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Slate: Are EVs really any better for the environment than gas-guzzling cars?

Discussion in 'News' started by stopcrazypp, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    Slate: Are EVs really any better for the environment than gas-guzzling cars?

    The Tesla Roadster was pitted against the 2006 Toyota Corolla, with the Roadster at 48.05 pounds of CO2 per 100 miles and the Corolla at 63.11 pounds of carbon dioxide per 100 miles.
    So the Tesla wins out. Note that in states using the most coal, the figure will be only a few pounds less for the Tesla. However, in the Pacific Northwest you would likely be even cleaner.

    Link to Slate:

    Side Note:
    I found this story through "the truth about cars" and, man, those people are negative about the Tesla Roadster.
    You have choice comments like this:
    quasimondo :
    How do you calculate the CO2 footprint of a car that doesn’t exist?

    Frank Williams :
    Same way you computer its driving range, recharge time, top speed, crash test rating and EPA mileage estimate.

    If one car ties up $100,000 in resources and another car ties up maybe $14,000 in resources, which is more harmful to the environment? What all are those resources — what really is required, consumed, wasted, in making a Tesla?

    John B : (response to Kevin)
    There’s no comparison between the price of a Tesla and a Corolla. The high price of the Tesla is due to a combination of recouping R&D costs, high labour component, no volume discounts for parts, high overhead relative to production and high margins being charged to early adopters (which could be used to fund further development).

    rpn453 : (response to Frank Williams and Kevin)
    Good answer! (not to John B. mind you)
    I’m with Kevin; the way I see it, a Tesla uses $100k worth of energy and resources while a decent compact car uses $20k worth. I’m never going to make up the other $80k in fuel.

    You have quasimondo and Frank Williams who talks like all the specs on the Tesla were made up. You have Kevin who believes a Tesla costs $100k b/c it used up around $100k worth of energy. And you have rpn453 who continues to believe that even after a clear explaination by John B of why the Tesla costs $100k.
    The way the site reports on the Tesla Roadster you would think the Roadster was in the same stage of development as the Chevy Volt (not a good thing as the Volt doesn't even have a test mule yet). I suppose this is why in the Town hall meeting, Tesla has talked about releasing their cars with an earlier transmission design just to establish credibility. Blogs like this makes the state of Tesla's reputation worrying.

    Link to TTAC:
  2. BlackbirdHighway

    Sep 20, 2007
    If you recharge your Tesla Roadster from solar panels, then there is no CO2 at all, unless you want to count the small amount used in producing the panels. The panels last 40 years, so that doesn't seem significant to me.

    Nobody has invented panels that you can put on your roof to turn sunshine into gasoline.

    TTOC is a waste of time. Tony got into an exchange with them, and they basically claimed that stating the Tesla range as 90 miles was good journalism, even though they just made that up. They didn't trust the number from Tesla, because it wasn't independently verified, so they just didn't report that number at all.

    Better journalism would have been to say, here's the number from Tesla, but we don't trust it until it's independently verified. We think it might be more like 90 miles, until proven otherwise.

    Of course now that the number reported by Tesla was found to be wrong, I'm sure TTOC is saying, "told you so".
  3. OhmExcited

    OhmExcited Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    My study calculated these values in detail:

    Using an average US coal plant, the Tesla would produce 54 pounds per 100 miles. A 2007 Corollo getting 36 mpg produces 67 pounds per 100 miles. A Prius produces 44.

    Fortunately, the US grid is not completely coal, and the Prius is no fun to drive. Using the average mix of the US grid a Tesla would produce 33 pounds per 100 miles. My estimates of the Chevy Volt put it at 37.
  4. graham

    graham Active Member

    Dec 2, 2007
    Aptos, California
    Something else was not mentioned in this article: While it doesn't necessarily apply to all classes of electric cars in general, the customer base interested in buying a Tesla probably has a large overlap with the customer base interested in buying solar panels on their roof.

    Just like it is silly to assume that someone with a plug-in car will fuel it via 100% coal, it is equally silly to assume someone purchasing a high-end ticket item like a Tesla is getting their energy from the grid at all.

  5. OhmExcited

    OhmExcited Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    They assumed coal as the source to represent a conservative, worst-case scenario.
  6. Cobos

    Cobos S60 Owner since 2013 - sold, S85D owner since 2017

    Jun 22, 2007
    Oslo, Norway
    Which at least in my eyes is pretty silly, as the Corolla will never improve it's CO2 ratings. Rather the opposite as it grows older, while the Tesla will improve as the coal plant cleans up. Or the owner buys solar panels to recharge it. Or several other methods for generating el., it's not like the Corolla has any other options...

  7. Tesla2Go

    Tesla2Go Member

    Aug 19, 2006
    It's an interesting study but I wonder how the comparison would change if we take into account the energy necessary to produce and maintain an ICE vs BEV vehicle throughout it's lifetime. All the parts needed for an ICE engine vs an electric motor, oil changes, oil-air filters, spark plugs, belts and various regular maintenance on an ICE could add up.

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