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Gas vs electric cars: evidence for which is better?

 
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Kenneth,

The newer battery powered tools are truly amazing.  I have looked enviously at the Milwaukee line from time to time I just love how they keep coming out with new innovative tools and increasingly powerful batteries.

I am personally in the Ridgid line and while Ridgid does not have the breadth of tools like Milwaukee, they cover the basics very well and this line is working perfectly well for me.  For my purposes, all I need is the 18v, 4AH battery which I have used all day for hammer drilling and can’t even break the halfway point.

I do have a separate line of tools by Kobalt (40v) and while the tools themselves are very good, their batteries tend to give out easier.  Had I known Milwaukee was going to field a battery chainsaw, I may have opted for that, but then I would still pay triple the purchase price.

Long way of getting to my point is that yes, battery technology is making many previously exclusively gas operated tools into legitimate battery operated machines.  I personally really like the idea of having an electric only vehicle just for going back and forth to work (a 5 minute commute for me on a good day).  I am not certain how well an electric minivan would work, but I could see an ICE/electric version being quite practical.  I even wonder about a pickup truck that used electric as a sort of boost just when starting.  I don’t really think these are around-the-corner ideas but I can see their utility.

Eric
 
pollinator
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Eric Hanson wrote: I personally really like the idea of having an electric only vehicle just for going back and forth to work (a 5 minute commute for me on a good day).  I am not certain how well an electric minivan would work, but I could see an ICE/electric version being quite practical.  I even wonder about a pickup truck that used electric as a sort of boost just when starting.  I don’t really think these are around-the-corner ideas but I can see their utility.

Eric



As a pickup truck driver, I am champing at the bit for an EV option! I was impressed by the torque of the Tesla Model S, when my boss asked for a parking curb in his garage to gage where to stop/park without hitting the car in front (2 car deep garage). We tried a 2x4 laid flat..."Did you put it there? I didn't feel it!?" he says... So we go as thick as the front spoiler will clear, about 2-1/2" and still, the Tesla climbs over it like nothing... The main reason, we think, is the lack of feedback one has in an ICE car, where the engine bogs down and you would need to give it gas to climb over a curb.

I'd love that sort of torque getting off the line! And NO shifting! I'm already looking for third gear at the far side of an intersection! I like your idea of an electric assist, or something like the locomotive diesel generator/electric traction motor combo paired with a battery for startups and regenerative braking...
 
pollinator
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[quote=Kenneth Elwell
As a pickup truck driver, I am champing at the bit for an EV option! I was impressed by the torque of the Tesla Model S, when my boss asked for a parking curb in his garage to gage where to stop/park without hitting the car in front (2 car deep garage). We tried a 2x4 laid flat..."Did you put it there? I didn't feel it!?" he says... So we go as thick as the front spoiler will clear, about 2-1/2" and still, the Tesla climbs over it like nothing... The main reason, we think, is the lack of feedback one has in an ICE car, where the engine bogs down and you would need to give it gas to climb over a curb.

One of the EVs I worked on/with was an electric tractor.  It looked like a riding lawn mower, but it had 4 independently driven wheels and had a huge towing capacity.  If you nosed it up to a wall and then gave 'er, the front wheels would climb the wall.  The owner made one of his first prototypes remote control.  He had a blower attachment for it and would clear the snow off the driveway from in the house.  That was fine until someone not from the neighbourhood drove off the road to avoid the riderless tractor.  They put up signs after that.

The guy bought the first EV from Ford.  They put well over a million into it, apparently, and he bought it for a song years later.
 
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I am also a huge fan of Milwaukee cordless tools. During a typical day at work, I run through five or six of the five amp hour batteries. But I have been known to go through a dozen of those and four 9 amp hour batteries. I recently salvaged about $7,000 worth of lumber from a large duplex. I took out all of the full dimension 2 x 6 and 2x8 in the ceiling and the 2x10 from the floors and also the 6x8 beams. This house had electricity but I don't piss around with cords anymore. I only use a corded tool if I have to do a very large roof cut through several layers of shingles or if I have to cut concrete.

I have cut several buildings completely in half for a house moving company, using only lithium-ion powered tools. Whenever there are loose insulating materials, I use a cordless blower to send the insulation into big heaps against the farthest wall from my cut. When one portion of the building is being thrown out and the other is being kept, I typically blow the fiberglass or cellulose insulation from the discarded portion into the part being kept, before making the cut. Every house I work on gets a top-to-bottom cleaning using my cordless blower.

I have a Lithium-Ion powered bicycle and I have driven a car and a motorcycle powered by lithium-ion. There was plenty of power in all of these machines.

I'm waiting for the day when I can jump in my battery powered pickup truck that has many small removable batteries to power the tools which are optional. The technology exists. Gas and Diesel powered Toyota Tundras are set up to charge tools. So I would hope that one day a portion of an electric vehicle power pack, could be removable so that carpenters and landscapers and tree fallers, could have a nearly unlimited amount of battery at their disposal. On a typical day of heavy tool use, I still use under 5% of the amount of energy stored in my brother's Nissan Leaf.

The technology doesn't have to improve to make these vehicles extremely competitive. It already made sense 5 years ago when my brother bought that car. Today's cars go a little further on a charge. Some people worry about range or about running out of battery power in An Inconvenient spot. The guy whose electric car goes dead while he's driving, is going to be the same guy that we see walking down the side of the highway carrying a gas can. Those people will always be with us and there's not much we can do about that. :-)
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Just the form of energy alone should settle the issue. Fuels are material which we gather, proscess and burn to our observable detriment. Electrons can be diverted or converted from the ambient medium and material fuels as a reserve backup capability then distributed without major infrastructure (extension cords.... biguns on prop sticks, essentially.)

The pollution from oil and gas production and distribution alone is an atrocity. Oil changes ongoing seeps and leaks and failures including immersion in waters or cracking open like a rotten egg in an accident or at the salvage yard producing widespread pollution, vapors from operation or storage, etc., are as bad or worse.

A fueled engine is a rube goldberg contraption... amazing how much work they do and how long they do it, but way to complicated for the 10% conversion and mortgaged pollution debt assigned to our heirs and fellow creatures.

We can improve and i see electric propulsion as part of that shift, not a solution, but an improvement, like pv. People are going to divert energy to ease workload and increase capability. We need to direct development to improve the means to focus on clean.

Co2 is rather like straightening the doorbell trim bezel after a major whole house renovation compared to the harm reduction of cleaning up the way we operate and reclaimating the past damage.
 
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I think you answered your own question - it depends on how the electricity was produced.
Here is our source breakdown for Ontario
About 90% of electricity in Ontario is produced from zero-carbon emitting sources:
58% from nuclear,
22% from hydroelectricity,
8% from wind, and 2% from solar.
9% is primarily from natural gas, with some biomass and diesel.
 
Eric Hanson
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Jim,

You basically hit the nail on the head of my conundrum.  

Given your Ontario situation, electric cars are entirely reasonable, practical and desirable with two assumptions:

1). They are affordable

2). They have sufficient range such that running out of charge mid-way through a trip.

The first point is obvious, the second point is a little murkier.  In urban environments I can see an EV doing quite well.  But I would get nervous if I had to travel long distances between charging.  This could be offset partially with a small ice to backup the battery in a pinch.

Back to your Ontario situation, 90% of emissions free electricity makes the EV highly attractive.  Around me we are powered by coal so I always have to wonder just how much CO2 we are saving by driving on coal fired electricity or gas (or preferably diesel) ice engines.  I am not trying to make a point here, I am asking a question and looking for people’s thoughts.

Eric  
 
Jim Boak
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We are told that we can now drive all the way across Canada in electric only powered cars if we stick to the Trans Canada highway.  In western Canada all of the hotels have plug in stations to recharge however in the winter there is the down side that your charge time doubles and your driving distance  drops bu as much as 50% at minus 20.
 
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Sorry I did not read all the posts. Here is a good article from Forbes.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2018/03/14/charging-an-electric-vehicle-is-far-cleaner-than-driving-on-gasoline-everywhere-in-america/

Now I find when I try and communicate to a petrol head that yes EVs are better they devolve into a ranting and often yelling moron. I'm sorry to generalize but if you actually take up the EV fight, it is a fight, you will lose friends but will make more reasonable ones.
 
Eric Hanson
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Jim,

Very interesting!  That is something we can’t do in the US yet.  Out of curiosity, how long to charge up a battery?

Eric
 
Jim Boak
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It varies by model and charging source 220 or 110.
Anywhere from 2 hours on the smaller cars to 4 hours on 220v and up to 8 hours for larger cars on 110.
The Solectrac is about the same - Run time varies of course with work load but it seems like it might work out to about 3/4 of an hour to an hour of charging for an hour of work using a 220 V source.
I need to sleep some time and a mid afternoon siesta never hurt anyone
 
pollinator
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Stumbled here and was surprised at the absence of what I thought were well-known perspectives, and also how much may have changed since this thread first fired up.

First, as to CO2 emissions per mile driven, yes this is largely dependent on where you live and where your electricity comes from.  The UCS has a handy calculator for you: https://evtool.ucsusa.org  For my area, my cars have the emissions profile of an ICE that gets 115 mpg.  I have yet to see a four-seat ICE car that can do that so the winner here is quite clear.  Something like 75% of the USA population would have lower emissions per mile with an electric car vs an ICE getting less that 50 mpg... so there might be some room for hybrids and such.

Second, lifetime emissions. Yes, making those batteries and electric motors and aluminum body panels takes energy.  So does steel, gas, etc.  Way back in 2015 the UCS determined (https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/cleaner-cars-cradle-grave) that an electric car took 15% more energy to manufacture, but over the lifetime the electric car would emit only half the emissions.  Money Quote: "We found that battery electric cars generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, even when pollution from battery manufacturing is accounted for."  

I'm pretty confident that since 2015 the efficiency of manufacturing has improved and the efficiency of the battery & motor seem to inch upward too, and since more electricity is coming from wind & solar that ratio is probably growing in favor of electrics.

There are a few other points ..

Community & Noise Pollution:  Cars are noisy things.  Yes, as pointed out, we could certainly do with fewer of them and fewer miles driven.  Electric cars eliminate a LOT of noise sources - engine, muffler, transmissions, brakes.  What you have left is mostly just tire noise on the road.  Imagine how much nicer life would be without that omnipresent noise!

ICEs are nastly little polluters.  In addition to C02 the tailpipe can be full of nasty byproducts.  Add in the oil drips, transmission fluids and the dust of brake pads... its a mess.  Its a mess that has certainly gotten a LOT better with modern emissions controls, regulations, etc - but ICE cars are just a vector for spreading pollution, generally making it someone else's problem as you drive past.  Electrics don't do that.  Yes, you can argue that I'm saving my neighborhood of pollutants while some coal-fire plant spews a black cloud of doom upon those unfortunate to be downwind - but that's an argument for getting rid of coal plants, not for driving gas or diesel cars.

Electrics are really nice to drive.  They produce tremendous amounts of torque, so they hop up and go.  They are quiet to be in.  The current design architecture places the heavy battery down low so the car handles very nicely.

And ... I never have to go to a gas station!  I come home and plug in ...and leave and come home ... and plug in.

There is a lot of poor understanding and even plain mis-information out there when it comes to charging.  For me, the charging issue is the critical one for electric cars to solve.  I'm fortunate to have a home with an electrical service that can support a 40 amp charger but a lot of people are housed in rentals, apartments, etc and having your own charger is not an option.  Using one of the charging services is quite expensive  - about 3x what it costs to charge at home, and approaching the cost of gas.  This can absolutely be a deal breaker for many people right now - but its important to remember that these are early days and the charging system has been improving dramatically.

We used just a 115v outlet for two years.  That charges at about 5 miles per hour.  The 40a 200v charger (operates at 32a...) pumps about 25 miles per hour into the car.  On a trip, the early DC "Fast" chargers operate around 25 kw - which translates to about a mile per minute.  I've done long trips with those and I can't recommend them - they seem to have been designed to give the early 80 mile ranged cars (Nissan Leaf) an 80% charge in about an hour - because its drive-a-minute, charge-a-minute.  Those early versions are being upgraded to 50kw and 75kw and even 150kw chargers.  I think my car maxes out at 75 kw - which is enough to take the car from empty to an 80% charge (range of about 170 miles) in 36 minutes.   I find that acceptable.  A fancier car (e.g Tesla) can charge at twice that rate.

I find all of the interest in fluid batteries and swapping batteries and such to be unecessary.  Something like 97% of my charging is done at home and I really don't care if it takes all night.  Charging at 75kw is totally reasonable for me - and its only going to get better.

Finally, why yes, I am an evangelist on this issue!
 
pollinator
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I've moved since my last post so things have changed a little, I can now charge at 400V/16A at home and not have to turn off the lights to do so. infact I have 4 such circuits and only one is in use at all.
I would use an electric car if it had a 300mile range, cost the same as a icu and I had a backup icu for long journeys.. so basically if I were rich. it would have to have 300mile range as we often drive multiple 100mile journeys back to back on the same day, and there is nowhere to charge around here.
The other problem here is there is no such thing as an electric estate, haybales and dogs do not fit in a city car. Of course that is curable they just need to be made. Now it would look on the face of it that a hybrid would be perfect for me, but hybrid estates while they do exist have a 20mile range. that would just get me to town but I would be coming back on the engine, (my closest town has 2 trickle tesla chargers only and the second one has one charger in an out of the way place) I can't see how one way on (expensive 30c/kwh) electric would save me any money after the cost of the car and the cost of services are factored in.

My main worry about electric vehicles probably belongs in the cider press. since they will lose out on billions on fuel duty, and putting that duty on electric would be morally wrong. they will have to tax cars some other way, probably by miles driven and almost certainly then by tracking all cars at all times.
 
pollinator
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I realized that I'll never afford electric car, and I'm getting a LPG car. While it's not biogas, it's cleaner than petrol and biogas manufacturers are developing. The engine is easier to maintain and recycle, than car battery.
 
Eliot Mason
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Excellent points!

Its true that a car can't complete many tasks that others can - from carrying bulky items to towing a trailer, and that is especially true with electrics that are truly specialists.  We are now at least seeing designs and plans for other types of electric vehicles and I eagerly anticipate an electric truck.

I call my car a "farm truck in disguise" and it regularly hauls the dog, fence posts, bags of feed and even hay (on the roof because it gets everywhere!).  But I still have a 12' flatbed diesel as backup (which is probably complete overkill and I should probably downsize it).

I'll agree that the plug-in hybrids are questionable.  Its a lot of complexity for minimal benefit - except in the right scenario.  I had one that worked well ... but when my driving conditions changed that car didn't appeal to my inner fundamentalist.

I would have thought Denmark had better charging infrastructure!  All those windmills... I think your range issues will be dealt with when, in another 10 years?, its time to replace your current vehicle.  But for now an electric would be difficult to justify.
 
steward
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something that's been studied more recently is the impact that vehicle weight has on ground-level pollution. because the lithium batteries used for electric cars are heavy, and because higher range per charge requires more batteries, electric vehicles are much heavier than ICE-powered vehicles of the same size. that, in turn, increases tire wear, road-surface wear, brake wear, and particulate resuspension, all of which are components of ground-level air pollution.

this isn't, for the most part, pollution that has a global impact as does greenhouse pollution. its effects are local but very negative. these are the sorts of pollutants that decrease life expectancy, and electric cars cause more of them than modern ICE cars (old and poorly maintained ICE cars are pretty bad all around).

in this way, switching to electric power trades one sort of pollution for another. in many cases, it will reduce carbon emissions, but in nearly all cases (switching from a large ICE vehicle to a small electric one might be an exception) it will increase localized ground-level pollution.


this is especially true of electric buses. that veers somewhat afield from individual consumer choices, but it's one that I think about a lot spending a fair amount of time in cities on a bike. diesel and diesel hybrid buses are loud and smelly, have brake compressors that release at high decibels without regard for who might be right next to them, and weigh upwards of 20,000 pounds. electric buses are much quieter and (I believe) have regenerative brakes that don't use a compressor. but they're also much, much heavier (and very expensive). at that size, they're not only creating much more ground-level pollution, they're also causing expensive damage to streets and roads far above and beyond what their diesel counterparts cause.

I guess to me, switching from ICEs to electric motors is somewhat akin to switching from bloodletting to leaches. there might be some advantages and disadvantages at the margins, but the big picture remains the same: regardless of how it's done, removing someone's blood isn't good medicine. regardless of how it's powered, using an automobile to move people around isn't a good transportation choice.


(I do want to reiterate that sometimes a car or truck or bus truly is the right tool for the job. in those cases, I guess you'll have to choose which sort of mischief is most tolerable, but I'm not convinced it makes much difference.)
 
Eric Hanson
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Everyone,

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread, there has been a lot of critical thinking and discussion about an issue that matters much to me.

I have stated often that I did my graduate research largely on the history of energy, but with that in mind I am embarrassed and afraid that I made an error in one of my base assumptions, the assumption being that in the United States, coal powers over half of electricity generation.  In fact, the current figure is approximately 30% and dropping.

My error was caused by my use of data from when I was still in graduate school (approximately 2006), and was using data that was historical by that point in time.  In the time since, there has been a sea change in electrical generation, with natural gas rapidly displacing coal.  In turn, this colored the way I looked at electrical cars from the outset—basically I was wondering if electrical cars were effectively replacing gasoline with coal.  A better, more up-to-date question would be if electric cars are replacing gasoline with natural gas, a question (as pertaining to carbon emissions) with profound differences that replacing gasoline with coal.

I just wanted to thank everyone for the stimulating discussion and apologize for my initial erroneous data.  This has been a great thread, I hope it continues to be so.

Eric
 
Eliot Mason
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Tel - thanks for sharing that counterpoint!  

Weight is a definitely an issue, and that does have indirect impacts.  I hadn't thought of the extra wear on roads, tires, etc.  That is indeed local and it takes some of the wind out of my argument.

In the over all scheme of things, I'm not sure there is much more improvement to suck from ICE engines while battery technology has been improving dramatically.  Way back in 2016 (and sorry - not sure what the current state of affairs is) Argonne National Lab decided that, pound for pound, in 2045 electric cars and ICE would be comparable.  That roughly translates to batteries having about 30% the energy density of gasoline.  Clearly we're a long way from 2045 and technology predictions are iffy (flying cars!), but we should be seeing improvements in energy density which will translate to lighter vehicles.

There is also the problem of upending funding mechanisms for roads.  For now I'm perfectly willing to be that obnoxious, morally-superior fellow who says "Giant gas-sucking SUVs should be penalized and pay more for road maintenance since my shiny electric car is a gift to the world."  But clearly that won't hold and there will be a change.
 
Eliot Mason
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Eric - thanks for coming clean!  Its hard to track some of these changes that seem to occur in the background, and are not direct consumer items.  Sure, some of us notice that we no longer subscribe to a printed newspaper or magazines and can draw conclusions from that change but things like power generation sources, lbs of glyphosate sprayed on corn, etc seem to most of us to move invisibly.  And yet, being humans, we tend to fix on single points of data and cling to those conclusions.

Change is hard.
 
tel jetson
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Eliot Mason wrote:There is also the problem of upending funding mechanisms for roads.  For now I'm perfectly willing to be that obnoxious, morally-superior fellow who says "Giant gas-sucking SUVs should be penalized and pay more for road maintenance since my shiny electric car is a gift to the world."  But clearly that won't hold and there will be a change.



funding mechanisms for roads need to be upended. really, the building of roads needs to be upended. regardless of what powers the automobiles moving over them, roads have huge negative impacts on ecological and human communities. regardless of what powers an automobile, its use makes space less hospitable to other activities, to put it mildly.
 
Eliot Mason
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Agreed!  In many ways the argument of gas vs electric cars misses the larger point.  The whole "Car is King" era has to go away - and electric and ride-share and self-driving and ... don't really change that fact.

I was astonished to learn that within the Portland, OR city limits fully ONE THIRD of the city is right of way.  Some of that is for sidewalks, but the bulk of that 30% is to create an artificial environment that cars thrive in.

I'd love to see some car-less developments that I read about in Europe...
 
tel jetson
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Eliot Mason wrote:I was astonished to learn that within the Portland, OR city limits fully ONE THIRD of the city is right of way.



and that doesn't take into account off-street parking dedicated to cars. I haven't done all the work to calculate it, but I'm confident the number would be much higher in my small town. easily over 50%.


in the United States, our built environment makes cars all but required in many places. in that situation, I don't believe it's wrong to be thinking about what sort of car is the least detrimental, but that can distract from more important things. things like minimizing one's own automobile use and supporting changes that make automobiles less dominant and easier to live without.
 
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On an electric car, by the time you mine the copper etc, smelt the lead, transport said materials to China etc for further processing,
and manufacture of finished components ship the finished components to the factory that assembles the electric car you are way upside
down in your carbon footprint. The electric car may last 10 years, then you have to dispose of the used batteries. Over the gathering materials.
building and shipping, the Pruis leaves a much larger footprint than a full size hummer. The study and facts are out there, google is your friend,
this time.  I do not approve of any current powered vehicles for mass transportation.
 
Eliot Mason
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Randy:  Links please.

There's no lead in these cars.  The UCS in 2015 determined that the lifetime footprint of an electric car was half that of a comparable car - time might show that isn't 100% accurate, but there's no overlap with your statement that a Prius leaves a bigger footprint than a Hummer.  If you can provide links I will read and respond.

And if you don't approve on any current powered vehicles for mass transportation, is there one from the past or future that you'd nominate?
 
Randy Gibson
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Sorry my memory is stuck in the 90's.

Here's one of numerous:
https://rbelmont.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/toyota-prius-vs-hummer-h2-which-leaves-a-bigger-carbon-footprint-continued/

Here's another:

https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/does-hybrid-car-production-waste-offset-hybrid-benef


The list seems to be endless, facts are facts. It is all about capitalism. Where can the big corps squeeze more out of the consumer.

I drive a '97 Honda with 235K miles on it. I do not drive much at all.
 
Randy Gibson
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Horses, wagons, bicycles, walking.
 
Eliot Mason
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Randy -

An old car lightly driven can be a good choice.  Absolutely.  But cars do die and the system we're in has us replacing those cars with new ones.  Maybe not you, but others sure are.  Which car would you prefer they purchase?

The first link works, the second doesn't.  I'm having a hard time replying while staying within community standards.  I'll just say that first link contains no facts only uninformed conjecture, thus there is nothing there to inform an argument on the relative benefits of electric cars vs ICE.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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tel jetson wrote:

Eliot Mason wrote:I was astonished to learn that within the Portland, OR city limits fully ONE THIRD of the city is right of way.



and that doesn't take into account off-street parking dedicated to cars. I haven't done all the work to calculate it, but I'm confident the number would be much higher in my small town. easily over 50%.


in the United States, our built environment makes cars all but required in many places. in that situation, I don't believe it's wrong to be thinking about what sort of car is the least detrimental, but that can distract from more important things. things like minimizing one's own automobile use and supporting changes that make automobiles less dominant and easier to live without.



I think our current situation in the USA with shutdowns and work-from-home due to the Covid-19 pandemic will have lasting effects on ALL of this. The largest being remote work, so many companies have had to make the leap out of necessity, and found that productivity was still good, where before they were reluctant to try. My neighbor is hiring for a new position in her group, and got the green light to hire someone to do the job remotely. She may not go back to 5 days per week in the office herself, which is huge! She's <10 miles from her office, and a no-traffic drive of ~20 minutes is "normally" 45 minutes to one hour when done in rush-hour traffic.

Stop-and-go driving, idling at traffic lights, congestion, have we figured those in to this conversation yet? MPG and range per charge, both sort of assume "normal driving" like highway driving, or "city" driving, more or less "open-road" situations. Not the reality of the 5-15 MPH crawl in congestion most urban commuters experience on a daily/weekly basis. Electric vehicles don't "idle" per se, but the climate system eats battery life, so traffic congestion in the heat/cold will reduce range as well (ascetics excluded).

If fewer of us are on the roads, and less often, it will be a better situation for us when we are. At the end of March (beginning of the shutdown here in Boston) I drove home at 5:30 PM on a weekday and took I-95 (128 in Burlington/Woburn for the locals) and it was as if it were early on a Sunday morning!!! Smooth sailing. Normally I would avoid this 8-lane-parking-lot at all costs!

If fewer people need to be in "the office", companies will need less square footage, and do more hot-swapping of desks/offices. Will traffic be the same? Do desks=cars on the road? The office tower is still going to rent out all the space, no? Will this absorb the need for new office construction, road and parking expansion?

The question of +/- 10% emissions for gas vs.electric is irrelevant if you can move to a 50% reduction in driving (say 1 week work-from-home, 1 week commute to office schedule), which has knock-on effects for the other drivers on the road in reduced congestion, improved air quality, etc..

 
Eliot Mason
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Kenneth - Its amazing how the shutdown has had immediate, pronounced and visible effects on the environment.  Emissions of all sorts are way down.  Animals are partying.  Consumption of oil is greatly reduced.  And yeah, we might just have learned that a bunch of "necessities" really aren't.

In terms of cars & traffic ... there is a whole heaping of "depends".  The electric motor is obviously not consuming power when not moving, and it recovers some energy every time the car brakes, so the motive part of the equation is unequivocally in favor of electric.  But yeah, running heat or AC is the bane of electric cars because every watt used for climate control is a watt that can't go to the motor.  AC does add to gas consumption, heat is essentially free - but the big difference is that my car has the equivalent of 2 gallons of gas on board and so it doesn't have the same margin to be wasteful.  So Arizona and Alberta might not be great places for the current generation of electric cars.
 
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