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EVs Are Environmentally Friendly: True or False?

8/20/2013 11:56 AM EDT
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junko.yoshida
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State-by-state analysis
junko.yoshida   8/20/2013 1:09:50 PM
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I think many of us might have already known the answer...but Climate Centra's state-by-state analysis gives us a clear picture on the degree of greenenss of your EV depends on the electricity grid in you state -- how the energy is generated...it's all interconnected.

pinhead1
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Re: State-by-state analysis
pinhead1   8/20/2013 1:33:16 PM
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It's pretty interesting, but doesn't really lead to a clear conclusion.  It does seem like a conventional hybrid is a safe bet in any state, although it may not be optimal in every state.

chanj0
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Green?
chanj0   8/20/2013 1:34:37 PM
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Green sounds compelling. We assimilate green to vegetable, trees and forest. I can understand "Green" is chosen to be one of the market terms in promoting hybrid and EV. IMO, the movement indeed protect the environment regionally. To be precise, it lows the carbon dioxide emission in your neighborhood. You may feel the air around you fresher if there are enough people driving in your community.

Unfortunately, the reality is we have to see a bigger picture when we are trying to tackle a global situation. Just as the article said, we could make a zero emission vehicle; yet, the manufacturing process emits higher amount of CO2. The report even suggests, in some models, the CO2 emission from operation may not offset that from manufacturing.

What's a better measure to the environment friendliess of any vehicle? Carbon footprint has been one of the most talkable measures. How do we quantify it? What can be done to inform consumers how much carbon footprint the vehicle is?

Duane Benson
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It's never easy
Duane Benson   8/20/2013 1:51:02 PM
Unfortunately, any advantages of one approach over the other are subtle enough to be difficult to discern. Add that the issue is highly politicized and it becomes even more difficult to tell.

The real issue, in my opinion, is that gasoline holds quite a lot of potential energy by weight and volume. It's got a very high energy density. It's very easy to extract a significant amount of that energy as well. Until there is some way of collecting, storing and using clean and inexpensive energy with roughly the same potential by weight and volume, the economics will be very difficult to justify.

The problem, of course, is that, while it's easy to extract the energy from gasoline, it's not possible to put it back. It's a one way trip into the atmosphere.

As a society, I think we need to be exploring all electric and hybrid vehicles as well as other types of vehicles, but I don't see a solid answer until we can solve the energy density challenge.

junko.yoshida
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Re: State-by-state analysis
junko.yoshida   8/20/2013 2:24:16 PM
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@pinhead, true. There is no single clear, easy answer. And yet, I was actually pleasantly surprised to see how far we have come, in some states that have electrical grids with substantial amounts of hydro, nuclear, and wind power, essentially producing no carbon emissions. 

That is definitely changing the picture in some states. 

geekmaster
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Much greener when using your own solar
geekmaster   8/20/2013 3:00:05 PM
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I guess EVs are much greener when you charge them with your own solar generated energy such as solar panels. That could be an option to make it greenr. The only problem is that most EV cars or EV hybrid cars offered in the US do not offer the range many people drive.

rick merritt
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Re: It's never easy
rick merritt   8/20/2013 3:07:25 PM
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@Duane: Good analysis of Junko's good analysis.

We need to keep moving down this road with some faith that it gets greener and more economically sound as we progress.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Green?
junko.yoshida   8/20/2013 3:13:22 PM
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Chanj0, the easiest way to communicate with consumers about carbon footprint of a car is through the mileage of a car, but naturally, there are other factors, beyond tailpipe CO2, that need to be considered. 

As a starter, here's something we can all work with:

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/climate.shtml

junko.yoshida
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Re: Much greener when using your own solar
junko.yoshida   8/20/2013 3:21:25 PM
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GoGoGeek, the idea of preserving and storing energy -- generated by solar panels of your home, for example -- in your own EV has been often discussed in Japan:

http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1264342&page_number=1

mike_m
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Re: State-by-state analysis
mike_m   8/20/2013 7:32:33 PM
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Unfortunately this report does not factor in other important aspects such as the large pull that the gasoline lobbyist have on our government.

Even in states where electrics appear to have an advantage today, well tomorrow may bring a different story especially when revenues of gas companies may go down in the so called green states.

 

As an example here in Oregon the talk is on taxing electrics heavily due to the fact that the gas tax money is dwindling and money for road repairs that comes directly from gas taxes and such are no longer there.

 One plan is to install sophisticated GPS trackers in EV's which would then record and report the mileage driven via some type of RF link and at the years end the state tax department would then send a tax bill with the dollar amount comparable to what a gas vehicle user would pay at the pump.

As  a result even though we may have a distinct electric advantage today, tomorrow due to lobbyist for the gasoline industry and such I'm afraid that this advantage may dissapear very fast.

 

 Never underestimate the grred of a multi billlion, or is it trillion, dollar industrys pull on maintaining profits in double digit numbers.

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