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SOME EYE-OPENING FACTS ABOUT
ELECTRIC VEHICLES YOU NEED TO KNOW

Electric vehicles (EVs) are less expensive to operate and own than the now outmoded combustion engine cars. Electricity is cheaper per mile than gasoline, and electric motors are way more efficient at moving you down the road than combustion engines (a motor wastes very little fuel energy as heat, an engine wastes a lot).

EVs are capable of being much safer than combustion cars... there's no engine under the hood that can be pushed into the passenger compartment in a crash, plus there's all the safety and anti-collision technology that takes advantage of an EV's design.

EVs have far less moving parts than combustion cars, so less to break and much less maintenance; change only tires and wiper blades, no oil changes, belts, hoses, fuel and oil filters, spark plugs, fuel injectors, timing chain, oxygen sensors, muffler, radiator and transmission fluids, etc. Even brake pads and rotors last a lot longer because electricity generated by the motor helps to slow down the car.

EVs take 12 seconds to charge: 6 seconds to plug it in when you get home, and 6 seconds to unplug it the following morning... less time than a gas station visit. And if you can't charge at home, there are more and more public charging stations popping up every day.

Just as cell phones now have "Turbo Charge", the modern lithium-ion batteries in EVs can be charged very fast at charging stations equipped with fast chargers, and there are plenty of them. And there are EVs designed from the ground up allowing for large battery packs, so no "range anxiety" on long trips (especially if your EV automaker provides a worldwide charging infrastructure).

EV technology is now commercially viable, thanks in large part to the kick in the automotive industry's pants by Elon Musk and Tesla Motors. Affordable mass market EVs require economies of scale, and this requires adoption. So when there's a choice between a gas powered car and an EV, and the prices are close, we as tenants of this planet have an obligation to give serious consideration to the environmentally friendlier, non-harmful option. And we get a vehicle that can last a lot longer than a gasoline fueled car.

Oil is not an unlimited resource, so we must transition to sustainable transportation eventually. And because of the changes happening to our climate and the ones that will happen in the near future, it's not a case of "the sooner the better," it's more like "we need to do this now to avoid irreversible catastrophic consequences down the road." I'm not trying to use scare tactics, I'm just dealing with reality. And speaking of reality...


Q:
But aren't the emissions still mostly just moved from the road to the coal-fired power plant when switching from a gasoline car to an EV?

A: Let's say you charge your EV at home, and your home gets its power, not from a nuclear or hydroelectric power plant, but from a coal-fired plant. You aren't simply moving the creation of greenhouse gases from the car to the power plant in a 1:1 manner. Here's why...

1. Because of economies of scale, one gigantic power plant serving 1000 electric vehicles can be more efficient than 1000 separate power plants (one in each gasoline powered car). Think about what it would look like if you collected all the tailpipe emissions in a huge bag from a gas fueled car driven 100 miles. Now imagine the additional smoke stack emissions from a power plant that's charging an EV's battery to replace the energy it just used for a similar 100 mile drive. The difference is like night and day, for reasons #1 and #2.

2. An average gas powered car can get 24 MPG, but an EV can get three to four times that in MPGe. So, much less fuel energy required for those 1000 electric cars than for 1000 gas powered cars driven the same distances, resulting in much less emissions (greenhouse gases and air pollutants). If you use 10 gallons of gas to go somewhere, 8 of those gallons went to waste heat. For an EV, to use the gallons analogy, 1 out of the 10 gallons went to waste heat. Big difference.

3. The emissions from a power plant can be "scrubbed" to reduce air pollutants and CO2, but this is not feasible for a fossil fuel car.

4. Petroleum refining plants require lots of electricity to turn crude oil into gasoline. Since this energy production is unnecessary with an EV infrastructure, this needs to figure into a "well-to-wheels" analysis when considering emissions.

5. And remember, coal-fired plants can have fields of solar panels added to them to reduce the amount of coal they burn (already being done). And in the future they can be replaced by renewable energy power plants. So your electric car runs cleaner as infrastructure improvements are made!

And if solar panels and an energy storage system are added to a home or business (already being done), an EV can be recharged from the sun, or from other zero emission sources, resulting in a "Zero Zero Emissions Vehicle". And how about that, Tesla has pioneered these too!



 

"The data show that cars with internal combustion engines were not clean in the past, are not clean today, and will not be clean in the foreseeable future. The auto industry will always find new ways to circumvent tests and optimize results. The only way to ensure cars are truly clean is to accelerate the shift to zero-emission technology and electromobility."

Florent Grelier, Clean Vehicle Engineer, Transport & Environment

 

Four Myth About EVs

1. Since some EVs charge from coal-fired power plants, they just move the same amount of pollution and CO2 emissions from the tailpipe to the smoke stack.

False, as mentioned above in the Q&A.

2. EV batteries will need replacing after 3-5 years.

False. If you buy a new EV today, odds are the battery pack will last as long as you own the vehicle. Yes, as the pack ages, it will lose a little capacity, which translates into some lost range, but only a small amount. And the "healthier" you charge the pack, the less capacity it will lose over time, and Tesla EVs do this for you automatically. The other EV makers? No.

3. If everyone had EVs, we'd overload the energy grid.

False. As EVs increase, the energy needed to refine crude oil into gasoline decreases, and our energy grid's capacity increases thanks to the addition of solar arrays. Plus, when charged at home overnight, EVs use the underutilized capacity of energy generation plants (called "off-peak charging"). Tesla EVs can be set to start charging, not when you plug them in, but when your off-peak rates start (typically around 1am).

4. There's no demand for EVs.

False. Yes, when people believe untrue things about EVs, they are understandably not wanting them, but when they discover the truth about EVs, and about how EVs are less expensive to operate and maintain, and then they drive one, they are won over easily. Happens every day. That's why so many Teslas are on the road today, and why so many more will be as battery costs come down, reducing the retail price of the car (already happening).

 

Lies and Negative Comments About EVs

1. "When there is a power outage, EVs can't recharge."

Yes, but gasoline pumps require electricity to pump, so you can't "fill up" during a power outage. And if your EV is charged, it can recharge your phones, and run some things in your home if it has a 120 volt outlet. And if you have a generator at home, you can refuel you car. Can't do that with a gasoline car. And gas stations often run out of gas during natural disasters. Just say'n. (Note: During gasoline shortages in Georgia USA and the UK, Teslas were driving around just fine.)

2. "EVs are demand limited, i.e., there is no demand for them other than the early adopters who love new gadgets."

False. EVs are production limited. As fast as they are made, they are bought... at least the better designed ones. When people discover that a Tesla is way better than a Chevy Bolt, Bolt sales go down, but not because there is no demand for EVs. Tesla has more orders than it can fill. And as more people discover the truth about EVs, demand will rise even further (and so will production capacity).

3. "EVs are only for the affluent."

False. When you factor into the selling price of an EV and the total cost of ownership (operation and maintenance), an EV is a better deal than a gasoline car. And we're getting close to (selling) price parity between gasoline cars and EVs. At that point it will be a no brainer to buy an EV over a gasoline car. But true, when Tesla sold its first EVs, they were $160,000. But they had to do that to raise the capital needed to make their Phase 2 cars that sold for $90,000, and they had to do that so they could ramp up to make their Phase 3 $45,000 cars, and next up is their Phase 4 $25,000 car. This is the only business model that works. And other EV makers are following it.

4. "There's no charging infrastructure for EVs."

False. There are plenty of public charging stations, and Tesla has its own charging stations. And more are being built all time to keep up with the growing demand for EVs. And unlike a gasoline car, EVs can fill up at home and at many work-places.

5. "EVs are just glorified golf carts."

Seriously?! Have you driven in one?!! Anyone who has would never say this. In fact, EVs have better technology and are more reliable than gasoline cars... and safer too.

6. "Since EVs are silent, there will be more pedestrians hit by EVs."

First, this possibility is not a reason to not have EVs on the roads. I was taught as a child to look both ways before crossing a street. Do we as a society try to make society as safe as possible? Sure! And replacing all gas powered cars with EVs will make us safer (no street level pollution which causes premature deaths, less negative climate change impacts), even though there will be more pedestrian deaths due to people not looking both ways before crossing a street. And surely governements can air Public Service Announcements alerting the public to the existance of these silent cars, or they can enact regulations that all EVs make some kind of noise at low speeds (already done). And consider that most gasoline cars today are very quiet at low speeds. So this fossil fuel industry talking-point is not appreciated by rational-thinking individuals.

6. "EV manufacturing is less green than the manufacturing of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles."

False. When you take a cradle-to-grave look at the two, you will find that EVs, on balance, are greener. And as their source of energy gets greener (their recharging electricity), the EV gets even greener (because of power utilities adding renewable energy sources to their mix). And although some EV makers have a manufacturing process that is less green than ICE vehicle makers, some EV makers have a more greener manufacturing process, like Tesla. Note that there is an "environmental payback" with EVs. Now, after 1000 miles driven, the car is less damaging to the environment than gasoline cars for the remainder of the miles driven. And as manufacturing processes improve (as far as their impact on the environment), soon that will come down to 200 miles.

7. "EV batteries require mining for the rare earth elements they use, and this mining exploits young children and harms the environment."

False. Cobalt is the material in question, and Tesla's newest battery technology doesn't even use cobalt. And if theirs don't, no other EV maker need use it. And unlike gasoline technology, EV batteries can be recycled back into new batteries. There are already companies doing this. Elon Musk estimates that before long, there will be very little mining of anything needed because of the robust recycling industry. And the "young children" meme was courtesy of the fossil fuel industry. Seems they have a lot to lose as more EVs are sold versus fossil fuel cars.

EDITORIAL COMMENT ABOUT THE EV LIES

Those automotive industry analysts who go on mainstream financial business shows and knowingly say lies about Tesla and give disinformation about Tesla should be charged with crimes against the people, and put in prison for at least five years. Why? Tesla is trying to help the world's population by dramatically lowering CO2 emissions, and these so-called analysts are trying to harm Tesla on behalf of short-sellers, Big Auto, the American Automobile Dealers Association, and Big Oil. And if they're successful, this harms the environment, and therefore the people. I'd say that they should be ashamed of themselves, but they don't have the capacity to be ashamed of themselves, nor the capacity to care about anyone other than themselves... it's all about money and personal gain... as it is with those above-named folks. You can strike a blow for the people and give a middle finger to those above-named folks by getting an EV.

 

But cars that drive themselves
will end up killing some people!

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (an EV manufacturer) was asked about any fatalities that would be caused by a Tesla self-driving car. He said, "Even if all the Teslas in autonomous driving mode cut auto accident fatalities by 90%, the 10% that were the result of the computer making a mistake, you're still going to be sued. Those 90% that are alive because of the computer doing the driving don't even know they're alive because of it. So even though we'll be sued, it's more important to save those lives ... the reality of doing the right thing matters more than the perception of doing the right thing."

So Musk created autonomous driving software to save lives, not to make profit, as the other developers of autonomous driving systems are doing. Motivations matter. And this I think is the main reason to give money to Tesla versus other EV makers when buying an EV. But this reason never gets discussed when comparing EVs from different manufacturers; range, battery life, features, and options get talked about, but not the motivations of the company that you're going to give a large amount of money to.

A new car is the second largest purchase most people will make. Me? I'd care who I give that kind of money to. Tesla's mission statement: Accelerate the adoption of sustainable energy technology. All the legacy automakers' mission statements: Maximize profits.

 

Have a question? Just ask!

Learn more about the best EVs and the best EV company

The worldwide charging infrastructure mentioned above