"Everyone thinks that battery-electrics are the ultimate solution and everything else is just an intermediate step," Michalek told us. "But that's not necessarily the case. In our study, BEVs (battery electric vehicles) are worse."
That's good news for consumers who are interested in preserving the environment, but don't want to spend big bucks doing it. Because batteries still account for a large percentage of the cost of electrified vehicles, hybrids with smaller batteries would typically cost less than comparable pure electrics with larger batteries. Moreover, hybrids also offer the convenience of greater range.
To be sure, Michalek's numbers could change if electricity suppliers go to a bigger diet of renewable power in the form of wind and solar. "In a world where all our electricity is coming from cleaner sources, BEVs could be the best," Michalek said. "They might even be the cheapest. But there's no guarantee we're ever going to get there."
The irony of all this is that public policy now favors bigger batteries, largely because it's assumed that BEVs pollute less. Subsidies from the federal stimulus package give as much as $7,500 for vehicles with batteries sized at 16 kWh or larger, but $2,500 for smaller, 4 kWh packs. "The larger the pack is, the more public money we're spending on it," Michalek said. "But the truth is, bigger isn't necessarily better."
Yes, and besides having a whole lot of natural gas underground, there are some lower cost ways to generate natural gas from municiple garbage. So we may be able to solve multiple problems at the same times. That would be quite handy.
And consider a car with the stop-start system and also fueled by natural gas. Low emissions plus great mileage.
Why not just live in tents in the woods and cook with "solar cookers". If you live in the "woods" you don't have grass to cut (lawn mower polution) and wouldn't have to polute the air by driving at all because there won't be any jobs to go to from the auto makers, home builders, lawn mower manufacturers or oil companies. The only expense you'll have is the daily trip to Starbucks (where I'm currently residing) Not to mention all the money we spend protecting the shipping lanes around the middle east to get the oil over here. Coal won't be poluting because you can't heat your tent with coal (as far as I know). The tent can be lit with a single 13 Watt CFL or LED lamp from China so the polution from the manufacturing of those will be 12,000 miles from here. Summers in certain areas (and Winters in others) will be miserable due to the lack of heating and air.
While you're at it each family tent will have it's own garden (organic of course). If you become a vegitarian you won't even have to kill/murder chickens, cows, goats, etc. unless you consider the killing of a tomato to be in-humane cruel and unusual punishment for the tomato plant.
I think on Arbor day, I'll go out and cut down a damned pine tree.
Until "social damages" gets a bit more description I am inclined to regard it as just another chunk of blather. Made-up negative sounding words are what kids do. What is clear about the electric vehicles is that they certainly will be much more difficult to service and much more expensive to repair. The much higher repair costs will be due to both a lack of qualified repair people, and the fact that all of the information needed to diagnose the drive systems will only be available to the dealers. All other service people will not have any way to get hold of any service information. And of course the dealers hourly service rate will be much more than it is now, probably about $250 per hour. Just consider that! And, of course, any repair parts will be privately numbered and only available from one source.
Next comes the battery, which is both heavy and very expensive. Sort of like having your engine replaced, except that it only takes an hour, but it still costs $7500. Of course, battery life will be reduced quite a bit for the folks who use their air conditioning. AC will reduce that 12 mile range down to 5 or possibly 6 miles, so you really do need to think carefully befor switching on the AC.
None of this has talked about what happens when a bunch of folks on the same block and distribution transformer all charge their car at 2 AM.
Of course it may not be clear to all that I am talking about GRIEF emissionsrather than "carbon equivalent" ones.
Good points, Irishmuse. I'd like to see more nuclear. The Japan earthquake put nuclear off the table for at least a generation. Even Europe -- which benefited well from nuclear -- is getting ready to decommission nuclear plants.
The other elephant in the room is maintenance of the vehicles. The primary thing is the replacement/disposal of the battery(ies), they don't last forever. Then there is disposal of the vehicle at the end of its useful life. In other words the total life cycle of the vehicle.
The costs are good but the impact to the environment is the justification for the vehicles. Disposal of batteries, even creation of batteries, puts a lot of load on the environement. I'd like to see the analysis on that as well, it might be very enlightening.
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