Posting in Energy
A new study suggests that your EV may only be truly low-emissions if you live in a region that uses renewable energy to produce electricity.
Electric vehicle skeptics have long argued that EVs cannot truly be considered "zero emissions" because they use coal-generated electricity, which in itself produces harmful emissions.
Now, a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists seems to lend credence to that view. In a report to be published Monday, according to The New York Times, the advocacy group compares the emissions of a baseline electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, in different parts of the country.
The report, titled "State of Charge: Electric Vehicles' Global Warming Emissions and Fuel Cost Savings Across the United States," found that given similar driving conditions and distances, a hypothetical Nissan Leaf in Denver would generate significantly more emissions than the same hypothetical car in Los Angeles.
California uses clean energy for much of its electricity. As a result, the Leaf in the Los Angeles part of the comparison would emit greenhouse gases at around the same level as a gasoline-powered car that got 79 miles per gallon. In Denver, where electricity is coal-dependent, the same car would produce the same level of greenhouse gas as a gasoline-powered Mazda 3, which gets only 33 miles per gallon.
In regions where renewable energies are used to generate electricity, the study shows, electric vehicles can reduce emissions significantly. "But where generators are powered by burning a high percentage of coal," said The New York Times, "electric cars may not be even as good as the latest gasoline models — and far short of the thriftiest hybrids."
While Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn maintains that even EVs powered by electricity generated from coal are better than conventional gasoline-powered cars, Nissan's supporting studies indicate that EVs only perform better than cars with fuel efficiency of between 27 and 36 miles per gallon.
Here's one way to look at it, according to The New York Times:
If one region were completely dependent on coal for power, its electric cars would be responsible for full-cycle global-warming emissions equivalent to a car capable of 30 m.p.g. in mixed driving. In a region totally reliant on natural gas, an electric would be equivalent to a 50 m.p.g. gasoline-engine car.
So if you are considering buying an electric vehicle, your geographic location may help you decide if it is worth the investment. See The New York Times' info graphic to see to see how different parts of the country compare:
Photos: Nissan, The New York Times
via [The New York Times]
Apr 15, 2012
They didn't check to see that utilties have excess power Off Peak at night. You can't ramp down a COAL or NUCLEAR or even hydro at night. So if you charge at night your even better than green your energy positive. There are reports that also show even if you had a 100% COAL GRID it's cleaner and better for the USA than burning gas in a 80% inefficient vehicle(ICE car) and at least the coal is not imported at a cost of $1 Billion a day.
Duh! So , what scientist finally applied common sense to common knowledge and made this a news flash? Basic physics- no, grade school science - is all you need to have already figured out that an electric car is responsible for all the pollution generated in it's operation and manufacture.
Tired of the debates. Use LESS. Make incremental improvements in the efficiency of what you are using. Compromise. No, I'm not perfect, and the solutions are not perfect. Currently, I drive a very low emission, high mpg, diesel car. I try to drive less with choices made every day. I wish I was driving a diesel/electric vehicle with regenerative braking. And I wish that next car could be efficiently recharged with wind, solar or other techniques to capture energy so I could further reduce the amount of energy that depends on fossil fuel. The same is true on energy use at home. We have to be able to heat or cool to survive in many climates, but we can use less, and less. More efficient systems, more insulation, more wind, solar or other techniques as they become more affordable and efficient. If everybody made modest changes in their habits and choices, our earth might be able to support us.
I wish all those idiots who keep going on and on about how EV is not pollution free/emission free would just stop. who cares if EV is 100% emission free. it is a better tech (Yes I know it still in the infant stage at this moment but still) that EV is cleaner (a lot less toxic liquids needed to operate) no gasoline, no coolants, almost no oil (some mechanical parts still need oil) just this facts should keep this morons shut, but NO. every time I open email I find a new discussion like this, again and again. Please STOP it. ICE is very, very bad for environment, no matter how glamorous the and improve ICE is made to be it, it is not. It just key to prolonging the use of outdated technology a little bit longer, instead of dropt it and move to something better. ICE was never good, it was just the best tech for the times. Now we have better choice. If it???s sound like a runt, IT IS
I feel like UCS left out the part of how much carbon is takes to make a barrel of oil and transport it to my vehicle (if it needs it). Adding this would make the comparison to EV's an equal one. We can all get into talking about the actual products used in any vehicle and compare the cradle to cradle carbon footprint but it seems the UCS was only concerned about the carbon footprint of the type of fuel used in each type of car. I also like the fact that an EV does not produce any pollutants on a continuing basis. The automobile industry is continuing to find better and better ways of reducing the carbon footprint of any vehicle not because it will save the Earth but because it will reduce costs, improve efficiency, sell more cars and increase their stock price.
They will reduce imported oil. Until we actually find a safe non-polluting source of energy that makes economical sense, we just do the best we can. My car gets power from an electric co-op that buys power from the cheapest source they can get.
The life cycle carbon impact of an EV versus an internal combustion vehicle is certainly relevant to the discussion of overall carbon impact, but this study is an important step in the right direction. In the future, many Net Zero homes and communities with distributed solar will satisfy the needs of both the home and the EV for local travel. Then, longer-term, as batteries improve and recharging networks spread, those Net Zero homes and communities will support EVs for longer-distance travel. It would have been interesting to see that part of the analysis included.
This is great analysis and worth considering as one aspect of evaluating fuel choice for automobiles. Carbon Monoxide and other smog inducing pollutants from gasoline engines are being ignored in this analysis. Shifting the pollution source to a power plant that can be cleaned up via regulation and public investment is a strategic way to reduce dependence on gasoline powered cars. Stationary power plants are technically easier and more efficient to clean up (if indeed the political barriers can be overcome).
I think that most people's reason for buying a hibred car is so they will be spending less money on gas... period.
This study ignores that minerals for batteries are mined in one country, shipped to another country for producing batteries, shipped to another country for installation in cars, and then the car is shipped to another country for sale. It also ignores the energy requirements of the ships, and manufacturing plants. Also ignored are energy requirements of recycling and/or disposal of the batteries. These "green" vehicles are not as green as we are being led to believe. The only "advantage" is that they produce few tailpipe emissions, and don't use as much gasoline. "In regions where renewable energies are used to generate electricity, the study shows, electric vehicles can reduce emissions significantly" - So, if the electricity is produced by renewable processes, adding an electric vehicle does not reduce anything... except and unless it's specifically replacing a gasoline vehicle.
...until the "Union of Concerned Scientists" (for which to be a member, one need not be an actual "scientist", but merely "concerned") issues a report? Well, welcome "concerned scientists" to the club. You're about 20 years late to the party, but we appreciate you finally joining in a true consensus for a change. Perhaps now we can finally have a constructive debate on the "base load" issue. (http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/protecting-the-power-grid-from-electric-vehicles/14982?tag=nl.e660)
This is an often overlooked point in the discussions of EVs real impact on the environment. Unless you can afford to install a dedicated solar panel / wind turbine for 24 hour charging of your EV you would be doing better for the planet to get a high mileage hybrid or even a small standard gas powered car that gets over 40 mpg. You should expect a bitter response from the EV supporters who read this site. They get very annoyed when this topic is brought up.
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if GREEN technology did not carry a premium price tag? I would. But until GREEN tech is more affordable we do not have to tolerate government policies that artificially drive up the cost of more conventional energy resources. The last time I checked the US was not a dictatorship or run by mob rule. I personally will not tolerate either.
I can plug in fantasy numbers of X homes in a community with solar power and the residents driving EVs that get 300 miles a charge after being charged by solar panels and it can all sound wonderful. But until you build those houses, develop that car and prove it can be done the facts are still the facts. In most states EVs are more polluting and more expensive to operate than a modern hybrid. Like it or not, high mileage hybrids are the foreseeable future for reducing the US dependence on oil. The purchase price still needs to come down a bit, but they are currently far more affordable to buy and operate than any EV on the market today. And in most states they are better for the environment. EVs will have their day in the sun. It is just not today.
It is far more efficient to regulate emissions at a relatively few points than at tens-of-millions. But that doesn't mean that they don't make smog at all; it's just made somewhere else.
in reality the clean burning improvements in power plants has not kept up with the improvements in car technology. A modern high mpg conventional car is still cleaner to operate in most states than an EV, and its accociated power plant. And at a lower life of the vehicle cost for the consumer. EVs are close, but not ready for prime time.
It seems to me that in your assessment, you are blatantly ignoring the energy already being expended to pump crude oil out of the ground, ship it from the Persian Gulf to the U.S., the energy consumed to refine it, put it on a truck and deliver it to your local gas pump, not to mention the ongoing cost of keeping a significant military presence in the Middle East. How does creating a battery for a green car differ significantly from mining the fuel that a conventional car uses?
ok, first of all let me apologies for the runt above. It was a long day and this post just struck a nerve. However : #1. it is a different kind of coolant. It is the coolant for the battery which usually are hermetically sealed and does not need to be maintained as vigilant as ICE coolant system. #2. I do consent that at the present type we cannot have a true EV, but must accept an EV with some kind of range extender such as an ICE or a micro turbine that still requires coolant and oil and fuel. However even in this configuration the total maintenance is much less than current ICE only based car As the time between oil changes is greater since the ICE is not working as often and as hard as it would have been in normal car. Also cooling system does not need to be as extensive since a sensor would detect ICE overheating and shut it down before any damage is done. And you still can drive the car for a bit on the battery. Actually an Electric Drive train coupled with micro-turbine for charger is even more economical as turbine does not need oil and can be used with heat-sink instead of liquid cooling system Still a win-win situation IMHO
In no state is a 100% electric vehicle more polluting or more expensive to operate than a gasoline car.?? It takes several oil-burning trucks and ships to transport crude oil, then it takes 6-7 kw to make one gallon of gasoline at a refinery.?? Then the gasoline is shipped in yet another oil-burning truck, then it is pumped by electric fuel pumps into a car which then burns it to go a few miles.?? I know that was oversimplified, but I think I make my point. I think that folks like to take the entire electric production process and tie it to EV's while only talking about tail pipe emissions of a gasoline car.