    Not All Telsa Cars are "fossil-fuel driven".

    Solar panels provide enough for my Volt and soon Model S. I will be adding mode next year to cover the house+both cars, based on actual usage after I've have the Model S for a few months...
     
  6. PaceyWhitter

    PaceyWhitter Member

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    To add to what JGard said,

    One main point that these articles miss is the potential change in the future. As long as cars burn gasoline they will produce greenhouse gasses, you can make them more efficient, but you cannot get past this basic fact.

    Once you shift cars over to electricity, there is the potential that cars will be able to run without producing any. While currently must electricity is produced by fossil fuel buning, electricity can be produced by solar, nuclear, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal and other methods. If and when there is a future push to clean up electrical production, electric cars will clean up right along with them. Gas cars will not.
     
  7. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Being ~75 miles from a pair of major dams and significantly further to combustion power plants, especially if you go by 'grid miles', I've concluded that the majority of electrons I pack into my EVs is 'hydro'. Thus if my plates said HYDRO and HYDR0 it would not be a lie. Hey, I just might do that next year when they give us a fifth character on the custom plates.
    --
     
  8. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    Haters 'gon hate.

    My S will be 100% hydropower fueled from day one, all year.
     
  9. 30seconds

    30seconds Active Member

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    Hack alert. The author clearly has an agenda that is unrelated to tesla. I think the "I love Fossil Fuels" T-shirt kind of gave it away. And, as usual, a very selective and unbalanced use of the data to support his point. While his claim that of the worlds TOTAL energy, renewables only make up a small percentage is true, he somehow fails to mention the growth rate of non-fossil fuel energy sources and also fails to mention that an electric car (as posted above) allows a shift to more efficient use of fossil fuels.

    Completely unsurprising is his non-mention of how energy production in his area of Southern California are already WAY, WAY above his 1% quote. Orange County is covered by Southern California Edison, which claims that 20% of its production is via renewables

    Cleaner Power | Environment | About Us | Home - SCE
     
  10. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    Don't forget that refining oil into gasoline results in about a 12% energy loss.

    Extracting oil from the ground is highly variable:
    In California a pump jack that pulls it out of the ground may take around 18kWh or so of electricity to pump up a barrel of oil ( which works out to about a 3% loss ) but bitumen ( tar sands oil ) from Canada may have a loss of 16% ( when natural gas is consumed in the extraction ) or 30% ( when bitumen itself is consumed ).
    All of that needs to be factored into the ICE number.

    If its tar sands, multiply the engine efficiency by .88 ( for refining ) *.84 ( assume natural gas ) = .74 so the 20% efficient engine goes down to 15%

    - - - Updated - - -

    My Model S is powered entirely by solar power. Even though the US mix is about 68% fossil and dropping - I bet the average Model S in the US is powered by mostly renewable energy considering most of them are in California, Washington and Oregon.
     
  11. JGard

    JGard Member

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    Cool, thanks for straightening that out for me. I knew the numbers I was told weren't going to be accurate :)
     
  12. theganjaguru

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    I agree with the original poster. Tihs article is opinion shrouded with loose facts... AKA garbage. He clearly supports the coal industry.

    First off he implys a that the battery will need replacing within the same span he would replace his iPhone, ignoring the warranty and the fact that roadster owners are still seeing 85% on well used packs.

    He has to take into account world-wide energy production to attain his coal world energy figures. As though people in emerging markets will buy a light bulb, a refrigerator and then a Tesla.

    Things he negates to mention:
    1. A full belly won't mean very much if drinking water is contaminated from coal power run off.
    2. Overall efficiency/conservation and not changing power sources is the best way to deal with energy demand/use. That is one benefit of being an emerging market, they sometimes leapfrog a head with new tech. Look at Mexico and wireless infrastructure if you want to understand more.

    3. The energy and environmental costs of extracting, transporting and mining coal.
    4. The whole building a Tesla battery produces more co2 than a gas car.. Well if I omit data points, I can make a Big Mac sound healthy.
    5. The efficiency of an electric car.

    The fact is that for the most part (yea, there are exceptions) a Tesla will be sold in a market where the power is sourced from natural gas (which is far cleaner burning than coal) or other non coal sources. The industrialized world is moving away from coal because there is no such thing as clean coal. It's only a matter of time before these emerging markets realize the same thing.
     
  13. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    If you walk into a Tesla store and you open discussions with this, then you're clearly already at your conclusion and you're looking for an argument. You've lost all interest in evaluating the vehicle on its merits. As such, the conversation from there is a waste of the Tesla representative's time. Further, it comes across to me as rude and disrespectful.

    At that point in the article I closed my browser window. Nothing else in the article will be worth my attention.
     
  14. evme

    evme Member

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    If he wants to say that Tesla is a fossil fuel car because fossil fuels make up a majority of the grid is one thing, but calling it a coal car is not very accurate. It will only be a coal car in 3 or 4 states which have large amount of coal as part of the grid. In many states, coal makes up a tiny fraction of the grid.
     
  15. DuncanWatson

    DuncanWatson Member

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    The guy has an agenda and is basically completely wrong.
     
  16. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

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    I think some EV owners point to their grid tie solar panels and claim that they fully negate the impact of burning fossil fuels if you charge your EV at night from fossil fuel electricity generation. I don't believe that is true. In other words, if your solar panels can eliminate the need to burn fossil fuels to charge your EV, then you can claim that your EV is fossil fuel free. You may be negating your daily A/C load, or someone else's industrial use or TV watching or something else during the day with your grid-tie solar panels, but you are not negating the environmental impact of charging your EV if that electricity is coming from fossil fuels. I'm not saying that doing grid-tie solar isn't worth doing, just that it by itself doesn't negate the impact of charging an EV from coal or natural gas.

    Even Tesla's supercharging stations are grid tie even with the solar canopy and local battery storage. Now, hopefully both the solar canopy and the local battery storage are then sized to almost always handle the charging load, but the importance of having the reliability of tying to the grid is not to be underestimated.

    Now, it may very well be that in your local situation, charging an EV at night comes from non-fossil fuel sources like hydro, nuclear, wind, or geothermal. I think very few of us charge from some sort of storage solar energy like batteries, flywheels, molten salt or compressed air mainly because those strategies are still very expensive or otherwise impractical at the moment. In VA, most of my night time energy is nuclear. In WA, it's probably hydro. That's a compelling argument with far fewer downsides. There's a lot of extra capacity at super-off peak. It is also possible to participate in a program with many utilities where you pay a higher rate for your electricity to come from renewable sources.

    This dynamic of what is really generated from what source and when versus actual consumption for what use is why examining the 24 hour or 365 day averages of electricity generation and then applying it to examine environmental impact of EVs is so misleading. It may very be EVs charge off of base load sources like hydro and nuclear at night and is supplemented with wind at super off peak hours when usage levels are extremely low. It is during the day that the fossil fuel generation plants have to ramp up for industrial/professional use and for that peak 3-5pm air conditioning time, the natural gas peaker plants are running full tilt to keep up with the load. Our EVs are usually sitting in a parking lot, sometimes sipping some juice obtained by hydro/nuclear to keep the batteries cool. That's the big reason for grid-tie solar, it's to help handle the peak afternoon usage and burn a bit less coal/natural gas. Plus, it's like buying electricity futures that help lock in your electricity rates.

    Another dynamic worth mentioning is that oil has so many other uses than burning it for energy and certainly we are burning it at a pretty furious rate. The coming oil boom by fracking is only arriving because it has gotten so much harder to find and develop oil sources that the prices have reached a point that this is economically viable. That should be ringing warning bells, not a celebration of the coming U.S. oil age. Plus, this is likely to stretch our water resources to the limit. Mass scale desalination by solar may have to be one of the key industrial developments in the next 50 years.
     
  17. EV2BFREE

    EV2BFREE Member

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    Wearing a "I love fossil fuels" shirt and walking into a Tesla store sums up the author rather well. A "coal car" would mean that the energy for the car is solely from coal, which is clearly not the case. He wrote the article with his mind already made up and looked for facts to support his position. The first flaw was finding a 3 year old forum post that said the replacement battery would cost $30,000. First of all, if he was looking at the $70,000 model which has a smaller battery pack it would not cost $30,000 even if that cost was the actual price to replace the battery(which was the example he used). I can go look up a figure from 3 years ago that would say my laptop cost would me $3,000 but the only number that matters is the price of it today. A $30,000 estimate from a forum post 3 years ago would be deemed a lot less reliable then current numbers available. The author did not want to look for those current numbers because he felt that the $30,000 cost would justify his position. It seems like there is a blatant negative spin to this article.
     
  18. leilanimunter

    leilanimunter Member

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    In addition to all the great points everyone has already made, EVs are the only car in the world that will get cleaner as the grid cleans itself up and moves to renewables. As we reach parity in the kWh price of solar or wind as compared to fossil fuels (as some other countries already have) you will see the grid get cleaner and as a result, EVs plugging into that grid will be cleaner as well.
     
  19. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    BTW I'm going to make some toast in my coal powered toaster, heat some food in my natural gas powered microwave and watch a movie on my - you guessed it - TV that runs on oil. Not.
     
  20. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Member

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    That has got to be one of the dumbest articles I have ever read. "Hey, yeah, sure fossil fuels cause more climate related catastrophes worldwide, but what does it matter, we can always send diesel powered relief trucks!" At times it read like a satire ... :confused: and what kind of idiot would wear a "I love fossil fuels" t-shirt?
     

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