Tag Archives: electric cars

The dirty little secret of electric cars.

The dirty little secret of electric cars.

A 2012 comprehensive life-cycle analysis in Journal of Industrial Ecology shows that almost half the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to produce the car, especially the battery. The mining of lithium, for instance, is a less than green activity. By contrast, the manufacture of a gas-powered car accounts for 17% of its lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions. When an electric car rolls off the production line, it has already been responsible for 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission. The amount for making a conventional car: 14,000 pounds. …

So unless the electric car is driven a lot, it will never get ahead environmentally. And that turns out to be a challenge. Consider the Nissan Leaf. It has only a 73-mile range per charge. Drivers attempting long road trips, as in one BBC test drive, have reported that recharging takes so long that the average speed is close to six miles per hour—a bit faster than your average jogger.

In other words, government subsidies for electric cars are nothing more than another feel-good program, accomplishing nothing.

The fundamental design flaw of all of Tesla Motors’ electric cars.

The fundamental design flaw of all of Tesla Motors’ electric cars.

A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a “brick”. The parasitic load from the car’s always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery’s charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn’t receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it’s not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.

This problem could destroy the company, which, believe it or not, might actually have a negative effect on the American space program! Elon Musk, the man behind SpaceX and the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon capsule is also the CEO of Tesla. If Tesla goes down, one wonders if that could have an impact on SpaceX’s effort to get Americans into space.

A new study in China has found that electric cars are more harmful to public health per kilometer traveled than conventional vehicles.

Surprise, surprise! A new study in China has found that electric cars are more harmful to public health per kilometer traveled than conventional vehicles.

The problem here isn’t the effort to develop electric cars in the hope they can reduce pollution. The problem is that our government is imposing its preference, prior to anyone finding out if this technology can actually do the job.

A family struggles to complete a Knoxville to Nashville trip using an electric car

An exercise in absurdity: A family struggles to complete the 180 mile trip from Knoxville to Nashville using an electric car.

The Blink fast-charge station was on the blink. Efforts to use the two available plugs yielded nothing for Stephen Smith when he and his family arrived in Lebanon in their electric vehicle.

But all was not lost as the Smiths closed in on their destination – a brother’s house only 22 miles away in Antioch. With ten miles of available power left on their car, they could take advantage of a slower charger next to the other at the Blink station at Cracker Barrel. It took about an hour, but the boost gave enough energy for a total of 30 miles.

They also had to pay attention to whether the route was flat or hilly, as any hills significantly reduced their range of about 75 miles. In addition, they found that even that number was unreliable, and that often the maximum range the car could travel was far less.

Even the fast-charge station still needed about 30 minutes to charge up the car. Imagine having to wait 30 minutes every time you needed to fill up, and imagine having to do it every 70 miles.

There is a reason electric cars can’t compete with gasoline, and this journey illustrates it.

Battery powered Chevy Volt produces more CO2 than an ordinary gasoline engine

The electric-powered Chevy Volt actually produces more CO2 than an ordinary gasoline engine!

I don’t know if the analysis in the above article is completely accurate, but it sure suggests that switching to electric cars over gasoline is not all that it’s cracked up to be, and is probably not a good idea.