THE CENTRAL QUESTION ...
What issues do I need to understand to participate in the EV debate? What real, what's hype and where are the facts?
A discussion of many of the arguments used by those who suggest that EVs cannot be a legitimate challenge for ICE vehicles. Each anti-EV arguments is presented followed by interpretation, counter arguments, and facts. To obtain a copy of the EVU study guide for this and other available EVU courses, please complete the form on this page.
>> There’s an ongoing debate about the future of the automobile.
In this third part of our EVU mini-course, we continue our discussion of the ongoing debate about the future of the automobile.
In this part, we’ll consider the debate about the grid, the environment, and the future.
When each of the earlier debate arguments is shown to be tenuous, those who argue against EVs rely on what is sometime referred to as the “long tailpipe” argument … “It goes like this … “EVs move pollution from the tailpipe to the power plant”
This argument is extremely weak. In fact, it’s counter-factual. >> It assumes that all electrical generation capability is dirty, and that’s not true. About half of the power generated in the US comes from hydro, nuclear, and natural gas generation capability, relatively clean and improving every year.
>> The use of “clean” alternative energy sources—solar and wind— is small but growing, and will continue to grow each year
>>even so-called “dirty” power generation, exemplified by coal power plants, is getting cleaner each year
>> ICE vehicles are 20 - 30% efficient. Power plants are 60% efficient and the grid is 95 % efficient. What that means is that power plants and the grid are far more efficient in transforming input into energy output, less energy is wasted and more is consumed.
Here’s the thing — as our power generation gets cleaner nationwide, every EV gets cleaner as well, automatically and without any modification to the vehicle.
When the long tailpipe argument falls apart, those who argue against EVs rely on this: “The grid can’t support millions and millions of EVs …”
To be frank, that’s a stretch … First,
>> Most people charge their EVs at night, when rates are low and grid capacity nationwide is is high
>>The number of EVs will grow slowly, giving utilities time to upgrade capacity using existing tech, for example, natural gas powered generating capability
>>New disruptive technologies, including the possibility (in 20 or 30 years) of inexpensive and safe “fusion” energy may make this argument moot.
It’s also worth noting that building additional infrastructure capacity using alternative sources, such as solar or wind energy, would cost about $1.5 - 2.0 million per megawatt. So an expenditure of $40 billion would produce enough grid capacity to power 20 million EVs. Those EVs replace 20 million ICE cars, whose drivers currently spend billions EVERY YEAR on gasoline.
But when we discuss upgrading the grid, you’ll sometimes hear
“Alternative-energy (such as wind and solar power) is too expensive and has potential side affects
>>Alt-energy is expensive today, but in the future—not so much! For example, the cost of an installed solar panels is expected to decline by between 30 and 50 percent over the next five years
>> The environmental impact of wind and solar power are insignificant when compared to the burning of fossil fuels and any suggestion to the contrary is highly questionable.
>> it’s also time for a reality check—every method for generating energy has negative consequences, so the real issue is — which negative consequences can we live with and afford.
Then, there’s the argument that is heard when politics get involved:
"EV's only work because of government subsidies… or its corollary:
>> Taxpayers who don't want or like EVs are paying taxes to have them on the road.
>> In reality, taxpayers subsidize many things–home mortgages and charitable contributions are well known examples, not to mention hundreds of tax credits for businesses of all kinds.
It's a bit disingenuous to suggest that government subsidies for a new technology like EV's are somehow off-limits, while existing subsidies and tax credits for a broad spectrum of personal and business issues are okay.
>>It’s also worth noting that China, India, Japan, all of the EU, and other countries all have established subsidies for EVs.
Some major automotive manufacturers have decided that the road forward may involve fuel-cell vehicles. The media has picked up on this and suggested that the fuel cell will be an “EV killer.”
>> First … fuel cell vehicles are EVs >> the difference is that electricity is generated from hydrogen stored in high pressure tanks on-board your vehicle >> the fuel cell then produces electricity that charges an on-board battery or drives the electric motor directly >> fuel cell vehicles are more complex, but do offer an alternative to BEVs and PHEVs
We’ll do a head-to-head comparison of fuel cell vehicles and BEVs in another advanced EVU mini-course, so I won’t discuss any of the underlying tech here.
To summarize this three-part mini-course on the EV Debate:
>> There are many anti-EV arguments that have been proposed >> Although some have elements of truth, the majority are tenuous at best and are easily refuted >> Bottom line—EVs are safe, clean, and cost effective, and will become even more so in the years ahead.
Electric Vehicle University - 250c THE EV DEBATE
The EV Debate,
This course is presented as part of
Evannex University—a free, open
learning environment that presents
concise, video-based mini-courses for
those who have interest in electric
vehicles (EVs) …
EVs move pollution from the tailpipe to the power
assumes all power generation is
the use of alt-energy is growing
even “dirty” generation is getting
ICE vehicles are 20 - 30% efficient.
Power plants are 60% efficient and
the grid is 95 % efficient
The grid can’t support tens of millions of EVs …
Most people charge their EVs at
night, when rates are low and grid
capacity is high
The number of EVs will grow slowly,
giving utilities time to upgrade
capacity using existing tech
New disruptive tech, including the
possibility of “fusion”energy may
make this argument moot
Alt-energy is too expensive and has
potential side affects
Alt-energy is expensive today, but
in the future—not so much
Environmental impact of wind and
solar power are minimal and
insignificant when compared to
the burning of fossil fuels
Reality check—every method for
generating energy has negative
EVs only work because of government subsidies …
corollary: taxpayers who don’t want or
like EVs are paying to have them on the
taxpayer subsidize many things—home
mortgages, charitable contributions,
not to mention hundreds of tax credits
for businesses of all kinds
China, India, Japan, all of the EU, and
other countries all have established
subsidies for EVs
The future is fuel cell vehicles …
Fuel cell vehicles are EVs
the difference is that electricity is generated from
hydrogen stored in high pressure tanks in your vehicle
the fuel cell then produces electricity
fuel cell vehicles are more complex, but do offer an
alternative to BEVs and PHEVs
There are many anti-EV arguments proposed
Although some have elements of truth, the majority are
bogus and easily refuted
Bottom line—EVs are safe, clean, and cost effective
… a free study guide for
all EVU mini-courses is
available for download
from our website …
For a complete list of mini-
courses and the study guide,