Almost Friday Funny – Tesla is apparently recharging 'emissions free' electric cars with a diesel generator

Bishop Hill points us to this video of the Tesla Supercharging station at the Harris Ranch exit of Interstate 5 in California. He writes: “How can one resist posting a video of Tesla electric cars being recharged (so it is claimed) using a diesel generator? These people love the environment you see.”

The video shows a portable diesel generator next to the charging station and some Tesla automobiles. Watch this short video:

The video is captioned: Teslas charging off a diesel generator behind the Harris Ranch battery swap station. Filmed by Edward Niedermeyer on 5/22/2015 at Harris Ranch, CA as part of Daily Kanban’s investigation into Tesla’s battery swap program.

At first I thought maybe this was simply a backup generator for power outages, then I dug deeper. It seems the charging station is a converted car wash at the Shell gas station there. It turns out that it is not just a charging station, but also a battery swap station, part of  Tesla’s much touted battery swap program. What I learned was that there were pictures showing how the station works, taken during construction, here are a couple:

Tesla-Battery-Swap-Harris-Ranch-1[1]
Note the exit:
Tesla-Battery-Swap-Harris-Ranch-6[1]Source:http://www.teslarati.com/peek-teslas-battery-swap-station-harris-ranch/
From the article:
Tesla has approximated each battery swap to take on average of 3 minutes through the use of robots and pneumatics.
The construction eliminated the smaller door, replacing it with a vent, making the larger door the exit for the battery swap program..[Upon further inspection, the roll-up door may remain. I can’t tell for certain. This may be simply a change in lighting between photos that make the door appear darker in one photo.]
Now, it occurs to me that if the battery swap station were working as advertised, it would not be a diesel generator blocking the exit door as shown below:
harris-ranch-diesel-teslaSo much for “emissions free” driving.
UPDATE:

Tesla Battery Swap Unused Over Busy Holiday Weekend

Timelapse footage of Tesla’s battery swap station not being used during the busiest driving holiday of the year. Also visible: two backup Superchargers hooked up to a Doosan diesel generator. Filmed by Edward Niedermeyer at Harris Ranch, CA on Saturday, May 23 2015 as part of Daily Kanban’s investigation of Tesla’s battery swap program.

In response to a wide range of questions about Tesla’s battery swap program, raised primarily by Alberto Zaragoza Comendador of the blog Doubting Is Thinking, Daily Kanban has conducted an online and on-the-ground inquiry into Tesla’s battery swap program that failed to alleviate our concerns that the electric car maker’s battery swap capability exist largely as a way to maximize California ZEV credit revenue.  A four-day investigation of Tesla’s only battery swap station over the Memorial Day weekend revealed no evidence that the station is actually being used to swap customer batteries. Though our investigation did not conclusively prove that the station is not being used at all, it is yet another data point in a large and growing body of evidence indicating that Tesla is not serious about deploying battery swap as a viable option for customers. More here: http://dailykanban.com/2015/05/tesla-battery-swap-unused-over-busy-holiday-weekend/
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Jquip

Bonus points to the driver that pulls in and says to the attendant: “Fill her up.”

It is travesty to call ‘Tesla’ car powered by batteries.
Nikola Tesla was the inventor of the AC (alternative current) electric generators and motors, among number of other electric devices.
Perhaps Volta (Alexandro was the inventor of electric battery) would have been more appropriate.

Chevy already uses it. The Volt

YEP

A little attention to spelling/reminology would not be amiss. It’s Nicola Tesla, alternating current and Alessandro Volta.

YEP

Oops this is embarrassing. Should be terminology…

YEP hi
As it happens I do come from the same part of the world as NIKOLA Tesla (we share same mother tongue) so I should know how to spell his name.
Nikola Tesla (Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Тесла; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943)
For Alessandro I do apologise to all Italian speaking readers (a Freudian slip, my father’s name was Alex)

Menicholas

Tesla was THE MAN.
It would be difficult to overstate how far ahead of everyone else he was.
Even to today his achievements are mind boggling.

george e. smith

Well notice that it is only Tesla Model S cars that are being Dieselized.
The Harris ranch Dieselarium doesn’t charge Tesla Roadsters; something to do with a plug compatibility problem, I think. I believe that Harris can’t do six Teslas at a time.
There’s enough gas pumps at Harris Ranch to do a good number of Detroitosaurus Maximus vehicles.
G

Well to be fair the Tesla Model S is powered by 3 phase AC induction motors. The DC current from the batteries is sent through a power inverter to AC current. So, since it actually is running AC current it is appropriate to name it after Tesla.

Wayneco

It’s not a travesty to call the car Tesla, simply because it has batteries. It is a car with an electric drivetrain. The car also produces AC electricity and that power source drives a 480 volt 3-phase AC motor which is what propels the car. The batteries are actually inconsequential, whatever could store and make 480 volts of AC or DC could power that car and I’m sure the moment that there is a suitable replacement technology the company would explore using those other sources of electricity at that time.

beng135

Not quite as bad as running generator-powered spotlights to “power” solar panels at nite (Spain), but close.

menicholas

What?!?!
Seriously?

urederra

Close but no. They were selling electricity produced by diesel generators as if it was prodruced by solar panels. It was “profitable” because solar energy was (and maybe it still is) heavily subsidized. They were caught because they were doing it at night.
At least that is how I remember that piece of news, it must be an article at WUWT somewhere.

spew.normal

I don’t know about Spain but I remember someone got caught doing this in germany.

I recalled Germany too, but perhaps it was just the translation of a German article.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/13/the-insanity-of-greenery/
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/13/its-true.html

After press reports, it was established during inspections that several solar power plants were generating current and feeding it into the net at night. To simulate a larger installation capacity, the operators connected diesel generators.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said one industry expert to the newspaper “El Mundo”, which brought the scandal to light. If solar systems apparently produce current in the dark, will be noticed sooner or later. However, if electricity generators were connected during daytime, the swindle would hardly be noticed.

Just an engineer
old44

The Italians were caught using off-peak mains power to run spotlights at night for solar panels.

johnmarshall

Not quite true. The diesel generators were wired directly into the grid. No need for lights. They were discovered by a sharp eyed government employee who noticed the subsidy claims for generating power at night!

Resourceguy

We also need a project to audit green buildings at state and federal EPA offices that use diesel generators outside to offset the inefficiencies from overuse of glass in the design. The LEED building design scam is another one of those 2x cost systems with unaudited savings.

old construction worker

I’ve been wondering about efficiencies the solar panels installed on the roof of one of our schools. I believe it was installed 4 years ago and I would like to know if the system has meet the goals set by the manufacture plus the maintenance cost. I believe it’s time to visit the school board and town council

Resourceguy

There is a big difference between silicon PV efficiency rated and effective in the field experience. I’m sure this must be adjusted for by the large sophisticated clients in utility scale projects, but I’m not so sure in local green appearance management cases on rooftops and even Solar City deals where mining tax credits comes ahead of details such as that. For those that really want to know, there is a sizable efficiency loss from high heat (rooftop) settings and cloudy days in silicon-based panels. Thin film solar is not as bad.

Walt D.

If you live in the LA area and charge overnight, in some areas, your electricity will be coming from the Inter Mountain Coal Plant in Utah. If this is the case they should give you a bumper sticker -“Tesla – the first vehicle to run on coal since the steam engine!”

James at 48

Electric cars and “perpetual motions machines” … not much difference between the two. Both need to cheat.

pls

Nowhere near that simple. Electricity for LA comes from the Inter Mountain Coal Plan, as you mention. Also form the coal plants at Four Corners and Page, Arizona; from the nuclear generating station at Palo Verde, AZ; from a whole bunch of bunch of natural gas plants in the Palo Verde area and scattered all about California; from hydroelectric at Glen Canyon and Boulder dams; from hydroelectric from a bunch of dams on the Columbia River (see Pacific AC and DC Intertie); and from many other sources.

Steve W

Looks like a temporary solution to me. It looks like at least three Tesla owners were not inconvenienced when getting free charges. Oh the humanity.

MarkW

The point is that those supposedly zero emissions vehicles are being charged via one of the dirtiest, least efficient sources of power around.
The point is the hypocrisy of it all. Something you worked VERY hard to miss. Again.

Michael

I think I need to disagree about dirtiest and least efficient. Diesel cars tend to get about 40% better mpg than their gas counterpart, and even though it takes a bit more crude oil to make the new Diesel fuel, it produces about the same emissions per gallon as gasoline, however when you look at the MPG between the two, Diesel still comes out on top.
There was a time when you would have been correct hands down, but with all the advances made in the last decade it’s the other way around now.

Ben of Houston

Except a non-road diesel generator is far more polluting than the equivalent car, and the indirect generation of electricity then electric motor causes more losses.
Diesel can be most efficient, but this way is shooting diesel in the foot.

MarkW

Michael, I’m comparing forms of electricity generation.

tty

Actually a good Diesel generator is about 40% effective in converting chemical energy to electricity. This is about the same as a modern coal-fired plant. The only fossil-fueled system that is actually better than that is a CCGT plant which can reach 60%.
Of course a small portable generator like this will be less efficient, and there will be further losses through conversion to DC and battery charging, so very likely those Teslas being charged would generate less CO2 if they had diesel engines.

graphicconception

Diesel really is “dirtier” than petrol. This is not so much the CO2 emissions but all the other ones even in spite of the better mileage the cars get. This is why London and Paris are considering banning them. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/11280067/London-will-follow-Paris-and-ban-diesel-cars-campaigners-warn.html Persuading people to buy Diesel cars instead of petrol ones was just another of the poor decisions made by the environmentalists.

Peter

Recently I was thoroughly recounting it. Diesel might be 15% more efficient than equivalent Petrol engine. Rest of “efficiency” comes from higher energy density of diesel fuel. But diesel car is also 13% more heavy than its petrol counterpart. You can not overcome physics and kinetic energy counts as 1/2mv^2. So in reality overall efficiency advantage of diesel car shrinks to ~6%. Boom of diesel cars in Europe is caused only by bending free market by subsidizing price of diesel, where diesel is around 24% cheaper per kWh of stored energy than petrol.

Leonard Lane

Regardless of which fossil fuel is being used the point is that electric vehicles are not emission free. They cause emissions when they are build, they run on fossil-fuel generated power, and the conversion from fossil fuel, to electricity, to battery charging/discharging to run the things. If you look at the pounds of fossil fuel used per mile to power electric vehicles you will find they are not only causing lots of fossil fuel emissions, they are probably generating more fossil fuel per mile than many gasoline powered vehicles. A scam all the way around.

Jake J

Regardless of which fossil fuel is being used the point is that electric vehicles are not emission free.
I regard this as a straw man. EVs are emission-free from the car itself in operation, but I don’t think anyone tries to argue that they are emission-free on a lifecycle basis.
they are probably generating more fossil fuel per mile than many gasoline powered vehicles.
What does that even mean?

Crispin in Waterloo

Good quality gasoline has slightly more energy per kg that diesel.
http://www.appropedia.org/Energy_content_of_fuels
Diesel engines are inherently more efficient than gasoline engines because they run at a higher pressure. These days in the interest of higher mileage, gasoline engines are running very high compression ratios compared with decades past.
Gasohol, now that’s an energy-weak fuel. 10% ethanol gasoline has about 17% less energy in a kilogram but only 7% less per litre. Put that in your tailpipe and smoke it. Ethanol is subsidised in order to cut everyone’s fuel mileage by 7%. So they are turning diesel (tractors) plus fertilisers (natural gas) into corn and coal (processing electricity) to turn corn into ethanol to mix with gasoline to transport by diesel truck in order to reduce the energy available per purchasing $. That is a climate science-worthy formula.

Menicholas

Yes, indeed Mr. Crispin, but you forgot to mention the real kick in the teeth to us all…virtually doubling food prices while accomplishing all of the above!
Which led to unrest in several global hot spots, may well have caused the uprisings that eventually became The Arab Spring…and all that those events have entailed.
And do you hear anyone calling for an end to this fiasco?
We are living in a world gone plumb insane.

Björn from sweden

Im not sure everyone who buys a Tesla does so for zero emissions bragging rights.
0-60 mph under 4 seconds is enough to make me interested. And I imagine it is a very smooth and comfy ride in a Tesla, all electric.

J Martin

I reliably get 55 mpg (US) 67 mpg (UK) from my diesel car, the highest I’ve seen is 66mpg US, 79mpg UK. I don’t do much town or city driving when mpg drops to 55 UK or 46 US. The car is a mid size family car Skoda Octavia Greenline diesel. I have done 19000 miles so far so if the engine hasn’t fully run in yet then I may yet better these mpg figures.

Alx

Righto Steve.
But having minimum wage workers shovel coal into the trunk of the Teslas and then charging station robots pulling the coal from the Teslas trunk and burning it would be more efficient and cleaner process than running a diesel generator.
By the way Steve where are the solar panels charging these elitist toys? Who knows maybe elitists also like to drive at night.

Bruce Cobb

Tesla puts the $green in $greenwashing.

And about all of the “free” charging stations… who pays for that electricity?
Just sayin…

Michael

More importantly, something that EVERYONE seems to overlook, Where does the electricity come from period! There is ALWAYS a fuel source of some sort making the electricity to charge “Electric” cars. It isn’t doing ANYTHING but making those that buy them feel good about themselves.

VikingExplorer

It’s never been overlooked.

Alx

It’s never been overlooked? Maybe you could provide sales literature or marketing materials that point out the electric cars dependence on fossil fuels.

VikingExplorer

Would you also expect regular car salesmen to tell buyers, oh btw, in full disclosure, some parts of the car were made with slave labor?
So, why would any salesperson in the right mind give the buyer any reason not to buy the car?
Otherwise, anyone who isn’t a complete idiot has known all along what kind of sources are behind the power grid.

Gary Hladik

VikingExplorer, what about the other half of the population? 🙂

Viking,
I have encountered people who don’t think that electric cars rely on fossil fuel power plants. Never assume that most people stop and think before forming opinions.
Aside from recharging with solar or wind power, which have their own environmental costs, the only advantage of electric cars is in concentrating their power generation into large point sources, more controllable than numerous little fossil fuel engines.

MarkW

There’s a reason why they decided to call these things Zero Emissions vehicles.
Of course the whole issue of where the electricity was coming from was over looked. That was on purpose.

LordCaledus

People always forget that batteries are not a power source, they are a form of power storage, and that electricity is not a power source either, but rather a way of TRANSFERRING power.

I should have mentioned hydro, which also of course entails environmental costs. Power is cheap here in the PNW thanks to the dams that “enviromentalists”, including the disgraced ex-governor of Oregon, want to breach.

Jake J

Power is cheap here in the PNW thanks to the dams that “enviromentalists”, including the disgraced ex-governor of Oregon, want to breach.
I am in no way approving of the clowns in political power in the Pacific NW, but in the interest of factuality regardless of where the chips might fall, there are a lot of dams in Oregon that are nearing the end of their useful lives and might be better off removed than rebuilt. Mind you, I’m not talking about the big ones on the Columbia or the Snake.

Menicholas

There are a great many low information types running around. And the degree to which they are ignorant of stuff that people involved in this conversation would consider “common knowledge”, is truly shocking.
And I am not even talking about dropouts and slackers…I mean regular working folks. A lot of them simply pay not a bit of attention to technical information.
This is why there is one button on an iPhone, and computers have to be set up to be turn on and go.

Crispin in Waterloo

Sturgishooper
“Never assume that most people stop and think before forming opinions.”
The same people think milk comes from a store and Bessie the Cow is not the real source of chopped liver.

Bruce Cobb

My guess is they need it for 3-phase power.

menicholas

3 phase for charging a battery?
Did someone invent a three pole battery?

MarkW

3-phase gets converted to DC. You can do the conversion more easily with less filtering using a 3-phase source.

It would be interesting if residential homes had three phase power at the wall outlets. A lot of electronics, especially a couple decades ago, could work quite nicely. Electric motors could put out steady torque, so things like circulation pumps might not need energy absorbing mounts, etc.

Ian Macdonald

“Electric motors could put out steady torque [on 3-phase supply]”
Actually, that technology is rather outdated. Brushless DC motors are more efficient, have a much higher power to weight ratio, cannot be burned-out by undervoltage, need no special starting gear, and can run at variable speeds.

Jeff

I can see it now – “plus”, “minus”, and “maybe”… Sure would make connecting and using
batteries a bit more interesting 🙂

Menicholas

Too bad Tesla went broke and died before he could invent the three phase AC battery.
🙂
Actually, I have wondered how long it would have taken for someone else to invent the things he invented.
Maybe not even yet.

vboring

They’re probably just waiting for the utility to upgrade their service. Each 120kW supercharger load at three phase 12.47kV is only 5 amps, but it’s possible that the distribution feeder was already near capacity.
No overhead distribution lines means the area is served by underground cables, which can take a long time to replace. If the area is served by a radial line, the utility will have to first build an alternate feed, then replace the cables. If permits are involved, this sort of thing can take many months.
Obviously, nobody wants to use a diesel generator to charge an electric vehicle.

240V is what’s needed; this is simply a way to keep Telsa owners “happy”–since Telsa lacks the ethics to explain this, along with their vehicles short range ( not a touring car ).

LeeHarvey

While I can’t argue with your analysis, the real answer is a lot simpler.
These cars are at the overflow area for the regular Supercharger across the street. Tesla anticipated extra demand on the holiday weekend, so they brought in the temporary Supercharger units and the generator.

Jake J

I am the owner of an electric car — not a Tesla — and a diesel pickup truck. I’ve been to that Harris Ranch station in pickup truck mode, i.e. when gassing up the truck. I chuckled at the picture, especially the diesel generator. But I think Lee Harvey is right about the generators being temporary for the holiday overflow crowd.
By the way, my ownership of an EV is just for the hell of it. There are pluses and minuses to EVs, but at the moment I don’t think they are ready for the mainstream.

Alx

Maybe it’s obvious no one want to use a diesel generator to charge an electric vehicle.
Whether short term, long term, for the holiday rush, don’t know and doesn’t matter because obviously electric car owners are in fact using diesel generators to charge their electric vehicles.
Making it even more obvious the dependence of electric cars on fossil fuels generating just over 70% of electricity and nuclear power 20%. Wind is about 4.5% and solar a rounding error.
There is a good reason why there were no solar panels near these stations.

Jake J

Musk’s claim that the so-called “superchargers” are solar powered is one more bit of egregious b.s. from a guy who specializes in it.

Richard G

“Obviously, nobody wants to use a diesel generator to charge an electric vehicle”
But yet that’s exactly what their doing.

Lee . If that’s the case it is an unconscionable omission in the report .

Billy Liar

If the Tesla towed the diesel generator it wouldn’t need to stop would it?

Menicholas

“If the Tesla towed the diesel generator it wouldn’t need to stop would it?”
GENIUS! Call the patent lawyers!
Of course, you would need to also tow a fuel tank full of diesel fuel for the generator.
🙂

LeeHarvey

@Bob –
I think ‘unconscionable’ might be a tad dramatic. Like it said in the commentary which was (I believe) added by Mr. Watts – the real story is why the swap station was not operating during a heavy travel weekend.

urederra

I wonder how much energy is lost in the process.

menicholas

Plenty

According to Christopher Booker in the “Sunday Telegraph” here in UK when we have our country totally reliant on renewable energy, our backup for when the wind doesn’t blow at the right speed and/or the sun doesn’t shine is going to be diesel generators. As a wrote in an earlier post diesel engines emit carcinogenic particles.
You really couldn’t make this stuff up!!

menicholas

Most often gas turbines are used.
Is deisel cheaper than natty over there, on a btu basis?

Ian W

Actually no in this case gas turbines will not be used. There are fields of diesel generators for the Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) system, apparently any company or facility with diesel back up is included. When (not if) the UK power generation capacity is insufficient STOR fields of diesels will be used to supply on-demand power. Also companies that are heavy power users would be shut down.
Gas turbines are probably cheaper and more reliable and less polluting, but this was put in place by the Department of Energy and Climate Change by Edward Davey one time MP. – so do not expect any logic in the system.
https://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/stor-are-even-higher-diesel-generator-costs-just-over-the-horizon-for-energy-customers/

MarkW

I read somewhere that gas turbines take longer to start and get up to speed.

Silver ralph

Ian.
The STOR diesels are cheaper than jet engines. Much cheaper, especially when the asset sits doing nothing all day or all week. However, the owners still end up getting paid, whether they generate or not – which is why so many companies are jumping on this new gravy-train.
R

Menicholas

Mark,
Gas turbines can be started up in minutes. And turned of just as quickly.
I suppose diesel generators can too…at least the ones on construction sites can be producing power in seconds.
Gas turbines are the preferred power source for when base load generation capacity is exceeded.
The more wind and solar in the grid, the more of these are needed.

Menicholas

Diesel fuel is far more on a cost per BTU basis than nat gas, Ralph.
In terms of commercial power generation, all petroleum fuels together add up to less than one percent of capacity.

Menicholas

Sorry, above comment is USA only.

James at 48

Just like one would find in a developing country.

cnxtim

how do you recharge a Muskmobile?
Is that irony, cynicism or just plain old Snake Oil Salesmanship BS?

joelobryan

Any of these Green emissions-reducing solutions (solar, wind, EV autos) simply shift the CO2 and environment resource extraction elsewhere in the supply and production chain. They do not and will not reduce the amount of CO2 produced by one molecule.
And in general they actually increase cost, complexity, and reduce reliability and insert new vulnerabilities.
Just about 4 technology approaches exist to actually reduce emissions:
-nuclear power
– hydro power
– geothermal power
– conservation and efficiency in homes, offices, and factories with better insulation and HVAC systems and electronics.

Jake J

Joel, I own an EV (and a diesel pickup truck) and have chased down the facts. At the average mix of U.S. electricity generation, an EV emits about 60% of the CO2 per mile driven that’s emitted by an equivalent gas-powered car. I don’t happen to think that CO2 emissions are a problem, but facts are facts.
I agree that EVs increase cost. This is because lithium batteries are expensive. But EVs are actually simpler than gas cars — the motors are simpler, and there is no exhaust system or transmission to worry about. They are quite reliable when used within their stated parameters.

Ben Palmer

Hydro power is not an energy source, it’s a way of storing energy. Hydro power is generated by separating H from O2 and requires electrical energy. The energy you get from hydrogen power is the energy that was put in during the separation process minus the efficiency losses. If there was a perpetuum mobile, we would know it.
[“Hydro power” is power from hydro-electric plants and storage basins (water stored behind dams for generators). “Hydrogen power” is chemical energy available in the hydrogen before burning after – as indicated – you separate hydrogen from oxygen. .mod]

tty

Excuse me, but hydro power is generated by using water under pressure to rotate a turbine. Ever heard of dams, Lake Mead, TVA, that sort of thing?

DonM

opples and arranges guys
Hydro = hydraulic power
Hydrogen is what been is talking about

Menicholas

“Hydro = hydraulic power”
You guys are gona confuse people.
None of these is ever confused with hydraulics.
And hydro power refers to dams and rivers using water and gravity.

Leonard Lane

Do you mean a gas powered car that must stop and fill up every 40 mi or so? Do you mean the fleet average gas mileage for an automobile, or just what do you mean? And exactly what gas powered car and how about some data or references?

Jake J

Is your question directed at my comment about EVs emitting 60% of the CO2 of gas cars? If so, I can give you as much excruciating detail as you want. I will say in advance that I don’t think CO2 is a problem. I researched the angle because it’s something a lot of people discuss, so I wanted to see what was true.

Menicholas

“Do you mean a gas powered car that must stop and fill up every 40 mi or so?”
Huh?
Do you mean 400 miles? My 17 year old Infiniti goes 400 miles between fill ups on the highway.

TRUCKIN’
by: the Grateful Dead
on: Skeletons in the Closet

Paul Westhaver
VikingExplorer

Before you all go hog wild jumping to conclusions. Consider that everyone already knows that electric cars are powered from the grid. Also consider that a car wash could not exist without grid power. Bruce Cobb speculates: “My guess is they need it for 3-phase power”. If so, that would indicate that they use the grid, and not a backup generator.
The presented logic appears to be:
premise: it’s not operating as a battery replacement facility
premise: grid power is almost always cheaper than backup generators
premise: Tesla is a business that strives to maximize profits
conclusion: they are charging vehicles with a standalone back up generator ??
It doesn’t follow. You might all be right, but not from what is presented here. Where is the beef after: then I dug deeper…

Gunga Din

premise: grid power is almost always cheaper than backup generators

This is a question. I don’t live in CA so I don’t know the answer. Is it possible that in CA, the US’s bastion of regulatory nonsense, a diesel generator is cheaper than the grid for this purpose?

Gunga Din

Or maybe the generator runs on “bio-fuel”? Then everybody can feel good about it! 😎

Ian W

Except those downwind :-0

menicholas

natural gas is so much cheaper per BTU than petroleum-based fuels, that it seems a little difficult to believe that this could be true. I guess it depends on where the grid power is coming from: how far away, and what is the source?
California gets a lot of power from Hoover Dam.

Tom Crozier

Well, Harris Ranch does have an enormous stinky feedlot just to the north of the station…

Grey Lensman

Each Tesla requires min 85kwhr for a full recharge
At current prices thats more expensive than petrol for the same mileage.
Who supplies a tank of petrol free on demand?

Jake J

Each Tesla requires min 85kwhr for a full recharge. At current prices thats more expensive than petrol for the same mileage.
First off, you don’t run a car all the way to empty, electric or otherwise. With EVs, you typically recharge at the 20% mark, or thereabouts. In a Tesla, this would be 72 kWh. At the average U.S. electricity price, that would be about $8.65 worth of juice, and would take the car about 200 miles. To go 200 miles in an equivalent gas car would require 8 gallons of gasoline. At $2.74 a gallon, the U.S. average, that would be $22 worth of fuel.
Yes, I know that gasoline is more expensive in California, but so is electricity. Therefore, the relationship will hold. I am not the Tesla salesman, just a facts guy. The fact is that the electricity to run a Tesla (or any other EV) is much cheaper than the gas that runs a gas car. I live in Seattle and use an EV around town. The electricity costs me 4 cents a mile, compared to 12 cents a mile for the gas for an equivalent gas powered car.
There are other costs to include, such as battery degradation. But the electricity itself is much cheaper than the gas.

average joe

JakeJ, you claim that 72kWh will give you 200 miles in a Tesla. Bull$hit! If you don’t get on the throttle much you might get 100 miles, and if you enjoy stomping on it you won’t get much over 60.

Jake J

JakeJ, you claim that 72kWh will give you 200 miles in a Tesla. Bull$hit! If you don’t get on the throttle much you might get 100 miles, and if you enjoy stomping on it you won’t get much over 60.
People who own them tell me otherwise. So does the EPA, and their numbers have been pretty accurate for EVs. Range is significantly shorter in winter, though.

MarkW

You are assuming that the amount of power available over the grid is sufficient to charge all of those cars at the same time.
Very bad assumption. Many homes need to have their service upgraded just to charge one electric car.

VikingExplorer

Not a bad assumption at all. My specialty as an EE was electric power. The grid is much more powerful than stand alone generators.
Yes, homes have their service upgraded, which means that the house panel is replaced with one that allows for more current flow. This means using larger breakers. It could also mean that the service cables are replaced with a larger gauge.
A car wash facility would already be a high power user, and if not, they would get their service upgraded. It’s not hard to convince the utility to use more of their product.

MarkW

Actually no, a car wash facility doesn’t use that much power. Especially a small one like that. More than a house, but still not enough to fast charge multiple electric cars at the same time.

VikingExplorer

MarkW,
I’m amazed at the things you say. Did you even think about it? So, you think heating water and air are lower power operations? I’ve got a amp meter, and my water heater was drawing 18 amps for a very slow water heating operation. Hair dryers are notorious high power users. A car wash facility is like a monster hair dryer. Intuition should be sufficient, but if you need confirmation:
ref
And if not, as I said, they can just upgrade.

MarkW

Viking, sometimes I’m amazed at the things you say.
1) Assuming they even use hot water and assuming they aren’t using gas to heat the water, these things recycle their water, so the amount of heat lost per car is not that significant nor do they use that much water per car.
2) They don’t heat the air that is being used to dry your car, they use air velocity to blow the water off of your car.
3) Just because you think you know what you are talking about, doesn’t prove that you do.

Jake J

Many homes need to have their service upgraded just to charge one electric car.
As the owner of an EV (and a diesel truck, by the way), I can tell you that there is rarely any need for an upgrade. The typical EV recharges on a 240v electric dryer circuit. Any change is typically a matter of running 240v to the garage. There is no service upgrade involved.

MarkW

Jake,
That depends on whether you want to be able to run the AC and cook dinner at the same time you are recharging the car.

VikingExplorer

MarkW,
Yet another silly statement. Charging will not affect any house power usage. You’re greatly underestimating the stiffness of the grid.

Jake J

That depends on whether you want to be able to run the AC and cook dinner at the same time you are recharging the car.
No it doesn’t. The typical house has 200 amp service. A typical residential EV charger draws either 14 amps or 28 amps. If it trips out the circuit breakers, then someone needs to call the electrician to update the panel.

schitzree

I’m going to tentatively side with Viking on this one. An EV home charger SHOULD be somewhere in the 30 to 50 Amp range, like most 240V Home systems, though it might be as high as 60 if it’s some kind of high speed charger. This would put it in the same league as an electric range, dryer, or waterheater. with a typical 200 Amp service you shouldn’t have any more trouble charging your car while baking a pizza then you do while someone takes a hot shower or runs the central air. Now if you only had a 100 Amp service… well, then you shouldn’t have a house full of electric appliances anyway.

Grey Lensman

The Tesla will not do anywhere near 200 miles. The gas car will only require 5 gallons to actually do 200 miles. And in California you use California gas prices. And domestic tariff electricity prices, you charge at home and go onto premium rates above a threshold level.
Botton line tesla sucks by any measure

average joe

Geez guys, we’re talking about running Supercharger stations, not overnight charging. A single Supercharger can require 120kW. At 240V single phase power that is -wait for it- 500 AMPS! Say they have 4 Supercharger bays, that would be 2000 Amps at 240V! Obviously they won’t be using single phase 240 to run them. Four bays would require 480kW. Even from a 12.47kV 3-phase feeder it requires over 22 amps. That is serious industrial power, more than you would find in a typical commercial service.
Fast charging vs overnight charging? Huge difference.

Jake J

An EV home charger SHOULD be somewhere in the 30 to 50 Amp range, like most 240V Home systems, though it might be as high as 60 if it’s some kind of high speed charger.
To my knowledge, Level 2 home chargers are 240 volts, 14 amps or 28 amps (rated at 20 and 30 amps, respectively, but actually draw 14 and 28). Mine is 14 amps. The newer Level 2s tend to be 30 amp models. This matches the common 240v, 30A electric dryer circuitry.

Jake J

The Tesla will not do anywhere near 200 miles. The gas car will only require 5 gallons to actually do 200 miles.
A Tesla Model S will go 200 miles on 80% of the battery in mild weather. In a typical Pacific NW winter, more like 175 miles. A gas car won’t get 40 mpg unless it’s a diesel, a very small compact, or a partially electric vehicle, i.e. a hybrid.

Tom Crozier

The beef is in Harris Ranch’s feedlot.
http://www.harrisranchbeef.com/aboutus/companies.html#feeding

Grey Lensman

Tesla 85 kwhr
average house in 24 hours, 24 kwhr

menicholas

85 kilowatt hours about 12 dollars here in Florida. I believe these vehicles have a range of a few hundred miles, so i do not think thid is cheaper than diesel.
I know power cost more there, but not enough to make electricity more than diesel.
Remember motor fuel cost more in California too.

BFL

Stating electric rates by cents per KWH is overly simple (& yes I know that’s the way it’s usually done, and also usually ignoring all but the lowest rate). But there are base charges, increasing rate tiers depending on usage levels, differing time of day/week rates, add ons for company fuel pricing, and sometimes other fees and taxes. So, using say Southern California Edison as an example, which of the following would apply to the diesel generator for comparison??
https://www.sce.com/NR/rdonlyres/6B523AB1-244D-4A8F-A8FE-19C5E0EFD095/0/090202-Business-Rates-Summary.pdf

Alx

I know in New England rates vary immensely by season, rates over the year potentially varying by 250%. To offset this you can get a fixed rate that predicts an average cost over the year. It is unpredictable which is more cost effective. It’s a gamble.
Your main point is very important, electric bills do not just include the electricity rate, there are dozens of other charges like delivery, fees, taxes, etc.. It’s enough to make you head spin if you look into it.
If someone wants a valid comparison eliminate from gasoline costs federal and state taxes and fees, along with the gas station overhead in delivering the fuel, then determine the annual average electric rate and then rerun the numbers.
Personally I do not need the comparison, without the immense subsidies electric cars are about as economically sensible as supplying ditch diggers with spoons.

Oscar84

The diesel generator is there to cover peak demand (“Over Busy Holiday Weekend”). If I’m not missed, the facility has six charging points, but only three are independent. That is, there are six points and three lines supply, so that the charging time is doubled when two cars using the same line.
And it seems that this is the only swap battery facility on the SF-LA route.

Michael Jankowski

“…premise: Tesla is a business that strives to maximize profits…”
They’ve operated as a traded company since 1st qtr 2010 and never reported a quarterly profit. The most recent two quarters were the worst back-to-back EPS since June-Sept 2012, and the last quarter was the worst EPS since March 2010.
Reminds me of the underpants gnome business model on South Park https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO5sxLapAts

Menicholas

Tesla has booked profits. Not much, but what you say is not the case, Mr. Jankowski.
It does not take long to check:
http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/TSLA/tab/5

They have booked profits… but ONLY because of the very enormous energy credits they receive… approaching close to 30% of total income.

Jake J

Tesla booked an accounting profit in one quarter because of government credits. Otherwise, the company has lost money on both a GAAP and cash flow basis throughout its history.

MikeW

This reminds me of wind turbines being run by natural gas motors during calm days, so that the turbine ball bearings don’t freeze up. “Green” energy will always be a fraud as long as it is being greased by crony government subsidy payments.

menicholas

Those giant wind turbines use ball bearings?
And why would they freeze up, just from not being used for a day?
Bearings in cars, or trains, or pretty much any other machine, like any electric motor but I’ve ever worked on, are capable of sitting idle for long periods of time without any danger of the bearings freezing up.
Or are you literally referring to freezing in very cold weather?

I’ve read explanations from German sources that because the generators are drastically weight reduced because they are tower mounted. The result is that the bearing system is not robust enough to not deform if it sits idle which is why they all have small auxiliary motors to turn them when there is no wind. Someone in the industry can probably explain this definitively.

Ian L. McQueen

I’ve read that the reason for turning the turbine by electric motor when there is no wind is so that the SHAFT will not take a permanent set. Sounds sensible to me.

Alan Robertson

While referring to bearings as “freezing up” may not be precise, the bearings in wind turbines will suffer the effects of brinelling, false brinelling and fretting corrosion if the rotor doesn’t constantly turn, in order to keep all key gearbox surfaces lubricated. On Memorial Day, I parked next to some turbines at the new wind facility in Osage County, OK and watched as idled turbines turned very slowly, when not producing power.
Here’s an earlier WUWT discussion about this issue:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/08/26/bearings-the-achilles-heel-of-wind-turbines/

MarkW

Compare the weight of your average electric motor rotor to the weight of the rotor in these beasts, plus the weight of the 3 blades.
They don’t use ball bearings, but the do use cylindrical ones.
Don’t know about freezing up, but developing flat spots has always been a problem.

Silver ralph

>>These giant wind turbines use ball bearings?
Well yes, nearly. They use symmetric conical bearings, big enough to handle the prop-shaft on a battleship. And you can bet tat the smelter that made these did not ise wind power to drive the arc-furnace.
http://www.lycbearing.com/admin/word/uploadfile/20130509100428348.jpg

menicholas

Thsnks Ralph, but that was my point.
The question was ball bearings.
I do not think either these or sleeve bearings are considered ” nearly” ball bearings. At least not by me.

menicholas

Being that I do technical consulting, troubleshooting and design and repair of electrical machinery, I am accustomed to speaking of such things in rather more precise terminology.

menicholas

BTW, those are impressive looking, and I would think very precisely machined.
Very cool.

tty

Actually having rotating assemblies sitting still for long periods is never advisable, particularly if they are heavy. The military who keeps a lot of equipment in storage for long periods are well aware of this and will regularly “exercise” ships’ engines, jet engines, mechanical gyroscopes etc. by turning them.

Even the wheel bearings on a car or trailer will suffer some damage sitting idle for long periods. But mostly, we don’t notice and if/when we get a hot wheel, the bearings and spindle get replaced.

Leonard Lane

Right Mike. The cost comparisons are always misleading if subsidies are not included. Now, which do you think is worse for the environment; producing CO2 (a gas of life like O2) or mining rare earths, manufacturing Li- ion batteries and the waste stream involved, disposal of the batteries when the time comes, and the fossil fuel used to generate electricity. Also, what is the fossil fuel use rate per mile of travel by electric cars?

Cask me simple, but wouldn’t it be far more efficient to use diesel directly in a car engine than convert it to electricity, charge a battery then use the battery, with all the generation inefficiencies & transmission losses involved?

menicholas

I would not cask you simple, or even call you that.
And yes.
Much more efficient.
Thermodynamic efficiency for a car on diesel is likely higher even for just the first step of creating electricity in the generator.
This is because the rotational energy created in the internal combustion engine of the generator, is then used to create electricity, and that step right there loses energy.
A few years ago a guy I work with was about to fall prey to some scam wherein a device was to be installed in a car to generate hydrogen from water, and the hydrogen was then used in combination with the motor fuel to power the car, thus increasing mileage.
It took me a few hours to convince him not to invest in this, but even then I wasn’t sure that he understood what I was talking about.

MarkW

The diesel might be a little more efficient since it can be designed to run at a single speed rather than having to cover a wide range of speeds.
However there is the loss when converting mechanical energy to electrical. Then the electrical has to be converted from AC to DC, then from the charger to the battery, convert from electrical to chemical, then convert from chemical back to electrical, then go through a power regulator and then finally from electrical back to mechanical in the electric motor.
Since the distances here are short, I’m assuming that transmission losses between the generator and the charger are trivial.

Bruce Cobb

Yes, but then it loses the smug factor.

Just Steve

Enjoy your Tesla experience while you can. This GSE will be going the way of the Edsel if Musk loses any of his taxpayer largesse. It doesn’t make money now, and the prospect of profitability is somewhere between slim and none…and slim left town.
And no, his overhyped Power Wall changes nothing. Just what I’d want, Lithium batteries, with their propensity for catching fire, on my garage wall. Buy some good deep cycle lead acid batteries and save half the price, not to mention sleeping better at night.

MarkW

Just Steve: I can only imagine a fire in your garage, then having the fire fighters spray water on those lithium batteries. Can you say kaboom?

average joe

The day will come, when some lucky traders will make billions shorting Tesla stock. Hard to say when (which is where the luck comes in) but, without some dramatic breakthrough in the physics of battery technology, which is highly unlikely, it’s just a matter of time. Hopefully I am one of that lucky group.

VikingExplorer

Yes: http://www.industrytap.com/ges-hybrid-locomotive-moves-a-ton-of-freight-500-miles-on-a-gallon-of-fuel/4226
As a generator engineer, I can tell you that generation and transmission don’t add up to that much. Generator efficiency of a large machine can be as high as 98% or 99%. Transmission losses are I^2 * R. They use very high voltage lines to decrease the current. The result is that most of the losses come right at the end, in your neighborhood, when they step the voltage down to 110/220.
However, I’m thinking about getting a plug-in hybrid. It would not be to save the environment, but to get 2000+ mpg. I love plants, so I would feel a little bad about reducing my carbon footprint. Maybe I’ll have regular bonfires to make up for it.

MarkW

The way they get those ridiculous mileage figures is by starting with a fully charged battery, but only calculating the amount of fuel burned after the test run.

VikingExplorer

MarkW, actually, this is not a published figure from the car company. Its from real world experience. The way to get 2000+ mpg is to have a really short commute.

MarkW

Starting with a fully charged battery.

Silver ralph

>>Generator efficiency of a large machine can
>>be as high as 98% or 99%.
Nonsense.
The aveage heat rate (btu per kwh) for geneators in the US is 9,000 or 10,000. And that, in my calcs, translates as 35 – 40% efficiency. If you dispute that, please contact the US Energy Information Administration.
R

VikingExplorer

Silver ralph,
It’s not nonsense. I specifically said “Generator Efficiency”. I’ve measured the efficiency of aerospace generators. Their efficiency, measured by comparing one form of power (torque multiplied by angular velocity) to another (watts), is usually better than 90% at power factors close to unity (1.0).
The efficiency you seem to be referring is the overall efficiency of the generator and its prime mover (turbine; reciprocating engine; etc.) at converting the energy input to the prime mover, in the form of fuel or steam, into electrical power.

menicholas

Viking,
I was going to make a comment along the lined of Ralph’s but saw you were being specific to a single step in the process.
However, this is a long way from giving an accurate picture to someone who knows little of thermodynamics or the many conversion steps actually involved between diesel fuel and miles driven in the original article.
Mark gave a nice summation above.
A lot of steps, some highly inefficient.

Jake J

Anyone who claims to get even 200 mpg-e from an EV, let alone, 2,000 mpg-e, is a lunatic, a liar, or both.

VikingExplorer

menicholas,
To compare apples to apples, it’s not more efficient. Yes, converting chemical energy to mechanical energy isn’t efficient. However, that’s the same in either case.
The plug-in hybrid model wins because it takes advantage of economy of scale. It’s generally cheaper to transmit electricity than it is to transport hydrocarbons.
That said, I love both types. An internal combustion engine has many advantages which are quite compelling: convenience, performance, hydrocarbons are the most efficient energy storage, and of course, they help feed the plants.

VikingExplorer

Jake J,
You need to read more carefully, before you start calling them lunatics and liars. I said mpg, not mpg-e. I also said how:
“The way to get 2000+ mpg is to have a really short commute.”
Here is a comment from someone:

Jim Hock · Owner at Siesta Key Beach Rentals
Not exactly an “apple to apples” test, right?
The Volt is not in the same category as the other three vehicles; rather it is in its own unique category (that at one time included Fisker Karma). Currently it stands alone in its uniqueness, but may include the BMW i3 this fall. (That will be a really interesting test)!
Seems like you missed the main advantage offered by the unique Volt, which is not how many MPG it gets while it is using gas (Because for many owners like myself, it virtually never uses gas), but is the total average MPG owners get in their real-world use of the vehicle over a given period.
I’ve only had my 2013 Volt for 4 months or so, but here in flat sunny Florida I routinely get 50 gas free miles per charge. My current overall average is an amazing 3,590 MPG. I do realize that I do better than most Volt owners because of my relatively low commuting miles, and as I venture out on longer trips in the future, I may have to learn to live with the Volt’s real-world average of a meager 170 MPG – it will be tough, but driving the car is such a pleasure, I’ll just have to learn to live with it.

Jake J

Viking, you have told so many lies in this thread that it’s impossible to take anything you write at face value. There is no EV or PHEV sold in the U.S. that does better than 124 mpg-e. You need to acquaint yourself with the truth, because every single thing you write here is easily checkable. If you want to do the EVangelist thing, I suggest doing it elsewhere.

VikingExplorer

Jake J,
I’ve told no lies. Like Willis says, quote the text.

MarkW

Viking, you have told no overt lies, but you have been characteristically deceptive.
Regardless, when calculating mile per gallon, using anything other than the miles driven while gasoline is being burned sufficiently deceptive that “lie” is not an unreasonable descriptive.

VikingExplorer

MarkW,
That’s BS. I specifically said mpg, and I said that the key was a short commute, and I specified the miles that could be driven at that rate. You guys are being for more deceptive than I am.

VikingExplorer

I’ve certainly not lied. However, I’ve made a mistake with my numbers. Here are my corrected calculations for operating costs, when driving only on electric (for my short commute):
2015 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid: 34/42 kWh / 100 miles, @ .10/kWh, OC = .034 – .042 $/mile
2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid: 26/33 kWh / 100 miles, @ .10/kWh, OC = .026 – .033 $/mile
2015 Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrid: 33/36 kWh / 100 miles, @ .10/kWh, OC = .033 – .036 $/mile

Leonard Lane

An electricity generation station with 98-99% efficiency? Impossible if you are counting energy or power used to generate the electricity to the energy or power in the generated electricity. 2000+ mpg?

Jake J

I’ve certainly not lied. However, I’ve made a mistake with my numbers. Here are my corrected calculations for operating costs, when driving only on electric (for my short commute)
You have no credibility here. You’ve shaded all of your numbers in one direction. You are a stereotypical EVangelist of the type that infects the Internet.

VikingExplorer

>> stereotypical EVangelist
What gives you the right to be so insulting? Maybe you’re new here?
Are stereotypical EV advocates completely and totally anti AGW? Would a stereotypical EV advocate say that they felt bad about not feeding plants, and decide to light some bonfires?
What I am is an electrical engineer, so it’s very difficult for me to see how a car full of EE components could possibly be evil or unscientific.
You’re an idiot for putting a tremendous number of thoughts and words into my mouth because you want knock down a straw man. Why don’t you stop assuming that you know who you’re talking to and actually deal with people have said, and not what you wish they had said. I have not shaded any numbers in any direction. In fact, I haven’t said anything about EVs. All my comments have been restricted to plug in hybrids.

average joe

Viking, as one EE to another, in your 2000 mpg claim, you omit disclosing that most of those miles come from using power from the grid to charge your batteries and not even running the gasoline engine. The way you said it is deceptive, whether intentional or not.

VikingExplorer

AverageJoe,
Thanks for the comment. However, I did say “The way to get 2000+ mpg is to have a really short commute”, which clearly implies that “most of those miles come from using power from the grid to charge your batteries and not even running the gasoline engine”. It was just Jake chose not to read, and jumped to conclusions about me being an EVangelist, whatever that is, and slammed me for things I did not say.

Silver ralph

>>Vikingexplorer
>>However, I did say “The way to get 2000+ mpg is to have a really short commute”,
Oh, brilliant.
Well I can get 10,000 mpg out of my diesel, by starting at the top of the Alps and ending up at the bottom. So therefore diesels are much better than electric cars.
Just what the f is your point, Viking, other than to deceive the gullible? That may work with your fellow believers, who genuflect to the great Warm god, but it is not going to work here. Go and take you half-truth lies elsewhere.
Ralph

VikingExplorer

>> That may work with your fellow believers
You just made a fool of yourself, because you neglected to find out my true position.

Mike M.

ilma63,
I won’t call you simple, but your analysis misses important points. Using diesel (or gas) indirectly to make electricity and using that to run an electric motor is more efficient than using the diesel (or gas) directly. There are 3 common examples of this: train engines (excepting those using external electric power and old fashioned steam engines), ships (excepting nuclear powered warships and small boats), and hybrid cars.
There are at least two reasons for this. First, running an internal combustion engine under variable load is extremely inefficient, so running the engine at constant load more than makes up for any inefficiencies in the electric generator and motor. Second, in cars and trains you can make use of regenerative braking and use the energy change when slowing down to make electricity, rather than only waste heat as with normal brakes.
I don’t know what Tesla is doing at Harris Ranch, but I am have to see a suggestion that makes any sense.

¿ A diesel engine to power an electric motor to each wheel and appropriate sensors to determine necessary torque at each wheel ?

MarkW

Trains use diesel electric because it gives them better low end torque.

Paul

” Using diesel (or gas) indirectly to make electricity and using that to run an electric motor …”
Large mining trucks use the same topology, for the same reasons
http://www.liebherr.us/ME/en-GB/products_us-me.wfw/id-14270-0/measure-nonMetric

@Viking Explorer Don’t take things so seriously….It’s just funny. Oh the ironry. I think the observation that depending on the time of day that the grid is likely drawing electricity from a coal fired plant even better. If it’s just the facts you want Joel O Bryan gave ’em to you.

I can contribute something related, purely anecdotal, but very ironic.
I live in Houston a little north of Braes Bayou. The streets were flooded Monday night. Most cars stayed off the street, but some cars ventured through the high water. Sure, 18 wheelers, pickup trucks, made it. An Ambulance got stuck on the island. Plenty of sedans had no business trying, but they made it.
The one car abandoned in the left turn lane? A white Tesla with its warning flasher’s on.

Gunga Din

Maybe the warnings lights are permanently on? 😎

MarkW

That would save time.

Charlie

They invented these things called combustion engines where you can just transfer diesel fuel into energy directly.

Resourceguy

But you miss the massive tax credits and wealth transfer in the process!!

Anthony, I said the same I said to Bishop Hill: while the generator is indeed a funny anecdote, the real story here is the swap. There is a mountain of evidence that Tesla has received (and may still be receiving) ZEV credits for a feature that DOES NOT EXIST!
I see that you’ve updated the post to reflect that, but perhaps a new post would let more people know what’s going on.

Frosty

Good work Sir. After a couple of hours on your blog I’m still stuggling to get my jaw off the floor!
I do hope someone familiar with financial regs takes a deeper look into it, it’s nothing short of criminal, it’s obvious to a layman, a financial type should have enough into there to sink them permanently and send Musk to gaol for a long time.

MarkW

It’s only criminal if there is someone who is willing to prosecute. That will never happen with this administration.

Paul Westhaver

Hey! Elon Musk.
Look at the electric vehicle you made get charged with a noisy smell diesel generator. That 18 second video is worth a billion dollars isn’t it!!
THAT IS what battery power looks like. Somewhere there is coal being burned to power it.
GOSH people are stupid… and Musk is a con man.

Save yourselves a step- just buy a new clean diesel car !

VikingExplorer

Amen, my dream car is the Audi A3.

VikingExplorer

Actually, the ideal would be an Audi A3 as a plugin hybrid

Patrick

I would not go anywhere near an A3. It’s just a VW Golf, with a different dress on!

VikingExplorer

What’s wrong with the VW Golf? I’ve had a VW beetle, and a long time ago, I had a Audi 4000. It’s the TDI and long range that I’m looking for. Here is a comparison.

Patrick

No German who “baught in” to the VW thing ever got to see a VW “beetle”. Two vehicles based on that plan were war vehicles, one was amphibious. The very first “Beetles” were made for and supplied to the allies.

JamesP

” a new clean diesel car”
Is there such a thing..?

Just an engineer

Sure there is, they run them through a car wash just before the customer takes delivery!

menicholas

I think clean diesel refers to the new ultra low sulfur diesel fuels.

John Pickens

Clean diesel generally refers to two technologies applied to passenger diesel cars to drastically reduce particulate and NOx emissions. #1 is a Diesel Particulate Filter, installed on most diesel cars in the US since around 2005 to meet regulations which went into force in 2007. The DPF, as installed on my VW Golf TDI filters diesel particulates and uses heat to re-combust the stage, thereby burning off the particulates. If needed, a small amount of diesel is injected into the exhaust stream to effect the burn off.
My 2013 VW has this device, and I still average 44mpg, mixed city and highway, which beats most hybrid vehicles in fuel efficiency.
In the last two or three years, the #2 technology installed in diesel engines is a Selective Catalytic Reduction system using Urea injection to reduce NOx emissions.
Between these two technologies, diesel vehicles are now effectively as clean as gasoline engines.

Compare the Mercedes-Benz 2L liter passenger car diesels from the 1960s to the new Mitsubishi Fuso 3L engines for its medium trucks •

Paul Westhaver

No wind but the turbine keeps spinning.
I was driving down I-93 in Quincy, just south of Boston and there I saw a wind turbine spinning. The traffic had come to a stop (like always) so I got my camera out and video recorded the spinning turbine. After I got a few seconds of the turbine spinning I panned over to a USA flag pole that was on a rise, just next to the wind turbine. The Flag was motionless. The wind was not moving.
I thought it quite the miracle that there was enough wind to make the turbine spin, but not enough to make the flag tremble in the least? How did the flag do that?
I speculated, but could not confirm, that the utility was involved in a public relations effort and motored the windmill at times because it was so often NOT spinning and looked like a white elephant.
I’d love to know if motoring wind turbines is common place.

MarkW

Further up there is a discussion about keeping the blades spinning to prevent damage to the bearings.

Paul Westhaver

That is very interesting. Thank-you MarkW. The turbine that I was observing was spinning at a good clip, and the maintenance mode would seem to only require slow turning. Thanks none the less. Might have been maintenance indeed.

Gunga Din

Maybe also to prevent damage to the impression that they are actually working? 😎

Just last night I had the pleasure of dinner with the crane operators working on windmill maintenance in this area. They are pulling the blades precisely to replace those bearings which are wearing out at less than half the projected life of the mill. Crane company has lots of work and the operators are shaking their heads in snarking disbelief that anyone could possibly be thinking wind is a viable form of energy production.

paullinsay

That one is owned by the Electrical Workers Union. There are three turbines on Deer Island that often don’t spin in the summer, despite being right on the ocean. Ditto for the one at Hull High School right on Hull Gut.

Menicholas

They do not spin in summer? Not even the motor that keeps them from being damaged from disuse?
I have learned a few things from this conversation…never knew of these issues with the bearings on wind turbines, and picked up some info on clean diesel too.
But I am not sure how complete any of this info is. Seems to be some amount of disagreements.

Menicholas
Like you, I always learn something when I come here, even sometimes it is relearning. Often it is interesting to check numbers people throw around. Like the 25 cents per kW for diesel. It may be correct, but that is the number I had for remote community diesel power in a study I was involved in for Sask Power in the 1980’s. Hard to believe it is still only 25 cents 30+ years ago, but maybe it depends on size and efficiencies. I didn’t bother to check.
My own grid supply is about 7.5 cents per kW (varies from 5 cents to 10 cents) plus 11 (yes, ELEVEN) other add ons that brings the total to 15 cents per kW plus or minus depending on the season and the current “approved” rate.
Interesting how many different answers you can find on the Internet. I do wish people would be polite with each other given that it is easy to get misdirected even with the best of intentions. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. The old saw: “When the facts change I change my mind.”
As a Civil Engineer I try to be civil.
As a Canadian: http://www.dailyhaha.com/_pics/canadian-vandalism.htm
So, as a marker in this thread, perhaps some should go by this site and chill for a bit:
http://www.troymedia.com/2010/07/25/why-canadians-are-soooo-polite/

Paul

“why canadians are soooo polite”
That’s not been my experience with Toronto and Québec drivers, both are extremely aggressive and quite rude. Might be their rational to ban handguns?

I drive past the largest wind farm in the world, at 845 Mw capacity, in north central Oregon several times a year. The blades of its turbines are rarely spinning at high speed and often not at all. It is surrounded by other bird- and bat-bashing, beauty-blighting, crop-reducing farms with about as much massacring capacity again.
Not only do they need coal-fired backup, but they interfere with the best use of the vast hydropower grid which they parasitize. Your and my tax dollar worse than wasted.
(Shepherd Flats might no longer be the biggest windfarm in terms of Mw. I don’t know. It was when first operational in 2012.)

Jake J

Not only do they need coal-fired backup, but they interfere with the best use of the vast hydropower grid which they parasitize.
Do you have any evidence for your claims other than the broadcasts to the fillings inside your teeth? If so, please give us links, and not to Alex Jones. Thank you.

Silver ralph

Amsterdam Airport Tesla Taxis – an update.
I was there last month and asked the drivers how they were doing. The young-blood thought they were ‘cool’. The old sage pointed out that:
They had to be kept in a warm garage all winter, otherwise they were freezing all day.
They could only work four hours before recharge – which meant the drivers had to take a long lunch and waste a lot of their time. So the average working day is now an hour or two longer.
They could not do a Brussels return without recharge, and finding a charge point was problematic. And this stop is a complete waste of time. The diesel round-trip is normally 4 hours, but with the Tesla it is six.
R

Jake J

I’d expect that the typical taxi ride from Schiphol airport would be a fairly long one. Four hours in service before recharging sounds about right. More in summer, less in winter. The Tesla owners I’ve talked to say that their winter range in Washington State and Oregon is typically 175 miles or so. This isn’t “full range,” but rather using the recommended 80% of the battery.
Tesla’s inflated range claims are based on ideal weather, traveling at 55 miles an hour. No one drives that slowly on the Interstates here. The speed limit is 60 in the metro areas and 70 in rural areas, and 75 mph is typical. All of which is that say that I’m nor one bit surprised that Teslas are less than popular with Schiphol taxi drivers. I drove a cab during college, and took a very dim view of anyone or anything that kept the wheels from turning.

John F. Hultquist

Loretta Lynch just took FIFA to the woodshed. Maybe she can now do the same with Tesla and Elon Musk. The amount of money squandered is likely much greater, although I just made this last part up.
~~~~~
Someone please provide the cost of grid power in CA and the varying rates with time and use. Thanks. (See comment by Vik-Ex at 8:17 am)
Also, look at the California Oregon Intertie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Path_66

Ben Wilson

Suspect that was because FIFA didn’t pay the proper amount of bribes to the right people. . .
I’m sure that Tesla, Musk, and Company are quite diligent in greasing the palms of the right people. . . . .

Cannot help with TOU surcharges. But EIA.gov says the California residential electricity price March 2015 was $0.1704/kWh.

Geckko

The BIG laugh here?
Those are extremely heavily subsidised cars. But Alarmists look at that video and point to the “fossil fuel” being used to recharge them as being the beneficiary of subsidy. Is that nuts or what?
So in a way, those diesel generators are receiving the indirect benefits of a subsidy – the electric car subsidy.

Israel Anderson (@israelanderson)

It’s stupid BS pieces like this that will damage the reputation of the WUWT brand. There ARE NO Tesla battery swap stations. They do not exist. This is a proof of concept, a trial, a prototype of what they hope to have in the future. Of course they’re going to need auxiliary power for a free-standing prototype. Truly, truly shameful article.

Oh, lighten up.

LeeHarvey

Eh… let him yell. He’ll prove his stupidity soon enough.

Reg Nelson

What is truly shameful is the that Tesla is already receiving the full carbon credit for battery swapping stations.

Gunga Din

VikingExplorer
May 28, 2015 at 7:17 am
….premise: Tesla is a business that strives to maximize profits…

“Sustainable” profits? And for whom? The business or the business owners? (Solyndra went bankrupt but the owners walked away with a nice chunk of the taxpayers’ change.) Take away the credits and the subsidies and what “sustainable” profit is there really?

VikingExplorer

I agree Israel,
Healthy scientific skepticism of extraordinary AGW theories is one thing, but I’ve noticed that it has led to a kind of mindless, knee-jerk, reactionary element coming forth.
Anti-AGWers are against everything that pro-AGWer are for, and anything that is sold with a pro environment message.
So, if Michael Mann recommended Penn State as a good school, should anti-AGWers avoid Penn State, send their kids to other schools, root for any team playing against a Penn State team?
Just because AGWers have pushed electric cars does not affect the economic value or moral status of these types of vehicles. They are what they are. My father helped design the Dash 8 diesel electric locomotives. Are anti-AGWers implying that back in the 60s and 70s, he was part of the AGW con/hoax? How does applying the same technology to cars change the answer?
Electric vehicles have been used as golf carts for a long time. They may or may not be useful or economical as replacement for internal combustion engine vehicles. In my opinion, they are not.
However, as soon as I read
this back in 2011, I realized that this could change everything. It’s a big IF, but if batteries could be quickly replaced, at any gas station, then the major objection would be removed. I still think the hybrid design (TDI diesel + batteries + EM motor) is the ideal, from an engineering point of view.
There is nothing evil or unscientific about the Battery Swap Pilot Program. It’s smart and good business. They may or may not be succeeding, but if they don’t, just as when Penn State loses a football game, it will not be an argument against AGW.

MarkW

The economic value is less than zero, as is their moral value.
Yes, they do allow people who get rich off of other people’s money to feel good about themselves, but there is nothing moral about that.

Frosty

“knee Jerk”? Irony much? Read the links in the update, it’s a ponzi scheme, they’re raking in millions by pretending to have a battery swap station, the battery forms part of the chassis, it’s stuck in with mastic to avoid problems with chassis flexing, it cannot be swapped.

VikingExplorer

Forgot to finish the thought regarding golf carts: Does that make golf courses part of the AGW conspiracy?

MarkW

Frosty, you don’t understand, they believe that they are saving the planet, and that’s all that matters.
Just because most of the stuff they believe happens to be bunk isn’t relevant.

Mike M.

Israel and VikingExplorer are spot on.
Earlier I said that I had seen no plausible explanation here for the generator, but LeeHarvey (May 28, 2015 at 8:03 am) has one.

Jake J

I think there’s knee-jerkery here on alternative energy, but there’s knee-jerkery the other way elsewhere. It’s frustrating.

tty

“Of course they’re going to need auxiliary power for a free-standing prototype.”
Not much of a prototype if it doesn’t include a power supply. “Of course they are going to need a tug for a prototype ship”

Tom T

Okay here is what is going on.
Since if you can afford a Tesla you obviously work a Tesla battery swap station will have very high peak demand during the morning and evening rush. With Monday morning and evening being times of extremely high demand as people swap out from the weekend. They will do practically no business in the middle of the day. California has insanely high demand charges for commercial and industrial load.
They were probably unable to make the place profitable by using grid connection because the demand charges were eating them alive. So it became more economical to generate onsite power.

VikingExplorer

Tom T, your answer seems quite reasonable. The consequence of not building power plants for political reasons is that there is not enough supply to meet demand in the heat of summer. During those times, the utility spins up back up generation facilities. They have a range of sources, always more expensive than the large power plants. I know on the east coast, one such high demand facility consists of a large number of jet engines. The cost of electricity skyrockets.
I worked on a software project called “demand response”, which allows businesses to stop using power (lowering demand) during these high demand events. They get paid to do this. It’s worth it for the power system, because it’s cheaper than the high cost generation. It’s worth it for the business (especially for high power users like cement mixers), because they can shift their work, and the amount paid is more than their normal operating expenses. Whereas homes typically get a fixed price for kWh, a high power usage business will be charged the current hourly price.
Tesla is probably willing to lose money on charging in order to sell more cars. The bottom line is that whether they used grid power or not, no one has been under the delusion that grid power consists of solar, so it means nothing. It’s a cheap shot.

Frosty

They’re raking in $1000’s extra per vehicle sold in ZEV credit revenue; to qualify for this extra subsidy they need to be able to “fast refuel” (under 3 mins) so they pretend to have a battery swap option, without which they can only claim around $4k per vehicle rather than the $7-9k per vehicle with fast refueling.
It’s a scam, and it’s criminal.

Gamecock

VE: “It’s worth it for the business”
Not necessarily. At the plants I worked with on power cost, the manufacturing people were far more interested in things other than taking a shutdown to save some money. They had production requirements, orders to fill, etc. Their other priorities reigned.

Leonard Lane

If everything is good for electric cars, why do they need subsidies from the taxpayers? If they are better than gasoline-driven cars then let them compete without subsidies.

VikingExplorer

>> VE: “It’s worth it for the business” Not necessarily
Who said “necessarily”? You can’t really dispute that some businesses decided that it was worth it with an anecdotal. Like I said, they can shift the work to another day, or to night time.

VikingExplorer

>> If everything is good for electric cars, why do they need subsidies from the taxpayers?
When did I say either of these things?
I believe the pure electric car is a non-starter business wise, and that no business should receive any subsidies.

Gamecock

VE: “Who said “necessarily”? You can’t really dispute that some businesses decided that it was worth it with an anecdotal.”
You claimed it was good for businesses. I’m telling you your blanket statement is false. It may be good for some businesses. I’m telling you that major corporate businesses that are household names that I worked with decided that it was not good business. Business has many considerations; power cost is only one of them.

VikingExplorer

Gc,
Read what I wrote again. I said business, not all businesses. Its a product so it’s all voluntary. The fact that they bought the product and partipated means they thought it was worth it.

Actually Tom T, Harris Ranch is pretty much in the middle of nowhere on Interstate 5, so there aren’t really rush hours there. It’s more like a constant stream of traffic between S. and N. California, including the middle of the day. They also have a lot of charging stations in the parking lot of the Harris Ranch restaurant.
I stop there every time I drive down south (the restaurant and bar are superb there. It is probably among the best freeway stops on the planet).

Tom T

The flow of traffic may be constant but will the flow of Tesla’s? You may be right about the location but that only switches the peak. Instead of it probably being a Monday morning and evening rush there it will be a weekend rush which would probably be even worse in terms of your monthly demand charge ratchet.
Your demand charge is a flat fee per kWh of monthly peak demand. So if your flow is concentrated on weekend commuters then your demand charge would be even worse than if your peak was weekday commuters with the demand spread out over Monday through Friday.

Resourceguy

Then when California converts to a fee for miles driven in place of a gas tax or in addition to it, Tesla can just haul it customer’s vehicles on flatbed trucks with diesel engines from place to place. It could be marketed as Smart Haul Systems and explained as on-board charging in place of stations. Well, someone has to keep the tax credits flowing.

Tom in Florida

You bring up a good point. If electric vehicles become the rage, revenue from gas taxes will fall and they WILL go to a fee for miles driven. It’s like that with all usage based taxes. If you use less the tax revenue decreases. In order to keep those revenues level tax rates must go up. So what’s the point of using less if it is going to cost the same?

Resourceguy

Unless you can keep up with Musk on using tax credits, then you are losing ground in filling the road revenue pothole.

usurbrain

The major, unresolved problem is that you use your car during the day and it is dark and usually calmer (less wind) at night, So just how is a battery operated vehicle going to help unless and until we get the majority of our power from Nuclear. Nuclear power actually generates less “life cycle” (from mine to decommissioning and return to green earth) CO2 than Wind or Solar. If and when the USA recycles spent nuclear fuel that meager amount will decrease even further.

VikingExplorer

It helps by being much cheaper. A gasoline internal combustion engine operates in the range 10 to 25 cents/mile. An electric vehicle operates in the range 1-3 cents/mile. However, an electric vehicle has a range and recharging problem.
Solution #1: plug in hybrid (best of both worlds)
Solution #2: ubiquitous battery replacement facilities
Solution #2 seems a bit speculative at the moment. However, the future is hard to predict. I like #1.

MarkW

You are ignoring the higher initial costs and the cost of replacing those batteries every few years.
Beyond that, gas cars have to pay road taxes that electrics (for now) are avoiding.

Jake J

An EV does not run at 1-3 cents a mile. The best you’ll do in an EV at average U.S. electric rates is 4 cents a mile.

CodeTech

Where are you getting 10-25 cents per mile?
That seems ridiculously high. Even my own vehicle which gets significantly lower mileage than my last one is in the range of 7-8 cents per mile.

Jake J

Even my own vehicle which gets significantly lower mileage than my last one is in the range of 7-8 cents per mile.
Unless you live in one of those corners of America with really low gas prices and taxes, I simply don’t believe you. I’ve been putting numbers into spreadsheets for my EV for going on three years. As part of that exercise, I record the price of gas for comparative purposes. The cheapest it’s ever shown was 9 cents a mile when gas prices fell off the cliff a few months ago — for a subcompact comparison car getting 30 mpg.

VikingExplorer

>> Unless you live in one of those corners of America with really low gas prices and taxes, I simply don’t believe you.
Jake J, you’re an idiot for calling everyone a liar. Why would CodeTech lie about something like that? Is he another lunatic EVangelist?
>> Where are you getting 10-25 cents per mile?
CodeTech, from personal experience, which is old information. The 10 was a Volkswagen beetle and the 25 was a Ford econoline van. I’m happy to modify that to a range of 7 – 25 cents.

MarkG

“The cheapest it’s ever shown was 9 cents a mile when gas prices fell off the cliff a few months ago — for a subcompact comparison car getting 30 mpg.”
Up here, I make the cost of driving my SUV around town about 0.15 Canadian Pesos per mile. The difference in cost between that vehicle and a mid-range Tesla would appear to pay for my fuel for nearly half a million miles.

Grey Lensman

No it does not. how much does 85kwhr cost, home price, full tariff for 150 miles if you are lucky.

Jake J

Why would CodeTech lie about something like that? Is he another lunatic EVangelist?
Speaking of putting words in people’s mouths …

VikingExplorer

However, 4 cents is still quite good. Here are my calculations for operating costs:
2015 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid: 37 kWh => 20 miles, @ .10/kWh, OC = .185 $/mile
2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid: 29 kWh => 11 miles, @ .10/kWh, OC = .263 $/mile
2014 Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid: 29 kWh => 11 miles, @ .10/kWh, OC = .223 $/mile
Source: FuelEconomy.gov

Jake J

The average U.S. electricity rate is 12 cents a kWh, not including base charges, taxes, and other fees. You’d be a lot more credible if you didn’t just pull numbers out of your posterior.

JakeJ

The average U.S. electricity rate is 12 cents a kWh, not including base charges, taxes, and other fees. You’d be a lot more credible if you didn’t just pull numbers out of your posterior.

“Average rate” for the Basic Line rate for the “cheapest unit” lowest-price-at-lowest-time-of-day?
Now, what is the rate for the “last-added-kilowatt-hr” rate in the early evening when you plug in the electric scam (er, car)?
Tax, title, AND ALL “license fees” must be paid – your rate is too low to account for the price of an electric car.

Jake J

Let me add: When the actual cost is more than double your initial claim, and when you don’t mention the cost of battery degradation, you’re a liar.

VikingExplorer

Source: FuelEconomy.gov
10 cents per kilowatt-hr?

??
Their rates are unrealistic, dead wrong for the actual charge on every EXTRA kilowatt-hr above baseline.
Are you going to actually trust any .gov source in today’s Big Government dictatorship?

Jake J

“Average rate” for the Basic Line rate for the “cheapest unit” lowest-price-at-lowest-time-of-day?
Now, what is the rate for the “last-added-kilowatt-hr” rate in the early evening when you plug in the electric scam (er, car)? Tax, title, AND ALL “license fees” must be paid – your rate is too low to account for the price of an electric car.

I am the numbers nerd from hell on EVs. I have one for curiosity’s sake, as opposed to EVangelism’s sake. The numbers cut both ways. I am absolutely death on fudged numbers. Electricity rates are very difficult to peg. They vary a lot. I wrote 12 cents above, but the best number is probably 12.6 cents for a U.S. average, although that seems suspiciously low to me.
http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_03
Time of day rates are especially difficult to interpret, because the typical rate schedule charges much higher peak rates. I think — but do not claim to know — that the typical TOD user doesn’t save anything on his total bill. It would be interesting to know.
Tax, title, etc. are paid on all vehicles, so I don’t get your point in raising the issue for EVs. Finally, I’m not promoting EVs. I have definite views on that issue, which boil down to this: EVs will cost more than the equivalent ICEV, even with the tax credits. No one should buy an EV to save money, unless they have some special situation, an example being a woman who told me that her landlord had installed solar panels and allowed her to charge her EV for free.
But that example is a special one. If the numbers could be extracted and compared, I doubt the EV purchase would be less than a gas car. My point in my postings in this thread is to be as factual as possible. The EVangelists drive me nuts, but so do at least some of the ax-grinding anti-EV types here. To me, they are just cars, not causes.

VikingExplorer

Jake J,
You are a very obnoxious reactionary and are putting words into my mouth. I clearly said my calculations for operating costs, therefore I’ve used my own electricity costs. It would be foolish of me to make a decision based on someone else’s fuel costs. Battery degradation isn’t an operating expense, it’s a repair expense.

VikingExplorer

>> The EVangelists drive me nuts
You don’t know me very well if you’ve concluded that I’m an electric car evangelist. Perhaps a bit like you (minus the obnoxious ad-hominem), I’m reacting to the “ax-grinding anti-EV types here”. Maybe you should read all my comments in this thread before you go spouting off like a crazy lunatic liar.

Jake J

You are a very obnoxious reactionary
Well bless your heart!
I clearly said my calculations for operating costs, therefore I’ve used my own electricity costs. It would be foolish of me to make a decision based on someone else’s fuel costs. Battery degradation isn’t an operating expense, it’s a repair expense.
Battery degradation would be an operating expense, same as, say, tire wear. It’s 4 cents a mile. And where are you living that charges only 10 cents/kWh?

VikingExplorer

And Bless you Jake J. And how is your wonderful family? All the best to you and yours.
Is tire wear normally included in MPG? 🙂

VikingExplorer

>> And where are you living that charges only 10 cents/kWh?
What, you can’t find anywhere in the US with lower rates? You must be itching to call me a liar. You are all knowing, and it’s certainly not possible that there are areas of the country with deregulated electricity markets, where it’s possible to choose from various generation companies that are competing with each other on price alone.

Menicholas

I pay a higher rate for each 1000 kW-h after the first one.
And then there are the other charges on the bill…customer charge, taxes, etc.
Rates do vary from place to place, commercial to residential, amount used, etc.

Grey Lensman

Please explain. how is “Source: FuelEconomy.gov” your “calculations”

VikingExplorer

Grey, web site gave me range and kWh and I used my own electricity cost. Here are the Corrected calculations.
Original source: FuelEcon

MikeN

Isn’t the battery swap by invitation only?

R. de Haan

Nothing wrong with the use of Diesel Generators.
The real problem is the fact that our lands have been flooded with retards, opportunists, parasites, criminals, thieves and power hungry demagogues.

Menicholas

Those are problems. Maybe the tide will wash them all out to sea one of these elections?

Mike M.

Although electric cars powered off the grid may or may not have lower emissions (depending on your local mix of source), many Tesla owners put in solar charging systems. And the charging stations mostly run off solar.
I have to laugh when I see people griping that Tesla’s don’t make sense economically and are purchased as status symbols. If people suddenly stopped buying cars as status symbols, Tesla would have a lot of company in Chapter 11.

Jake J

Mike, rich people do lots of expensive things that have no broader application to anyone or anything.

Alx

So to get your true Tesla value, you need to buy a solar recharge system?
They might want to rethink that recharging system thing if they commute to work. After returning from work they’d have a limited solar window for charging. On the other hand, Teslas are expensive toys to be enjoyed not used for practical purpose.
It is true people buy cars as status symbols, but when they do they do not claim to do so for higher moral purpose, saving the planet, saving the future or other pompous nonsense.

Jake J

Alx, so you know, my EV gets lots of attention, partly because I outfitted it with a set of steer horns. I make a point of telling people that I bought it out of a bankruptcy sale of the maker; that I have a gigantic diesel pickup for road trips and hauling; and that I got the EV not to save the earth but just for the hell of it. I despise eco-smugness. Seattle, where I live, overflows with that kind of thing. Ugh.
p.s.: I also tell people that, when you throw everything into the mix, they will not save any money with an electric car.
http://i.imgur.com/ahNkZyx.jpg

MarkW

They may have purchased solar charging stations, but if they had to rely on those stations to charge their cars, they would be lucky to drive them once a week.
Those solar stations may be providing 1% of the power being used, and that’s being generous.

Jake J

Mark W, solar power provides 0.44% of U.S. electricity.
http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_5.pdf

Grey Lensman

how do you solar charge 85kwhrs?

average joe

With a 1000 m^2 bank of panels. That would be approximately 100′ x 100′ and would be enough to charge your Tesla in one sunny day. So, with your vast wealth you build a 10,000 sq ft garage to keep your Tesla out of the sun. Then you spend around a million $ to cover the entire roof with solar panels to charge it. And there you go! The ridiculousness of the whole scenario is truly mind boggling. It works great if you’re Tony Stark. For the rest of us it’s a complete joke.

Ray Gillies

So really what is the point of this article. A lot of alleges no inquiry. No nothing – The genset has wheels on it indicating that it is probably temporary – It takes time to build infrastructure. It takes time to get attached to the grid. Even at that – Diesel stationary (any stationary plant) more efficient than a car. I hate luddites.

Ray Gillies

So really what is the point of this article. A lot of alleges no inquiry. No nothing – The genset has wheels on it indicating that it is probably temporary – It takes time to build infrastructure. It takes time to get attached to the grid. Even at that – Diesel stationary (any stationary plant) more efficient than a car. I hate luddites.

You are wrong.
It takes hours to hook up to the grid in modern cities. Takes longer to get the appointment to start an account to pay for the electricity.
A diesel-on-a-cart is just about the same efficiency as a gas-engine-in-highway driving. (Diesel efficiency is slightly higher in stop-and-go city driving) The steady purr of a diesel is more efficient – but the diesel-to-AC-to-DC-to-battery-charger-to-chemical-energy-in-batteryback-from-chemical-energy-in-battery-back-to-DC-back-to-dc-motor-back-to-driving-wheels means … You lose.
He gets money, power, influence, publicity. The rest of us lose.

MarkW

When you look at the total energy consumption, electrics are less efficient than ICs. Sorry dude, you’ve been sold a lie.

MarkW

As to your claim that the diesel generator is more efficient than a car, is there any idiocy you won’t believe?

VikingExplorer

No idea about the context, and this is just an off the cuff calculation. It’s well known that the approximate thermal efficiency of a hypothetical diesel is about 50%, while a gasoline engine is about 30%. Adding a generator to the diesel reduces it by only 10%, bringing it down to 45%. Lithium Ion batteries are also efficient, say 85%, which brings it down to 38 %. The next drop is the DC motor which is about 90%, which brings us down to 34%. Well, 34% > 30%, so Ray seems more correct.

Jake J

[“volts” = “Water pressure” is good, but “amps” = “Water flow” (rather than than “diameter”) is a more accurate analogy.
“Volume” and “kilowatt-hrs” is good. .mod]

I didn’t invent the explanation that you corrected, but I’d have to dispute you. I’d say that watts = water flow, i.e. total water volume running through the hose. Increase the pressure (volts) or the amps (diameter), and water flow will be greater. But I’m not an electrical engineer, so maybe there’s a better way to say it.
I am not challenging your veracity by telling you the following, but, your arguments/assertions would gain much strength if you cited reliable sources for your information (the credibility of “Jake, expert witness on electric cars” has been established elsewhere, no doubt (smile), but here on WUWT it has not been).
It would help a whole lot if you’d tell me what you need sources for. I really didn’t think I needed to post links about the charger specifications, for example. I can source anything you want, but didn’t include footnotes here because I figured it’d just clutter things up. But I’ll give sources for whatever you think needs sourcing.
Jake, you still have not answered my questions on costs if you add subsidies and the lack of a gasoline tax into your costs what do the numbers look like compared to a gasoline-powered car. Conversely, you could take the amount of electric car subsidies and gas taxes off the costs of the gasoline powered car. Taxes and subsidies are also facts.
Funny you should ask, because I have all those numbers. I completely agree about taxes and subsidies being facts. Oh God, do I ever agree! As with my answer just above, I’ve been trying to be careful not to do such a data dump that everyone’s eyes glaze over and the points get lost. I’ll look through what you’ve written and see if there’s something to reply to. At this point, I’m not exactly certain what you are looking for. Suffice to say that I calculate the EV-vs.-gas car numbers with and without taxes and subsidies. It’s a very big issue with me.

VikingExplorer

I am an EE, so maybe I’ll try, But analogies are always imperfect. If a gallon of water was like a Joule, gallons per minute is like a Watt. Water pressure is like Voltage, water speed is like Current, where watts/voltage = current, and hose diameter was like Resistance.
Probably more confusing than it was worth.

Grey Lensman

He ignores capital costs. You pay three times for a Tesla compared to an equivalent petrol car

Jake J

Probably more confusing than it was worth.
Yep, sure was.

Jtom

I prefer the waterfall analogy. The height of the fall represents voltage, the amount of water flowing the amps. Then it is clear that you could stand under a high fall with little water flow and have no problem, but even a low fall with a great amount of water flowing will wipe you out. High voltage and little amperage is…exciting (?)…but high amperage even at low voltage, deadly.
As an undergrad I was doing some spectrographic analysis. Those who research light are always in the dark, and in aligning the equipment I managed to grab hold of a 5000 volt lead (I’m pretty sure that’s right. It’s been a long time). Whoa, Nellie, that was a surprise. Low amps or I wouldn’t be around.

VikingExplorer

Jake J,
Better than your extremely flawed analogy. Watt hour is consumption per hour? Watt-hour is energy (Joule). Power (Watt) is energy per unit time, or joules per second. By adding per hour, You’ve made energy equivalent to power.
If power is like speed, energy is like position.
So, with your analogy, if someone asked you “where are you?” Your answer would be “25 mph”.
Your analogy is also flawed because it misses the relationship between power, voltage and current. For the same power, increasing the voltage will reduce the current.
However, for the same water volume, increasing the pressure will not change the diameter.

VikingExplorer

Please tell me Grey, what is an equivalent ice car? I think that unlike other evs, it stands alone,

LeeHarvey

Except that a gallon of water is not like a joule. A gallon of water is like a coulomb. Gallons of water per minute will give you a volumetric flow rate, which is analogous to an electric current. Multiply the volumetric flow rate by the pressure drop (which is like the voltage drop through a resistive element) and you get the power required.

VikingExplorer

Except a gallon of water is NOT like a coulomb. These kind of analogies are useless. It’s easier just to learn about electrical concepts.

LeeHarvey

I’ll thank you to not get snippy with me when you’re the one who introduced the idea of a unit of volume being analogous to a unit of energy.
And, for the record, energy is proportional to the product of volume and pressure, just like it’s proportional to the product of charge and potential.

Alx

Luddites? What jobs exactly are being threatened by diesel generators running electric cars? Actually don’t see any jobs threatened from fossil fuels generating the electricity required to recharge electric cars either.
It does take time to build infrastructure, so what? If it is worth the time, money and benefit, like let’s say gas stations, highways, airports, electric grids, cell phone towers etc then it happens. Luddites have never been able to stop or even slow progress. Even ideologues adept at gaining positions of power but inept at providing achievable benefit cannot stop progress. Like life itself, progress happens, it just happens.
Whether everyone or no one will be driving electric cars 100 years from now, I have no idea. The next 100 years will be as surprising and unpredictable as the last 100 years.

VikingExplorer

Alx, I think you and Ray agree. Luddites here is not about jobs lost, but rather about being anti technology.

Jpatrick

Remember the lawnmowers that were introduced last summer? The ones that run on grass clippings?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2548784/Now-thats-GREEN-energy-Robotic-lawnmower-uses-grass-cuts-FUEL.html
Anyone here seen one?

Janice Moore

http://www.nicholasville.org/images/pic_mower_in_tall_grass.jpg
It takes it 3 weeks to cut the average lawn, so, well,… the grass won.
🙂

Janice Moore

As Jake J (electric car owner “just for the hell of it” — and GOOD FOR YOU, Jake — THAT is about the only bona fide reason to own one … hope your toy gives you joy 🙂 ) admitted above, electric cars are not ready for prime time.
And they are most CERTAINLY NOT READY FOR THE RACE TRACK (so what if they can win on a drag strip — BIG WHOOP, lol).
Driver: “Okay, guys. Now, how many laps did you say I can do before I have to come in for a charge?….. ONE?!! We’ll NEVER win!…. Huh? Oh. We’re only racing against other electric cars? (big sigh of relief).
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And, lol, while many (most?) who buy them do so to impress their neighbors with their “Holy Car” (holy because it is not as “harmful to the environment”),
electric cars are NET COST in the “holiness” department.
“…environmentalists … champion subsidies for companies selling electric cars and tax credits for people buying them.”
“… most electric-car assessments analyze only the charging of the car. This is an important factor indeed. But a more rigorous analysis would consider the environmental impacts over the vehicle’s entire life cycle, from its construction through its operation and on to its eventual retirement at the junkyard.”
“The materials used in batteries are no less burdensome to the environment, the MIT study noted. Compounds such as lithium, copper, and nickel must be coaxed from the earth and processed in ways that demand energy … .”
“National Academies’ assessment {http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12794/hidden-costs-of-energy-unpriced-consequences-of-energy-production-and } didn’t ignore those difficult-to-measure realities. It drew together the effects of vehicle construction, fuel extraction, refining, emissions, and other factors. In a gut punch to electric-car advocates, it concluded that the vehicles’ lifetime health and environmental damages … are actually greater than those of gasoline-powered cars.”
{And don’t bet your money (unless it’s with the OPM that currently subsidizes the contrived market share and “profits” of Tesla via artificially lowered Cost of Production) on a BREAKTHROUGH in technology …}
“… electric-car technology is still quite young, so it should get much better. But don’t expect batteries, solar cells, and other clean-energy technologies to ride a Moore’s Law–like curve of exponential development. Rather, they’ll experience asymptotic growth toward some ultimate efficiency ceiling. When the National Academies researchers projected technology advancements and improvement to the U.S. electrical grid out to 2030, they still found no benefit to driving an electric vehicle.”
(Source: “Unclean at Any Speed,” Ozzie Zehner (author of book Green Illusions) http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/unclean-at-any-speed )
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Note: As has been stated several times above, this is simply a rich person’s toy (and “holiness” hypocrisy); you will NEVER recoupe your investment (i.e., the price of car (and maintenance) over its expected lifetime is never outweighed by fuel cost savings, esp. given time value of money)).

Jake J

Janice, I laugh at EVangelists. I also laugh at the over-the-top detractors. If — and it’s a very big “if” and certainly a future “if” — someone develops a battery that’s far cheaper and far more energy-dense than lithium, then EVs will be the mainstream vehicle of choice.
In theory, they make the most sense for one simple and very powerful reason: An EV is 4 to 6 times as thermally efficient as its gas or diesel counterpart. This is fact, not politics. The problems now are with cost and performance, the latter basically being range. These are formidable problems, and I don’t see how lithium chemistry can overcome them.
Gasoline is a tough, tough competitor. Pound for pound, gasoline has 140 times the energy density of a fully charged lithium battery. Even when we take into account the fact — not political, just true — that an EV system gets 3-1/2 times the equivalent range per unit of energy, gasoline still offers 40 times the range per pound of fuel.
In the real world: My EV’s battery weighs 660 pounds and will take the car 80 miles, on a year-’round average basis. (More in summer, less in winter.) That same weight of gasoline will take the equivalent gas car 3,200 miles. Currently, EV owners “solve” this by refueling much more often. This can work in the city, but not on the road, Tesla’s “supercharger” claims notwithstanding.
The average EV charger will download enough power to add 0.6 to 1.2 miles of range per minute of charging. Tesla “superchargers” are more powerful, and will download 5.6 miles of range per minute, according to company specs — actual owners often say the real performance is less, but you’re about to see that precision doesn’t matter on this one. A gas or diesel pump runs at 5 gallons a minute. My diesel pickup gets 16.5 mpg on the road, which is 82.5 miles of range added per minute of refueling. The average small car gets 28 mpg combined city and highway, or 140 miles of added range per minute of refueling.
EVangelists try to spin the need for frequent refueling as a positive, arguing that people taking road trips would enjoy cooling their heels for 45+ minutes every 175 miles. Ha!
And then there is battery cost. The battery is the gas tank, and today’s EV gas tanks go for about $300/kWh, and the typical EV has a gas tank of 20 kWh-30kWh. Tesla’s Model S gas tank is 85 kWh in the popular version. These costs are coming down, and we can expect them to be $200/kWh by the early ’20s, and maybe bottoming out at $150/kWh. That’s a very expensive tank, and it will keep EVs more expensive than ICEVs unless and until there’s a big breakthrough that goes far beyond mere manufacturing economies of scale.
Everything I’ve just written is fact. There is room to quibble and nibble around the edges about some of the numbers, but none of it will be even remotely material to the underlying point, which is that EVs are not and will not be ready for prime time unless and until we get a big, game-changing battery breakthrough. The most we’ll see is that EVs might make inroads into the second-car city commuter market, but only if they are heavily subsidized, and/or gasoline is heavily penalized.

MarkW

“An EV is 4 to 6 times as thermally efficient as its gas or diesel counterpart.”
That’s only true if you examine only the cars themselves. The advantage disappears completely when you take it back to the source of the energy.

Janice Moore

Say, Jake, I was just doing a little research on range (miles per charge) of electric cars…
Every __ miles (some fairly high, around 200 miles, others much lower), the average charge time seemed to be around 4.5 hours.
Please explain to me this statement you made:
“… enjoy cooling their heels for 45+ minutes every 175 miles.”
Approximately 45 minutes battery charge time seems a bit misleading (without explanation/cite to sources, I mean).

MarkW

You are pretty optimistic about future cost of batteries. I don’t share your opinion.
Regardless, what happens to the price of those batteries if the demand for lithium were to double or triple?

Jake J

Janice, I’m going to answer your question. As I do, it might sound like I am an EVangelist. I assure you I am not. In fact, I’ve been banned from all kinds of EVangelist sites for my stubborn insistence on not doing anything other than telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about electric cars. You see, I am a numbers guy like crazy, and I am death on numbers manipulation.
So, with that:
1. EVs are all about the batteries. Tesla’s cars are distinguished mainly by the large size (and high cost) of their batteries. The most popular version of their Model S has an 84 kWh battery, which is 3-1/2 times the capacity of Nissan’s LEAF, which has a 24 kWh battery.
2. There are several varieties of chargers. The most common is a “Level 2” unit. A Level 2 charger operates at 240 volts. Some of them operate at 14 amps and others operate at 28 amps. Amps (x) volts = watts. My EV’s 14 amp Level 2 charger operates at a peak rate of (3,360 watts) 3.36 kW. Charging cycles build up to the peak, and scale down from it. On average, my Level 2 charger will download 3 kWh worth of juice in each hour of charging, which is enough to run my vehicle for 10 miles. Break that down to minutes, and my car recharges at a rate of 0.6 miles of range per minute of charging.
3. The newer non-Tesla EVs, i.e., the LEAFs now being sold, use a 28 amp Level 2 charger at home. They charge at double the rate I just mentioned, or a peak of 6.6 kW. In practice, this will average out to 6 kW over a charging cycle, averaging 1.2 miles of range uploaded per minute. These ranges will vary a bit depending mainly on the time of year. EV fuel economy is much lower in winter, and somewhat higher in summer. The numbers I’m citing here are year-’round averages.
4. There are more powerful chargers out there: “DC” chargers will download at average rates throughout a charging cycle of about 40 kW, which translates to about 2.2 miles of range added per minute. The new LEAFs can accommodate DC charging. People don’t typically put a DC charger in their garage, because they’d need 480 volt service (i.e. two electric dryer circuits), each running 80-85 amps. That means lots of rewiring, city inspections, and — I assume — punishing charges from the electric company. Not only that, but it’d be overkill for a house, given that most EV owners are content to plug the sucker in at 8 p.m. and let it go all night if needed.
5. Tesla claims that its “superchargers” will run at peak rates of 135 kW, and provide 170 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging. This would be 5.67 miles of range per minute. Actual owners of Teslas comment in forums that the real-world charge rates are slower than that. I believe the voltage is the same 480 used by DC chargers, but with much higher amperage. I would guess that many charging rates are slower because only some of the “superchargers” are the top-powered ones. But, for purposes of analysis, I’m happy to assume that they are all top-powered.
6. A side note. I had to do a lot of learning about basic electric terms when I got my car. Think of a garden hose. “Volts” is the water pressure.”Amps” is the hose diameter. “Watts” is the total water volume. A “watt hour” refers to consumption over each hour. Thus, 1 kWh is the amount of electricity that will power a 1,000 watts for one hour.
7. Another side note. People often talk in terms of total battery capacities and vehicle ranges. In real life, an EV owner is told not to habitually use more than 80% of the battery’s capacity, and not to “top up,” i.e., refill if the battery is pretty full, say, 60% or 70% or more. These behaviors accelerate battery degradation. It’s why, for example, the batteries on cellphones and computers crap out so quickly. People plug them in when they’re almost full, or let them drain completely. EV owners know how expensive batteries are, and most of us are quite careful about that 80% rule.
So, when you see an EV “range” quoted, multiply it by 80%. And then you’ll have an [average] practical range on a year-’round basis. However, in a nice summer, i.e., up to about 85 or 90 degrees in the shade, you’ll do 20% better. In winter, you’ll do about one-third worse, because batteries in general don’t like the cold, and because the same battery that turns the wheels powers the heater. Batteries also don’t like extreme heat, and they power the air conditioner. Therefore, “range” is a moving target to a much greater degree than in a gas car.
—-
So, hopefully you can see that the time it takes to recharge an EV is going to depend on the size of the battery, the power of the charger, and the car’s ability to handle whatever amount of electricity the charger can throw at it. (My EV, for example, can’t handle any more than a lower-powered Level 2 charger, while never EVs can handle higher power levels. Tesla designed its cars from the start to handle relatively high recharge levels.)
Also, you can see that a calculator comes in handy, and that everything has to be triple checked. I am quite certain that I’ve done the triple checking. I hope this helps. Everything I have written is factual, supported both by research and direct and careful observation by someone who’ll have owned his EV for three years come this fall.
[“volts” = “Water pressure” is good, but “amps” = “Water flow” (rather than than “diameter”) is a more accurate analogy.
“Volume” and “kilowatt-hrs” is good. .mod]

Jake J

You are pretty optimistic about future cost of batteries. I don’t share your opinion. Regardless, what happens to the price of those batteries if the demand for lithium were to double or triple?
It’s not my opinion. It comes from McKinsey & Co., the strategic consultancy. As for lithium, I believe (but could be wrong) that it’s not in short supply, or too difficult to get. I think the much bigger issue has been so called “rare earth elements.” I don’t think lithium is a long-term winner because of its low energy density. I think I’ve read that the use of rare earth elements per kWh of capacity is dropping.
By the way, I answered you about thermal efficiency below, so I won’t repeat it right here.

Janice Moore

Dear Jake J.,
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question.
I am not challenging your veracity by telling you the following, but, your arguments/assertions would gain much strength if you cited reliable sources for your information (the credibility of “Jake, expert witness on electric cars” has been established elsewhere, no doubt (smile), but here on WUWT it has not been).
Your ally for science truth,
Janice

Leonard Lane

Jake. Did your cost calculations include or exclude the subsidies for seller and buyer. And, you may pay some taxes but not a road use tax such as the federal and state gas taxes. Include the subsidies and tax-free use of roads costs/gains in a straightforward manner. Then give us the costs per mile again including subsidies and lack of gasoline taxes in the costs.

Janice Moore

P.S. (Jake) Your telling me so many simple things above (under the assumption that I am quite ignorant of a lot of basic knowledge — and that’s fine, Jake, if I come off as kind of slow, thank you for making sure I would understand by telling me such things) — made me realize I need to clarify my request for cites to sources above: only for specialized information which is not easily ascertainable within a fairly quick time. Sorry for that apparently ridiculous request for cites for the basic info.!

Jake J

Your telling me so many simple things above (under the assumption that I am quite ignorant of a lot of basic knowledge — and that’s fine, Jake, if I come off as kind of slow, thank you for making sure I would understand by telling me such things) — made me realize I need to clarify my request for cites to sources above: only for specialized information which is not easily ascertainable within a fairly quick time. Sorry for that apparently ridiculous request for cites for the basic info.!
Nothing personal — no assumptions — on this end. Long ago, I was trained to try to write clearly and in non-jargon English. These days, I really don’t know how to write any other way. One byproduct is that I tend to write long. I’ve tried boiling it down, but is sacrifices readability to do that. In any case, I’m happy to supply sources for anything you think needs it.

VikingExplorer

MarkS, did you read my MIT link on battery technologies?

MarkW

EV users never account for the many inefficiencies encountered in getting their power from the coal plant to the charger in their car.
When you compare total energy usage from mine/oil well to wheel, electric vehicles lose.
BTW, they’ve been building electric cars longer than they have been building IC cars. Electrics and steamers were the first cars on the road.
The charging are basic power electronics, nothing fancy and they are quite a ways down that learning curve.
There may be a bit more efficiency to squeeze out of the power management between the battery and the wheels, but not much.

Jake J

EV users never account for the many inefficiencies encountered in getting their power from the coal plant to the charger in their car. When you compare total energy usage from mine/oil well to wheel, electric vehicles lose.
That’s just not true. And before you write me off as some earth-savin’ EVangelist, please try to glance at my other posts in this thread. I’m a facts guy, and will let the chips fall where they may.
I have done a lot of research on the issue you raise. It’s impossible for me to go back farther than the power plant (for electricity) or the refinery (for gasoline). The numbers probably exist, but the dimensions of the research from mine/well to power plant/refinery are too daunting. However, from power plant to outlet, and refinery to pump — those numbers are readily available, as are the numbers all the way to the car wheels.
I’m going to give you numbers, but before I do so I will tell you this: I’m applying a basic accounting principle — materiality — as I do so. Which is to say that some quibbling is possible, but not to materially change the picture. Anyone who’s an accountant or who (like me) suffered through some accounting classes on the way to a different objective will understand and appreciate the materiality principle.
Gasoline’s thermal efficiency is in the low 20% range. This includes (mainly) the heat lost through the tailpipe, and the roughly 10% inefficiency in the refining process. Electricity’s thermal efficiency is about double that — the low 40% range — at the current mix of U.S. fuels used to generate it. As an aside, about 6-1/2% of electricity is lost in transmission; for purposes of analysis, I set that equal to the “transmission” loss of getting gasoline from the refinery to the filling station. In other words, I eliminated that factor on both sides of the equation. In reality, I don’t know how much diesel is used to power the trucks that haul gasoline or how much other fuel is used to ship gasoline long distances by pipeline, if that’s even done.
Once you fill up an EVs battery, and fill up its gas-powered equivalent, an EV will go (on average) 3-1/2 times as far on the same amount of energy. Thus, if my EV’s gas counterpart gets 32 mpg, I can expect my EV to get 112 “mpg” when you use the gas-to-electric energy conversion formula that sets a gallon of gasoline equal to about 34 kWh of electricity, and vice-versa. And, wouldn’t you know it, my EV is almost exactly 3-1/2 times as fuel efficient as its gas counterpart in real life. I measure all of this about every four days, which is how often I typically refill my EV.
This makes my EV roughly 7 times as thermally efficient as its gas powered counterpart. If the counterpart was diesel, the multiple would be between 4 and 5. This is simply factual, not political. There are three other major reasons why EVs are not yet ready for prime time. They are: the cost of lithium batteries, their low energy density compared to gasoline, and the painfully slow recharge rates even at Tesla’s hilariously misnamed “superchargers.”
I’m not a chemist, but the stuff I’ve read from chemists strongly suggests that lithium batteries will not solve the first two problems. And if they can’t solve those, then the third problem becomes largely irrelevant. Thus, I expect battery-powered cars to remain in a small niche, pending development of a much cheaper and much more energy-dense battery. However, I quite strongly dispute the idea that battery powered cars are less fuel efficient than gas- or diesel-powered counterparts. The direct opposite appears factual to me.

Mike M.

Jake J,
“a gallon of gasoline equal to about 34 kWh of electricity, and vice-versa”
But that is not right. A gallon of gasoline gives you about 34 kWh of thermal energy. To generate 34 kWh of electricity you need in the neighborhood of 85 kWh of thermal energy, assuming 40% generating efficiency.
“Thus, if my EV’s gas counterpart gets 32 mpg, I can expect my EV to get 112 “mpg” “.
The latter should be 55 mpg, where the ‘gallon’ is the equivalent thermal energy of a gallon of gas, taking into account the 40% efficiency of generating electricity. The 20% efficiency of a gasoline engine is already incorporated into the mpg figure.
“This makes my EV roughly 7 times as thermally efficient as its gas powered counterpart”.
More like 1.7 times as efficient. Which is a little better than a hybrid, I think.
I like that you are data driven and check the numbers yourself, but you also have to get the math and physics right.

Jake J

A gallon of gasoline gives you about 34 kWh of thermal energy. To generate 34 kWh of electricity you need in the neighborhood of 85 kWh of thermal energy, assuming 40% generating efficiency.
Hmm, interesting. I have to give that one some thought. By the way, a hybrid is more efficient than pure gas because of the electric component.

VikingExplorer

MikeM,
Without going through a detailed analysis, I think your numbers look more plausible than Jake Js. I would like to point out that it’s a very complicated question.
For example, us grid power is about half ng and nuclear. This makes it difficult to measure efficiency. Only 5% is oil, because it’s expensive. Yet, the ic is burning something more expensive than oil.
In fact, I think joule efficiency from source to miles driven is an interesting science problem, but irrelevant analysis.
Your right that for certain power plants, it takes 85 to generate the 34. However, it also takes energy to refine and deliver a gallon of gasoline to somewhere near us. Also, ic requires extra trips (4 times/month) plus time spent. Electricity is delivered to our homes.
The best way is to measure $/mile and let the market figure out the details. Unfortunately, politics distorts the market in many ways. Oh well, life isn’t fair. Its not all favoring evs though. With enough power plants, electricity would probably be around 8 cents / kWh. Driving at that rate is about 1/3 the cost, while factoring in longer commutes probably brings it up to 2/3 of the cost.

VikingExplorer

I found a detailed analysis.
It shows that the well-to-wheel efficiency of an ICE is about 14%, whereas it’s about 30% for an EV.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone, unless you have some irrational bias against electrical technology.
The key is understanding that thanks to Nikola Tesla and Edison a long time ago, it’s really efficient to deliver energy right to your home.

Jake J

I have gone back and forth on the correct thermal efficiency multiplier for EVs. I started at the 3-1/2 x mpg-e for EVs, and have looked at the generation efficiencies from a couple different angles. I’m going to look at this again later, but I’m thinking that a 2-3x multiple is probably most accurate. It’s one of the more challenging questions surrounding EVs.

Gamecock

“… electric-car technology is still quite young”
130 years old is young?

Janice Moore

Yeah, Gamecock, I raised my eyebrows at that one, too, but I figured Zehner knows what he’s talking about, there. I’d like to hear an informed response to your question myself. Seems like now the electric car industry is basically praying for a miracle… and in the meantime, doing a GIANT P.R. campaign to keep things going…

MarkG

Where do you get 130 years from? I make it ~180 years, and they still haven’t solved the problems electric cars had nearly two centuries ago.
IMHO, they will only really take off when telepresense makes long-distance travel a rarity, and anyone can design the short-range electric vehicle of their dreams in Adobe AutoShop and print it on the 3D printer at Home Depot.

Jtom

Back when cell phones were using ‘bricks’ for batteries I worked in the industry and we researched battery technology. We concluded that after two hundred years of on-going research of batteries, improvements in reducing size and weight, or increasing energy density would be slow and incremental. It was; that was twenty-five years ago.
Between battery research for the military, cell phone industry, computer industry, and now EVs, it seems more and more doubtful that there is a major discovery to be made.

Bruce Cobb

I have nothing against rich people throwing their own money away. It is when they take ours along with it that I bristle.

Why nobody uses the battery swap station: because the battery DOESN’T FIT!
https://twitter.com/AZComendador/status/604039414642249728

Jason Joice MD

Replacing batteries in an EV is expensive. Luckily internal combustion engines never wear out. /sarc off

Jake J

An EV battery is much more appropriately compared to a gas tank, not an engine. EVs have motors, and they do wear out, although to be fair they last longer than gas engines and are cheaper to replace.

Jason Joice MD

No. It’s not. We aren’t talking about what part is analogous to what part. We are talking about cost of operation. What are the components that typically need replaced? What is their cost? On EV’s it’s the battery. That’s about it. It is very expensive, no doubt about that. But there’s not much else by way of cost or maintenance. The electric motor and drive unit will last a VERY long time. On ICE cars, it’s the engine and transmission. You also have the associated cooling system, alternator, brakes, cost of oil changes, etc.

Jake J

We aren’t talking about what part is analogous to what part. We are talking about cost of operation. What are the components that typically need replaced? What is their cost? On EV’s it’s the battery. That’s about it. It is very expensive, no doubt about that. But there’s not much else by way of cost or maintenance. The electric motor and drive unit will last a VERY long time. On ICE cars, it’s the engine and transmission. You also have the associated cooling system, alternator, brakes, cost of oil changes, etc.
I’ve actually thought about all of this stuff, and calculated a lot of it. With ICEVs, depreciation covers the wearing out of engines, because they typically don’t need significant maintenance for more than 100,000 miles, and typically not replacement for much longer.
As for brakes, well, last time I checked, my EV has them too. It’ll be interesting to see how much wear the regen function deducts from them. When I’ve calculated battery replacement cost, I’ve used a net number. I started with McKinsey’s estimate of $200/kWh as of 2020. .(I might add that this is quite generous to the EV side of the equation, because McKinsey’s estimate is a cost number, not a replacement battery price.)
I assumed a 100,000-mile battery life for a LEAF-size battery, which is also quite generous given the actual experience being reported by lots of owners, not to mention that Nissan’s battery warranty doesn’t go that far. This yields a starting point of 5 cents a mile for the battery. From that, I deducted the costs of oil changes and exhaust system maintenance on an equivalent car — 1 cent per mile, or $1,000.
I’ve owned 16 vehicles in my adult life, and never once had to maintain or replace a tranny or an engine. Thus, as I explained above, I think any numbers linked to those issues would be covered by depreciation. I might note that in only one vehicle did I have to do exhaust work — well beyond the 100,000-mile mark. So, I think 4 cents a mile for the current EVs is in the ballpark, and probably too generous.
This will all change as batteries get bigger. Tesla’s batteries, for example, ought to last for 300,000 miles and maybe more, so I think that issue can be called ordinary depreciation rather than an operating cost component of depreciation. We’re going to see bigger lithium batteries in cars pretty soon, and when we do then I will be rethinking this component.

Janice Moore

Just some information which MAY prove helpful (just FYI in case):
1. “… most experts agree a replacement hybrid car battery can range anywhere from $1,000 to more than $6,000, depending on the year and model of car, and without including dealership or independent labor costs.”
Source: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/hybrid-technology/hybrid-battery-cost.htm
2. “The cost of a car engine … average price range is from $800 to $3,000. *** According to TheCarConnection.com article on replacing engines, the average {labor} cost of having an engine replacement can be roughly around $1,000 to $2,000.”
Source: http://www.howmuchisit.org/car-engine-cost-2/
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Okay! Now, it’s your turn, Dr. Joice!
(speaking hypothetically only, here, i.e., I’m not challenging you to go out and find this info.):
1. What percentage of car owners ever replace their:
a. internal combustion engine/transmission
b. electric car’s battery
2. Average price of
a. ICE car
b. electric car
3. Tax/Regulatory Subsidies for Cost of Production (or for buyer incentives) for
a. ICE car
b. electric car
*
*
*
etc….
Well, you get the point. Many more factors than engine/tranny v. battery replacement need to be taken into consideration to make a meaningful comparison of ICE v. electric vis a vis mechanical capabilities, costs of production, initial buyer investment (price), and costs of operation and maintenance.
Bottom line:
If electric cars can’t make it on a level, free market, playing field… they need to pull over and figure it out and stop wasting taxpayers’ money.