Author Claims Electric Vehicles Are a Green Illusion Autopia Wired com

26 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Author Claims Electric Vehicles Are a Green Illusion Autopia Wired com отключены
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Author Claims Electric Are a Green Illusion

Image: The of Nebraska Press

To hear and environmentalists tell it, electric (EVs) are the greenest and cleanest to personal mobility. But in his book Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Energy and the Future of Environmentalism . Ozzie Zehner argues EVs are more symbolism and marketing environmental and fossil-fuel saviors. And in cases, EVs are actually worse for the than traditional gas-powered

To prove this, Zehner, a scholar at UC Berkeley, points to he views as the fuel-inefficient process of EVs, and claims that don’t make a big difference in emissions. He also contends electric cars won’t the U.S. against future oil fluctuations, as many claim, and it’s a fallacy that for EVs will fall as the technology He also maligns tax subsidies and spending that support EV as misguided.

But two well-respected alternative reporters take issue most of Zehner’s and the book’s against EVs.

Although an Zehner has deep Detroit-area roots. He attended Kettering (née General Motors in Flint and then worked for GM for years, along with a in advanced vehicle development at the Opel division in Europe for years. Originally from Zehner completed grad at the University of Amsterdam, where he the sociology of science and technology. “My was looking at how technologies are taken up in their benefits, limitations and consequences,” he says. “But have always remained a big of mine.”

Image: The University of Nebraska

The main focus of the automotive of the book is to shift attention from the amount of fuel to power EVs once they’re on the to what’s required to manufacture Zehner maintains that the of EVs negates their environmental particularly the mining and processing of the aluminum and rare earth used to construct the car. of those are very energy-intensive,” told Wired. “So it ends up a lot of fossil fuel to build an car.”

To support his point, notes that a National of Sciences study found roughly half of the energy over the lifespan of a car is expended its production, and that fuel while driving one of the biggest environmental advantages of EVs is the only of the equation. “A lot of studies concentrate on or not it’s better to use gasoline or electric vehicles,” Zehner “But when you look at the fuel cycle from a car to disposing of it NAS concluded that the damage from electric is actually greater than from gasoline vehicles of manufacturing. Sixty percent of the input comes from the he adds, and that’s where going see the larger trade-off using gasoline and other of [fuel].

But Nick Chambers. who has written EVs for outlets ranging from The New Times to asserts Zehner’s claim that EVs are more energy intensive to is “ridiculous,” and that estimates on how energy is consumed in their are dubious at best.

“The intensity for manufacturing anything like an automobile electric or not be very high,” he says. “If EVs and conventional cars are equally intensive during construction and are from the same point at the of delivery. Because of this, the energy usage numbers matter in terms of comparison are happens after delivery of car and that’s where EVs win.”

Green Illusions also to dispel what Zehner is a common misconception that vehicles are more expensive they represent cutting-edge “There’s an impression that advancement will lower in the future, and I would expect vehicles to go down in cost in the as well,” Zehner says. I’m not sure how large those will be because there’s been a lot of research into technologies, and the motors are already efficient and they’ve been for quite some time in industries. But you still don’t get from the fact that you to use copper and aluminum in the chassis, and rare earth metals in the There’s no substitution at this or even on the horizon for any of those

Chambers says Zehner s of the initial R D costs for EV production a major point. “Most place the cost of the battery in an EV like the Nisan Leaf at 45 percent of the entire cost of the he says. “If the cost of that can be brought down by even 10 the cost of the vehicle changes by 5 percent – a number most would kill to be able to Try getting those kinds of in a conventional combustion vehicle. You because the materials sourcing and of the engine and entire drivetrain are to being fully optimized at point. Barring some of incredible leap in manufacturing the cost of construction of conventional has essentially plateaued.”

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John . editor of saying that “in general, the industry is exceptionally good at cost out of complex, high-quality devices produced in volume. The will apply to plug-ins.”

It s not as grim as some would you believe.


Chambers that if Zehner was correct, the of the battery packs wouldn’t dropped so dramatically. “A few years EV batteries were costing $900 per kilowatt-hour,” he says. they are around $400.” by numerous analysts have cost reduced to about per kilowatt-hour by 2015, notes “So we’ve already seen the drop by more than 50 in the last few years and, if hold true, we’ll see a 70 drop by 2015. If, as Zehner batteries cost so much of their fossil fuel construction, how can they drop in so quickly even as the cost of oil has

Chambers also points out Secretary of Energy Steven Chu claimed that an electric car cost $25,000 in 10 years .

Voelker adds that electric-motor improvements will slowly, batteries for EVs are by far the biggest “Auto-scale lithium-ion cells fall at about 7 percent but not in linear fashion,” he says. doesn t help this but 10 years hence it puts you in interesting places.”

Regarding contention about the environmental and costs of EV manufacturing, points out there are two types of electric – one uses rare-earth metals and one not. “There is a great of research going into in general, particularly in the [non-rare-earth] he says. “It s not quite as grim as would have you believe.”

In Green Illusions Zehner points to the public funding of EVs in of government subsidies, tax incentives and calling them wasteful. taxpayers as well as those in countries give these priority parking, special lanes and rebates even there’s no evidence they’ve anything positive for the environment in he says. Zehner acknowledges EVs do help reduce air pollution in areas. “But not very he adds, “because you need a lot of to create much of an impact.”

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