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Thanks for posting Dave, a very interesting and thought provoking presentation indeed! (y) (y)
 

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Umm, he hasn't said anything that I haven't heard before, I'd be interested to know the source for the co2 figures for battery manufacture, what is the reason for that being so much more co2 intensive than say mining aluminium and steel for engine blocks. Could a lot of it be due to economy of scale and the fact that currently batteries aren't recycled whereas steel and aluminium are?
Also, what about the co2 costs of drilling, refining and transporting petrol and diesel (refining uses rare earth elements too, at least in batteries it can be reclaimed at some point in the future).
It's difficult to calculate full life cycle emissions anyway, but I do wonder if they are truly comparing like with like, ie do the ICE emissions include all the Co2 emissions from not only the petrol production, but also from the other maintenance items like oil changes, increased labour, manufacture and disposal of oil filters, spark plugs, brake discs, pads, exhausts, catalytic converters etc. I'd be very surprised if the Co2 emissions from all that don't get very close or exceed those of the initial battery production on an ev.

Also in the UK, around 50% of our electric energy mix is nuclear or renewable, and is gettig better every year. That tilts the graph further in favour of electric.

Also, viewing the battery's co2 emissions as a "sunk" cost is arguably incorrect as they will find life after their useful life in a vehicle in other areas like grid storage. Ie it will go on contributing to reducing co2 long after the vehicle is scrapped. perhaps 30+ years.

And he misses the most important point, which isn't co2 related, the fact that EVs aren't contributing to premature death and poisoning children in our towns and cities.

And the "making fuel from waste CO2" idea is complete bunkum at the moment, we'd require unlimited amounts of clean energy to make that idea work, nuclear fusion is 49 years away...
 

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The kiddie graphs are I think mostly for show just to prove the point that there are many more issues than an EV being 'zero emission'. To that end I think its successful. Of course its leaving stuff out. I hadn't thought of all of these issues before watching. There is the very missed point that EVs are a driving momentum for environmental awareness, and for renewable energy. We're at the tip of the iceberg with the tech, and more people investing will move the bar forward, IMO
 

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I'm wondering why it is necessary to start this same discussion more than once in the forum here. What is the point of that, exactly?


Personally, I regard this as data being manipulated to prove a pre-determined point. It's been done before, not least by Clarkson on Top Gear a few years ago when he proved that a Toyota Prius was far less good for global ecologies than a Hummer H2. If there is any example of the greater stupidity of an argument than that, it would be hard to find - not least because it was based on carefully selected data points that were not even demonstrably accurate... or even true.
 

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No need to start two threads, but it happens a lot. Someone sees some news, posts news without checking forum for prior post. Even moderators do it.
 

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No need to start two threads, but it happens a lot. Someone sees some news, posts news without checking forum for prior post. Even moderators do it.
I'd understand that entirely - but the same poster starting both? A short term memory problem at best, otherwise a Clarkson-like lapse in scientific impartiality.
 

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The findings he presented are similar to what I found when researching the topic. Obviously, the lower the capacity the battery is, the easier it is to recoup the cost, both economically and environmentally. Here I'll point out that total cost often corresponds to environmental impact. Expensive things take more resources generally speaking, and there is a very direct link between wealth and consumption, and especially oil consumption. Probably an indicator of which vehicle is most environmentally friendly comes down to total cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle. That would factor in the initial purchase price and all the consumables like fuel and electricity. I've got a detailed spreadsheet you can download to compare Total Cost of Ownership of any 2 vehicles regardless of fuel type.



The speaker went straight from 120 mile range to 400 though, and didn't touch on anything in between. At least it points out that those wanting a 400 mile range EV are likely ignorant of the fact that it isn't as environmentally friendly as something with half the range. Most people don't actually care enough about global warming to modify their behavior in any meaningful way though. That leads me to this comment:

There is the very missed point that EVs are a driving momentum for environmental awareness, and for renewable energy.
There's a lot of greenwashing where things are advertised as good for Mother Nature when they aren't. It's a marketing strategy to extract profit from those susceptible to paying indulgences for their "sins". I'm not saying all things marketed as "green" or even most things are misleading, only that many things are. "Awareness" is a fairly meaningless thing. Everyone is aware about breast cancer, but did that solve the problem? It's a cause to sell pink stuff to men (not saying breast cancer isn't important, or that people aren't well intentioned).

The conclusion is exactly right though, and something I've been pointing out. The proper role of EVs right now is daily commuting and local travel. A plug-in hybrid as a 2nd family vehicle for longer trips is more appropriate than spending a fortune on a 500 mile range EV. It seems this is the direction the market is headed anyhow though. The #2 top selling vehicle in the US that plugs in is the Prius Prime. Of all the vehicles that offer both an BEV and plug-in hybrid option in the same model, the plug-in hybrid outsells the BEV anywhere between 2x to 10x. Clearly there is a place for plug-in hybrids as we bridge the gap between current battery technology, and future battery tech that hopefully doesn't suck so bad.
 

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I'd understand that entirely - but the same poster starting both? A short term memory problem at best, otherwise a Clarkson-like lapse in scientific impartiality.
There is another common reason for that. You start a thread, go to new threads, and that thread doesn't show there (because nothing new in that thread since you posted). So you do it again! Or you navigate to the sub forum where you thought you had posted, and it doesn't show up in the expected forum. Happens in all forums.
 

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A plug-in hybrid as a 2nd family vehicle for longer trips is more appropriate than spending a fortune on a 500 mile range EV. It seems this is the direction the market is headed anyhow though. The #2 top selling vehicle in the US that plugs in is the Prius Prime. Of all the vehicles that offer both an BEV and plug-in hybrid option in the same model, the plug-in hybrid outsells the BEV anywhere between 2x to 10x. Clearly there is a place for plug-in hybrids as we bridge the gap between current battery technology, and future battery tech that hopefully doesn't suck so bad.
Agreed. But in that talk, he doesn't bring any plug-in hybrids into the equation.

He only suggests that we should buy hybrids, which are still 100% dependent* on fossil fuel. I'm sure that the big oil companies will agree with that...

* To be fair, it's common for some renewables, like ethanol, to be mixed into the gasoline.
 

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It's an entertaining watch, with some interesting things to say (particularly the need to be honest about lifetime CO2 output). But without access to the underlying data, it's difficult to assess the value of the overall argument being made (ironic, given the OP billed it as "just the facts").

There are a lot of BEV life cycle studies out there, with a very large range of conclusions. Some of the differences come from methodology, or the assumptions made by the researchers. Others come from differences in energy production; do you assume production of the battery and the car in China, Korea, Europe, or the US? Where is the car going to be driven? And should the average energy mix of a country be used, given manufacturers and customers always have the option of using cleaner energy?

Take a "an EV" produced in China for the Chinese market. Many of these studies would use the average generation mix of China to calculate the CO2 produced from the electricity used. The car would have quite a high initial CO2 output, right? But what if the factory is powered by its own renewable energy generation (e.g. solar)? Is it still reasonable to use the national generation mix?

He failed to convince me of his argument. The charts need context. And what we need is cleaner manufacturing, rather than hybrid vehicles.

I'm also not really understanding the arbitrary use of vehicles with 400 miles of range. That isn't particularly typical for conventional vehicles (many of which have far more range than that). And it isn't likely to become the norm for BEVs, based on current battery chemistries and price projections. A 100kWh+ battery is heavy and expensive, with low marginal benefit for the vast majority of drivers.
 

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His numbers seem off - and he doesn't say where he's getting them. In the graph near the end he quotes 400k miles break even point in Co2 on an electric car powered by electricity generation from mostly fossil fuel.

VW's own numbers (and they have an incentive to produce cheaper ICE cars) state that breakeven point is 100Km (62K miles) even if the electricity powering the EV is generated from 100% coal.

Yes, switching to EV pushes the problem to power generation, but the whole point is that it is more solvable and can be made cleaner there.
 

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There are so many arguments to take into account. For example, when I plug my car in to charge, ALL of the additional energy required is coming from fossil fuel (in the UK gas tops up the nuclear and renewable generation)
Until there is an abundance of renewable electricity, that will always be the case. It does t mean that that argument is the right way to think about it though...
Also, you CAN argue that with the amount I save in fuel costs with an ev, I will have a surplus of disposable income, which I will likely spend on a foreign holiday or other damaging activity. Therefore conclusion is that overall EVs are worse!
We could argue it forever...!
 

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There are so many arguments to take into account. For example, when I plug my car in to charge, ALL of the additional energy required is coming from fossil fuel (in the UK gas tops up the nuclear and renewable generation)
Until there is an abundance of renewable electricity, that will always be the case. It does t mean that that argument is the right way to think about it though...
Also, you CAN argue that with the amount I save in fuel costs with an ev, I will have a surplus of disposable income, which I will likely spend on a foreign holiday or other damaging activity. Therefore conclusion is that overall EVs are worse!
We could argue it forever...!
UK is now over the 50% renewables level most of the time:


It will only get better. I think this is point the presentation misses - the shift away from the tail pipe means you can do something about.

 

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UK is now over the 50% renewables level most of the time:


It will only get better. I think this is point the presentation misses - the shift away from the tail pipe means you can do something about.

50% non fossil, nuclear isn't classed as renewable, though is low carbon of course.
But the point still stands that until we have 100% zero carbon, the marginal impact of me plugging in is 100% fossil fuel generated electricity.
Although, even using 100% fossil fuels for electric generation and allowing for generation, transmission and charging losses, Ev still use less fossil fuel than a ICE does mer mile travelled (I think!)
 

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He only suggests that we should buy hybrids, which are still 100% dependent* on fossil fuel. I'm sure that the big oil companies will agree with that...
Everything (nearly) is dependent on fossil fuel. You'd be hard pressed to find a single thing that didn't involve fossil fuels at some point. If you grow lettuce in your backyard, unless you're using manure for fertilizer and the seeds magically appeared from the sky, it required some amount of fossil fuel. Big oil doesn't have to trick us into using their products; we depend on them for virtually everything we do and have.

The speech was meant to wake people up, and took a pragmatic approach to the issue at hand. We don't get to buy our way into piety by driving a long range Model 3. As was mentioned above, whatever money we save in fuel we'll spend somewhere else.

The problem is way more difficult than transportation too. Transportation (of people and goods) is only 25% of our energy consumption. Renewables are growing by less than the rate that overall power consumption is growing. In other words, not only are renewables not displacing fossil fuels, but they aren't even keeping up with the yearly expansion in energy growth.



This isn't a futilistic argument that we should do nothing, or that EVs are bad, rather it's meant to put things into perspective. The underlying issue is that the world population is very large, and we are more wealthy than ever before (consume more). The main way to reduce fossil fuel consumption is to reduce wealth or population. Good luck campaigning on a platform of promising to make everyone poorer and less numerous (although the AOC platform is a thinly veiled version of that).

Technology probably will solve most of our issues. I expect nuclear to play a larger role in the medium term (next 50 years). Renewables are also likely to play an increasingly larger role, but unless some unforeseen breakthrough occurs, it will be a very gradual process rather than a rapid transition. As the world adopts a more materialistic/postmodern perspective, with plenty of technological distractions, reproduction will decline and populations will recede. I expect somewhere toward the end of my life I'll see a declining world population, and the opposite problem of disinterest in offspring.
 
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