questionsare electric cars really better for the…

vote-for51vote-against
vote-for21vote-against

Exactly. Electric cars shift the pollution from the tailpipe to the power plant. Yes, the latter could be regulated, but add in the manufacturing aspects of batteries and the metals involved in that, I am not seeing as much green-ness as opposed to an efficiently designed internal combustion engine.

vote-for15vote-against

Are you really surprised that no one does research and uses their brains on this or any other subject? Recall a few years ago when gas prices went up quickly. You had tons of people dumping their perfectly good vehicle to buy a hybrid that was in-demand and costing a premium. Those people were saving a little money on gas while spending a lot more on vehicle costs. The calculations I saw indicated that for most people, they would have to own the hybrid for 5 to 7 years before they would break even.

vote-for6vote-against

I completely agree. At least I know there are other people thinking about the electricity bit and how it is no better- Maybe the manufacturers are banking on people not thinking.

vote-for7vote-against

@narfcake: The way I see, it is all about piece of mind... people think that if it isn't DIRECTLY coming out of their tail pipe, then they aren't polluting. It is a farce at best.

Also consider this... in summer and winter (high peak usage electricity seasons) there is always a threat of rolling black outs in some areas... they then "ration" electricity to certain areas... do you truly think that it will be ok for everyone to come home and plug in their electric cars at 5 or 6 pm ? If everyone in the country used them, they would crash every power grid in the country.

vote-for13vote-against

What happens to those massive batteries when they die out and have to be replaced? Isn't that a big environmental concern? And a pricey repair?

vote-for6vote-against

I don't believe so, at least not yet.

Eventually, as battery technology, electric distribution systems, and alternative electric power generation methods improve, they will get better for the environment, but at present, I believe that anyone who thinks they are doing something good for the environment, at least by driving current electric vehichles, is fooling themselves. (The advantage to the environment will come in the future, as the dollars they're spending now will fund future research.)

Dollar-wise, I don't believe they make much sense now, barring one-time tax incentives.

However, I can conceive of scenarios where they make sense now, just not for most of us.

vote-for5vote-against

I think @baqui63 as an excellent point about the money that they're spending now (the high premium) will help fund the technology to eventually make it better; however, right now, you're absolutely correct -- while it might be slightly better, the real fact is that we're (as a nation) still burning fossil fuels to make the electricity.
I think so many people fail to realize that...not sure if it's ignorance or people are just really that stupid.
As for me, I might (in 10 years) buy a hybrid or electric car...who knows. The technology has quite a bit of advancement still before I'll make the leap, that's for sure.

vote-for5vote-against

Yeah, I always have a laugh at the expense of the Nissan Leaf and the Zero Emission claim. Yeah, there is no emission from the tail pipe, but what about the tons of carbon emissions from the coal powerplant that undoubtedly delivers power to your home and ultimately to the battery pack of your car? Or how about the dangerous nuclear waste from the nuclear plant that might bring power to your home... Unless the car is being recharged by a windmill, solar, or hydroelectric power, it's not truly zero emission. Not to mention the toxic waste produced by the mining for the raw materials that make up the car, and, of course in the manufacturing of the batteries...

I suppose alternative fuel vehicles are a step in the right direction, but this whole electric car and the zero pollution claim is just BS.

Hybrids on the other hand... Not quite as bad, but the price premium probably isn't worth it when you can buy many cars that get 40+ MPG.

vote-for5vote-against

I don't think you'll ever recoup the initial cost of buying an electric car at current prices, but as for your other two points-

Even coal power plants (which are about as dirty as you can get) are much more efficient and clean for the energy you get than a car's gasoline engine.

Unless the price of electricity skyrockets (possible) and the price of gasoline plummets (pretty unlikely) it is significantly cheaper to buy energy from the electric company.

vote-for4vote-against

Here is the deal... I am SO glad they are out there researching this technology... I love Nissan... heck I DRIVE a Nissan.... 350z but hey... I get almost 30mpg on the highway yeat the hybrids get about 40... not seeing a big reason for me to dump my sportscar for a car that can go maximum 40 miles on one charge, or a hybrid that i will get run over trying to get on the freeway because the get up and go is terrible.

I personally think the way of the future is COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS!!!! The only TRUE clean burning fuel...

vote-for4vote-against

At a minumum of 3.5 hours and most common 10 hour charging time for approx. 120 miles, the cost per mile usage is more exoensive than gas (unless you would normally drive a Hummer 1). You would use more fuel (coal or nuclear) in this case. Not to mention the Lead acid, Lithium, or Nickle metal hydride contained in the battery.

In summation, no I do not think they are saving the environment.

vote-for7vote-against

@pyxientx: No. Kilowatt hours are what matter. Not how long the car is actually plugged in.

Here's an oldish article that briefly outlines it. Electric cars have become a bit more efficient since then. If you want something more recent feel free to do some research.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=electric-cars-cost-per-charge

vote-for5vote-against

Until they REALLY are better for your wallet, all things considered, they won't replace the combustion engine. The technology is still too expensive for that to happen, but when it does, I'll buy one.

If they REALLY are better for the environment (has yet to be proven), well, that's just dandy.

My favorite is how the electric cars are still measured by an MPG rating. Whoops.

vote-for4vote-against

A few points about the wall socket electricity - Yes, it is still power coming from fossil fuels in most cases. However, electricity from fossil fuel power plants is produced MUCH more efficiently than a car's engine can muster. Also, many electrical companies offer programs that promote time-of-use plans, which would make the electricity a lot cheaper during off-hours than peak-hour rates and the effective miles-per-dollar-spent much lower. Finally, there are ways to offset that, with solar, wind, water, etc.

My concern is with the cars themselves. If environmental contaminants and carbon footprint are important to you, this is where you'll want to pay closer attention and do some research. While it's true that many electric and hybrid vehicles produce less C02 after they roll off the lot, what about the process of making the batteries? That adds an environmental overhead that other conventional vehicles don't carry.

vote-for3vote-against

@smallbigtall: I agree that they're still too expensive. I can't justify the cost for myself because I don't drive enough to save enough money in gas that I overcome the extra expense of a hybrid or electric vehicle.

The measurement in MPG on the window sticker is intentional. It's meant to help give consumers and apples-to-apples comparison. It's actually a MPG equivalent for hybrids and electrics, based on the KWh energy in a gallon of gas.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_per_gallon_gasoline_equivalent

vote-for3vote-against

@liquidblue1: I can believe that a power plant produces energy more efficiently than a combustion engine, but about the efficiency from the plant to the car? It seems like there would be some, if not a lot of efficiency lost in between the power plant and the wheels of the car.

I really don't know much about this, but I would guess there is a significant amount of inefficiency in the power lines, home power network, battery storage, and the consumption of the electric by the motor.

I'm sure there have been some studies on it, but i'm willing to bet that some of those things make the combustion engine seem at least slightly more efficient than simply looking at the raw power plant efficiency.

Again, I really don't know, but it seems that should be considered...

vote-for4vote-against

@wnyx585am: I was in the market for a vehicle at that time. I did exactly that research and came to the same conclusion. It would have taken six years for a Prius to "pay off the difference" compared to the other car I was looking at (a VW Beetle). The Prius's battery has an estimated life of six years, so just as it reached the payoff point I would have needed to buy a new battery. In the end, I bought the Beetle and gas went down, so my wallet was better off without the hybrid.

vote-for3vote-against

@wnyx585am: Yes, there absolutely is a lot of loss in electrical delivery, and a lot of heat waste created when charging the batteries. I don't know the exact values either, but there is a lot of inefficiency in the entire chain, which probably tips the scales back in the favor of fuel efficient internal combustion vehicles that get 40+ MPG.

vote-for3vote-against

@panthiest: Thanks for the article. I will read.

vote-for2vote-against

I'm sure this will Jinx me on this, but I am glad to see all the up votes and ZERO down votes for this post... I posted this expecting to get yelled at and flamed until it was deleted. But I am proud to see how many people agree with me on this thought. I love my gasoline burning sportscar, I hope it will out live me but I also hope that we continue to do research for TRUE alternate energy. By this I mean something that is BETTER, cheaper and more efficient So far it hasn't been found yet this government pays billions in subsidies and forces this inefficient "electric" garbage down our throats when it ISN'T fully market ready yet. As many of you have said it is good that it is on the market it will continue to get better But to me it just seems so much like a magicians misdirection you see in this hand the shiny object when in the background the truth is played out before your eyes and you don't see it. We are told it is zero emissions, when the truth is it is just polluting elsewhere

vote-for3vote-against

@panthiest: you are correct on kwh vs. charging hours being different. The cost of chrging is cheaper than gas.

Edmonds cost of charging:
http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/the-true-cost-of-powering-an-electric-car.html

For those who asked about battery cost:
WSJ Cost of battery article
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703735804575536242934528502.html

vote-for2vote-against

No to environment (battery and electricity production), yes to wallet (electricity cost, but only over time to recoup high initial cost. See CFL vs. LED)

vote-for2vote-against

@apocello42: CFL vs. LED doesn't make since... you are assuming that electric cars vs. gasoline has the same efficiency gain as light bulbs... everyone knows when you look at a 120watt CFL vs a 2watt LED the efficiency is clear... but as pointed out many times in this thread, the efficiency simply is not TRULY calculable at this time... hence the MPG arguments earlier... when you can show me an electric car that is 60 times more efficient than a gasoline ( ref. your cfl v. led comparison ) then your point will make sense...

but beyond that your comment about the environmental damage is correct.

vote-for1vote-against

Right now it is a good deal for Hybrid for Gas, My sister has a 2007 Prius and gets an average of 52MPG compared to a similar car that would get 30.
If you drive the average of 20,000 miles a year at 3,50 Gallon. That's $1346 in gas for the Prius and $2333 for a regular car. a savings of almost $1000 a year.
The Prius is around 6k more and you get rebates of up to 2k? so it takes less than 5 years to pay off the hybrid technology.
If you drive very little then a hybrid is not for you.
But if you drive 20k+ miles a year then it is worth it.
As for battery they did a test on the first release of the Prius and it was at 90% of its original capacity. So not a great loss there.
As for pollution you are polluting about the same due to batteries.
But each day technology in batteries is getting better so all these hybrids are stepping stones to the future cars.

vote-for1vote-against

@drigout: The problem with scaling up the savings with mileage rates is that the journey type also changes...a hybrid that only does 10000 miles a yer is probably pottering around town for groceries and a short commute, where the regeneration from stop-start type driving produces a significant advantage. On highway driving, at steady speed for extended durations, the advantage of a hybrid over a similar car - ie similar aerodynamics, size and power, is far smaller. Europe doesn't appear to have a lot of uptake with hybrids, despite the far higher fuel prices you'd expect to push that way...why? Mainly because a lot of the features you see in hybrids, detail aerodynamic effects, weight savings (in the case of hybrids to offset the thousand pound battery), as well as high efficiency transmissions and smaller engines mean that most everyone drives gas or more likely diesel card that get as good as or better equivalent mileage as a Prius.

vote-for1vote-against

@narfcake: I completely agree, most people are "stupid" when it comes to the environment. "Green" cars will also diminish our roads since all roads are maintained by a fuel tax. Tires will wear out more quickly on a hybrid/electric due to the added weight. Those batteries have to go somewhere to be recycled. Fuel of battery to the car plant, added weight while in the car and the environmental cost of all the energy to save a few gallons of gas. Also, using less gas would drive up the price to the rest of us since gasoline is a commodity, we need to consume it in order to keep the price reasonable. I could go on, but even our local government bought some hybrid Fords becasue they were "concerned" about the gasoline bill. Now they installed two public electric car chargers at no charge to those recharging. Those are not run from solar, but good old hydro dams or natural gas power plants. How "green" is that? lol