In Defense of the Electric Car – Part 1

Full disclosure: I own an electric car, and I think they are useful for city transportation. However, having owned one for a decade, I can say that it hasn’t been practical or cost-effective. John Hardy believes they are the future, I’ll let you, the reader, decide. – Anthony Watts

The demise of the Western auto industry: Part 1 – the basics

By John Hardy


In the West, almost all climate change activists consider Electric Vehicles (EVs) important because they are believed to emit less CO2 per mile. In contrast, many (but not all) climate sceptics consider them a waste of space because they regard them as a solution to a non-problem: they believe that all that EVs are good for is virtue signalling.

Actually, and quite regardless of “the environment”, EVs are poised to inflict the mother of all disruptions on the automotive industry. This can’t be explained (or dismissed) in a soundbite, so this is the first of three posts setting out why this might be so. This first post is mostly background. The second addresses the problem for the established automakers. The third addresses some misapprehensions about EVs.

The LA times reported in 2009 that the outgoing CEO of GM said that the biggest mistake he made was to kill the electric EV1 and throw away the technology lead that GM had acquired[1] , [2]. It isn’t just GM. The turgid response of all the big Western automakers leaves them at risk of being overtaken by agile Eastern competitors in the same way that the Swiss (mechanical) watch industry was overtaken in the 1980s by agile Eastern competitors making cheap accurate quartz watches[3]

What is so great about electric motors?

The internal combustion engine (ICE) is a complex beast which needs lots of air, lots of cooling and which generates large volumes of smelly exhaust. It has a high parts count, is a high maintenance device, and is plagued by noise and vibration. Worst of all it has an absurdly narrow torque band and won’t run at all below (typically) 500 r.p.m. or so. A lot of the complexity and expense in a modern ICE car is focused on minimizing these deficiencies.

By contrast, an electric motor is a model of flexibility and simplicity. Figure 1 shows the floor pan of the Tesla Model S.

Figure 1 Tesla Model S floor pan viewed from the rear. The two metal cans between the rear wheels are the electric motor (left) and the controller/inverter (right). Photograph from Wikimedia/Oleg Alexandrov

The entire drive train consists of two metal cans, sandwiching a fixed-ratio final drive. The motor revs to about 15,000 It produces good torque at zero r.p.m. and (in some models) peaks at over 400HP. No clutch, torque converter or variable-ratio gearbox is needed. The motor is an ordinary AC induction motor. It has no brushes and (apart from the bearings) one moving part. It contains no rare earth magnets. The inverter is solid state. No exhaust system, turbocharger, oil pump, coil, distributer, intake air filter, complex vibration damping or heat shields; no pistons, valves, pushrods, camshafts, lifters, catalytic converters……….

The end result is smooth, seamless but ruthless acceleration and whisper-quiet cruising. Some models have a smaller drive train between the front wheels. The two together can accelerate a 4,000lb car at around 1G from standstill to 60 m.p.h. in under 3 seconds.

There is more. The inverter can adjust the motor torque in milliseconds so traction control is far more accurate than for a piston engine. (Elon Musk once Tweeted “Tesla dual motor cars are also all-wheel drive. Main goal of dual motor was actually insane traction on snow. Insane speed was a side effect” [4] ).

The motor can also act as a brake, which recovers energy (much of the energy used to climb a hill is put back into the battery rolling down the other side). The same characteristic makes it possible to drive on just one pedal; press to go, release to stop. It also saves on brake wear (one example was an electric taxi that did over 100,000 miles on the original brake pads).

Why now?

Electric drive dominated the early years of the automobile, and the electric motor has never ceased to be vastly better than a piston engine for driving a vehicle. There were however two big snags and one lesser one with electric drive. All three have been solved in recent years.

The first problem was energy storage. Piston engines may be inefficient, but motor fuel packs a huge amount of energy into a small volume. Once a distribution infrastructure is in place, the fuel is easily and quickly replenished which allowed essentially unconstrained travel. By contrast the lead acid batteries that dominated electric traction until recently were totally outclassed on both counts; too little energy and too much time to replenish.

Enter the lithium ion battery. Compared with lead-acid, this stores maybe three times the energy per unit of weight or volume (some a bit more, some a bit less). It has a far longer life than a lead-acid battery, is tolerant of partial charging, has no significant memory effect problems and (critically) can be charged very fast. 20 minutes for 80% charge is easily achievable with little effect on cycle life using modern batteries if you can suck power out of the wall fast enough [5]

The second big change has been the development of power electronics. Until the 1970s, electric motors were hard to control [6]. At worst they were either on or off. At best, control was lethargic. That all changed with so-called Vector Control. Inside a modern motor controller (sometimes called an “inverter” if the motor is AC) there are a number of huge transistors, capable of switching hundreds of amps. With cunning and some capacitors these can produce virtually infinitely variable output. A modern EV can be inched along at a creeping pace with far more precision than an ICE car equipped with a clutch, and with less effort: no clutch slipping needed.

The third, lesser, but still important change has been the growing capability of digital processors to do complex calculations in real time. Until quite recently, electric motoring has depended upon series (brushed) direct current (DC) motors. These work well at low speeds but they tend to run out of torque at high r.p.m. and are more difficult to cool. The advent of modern microprocessors has made it possible to synthesise three phase alternating current (AC) at the necessary power levels from a battery. This in turn allows the use of simple induction motors – no brushes to wear out and better cooling. An induction motor is essentially a hunk of iron on a stick inside a tube containing some electrical windings. Machines don’t come much simpler. [Some manufacturers prefer permanent magnet motors. They are smaller and lighter yet, but rely on rare earth magnets which creates supply issues. These motors can also terminate themselves in a sudden melt-down if they get too hot. I am not a fan.]

What remains to be done?

Several things need to happen before EVs become acceptable as a complete replacement for piston engine cars: broadly price, range and fast-charge

Firstly price. This is partly an issue of scale. If you make a million of the same model car, cost per car is a lot less than if you make 10,000. The financial services company UBS recently tore down and analysed a Chevy Bolt. Their conclusion? “total cost of consumer ownership can reach parity with combustion engines from 2018” [7]

Secondly range and thirdly fast charge. The average private car in the UK does about 21 miles a day. In the US, it is about 30. Most people do most of their driving either commuting or local driving. The problem is the half-dozen trips a year to visit granny or go on holiday. There is also a small percentage of users who do a high daily mileage as part of their work.

My personal opinion is that a 300 mile range should work fine for almost everyone, so long as fast charge to 80% capacity takes no more than about 20 minutes. This is just based on the idea that I wouldn’t want to drive more than 300 miles without a coffee and a potty stop.

Tesla’s high-end cars are well past 300 mile range. Even the (relatively) humble Renault Zoe which initially had a 130 mile range has (or soon will have) a 250 mile range option. Fast charge has some distance to go yet in practice, but there is no intrinsic problem in reaching a 20 minute charge.

Price, range and fast charge. EVs are a “whole system” problem that goes far beyond just making a better box for the punter to sit in.


This has been a quick run-through of the theory of EVs. If you are not convinced, go and drive one. Trickle along at three miles an hour listening to the birds sing then floor it. By the time you reach 30 you will be convinced.

Part 2 of this series looks at the problems this creates for the established Western automakers, and part 3 considers common misconceptions which lead some people to conclude that EVs will not be viable in the near future.






[5] Tests run by the author using a 3C charge rate and lithium iron phosphate cells showed a rate of capacity loss only slightly steeper than similar cells at a 0.5C charge rate [1C is a charge rate numerically equal to the Amp-hr capacity of the battery e.g. 40 Amps for a 40 Amp-hr battery]. A 3C is nominally a full charge in 20 minutes (1/3rd of an hour)



902 thoughts on “In Defense of the Electric Car – Part 1

      • Do you not understand that “infrastructure” includes gas stations, garages, and the trained people to keep them all going, not just wires on poles?

      • First, there may not be enough rare earth metals for magnets. Second, the current grid does not produce enough electricity to charge these power hungry beasts. Thirdly, the cost of these vehicles is too high and there will be few, if any, gains in scaled up production.

        LED bulbs have had very little effect on my electrical use. They have little or no effect on the grid. Most of us who use them want to keep mercury laden, useless replacements, out of our homes. I have changed one bulb in my kitchen in the 7 years of LED lighting. I use them for appearance and convenience. Industry and large stores use the bulk of the electricity.

        It’s like all those useless toilets and washers that are water efficient. Over 95 percent of fresh water in the U.S. is used by agriculture and industry. So how much water is being saved by these uselessly modified water using appliances saving? In my neighborhood the city has to inject 50 percent hydrogen peroxide in the sewer lines to keep down methane because there is not enough flow. Trucks designed to suck sludge out of the lines are busy every day. I always flush twice (that’s 2.4 gallons) to keep down sludge formation and odors. We are the victims of bureaucrats who simply want to train us to accept whatever grand inspiration they have. Sewer maintenance raises the cost of my water bill.

        So enjoy your vehicle since you can afford it. I love my Honda CRV. I don’t know a single person in my circles who has a remote desire to go electric. I live in the desert and it is 180 miles to Phoenix or San Diego.
        It would be terribly inconvenient to run out of battery power just as I got there.

      • and airconditioning and pumping stations (water, sewage , stormwater etc, and industrial machinery and welders etc etc etc.

        I see no real issue with electric cars etc but lets just get real, even Lithium ion batteries store energy at about 1/30th that of wood.gas/oil and there is still an order of magnitude or more even allowing for efficiency.

        When the infrastructure is in place they will be attractive. Let them put the infrastructure in place at their cost and not bludge of the rest of us who are going about our daily business now with currently viable technology that we are paying for.

      • Last time I saw a report, lighting was about 5% of total energy usage in the US, and transportation was something like 25%.
        Even before LED bulbs hit the market, substantial portions of lighting was provided by fluorescent and CFL, in addition to this street lights used various technologies like sodium, mercury, high pressure sodium and so on which were also more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
        At best, converting every light in the country to LEDs would save somewhere between 1 to 2% of our energy usage. (And that’s assuming people don’t start using more light because it’s so much cheaper.)

      • @ Mark

        Considering EV motors are at least 3 times as efficient as IC engines that would drop energy usage for transportation to 8%.

        That does not take into account the much more efficient direct drive versus traditional transmission, nor the regenerative braking.

      • For Karl: The thermodynamic efficiency for an electric car occurs at the central powerplant (generation of the electricity). A good powerplant is perhaps 40% efficient. Multiplied by the efficiencies of converting turbine shaft power to electricity, converting generator power to line power, line losses, transformer losses at the reception (recharging) point, I don’t see how it comes out any better than an internal combustion engine.

      • Nowadays it’s at its very best a technology for people living in big cities of rich countries having a reliable and safe gridpower structure. It’s not for the people living in the hinterland. It’s not for the third world.

    • Not just that, but if part of this is to power them with renewable energy then the problem becomes immense, if not insoluble in practice.

      Nuclear, hated by greens, is the best option and then we can forget about unreliable renewables in their pretty useless entirety.

      But Nuclear does nothing to achieve the de-industrialisation aims that were part of Maurice Strong’s intent in inventing ‘global warming’ and establishing the IPCC. Both of these were to try and achieve that as well as an unelected, unaccountable and anti-democratic world goverment.

      That may be the real reason that greens hate nuclear – it won’t de-industrialise western civilisation.

      • Nuclear of some type will be our best long term solution. There will be massive efficiencies in future innovation, and is the only current technology that could replace fossil fuels when they do become expensive. The electrical grid will be here forever, so hardening it and sizing it to allow for future increase of EV’s and other electric use is money well spent now. I doubt anything will ever replace electricity since it is 100% efficient at point of use, at the speed of light.

      • Depending on the electric cables insulation, the speed of electromagnetic waves in copper is anywhere from 50% to 99% of the speed of light in a vacuum.

      • This is out there – I realise – but as we’re talking about the grid we’re gonna’ need to recharge everybody’s electric car, and “they” are talking doing it with renewables, why not? Oil will never grow expensive – because we can make it. Indeed, the Germans made oil in both WW’s with the Fischer-Tropf process; we need hydrogen and carbon monoxide for this, and we can get the hydrogen cheap – why, we can even make it renewably, the Greeeens will be so pleased!

        Poly rafts a mile square (or bigger) in mid-ocean under the sun (i.e., they migrate above / below the Equator as the seasons change) with parabolic reflectors a la Solar Millennium glued to the top in long rows – cheap because since the old oil tanker towing the raft steers away from the sun all day, they’re always aligned and we don’t need pricy solar-tracker mountings for the reflectors. This is out in the doldrums so no storms, also they’re ‘way out in international waters so no pirates or local despots, and the main power sources for the generators running the electrolysis process are stirling-cycle engines powered by heat from the raft. LNG (or a lot colder) tankers shuffling back-and-forth transporting the hydrogen to process refineries – haven’t figgered-out where we get the carbon monoxide yet but this is technology, not science.

        And as we burn the hydrogen, it reverts to water and falls as rain – and the process goes merrily on, we never run out. One of the best things about it, poor islands in the tropics could make their own fuel, rather than spending almost all their earnings in foreign exchange to buy it.

    • Bingo. Every weekend, a flood of cars leaves Toronto heading north on highway 400 to cottage / ski country. There are a dozen or so filling stations along the way, with 16 bays working non-stop practically 24/7. Try calculating the electrical power requirements to quick-charge that number of vehicles. And that’s just one highway near one city. The massive new power grids that would have to installed to service EVs, and the massive new wind farms that would be required to feed the power grids with “clean” energy, are show-stoppers. But for tootling around town of an afternoon, EVs are great.

      • Just as bad or worse; The first week in July Traverse City Michigan hosts the National Cherry Festival. In a 9 day span more than 1 million people, most of them traveling in cars, will visit a town whose population, (in the immediate surrounding area), is about 35,000. Currently, the 3 major motor fuel transporters have 20-30 trucks working around the clock just to keep the gas stations supplied. Traverse City is already short on grid infrastructure, much of the problem is political, as people go “not in my backyard” to major infrastructure improvements. Here’s the kicker, Traverse City is more than 320 miles from Chicago and 265 miles from Detroit. Add to the problem that several of the local electrical cooperatives have fairly modern and smart grid technology, and since they are co-ops the operating priority is “our owner-users first.” Traverse City would be shut down, even a few thousand EV’s would be unable to charge. It’s not just the batteries, it’s the entire infrastructure problem for the large areas of the country where:

        1: Population is sparse
        2: People routinely drive much longer distances than is common in urban areas

        Until the infrastructure problems are solved … you already know the answer

      • Not only is Traverse City kind of remote, rumor has it that it gets a bit nippy up there in the Winter — which brings up a few more points that seem to have been glossed over.

        1. Lion batteries don’t work all that well in cold weather. So some of the stored electricity from the batteries needs to be sacrificied to warming the battery bank.

        2. People tend not to be enthused about sitting for hours in subfreezing temperatures in a car. Plus which the car windows fog up if the human payload breaths. So, more of the battery capacity has to be expended in order to heat the car.

        3. If batteries can only be quick charged to 80%, the 300 mile “sticker” range is really only 240 miles on a long trip. Less than that really since many drivers dislike creeping into a fuel stop on “fumes”. And chargers probably aren’t exactly 240 miles apart.

        4. Most batteries don’t react well to deep discharge, but Lion batteries are said to react especially badly to total discharge. Try pulling every last watt out of a Lion battery pack and you’re purportedly looking a multi-thousand bill for a new battery pack.

        5. Batteries get tired over time. A battery pack that had a 300 mile range when new may only be capable of 220 miles after a number of years. At 80% charge that’s … umh … unh … 176 miles, right?

      • Try calculating the electrical power requirements to quick-charge that number of vehicles.

        Assume an 85kWh Tesla ‘quick charging’ in 20 minutes. This will require a power supply capable of delivering 255kW continuously. For a 240 volt charging system this equates to 1065 amps. The connecting cables will be quite latge.

      • Well, Detroit, about the longest place most people come to for the Cherry F, is some 250 miles away. You drive there, assuming you have a 300 mile range. You charge your car over night where you stay. A motel, perhaps. and the next day you drive home.

        Seems like it would work.

      • Don’t forget that this ‘quick charge’ is 20 minutes.
        Now we have a time constraint …and a lot of people hanging around for 20 minutes a fill-up.

      • “Seems like it would work.” RS

        Yes, it does seem so. However a motel in Detroit is likely going to offer one a 110volt-15amp connection (BYOC — Bring Your Own Charging Cable). That’s about 1.6 kwHr per hour. If you want to put 50KWHr into your battery, that’s 31 hours charge time. And that’s assuming no losses.

        I’ve seen a few motel rooms in my time. And I’ve done some time in Detroit. Trust me, 31 hours plus of trickle charging your EV battery in Detroit is going to get old fast. Maybe you can get enough charge overnight to get to a real charging station that will get you to 80% charge (that’s nominally 240 miles, not 300) in a half hour. And keep in mind that there may be some delays at the charging station. (Type “Little’s Law” into your favorite search engine).

        Not that EVs are totally impractical. But they probably are not going to be as convenient in many situations as hydrocarbon fueled vehicles for a long, long time.

      • Re: charging at a motel

        It is really likely they will fire up a diesel generator for a few bucks. There is no practical way to rapid charge a car without storing the power in a capacitor bank which is connected to the grid full time. People low on juice and no options will pay $50 or $75 to get a charge. Or keep a generator in the trunk….

        It makes a lot more sense to own a plug-in hybrid.

      • …and when all the kids and grandkids come to visit grandpa & grandma who are on a reduced income, and they all plug in their ev’s for trickle charging, — well, gramps may get a little grumpy…

      • @ Don K

        My daughter’s 2014 Prius has shown no loss of charge and it charges and discharges 10-20 times a day

      • Karl — I don’t think Prius batteries fully discharge in normal use, not because they can’t, but because full discharge is hard on their lifetime. FWIW, older Prius(es) use Nickle-Metal Hydride batteries not Lithium-ion. I’m impressed with their reliability record. And I think they are probably better suited to cold climates than full EVs. Plus which their smaller battery packs look to be substantially cheaper to replace than Tesla’s. Don’t own one myself mostly because I tend to buy restored salvage vehicles which overall have lower life cycle costs than new cars if you then drive them into the ground. Just scrapped an 18 year old Camry (the road salt finally did it in) and am currently driving a 13 year old Nissan Sentra. Considered a Prius, but the lack of road clearance, not the EV thing per se troubles me. Lots of unpaved roads in my part of the world.

      • More than a dozen years after giving up the farm’s electric golf cart as a hay-delivery system, I still have recurrent nightmares about trying to push that bugger (and its 600 lbs. of batteries) out of wet snow . . . usually with the “power” in a run-down state. Every time I pass a Tesla, I still snicker with that vision. 😉

      • “More than a dozen years after giving up the farm’s electric golf cart as a hay-delivery system, I still have recurrent nightmares about trying to push that bugger (and its 600 lbs. of batteries) out of wet snow . . . usually with the “power” in a run-down state. Every time I pass a Tesla, I still snicker with that vision. ;-)”

        You clearly missed the mention of great snow traction for EVs like the Tesla. Why compare 30 year old technology for golf carts with a modern EV?

    • The elephant in the middle of the room is the problem of “generating electrical power on demand” without using the combustion of liquid fuels. This requires something to replace the battery. The battery does not generate power, it merely stores it. The technology to utilize or control electrical power is well advanced, but generating power on demand has a very tall mountain to climb.

      • A small solar array will generate enough energy to always be able to keep the car topped off for 70% of all drivers.

        Current tech is approximately 3 miles per kWh, so 10 Kwh per day. Average solar insolation for the majority of the country is 3.5kWh per square meter per day, @ 12% efficiency (18% panel 85% inverter and other losses) that = .42 kWh/day per square meter — at 21′ by 21′ array (50 square meters) would give double the needed daily kWh — leaving plenty for storage or to sell back to the grid.

        No extra transmission lines needed.

        Or one could buy and extra battery pack, keep it charged, and swap it out — modular battery packs that can be swapped in a minute with a hand truck will become the standard.

    • A really good question! Calculate if you replace 263 Million passenger vehicles in the States by EVs!

      But in addition I do not understand the 20 minutes loading time. In Europe you will be happy to get electricity connection with 3 Phase, 230 V and 32 A., which corresponds to 22.1 kW. A Tesla Model X has a Battery Capacity of 85 kWh for 300 miles range. The charging time by simple calculation is 85 kWh/22.1 kW =3.8 hours!?

      • Actually the recharging rate is limited by the internal temperature of the batteries. If the batteries reach the threshold temperature the charging rate is reduced to prevent over heating of the cells. As seen with some of the airline battery packs or the laptop batteries overheating Lithium Ion batteries can lead to bad things happening. Another point in recharging of Lithium Ion batteries is that to charge them to their limit of electrical charge and temperature in a short period then to use them without letting them rest or cool down can cause the life of the battery to shortened dramatically. I have some of these batteries for power tools and they warn you to let them cool off before use after recharging. A couple of these battery packs have failed already due to high usage and frequent recharges. Waiting to have a battery cool off on a hot day is sometimes impractical to finishing the job at hand.

      • Apologies Rainer: I didn’t explain fast charge in enough depth. You have an industrial power input capable of far higher power than a domestic socket

      • That’s easily done overnight — or as I predict, the industry will transition to modular swappable batteries.

        You pull into the service station, they remove some number of modules – measure the remaining charge, swap your batteries with full charge – subtract the value of the remaining charge, and off you go.

        At least one manufacturer will develop a generic system that will enable the homeowner to swap batteries at home.

        Another likely progression is the extra battery pack on a trailer. — Want to go on a longer trip?, an aerodynamic trailer which contains nothing but interconnect and battery will be attached to your vehicle — double the range – bam

      • Whoop-dee-doo. Yet another “study” that “proves” precisely what its protagonists set out to “prove”.

      • Hey Griffy, as a card-carrying Leftist you may have no idea how things are out here in the Land of Plausible Deplorability, so I’ll just share this: For most of us, choosing a vehicle is not about “The Planet.” Nor is the decision to flip a light switch. We can enjoy great tasting food without making it all about “Health.” And when we pull on our undies, we don’t agonize over whether the fibers are organic or the makers “Fair Trade.” Just sayin. I know the air gets a little thin in that ol’ Blue Bubble, must be not enough CO2!

      • “Whoop-dee-doo. Yet another “study” that “proves” precisely what its protagonists set out to “prove”.”

        Empty retort.

      • Make the EV’s run on diesel fuel, via a hydrocarbon fuel cell, and we can skip the messy and polluting step of burning anything to achieve even lower levels of carbon emissions.

      • Richard Bell November 6, 2017 at 12:43 pm

        in re a fuel cell making use of the hydrogen content of diesel fuel without burning the carbon. What is left after the hydrogen has been extracted – a heap of carbon? Will the carbon be a big chunk or a powder? Will the filling station take the carbon off your hands, or do you take it home for use in the barbecue?

        I don’t know how fuel cell powered autos would work in practise.


    • In addition:
      In Germany we have 60 Million passenger vehicles. Each with 15,000 km/y, which leads to 32 loadings per year for a Tesla Model S (Battery 85 kWh, range 470 km) 32 x 85kWh/passenger vehicle times 60 Million (1 year has 8,760 h). This ends up with 75 Gas powered stations of standard size 250 MW. (In Germany there will be no coal powered station nor a nuclear one built again. On solar and wind you cannot rely.)
      In the US with 263 Million passenger vehicles additionally 82 GW are needed (e. g. 300 Gas powered stations)!!

      • You can rely on solar and wind — stop repeating a false mantra. – Storage is the only issue.

        Denmark has powered their entire electricity grid on at least 4 occasions – with only wind.

        In Western Denmark, 16% of the time the entire electrical consumption is provided by wind alone.

        Lets look at actual usage 30 miles per day = 10kWh (for the median) — meaning half drive less.

        But a relatively small (25 panel) solar system will provide at least 20 kWh per day — as the majority of the US has at least 3.5 kWh of solar insolation per square meter per day.

        Li-Ion has dropped to $200/kWh — so $14,000 for a 1 week buffer — if you don’t want to use any grid power at all.

        FYI — Prius Batteries are guaranteed to go 150,000 miles, that’s Tens of thousands of charge discharge cycles — my daughter owns one — they average 10 charge discharge cycles per day

      • Karl,

        According to discussion here a few weeks ago, wind turbines need a grid frequency to sync to (because the so-called “rectifier” only pulses at 16Hz.) So, without the 50Hz grid to sync to, how did the country run entirely on wind? Surely there must have been a spinning reserve supplying some substantial percentage of power or the whole system would collapse. Sometimes the only thing spinning is the story.

    • I’ve heard that the disposal of old lithium batteries is very polluting.
      Any insights on that?
      Tesla Car Batteries Not Remotely Green, Study Finds

      Tesla car battery production releases as much CO2 as 8 years of gasoline driving

      • Just build conducting roofs over all roads and power the EVs directly w/an overhead conducting rod like the old bumper-car rides at the amusement parks. 🙂

        • The problem with that is the overhead was positive and the floor was negative to complete the current needed. Just as trolleys ran on grounded rails and got their positive from the overhead line.

    • Roger it comes from nuclear power plants, huge coal powered power plants, or natural gas powered. Electric automobiles are really fossil fuel-electricity-powered with the always present loss in efficiency from the power plant to the road.

    • I’m not a fan of the T model S drive train. That electric motor drives a regular differential through a high ratio reduction gear. I would have put in two smaller motors and ditch the differential. Yes you then need With separate Electric motor drive for each side of the car, the distribution of torque side to side can be much more intelligent that a dumb differential, and make skidding on crummy road shoulders a lot less of a problem.
      I would also put the rear brakes inboard to reduce the unsprung weight and improve the handling.

      And the essayist already said the Tesla induction motors do not use rear earth magnets. So please let’s get off the rear earth supply train for once. They could put more pole pairs on those motors to reduce the required gear reduction ratio.

      Fast charging any battery reduces the battery life; and it lowers the efficiency of the charging cycle as losses go as the square of the charging current. That is a permanent efficiency penalty that EVs have to bear.

      At some point in the supply chain, somebody has to pay for all these little efficiency loss mechanisms.
      Replacing a five minute gas stop with a twenty minute Quick charge stop is a lot of lost time man-hours.

      I don’t care what people choose to drive. I do vehemently object to making ME pay for THEIR fetish.

      Regenerative braking, is a necessary evil to get by with a smaller battery. My car is in Neutral if there is a red light in front of me; either traffic control or perhaps a Tesla Model S doing regeneration. The model S doesn’t eliminate tire wear with regenerative braking.

      As I say, Drive whatever you like but get off my back.


  1. The 300 mile limit is a much bigger problem than the writer expresses. It vastly reduces your lifestyle choices.

      • I’m thinking 300 miles with the A/C on in 110degree Texas, or 300 miles with the heater going in -20degree Minnesota. Are we there yet? After an 80% charge?

      • Don’t forget that you’d have to run the EV’s heater 8 of 12 months in Canada. What range reduction does that cost?

      • Only 60-90 days (2-3 months) of actual cold winter days in Canada Paul, if that unless you are in Yellowknife. Heat your cabin or batteries for 8 months of the year in Canada? You probably think they all live in Igloos too. You are biasing your argument, which is very evident to see.

      • Earthling2 You think the begin of October to the end April is 60 to 90 days, go spend a winter in Winnipeg and check beck to me on the, you coast people have not idea what the fly over country is really like.

      • I have lived there and worse Mark Luhman. And Winnipeg is as bad as it gets for a southern latitude major city, anywhere in the world. Colder than Edmonton at nearly 54 degrees lat. There is some cold weather to be sure, but it most definitely isn’t 1st of October to end of April. That is 7 months. And that would be a straight up lie that even’t I wouldn’t try and exaggerate. I will stick with 60-90 days of fairly low degree days. Google it if you like but saying 7 months is bitterly cold is disingenuous. Maybe 7 months without leaves on trees…

        [Southern latitude major city? .mod]

      • Earthling 2

        Living in southern Sask, I can tell you it is not an exaggeration. We often get snow by Oct 1st that stays all winter well into april. The rest of the year we often get warm enough that AC is almost a requirement, in a typical year we will see highs of near 40 C and lows of near -40 C. There is no pretentding that people won’t need/want heat for at least half of Sept where we often rarely top 10 C some years.

        I would love an electric car, but our winters can bring IC cars to their knees, where plugging them in is recommended for at least 3 months a year at a minimum. It would only be a 6 month fun car as best (fine if you can afford it but hugely wasteful if you actually were concerned about CO2/energy use, after all buying two cars doubles the manufacturing cost).

      • “Texas is a big State, but would make only a modestly sized Canadian province.”

        Texas fits three times with plenty of change within Western Australia

      • Earthling2, quit lying about what others said in order to support your point.
        He didn’t say bitterly cold, he said “need to use the heater”.
        I pity your family if you wait to turn on the heater until it’s “bitterly cold”.

      • it doesn’t work for everyone in the uk. i did in excess of 30,000 miles recreational fishing in the uk last year. many journeys in excess of 150 miles from home to remote areas. then another 100 plus miles moving locations before the return trip. an ev would make perfect sense for my wife ,every chance her next car will be an ev.

      • “300 miles may work in the UK but that won’t even get you across Texas.”

        Yeah, taking a 20 min break every 4-5 hours is a massive inconvenience. Good grief, what a ridiculous comment. Few people will drive more than 600 miles in one day, you drive for a few hours, charge while you are eating lunch, and then drive again.

        • Chris, you clearly missed, or are ignoring, the comment upstream on the reasons why the “20 minute recharge” does not pass the sniff test. A 200 kilowatt charger to recharge a Tesla? Do you have the least sense of what would be involved in that puppy?

      • Tom Halla, you act as if the entire infrastructure of fast chargers must be in place RIGHT NOW, or the entire EV for long distance idea is not feasible. Fast charging stations are ramping up, here is an article about one provider who is starting to roll out stations:

        Just like gas service stations spring up to meet demand in new areas of growth, the same thing will happen here. Smart service stations will offer EV charging in addition to gas – that’s a way to ensure you have a future as ICE declines and EV ramps up.

        • No, I am just pointing out that the infrastructure for EV’s is quite expensive compared to gas or diesel, and has an inherently higher cost per vehicle served. Most older neighborhoods in the US do not have robust enough service to provide perhaps 400 amp service to each residence, plus the cost of the actual EV charger installation. That is for decidedly middle class and upper areas, and lower class apartments, especially mid or higher rise units, would be rather difficult, partly due to security issues on the chargers.
          Ignoring cost is a common failing of enthusiasts. This is just the local distribution system, leaving the issue of utility-scale power alone.

      • Tom Halla,

        You bring up the issue of cost of upgrading charging capacity at homes. I found an average cost for level 2 service of $1,500. For many houses an upgrade is not needed, since charging is typically done at night when energy demand is lower. But let’s go with your belief that it will not be affordable for the lower income segment of the population. That’s too bad, but how is that any different from the poor or working poor who can’t afford an ICE car? Do you criticize ICE’s because not everyone can afford them? I certainly agree that if it ever got to a point where ICE’s were banned, then affordable EV options for the working poor would need to be addressed. But we are decades away from that, and there will be advances in technology and infrastructure between now and then.

    • It’s not just bigger, it’s huge. Unlike an IC powered car, where cold weather won’t really affect it much, an electric car is severely disadvantaged. Drop outside temperatures down to -10 degrees F (not uncommon in Chicago) and that 300 mile range drops to 75 miles. Commute 20 miles to work on a frigid winter morning and 20 miles home in slooow traffic in a snowstorm with lights, wipers, and defroster on hi, and you just might not make it.

      • Hybrids like the Prius are possibly a better choice than pure EV for Northern climates and or applications that involve long trips. Good mileage. Waste heat to warm the cabin.

    • I absolutely agree. All analyses I have seen to date for average mileage runs seldom, if ever, consider drivers who drive just for pleasure and travel. I am not aware of the percentage of this category of driver (in any country!) but I feel it’s of some significance and likely on the increase – particularly with highway improvements in addition to people living longer and having more time (and inclination) to drive simply for pleasure. As a retired and avid driver myself I’m encountering more likeminded retirees in this position. If EV’s can accommodate this lifestyle with the same ease and relative costs as ICE’s then I have no problem in eventually migrating to one.

      • Driving just for personal pleasure. I think this is significant. What about tourists and holiday makers on various types of road-trips?

      • We have different types of cars and trucks now for different applications , EVs are just another option. We seem to have brainlock about there having to be one answer. Out clueless politicians make it worst by mandating “transitions” without having the slightest clue about how it can actually be achieved. I expect once reality sets in we will have a mix of vehicles for many decades yet.

    • Infrastructure development. Recently the Low Country evacuation (hurricane) of Savannah GA many moved north-west toward Atlanta (241 miles) finding/ or reservations hotels-camping areas (RV) normally a 3.5 hour trip, this time 12 hours to Chattanooga TN (normally 5.5hrs). One family related, pulling a RV trailer the speed was slow but moving. And this evacuation had a known time to be gone from Savannah.

      • “Also the most explosive”

        Only in Hollywood. In the real world, gasoline generally just burns… and the fires are relatively easy to put out, since they’re not self-sustaining.

      • Yeah, I was going to say, MarkG, 0x0101 must be someone who believes Hollywood. Or Vancouver nowadays…..

    • Sorry, I have to disagree, anywhere there is a plug, you can charge. Ev users spend less time fueling, because they charge from home overnight. Your vehicle sits 90% of the time, takes seconds to plug and unplug.
      Costs less than $5.00 to top it up to drive all week.
      Maintenance is much less.
      There is obviously some disadvantages, driving to Florida will take you longer.

      • You assume much about access to power, wherever your vehicle is parked. Many people have no such access. Off course it cheap to run, you have paid up front for that privilege and the govt hasnt come after you yet to make up for the lost fuel tax/excise. You do realise that coming, dont you?

      • Luis. Where does the electric power to charge the EV batteries come from, is it not generated by fossil fuels or nuclear power-plants?

      • The electric car as personal transportation would be extremely dangerous in Florida and other states where mandatory evacuation at short notice may require a drive of 500 miles or more. Many Eva uated from the Keys and Miami up into Georgia. The queues were long at gas stations even though refueling takes less than 5 minutes and many ICE vehicles have reliable ranges in excess of 450 miles. The prudent can also have spare fuel that can be used for the generator or for evacuation. Electricity supply is the first casualty of natural disasters those with electric cars would become marooned in harms way; no-one can bring their owners 5 gallows of power to gI’ve them 150 mIles range.
        The imposition of electric cars will reduce the capability of the less well off to travel especially in natural disasters. Their wide imposition also relies on a non existent power generation and distribution capacity. They are for virtue signaling townies and system engineering illiterates.

      • Ian…..100% correct…..I carried 25 gals of gas in the trunk, just in case….and when we got back, no power for almost 2 weeks…used the gas for the generator
        Elec won’t cut it…..don’t forget….there’s no elec when you get back either

      • @ leonard

        More and more it is coming from home solar arrays.

        It does not take much to generate 10kWh (all you need for 30 miles of driving)

        A 25 panel array will provide 20 Kwh per day at least in the majority of the US (the low end of average solar insolation is 3.5kWh per day per square meter in the US).

        Store some in a Lithium Ion battery pack (now at $200/kWh) — and sell the rest to the grid or use it

      • “You assume much about access to power, wherever your vehicle is parked. Many people have no such access. ”

        Roughly 70% of people in the US have a house. So there is a massive market for EVs before worrying about how to sell to folks who live in apartments,

      • @ bitchilly

        90+% of the country doesn’t get hit by hurricanes,

        And of the 10% that does — the path of destruction that would cause enough damage to break the system is a few 10s of miles wide

  2. The 300 mile limit is a much bigger problem than the writer expresses. It vastly reduces your lifestyle choices. Electric vehicles make a great second car. Or would if they were much less costly.

    • In a Canadian winter, that range would be 150 miles or less. Or an Arizona summer. Batteries don’t like heat or cold. (though it tolerates heat a little better than cold)

      • I live in East Texas, about once a year I drive to Phoenix to see family. 1100 miles, one way, not too hard to do in two days, one overnight stop. No way could I do that with any electric car currently on the market, not even a high end Tesla.

      • “1100 miles, one way, not too hard to do in two days, one overnight stop. No way could I do that with any electric car currently on the market, not even a high end Tesla.”

        Of course you could. Start driving in the morning, drive until you’ve gone 300 miles, then stop for lunch. Charge during lunch, then drive 250 miles, then make your overnight stop. Repeat on day 2. People who speak out against EVs act as if taking a 30 minute to one hour break is a massive inconvenience that totally disrupts their travel plans, when in fact that’s exactly how most people travel.

        You’re saying you’re not willing to put up with whatever inconvenience this once a year, 2 day trip represents for the benefits you get the other 363 days.

    • Dave: Electric vehicles make a great second car. Or would if they were much less costly.

      Some of my extended family own electric vehicles, and that has been their experience. All their long distance driving they do in a Jeep Grand Cherokee or other SUV, and their short hauls and work commutes in the EVs. In neither case would they have bought the EV without the tax credits — which only help people with large tax bills, btw.

      they live in Denver. As you might expect, they do not drive their EVs into the mountains when they ski.

      • “Not everyone can afford an extra car for long trips.”

        The average number of vehicles per US household is 2.09 as of 2014. While there are some with just 1, the vast majority have 2 or more.

    • Dave , 300 miles is my guess at a good cost/utility balance. If it needs to be more kt will be done, possibly as an oltion

    • Second battery pack on a small aerodynamic trailer for when you need to go 600 miles. If you need to go longer, pull in and swap out the trailer.

      • But Tesla s can’t tow?
        How much doe their batteries weigh?
        How big is the small trailer?
        Sounds silly to me, I can carry a 5 gallon gas can good for 150 miles a lot cheaper than a trailer load of heavy batteries.

  3. Cannot problems with range and recharge be solved by a small on-board ICE to generate electricity, at a modest increase to price? Isn’t the problem with Hybrids mostly an emotional one for devotees of EVs?

    • My Toyota has a small on-board ICE. By using it exclusively, I do not need power batteries, induction motors, inverters, generators, and all the rest. Many people say that my car is really not an EV. Some purists say that my car is not electrical at all. To them, I counter that my car has electrical headlights, running lights, turn signals, radio, windshield wipers, and an electrical computer system. It is very efficiently powered by a modest ICE which provides all the electricity needed along with all motive power.

      The purists claim that the whole reason for a true EV is to get rid of the ICE altogether. I can not argue with that idea, but making yourself dependent on a remote coal fired power plant instead seems hardly worth the effort and expense.

      • Why ask a purist about designing an economical, practical car? I should add that heat from the ICE is very useful for operation in temperate zones (where humans seem to prosper).

      • Reminds me of the reason I do not use the Cloud. Making all my data access dependent on the functioning of the Internet is similar to depending on a remote coal-fired power plant: somebody else’s problems can become mine in an instant.

      • Presently, hybrid cars are the way to go. Substantially reduced gas consumption, no range problem, no heating or cooling or ambient temperature problems. Just gas and go in 5 min. or so Even so, the new Toyota Prius(no, I don’t own one) is supposed to deliver overall mileage of 50+ mpg, or in a more informative way- about 2 gallons/100 miles- 66.8kWh. The Tesla S gets about 300 miles on 90kwh under nice weather conditions. That does not count the electrical transmission losses(engineering value 22.5%) which pushes it to 110kWh. I think hybrid design is well into the territory of diminishing returns.

        As far as all those little parts in ICE engines, we bought two high mileage Toyotas in the last 8 years and put 100,000 miles on each with only 1 $175 mechanical problem with one engine. They now have a total of 400,000 miles and I expect at least another 50,000 on each. Those Toyota engineers sure have top notch reliability engineering.

    • That’s the design of the Chevrolet Volt, the first version of which came out some years ago. Unlike a hybrid, the ICE is not geared to the wheels (except at very high speed. I vaguely recall reading is clutched in at speeds something over 70mph). The ICE powers a generator and only starts after some percentage of the initial full charge is depleted. On the original Volt it was about 40 miles (varying by temperature, load, etc). Not sure what the current model runs before the engine kicks in.

    • By the time you add an ICE to a PEV, all the major benefits of simplicity, and lack of maintenance are gone. Space is taken for engine, tranny and gas tank reduce space available for a larger battery. For all intents and purposes, one ICE is as complex and problematic as another. Even in the Volt which has no direct connection of ICE and drive wheels, (ICE drives generator only then fed to the traction motors ALA freight train) the ICE complexity and maintenance still exist.

      • How is the small ICE problematic? for all the claims of 100s or 1000s of moving parts , the roadside isnt littered with broken down cars. That technology is mature and makes perfect sense for a practical solution. Just because some imagine a problem, it doesnt mean it realy exists

    • Just as much as an emotional one for some skeptics as well. To think some of these ‘critical skeptical thinkers’ can’t imagine an insulated heated battery for winter use, or an onboard micro ICE generator similar to that which Mazda is developing, so that range anxiety or cabin/battery heating is possible, is beyond the pale. I am a strong skeptic on climate issues, but know enough from driving EV and Hybrid vehicles that they are here to stay.

      Really amazed at some of the better known skeptics here today and their comments, many of whom are engineers no less. Stunningly, a lack (failure) of imagination. At least from older engineers who can’t learn any new tricks. It’s why I don’t (if I can) not hire older engineers anymore for some applications. They have their heads stuck in the sand, and just don’t get new tech, and don’t want to. Still using a metaphorical slide rule for crying out loud. Of course, the young ones are really wet behind the ears, but at least you can tell them what you are building, and how its going to get built.

      I haven’t owned a pure EV yet, (just a hybrid) but having said that, there is a lot of hype coming from Tesla, and possible downright misrepresentation about production, and therefore earnings. I am short TSLA and depending when I exit the short on the stock, Elon Musk via other shareholders are probably going to buy me a brand new Model S. Keep it up gullible ‘skeptics’, you are just making me richer.

      • Some of these “old engineers” will tell you that Tesla is taking you back to the dawn of automotive transport when driving long distances was an adventure because you didn’t know if you would make it to the next town. Amazing what a car company can do for “free Supercharging” when you lose $600 million in one quarter. When you look at the car’s task of transporting human passengers for low cost, there are cars that do the job for $15k US and I don’t see the EVs getting there anytime soon

      • There are realistic solutions to the points you make, main;y range anxiety. And rightfully so. But nothing a dedicated ICE generator won’t fix, including cabin/battery heat. This will have to be an option on some EV’s, for the ones that won’t just be used for local use and limited mileage. But comparing a Tesla S to a $15,000 tin can like a Smart car is disingenuous too. Old engineers do have a lot of wisdom under their belt, and I shouldn’t be too hard on them, but it gets frustrating in cases like these when their first instinct should be to prove how they could improve it to work better. I have worked a fair amount with older engineers, and I think they just get set in their ways, but in this case, I think it is the ‘skeptic’ thing to here on this blog to pooh pooh EV’s, just because they are linked to subsidies, rent seeking and the whole green agenda, which is a monster unto itself. But no need to bash the technology of the modern electric car. It will only get better with innovation after innovation and is here to stay, long term.

      • Like I always say as an engineer: Give me enough money and time and I can give you whatever you want.

        First adopters pay a hell of a price. I always wait a few years for things to shake out. For practical solutions to EV problems (including costs), give it a few decades. Until then, you can putt around town in your EV.

      • Earthling2. Thank you for your balanced input. The only point I’d take issue with is your thoughts on old engineers: I’m an engineer in my late 60s!

      • Insulation doesn’t work without a source of heat.
        Insulating batteries just means that the amount of energy needed to keep them warm is decreased. It also means that either your car just got bigger or your battery pack just got smaller. Both of which will also cut into your range and your range will be cut year round, not just in the winter.

        For someone quick to insult the imagination of others, your imagination suffers from a complete lack of rationality.

      • the next advance will be to replace the starter motor in a ICE with something able to handle stop/start driving. minimal increase in battery size and alternator. integrated with fuel injector shut off.

      • Earthling: You should not mix insults in with the fluffy EV palaver, particularly don’t insult old engineers. Some are old enough to remember the first energy crisis. Do you suppose anyone was looking seriously at EVs back in the seventies, when we were gonna run out of oil in the eighties? They could make ’em accelerate real good back then, too. And they learned that the most practical use for EVs were on a slot track, usually set up in the basement. Still so.

      • You are right Paul Courtney, that I shouldn’t insult old engineers and apologies if any took offence. I am only frustrated with some of them occasionally when working on a certain project and there is no moving to understand or embrace some things new. But I of course disagree about keeping EV’s in the basement on the Slot Wheels racetrack. The technology is maturing, and I think here to stay, with some minor modifications to make them work efficiently.

        • The major disadvantage of EVs is they only attract a limited percentage of the population that can afford them, believe that AGW and ACC is a problem that they can solve and find them as a status symbol to show off to their friends or others that are car enthusiasts that see them as practical for their driving requirements. Only 1 in 8 of my current coworkers that have been durability testing EVs fit a few of those and still wouldn’t own one because of cost and distances they commute other than to work and back. Limited income people do not live where these EVs are practical for their needs, because the low rent housing they live in is never going to have the means to charge them. When the ICE vehicles have the advatage of putting a few gallons in it close to where they live for their needs. If the government had not subsidised these EVs they would have failed to reach the point they are at now and no one would be even seeing a future in them, if left to the free market.

      • Teslas are not allowed to tow anything. Not a caravan, not even a minitrailer. Too heavy by weight and too fragile by construction. I suppose they are unstable at any speed while towing.

      • Obviously, anyone owning a boat, ATV, or camping trailer, or has need to make a small move with a trailer will just be out of luck. U-haul will go out of the business of renting trailers and survive by only renting electric trucks?

    • You should always have as many passengers as possible. That way there are many strong backs to help push.

    • Just use a small, very efficient ICE to only generate dedicated current to motors and battery while driving. No complex transmission to drive train to run wheels. Or to charge battery while at a destination that has no charging infrastructure, although not finding a 120 VAC 15 Amp plug in would be rare these days. Slower charges make for a longer lasting battery anyway, just like a trickle charger does. I find this hand waving about overly complex ICE generators just hand waving. Or downright untruthful. We have mastered making ICE engines very well.

      • BTW, in two or three years Mazda (in partnership with Toyota) is going to release a hybrid using a tiny rotary engine running at its constant optimum speed to charge or top-up the battery. Maybe most of the power will come from being a plug-in too, I don’t know.

      • BTW, in two or three years Mazda (in partnership with Toyota) is going to release a hybrid using a tiny rotary engine running at its constant optimum speed to charge or top-up the battery.

        IC piston engines are more thermally efficient than conventional rotary IC engines. Rotaries just dissipate too much heat.

  4. Norway is the poster boy for EVs, with very high direct and indirect subsidies. What appears to be happening, is that the EVs being sold, are mostly 2nd or 3rd vehicles, and mostly to upper income quintiles.

    Oil usage in Norway has not declined, as a result of high EV sales. On the contrary, is has slightly increased.

    Why fossil fuel cars in Norway are so expensive (very high taxes), and EVs so popular (big subsidies, and lack of similar taxes)

    Oil use in Norway has RISEN, even with the high number of Evs sold.

      • Hi guys, I’m not Norwegian, but have lived/worked in exile here a few years. Checking a few interweb sites indicates that the national average petrol (gasoline or ‘Benzin’) price right now in Norway is about 15.78 NOK/litre. That’s about 7.28 US$/gallon or 142 pence per litre. Published figures notwithstanding, I typically manage to fill up in Stavanger for around 13.5-14 NOK/litre. gushes that 29% of new car sales in Norway are now EVs but they admit that the growth here is actually PHEVs like the Mitsubishi Outlander. That’s not because they’re good cars, it’s because they’re a good tax dodge. In a country who’s tax-policy is based on the myth of Robin Hood and where having a half-way decent job will see you labelled by Robin Hood’s merry tax-men as rich, any means to reduce one’s tax burden is attractive. Even if the means, viewed in isolation, is actually batshit crazy.
        Until recently if you purchased an EV, you’d only pay tax on the set of winter tyres, the rest would be tax-free. Recent policy chabges mean that if the EV in question weighs over 2 metric tonnes, you’ll pay import duties and on-road costs just like you would for a proper car. This is unofficially called the ‘Tesla tax’ because it really only affects the Model S and Model X. Naturally this new tax is claimed to be ‘unfair’ by the green-blob.
        Even with the tax-avoidance incentives, EV cars here are overpriced for what you get. I’ve contemplated a Renault Twizy as a 2nd car for commuting (because it’s really useless for anything else) but a new one will set you back 100,000NOK ($12,000 or £9000), that’s the base price for a road going tandem seat golf buggy that’s not properly weather-proof (the ‘halvdører’, or half-doors, are a 5000NOK optional extra).
        The other incentives to owning an EV here are that you can use bus/taxi lanes and since transport policy here is intentionally meant to disuade car use; driving around the traffic jams by using the mostly empty buss lanes is a considerable advantage on its own. You can park in special EV slots at car parks for free* and can charge for free* while the EV is parked there. You also avoid paying road tolls whenever you pass an automatic highway robbery station at every local council boundary which today saves you 20 NOK every time you pass one. Tolls today are generally applied in only one direction, but next year these will be levied in both directions and extra toll zones will be created (unsurprisingly around areas where most people work, like the suburb of Forus which lies over an existing council border) and the tolls will be trippled during the ‘rush hour’**.
        The green-blob will of course also point out that Norway’s electricity is mostly carbon (dioxide) free but not because there has been much penetration of wind (yet) or solar (unsurprisingly), but because a sparsely populated mountain range that’s covered with white shite all winter has a high potential to exploit hydro-electric generation. I’m not entirely sure the eco-tards outside Norway are very happy with hydro though because some bushes get drowned and it can actually deliver power on demand and relatively cheaply which upsets the devolution (de-development?) goals the United Numpties have in mind for us.
        So the EV ‘success’ in Norway, while partly attributable to individual virtue signalling (and it’s fair to note that a lot of the sheltered inhabitants of welfare paradise Norway have bought into this myth hook, line and sinker), the real ‘success’ is mostly thanks to regressive ‘pick-the-winners’ policy from government. Which is just like every other ‘success’ related to foisting yesterday’s technology on western society tomorrow in the cause of fighting gullible warming.
        * the green-wash states that parking and charging are free; in reality EV owners are letting the rest of us pay for their parking and charging.
        ** to observe that calling it ‘rush’ hour on the deliberately constricted roads in any Norwegian city is an oxymoron is a massive under-statement, and as further proof that moon-bats can’t do sums the morning and evening rush ‘hour’ are deemed to extend from 07:00 to 09:00 and from 15:00 to 17:00.

      • Norway only has 5 million people and is the largest oil producer in northern continental Europe. With nearly a Trillion dollar Sovereign Wealth Fund, funded from oil, they can afford to do a lot of social engineering. It must hurt to be Norwegian though, with all that oil, and still pay $8 a gallon. And taxed to death on everything else too. But if they can make the EV work in a northern Nordic climate, then I think it proves that technically, the EV can work. The rest is just engineering details, and resource acquisition.

      • in Europe it’s about 1.20 € or £ per litre. 4.5ltr to the imperial gallon. $1.30 to the £

      • Only for 2-3 months of the coldest winter months. They get some of the gulf stream warmth, so it isn’t as cold as parts of Canada at a much southern latitude. Most of the year, it is warm enough for EV batteries, and for 6 months, they have near 24 hour twilight so don’t even need electric lights or heating.

  5. Technologically the concept of an EV is great for the city, except when you do the math and realise that there is an issue with the supply side of the batteries. This supply side issue has awakened long dormant sources for the chemicals needed for the battery (like Cobalt Ontario) to an opportunity, but also brings into question the ability of the infrastructure of the current electrical system to support home charging on a large scale.
    Sadly, the cost of a new EV is beyond the ability of most consumers to pay, so they are appealing to the people well above the median income level and there will not be a second hand market that the lower middle class can tap into for an extended period of time. As currently priced, and subsidised by the Ontario government, the EV is mostly for the upper middle class. Even rationally doing the math, a vehicle like the Bolt, if you can find one at a dealer, it still very high for what you get, and that is a disadvantage for most consumers, many of whom seem to want a pickup.
    In my town we have a fast charger set up in a municipal parking lot, though I have not seen it used yet, as the current crop of EVs is very expensive and we are 215 km from Toronto, where the majority of those able to afford an EV live. Also, there is currently no EV pickup, which most of the farmers would want.
    Will the EV really be the treat to ICE as claimed? Sure, when the price comes down significantly more, which may require a whole new battery supply…and batteries have always beeb the problem.

    • In the UK it is the opposite, new Nissan Leafs and Renualt Zoes are the fastest depreciating cars of all, 80+% in 3 years.
      So if you are prepared to take the chance on it needing a new battery pack they make great second hand buys.

      • No different than the risk with buying any used car.

        I picked up my Leaf for just $9k with 21k miles on it. It has required no service in 3 years. No oil changes, no brake pads, nothing.

        Eventually technicians will replace just the defective cells which will significantly extend the life of the pack.

      • Yes, a complete redesign of the battery pack, making it bigger heavier, and twice as expensive so that you maybe extend the life of the battery pack a bit.
        BTW, at 21K miles, ICE cares are still in their break in period.

    • “…and there will not be a second hand market that the lower middle class can tap into for an extended period of time.”

      Actually, used EVs (except Teslas) are already some of the cheapest cars for the money on the market today. It is entirely possible to find used copies of options like the 500e and Leaf available for under $10k (or even under $5k for some older private party Leafs) and there’s a whole wave of lease returns that is going to start hitting lots soon as people get their Model 3.

  6. I’d agree largely with benefits of electric drive and the technology that’s improved it so much and certainly in Australia 80% of our driving is urban so the range factor is not so critical for most of us. However at present the cost of a modest sized EV is $50k while a similar ICE car could be had for half that and $25k buys a lot of petrol at around $1.25/L now at say 10L/100km average fuel consumption. Then there’s the question of what extra it costs to install an appropriate charge station at home for the purpose, and the opportunity cost of funding versus pay as you go at the bowser.

    The other aspect is battery longevity/replacement and in that regard Toyota recognised early on that to guarantee their battery for 8 years meant sticking to hybrid technology whereby the battery runs at around 40% of its capacity all the time in order to achieve that. I’m not convinced battery technology has solved that longevity problem with full EV, particularly if high rates of charging are the order of the day.

    • Before EV’s reach 10% of total fleet, the government is going to figure out a way to tax them to pay for roads.
      Right now, ICE cars are paying for the roads that everyone is using.

      • Nothing fancy needed. If you have an electric vehicle you simply pay the same road tax per mile as gasoline, based on a state average mileage of course. Here in PA they have annual inspections, including a separate one for emissions. The garage could just hand you a bill for the mileage since the last inspection.

      • If it needs a huge tax credit or subsidy it is just a way of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich.
        When power plant costs are included in the costs of electric vehicles and there are no subsidies or tax credits of any kind, and when EVs are taxed for highway construction and maintenance, then you may have a valid argument for EVs.

      • philohippous, the only problem with that solution is that I can see lots of people complaining that they drive a lot of miles out of state.
        I don’t know if it is still the case, but several states used to have laws that truckers were required to fill up at least once in the state whenever they passed through. (These were usually high gas tax states.)

    • The ICE … “is a high maintenance device”. Not anymore, my Toyota has done 110K miles, no maintenance needed except for oil and spark plug changes. Also, the supposed downside of needing cooling is a great benefit in cold weather.

      • Yeah, our Civic is eight years old and has averaged about $100 a year in maintenance. Including a new battery due to the cold weather and a new block heater that wouldn’t be required if not for the cold weather.

    • “certainly in Australia 80% of our driving is urban so the range factor is not so critical for most of us”

      you cant be serious. Please dont project your life preferences on the rest of us

  7. This ignores the heating in winter, cooling in summer, and temperature dependent performance of batteries. It also ignores vehicle capacity.

      • Battery packs can be warmed or cooled as needed in some designs.

        Which requires even more (wasted) time, energy and effort.

        An EV car is lke solar panels on the roof.

        Good for certain people in certain locations at certain times of the day for certain days of the average year.
        Wrong for ALL people in ALL locations at ALL times of the day for ALL days of the year.

        But the enviro-control-left, looking through their perverted rose-colored glasses of nitpicking extremism, then DO demand that the government require ALL people to pay for the elite few in central cities working on government 40-year predictable weeks in predictable government-paid buildings with government-paid rechargers who can use them for certain predictable events. The enviro-extremist then claim that ALL people EVERYWHERE must be forced to use their EV philosophy.

        If the EV (not a hybrid – which DOES make sense for many millions more people in millions more situations) were worth it, then they’d need no subsidies and need no government-mandated, government-paid charging stations.

      • Heat pumps drop off in efficiency by a huge amount once you get below 50F.
        Warming and cooling the battery pack takes energy. Lots of it.

      • Most of the people driving an EV would have an indoor heated garage or heated underground parking in their condo etc, and the battery mass when warmed up to room temps would last a long time out in the weather. Anyway, a battery can be wrapped in a heated insulated blanket, so it isn’t a huge engineering task to design something that works. The electrical code is being updated to supply 240 Volt capable charging to parking stalls, and all residential homes already have 240 volt for their oven/drier etc, so adding another circuit to the indoor heated garage for charging the EV isn’t the end of the world. Upgrading entire neighbourhoods to a higher amperage capability is also doable over time. This isn’t rocket science.

        • No, 240 VAC is not being “updated” to service parking garages.

          It is being MANDATED (by forced changes in the Electric Code) to FORCE taxpayers to spend MORE MONEY wasting their time, energy and resources on YOUR pleasure and YOUR EV’s!

      • When I was in the Army 50 years ago, I was assigned to the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover (NH). The government cars had head-bolt heaters to keep the engines warm in the Winter. However, I had no such luxury for my personal cars. So, I kept my ’64 Chevy pickup in a heated garage, and my wife’s ’60 Ford Galaxy outside. Her car would start reliably down to about -10F. If it didn’t catch on the first try in colder temperatures, I’d pull my truck out of the garage to jump-start her car. One of the penalties of the strategy was that when we got back to California, the rocker panels had rusted out on the truck from two winters of freeze-thaw cycles, with no apparent damage to the Ford that stayed outside.

        I’m wondering just how well the EVs will do under similar circumstances, and if there will be collateral damage from the suggestions to keep them in a heated garage.

      • That was what I said RACookPE1978, new building code is having 240 VAC installed when new construction is happening. So you install the cabling as 4 wire instead of 3 wire and size the wire accordingly. What’s the big deal with that, shouting in all caps as you do? A lot cheaper to do it when constructing new, than trying to retro fit later. I thought you of all people would understand this simple concept. Reminds me of a Gov’t civil engineer doing an assessment on a earth filled dam, who can only see failure, and never built anything in his life, or got his hands dirty. How come some of the old engineers here are like old dogs, and can’t understand new tricks, or even want to know?

        If you had a new Ford PU truck Clyde, made out of aluminum for body panels, you wouldn’t have any rusting.
        I thought a lot of these new EV’s would be having aluminum panels to cut down on weight.

      • 0x01010101 November 5, 2017 at 9:15 am
        “… heat pumps for heating and cooling, which are pretty efficient.”

        Efficient? No. It just seems that way because the compressors are three times the size they were when we had R12 refrigerant. You know, the stuff that was banned at the height of the FAKE ozone scare.

      • Earthling2 Aluminum corrodes, add in salt it not long lived, might be longer than steel but it does corrode> Ask any trucker how well their aluminum trailers hold up. Learn that for my at the time brother in law years ago, he was working in a truck body shop at the time. Add in in a accident aluminum tears, unlike steel that bends, welding aluminum is and art since you cannot see how hot it is.

      • So I just need to heat my garage to make an EV a workable option? OK, about $7000 to insulate and weatherize and add a propane furnace (there goes most all the subsidy). Now it’s also going to cost me quite a bit for the additional propane. Oh, yea and burning all that propane to keep my EV battery warm is going to produce, guess what, evil CO2. But hey if you think this makes sense go for it.

      • @Rob Bradley: Riiiiight. Take a look at the photo of the Tesla S chaise in the OP. The battery is that big flat area between the wheels. Not going to be easy to wrap with a blanket once the body and interior is added. I used to use an engine heater that was just an electric resistance heater that replaced the dipstick. Worked great and was easy. Maybe I just missed the sarcasm in your reply. If so, sorry.

      • Heated blankets still draw power.
        Beyond that insulation takes up space, either your car gets bigger or the battery gets smaller. In both cases your range shrinks year round because of it.

      • Most of the people driving an EV would have an indoor heated garage or heated underground parking in their condo etc, and the battery mass when warmed up to room temps would last a long time out in the weather.

        Weird, I don’t know a single person with a heated garage in my cold winter state. Even the few people in my neighborhood with Leafs or Teslas don’t have heated garages. And even if they did, it doesn’t mean they park their EV in a heated garage for nine hours at work.

        EVs work great in Los Angeles. Not so great in Minneapolis.

      • “Weird, I don’t know a single person with a heated garage in my cold winter state.” The city of St. Albert, a bedroom community of Edmonton, Alberta, almost every new house constructed in the last 20 years has an attached garage, most double bay, built right into the house that is heated, or can be. Stays above freezing even in -40, even with no heat because it is attached to the house. Almost all new houses I see being built in new suburbs anywhere in Western Canada have this because there is no back alley now, and these neighbourhood lots don’t have the room for a detached garage. This is mainly upper middle class folks, so many of them have indoor parking where they work, or even if they don’t the battery doesn’t cool off that quickly except in the coldest of weather. I realize this isn’t the same everywhere in North America, but it is in almost all new larger housing developments in new developments in Canada. It is code, because of the size of the lot. If you want a garage, it is attached to and part of the house. Same for new condo’s…almost all have some type of underground or sheltered parking. Maybe this is just upper middle class professionals, but these are the people who would probably buy an EV or PHEV.

      • “Earthling2 November 5, 2017 at 2:03 pm

        If you had a new Ford PU truck Clyde, made out of aluminum for body panels, you wouldn’t have any rusting.”

        Not rusting but certainly corroding.Corrosion of dissimilar metals. Anyone who has owned a Landrover knows what I mean.

  8. This also overlooks those of us who enjoy things like camping. Most of the places we stay have no electricity. Or live where it gets extremely cold in the winter or have mountain passes to drive over to go skiing, which means cold, and the car sitting in a huge parking lot in the cold all day. Talk about increasing ski pass prices when everyone needs to plug in their car for the day…

    • Increase should be negligible since there’s little need to install the expensive DC fast chargers in a location that is likely up a hill and where the vehicles will be sitting for an extended time anyway. Some simple L2 plugs will do the trick.

    • The ‘solutions’ proffered by alarmists also don’t take into account those whose lifestyles require transporting horses or other livestock in trailers, or have to move farm machinery on trailers. Urbanites often have little appreciation for how different their lives are from those who live in rural areas.

      • So what? Then farmers who need to haul trailers should not buy EVs. So that’s what, 5-10% of the population that EVs may not be a good solution for, at least yet? The negativity here is astounding.

      • Chris: So they object to paying for subsidies for EVs they can’t use. I don’t agree with your 5-10% estimate (or the sneering, elitist attitude), are EVs at 5% market share yet? How about this, when EVs get to 5%, you can sneer a little. Until then, better stick to the “gosh, EVs sure are great with no downside at all” palaver.

      • Paul, I object to paying for subsidies to farmers. But I don’t run around whining about it all the time. My attitude is not sneering and elitist, it’s logical. I get wound up by dumb statements. You don’t agree with my 5-10% statement but provide zero refutation. Agriculture employs 2% of Americans. I rounded up to the 5-10% range which seems quite fair.

  9. A number of issues come to mind while reading the above:
    1. Range advertised by Tesla. I just don’t trust them to tell me the truth. Is 300 miles with your radio off and driving at 30mph? Or with air conditioning on, wipers and lights on, stuck in traffic for a couple of hours, then doing 80mph for a couple of hours? Because that is how real life driving works.
    2. Price parity – battery life question. Just how long the battery will go before needing replacement. Price parity has to include lifetime service, not just first couple of years. I don’t believe that EV can be cheaper if full life cycle is taken.
    3. Infrastructure requirement. I calculated that for the UK (for example), if all of us started going EV, we need to almost double our electricity production. Ain’t gonna happen in a hurry – UK took some 20 years of arguments to decide on a new power station, first in 20 years.
    4. Infrastructure requirement 1.2. My Audi A6 can, and routinely does, in excess of 600 miles per tank, which takes me 5 minutes to refill. Do we imagine everybody recharging at home? Charging stations will need to be much bigger to accommodate more cars staying for longer, and each of those will have to have a small power station nearby!
    5. I resent having to pay a subsidy to someone with an EV.
    All in all, I am happy for EV to develop, but I expect they will be a niche, specialist vehicles (like milk floats or golf carts), or small city vehicles, but they are unlikely to replace a big family car.

      • Bob,
        Agreed. Also, what about the legal responsibility of people tripping over cables crossing public footpaths. Plus the inevitable unplugging by ‘others’.
        Also, as most city dwellings do not have ‘designated’ roadside parking spaces, can you imagine the arguments when trying to park / use another person’s facility.

      • Well, that’s a choice being made by the owner. If they’d rather fill their garage with junk than use it to park their car, that’s their problem.

    • There is no technology that can challenge the internal combustion engine for convenience and efficiency. Any large scale push to adopt electric vehicles as a replacement is just Agenda 21 in action. Adoption of such technology, for reasons stated by other commenters, will inevitably lead to reduced personal mobility making travel outside of one’s urban area expensive, impractical or impossible.

      • From a lifetime of observations, those are the goals of the greenies for the rest of us, Hashbang.

        I like Capitalism; newer, more, better, cheaper, etc. Socialism is just a method of allocating shortages by the political elite.

      • Dave, don’t forget that when the elite are doing the allocating, they first allocate to themselves.
        Everyone else gets their leftovers.

    • I think we need to recycle old drive in theatres (are there any left?) for charging stations. Big fields with charging posts so you can then wander of to the central shop to have crap food and bad coffee, or maybe people on roller skates to bring it to you. No wait, that been done hasnt it?

  10. How long does the Battery Array last before a new one is required?
    What is the cost of the Battery Array?

      • I do buy my petrol on a daily or weekly basis. I just don’t have the money to buy a pricey battery pack every 7-9 years plus paying for recharging electricity every day. If the batteries are done, that’s the end of the story. For the price of a new battery pack I get a really decent motor in very good to excellent condition. As Teslas are connected to the internet, life expectancy of batteries is easy to manipulate. Tesla did that once during the Florida hurricane emergency. There are no third-party suppliers. If I need some parts for my current motor I can get them easily and cheaply from the scrapyard. No way getting a EV battery from there. An EV is a no-go.

      • fIEtser: “Nissan will sell a new pack for the Leaf for $5500.”

        A few questions:
        Is the 8 year warranty transferable? If it’s not, a one or two year old Leaf is not going to have any value at all. In any case, an 8 year old Leaf won’t have enough resale value to offset whatever savings, real or illusory, it accrued.

        What is the warranty on the new battery pack? I’d be very surprised if it’s 8 years.

        Does the $5,500 for the replacement battery pack include installation? In any case, a potential $5,500 maintenance charge on, what in any other circumstance would be considered an ultra compact economy car, in 8 years time is still pricey.

        How does the 8 year battery warranty stack up against a federally mandated 100,000 mile warranty on the emission controls of an ICE engine (which essentially provides a complete warranty on the entire engine)?

      • Is the warranty pro rated? Many starting batteries have 6 year pro rated warranties. So a battery failure in year 5 they pay 1/5 towards the cost of a new battery.

      • I would have in excess of $10,000 for a Tesla battery replacement would fit into the “terribly expensive” category.

        • Most batteries are going to last way longer than eight years too (Nissan Leaf batteries being the most notable exception), that’s just how long it is guaranteed to work. And new engines for less than $5500? Not in much past an original VW Bug.

      • @ mark w

        To replace a 2005 VW Diesel Engine with a used 2006 VW Diesel engine with ~50k miles

        is $3500-$4000 for the engine
        and $1500 for the R&R

        For a modern car you are looking at $10 grand at least

        FYI — there are many, many Prius vehicles on their original battery pack with 150,000+ miles

        My neighbor drives her 2006 every day

  11. Electric cars will never take off until you can fully recharge the vehicle after 5 minutes for the total transaction — finding an open spot, paying, and charging.

    • The other side of this is that when I pull into my driveway I just plug in my Leaf and it charges over night. Takes me just five seconds to plug it in. I never have to make time to go to the gas station, wait in line, and fill up, which takes about 15 minutes at least once a week. Plus no gas on my hands or diesel on my shoes…

      • And if you desparately need to use your car, then what? That is not a hypothetical question. I suspect everyone of us has had to make a sudden emergency trip at some time.
        I keep at least a quarter of a tank of gas in my car at all times, unless on a long-haul trip. So how often and for how long would I be charging my EV if I kept a quarter charge on the battery, and if my emergency required more than that, then what? Five minutes lost at a gas station versus hours recharging would make a huge difference.

      • 0x01010101,

        I’m reminded of a friend who used to teach environmental studies at San Jose State University. He used to proudly tell his students that he recycled 100% of everything that he brought home. What he didn’t tell his students was that the things he couldn’t recycle he brought to the university and put in the nearest dumpster.

        The point is, something that may be a personal ‘solution’ isn’t necessarily an answer for society as a whole. You have to look at the bigger picture!

      • “The point is, something that may be a personal ‘solution’ isn’t necessarily an answer for society as a whole. You have to look at the bigger picture!”

        No, you don’t. Does a car mfr who brings out a 2 seater sports car need to make products for families that require 4 seats? Of course not. EVs are not for everyone. So what? Neither are iPhone Xs, neither are Ford pickup trucks, etc.

      • @Jtom: If you desperately need to use the car, then you get in it and go. Most of the EVs now on sale have more than enough range to still have a decent number of usable miles left after being out for a day and with a Level 2 charger installed at the house, plugging it in when arriving home will substantially refill it within an hour of arrival at home.

      • That only helps a little. Most of the reduced range at cold temperatures is due to cabin heating. And at very low temperatures it doesn’t even help much with battery capacity. In addition to that, most people are not able to plug in their cars while they are at work where the thing gets a good cold-soak for 8 or 9 hours.

      • Yet another expense that you failed to account for earlier 55.
        Regardless, you have to keep the batteries warm while on the road as well.

  12. From where I live in Canada, the commute to see family involves high mountain passes with volatile weather. Combine that with needing heat and a fully loaded vehicle with a toddler son… not a chance I’ld use EV. It’s dicy at the best of times with proper M&S tires and a full tank of gas. Highway closes for avalanche control, or there was a rollover that closes the road, then what? You sit in traffic for over an hour as the storm rages outside. This isn’t a rare situation in Canada, so EV has a long way to go. These EV promoters are tone-deaf to these realities. Heck, even on the commute to work, what if one is stuck in traffic?

    • So probably for you or the guy above who goes camping, the EV isn’t for you.

      but for tens of thousands of people living in cities and suburbs?

      and in large parts of Europe trip lengths aren’t long…
      (in any European large city you visit, the public transport will be widespread and cheap, so car not needed)

      It has to be the case that for the majority the EV is quite practical

      • If they want to buy EVs, they can. What they can’t demand is that the rest of us subsidize their lifestyle choices.

      • Explains why they all buy EVs – with or without subsidies. Except… they don’t. You probably just assume they’re stupid.

      • I agree the subsidy has to go…it has to be a level playing field. But as you point out elsewhere MarkW, gas taxes are raising huge sums for general revenue (it doesn’t even all go back into the roads) so EV’s are getting a free ride for now. That can’t last either but will probably be made up for on increased licence plate registration fees for ICE vehicles, which will then be an indirect subsidy to EV’s, by penalizing ICE vehicles.

      • “It has to be the case that for the majority the EV is quite practical”

        Griff, sure, for a certain number of people an EV can be practical: for those who have a garage or other access to an overnight charge (which knocks off a lot of apartment dwellers and, yes, city residents who park on the street – which very many do); certain city dwellers (see remarks in parenthesis); and those with two vehicles. And, while I may dispute that an EV is practical for a majority that’s not the point. I think the point is that the proponents of the EV ultimately want to eliminate the ICE powered vehicle. And, for a great many people, that will take their cars away.

  13. I have owned an EV (Chevy Volt) in Florida for three years. With careful driving and no A/C in the winter, I can get 50 miles per charge. In summer with full A/C and two people in the car, it drops to 40 miles per charge.

  14. Given the lack of information and analysis of the many problems with EV’s, I suggest skipping writing or reporting on parts 2 and 3. This article is only useful to deceive people like Governor Brown who does not have a clue how much damage he can do to California.

    • I disagree Catcracking. This is one of the most popular commented on articles in a long time at well over 420 comments in less than 11 hours. And the article was very well done, I thought. I can’t wait to see the future Articles 2 & 3, since this is a very interesting subject and one that will shape the world we live in. I believe for the better, over the long haul. Even if you don’t agree with EV’s, you have to admire the engineering advances that have been made over a very short time frame. There are a lot of issues to digest, but on balance I think EV’s are good, and are going to get a lot better over time.

      What is more fascinating, is to read some of the comments of long term skeptics here, many of whom are engineers, who many completely pooh-pooh anything EV. I find that very interesting, because now that shapes my opinion of reading their future comments on anything, including climate and weather. There seems to be an attitude of throwing the baby out with the bath water when it comes to skepticism, and I am learning here that many skeptics are just as brainwashed as alarmists on many things. And not as bright, without a mind of their own…scared to go against the grain of their peers who have been here for years.

      And then of course, there are the regular Russian trolls here, that are constantly agitating anything and everything they can, just to mess up the thread to be a burden to read, or the casual reader that drops in here that want to learn something from other people who do care, one way or the other.

      • earthling
        It may surprise you that being a skeptic means that you don’t accept propaganda or claims without significant study and looking for pitfalls in the claims. Today there are so many wild claims coming out of universities et. al. it is impossible to keep track. Economics seems to have escaped the University environment. I have looked at the benefits and challenges of the electric car in much detail and see many challenges listed by others in this article. Are you claiming there are no issues even though BEV sales are only 1% of total even with Government mandates?

        have worked in the energy sector for over 50 years in numerous and varied energy “options ” and have seen more failures of new energy sources and technologies than you can imagine. I loved working with research scientists because they, at least the ones I worked with were open minded, and took serious engineering issues/challenges raised about the specific. Often we engineers could find solutions to complex problems using advanced materials and latest computational tools.
        I have seen too many fool politicians and MSM who tout the most ridiculous concepts claiming they will solve our cheap, clean energy needs.
        Your comments deriding skeptics is not uncommon coming from people who lack critical thinking and believe throwing money at a problem assures success. Unfortunately the laws of chemistry and thermodynamics preclude efficient application and often feasibility of so many claims that have been funded with tax dollars. Keep in mind there is a big hurdle from lab experiments to turning an idea into a commercial and cost effective development. Working toward that goal has been fun but rarely do we see a significant breakthrough.
        Your comment below is very telling:
        ” There seems to be an attitude of throwing the baby out with the bath water when it comes to skepticism, and I am learning here that many skeptics are just as brainwashed as alarmists on many things. And not as bright, without a mind of their own…scared to go against the grain of their peers who have been here for years.”
        “Russian trolls???
        Possibly you can list some of the significant commercial energy breakthroughs based on the huge expenditures by the DOE over almost 50 years. I have even worked on such projects years ago, mostly coal liquification and gassifiction.

      • Thanks for your reply Cat…I would say Fracking would be a huge energy breakthrough that will change the dynamics of the FF industry for decades to come, since only a very small percentage of the world has yet been fracked. Perhaps that was more provided by private industry than the DOE, but at least Gov’t would have been in the background as much as possible, including tax incentives that would allow the technology to mature to successful implementation. I never would have believed fracking would have been so successful 10-15 years ago, and lost a fair bit on the stock market betting against it, thinking nat gas prices were really going to spike. Now we have a domestic surplus which has been keeping prices reasonable for a long time.

        The other big one definitely sponsored by Gov’t (in Canada) was successful and profitable oil sand recovery. This is essential to maintaining some stable pricing well into the future, since there is just so much available. It is also very important to future generations the will forever need easy access to FF for industrial uses and thousands of products we have taken for granted for generations now. And in addition, at least with so much coal available for hundreds of years for future coal gasification and liquefaction, humanity will not be burdened for a very long term with having to be synthesizing complex hydrocarbon molecules also for industrial uses. Burning FF for thermal heat and/or propulsion is sort of a waste of a lot of energy, hence my strong support for an PHEV vehicles and a new electricity source to propel all this. Hard to improve on electricity for most things, so now getting fusion working will be the next giant leap forward. Maybe…hopefully.

        Until trump came along the US government has tried to kill fracking and all oil field development. Most of this resource development was successfully developed with private risk of their capital with constant impediments by the goverment.
        I worked on the Syncrude oil sands project in the 70 s including detailed engineering and 1 year at site during commissioning.
        I agree it was a significant development and multiple Canadian governments supported research and even became partner’s in the enterprise, and I commend them for that foresight.
        I was proud to be part of that effort and had many Canadian friends who were excellent Engineers working hard to get the plant running and working out challenging problems.
        Would not tolerate Ft McMurray cold today.
        Looks like the current Alberta gov and Toronto have gone astray

      • Thanks, John,
        Hopefully Part 2 and 3 will address all the concerns raised including my question of replacing all the current filling stations provided for gasoline and diesel. Hopefully you will have the cost and time required to provide the convenience currently to let me drive almost anywhere in the country and not worry about running out of gas. Along those lines I only have 100 A service at my primary residence and only 15 A service in my garage and the expense of upgrading needs to be considered. Apartment dwellers are even worse off.

    • The article has very good information. Feel free to skip 2 and 3, but please don’t pretend to speak for the rest of us.

      • Why would you think I am speaking for anyone else, I think I have the opportunity and am speaking only for myself looking for answers to questions.
        Can you answer my question as to how long to duplicate the current refueling stations and who will pay for it?
        It is currently ignored as far as I can see. Can you quote any studies as to the cost?

      • I have read articles on WA for about 3 years, I probably read 20% of the posts. I have never seen an article garner this many comments. EVs are clearly a major topic right now, regardless of whether or not you think they are a good idea. The author does not come across as a rabid greenie, but rather someone who approaches the topic from a reasonably technical basis – both pluses and minuses. So your request that sections 2 and 3 not be posted seems rather unwarranted.

        As far as EV charging stations, if there is one thing that America is good at, it’s chasing new business opportunities. There are a number of companies rolling out EV charging stations, this article mentions several and has detail on one.

        They will install them at rest stops, or at restaurant clusters near off ramps of freeways. If gas station owners are smart, they will install them at their stations. It will take time but will certainly happen.

  15. Oh, please. We’re supposed to believe this???

    “Firstly price. This is partly an issue of scale. If you make a million of the same model car, cost per car is a lot less than if you make 10,000. The financial services company UBS recently tore down and analysed a Chevy Bolt. Their conclusion? “total cost of consumer ownership can reach parity with combustion engines from 2018” [7]”

    Parity by 2018? That’s madness. John (Hardy), I will personally bet you $100 that this does NOT happen.

    Now, you’re free to blow the bet off if you don’t have the courage to stand behind your words …

    … or you can be like all the other electric car enthusiasts, full of empty claims and meaningless promises that they can not and will not back up.

    We can let Anthony hold the stakes.


    • When Musk was asked about the enormous Tesla losses in Q3 he replied that “Yes we lose money on every car we sell but we make it up on volume”. Hopefully obvious sarc 😉

      • “90% of your economy of scale is made in the first couple of thousand cars.”

        Links to support that assertion?

    • Willis I don’t bet: I was quoting a financial services company who based their analysis on a tear down of a Bolt. What is your analysis based on?

      • John Hardy November 6, 2017 at 3:06 am

        Willis I don’t bet

        John, given the way that you back wild statements from a “financial services company”, I wouldn’t bet either.

        What is your analysis based on?

        My analysis is my own, based on the raw data that I can find plus the other analyses that I’ve read. It’s also based on the fact that my son-in-law’s Honda gets about 50 MPG on the freeway.

        Hey, maybe my analysis is just based on my gut … but whatever it is based on, clearly I have faith in my analysis and you have no faith in yours.


        PS—In your analysis, did they include the health costs of the kids working in the cobalt mines? I hear that they are just dying to produce cobalt for electric cars … literally. Dying. Have you priced that in?

        And how about the fact that, since the majority of US energy comes from coal, your “electric” cars are really running on coal? You guys are always adding in “externalities” for fossil fuels … have you included these in the analysis that you are so unwilling to bet on?

      • “Hey, maybe my analysis is just based on my gut … but whatever it is based on, clearly I have faith in my analysis and you have no faith in yours.”

        He said he doesn’t bet. It’s not the same thing as lacking confidence in his research.

        “And how about the fact that, since the majority of US energy comes from coal, your “electric” cars are really running on coal?”

        Wrong. Coal accounted for 30% of electricity generation in 2016, that’s nowhere near “the majority.”

    • Willis writes

      Parity by 2018? That’s madness. John (Hardy), I will personally bet you $100 that this does NOT happen.

      What timeframe would you consider to represent total cost of ownership?

    • I seriously doubt EV’s will get to parity with this real world example: My nephew commutes 100 miles, actually 200 miles round trip, per day. He just bought a ten year old Ford Fusion for $1800. The car runs perfectly and is in great shape with less than 80K miles at time of purchase. It even still has new car smell. The car is getting 45 mpg going 90 mph. Barring destruction in an accident or something he will probably get five more years use out of that car, with proper maintenance. At which time, as required, he will do it again with another ICE car.

      • “Real world data also proves you wrong:

        Real real world data proves me right in this case. He starts out with a full tank and tops off after the trip. Its just simple arithmetic after that. And he drives 90 mph.

        Not all cars are the same. I had a v8 Mustang that got its best mpg at 80 mph. If I slowed to 60 mph the mpg dropped from 25 mpg to 21 mpg. If I exceeded 80 mph the mpg dropped off (greatly) as well.

        This Fusion has a small displacement four banger engine and a manual six speed tranny.

  16. This post seems to be written from the point of view of the urban hipster, who does not do that whole “Great Outdoors” thing.

    The average private car in the UK does about 21 miles a day. In the US, it is about 30. Most people do most of their driving either commuting or local driving.
    My personal opinion is that a 300 mile range should work fine for almost everyone

    Perfectly fine if you never leave the city, and there is no such thing as winter.
    As a bonus, the writer knows best what “should work fine” for you and me.

    • city……urban…..where they have to park on the street….sometimes blocks away from where they live
      …city is going to run lines and put chargers on every parking space?

      yeah…that’ll work

      These big cities do not have the money or ways to keep up the infrastructure they already have..

      • Assuming you charge overnight.

        What about charging at work? Commuter station car park? Shops/supermarket?

        In London or an European city you very probably would take public transport to work anyway: car for weekends mostly.

        • Again, the EV’s work for a selected few people in a selected few circumstances.

          For most under most circumstances? No, they are expensive subsidized AND mandated failures by government decree to satisfy the religious indulgences of the elite enviro’s at the expense of the working class taxpayers. As usual for the elites.

      • Griff, I take it you’ve never heard of the ‘school run’ or experienced it! (It’s the daily use of cars to drive children to and from school)

      • “Again, the EV’s work for a selected few people in a selected few circumstances.”

        Wrong. In the US, 70% of families live in a detached house with a garage or carport. That is a lot more than a “selected few.”

      • It really depends on the situation. Most parking spaces for long-term parking can get away with simple 110 outlets which are often already installed. Medium-term parking can install some L2 chargers at many of the spots, though they can be shared. Then making a few DC fast chargers available near the entrance would round out the options for making it useful.

    • “As a bonus, the writer knows best what “should work fine” for you and me.”

      First thing I noticed as well. As a comparison to actual disruptive technology, no one had to convince me to get an ipod back in the day. They were amazing on the face of it. People wanted them and bought them by the million truly changing the way music was listened to. No one had to write speculative cases why they were better, no one had to argue the case for them. They were desired by free-choosing individuals who decided for themselves what was a great product and what wasn’t. If you have to convince me that I like something, you’ve probably already lost!

      • And yet now you almost can’t buy an Ipod, except maybe a used one. Smart phones have totally taken their place. Same with gps units.

        Though I doubt that will happen with ev’s since they will probably never be widely accepted. They just don’t have that kind of universal appeal.

  17. I, along with many climate skeptics, would love it if EVs were to make the grade, but one of the unmentioned problems they face is that the ICE is also improving over time.Compare the modern ICE powered car with what you drove off the dealership lot a mere 20 years age, The power train will run for a hundred thousand miles with nothing more than an oil change. How often do you see a broken down car on the side of an expressway these days? Do any of you youngsters know what a fouled spark plug looks like? Have you ever even heard engine knock? How about changing plugs, points and condensers every 6 weeks?

    • Certainly, ICE power trains have definitely improved, but not without considerable effort and expense and complexity. In most regards, EVs have already surpassed ICE vehicles with a fraction of the investment. Considering that every major automaker has now pledged to invest billions into EVs over the next few years, the inherent advantages will become more pronounced and evident.

      • The ICE will see big improvements within the next two years from Mazda’s diesel/gasoline hybrid engine (35% more efficiency is claimed) and from the similarly efficient Bill Gates backed inline piston engine. These should make EV cars look worse in comparison than they do now.

      • Classic range of unsupported assertions and sweeping statements. Translate into I am a beleiver thats all that needs to be said.

      • “Classic range of unsupported assertions and sweeping statements. Translate into I am a beleiver thats all that needs to be said.”

        And you provided zero evidence to refute his statement.

      • fIEtser
        “ICE power trains have definitely improved, but not without considerable effort and expense and complexity. In most regards, EVs have already surpassed ICE vehicles with a fraction of the investment.”

        You’re forgetting that EVs have inherited technologies that were developed over many decades, such as the power trains you mention. Why do you suppose the axles don’t break under maximum torque? I’ve watched axles being twisted back and forth, plus and minus 90 degrees until they break. And I’ve seen them being rotated while bent like a banana. Gradual improvements in steels, in forging techniques, in crack detection and such, have been passed down to your Tesla to enable it to accelerate 0 to 60 in three seconds flat.

        A “fraction of the investment” indeed. Good grief Charlie Brown!

    • Improvements in ICE could easily be negated by Government law. They could require poor mileage and higher maintenance on all future ICE vehicles. That would help make the EV more competitive for the average vehicle purchaser. Such laws would be much easier to meet than 75 MPG fleet requirements.

    • The last time I changed spark plugs was on a 1999 Dodge Caravan, at 200,000 miles. They were so worn down to nubbins I couldn’t believe they still worked. But they did, with an occasional bit of rough running.

    • I am driving the same ICE I drove off a dealer’s lot 20 years ago. The mileage is 168,000+ and I’ve still got power to accelerate, run the AC and heater. When I compare it to another model I drove off the dealer’ lot much more recently I like it better and have fewer problems and more power. But yeah, I get your point.

    • nickreality65: One more consideration – the source of their charge.

      Californians, citizens and lawmakers, are considering outlawing ICEs for autos by about 2030. At present, CA gets about 20% of its electric power from renewables (you can check this at, meaning that there is never a surplus of renewable generating capacity. By 2030, that could be 40%, implying no excess generating capacity. So the power to recharge the electric EVs will come from increased burning of fossil fuels. Without considerable improvements in battery capacity and recharging time, EVs will make the trips from LA/SD to Las Vegas, and from San Francisco to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and Reno very inconvenient. If the subsidies and tax credits are withdrawn the EVs will be expensive (compared, say, to a VW Jetta which can be gotten for $16,000 and gets 36 mpg in varied terrain.)

      For trucks and other work vehicles, the case for EVs is considerably worse.

      But, as with the CA commitment to electricity from renewable sources, it will be an interesting experiment to watch if CA tries hard to eliminate autos with ICEs.

      • “Californians, citizens and lawmakers, are considering outlawing ICEs for autos by about 2030.”

        Actually, the date being seriously considered in 2040.

        “…meaning that there is never a surplus of renewable generating capacity.”

        Actually, California has a huge surplus of (renewable) energy in the daytime due to all the solar and they’ve even had to resort to paying other states to take the excess.

        ” So the power to recharge the electric EVs will come from increased burning of fossil fuels.”

        This is directly related to the previous point. California already has a considerable surplus of electricity available during the day, someone just needs to put out the infrastructure necessary to get it into car batteries instead of having to pay Arizona to take it. It’s almost certainly ultimately cheaper to do the former, which could then also be combined with vehicle-to-grid/house technologies to feed power into houses and the grid when people get home in the evening, this reducing the need for peaking plants.

      • To fIEtser: you forgot to leave off the /sarc. Think of how many EV drivers would be howling mad on those days when the wind doesn’t blow, and they’re stuck at work overnight because their car didn’t get recharged.

      • fletser: Actually, the date being seriously considered in 2040.

        you are correct Thank you

        Actually, California has a huge surplus of (renewable) energy in the daytime due to all the solar and they’ve even had to resort to paying other states to take the excess.

        That is not true. As I wrote, 20% of total electrical comes from renewables, solar in the daytime, wind at night. Check out There is never a surplus of energy from renewable sources. Right now it is higher, 53% of usage from renewables:

      • “Actually, California has a huge surplus of (renewable) energy in the daytime” well on some days, not every day. More renewable fantasy thinking.

      • But, Matthew, EV autos are all anyone will ever need in CA by 2030, doan cha know?

        Invest in a used ICE auto business, young man. Also ICE life-extension franchises.

  18. An EV goes about 4 miles on one kilowatt of energy. If a typical driver travels 30 miles a day, that’s about 7.5 kilowatts to recharge, say 10 kilowatts with losses. That’s the equivalent of four 100 watt incandescent light bulbs over 24 hours. As everyone continues to switch to LEDs, which use about 1/6th of the energy, the power that used to power lighting will essentially recharge EVs.

    Or install three solar panels and generate that power yourself. Current wholesale cost of the panels is around $500.

    Yes, there are issues such as where to fast charge, when people will charge, etc. but those are really just engineering issues that are easy to deal with.

    • Sure, everybody has four 100 watt bulbs going 24/7 just for the hell of it.
      Yes, there are issues but they are just “engineering”.
      Use solar panels, just $500.00 and we can all charge up at night.

      @ 0x01010101
      Why 16,843,009 (dec.)?

      • Add up the power you use for all your incandescent lighting in a day and I think you’ll find it is more than that. The average house uses around 30kw a day. Lighting is(was) a significant portion of that.

      • @0x01010101:
        We use 13 Kw/day in the mountains of western Colorado, on a well with an electric pump and incandescent bulbs. Oh yeah, our outside irrigation is also an electric pump. Our coal derived electricity is $0.08/Kw.

      • ” The average house uses around 30kw a day.” the average house? your kidding arent you? what are they doing heating a tent?

    • kW is power, not energy. The trouble we have is that the establishment does not understand the difference between power and energy. Similarly most laymen and greens do not understand the difference.

    • 0x01010101: As everyone continues to switch to LEDs, which use about 1/6th of the energy, the power that used to power lighting will essentially recharge EVs.

      How much of anybody’s electricity bill goes for lighting?

      Or install three solar panels and generate that power yourself.

      Well sure, if you keep your car at home all day.

      • 0x01010101: At the moment, with net metering, when you charge and when you produce power doesn’t matter…

        Somebody drawing 30kwh per day does not have a surplus to sell with only 3 panels.

      • The point is, with net metering, you can generate during the day, and use it at night. You don’t have to store it and you don’t have to use it when you produce it. So you don’t have to ‘keep your car at home all day’.

      • with net metering the power company has to generate or buy electricity at night, which is somewhat cheaper than running a peaking plant during the day. Power companies operate on a 1-10 year horizon. The net metering does not come free. It’s mostly designed to make users pay excessive prices just before folks leave for work and during the evening hours when demand is high.

      • philohippous I believe you are confusing “net metering” with “smart meters.” Net metering does not involve time of day billing, just two line items for you bill, namely power produced, and power consumed.

      • 0x01010101: The point is, with net metering, you can generate during the day, and use it at night.

        The people I know who have installed solar panels have had their electricity bill reduced, but they have not become net exporters of electricity. For them to charge their electric cars, they have to draw extra from the grid.

    • “Or install three solar panels and generate that power yourself. Current wholesale cost of the panels is around $500.” … So you live in a high-rise complex with 400 apartments: how is that going to work?

      • To rephrase 0x01010101 and Rob Bradley’s answer. If you live in an apartment block you are not allowed a personal vehicle. It may not be so blatantly put but possessing an EV will be made impossible and possessing an ICE vehicle will be banned. Residents of conurbations take note this is the long term aim. This was to be linked with all the ‘Waters of the United States’ type regulations and death taxes that would drive independent farmers off the land. Agenda 21 implemented by Common Purpose supported by the gullibles.

      • Again, more negativity, it’s comical the lengths to which commenters will go here to trash EVs. So they aren’t for everyone, such as someone in a tall apartment block or who parks on the street. So what? It’s like someone attacking RVs because folks who live in cities can’t find a place to park them.

    • ” but those are really just engineering issues that are easy to deal with”

      Almost all big cities do not have the money or ways to maintain the infrastructure they already have..

    • I love it when people who know nothing about engineering declare that something is “just an engineering issue” and is easy to deal with.

      I thought you claimed to plug in your Leaf overnight.
      That PV panel isn’t going to be doing a lot of charging at midnight.
      Current wholesale includes about 30 to 40% subsidy.

    • 0x01010101,
      You said, “…just engineering issues that are easy to deal with.” There is an old saying that “The Devil is in the details.” That is an implicit acknowledgement that it isn’t always as easy as it appears.

    • “… but those are really just engineering issues that are easy to deal with.” Spoken like a true inexperienced greenie/socialist. It’s always easy when someone else has to do it.

    • The kilowatt is a unit of power, not energy. Maybe you mean kilowatt hours?

      In Europe the sale of ordinary 100W incandescent light bulbs has been banned for years. Too bad, because, in winter, they provide light essentially for free – each joule of heat from the lights means a joule less that the heating system (electric) has to provide.

  19. In most places gasoline is heavily taxed to pay for infrastructure. If everyone stopped needing gas, where will all this revenue come from? Higher road tolls or licencing would be needed to offset. This is never used in the cost per mile calculation.

    BTW I like electric cars and would have one as a second car if the price was not so high.

      • My situation is, one CUV for the whole family for long trips, reno’s, etc. My wife could use an electric car just for getting to the train for work and short trips. Seriously, if I could licence an electric golf cart I’d be happy. Besides the electric car costing more than my CUV, insurance is the same. Better off getting a Toyota Yaris for a 1/3 of the price. Resale is much better too.

      • Tesla is holding back the used ones it has taken in as part of its purchase agreement. Perhaps it doesn’t want to let people see how high the depreciation rate is, or get potential new-car purchasers to switch.

        • Tesla is far from the only company that sells electric cars. If her commute really is that short, used options like the 500e are pretty cheap. Or even the new ones. I’ve seen leases for $60/month.

  20. The power density of batteries is still inadequate, and the recharge time stated is highly questionable. The lifetime cost, having to replace the battery pack at some large percentage of the cost of the vehicle, and the pro-rata cost of electrical upgrades needed are still high.

    • Also the author completely ignores the fact that the free market has provided gasoline and diesel fueling facilities over a large area covering even rural roads. He ignores how long it will take to duplicate that and who is going to pay for it. Probably expects the taxpayer namely the poor guy that can’t afford the overpriced expensive EV to eat the cost.

      • In the UK the government is going to expect the Service Station Owners to Finance the Charging stations.
        I think it was 3 for each station.

      • When there are enough electric cars on the road, I’m considering opening a refueling station for them – in the desert between LA and Vegas. At 250 miles, either high heat or cold, at least one steep mountain pass, they’ll have to stop. (That 300 mile per charge is as accurate as the EPA estimated mileage is, except people bitch about the latter ‘estimate’.) Can’t do it in the city, as the cost of that much acreage for all the parked cars would be prohibitive. Definitely have a restaurant – high priced menu, low cost food, as I’ll have all those bored, captive customers that have to come in out of the heat (or cold in winter). Cost a dollar to get into the bathrooms – like much of Europe charges. The gift shop will be similarly priced. Nice mark up on the electricity, too.
        I’ll start counting my money as soon as the cars are on the road.

      • fIEtser November 5, 2017 at 11:44 am
        “The recharging infrastructure already exists anywhere an electrical outlet exists.”

        Energy density has no meaning for you non-technical types, does it? Maybe you think an electron is so small that any conductor can carry an infinite number of them?

    • The 80% charge ins about 20 minutes is what the Tesla can do now. People have driven them from coast to coast border to border in the US just using the supper charger network tesla has built. You basically drove three hours, Stop for 20 minutes to charge the car and get a bite to eat and then get back on the road for another 3 hours of driving.

      • 1) I don’t usually eat every three hours.
        2) Fast charging dramatically lowers the life expectancy of your battery pack.

      • Recently I saw a Tesla charging in Winnemucca. It was part of a 1000 mile trip from Wallula Gap to Henderson that including a 60 mile side trip to a mountain state park.

        Steven seems to think like most city folks. If you want your to be restricted to driving to I-5 and I-80, just stay home and save the energy.

  21. “sceptics consider them a waste of space because they regard them as a solution to a non-problem”

    That is just not what skeptics think but it is the cold hard truth. However I do agree with Mr Watts, that they could be helpful as urban commuter cars in polluted urban environments.

    Nonetheless, I suspect the purpose of the anti-ICE vehicle movement is to get most people, sans elites, out of personally owned vehicles and onto socialized public transport-urban or rural.

      • Oh, okay. I was not aware of that, although I know that modern ICE vehicles are very clean compared to decades ago. So there is no good reason to replace ICE with EVs at all, for most of us.

      • “Very little of the pollution in urban environments is coming from cars.”

        False. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, motor vehicles produce roughly one-half of pollutants like VOCs, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. Seventy-five percent of carbon monoxide emissions come from automobiles

  22. The advantages of electric automobiles are significant. The rapid charging issue still needs work. Perhaps a bigger issue with gaining economies of scale is the poor business performance of Tesla, which is bleeding cash at an unsustainable rate.

      • Wow, MarkW. You change oil every three months? My vehicle mandates oil changes every 10,000 miles. Assuming your engine has the same requirement, that would mean you drive about 40k miles/year! No wonder you’re not up for an EV.
        Actually, my diesel requires an oil change every 7.5k miles. Still 30k miles per year. I love the range (>600 miles per tank) because I can drive from Reno to Southern Orange Co, Kalifornia, and pick where I buy fuel. Needless to say – all in Nevada. We don’t have to pay for the Bullet Train between WhoCares and WheresThat.

      • I’ve got an older vehicle, it says on the sticker every 5K miles or 3 months.
        I like to change oil when the weather changes since I don’t have a garage. Thicker oil in the summer, thinner oil in the winter.

    • dpy6629

      You forgot the energy supply issue. By 2040, all the energy currently obtained from petrol would need to come from electrons which still need to be generated and transported to point of sale. So, at a guess, that will require thousands more power stations and millions of tons more copper.

      • Transmission and distribution lanes are aluminum, not copper. The change in metals is done in the breaker panel at your house. I get your argument though, just different metals.

  23. I go on a skiing trip every year from Cleveland, Ohio to Holiday Valley in New York, a trip of about 160 miles. I’d be very reluctant to make that trip in an EV in the dead of winter on very snow roads since cold reduces the efficiency and life of a battery and the trip can take any where from 3 hours to 6 hours depending on the road conditions. A few years ago they installed an EV charging station and based on its usage I would say that everyone else who goes there agrees with me; I have never seen it in use.

    • Probably because up until this year, there haven’t really been any EVs that could viably make that trip that weren’t a Tesla. I suspect that this year will be a little different now that the Chevy Bolt is around.

  24. All of that is right except that it does not explain the ingenuity of an ICE.
    The ICE is power plant & power converter in one box. It generates mechanical power out of chemical power.
    The Electric Multi-Phase Motor is only the power converter. It converts electrical power from a battery to mechanical power. It does not contain the first step, the power plant.

    So ultimately we deal with two different approaches. The ICE is about decentralization and mobilisation of an autonomous system, while the Electric Drive is trying to take advantage of an high efficiency power grid.
    Sadly the latter option requires an intermediary power storage: The Battery. As such the Electric Drive Solution has a lower efficiency than the ICE at the moment.

    We also have to compare this:
    ICE & Gearbox: Expensive
    Electric Motor with ECU & Inverter: Cheaper
    Tank with Fuel: Cheap
    Battery Pack with Cooling: Expensive

    Of course, there is one advantage that every car racing enthusiast likes: E-Drive Torque Curve!

    • Tesla has responded. Battery life data from operating model S cars shows that they will last 10 to 15 years. Some have passed 100,000 miles on the original battery in only a few years thanks to the rapid charging network tesla has built for the owners.

      • I won’t by a car that cannot get at least 200,000 miles in it life time I don’t like to switch cars anymore than once in ten years. I drive a golf car in my 550 and old community for short trips one thing I have learned is that batteries are expensive and what you spend on them would buy a lot of gasoline and get you a whole lot further and faster. O course I am in Arizona and 100+ daily temperature for four months a year are death to batteries no matter what kind.

      • Tesla is not the market. The market has remained unimpressed, we are still making 95 million cars a year so the “transition” will be a long one. That assumes of course that EVs are actually the answer to post ICE transport.

      • Care to show us the actual data that confirms Tesla car batteries last 10-15 years? Even Musk won’t say this. Methinks you are projecting existing data results out to this timespan to support this statement.

  25. I drive 30-50K miles a year in addition to the 75-100K miles I fly. When I do manage to get into the office, my one way commute is 44 miles (the airport is only 18 miles). EV’s will not work for me, not with current technology anyway.

    • Tesla cars can do 200 miles in one day which will get you to and from the airport and or work no problem. For longer trips you can use the tesla supper charger network and do 900 miles in one day. All using current technology.

      • Steven, the Tesla super charger network is here , That is a little sparse although better than it was. Journeys have to be planned not on where you need to go but on where Tesla has put a supercharger system (subsidized by ICE drivers of course). Note that a gas station distribution map all unsubsidized would not be readable at all at that scale due to the number of stations.

        The other point that you do not seem to understand is if you run out of power in the middle of nowhere – you have to be recovered, nobody can lend/sell you a couple of gallons of gas – you are sitting in an expensive brick. I would expect during emergency evacuations such expensive bricks would be littering the interstates. Remember during a hurricane or other emergency entire regions may be without power for several days. I would say for that reason alone never have an electric car as a primary vehicle.

  26. Sounds like a great market for trunk sized gasoline generators is coming. Just for emergency use. Probably take a couple or 3 hours for a reasonable, partial charge. I’ll want one when I buy a used EV at big discount. I’ll be putting in a small field of solar panels on my remote, off grid property to charge the car too. Panel prices have never been lower. Can’t wait!

    • I am surprised that the Plug In Hybrid (with a tiny ICE generator for partial recharging and thermal heat in winter) isn’t an option on many of the current EV’s on the market. This solves 90%+ of the actual EV issue.

  27. Thirty percent transmission loss through the grid. This penalty “currently” offsets the mechanical advantages of electric motors. The “local” electric generation in the Chevy Volt is the first step beyond ordinary hybrids, as it gets the mechanical advantages of nearly 100% electric drive.

      • Transmission losses are a result of distance and primary voltage and Amps. Distribution losses are more based on wire sizing on the HV transformer to the secondary. Transformer losses are a function of utilization to name plate. T losses can be as high as 15%-20% but usually under 10%, and D losses can be nearly unlimited, but practically they are also within 10-15%. Anything more than that on Distribution, and you get voltage drops that begin brown-outs, and ultimately black outs when grid stability cannot be maintained. Overall, between both, 20%-25% is the point where Utilities do upgrades because they jut start losing money after that.

        The EV growth on T&D will definitely put a strain on both grids. A big financial challenge, but not one that we can’t easily engineer a solution for. It’s not like we have to invent something new or haven’t already built a grid before. The world is moving to electrics for the long term future, so the Utility upgrade will be needed sooner or later anyway. And put Distribution underground, and start parallel HVDC grids in Transmission existing right of ways and plan to convert that over to HVDC too over the long term, just to reduce these losses. The current losses, no pun intended, will pay for the upgrades over the 50-75 year life cycle of the upgraded grid by reducing losses.

      • Earthling2, I can tell you never tried to site and build a High Voltage transmission line, existing ROW or not.

    • The electrical engineering professionals came up with a figure of 22.5% total losses between the generator and the user outlet. ( That part of the PE exam.

      In this case I’d go with the pros, not government figures. The one set of gov. figures I looked at back calculated using receipts for electricity generated and figures for electrical energy sales. Piss poor way to do it.

      • Thirty per cent was the “standard of care” number. Like everything we think we might know, there are error bars. I have no reason to doubt your assessment. I will use 22.5% henceforth. Thanks.

      • Wow, I’m not expert in electrical transmission losses. The 30% is a US government number. Philohippous suggests a better figure is 22.5%. It would take near superconductivity to get this down to 1.5%. UK is physically much smaller with no need to transmit hundreds, even thousands of miles. Lower line losses for direct current?

    • Not even close

      Transmission losses are ~5%

      EV motors are 3 times as efficient as ICE (90-95% vs 28-30%) not counting the more efficient direct drive versus traditional transmission.

  28. Vehicle emissions arguments are meaningless as current vehicles from 1990 on have such low emissions that they are often cleaner than ambient air. PM emissions are exceptionally low in current vehicles and are lower than the dust level in many areas.
    If one wants to argue emissions you also have to account for bird kills and fired insects from wind and solar power plants when looking at EV’s. Nothing has zero emissions despite the hype California has put on electric vehicles.
    Although EV’s are mechanically simpler, they are still much more costly than IC engines. And that will not change soon if ever. IC engines are also improving in efficiency with current advances such as GDI and more recent diesel cycle gasoline engines (Mazda) moving forward and improving thermal efficiency of gasoline engines to the 30-35% range.
    Electric power from NG is 60% efficient at best at the source, but transmission losses and inverter losses for charging cut into that efficiency.
    Then there is battery efficiency which decreases with age. Batteries also change efficiency depending on discharge rate and amount. Most batteries are efficient between 60 and 80% charge by drop significantly if charged to 100% or used to 10% charge. I suspect that none of these issues are accounted for by Greens hyping EV’s.
    When I discussed Prius mileage calculations with CARB, they never considered that a used Prius with a less than fresh battery has higher fuel consumption than a Prius with a new battery. Range of a Prius on battery power alone can drop to <1/2 mile when the battery is a few years old (per a Prius owner's personal experience).
    With both mass and volumetric energy density in the 40 to 80 times range for hydrocarbon fuels over batteries, I don't see the demise of ICE's soon.

  29. Just read this article and realized that it was fat on Grand Statements, but slim on reality. Case in point, a 300 mile range is great in town, but when you have to evacuate from a city about to be hit with a hurricane, 300 mi in traffic is far less than that, and the 8 hours to recharge will still put you in the storm path. That 300 mile range is without heater/ac, significant payload, and highway driving without traffic. Not very realistic. An ambulance out of service while charging is useless to anyone. The systems must be easily re-energized to be effective, or they are just a niche toy.

    The next issue with the availability of materials for the batteries, motors, and generators when used in hybrid form. Almost all of these materials are sourced from overseas, and I can tell you that the cost to the enviroment in China especially is huge. These are not zero emission viehicles, the emissions are displaced across the big pond. Fly in Shanghai and sample the air there it tastes like metal.

    Electric viehicles have a place in various niches that are quite effective. Factories with electric forklifts are a good example. Virtually unlimited power, adequate storage for interchangeable batteries, and a controlled enviroment allowing for optimal performance. None of this exists in the real world.

    I realize the author believes many things, however what is believed and what is reality are two different things. For electric viehicles to become wide spread many things must be overcome.

    1. A recharging/swapping solution must be available at time scales and costs comparable to filling a gasoline fuel tank.
    2. The energy density of the batteries must improve to be able to lighten the batteries allowing for the viehicle frame to be more protective, and improve efficiency.
    3. Costs of the systems must reduce to the point that an average person may purchace one for the primary viehicle.
    4. Materials needed to fabricate the car must have reliable sourcing to allow for ease of fabrication, reducing costs.
    5. Stable power systems capable of handling the charging of millions of batteries must be defined and planned for.

    These are just a few of the long list of issues to be resolved. This is not insurmountable, but given current tech available, unrealistic at this time or the near future. As an energy source, electricity is one of the most expensive, and inefficient forms to store and use on a portable basis. This is physics plain and simple, no belief will make it otherwise.

    • I looked at the tesla owner forum. OF those Tesla owners that decided to evacuate all made it out of the state in 24 hours. With the supper charger network in Florida you go 900 miles in a day with about 3 stops for charging each about 20 minutes.

      In contrast many ICE owners never made it out of the state due to gas stations running out of gas and had to use the public shelter until power rand gas had been restored.

    • “1. A recharging/swapping solution must be available at time scales and costs comparable to filling a gasoline fuel tank.”
      Tesla has built a supper charging network that will recharge a tesla battery back to 80% in about they time it takes to eat a fast food meal.,-66.94,25.82,-124.39?search=supercharger,destination%20charger,&name=us

      “2. The energy density of the batteries must improve to be able to lighten the batteries allowing for the viehicle frame to be more protective, and improve efficiency.”
      Earlier this year a tesla was rear ended on the freeway. The trunk was obliterated. but there was no damage to the passenger compartment. The truck was stuck on top of the Tesla battery. and the vehicles had to be towed apart The tesla didn’t catch fire. The big rig truck lost its radiator, front bumper, both front wheels and the steering mechanism and the engine didn’t work. Yes further battery improvements will help but what we have right now is very good.

      “3. Costs of the systems must reduce to the point that an average person may purchace one for the primary vehicle.”
      The base model tesla model 3 costs $35,000 which is the average purchase price for most cars today. Materials needed to fabricate the car must have reliable sourcing to allow for ease of fabrication, reducing costs.

      5. Stable power systems capable of handling the charging of millions of batteries must be defined and planned for.”
      The grid today can handle 150million electric cars today fi all were plugged into a 120V outlets. The 120V outlet can supply enough power overnight to provide the daily average driving distance people need. However if people decide to install high power chargers additional home wiring is needed and maybe a new transformer on the utility side of the connection. For larger high speed public chargers (for example a tesla supper charger site) the installer needs to work with the utility to insure enough power is delivered to the site to handle the load.

      “The next issue with the availability of materials for the batteries, motors, and generators when used in hybrid form. ”
      Tesla doesn’t use rare earth magnet in its electric motor. IT just uses capper and steel. Current batteries used in EVs use Cobalt which is a concern for some people based on currently published proven reserves. However much the worlds cobalt is just sitting on the bottom of the ocean in the form of Manganese nodules or other seafloor deposits.

      • Awesome! Then subsidies aren’t required! Next year, everyone is going to be buying a Tesla. It’s so obvious. ICE engines will disappear without governments dictating it by 2019. Problem solved.

      • You wouldn’t want to swap your new battery for one of unknown lifespan. If you have to travel on a busy weekend, the number of people wanting to charge and have a meal, would be much greater. The queue would be longer than the changing time.

      • Fast charging is murder on battery life. What if you don’t want to eat a fast food meal every 3 hours?

  30. I also am a fan of electric cars but it has little to do with any claimed environmental benefits .
    The EV machines differs from a gas powered vehicle not all that much – modern gas powered cars use electricity to perform most every task (except wheel propulsion), including power steering.
    I am no big fan of the complexity of a gas powered car. I plan on conveting my 57 Thunderbird to electric, when and if kits become available. Exhaust systems, cooling systems, radiators, transmissions, torque converters, a million engine sensors to monitor how the gas is being consumed – it is a very complex machine, with lots of things that can go wrong or need maintenance. An electric car is intrinsically simpler, cheaper to fuel, easier to repair, etc. Or, at least, it should be – here Tsla Motors has destroyed the best characterisitics of the electric car – he has stuffed so much junk (worse – electronic junk) in his vehicles to justify their high price, he has produced cars I have absolutely no desire to get involved with, especially considering Tesla’s bad reputation with its customers, serivice, etc. If Mr Musk really believed what he says – that he wants to electrify the transportation system, he could have produced a vehicle of enormous benefit for those who need mobility he most – the lowest economic class member, not the people he
    targets his vehicles for – mostly millionaires and high mid level types. All he had to do would be
    to partner with Elio Motors and electrify the car they have already designed and prototyped.
    For less than $13,000 they could have produced a two passenger, three wheeled vehicle which would get such good fuel mileage that a small, cheap battery would provide a driving range of 200 miles and the ability to recharge really fast (electricity cost : a little more than a penny per mile) – a 22kWhr battery pack should suffice and cost about $3500. Such a car would justify a govt subsidy of a few thousand. That would be doing something good – as opposed to selling a high income type a second (or third) car , collecting $7500 from the Feds (and more from the states). Musk can’t feel very satisfied at what he has actually accomplished.

    • Right. How many production vehicles have Elio actually delivered?? ZERO! How many times have they broken promises to start producing cars? MANY TIMES! I wouldn’t give them a nickel for their thoughts. Bad investment.

    • arthur4563

      New technology usually starts at the high end of the market. The motor car itself is a case in point, mobile phones, watches, aeroplanes etc. They were all objects of desire until demand rose and production costs went down.

      Personally I love the idea of electric cars. What I vehemently object to is totalitarian governments masquerading as democratic political parties telling us “ve vill all be driving ze EV vehicle by 2040” (in the UK) giving consumers no choice and allowing manufacturers to cash in on a government sponsored bonanza.

      Price fixing, cartels, sharp practises etc. will all be blamed on the unethical capitalist car giants, when in reality, it’s socialist ideology interfering with the free market that’s the real problem.

      By all means, put pressure on ICE manufacturers to reduce emissions (although other than old vehicles, I believe new car emissions are extremely good) and at some point in the natural evolution of the market, EV’s will begin to make sense.

      I can’t think of another technological change, or any other type of change for that matter, on this scale, that a British government has backed. Natural political caution invariably promotes evolution rather than revolution.

      I can see the UK’s efforts to be in the vanguard of transportation electrification ending in tears.

      • All this from govt deploying diesel generators around the country to plug holes in it wind powered fantasy

      • HotScot. I agree with your first two paras. I don’t agree with one lot of people (government) telling another lot (us) what we can and can’t buy without very good reason

      • The price of cars went down when mass production went into effect.
        Mass production is already available for EVs.

    • If the car is so great, why the govt. subsidy? More importantly, why should taxpayers subsidize it to begin with?

    • arthur4563

      Electric power steering? News to me, I’ve never seen one. Mine has an oil pump.
      And that three-wheeled passenger vehicle? They’re notoriously safe at highway speeds aren’t they, like between here and the nearest shops, especially when dodging B-doubles and petrol tankers.
      No thanks!

      • As someone who used to do tinkering with cars, my understanding is that one cannot do chassis tuning on a three wheel vehicle. If it has under or oversteer, there is nothing that can be done about it. Handling all of a sudden matters if you find yourself in a low-traction situation, like ice or rain.

  31. ‘I own an electric car, and I think they are useful for city transportation.’

    There are niche applications such as yours for which PEVs are quite well suited. Government is pushing them as a universal replacement for ICE vehicles. Showing the short comings of . . . government.

  32. I actually agree that the advances in control systems and electronic processing have improved the options for electric drives.
    Your claim for improved storage capacity is however problematic.
    lithium ion batteries are not there yet.
    They so far do not last long in actual use(Usually due to internal failure), are utterly powerless at temperatures below -25C and an arsonists dream when punctured.
    Being smaller and lighter they are an improvement in hand-tools.

    You deride the air usage/pollution of the internal combustion engine yet glide right by the pollution brought about by the production of these batteries.
    Got any cost estimates for the responsible disposal of these devices?

    In certain circumstances battery powered equipment are indispensable but they are not pollution free in any shape or form, as the battery graveyards can attest.

    Now driving an electric vehicle is fun, but until a battery equal to a gallon of diesel is invented, the electric vehicle will retain its place in history, competitive with the steam engine, loser to the internal combustion engine.

    And that battery will face sever compliance and regulatory hurdles, because currently you show me a high capacity battery,I will see a lovely bomb.

    • John Robertson

      No matter what artificial means of motive power mankind employs, it all comes at a cost.

      Chuck money at holographic technology so people can virtually sit in the same room and the root cause of much transportation is eliminated.

      • “Chuck money at holographic technology so people can virtually sit in the same room and the root cause of much transportation is eliminated.”

        Bingo. VR is going to kill the ICE car by making most transport needs obsolete. EVs are irrelevant, and governments are, as usual, making long-term decisions on technologies they don’t understand that completely lack any attempt at forethought.

  33. EVs are for urban affluent virtue signalers. How is the range on a 50 mile drive in Green Bay, Wisc in the dead of winter to see a ball game while your ride is parked in the snow in 9 degree weather?

      • Charging at the ballpark? Many charging stations would be needed (thousands?) or all would be lengthily backed up.

        • Then put a station at each parking spot. It doesn’t have to be a fast charger or even Level 2 since in many cases, people spend awhile at the facility. A simple wall plug would be adequate for many, with some supplementary L2 and DCFC stations also available to those who choose to use them.

          • fIEtser

            Then put a station at each parking spot. It doesn’t have to be a fast charger or even Level 2 since in many cases, people spend awhile at the facility. A simple wall plug would be adequate for many, with some supplementary L2 and DCFC stations also available to those who choose to use them.

            WHO “puts a station at teach parking lot”?
            WHO pays for the installation, the cables, the liability and theft insurance,
            WHO pays for the electricity itself?
            WHO pays for the repairs on the plugs, wires, chargers, and the calibration and maintenance of the electronics?

            How many tens of thousands for “each parking lot” do YOU insist “somebody else” pays?

          • Depends on how fancy they want to be. Obviously, it is way cheaper to include it as part of the initial construction, but installing it after the fact isn’t impossible. It’s up to the stadium owner to decide if they want to charge for the electricity. Stadium parking lots tend to be private anyway, so they should be able to patrol them as part of regular parking lot patrols.

      • fletser has a glib anser for any scenario, just wave your hands and imagine a solution its as simple as that. Until you re entrer the real world

      • RACook, that’s just one of those engineering details that will be trivial to solve once we through enough OPM at the prloblem.

    • I love the discussion here “um Kaisersbart” .
      The electric drive had had its chance from the beginning of the automotive revolution, but just like a wood gasifier, he had no chance against the combustion engine. This is due to the limited range of both drive methods. Just as you can not stack wood in the car indefinitely, just as little progress has been made so far in battery technology to compensate for the range advantage of the ICE. Even lithium-ion batteries have limited charge capacity and lose more energy storage capabilities before the end of their lifetime. This means that, e.g. Tesla X only at the beginning of a range of at most 300 kilometers can expect. With each charge cycle, it becomes less, if not much, but the mass of charge cycles makes it. Thus, e.g. a lithium-ion battery lost after 1.000 charge cycles 30 percent of its capacity. In addition, this type of battery is not equally safe for every climate. Both, very cold and very warm climates increase the risk of fire and is this car, for example, 1 year in the garage and then you wants to drive it again, this also increases the risk of fire. As an added miss-benefit, the more you increase the capacity of these batteries and the faster you charge them, the faster the battery will age. A new Tesla battery costs a little more than the previously accepted 5.500, – Euro. Tesla makes a secret of what such battery changes really cost. I guess at least $ 15,000. I can not call it economical to get an eight-year-old car up and running again with $ 15,000. The next few years will bring a revolution in the engine technology of internal combustion engines. They will become smoother and consume much less. I know this from engine developers at Mercedes and BMW. The era of the combustion engine is far from over, the era of EVs will not begin in the near future. Even our “climate chancellor” Merkel has already recognized this. At the moment she only gives the hybrid with electric subsystem a chance to assert itself among the buyers. That wants to be called something else compared to other unrealistic views of Merkel

  34. The bottom line is, if electric cars are economically competitive with ICEs on a level playiing field, and are suitable for purpose, then they need no defense.

  35. EVs are poised to inflict the mother of all disruptions on the automotive industry.

    “poised” — good word choice. Like a baby bird at the edge of the nest, ready to fall to the ground and become cat food.

    • EVs have been “poised” to take over the auto world for over a century. The big breakthrough is always around the corner. Maybe. But I’ll drive our ’96 Tahoe until it or I die. (Probably me first.)

    • Straight from the renewables vocabulary generator. They are always poised/coming/imminent/developing/just around the corner/improving/getting cheaper/(insert your word here. But never, ever fully functional, available now and able to compete without subsidy.

      • I still can’t find anybody that will commit to putting a series of curb-side charging spots on an urban street. All those valuable metals. And such beautiful targets.

      • Yarpos,

        So true, I did a lot of work for the alternative liquid fuel industry, you description of the promise never fulfilled is right on Message. Anybody who believes all those promises has never worked in the real world of engineering or technology development

  36. Forgot the most important point, it is currently -20C outside.
    My 7.3l Ford Diesel is built to ensure my comfort and security when I head out this morning, heat will be generated, reliable certain heat, to clear the windshield and warm my self.
    As a normal byproduct of this internal combustion air pump.
    The Lithion Ion batteries in my cordless power tools however will not be useful unless warmed up and recharged.
    Interestingly when the cordless battery is at -30C it will not take a charge.
    You have to supply heat directly to the battery.

  37. One correction…. EVs do have transmissions. Simple step down one speed but with all the available torque they are a weak spot. I’m a fan of EVs for the city as they have all the right characteristics for the urban environment. Quiet, peppy, no local emissions, no warm up for short trips, and should be mechanically less expensive to maintain (except tires) and required less service visits. As long as the EV has a dedicated available overnight charge port they are good to go otherwise they are a burden. Charging on the road may seem simple today with less than 1% of the cars all electric but do the math and range coupled with charge time won’t work with EVs in high volume. For an EV range is paid for up front whether you need it or not and that pushes the affordability envelope. Increasing the infrastructure to handle EV charging is rarely talked about and deemed “not a problem” but any engineer knows doubling of infrastructure at a minimum would be required to service all EV personal transportation. I believe the goal (undesirable to me) is public transportation, not EVs.

    • That’s already done in a big way. More than 90 percent of all railway lines in Germany are electrified. However, the trains do not drive with battery, but with overhead line. At the moment, there are also attempts to drive lorries through overhead lines on a special lane of highways. It all makes sense. However, it reaches its limits when it comes to individualized traffic and a movement using a battery as an energy source.

  38. As others have pointed out, if you charge an EV from the grid, you are burning coal and natural gas. So much for virtue signalling. However, the points about DC motors are good ones. I say use an internal combustion engine for the power source and DC motors for the drive. Just like trains.

    • There is still a huge increase in overall efficiency jim2, by operating a coal plant at its high efficiency, and sending those electrons to a city to charge batteries in EV’s. Plus more side benefits like less noise, less air quality concerns, and not consuming as much oil or gas which over a century, has a higher and better use for the petrochemical industry. This article isn’t solely about CO2 and climate change why we should drive EV’s or PHEV, so burning coal in a clean coal fired plant makes more sense than burning oil or gas. Most of us here are not arguing the merits of the EV on CO2, since most of us here don’t think CO2 has a lot to with much warming, and the 1 degree of warming we have had the last 150 years, is very good, because it was really, really cold in the Little Ice Age and a return to that would be very, very bad for humanity.

  39. I agree that most city folks could easily use EVs for their daily needs……..but they are expensive, lack infrastructural support and we will need to at least double electricity production and upgrade the transmission infrastructure (grid) if we are to replace gasoline for personal vehicles. The problem becomes even worse if you include commercial vehicles (trucks)! None of this is remotely feasible in the next 20 years despite the mindless promises of Merkel, Macron and other European politicians, the wild virtue-signalling commitments made by car manufacturers and the outrageous claims made by EV enthusiasts! EVs will undoubtedly increase from their current 1% market penetration but they will not overtake conventional ICE-powered vehicles for a long, long time, as pointed out by other recent posts on this site. Hybrids make much more sense than battery-electric vehicles offering many of the advantages of EVs but all the flexibility of conventional ICE-vehicles with improved fuel consumption. It makes much more sense to use cheap, widely-available, energy-dense gasoline to run an ICE onboard a vehicle than it does to jump through all the hoops to generate power remotely, distribute it through a massively-expanded grid and incur the losses implicit in transmission and battery storage. And, of course, how is your electricity generated in the first place? Don’t tell me……by wind and solar! Yeah….right! /sarc

    • Phil Rae

      I’ll take issue with your condemnation of EV’s in commercial vehicles. In fact I suspect that may be a very good place to start for the technology.

      Commercial vehicles are run by expert businesses who understand precisely each trip and drop off point. So, for example, a lorry delivering to a supermarket will probably have a single load before returning to it’s depot for resupply before another trip the same day.

      On arrival at the superstore destination it might take, say 30 minutes to unload it, whilst it can be plugged in and charging. On arrival at the depot for re supply, it would also be plugged in.

      I have no idea how many trips these guys make per day but even if it was only 3 or 4, the object of the exercise would be to have the vehicle return for overnight (perhaps) driver rest and vehicle maintenance, and ideally, the battery would be flat.

      The point being that everything is accounted for by these distribution organisations, almost to the Nth degree, including traffic delays etc. And of course, whilst an EV truck is stuck in traffic, it doesn’t idle away fuel, the worst it does is keep the cabin occupant warm/cool and entertained.

      The displacement of the pollution is, however, another subject entirely. I can’t think of a major power station in London, they are all sited in, and polluting the countryside, whilst the upstanding London citizens bitch about pollution affecting them.

      • “On arrival at the superstore destination it might take, say 30 minutes to unload it, whilst it can be plugged in and charging.”

        This might work for a warehouse delivering to its own chain stores, like Walmart. But otherwise every customer’s destination unloading dock would need a charging station. Costly. Cramped.

      • HotScot

        My condemnation was not aimed at commercial vehicles per se. Obviously, fleet vehicles like buses and local delivery services are good candidates for electrification and that change is already taking place. HGVs (trucks/lorries/semi trailers) however are much more challenging. In the U.K., electrification of the current HGV fleet would require a 25% increase in electricity generation & some proportionate increase in grid capacity. I base this on government statistics for diesel fuel consumed by HGVs alone and U.K. annual electricity consumption. The numbers come out at 75 TWh (equivalent) & 300 TWh respectively. Given the laden weight of an HGV, they have average mpg of only ~6mpg and usually have a large fuel tank (>50 gals). So, logically, they need a very large battery and that presumably takes longer to charge, too, although there are no doubt ways to optimise that. I still maintain that hybrid vehicles are the best compromise and the most logical way to improve fuel efficiency regardless of whether the vehicle is a car or an HGV. More flexibility and better mpg – what’s not to like about that?

  40. It’s difficult to know where to start with a reply since there’s so much material for rebuttal. How about here:

    “…Western automakers leaves them at risk of being overtaken by agile Eastern competitors in the same way that the Swiss (mechanical) watch industry was overtaken in the 1980s by agile Eastern competitors making cheap accurate quartz watches[3]”

    The Swiss watchmakers are still very much alive. The storied brands such as; Patek Philipe, Ulysses Nardin, LeCoultre, IWC, and Rolex were never even dented by Eastern competitors or quartz watches. A high end Eastern quartz watch, selling for a couple hundred dollars is a garage sale item in 5 years. A Rolex, purchased for $2,000 in 1990 will sell today for $4,500. And, the mid and lower priced Swiss watchmakers survived by consolidating the manufacture of mechanical movements (for various brands) under a single company.

  41. I originally “poo pooed” electric vehicles as ‘stupid’. Expensive, low-range, impractical toys. But over time I’m come to think they could have their place. It’s true they mostly only ‘move’ the pollution from one place to another, but this can still useful. When I go for a walk there are many vehicles that go by where I briefly hold my breath because they haven’t warmed up yet and you get that disgusting cold catalytic-converter smell, or because they are an old piece of junk burning oil and spewing smoke, or because they are diesel. And I think, “wouldn’t it be neat if someday the cities air was as clean as country air?”

    My major concern was the extra load on the grid from if everyone went electric, but I looked up some data and did some calculations and was shocked how little the extra load electric cars would place on the grid (around 5-10%). Doing this also made me see how we use electricity like water. We waste it like it’s free. The amount of electricity industry uses is insane.

    So if electric cars were cheap enough, they totally make sense for a daily commute situation. The problem is they are not cheap enough. Perhaps it is a matter of ‘scale’, perhaps not. There are major barriers to making the world run on electric cars such as limited resources. Any serious move to electric car adoption would quickly deplete all known supplies of cobalt. Then next is lithium. These are major issues that the electric car enthusiasts don’t even acknowledge. Perhaps given new interest, new sources will be found and this problem will solve itself (or rather the ‘market’ will solve it). But for now it’s a real barrier.

    • Kassandra….

      I’d be interested in how you came up with that extra 5-10% increase in electricity. If you take a country like France (since Macron promised to ban ICE vehicles in ~20 years), they consume about 500 million bbls of oil per year. Let’s assume 70 percent of that goes for motor fuel (gasoline & diesel). So that’s about 350 million bbls which is 14.7 billion gallons of fuel. With an approx equivalence of 33.4 kWh per gallon of fuel (actually higher for diesel but let’s keep it simple) that equates to 491 billion kWh of electricy needed to directly replace motor fuel. The annual electricity consumption of France is ~450 billion kWh so, in simple numbers, that means France would need to double its electricity consumption to replace conventional liquid fuels with electricity. This simple calculation disregards the improved efficiency of electric motors vs ICEs but it also assumes the liquid fuel is all gasoline which it’s not. In fact France burns ~4 times more diesel than gasoline and diesel has 12% more energy content and I would say my numbers are very conservative. Perhaps I’m missing something somewhere but I can’t for the life of me see how we can have such a big discrepancy between your 5-10% increase and my still conservative 100% increase. Can you explain please? Thanks!

      • I did it a while ago, but I’ll see if I can recreate my calculations.

        From here we get total miles driven []
        I’ll use a figure of 3.8 10^12 miles in a year.

        Average fuel efficiency is around 26 miles/gallon (wikipedia)

        So that’s 1.5 10^11 gallons or 4.7*10^9 barrel of oil. That’s pretty close to your number for total usage for France so seems ‘in the ballpark’. Since US population is larger and people drive farther, this seems reasonable for usage for vehicle miles only.

        The energy in 1 barrel of oil is around 6.1 GJ (wolfram alpha)

        Total energy usage of vehicle travel for 1 year is then 2.8×10^10 GJ

        Total electricity usage in the US is 1.4×10^10 GJ (conversion from wikipedia kw-hr to Joules)

        Oh ….. Whoops.

        Either I made a mistake just now, or I made a mistake back when I first did this calculation. This says electricity usage would have to increase 300%! Which was my original intuition.

        I’m not feeling confident in my numbers since there are so many areas to make a mistake. Like in FED numbers, is that miles per month, or miles per year? I assumed miles per month averaged over 12 months, but it’s slightly confusing.

        Actually this would make a great article for WWUT. If someone would do this meticulously quadruple checking the numbers and definitions.

        So now … I don’t know. I read an article for estimates for the UK that said 10% increase. Sigh … I guess I should try it again, this time being very very careful at each and every step.

      • Okay I tried again, this time going for a simpler approach just to get a ballpark.

        World electricity usage: 20 x 10^15 W.h [wolfram alpha]

        1 w.h = 3600 Joules [wolfram alpha]

        Total oil consumption: 90×10^6 barrels per day [wolfram alpha]

        1 barrel = 6.1 GJ [wolfram alpha]

        Total electricity energy: 7.2 10^19 Joules.

        Total oil usage: 2.0 10^20 Joules

        Ratio of oil energy to electricity energy: 2.77

        So to replace all oil energy with electricity energy we would need to increase electricity generation by close to 3 times.

        I know this approach is pretty ‘raw’ since it doesn’t distinguish how oil energy is used in anyway, but it gives a feeling for the ratio e.g. a kind of

      • I remember seeing figures from different sources that petroleum was roughly 30% of our energy supply. Surely your figures are in error “Big Time”.

      • Steve. Feel free to post the correct numbers then, or point out which one of my numbers was incorrect.

      • Kassandra

        Thanks for your acknowledgement. So, I’m gonna stick with my number of ~100% increase which is conservative but closer to the truth. Please note that (typically) 70-75% of crude oil is converted into fuel – not all of that is used for road transport but the vast majority is.

      • @ Phil

        Simple — based on kWh per mile EV are much more efficient.

        A car that gets 20 miles to the gallon — is using 1.68 kWh per mile

        The average EV gets 3-4 MILES per kWh so .33-.25 versus 1.68

        That is 5 to 6 TIMES less energy needed

      • @Karl That’s a good point. Electricity energy is more ‘pure’. Most of the conversion loses have already taken place at the coal/nuclear/natural-gas plant.

        Using my very raw numbers of roughly 3 times more energy in oil produced than in electricity, (requiring 3+1 = 4 times larger grid than today, and then using your numbers of energy conversion loss of 80% (gas to motion) compared to electricity, then the grid would have to expand roughly 80%. This is pretty close to other estimates I have seen (around 40%, and 50%).

        Using wikipedia

        A volkswagon e-gulf gets 116 MPG-equivalent (EPA combined). A regular volkswagon gets 30 MPG (EPA combined).

        That’s a ratio of 4 or so (rounding up). Not quite 5/6, but may be different for different vehicles.

        A ratio of 4 would be a 100% increase in electric-grid capacity would be required. It seems likely given ‘unforeseen’ energy costs (shorter car lifespan due to shorter battery life-span for example) that 100% increase is a good ballpark number and likely conservative.

    • Kassandra

      “wouldn’t it be neat if someday the cities air was as clean as country air?”

      I have a big problem with that statement, at least from a London perspective.

      There is not one single power station sited in greater London generally considered the local within the M25, a circular motorway going right round the city around 18 miles out.

      The power stations are all located in rural areas who suffer the pollution, whilst the Londoners bitch about the pollution in their city.

      And frankly, if someone choses to live in Greater London, which I do, they know the risks and are, by and large, there for the higher earnings and job availability. Most certainly why I moved here from rural Scotland.

      I have no sympathy for the city whiners. Make your bed, lie in it.

      • Well I guess it depends on your moral measuring stick. If you are utilitarian than putting sources of pollution in places that effect the fewest people makes sense. If you are an moral absolutest of some kind (libertarian, etc) than similarly farms should not be able to pollute waterways with pesticides and fertilizers to be “someone else’s” problem. But ‘real-world’ society requires compromises. Farmers benefit from cities and cities benefit from farmers and the negative externalities must ‘shared’ as well as the benefits.

        • Kassandra

          Now you come to mention it, it’s also immoral not to have inner city farms to service the community that demands the most food.

          And how on earth does putting pollution in a place where it affects fewer people make any sense? People aren’t the only thing on earth affected by pollution.

          And yes, I am a libertarian, although I suspect our respective perception of such bears different connotations. I believe people should be free to do what they want with minimal national government intervention, largely restricted to civil and national defence.

          And whilst I entirely agree the world needs compromises, perhaps the citizens of London should be made aware of that when they bitch about pollution affecting them, when a large portion of the pollution they emit is foisted on others.

    • City air will never be as clean as country air, unless you take all of the people out of the city.
      It’s not the cars that are producing the pollution. It’s all those homes and businesses that are producing the pollution.

      • So explain MarkW, how a home produces more pollution in the city than a car? Especially given that many houses are running on electric, or at worse, use natural gas which is much cleaner than gasoline or diesel. The stupid runs strong in this one.

      • That’s fine. Still would be nice to go for a walk without breathing car exhaust even if ‘mountain fresh’ air is not achievable. Sometimes (fertilizer season) the country doesn’t smell that great either.

    • I want one and would pay a good price for one. Have a friend who did do a conversion of an older Toyota 4×4 to an electric EV battery which was lead acid batteries, for a farm truck. Had a flat deck on the back of the truck and had his 8 Kw welder/genset on the back. He only ever had a 10-12 mile commute for this vehicle, so batteries could almost always handle any shorter trip and had the back up 240 VAC generator anyway. The really neat thing about this farm truck was that he mainly used the batteries for welding, and also as a remote power supply for working on all the farm equipment in the field using a couple of large inverters. Not running a genet all the time for a welder or for just a 120 VAC is a dream come true, as anyone who works without station service available.

      I am waiting to hear about a EV 1/2 ton truck and will get one as soon as they are available. I have ‘free’ electricity from my own net metering generation, and live rural part time so makes sense for me. My condo in town has 120 VAC 15 Amp circuit in underground parking, so ample time to slow charge for the amount I now drive when I go to town. But I will be putting my mini welder/generator that I already have in the back bed of the truck, just so I am never stranded and can then work anywhere off grid fairly inexpensive.

  42. We ought to mention something about the socialized transport claim since it is the intention of the green lobby to force the deplorable masses out of affording the means to have independent transport and drive them into reliance on public provision.
    Here in the U.K. Train travel barely exists at weekends or holiday times as the tracks are invariably being repaired or endlessly relaid because of weekday commuter wear and tear. This Christmas we are already being warned of huge close downs as people want to travel to get home or stay with families.
    It is actually cheaper to fly from London to Edinburgh than buy a train ticket, even if flying means via some European city. Only if you are old and can book weeks ahead and are not limited to peak demand times is rail travel truly affordable – heaven help you though if you miss any link because of delays.
    We used to have fabulous bus services in many cities but these too are now expensive. Outside of cities it is down to pot luck. Different bus companies compete on some rural routes, other routes have a bus service once or twice a day.
    I would guess these issues would pale by comparison to what would happen in the USA if EVs are forced on the people.
    But since the results of the constant increasingly price of electricity in the U.K. Will soon be killing lots more poor, old and deplorable citizens so the media and green elite can have the roads to themselves perhaps it won’t really matter.

    • “Here in the U.K. Train travel barely exists at weekends or holiday times as the tracks are invariably being repaired or endlessly relaid because of weekday commuter wear and tear. ”

      That’s an enormous exaggeration.

      I frequently go into London to art gallery or museum at a weekend (given my commuter season ticket effectively makes it free)

    • Moderately Cross of East Anglia

      “Only if you are old and can book weeks ahead”

      I would splutter indignantly but I can’t express that well in text!

  43. there are a lot of ifs….
    If you can charge an electric car 80% in 20 minutes..
    If you can manufacture an electric car for the same price as a gasoline fueled one…
    Reminds me of wind power… will work IF there is storage for the surplus power when the wind really is blowing……

  44. Who cares how simple an electric motor is.
    IC engines last well over 100K miles. Batteries don’t last half as long and cost a lot more to replace.

    • Replacing an ICE is $5k and up. Transmission is $3k and up. Don’t forget about the alternator, starter, cooling system, etc., all of which fail periodically, not to mention needing substantial periodic maintenance. A Dexos oil change on my Chevy pickup is about $70. I’ve paid $0.00 for maintenance on my Leaf.

      Battery replacement cost is roughly $3k to $5k currently, and going down.. The EV components are mostly electrical or electronic and have shown very high life spans so far. We’ll have to see how that works out in the long term.

      The original thought was that when the batteries wore out, the vehicle would be junked, but that isn’t happening. People seem to buy a used pack or a new pack. It is also possible to replace just the few degraded/failed batteries in a pack and get lots more life out of it. That service is just starting to be available.

      • Try getting an oil change for a 6 or 7 litre diesel engine MarkW. You can barely buy the 10 litres for less than $70 (2.5 US gallons) or more for the synthetic oil.

      • I searched on ICE replacement, I found a range of figures for a rebuilt – not new – engine from 2.5K to 4K. Battery packs are 3-5K and coming down. And you haven’t factored in items like alternators, radiators, belts, universal joints in your ICE analysis. Nor the time you must do without your car.

  45. Here’s one question:

    EV’s are good for Urban driving is the big selling point. However, there is already a pretty good solution for urban driving out there- its called “Public Transportation”. I can’t speak for its energy economy- but most larger cities have an infrastructure for this (I will refrain from calling it a “Good” infrastructure- living in the Washington DC area that I do)

    Having stated that- what does an EV do that Public Transport doesn’t? Save for operating those few hours when its closed?

    • Interesting question.

      The are large parts of London where any sort of car is not necessary… so too in many European cities.

      I gues sit is in the suburbs and fringes of the city where people do commute 20 or 30 miles a day each way that the EV comes into its own.

      (There is a massive difference between the US an Europe in terms of distance driven and commuting – and cars in urban areas generally. For example, you will not find an affordable parking garage anywhere in London… plus you may need to pay a congestion charge. Public transport only sensible option)

      • Griff

        “The are large parts of London where any sort of car is not necessary”

        Please, there are innumerable places in London where the car is almost barred from entering, and some completely barred. Walking, public transport and cycling are almost necessary to get around London now.

        And public transport still sucks, the underground is overheated and foul in summer, and cold and foul in winter. Buses are unreliable and although frequent, they are old, badly maintained, cramped, smelly and uncomfortable. And the bendy bus ‘revolution’ was a complete disaster. Trains are marginally better in that they have, eventually, been modernised, but commuting is expensive, getting a seat is a lottery, and the trains are run during the day virtually empty, with the same number of carriages.

        How can anyone in their right mind consider London public transport good?

        Nor is their a single, major power station sited in London, they are all in rural areas, yet Londoners bitch about pollution. Were they to suffer the emissions of their own activities they might not live in the damn place in the first place.

  46. ” can be charged very fast. 20 minutes for 80% charge is easily achievable with little effect on cycle life”

    Reading such things, I know that the author is full of it or is wishfull thinking. Charging 80% in 20 minutes corresponds to a charge rate of 2C, a huge rate for a LiIon battery which will divide by at least half its useful life. Last time I check the state of the art (e.g. and at the best vendors (I mount myself my battery packs), there is no Lithium technology that can sustain a 2C charge rate without great harm to its life expectancy.
    I know it for using an electric vehicle for my daily commutes. It’s the most efficient, convenient, fun, cheap and “green” mode of transportation, and most of time faster than a car. But it’s an electric monocycle (yes MONOcycle), for my town commutes of less than 30 km/day. That’s all the electric motor is good at for commuters, so far and in any predictible future.

    Charging in 20 minutes?? Stop dreaming.
    It would be possible, but it will have an impact equivalent to running any car at max motor speed for 20 minutes, saying there is “little effect on cycle life” is a lie.

    • And yet people owning a tesla frequently do this. The key thing you missed is that all the cells in the car are not all charged at the same time. The tesla battery manger software charges one group of batteries initially and then switches to another group when the first is done. The charger also facts in temperature current stat of charge and other factors into the charging. As a result the larger will charge to 80% capacity in 20 to 30 minutes. Full charge takes 1 hour. After 30 minutes the charging rate slows dramatically.Full charge takes 1 hour. And there is no significant loss of capacity or battery life with frequent use of the charger.

      • An interesting read, especially the Prof. Jeff Dahn presentation. But reading comments from Tesla owners, I believe two things are clear:
        1. Many Tesla owners “nurse” their battery to try to obtain a reasonable lifespan, by carefully setting up their charge rates and making sure that they don’t charge their battery fully.
        2. This battery “nursing” is incompatible with obtaining the maximum driving range.
        In short, yes, you can adopt charging regimes that will maximise your battery lifespan, but you cannot also obtain maximum driving range.

    • Frederic 20 minutes is 3C and if you bothered to read the footnotes you would see that I have personally conducted long term tests on precisy this (3C)

  47. Please forgive me if anyone else has mentioned this and I’ve read over their comment.
    Just how do you achieve regenerative braking with an induction motor? To operate an induction motor as an alternator (look up ‘induction generator’) the stator winding has to be excited with alternating current of an appropriate frequency.

    • When your move a wire through a magnetic field you get electric current though the wire. There is no place on earth with a no magnetic field. The earth has one and the metal used in the car has one. The rotor of a tesla is steel with a copper winding. When it rotates these stray magnetic field induce current in the rotor wire creating a striver magnetic field the magnetic field will continue to build until it saturates. At that point your can use the store coil to extract some of the energy to recharge the battery. This is how the large induction generators at conventional power plants work.

      • The Earth’s magnetic field is not strong enough to do that.

        The induction motor uses a “rotating magnetic field” in the stator (outside, stationary winding) by Faraday’s law of magnetic induction to “induce” a magnetic field in the rotor (inside, rotating steel cylinder with fat copper windings embedded in it). Then the rotating magnetic field of the stator attracts the induced magnetic field in the rotor to make it go. Neat trick and it took a not-social-normal Serbian person to figure this out.

        For the induction motor to produce torque, the rate at which the stator magnetic field rotates has to be not too much faster than the rate the rotor rotates (not too much “slip”). Induction motors fed with 3-phase 60-Hz (50 Hz in Europe and parts of the East) work best when their shaft rotates just a little bit slower than would be the 60 Hz rate, and these motors are only suitable for near-constant speed applications in factories and commercial buildings supplied with a 3-phase connection to the power company. In the Tesla, named after the not-social-normal Serbian person, a power electronic module supplies a varying frequency 3-phase current to the motor windings to allow the motor to run over a wide range of speeds.

        If an induction motor shaft is driven faster than the rotating magnetic field, the motor shaft undergoes mechanical resistance that represents power back fed into the stator coil. You still need some way of “exciting” (energizing) the stator coil with the correct frequency to make this happen, but the effect is that the induction motor is now acting as an induction generator.

      • Just to add to Paul Milenkovic’s comment:

        In order to self generate the magnetic field in the armature so that it can act as a generator, the proper phase between voltage and current must be met in the armature. The stator winding must be capacitively loaded so that mechanical energy can induce the armature magnetic field. This is the same phase angle between the stator and armature when the machine acts as a motor. See AIG – Asynchronous Induction Generator

  48. Mr. Hardy’s claimed advantages of EV: “The internal combustion engine (ICE) is a complex beast which needs lots of air, lots of cooling and which generates large volumes of smelly exhaust. It has a high parts count, is a high maintenance device, and is plagued by noise and vibration. Worst of all it has an absurdly narrow torque band and won’t run at all below (typically) 500 r.p.m. or so. A lot of the complexity and expense in a modern ICE car is focused on minimizing these deficiencies.”

    1. When I was young (many years ago), cars weren’t expected to live beyond 100,000 miles (and to have a “ring and valve job” along the way). Oil filters needed changing at 3,000 mile intervals. With Synthetic oil, modern engines are happy at 25,000 miles (more than manufacturers recommend, but true). Yes, gasoline engines are MECHANICALLY more complex than electric motors (motor controls, not so much). Nowadays nearly all junked cars have engines with years of service life left and tune-ups just aren’t needed because your car will tell you what’s hurting (you still should check belts and hoses). Whole lotta research has gone into gas vehicles and improvements continue. And no, the “expenses and complexities” of modern cars are due to regulations, not mechanical engineering.

    No, modern gas engines aren’t “plagued by noise and vibration” nor dependent on high maintenance.

    2. Yes, gas engines have a narrower torque range than electric motors. That’s what transmissions are for.

    3. What car manufacturers ought to do is to revisit the 42 volt system (a hot topic when I was younger). They gave up on it because they didn’t have the electronic parts we have today that would enable the car to run the drive train at 36v and the rest of the car at 12v. (The biggest unsolved problem back in the day is that switches that were fine with 12v suffered arcing at 36 and didn’t last very long).

    If they redesigned the starter motor (and bell housing) so that it became a motor/generator (alternator, really) and could push the vehicle nicely in stop & start driving — and shut it’s engine off when the vehicle is stopped, they’d have a hybrid that’s truly the best of all worlds, even with 3 12 volt lead acid batteries in series. And, it would be far more efficient than EV (what efficiency do you really think is achieved when you add in generation and transmission costs to get the juice to your battery?)

    • My ’86 F150 is currently around 250,000 miles. The truck has many issues, but the engine is not the worst. My ’09 VW Rabbit has 65,000 miles and has more expensive issues than the old truck.
      Just my .02.

    • The battery in a Tesla is wired together from a bajillion individual cells. Sort of like SNL’s Julia Louis-Drefus pitching the “Mercedes AAA Class”

      One reason for this (Tesla’s car with rechargeable lithium cells, not SNL’s disposable alkaline cells) was to piggy back on the economy-of-scale afforded by the laptop computer industry’s use of a small battery cell.

      So the ICE engine has one form of complexity, the EV has another. Tesla’s answer to the complexity of their battery pack in the Gigafactory, where automation and modern mass production methods are expected to give this company a “first-mover” advantage over the existing auto companies building EVs from batteries sourced by other companies. On the other hand the existing auto companies have used the past 150 years or so to manage the complexity of the ICE engine with automation and mass production methods to get us to where we are today.

      Were gasoline to be expensive and batteries to remain expensive, perhaps a plug-in hybrid vehicle would be the best approach. Tesla is betting on the “cost curve bending down” for batteries, making the full electric car the desired end point where gasoline is expensive, either because of Peak Oil or because the policy response to Climate Change concerns is to put high taxes on gasoline.

      I have read the claim that the Tesla battery pack is “good” (in some sense of not degrading into uselessness or failing in some high percentage of high-mileage cars) for 3000 charge cycles — I think I remember that if you could get 500 cycles out of a lead-acid battery under favorable conditions. Considering 200 miles on a full charge, they were claiming that the battery is good for 600,000 miles. If this is well in excess of what a Tesla owner would hang on to a car, maybe they want to reuse the battery pack in their Power Wall product?

      Another claim is that battery prices are trending towards $100/kWHr storage capacity. If a battery is good for 3000 cycles, you are talking 3 cents/kWHr stored over the lifetime of the battery, and that would be a game changer not only for EVs but also for renewable energy.

      One has to be careful here because are they talking about 1 kWHr charged into the battery and some lesser amount drawn out or the other way around, and with what efficiency do you “round trip” energy through a lithium battery? The EPA rates the Tesla at “100 EMpg”, taking into account that a gallon of gas is 120,000 BTU (HHV), 3400 BTU in a kWHr, a car at a constant 60 MPH being a “reasonable” proxy for the EPA Highway test, the Tesla consumes 21 kW or 28 HP under those conditions. (YMMV and indeed EPA “derates” their Highway test to better represent lead-footed consumers, but I don’t see the raw and derated numbers in the case of EVs on their Datafiles.) The Tesla S is pretty heavy but it is low aero drag, but if 100 lbs of total drag is reasonable at 60 MPH, it should take 16 HP at the “wheel rims”, so the efficiency of a Tesla from charging port to the road surface is under 60 percent? This number is consistent with what is reported for certain French EVs, largely “mini cars” size class. I have seen claims of “92 percent” efficiency for the lithium-ion cell itself, but it appears the charger port-to-road surface efficiency of current generation EVs is much lower.

      Now $100/kWHr doesn’t address the concern about what if you drive in the mountains to go skiing, what if you drive to Green Bay for the Packer game and everyone wants to find a Supercharger station at the same time, what do you do in winter (use a propane heater, that may offend some purists, but is that worse than a gasoline/electric hybrid in enviro-virtue points?). But $100/kWHr would be a Big Thing, and the naysayers claimed that $1/peak watt would never be reached with solar cells, although the big cost with solar cells is not the cells but paying the pirate, er I mean contractor, to put them on your roof without making your roof leak rainwater.

      If the fanbois are right, I only have to wait a few years for a nicely affordable electric car, and if they are wrong, 50 MPG highway ICE cars are in the pipeline, again because of policy influence by Climate Change concerns, but you will be able to get gasoline engine cars with very good fuel efficiency in that time frame.

  49. There is to my knowledge only one potential technical solution to the inherent limitations of LiIon batteries for EVs, the best that exist. That is the Fiskers Nanotech LiC (lithium ion capacitor),which is a hybrid device with a novel LiIon battery anode and a supercap cathode both based on 3D laserscribed graphene. Wrote about it in a previous guest post at Climate Etc : ‘Vehicle decarbonization’. Each piece of the LiC puzzle has been demonstrated. Whether it can be put together in a commercially practical EV sized way remains to be seen.
    Otherwise, EVs are mostly much ado about nothing. They simply haven’t got the temperate climate capability, range, and cost to be anything other than a virtue signalling urban rich person’s toy.

    • ristvan

      “They simply haven’t got the temperate climate capability, range, and cost to be anything other than a virtue signalling urban rich person’s toy.”

      Didn’t they say something like that when the motor car was proposed as an alternative to horses?

      I like the idea of EV’s, but the cost to the taxpayer for the infrastructure is eye watering. Nor do I like the totalitarian intervention of a (UK) government telling us all we will drive EV’s by 2040, when the market is telling us otherwise.

      Socialism is rife with cartels, price fixing, supply control, elitism etc. and that’s what will happen when the UK government departs from it’s usual stance of evolution over revolution.

      The road of unintended consequences from government diktats is littered with failure.

      I’m a devoted petrol head, brought up by a motor racing family, but it’s time we moved on, not because socialist governments tell us to, but because we collectively work with industry to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

      • “Didn’t they say something like that when the motor car was proposed as an alternative to horses?”

        No. The electric car began to take over from horses, then the ICE car took over from the electric car because the electric car had a limited range and took an age to charge.

        Little has changed since then.

      • MarkG

        Did I say anything about ICE motor cars? The statement was restricted to ‘motor cars’ whether the motive power was electric, mechanical or otherwise is inconsequential. Horseless transport was condemned in the past, in the same way many are condemning EV’s now.

        BTW, I think you’ll find steam was the first iteration of the horseless carriage.

      • Rob Bradley

        Seems reasonable, especially for an 82 year old man. But then I’m judging it from a journalist’s PR report from 2014.

        What’s your point?

      • HotScot, no “point,” I’m just clueless regarding 183 MPH……I asked because I thought you would know.

      • Rob Bradley

        Anyone with the courage to drive a car at 183 mph is to be admired, especially an 82 year old man. If he’s only 7mph or so off the record, my opinion is, at that age, he should be given the benefit of the doubt and carried from the podium shoulder high.

        If I reach 183 mph at 82 years old it will probably be on the express route to hell.

      • “could you tell me if this is poor, good or excelent?”

        The first time I ever saw an American drag racer was in 1963 at Church Fenton in the UK when the Americans brought half a dozen cars across the Pond to show us Limeys what REAL acceleration looked like.

        Up to that point I had never appreciated that watching a car accelerating for a quarter of a mile in a straight line could be damn scary!

        After the warm-up runs by boring Mini Coopers and the odd E-type Jaguar in double figure second elapsed times, Big Daddy Don Garlits (nice to know he’s still driving!) did the first run of the Double A Fuellers, went by at around 190MPH in under eight seconds with the wheels still spinning (that was in the days before slipper clutches).


        So the electric dragsters are pretty close to equal to a fossil fuelled dragster in 1964.

        However, I’m sure they will catch up eventually, but without the unbelievable sound and fury of an 8,000+ BHP nitromethane burning V8, they’ll never ever manage to get close to the spectacle.

      • The car became inexpensive when mass production was introduced.
        Mass production is already available for EVs.

    • The Ecoult UltraBattery, consisting of a combined Lithium ion cell and a supercapitor, is currently being used in a large-scale battery backup power generation system on King Island, Australia, and will also be used in similar installations around Australia.

  50. “The average private car in the UK does about 21 miles a day. In the US, it is about 30. Most people do most of their driving either commuting or local driving.
    My personal opinion is that a 300 mile range should work fine for almost everyone.”

    Beware of averages. For a city dweller, there are advantages that disappear for anyone else, and EV’s must compete with mass transit options. The FHWA says that male drivers age 35-54, a key market for autos, drive 18,858 miles per year, an average of about 52 miles per day… No doubt some of this is daily commute, but there is also significant longer distance driving where range would be a show stopper. 300 miles isn’t going to cut it on game day, let alone vacation.

    • It is only 400 miles from London to Edinburgh…

      The UK isn’t a big place: so on my UK vacations I would be very unlikely to drive as much as 250 miles to get there…
      I’d surely stop somewhere on the motorway too for half an hour… long enough to recharge

      Really here it isn’t going to be a problem.

      When current car needs replacing, I’ll surely consider an EV.

      • Griff

        assuming you can afford a £50,000+ Telsa which will do 300 miles on a charge.

        Lucky you if you can.

        I too would consider an EV if it could manage 300 miles with a 20 minute stop to recharge, assuming it cost me the same as an £8,000 Vauxhall Corsa, which will do at least as well with a five minute refuel.

        And if you imagine yo’re clever ignoring me, you’re not. You are like a spoiled child who won’t deal with the arguments.

      • There’s another factor to consider, HotScot.
        In the fifty-odd years I’ve driven the length and breadth of the UK, often through the night – and quite a bit of Europe too, come to that, I can’t begin to count the times I’ve had my bacon saved by a gallon can of fuel in my boot, and I’ve saved the bacon of a fair few other drivers too, come to that.
        Nor is it always due to lack of foresight, unforeseen detours due to road closures, unexpected filling stations in the Welsh mountains that are usually open but not this time with two kids asleep in the back of the car, all sorts of mishaps can end you up with an empty tank at thoroughly inopportune moments.
        So until I can get a gallon can of electrons to carry about in the boot, I’m going to give EVs a miss.
        Then there is the small matter of it taking me about two minutes to put over half a thousand miles’ worth of diesel in my Merc, of course…

      • Griff,

        It is 363 miles (584 km) from Athens, GA., to Jacksonville, FL., where the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” occurs each year around the game between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs.

        That’s 363 miles (584 km) ONE WAY.

        EACH STATE IS LARGER THAN ENGLAND, and put together they are 50% larger than the United Kingdom.

        And they are mid-size states, with Florida ranking #22 in size, and Georgia #24. Texas itself is about 3.33 times the size of the UK.

        During American football season hundreds of thousands of people drive well over those piddling EV mileage ranges for their teams. For the Florida-Georgia game the stadium holds over 64,000 fans. My guess is that easily over half travel well more than 300 miles round trip on game day, with a large percentage not in some flashy sedan, but pickups or SUV’s or RV’s.

        This is just one example, but I think you are missing some context of driving distances here in the US. It is not uncommon to drive 6, 8, 10, 12 or more hours here. I make a 640 mile trip (9.5 hours) to visit children and grandchildren, at least once a month.

        I’ll bet more vehicles travel over the EV limit each Saturday just for football games than Tesla has built.

  51. Forget about opposition to subsidies, in most, if not all, countries the current electric grid would not have been formed when it did without government support, if not owning the total infrastructure.
    The early carbon fueled generators were no good at all at converting energy into electricity, compare that to range and recharge times for EV’s today.
    If governments would have given up on electric power generation then, for these reasons, we would all still be gathering firewood and dung.
    Let the technology develop, in 20 years time it will be normal.
    Market shake ups are good. Embrace the new technology.
    Costs, range and recharge issues will get solved over time. And no in the long run it will not be cheaper, the government will make sure of that.
    However, EV’s only make sense if we can sort out the limited Lithium availability, we need a viable alternative before this gets under way properly, and the “clean” power generation issue, without blanketing the planet in wind farms or solar panels.
    Without both sorted it will be dead in the water and/or will make no difference whatsoever to so called “AGW”.

    • In every country that I am aware of, the electric grid was built 100% by private companies.
      There was no government support.

      • MarkW…all grids in Canada were built by Gov’t. Only Alberta recently de-regulated and is semi private, along with recently Hydro1 in Ontario going public on the stock market with a small part of it’s Generation T&D being private, but the majority of electric grids are still owned and operated by the Gov’t. They are Crown Corps, but just an arm of an Gov’t being 100% owned by the provincial Gov’ts. Most countries had massive Gov’t involvement in the early days, just because of the capital involved, and invoking a stat right of way.

      • “In every country that I am aware of, the electric grid was built 100% by private companies.”

        How many countries is that?.

        • it is definitely not true in Texas. Most of the state was wired under F.D. Roosevelt era rural electrification programs, and the local utility is purportedly a cooperative.
          Locally, in parts of Lyndon Johnson’s old district, it was something of a bail-out of bankrupt utilities construction contractors. A local hydro-electric dam was being built by Brown Brothers (Buchanan Dam), and the Brown brothers financed LBj’s first house race to try to assure a Federal takeover of the project. Brown Brothers eventually became part of Halliburton.

  52. “What is so great about electric motors?
    The internal combustion engine (ICE) is a complex beast which needs lots of air, lots of cooling and which generates large volumes of smelly exhaust.”

    Where to begin? How about: “…lots of air,…”? So what? What possible difference does needing ‘lots of air’ make? Will IC engines deplete all the air in the Earth’s atmosphere? This argument is silly.

    How about: “…lots of cooling…”? True, the IC engine does need cooling but there’s the side benefit that the cooling system can provide cabin heat during winter. And, it needs to be mentioned that the batteries on Teslas require fairly complex temperature management which involves circulating liquids around them – not all that dissimilar to an IC engine after all. And, that’s only the batteries. I have little doubt that the electric motors get searing hot and may very well need to be cooled as well.

    Finally: “…generates large volumes of smelly exhaust.” Huh? Can you smell it? Can your pet dog (with the best nose on the planet) even smell it? A modern car has an IC engine with pollutants reduced by over 97.5%. Is that better or worse than the coal or natural gas or oil fired electric power plant charging up the Tesla? I think not.

    • I work in central London and boy, can I smell it… and if I go to the top of the building, I can see it hanging over the streets… and if I blow my nose (sorry for this distressing detail) I can see the soot…

      • Yeah, Griffy, I live near Chicago. I can see the skyline from the shore of Lake Michigan. It’s a city with a larger commuting population than London and there IS NO pollution from ICE-powered vehicles. On any clear day, and there are many of them, ZERO pollutant clouds.
        Perhaps the UK should stop using diesel-powered vehicles and turn to gasoline, which does not release the pollutants you’re talking about.

      • That’s because the Greenies pushed diesel cars which create more real pollution but less fairy CO2 pollution.

      • Griff

        the haze is from the heating and air conditioning you enjoy whilst in your office in central London.

        How many bandwagons are you on, by the way?

    • I can often smell the car or bike I’m following. And the point about air is that it has to be filtered and the filter has to be periodically replaced. But mostly I phrased it that way to help you see the ICE through the eyes of someone who had not encountered one.

    • Tom,
      Thanks for those questions and answers it exposes how irrational the statements are and exposes how few facts are in the article.
      ” “What is so great about electric motors?
      The internal combustion engine (ICE) is a complex beast which needs lots of air, lots of cooling and which generates large volumes of smelly exhaust.”

      Where to begin? How about: “…lots of air,…”? So what? What possible difference does needing ‘lots of air’ make? Will IC engines deplete all the air in the Earth’s atmosphere? This argument is silly.

      How about: “…lots of cooling…”? True, the IC engine does need cooling but there’s the side benefit that the cooling system can provide cabin heat during winter. And, it needs to be mentioned that the batteries on Teslas require fairly complex temperature management which involves circulating liquids around them – not all that dissimilar to an IC engine after all. And, that’s only the batteries. I have little doubt that the electric motors get searing hot and may very well need to be cooled as well.

      Finally: “…generates large volumes of smelly exhaust.” Huh? Can you smell it? Can your pet dog (with the best nose on the planet) even smell it? A modern car has an IC engine with pollutants reduced by over 97.5%. Is that better or worse than the coal or natural gas or oil fired electric power plant charging up the Tesla? I think not.”

  53. Nissan LEAF Charge Time

    1.Charging a Nissan LEAF from empty with a standard 3 pin plug takes between 12 to 15 hours.
    2.Charging with a home charging point takes only 4 to 6 hours.
    3.Nissan LEAF can charge with a 3.7kW or 7kW charger.

    Nissan LEAF Charger | Pod Point

    a Gerry can or two with no etoh gas and stabil provides me reliable transportation regardless of what the grid does. I’d love to buy an EV someday, but for now I’ll stick with my 40mpg Hyundai (to save wear and tear on my 11 mpg suburban). That 12-15 hours must need some awesome circuit breaker.

    • My Leaf typically recharges in 5 hours off of a 15 amp circuit. But I never drive it until empty either. Nobody does.

      I similarly use my Leaf to save wear and tear on my Suburban!

  54. Solar, wind and hydro can usually be produced locally. Buy land near highways. It will be used to generate clean power.

    I was always skeptical about alternative energy bu not now. The main reaso is the cost. It has come down a lot. PV cells have fallen by 90% since 2000.

    • Pray tell, how are you going to produce hydro locally, in the desert?
      How are you going to produce solar locally if you live more than 20 or 30 degrees off of the equator?

      PV cells, after government subsidy may have fallen, but the cost of the entire system hasn’t.

      • Of course it has. Panels can be had for less than $0.50 per watt. Mounting and inverters are not expensive either.

        Average house uses 30kw per day. Sun factor of 6 means you need around a 5kw system so $2500 for the panels (about 15 of them) plus $1k for racking and $1k for inverters. Plus a day or two for installation. Switching to LED lighting and paying a little more attention to appliance efficiency, etc. gets you to a 3kw system.

      • 1) That’s price after the subsidy.
        2) That price is for the panel alone, it doesn’t include the mounting brackets.
        3) If you think inverters are cheap, then you haven’t bought any.
        4) The panel only produces 5Kw for a short time during the middle of the day. Less if there are clouds, so you need a substantial increase in the number of panels if you are expecting to power your entire house.
        5) You forgot to include the cost of batteries, unless you are planning to force others to store that energy for you as you did earlier.
        6) The output of those panels starts going down the day they are installed. The PV itself degrades, plus the covering gets dirty and scratched.

    • John Kirby

      How many wind farms do you see in cities? How many solar arrays? How many conventional or nuclear power stations?

      The areas that place the most demand for power on the grid don’t want the inconvenience that comes with power generation of any sort.

      London, one of the most power hungry cities on the planet has not one wind farm within it’s greater London catchment which extends over 20 miles beyond its centre. Not one solar array, nor even a functioning, significant power station of any description, coal, gas, nuclear or otherwise.

      So the pollution London produces is displaced, and Londoners bitch about air quality.

      I would be fine with renewables if the people that demand them suffered the consequences. I would also be happy if they suffered the consequences of conventional power production if it was in their back yard. They could bitch and moan all they want then.

    • John Kirby

      PV cell manufacture is clean? When did that happen?
      And disposal of PV and wind turbine blades? Clean?
      Will wonders never cease!

  55. “I picked up my Leaf for just $9k with 21k miles on it. It has required no service in 3 years. No oil changes, no brake pads, nothing.”

    I picked up my ’89 Ford Ranger for $1200 with 200k miles. Drove it for 15 years. I changed the oil once a year with synthetic when the annual safety inspection was done. The only other maintenance was batteries, starter, and alternator. It was still running strong when I sold it to a friend.

    It is nice to have a second car for short trips. Just not for $9k.

    • Owning older claptrap vehicles can be great financially as long as they don’t encounter major mechanical failures. And they will, sooner or later. Plus you need to be willing to deal with the reliability issues.

      I have a 1965 vehicle that is completely reliable. But I rebuilt/restored all of the mechanical components so it would be.

      • 0x01010101,
        There is also the issue of what the electronics industry calls “infant mortality,” where discreet components fail early, if they are going to fail at all. I’ve had the same thing happen with a brand new vehicle, where an early off-road excursion quickly found the design flaws, such as a weak retaining clip on the clutch linkage. One always has to be prepared for a break down. The trick is either having the breakdown close to someone who can repair it, or carrying tools and spare parts with you to take care of the most likely parts to fail.

      • There is no reason to think that BEV will not have major mechanical and electrical failures sooner or later.

      • “There is no reason to think that BEV will not have major mechanical and electrical failures sooner or later.”

        Yes, there is. Far, far fewer moving parts. What mechanical issues are you referring to?

  56. Hi Mark,
    I do not think all sources of energy will be available everywhere. In mountainous areas massive amounts of hydro power just runs down the hillside. You don’t need a dam. Just a pie to contain the flow. I live near the Columbia gorge and there are thousands of creeks and streams with a 4000 ft head. You don’t need a big flow with that sort of head.

    • It is called Run of River small hydro. Probably generates more Mw/hrs of electricity globally than wind/solar combined because when it does have water, it is a base load product with 100% energy density. There is enormous potential for ROR small hydro in many hilly/mountainous area’s of the world that is undeveloped. A typical project is anywhere form 100 Kw to 50 Mw. That is a lot of solar panels for the same annual output.

    • Bad news John, you need a really good lawyer to [get] past the watermelons. Then you need an EIS because the Salmon in the Columbia River are listed as endangered.

      Should I go on explaining why good ideas fail.

      • Well, you do have a good point there Kit, since the environmental approvals required with anything to do with water are almost impossible to navigate. Even if you are just going to use the water for 5 minutes in a penstock and release it to the same creek you took it from up above. And a lawyer won’t even help much because you are dealing with Federal or State/Provincial law, and hard to win against Big Brother. There is a lot of potential energy in small hydro, high head with minimal impact on the environment, but yet in our 3rd world Gov’t in the west, some things are nearly impossible. Maybe in some poor countries that really want some reliable electricity, and the ‘watermelons’ haven’t taken over yet.

    • In other words, yet another source of unreliable power.
      You get power in the spring when the rains come, the rest of the year, not so much.

      • You get base load for the entire season that is wet, not similar to solar and wind that is dependant hour to hour on the weather. Or snow melting at higher elevation all summer. Or tropics where it is raining all the time. Or you have water storage behind a dam. It was you MarkW just last week complaining that California didn’t even consider any hydro renewable. I had to correct you on that too, since it is only the projects over 10 Mw in California that are not considered renewable. Stupid that 10 Mw is some threshold for deciding if something is renewable, I know.

    • If you are using energy, there is always waste heat to get rid of.
      Why don’t you just go hang a sign on your neck declaring your basic ignorance of science.

  57. Stop calling Leftest Liberals, and Anti CO2 people Green…
    Leftest are Totalitarian, and More CO2 = More Green stuff…

    • I agree Mat,

      Radical environmentalists are the great killers of our time, ranking with Hitler, Stalin and Mao. One example of this criminal malfeasance is the ban of DDT, which has greatly increased malaria in the tropics – a global scale holocaust based on false environmental alarmism. A more recent example is global warming hysteria and their war against cheap, reliable, abundant energy, which is the lifeblood of society.

      After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the environmental movement was taken over by extreme leftists… and evolved into the watermelon outfit it is today. Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, wrote this article circa 1994. It still rings true today. Read the section “The Rise of Eco-Extremism”.

      Extreme leftists (aka Marxists) come in many packages with many labels – for example: Trotskyites, Leninists, Maoists, Stalinists, Shachtmanites, etc.

      When I was at McGill in the 1960’s. there were about a dozen different Marxist groups – so many that their group names were extremely long – just to differentiate them.

      In general, we observed that they fit into two groups:
      1. The make-love-not-war, dope-smoking Harpo Marxists,
      2. The nasty, angry, violent Groucho Marxists.

      Most climate alarmists have embraced a Harpo Marxist approach and a few are Groucho Marxists – they just do not realize it – they all think they are “Progressives”.

      Regards, Allan 🙂

      The Groucho Marxists are the leaders – they want power for its own sake at any cost, and typically are sociopaths or psychopaths. The great killers of recent history, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot. etc. were of this odious ilk – first they get power, then they implement their crazy schemes that do not work and too often kill everyone who opposes them.

      The Harpo Marxists are the followers – the “sheeple” – these are people of less-than-average education/intelligence who are easily duped and follow the Groucho’s until it is too late, their rights are lost and their society destroyed. They are attracted to simplistic concepts that “feel good” but rarely “do good”. George Carlin said: “You know how stupid the average person is, right? Well, half of them are stupider than that!”

      One can easily identify many members of these two groups in the global warming debate – and none of them are skeptics.

      OMG – Hillary and I agree on something – the ease of manipulation and stupidity of the average Democrat voter – and half of them are stupider than that!

      • Once again… DDT has never been banned for fighting malaria and is still in use for that purpose

        and I’ve just visited Berlin’s DDR museum, where the extreme pollution in the Socialist DDR was a feature of a set of exhibits. Climate change and renewables don’t have anything to do with the left.

  58. One word: cobalt.

    Will EV’s find a way over or around the “cobalt cliff”? Eventually… probably. But that will require genuine disruptive innovation.

    Before EV’s can even dream about disrupting the oil markets or automobile industry, they have to disrupt numerous mineral supply chains. Cobalt and lithium being the two most prominent obstacles.

    • DM, there are non-cobalt LIB cathode chemistries. But not in EVs (yet) because of inadequate power density (relates directly to charging time).

    • All EVs need to do is remove a couple barrels of daily demand from the market and the market will return to a state of oversupply and thus crash.

      • Which is one of the reasons oil prices are reasonable again. Lots of solar and wind power that replaced energy that used to have to come from oil and coal. The growth has been exponential.

      • 0x01010101; 1:32 pm: “Which is one of the reasons oil prices are reasonable again. Lots of solar and wind power that replaced energy that used to have to come from oil and coal. The growth has been exponential.”

        That statement boggles the mind! Unless you live in remote, near Arctic regions, or Hawaii, almost no electricity, if any at all, is generated with oil. And, since coal fired steam locomotives have not transported anything commercially for almost 70 years, coal demand or consumption has no bearing whatsoever on fossil fuels which are used almost, if not solely, for transportation in the US.

        The decline in oil prices is strictly because of frakking on private lands. There’s absolutely no other reason. The hydraulic fracking revolution and sideways drilling opened up tremendous resources in relation to demand. What planet have you been on?

          • The world consumes 96 million barrels of crude oil per day. “A couple of barrels” per second wouldn’t even be a rounding error.

          • Obviously, I don’t mean two. But the point is that electric vehicles don’t have to be EVERY vehicle in the road to have a huge impact on the market.

          • If the world banned the production of ICE vehicles in 2030, by 2050, there would still be 1 billion ICE vehicles on the road (about the same number as there are today).

            There are currently about 2 million EV’s, 0.2% of passenger vehicles. EV production has been increasing by about 225,000 vehicles per year. EV’s aren’t on track to disrupting oil markets before the 22nd century. Even under IEA’s unrealistic EV forecast, oil demand won’t peak before 2040.

          • IEA is delusional, they keep focusing solely on passenger vehicles even as entrants into other segments of the transport industry arrive. Fleet managers are going to stampede to electric buses and trucks as they become more available and those are vehicles that will really reduce demand.


            IEA forecasts that EV’s will grow from the current 2 million vehicles to 160 million by 2030 (8% of all vehicles). Even with that growth, it won’t put a dent in oil consumption.


            Freight, as in big trucks carrying heavy loads over long distances, is not amenable to PEV conversion, despite Telsa’s latest Ponzi scheme…

            Tesla is revealing a semitrailer this month that it won’t deliver for years — here’s why
            Matthew DeBord
            Sep. 6, 2017

            Tesla is expected to reveal a design for a semitrailer this month. CEO Elon Musk has been heralding this move into the freight business since last year, when he rolled out his “Master Plan, Part Deux.”

            According to Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker, the vehicle will be what’s known as a Class 8 truck — a great big old over-the-road semi designed to haul large amounts of stuff. Despite that, Shanker doesn’t think the Tesla semi will have a long-range battery delivering 600 or more miles of range; something like 300 miles is more realistic, because of battery costs, and Tesla will deal with the range issue by swapping batteries or enhancing its charging capabilities.

            In a note published Wednesday, Shanker suggested that Tesla wouldn’t start selling the semi until 2020, but that won’t prevent the company from lining up customers.

            “We expect Tesla to start taking orders for the truck from the day of the event (we estimate a refundable $5,000 deposit),” he wrote. “We believe this could set off competition for intelligent trucks in the industry.”

            Shanker calculates that the truck business could add up to almost $12 billion in business by 2028.

            This all sounds pretty good, but remember that Tesla has taken something on the order of 500,000 deposits for its Model 3 sedan, at $1,000 a pop. As of August, just more than 100 vehicles had been delivered as Tesla ramped up production. But even with an aggressive ramp, it will take Tesla years to fulfill those preorders.

            Shanker expects Tesla semi deposits to be refundable, and by now everyone knows that putting down some money to get a place in line to buy a Tesla can mean a bit of a wait. But in the short term, if Tesla debuts the semi alongside some industry partnerships and can encourage a healthy pace of preorders, it will have another funding stream at a time when its cash needs are rapidly intensifying.


            Business Insider

            What size battery could propel a semi 300 miles?  Cummins has already unveiled a concept vehicle with a 100-mile range.

            Cummins Aeon concept beats Tesla to the all-electric semi punch
            Scott Collie August 31st, 2017

            While the world waits for a Tesla long-haul truck, Cummins has swooped in with the Class 7 Urban Hauler EV concept demonstrator. The all-electric Urban Hauler, which also paves the way for range-extender hybrid long-haul vehicles, hints at a cleaner, greener future for heavy haulers.

            The new Class 7 Urban Hauler EV, also known as the Aeos, eschews the usual diesel engine for a 140-kWh battery pack and electric motors. That means peak range is about 100 mi (160 km) and gross vehicle weight (GVW) is capped around 75,000 lb (34,020 kg). Extra battery packs could extend that to around 300 mi (483 km).

            According to Cummins, the base battery and electric motors weigh about the same as the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor. The company hasn’t said how much the battery packs weigh individually, but logic would suggest adding extra cells to boost the range will also add some serious weight.



            A 140 kWh battery pack, which weighs as much “as the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor,” yields a 100-mile range… presumably hauling a 75,000 lb load.  At $200/kWh, that works out to $28,000 worth of battery.  Triple that price tag and weight for a 300-mile range ($28,000), sextuple it for a 600-mile range and you get a semi with a $168,000 worth of batteries that can’t haul much more than its own battery packs… Brilliant!  A new diesel tractor trailer runs “anywhere from $110,000 to $125,000 for a new tractor and $30,000 to $50,000 for a new trailer.”  A tractor trailer averages around 6 mpg and has a total fuel tank capacity generally between 100 and 300 gallons.  This yields an unrefueled range of 600 to 1,800 miles.

            If we use an average fuel capacity or 240 gallons (2 x 120-gallon tanks), a typical tractor trailer can haul a heavy load 1,440 miles.  If a 140 kWh battery yields 100 miles of range, it would take 14.4 140 kWh battery packs to yield a 1,440-mile range.  Even if the cost of batteries falls to $73/kWh and the energy efficiency doubles by 2030, the 1,440-mile battery pack would cost $146,765 (2,016 kWh @ $73/kWh) and it would weigh 7.2 times as much as “the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor.”

          • Obviously, the technology doesn’t yet exist to provide a 1500 mile range out of an electric truck, but most truck trips aren’t that long to begin with. For regional trips, that range is plenty, especially if the company in question has a central facility where the trucks originate from. They can charge at the depot and potentially at the various drop points along the way. An electric truck can easily provide savings of $30/100 miles, so any operator that can benefit from that will jump at it and I realistically expect that even over-the-road carriers will find a way to make that work for them.

      • Let me see if I have this right.
        The fact that we are using less coal means that oil prices have collapsed.
        Almost no oil is used to generate electricity.

        BTW, wind and solar haven’t reduced the use of coal and natural gas at all.
        The reason is simple once you get your simple minds around to dealing with reality.
        Since wind and solar are unreliable, those coal and nat gas plants have to be kept running ready to take over at a moments notice.

        • No, you don’t have this right. No one said anything about coal usage, though if you want to broach the subject, then I presume that you are aware that its use in electricity generation is way down largely due to natural gas. Solar and wind aren’t “unreliable”, they just don’t work at certain times. However, they produce way more than necessary at others. The obvious solution is to store that excess and release it to the grid later when the solar or wind isn’t producing. Solar, wind, and battery storage are complimentary to each other and basically eliminate the need for other types of power plants.

        • Mark W

          Wind and solar have actually in creased the use of oil and coal by the simple fact that all of their components are made from oil products, use oil products and coal and its products in their manufacturing to their installation and maintenance to delivering it to the main grid and return lines…and use electricity from all sources in their creation.

  59. “There is also a small percentage of users who do a high daily mileage as part of their work.”

    Hey, pally boy, would you let me know what planet you’re living on? Tune into any Chicago station (WGNTV, ABC7 Chicago, NBC 5 Chicago, WFLD 32 Chicago)
    some time during morning or evening rush hour. Those lights you see are people driving INTO the city for work or driving OUT OF the city after work. It should be real interesting now, especially since winter approaches slowly and cloudy skies morning and evening make commuter traffic lights much more obvious. Almost all the people who work in Chicago and commute from the outer neighborhoods or from the suburbs DRIVE, not to mention cargo/commercial transportation of goods like FOOD, which is kind of a BIG necessity for people who work ahd/or live there.

    Here’s a bit of personal experience, Buzzboy: I worked IN Chicago for 30 years. I lived there form 1976 to 2005, when I got fed up with city landlords and moved to the suburbs. I took the bus to work morning and evening until I moved to the ‘burbs and started DRIVING to the train station, took the TRAIN into the city, and took the BUS to work from there and BUS to TRAIN to CAR when I went home. Got that part so far? If you live in the suburubs of almost any US city, you have to have a vehicle to get around. Fortunatley, I have found that the buses and taxis where I live are very reliable, on time, and affordable, but I still have to walk over a mile to get to the bus stop and get home.

    Your notion that this will all somehow be resolved by using electric vehicles completely ignores the simple fact that not everyone has a place to recharge a car or truck, that a commuter vehicle like a taxi doesn’t have an 8-hour time span to recharge to go pick up the next passenger, and that crappy weather like we usually get in the northern parts of Illinois – well, the whole state, really — is NOT conducive to the use of electric vehicles.

    If, for example, I decide to go visit my sister, I have to drive there. Airfare is ridiculously overpriced and not worth the cost to me. There are NO trains from Chicago to where my sister lives. Therefore, to get to her house from my house – a distance of some 325 miles – means that an electric vehicle is not only NOT a good idea, but would leave me completely stranded in the middle of the cornfields, wondering if I can make it to some farmer’s house in the distance to recharge the stupid thing, while I wait 8 freaking hours for that to happen, never mind the return trip.

    I don’t know what you’re smoking, but please stop and spend some time in the real world.
    That’s where the rest of us live.

    And if my comment annoys you, that’s tough bananas. I deal in reality. You do NOT.

    Personal insults removed Mod.

  60. Above Griff brought up the subject of London, so let’s talk about the UK shall we?
    Not only are the Vehicles Subsidized, but currently the fuel for them is also subsidized as well.
    The price of a litre of petrol is made up of various components, one of which is taxation, which is approximately 60% of the overall price.
    The tax on Electricity is 5%.
    So when they say Electric vehicles are slightly cheaper to run than FF vehicles, how much more expensive would they be if the users of EVs had to also pay the extra 55% Taxes?
    The next question is how are the Government going to replace the current 60% fuel taxes which they use to balance their books?

    • “The next question is how are the Government going to replace the current 60% fuel taxes which they use to balance their books?”
      By mileage charging using the GPS systems that are fitted to most/all new cars?
      There are all sorts of options there of course, time of day and density of traffic surcharge spring to mind.

    • The UK govt tax take if there’s no petrol to put it on is a good point.

      (are they hurting from the decline in smoking, given tobacco taxes???)

  61. Lithium is element number 2 and very common in the earth’s crust, and cobalt isn’t rare; but changes will come in battery technolgy. It has become the holy grail of Physical Chemistry.

  62. I stopped reading at the straw man description of an internal combustion engine. Why should I read your (possibly) ill-formed opinions on electric vehicles when your actual ill-informed opinions on ICEs is readily apparent.

    Try again.

  63. Like it not, EV’s are the long term future, especially as the next cycle in oil prices takes place. Anyone who thinks that oil prices will stay cheap forever will have their head handed to them. We have seen this movie before, so many times, but demand will balance out supply soon, as we already see oil creeping up past $55. Everyone is pumping more oil to make the same money from a lower price, and that will not last long. As every other oil cycle has shown us. We are not running out of oil anytime soon, just very cheap oil. And that will dictate the price efficiency of EV vs. ICE over the long haul (10-15 years) and advances in overall efficiency in EV price and technology will come from scale, also over time.

    The pendulum is swinging in favour of EV’s over the long term, just as the pendulum is swinging in favour of (realistic) hard climate data over CAGW. When temperatures don’t match models as we already see with the Pause, the jig will be up for AGW from CO2…unfortunately you never get rid of the Catastrophe because that is human nature, hard wired into our collective consciousness from…constant human catastrophe over our evolution. Get used to that monster under the bed.

    The obvious solution for the modern EV is an ultra small onboard innovative 15-20 Kw (25-30 Hp) ICE generator or mini fuel cell running at max efficiency. That gets rid of about 90% of the actual EV problems such as winter driving, range, heating and/or AC. There are technical solutions to a lot of things that any good team of mechanical engineers will be able to sort out. Highways will have an induction rail buried in the pavement that will charge EV batteries on the fly, and new electrical infrastructure can be installed over time to meet charging requirements in rural and business districts. There is absolutely nothing that can be overcome right now, if an ultra small onboard innovative 15-20 Kw (25-30 Hp) ICE generator or mini fuel cell can be installed as an option for the modern EV today.

    Camping, or off grid cabin at the lake, will be really cool with unlimited electric supply wherever you go with your Plugin Hybrid EV Jeep, although for most of the time, these vehicles will operate as plugin Battery EVs. Best of everything!

    • “ultra small onboard innovative 15-20 Kw (25-30 Hp) ICE generator or mini fuel cell running at max efficiency”
      Magical thinking. As long as you are are at it, why not just wish for Mr. Fusion?

      • Hang around here another 10 years MarkW, and you will see that induction charging is not science fiction. I will bet on that one. It is not a leap to put them in roadways, charging moving vehicles. The tech is already being used commercially in stationary applications to charge an electric bus fleet while at rest at bus stops.
        Making that commercial to a moving car with buried induction coils in roads is the next logical step.

        You probably never thought the internet would amount to much 25 years ago, or we would ever need more than 64K of RAM in our computers either. Just like Bill gates said. You obviously don’t have a futuristic bone in your body, and can’t think of anything new ever becoming practical. Complete failure of imagination.

      • Earthling2,
        The point I was making is that it’s easy to *claim* that some new innovation right around the corner is going to make your argument valid. But that’s just a cheat. Wishful thinking. As long as you are in that mode, may as well go big, like Mr. Fusion. Look, I was a young lad when Neil Armstrong was on TV bouncing around on the moon. We were all sure that by 2001 we would have real space stations like in that movie. And in the 70’s everybody was sure the fuel shortages would encourage someone to come up with the 100 mpg carburetor. Neither happened, along with a pile of other predictions which seemed very reasonable at the time. I’ve learned to be very careful of extrapolating current trends too far into the future. Reality has a way of biting you in the behind.

        I’m sure that someday we’ll have practical electric vehicles which will replace most of the ICE versions, but it won’t happen any time soon. So I tell you what, why don’t we table this discussion for a few years and then we’ll get back together and see just who is the ignorant one.

    • “ultra small onboard innovative 15-20 Kw (25-30 Hp) ICE generator or mini fuel cell running at max efficiency”

      As I mentioned upthread, Mazda is working on this and says it will release it in 2-3 years, using a small rotary engine.

    • Anyone who thinks that oil prices will stay cheap forever will have their head handed to them.

      But the mpg goes up, so there is compensation for that assumed oil/fuel price increase. The times of the old gas guzzlers are coming to an end. It is fuel efficiency that, in that race, finishes first.

      • With advances in fuel efficiency the big SUV and trucks have made a comeback. Now manufacturers are putting V6’s in place of V8’s that have nearly the same fuel mileage, because it takes as much power to move the same amount of weight and when under a loaded condition get worse mileage than the V8’s had. If the V8’s run at lower rpms at a sustained speed than the V6’s do at higher rpms the whole purpose of the V6 is defeated. An ICE engine that is bigger than needed for the vehicle can achieve lower mpg when driven without fast acceleration, than an under powered engine that requires higher rpm just to get it moving and maintaining higher speeds if the gear ratio is not adequate. Newer vehicles have addressed that with more than 3 or 4 gears that older vehicles had. Now 6 to 8 gears or levels in automatic transmissions is common to reduce rpms at most driving speeds.

    • Earthling2
      “Highways will have an induction rail buried in the pavement that will charge EV batteries on the fly”

      Ain’t science fiction wonderful. Describe for us how this rail induction transmits energy to the vehicles. Do you have an operating frequency in mind? How much current will power a highway full of cars? How do you overcome the huge reduction in efficiency resulting from the necessary air gap? Tell us how you achieve induction without coils. And there’ll be a whopping power factor so you’ll need a shipload of capacitors. Or a flux capacitor, yeah that should do it.

      • Slacko November 6, 2017 at 5:19 am

        Get with the program Slacko…it is already being done commercially with the last iPhone release. Some electric bus routes in Italy are already doing it commercially at extended bus stops where the bus parks above induction coils and recharges its batteries. The next phase to put buried induction cabling under roadways is definitely not science fiction. Google key words ‘buried induction charging’ and inform yourself how the technology actually works.

      • Beyond that, how do we get sufficient power to those induction coils to keep 10’s of thousands of cars zooming along at 60+mph?
        How much is it going to cost to rip up the millions of miles of road in this country in order to put induction coils under them?
        At present, an induction coil where the two coils are about 12 inches away each other will be less than 10% efficient. Electric motors are so efficient because the stator and rotor are tiny fractions of an inch apart.

        I love it when dreamers start telling us how there vivid imaginations are actually visions of the future that will surely come to pass if only we spend enough OPM (Other People’s Money) on it.

      • Thankyou Earthling,
        So now it’s coils, not a rail. I’m greatly relieved that induction therefore looks possible. I’ve known about the coils buried at bus stops for quite some time. A bus is usually stationary when it is stopped, yes?
        But like MarkW I’m still wondering how much power would be required to charge thousands of moving cars at once on a single stretch of road.

      • Cellphone inductive charging and inductive charging of cars is not the same thing. Cellphones use low voltages, cars would require much higher voltages to be useful. The coils in the cellphone charging system are just a few millimeters apart, whereas cars will be anywhere from 10 to 20 centimeters. Since charging efficiency decreases with the square of the distance, the coils will have to be massive to make it worthwhile. You can’t change the laws of physics by imagining some new technology either. Building massive inductive coils into all the major roads is impractical. What we need is better portable power storage systems. That’s not an easy task either, but it is doable – eventually. As much as I wish it were true, practical electric cars are NOT right around the corner.

    • I love it when people who demonstrably know nothing, tell us with 100% certainty what the future holds.

      • MarkW…you obviously know little about engineering of any kind. For the length of time you have been here on this blog, I thought you would have at least learned something by now. Snark and snipe at other people, is almost your only quality. Never an original thought out of you, and usually some lame one sentence reply. Complaining and whining is how you sound most of the time.

      • I love it when people write thousands of comments – actually 10s of thousands – attacking other people’s work while never, ever producing links supporting their criticism. Just make claims and try to get away with it. Sad.

  64. The two big flaws with the OPs argument are: the battery problems have NOT been solved, and while the US national average daily drive may only be 30 miles, there are enough times in the life of a vehicle that much longer ranges are required. Hybrids can potentially address these issues, however they also give up one of the EVs big advantages: simplicity.

  65. All sophistry! Marketing claims, dodgy numbers and nonsense.

    A) The ex CEO of GM referenced is Rick Wagoner who left GM after decades of bad decisions and almost a decade of bad decisions as CEO.
    Included in the original article is:

    “The Harvard graduate, who joined GM straight from business school, labels 2005 as his annus horribilis. General Motors lost $10.6 billion. The stock price lost half its value. General Motors now has a lower market capitalization than struggling Fiat, the sick man of the European car industry…”
    “He further admits that GM’s product performance, over the past decade or so, has “been mixed.” (Rick-speak for “We had too many crummy cars.”) ”
    and Rick’s EV comment was:
    “His worst decision?
    “Axing the EV1 electric-car program and not putting the right resources into hybrids. It didn’t affect profitability, but it did affect image.”

    Note the company image reference, not EV sales, profitability or credibility.


    “The internal combustion engine (ICE) is a complex beast which needs lots of air, lots of cooling and which generates large volumes of smelly exhaust. It has a high parts count, is a high maintenance device, and is plagued by noise and vibration. Worst of all it has an absurdly narrow torque band and won’t run at all below (typically) 500 r.p.m. or so. A lot of the complexity and expense in a modern ICE car is focused on minimizing these deficiencies.

    By contrast, an electric motor is a model of flexibility and simplicity

    The basics of consumer vehicles are extremely similar. Internal combustion machines have three major components that are different from electric vehicles; engine, transmission and differential.
    Four wheel drive IC vehicles include a transfer case.

    All four components have survived decades of research and improvements. All four major IC components demonstrate excellent reliability and dependability.

    Otherwise, both vehicle platforms are nearly identical. Only where a twenty year old internal combustion vehicle is easily operated at minimal maintenance expenses, EV’s have battery life cycle problems. EV electric motors fail to demonstrate long term reliability when the car stops running due to battery health.

    John Hardy makes much of noise, vibration and exhaust.
    • a) EV’s are responsible for large amounts of exhaust. Apparently, out of sight is out of mind.
    • a) Noise and vibration are easily minimized by padding. High end EV cars are heavily padded. Low end EV’s may have near silent engines, but their road noises and vibrations are substantial.

    “There is more. The inverter can adjust the motor torque in milliseconds so traction control is far more accurate than for a piston engine.”

    Then why aren’t Electric Vehicles winning races? Car racing is a major sport!

    Originally all vehicles participated in car races; but the onlly serious contenders were steam and internal combustion engines. When the Stanley brother dropped out of racing, steam powered engines also dropped out of serious car sales market.
    For decades, car manufacturers have used car races and racing as their innovation test bed. Improvements proven on racetracks end up in the cars sold to people.

    If EV’s are so dang excellent, prove it in the racing field. Including the Daytona 500 or Europe’s Grand Prix.

    “The first problem was energy storage. Piston engines may be inefficient, but motor fuel packs a huge amount of energy into a small volume.”

    This was a lead into a number of dodgy claims.
    N.B. John’s references appear to describe 1950s internal combustion cars while ascribing nirvana abilities to EV batteries, engines and power systems.


    ” Inside a modern motor controller (sometimes called an “inverter” if the motor is AC) there are a number of huge transistors, capable of switching hundreds of amps. With cunning and some capacitors these can produce virtually infinitely variable output. A modern EV can be inched along at a creeping pace with far more precision than an ICE car equipped with a clutch, and with less effort: no clutch slipping needed.”

    Most modern IC automobiles are purchased with automatic transmissions. No clutch is in an auto transmission drive train. Yes, people can special order cars with clutches. Except for driving through endless traffic jams, I greatly prefer a car with standard trans and clutch.

    Note also, the brief mention of “huge transistors”. Huge transistors on circuit boards where every component should be counted towards the vehicle’s component count.
    When a transistor fails, replacing said transistor could be relatively cheap. Only that isn’t how manufactures work. At a minimum, a failed transistor, connection, condenser, chip, semiconductor, diode, potentiometer, capacitor, etc.; means replacing the entire circuit board at minimum.
    None of this complexity is mentioned, instead all complexity focus is assigned to the internal combustion engine.


    “The advent of modern microprocessors has made it possible to synthesise{sic} three phase alternating current (AC) at the necessary power levels from a battery.”

    Note how that phrase is slipped in. Yet, none o fthe complex energy cycle is actually addressed.

    Starting with that phrase, there is no such animal as a three phase AC battery. Nor is there a single phase (American household current), battery.
    Some major generating facility, somewhere, generates electricity. Nuclear, coal, LPG and Hydro electric facilities directly produce high quality extremely consistent single and three phase AC current that is easily flows to households via transmission lines.
    Households needing three phase AC power must have an electrician wire the house for the power, have an inspector approve the wiring, then have the electric company run a 3phase line to the house. Not a cheap decision.

    Renewables require a different infrastructure for collecting the electrical power and often converting DC current to AC current for supplying the local grid.

    Battery chargers use inverters to convert line electricity to direct current for charging the battery.
    Electric motors using three phase AC power require an on board inverter to convert the DC battery power to 3phase AC.

    Each inverter cycle uses a substantial portion of the energy being converted.

    Then there is this hogwash:

    “Secondly range and thirdly fast charge. The average private car in the UK does about 21 miles a day. In the US, it is about 30. Most people do most of their driving either commuting or local driving.”

    1) There is not any “official” method for collecting vehicle mileage in America.
    meaning all numbers are somebody’s estimate.

    2) The agency in America for official vehicle mileage reports is the Federal Department of Transportation

    Inferring from estimates:
    in 2015, light vehicles traveled an estimated 5,929,807,000,000 miles.

    Where many usage estimates go wrong is taking the total registered vehicles, which does not include farm and other off road vehicles,. That estimate is 256,000,000 vehicles.

    There is a major hitch. America only has 218,000,000 licensed drivers.
    VMT, “Vehicle Miles Traveled” calculates into 74.52 miles dividing estimated miles by licensed drivers.
    N.B. This assume the miles are from 365 days per year.
    Using 5 days per week, i.e. 260 days per year leaves a total of 104.6 miles per day per driver.

    Of course there are other issues. This ignores the big trips and weekend drives. Rest assured the total each car is driven is well above the specious 30 miles per day claimed by John hardy.

    Keep in mind that many households have drivers who rarely drive; leaving the active drivers producing all of the mileage.

    Average VMT means while there are drivers who really do drive only 30 or so miles a day. It also means a substantial portion of the drivers, drive far more than 100 miles per day.

    • Well, Theo, I take it you do not buy into the utopian electric car future.

      In any case, it took me a long read to figure that out. Where is the 2,000 word limit?

      Comparing Europe and Britain and Singapore and some other places that some folks here do is not a good thing to do when dealing with we Yanks. And the majority of folks that commute do not drive 20 or 30 miles to work or to a grocery.

      If I could buy my groceries across the street, take a train to visit my Mom 100 miles away with only a backpack, walk to work or use a tram , then I might consider living within 100 yards of 300 hundred other people and not having a garden.

      But that is not the U.S.A. It’s one of the reasons many folks came to the U.S. and are still literally “dying” to get here. The “welfare bonanza” nothwithstanding.

      The biggie for the EV is how do you get mega amps for all the chargers?

      I cannot fathom the 2 inch diameter cables running up and down the street to the parking lots under the 100 foot tall apartment building to charge all those batteries. ‘course, all those volts and amps will come from “renewable” sources produced with no use of fossil fuels at any step of the way, including delivery of all the materials to the distribution sites. BEAM ME UP!

      Gums sends…

      • “Pat McAdoo November 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm
        Well, Theo, I take it you do not buy into the utopian electric car future.

        In any case, it took me a long read to figure that out. Where is the 2,000 word limit?”

        “ATheoK November 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        All sophistry! Marketing claims, dodgy numbers and nonsense.”

        Missed the first sentence?

        “Where is the 2,000 word limit?”
        Dunno what you’re on about.

        I’ve purposely lived six blocks from one place I worked. The closest thing to nearby groceries was a pizza parlor one block away; they made truly excellent pizza and strombolis, only. Sadly, they were fire bombed in SE Pennsylvania’s Mafia Pizza wars.

        I’ve never lived in an apartment complex/condo unit away from gardens. And I’ve kept a garden even with only a six foot wide section of yard with sun exposure.

        My Father did the same, until he signed into an elder care complex. While there he rallied the elderly to force the complex to provide garden plots for residents to keep.

        All too many people assume some person’s miles driven to work is only applicable to drivers.
        While there are electric trains and commuter vehicles, the vast majority of vehicles, even in Europe, Britain, Singapore are fossil fueled vehicles.

        A utopian electric vehicle dream is pure fantasy at this point.
        When fuels cells made decent advances twenty years ago, I thought for a very brief time there was a possibility. Only the advances did not reduce carrying a tank of hydrogen fuel much below massive explosion risk.

        Until electric vehicles can easily be provided substantial daily sources of energy for all driving needs, my opinion is electric vehicles will primarily remain fantasy.

        Lithium batteries sure haven’t lasted ten years of recharges on any computer I’ve ever owned.

  66. Compare :
    Burn fossil fuels/make engine turn/make wheels turn.
    Burn fossil fuels/make steam/make generator turn from steam/transmit high-voltage electricity (lose power over distance)/convert to lower voltage at distribution center/ transmit short distance/convert to 120v AC/convert to low voltage DC/charge batteries (lose voltage over time)/discharge batteries into electric motor/make motor turn/make wheels turn.

      • “fIEtser November 5, 2017 at 1:12 pm
        A Leaf goes 100 miles on less energy than is in a gallon of gas. How many gas cars go over 100 miles on a gallon again”

        Claimed efficiency is approximately 104 mpg.
        If a leaf could travel 104 miles without needing recharging; which it can not.

        Not a bad efficiency claim for an eggshell with bad crash performances, that benefits from massive Federal subsidies for purchase.
        Utilizable room/comfort inside the vehicle is nil.

        Battery life? Unknown.

        Why are not efficiency losses during charging included in the energy rating? False claims with cherry picked portions of the car’s requirements.

        Why not just use a low power motorcycle or scooter? Easier parking and maintenance with no charging requirements.

        • The 2017 Leaf has a stated range of 107 miles and many people report getting farther. Utilizable room is far from “nil” and the Leaf is far from the only car that didn’t score well on the small front overlap test because it was designed before that was introduced. Battery life is known to be a crap shoot, but at least Nissan is good for the replacement and has even been known to give heavy discounts to out-of-warranty replacements. The EPA MPGe rating does include an estimate of system losses.

      • “Yet, the latter is STILL more efficient on a well-to-wheel basis than the former.”

        For now, maybe. But the forthcoming Mazda diesel/gasoline engine and the GM/Bill Gates linear piston engine will improve ICE efficiency by 1/3 and thereby (I assume) trump EVs.

      • “fIEtser November 5, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        The 2017 Leaf has a stated range of 107 miles and many people report getting farther. Utilizable room is far from “nil” and the Leaf is far from the only car that didn’t score well on the small front overlap test because it was designed before that was introduced. Battery life is known to be a crap shoot, but at least Nissan is good for the replacement and has even been known to give heavy discounts to out-of-warranty replacements. The EPA MPGe rating does include an estimate of system losses.”

        From Consumer Reports:

        “The Leaf’s main drawbacks are a limited driving range of only about 75 miles per charge (based on a 24 kWh battery) and long recharge times”
        “Driving experience
        The Leaf’s driving range can vary dramatically depending on the conditions. It’s battery was good for about 90 miles on good days with gentle driving. But in frigid weather, we saw the range drop to as little as 60 miles because the heater puts an additional drain on the battery. Highway driving also runs the battery down more quickly.”

        Perhaps driving strictly downhill, 104 miles is possible.
        Before weather and temperatures are factored into use and before heating/cooling/radio and other electrical uses are factored.
        N.B. Several “road tests” described driving a Nissan Leaf efficiently requires speeds that present the Leaf as a traffic obstacle or borderline traffic obstacle.

        CR Crash/rollover summary:

        Nissan Leaf introduced in 2011 and redesigned in 2013:

        Visiting the IIHS web site one finds Leaf crash results back to 2011 and small overlap test results back to 2013. All those intervening years without Nissan addressing driver and passenger vulnerability.
        Nissan Leaf crash results:

        “Battery life is known to be a crap shoot”!? Well, you’ve been ignoring experts too; e.g. Retired Kit P’s excellent summation.

        “even been known to give heavy discounts to out-of-warranty replacements”: That is a major warning sign. Nissan isn’t in the business to “give” heavy discounts. Making that claim especially specious.

        EPA has not been trustworthy; especially regarding things eco-loons love.

        • I specifically said “2017 Leaf”, which is ONLY available with a 30kWh battery, not 24kWh like earlier models were. As such, the expected range of the 30kWh pack is 107 miles. Again, the Leaf was hardly the only vehicle with poor scores on the small overlap, though addressing it would have been welcomed. Still, people continued to overlook that and buy the Leaf and I would expect that the 2018s will score better. Of course, all of this really ignores the fact that in many ways, the Leaf is sort of the worst case scenario of mainstream EVs. Newer options have better batteries, better safety scores, and more range for a price that is less than what the Leaf launched with and the industry continues to improve.

        • Thankfully, I don’t have to wish. Most EVs can go 15-20 miles just on the energy used to refine the gallon of gasoline, then more than 100 more on the energy of the gasoline itself.

      • “fIEtser November 6, 2017 at 1:18 pm

        I specifically said “2017 Leaf”, which is ONLY available with a 30kWh battery, not 24kWh like earlier models were. As such, the expected range of the 30kWh pack is 107 miles. Again, the Leaf was hardly the only vehicle with poor scores on the small overlap, though addressing it would have been welcomed. Still, people continued to overlook that and buy the Leaf and I would expect that the 2018s will score better. Of course, all of this really ignores the fact that in many ways, the Leaf is sort of the worst case scenario of mainstream EVs. Newer options have better batteries, better safety scores, and more range for a price that is less than what the Leaf launched with and the industry continues to improve.”

        That is the 2017 Nissan leaf referenced.
        The multiple years was in response to your specious claim that the “Leaf” was designed before the tests.

        The Leaf was redesigned in 2013; where they overlooked crash results in the redesign.

        Multiple sources list the 2017 Nissan Leaf with 24kWH batteries. If you are referencing a larger battery, suddenly, then you should have specified the upgrade from the beginning.

        Every one of your claims has been falsified. 100+ miles in laboratory tests fail to achieve anywhere near that amount in the real world. Hills, A/C, heat, hot weather, cold weather, etc. all shrink the vehicle’s maximum range.
        Vehicle range that is at it’s maximum on that vehicle’s first day in usage and declines every use afterwards.

        When people refuse evidence and continue to make the same bizarre claims; either they are religious advocates or they’re involved in the business. Paid shills are rather common nowadays.
        Of course, simply deluded remains a possibility.

        fIEtser, then you spout off again with more fantasy:
        “Newer options have better batteries,
        better safety scores, and
        more range for a price that is less than what the Leaf launched with and the industry continues to improve.”

        Those crash test results are the latest until 2018 are released.
        Nissan Leaf for 2018 is scheduled to have a 75kWH battery. No mention was made of a body redesign for better safety in crash results.
        Tripling the size of a battery greatly increases battery weight while reducing vehicle efficiency, handling and likely safety.

        “Better batteries” is fantasy. A fantasy claimed by enviro-loons for several decades.

        Then you state this little claim:
        “the Leaf is sort of the worst case scenario of mainstream EVs.”

        Imagine that?

        One shouldn’t forget that EV marketing claims explicitly overlook the total cost of charging EV batteries; especially energy loss converting A/C line voltage to DC battery charge. That total power required to charge a battery should be used for determining the energy “efficiency” of a vehicle.

        • The BATTERY was redesigned for 2013 and a couple of options were tweaked, but the Leaf received no real redesign until the recently-announced 2018 model. I didn’t reference battery size because the 2017 only had one option (at least in the US market): the 30kWh. Any source listing the 2017 Leaf as having a 24kWh battery is wrong because Nissan removed that option and made the 30kWh standard across the entire line for 2017. As such saying “2017 Leaf” implicitly means the 30kWh version.

          Furthermore, the 107 miles of range quote is based on the EPA test cycle which generally tends to be way more realistic than others. (For example, the NEDC test from Europe lists the 2017 Leaf as having something like 180 miles of range.) Just like with the MPG rating that gas-powered cars get where some people get better mileage than is listed and some people don’t, some people also exceed the stated range and some don’t. MPG ratings also vary based on terrain and weather conditions, so it’s really rather unrealistic to expect that EVs will always get their stated range when no other car does.

          Finally, my the Leaf is far from the only EV available on the market today. Again, newer options, aka not just the Leaf, are available that DO exceed it in every category listed. If you want to ignore that fact, that’s your problem. But that doesn’t make it less true.

      • “fIEtser November 6, 2017 at 5:38 pm
        The BATTERY was redesigned for 2013 and a couple of options were tweaked, but the Leaf received no …”

        More claims and specious excuses; including conflating statements.

        I provided links and references.
        You, fEItser have only provided wild claims.

        Consumer Reported and “Road and Track” reference a 2013 “redesign”.
        Your hand waving regarding a “battery redesign” fails to address Nissan Leaf’s bad crash results. In fact, the hand waving appears to solely be misdirection.

        Your specious claims for future “better battery” and “better safety” are baseless predictions. Nor has the current Nissan leaf demonstrated either; as those safety tests include 2017.

        • So again, I never said that they got good test scores and again, the 2013 “redesign” did NOT address the frame. And as I said before, the Leaf is in many ways the worst case scenario of EVs that have been available thus far. The Leaf isn’t the only EV on the market anymore. Other options do exist and they score better in safety tests, have more range, and have better battery management that the Leaf has had up until this point. That is a fact, but you’re still stuck on the Leaf.

  67. Used Prius cars are in demand in Mongolia due to their ability to operate in very low temperatures (as well as for tax reasons and reliability). There are also mountains of used batteries that pose an environmental hazard. There is no defense necessary for a product that consumers really want. Even poor, not well educated Mongolian sheep herders can figure out what make sense for them.


    • July 19, 2017 11:48 am JST Mongolians love their Prius hybrids

      A secondhand model carries price tag of $2,000 to $6000

      SHUNSUKE TABETA, Nikkei staff writer

      Toyota Priuses like these at a dealership in Ulaanbaatar are held in high esteem in Mongolia because they need little fuel and for their ability to get through the country’s harsh winters.

      Vehicle breakdowns can quickly turn into matters of life and death in Mongolia, where grasslands cover most of the country and winter temperatures can drop to around minus 30 C. This makes drivers more concerned about quality and credibility than anything else.

      So Munkhada’s maintenance department has a staff of Japanese engineers on hand.

      The three authorized dealers’ combined unit sales last year surpassed the 1,000 mark, far outpacing sales at dealerships that handle European and American marques.

      Combined unit sales greater than 1,000 vehicles per year!
      At $2,000 to $6,000 per car; plus local dedicated Japanese Engineers…
      Be still our beating hearts.

      Another specious claim, busted!

  68. “but those are really just engineering issues”

    Let this engineer explain, it’s the battery stupid!

    I worked in the power industry. If BEV were even remotely a good idea, I would own one.

    If solar panels were a good idea, I would have them.

    Engineers like me are not demographic for marketers of junk.

    I do have a hobby. Sailing! I have no illusions that it will again be a practical form of transportation. It has an flat head tractor ICE in case the wind stops. If the ICE needs to be replaced, there is an electric drive that recharges the battery when there is enough wind to turn the propeller.

    Noticed I used the word ‘if’. If the Ford F-150 stops being the best selling truck and if the Toyota Corolla stops being the the best selling cars, maybe BEV will increase market share.

    However, people buy BEV to be different. BEV would stop being ‘cool’.

  69. This unit on the link below will allow ev cars to carry their own 240v AC power supply to charge car batteries. In a car with 2 batteries one will be charged while the other is in use, and swap the charging as and when.
    It is based on moving coil bass loudspeaker drive units.
    I have been sending it around to many car manufacturers.



  70. This unit on the link below will allow ev cars to carry their own 240v AC power supply to charge car batteries. In a car with 2 batteries one will be charged while the other is in use, and swap the charging as and when.
    It is based on moving coil bass loudspeaker drive units.
    I have been sending it around to many car manufacturers.

  71. Like many great plans they don’t hold up as the numbers get bigger or conditions get less favourable. While people often don’t go long distance more than a few dozen times a year in the UK (half dozen too small), those long trips are often at the same times that everyone else gets on the roads. Christmas, Easter, kids holidays, bank holidays. Just look at a service station car park on those days. You won’t be usng the loos and having a meal, you’ll be queuing for the chargers and woe betide you spend too long away from your car because there will be a dozen furious drivers when you come back. With a high numbers of EVs on the motorways, even ordinary days would see many more people needing a decent charge.

    Imagine if you’re caught in a masive queue on the motorway or it starts to snow. What do you do if you need to go out before you’ve had a chance to charge up? The quality of a vehicle is as much about how well it operates in adverse conditions as at best.

  72. Another thing to remember The EV ranges mentioned are not at highway speeds.

    Also the neat ” cans” in the photo are surrounded by 1200 pounds of battery.
    What is t environmental footprint of that?

  73. The bottom line is this: If you like EVs, and you think an EV is right for you, then by all means, get an EV.

    Just stop asking the rest of us to subsidize it.

  74. For EV..ils to become forced upon us and/or commonly accepted, recharging forecourts (whether at a Mac’s or Costco) will need lots of stalls (read lots of acres, which the store..owners / franchisees will be reluctant to cede) and banks of black..belching diesel..gen..sets for when sun and/or wind is off..grid and/or what power is available is rationed..over to essentials like Hospitals. That’s assuming every subscribing Mac’s and Costco can be re..wired to take the demand of bays..full of simultanously recharging EV..ils…… failing which, 100% reliance on belching diesel gen..sets.
    The n’bours are going to be really pleased with noise and pollution.
    It would be beautifully ironic for Griff to have such an EV..ils’ reharging station next..door to him …. out of the Fry..Pan, into the fire, buddy!

  75. I would like a small two door two seat hatch back to run around town.

    They don’t make one gas or electric.

    If they did, and they were similarly priced, I’d go with the electric.

    Uh – what about heaters and air conditioning especially heaters?

    Didn’t read all comments maybe someone covered that part.

    I don’t give a flying crap if electric cars are “Good” for the environment or not.

  76. Toronto used to have buses that ran on electricity powered by an overhead grid. They were similar to street cars. Could something like this could be installed on major inter-city routes? I guess the electricity flowing through the grid would have to be frighteningly strong.

  77. And what use is electric cars in the long distances in Australia? I am talking of long distances without a power pole in sight.

  78. There are old technologies that are being ignored by the manufacturers that can make these electric vehicles better. The will not do it because it will make them energy independent and not need a source of external power.

    I challenge you to look up free energy on the internet. Where by using a small electric motor and a flywheel can power a larger electric generator. Since you would be driving a vehicle with electric motors powered by a battery anyway. Having a flywheel system to a generator to keep the battery charged, would require a smaller battery that reduces vehicle weight and can eliminate any outside charging source, by using a small electric motor that keeps running the flywheel/generator as long as the key is on. With the current regulated to keep the battery at optimal temperature variations. Overheating batteries is the main problem with most of these current systems. Causing them to degrade and reduces performance. By incorporating an HVA/C system for the battery pack would be possible with a onboard charging system with a smaller battery and equalize the weight back to the heavier bigger battery.

    As with everything there are positives and negatives. Moving weight requires more energy. But an onboard charging system would eliminate any outside charging system and create a longer traveling distance and reduce the long charging times to cooling time if no onboard cooling system is added. By using a HVA/C the H being heating for cold weather startups, that electrons move slower when cold. A negative would be the diameter of the flywheel that needs to be vertical for gravity to make them work. So some car designs may be affected.

    Automotive companies are moving away from the ICE with plans to eliminate them in the 2020’s. That places power plants needed more and more to handle the increased urbanization. We – here – realize the farce of renewables that are weather dependant. But Nuclear is never going to be incorporated into vehicles for the common mankind use with all of its regulations. Even though normal gasoline is as explosive as carrying boxes of TNT in your family car. And a big battery pack is extremely explosive when damaged. I like the scene in the movie “I Robot” when Will Smith gets out his crotch rocket and his partner gets panicky that it runs on gas.

    Well that’s my 2 cents on this.

    • Another name for a flywheel is gyroscope.
      If you had enough energy in your “flywheel” to drive your car more than a few miles, the car would flip over every time you tried to change directions.
      Beyond that, when a fly wheel fails, it always fails catestrophically. It ends up releasing 100% of the energy stored in the flywheel in a matter of milliseconds.
      Can you say boom, boys and girls?

  79. If electric vehicles are not subsidized with tax payer dollar$, they will need no dissembling, disingenuous ‘defen$e’.

    Free markets and informed, rational consumer are very good at deciding what provides the greatest utility for dollars expended!

  80. Well, if someone gave me an electric car, I might keep it to go to and from work. (About a 15 mile round trip.)
    But, I’d most likely react the same as if someone gave me a Picasso. Instead of hanging it on my wall, I’d sell it and buy something I liked.
    To each his own.

  81. Auto makers are not primarily engine makers. Engines are a big part, but not the all-and-all of automobiles. Witness the ease with which Prius and others electric/gasoline hybrids have entered the market with little or no disruption. Heavy haul trucks will not be electric for a long time yet — and the same may be true for work trucks of all types.

    Auto makers will not be threatened by the shift to electrics as the technology advances and societal infrastructure adapts to their adoption.

    For the next decade or so, electrics represent an opportunity to have more offerings to the public which can be parlayed into more sales.

    The problem is similar to the adoption of natural gas/propane vehicles….the practicalities have limited their introduction — useful if one has a fleet of vehicles that returns to a central yard each night and doesn’t travel past the fuel range during any one day. But the general pubic needs cars that can be driven all day and fueled up on the run without major delays or hunting around for a rare fueling station.

    Same with electric — if it is your “housewife/househusband car” — just used to drop the kids at the local school and run to market, but spending most of its time in the garage plugged in, then all is good.

    Most homes are not equipped to charge an electric car quickly — it requires a 240-volt/50 to 60 amp dedicated outlet and special charging equipment — this is to charge overnight — NOT 20 minutes.

    DC fast charging uses direct current (DC) rather than household alternating current (AC) and is very high-powered. This means that only public sites dedicated to DC charging, often along highways, are practical—given the higher cost of the utility having to install dedicated high-power lines.” [ link ]

    The shift to all electric cars still requires breakthroughs in energy storage (batteries) and major societal infra-structure changes.

    Think of the changes necessary to install an additional 60-100 amps of 240 volt power to every home in your suburban neighborhood — that’s per car, btw, so double for two-cars households. Since most older homes have only 100-200 amp service, and the street power lines are designed for that times the number of homes, it may require rebuilding the entire city distribution grid, in addition to running new service to every electric-car home. Not going to happen fast.

    Note: This electric distribution problem occurred in the past with the attempt to shift to all-electric homes — few neighborhoods had the distribution gird necessary to upgrade all the homes to 200 amp service. Now, more is needed “Modern houses are generally built with 200 amp panels, and a lot of the newer ones are going 300-350 amps as more and more electronic devices and fancy and high-demand kitchen devices and increased lighting are used in homes.”

    • A 15 amp 110v circuit charges my Leaf overnight, typically in about 5 hours for my usage.

      A 240v 50A circuit provides around 12kw. An hour of charging at this rate provides about 48 miles of range. Average person drives 30 miles a day.

      Houses may be built with larger meters but that isn’t because they are actually using that much power. For example, if a homeowner was actually using 200 amps at 240 volts, as you suggest, it would cost them $138 per day at an average cost of $0.12/kwh. That’s $4,147 per month. Doesn’t happen.

      The higher capacity and larger wires provide for lower losses in the conductors and prevent voltage droop when large loads such as air conditioners start up.

      • Or when charging your electric car with 240 volt fast charge DC charging systems. Obviously houses don’t continuously use all 200 amps of power — but the power must be available. Installing fast chargers on homes will probably require upgrades to the main house feed.

  82. Anthony – There is a possible future solution that eliminates the need for fast-charge. Electric trains and trams do not carry the energy needed for their journey, they draw it in as they go. When roads can supply energy for EVs, then EVs will be able to go any distance non-stop. (They may still have to carry the energy needed for unequipped minor roads, but on a typical long journey this would be a minor part).

    • MJ,
      By “unequipped minor roads,” I presume that you mean the majority of the mileage. Have you ever been out of the city? Who is going to pay for using the ‘non-minor’ roads, and how will the power be metered so that everyone pays their fair share?

      • Technology has a knack of not matching prediction, so I need to tread cautiously and not actually predict anything!. The concept is that an electric train doesn’t carry it’s power, so maybe an electric road vehicle wouldn’t have to. I don’t see any particular reason why all major roads wouldn’t be equipped to supply power when they have worked out a cost-effective way to do it. I envisage power being supplied from within the road itself (, but that might not be necessary (eg. And I see no reason why each EV’s offtake couldn’t be measured reliably – a tamper-proof meter in the EV would work but there would be better solutions.

      • One minor detail. Cost.
        Second minor detail, safety, High curent or high voltage electricity kills.

      • First off, powering trains off of overhead lines is mostly in cities and other high traffic corridors.
        The vast majority of track miles are not powered. The train carries it’s power source in the engine. Usually diesel/electric.
        Secondly, compare the number of road miles in this country to the number of track miles.
        Thirdly, cars aren’t trains. Trains go from a to b and back again, over and over. Cars on the other hand go everywhere to everywhere, you will have to modify your power system to allow cars to switch from one road to another, heck you would have to modify it just to allow them to switch from one lane to another.

        It’s one thing to just declare something a good idea, it’s another thing entirely to actually make it work.

    • When I was a kid and visited my Grandparents, they didn’t have trolleys anymore but they did still have buses that ran on overhead electric power. That city no longer has them. Perhaps subsidies will bring them back?
      (Maybe even the trolleys?)

  83. ‘there is no intrinsic problem in reaching a 20 minute charge.”

    Horseradish. Charging is pouring electric energy, the common measure of which is KWh (1 KWh=3.6MJ) into the battery. The rate at which the energy flows is measured by Watts. The relation Watts = Volts × Amps is definitional. A common household circuit is fused at 15 Amps and 120 volts. Ergo, Such a circuit carries not more than 1.8 KW. A dryer circuit is 30 Amps at 240 volts or 7.2 KW. An 85 KWh Tesla could take more than 12 hours to be fully charged.

    If you want to charge faster, you must increase the voltage or the amperage of your charging circuit. Get ready to don your rubber boots, rubber gloves, and safety glasses. Further, if you are charging faster you will drain the grid faster. Of course you could install super capacitors.

    To move 85 KWh in 20 minutes, you will need a circuit to that can deliver 255 Kw. If you have a 720 volt line you would only need 355 Amps. Of course charging that fast will create a lot of heat, maybe you can cool it with liquid nitrogen.

  84. Diesel-electric cars, like diesel-electric railway locomotives would make much more sense as they have long range and good torque. Battery operated electric cars need overnight recharging sources which are not solar and frequently not wind driven, so there is no less CO2 emitted. They also have cripplingly short ranges for Australia where 700km.-1000km. is frequently needed.

  85. We are a long way from an electric flying car. If some countries weren’t so paranoid about their borders, we would all be flying our flying cars in a straight line from A to B (and saving vast quantities of fuel in the process).

    • Airlines are gradually switching over to direct flight, which allows them to fly directly from one city to the next.
      In the past they were required to fly from one navigational beacon to the next. Sometimes this resulted in a path that was more or less direct, but most of the time they ended up having to zig-zag a bit.

  86. The ICE converts solid fuel, liquid or gaseous fuels to mechanical energy .
    The steam engine converts solid fuel, liquid and gaseous fuels to mechanical energy
    This energy is transmitted to the point of use(the wheels for road vehicles) using mechanical or electrical systems.
    Electricity is a means of transferring power from one place (where generated) to another ( the point of use)
    Mechanical transmission is a means of transferring power from one place (where generated) to another (the point of use).
    Electrical transmission systems for vehicles have matured significantly in recent times with the advent of solid state devices and micrcomputers.
    The electric motor does not convert solid fuel, liquid or gaseous fuels to mechanical energy( I’ve used thousands of them).

  87. In two weeks I will drive to Chicago to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is about 360 mile from our house to our daughter’s. It takes about 6 hours. I can make it on one 15 gallon tank easily. There will be no drama if I get stuck in traffic in Gary, which happens fairly regularly. I will probably stop at Exit 240 on I69 to gas up (There is a Pilot and a Flying J there) and pee. It will take longer to pee than to gas up. I will do that because gas is very expensive in Chicago. Do that with your electric car.

  88. Not to mention that in the US the price of gasoline stripped of taxes is on average $1.50 per gallon. If EVmarket penetration were to hit 10 to 20% of the overall vehicle market the price of gas could change to $.50 per gallon therebyfurther changing the overall cost comparison.

  89. >>
    Enter the lithium ion battery. Compared with lead-acid, this stores maybe three times the energy per unit of weight or volume (some a bit more, some a bit less). It has a far longer life than a lead-acid battery, is tolerant of partial charging, has no significant memory effect problems and (critically) can be charged very fast.

    Except, lead-acid batteries are tolerant of partial charging and have no memory effect problems. I think the author is confusing lead-acid batteries with nickel–cadmium batteries.


  90. “F1 designer Gordon Murray unveils lightweight city car”

    Imagine a car so narrow that two can drive next to each other in one lane; a car so small and short that three can park in one parking space.
    Now imagine that the car is built in a shed from glass fibre, recycled plastic bottles and steel tubes, using just a fifth of the material required to build a conventional car.
    Such a vehicle would have the potential to prevent gridlock on the world’s roads as the number of cars quadruples to 2.5 billion by 2020.
    It could also help hundreds of millions of people achieve their dream of owning a car, without depleting scarce resources such as water, energy or steel.
    Well, that car has been made.
    It seats three, weighs just 575kg, has a top speed of almost 100mph and is expected to cost about £6,000 ($9,000).

    Click the link for more detail.

    • Sounds like a death trap to me, especially if it hits a high speed of 100MPH.

      Have you seen what happens to a small car like that if it hits a rough spot or a piece of retread tire in the road, when it’s going a mere 70MPH? I have, Roger. The car was hanging upside down on the concrete lane separator and the driver was hanging halfway out of the car, either unconscious or dead.

      • Murray’s construction technique can be used for large cars as well, something the article mentioned. The cost savings in car-making are enormous, enough to undermine the attractiveness of public transport considerably.

        The small versions would be accident-prone at high speeds in an encounter with some road debris. But that is likely an acceptable risk in most poor countries, where 70 mph speeds would be rare anyway. And the numerous EVs China intends to build will (I assume) be small and vulnerable to the same risks, so Murray’s smaller versions would probably be OK there. His low-cost construction technique would be appealing. His use of recycled materials would appeal to some people.

      • PS: IIRC, Murray’s cars can use any type of engine. ICE versions would, I assume, be more practical for small cars, there not being enough room for a big batter bank. Their gas mileage would be high and their emissions-per-mile low, reducing the attractiveness of EVs relative to ICEs.

    • “Imagine a car so narrow that two can drive next to each other in one lane”

      Unfortunately, I am not that narrow.

  91. I kind of agree that if the cost is reduced, the range increased in the charging time cut down to a few minutes the vehicles would be popular. But that’s sort of like saying if we had some bacon we could make bacon and eggs if we had some eggs.

  92. What are the chances that building millions
    instead of thousands of EV batteries (1200lb)
    will cause an INCREASE in material costs?

    • no no no, sustainability logic does not allow for supply/demand arguments. Your must live in one of those flyover states where they haven’t learned how things work yet.

  93. Americans drive approximately 11 billion miles a day. So let’s see what would be required in terms of electric generating capacity, based on the actual numbers (I’ll use the Tesla S with 70 kW-hr battery), to have an all-electric automobile nation.

    The best range for the Tesla S with 70 kW-hr battery is 265 miles. So there needs to be enough electric generating capacity in place. This would mean about 41.5 million charges to full capacity per day. If everyone insists of fast charging, they’ll have to settle for the 120 kW Super Charger, which does the whole charge in 37.5 minutes.(30 minutes to 80%).

    Now comes the tricky part. In planning for installed capacity, one would have to figure out the time of day at which the maximum number of charges go on at any one time. Presumably not all 41.5 million charges would all take place at once, but the capacity has to be there for what would be the worst case average observed, plus 3 sigma to cover both fluctuations in the number of charges at once and power outages.
    Let’s take a simple case, in which the charges take place at uniform time spacing. So we’d be looking at 1.73 million charges going on at any given moment, cars would be taking 184.4 MW out of the grid. That doesn’t sound too bad. It’s about 208 GW. capacity requirement. Figuring 0.5% for operational outages, and 1.5% for planned outages, you’d need to have 213 GW capacity. The US has about 1,064 GW capacity at present, so the best case is that we’d have to add 20% more.

    But the likelihood is that charging patterns would be vastly different from uniformly spread, is very, very high. In fact, it isn’t spread equally over days of the week. 16% of daily travel occurs on Fridays, That means that installed capacity would have to be 239 GW to cover Friday’s departure from the average. And in all likelihood, people would likely plug in at the end of a work-day, and so a large percentage of charging would be in the early evening. It’s this clustering that would actually drive total capacity requirements. Let’s say that 30% of charging takes place between 5:30 pm Eastern and 9:30 pm Eastern time. That’s an average of 12.45 million charges at any given time.requiring a capacity of almost 1.5 TW – 50% more than we already have.

    Gasoline is storable, and this provides a buffer between supply and demand for the motive juice that electric cars can never achieve. It’s not a small thing.

    • What most fail to understand is that from a low charge is when maximum amps are used and the closer it gets to full charge the amps can reduce to under 10 amps, because charging causes heating of the battery that is read by the fast chargers to reduce damages to the battery. In other words the amount of amps is not a constant.

      • johchi7 “What most fail to understand”

        Hang about! Didn’t you just get through telling us upthread that a flywheel can run a generator to keep the battery charged while defying the second law? Get some sleep.

        • As a durability test driver for a major automotive manufacturer for over 20 year’s. I know things that I cannot divulge do to secrecy clauses in my contract. That aaid. Anybody that has ever watched an EV fast charging knows that the screen shows the rate of AMPS and KW and the state of battery charging. That is how these Fast Chargers work in communications with the EV. Just as the EV’s have onboard dash monitoring of power usages and rate of discharging and the temperature of the battery pack. While testing vehicles, what we do places higher demands than normal drivers would do in the real world conditions…where 1 mile we drive is equal to multiple miles – according to the testing being done – to normal driving conditions. For EV’s a cold battery heats up faster and mileage is reduced with each fast charging, that takes longer to charge from 20% to full charge, from 1.5 to 98% over 2.25 hours to get 93% charge on a hot battery. Where each charging reduces the Amperage starting point and finnishes with a lower amperage going in.

          Like most know-it-all’s you failed to take my challenge to look up free energy. One of the U-Tube video has a man in an obviously depressed country that is building and selling such a device. A smaller electric motor is turning the flywheel and the bigger generator is then engaged. He demonstrates how by connecting the electric from the generator to the electric motor – after unplugging it – keeps the momentum of the flywheel going that keeps the generator running. Then he connects his shop light and several power hand tools to the system all running simultaneously to it. Showing that no other external power source is needed. That is just one of many ways to show it works. Many other people have done this on different scales.

          Take your law’s and trash them. This can be done in many ways of your choice.

      • What you fail to realize is that not only have you not refuted the point, you have actually strengthened it.
        The above calculation assumes a constant charging rate.
        You have shown that the initial charging rate is faster than average, slowly dropping down to below the average.
        The stress on the system comes from the highest charging rate, and thanks to your info we now know that this number is well above the average rate.

      • johchi7
        “A smaller electric motor is turning the flywheel and the bigger generator is then engaged. [Then] by connecting the electric from the generator to the electric motor – after unplugging it – keeps the momentum of the flywheel going that keeps the generator running. …no other external power source is needed. Take your law’s and trash them.”

        I’m pretty sure I watched that video (and several others) a few weeks ago, and could not imagine how he can make energy from nothing. If he has really trashed the laws of thermodynamics, as you advise me to do, then we can all happily go off grid. So I’m wondering if you have constructed such a system in your own garage. Perhaps you could supply some mathematical proof to boost my confidence. I just want to see where the power comes from.

        • Slacko I a not a mathematician and I have a 9th grade education that got great grades, but life has a way of throwing us curve balls and mine was having to go to work to help my family. But simple physics of having a counterbalanced heavy flywheel provides the inertia by taking a little horsepower input to keep it turning and increase the output horsepower. The only requirement is having the RPMs match the requirements of the generator and determining the horsepower needed for it that the weight of the flywheel would have to be as well as how big the electric motor needs to be and the size of the pulley’s. Once that flywheel is spinning and the weighted side falling by gravity, you are just helping to get the weighted side to the top with minimal input, but the draw of the generator under a load would stop it from turning if there isn’t enough power input.

          That these EVs are already supplying power to the wheels at high torque and horsepower diverting a fraction of that to a flywheel to a generator as an onboard power source to charge the battery, as it is needed, while moving…would not be that difficult to figure out. And even adding a small electric motor that draws a fraction of the battery power with a generator that inputs more while just sitting at a traffic light should not be that difficult either. Because these EVs have everything controlled by a computer, the regulating of this would take a little tweaking. Because EVs usually shut down when exterior charging is connected and just turning the system on will disconnect the charger. Yet, braking and going down grade generates power returned to the battery.

          I wish I had the time to take one of my 50 lb iron weight lifting weights to experiment with this myself. Just by grinding a little iron off one side is enough to make it a counterbalanced flywheel. That is what I did with the steam engine I made, I used a 25 lb weight flywheel to run the generator for it and a much bigger generator can be added to that system than the one it is using now. So I’ll use that one for this project…if I get the time and a little cash it will take for materials.

  94. Horses for courses.
    Scott of the Antarctic realised too late that he had sent a man to do a dog’s job.

  95. They’re great for large congested asian cities where the idling of a hundred cars at red lights and stalled traffic is a smelly pollution hazard for pedestrians and for bicyclists like myself. The evidence of that is Bangkok and Chongqing. The other technology that also works is natural gas not just cars but for heavy trucks as well. The evidence for that is Dhaka Bangladesh, one of the most congested cities in the world but with zero smelly pollution because EVERY vehicle there runs on gas.

  96. The value of electric cars is in shifting the source of pollution. This may be a significant criterion when characterizing energy consumption.

  97. Here’s a link to PBS’s history of the electric vehicle. It’s never had the popularity or offered the real freedom of the gasoline-powered car, for a very good reason: batteries aren’t particularly practical.

    In regard to my rant earlier, I’d like all those promoting batteries and how practical they are to remember that batteries have a lifespan of use, including rechargeability, before they become useless. At some point, the galvanic reaction required to make them useful is so diminished that the battery is useless. I have flashlights with lithium batteries that become completely useless after XXX recharging cycles and have to be disposed of, period. They will no longer accept the recharge at all. As a result, they become pollutants.

    All of these things are made with materials that are as polluting as an end product can get. China is awash in dumps with acres and acres of dumped computers, dumped and useless computer parts and unusable batteries and other such things. They have become polluting trash that will not go away, but can’t be turned into something else. I don’t have to make that up. You can find it yourselves.

    You can run all the formulae you want to, expound as many ‘recycle this’ and ‘recharge that’ as you want to, but it will not alter that fact that battery-powered vehicles have less practicality than their petroleum-powered counterparts, and at the end of their usefulness, are certainly more polluting and less practical than my 2001 Ford Escape.

    And here’s one more thing: I doubt that any of you have been involved in a car fire caused by a battery. Well, I have.

    There is NO WAY to stop it, short of disconnecting the leads from the battery terminals to the sparkplugs. It happened to me in 1969 on the way to work from my apartment in Alexandria, VA, to NAS Anacostia, WDC, in the middle of the George Washington Bridge on the Beltway. I had no fire extinguisher and even if I’d had one, in an electric fire it is USELESS. I could not get the lines loose, either. The battery continued to send a charge thru the distributor to the ignition/combustion system in the engine. The only thing that stopped this was someone I worked with yanked the lines off the battery terminals and that cut the power to the fire. The engine was completely ruined. I had to buy a new car.

    My insurance company would not cover the cost of the damage or replacing my car, either. And that is something else you need to think about: your insurer may and likely will refuse to cover your electric vehicle, period, especially with the battery fires that seem to be so common in electric vehicles. In those videos we keep seeing, the battery fire consumes the vehicle entirely, leaving you with a payment for nothing, in addition to which, you may be trapped in the vehicle because you can’t get the doors unlocked and get to safety.

    So if you think electric vehicles are the big answer to everything – well, they are NOT.

      • That was a Dodge and it was almost 50 years ago and Chrysler products were junk.

        I drive a Ford. End of story.

      • Also, skeptical, you just let everyone know that you are completely uninformed as to how internal combustion engines work.

      • You figure out yet where the heat from your fridge or A/C goes yet Sara? When you answer that question, I will take you seriously on batteries.

      • Considering the fantasies you’ve been trying to sell E2, you have no room to complain about anyone else’s understanding.

  98. We have two cars, and use one of them most of the time to drive to work and back. We work together and have less than 10 miles to work. If we had an electric, we would only visit the gas station when we travel out of town to the other side of the state, to visit the kids, or when we pull the trailer out west. So an EV could work for us. I am waiting for a little more diversity in consumer choices. If there was a EV that looked like a Honda Fit, we would buy it.

    One interesting thing about EVs in a snowy environ is that all 4 wheels are under traction control, and I wonder how that improves things, both for acceleration and braking. Maybe this year, I’ll do a test drive in a snow storm…

    • RS …. unless u have a really weird couple of cars you already have brakes on all 4 wheels and likely antilock brakes. Further you may live in a snowier spot than me (last year 1050 cm …. two years ago just over 1100 cms) but I doubt it and trust me the 4 wheel drive or brakes don’t matter in the real slick and deep stuff. What works are the best snow tires money can buy and a good shovel!
      The other thing that u want is a really good heater that can make your car feel like a sauna when it is -20C or colder. Electrics just can’t do that.

    • car heaters don’t seem to work much in just 10 miles, so that doesn’t matter. And, I don’t doubt electric car have brakes on all 4 wheels, but I wonder how them might work compared to conventional brakes, so I will test them.

  99. “The council is also offering residents and businesses $5,000 to install their own charging points and will consider installing faster super chargers around the city in the future.”

    Upmarket Tesla owners would be smiling in a State that has to install diesel generators because it hasn’t got enough reliable power so go figure with these sticky fingered slushfunders and their pet peccadillos-

    • First they want their purchase of the car to be subsidized.
      Then they whine that their fuel of choice isn’t subsidized enough.
      Now they are demanding that other people pay for their charging stations as well.

  100. So how many years will it take me to tow my 20,000 fifth wheel home from coast to coast. I’m a full time Rver, doing contract work for major companies..

    For some, an EV may work, but not me…

  101. Did you consider the massive loss of highway and infrastructure maintenance funding when all cars are EVs?

    In California now, the gas tax is 20c per gallon.

    Another free subsidy we’re paying for the elites driving their fancy electric toys.

    No thanks.

    • How one dimensional. Did you consider that there are other ways to get funding other than gas taxes?

      • “How one dimensional. Did you consider that there are other ways to get funding other than gas taxes?”

        Yeah, I feel your pain. Reality tends to limit the dimensions available for dreaming in!

        Sure, you could tax unicorn manure, fairy turds, and other fanciful items.

        In the meantime, here in this dimension, many EVs are bought for the subsidized free ride provided to the Musk-worshippers: free use of our roads, free charging stations, direct tax credits for their unicorn-mobiles, access to HOV lanes, and much, much more.

        As many others have pointed out, here and elsewhere, without those free rides, demand for EVs collapses.

        Sign me up for the unicorn gas tax hike!

      • you know that you apply once a year for a registration that could have an odometer reading on it. And…

      • Like most of your ideas, this one is too simplistic.
        Yes, they could charge based on total miles driven, but how would that money be distributed?
        Which cities get a share, which counties, which states?
        Not everyone does all of their driving inside a single city or county.

      • “Yes, they could charge based on total miles driven, but how would that money be distributed?
        Which cities get a share, which counties, which states?
        Not everyone does all of their driving inside a single city or county.”

        Like most of your posts, this one is wrong.People cross city and county lines all the time in cars using gas purchased elsewhere. So whatever problem you have envisioned already exists in the ICE world, and we’ve managed to get by.

    • I just took part in a pilot program in California that automatically monitored my mileage and sent me a (fake) monthly bill for the miles I drove to cover highway maintenance, etc. As EV’s become more popular, you can bet that the Government will find an effective way to tax their use to cover highway maintenance. They’re already working on it.

      • Great. But as mentioned above, a huge part of the allure of EVs is that you now DO NOT pay for your use of the highways like us drivers of IC vehicles do.

        It’s the point of government coercion and subsidies–I’m coerced to pay for your highway use, and you’re subsidized for buying Elon’s toys.

        Same with access to HOV lanes for EVs.

        When these subsidies and coercive tactics are removed, who’ll drive an EV?

  102. Coincidentally, on last Friday 3Nov2017 I took my first test drive in a Tesla Model X SUV. Why? Because my young daughter wanted to, and I have always liked the torque-speed characteristic of electric cars.

    I must say the Tesla Model X was a marvel of engineering – a great achievement for any car company with ~100 years of experience, and a truly remarkable achievement for a new company – to build a new model with this quality and sophistication.

    The recharging power source is a problem due to inadequate power lines, but I have written previously about generating one’s own electricity from a household natural gas generator – getting off the grid would allow huge savings in electricity that have been allowed to skyrocket due to costs of grid generation (especially wind and solar), transmission, distribution and administration.

    Cost is very high – about Cdn$150,000, but this will be solved over time.

    I liked it and I hope to see electric cars become a commercial success.

    • “I have written previously about generating one’s own electricity…”

      But Allan has not done it.

    • Allan…a Nat Gas stationary fuel cell would be revolutionary, (no moving parts) and would give Govt’s a kick in the rear end about raising electricity and ‘delivery’ charges. I just wonder if Gov’t and utilities would allow this since you would be able to net meter the grid (say up to 100 Kw as per some jurisdictions) and charge your own EV, as well as provide Distributed Generation to the local grid. As you know, we have enough Nat Gas in NA to last for at least 100 years, if we don’t give it all away via LNG. Using NG as you suggest, would be a solution in not having to oversize the grid, at least not the high voltage Transmission grid or or build additional local generation assets. And NG is as clean as it gets for a fossil fuel and still sense enough fuel to be valuable via a very small gas line to every house as we do in many locations. The waste heat would heat houses in winter, and if a house did have an EV, that could also be a grid load/demand leveller.

      Please ignore my comments on old engineers upthread…I think you have hit the nail on the head. Localized generation and distribution is the holy grail of what we need to do cost effectively. Solar rooftop was a lame inefficient try, but the subsidized cost was too much, and the energy density too low to make a 24/7 difference. Good to see you at least want to see EV’s become a commercial success.

      • Hi Earlthling.

        There are several methane fuel cells in the market. Here is one:

        Not sure how good they are yet, but…


        Hi Donald,

        I can see no rational reason for natural gas rationing in California – it appears to be a result of bad politics.

        When toxic greens and idiot politicians fool with energy systems, bad things happen. The anti-pipeline crowd caused the incineration of ~47 people in Lac Megantic Quebec when an oil train derailed.. This is a tiny fraction of the many tens of millions of lives that have been destroyed by toxic greens over past decades.

        Regards, Allan

  103. “I doubt anything will ever replace electricity since it is 100% efficient at point of use, at the speed of light.”

    Far from it. When current flows, electrical components get hot.

    BEV ignore that motors are less efficient at higher power. Fast charging produces more heat and therefore less efficient.

    Houses in use gas heat where it is available. much more efficient.

    • Nat Gas is cheaper is why it is used. If talking about NG efficiency, then you have to add the compressor stations, the drilling for the gas etc, and a long supply chain including the pipe to get it to you. Yes, there is losses in getting electricity transmitted, (there is no free lunch for anything) but when you finally use it say in a electric heater in your house, it is 100% efficient in so far as converting the elections you get to thermal heat. But of course there is losses, all the way back to the generator including wire, multiple transformers. And so on. But electricity is as pure an energy source as you can get, and I don’t think it will be replaced by anything in our long term future as humans. And it is at the speed of light.

      • The lower cost to the home user of natural gas is an indication that it is more efficient, all things considered, than electricity.

      • Roger,
        Correct homes with electric heat in the NE are expensive to heat with electricity. Nobody wants it today.

    • The most efficient motor system made so far uses steam. To run distillation and other operations at refiners, they don’t use electricity, they don’t use fuel they make, they make steam and pump it around to where it is needed to run motors.

      • Interesting point, I don’t know the split but often a steam turbine is used with a backup electric motor in case there is a loss of steam or to do periodic maintenance on the pump or driver.

  104. Predictably, most of the comments here are critical and narrow-minded; thus the unsurprising lack of facts and the stubborn repetition of canards about EVs as if these are intractable problems inherent to the technology: expensive batteries, poor range, high cost subsidized by government, lack of infrastructure, dearth of rate-earth minerals for motors, etc. The author addressed all of these but apparently none of the critics actually read the article for comprehension. All of these technical problems are solvable. There is no doubt that the power density, charge rate and cycle life of batteries will rapidly improve while the cost goes down. Just because EVs are relatively expensive in 2017 doesn’t mean they will be by 2022. With inevitable technological improvements, it is possible that they will eventually be cheaper than ICE vehicles. It will not surprise me at all if EVs dominate the market in the next two to three decades. I don’t currently own one but I also don’t buy new cars for economic reasons. I would like to own one because my typical travel falls well within the current battery range. It’s the cost that still dissuades me. Eventually they will be cheap enough and I will enthusiastically buy one.

    • You, on the other hand, ignore the current performance of batteries, and the historic rate of improvement in batteries. Sure, someone could come up with a new battery chemistry with the energy density of gas or diesel fuel, but no one has, and those who know potential battery or other energy storage technologies do not expect that to happen anytime soon.
      What the critics of EV’s are addressing is that the advocates act as if EVs were viable for general use now. It is sheer wishful thinking to require something that does not exist.

        • That 300 mile range is nominal, and about as real as the nameplate rating of wind turbines. Actually using heat, or air conditioning, or driving fast on a hilly road will reduce that to something about as real as the portion size on packaged food.

    • “All of these technical problems are solvable.”

      Could be just like we might be able to double or treble the miles per gallon out of our current fuels so why don’t we invest all that taxpayer dough into that? Get the picture with sponsoring noble causes?

      • Did the author or I suggest “sponsoring noble causes”? You made an assumption and you know what they say about assuming things….

        Unlike the vast majority of commenters here, I pay attention to the technology involved in EVs. Batteries are the weakest link. There are numerous labs that have already demonstrated working batteries with much higher power storage density and cycle life but none have made it to market yet because they are a.) new, b.) in some cases more expensive, and c.) require developing a method to scale up manufacturing en masse, which takes time. The current manufacturing lines are designed for Li-Ion technology and need a large capital expenditure to modify them for the newer technologies coming out of labs. The ones likely to be most successful initially are the ones that require fewer changes to the manufacturing process. The fact that there are a bunch of labs showing promising results means a lot of people are working on this and, unlike nuclear fusion which always only a decade away, the labs have demonstrated actual working batteries. Whether or not batteries will ever exceed the power density of petrol is beside the point. Simple economics dictates that if they can be made cheap enough and powerful enough to compete for any applications where ICE power plants current prevail, EVs will take over. Which, by the way, is why so many automakers are jumping on the bandwagon even as subsidies are beginning to expire.

      • Stinkers: You could have written your comment above ten years ago. There have been promising breakthroughs in batteries for decades, but they don’t seem to pan out, which suggests that today’s lab results are likely more of the same dead ends.

      • Glad to see to you are finally making sense MarkW. Maybe there is hope for you yet. A PET scan is indeed cutting edge technology utilizing antimatter, which is a bit more complicated than induction coil charging.

        Antimatter is used practically in medical imaging. A PET scan stands for Positron Emission Tomography, and as we know a positron is a particle of antimatter. During a PET scan, a molecule very much like glucose (sugar) called FDG or Fludeoxyglucose (18F) is put into the body. This molecule is like glucose, so it goes where ever glucose would go. However, it has a fluorine-18 isotope in it, which emits positrons.

        So positrons leave the FDG, but positrons are antimatter and annihilate anytime they encounter an electron (which is matter). This happens, and gamma photons are produced. These gamma photons can be detected outside the body. So, the annihilation event between matter and antimatter can be used to map where the FDG goes and how much of it there is.

  105. Probably the most energy efficient mode of land transportation (aside from the bicycle) ever devised is the railroad train. An ad by CSX, back in 2013, claimed that a train could move 1 ton of cargo 436 miles on 1 gallon of fuel. That was unbelievable to me, until I looked at the engineering handbooks for train design, and did some calculations with the actual power output of locomotives. Turns out, it is true for travel over flat land. But the overall average considering terrain is not that much worse. It’s due to the fact that rolling friction of steel wheels on steel track is almost vanishingly small, and the form drag is against a shape with an equivalent ballistic coefficient of over 50,000 pounds per square foot.

    Diesel electric locomotives, however, are designed differently than hybrid cars. The battery bank in a locomotive is limited in size to that required for short power excursions. The diesel engine itself runs at almost constant power, and through the generator-motor pair drives the wheels with no mechanical transmission loss. Hybrid cars seem to be designed to run on electricity until the battery charge is too low, then start the engine to recharge them.

    That’s nuts. Cruising in an automobile at 60 mph requires about 12 hp (8,940 W). The hybrid design point should be cruise plus enough power to run all accessories (air conditioning being the highest at about 5 hp). An engine that runs efficiently at between 12 and 18 hp would suffice. Battery power sufficient to handle excursions of up to a few minutes. For example, climbing a 6% grade in a 4,000 pound car would require 30 hp at 60 mph (roughly). So the added power requirement would be another 12 hp (with A/C running), or 8,940 W. If the grade lasted for 20 miles (a 6,325 foot elevation change), the battery requirement would be 2.98 kW-hr. That’s one heck of a lot less than what either hybrids or full EVs have. Oh, in those passing situations where you need blinding acceleration, a 2.98 kW-hr capacity could deliver 480 hp for 30 seconds. I’ve never used full power for that length of time.

    The best solution is a hybrid that is more like a diesel locomotive, where the electric part is merely a much, much more efficient way of delivering engine power to the wheels. And a much smaller electrical energy reservoir is then sufficient for transients. On top of all that, you retain the time-damping advantages of the petroleum supply line, and need no new electrical infrastructure.

    • hybrids certainly have a place … as they already do in the current car inventory mix … they aren’t EV’s …

  106. Except of course, the “20 minutes recharge” is likely to be much longer, because you will have to wait for the people ahead of you in the line.

    Other things missed in this one-sided analysis:
    – cost of battery replacement
    – the fire risk of sitting right atop a huge mass of one of the most reactive elements there is
    – the lack of an adequate power infrastructure to charge these things
    – most people don’t have the need or desire to go 0-60 in 3 seconds. My ICE car will do 0-60 in 6 seconds they tell me, but I’ve never attempted it.
    – the massive torque of EVs wreaks havoc with tires. I have heard that Tesla owners go through a set of tires a year.
    – ICE vehicles are today pretty darned refined and reliable. Sure, lots of moving parts, but as long as they are reliable I could care less. I change the oil every 10,000 miles, plus do a few minor maintenance tasks after long intervals and I’m fine through 100,000 miles.

  107. How do you get your fast charge in Oodnadatta, assuming you can make it there in the first place? I guess the road house has to install a large Diesel generator(s), or maybe you could just tow your own trailer mounted generator and fuel supply?
    Likewise with renewables madness already forcing the shutting down Australia’s existing reliable coal power stations don’t even think about building the new ones that would be needed to charge the burgeoning electric fleet. Oh, so it’ll be windmill or solar power? Say no more.

  108. the reason we have been perfecting the ICE (and we have perfected it, its now not uncommon for engines to be able last 200-300 thousand miles) is because they burn the most energy dense fuels in the world, gasoline and diesel. Electric car batteries will never get near the energy density and SAFETY of gasoline, ever.

  109. It would be good to perhaps get an update directly from the horse’s mouth on an update to the purchase of a small EV, maybe as part of the conclusion in article 3?

    Interesting reading from 2008, nearly as old as this blog, from the early days of WUWT. Amazing that a lot of these early commenters are still here…a good read from the time machine when EV’s weren’t all the hype they are now.

    “So, my mission here is simple; I’m not saving the planet, I’m saving money.” Sounds like a good bumper sticker to me.