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What? Why? We could also spend that money on green goals. And some will not save money with the purchase/lease of a BEV.
You are right of course and some may, but economics would suggest mass take up of renewable or green energy will only occur once it has a cost advantage Vs fossil fuels. So for example I could invest the money saved in solar panels and a heat pump for the house. Then I would save even more money (once it has a cost advantage). This is all for the greater good of course but the nature of investing (or saving) is that it is all about sacrificing current consumption for a higher consumption or profit in the future. There doesn't seem to be a way out of this predicament without some sort of alternative economic system!
 

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Any investment has risk. That includes investment in fossil fuels, especially in a political climate of disinvestment. But right now, unsubsidized renewables have an economic advantage over subsidized fossil fuels. That is why such power generation is increasing and coal fired power plants are not being built, at least not in the US. This trend has been going on for many years, hard to miss.
 

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What's the source for the graph?

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Wikipedia, but other sources all relate the same thing; that energy growth exceeds renewable capacity growth. Fossil fuel consumption is increasing, not decreasing. It's the inevitable consequence of developing countries increasing wealth.

This chart makes that point:



right now, unsubsidized renewables have an economic advantage over subsidized fossil fuels. That is why such power generation is increasing and coal fired power plants are not being built, at least not in the US. This trend has been going on for many years, hard to miss.
If renewables were cheaper, my power company would send me a letter inviting me to pay less every month with renewables. Instead, they sent me the opposite letter, inviting me to pay more for renewables.

Coal plants have been in decline because natural gas is so cheap, and that's just about the only reason. Natural gas plants have increased just about in proportion to the amount coal has decreased. We've traded 1 type of fossil fuel for another.



As an aside, renewables have far more subsidy per delivered kWh than fossil fuels.

Any politician that says the problem is easy, or they have the solution if only we give them power, is either profoundly ignorant (likely), or profoundly corrupt.
 

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You're both discussing different countries, hence the confusion.

The situation in the UK (and the rest of Western Europe) is very different from the US. Overall electricity demand in the UK has fallen. Renewables, as a whole, are now the second largest source of power. And they're catching up with Gas.


It wouldn't be hugely surprising to see renewables overtake gas this year, in at least one quarter.
 

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You're both discussing different countries, hence the confusion.

The situation in the UK (and the rest of Western Europe) is very different from the US. Overall electricity demand in the UK has fallen. Renewables, as a whole, are now the second largest source of power. And they're catching up with Gas.


It wouldn't be hugely surprising to see renewables overtake gas this year, in at least one quarter.
You're right that I didn't realize yticolev was referring to the UK when speaking to renewables beginning to displace fossil fuels, so I responded with data from the US. My overall point though applies globally, which is where the problem manifests itself.

Per-capita demand for electricity has dropped in the US too. That has more to do with technology getting more efficient than anything else though. Who knows what will happen if OLED TVs come down in price to the point that people ditch their more efficient LCDs in favor of them.

Not sure where you are getting that from, but if you consider health costs and environmental costs of renewables versus fossil fuel, it is not even close.
You keep asking where I'm getting data, and I'm happy to supply it, but you should hold yourself to the same standard.

I'm referring to US in this particular instance because I don't have global figures at hand, but I expect they are similar.
Forbes.com says;

The Institute for Energy Research and the University of Texas calculated the subsidies per unit of energy produced, or cents per kWh. This is a more relevant number for comparing different energy sources as it normalizes to the amount of energy produced (see figure above).

Between 2010 and 2016, subsidies for solar were between 10¢ and 88¢ per kWh and subsidies for wind were between 1.3¢ and 5.7¢ per kWh. Subsidies for coal, natural gas and nuclear are all between 0.05¢ and 0.2¢ per kWh over all years.


Regarding the health aspect, solar and wind are not without their many casualties. For sure its less than coal, but if we were really serious about health and safety we would be pursuing nuclear.


Now I'm going to ask politely for you to show your work with regard to "consider health costs and environmental costs of renewables versus fossil fuel, it is not even close."

What do you think explains this "hockey stick" in this chart?


How about this?




Ever since fossil fuels have been exploited in a meaningful way globally, population has increased, life expectancy has increased (a proxy for health), per capita wealth has increased... in nearly every measurable way, humanity has benefited from fossil fuel use. That isn't to dismiss the problems with it, but every rose has it's thorn.

Humanity will one day live in a post-fossil fuel era, but that day isn't now, or even close to now. Bringing about the post-fossil fuel era will require the use of a lot of fossil fuels to get there.
 

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Try this link. Google has 17 million hits on "healthcare costs of fossil fuels", this one helpfully supplied subsidies as well. G20 countries supply $444 billion dollars a year in subsidies. Health related costs globally from burning fossil fuels estimated at 2.76 trillion dollars annually.

Increases in longevity came from better healthcare, and most of that from a huge reduction in infant and maternal mortality. Yup, can't argue that better transportation from fossil fuels supported industrial farming and distribution leading to increased population. Which is certainly a large part of the reason why we are in the mess we are in now and is unsustainable. Perhaps you have a biblical belief in "fill the earth" command but other than religion, I don't know of other advocates for overpopulation.
 

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Increases in longevity came from better healthcare, and most of that from a huge reduction in infant and maternal mortality. Yup, can't argue that better transportation from fossil fuels supported industrial farming and distribution leading to increased population. Which is certainly a large part of the reason why we are in the mess we are in now and is unsustainable. Perhaps you have a biblical belief in "fill the earth" command but other than religion, I don't know of other advocates for overpopulation.
I suppose I should lament people living better than they ever have since that's the fashion of the minute.

Everything is unsustainable. The word is meaningless without both defining what is to be sustained, and for what duration. Something along the lines of "I'm going to sustain a 10 MPH jog for 30 minutes".

Population and consumption growth will need to stop at some point, and every indication suggests it will as growth has been slowing. In fact, the world population growth rate peaked in 1963 and has declined ever since. While not currently a problem, the trend suggests we'll have the opposite problem of insufficient reproduction in the not too distant future. If you think population growth is unsustainable for humanity, population shrink absolutely is.

And anyway, I'm not arguing for overpopulation, which in it's own name is bad. Instead I'm pointing out that we can't dismiss hybrids as a bridge between the fossil fuel era and the post-fossil fuel era just because it doesn't immediately get us from where we are, to where we'd like to be. I'm also rejecting the absurd notion that we'd all be on cheap and reliable renewable energy if only Big Oil weren't oppressing us. Big oil is big because we depend on it for our way of life. We could all live simpler and shorter lives and Big Oil would be smaller. That isn't encoded into human genetics though. A few people might choose to live simply in accordance with their principles, but for the masses the solutions need to be compatible with human nature. To that end, anything that is more expensive and delivers less, goes against our nature.

Circling back to population; I use it as a proxy for health. If you want to know if a bee colony is healthy, you see how big the population is. You can't say fossil fuels are unhealthy when the population suggests otherwise. Sure, it has negative consequences, but everything has negative consequences. The benefits outweigh them by a long-shot. We need to (and we will) figure out how to greatly reduce our fossil fuel dependence, but we need to be awake because there are a lot of charlatans out there that are happy to take advantage of our ignorance for political and financial gain along the way.
 

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This came out yesterday. Makes for an interesting read:




Nice to see that they've properly labeled their graphs and included references. Makes it much easier to understand the data, compared to the video in the OP.

So how do CO2 emissions from BEVs compare to those from a Prius? It largely depends on where you live and how big the battery is. But this graph suggests that (of the countries shown) unless you're in the US, Germany, or the Netherlands, BEVs are likely cleaner today, at any sensible battery size.

EDIT: I just noticed the graph doesn't actually state the distance used for the comparison (it's in text under the graph in the article). It's based on a 150,000km life cycle.
 

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Surely ROI in a given year, for an established technology vs and emergent one, is quite irrelevant? It's the ROI over the life of the wind turbine or solar panel that matters. These numbers also ignore indirect subsidies and biases within the tax system, which are worth far more to the fossil fuel industry than direct subsidies.

A couple of years back, the EU commission questioned why the UK was still giving more subsidies to the fossil fuel industry than the renewable energy one. The government's response? "We don't give any subsidies to the fossil fuel industry". Direct vs indirect subsidies were the reason for the difference of opinion. The EU commission was counting billions of pounds worth of tax breaks in its figures. The UK government was only counting direct cash paid to the industry as a subsidy.
 

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Surely ROI in a given year, for an established technology vs and emergent one, is quite irrelevant? It's the ROI over the life of the wind turbine or solar panel that matters. These numbers also ignore indirect subsidies and biases within the tax system, which are worth far more to the fossil fuel industry than direct subsidies.

A couple of years back, the EU commission questioned why the UK was still giving more subsidies to the fossil fuel industry than the renewable energy one. The government's response? "We don't give any subsidies to the fossil fuel industry". Direct vs indirect subsidies were the reason for the difference of opinion. The EU commission was counting billions of pounds worth of tax breaks in its figures. The UK government was only counting direct cash paid to the industry as a subsidy.
Deduction of operating expenses from taxation is not a subsidy when all businesses have the same advantage. A good economic system would eliminate corporate taxes altogether (consensus among economists).

Trying to complicate the issue by including direct vs indirect subsidy doesn't change the fact that fossil fuels receive orders of magnitude less subsidy per delivered kWh than other energy. The reason why it receives a larger gross subsidy is because we rely on it so heavily to maintain our wealthy economies.

We'd all be way better off if all subsidies were eliminated. The purpose of a subsidy is to skew an otherwise rational market at the expense of the citizens.

Finally, the only rational method to reduce fossil fuel consumption is to simply tax it higher. It's least susceptible to political corruption, special interests, and feelgood meaningless nonsense. When we wanted to reduce tobacco smoking, we didn't subsidize chewing gum and sunflower seeds, we raised the tax on it. Everything else is ignorance at best (Hanlon's razor), corruption at worst.

I'm a huge EV fan, and because of that, I want it to succeed because it's better. It isn't clear that EVs are the answer to reducing fossil fuel consumption for transportation, which is why it's important to limit the thing we want to reduce (burning fossil fuels) and not promote particular technologies that we currently favor. It isn't the role of government to determine what technologies we adopt and which businesses will benefit. That's the role of the consumer.
 

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He missed the relative cost per mile of EV versus the most efficient gas hybrid. So we took the following trips:
  • 1,980 miles - January 2020 through winter storms, our Std. Rng. Plus Model 3 cost $60 in electricity. I did get a free, courtesy charging at two motels and two, opportunity L2 free charges.
  • 714 miles - June 2019, our Std. Rng. Plus Model 3. No overnight stays on the 14 hour drive.
These costs are roughly twice the cost per mile of our former Prius Prime that we traded in for the Model 3.

We also have a BMW i3-REx and two round trips between Huntsville AL and Nashville revealed EV charging (Electrify America and EVgo) cost ~$6 in EV vs ~$24 in premium gas. But this is due to the slow, less than 50 kW, charge rate of both the BMW and the EVgo stations.
 

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I suppose that one argument about the ultimate source of electricity (to power a car specifically) is that, unlike an ICE (which, given the current state of things, is at least 90% dependent on fossil fuel - it can't use anything else realistically; the best we can use without modification is maybe 10% bio-fuel), an EV doesnt care where its power comes from - as long as it's power. So, those indivuduals with the will and money can install solar arrays; those "in charge" can invest in alternative sources of electricity. etc... In either case, with no modification needed, even to a possibly old vehicle, EVs can be made "greener" by action elsewhere, whereas ICEs can't. In my case, although I have no direct green source at home, I subscribe to a 100% "green" domestic electricity scheme. Yes, I know that my actual power supply is just the same mix as every other - but having my consumption fully offset at the other end by "green" input is as much as I can do.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
I suppose that one argument about the ultimate source of electricity (to power a car specifically) is that, unlike an ICE (which, given the current state of things, is at least 90% dependent on fossil fuel - it can't use anything else realistically; the best we can use without modification is maybe 10% bio-fuel), an EV doesnt care where its power comes from - as long as it's power. So, those indivuduals with the will and money can install solar arrays; those "in charge" can invest in alternative sources of electricity. etc... In either case, with no modification needed, even to a possibly old vehicle, EVs can be made "greener" by action elsewhere, whereas ICEs can't. In my case, although I have no direct green source at home, I subscribe to a 100% "green" domestic electricity scheme. Yes, I know that my actual power supply is just the same mix as every other - but having my consumption fully offset at the other end by "green" input is as much as I can do.
ICE's can also be carbon-neutral if they utilize carbon-neutral fuel like bio-fuel, fuel made from Algae, or one of several "E-fuels" like the process being developed by Audi. Audi claims they can even be carbon-negative.

Dave
 

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ICE's can also be carbon-neutral if they utilize carbon-neutral fuel like bio-fuel, fuel made from Algae, or one of several "E-fuels" like the process being developed by Audi. Audi claims they can even be carbon-negative.

Dave
Potentially, but that tech isn't available yet. And also unless we have an absolute abundance of non fossil fuel energy, using vast amounts of electricity in inefficient conversion processes, rather than just sending it down a power grid and into a battery is not a sensible use of using that energy. This is where fuel cells car really fall down. The opportunity cost of not using that non fossil derived electricity in the most efficient way possible needs to be considered too. Eg the next step with renewable energy needs to be for heating homes and buildings that are currently heated with gas and oil. Currently it isn't cost effective unless combined with heat pumps etc, but there is huge opportunity as renewables ramp up to power all this with renewable energy to have an even greater co2 impact than making synthetic fuels.
And don't forget that bio fuels still cause pollution. This is the trouble with woodburners which have become so popular round my way, yes they are technically carbon neutral (except for the fact they are produced using petrol chainsaws and delivered by diesel trucks) but if the price of that is terrible pollution (some evenings round here in the winter we can't even open our windows due to the smell of "bonfire", particularly on foggy, windless nights) which is just not a price worth paying imo.
 

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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.
This is a good point (in that objects that cost a lot of money are typically resource intensive to make). However it ignores the detail of where that money is going. For example, even if a Tesla is more expensive than a F-150, some of that money ends up funding advanced R&D necessary for even better EVs and green technology.
 

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This is a good point (in that objects that cost a lot of money are typically resource intensive to make). However it ignores the detail of where that money is going. For example, even if a Tesla is more expensive than a F-150, some of that money ends up funding advanced R&D necessary for even better EVs and green technology.
The devil is always in the details, but my general statement generally holds up. If we're curious how much consumption a population or individual has, we can be fairly confident it's roughly in proportion to their wealth. Wealth is opportunity to consume, whether that's consuming things like large houses, or traveling/vacationing, etc. Nearly everything we do has some dependence on fossil fuels. The real trick will be to decouple wealth (everyone's wealth, not just Big Oil) from fossil fuels.

From my perspective, purchasing an EV primarily accomplishes 1 thing, and that is to signal interest to the market. GM and other companies aren't using the money from EV purchases to continue related research. In fact, GM is most likely losing money on every sale considering their steep discounting. Funding for their research is made possible because they have a successful and profitable ICE business. The amount they will invest in EV R&D depends on how much they perceive the need to do so... which leads back to my conclusion that purchasing an EV signals the demand for these vehicles. The actual cash that is involved in the transaction is fairly insignificant in the scheme of their manufacturing income.

Tesla is the exception to this in that their future viability completely depends on how successful their EV sales are, and their R&D is not spent on ICE development at all. This circles back to the original Ted Talk though, that improving ICE/hybrid efficiency is still a worthy goal. Transitions take time, and both the existing fossil fueled vehicles and EVs are worthwhile to improve.
 

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From my perspective, purchasing an EV primarily accomplishes 1 thing, and that is to signal interest to the market. GM and other companies aren't using the money from EV purchases to continue related research. In fact, GM is most likely losing money on every sale considering their steep discounting. Funding for their research is made possible because they have a successful and profitable ICE business. The amount they will invest in EV R&D depends on how much they perceive the need to do so... which leads back to my conclusion that purchasing an EV signals the demand for these vehicles. The actual cash that is involved in the transaction is fairly insignificant in the scheme of their manufacturing income.
This is true to an extent, but mostly because GM has not invested sufficiently in their technology to bring prices down enough to make their EVs profitable. Certainly if a company does not invest the initial R&D in any product it will not be desirable. There's a reason why Tesla is able to sell their vehicles at a premium and without the federal subsidy and GM is not. If anything, GM had a huge head start in this area with the EV1 development in the 90's and general manufacturing know-how that Tesla lacked.

GM missed a huge opportunity with the Voltec drivetrain, which was groundbreaking when it hit the market in 2010 and still is the best plug-in hybrid technology available. Most of the Voltec technology was housed in a unique transaxle, including the clutches and electric motors. This means that the packaging would have easily been adapted to fit GM's many other FWD platforms, including their small SUVs and crossovers. The margins in these segments is much higher and probably would have allowed them to post a profit.

(In addition - at risk of going on a tangent - the Volt was positioned as a Prius and Insight competitor in a fairly crowded field. There was no plug-in hybrid SUVs or EV SUVs in 2010, and there basically still aren't even today outside of a few luxury makes. Had a Voltec-powered Equinox or Traverse been developed, It would have owned this segment simply because there would have been no competition.)

They are losing money on the Bolt because, simply, it looks cheap. It's packaged and styled like a econobox B-class subcompact for no reason whatsoever. It's very close to the specs that I want in an EV but it's just too ugly to consider. I think it's obvious it would have sold many times better as either a "regular" hatchback (Volkswagen Golf) or a crossover vehicle (Equinox).

Lastly, I respectfully disagree that an EV is just signalling interest. Each incremental build drives down the cost of the next unit. Also, they are already significantly better for the environment (see Here).
 
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