How can electric cars be said to be zero emission vehicles?

27 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи How can electric cars be said to be zero emission vehicles? отключены
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How can electric cars be said to be zero emission vehicles?

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Hey JS, the deferred emissions from electric vehicles is a concern, and one talked about frequently among environmentalists and industry people. This occurs just like you outlined, and electric car not having a tailpipe, but the coal fired power plant where it gets its electricity from does. Any time you plug in an electric car and charge it with a coal plant, you do emit more pollution at the plant, that is a known fact. The good news is that it s also a known quantity. There have been dozens of studies quantifying the Well to Wheel ratio of electric cars.

This refers to how much oil or coal we have to dig up to run that emission free vehicle, versus just putting the oil in the gasoline powered car instead. For the most part, vehicles that are charged using 100% coal fired plants pretty much break even on emissions. But if you factor in natural gas, oil, and yes even renewable sources like hydro wind and solar, the electric car wins hands down.

Gasoline cars today are only about 25% efficient, 75% of the gasolines energy goes out the tailpipe when you drive. Diesel is a little better at 30 to 35%. But if you burn the fossil fuel in a large powerplant, then use the electricity in a 90% efficient electric car (this is typical), even with transmission line losses and such, you generally come out ahead environmentally. There is also the embodied energy problem, which refers to how much energy it takes to mine for metal and other materiels that make up a car.

One of your answers here states it takes more energy to mill out a prius than the amount of energy the car can ever save, and that it s better to drive a Hummer. This is a tale woven by the oil companies, it s been around for years, yet nobody in the industry ever quotes it anymore.

The real benefit comes when you can take a plug in hybrid, or all electric vehicle and plug it into a local renewable source, like a rooftop solar array on your carport. We are in the process now of expanding our existing solar array on our home to accomodate the next vehicle we purchase, which I hope is a plug in hybrid. Just waiting to see what is on the market when the time comes. In this case, the transmission losses are zero, the car emits zero, and so does the solar array. The only energy involved is in actually building the car and the solar panels.

Anyone can do this by the way, many places sell prepackaged solar electric systems that tie straight into your homes existing wiring and assist in making power for your home. In the end a portion of your electricity comes from the sun, and your electric bill is lower. This works whether you have an electric car or not, but if you do, then you truly do have an emission free vehicle.

You will also hear arguments against renewable electric sources like solar and wind because someone read an article that says it takes more power to manufacture a solar panel or wind turbine that the device will generate in its lifetime. First of all, this is not true. The embodied energy in these devices is generally recouped in the first 3 years of their lives. But in reality it doesn t matter.

Stand a solar panel next to a coal fired plant someday and ask yourself which one earns back its embodied energy faster. The answer is the coal plant never does. We forget that when you build a fossil fuel fired plant, no matter how efficiently you build it, it now needs to be fed fuel for the rest of its life, which in converts into electricity at some rate less than 100%.

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In the end it digs itself a deeper and deeper energy hole that it can never crawl out of.

It s good you and other people ask questions like this, its the only way to keep other people in line and help us do the right thing as a society. Keep after it, and take care, Rudydoo


American Wind Energy Association AWEA.ORG

Midwest Renewable Energy Association MREA.ORG

Home Power Magazine,

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