Britain Embracing Electric Cars

electric_car

Electric car owned by Anthony Watts

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

British sales of Electric and Hybrid cars have surged in the last year. But there might be more than green conscience driving the rise in sales.

According to GoUltraLow;

Last year over 28,000 electric cars were registered across the country. That’s more than the combined totals of electric cars sold every year since 2010, and marks a phenomenal 94% annual rise compared to the previous year.

Plug-in power is fast becoming a mainstream option for drivers alongside petrol and diesel, and EV popularity shows no sign of slowing.

We saw every region in the UK record improve year-on-year registrations for plug-in cars. Ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) proved to be the most popular in the South East of England, closely followed by the South West and the West Midlands.

Read more: https://www.goultralow.com/blog/electric-cars-on-the-road-to-phenomenal-growth/

Why are electric cars becoming so popular in the UK? Apart from the obvious, a rise in government fleet procurement of electric cars, part of the reason is likely that the government is flooding the market with significant taxpayer funded incentives, to encourage commuters to switch to electric.

  1. The price of gasoline in Britain is horrendous, averaging around £1 / litre ($5.40 / gallon). This creates a tremendous price advantage for electric cars; according to the UK Government, fuel for a typical petrol car costs £12.50 / 100 miles, vs around £2 / 100 miles for an electric car.
  2. Lots of government grants to cities which embrace electric car technology, such as a recent £40 million grant for cities which embrace electric car recharging technology.
  3. A waiver for the notorious British “congestion charges” – tolls paid for entering some city centres.
  4. Poor public transport infrastructure. Unsafe, crowded, unreliable, expensive. Even with the cost of parking in London, the cost of buying and driving an electric car is likely comparable to the cost of commuting by train.

Whether the popularity of electric will last is anyone’s guess. Britain has a dangerously overloaded electric grid. If the majority of electric car owners recharge using off-peak power, this won’t be an issue – but if a significant number of drivers choose to charge during peak time, the surge in demand could cause the grid to fail.

There might also be some long term safety issues. Quite apart for the unfortunate apparent tendency for car batteries in some models to catch fire, Britain occasionally experiences severe blizzards which strand drivers on snow covered roads. A stranded petrol car can keep burning fuel, and can keep the car interior safe and warm for many hours. An electric car, not so much – especially if the battery starts to freeze.

And of course, there is the cost of replacing the batteries. The batteries in electric cars are a significant proportion of the cost of the cars. If they only last a few years, replacing them will become a significant issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I would likely be seriously considering going electric, if I was still commuting into London every day. People are making a rational decision, based on the available options, even if the options have been significantly engineered by government policy incentives.

There are some unanswered questions. As electric cars become more popular, how long will the generous government incentives last? Who is paying for those incentives – maybe poor people, who can’t afford to buy an electric car? As with any scheme sustained by the whim of politicians, the surge in demand for electric cars, could disappear as quickly as it appeared.

323 thoughts on “Britain Embracing Electric Cars

  1. Electric cars may be a good solution for the Brits and other European countries as well. Other than the obvious, which is $2 American gasoline, it is the range problem that makes them problematic here in the US.

    As someone once observed…”the difference between Americans and Europeans is that Europeans think a hundred miles is a long distance while Americans think a hundred years is a long time.”

    • I’m currently having problems with the range on my deisel mazda. At 660 kms it simply is not enough to get me across france to the english channel. As Eric says, the price of deisel in uk is over 35% dearer than france.
      My mercedes, same size engine, heavier car, does 1100kms on a tank

      From europe, the uk looks likely to have significant energy price problems in the next 5 yrs as well as electricity supply ones. France are closing nuclear stations in 2016 and putting power sockets at the roadside to charge electric vehicles which are simply non existent.

      There are serious problems ahead for europe but not a word from any politicians or broadcast media.

      • My friend rented a Peugeot in France and drove all over the place. Averaged 70 mpg. He loved it. After he told me about it I did some research to see why these weren’t sold in the US. Turns out they don’t meet emissions stands.

        I’ll stick with cheap gas and low emissions. Sounds like the sweet spot to me.

      • Proud Skeptic, practically only way why diesel cars in Europe are achieving such high mpg is size of cars. Cars in Europe are smaller, much smaller. And physics laws are always right. In city you will spend 2 times more energy stopping and accelerating 2000kg car then 1000kg car. They have also smaller front area, causing smaller air drag. It is not about diesel efficiency. Efficiency of diesel is 15% better then of gasoline car, but offset by higher weight of car thus negating this advantage by around average 8%. That means that on highway where weight impact practically doesn’t matter you have 15% advantage with diesel over gasoline. But in the city you have 0% advantage of diesel over gasoline.

      • The only conceivable problem electric cars might solve is in-city smog, though it will be a offset with more ozone since many electric motors do emit ozone.

        If cities were powered predominantly by abundant nuclear power, electric cars as city transportation is not a bad thing. If they are powered by windmills and unicorn flatulence than electric cars are just one more way for government to mandate inefficiency in the market place.

      • A good solution for a culture that doesn’t drive long distances and taxes gasoline like it was a sin. NOT a solution for here in the US.

        To be honest, if someone could make an electric car with a 400 mile range with the heater running full out and with the towing capacity of an 8 cylinder pick up and sell it for $30,000, I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

        Not holding my breath.

    • Having lived in England for three years (in East Anglia) I will confirm that the observation you made is absolutely correct. Many English road signs indicate the distance to the next village down to an eight of a mile. From where I lived in East Anglia to Edinburgh, Scotland was a bit less than 400 miles. Except for the motorways (think Interstate System) traffic is considerably slower than in the USA. The motorways have expanded since I lived their, but they simply facilitate road traffic movement from one section of the country to another. Electric cars are much more feasible in the UK than in the USA because everything is so much closer.

      An English friend told me that he planned to fly to New York and rent a car to drive to Las Vegas to visit a mutual friend. He literally could not comprehend the distance from New York to Las Vegas.

      • When I lived in Atlanta, we had a group of Germans over for a two week training class. Halfway through the first week we found out they were planning on renting a car to drive to Dallas over the weekend.
        They were quite surprised to find out that it would take them two days, each way, to drive to Dallas.

      • “An English friend told me that he planned to fly to New York and rent a car to drive to Las Vegas to visit a mutual friend. He literally could not comprehend the distance from New York to Las Vegas.”

        It will probably become clear to him after a few days. He will, I suspect, be quite impressed with, for example, how much Kansas there is. (About the same area as Britain actually)

      • Don K,

        And then there’s Nebraska…

        We drove round trip across the country last summer. One way was OK, many interesting places broke up the boredom. But coming back was super tedious. I often found my self going 90 mph, trying to get it done.

      • MarkW, it’s possible that the Germans thought that they could get there so quickly because they figured they’d be driving at Autobahn speeds.

      • I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a European inquire about visiting the Grand Canyon while down here for the week. They simply can’t grok the distances involved. Similarly, they don’t understand how you can live while speaking only one language, when I can travel for over 1,000 miles in an over 180 degree arc and reasonably expect everyone I meet to speak English fluently.

        Leonard. Electric cars are a good solution for people who have cheap electricity but expensive gas prices. They are also good for pollution since power plants have far better emissions controls than your car’s dinky little catalytic converter (ironically, this is why wind power is so bad pollution-wise, because all of their emissions come from mobile sources).

      • MarkW,
        Germans have a bit of excuse.
        Many people from the east USA are just as clueless.
        A nephew told me (when I was moving to Idaho): “I heard it is pretty out there. I’ll drive out and see you some weekend.”
        He was born, raised, and lived in Western Pennsylvania.

      • My wife had a coworker in Huntingdon when we were there who asked me about his upcoming holiday in The States. His plan was to fly the family into Orlando and do the Disney World thing for two days, then drive out to the Grand Canyon for two days followed by a day in Las Vegas, finally he was going to drive to Anaheim CA and spend a day at Disney Land and finally fly home. I told him it sounded like a great month-long holiday and his family would enjoy the experience immensely. That is when he told me he only had a week scheduled.

        I asked him if he thought a car trip to St Petersburg Russia and back was a nice week long holiday. That kind of drove it home for him.

      • What is it with Europeans? They’re always coming to Australia and planning to drive to Cairns, or Ayers Rock. I don’t fly to Paris and think “road trip to Prague” – I look on Google Maps for a distance.

      • This is a big country. If you overlay the US on Europe it stretches from Portugal to Turkey. I did this a few months ago to see how many languages we would have if we were like Europe with separate countries and cultures instead of states. The answer is about 25 major languages would be spoken here (plus minor ones).

        I have a friend from Wales who loves driving here. He can’t get over how wide open it is.

      • dbstealy:

        “And then there’s Nebraska…”

        I live in Nebraska. Here’s a quote by an SR-71 pilot in the book Sled Driver: “I did Nebraska in twelve minutes the other day. That’s the best way to do Nebraska.”

      • Ben of Houston, I actually drove by myself three times from San Jose to Grand Canyon area, once Grand Canyon, once Zion National and once Lake Powell. All times 1 night drive there, 1 day there and one day drive back. Not big problem for 2 drivers changing every 3 hours. We did it from Grand Canyon to San Jose in 10 hours during night. It is around 750 miles.
        I same way I did trip from San Jose to Yellowstone, one afternoon and evening there, one day there and one day way back. Yes I’m from Europe, though living a while in California.

      • GPHanner,

        An SR-71 flies at Mach 3, and it still takes 12 minutes! I drove it one winter, and it was an endless view of nothing, dusted with snow. A farmhouse about every mile.

        Last summer it was different. Lush green, and covered with giant windmills now. Monuments to stupidity.

      • A roommate in college described how his parents in “Jersey” went “out west” for the first time, driving. They had a NJ travel agent plan their trip and provide maps with the route and stops marked in red. Arriving at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon they admired the vista but wondered “But … where’s the bridge?” Seems the NJ agent had blithely pushed her red pen right across the Grand Canyon. Who knew?

      • Yep. Before my first visit to the US, I was quite staggered to find that Minnesota is bigger than UK.

        And that there are ten states bigger than Minnesota.

        You Americans must sure get lonely. Is that why y’all meet up so often to shoot each other?

    • How can electric cars be a good solution to anything? Does anyone who drives an electric car understand where the electricity is generated, its cost, and how it is delivered to them. How many new coal, gas, or nuclear plants will need to be built to provide the electricity? How long do the batteries last, how expensive to replace them, how are the old batteries disposed of: recycle, landfills, how much of a permanent toxic waste disposal problem do they represent?

    • Proud Skeptic,

      $1.49/gal. here in SE Virginia (cheapest I saw as of yesterday, though I’m certain there are places in the region that are cheaper).

      • God Bless you. It’s $1.81 at BJ’s here in RI. Just across the border into Connecticut, they broke $2 for the first time in probably a decade.

      • $1.499 appears to be about the cheapest right now, at least in the East, but prices are still dropping. Just gassed up on Friday at Costco in NJ for $1.499 for a trip to Ithaca, NY, then down I-81 thru PA, MD, WV, VA and into TN. Eastern Tennessee also has $1.499 along I-81. It’s largely, though not solely, the difference in State gas tax.

    • Plug in hybrid is the answer. They can be small and ultra economical or big luxurious and powerful and very economical. The idea is that you charge your car each night and get the first 50 ks or so of your commute all electric and beyond that economy is just like a standard non plugged hybrid. You can still drive as far as you want on a tank and if you want to cross the continent you just fill your tank every 800 kms or so.

      • Make one that tows like a V8 with a 200,000 mile battery and sell it without subsides for $30,000 and I’ll buy one!

      • As long as you are not paying the road tax contained in the price of gasoline
        Road tax would triple the electricity cost

      • If you commute highway miles the advantages of hybrid configurations you mentioned become a negative.
        Simply because of the higher weight of a hybrid set up.
        Just google Toyota Prius versus BMW 525D. The BMW beats the Prius in fuel consumption and purchase price.

    • In the northern states and Canada, as well as many European interior nations, winter is a serious problem for electric cars. The energy required for heat and defrost could be a very significant part of the required range. Also, I don’t know much about the performance of lithium batteries at low temperatures but I know the available charge is reduced. In lead acid batteries it can be reduced by 80%. If Lithium based batteries are similar it really means they can’t be used in areas where many hundreds of millions of people live.

  2. Electric vehicles have the seeds of their own destruction planted within them. Gasoline taxes pay for the upkeep of the road infrastructure. At some point, electric vehicles will have to be taxed to make up for the revenue shortfall generated by their very existence. I suspect that this will be in the form of a licence plate tax. In the meanwhile, enjoy the free ride.

    • On the west coast of North America, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, have already thought about charging a “mileage tax” to electric cars, in order to pay for road infrastructure. The problem seems to be finding out how far an electric car has traveled during a year. Government supplied GPS? Odometer inspection during yearly permit renewal? Etc…

      • It’s funny to think about this also in relation to odometer tampering. In Illinois, and probably most states, a signed declaration describing the odometer (mileage) reading as accurate is necessary in the sale of a used car. This came about because of years of odometer tampering on used cars.

        I wonder what they’ll do with electric cars, or if they’ve even thought of this. In 2013 I bought a used, 2001 Honda Insight hybrid. Knowing full well what the cost of a battery is for this car I made certain to ask the dealer if it had been replaced. The dealer told me yes, and since he was an acquaintance of a very good friend of mine I believed him. Well, guess what? – it hadn’t been. Within about six months the dreaded IMA warning light came on. Partly through fortuitous events, accident, luck, and trial and error I’ve been able to nurse the car along. I simply pull one of the battery leads off the 12 volt lead acid battery. (This is like the battery all cars have and it simply operates the standard functions on the Insight.) Then I reconnect the 12 volt battery (I keep a box wrench in the car at all times to do this). The onboard computer reboots, looks at the fancy (i.e. very expensive) hybrid battery and thinks that it’s normal, and not in its death throes. Voila, I’ve got another few days to few weeks before the IMA light comes back on again. Now, if I was a politician, lawyer, or enviro activist I’d reconnect that 12 volt battery and immediately try to unload the car on some unsuspecting dufus (resembling myself) just as fast as I could. “Yeah, it works fine; I’m pretty sure it’s got a new battery.”

        But, jerk though I may be, I really can’t bring myself to do that. But, rest assured, there’s going to be lots of people, undeterred by transferring their misfortune onto others. Or, even making a big buck at it.

    • Or worse, a tax on the purchase to compensate. Soon there will be little black boxes that make you pay by the mile/km.

    • If only the tax on fuel WAS used to pay for the road infrastructure. Here in UK the tax on petrol and diesel is 61% and 59% respectively – which is why the D***n fuel costs so much. If it was used on the road infrastructure we would have the best roads in Europe or possibly the world. No, the government uses the motorist as a cash cow to be endlessly milked

      • Harrowsceptic,

        In California it’s the law that auto registration renewal money funds must be used to maintain roads, bridges, and related infrastructure.

        Guess what? The state legislature “borrows” a big slice of the money, never repays it, and the roads are full of potholes, bridges are failing, etc. This has been going on for many, many years, which makes me suspect that they’ve found a way to corrupt the judiciary.

      • Well, they pay the judges. Maybe others do, to, we just don’t know about it.

        But the governor appoints them.

        I lost my naïveté when Chief Justice John Roberts flipped on Obamacare. I knew then that the fix was in.

  3. “Who is paying for those incentives – maybe poor people, who can’t afford to buy an electric car?”

    I don’t think this is quite accurate. I mean, yes, it’s some poor people, but that’s not the demographic focus. The demographic that’s paying for all these EVs is…well…petrol/diesel car drivers. Under this current system of incentives in the UK and USA, any boom in EV sales is doomed because of that. Every gas/diesel burner that switches to electric will be increasing the burden on the whole system of incentives while simultaneously reducing the pool of resources for that same system to draw from. Potential power grid failures and other issues aside, the EV market remains completely unsustainable. If it keeps booming like this, cuts will have to be made *somewhere* to cut down on cost, and it will more than likely be the incentives themselves that die.

    The EV market is its own worst enemy.

    • I think this is what he was referring to.

      The masses paying for all these government subsidies to the wealthiest among us for vehicles the masses could never afford.

      • That’s pretty normal for liberal policies.

        They complain that the rich are getting richer, then create policies which require you to be rich to benefit from them – while claiming it helps the poor.

      • I know what he was referring to, but again I think being poor is (somewhat) incidental to paying for those subsidies. The rich guy with five V12 gas-burning Ferraris is paying for those subsidies just as much as the poor schmuck with a 20 year-old Civic gas-burner. Ultimately it is gas/diesel owners who are paying, many of whom just so happen to also be poor.

  4. ‘Britain Embracing Electric Cars’…… Proportionality

    At the end of quarter 4 2014 there were 35.6 million vehicles licensed for use on the roads in
    Great Britain, of which 29.6 million were cars.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/433994/vls-2015-q1-release.pdf

    The proportion of the licensed car fleet that is made up of diesel
    and alternative fuel vehicles has continued to grow. By quarter 4
    2014 there were 10.7 million diesel cars, accounting for 36.2% of
    the total, up from only 7.4% in 1994. There were only 248 thousand
    alternative fuel cars licensed by December 2014, but this was up
    20% over the year
    .

  5. Today’s number: 1.

    I was looking up stats last fall on plug-in hybrid vehicles. The Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid had 1. In the 9 months of 2015, they had sold 1.

    Electric vehicles are government sponsored virtue preening.

  6. I bought a Leaf in September 2015 and I am loving it! I wouldn’t worry about getting stranded in the snow. Electric cars can keep the interior warm much more efficiently than a gas powered car. It is very inefficient to run a 200 hp engine in order to heat the cab. My Leaf has seat warmers, a steering wheel warmer, and a ceramic heater for the air. I could stay toasty for many hours.

    Electric cars are the future. They are 30% more efficient than gas powered cars, don’t pollute our cities (think of a city with no auto emissions), and are fun to drive (electric motors have lots of torque). The electric charging infrastructure is the issue right now. If we can get that in place, everyone will be enjoying a nice quiet ride in near future.

    • Luke Whats the expected depreciation on your Leaf ?
      I’m thinking battery replacement costs for longer term users
      I usually get over 15 years or longer out of a vehicle
      How many battery replacments in that time period ?
      Plus its fundamentally powered by fossil fuel

      • Luke writes-
        “I pay a little more to my local utility to get 100% of my electricity from renewables (mostly wind power).”

        That is incorrect, regardless of what the shiny brochures may claim.
        You have chosen to pay a little more to your local utility for exactly the same electricity, sourced from exactly the same generation fleet. There is currently no means of shuttling wind power (or any other renewables-sourced power) selectively through the existing distribution grid to your home. To truly be 100% renewables electricity, you need to install your own wind turbine(s), solar panels, run-of-stream hydro and/or geothermal systems and disconnect from the grid.

      • Luke: “I pay a little more to my local utility to get 100% of my electricity from renewables (mostly wind power).”

        Hehehe!

        You’re funny!

      • ““I pay a little more to my local utility to get 100% of my electricity from renewables (mostly wind power).”

        You are being conned ! ;-)

      • Luke says:

        As for the local vs distant pollution. I pay a little more to my local utility to get 100% of my electricity from renewables (mostly wind power).

        Luke, there’s no way you’re getting 100% from renewables — the grid mixes them all together. All that means is all your payments are going toward the renewable generators.

      • Luke’s comment reminds me of a lovely debate I found on a Hi-Fi audio site a few years ago** where they were debating whether changing your electricity supplier could improve the quality of your audio equipment.

        There was another thread debating the improvement in quality that you could expect by changing from copper to silver interconnects in the digital side of the CD player.

        Truly, I’m not kidding!

        **If you really want to observe true wishful thinking, they’re a must. Fancy shelling out £17,999.99 for a pair of speaker cables? No problem! http://www.futureshop.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=7835#.VqkLFFOLQUF.

        And check out this lot. http://www.siltechcables.com/

    • Eric

      I have nothing against electric cars. I already have an electric bike charged via a solar panel and its great.

      However, bearing in mind the sheer number of vehicles bought each year those solely electric are a drop in the ocean.

      Even with the large subsidy they are very pricey compared to the alternative, many people will have trouble charging them (many houses in the cities where e/v are most likely to be bought will not have a charging point adjacent to the house.) We can hand wave away the range anxiety but it is still an issue.

      Scenario: For part of the year the driver goes to and work in the dark and cold carrying a passenger. He uses the heater, headlights, windscreen wipers, radio. He would hope to use electric windows and briefly operate a defrosted read window. The driver has several steep hills to negotiate. Range may not be a problem on a 30 mile round trip but might become one on a 50 mile plus round trip if all the electronic equipment has to be utilised. At the end of the trip how will he charge the battery?

      All these things may be overcome as battery technology improves and the wealthy, with a short commute, living in a city, may already find the current technology is sufficient.

      Good luck to electric vehicles-whether we have the grid capacity to serve them remains to be seen.

      It would have been interesting to see how many hybrid vehicles have been sold over the last year in the UK as they may be the way to go for the mainstream who can’t afford to have one dedicated electric vehicle for their daily commute and another more traditional type for family expeditions going further afield loaded up with paraphernalia

      tonyb

      • I agree, subsidies are an inefficient way to move away from fossil fuels. Just like any external cost, economically the best way to account for that is to add a cost to the item to account for that external cost (climate change in this case). A carbon tax with revenue distribution is the most efficient way to do this. http://www.carbontax.org/

      • Luke, you truly are gullible. Looking to be conned even further.

        Tell you what , how about YOU pay the carbon tax, and leave the rest of us out of it.

        Why should we pay for the gullibility of the anti-CO2 religion.

      • Luke, that’s still a subsidy. You are making your preferences less expensive, either by massive tax on the alternatives or by massive subsidy to the preferred choice.

        “Preferring a tax” however, means you would prefer the government to confiscate money from someone because you don’t like their choices. And I’d be surprised if such a tax, after it was passed, was actually used for the purposes your mind says they should go to (e.g. building alternative electricity generation or something else) after five years. Taxes don’t work that way. After they get passed, they are often used for anything a politician can come up with based on the general income base to the budget.

      • Luke,

        Your link is packed to the gills with lies. Here’s just one:

        Do you really believe that? If so, they own you.

        If a carbon tax is passed it will drive up the prices of all goods and services. But your income won’t go up to compensate. And a carbon tax will follow the same trajectory as the income tax: when income taxes were proposed, Americans were promised that they would never exceed 1% of income, and then only for those making more than $4,000 a year (the top 3%). How’d that work out?

        And the same people have their stooges all lined up:

        I don’t mind if you buy a dozen EV’s. But please wake up and notice what the real agenda is. It’s not hard to see.

      • Arsten said ” And I’d be surprised if such a tax, after it was passed, was actually used for the purposes your mind says they should go to (e.g. building alternative electricity generation or something else) after five years.”
        The money does not go towards building renewables, the market will take care of that. If you read the Carbon Tax website, the income received from the tax is returned to individuals in an equitable fashion. That way, people that choose to move away from fossil fuels will come out ahead.

      • The money does not go towards building renewables, the market will take care of that. If you read the Carbon Tax website, the income received from the tax is returned to individuals in an equitable fashion. That way, people that choose to move away from fossil fuels will come out ahead.

        That way, the people who chose to vote the way the politicians like will get whatever carbon tax money is leftover after the politicians spend the carbon tax money the way the politicians want to spend the carbon tax money.

        “Equitable” means “I will send YOUR money to those whom “I” like and who think the way “I” like.”

      • Luke: ” If you read the Carbon Tax website, the income received from the tax is returned to individuals in an equitable fashion.”

        Hey Luke, do you want to buy a bridge? You sound like an ideal custodian for such an example of our civil engineering heritage.

        I have a fine selection of pre-loved examples, never raced or rallied, to suit every pocket.

        Whaddya say Luke?

      • If you drew a trend line on that chart from 1907-1944, it would be even steeper than the one they drew from 1975-2015. Which in itself is proof of nothing, other than temperatures vary over different timeframes. Then again we can’t be sure those temperatures have any real meaning after all the adjustments that have been made.

    • Electrics are only more efficient if you completely ignore the electricity distribution system.
      If you examine the entire delivery system for gas vs electricity, electrics are much less efficient.
      But the liars will keep trying to tell you otherwise.
      As to pollution, only a complete cad celebrates because he is forcing someone else to suffer the pollution that he is generating.
      The electric grid will have to be increased by a factor of 10 to cover a complete conversion to electrics.

      • MarkW, you are conveniently IGNORING the fact that 6 kWh of electricity is used to refine 1 US gallon of gas. That electricity alone would take a Nissan Leaf over 18 miles. If you want to talk facts, let’s talk facts.

      • Max S: “the fact that 6 kWh of electricity is used to refine 1 US gallon of gas.”

        Really.

        I bet you read that on the Interwebs (which as everyone knows were invented by AlGore), right?

        Tell you what Max, I doubt you would recognise a fact if it scuttled under your bridge and bit you on the snout.

      • Max S,

        I can simmer down basic economics in four simple points:

        • Government is force

        • Good ideas do not have to be forced on others


        • Bad ideas should not be forced on others


        • The free market is necessary for the difference between good ideas and bad ideas to be revealed

        Subsidies distort the market. They cause far more inefficiency than anything gained by EV’s. No government can think as clearly or as well as hundreds of millions of people, each making tens of thousands of decisions a day. We’re a quantum computer. But Bureaucrats believe they know better.

        If EV’s are so great they will succeed on their own. I have no problem with anyone buying anything. But confiscating my money for their great new idea and giving it to buyers of EV’s is wrong on many levels, ethics not being the least of them.

    • The engine doesn’t produce 200hp while warming the car.

      But, unlike an electric, the 200hp IS AVAILABLE WHEN YOU WANT IT.

    • Efficiency. You are only considering the efficiency of the electric motor. What you aren’t factoring in is the efficiency at the power plant, which probably uses oil or coal, the efficiency of the grid to transmit that electricity to your home, and the efficiency of your home wiring at powering the plug in where you recharge your batteries, and the battery efficiency, which will degrade over its lifespan. When you start factoring in all the losses along the power chain, your electric car is no more efficient than a conventional vehicle of the same size burning fossil fuel right there. And in fact, in many cases, because of the extra weight of the batteries, it may be worse. All you’ve done is change where the pollution is emitted. And don’t forget the toxic waste produced in the refining of materials to make the batteries, and their disposal and recycling in a few years.

      • A well-to-wheel analysis conducted by MIT concluded that EVs are 50% more efficient than regular vehicles [1], irrespective of how the electricity is generated.

        [1] Wheel to Well Analysis of EVs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008.

      • @MarkW Link me to a SINGLE peer-reviewed study which concludes that internal combustion engine vehicles are more efficient than their electric counterparts, when conducting a well-to-wheel analysis.

        There are none.

    • Luke, trust me, your 200 hp engine isn’t putting out anywhere near 200 hp when its merely idling so as to heat the cab. Heck, when you’re going down the expressway it still isn’t putting out anywhere near 200 hp. In fact, it’s almost never called upon to put out 200 hp. Unless you’re on a racetrack; but in that case you won’t be heating the cab.

      • Tom Judd
        January 25, 2016 at 9:13 am
        … Unless you’re on a racetrack; but in that case you won’t be heating the cab.

        Oh yes you will! Just not intentionally.

    • Luke, where does the electricity come from these days? Where will it come from if there are massive numbers of electric cars? Will the current grid support large numbers of electric cars? Who pays for the electric power plants and where does their pollution go? Who pays for the grid?
      Are the batteries 100 % recyclable? is there a toxic waste stream?
      Are electric cars subsidized (other than not paying highway use taxes)?

      • Leonard, you are blatantly ignoring the fact that 6 kWh of electricity is used to refine every gallon of gasoline.

        This energy alone would take a Nissan Leaf 18 miles.

      • @MarkW Please run a Google query “how much electricity is used to refine a gallon of gas”, then return and continue a fact-based argument.

        You ignorance speaks volumes.

      • @Max S.

        I did Google that question, only substituting the word “petrol” for “gas” because I live on the right side of the Atlantic. ;-)

        I can see a couple of problems with it. Firstly, the number is produced and repeated by ‘alternative energy’ fans. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it’s just that it doesn’t seem to have much support from any other type of site (or maybe it’s just that those sites know how to fix Google searches …).

        Secondly, the figure appears to be derived from the total energy consumption of a refinery. This is a major problem as refineries produce many other products apart from petrol, such as diesel, home heating oil, aviation fuel, plastics etc.

        So it seems to me that your quoted figure of 6 kWh of electricity to produce 1 gallon (is that a US gallon or a UK gallon?) is a considerable overstatement and even Elon Musk quotes 5.

        Btw, I think that the idea of electric cars is brilliant. The reality is, however, that there are too many negatives at the moment, such as cost (without subsidy which is a government induced market distortion), battery life, charging time, lack of provision for charging facilities to name but a few.

        And finally, when I can get an electric replacement for my 20 year old Land Rover Defender – so good it’s banned in the US! – which does the same jobs for the same cost and the same reliability, I’ll consider a change. But only when the whole life costs are the same. I think I’ll be waiting for a long time.

    • While I can’t deny that running a 200 hp engine to keep the cabin warm is, indeed, very inefficient, that same engine at idle produces adequate waste heat to keep the passengers comfortable. It would take literally days to deplete the fuel in a full tank with the engine idling.

    • Luke January 25, 2016 at 6:56 am
      “Electric cars can keep the interior warm much more efficiently than a gas powered car.”

      No. The heat from an internal combustion engine is waste heat. It does not affect the efficiency of the engine to heat the cabin with this waste heat.

      By contrast, energy taken from the battery to heat the cabin in an electric car is energy that would otherwise have been used to drive the motor. So it makes the electric car less efficient than otherwise.

      • Michael Hart says. “No. The heat from an internal combustion engine is waste heat.”
        But you still have to run the engine to get the heat and that is a VERY inefficient way to produce heat. How many homes are heated by running an internal combustion engine and heating the house with the waste heat?

      • Michael, to clarify further, I was responding to the comment that an electric car could not stay warm for a long period if it was stuck in a snow storm. In that case there is no reason to run the engine except to heat the car.

    • >>They are 30% more efficient than gas powered cars.

      Nonsense. Electric vehicles lose more than 50% of their energy at the power station before they even start. And if you then add in transmission, battery, motor and heater losses, most electric vehicles come out at about 35% efficient. While my turbo diesel is more than 40% efficient (with free by-product cabin heating).

      The only time an electric vehicle is more efficient, is if you are doing a slow crawl through a crowded city, and then they begin to make sense. And don’t say that your car is cheaper to run – that is only because you are not paying the 70% fuel tax that normal car drivers in Europe have to pay. When government suddenly realises they are being fleeced by electric car owners, they will slap extra taxes on your recharges, that is for sure.

      R

      • Not according to MIT [1]. But what do they know?

        [1] Wheel to Well Analysis of EVs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008.

    • “Electric cars are the future. They are 30% more efficient than gas powered cars …” Not if you take into account the efficiency of the electricity generation process they aren’t.

    • I pity you. You have just pre-spent $10k pa depreciation (probably 6x what petrol costs). You have a range that, safely and allowing for colder weather, is little more than 40km before having to turn around. The performance standards that a Nissan Pulsar attained in the 1980s. And you describe 80kW (the weight-adjusted equivalent of 65kW) as fun to drive. You claim they have “a lot of torque” – an urban legend that shows you know nothing about physics or mechanics. (But we knew that, because you bought a non-Tesla EV. Hint: What is the torque of a proper car after being multiplied by the 1st gear ratio and again by the diff ratio?)

      You are so deluded you think everyone can drive one “in the near future” when there can’t be enough charge points and they have not been able to create a viable product in 20 years of trying and subsidies.

      Enjoy the next 2 years tied to a 25mi radius, desperately searching for a charge point. Meanwhile I will be driving a car.

  7. I recently had an interesting conversation with a mitsubishi salesman about their PHEV. A claimed 1.9 co2/km and over 50mpg sounded incredulous to me. He said it’s battery range is about 50kms, 25kms go and return. Battery life? Well sort of unknown but guaranteed 5yrs. New battery complete 7000€. Individual price 700€. He pointed out that you could change the batteries one at a time. My training suggests that it would not be the best idea ever. One new battery among many older, failing batteries, could well self ignite.

    • “Sir, you could just replace them one at a time. But please don’t quote me on that.”

      I don’t know exactly which battery technology, but having dealt with LiPo-powered RC aircraft, I wouldn’t sit in a vehicle powered by any. They scare me to death.

      • To me that’s an ugly car. It represents collusion between bureaucrats and rent seeking car makers at the expense of the public. Which reminds me, Max, you never answered my question:

        Do you like rooting around in other folks’ wallets? Because that’s what you’re doing when you buy a subsidized product like that.

        How about just paying the real cost of your Tesla or whatever, and don’t force the rest of us to pay for part of it. It’s no different than windmills, is it?

    • Replaced my batteries on one yesterday, the wife can no long drive the golf cart get her around the development, It stacking up to be and expensive enterprise the six batteries cost over $600.00 to replace, I figure it out at that speed I could drive about 9000 miles with my pickup, somehow I have a feeling the cart has gone half that. Now if you consider the electricity well it does get costly. It about time people figure out what electric cars were rejected over a hundred years ago. Battery technology and modern electronics are not there yet to make them really viable, Luke I don’t know where you live but try heating you leaf in -20 F temperatures and see if you stay warm I have a feeling you won’t.

  8. I have no idea how widespread the sales of electric cars is in my country but one thing I know for sure that it is the result of the continuous stream of propaganda by the MSM. Diesel cars are almost banned from city center and are heavily taxed. I am lucky to live at the border with Belgium where gasoline is just over 1$/gal cheaper than in Holland due to taxes.

    • JJ and Eric, Aussie Data from Cars Guide 22 May 2015.

      ‘The electric dream is fast turning into a nightmare – Australian sales of electric vehicles have dwindled to a trickle.
      In the first few months of the year, Mitsubishi hasn’t sold a single car, Holden has moved just seven and Nissan has chimed in with 49.
      Latecomer BMW has claimed the top spot with 70 sales of its recently released…

      …EVs have been around for five years here but they remain a hard sell for the industry — as popular as a pair of thongs at a snow resort….There’s a double-whammy for early adopters of electric technology as they pay extravagant prices for new models and take a major hit on the resale value…Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber says studies by the International Council on Clean Transportation show government incentives around the world have had a positive impact on electric vehicle sales…”Countries where electric vehicles have sold in reasonable quantities have government incentives in place to cover, at least in some part, the additional purchase price of the vehicle…Redbook’s local chief exec Ross Booth…Without government support and an increase in the number of charging stations, he says, the situation is unlikely to change…

      In other words nobody is gonna buy them unless the Guvmint stumps up a great big juicy subsidy at the sales room and then stumps up even more during the life of the vehicle.

      Dead Set Scam Central!

      Wikipedia notes that …By mid-September 2015, over one million highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles have been sold worldwide, representing less than 0.1% of the world’s stock of motor vehicles, estimated at 1.2 billion vehicles by mid 2014…

      year cars produced in the World.i
      2011 59,929,016
      2010 58,264,852
      2009 47,772,598
      2008 52,726,117
      2007 53,201,346

      Every year since 2011 over 60 million cars have been made. Well less than 1% being electric.

  9. I am curious what governments will do when no one is paying taxes on gasoline as the pumps. Here in Canada, more so in Europe, close to 50% of the pump price is tax. To fill government coffers they will need to introduce more road taxes (tolls, licence fees), or taxes when you charge your car. Right now that is not factored into the cost of ownership of electric cars. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of electric cars, but with government incentives and the current tax exempt status, cost per mile will greatly increase when reality hits.

    • $1.499 at my last fill-up, and that’s with the third-highest gas tax in the country.

      Enjoy it while it lasts…

    • I filled up for $2.64 at the Shell in La Verne, CA. I would have filled up at the Shell in Claremont, CA where I live but it was $2.90. The average price in Los Angeles is currently $2.82. The highest price I could find was at an ARCO off the I-10 near the Fairplex in Pomona, CA for $3.79.

      • I don’t spend much time in La Verne Mark, even though it’s only a couple of miles from home, but I do fill-up at the Shell on White Ave. as it’s .25-.30 cheaper. I also like to use their Post Office on White Ave. and last summer we hung out on the grassy knoll in front of the In-n-out on White Ave. to watch the fireworks show.

    • I see Skiatook, OK is selling gas for $1.29 but the business is called kum & go, so I’m guessing the low price is to entice customers to come in for…um…other services. Either that or not only being poor spellers, they are bad at math.

      • That’s the name of a small chain of convenience stores. Sheesh. Price in central OK just rose from $1,29 to $1.35, 2 days ago. That followed a temp commodity price spike, but oil prices just fell again, today, so cost should track back down.

      • Yeah I’m familiar with the area Alan, I just thought they might spell it come & go. A lot of times convenience and grocery stores will sell gas at a discount to bring customers in. The discounts can range from .10-40. For example the Costco in Montclair, CA was selling gas for $2.54, while the Shell nearby was selling it for $2.94.

  10. Here in Britain we are more likely to have floods than heavy snow. Water is even less electric car friendly than snow.

  11. Craig Loehle
    I just paid $1.54/gal here in the US. Fracking!
    Thats a good price
    $5.40 for the equivalent US gallon here in UK @ £1 per litre where its 75% + tax
    Yep US 10years ahead of the rest of the world as regards fracking … Well Done keep it up

  12. Chevrolet Bolt — 200+ mile range, around $30,000 cost after federal incentives. Quite a bit lower in states, such as Colorado, that offer huge incentives.

  13. I lived in downtown Brooklyn for a number of years. I would have LOVED to have electric cars only there, the air pollution was terrible especially in summer.

    • Modern cars burn gasoline and emit almost no “pollution” (carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons). Almost all of their emissions are water vapor and CO2. Neither of which is a pollutant.

      • Electric cars emit more pollution than gasoline powered, just at another location.
        Greenies are too stupid or don’t care, only think about my backyard or the false ideology.

    • The vast majority of that pollution was from stationary sources. Local factories, bakeries, heck the heaters/etc of all the homes in the area.

    • Um, try breathing air while standing in heavy traffic at the Holland Tunnel. IT IS REALLY BAD.

      Seriously, don’t be so ideological that you have to be illogical.

      • I love it when liberals try to do logic.
        They just aren’t any good at.
        Lets see if I have this straight. According to you, since cars produce pollution, therefore all pollution is produced by cars.

  14. I suspect that when enough people have bought expemsive Teslas the government will invent a reason to tax these cars so they cost as much to drive as petrol cars. Anything less would be un-governmental.

    • Obama is working on making US electricity prices rise about 200% to 400% with his illegal War on Coal.

      • Thankfully his policy of dramatically more expensive energy is proving as effective as every else he’s attempted. Spends 7 years blocking pipelines, shutting exploration, opposing fracking, trying to tax electricity and result: Nothing. Massive increase in domestic energy production, almost none of it by Big Wind, and $30 oil. There’s not many upsides to having a leader as inept as Gillard but that’s one of them.

  15. At a fundamental level energy is used to move a vehicle and consumption varies mainly depending on the weight of the vehicle and aerodynamic efficiency.

    The jury is somewhat out on the end to end comparative efficiency of the ICE vs electric – it is particularly complex for electric which, despite the efficiency of generation and power plants, involves transmission losses, transformer losses, battery losses etc.

    The only thing an electric vehicle unambiguously does is shift emissions from city centre to generating plant. The contra to that may be the difficulty of both sourcing and recycling materials used in batteries vs mostly iron and aluminium in the ICE. The principal weaknesses of electric vehicles remain range and recharging (time and infrastructure).

    Without very substantial subsidies they will remain a minority interest even with a recharging capability – possible users being:

    – local authorities and businesses where use is local, urban, short journey – think pizza delivery
    – multi-car urban families where electric can be used for short journeys and ICE for longer

    And it all falls apart if government subsidies (“fuel” cost, charging infrastructure, purchase subsidy, favourable congestion/parking regime) are withdrawn – likely if uptake increases, tax revenues from ICE decline, and tax base needs to widened.

  16. The US and th Uk had a bumper year year for sales of fossil fuel led cars in 2015. Like renewable energy electric cars will always be a marginal blip.

  17. Sorry, electric cars run counter to human nature. They represent an enforced conformity. Let us just reconsider the vilified, but vastly superior IC reciprocating engine. Doesn’t everybody talk about the strengths of diversity these days? Well then, just explain how diverse a shaft with a couple magnets and brushes can get? But, an IC engine; there’s true diversity: Two cycle. Four cycle. Hot bulb ignition. Glow plug ignition. Diesel ignition. Spark ignition (and, in various forms such as single or twin plug). Carburetors. Port fuel injection. Direct injection. Stratified charge. Exhaust driven turbo supercharged. Mechanical Roots blower or centrifugal supercharging. Cylinder porting, overhead valve, side valve, or ‘T’ head. Two, three, four, or five valves per cylinder. Pneumatic valves. Desmodromics. Overhead cam. DOHC. Air cooled. Water cooled.

    Anywhere from one to thirty six cylinders in: in-line; horizontally opposed; ‘V’ configuration; radial, and multi-row radial configurations, opposed piston in twin crank, and delta configurations; square configurations. And engine sizes small enough to hold with two fingers; and large enough to be four stories tall, a hundred feet long, and produce 114,000 horsepower.

    Clearly, the above examples illustrate that the venerable IC engine is not a one size fits all (which means it fits none) proposition. It’s adaptable to the entire range of human experiences. An electric vehicle mandate is nothing other than enforced conformity.

    But, worse than that, electric motors just simply aren’t interesting.

    • Subsidies for electric cars are forced wealth transfer from the poor to the well off. Thus they are always regressive and hurtful to those with the least ability to pay.

    • Dear author. You forgot to mention that:

      – Electric motors generate motion, not heat (high efficiency)
      – They’re more powerful (high torque from zero rpm for great acceleration)
      – They’re simpler (not many parts, no transmission needed in most cases)
      – They’re (vastly) easier to service (less parts, smaller and lighter, fewer subsystems around the motor)
      – They feed themselves (regenerative braking capability)
      – They’re smarter (ultimate controlling accuracy, especially useful in AWD with two or even four motors controlled independently)

      With over 7 billion people on the planet, we cannot afford to propel ourselves using technology that is at _most_ 20% efficient. Case closed.

      • Max
        I think you forgot the necessary inadequate battery!!
        There is nothing wrong with the other technology that was invented in the 19th century and abandoned when Rockefeller invented gasoline
        Case closed

      • feed themselves?
        Really, you should not be so eager to embarrass yourself.
        Regenerative breaking merely gets a small part of the energy already spent back. It also only matters if you are doing lots of stop and go driving.

      • @MarkW With regenerative braking, almost all of the energy spent climbing up a hill is regained on the way down. Read a little. Your comments reek of ignorance.

      • No, Max, the case is not closed.

        Fossil fuels are the gold standard of energy. EV’s just feed off them. As more load is put on the electric grid, electricity prices will rise. Eventually they will converge with the cost of the fossil fuel that produces most electricity.

        How about this solution: you drive an EV, I’ll drive whatever I decide is best, and we stop all automotive subsidies, stat.

        Do you like that solution? Or do you prefer having your fingers in other folks’ wallets?

      • So you’re suggesting it’s some kind of accident that it has not taken off —-or conspiracy? Omission of weak links in the argument is not grounds for case closure.

      • Driving in NYC is all ‘stop and go’ all the time, big time, I speak as someone who once lived for a number of years in Park Slope. The air pollution from cars was terrible especially in summer and it was entirely due to idling in heavy traffic that barely crawls along. Double ditto in Manhattan!

      • Dear Max S.,
        In relation to your following comments I wish to present a few rebuttals:

        – Electric motors generate motion, not heat (high efficiency)
        * Electric motors most definitely generate heat (which is lost to the atmosphere). I saw an electric converted (I believe by Tesla) Lotus. I asked the sales rep how they got cabin heat. She said from the cooling system just like a regular car and opened the front hood to reveal radiators and radiator fans. All electric motors generate heat that has to be dissipated. IC engines merely convert heat energy to mechanical energy. The most efficient IC engines in the world are the massive Wartsila 2 cycle, turbocharged, marine diesels which achieve 50%.
        – They’re more powerful (high torque from zero rpm for great acceleration)
        * They’re not more powerful if you include the weight and size of the battery – a feature you can’t escape. However, as far as torque you’re correct in observing they develop it at zero rpm, but it may be worthwhile pointing out that the venerable old steam engine develops torque at rest too – albeit not as much.
        – They’re simpler (not many parts, no transmission needed in most cases)
        * Only to a point. As pointed out above they need some form of cooling. And, the subsystems for braking, cabin heat, AC, etc. still have to be present. A differential may also have to be present unless you want the complexity, and cost, of a motor per wheel.
        – They’re (vastly) easier to service (less parts, smaller and lighter, fewer subsystems around the motor)
        * See above
        – They feed themselves (regenerative braking capability)
        * The energy returned from braking is never equal to the energy expended in acceleration. Recharging the battery during deceleration always produces waste heat that has to be dissipated. And, the brakes are still going to do a great deal of the work. Moreover, on a long trip at steady cruising speeds this advantage becomes somewhat mute.
        – They’re smarter (ultimate controlling accuracy, especially useful in AWD with two or even four motors controlled independently)
        * No motor is smart. You’re misinterpreting that with the computer controlled functions which are applicable with either electric motors or IC engines.

      • Uh huh. They’re so massively efficient that they weigh 30% more and have a real-world range of 30-40mi before you have to turn around. My car has a range of 10,000mi assuming a supply of drivers. After that I need to service it – which I can do during a lunch stop.

        But hey, there’s not enough oil for 7bn people to drive one.

        Just 1 question: How much lithium does the world produce a year? How many Teslas can we have?

      • Every electric motor that I’ve ever worked with produces heat, and will until we get room temperature super conductors.
        Max, you really should stop trying so hard to embarrass yourself.

      • Max, Max, Max.
        Your statement would only be true if there were no rolling or wind resistance on your car while going up and down that hill.
        It also requires that you actually come to a stop at the bottom of the hill.
        I pity you. It must hurt going out in public and having to demonstrate your shortcomings day after day.

      • PS: Your belief that all pollution in cities comes from cars is quaint.
        In CA they are regulating bakeries because of all the pollution they create.

      • I used to love the smell of fresh baked bread in the morning back in 1970’s and 80’s in Chino, CA. They also made Twinkies there. Chino also had a 25,000 acre dairy preserve that had a smell quite unlike that of fresh baked bread.

  18. Lets get real here, as the article makes clear 12,000 of those ‘electric cars’ were actually the Mitsubishi PHEV Outlander which is a petrol electric hybrid. The reason its popular is that its heavily subsidised and has a low tax rating for company car uses. Even with those advantages its sales are poor compared with normal rep mobiles. Its range under battery power is only 30 miles so most of the time its working as an average 2 litre petrol car. The subsidy program will reduce the amount paid in 2016 so I suspect sales this year will not be quite so buoyant. The MD of Mitsubishi in the UK agrees as he was quoted as saying that it would affect uptake. As is so common in the Green world what is really happening is that the working man is subsidising second city cars for the rich.

    If you look at 100% electric cars you find sales for the year as being around 8,000 vehicles or around 1% of total new registrations. In comparison new registrations of the Ford Focus are around 230,000 per annum.

    Given that each vehicle sold gets a £5000 subsidy from the taxpayer this is not exactly a threat to the mainstream car market.

  19. Perhaps the answer is a Draxmobile. Self generating electricity from an on board pellet burning device that would heat water and use steam to drive a turbine. Might be a bit large though.

  20. Battery systems in EVs should last well over 10 years, although there is a degradation in capacity of several percent per year, as I recall. By the time you need a new batery, their costs should be considerably lower than they are now. Last I heard, Tesla’s gigabattery factory hopes to reduce costs by 33%.. Current
    costs I’m not sure of, but I’d guess somewhere between $200 and $300 per kWhr.

  21. They do make an attractive option for the brits with their short range driving habits. And of course it will be promoted as something to lower carbon emissions. But in reality it will just raise them. Why yes, off-peak power use is a great way to get more functionality out of your existing power plants. But if you look at the distribution of power production through the day, you can see that 100% of that energy…will come from coal.

    Now they could lower emissions overall with more gas…but I’ll wager they’re not going to allow the fracking that would require. They could beef up nuclear…but I somehow doubt they’ll do that as well. No, everyone is going to bicker and argue back and forth, roll out trivial amounts of renewables while pounding their chests and saying how great their environmental policies are…and they’re going to quietly continue fueling those plants with even more coal just like everyone else on the planet.

    • Didn’t you know that the EU and Government Regs are shutting our coal plants?
      So the cars won’t be getting their electricity from coal, the way things are going the the UK energy policies they won’t be getting any electricity at all.

  22. ULEV? How is the ULEV defined? It’s not JUST electric vehicles is it? Hybrids and LPG vehicles are under this guise too??? In which case the figures for EV sales are being conflated by including the other forms of fuelling.

    • …in fact California defines an ULEV as “[vehicles that] emit 50% less polluting emissions than the average for new cars released in that model year.”

  23. Leonard Lane asks – “How can electric cars be a good solution to anything?”

    The one problem they could help with if they are adopted in large enough numbers is the ghastly local traffic pollution in cities. That is worth having! Electric fuelled buses and trams would also help. It the moment in London the buses are major polluters with their diesel fumes.

    • I suspect many commentators here don’t live in the Big Cities and thus do not appreciate the toxic horror of gasoline burning or worse, the diesel burning vehicles cause.

      • emsnews

        I suspect many commentators here don’t live in the Big Cities and thus do not appreciate the toxic horror of gasoline burning or worse, the diesel burning vehicles cause.

        I suspect many commentators here who live in the Big Cities and do not appreciate the toxic horror of gasoline burning trying to live two days WITHOUT the incredible benefits and life-saving value that diesel burning vehicles in the trucking, farming, food-processing, shipping, heating, service, and support industries cause. Cities will immediately become toxic cesspools of dead and dying people two days after fossil fuels and the electricity generated by nuclear energy, fossil fuels, gas and coal cease production.

    • Sure, electric buses are found everywhere. I saw them most recently in Guangzhou. They need cabling but that’s not very onerous in inner city. They do make a difference to air quality in cities. And they don’t need 4t of lithium – just an overhead cable.

      Nothing to do with EV cars though.

  24. I think in a way, one can at least see the current crop of electric vehicles making for good city cars, but I definitely wouldn’t them for any longer trips (where it takes more than an hour to get to the destination).

    Right now, the main weaknesses are the range due to the slow advances in battery technology and the sheer amount of time they take to charge up. Before anyone calls me out on this let me say that I do not support the idea of forcing electric cars on people, but that it can at least be considered a good thing that people now have options as to what kind of car they want.

    It’s not like the choice now will be limited to gas or electric either anytime in the future, Toyota for instance is resuming research on vehicles powered by Hydrogen. Another nice thing about alternative fuel vehicles is that the supply would be in far less danger of being cut off in the case of geopolitical conflict (if the Middle East goes up in flames for instance than it’s almost expected that gasoline prices will skyrocket, taxes or not).

  25. How could any sane person believe that importing wood pellets from North American trees and then burning them for electricity is good for the Earth ?? Wouldn’t those trees be more useful sucking the CO2 out of the atmosphere ? Doesn’t burning trees release CO2 ?? NUTS !

  26. You spend more public money in subsidies and rebates to encourage people to buy and drive electric vehicles, so they can pay less in fuel taxes. And as an added benefit, if you’re wildly successful you will need more electric generating capacity, which under a “renewable” mandate will no doubt entail other subsidies.

    Now just where do you think that policy is going to take you?

  27. Fracking has totally changed the situation. Unless the government does something quite stupid (which is always possible), electric vehicles won’t make economic sense where I live for the next century.

  28. I see very few electric cars here in Lincolnshire. A few hybrids, but that’s about it.
    Reasons?
    1) Lincolnshire isn’t a rich county, even with the £5k bribe to buy one, electric/hybrid cars are bloody expensive.
    2) Lincolnshire’s a big county with no big cities. When out seeing customers, I can easily do 70+ miles/day, so the range of these things would be a problem, especially in winter when lights & heater are required.

    As for embracing electric cars? Hmm, I think that’s stretching things a bit. In cities, I can see a reason for them, no noxious fumes (Oxides of Nitrogen) and short journeys, combined with punitive taxes for driving conventional cars in certain city centres.
    I wonder how many have been actually bought by members of the public, from money in their own pockets, rather that bought/leased by companies.

  29. I don’t want to get into the specific debate about the pros and cons of electric cars, but I am concerned about the growing trend by government to use taxes and subsidies to manipulate and influence consumer choice for reasons that may be highly politicized. For example, the taxpayer is not consulted on many green issues which may be a complete waste of money, a gravy train or a net cause of damage to the planet.

    It is easy to create pressure groups to delude ignorant politicians or drive social media petitions but who is looking after the interests of the taxpayers? I know, it should be the politicians.

    • Unfortunately, liberals believe that the purpose of govt is to force everyone to live as the liberals want.

  30. After buying an all electric auto, how many autos does the person or family then own:
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, more than 5

  31. In the Columbia River Valley of Oregon and Washington, since 10 P.M. on the 25th until now (11:17 A.M. on the 26th) a massive wind turbine system has produced zero output (likely the towers are in parasitic mode). Temp was -8°C., this morning at daybreak.
    BPA Balancing Authority

    The chart changes every 5 minutes and shows the sources of power and total load.
    The green line is wind – now flat as road kill.

    • In Holland, some years ago they decommissioned a wind turbine known as “De Ambtenaar”, i.e. “The Civil Servant” – since it rarely ever worked.

  32. I don’t know if I’d use the phrase Britain Embracing Electric Cars

    According to the DVLA (government agency which registers all cars in the UK)
    Best ever performance in new car market in 2015 after fourth consecutive year of growth.
    Unprecedented 2.63 million vehicles registered after 6.3% rise in demand, exceeding forecast.
    Biggest December on record sees registrations boosted 4% with 180,077 new cars registered.
    Fleet demand at highest ever level, surpassing 1.3 million vehicles in 2015.

    So 28000 represents just over 1%. About half that of the Volkswagen Polo in 2015

  33. In North America we drive for longer distances in our commutes, I believe. We are spread out more and so, electric cars are impractical in many cases, I think

  34. I got a Toyota Rav4 D4D 2.3litre diesel. It has electric heater and aircon ; electric windows; electric tailgate; electric seat adjusters, seat heating, all round cameras and self parking and a new battery will only cost £80. Here in France diesel is 98 centimes a litre (73 UK pence) and I get a range of 560 miles on a tank. It is big (by UK standards), comfortable, powerful enough to tow my boat or roof rack two kayaks. Now why oh why would I even consider an electric car? Ask me again in 20 years if anything significant changes to make them as good as the RAV.

  35. Although we have plenty of sun in South Africa , no electric cars are commercially available in Cape Town , (and there are no incentives whatever) so I had a small four year old Fiat 500 converted to all electric drive for considerably less than the cost of a Nissan Leaf . It has a range of about 150 to 200 km on a charge .
    Now , our municipality (utility) makes a substantial portion of its income from re-selling electricity , so they have every incentive to make rooftop PV as difficult as possible . I import very little grid power at all with my rooftop PV so , as I may not export more than I import , I am on a different “no-export” contract with my supplier ( not permitted even as a free gift of my surplus to the municipality !) . Thus my little electric city runabout mops up quite a bit of otherwise curtailed surplus PV output during the day . I believe this is a good use for an electric car in a sunny environment . As many have expressed earlier , I am lucky enough to have a conventional diesel car for longer trips I just have to make sure the battery supplying my house is near full in the evening after charging my little car , so as to keep the house powered for the night . Can be tricky at times , so it is useful being retired . Great fun buzzing about the short city trips each day under solar power .

  36. Two major points
    1. Currently there is not a viable battery technology for an electric car, except for local usage or to impress your neighbor with a Tesla. The quest for a viable battery has been going on unsuccessfully for many decades. If a great breakthrough is just around the corner, it makes no sense to BUY today’s defective technology with the promised higher range, lower cost soon.
    What is the incentive to buy something that is supposed to dramatically improve “tomorrow?

    2. The current electric car is not sustainable. It pays no taxes like gasoline tax which pays everything from roads to mass transit to, bicycle paths, to general fund waste while getting huge subsidies from the middle and poor who pay taxes. Where does that funding come from when we “drive” all the gasoline powered cars off the road. Does anyone think our government will not replace these funding losses? When the electric car is taxed to replace these required funds, the price of electricity will skyrocket, Does anyone think all the road and other construction equipment will operate with out fossil fuels? Where will all the added electricity demand come from as we ban fossil fuel electricity generation?
    Finally fossil fuel companies are the second major source for revenue to the Treasury after income taxes. Put them out of business, and your government will need to find some place to tax and replace those treasury contributions.

    The concept is an economic and personal disaster.

  37. I suspect this will all come to a flaming halt when the politicians remember how much money they extract in the form of gasoline tax. We have states here in the U.S. who are struggling to cope with the revenue losses just from increased vehicle mileage. As always there are only two things to remember when predicting how things will go. 1) Follow the money and 2) politicians are addicted to money. It answers every question.

      • Nice to have a second car for little trips but how does anyone rationalize license fees and insurance which for any kind of normal car here in Ontario would be at least $1,500-2,000 CAN. That would buy a lot of gas for the Ford 150 I drive. With the crew cab it is a spacious people mover. Easily holds five orangutans and one baboon(middle front) on those trips to airport, shows or dinner.

  38. I have to gloat about the price of fuel I pay for may 2013 VW Jetta TDI. Exactly ZERO per gallon. I use the $500 debit card VW gave to me. That is good through November. They also gave me a $500 debit card to use at the dealer. Before it expires I will buy a new 12 volt battery, and who know what else?. And I recently received a letter from VW offering to do the 30,000 mile service for free.

  39. We have just had some snow on the East coast. In several places it cause traffic jams that lasted in excess of 20 hours in sub-zero temperatures. Police were delivering fuel to those vehicles that might have run out so they could keep engines running and keep the trapped occupants warm. Now had one of those been an electric car – heating means using power and if they run out in the freezing temperatures there is no way they can get extra fuel they are in a rapidly freezing brick and the batteries may not ever recover. Electric cars and trips in snowy weather are a potential death trap.

      • Indeed and one of the requirements of idling your engine in snow is a regular exhaust clearing check. But that is different to sitting in snow with zero power and nobody able to give you a recharge for your rapidly freezing battery. Electric cars are a townie fad. They are unsuited to the kind of conditions that we have just had on the East coast and which pertain without much comment in the northern plains.

  40. There is two problems with this article that I see. The first is how they compare fuel prices. One thing that I have learned over the years is that when comparing things like fuel between countries, you “do not” add in exchange rates. A dollar made and spent in the U.S. has the same value as a dollar made and spent in Canada and the same value as a British pound made and spent in the UK. Even though at this time the Canadian dollar is only worth 70 cents U.S., that Canadian dollar is still worth $1 in Canada. The only time that you can use exchange rates when discussing fuel costs is if you are in a situation like one sister who it only takes 10 min to cross the U.S/Canada border and fuel up in the U.S. for the majority of Canadians it is not feasible to do that. The proper way to compare fuel prices between countries is by price per volume. So for the UK, the average price for fuel was 4 pounds per U.S. gallon, about the same as Canada for that same time period.

    The other thing that I have a problem with in this article is its claim that fuel efficiency has played a part in this. I have spent the last 6 plus years working with UK soldiers, so this where i have gotten my information. The vehicles in the UK and Europe are WAY more fuel efficient than what we have here in North America. The problem over in the UK is that they are charged tax on there vehicles according Emission levels which in turn relates to engine size. My job with them related to driving them around in our Chevy Express 3500 15 passenger Extended van with a 6.0L 8 cylinder engine. They have constantly told me that no one would be able to afford to drive my vehicle in the UK, not because of the fuel costs, but because of the tax they would have to pay because of the emissions from the size of the engine. For them in the UK, a high performance engine is only 1.6L. My family car has a bigger engine.

    • This is in fact complete bollocks

      The MAXIMUM annual tax on a car in the UK is £530
      A Chevy Express will be giving you around 12 mpg if you are doing the average 12000 miles
      per annum that’s 1000 gallons of gas which in the UK would coast around £4,500

      The gasoline cost is the killer which is why most vehicles in Europe in that size range come with more economical diesel engines, The nearest UK equivalent is the Ford Transit Minibus which has variants with up to 17 seats. Note ANY passenger vehicle with more than 8 seats is considered a minibus. You can expect to get between 22-25 mpg from one. That’s an annual saving over the Chevy in excess of £2000

      Note further that there are a LOT of cars on the road in that highest band including the venerable Land Rover Defender, the Range Rover , various models of Jeep, most Jaguars and the Morgan Plus 8.

  41. One massive problem with pure electric vehicles is – where do you plug them in? It’s OK if you have a garage or driveway but, if you don’t live in the UK, just take a Google Earth tour through some of the back streets in my home town of Portsmouth for example and you will see the vast majority of houses have neither. Most of the time I can’t even park in my road, let alone outside my house. Even if was parked outside, I can’t think it would be legal (or safe) to trail a mains cable out through my front window and across the pavement (sidewalk)! Sorry, but until I can fully charge it up in ten minutes at a petrol (gas) station and it can take me 300 plus miles I’m not interested.

  42. The battery fire problem mentioned in this article relates to the Tesla Model S. Right in the first year about 3 hit debris on the road and the battery started to burn. Tesla like most other EVs are using Li-MnO2 (or one of the other oxide lithium on the market) batteries which have the highest capacity of any lithium battery and are widely used. Note the O2 in the chemistry. When these batteries get hot or are punctured the electrode releases the Oxygen which then reacts with the lithium and electrolyte initiating a fire. Other lithium chemistry such as lithium iron phosphate will not burn.

    Tesla quickly located a vulnerable area of the batter and added a titanium shield to all cars to eliminate the problem. No other EV have had any similar issue. Battery fires currently appear to be less frequent than gas or diesel fires in regular cars.

    As to the heater issue mentioned a 1KW heaters more than enough to keep the passengers warm. given that many EVs have at batteries at least 50KWH of capacity (Tesla is currently using 70KWH and 90KWH batteries) a 1KW heater can be operated for at least 1 full day on a 50KWH battery and a week on a Tesla.

    As to gas taxes.they will eventually apply to EVs. A number of states in the US are talking about raising the gas tax due to all the efficient cars now being sold. However if you look at the history of the gas tax. Most states have not made any changes to the tax in decades. The reason they are talking about raising the tax is simply because inflation has eliminated much of this income stream.

    As to battery life most EV come with a 5 to 8 year battery warranty. Most EV batteries on the road today are still covered by the original warranty. Furthermore the batteries are completely recyclable.

    • Agreed. There were over 172 000 reported conventional vehicle fires during 2012 in the US alone. How many of those made the headlines?

      Put a match to a lithium-ion cell. Then do the same to a small glass of gas and see what happens.

      • @dbstealey Wait, which US motor giants were recently bailed out with taxpayers money? Subsidies. Yea, right.

      • I did not see DB supporting the union bailouts. (Also, you know the saying, two wrongs do not make a right)

      • David A,

        Yes, Max is deflecting. I’m against all bailouts and subsidies. No matter how well meaning bailouts are when they start, the end result is Solyndra. Subsidies are unfair competition. for those who don’t get them, and they amount to theft for those who are forced to pay.

        Max and other are singing the praises of EV’s. If they’re so great, they don’t need subsidies to succeed. I prefer IC engines, so why should I have to subsidize Max S? I could send Max my address, and he can refund that part of my taxes… if he’s an honest guy. But we know that will never happen.

        Max has never answered my question from yesterday: does he like rooting around in our wallets without our permission? Because that’s what it amounts to.

      • Max S: “Agreed. There were over 172 000 reported conventional vehicle fires during 2012 in the US alone.”

        And I’d put good money that 99.9% of those were electrical in origin.

        Why lithium batteries keep catching fire

        IN THE past year rechargeable batteries containing the element lithium have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Investigators in Japan are investigating why a lithium-ion battery overheated on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Narita airport. Last year Boeing grounded its entire fleet of the next-generation plane after the lithium batteries on two of the aircraft caught fire. (The 787s returned to the air after being fitted with a modified system to protect the aircraft against battery fires.) Tesla, a maker of electric cars, performed a remote software update to its Model S luxury cars after two fires, which were blamed on road debris damaging the undertray containing the vehicles’ lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are widely used because of their high energy density: in other words, their ability to store a lot of energy in a lightweight, compact form. But they have a tendency to cause expensive machinery to go up in smoke.

        http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/01/economist-explains-19

      • More correctly if you haven’t driven anywhere. As you approach comfortable range and start looking for a recharge station you get caught in a large jam in the snow. Edging forward wheels slipping for 20 miles you eventually are forced to a halt. Do the electric car proponents really think that no-one will run out of power? And of course when they do – they need a tow or a car transporter not just a spare gallon from a Samaritan or a garage in walking distance.

  43. Part of the reason for this promotion of electric vehicles is that Professor David Mackay, a government scientific advisor, wrote an advisory document saying that electric cars were 5x more efficient than fossil fueled cars. So the government (and the newspapers) think that electric cars are saving energy and emissions. But this is nonsense, of course, because electric cars are LESS efficient than a standard diesel car. So I wrote to the good professor and got a written retraction to a Sunday Times article, which said:

    Quote:
    Ralph Ellis has mentioned your article and his correspondence with you (pasted below). I’d like to confirm that Mr Ellis is right to assert that what I wrote appears to have been misinterpreted. I apologise for the lack of clarity on my part.
    ……
    The best fossil fuel vehicles are in the 100 g range so if we compare the best fossils with the typical electric car, they are level pegging today … I hope this helps, and again apologies if the exposition in my book was not sufficiently clear.

    Endquote

    But even this retraction was disingenuous, because there is no ‘level pegging’ here. Electric vehicles are ultra-lightweight specialist products, rather than steel-framed production-line vehicles, and no account has been taken of cabin-heater usage in the winter or battery degradation over time

    More crucially, the claim of 5x efficiency has never been withdrawn from the advisory document to Parliament. So as far as the gormless imbeciles in Parliament are concerned, electric vehicles are still efficient and worth subsidising. So much of the current waste of money is down to Professor Mackay, who should be forced to pay back this wastage from his salary and assets.

    Ralph

    • Totally false. A recent MIT study concluded that EVs use 50% _less_ energy that their internal combustion counterparts [1], irrespective of fuel source.

      You are also forgetting that at least 6 kWh of electricity is used to refine 1 US gallon of gas. This energy alone would take a Nissan Leaf 17.64 miles.

      Let’s talk facts.

      [1] Wheel to Well Analysis of EVs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008.

      • Max S.:

        You say, “Let’s talk facts.” Well, yes, let’s.

        You talk about energy consumption of oil refineries but not the generating efficiency and the line losses of electricity supply. Generating efficiency is typically less than 50% in the UK.

        You say,

        EVs use 50% _less_ energy that their internal combustion counterparts, irrespective of fuel source.

        That does not make sense. Different fuel sources provide different generating efficiencies. For example, in the UK (the above essay is about EVs in the UK) hydropower is ~95% efficient while coal-fired power is ~45% efficient; see here. Therefore, the assertion of “irrespective of fuel source” is wrong.

        In reality, the “fuel source” of an EV is grid-supplied electricity. And UK generating efficiency is less than 50%.

        Generously assuming UK generating efficiency is 50%
        and
        EVs use 50% _less_ energy than their internal combustion counterparts
        then
        EVs and their internal combustion counterparts use the same source fuel energy.

        And that ignores line losses.

        Richard

      • @richardscourtney

        You talk about energy consumption of oil refineries but not the generating efficiency and the line losses of electricity supply. Generating efficiency is typically less than 50% in the UK.

        And those generating and grid inefficiencies affect the refineries in exactly the same way.

        The fact is that the electricity alone spent refining a 45 litres of unleaded for my VW would take a Nissan Leaf 318km (at the rated consumption of 0.212 kWh per km).

        I would be interested to read any published studies concluding that EVs are less efficient that their internal combustion engine counterparts.

      • Totally false. A recent MIT study concluded that EVs use 50% _less_ energy that their internal combustion counterparts [1], irrespective of fuel source.
        ____________________________________

        Did you read that report?

        http://web.mit.edu/evt/summary_wtw.pdf

        The 50% vehicle is a HEV, or hybrid, not an electric car. A hybrid can be more efficient, but only when going through town – which is where this figure comes from. On a long journey, a hybrid simply becomes a fossil fueled car, no different to my diesel.

        The car for comparison is the BEV, or battery vehicle. But there are problems in the comparison here. The diesel is an American diesel, which were designed sometime during the Neolithic era. European turbo diesels are more efficient – 55 mpg regularly from my large turbo-diesel in mixed driving (UK gallon). The best European diesels are in the 85 g/km CO2 range, not 120 g/km. Adding 16 g/km for refining and transport (WTT) = 101 g/km. But the electric vehicle is a super lightweight composite product, with no cabin heating taken into consideration, and still produces 115 g/km. We are not exactly comparing like with like here.

        And while diesel fuel may have some transport and refining costs (well to tank costs WTT), coal and gas power stations also have incurred costs of transport and processing (well to power station costs WTPS). And these have not been added to the graph here, so the comparison is invalid. And the processing of our new Drax power station – Europe’s largest power station – has very high costs for processing and transporting all the forests of America to the UK. Let us assume that those WTPS costs are 8 g/km, or half of the diesel’s 16 g/km WTT costs.

        The bottom line here is if manufacturers made a super-lightweight diesel – the equivalent of a new composite-plastic EV – it would be producing about:
        75 g/km plus 16 g/km WTT equals 91 g/km.

        While the EV is producing:
        115 g/km plus 8 g/km WTPS equals 123 g/km.

        So the diesel is more efficient.

        R

      • Max S.:

        I pointed out – and explained – that you had posted a blatant falsehood (i.e. “irrespective of fuel source”) and your reply ignores that but provides another falsehood; viz.

        And those generating and grid inefficiencies affect the refineries in exactly the same way.

        Generating efficiency consumes 50% of the fuel used to generate electricity.

        Oil refineries do NOT consume 50% of the energy in the crude they process.

        It is clear that you are merely another troll attempt to disrupt serious discussion by posting nonsense.

        Richard

      • @richardscourtney The study concludes that:

        [. . .] analyses have been conducted that account for all of the energy consumed and green house gases (GHG) emitted from the time a vehicles energy source leaves the well to the time it is consumed by the vehicle. These analyses are known as well to wheel studies. From these analyses, EVs have been shown to reduce energy consumption by up to 50% and GHG emissions by up to 60%.

        The study does not mention the fuel source, therefore my argument still holds true. Looking at the energy contained within a fuel — from the time it is extracted from the well to when it is finally used to propel a vehicle — the study concludes that EVs use 50% less energy.

        Agreed, refining oil does not take 50% of the energy content of the initial product. However, it does take significant amounts of electricity (~6 kWh per gallon of gas). This electricity is delivered by the national grid and is therefore subject to the same losses as that which is used to recharge an electric car. This is my point.

        The fact is: the electricity used only to refine 1 gallon of gas, is able to propel an EV ~18 miles. Why is this being ignored?

        Please link me to some published science which concludes that internal combustion vehicles are more efficient (looking at their entire lifecycle) than their EV counterparts. I would be interested to read more.

      • >>Please link me to some published science which concludes
        >>that internal combustion vehicles are more efficient.

        Take a look at Professor Mackays report to Parliament I mentioned (see link below). He made the claim of electric car efficiency, much as you did, but then was forced to apologise to the Sunday Times for his error. He then admitted that electric cars and diesel cars are about the same, as per his letter quoted above. (And even this admission was disingenuous).

        http://www.withouthotair.com/download.html

        And try replying to my last post. Even the report you highlighted demonstrates that diesel cars are more efficient than EVs. Do you contend my calculation?

        R

      • @ralfellis Ironically, the VW XL1 is a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, not pure diesel. In addition, production was limited to 250 cars, while the Nissan Leaf passed 250 000 cumulative sales in December 2015. Hardly comparable.

        Unfortunately the efficiency limits of the internal combustion engine have been reached. The laws of thermodynamics are non-negotiable. Over the medium to long term, EVs are the only sensible option.

      • Max S.:

        You are floundering in your attempts to distract from the facts that
        (i) you have provided falsehoods
        and
        (ii) I have pointed out two of those falsehoods.

        Your excuse says

        The study does not mention the fuel source, therefore my argument still holds true. Looking at the energy contained within a fuel — from the time it is extracted from the well to when it is finally used to propel a vehicle — the study concludes that EVs use 50% less energy.

        Which is it?
        (a) “The study does not mention the fuel source”
        or
        (b) “Looking at the energy contained within a fuel — from the time it is extracted from the well to when it is finally used to propel a vehicle — the study concludes that EVs use 50% less energy.”

        Your “argument” is nonsense. It required ‘doublethink’. And it is untrue for the reasons I explained.

        Please stop posting falsehoods.

        Richard

      • @richardscourtney In that case, ignore my previous comments.

        The fact is that a 2015 report from the UCSUSA titled “Cleaner Cars from the Cradle to Grave” concluded that [1]:

        [. . .] a comprehensive, two-year review of the climate emissions from vehicle production, operation, and disposal [was taken]. We found that battery electric cars generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, even when pollution from battery manufacturing is accounted for.

        If you have any published science which concludes the contrary, please post it.

        [1] http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/11/Cleaner-Cars-from-Cradle-to-Grave-full-report.pdf

      • Max S.:

        I ‘called you to account’ for posting two falsehoods and you attempted to excuse that by posting another falsehood, so I pointed out that your excuse cannot be true and requested of you

        Please stop posting falsehoods.

        Your response to my request does not apologise for your falsehoods but returns us to your original falsehood by saying

        In that case, ignore my previous comments.

        The fact is that a 2015 report from the UCSUSA titled “Cleaner Cars from the Cradle to Grave” concluded that [1]:

        [. . .] a comprehensive, two-year review of the climate emissions from vehicle production, operation, and disposal [was taken]. We found that battery electric cars generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, even when pollution from battery manufacturing is accounted for.

        If you have any published science which concludes the contrary, please post it.

        [1] http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/11/Cleaner-Cars-from-Cradle-to-Grave-full-report.pdf

        I ignore nothing, and I absolutely refuse to ignore you having already posted three falsehoods so nothing you say can be trusted.

        Importantly I did provide a link to “published science” together with an explanation of how it PROVES “the contrary”. That was my first post to you and is here.

        Richard

      • @richardscourtney You provided a link to an article detailing the efficiency of different power sources, then continued to give your own analysis.

        You then presented a straw man argument, diverting the focus of the argument: that EVs are more efficient than their internal combustion counterparts.

        This is what the science says. I’ll ask again: if you know of other published articles which show the opposite, I’d love to read them.

      • Max S.:

        Having been shown to spout falsehoods you now make another claim and it, too, is spurious.

        You say to me

        @richardscourtney You provided a link to an article detailing the efficiency of different power sources, then continued to give your own analysis.

        You then presented a straw man argument, diverting the focus of the argument: that EVs are more efficient than their internal combustion counterparts.

        This is what the science says. I’ll ask again: if you know of other published articles which show the opposite, I’d love to read them.

        Yes, I “gave my own analysis” by saying

        Max S.:

        You say, “Let’s talk facts.” Well, yes, let’s.

        You talk about energy consumption of oil refineries but not the generating efficiency and the line losses of electricity supply. Generating efficiency is typically less than 50% in the UK.

        You say,

        EVs use 50% _less_ energy that their internal combustion counterparts, irrespective of fuel source.

        That does not make sense. Different fuel sources provide different generating efficiencies. For example, in the UK (the above essay is about EVs in the UK) hydropower is ~95% efficient while coal-fired power is ~45% efficient; see here. Therefore, the assertion of “irrespective of fuel source” is wrong.

        In reality, the “fuel source” of an EV is grid-supplied electricity. And UK generating efficiency is less than 50%.

        Generously assuming UK generating efficiency is 50%
        and
        EVs use 50% _less_ energy than their internal combustion counterparts
        then
        EVs and their internal combustion counterparts use the same source fuel energy.

        And that ignores line losses.

        Richard

        .I did NOT provide a “straw man”: I answered your untrue assertion that “EVs use 50% _less_ energy that their internal combustion counterparts, irrespective of fuel source”

        My rebuttal of your falsehood included “analysis” of UK electricity generation that stated truism; i.e. electricity is generated from the energy of fuels with energy losses from electricity generating efficiency and from electricity distribution (line losses).

        The paper you cite uses the word “energy” for electricity. But the fuel source of the electricity is the fuel used to generate the electricity and UK generating efficiency is less than 50% with 10% of the electricity consumed by line losses. Therefore, using your assertion of “EVs use 50% _less_ energy (i.e. electricity) than their internal combustion counterparts (actual energy use)” means EVs use MORE energy from fuels than their internal combustion counterparts.

        I provided a link to the data I used. I cannot provide a citation for a peer reviewed paper for the truism because it is a truism. Similarly, I cannot provide a citation for a peer reviewed paper that says night is darker than day. These truisms are true, but much peer reviewed publication is junk.

        Clearly, you like to use junk as excuse for your demonstrated falsehoods.

        Richard

    • @ralfellis Your calculations assume that EVs need to be powered from fossil fuels, this is not the case. As the grid gets cleaner, so too do EVs. Conversely, diesel vehicles stay incredibly dirty. In addition, the actual CO2 output of diesel vehicles is grossly understated, as detailed in the 2015 report which concluded that [1]:

      The system of testing cars to measure fuel economy and CO2 emissions is utterly discredited. The gap between test results and real-world performance has become a chasm, increasing from 8% in 2001 to 31% in 2012 and 40% in 2014. Without action this gap will grow to nearly 50% by 2020.

      Furthermore, a 2015 report UCSUSA titled “Cleaner Cars from the Cradle to Grave” found that:

      [. . .] a comprehensive, two-year review of the climate emissions from vehicle production, operation, and disposal [was taken]. We found that battery electric cars generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, even when pollution from battery manufacturing is accounted for.

      I would be interested to see some published reports showing the opposite (i.e. small diesel vehicles are more efficient than EVs), instead of “back of the napkin” calculations.

      [1] http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/TE_Mind_the_Gap_2015_FINAL.pdf
      [2] http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions#.Vqc07_FOXXQ

      • >>Your calculations assume that EVs need to be powered
        >>from fossil fuels, this is not the case.

        Sure. If you promise to never recharge your EV when the wind is calm and the sky is dark, I shall agree with you. But if you are looking for a practical vehicle, you are going to be using fossil fuels (and American forests). And Prof Mackay took the level of renewables and nuclear into his calculations.

        .

        >>I would be interested to see some published reports showing
        >>the opposite (i.e. small diesel vehicles are more efficient than EVs)

        Sure. The world’s most efficient car is a diesel – the VW L1. It does 285 mpg, which equates to about 20 g/km CO2. Far more efficient than any electric vehicle powered by the grid could ever be. The VW L1 is a speciality vehicle, and so a good equivalent of the speciality EVs on the market.

        http://gas2.org/2008/03/12/the-worlds-most-fuel-efficient-car-285-mpg-not-a-hybrid

      • @ralfellis Ironically, the VW XL1 is a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, not pure diesel. In addition, production was limited to 250 cars, while the Nissan Leaf passed 250 000 cumulative sales in December 2015. Hardly comparable.

        Unfortunately the efficiency limits of the internal combustion engine have been reached. The laws of thermodynamics are non-negotiable. Over the medium to long term, EVs are the only sensible option.

      • Heck, my old ’92 Civic VX, with 250k miles on the clock, gets 40 mpg around town, and 55 on the highway. And I paid $500 for it. What does a Prius get on the highway (or, put another way, “around town” if you happen to live in LA or commute 70 miles each way in the Bay Area)?

      • No need to lose your cool, @ralfellis.

        VW’s site clearly states that [1]:

        Powering the XL1 is a compact 800 cc TDI two-cylinder common rail diesel engine developing 48 PS. It’s linked to an electric motor producing 27 PS.

        While Wikipedia states [2]:

        The Volkswagen XL1 (VW 1-Litre) is a two-person limited production diesel-powered plug-in hybrid produced by Volkswagen.

        There’s absolutely no other information about the “all diesel” version, other than the link you provided.

        Safe to say it never even reached production. But we’ll conveniently ignore that fact.

        [1] http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/about-us/futures/xl1
        [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_1-litre_car#cite_note-gas2.org-4

      • And then, when you don’t make it to the recharging point…

        When a Tesla battery does reach total discharge, it cannot be recovered and must be entirely replaced. Unlike a normal car battery, the best-case replacement cost of the Tesla battery is currently at least $32,000, not including labor and taxes that can add thousands more to the cost.

        http://jalopnik.com/5887265/tesla-motors-devastating-design-problem

        It’s not just Teslas who suffer from this, either.

  44. Many years ago I lived in a small town in downstate Illinois. One dark night after visiting friends in Peoria I drove about 60 miles on the interstate to get home. It was 26 degrees Fahrenheit BELOW zero. And of course my lights and heater were on the whole way.

    Two weeks ago I drove home from my sister’s house just north of Chicago and it was five degrees below zero Fahrenheit. It was dark and the roads were poorly lighted and so of course my car’s lights were on and I had the heater cranked up the whole way as high it would go. And I was listening to the CD player.

    Boy I’m sure glad I don’t have an electric car!

    • Along the same line. Be glad your not driving across in southern AZ in an electric car with the air conditioner on.

  45. Government subsidies, like ones for electric cars, influence the market that would otherwise exist without the government’s intervention via subsidies. The government influence hampers production in general business areas unrelated to what is being subsidized because it introduces incremental increased uncertainty of what the real market situation is (without subsidies); thus the overall general business is incrementally inhibited from investing in business due to the increased uncertainties. Net effect on the overall economy by subsidies is depression of the economy.

    But, some profit temporarily at the expense of the depression of the overall economy.

    John

    • old construction worker on January 25, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      “In other words “broken window econ” along with “cronyism” “

      old construction worker,

      Yes, I think it is the “broken window” fallacy if you take the “broken window economic fallacy**” as only seeing the short term economic effect of government intervention while ignoring the long term economic effect.

      As to “cronyism”, I think that is not an economic issue. It is a moral issue; moral because seeking benefit from government intervention in the free market is morally seeking government’s use of force to achieve your business goals. The use of force in such a manner is a moral issue.

      “broken window economic fallacy**” – thanks to Henry Hazlitt for his ideas in his book “Economics in One Lesson”.

      John

  46. Eric, you said:
    “Who is paying for those incentives – maybe poor people, who can’t afford to buy an electric car?”

    It is wrong to deprive ANYBODY of his property and his relative wealth is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.
    If you can’t defend rights, per se, you have already granted that you have none worth defending.
    So get this right- nobody really gives a flying boojum about anonymous poor folk, unborn babbies and nobody’s need has anything to do with stealing from somebody else.
    You play with marxist argument- you lose to marxist argument.
    You grant that need is some kind of virtue-, you yield to ‘need trumps rights’.
    If you can’t address the only thing that matters, you lose by default.
    It’s guaranteed.
    What wins is ‘rights’. Rights got fags teaching your kids it’s okay to be gay.
    Rights is what got affirmative action and ebonics.
    Rights is what liberated the USA from British rule.
    Rights is the ONLY argument that has any moral weight.
    Rights wins the day. Every other argument is a loser.
    I’m not sure if this is too foreign a concept to a Brit but there may be some Americans who remember what rights are.

    • gnomish:

      You say

      So get this right- nobody really gives a flying boojum about anonymous poor folk

      Correction:
      So get this right- selfish ‘bar stewards’ like gnomish don’t give a flying boojum about anonymous poor folk

      Richard

      • I notice you have nothing to say about my rights, do you?
        See how that works? Glorifying altruism is the gospel of the trougher, as I’m sure you understand deep in your bones. But it ends where my rights begin. Beg for yourself or beg for dead babies- I don’t care. You have no claim on me. You have nothing to offer me. You get nothing and you’ll like it. Embrace your impotence.

      • gnomish on January 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm

        – – – – – – – – –

        gnomish,

        You are waxing eloquent. : ) I love it.

        The authoritarians merely give their preferred people more rights than their non-preferred people, it is what makes them authoritarians. Might over other’s rights is their idea of their own right.

        John

      • I read your comments, too, John. I wish your site were running, cuz that might be a more suitable place for psychoepistemological investigations.

        While I have poor Richard on the ropes, though, let me put the boots to him.
        Richard – the hallmark of any form of socialism is the twin gospel of altruism and collectivism.
        They all preach that the highest moral virtue is self sacrifice for the sake of supernatural spirits, neighbors on earth, the fatherland – the name of the altar doesn’t matter.
        Those who propose that the altar be ‘polar bears’ or ‘poor folk’ are just branding human sacrifice.
        But you won’t stop trying to run the socialist con because it’s your means of survival.

      • gnomish on January 25, 2016 at 5:54 pm

        I read your comments, too, John. I wish your site were running, cuz that might be a more suitable place for psychoepistemological investigations.

        gnomish,

        Well, I have concluded that a site like mine would need a small team to make it go. I haven’t got my small team yet. But there is hope.

        John

      • You could end up waiting a long time if you don’t just start the fire yourself.
        My ‘best by’ date is past, eh. It’ll happen to you, too.

      • In other articles the courtneys have gone on and on about how taking money from people the govt doesn’t like and giving it to people who support the govt actually increases total freedom.

      • How could there can be such a thing as a right to violate rights, Marcus?
        You aren’t really gonna try to rationalize that, are you?

      • Marcus on January 25, 2016 at 5:00 pm

        – – – – – – – – – –

        Marcus,

        Well, what is the essence of : collectives; social ownership of the fruits of peoples labor and of the means of production; altruism; egalitarian; authoritarianism?

        Arguably, one could view their essence to be contained the famous anti human rights claim of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809 – 1865) that “all property is theft”.

        John

      • Punch drunk, is about all you get, dude.
        But knock yourself out. :)
        Does what you’re saying actually make sense to you?

    • gnomish:

      Thanks for the laughs. You say

      While I have poor Richard on the ropes, though, let me put the boots to him.

      No, anonymous fool, you are using that rope to hang yourself.

      And your whinging about your “rights” to deprive whomever you want is very, very funny. Only you cares about the ‘rights’ of a selfish ‘bar steward’ who proclaims he/she/they/it cares nothing for the poor.

      Richard

      • Punch drunk, is about all you get, dude.
        But knock yourself out. :)
        Does what you’re saying actually make sense to you?

      • gnomish:

        I am enjoying you demonstrating that you need to make nothing to make a fool of yourself.

        Your shadow boxing lands no punches on anybody. Remember, I only posted a correction to one of your most outlandish pieces of nonsense.

        And the ‘wind-up merchant’, JohnWho, (i.e. a supported of the IPCC as a ‘scientific’ organisation) has been encouraging more of your nonsense.

        In case any onlookers have forgotten what has induced your tantrums which are providing so many laughs, it was this.

        gnomish:

        You say

        So get this right- nobody really gives a flying boojum about anonymous poor folk

        Correction:
        So get this right- selfish ‘bar stewards’ like gnomish don’t give a flying boojum about anonymous poor folk

        Richard

        Richard

      • John Who:

        I owe you an apology which I freely give.

        John Whitman, not you, is the ‘wind-up merchant’, who is a supporter of the IPCC as a ‘scientific’ organisation and has been encouraging gnomish to make a fool of himself.

        Sorry for this severe error. I should not have posted while laughing so much.

        Richard

      • You’re not laughing, Richard. You’re spitting mad and quite incoherent.
        I recommend you pick at your wound a bit more to make it bleed because I care.

    • gnomish on January 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Eric, you said:
      “Who is paying for those incentives – maybe poor people, who can’t afford to buy an electric car?”

      It is wrong to deprive ANYBODY of his property and his relative wealth is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.

      If you can’t defend rights, per se, you have already granted that you have none worth defending.

      . . .

      [you go on to expand and elaborate on rights]

      gnomish,

      Let’s reflect on the chronological scenario that played out in the thread you started with your original stand-alone ‘rights’ comment to Eric Worrall (that I just quoted above).

      a) First you were criticized by a commenter about your original stand-alone comment.

      b) Naturally, you responded critically to the critical commenter.

      c) Then I commented to you about your eloquence in your critical response to the critical commenter {see b) above}. I added my take on rights that could be viewed as supporting your position.

      d) Then you and the critical commenter exchanged another round of comments.

      e) Then critical commenter finally admonishes you for being encouraged by my comment to you {see c) above}.

      Analysis & Discussion: The critical commenter {see e) above} is using condescending verbiage and shifts to assuming a stern paternalistic stance as rhetorical devices; thus the dialog breaks and is reduced into emotional one-ups-man-ship. It looks like sayonara to reason.

      Lesson to be learned, enjoy this “ c’est la vie “ moment in the constant dialog on protection of individual freedom via rights.

      John

      • A little semantic analysis will abstract some clues from which we can abstract much more info than the speaker intended to communicate.
        For example, somebody who has been wounded feels the need to disguise his vulnerability by misdirection.
        The defensive dishonesty of ‘i’m laughing so hard’ is the equivalent of a cry of pain.
        What causes this pain? Exposing things that a person wishes to hide from himself.
        What kind of person wishes to hide things from himself?
        Only a phony.

      • MarkW:

        You are as deluded as gnomish when you say

        In other articles the courtneys have gone on and on about how taking money from people the govt doesn’t like and giving it to people who support the govt actually increases total freedom.

        No. The “courtneys” have never said any such thing. And that is why you don’t provide a quote to suppoet your falsehood.

        Anyway, if that falsehood were true then it would not be relevant to my having correcting a falsehood posted by gnomish.

        Richard

      • John Whitman:

        Congratulations on your ‘pot stirring’ that is keeping gnomish – and now MarkW – ‘frothing at the mouth’.

        I am not sure I can take more of these laughs.
        As you say, I have been using “condescending verbiage” to an anonymous fool: how does one not?
        But contrary to your claim, at no time have I assumed “a stern paternalistic stance”: I have been ‘laughing my socks off’ at the floundering of the fool whose stupidity you have been so cruelly encouraging.

        You are now trying to pretend you have not been encouraging gnomish to spout twaddle about “rights” instead of addressing my factual point that corrected a falsehood generated by his selfishness. I did not mention “rights” (of the child, or of animals, or as defined by the UN, or etc.) although I did reject the twaddle about his “rights” expressed by gnomish in an attempt by gnomish to evade my correction of his falsehood. That rejection was when I wrote

        And your whinging about your “rights” to deprive whomever you want is very, very funny. Only you cares about the ‘rights’ of a selfish ‘bar steward’ who proclaims he/she/they/it cares nothing for the poor.

        I again remind that the right-wing ire has been aroused by this

        gnomish:

        You say

        So get this right- nobody really gives a flying boojum about anonymous poor folk

        Correction:
        So get this right- selfish ‘bar stewards’ like gnomish don’t give a flying boojum about anonymous poor folk

        Richard

        Richard

      • “A little semantic analysis will abstract some clues from which we can abstract much more info than the speaker intended to communicate.”

        Indeed, gnomish.

        In your case, we can readily deduce that you have brown eyes, for example.

      • richardscourtney on January 27, 2016 at 2:09 am

        @John Whitman:

        “. . .

        But contrary to your claim, at no time have I assumed “a stern paternalistic stance”: I have been ‘laughing my socks off’ at the floundering of the fool whose stupidity you have been so cruelly encouraging.

        . . .”

        richardscourtney,

        Your comment gave me a moment of recollecting typical experiences I have all day long for a couple days every week when my wife and I provide daycare for my 3.5 year old grandson and my 1.5 year old granddaughter. I assume the stern paternalistic stance constantly during those times.

        Following is an example of a typical exchange where I assume a stern paternalistic stance with my grandson and granddaughter as the play/interact with each other. I will give them the pseudonyms Jason and Barbara.

        Jason says, “Barbie, watch this! (he proceeds to do something naughty and/or dangerous for someone her age).

        Barbie tries to do it, enjoying immensely and with pride copying her beloved older brother.

        Grandpa (me – the paternal grownup one) intercedes sternly and says to Jason “Jason, don’t encourage your baby sister to do that. You know better.

        Jason says, “Ohhhh” he whines and pouts “Grandpa why? Why, Grandpa? Why? ( repeats ‘why’ a couple of dozen more times . . .)

        Barbie starts to cry because serious faced Grandpa stopped her fun of copying help older brother Jason.

        So, richardscourtney, see? You were acting like you are Grandpa and I am Jason and gnomish is Jason’s younger sibling.

        It made me smile while writing that because it gave me pause to think of the wonderful grandkids I have and how precious they are.

        John

    • again that careless mixing of marx and that rich vs poor saga.

      Marx dealt with ‘working 5, 6 days a week – can I make a living on it’.

      That rich vs poor tale maybe mingles with ‘social needs’:

      – if you don’t cope with social needs you have pest and cholera in your country, ebola and encephalities.
      – you enforce criminalism in your country up to riots, which sure impacts youre rights.

      The pirates in Eritrea ‘have’ the right, the access on heavy weapons – after all Eritrea is a failed state.

      The rich masters of the pirates have their green, beachsited residences in democratic Kenia, the poor terror refugees are concentrated in camps in the desert.

      Both Kenia and Eritrea loose more than they win.
      ____

      I’m not interested in convincing you, makes no difference.

      Just bored of that unintelligible marxist/stalinist meme. Thrashing a highly informative thread.

      Hans

  47. I have a question for the commenters here who think EV’s are better, more efficient, etc.

    Why should the rest of us subsidize them if they’re that good?

  48. Nobody bought electric cars in the UK because of Jeremy Clarkson. The BBC took him off the air back in May and this is the result.

    • That figure takes every watt that is consumed by a refinery and divides it by the total number of gallons of gasoline produced. Totally ignoring all the other things a refinery produces.
      Of course they also ignore the fact that power stations use lots of electricity on site.

  49. Electric cars are a good solution to a non-existent problem. The electric car needs electricity generated somewhere else, and that has to be delivered to the plugs. Many new coal, gas, or nuclear plants will need to be built to provide the electricity or back up the solar cells or turbines? Batteries don’t last long and are expensive to replace, and have to be disposed of: or recycled, Electric cars are limited in range and in Australia driving 1,000 km. a day is not unusual, except in an electric car.

  50. Somewhere out there -somewhere – there’s a car with a face on the front of it. Where the headlights are its got two big bright white round eyes with little black dots for the pupils. And, below and between the eyes, where the grill is its got a big smiling mouth with thick grinning red lips. It’s facing and looking at a road crossing a very steep hill in front of it. It’s a very steep hill. And, this car wants to get over that hill. And, it’s saying to itself, “I think I can; I think I can; I think I can.”

    This car is an electric car. And it’s said “I think I can” at least several million times to date. You see, that’s because it’s been saying “I think I can” for a very long time: for over a hundred years by now.

    And there’s been people looking for this optimistic, achievement oriented, electric car that “thinks it can.” In fact, they’ve been trying to find this car for a very long time; for over a hundred years by now.

    And, just like the car, these people looking for, hoping to find it keep chanting, “We think we can; we think we can; we think we can.”

  51. I live in a city that has an extensive electric supply designed to eliminate batteries & recharging stations from the equation.

    Electric vehicles designed for overhead supply already exist, so it’s just a matter of putting some old technology to use on a larger scale.

  52. Tom Judd,

    Torque in a series-wound electric motor is proportional to the square of current. When the armature isn’t moving and current is applied, only the windings of the motor provide resistance to current, and so current and torque are at maximum when the motor is at rest.
    And that is why most diesel locomotives use electric traction motors to drive the wheels.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_locomotive#Diesel-electric

    A couple of torquing points…

    ► “Diesel-mechanical propulsion is limited by the difficulty of building a reasonably sized transmission capable of coping with the power and torque required to move a heavy train.”

    ► “As will be seen in the following discussion, the [diesel-electric] propulsion system is designed to produce maximum traction motor torque at start-up, which explains why modern locomotives are capable of starting trains weighing in excess of 15,000 tons, even on ascending grades

    The diesel-electric engine was chuffing along ‘til he came to a great big hill
    He said “I must chuff, chuff, chuff ’til I reach the top,
    I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”
    And he chuffed right over the hill!

    (No batteries required.)

    • Don’t forget diesel-hydraulic (Western class – UK). But true, diesel-electric won that battle.

      • Yeah see these all the time in Australia. We also have what could be described as multiple freight trains coupled together. So there is a lead locomotive (Loco), with a driver, with say 500m of wagons behind it. Last wagon another loco hooked up, with 500m of wagons and so on. I am sure you get the picture. All controlled from the lead loco. Can’t seem to find a picture…shame.

    • Those are the 6 month to December figures, sorry about that. The “year to date” figures are:

      2,663,503 new cars registered, 72,775 of which were “alternative fuelled” including hybrids. 2.8% of market share, up from 2.1% in 2014.

  53. In a place like Britain where your never more than 60 miles from the ocean, you can get away with electric cars. In the N.A. midwest, these smart cars are a good substitute for cow tipping.

  54. Eric…the motorways here in UK have fast become large car parks. The M25 is notorious particularly at Heathrow. The M1 was terrible last summer with multiple road works on both sides. It don’t take much to stop the traffic here. And the hard shoulders are being widely used. Too many people I’d say…oh, why is that?

    There is a large electric transport system in London…the underground. But..too many things rely on access to London. Other Cities going the same way.

    They need to have many train stations just off the motorways I think because its all going to ratsh8t. And you normally have to drive past London to get south -ish.,,add in the EU junk.

    Electric cars are rather pointless because they don’t relieve the significant problems…as above.

    • I recall once, ooh back in the early 1990’s when the M25 was fair new. Travelling on the M3 in to towards London the M3 runs over the M25. I recall seeing red and white lights in all 6 lanes on the M3 and all 8 lanes on the M25 as far as the eye could see.

      The M25 pretty much became a parking lot the day it was opened.

  55. – Unsafe, crowded, unreliable, unexplainable expensive public transport

    – Gas $5.40

    – Waiver of Tolls

    – Live in a small country, travel distances limited

    – Government subsidies

    Yeah under those conditions I would consider an electric car

  56. Anybody who owns an electric golf cart will tell you battery replacements are a huge cost in comparison to the value of the vehicle. I wonder if there is a statistic of how many hybrids are traded in because the battery putzed?

  57. This is tokenism. No-one in the UK, who spends and hour or two hours on the motorways of the UK in their daily commute to work will use one of these. No-one I know of anyway! Sure, pootle about the town getting a pint of milk and the Sunday papers. But serious stuff? Nah! My step-father still has his Honda Accord and it’s 17 years old. Still the same car, same body no rust, same engine.

  58. There was a time when electrically powered road transport was predominant before gas/petrol powered vehicles took over. Why would that be? Stone age. Bronze age. Steel age. Me thinks people discovered a better, more efficient, technology…and developed it! Oil!

  59. Attached is an article that covers the el. vs. gas issue in the US. Since it was published, gasoline prices halved.

    • Comparing Electric and Gasoline Cars
      by Stan Jakuba

      This article is about the pros and cons of ownership an electric Nissan Leaf and a gasoline Honda Civic. It addresses the respective energy and “fuel” expenses, the amount of pollution generated in manufacturing and use of either car, the grid demand for charging vehicle batteries and the availability of electricity from renewable sources. Data are based on a real-life usage and include the effects of variables such as local climate and the cost of electricity vs. gasoline. Although the numbers are not applicable universally (driving conditions and prices change from region to region and from time to time) the method presented here enables evaluating numerically the impact of those changes.

      Let’s start the comparison by investigating the driving distance on “full” battery or tank. As with all vehicles, that distance is influenced by drivers’ skill, but with electric cars there is, in addition, the ambient temperature dependence; it impacts their driving range far more than cars with internal combustion engines. Concerning the Nissan Leaf, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) published the average driving range of the Leaf models vs. ambient temperature1 as shown next.

      The chart illustrates the variability often overlooked in judging the achievable battery range in, say, Texas vs. Wisconsin. Other conditions being equal, ambient temperature decrease alone can cut the range from the best 122 km to 75 km. Already at the beginning of this treatise we can see that comparisons will be tricky and not easily generalized.

      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined in its tests that the average Nissan Leaf consumed 19 kWh/100 km which is 0.68 megajoules per kilometre (MJ/km). That is the average record of several drivers, but it is not clear if that number includes also related effects, such as the self-draining from the battery when not in use, heating the passenger compartment in cold weather, and the influence of the speed of charging on the efficiency of charging. The charging loss amounts to 5 % at slow charging and up to 40 % for the rapid one. To account for it properly, the car electricity consumption should refer to the electricity flow from the “wall” outlet to the charger, not just from the battery to the motor and auxiliaries. We estimate a 20 % penalty for those three losses on average which then changes the energy number to 0.85 MJ/km. When considering the 33 % efficiency in electricity generation from fossil fuels, the major source of electricity, the overall number grows to 2.5 MJ/km.

      My Honda Civic, a bigger but lighter car than the Leaf, and not designed for the extra low friction of electric or hybrid cars, has been getting 39 mls/gal which is 2.0 MJ/km. Gasoline refining and its distribution burn about 15 % of the energy in the fossil fuel, a consideration that raises the number to 2.3 MJ/km. But since I drive in the style of a driver who “does not need brakes,” I looked up the dealer advertised numbers as more “average” and found 36 mpg. That mileage brings the number to 2.5 MJ/km.

      By coincidence those final numbers for both cars are exactly the same. This closeness confirms the obvious: If the origin of the energy for powering either car is based on fossil fuels burning, the energy consumed per distance cannot differ much if the cars are similar.

      The Leaf is heavier than the Civic by about 450 lb due to, mainly, the battery. The difference is equivalent to carrying extra two or three husky men vs. the average 40 lb (1/2 tank) of gasoline in the Civic. Measurements by SAE, charted below, show the percentage increase in energy consumption due to the increased weight of road vehicles.2 The percentage disadvantage of the extra 200 kg for the Leaf is apparent.

      Accepting the energy consumption similarity, let’s now focus on how costly one unit of energy is in electricity vs. one in gasoline. An overall comparison here is more complicated because the cost of electrical energy varies greatly from region to region, more than gasoline prices do. A valid comparison must be accompanied by more details.

      Focusing on my region, the northeastern U.S., the residential rate is 0.1 $/kWh for generation and the same for delivery, or 0.2 $/kWh total. Thus the electricity costs 0.055 $/MJ. The cost per road distance is then 0.055 x 0.85 = 0.047 $/km. (Those analysts that account for just the generation cost rather than the whole bill miss a half of the cost.)

      Now to the Civic: At 3.50 $/gal price of gasoline (10 % alcohol), and at the above listed dealer mileage, the cost is 0.050 $/km.

      The conclusion: Again, both cars’ “mileage” cost is close in this specific case. Should, however, gasoline prices keep dropping as seems to be the case in the later part of 2014, the Civic will be proportionally cheaper to operate. At 1.75 $/gal price, for example, the Civic would travel at half the energy cost of the Leaf. Or twice as far. But there is more to this.

      About one third of the price for gasoline at the pump is attributed to the federal, state and other taxes (the exact amount again differs from one location to another). That tax is near zero for electricity. Should electric cars become ubiquitous with time, electricity will then be taxed to yield equal revenue resulting in a unit of electricity costing proportionally more. Similarly, at present, 95 % of electricity is generated by the cheapest methods in the U.S. – by burning fossil fuels, hydro, and nuclear reaction. Should it originate from renewables such as wind, solar, and geothermal, it would cost three to eight times more.

      To finish the cost comparison, the dealer price for the Leaf is 20 % higher than for the Civic, similar models. However, the present day federal and state subsidies, credits, etc. for el. cars reverse the percentage in favor of the Leaf by about equal percentage. Finally, there is the cost of the charging station in one’s garage that, however, may last for several generations of “Leafs.” Overall, the arguments in these three paragraphs indicate higher expenses to the Leaf owner that would be higher yet in a market-driven economy.

      After all this information, it is, unfortunately, still up to the reader to decide which car type is better under his/her circumstances (such as having free electricity at the place of work) while also considering that conditions will change with time. No generally applicable guideline exists; the author hopes that this is apparent from above, and that published comparisons will be thus viewed with suspicion unless they are accompanied by all the above-listed variables including the consideration for the impact of the driver’s habit such as the proverbial “lead foot” or “pedal to the metal.”
      Emissions
      Generally speaking, el. cars relocate emissions from the exhaust pipes to the stacks of fossil fuel burning power-plants (for the renewable energy option read on). A British study (unverified) found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23 Mg of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 Mg for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars, however, are more than 50 % higher for their light metal contents and for the batteries being made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.
      Electric cars are also expected to need a replacement battery. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 Mg, compared with 5.6 Mg for a petrol car. Disposal produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery.
      Grid electricity demand

      As a side issue, let’s examine how much more electricity would be needed in the U.S. should all the cars (200 million of them) be the electric Leafs and driven as today for 15 000 km annually. Charging them would draw 80 GW based on the earlier MJ/km number. But not everybody will be satisfied driving a small car so the overall consumption will be higher, say 110 GW.

      To put that number into perspective, the present average electricity draw of the whole country amounts to 450 GW3. This four times higher wattage powers everything: from ranges and air conditioners to trains, factories, hospitals and cities. The time table for adding the 25 % to the generating and grid capacity is unknown as estimates vary greatly.

      What is the role of renewables in all of this? So far, the amount of electricity flow from wind, geothermal and solar reached 22 GW, and that after 40 years of subsidized construction. Two other renewables, hydro and wood, had been generating more power than the former three combined but their yield has been stagnant or declining for decades and there is no new domestic capacity to develop. The other renewables, those not-listed here, contribute insignificant net amounts with no prospect for a worthwhile gain.

      The following chart4 illustrates the electricity obtained from all the significant non-carbon sources since 1890.

      As shown, the energy contributions of geothermal and solar (both PV & CSP) are nearly invisible on the scale of the two predominating sources, hydro and nuclear. Just the improvement in the existing nuclear plants yielded thousands times more electricity than geo and solar. That efficiency gain also just about matches the output from the wind turbine generators. It is apparent that the combined output of solar and geo resides in the error range of the pictured total.

      The insignificance of the yield from the three “modern” renewables is even more apparent comparing the earlier 22 GW with the 450 GW of total U.S. electricity consumption (5 %) and 3400 GW of our primary energy consumption (0.6 %).

      A personal note:
      Writing this, it was not my intention to promote or condemn electrical cars. Personally, I thought that electrical vehicles, in cities for deliveries, airport shuttling, etc., would be common today, and thus free those places from the incessant noise and air pollution from gasoline and diesel vehicles. I based these thoughts on the belief that nuclear-made electricity would have been abundant and cheap today. It is also happens to be “green.” We had it available in the U.S. since 1950s. Instead, we are burning hydrocarbons that are needed where no alternatives exist such as for medicines, plastics and steel making.

      I drove electrical delivery vehicles in summer jobs and have been involved with R&D of non-polluting propulsion such as battery, fuel-cell and steam powered cars for decades. That research was focused on ordinary passenger cars rather than on the above mentioned short-haul vehicles. Interestingly, those misguided, futile projects were supported by Government grants with the result that millions of people are still tormented waiting at airport terminals and living in inner cities amid unnecessary noise and air pollution. In this respect the Tesla car is an example of misappropriated funds for it cannot alleviate the traffic nuisance problems to a measurable degree.

      In conclusion:

      Between the two examined cars, electric propulsion offers no appreciable savings in energy, money or emissions over gasoline cars under the conditions described. Electricity supply from the “modern” renewable sources covers but an insignificant portion of the road vehicles demand. The numerical method in this article enables readers to update the numbers as differences in the listed variables occur with time and/or they try compare other cars.

      Editor’s note: Since the time this manuscript was received, the price of gasoline dropped over a dollar per gallon. At $2.50, the dollar range for Civic increases by almost a third. Readers are expected to understand that, today, the “fuel” cost comparison weights in favor of the Civic as a result.

      References:
      1 Automotive Engineering, 2014 Oct, pg 12
      2 Automotive Engineering, 2005 May, pg 87
      3 All references to energy consumption/production are from the statistics of the Department. Of Energy, Information Administration, Annual Energy Review (eia.doe.gov). Electricity data specifically are from Tables 7.2
      4 Created by Prof. Dennis Brownridge from EIA data

      Stan Jakuba, 2015 Jan 11
      West Hartford, CT

      [Thank you. .mod]

  60. All electric cars would be even further from reality if Toyota had not sat on its hands with the same small battery in the Prius hybrid. Annual improvements and battery size options for customers would have dominated the car market by now it they had been more aggressive. But no, and here we sit with just some styling changes in the Prius line.

  61. The EU has limited the fleet-wide exhaust of CO2 to 130 g/km. That means that now cars must not burn more than 5.5 l gas or 4.9 l diesel per 100 kilometer (42.77 or 48 mpg). From 2021 on the limit will be 95 g/km which „constrains“ fuel-consumption to no more than about 3.8 liter/kilometer (3.58 – 4) = 62 mpg (65.7 – 58.8).
    In the real world this can not be done. The EU therefore gives you some leeway if you produce electric cars or similar „green“ things on the side. You build e-cars – you may burn more gas per mile for all other cars in your line-up.
    This is the reason for making expensive and often unusable e-cars.

    Burning 1 liter of diesel produces 2.65 kg CO2, burning 1 l of gas makes 2,37 kg – as a rule of thumb one assumes 2.5 kg. 1 gallon (3.785 l) thus produces 9.46 kg CO2.

    CO2-emission in g/km = fuel-consumption in l/100km * 25, or,
    fuel-consumption in l/100km = CO2-emission in g/km / 25

  62. After all, what was the tea party good for –
    the right on luxurios tea?

    The poor can drink tea of water cooked with some herbs from the garden; men can mix with rum or cheap moonshine.

    The rich maybe prefer Bourbon, Scotch: anyway the antibacteria problem is solved.

    The social need therefor is access on cheap energy – no ‘right’ talks afforded until this point, no pseudo academic juristic discussion, no uninformed pseudo political based on popular slogans.

    / everbody may excuse a mere rant. Hans

  63. encephalities / encephalic meningities. My fault.

    Anyway: let EPA + them gods sort them out.

  64. as in the EU, as in the US:

    the homeless, the kids:

    thats wohlstandsverwahrlosung.

    The kids have the advantage of joining I.S., feeling alive torturing other kids to death.

    Prevents disparaged focus.

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