GM Volt Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read an article from Forbes (online) 'Are EV's really that polluting ? Not particularly, but debate has erupted lately that maybe they are.' end of quote.

I am not really a numbers guy, but according to this article, the EPA vehicle emission is 8887 grams of CO2 per gallon of gas. So, I took an average ICE vehicle on the road that gets 30 mpg, it will burn around 11849 grams of CO2 for 40 miles.

Then the article goes on with an EV that can go 40 miles on 10 KWhrs ' Producing the equivalent of 10 kWhrs of electricity, including the total life-cycle from mining, construction, transport and burning, emits about 9,750 g of CO2 when generated in a coal-fired power plant, 6,000 g when generated in a natural gas plant, 900g from a hydroelectric plant, 550 g from solar, but only 150 g each from wind and nuclear (UK Office of Science and Technology 2006).' end of quote

Now, like I said .. I am not really a numbers guy, but the EV numbers are much lower no matter how you look at it. And then I realized, when they did the estimate on the gas burning emissions, they didn't figure in the mining, refining, construction and transporting costs for the gas, only the vehicle usage ,,, but they figured all the expenses to make the electricy for the EV !!

Those cads.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,634 Posts
I just read an article from Forbes (online) 'Are EV's really that polluting ? Not particularly, but debate has erupted lately that maybe they are.' end of quote.

I am not really a numbers guy, but according to this article, the EPA vehicle emission is 8887 grams of CO2 per gallon of gas. So, I took an average ICE vehicle on the road that gets 30 mpg, it will burn around 11849 grams of CO2 for 40 miles.

Then the article goes on with an EV that can go 40 miles on 10 KWhrs ' Producing the equivalent of 10 kWhrs of electricity, including the total life-cycle from mining, construction, transport and burning, emits about 9,750 g of CO2 when generated in a coal-fired power plant, 6,000 g when generated in a natural gas plant, 900g from a hydroelectric plant, 550 g from solar, but only 150 g each from wind and nuclear (UK Office of Science and Technology 2006).' end of quote

Now, like I said .. I am not really a numbers guy, but the EV numbers are much lower no matter how you look at it. And then I realized, when they did the estimate on the gas burning emissions, they didn't figure in the mining, refining, construction and transporting costs for the gas, only the vehicle usage ,,, but they figured all the expenses to make the electricy for the EV !!

Those cads.
Do you have a link to the article?

I agree, if you include transport costs for coal, you need to include them for gas. What is fair though is to compute coal plant efficiency for electricity generation. I.e., me running an EV does directly cause more coal to be burned to produce that electricity. In my area I have (http://iowa.sierraclub.org/energy/coalstatus.pdf):
62% Coal
25% Wind
8% nuclear

However, they also need to include charging losses. The utility has to generate 13 or 14 kWh to charge my 10 kWh battery. So if running pure coal (common value is 900 grams per kWh, from http://blueskymodel.org/kilowatt-hour) I would get about 12,000 grams per charge if I say 13.5 kWh to charge my Volt, and a charge is about equal to 1 gallon of gas, so honestly about the same CO2 output as burning gas.

I am only 62% coal, so I do a little better than gasoline for CO2 output. The point to consider though is that most utilities are going away from coal to natural gas and other more efficient (CO2 per kWh) methods of generating electricity, so my Volt will keep getting better over its life.

Also, EVs are very low noise and local emissions are nothing, so they keep urban areas clear of unhealthy smog (unless they get power from coal plant in city). I think it is fair to say that many EV owners falsely assume that they no longer contribute CO2 because they don't emit any out the tail pipe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,650 Posts
The point to consider though is that most utilities are going away from coal to natural gas and other more efficient (CO2 per kWh) methods of generating electricity, so my Volt will keep getting better over its life.

Also, EVs are very low noise and local emissions are nothing, so they keep urban areas clear of unhealthy smog (unless they get power from coal plant in city).
THIS! Many comparisons of EVs with ICEs are not only biased, but shortsighted. The grid is getting cleaner, and there is at least some value to creating the more toxic emissions away from population centers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
THIS! Many comparisons of EVs with ICEs are not only biased, but shortsighted. The grid is getting cleaner, and there is at least some value to creating the more toxic emissions away from population centers.
I pay for 100% wind. Yes, I understand that not every electron that goes into my car came from a wind turbine, unless I have my own solar panels or wind turbine connected to my house, the energy delivered to your home will always be a mix
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
I could charge mine from the sun if I desired, can one do that with an ICE? didn't think so.
Not to mention the politics of our oil producing neighbors. I remember 3 years ago when there was
all the sabre rattling over Venezula, but no mention of eliminating them from our oil supply line.
In fact I think they even set up a charity to help out people in the new england states!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Getting some of the gasoline tanker trucks off the road is a very worthwhile benefit of EV ownership! They are rolling bombs that sometimes go off when their drivers fall asleep at the wheel and crash! Seen it happen way too much here in Southern California.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Not to mention that most EV's charge at night when most electricity plants are running just because they have to run at a minimum state for efficiency. EV's using that "surplus" electricity are therefore not contributing to CO2 usage that would not already be created.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
Do you have a link to the article?

... However, they also need to include charging losses.
I agree a link to the methodology would be helpful, but why do you assume the charging losses are not already in there? Think about it, who knows both how much energy is generated and how much fuel was burned to get that? The generating company that has to file emissions reports. Who knows how much was actually consumed? The billing company (in Texas they are very seldom the same).

It is easy to have all generation rolled into the one model, but very hard to have consumption tied to generated emissions and merge multiple (hundreds?) of models. My bet is: it is already in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Don't forget to include the externalities such as military engagement in the middle east. You need to allocate the cost of Middle East operations in your CO2 and gasoline costs. By the way, oil is need for the production of plastic and drugs an lots of other things for which there is currently no substitute. I'd rather save a gallon a day and have oil allocated to other uses for which there is currently no substitute. Burning gas just to commute is one of the most pointless things anyone can do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,782 Posts
Measuring CO2 (a naturally-occurring gas) is missing the point. Pollution from all the other noxious complex molecules from burning gasoline in an ICE is way more problematic.

People will come around to the simplicity of an EV eventually. Electrification of the fleet is pretty much inevitable now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,200 Posts
My EV charges at night for the most part, when demand is very low. I don't get much of my energy from COAL but if I did, it would be surplus COAL energy that would otherwise be utilized by the COAL power plant to pump water or store in some other inefficient storage format because COAL plants can not be dialed up and down significantly on a nightly basis. Even during low demand (night), the COAL plant needs to run at a certain level to ensure it is operational. But whatever the case, even when using pure COAL based energy from a coal plant, the amount of pollution caused by EVs is lower to Gasoline cars - even Gasoline cars that get 40+mpg pollute more - and what more, they pollute in the middle of an urban area where you and I breathe and live. COAL plants take the pollution away from Urban areas. Also, COAL plants are slowly going down in the energy mix. They now provide less than 37% of all US electricity. Besides that, operating an EV gives you a choice of sourcing your electric power. If you are so inclined, you can generate your own electricity from wind and solar. You can also pay your utility company to match your consumption with wind and solar energy. Electricity will always get cleaner but gasoline is gasoline. It burns and it pollutes. And lets not even talk about sourcing, transporting, refining and delivering gasoline to the car - that process alone consumes enough energy to run an electric car for dozens of miles!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Rusty, I hope someday that I have cost effective solar cells on my roof & my own wind mill providing more power than I need - putting the extra power BACK in the grid for credit. If we could defeat the oil control on this economy it could be NOW! If you take all the oil in the world & put it in a bucket when that bucket is EMPTY there will NEVER be anymore oil for millions of years. We are draining the bucket! We have taken billions of barrels of oil out of the earth & we are changing the climate because of it. Oil retains heat in the ground compared to the water & air that replaces it when we pump it out. The jet streams blow over the land or oceans that once contained a constant temperature caused by oil & now fluctuate WILDLY causing storms like we have never seen. Just take the insulation out of your home & see what happens to you in the summer & winter. We have taken & continue to take the "insulation" out of our home called EARTH!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,942 Posts
As long as the Earth makes it another 40 years or so years I'm good.


Once I'm dead, its not my concern anymore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,684 Posts
Now, like I said .. I am not really a numbers guy, but the EV numbers are much lower no matter how you look at it. And then I realized, when they did the estimate on the gas burning emissions, they didn't figure in the mining, refining, construction and transporting costs for the gas, only the vehicle usage ,,, but they figured all the expenses to make the electricy for the EV !!

Those cads.
They also fail to recognize the reality of how power plants operate - that nighttime demand drops way down below the power generated which ends up creating a surplus of power - and they fail to factor into their equations how much of EV battery charging taps into that already generated surplus of power.

Had they done that, their tune would have changed from 'EVs pollute' to 'EVs contribute to more efficient production of power'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Do you have a link to the article?

Viking79

I found the link it is :
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/07/21/are-electric-cars-really-that-polluting/

They figure the average ICE vehicle gets 40 mpg when then did their math. I figured 30 mpg and after researching the internet, I found : The average fuel economy for all cars on the road in the US is 24.6 mpg., so their figures for ICE output will be almost double their figures for 40 mpg.

Those cads.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
Do you have a link to the article?

Viking79

I found the link it is :
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/07/21/are-electric-cars-really-that-polluting/

They figure the average ICE vehicle gets 40 mpg when then did their math. I figured 30 mpg and after researching the internet, I found : The average fuel economy for all cars on the road in the US is 24.6 mpg., so their figures for ICE output will be almost double their figures for 40 mpg.

Those cads.
That makes them more honest than a lot of folks in the media, though - most of the comparisons are done against a Toyota Prius (aka the best possible gas car,) with no mention of fleet averages or typical pickup trucks or SUVs.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top