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Thread: Are electric cars green?

  1. #1

    Default Are electric cars green?

    Maybe not so much, while electric vehicles emit less co2 directly, if we transitioned fully to them tommorow there would be only a 1.8 percent drop in global greenhouse gas emissions. However, toxicity would increase three times versus gasoline engines due to the manufacturing / heavy metals, per a new study (brief summary and study itself):

    http://www.windpowerengineering.com/...2025-forecast/

    http://www.adlittle.us/uploads/tx_ex...ber_292016.pdf

    Is that worth it for the extra cost? I can't help thinking a cleaner future than robocars and electric, is one with denser smaller footprint cities and much better public transit.
    Last edited by moahunter; 11-12-2016 at 07:54 AM.

  2. #2
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    Fewer cars of any type combined with less driving in general is definitely better than just changing the type of car. It's why policy that discourage consumption is a good idea.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

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    Is it worth the extra cost, nope.

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    ^^^Useful study. Thanks for posting.

    Another consideration for determining life-cycle GHG emissions is net generation by electricity source.

    In Alberta, where 90% of electricity generation is from thermal (mostly coal and natural gas), the life-cycle GHG emissions from electric battery vehicles will be significantly higher in BC where 90% of electricity generation is from hydro.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Fewer cars of any type combined with less driving in general is definitely better than just changing the type of car. It's why policy that discourage consumption is a good idea.
    "Safety Meeting - Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt."


    Anyway, yes. Consume less seems to be the only sure solution until we slowly make some decent transitions. Decommisioning anything before its useful life has run out always presents some new issues ( like landfilling, pre-mature pollution from pre-mature production, etc.)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    ^^^Useful study. Thanks for posting.

    Another consideration for determining life-cycle GHG emissions is net generation by electricity source.

    In Alberta, where 90% of electricity generation is from thermal (mostly coal and natural gas), the life-cycle GHG emissions from electric battery vehicles will be significantly higher in BC where 90% of electricity generation is from hydro.
    But GHG emissions are just one kind of environmental issue.

    e.g. A dam on a river causes a whole other set of environmental issues. Failing to restore rivers to their natural states is also just perpetuating an environmental disaster.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Fewer cars of any type combined with less driving in general is definitely better than just changing the type of car. It's why policy that discourage consumption is a good idea.
    "Safety Meeting - Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt."


    Anyway, yes. Consume less seems to be the only sure solution until we slowly make some decent transitions. Decommisioning anything before its useful life has run out always presents some new issues ( like landfilling, pre-mature pollution from pre-mature production, etc.)
    There are many ways to move that don't burn, or burn less, gas.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Turnbull View Post
    Fewer cars of any type combined with less driving in general is definitely better than just changing the type of car. It's why policy that discourage consumption is a good idea.
    "Safety Meeting - Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt."


    Anyway, yes. Consume less seems to be the only sure solution until we slowly make some decent transitions. Decommisioning anything before its useful life has run out always presents some new issues ( like landfilling, pre-mature pollution from pre-mature production, etc.)
    There are many ways to move that don't burn, or burn less, gas.

    Just kidding around. I've long heard of the rail efficiency example below. However, as for electric cars being green, I don't know if we'll gain much from going electric. Integrated or coordinated self-driving though has a huge potential to smooth out driving, smooth acceleration, find efficient routes, increase car sharing (especially within families), etc.


    One thing I wonder about is the efficiency of commercial vehicles (the one-ton plus trucks). For years if not decades pickup trucks didn't have to meet the pollution standards of cars and I'm not even sure today if say a Ford F250 or 350 is treated the same as an F150 or a Ford Expedition.

    I would guess that even today many larger commercial vehicles get a free pass when it comes to the pollution controls on them. I don't know. However, if that is the case, then the situation is far worse for trucks than per the discussion quoted below, semi's haul freight on highways and then it goes to distribution centres where other smaller delivery trucks disseminate the goods. That process could be causing huge amounts of pollutants to enter the atmosphere unchecked.


    Fuel Efficiency

    Moving freight by rail is 4 times more fuel efficient than moving freight on the highway. Trains can move a ton of freight over 470 miles on a single gallon of fuel. Efficient use of fuel means fewer greenhouse gas emissions for our planet.
    ...

    Calculating Fuel Efficiency

    The ton-mile-per-gallon is a unit of measurement used to describe the efficiency of hauling freight by various modes of transportation.

    The rail industry tracks and reports revenue ton-miles in the “Annual Report to the Surface Transportation Board” (commonly referred to as the R1 Report). The “Ton-Miles of Freight” annual value is reported in Schedule 755, line 110 of the R1 Report. The rail industry also tracks and reports annual fuel usage in the R1 Report, Schedule 750, line 4. These two reported values are used to determine a system-wide train efficiency value.

    For example, in 2015, the CSX ton-miles of freight reported in the R1 Report = 229,562,353,000 ton-miles and the CSX 2015 reported fuel usage = 487,540,790 gallons.

    The 2015 CSX system-wide train efficiency metric equals:

    229,562,353,000 ton-miles / 487,540,790 gallons = 471 ton-miles per gallon.

    In other words CSX trains, on average, can move a ton of freight nearly 500 miles on a gallon of fuel, based on our 2015 revenue ton miles and 2015 fuel use.

    The fuel efficiency for a freight truck can be estimated in a similar way. For example, a heavy-duty diesel truck that hauls 19 tons of freight a distance of 500 miles would consume approximately 71 gallons of diesel fuel. The efficiency of this freight haul would be calculated as:

    (19 tons x 500 miles) / 71 gallons = 134 ton-miles per gallon.

    This efficiency might be stated as “a truck can move a ton of freight 134 miles on a gallon of fuel.”

    Similarly, a typical train might haul 3000 tons of freight 500 miles and consume approximately 3185 gallons of diesel fuel. The efficiency of this freight haul would be calculated as:

    (3000 tons x 500 miles) / (3185 gallons) = 471 ton-miles per gallon.

    This efficiency might be stated as “a train can move a ton of freight 471 miles on a gallon of fuel.”

    In this example, the train is approximately 3.5 times more efficient at hauling freight.

    Additional information about fuel efficiency for various modes can be found on Mother Nature Network.



    https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-...ileFormat=true

    Last edited by KC; 11-12-2016 at 04:45 PM.

  9. #9

    Default An Electric Revolution that never was

    Despite what youíve read, there is no electric car revolution.

    Yes, Iíve seen the headlines. No, Iím not a climate change denier. And, more to the point, I donít have any skin ó shares in traditional automakers, a stake in a GMC dealership, etc. ó in the game. Itís just that, despite all the media hype and predictions of 25 per cent market share right around the corner, there are previous few hard indications that the electric car is ascendant.

    For instance, with all the hype surrounding electric vehicles and the almost steady drumbeat of the incredible success of Tesla, would you care to guess how many purely battery-powered electric vehicles there are in Canada? 50,000? 100,000? 250,000? A million?

    Actually, according to fleetcarma.com, as of December 31, 2016, there were 14,910 battery-powered electric vehicles prowling our highways and byways. Thatís not how many cars Tesla has sold or how many EVs were sold in Canada in 2016, but the number of pure, battery-powered electric cars have been sold since the so-called electric revolution started with the introduction of Teslaís Roadster in 2008.

    To put that in perspective, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, there were 25,226,688 passenger cars and light trucks in operation as of the same date. That means that, despite all the hype of the last five years, EVs still account for just 0.06 percent of the cars on the road today. In other words, one in every 1,700 cars that Canadians drive is powered by solely by electricity. Not quite as rare as henís teeth, but still not common enough ó especially in Saskatchewan where there are only 32, or Newfoundland where there are but six ó to qualify as a revolution.

    ...

    Essentially, what the numbers seem to be telling us is that the number of consumers willing to buy a car simply for its reduced environmental impact has peaked. And poor electric car sales arenít the sole proof that, beyond the early adopters, the entire emissions-reduction movement has stalled, either; SUVs and pickups seem to reach record sales every month. As a result, despite the increase in the number of electrified vehicles on the market and model-by-model improvements in fuel consumption, the average fuel economy of cars sold in the U.S. has declined steadily since 2014.
    http://driving.ca/auto-news/news/mot...that-never-was

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ...And poor electric car sales arenít the sole proof that, beyond the early adopters, the entire emissions-reduction movement has stalled, either; SUVs and pickups seem to reach record sales every month. As a result, despite the increase in the number of electrified vehicles on the market and model-by-model improvements in fuel consumption, the average fuel economy of cars sold in the U.S. has declined steadily since 2014.
    http://driving.ca/auto-news/news/mot...that-never-was
    Vehicle bloat in the USA is more likely a result of poorly designed fuel efficiency standards that allow higher consumption for larger vehicles, measured by footprint. Change the measurement criteria from footprint to passenger, payload and towing capacity and stop considering "trucks" as a separate category than "cars" (with more permissive standards for "trucks") and the bloat will stop. Manufacturers will instead try to put the most capability into the smallest, lightest package possible.

  11. #11

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    ^I don't think so. People feel safer in SUV's, they are easier to drive as better visibility, they more comfortable, and can hold more people (i.e. have minivans for large families - an Explorer seats 8 ). Even police forces love them. And, you are actually safer in them now, unless you have a truck based one. Its not just North America either, all throughout asia where fuel economy standards are different, modern SUV's are starting to dominate the roads.

    The electric revolution just isn't going to happen on mass anytime soon - it will pick up some niche markets like sport sedans (tesla x versus BMW 3), and eco nuts / urban hipsters, but that's not where most families are today.
    Last edited by moahunter; 10-03-2017 at 11:32 AM.

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    The fact is, at this time, there's still no mass market, full electrics that can compete with every day gasoline cars on features, price, and so on. The Leaf has massive limitations and is also incredibly ugly. Same goes with others like the Bolt and i3. No question that the technology is still not quite ready for prime time. But it keeps getting closer and closer, and once the inflection point is hit where a fully featured electric car is cost competitive with a gasoline/diesel car, electric vehicle adoption will substantially increase. That might still be another 5-10 years away. Or it might be just around the corner. It's going to be very interesting to see how the Model 3 rollout goes, and whether Tesla can scale up enough to meet it's target of selling hundreds of thousands a year.

    I like how the author complete and totally ignores the impact of fuel prices in his analysis. I mean, he almost gets there:

    As a result, despite the increase in the number of electrified vehicles on the market and model-by-model improvements in fuel consumption, the average fuel economy of cars sold in the U.S. has declined steadily since 2014.
    Hmm, I wonder what's happened since 2014 that would impact consumer's purchasing decisions, the overall fleet mix between smaller cars and larger SUV's/pickups, and therefore the fleet's average fuel economy? I mean, it's like the cost of oil and therefore gasoline have cratered since then and especially in the US, right? That couldn't possibly be a factor, right?

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